16 Mar 2013 Turning off comment posting due to spambots
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I am turning off comments due to the volume of spambot activity. It is unfortunately that I need to turn off this feature.

If you would like to post a comment, please do so on our Facebook social media page — http://www.facebook.com/lionheartwines.

30 Sep 2012 2010 Pinotage, Amorosa Vineyard, Loma Prieta
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I had the pleasure of being able to taste the 2010 Pinotage, Amorosa Vineyard from Loma Prieta Winery. Loma Prieta Winery has taken a great interest in Pinotage. Normally, I am not a fan of Pinotage at all — 95% of the all the Pinotage that I have tasted from all over the world had been at best slightly drinkable and at worse smelling and tasting of burning tires.

So, I was quite sceptical about tasting Pinotage blended from Santa Cruz Mountains and Contra Costa County…as I have never heard of decent Pinotage outside of South Africa. But, I can happily say that the 2010 Pinotage is fantastic. Most of the grapes are from Santa Cruz Mountains vineyard at 2300 foot elevation. I think the high elevation and Santa Cruz location makes the Pinot Noir part of the Pinot Noir and Cinsault cross more expressive.

The wine has a very nice deep ruby color and deep Pinot Noir like characteristics with the addition of a solid but velvety tannins. This is very elegant Pinotage…I cannot believe I would use those three words together.

I would strong suggest getting a bottle of the 2010 Pinotage from Loma Prieta Winery. It will be a fun thing to share with people especially over BBQ meats.

09 Sep 2012 Angel’s Blush 2012 Kickstarter Project has launched!

We have launched the Angel’s Blush 2012 Kickstarter Project to raise funds to produce another vintage of Angel’s Blush ™ in a new custom crush facility. We are raising money for stainless steel tanks and barrels for the Rose production.

The last vintage sold out in 2 weeks! It was very, very good…especially on a spring day. The 2012 vintage will be ready by the start of next spring for your enjoyment.

There are many rewards available depending on your level of support! You will only be charged if the target goal of $7,500 is met. When we get close to $7,500, I will be announcing a new stretch goal to help Lionheart Wines expand!

Please help Lionheart Wines grow! We will most definitely take care of our supporters. If you have any questions, please contact Leon at lglover@lionheartwines.com or 650.576.1367. Harvest has started so we need make this happen very soon to get the best fruit.

18 Feb 2012 Let’s celebrate ‘National Drink Wine Day’!
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I am sure that all of you are familiar with enjoyment of fermented grapes. But, did you know today is ‘National Drink Wine Day’?  If so, I am sure that you are making an effort to support this vibrate ‘National’ holiday. ;)

If you are not familiar, then I would suggest that you take some time this afternoon or evening to enjoy a glass or two of wine to support this fine day!  Please select a wine that you enjoy or perhaps you might want to do a bit of experimenting and branch out in your wine tastes. 

Let your friends know about ‘National Drink Wine Day’!  I am sure that they will want to join in the celebrations. :)

11 Feb 2012 Back from a long hiatus……
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There has been a long haitus from posting on the blog.  Life has been keeping me rather busy with some good and some not so good things.   It has been a good reminder to focus on what is important in life — the rest will all sort itself out and to take one day at a time as you never know what is around the next corner.

I am going to post more often…maybe shorter than my regular posting but more often.

Lionheart Wines has been quiet of late.  But, that will be coming to end very soon.  I am refocusing my time and effort to help get Lionheart Wines to the next level.   I want to make sure that we have resources to make more wine this year.   The 2011 vintage is coming along in barrel.  I will be posting tasting notes tomorrow after doing some barrel tasting.   It will be really interesting to see how the wine has turned out compared to what I thought each vineyard would produce.

Until next posting….have a fantastic day!


09 Apr 2011 Tasting panel (Genophiles) enjoys tasting Lionheart wines

The Genophiles, a wine tasting group at Genentech, did a blind tasting of the following Lionheart Wines:
2007 Angel’s Share
2008 Angel’s Fare

2006 Syrah, Santa Barbara
2007 Syrah, Dry Creek Valley
2008 Syrah, Santa Barbara (available but not formally released)
2006 Roaring Red
2007 Roaring Red
2006 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
2007 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

The Genophiles are a group known for being brutally honest and fairly harsh critics.  I encouraged the group to be completely honest as I wanted to get their input on how the wines are aging and overall quality.  The ranking system is 0 to 3 puffs with 0.25 granularity (the scoring system is hard to explain.  The simplied version is this: 0 = the worst, 1 = I would drink this (might even pay for it), 2 = 90+ points and 3 = I would stab someone else to get the last of the bottle.).  There are also +/- involved.  

