Posts Tagged ‘Contra Costa County’

A tasting with Lou: Sandlands, Sanguis, Soumade and more

November 3, 2019 Leave a comment

Lou and I gathered quite a while ago to drink some randomly selected wines.  A new wine for me is the NV Phillippe Tessier, Phil’en Bulle.  It is a little sweet for me so perhaps better with dessert.  Of particular note is the white wine 2017 Linne Calodo, Contrarian, Paso Robles.  I should also note the very young 2016 Domaine la Soumade, Cuvee Prestige, Rasteau which, with several years of age, will become a very good wine.  2017 Sandlands Vineyards, Red Table Wine, Contra Costa County is a young wine for drinking now.  A solid bottle of 1989 Raymond Vineyards, Cabernet Sauvignon Private Reserve, Napa Valley delivered surprise and pleasure.  A pair of Sanguis offered a fun comparison even if they should have been drunk up a few years ago. The 2011 Sanguis, 11-A, John Bastiano is very clean, chalky, and full of verve.  For a brief bit, I preferred the luxury of the 2011 Sanguis, 11-B, Bienacido but it sadly cracked up after a short period.

NV Phillippe Tessier, Phil’en Bulle, Loire
A Zev Rovine Selection imported by Fruit of the Vine. Alcohol 12.5%. A slightly hazy, light straw yellow. Very fine and strong bubbles carry the ripe, sweetish start. Some yeast the short finish.  **(*) Now.

2017 Linne Calodo, Contrarian, Paso Robles
This is a blend of 50% Grenache Blanc, 30% Picpoul Blanc, and 20% Viognier. Alcohol 13.7%. Refreshing with good acidity white nuts and expansive flavor. A core of tropical fruit remains but the gum, coating texture adds presence. Notes of pastilles in the finish. **** Now – 2022.

2011 Sanguis, 11-A, John Bastiano, Santa Rita  Hills
Alcohol 14%. A very light color with a green tinge. A little toast on the nose eventually blows off. Tart with some berry toast. Clean with chalk and yellow fruit. Plenty of verve. ** Now.

2011 Sanguis, 11-B, Bien Nacido, Santa Maria Valley
Alcohol 14.8%. A touch more fruit and weight, oily in the middle with a steely finish. Racy with good balance, it has some toast flavors. With air it begins to crack up revealing acidity and heat.  *** at best but Past Prime.

2017 Sandlands Vineyards, Red Table Wine, Contra Costa County
A blend of Carignan and Mataro. Alcohol 12.9% Grapey with cranberry flavor and chalky tannins. Tart with crunchy acidity this sports an interesting mineral, fruit blend.  *** Now – 2022.

2016 Domaine la Soumade, Cuvee Prestige, Rasteau
Imported by MacArthur Liquors. Alcohol 14.5%. A grapey, young color and tight, grapey nose. Tight in the mouth but there is a lovely vein of fruit through the linear structure. Beautiful fat from the ripeness, it is powerful, building flavor. ***(*) 2024-2034.

1989 Raymond Vineyards, Cabernet Sauvignon Private Reserve, Napa Valley
Mature with Eucalyptus. Some firmness in the mouth but the Cab flavor comes out. In fresh shape this is a tasty wine with focused, ripe fruit, some dry wood notes, and structure in the end. *** Now.

Bottles of Miner, Neyers, and K Vintners for the 4th of July Weekend


We continued our tradition of drinking American wines over the long 4th of July holiday weekend.  The 2013 Miner Family Wines, Rosato, Mendocino proved to be an outright tasty wine.  While some might be excited that it is made from Sangiovese, our group preferred the flavor for our bottle was promptly finish.  Our experience with Neyers Vineyards continues to reveal attractive, well-priced wines.  The 2011 Neyers Vineyards, Zinfandel, Del Barba Vineyard, Contra Costa County was enjoyed by all.  It captures the juicy, berry nature of Zinfandel in a generous yet crisp manner.  There is good complexity right now so why wait?  Bottles of 2011 K Vintners, Syrah, Milbrandt, Wahluke Slope, Columbia Valley should be left in the cellar.  It is true that the flavors have no hard edges at all but the new oak flavors need time to integrate. The Miner and Neyers are available at MacArthur Beverages and the K Vintners at The Cheese Shop in Williamsburg.


