Nick - 2/29 - WineSpeak USA

$20 Above: Bunchgrass Triolet 2009

Bunchgrass Triolet 2009

Date Tasted: 4/11/13

Price: Suggested Retail is $28.00

From The Winery: 14.3% alcohol. 67% Cabernet Sauvignon (Dwelley Vineyard), 27% Cabernet Franc (Dwelley Vineyard), 6% Petit Verdot (Frazier Bluff Vineyard). Walla Walla Valley AVA. 175 cases produced.

Notes/Impressions: Bunchgrass Winery was founded in 1997 as the 11th bonded winery in Walla Walla, Washington. There website displays a catchy slogan – “Few Cases, Many Fans.” Production may be small at just 600 cases, but Bunchgrass has a strong reputation. The 2009 Triolet is the first Bunchgrass wine that I’ve tasted. There’s a regal quality to this Cab-dominated (Sauvignon and Franc) blend. It presents with a dark, inky purple color. The nose shows off a wide spectrum of aromas, particularly brambly blackberry, bell pepper, bay leaf, chalky mineral, and asphalt. It’s smooth and supple on the palate, with a medium plus body and the slightest of heat on the finish. A seamless and delicious blend that’s priced nicely at $28.00.

Rating: Highly Recommended (90), 4/5 Value

Posted on by Nick in $20 Above, Red Blends, Uncategorized, Washington 2 Comments

$20 Below: C.G. Di Arie Break Away Zinfandel 2009

C.G. Di Arie Break Away Zinfandel 2009

Date Tasted: 3/28/13

Price: Suggested Retail is around $18.00

From The Winery: 14.3% alcohol. Sierra Foothills AVA. 3000 cases produced.

Impressions/Notes: On a recent shopping adventure, I was approached by a woman that was obviously pushing this wine (not sure if she worked for the shop, the distributor, maybe even the winery). I usually steer away from purchases in this type of scenario, but there were a couple of buzzwords that caught my attention. “Zinfandel”, “low production”, and “Sierra Foothills.” Despite being utterly annoyed by her unflinching proclamation that America’s best Zinfandels come from the Sierra Foothills (the Russian River and Dry Creek valleys say hello), I purchased a bottle. C.G. Di Arie Vineyard and Winery is owned by Chaim Gur-Arieh, a former inventor and new food product developer. Some of his most notable products include Cap’n Crunch, Hidden Valley Ranch salad dressing, and Pudding Cups. C.G. Di Arie’s Break Away Zinfandel owes it’s name to symbolize the wine’s departure from jammy, over-oaked Zinfandels. It presents with a light-medium purple color that is remarkably transparent for a Zin. The aroma profile consists of blackberry, black pepper, tilled earth, and molasses. In the mouth, it’s light-medium bodied with soft tannins and tangy blue fruits.There is a very minimal oak presence on the nose and palate. I’m a big proponent of experimentation (and this is a different breed of Zin) but I couldn’t help but think of this wine as Zinfandel Lite as I was drinking it.

Rating: Recommended (86), 3/5 Value

Posted on by Nick in $20 Below, California, Zinfandel 2 Comments

$20 Above: Ridge Geyserville 2010

Ridge Geyserville 2010

Date Tasted: 3/31/13

Price: Suggested Retail is $37.00

From The Winery: 14.3% alcohol. 64% Zinfandel, 20% Carignane, 12% Petite Sirah, 2% Alicante Bouschet, 2% Mataro (Mourvedre). Ridge has made the Geyserville as a single-site Zinfandel in every year since 1966. Vineyard Location is the western edge of the Alexander Valley in Sonoma County.

Impressions/Notes: This isn’t a typical Ridge Geyserville. While the 2008 and 2009 vintage are loaded with fruit and spice, a whiff of the 2010 reveals a wine that’s heavy with earthy components, particularly morel mushrooms and fresh mulch. Tart cranberry fruit and hazelnut begin to surge after half an hour of air. The acid presence on this wine is super strong, but not in an unpleasant way. To say that this wine is wrapped up pretty tight right now (which is exactly what I scribbled in my notes) is an understatement. I would recommend stashing a bottle away and popping it open in 5-7 years–I have a feeling that age is going to be incredibly kind to this wine.

Rating: Highly Recommended (90+), 3.5/5 Value

Posted on by Nick in $20 Above, California, Zinfandel 1 Comment

$20 Above: Idilico Garnacha 2010

Idilico Garnacha 2010

Idilico is named after a bull that fought so bravely in the Barcelona Ring that it won a pardon.

Date Tasted: 3/26/13

Price: Suggested Retail is $21.00

From The Winery: 14% alcohol. Fruit sourced from Upland Vineyard (Snipes Mountain AVA) and Elerding Vineyard (Yakima Valley AVA). 240 cases produced.

Impressions/Notes: Idilico is a small production winery based out of Woodinville, Washington that focuses exclusively on Spanish varietals. Alborino, Garnacha, Graciano, and Tempranillo round out Idilico’s current releases. Their 2010 Garnacha presents with a medium purple hue with a slightly reddish tint. The nose is intense, with mineral and blackberry/cherry cobbler that trail into a whiff of fresh tobacco. Flavors are primarily fruity, while moderate acidity and well-integrated tannins make for an easy-drinking wine. Clocking in at just over $20.00, this is a well priced Grenache.

Rating: Recommended (88), 4/5 Value

Posted on by Nick in $20 Above, Grenache, Washington 2 Comments

$20 Above: Siduri Keefer Ranch Pinot Noir 2009

Siduri Keefer Ranch Pinot Noir 2009

Date Tasted: 3/24/13

Price: Suggested Retail is $49.00

From The Winery: 14.2% Alcohol. Keefer Ranch Vineyard. Green Valley AVA. 247 cases produced.

Impressions/Notes: I purchased the 2009 Siduri Keefer Ranch Pinot Noir on a 2011 trip to the Dry Creek and Russian River valleys. Siduri produces a wide variety of Pinots with grapes sourced from as far north as Oregon’s Willamette Valley and as far south as California’s Central Coast. The Keefer Ranch really stood out in their impressive lineup in 2011 and it’s drinking beautifully in 2013. The wine presents with a medium+ garnet color. The aroma profile is led by red fruit (cherry and cranberry) and complimented by mushrooms, cacao, sandalwood, and a sprinkling of dill and sage. It’s smooth and silky on the palate, with ripe fruit flavors, a nice zing of acidity, light tannins, and a medium-long finish that ends with an ever-so-slight sweetness and flavors of cranberry, milk chocolate, and toasted oak. The last two words of my tasting notes sum up my overall thoughts well–”Pleasing Wine.”

Rating: Highly Recommended (93), 3/5 Value 

Posted on by Nick in $20 Above, California, Pinot Noir Leave a comment