Last year we attended the inaugural Sonoma County Barrel Auction. This was an event where wineries from throughout Sonoma County gathered to showcase wines that they have not bottled before, and to keep their wines unique, they don't plan on bottling them again! Last week we showcased the unique Pinot Noir from Patz & Hall, perhaps the best Pinot Noir they have ever made. This time, it's an amazing Syrah & Cabernet Sauvignon blend from one of our favorite Sonoma County producers...Arrowood!
Arrowood Winery is pure Sonoma. The winery's influence in the region endures since the first wines were made three decades ago. Created exclusively for the Sonoma County Barrel Auction, Winemaker Kristina Weerner selected the top lots from the vintage to craft a unique blend of Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. The Syrah comes from the Russian River Valley's acclaimed Saralee's vineyard. It is not uncommon for Arrowood's Syrah from this vineyard to score in the "outstanding" range with famed critic Robert Parker, and the Syrah for this blend was co-fermented with Viognier, which actually makes the wine darker and gives it more aromatics and texture. With that, they blended in 30% Cabernet Sauvignon from the Smothers-Remick Ridge Vineyard, a phenomenal property that sits roughly 600 feet above the valley floor in the northern Sonoma Mountains. It features 18 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon divided into 11 distinctive blocks that mirror the terroir. Known for its small, flavorful berries, this mountain site produced balanced wines with refined tannins. In the end, Kristina decided the best wine was blended of 70% Syrah and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon...and that's what we have here!
Only 10 cases were bottled, and you can't get this wine at the winery, even if you're a member of their wine club! This is a gorgeous red blend, and it displays a lovely ruby/garnet color with aromas of freshly crushed cherry, raspberry, red currant, strawberry shortcake, vanilla, and hints of oak. After a short bit of time to breathe, aromas of smoke, Asian spices, and grilled meat begin to emerge. On the palate, the subtle hints of spice continues, along with black fruit, black cherry, a briary quality, cured meat, and plum. The finish is fairly long, with pronounced tannins that give a nice frame to the wine. Absolutely delectable, this is a wine that can easily be enjoyed now, but will continue to develop nicely in the cellar for another 7-10 years!
Born in Michoacan, Mexico, winemaker Edgar Torres has lived in the coastal town of Cambria, California since the age of 8. As it seems to happen to many people who live close to Paso Robles, he fell in love with wine and decided to make his livelihood in the wine business. Hey…can you blame him?!? He has worked with many of the superstars of the Central Coast, including Matt Garretson, Augie Hug, Alta Maria Vineyards, Barrel 27, and McPrice Myers. We sampled his latest releases a few months ago, and they really knocked our socks off! The intensity of these wines are rivaled by few here in the United States, and we suggest you check out what Edgar can do!
A combination of two great vineyards, Alta Mesa vineyard in Santa Barbara and Kimsey Vineyard in Santa Ynez. This wine screams aromas of red flowers, dark cranberries, cherries, pomegranate, hints of grilled herbs, and leather. The palate mimics much of the nose with a great freshness and minerality, and has good grippy tannins making it worthy of aging. This wine is big and pairs well with meat or seared tuna. Enjoy now or lay it down for 7-9 years.
Last year, winemaker Edgar Torres brought us a couple wines that were simply amazing! This year is no different, other than the fact that he has a new wine that is really gets us excited! His latest bottling is called "Toro de Paso", a blend of Tempranillo, Grenache, and Cabernet Sauvignon. The Tempranillo and Grenache are a couple of the primary grapes in many Spanish reds, and coming from this Central Coast region, calling this wine Toro de Paso just made sense.
Offering plenty of underbrush, loamy earth, spice and mulled black fruits, the 2013 Toro de Paso is medium-bodied, nicely concentrated, with good fruit, but a firm, savory edge to its tannin. Give bottles a year in the cellar but plan on drinking by 2023. The blend in 2013 is 65% Tempranillo, 25% Grenache, 5% Cabernet, and 5% Merlot, all of which spent two years in oak.
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 98 POINTS - "These latest releases from Charles Smith check in at the top of the pyramid and are flat out incredible wines that I wish every reader could taste."
"A candidate for the wine of the vintage, the 2013 Syrah Royal City is as expansive, sexy and voluptuous as they get in the vintage, hands down. It's deep ruby/purple color is followed by incredible notes of wild herbs, lavender, gamey meats, olive paste and sweet dark berry fruits. Full-bodied, relatively forward and charming, it still packs a wealth of material and has building tannin, all suggesting it will drink nicely for 10-15 years."
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 98 POINTS - "Showing similar to a previous bottle tasted in Colorado, the 2013 Grenache Female (78% Grenache, 19% Syrah and 3% Mourvedre) is more high toned and pretty than the 2014, with perfumed notes of black raspberries, licorice, herbes de Provence and violets. Similar on the palate to the 2014, yet perhaps with a touch more tannin, give this beauty a few years and drink it through 2033."