2013 Miner Family Wines, Rosato, Mendocino – $20
This wine is produced using the saignée method with 100% Sangiovese.  Alcohol 14.1%.  The color was a vivid red rose.  This fruit wine had red fruit followed by minerally black fruit.  There was a lot of acidity as well as a textured, ripe finish.  This flavorful, crisp wine was evocative of hard cherries.  Nice.  *** Now.


2011 Neyers Vineyards, Zinfandel, Del Barba Vineyard, Contra Costa County – $24
This wine is 100% Zinfandel that was aged in used French oak.  Alcohol 14.6%.  The ripeness was immediately apparent with flavors of blue and red fruit mixed with baking spices.  There was some extract in this juicy wine that took on a lot of berry cobbler flavor.  Though the wine was fairly rich and weighty it maintained freshness.  Drinking well right now.  *** Now.


2011 K Vintners, Syrah, Milbrandt, Wahluke Slope, Columbia Valley – $35
This wine is 100% Syrah sourced from the Sundance and Northridge vineyards that was aged for 11 months in 25%new French oak barrels.  Alcohol 14%.  There were round flavors of red and black fruit, and a hint of cocoa.  The wine was almost creamy with no harsh edges before the mineral hint in the finish.  The fruit remained clean with an almost refreshing, cool aftertaste.  I would cellar this further because the barrel flavors need further time to integrate. **(*) 2016-2024.


There is No Shortage of Bedrock at Sonoma’s Best

Inspired by the pair of Bedrock wines I detailed in my post I Find Paydirt in Bedrock I decided to look for more in the hometown of Sonoma.  Barry Herbst of The Rare Wine Co. had recommended I check out Sonoma’s Best for an affordable selection of wines.  When I walked into the wine shop, proprietor Tom was pouring samples at the bar.  I took a turn about the store only to be surprised by a dozen different wines from Bedrock.   Tom helped me pick a trio of wines at different price points.  All three of these wines need further age which might seem a bit odd since one is a rosé.  I have no clue how these wines will develop but if the 2012 Bedrock Wine Co., Old Vine Zinfandel, Sonoma Valley is an indication of  drinkability then stash a few bottles in your cellar.   Remember, these wines were purchased at Sonoma’s Best so stop by before they disappear.


2013 Bedrock Wine Co., Old Vine Rosé, Ode to Lulu, California – $22
The old-vine Mourvedre was sourced from Bedrock Vineyard and Pagani Ranch, the Grenache from vines planted in 1888 at Gibson Ranch, and the Carignane from vines planted in the 1950s at Ukiah.  Alcohol 12.6%.  This took a few days to open up, revealing more floral perfume mixed with fruit punch berries.  In the mouth were ripe flavors of black cherry, some firmness, and slightly  juicy acidity.  **(*) 2014-2017.


2012 Bedrock Wine Co., Red Wine, Evangelho Vineyard Heritage, Contra Costa County – $34
The fruit for this wine was sourced from old vines located along the Sacramento River Delta.  This wine is a blend of 40% Carignane, 38% Mourvedre, and 22% Zinfandel, Palomino, Alicante, and Mission.  It was raised in French oak barrels and foudre.  This wine had flavors of tart, dark fruit with a citric note.  The flavors eventually play it close despite the easy start.  There was some toast and good acidity mixing with the tightly wound fruit.  The flavors were red in the middle followed by ripe black fruit in the finish.  The structure remained subtle with hints of cinnamon spices and lipstick in the aftertaste.  *** 2015-2020.


