Uncategorized

William Harrison Vineyard & Winery

Posted on Updated on

How could something good become great?  Simply add one of the best “up and coming” and perhaps already there, winemakers, Chuck McKahn.  Let me backtrack for just a moment, William Harrison has always made good solid Cabernet’s and Cabernet Franc over the years. I have sought out their Cab Franc out for several years. William Harrison is a family run business and has had great success over the years especially at the SF Chronicle tasting events. Now add Chuck McKahn, at age 27 he is already a seasoned and proven winemaker. I have no doubt in 10-20 years he will be one of the top ten winemakers in Napa Valley. He has just become their head winemaker. It will take a few harvests before his work can be showcased however. 

20160623_110626

While not a “fancy or eloquent” tasting room, they are friendly, down to earth and make most definitely produce already a solid and good assortment of wine. Besides their award winning Cab’s and Cab Franc’s they also produce award winning Chardonnay’s, Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc. Most of their wine production is between 100-400 cases per varietal. Quality over quantity.

 

2011 Rutherford Red –297 cases, Gold Award:  2015 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition

2011 Cabernet Sauvignon – 409 cases, Bronze Award:  2015 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition

2011 Cabernet Franc – 320 cases, Silver Award:  2015 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition

2013 Chardonnay – 325 cases, Gold Award:  2015 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition

2013 Pinot Noir – 150 cases, Gold Award:  2016 American Fine Wine Competition

2013 Sauvignon Blanc –100 cases

Next time you are on the Silverado Trail, by all means stop by and experience some good wines, knowing that they will be producing even greater wines.

Slainte,

http://whwines.com

If you like this post, please hit the Follow and Subscribe buttons on the right side of the page.  Also check out: https://www.facebook.com/CaliforniaWinesAndWineries/ for more wine information

Zucca Wines

Posted on

A delightful wine tasting experience will be had when visiting Zucca Wines in Murphys. Key is being a bit of a contortionist in getting into the “basement tasting room” without hitting your head. Once in the tasting room / basement, you will be surprised on various levels of enjoyment.

20160714_124543

First the wines are true to their varietals, a bit of a rarity in Calaveras County, so that is an awesome welcome! Secondly they opened the tasting room literally in the basement in the building. They expanded a gift store on another half level with a variety of unique gifts and crafts to be purchased. Sue, the hostess, mentioned that the wine bar and courtyard are on yet another level. Thus their claim of being the only three story winery with tasting on all three levels. The upstairs has both an indoor wine bar and quaint outdoor tasting area called Zucca After Hours (see pictures).

20160714_124426

Gary and Carol Zucca have a very solid business model and follow it up with tasty wines. One of the stand out wine for me was their 2014 Barbera. They source their grapes from the award winning Cooper Ranch in Amador County. They also in 2015 received a double Gold Medal at the SF Chronicle Tasting for their Bella Nipote a smooth summertime Rose.

They do offer a wide assortment of wines such as: 2013 Zinfandel; Touriga Nacional Port (a native wine from Portugal and has “smooth dark fruits such as blackberries and blueberries with strong hints of almonds”; a couple of unique Grenaches’; 2014 Sorprendere (Italian for surprise blend and taste); and a few other predominant Italian varietals.

20160714_124108

20160714_124212

Slainte,

http://www.zuccawines.com

If you like this post, please hit the Follow and Subscribe buttons on the right side of the page.  Also check out: https://www.facebook.com/CaliforniaWinesAndWineries/ for more wine information

 

Coppermine Winery

Posted on

Coppermine Winery is located in Vallecito, California whose 2010 US Census data shows a population of 442. Blink and you will miss this winery just off Highway 4. Their focus is on handcrafted Bordeaux wines using French oak barrels produced by one of the best, Tonnellerie Quintessence.

20160528_113235

The wines produced are: Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Petit Verdot and a couple of fortified wines. Only the Petit Verdot comes from Calaveras County and the others are from Amador County and El Dorado County.

My personal favorites of the day were the 2011 Malbec which had a nice crimson color with dark cherry and raspberries notes. The other which “surprised me” was their 2012 Canary dessert wine. It is a late harvest Sauvignon Blanc with “aromas of ripe Bartlett pears and agave nectar”. It is fortified with Brandy and has a vibrant yellow hue to it. Thought so highly of it, it is now in the “port cellar”.

