Tag: California

Sterling Vintner’s Collection California Cabernet Sauvignon 2017

This is a well priced and typical expression of Californian cabernet sauvignon from Sterling Vineyards.  It has a fruity aroma of ripe red berries.  The palate has plump tannins, reminders of ripe blackcurrants and pleasant length on the finish.  Rating: Good. Abv: 13.5%. Price: $18. Website: www.sterlingvineyards.com.

Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs Vintage Brut 2014

This is a very good sparkling wine from Schramsberg in California.  The appellation is North Coast.  Should the name prove unilluminating outside of California, the vineyards are in fact in the Napa and Sonoma counties.  The sparkling wine itself is a blanc de blancs chardonnay made using the traditional method.  In the glass, there are Champagne like aromas of bread and brioche.  The palate retains a fresh acidity which I did not expect, with lemon and brioche overtones.  This is a serious sparkling that is fairly priced.  Rating: Very Good. Abv: 12.8%. Price: $65. Website: www.schramsberg.com

Ravenswood Old Vine Zinfandel 2014

This is the second vintage I’ve tasted of Ravenswood’s zinfandel, and there’s an evenness to this wine.  I found myself quite enjoying the 2014 vintage’s expression of blackberry, bramble fruit and full bodied style.  (Region: Lodi, California, Rating: Good, Would I buy it based on this tasting?  The wine has its place: I’d suggest it as a shiraz substitute at a BBQ, Drink: now, Tasted: Jan, 2017)

Read more:
www.ravenswoodwinery.com

Other vintages reviewed:

Vintage Rating Review
2011
Acceptable

Robert Mondavi Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

This is a delicious wine from Robert Mondavi in the Napa Valley.  There are a few versions of this label available, but 2013 “Robert Mondavi Winery Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon” has a very attractive fleshy texture, is ably supplemented by ripe (and not overripe) blackcurrant fruit and is a wine very much worth tracking down.  It provides a contrast to some of the harder/drier (in a mouthfeel rather than residual sugar sense) Australian cabernet styles.  (Region: Napa Valley, California, Rating: Very Good, Drink: now to 2025, Tasted: Jan, 2017)

Read more:
www.robertmondaviwinery.com

Other vintages reviewed: 

Vintage Rating Review
2010
Good to Very Good

Au Bon Climat La Bauge Au-dessus Pinot Noir 2009

You don’t see too much Californian pinot noir in Australia.  Here’s an excuse to have a closer look.  This wine is from the Santa Maria Valley north of Los Angeles, a region that is open to the prevailing sea fogs.  In the glass, it is Burgundian in style overlayed with good fruit.  On the nose, there are stem, stalk and cherry aromatics.  The palate has good length and balance, with a chalky texture and fresh acidity.  Lovely drinking.  (Region: Santa Maria, California, Rating: Good to Very Good, Drink: now)

Read more:
www.aubonclimat.com

Other vintages reviewed: 

Nil

A right bank Bordeaux (Cloitre des Capucins Saint-Émilion Grand Cru 2011) and Californian cabernet (Drawbridge Cabernet Sauvignon Lodi 2014)

I tasted these two wines in sequence, the former Bordeaux slightly lacking in charm, and the latter Cali cab being a little cooked in expression.  Do I confess that I wondered whether they might, blended together, be capable of presenting more than the sum of their parts?  The full body of the Cali cab, adding mid palate weight and overt fruit to the spine given by the more austere Bordeaux and resulting in a wine more than the sum of its parts.  Sounds a bit realistic doesn’t it?  Oh, wait.


Antoine Moueix Cloitre des Capucins Saint-Émilion Grand Cru 2011, Bordeaux
Lovely fragrant nose.  Christmas cake, violets and perhaps game meats.  The palate disappoints.  A restrained, slightly hard expression of plums and spice.

Rating: Acceptable

Drawbridge Lodi Cabernet Sauvignon 2011, California 
From Lodi in the north of California’s Central Valley, this wine commences its journey from the opposite direction.  Dried currant and prune aromatics.  The palate is full bodied and has an impression of sweet fruited raisins.  Tends to simple.

Rating: Acceptable

Read more:
antoinemoueix.com
I did not see obvious further details about Drawbridge

Conundrum California Red 2011

Conundrum is a “proprietary” red blend, meaning that the grape varieties apparently do not appear on the label or even its website, and a region (other than California) is not claimed either.  Not declaring a blend seems a fairly odd thing to be doing, but I suppose if it gets people talking…  It turns out that the wine inside is a pretty good if full throttle sort of affair.  It has aromatics of plum, spice, blueberry, prunes and mostly currants.  The aromatics carry through to flavour the balanced and richly flavoured palate.  A very concentrated wine, it frankly shows pretty well.

Rating: Good, Abv: 14.5%, Price: C$25, Vendors: http://www.wine-searcher.com/, Website: http://www.conundrumwines.com, Tasted: 2014

Ravenswood Old Vine Zinfandel 2011

From California, this is a fairly even handed style of zinfandel.  It has aromatics of pepper, spice and anise. The palate reminds of ripe and unripe blackberries and has short to medium length.  The wine is in balance and the extremes of this grape variety remain unexplored.  This wine will suit every day drinking and is a safe choice.  Acceptable


Abv: 13.5%
Price: C$17
Vendors: www.wine-searcher.com
Website: http://www.ravenswoodwinery.com
Tasted: 2014