There were about 16 people tasting the wine so the results tended to be on a good bell curve distribution.  The group generally does not taste white wines as they have a bias against white wine…not worth the time was the feeling I got.  The group was pleasantly surprised by the white wines (they grudingly agreed the wines were good :) ).  Any wines that score a 2 will be in the running to be included in their end of the year blind tasting competition. 

My guess going into the tasting was that the blends would do well — white and red.  I was hoping to get the whites to score in the 2 range as it would be a big validation for the classic blend of Marsanne and Roussanne (with a hint of viognier for aromatics).  My guess was pretty good about what they liked.  I also noted that they tend to like the more aromatic and powerful wines.

The final tally was:
1.5+ =-> 2006 Syrah, Santa Barbara
1.75 =-> 2007 Angel’s Share (92 pts WE)
1.75 =-> 2008 Angel’s Fare (preferred overthe 2007 slightly)
1.75+ =-> 2007 Syrah, Dry Creek Valley
1.75+ =-> 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley (90 pts WE)
2- –> 2008 Syrah, Santa Barbara
2- =-> 2007 Roaring Red, California
2- =-> 2006 Roaring Red, California
2 =-> 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

Normally, only 1 wine out of 8 hits the 2 range. So, I feel pretty good about how the wines are showing and aging.  The tasting does indicate that if you have 2006 Syrah, I would suggest that you break it out and enjoy it with some slow braised meat tonight ( especially lamb!)

24 Mar 2011 2011 Livermore Barrel Tasting

Last weekend was the 2011 Livermore Barrel Tasting weekend.  It was a very enjoyable time sampling upcoming releases as well as tasting current vintages.  The rainy weather must have kept some people away as the crowds were on the lighter side on Saturday.

The wineries I tasted at were:

Fenestra Winery:
The 2010 Pinot Gris, Buttner Vineyard, barrel sample was quite nice.  It had a good viscosity with lovely pear, white flower and apple flavors/aromas.  The wine is being stirred every two weeks to help develop the mouthfeel. The wine will be bottled in May.

The 2009 Tempranillo, Raboli Vineyard, was a bit lacking in the mouth.  The aromas were of classic Tempranillo — red fruit and spice.

Of the current vintages, the 2008 Malbec and 2008 Cabernet Franc were both quite good.  I would recommend that go and try them.

 Page Mill Winery:
Page Mill’s barrel tastes were both quite good: Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Sirah.  The Petite Sirah was a classic example of dense, chewy, blue/black fruit bomb in your mouth with very solid but fine grained tannins.  The Petite Sirah is a must try if you go to Page Mill. 

I also tried some of the existing vintages.  The chardonnay was not remarkable.  The other wines were fairly good — worth trying.  The people working in the tasting room were a lot of fun!

Darcie Kent (produced at Concannon) & Concannon:
Concannon is the oldest winery in Livermore.  They are known for their Petite Sirah and have championed it for over a hundred years.  Barrel samples were from Darcie Kent: Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon.  The barrel samples were fairly good.  It was very interesting to try the same wine but in different barrels (some new, some once used and one neutral).  All of the grapes are from the Livermore valley yet the wines were reminiscent of El Dorado Zinfandel and Napa Valley floor Cabernet Sauvignon.

The current vintages were all good examples of the respective varietals at nice prices.  If you are looking for value wines, I would suggest that you check out Concannon’s portfolio of wines.  You will not be disappointed.

Stony Ridge / Crooked Vine Winery:
The wines all showed a bit of brett contamination in the barrels.  The wines were not very good.  The winery site would be a good place for a picnic.

Steven Kent & La Rochelle:
The best wine that I tasted during the day was the 2009 Four Sisters Vineyard Pinot Meunier.  It is a great example of Pinot Meunier (normally used in making sparkling wine).  The futures price is $38 or $30.40 for 6 or more bottles.  If you have never tried a Pinot Meunier, you really should stop by La Rochelle and give it a try.  It will be worth your time to make the trip.

Cedar Mountain:
The wines were not particularly good.  They made quite a few sweet wines / pseudo-ports.  The wines were super sweet, the fruit flavors tended toward the overly ripe and the alcohol was not well integrated.  I can not recommend Cedar Mountain.