2011 Bedrock Wine Co., Syrah, T’n’S-Blocks, Hudson Vineyard South, Carneros – $43
This fruit for this wine is sourced from one block planted in 1993 and a second in 2006.  The fruit was 50% whole-cluster fermented then aged for 15 months in a variety of French oak barrels.  A little smoke flavor mixed with cool black fruit. There was some sweet fruit grip, a racy finish, followed by a spicy grip, ripe spices and a not quite robust aftertaste.  This is young and clearly leaves the impression it needs some time to develop.  ***(*) 2016-2025.


A Pair of California Cabs: Ca’na and Spann, 13 August 2008

Just a pair of Cabs I had during August 2008. My wife had a cold so no comments from Jenn. Anyone else have the Ca’na? It looked really old but tasted younger. The Spann was good though perhaps not the best buy.

2001 Tamayo Family, Ca’na, Cabernet Sauvignon, Contra Costa County – $21
This is a medium opaque with a garnet-brick-brown color throughout the glass. It looks rather ancient. There is savory dark fruit, chocolate, and some tea flavors. The fruit is soft and becomes stewed with air. There are moderate tannins in the finish and aftertaste. A bizarre wine that I didn’t much care for. Maybe it was cooked?

2003 Spann, Mayacamas Range, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley and Sonoma County – $27
This wine is 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc, and 5% Merlot. Of which 55% is sourced from Napa and 45% from Sonoma. This is medium garnet-ruby in the glass. It has a light nose of green olives and brine. In the mouth there are somewhat savory red fruit with underlying dark fruit flavors. Toast and light mineral flavors develop with air. There is bright acidity from the beginning that give liveliness followed by minimal tannins noticeable on the tongue-tip. The fruit is slightly soft.

Wines from Steven Kent, Neyers, Blackburn, and Tudal, 15 May 2008

Here are four Californian wines that Jenn and I drunk during May 2008. We rather enjoyed the Steven Kent Chardonnay and found the 20 months of barrel aging did not make this an oak bomb. The Neyers Mourvedre made us happy, the Tudal Cab was quick to be drunk, and the Blackburn had us on the fence.

2005 Steven Kent, Chardonnay, Merrillie, Livermore Valley – $24
This is 100% Wente-clone chardonnay that was aged for 20 months in 70% new American & French oak barrels and 30% used. It is a very light, golden straw color. On the nose there were aromas of apples, some toasty oak, and creaminess. In the mouth there were round, soft apple/citrus type of fruit. There is focused acidity that gives way to a slightly flinty, toasty finish. The wine got better with warmth and was quite enjoyable on the second day. Jenn and I enjoyed this wine and would recommend it.

2006 Neyers, Mourvedre, Pato Ranch, Contra Costa Valley – $28
Tom Hill recently reviewed this but I only just bought a bottle this week based on a recommendation. This is 100% Mourvedre from 100+ year old vines. The light nose revealed blue fruits. In the mouth there were blue fruits, minerals, and some earth in this dense wine. It was balanced by the acidity and finely proportioned tannins that give way to a long dark aftertaste. The wine is slow to open so decant for a few hours, otherwise it could benefit by some age.

2004 Blackburn Winery, Proulx, Lux, Paso Robles, $22
This is a 52% Grenache, 22% Mourvedre, 16% Syrah. 6% Zinfandel, and 4% Petite-Sirah blend. A medium ruby with slight reddish-brown tones. A light nose of red fruit that is ripe and tart. In the mouth there is dusty fruit at first that turns to purer red and blue fruits with supporting acidity. There are light tannins in the finish. This wine had a slight funk to it that blew off.

2004 Tudal Family, Cabernet Sauvignon, Clift Vineyard, Oak Knolls District, Napa Valley – $25
This is a fairly low production wine of less than 200 cases. A light nose of chocolate and blue fruits. In the mouth there is brighter red/blue fruits that comes across as perfumed. This medium-bodied wine has low-level, fine tannins with prominent acidity. The somewhat short finish yields to a pleasing, simple aftertaste. A tasty, more elegant style for drinking now.