2007 Loxton Sonoma Hillside Vineyards, Sonoma Valley, Zinfandel “Not Bad for the 4th (Part 2)

Not Bad for the 4th (Part 2)

I discovered a hidden gem of the Sonoma Valley, just off Highway 12 past Kenwood, CA is a little road that shoots off to the west/south-west called Dunbar Rd.  Dunbar Road is home to some great wineries and some great people.  Chris Loxton is one of them.  He has a small winery on Bruce England’s property, you should stop by and check him out.  He makes fantastic Zins, Syrahs and some yummy Port.  If you remember to, ask about the golden fire hydrant, it’s definitely a story worth hearing.  Loxton Cellars can be found online at http://www.loxtonwines.com/.

Without further ado…

2007 Loxton Sonoma Hillside Vineyards, Sonoma Valley, Zinfandel

2007 Loxton Zinfandel
2007 Loxton Zinfandel

The Nose: This wine has a huge spicy nose, chock full of blackberry jam with a large dose of fresh cracked black pepper.  There is a definite swath of anise lingering in the glass.

The Taste: Ripe and juicy blackberry and plumb, the black pepper asserts itself right behind the fruit, there is a subtle finish of vanilla.

The Mouth Feel: This wine is surprisingly thin for how the nose presents itself, but somewhat lacking in solid structure.  A light touch of tannins at the start that disappear by the mid-palate and a very supple jammy finish.

The Color: This is a beauty, a purple and burgundy gemstone.

The Nitty Gritty:
ABV 14.2%
465 Cases produced
$25 From Loxton’s Website

The Verdict:
Although a bit thin in the skin this wine is completely drinkable and is probably as good as it’s going to get.  It matched up great with my spicy ribs and was a great dinner guest.  It also paired nicely with the fireworks!  Even though it was a bit lackluster, I still heartily suggest you go out to Loxton Cellars for a visit.  Chat with Chris if you can, he has always been a great winemaker to talk wine with.  He will share his winemaking style and experiences with you gladly.

83 Pts. / B-

2007 Loxton Zinfandel
2007 Loxton Zinfandel


Check back tomorrow for the last installment of “Not Bad for the 4th,”  I’ll have the recipe for some killer pork loin for you tomorrow!

2009 (ΓABAΛA) Gavalas, Santorini

In a quest to achieve my wine century club membership, I have come across a Greek wine varietal, Assyrtiko.  I paired this wine up recently with another of my “Not Bad” dinners and was pleasantly surprised with how things turned out.  Now on with the wine!

2009 Galavas, Santorini

2009 Galavas Santorini
2009 Galavas Santorini

The Nose: Lemons, grass, and wet stone backed up by a slight hint of apples.

The Taste: Crisp and refreshing green apple, lemon zest and chalk, It really tastes like champagne without all of the bubbles!

The Mouth Feel: Light and wispy, a hint of effervescence super long finish like mineral water.  This wine is refreshing, a definite summer-sipper.

The Color: Pale yellow to white.

The Nitty Gritty:
ABV 13%
Grape Varietals:
90% Assyrtiko
10% Aidani
Retail Price $19

The Verdict: This wine is really nice, the tart fruit and acidity make for an exceptionally long and enjoyable finish.  This wine paired perfectly with my tomato and chicken dish from the last “Not Bad.”  According to the bottle it would also do well with fish or other white meat dishes.  I’d have to agree.  Add two varietals to my checklist on my century journey, but the trouble now is I have yet another great white wine to go to on a hot summer day.  Ah to have troubles like this all of the time!

87 Pts, B

2009 Galavas, Santorini
2009 Galavas, Santorini

In Vino Veritas:  This wine was provided as a professional sample with the intention of review.


2007 Peterson Sangiovese – Dry Creek Valley

A few months back we had a great trip through Dry Creek Valley and stopped at some great wineries and tasting rooms.  I had never been to the “Family Vineyards” tasting rooms just off of Dry Creek Road near Lambert Bridge. There are three or four winery tasting rooms and an olive oil company tasting room.  Our group all split up and we headed out to opposite corners, we decided to visit Peterson Winery’s room.  I must say, I am so happy that we did.  We left there with a six pack of wines, three of which were this Sangiovese.

