Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Little Vineyards, Sonoma, CA

Little Vineyards, Sonoma, CA

2009 was a great year for many Napa and Sonoma wineries and for Little Vineyards it was no exception.  I originally discovered this amazing boutique vineyard in the spring of '09...well before what was to be a banner year.  They've been around since 1996 when Rich and Joan Little purchased the property however it wasn't until 2002 when their first vintages were released publicly.  Ted Coleman (Joan's brother) is the winemaker and everything I've tasted from here has been outstanding!

During my second visit a few weeks ago, I was introduced to their '09 Cabernet Sauvignon and with overwhelming applause a standing ovation is in order.  Aromas of ripe black currants, subtle toasted oak and a pleasant vanilla hint spoke to the "yum in the glass” I was about to experience.  Dark crushed cherries, mocha and silky tannins balanced a flavor profile that was absolutely delicious.  There's just the right amount of oak in this wine to not over do it. You can tell a caring and talented process is involved in this small production of less than 500 cases. Their Petite Sirah, Zinfandel and Syrah were also winners.

Joining their wine club is probably the best way to get their wines and you get some great discounts as a member. It's free to join and the commitment is definitely fair for great quality wines you won't find in most stores.   www.littlevineyards.com

My visit had one other special moment and it was to have an opportunity to sit in on drums with Rich in his recording studio onsite and jam. We had a blast and I think we actually made some good music.  Look for his the latest CD coming out in a few months.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Oregon, Willamette Valley (part 2)

Sorry for not getting this out sooner but the day job got in the way. 

In reference to my last posting, this is a follow up to a recent visit to Oregon wine country and the Willamette Valley.  These are few more favorites Id like to share.  Now I cant guarantee these are all available at your local wine store so Ive included some web links in case you want to reach out to the wineries directly.

From a small group of producers is the Carlton Winemakers Studio which basically offers wine makers a place to produce their own wines and not have to deal with all the issues of maintaining a large winery.  Believe it or not, this is a great idea and has become very popular in many wine-growing regions.  Some of the best wines I tried on this visit came from here. 

 - Retour Pinot Noir 09  Winemaker www.retourwines.com
Lindsay Woodard has created a wonderful wine here.  Dark cherries and roasted nuts on the nose.  Flavors of black currants, soft tannins with hints of minerals place this wine in a category all on its own.  Lindsay was named one of the Top Emerging Producers by Wine Spectator.  Im so thankful to find her wines.  She also has one called Manifest Destiny which I was told only produced 3 barrels and absolutely amazing.

 - Dukes Family Vineyard Charlotte Pinot Noir 09  Floral and cherry cola aromas.  Red currants, cherries and a hint of cola with silky tannins on the finish.  

Ghost Hill Cellars:  www.ghosthillcellars.com
First off, a big thank you to Michael who gave us a personal tour of his vineyards, their history and future for their family owned business.

Pinot Noir, Bayliss-Bower Vineyard '10  An earthiness followed by bright cherries balanced the aromas well.  Tastes of black berries, a hint of pepper and smooth tannins pleasantly surprised me for this younger wine. 

Wines By Joe: www.joedobbeswines.com
Joe Dobbes has been known for his wine making in Oregon since 1989 and his new winery under his name has some great selections.

Dobbes Family Estate Pinot Noir "Patricia's Cuvee" '09  Aromas of wet leaves and mild toasted oak.  Ripe plums, dark cherries and subtle tannins rounded out the flavors to make this one of the best finds during this trip.
Erath: www.erath.com
One of the largest commercial producers in Oregon, these wines are readily available throughout the USA.  Many are priced for affordability yet the one I liked best may not be on the inexpensive side for some drinkers.

Estate Selection Pinot Noir '09  Vanilla and baked cherry pie with hints of floral aromas.  Plums and currants offer a fruit forward flavor.  A subtle smoke with silky tannins completes for a wonderful finish.  At $34 retail, it's worth it.

Once again, thanks to all the wineries and vineyards who opened their doors to tastings, educating me more and most of all your hospitality and friendship.  

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