Les Chenes:
This is a small winery who were tasting two variations of the same syrah.  The wine was alright but nothing to go out of your way for.  They did have some very yummy brushette to have with the syrah.  It was a good combination.

Big White House & John Evan:
The winery tasting room was packed.  The wines were ok — some good, other not so good.  I did notice a hint of Brett in some of the wines.  I am rather sensative to Brett.  I get concerned about winery when several of their wines show Brett.  The tasting room would be a fun place to go with a group of people if you are wine drinking instead of wine tasting.

McGrail Winery:
We ended up tasting at McGrail Winery.  The Rose barrel sample was pretty good — Grenache.  If would be worth your while to give it a try.  The Cabernet Sauvignon and the Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot blends were both good — not outstanding but enjoyable.  Several of the wineries tasting staff suggested McGrail.  I did not get to taste any of their current vintages which was unfortunate.  If you tasting in Livermore, make it a point to stop by McGrail winery.

05 Feb 2011 Zap 2011 — A good time with some great wines!

The 20th ZAP Grand Tasting was a good time for all that attended.  The weather threatened to get ugly but thankfully, held off and ended up being a great day in San Francisco.

The number of wineries seemed to be lower than in past years which is a good and a bad thing.  The bad thing is less zinfandel to taste; the good was that there was more room in both of the event halls which seemed to help with crowd flow at the event.   Also, the casting call for a extras in a Matt Damon movie help keep down the number of barely legal drinkers who normally come to get drink instead of taste.

I was able to taste a large number of wines this year even with being a volunteer for 3 hours.  The wines of the 2008 and 2009 vintages were actually fairly consistent with a trend toward above average zinfandels.  The cooler years seemed to help with not having too many over-ripe fruit flavors and keeping the alcohol levels down to more reasonable levels (14% and 15% instead of some of the recent vintages where alcohol were easily up in 16%+ range).  The change in the fruit flavors and lower alcohol seemed to throw a few wine makers a curve ball as quite a few of the zinfandels that I tasted expressed too much oak in the nose and palate.

The wines of note for me were the following:

Black Sears Estate Wine, Angwin, Napa Valley, 707-963-1334, Website
2008 Black Sears Estate, Howell Mountain, $42 — I enjoyed this wine the most out of what I tasted.  It was very well balanced in aroma, palate, acidity and overall intensity.  It had the classic zinfandel fruit flavors with an added fresh cracked black pepper note that is so rare in Zinfandels now.  It had a very long, pleasant finished with a greater than usual acidity for Zinfandel.  The is lovely by itself but would spectactular with a peppered flank steak.

D-Cubed Cellars, St. Helena, Napa Valley, 707-963-5212, Website
2007 Howell Mountain, Howell Mountain, $37
This wine was really good!  The winemaker told me the fruit comes from the Black Sears Vineyard, so no big surprise that I enjoy it so much!  The wine was elegant, complex and layer in both aroma and palate.  The freshly cracked black pepper aroma and flavor lured you in to enjoy the rest of a balanced and layered fresh fruit flavors starting to show secondary flavors — flavors of black tea, red fruit, black pepper and slight brambleberry.

2007 Napa Valley, Napa Valley, $27 — this was very enjoyable but not as complex or elegrant as the Howell Mountain — primarily fruit driven with noticable tannins, a dense wine.

Klinker Brick Winery, Lodi, Lodi, 209-333-1845, Website
2008 Old Vine, Lodi, $18 — this was a fantastic wine especially for the price point!  The wine shows classed old vine characteristics — mixture of brambleberry, red fruit, black fruit, black tea and hint of floral.  The wine is medium density with a balanced level of tannins for the intensity of the flavors and palate texture.

2008 Old Ghost Old Vine, Lodi $37 — This wine shows vintage variation; this year is a very good year!  The wine is similar to the $18 but with more concentration, complexity and elegance.  This wine will age well which is rare for zinfandels.

Mazzocco Winery, Geyserville, Northern Sonoma, 707-431-8159, Website
They were pouring 8 different wines — most of them single vineyard designates.  The wines were excellent and worth the effort to seek them out. 