20160528_113215

Their tasting room is quaint and offers an optional chocolate pairings with the wine—a must do for sure!

20160528_113229

While generally not one to comment of “items for sale”, their selection definitely highlighted the Copper portion of their name sake with unique platters, bowls, etc.

Slainte,

http://www.copperminewinery.com/

If you like this post, please hit the Follow and Subscribe buttons on the right side of the page.  Also check out: https://www.facebook.com/CaliforniaWinesAndWineries/ for more wine information

Potpourri of Interesting Wine Articles

Posted on

Study Finds Monsanto’s Glyphosate in 100% of California Wines Tested — Even the Organic Ones

http://thefreethoughtproject.com/study-finds-monsantos-glyphosate-100-california-wines-tested-organic/

___________________________________________________________________

The Changing Tastes of US Wine Drinkers

http://www.wine-searcher.com/m/2016/03/the-changing-tastes-of-us-wine-drinkers?platform=hootsuite

___________________________________________________________________

Wonder Women: 10 female California winemakers to watch

https://www.thedrinksbusiness.com/2016/03/wonder-women-10-female-california-winemakers-to-watch/11/

*personal footnote: 3 great women winemakers were missing from this article—Rhonda Woods (Wood Family Vineyard), Pam Starr (Crocker & Starr)  and Laura Swanton (Laura Michael Wines).

___________________________________________________________________

Spain is now the leader in wine production

http://fortune.com/2016/03/03/spain-wine-most-popular/

___________________________________________________________________

Number of women winemakers are growing quickly

http://www.winemag.com/2016/03/17/the-number-of-women-winemakers-is-growing-and-fast/

___________________________________________________________________

If you like this post, please hit the Follow and Subscribe buttons on the right side of the page.  Also check out: https://www.facebook.com/CaliforniaWinesAndWineries/ for more wine information

Prospect 772

Posted on

While only open to the public on Saturday’s, this is one winery worthy of visiting in Calaveras County. They can make appointments during the week.  Founders Ron Pieretti and Wendy Sanda, are producing some exceptional Rhone varietals with winemaker Jeff Cohn.

20160610_084235

The grounds are beautifully maintained and the tasting room has a “down home comfortability” welcoming factor. To find Prospect 772, it is just off Highway 4 a few west of Angels Camp. Signs show where to turn and approximately one mile down this private road leads to 25 acres which comprises both the vineyards and tasting room.

20160610_084427

Prospect 772 has stayed true to their mission of producing exciting Rhone varietals. Each of their wines has a descriptive name so I will provide that and then the varietals used in the production. Currently being tasted are:

                2013 Brawler – 93% Syrah, 7% Viognier

                2013 Instigator – 100% Syrah

                2014 Black Tie Charlie – 50% Petite Syrah, 50% Syrah

                2015 Baby Doll – a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre

                2014 Stepping Stones – 100% Grenache Blanc

                2012 The Brat – 69% Grenache and 31% Syrah

                2013 The Truant – 54% Grenache, 31% Syrah, 15% Mourvedre

All the wines were true to their heritage and two stood out as “outstanding”. The first was the 2014 Stepping Stones a Grenache Blanc. A perfect summer wine of 100% Grenache Blanc with concrete fermentation. The tasting notes detail the complexity having “aromatics of lime blossom and passion fruit tempered by a fine minerality. Lush, pure flavors of grapefruit and orange marmalade with herbal notes of anise and tarragon.”

20160610_084314

The second noteworthy wine was The Instigator which is 100% Syrah. It had one of the deepest dark purple hue that I have seen in a wine! Ron mentioned it would pair nicely with a steak, prime rib, etc. I purchased a bottle to have with our BBQ steak that evening. He was spot on, as it was a delightful wine with “black fruit tones mixed with roasted herbs and black licorice. Flavors follow with dark cherry and blackberry and a backbone of vanilla & spice”. This was aged in 100% French oak and they produced only 98 cases.

Slainte

https://www.prospect772.com

If you like this post, please hit the Follow and Subscribe buttons on the right side of the page.  Also check out: https://www.facebook.com/CaliforniaWinesAndWineries/ for more wine information

Hatcher Winery

Posted on

Exploring up in the town of Murphys in Calaveras County is always a fun experience. I recently had the opportunity to visit Hatcher Winery. Matthew Hatcher has been located here since 2002 and as is both the owner and winemaker. One of his desires is to use only “mountain fruit” from the foothills. This includes Calaveras, Amador and El Dorado Counties.