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 100 POINTS - "The 2013 Grenache Jusqu' a l'os was produced from 79% Grenache from the 11 Confessions Vineyard along with 18% Syrah and 3% Petite Sirah, produced using 89% whole cluster and aged for around 38 months in 51% used oak, 6% new French oak and 43% concrete tanks (bottled December 6, 2016). It displays a medium to deep garnet color and rock star vibrant red currant and black raspberry scents with hints of licorice, mocha, Indian spices and peppered salami plus oh-so-fragrant and seductive touches of potpourri and chargrill. Medium to full-bodied, concentrated and opulently fruited in the mouth, the alluring, velvety tannins support savory, spicy layers right through the long, mineral-laced finish. This is one drop dead gorgeous, femme fatale of a wine. 868 cases of 750 milliliter bottles, 223 magnums and 30 double magnums were made."
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 97 POINTS - "Scheduled to be released in November 2015, the 2013 White Wine Resiste is a sensational white from California that's made from 45% Roussanne, 26% Chardonnay, 14% Petite Manseng, 10% Viognier and 5% Marsanne that spent 19 months in 46% new French oak and the balance in concrete eggs and used barrels. Possessing rock-star levels of richness and texture on the palate, with full-bodied depth and power that never seems heavy or cumbersome, it has classic SQN white notes of buttered golden fruits, honeysuckle, honeycomb, toast and white flowers. Unctuous, full-flavored and still lively and fresh, it needs 2-3 years of cellaring and will keep for two decades."
JEB DUNNUCK 100 POINTS - "I've had so many incredible Syrahs from this estate, it's hard to tell if the 2013 Syrah Le Supplement will be the best yet, but it's unquestionably one of the greatest Syrah made in California. Reminding me of the 2009 Cote Rotie La Turque from Domaine Guigal with its smoky, meaty bouquet of creme de cassis, pencil lead, bacon fat, pepper, espresso and hints of violets, this drop dead gorgeous Syrah is full-bodied, opulent and sexy, yet also concentrated, structured and just hinting at its ultimate potential. I wouldn't put this past being the greatest Syrah made in California – ever – yet like the Grenache, it needs short term cellaring. Bravo!"
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 100 POINTS - "Coming entirely from the Eleven Confessions Estate Vineyard and composed of 89% Syrah, 6% Petite Sirah, 3% Grenache and 2% Viognier, using 28% whole cluster, the 2013 Syrah Le Supplement is just starting to evolve into beguiling earthy/meaty tertiary notes with suggestions of sandalwood, mossy bark, black soil, patchouli and salami over a core of blackberry compote, preserved plums, mincemeat pie and star anise with a touch of dried lavender. Rich, concentrated and decadent, the full-bodied, opulent palate explodes with black fruits preserves peppered by meaty/savory nuances and culminating in epically lingering exotic spice notes. 866 cases, 228 magnums and 30 double magnums were produced."
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 98 POINTS - "Like with the 2013 Grenache, I was thrilled to be able to taste the 2013 Syrah Male again (twist my arm), and it continues to impress. Giving up fabulous blackberry, bouquet garni, peppery herbs and minerality, this full-bodied, beautifully textured, concentrated and layered Syrah has ultra-fine tannin, impeccable balance and a great finish. It needs 2-4 years of cellaring and will see its 20th birthday in fine form."
ANTONIO GALLONI 96 POINTS - "Blackberry jam, mocha, chocolate and dark spices give the 2013 Syrah Male much of its deep, powerful personality. This is an especially large-scaled, ample Syrah. Today, though, the 2013 is a bit monolithic. Time in the glass helps, but patience and time in bottle are absolutely essential here. The blend is 80% Syrah, 7% Petite Sirah, 6% Mourvedre, 3.5% Touriga Nacional and 3.5% Viognier, done with 28% whole clusters. Interestingly, the 2013 Syrah is more expressive than the Grenache at this stage."
Switchback Ridge Wines are sourced exclusively from the Peterson Family Vineyard in Calistoga. The property has been in the Peterson family since 1914 and encompasses nearly 100 acres located at the mouth of Dutch Henry Canyon. For over 75 years the property was primarily maintained as a farm and plum orchard, with vines intermingled amongst the trees. In 1990, the orchards were replanted to vineyard, where there are currently 18 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petite Sirah vines, in addition to a three acre 50+ year old Petite Sirah block that John Peterson helped plant as a child.
The wines are made by the ever-talented Bob Foley, who makes his own wines under the winery name Robert Foley, as well as the wines at Hourglass. He also made the wines at Pride Mountain for 15 years.
Winery's Notes: This new release is the return of our ‘cult following’ wine showcasing huge aromas of wild flower, honey, blueberries, and sweet molasses. Take in the holiday spice upon the palate with dark plums, cinnamon, and cardamom. This is a perfect wine for the autumn season.