Here it is, 2007 Peterson Winery, Sangiovese, Dry Creek Valley.

2007 Peterson Sangiovese
2007 Peterson Sangiovese

The Nose: Herbaceous and spicy, smoky meat like game, perhaps wild boar, dark plums and date, musk and sage.
The Taste: Big and complex, waves of spice and fruit scream “Old World Tuscan Countryside,” herbs and dark berry coupled with sandalwood and smoked wild boar roast (Cinghiale Anyone?)
The Mouth Feel:  Solid tannins grab the front palate and take a slow journey through the mid, pit-stop at the cheek and meander through a terrific finish
The Color: Deep and dark, this is no Chianti, this is Barolo or Montepulciano, heavy blood red, thick and massive.
The Nitty Gritty:
Varietal: 100% Sangiovese
Appellation: Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County
Alcohol: 13.9%
pH: 3.53
TA: 0.68g/100ml
Barrel Aging: 23 months
Type of Oak: 20% 2-year-old Hungarian oak,
80% 4-8-year-old neutral oak barrels
Bottled unfined and unfiltered
175 Cases Produced
$20 Retail at the winery, currently limited to wine club, with 6 bottle limit
Notes provided from Peterson Website http://www.petersonwinery.com/pdfs/Sangiovese%20DCV%202007%20FINAL.pdf

The Verdict:  It has been a very long time since a wine has had this kind of effect on me.  This wine brings me back to the Tuscan countryside like no other Sangiovese I’ve ever had.  If you ever take my advice or recommendations, buy this wine.  93 Pts / A

2007 Peterson Sangiovese
2007 Peterson Sangiovese

I paired up this wonderful wine with some 5 year aged parmesan a wonderful salty match for this big complex wine, enjoy!


2007 Casa Lapostolle – Cuvée Alexandre – Soiree Decanter

A recent adventure to Costco netted me a six pack of new and different wines, mostly from the South of the Equator.  This particular winery came highly recommended from “the wife” as she had visited Chile while studying wine business in college and in particular, really expressed how great this winery and her experiences there were for her.  Anyhow, enough with the fluffy pre-story, let’s get on with the show!

2007 Casa Lapostolle – Cuvée Alexandre – Cabernet Sauvignon – Apalta Vineyard – Colchagua Valley

2007 Casa Lapostole Cuvee Alexandre
2007 Casa Lapostole Cuvée Alexandre

The Nose:  Deep dark red fruit, dark black cherry and currant, cedar overtones and tobacco box
The Nose + Soiree: Surprisingly this wine showed no difference on the nose with the Soiree.
The Taste:  Rich and bountiful fruit with strong support from the tannic structure, unwinding the oak and exposing cigar humidor
The Taste + Soiree:  The Soiree helps out here really bringing out the cherry fruits and maturing the sweet tobacco
The Mouth Feel:  Luxurious and velvety with big tannins on the mid-palate.  Long and complex finish with toasty oak and wet stone.
The Mouth Feel + Soiree:  Soiree livens up this already vibrant wine, softens the tannins and moves the finish to expose more minerality.
The Color:  Deep and dark brick and ruby red
The Nitty Gritty:
ABV 14.1%
Grape Variety: 85% Cabernet Sauvignon 15% Merlot
Single Vineyard: Apalta Estate
Aged 10 months, 25% New, 75% Second year French Oak Bordeaux Barrels

The Verdict:
Chile is an amazing wine region and every Cabernet Sauvignon I have had from the region has been a stellar performer, and this wine is no disappointment.  I highly recommend this wine.

91 Pts.  / A-

2007 Casa Lapostole Cuvee Alexandre



2007 Concannon Shiraz, Selected Vineyards, Central Coast

I was exceptionally exited to receive my first “bottles” for sample from Concannon Vineyards and had high hopes to review and enjoy their offering.  In addition, while I was volunteering at the Russian River Valley Single Night I met Andrew and Marshall from Wine Soiree an in-bottle decanting system and they hooked me up with one of there decanting devices.  So I figured this would be the perfect time to give it a test.

