Alvear Solera 1927 Pedro Ximenez Dessert Wine….it stays with you

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Who thinks of ending a meal with the flavors of orange peel, prune, and chocolate? Apparently, the folks that came up with this fortified wine. It really is a great compliment to dinner and has just enough stick to the back of your throat-ness to enjoy it. Cheers.

Takes me back to Willamette: 2010 Vintage Brut @argylewinery

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I remember the crisp summer mornings in Willamette and this vintage combination of Chardonnay and Pinot noir brings it right back. It’s citrusy with the right balance of a yeasty backbone. Really delicious and perfect for a late winter night in the suburbs of Philadelphia. If you are buying in PA, this is a good deal for $22.

Pappy Van Winkle 20 yr Bourbon…tough to find, sad to see it gone @orvwdistillery

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I was on the hunt for this mysterious bourbon for quite a while and found it about a year ago. I’m happy that it lasted this long and that I was able to share it with friends. This is a butterscotch with fall spice, not your everyday, but wish it was bourbon. If you see it In a bar, give it a whirl – truly in a different class. Cheers.

Belle Glos Las Alturas Pinot Noir 2011 Monterey: Pinot with punch @BelleGlosMeiomi @wtso

belle glos las alturas 2011For our first Wines Til Sold Out (wtso) purchase, we selected the Belle Glos duo of Pinot Noir.  The first one we had was last night’s selection of the Las Alturas which is from Monterey County, just southwest of San Francisco.  I’m a bit picky with my Pinot selections as I’m not a fan of either old world Pinot (earthy, floral), or much of the Carneros region Pinot (still earthy).  I’ve had a lot of success with the Russian River Valley area, but not much experience with Monterey County, so this was a calculated risk.

The Belle Glos brand is from the Wagner family and Caymus fame, so you’ve go to believe that they know what they’re doing.  I can assure you that they do as this is a one real bottle of wine.  This is not a light Pinot, but what I’ll call a Napa Cab drinker’s Pinot.  It’s fruit forward, balanced, and just truly delicious.  Cheers.

Corison Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 – Worth the Wait @corisonwinery @cathycorison

Corison 04 CabOn our last Napa trip, we had the pleasure of visiting Corison Winery during crush and also meet Cathy, the owner and winemaker.  In their working “cellar”, we tasted a vertical of their Cabs and couldn’t believe how wonderful the 2004 held up.  We’re not necessarily patient in letting our collection age, so we end up drinking many of our wines when they are young.  So, in an effort to try something with a little age, we picked up this library selection from the stellar 2004 year and are very happy that we did.

This Cab was clearly a very fruit forward wine in its early days, but now has that matured and subdued raisin/prune(ness) to it with a little plum too and a very lasting finish.  We still have a 2006 Kronos Cab from Corison too and will try to keep it until 2014, but no promises.

Some pics below of our visit (and maybe a little inspiration to plan a return trip).  Cheers.

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Lava Vine Cabernet Franc 2008 – A Summer Cab Franc? @lavavine

I love visiting Napa – and Lava Vine is now one of the reasons for that enjoyment.  You can tell that they love their brand, and their brand is great wine in a fun atmosphere.  That translates into their wine and they deliver a whimsical experience in many of their offerings. From a Charbono (no, that’s not a typo or a relation to Sonny & Cher or their offspring) which was an inky, deep juice to this Cab Franc…which again wasn’t what I expected.

When I think of drinking a Cab Franc, it’s usually 30 degrees outside and I’m hunkering down with the heat on.  I’m not sure what inspired me, but we opened this 2008 Cab Franc on Friday night (in the middle of June) and it was delightful.  I noticed the color on the pour to be a lot lighter than I expected and the wine itself was too.  No big bananas foster here – more of a ripe raspberry mixed with stone fruit.  We are lucky enough to be in the Lava Vine case club, so I now have an excuse to work our way through our March shipment…have to make room for the upcoming October one – - and there are probably some other unexpected gems there too.  Cheers.

Chappellet Signature Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 – Gave me the juice to blog again (thanks) @chappellet_wine

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I’ve been a little busy and while I can assure you that I’ve had a fair amount of wine,  I apologize to the 18 people that might read this post as I’ve been a very bad blogger – - but I miss it and I’m going to start writing more, really!

So, this 2007 Chappellet Cab really triggers some great memories and not just because it’s Napa (although that’s a good reason too).  The 2007 vintage was one of the great vintages of my wine-lifetime and I was privileged to have tasted my way through the Napa Valley as the 2007 bottles were released.  This was also our first visit to Chappellet and I won’t go back to Napa without stopping there, sitting at their gorgeous table and enjoying whatever they are pouring that day.

The funny thing about these “great vintages” is that we’re almost programmed to sit on a ‘special’ bottle until it’s a special occasion that warrants a splurge.  I don’t know about you, but I’m not terribly patient and usually don’t let the really good wines ‘lay down’ for too long as I’m never sure how they’ll taste after all that time.

The moment of truth for this 2007 Chappellet Cab was last night and it was indeed glorious.  This not only stood up to the test of time, but may have…improved?  Sure, it was a giant Cab with all the fruit you’d expect from Pritchard Hill, but it had a structure to it as well that provided a unique balance which is often missed in the many fruit forward wines from a variety of California (and other) AVAs.  After some time in the decanter, I found some violet in the nose, followed by an uber-smooth plum vanilla through the palate.  Cheers to the crew at Chappellet!

Modus Operandi 2009 Pinot Noir @moduswines: Pomegranate, really!

What is both crisp, fruity, a bit sour and a tad sweet – a Pomegranate and this ’09 Modus Pinot which has some fun traits that I’ve not recently seen in a Pinot.  Jason (the winemaker) does some cool stuff with his bigger reds, but this was a great surprise that I really enjoyed.modus logo