Another unique trait of Matthew’s is matching the barrel with the wine. In their daily offerings you will find French, Hungarian and even American oak barrels fermenting his various creations and varietals.

20160530_130610

On the day I visited the tasting room, I was pleasantly taken by surprise on two standout wines. By the way, it is a “sub-terrarium tasting room” one level below the street. The first wine was their 2011 Parcel 17 from a vineyard in Salt Springs Valley. It is a varietal made up of Spanish varietals of Mazuelo, Monastrell and Granciano.  It is aged eighteen months in French Oak barrels. While the “dark red fruit with aromas of blackberries and cola” it is actually a medium body wine and light. This is a perfect summer drinking wine to augment Pinot’s, Grenache’s, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay’s. For twenty-eight dollars a provocative alternative.

20160602_070811

The other outstanding wine was their 2010 Malbec. Again, typically rich, tart and having a pronounced cherry flavors, it is as the notes described provides “aromas of pomegranate, forest floor, pine needles and fresh rain” – a very descriptive narrative. It is a very good wine and worthy of a twenty-nine purchase.

20160530_130617

Many other wines are available for your enjoyment, but these two rang true to their varietals. Hatcher Winery has many events including a host of winemaker dinners which I have put on my schedule. One last comment, check out their clothing accessories for that special person.

Slainte

http://www.hatcherwinery.com/

If you like this post, please hit the Follow and Subscribe buttons on the right side of the page.  Also check out: https://www.facebook.com/CaliforniaWinesAndWineries/ for more wine information

The Tipsy Frog Wine Bar

Posted on

20160525_162107

I normally don’t write about wine bars, but this is really a standout gem located in the New Town Square of Copperopolis. Donna Iaquinto and Karl Dahlin have combined to offer a unique experience to the community and those passing by. While the underlying intent may be to showcase wines from Calaveras County, they offer wines from “around the world”. On the day I was there, besides the Calaveras wines like Hatcher, Coppermine, Lavender Ridge, they offered wines from Argentina (Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon) and Sonoma (Cabernet Sauvignon).. They also sell what is being tasted, be it local, Sonoma, Napa, Argentina, Australia, France, etc.

20160526_074050

Their basic varietals for white are: Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Grenache Blanc and Chardonnay. Their reds include Grenache, GSM, Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, Tempranillo, Zinfandel, Primativo, Barbera, Malbec, Merlot, Syrah, Shiraz, Mourvedre, Cab Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Sirah. In addition, they do have some “off dry/sweet wines” like Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Port, etc., along with Sparkling wines. With such a variety of wines in one location, you are sure to find a delicious glass to make a memorable experience.

Another solid marketing plan is to hold “fun events” like pizza night, exotic cheeses and the like to get folks to stop by. While I was there a person booked a large private party for Thursday (today) for their pizza night.

 20160526_073842

Donna and Karl are also providing educational events like “Introduction to the Wines of France” to be held June 10th 5:30 – 8 pm. Lindsay Gwin, Sommelier based in Murphy’s, will be conducting the class. Key for Donna is offering food pairings to go with the wines served.

And finally who could not like their mascot/logo, indigenous to the draw of Calaveras County and Mark Twain.

Slainte

http://www.tipsyfrogwinebar.com/

If you like this post, please hit the Follow and Subscribe buttons on the right side of the page.  Also check out: https://www.facebook.com/CaliforniaWinesAndWineries/ for more wine information

 

Mountain Terraces Vineyard

Posted on

Mountain Terraces Vineyard is another project by Steve Ledson in Sonoma of Ledson Winery fame. Unique about this property besides having 125 acres on the slope of the Mayacama’s, is it unique terraces ranging from 2200 feet elevation cascading down the hillside to 600 feet.

13177299_10153836518773052_2213173815247644400_n[1]

This aerial picture was taken by Jerry Padilla, assistant winemaker at Ledson Winery in March 2016 shows this beautiful piece of real estate.

I had the privilege to be invited in March 2015 as this is a private working estate. You can see in comparison of the hillside picture verses a year later. The views from this facility are unique as the terroir.

20150307_122110

One of the first noticeable features is the “rockiness” of the soil. This soil was made for struggling vines and shows in the making of their two distinct Cabernet Sauvignon’s. The first is “Lex’s” which is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, which is big, dark fruit and complex tannins. In my opinion one of the best coming out of Sonoma. The second is their “Taylor’s” which is more in the Bordeaux style with a mellower presentation and softer tannins. Both are excellent. They both are resting comfortably in my cellar today. The wines are aged 24-30 months in French barrels and once racked allowed to settle for 12 months.