Concannon Shiraz and Soiree
Concannon Shiraz and Soiree

Here we go, I poured myself one glass from the bottle then hooked up the Soiree decanter and poured another so I could do side-by-side comparison

The Nose: Potent character of alcohol, some suggestions of fruit but very faint
The Nose  (Soiree): Oh my god…  Well, there is no doubt this thing works, or at least does something.  Unfortunately, in this case, it doesn’t help this wine much.  I get strong cooked vegetables, probably green beans and band-aids, the alcohol is diminished on this nose in comparison.

The Taste: Taste of dark red fruit, black cherry and toasted oak wood, not vanilla but woody.
The Taste (Soiree): The taste here is similar to the glass without the Soiree but the harsh edges are rounded (seems a bit better, if that nose wasn’t wafting up my nostrils too)

The Mouth Feel:
This wine asserts itself with a sharp tartness, it’s a bit thin and overly hot, there is some acidity but it’s a bit unbalanced, the finish is long and is probably this wine’s best quality
The Mouth Feel (Soiree): The Soiree definitely makes this wine show differently in mouth feel.  The harshness is gone and makes the wine more smoothed out.

The Color: A ruby red and garnet color, clear and pretty, thin to pale pink at the edges
The Color (Soiree):
Nothing different here

The Nitty Gritty:
ABV 13.5%
Residual Sugar: 0.10 g/100ml
pH: 3.61
Released: 2010
Retail Price: $10
Available anywhere

The Verdict: Well, not a good showing for a $10 wine, even at the value price point, I could think of a few other wines I’d rather be drinking.  While I don’t think there were any major flaws this wine just did not suit me at all.

65 Pts, D

Concannon Shiraz
2007 Concannon Shiraz

As for the Soiree decanter.  It certainly opens up the wine and shakes things up.  I will use it in some of my future reviews, it certainly didn’t do this wine any favors, which I think goes to show that not all wines should be decanted.


Disclosure:  The wine in this review was provided as a sample with the intention of being reviewed.  The Soiree Wine decanter was swindled by me at #RRVSN from the Wine Soiree crew.

2007 Naia Verdejo

Summer weather finally made it to Sonoma County!  I was wondering when and if we were going to get back to the standard issue weather for us.  Well, we got it and that means that it’s time to fire up the grill and pair up with some great wine.

I did up a rotisserie chicken and was interested in trying something new (I’m way off from closing in on the century club).  I knew I would like a Sauvignon Blanc with my herb roasted chicken and there was a helpful shelf-talker at the store that said this wine had some similar characteristics so I decided to give it a go.  I was not disappointed!

2007 Naia Verdejo

Naia Verdejo
2007 Naia Verdejo

The Nose: On the nose, Light Citrus with some hints of tropical fruit, Key Lime Pie and something like hard candy, perhaps apple jolly rancher?
The Taste: Tart apples attack my palate, there’s a touch of lime zest, the wine is very dry but there is definitely something reminiscent of funnel cake or powdered sugar.
The Mouth Feel: Tart acidity and slight effervescence, very refreshing and clean through mid-palate through the finish.
The Color: Pale Yellow with a tinge of green, solid color, through and through.
The Nitty Gritty:
ABV: 13%
From Rueda, Spain
Retail Price $13-$16
Varietal: 100% Verdejo
Wine Enthusiast: 88 Pts.

The Verdict: This wine was exactly what I wanted, perfectly paired with my rotisserie chicken and great on its own.  I happily give this 92 Pts, A-!

The new Thursday…and a quickie

Hello everyone.  I wanted to give you an update since my next four weeks will be exceptionally hectic.  Thursday Night Dinner is going to have to take the proverbial “Back Burner” position as I slog through a summer inter-session course at school.  I’m hoping that this move will allow me to continue to provide all eight of you who actually post comments something while I’m buried in condensed coursework!

