7 Fun Wines from this Week’s Tastings…

2011 No Girls ‘La Placiencia Vineyard’ Syrah, Walla Walla Valley

No Girls 'La Placiencia Vyd.’ Walla Walla Valley Grenache 2011 (Label)Wine Spectrum 95+, Wine Advocate 95: In the same mold, with the buzzwords being finesse and elegance, the 2011 Syrah La Paciencia Vineyard offers textbook pepper, olive tapenade, smoke and crunchy berry fruits in its medium to full-bodied, seamless and beautifully textured profile. Showing impressive complexity and already hard to resist, I’d lean towards drinking bottles over the coming decade as well.

No Girls Wines was originally founded as a collaboration between Cayuse Vineyards’ owner and vigneron Christophe Baron and general manager Trevor Dorland. As the project has evolved, other Cayuse employees were involved… including Cayuse assistant vigneronne Elizabeth Bourcier and controller Nancy Nestler.

2012 Pingus ‘Flor de Pingus’ Ribera del Duero

imgresWine Spectrum 95, Antonio Galloni 93:  Vivid ruby. Heady aromas of fresh blackberry, boysenberry and smoky minerals are complicated by pungent hints of vanilla, violet and allspice. Lush, intensely flavored and focused, offering deep dark berry and cherry compote flavors and a suave spicecake nuance. Finishes smooth, sweet and very long, with resonating spiciness, a hint of licorice and fully absorbed tannins.

Wine Advocate: ‘Dominio de Pingus is located in the La Horra region of Ribera del Duero. Owner/winemaker, Peter Sisseck, an oenologist originally from Denmark, started the estate in 1995. There are currently 3 wines produced, Flor de Pingus, a single barrel cuvee called Amelia which began in 2003, and the flagship Pingus. In a normal vintage there are usually about 4000 cases of Flor de Pingus, 500 cases of Pingus, and 25 cases of Amelia. Flor de Pingus is sourced from a number of small parcels located in the La Horra zone. The vines are all over 35 years of age and have been farmed biodynamically since 2005. They are either owned or rented by Peter Sisseck, so Flor de Pingus always comes from the same pieces of ground. In that sense it is not a second wine but there is no question that is a very close approximation of Pingus at a fraction of the price. That makes it a relative bargain in the scheme of things. The wine is 100% Tempranillo typically aged for 14 months in new French barriques. The first vintage of Pingus was in 1995. The estate has been biodynamically farmed since 2000 and, according to Sisseck, has never been treated with fertilizer or pesticides. The Pingus vines are all at least 65 years of age and yields are typically under 1 ton per acre. The wines, made from 100% Tempranillo, are bottled without fining or filtration.’

2013 Gros Ventre ‘Campbell Ranch’ Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast

Screen Shot 2016-06-23 at 1.08.53 PMWine Spectrum 95: The 2013 Campbell Ranch is loaded with high toned red fruit aromatics of fresh raspberry, red cherry, and strawberry preserve, combined with tertiary notes of dried herbs, sea salt, forest floor, and sweet spice. The palate is less structured than the 2012, showing fine-grained tannins that are supported by lively natural acidity on the finish. 184 cases produced. 

Named a “winemaker to watch” by many notable publications, Chris Pittenger has worked harvests and made wine for producers the world-over, including very notable  California operations such as Williams Selyem and at Marcassin under the tutelage of Helen Turley.  Gros Ventre (“big belly”) is his and his wife Sarah’s personal project to create the kinds of wines they most enjoy drinking:  inspired by the old world, but not afraid of the new one.

2010 Xtant ‘Lewelling Vineyards’ Cabernet Sauvignon, St. Helena

XtantWine Spectrum 95+:  Typically a blend of select barrels from our three vineyards, the 2010 Xtant is the first to carry a single vineyard designation. Such was the extraordinary quality of our Lewelling Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon in 2010. A low yielding year, the vineyard produced six barrels that were so spectacular that they, along with two equally incredible Merlot barrels, demanded their own bottling. The wine has a compelling floral signature, opening with lovely violet and lavender aromatics that give way to black cherry, brown spice, mocha and sweet hazelnut. Lush and mouth-filling, the wine broadens on the palate supported by elegant, round tannins that persist on the seemingly endless finish.  79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Merlot  189 case production.

Xtant represents the pinnacle of vineyard and vintage, with only the finest and most age worthy barrels making the final blend. Winemaker Jeff Gaffner employs gentle and meticulously monitored, small-lot winemaking and extended barrel and bottle aging to promote the extraordinary balance of power, elegance and complexity that are hallmarks of our classically styled Xtant.

2012 Mi Sueño Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

Mi Sueno Cabernet Napa 2011-M1031Wine Spectrum 94+:  Great classic Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon aromas of black fruit, coffee, chocolate and wet stone lead into rich layers of ripe berries, nutmeg, black pepper, and caramel. Velvety and well balanced, with approachable tannins and beautiful oak integration, this is a wine to be enjoyed for years to come. The overall impression: vibrant, deep, and elegant.  100% Cabernet Sauvignon

This limited production Cabernet is sourced from Mi Sueño’s estate vineyards in southern Napa Valley, in the Oak Knoll and Coombsville appellations. Their Coombsville vineyards lie in a crescent-shaped section of the foothills of the Vaca Range, where alluvial soils cover volcanic ash from Mt. George with cobblestone- strewn layers of rich, gravelly loams. Their Oak Knoll vineyards, on the valley floor north of the city of Napa, benefit from their location in the heart of the valley’s largest alluvial fan. Both appellations are blessed with very temperate micro-climates, allowing the grapes to ripen slowly and steadily.

2013 Stanton Petite Sirah, St. Helena

StantonLabelPetiteSirah2013Wine Spectrum 94+: Consistent and loyal fans of Stanton Petite Sirah will not be disappointed with this 2013 offering. This fruit-driven Petite Sirah is every bit as rich, opulent, and structured as previous Stanton Petite Sirahs. It’s dark brooding texture is masterfully integrated to allow the chocolate berry fruit to shine bright against a nice oak finish. Made by Dave Phinney of Orin Swift wines. 100% Petite Sirah. 273 cases produced.

2014 Beaux Frères ‘Beaux Frères Vineyard’ Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley 

unknownWine Spectrum 94:  A darker, more brooding and fuller bodied wine, our original estate vineyard Pinot is approachable but ideally will benefit from several years of patience. Clearly one of our best vintages given the richness and purity of the spectrum of red, blue and black fruits on parade and virtually no oak showing despite being raised in about 50% of the finest French oak.  Drink 2018 through 2030+

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