Good wines — Worth trying:
Artezin Wines, Napa, Napa Valley, 707-255-1144, Website — 2008 Dry Creek Valley, $25; 2009 Mendocino County, $20
Calcareous Vineyard, Paso Robles, Central Coast, 805-239-0289, Website – 2008 Twisted Sisters, Paso Robles, $20
Downing Family Vineyards, Napa, Napa Valley — 888-440-2468, Website – 2007 Fly By Night, Oakville, $24
Edmeades Winery, Santa Rosa, Mendocino/Lake — 707-522-6488, Website — 2008 Mendocino County, $18 (Very good especially for the price — on the lighter side); 2007 Ciapusci Vineyard, Mendocino Ridge, $35.  All of there Zinfandels were quite good but I liked the balance and elegance of the Mendocino County blend best.
Gamba Vineyards and Winery, Fulton, Northern Sonoma, 707-542-5892, Website – 2009 Old Vine, Moratto Vineyard, Russian River Valley $43 (typical Gamba — big, dense, fruit bomb — aka not quite Port but damn close!)
Kokomo Winery, Healdsburg, Northern Sonoma, 707-433-0205, Website — 2008 Mounts Vineyard, Dry Creek Vineyards, $32; 2008 Timber Crest Vineyard, Dry Creek Vineyard, $36
Mauritson Family Winery, Healsdburg, Northern Sonoma, 707-431-0804, Website — 2009 Dry Creek Valley, Dry Creek Valley $27; 2009 Rockpile Ridge Vineyard, Rockpile, $35
Miraflores Winery, Placerville, Sirra Foothills, 530-647-8505, Website — 2007 El Dorado, $22; 2008 El Dorado, $22.  These are very good, complex wines and nicely priced.
Pezzi King Vineyards, Healdsburg, Northern Sonoma, 707-473-4310, Website — 2008 Old Vines, Dry Creek Valley, $24 — highly recommended.
Seghesio Family Vineyards, Healdsburg, Northern Sonoma, 707-433-3579, Website — 2009 Home Ranch, Alexander Valley, $36; 2008 Cortina, Dry Creek Valley $36; 2009 Sonoma, Sonoma County, $24
Sextant Wines, Paso Robles, Central Coast, 805-542-0133, Website — 2007 Holystone, Paso Roables, $27; 2008 Wheelhouse, Paso Robles, $20, 2008 Central COast, Central Coast $15
Storrs Winery & Vineyards, Santa Cruz, Bay Area, 831-458-5030, Website – 2005 Lion Oaks Vineyard, Santa Clara County $34; 2006 Rusty Ridge, Santa Clara County, $30; 2007 Central Coast $20

28 Jan 2011 2011 ZAP Festival — Grand Tasting in SF on 1/29/2011
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For anyone interested in Zinfandel, you should seriously consider attending the Grand Tasting at Fort Mason on the 29th.  It is the 20th anniversary of the event!  Trade will start tasting at 10:00 AM and general public will be able to start tasting at 2:00 PM until 5:00 PM.

There will be a lot of people there but so will there be a lot of zinfandel. 

 Here is a link to official ZAP link: http://www.zinfandel.org/default.asp?cid=1&n1=15&n2=645#20414.  Here is a list of the participating wineries:

