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2012 Jazz Cellars Pinot Noir, Lone Oak Vineyard

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Pulled this from the cellar last night, a Jazz Cellars (located in Murphys, Calaveras County) and they source their grapes from around the state from 6-7 AVA’s. This Pinot Noir came from the Lone Oak Vineyard in Santa Lucia Highlands on the California Central Coast. For those not familiar with the Central Coast of California with the various hills and valleys near the Pacific Ocean, they draw in the morning fog and it cools down the vineyards reducing their daytime warmth which causes stress on the vines. This area is known for their Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays both preferring this temperature relief. This Pinot Noir on the eyes is semi translucent, clear and bright violet color. On the nose a full bouquet entices you to strawberries and violets. On the palate, you instantly receive predominately cherry cola and plum, surrounded by a round texture and a lasting finish. Just enough spice and body to please any Pinot Noir drinker. This wine won a Gold Medal at the California State Fair in 2017 and voted Best of Class with 95 points. It also won a Silver Medal at the San Francisco Wine Competition in 2016.

Slainte,

Michael
https://californiawinesandwineries.com
https://www.jazzcellars.com/

Amici Cellars 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve

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On the eyes a dark red with medium to medium heavy viscosity. On the nose, floral notes along with dark berries. On the palate hints of chocolate, leather, pipe tobacco and concentrated blackberries. The finish shows dark fruits and smooth tannins. Fruit is 75% mountain vineyards (Spring Mountain) and 25% valley floor vineyards (Rutherford and Oakville). It is comprised of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot. Aged 20 months in 85% new French oak barrels. This was rated 93 points by James Suckling. An enjoyable wine with or without food as tannins and acids were balanced and smooth with rounded edges. Current release (2016) is $90 and received 96 points by Jeb Dunnuck and has a similar profile mix but with some Merlot added.

Slainte,

Michael
https://californiawinesandwineries.com
https://www.amicicellars.com

Paoletti Estates Winery 2012 Nero d’Avola, Calistoga, Napa Valley

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Some meals are more elegant than others but matching a simple pizza with a Nero d’Avola was heavenly. Pulled from the cellar, this Nero d’Avola is “almost black” and considered one of the most important grape in Sicily. The name comes from the town of Avola in the far south of Sicily. It is also known in Italy as Calabrese. This is a blend mostly of Nero d’Avola varietal with some Merlot and Malbec blended into the Cuvee. The grapes were brought in from Sicily almost 18 years ago and planted in Calistoga. On the eyes, this is a dark almost black sea of delight with medium heavy viscosity. On the nose and palate, it parlays one back to old world Italy/Sicily with a dusty and rustic taste with blackberries, plum, cherries and dark chocolate. This is a wine that pairs well with sausage and a simple steak. Pizza with sausage and pepperoni was spot on!

Slainte,

Michael
https://californiawinesandwineries.com

https://paolettivineyards.com

2015 Wood Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Especial”

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Last night had a bacon wrapped venison tenderloin with whole grain mustard potatoes, baby carrots, Swiss chard and mushroom demi. Meal was at the Copper Grill at The Golf Club at Copper Valley. Paired with Wood Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Especial”. It possessed a dark purple & red color which was lush with a medium body on the eyes. On the nose dark cherry was predominate. Upon entry to the palate, it opened up to caramel, chocolate and spices. The finish was smooth and elegant and picks up the French oak it was aged. This won a Gold Medal at the 2109 Alameda County Fair Wine Competition. It also was awarded 90 points from Wine Enthusiast. Their 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon “Especial” won Best of Class at the 2019 SF Chronicle Wine Competition. This was a great pairing sipping and savory the venison.

Slainte,

Michael

https://californiawinesandwineries.com
https://woodfamilyvineyards.com
https://www.coppervalleygolf.com

2012 Arzuaga Reserva by Bodegas Arzuaga Navarro.

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This wine comes from Ribera del Duero D.O. in north central Spain. An enjoyable wine from Spain with a deep red color. The wine consists of Tinto Fino (Tempranillo 95 percent), Merlot (3 percent) and Albillo (2 percent), made from the old vines of the winery’s own “La Planta” estate. Due to the harsh growing conditions (geography, weather & altitude) the yields are scarce and very concentrated. This wine has “hearty tannins” that fill the mouth but still fruit persists. On the nose and palate, vanilla & floral notes rise up to greet you. On the palate, a soft sweetness of smoke and earth are present. Spice, oak and tannins are ever present on the finish. Arzuaga Reserva is aged for 26 months in French and American oak barrels. This was paired with a marinated ribeye steak in a peppercorn and bourbon sauce and then Bbq’ed. The wine was decanted almost 2 hours before serving.

Slainte,

Michael
https://californiawinesandwineries.com
https://arzuaganavarro.com/

2014 Alyris Audition Chardonnay

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Most local (Northern Californian) wine folks know that Sonoma (coast & Russian River), Santa Cruz Mountains, Livermore Valley & Napa Valley (Carneros Region) make some of the best Chardonnay wines from these vineyards. This is due to the cooler temperatures of the Pacific Ocean, the Russian River, San Francisco Bay and San Pablo Bay drawing the fog into the regions. No exception is the 2014 Alyris Audition Chardonnay. Always one of my personal favorite Chardonnay’s, regardless of price. The wine is put in 50% new French oak barrels. On the eyes a light straw color, but it holds a punch. On the nose, honeysuckle and traces of pineapple are the two main aromas that waffle into your senses along with floral notes. On the palate, these two flavors explode into ripeness with spices of nutmeg and allspice in the background. Always a great soft finish with just a touch of minerality. This wine won Double Gold Medal at the 2016 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. Paired with some fresh sushi of Maguro, Sake and Hamachi made a perfect lunch. Normally $45, on their website it is listed for $38.25……definitely worth grabbing a bottle or two!

Slainte,
Michael
https://californiawinesandwineries.com
http://alyrisvineyards.com/

2014 Red Mare Cabernet Sauvignon

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Hard to believe but this was a new wine for me! Our friend brought over this bottle to try with a BBQ New York steak. What a nice treat for sure. Red Mare is owned by Jim Striegel and Anne Vawter. She is also the winemaker at Red Mare. Anne got her training at UC Davis in enology and viticulture philosophy. She worked for wineries in Washington, California and Chile and then settled down in Napa. In Napa, she was the assistant winemaker under Heidi Barrett at Paradigm. She is also the wine maker at Hoopes Vineyard where I was doing a story recently but more on that in a different review. Red Mare, an artisan wine comes from vineyards across the street from Opus One. It is 85.6% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petite Sirah, 4% Malbec and .4% Petit Sirah. She ages it in 35% new French oak barrels for 20 months. On the eyes it is a dark purple/red hue and medium body viscosity. On the nose and palate, blackberries, cocoa and vanilla are the prevalent aromas and tastes. A smooth and easy drinking wine with soft tannins and a lasting finish. A bargain pedigree wine.

Slainte,

Michael
https://californiawinesandwineries.com

https://www.redmarewines.com/

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