Home > Tasting Notes and Wine Reviews > The 2013 Bacchus Importers Portfolio Tasting: Individual Wineries

The 2013 Bacchus Importers Portfolio Tasting: Individual Wineries


For the second post from the Bacchus Importers Portfolio tasting I have focused on individual wineries.  It is always a bit tricky to take any substantive notes during a portfolio tasting.  So please treat these as a general overview of what was going on.  Below you will find my notes arranged in the order I visited the winery tables.  Within that the wines are presented in the order tasted.

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Brewer-Clifton and Palmina

Toby Oshiro

Toby Oshiro

Brewer-Clifton is the project of Greg Brewer and Steve Clifton who also produces Palmina.  The fruit for Palmina is sourced some several vineyards including Homea and Walker Vineyards.  The Homea Vineyard was planted with Italian varietal specifically for Steve.  Across the street is the Walker Vineyard which is owned by the Walker family but farmed by Steve.  This year’s Brew-Clifton lineup includes the Machado Pinot Noir.  This is the newest vineyard to be sourced from.  It is located on the arm coming off of the Kessler-Hawk Vineyard.  Steve and Greg took a land-lease of this 15 acres of  bare earth to plant Pinot Noir and a little Chardonnay.  The vineyard is only a couple of years old so the 2010 bottling is the first pure Machado vintage.  The Palmina wines are of strong value and I particularly liked the Dolcetto.  If I had to pick one Brewer-Clifton wine the Pinot Noir, Santa Rita Hills was lovely.

2010 Palmina, Arneis, Santa Ynez Valley
This wine is 100% Arneis sourced from the Honea Vineyard.  The nose was fresh with citrus, white fruit, and floral aromas.  The flavors were a little richer in the mouth with yellow fruit along with some orange and lemon flavors which took on weight.  There was acidity and a little drying nature at the end.

2010 Brewer-Clifton, Chardonnay, Santa Rita Hills
This wine is 100% Chardonnay sourced from multiple vineyards in Mount Carmel, 3-D, Gnesa, Sea Smoke, and Zotovich.  The nose was heady, yeasty, and a touch earthy.  In the mouth there were fresh apple and white fruit flavors followed by tart apple with green acidity.

2011 Palmina, Dolcetto, Santa Barbara County
The nose was pretty god with purple aromas and a little grapey, inky note.  In the mouth there was good, fresh fruit, grapey flavors of black and purple fruit, along tannins and acidity all in balance.  There were grapey tannins in the aftertaste.

2010 Palmina, Barbera, Santa Barbara County
The light nose bore dark red strawberry aromas.  In the mouth there were cranberry, pomegranate, strawberry type fruit with more acidity towards the finish and a puckering quality.  The finish brought acidity and black fruit.

2011 Brewer-Clifton, Pinot Noir, Santa Rita Hills
This wine is 100% Pinot Noir sourced from three vineyards in Mount Carmel, 3-D, and Machado.  There was a beautiful nose of red fruit, orange, and ink.  The youthful mouth follows the nose with an orange hint and serious profile. Nice.

2010 Brewer-Clifton, Pinot Noir, Machado, Santa Rita Hills
This wine is 100% Pinot Noir sourced from the Machado vineyard which was planted in 2007.  The nose of youthful Pinot Fruit doesn’t have the depth of the Santa Rita Hills.  In the mouth there was bright red fruit, citrus, and a yeast note.  The flavors show some weight and depth as spices come out in the finish.  There was a grapey, young, spicy tannin touch.

Burly

Hank McCrorie

Hank McCrorie

Burly stems from Hank McCrorie’s college football nickname.  The fruit is sourced from the Simpkins Vineyard.  The 2008 vintage saw a devastating frost which destroyed two-thirds of the Cabernet Sauvignon crop.  This did not diminish the remaining one-third from making a tasty wine.

2010 Burly, Sauvignon Blanc
The nose was subtly grassy with white fruit.  In the mouth the white fruit had weight but was also lively on the tongue.  There was some creaminess, flavors of pastilles, and tannins.

2008 Burly, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
This wine is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon.  The dark nose revealed earthy black fruit and some greenhouse notes.  In the mouth there was coiled up power to the red and black fruit.  The tannins and acidity were integrated.  There were chocolate notes and a good midpalate of roast and spicy notes.  This will develop but can be drunk now.

Soter Vineyards

James Cahill

James Cahill

Tony Soter is the founded of Etude Wines.  Soter Vineyards is a family winery located in Oregon.  We tasted three tiers of wine.  Planet Oregon is focused on good value, young Oregon Pinot Noir, sourced from and produced at certified sustainable properties.  The North Valley wines focused on producing fruit from vineyards located in northern Willamette Valley such as Yamhill-Carlton, Dundee Hills, Eola-Amity Hills, and Ribbon Ridge.  Finally the Estate Wines use fruit sourced solely from the 30 acre Mineral Springs Ranch.  James Cahilll is the winemaker who previously worked at Beaux Feres and Elk Cove Vineyards.  The North Valley rose was a beautiful, captivating wine and the North Valley, Pinot Noir was very good with earth and black fruit.  The Soter, Mineral Springs Pinot Noir was a confident treat and I liked how the Proprietary Red Wine was a balance between Oregon and California (and it includes some Malbec!).