Accademia dei Racemi
Acorn Winery / Alegria Vineyards
Adelaida Cellars
ADS Wines
Alderbrook Winery
Alexander Valley Vineyards
Amador Cellars
Amphora Winery
Ancient Peaks
Artezin Wines
B.R. Cohn Winery
Baldwin Wines
Ballentine Vineyards
Barefoot Cellars
Bartholomew Park Winery
Beaver Creek Vineyards
Bedrock Wine Company
Bella Vineyards & Wine Caves
Black Sears Estate Wine
Boeger Winery
Bogle Winery
Bonneau Winery
Bota Box
Brazin Cellars
Brown Estate Vineyards
Brutocao Cellars
C.G. Di Arie Vineyard & Winery
Cakebread Cellars
Calcareous Vineyard
Calstar Cellars
Candor / Hope Family Wines
Carlisle Winery
Carol Shelton Wines
Cedarville Vineyard
Cellar No 8
Charter Oak Winery
Chateau Montelena Winery
Chatom Vineyards
Chiarello Family Vineyards
Claudia Springs Winery
Cline Cellars
Collier Falls Vineyard
Cougar’s Leap Winery
D H Gustafson Family Vineyards
Dancing Bull
Dancing Lady Wines
Dashe Cellars
D-Cubed Cellars
Deep Purple Winery
Del Carlo Winery
DeLoach Vineyards
deLorimier Winery
Dendor Patton
Dogwood Cellars
Dono dal Cielo Vineyard
Downing Family Vineyards
Dry Creek Vineyard
Easton Wines
Edmeades Winery
Fields Family Wines
Folie a Deux Winery – Trinchero Family Estates
Fontanella Family Winery
Forever Vineyards
Four Vines Winery
Frank Family Vineyards
Fritz Winery
Gamba Vineyards and Winery
Giuseppe Wines & Neese Vineyards
Gnarly Head Cellars
Gnaughty Vines
Gregory Graham Wines
Grey Wolf Vineyards & Cellars
Guglielmo Winery
Gundlach Bundschu Winery
HaGafen Cellars
Haraszthy Family Cellars
Harney Lane Winery
Hartford Family Winery
Hearthstone Vineyards & Winery
Hook & Ladder Winery
Hunt Cellars
Ironstone Vineyards
J Dusi Wines
J. Keverson Winery
J. Rickards Winery & Vineyards
Joel Gott Wines
John Tyler
JR Wines
Kenneth Volk Vineyards
Kenwood Vineyards/Heck Estates
Klinker Brick Winery
Kokomo Winery
Kuleto Estate Winery
LangeTwins Winery & Vineyards
Lava Cap Winery
Leonhardt Vineyards
m2 Wines
Mantra Wines
Manzanita Creek / Salerno Healdsburg Estate Winery
Marr Cellars
Martorana Family Winery
Masked Rider Winery
Matrix Winery
Mauritson Family Winery
Mazzocco Winery
McCay Cellars
McNab Ridge Winery
Meeker Vineyard
Michael-David Winery
Mike and Molly Hendry Wine Co.
Milliaire Winery
Miraflores Winery
MoniClaire Vineyards
Mounts Family Winery
Murphy Goode – Artisans & Estates
Novy Family Wines
Oak Ridge Winery
Opolo Vineyards
Outpost Estate Wines
Paso Creek
Peachy Canyon Winery
Pech Merle Winery
Pedroncelli Winery
Peju Province Winery
Perry Creek Winery
Pezzi King Vineyards
Puccioni Vineyards
R & B Cellars
Rancho San Miguel Winery
Rancho Zabaco Winery
Ravenswood Quarry
Red Truck Wines
Renwood Winery
Ridge Lytton Springs
Ridge Vineyards
Robert Biale Vineyards
Rock Wall Wine Company
Rombauer Vineyards
Rosenblum Cellars
Rotta Winery
Rued Winery
Rusina Wines
Saddleback Cellars
San Joaquin Wine Company
Sapphire Hill Vineyards & Winery
Sausal Winery
Sbragia Family Vineyards
Scott Harvey Wines
Sebastiani Vineyards
Seghesio Family Vineyards
Selby Winery
Sera Fina Cellars
Sextant Wines
Shannon Ridge
Simoncini Vineyards
Sobon Estate
Spenker Winery
St. Amant Winery
St. Francis Winery & Vineyard
Starlite Vineyards
Starry Night Winery
Steele Wines
Stephen & Walker Winery
Stonehedge Winery
Storrs Winery & Vineyards
Storybook Mountain Vineyards
Talty Vineyards & Winery
Terra d’Oro – Trinchero Family Estates
The Federalist
The Lucas Winery
The Other Guys
The Terraces
Three Wine Company
Tin Barn Vineyards
Tofanelli Family Vineyard
Trattore Estate Winery & Vineyard
Trentadue Winery
Tres Sabores
Trione Vineyards & Winery
Turley Wine Cellars
V. Sattui Winery
Valdez Family Winery
Valley of the Moon Winery/Heck Estates
Van Ruiten Family Winery
Villa Toscano Winery
Vino Noceto
Virgil’s Vineyard
Wilson Winery & Vineyards
Wine Guerrilla
ZinAlley Winery
Zynthesis Cellars – Wheelhouse Wine Cellars
31 Dec 2010 Ringing in the New Year – 2011!
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I would like to wish all of your a very Happy and Prosperous New Year!  The new year is nearly upon on us (11 hours away PST). 

How are you ringing in the new year: friends, big hosted party, a bottle or two of bubbles, great meal or some combination there in?  This New Year’s Eve is going to be a smaller and simplier party than in previous years — some friends sharing Jambalaya, light appetizers, board and card games but with a few adult beverages so see the new year in properly.

I hope you have a wonderful, safe and safe New Year’s Eve celebration!  Please make sure to have a designated driver if you are going to be out and about enjoying the evening celebrations.  A taxi is cheap while someone life and/or a DUI is not!  If you have any questions about your ability to drive, then you should not be driving for quite awhile.  So, find a fun place, good people and enjoy yourself!

My 2011 be a much better and more prosperous new year for you and your family!