20150307_125837

The presentation and discussion of the wines by Jerry was spot on and a few friends from Ireland thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

If you are ever fortunate enough to be invited, do not hesitate as the wines, views, presentation and terraces are extremely comparable – all being top tier! In the interim you can order the wines on line.

Slainte

http://www.mountainterraces.com/

If you like this post, please hit the Follow and Subscribe buttons on the right side of the page.  Also check out: https://www.facebook.com/CaliforniaWinesAndWineries/ for more wine information

Porter Creek

Posted on

One of the major tributaries feeding into the Russian River is Porter Creek. Adjacent, is the Porter Creek Winery operated by Alex Davis (son and winemaker) and his father (George). This vineyard is organic and seeking biodynamic status on their 20 acre estate. Alex prefers to develop a Burgundian styles of wine varietals with natural fermentation process on the sloped hillsides of the estate.

20160505_083105

 The operation is truly a family run business and lacking all the “corporate pizazz” from the down home style of the tasting room to the moderately priced wines. The wines are truly for purchasing and enjoying not to be shoved into a dark cellar. There is a wholesomeness and honesty that exudes from these wines.

20160307_154516

On the day I was there, two wines stood out. First the 2013 George’s Hill Chardonnay with a lemony note, with a hint of pear with some subtle minerality. The second wine was the 2012 Pinot Noir Hillside Vineyard. This was from one of the older vineyards, which yields very low tonnage of grapes (1 to 1 ½ per acre). The wine was complex and extremely dense both in color and taste.

If you want to experience a “down home family winery” without the modern glitter and showiness, yet with very good wines, look no further than Porter Creek for a wonderful experience.

Slainte

http://www.portercreekvineyards.com

****Don’t forget the article on unique offers from three wineries as the time frame to “collect” will expire.****

If you like this post, please hit the Follow and Subscribe buttons on the right side of the page.  Also check out: https://www.facebook.com/CaliforniaWinesAndWineries/ for more wine information

Hunnicutt Wines

Posted on Updated on

A visit to Hunnicutt Wines was a bit different by their design. On their 13 acre estate, no vineyards are planted, but you will not be disappointed. They opened in 2001 and have been ramping since. They do have some 18,000 square feet of caves which serves besides Hunnicutt, another 18 production wineries and some twelve unique winemakers!

20160422_104725

The grounds are wooded and inviting to sit outside (not on the rainy day I was there however) or even inside at their quaint tasting room.

20160422_104712

One of the noteworthy sights is seeing how many different styles and sizes of barrels/vats/stainless steel containers are featured by these winemakers in one location.

20160422_110412

Their winemaker is the never standing still, Kirk Venge. He can’t afford to stand still with his hands on some many wineries all producing exceptional wines. Besides Hunnicutt, this list includes: Venge Vineyard, Igneous, Macauley Vineyard, Frazier, Bacio Divino, JAX, B Cellars, Trespass (on my list of the best of 2015), JR Wine and Calistoga Ranch.

20160422_104549

While tasting their Chardonnay, Zinfandel, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon three wines stood out for varying reasons. First their 2013 Zinfandel from Calistoga thus far this year, it received my highest scores for this varietal. You are first met with a distinct nose, a hint of blackberry on the palate and a Zin that could be consumed with the best meats or simply by itself as it is smooth and the fruits are reserved.

The second wine that stood out was the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon which was a blend of 91% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Merlot and 3% Petit Verdot. This wine was immediately approachable, drinkable and could be consumed upon purchase. This is their flagship wine and was surprisingly moderately priced for a Calistoga Cabernet!

The third wine was their Oakville 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Brinkman Block from Rutherford, specifically 100% Georges III Vineyard. This provided much more depth and tannins. This wine is meant to be laid down between 15-20 years. It provided both depth and layers on the palate and a deep ruby color.

Slainte

https://www.hunnicuttwines.com/

****Don’t forget the article on some unique offers from three wineries as the time frame to “collect” will expire.****

If you like this post, please hit the Follow and Subscribe buttons on the right side of the page.  Also check out: https://www.facebook.com/CaliforniaWinesAndWineries/ for more wine information