2011 North Valley, Chardonnay, Willamette Valley
This wine is 100% Chardonnay which was barrel fermented in 10% new French oak, 30% used French oak, and 60% stainless steel barrels.  One quarter of the wine underwent malolactic fermentation.  Alcohol 12.8%.  The tight nose bore sweet white floral fruit and some yellow fruit.  In the mouth there was tart weight to the fruit which was crisp, with lots of feel on the tongue.

2012 North Valley, Compass Cuvee, Rose, Willamette Valley
This is a blend of Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir which was just bottled.  The nice aromatic nose revealed strawberry and raspberry aromas.  In the mouth there were acidity driven flavors of raspberry and pastilles with a drier finish.  This was very crisp with nice acidity. Nice.

2011 Planet Oregon, Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley
This wine is 100% Pinot Noir.  The nose was muted.  In the mouth there were acidity driven flavors with a little citrus note to the light, red fruit.  There were youthful tannins and some spice.

2011 North Valley, Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley
This wine is 100% Pinot Noir which was fermented with 15% whole clusters and aged in 10% new French oak.  Alcohol 13.6%.  The nose had more depth.  In the mouth there were earth and red fruit flavors, nice.  It was weightless with a little black fruit and ink in the finish, along with very fine ripe tannins.

2010 Soter, Pinot Noir, Mineral Springs, Yamhill-Carlton District
This wine is 100% Pinot Noir sourced from the Mineral Springs Ranch.  The fruit is destemmed then undergoes malolactic fermentation and is aged for 12-15 months in 33% new French oak.  The nose was younger but more confident.  There were red fruits in the mouth which became blacker with focused ripeness.  The tannins and acidity were subservient such that the aftertaste left an earthy note.  This should age well.

2007 Soter Vineyard, Proprietary Red Wine, Napa Valley
This wine is a blend of 2007 and 2006 vintages featuring 40% Cabernet Franc, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 20% Malbec.  It is Tony Soter’s last Californian wine and was produced in Oregon.  There were black fruit flavors, minerals, acidity, and a focused aspect.  The tannins were balanced as dark flavors pervade the aftertaste; drying on the lips.

Adelsheim Vineyard

Margeaux McLain

Margeaux McLain

Adelsheim Vineyards was founded by Daivd and Ginny Adelsheim in 1971.  The estate has grown from the original 15 acre vineyard at Quarter Mile Lane to 11 vineyards encompassing 190 acres.  The Elizabeth’s Reserve is a barrel selection meant to produce a wine capable of aging.  The Bryan Creek is the only single-vineyard wine aimed for the East Coast.  I thought it too would age and it would be fun to taste these two several years down the road.

2011 Adelsheim, Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley
This wine is 100% Pinot Gris which was gently pressed then fermented with cultured yeasts or which 15% of the wine was fermented in older neutral French oak barrels.  It did not undergo malolactic fermentation.  Alcohol 13.2%.  The nose had fresh white fruit with a  little honied note.  The flavors were white and tart in the mouth before taking on some ripeness.  The finish was drier and tart.

2011 Adelsheim, Chardonnay, Willamette Valley
This wine is 100% Chardonnay which was whole cluster pressed then 82% fermented in stainless steel tanks with 18% in neural barrels.  It did not undergo malolactic fermentation.  Alcohol 13.2%.  This was crisp and focused on the nose followed by a similar mouth with powdery notes.  There was apple like acidity.

2011 Adelsheim, Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley
This wine is 100% Pinot Noir which was destemmed, fermented with inoculated yeast then aged 10 months in 20% new French oak barrels.  Alcohol 13.0%.  There was a light, tight Pinot Noir nose.  In the mouth tart red fruit was on the tongue tip before turning redder with acidity and some chewy texture.  There were mouth coating tannins then a finish with blacker fruit and citrus.

2009 Adelsheim, Pinot Noir, Elizabeth’s Reserve, Willamette Valley
This wine is 100% Pinot Noir which was destemmed, fermented with inoculated yeast then aged for 10 months in 34% new French oak barrels.  Alcohol 13.4%.  There was a good nose with some depth.  The mouth was tight with red fruit, some of it tart, a little grip, and an overall ability to age.

2010 Bryan Creek, Pinot Noir, Chehalem
This wine is 100% Pinot Noir sourced from the Bryan Creek Vineyard which were destemmed then underwent malolactic fermentation in 30% new French oak barrels.  There was a pure Pinot Noir nose.  There were red and black fruits, minerals, a racy aspect then black fruit and citric notes.  The acidity was cool.  This was rugged in a sense, leaving minerals and the notion it will age.

2009 Adelsheim, Syrah, Chehalem
This wine is 100% Surah sourced from several rows of Syrah next to the tasting room.  Alcohol 13.6%.  There was some black fruit then red tart fruit.  It was a little racy with structure, citric tannins, and a spicy firm finish.