Developing Managment Skills

I will also endeavor to review a wine or two (and a Soiree Wine Decanter) at least once a week but we’ll see how intense school gets.

By the way, I wanted to extend a huge thank you to Shana Ray and Dani Stranghellini for getting me involved with the Russian River Valley Single Night.  I had a great time and met some cool people.  Keep up the great work!

Leadership w/new RRV Glass 😉

Until then, Cheers!

Okay, just one quickie.  In the glass is some 1990 Les Pierres, Sonoma-Cutrer brought home as a treat from a grower’s relations dinner.

The Nose: If you have had Les Pierres you know that it has a really subtle oak character, but this one is big oak on the nose, with melon and floral aromas (honeysuckle?).
The Taste: Crisp green apples with a backup of fresh Bartlett pear, followed by toast
The Mouth Feel: Great tart acidity kicks off the show and gives way to a silk covered palate this sultry twenty year old has it going on.  Great legs and all.  She leaves you a reminder on the way out that she’s been there and she left without any bitter feelings!
The Color: Solid Chardonnay Yellow, through and through
The Nitty Gritty:
Sorry I don’t have much on this 80% from Les Pierres Vineyard and 20% The Cutrer Vinyard.
The Verdict: yum, you can’t have any it’s all mine and there wasn’t much to go around!  89 Pts,  B+

Alright, I really must be going.  I have two chapters to read and a self-assessment to start (stay tuned for that, I’m guessing quite an expose blog post to be generated from that).


2008 Taft Street – Russian River Valley – Pinot Gris

Ah, nothing better than a great wine with a great dinner.  I knew I wanted a Pinot Gris, but because I’m a total rookie I just pick what looks good.  I thought I had it made and had one in the cellar (did I mention my cellar is just the closet), but alas it was a Pinot Blanc.  While the Pinot Blanc may have been just as good, this Pinot Gris kicked some serious ass.

Taft Street, 2008, Russian River Valley, Pinot Gris:

Taft Street
Taft Street Pinot Gris

The Nose: Tropical fruit runs out of the glass and up the nostrils, I would say something in the neighborhood of guava or papaya and a hint of banana somewhere in there.  A slight note of heat.

The Taste: Big luxurious fruit backed up with some cotton candy, some grapefruit (not ruby red here!) and banana peel, definite tartness and acidity.

The Mouth Feel: Viscous and slippery upfront leads to a mild mid-palate with the bitterness, clean finish, a touch hot on the back end.

The Color: Pale yellow with a suggestion of gold at the core, great color at the edges for such a pale wine.

The Nitty Gritty:
ABV 14.1% (on the bottle) 13.07% on the PDF from Taft St. Website*
I paid $14.99 at Oliver’s Mkt. $16 on Taft Street’s Website

The Verdict: This wine was just perfect for dinner and as an after dinner sipper is quite yummy. I’m guessing this would be amongst the classic “Summer Sippers” but is a nicely complex wine that has many facets that give it a unique character on its own.  I’d definitely buy it again.

89 Pts, B+  (A- for rocking my dinner) ; Other Awards, Best in Class, 2009 Sonoma County Harvest Fair

Taft Street Pinot Gris
A Lovely Wine!

* Reference: https://www.taftstreetwinery.com/files/pdf/08_rrv_pinot_gris.pdf

2000 Sonoma-Cutrer, Les Pierres, Chardonnay

Today was a good #winewednesday, the wife had a 12 year vertical tasting of Les Pierres and was nice enough to think of me and bring home the 2000 vintage.  Apparently it got a 2.7 average score on a 1-5 scale where 1 is the best, which is pretty good apparently, there were 11 tasters.  Anyhow, who cares what the pros think, I’m here to tell you what I think, and that’s why you’re here right?  No, I didn’t think so…  Anyhow, without further ado.