Summers Estate Winery

Bob Mazzola

Bob Mazzola

Summers Estate Winery originated in 1987 when Jim Summers purchased 28 acres in Knights Valley.  This holding was expanded by 25 acres through an additional purchased in 1996.  Summers Estate produces the largest amount of Charbono in California.  Bob suggested if we could only taste one wine then to try the Charbono.  I’m glad we did.  I also liked the Zinfandel, it showed balance.

2009 Summers, Charbono
This wine is 100% Charbono which was aged for 18 months in 50% new oak of which 50% was American and 50% French.  Alcohol 13.7%.  There was a tight, inky, black nose.  The flavors were focused in the mouth with old-school flavors.  Though dense it was approachable with very fine tannins.  Neat.

2009 Summers, Cabernet Sauvignon, Knights Valley
This wine is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon which was aged for 19 moths in 60% new French oak.  Alcohol 14.1%.  There was a black, licorice nose, smells like Knights Valley.  The flavors were focused in the mouth, similar to the nose but a bit haunting.  This was young with focus and watering acidity.

2008 Summers, Zinfandel, “Four Acre Zin”
This wine is 100% Zinfandel which was aged for 16 months in 70% American and 30% French oak.  The nose was more expressive with good fruit.  The fruit was balanced in the mouth with mixed berry flavors, sweet spice, and a young, good finish.  There was some depth along with clean, strong, spicy tannins.

The Four Graces

Rebecca M. Oliver

Rebecca M. Oliver

The four Graces originated in 2003 when Steve and Paula Black purchased a 110 acre vineyard in Dundee.  The winery is named after their four daughters.   I particularly liked the Pinot Gris both on the nose and in the mouth.

2011 The Four Graces, Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley
This wine is 100% Pinot Gris which was whole clustered pressed then fermented in stainless steel tanks.  Alcohol 13.1%.  There was a pretty nose of floral, ripe fruit.  The crisp start bore flavors of floral, sweet white fruit.  It was a little chewy with sweet spices in the finish.

2011 The Four Graces, Pinot Blanc, Willamette Valley
This wine is 100% Point Blanc.  Alcohol 13.3%.  The nose was tight with nutty aromas and a light texture.  In the mouth the fruit was again up front with texture from the acidity then it flattened out.

2011 The Four Graces, Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley
This wine is 100% Pinot Noir which was aged for nine months in 25% new French oak barrels.  Alcohol 13.8%.  There were aromas of toast, popcorn and roast.  In the mouth the firm black fruit flavors mixed with toast as dry, powerful tannins came up.  The finish was lighter in flavor with a very dry aftertaste.

DuMOL

Tom Pillsbury

Tom Pillsbury

I looked forward to tasting the wines of DuMOL again this year and I was not disappointed.  There is a step up in quality with the various bottlings with the Clare Chardonnay and Estate Pinot Noir showing the most complexity.  I should like to see how these develop over the short term.

2010 DuMOL, Chardonnay, Russian River Valley
This wine is 100% Chardonnay sourced from Dutton Ranch, estate, Heintz, Ritchie, and Hyde vineyards.  The fruit was whole-cluster pressed, barrel fermented with indigenous yeasts, underwent malolactic fermentation then aged for 15 months in 40% new French oak.  There was a citrus driven nose with some toast and lees.  The flavors were rich in the mouth, expansive with yellow fruit in the finish, complexity, and some ripe notes.

2010 DuMOL, Clare, Chardonnay, Carneros
This wine is 100% Chardonnay sourced from the Hyde Vineyard.  The fruit was whole-cluster pressed, barrel fermented with indigenous yeasts, underwent malolactic fermentation then aged for 15 months on the lees in 50% new French oak.  The nose was more complex with less lees.  The mouth was lovely with rich but assured fruit that was younger in a sense.  The tart yellow fruit balanced acidity and tartness.

2010 DuMOL, Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley
This wine is 100% Pinot Noir sourced from the seven vineyards.  The fruit was barrel fermented with indigenous yeasts, underwent malolactic fermentation then aged for 11 months in 40% new French oak.  There was a good Pinot Noir nose which was expressive with black cherry aromas.  The fruit was riper in the mouth with minerals, structure, and tart red fruit with weight.  There were red citrus flavors left on the back of the tongue.

2010 DuMOL, Estate Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley
This wine is 100% Pinot Noir sourced from the estate vineyard.  The fruit was fermented with indigenous yeasts, underwent malolactic fermentation, then aged for 14 months in 55% new French oak.  The nose was tight with ripe, sweet spiced aromas.  There was more specific fruit flavors in the mouth with good expansive but light in nature.  The spices mixed with young fruit, making way to a long aftertaste.

2010 DuMOL, Syrah, Russian River Valley
This wine is 100% Syrah sourced from six vineyards.   The fruit was fermented with indigenous yeasts, underwent malolactic fermentation, then aged for 15 months in 35% new French oak and 2 months in tank.  The nose was tighter with sweet, blue fruit.  The flavors were lively in the mouth with black minerals, fine, strong tannins.

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