Vintage 2000 Les Pierres, Appellation Sonoma Valley, Sonoma-Cutrer, Chardonnay.  (quick side note, in 2000 The Russian River AVA didn’t exist, cool huh?) <–Corrected by my wife… I just did a quick check.  The appellation was granted AVA status in 1983 and enlarged in 2005.[1] (wikipedia.com)

2000 Les Pierres
2000 Sonoma-Cutrer Les Pierres

The Nose: Buttery oak and popcorn balls are followed by caramel apples, there is just the faintest hint of heat on this nose.

The Taste: Tart apples predominate this wine with a suggestion of citrus zest.  I think there is some spice in there something in the neighborhood of nutmeg.

The Mouth Feel: This wine is super sexy, I’m reminded of the quote from “The Matrix Reloaded” when the Merilvingian is talking about cursing in French.  If you don’t remember, he said something along the lines of “it’s like wiping your ass with silk…I love it” or something like that.  Perhaps that isn’t the best visual for this mouth feel but it’s awesome, definitely the best character of this wine.  Great viscosity and front to back, and side to side.  The finish is long and keeps a reminder going for days, nice minerality.

The Color: I would imagine that most 10 year old whites would look something like apple cider, brownish and cloudy, this is bright and clean, beautiful solid yellow from core to edge.

The Nitty Gritty: Unfortunately I don’t have much besides ABV,

ABV 14.2% (seems high to me for a Chard)
Completed Malolactic in 1-year old French Oak
Sur-Lie Aged 14 Months in 3-year old Barrels

2005 Vintage Retails for $41 on Sonoma-Cutrer.com
Quick Google search you might find a magnum of the 2000 for around $70, not bad!

The Verdict: The great thing about this wine is that even though it has big oak on the nose, the taste is light on the oak.  I have had quite a few vintages of Les Pierres now and this one, like the rest is really great.  If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up…  (Bueller… Bueller..)

91 Pts, A-

2000 Sonoma-Cutrer Les Pierres
2000 Sonoma-Cutrer Les Pierres

2008 Seghesio Sonoma County Zinfandel

I have been dying for some good weather so I can fire up the barbecue and do some of the things that people normally do here in Sonoma County this time of the year.  However, up until this weekend we’ve been getting soaked by the rain.  I”m starting to wonder if this is how people in Seattle feel most of the time.  Anyhow, the forecast over the Holiday weekend was outstanding, the clouds parted and the sun shined through!  I’ve been keeping up with Seghesio on twitter(@seghesio) and they keep telling me I need to have some of their Zinfandel with my BBQ, so I obliged and grabbed the only bottle offered at Safeway while I was picking up some ingredients for the BBQ.

2008 Seghesio Sonoma County Zinfandel

So here is their 2008 Sonoma County Zinfandel

The nose: Ripe plums simmer up through a fairly hot nose, there is some spice, a touch of toasted oak/vanilla and that standard issue Jammy Zin character.

The Taste: You are greeted with a 50-50 blast of big fruit and black pepper.  When I first tried this wine the fruit was a bit over ripe or cooked however as it has opened up that seems to have faded and now is on par with the other big jam fruity Zins.

The Mouth Feel: For being such a big fruit bomb there are not enough tannins to support the wine and it comes off a touch flabby.  I would expect more structure for that much fruit.  The mid palate through finish is a bit weak.

The Color: The wine is a dark purple thinning at the edges, very clear and pretty in the glass.

The Nitty Gritty:
15.5% ABV
Barrel aged for 10 months in 75% American (20% new) and 25% French oak
89% Zinfandel, 8% Petite Sirah, 3% Syrah
Average Brix at Harvest 26.8°
I paid a little over $20 and have seen it online from $20-$28

The Verdict: I’m not a big fan of the big jammy Zins so this one falls out of my favor a bit due to that, but it’s very typical of many other Zinfandels.  There are no major flaws that I could detect and it pairs nicely with the sweet, tart and spicy BBQ sauces I used.

81 Pts. or a C+/B-

Tasting Notes and Seghesio
Tasting Notes and Seghesio

Nitty Gritty reference from Seghesio’s Website http://www.seghesio.com/