Archive for ◊ December, 2009 ◊

30 Dec 2009 Happy New Year!
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I would like to wish everyone a very happy and prosperous new year! 

2009 was an “interesting” year to say the least.  Lionheart Wines saw some good development of the brand and some great wines going into the bottle.  The year has helped me focus on what Lionheart needs to do better as well as what wines make sense to be producing in 2010 (assuming we have the cash for that!).  I would like to continue to focus on Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Sangiovese and Rose.  The white Rhone wines are lovely but the market place is not quite ready for them.  I could be changing my tune if I can figure out how to get the production costs down to a more managable price point. :)   I love syrah but it has not caught on as well as I planned on.  Again, who knows Syrah might bust out with the right production costs.

In 2010, we will be releasing some very good wines from the 2007 and 2008 vintages.  So, please keep your eye out for them.  Also, if you know a place that you would like carry Lionheart Wines, please let me know where so I can contact them directly.  Jen and I are looking forward providing great wines and service to our wine club members and retail partners. 

May you enjoy a lovely and safe time including some of the grape on New Year’s Eve and New Year Day!  Please make sure you have a designated driver!

Sincerely,
Leon Glover
Winemaker, Lionheart Wines

17 Dec 2009 2010 Pinot Noir Shootout – Preliminary round
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I had the pleasure of participating as a judge in one of the preliminary round judgings for the 2010 Pinot Noir Shootout.  Note: I have entered by 2007 Sonoma Coast, Pinot Noir in the the event.  My wine was not tasted in this particular preliminary round. 

As part of the judging system, only 32 wines are tasted at a time in the preliminary rounds.  Each wine will be included in two preliminary rounds to make sure the wine is of appropriate quality for the final round of judging.

The wines in this preliminary round with the score I gave the wine plus what the range of scores for the round were if I have the data for it:

Flight 1:
85 pts – Heart O’ The Mountain, 2007 Estate Blend, Santa Cruz Mountains, 385 cases, $48 retail
89 pts – Belle Vallee Cellars, 2007 Reserve, Willamette Valley, 1088 cases, $28 retail
88 pts [80-90] – Mietz Cellars, 2006 Carmine’s Vineyard, Russian River Valley, 150 cases, $35 retail
91 pts [86-91] – Hahn SLH Estate, 2007 Santa Lucia Highlands, 2591 cases, $29 retail
88 pts – Eric Ross, 2008 Saralee’s Vineyard, Russian River Valley, 310 cases, $40 retail
85 pts – Wild Hog Vineyard, 2008 estate, True Sonoma Coast, 348 cases, $35 retail
90 pts – [77-90] – Willamette Valley Vineyards, 2007 Elton Vineyard Pinot Noir, Willamette AVA, 410 cases, $45 retail
88 pts – Wedell Cellars, 2006 Hillside Vineyard, Edna Valley, 100 cases, $125 retail

Flight 2:
84 pts – Baretto, 2007 Reserve, Santa Cruz Mountains, 172 cases, $40 retail
89 pts – Escarpment, 2007 Martinborough, New Zealand, 3000 cases, $36.99 retail
87 pts – Signorello, 2007 Estate, Las Amigas Vineyard, Carneros, 104 cases, $50 retail
87 pts – Valley of the Moon Winery, 2008 Carneros, 4440 cases, $20 retail
80 pts – Kyra, 2007 Washington State, 380 cases, $22 retail
91 pts [80-91] - CRU, 2008 Sppellation Series, Santa Lucia Highlands, 240 cases, $32 retail
82 pts – Brandborg, 2006 Estate, Ferris Wheel Estate, Umpqua Valley, 450 cases, $38 retail
91 pts [79-91] – TR Elliott, 2007 Three Plumes, Russian River Valley, 150 cases, $40 retail

Flight 3:
86 pts [82-91] – Pacific Coast Vineyards, 2007 Babcock Vineyard, Santa Rita Hills, 88 cases, $62.50 retail
85 pts [71-91] – Handley Cellars, 2007 Anderson Valley, 4029 cases, $30 retail
86 pts [79-88] – Phillips Hill, 2008 Ring of Fire, Anderson valley, 150 cases, $45 retail
87 pts [79-91] – Surfrider, 2008 Edna Valley, 548 cases, $27 retail
87 pts [75-91] – Lion’s Pride, El Molino High School Vineyard, Russian River Valley, 120 cases, $40 retail
83 pts [80-92] – Orentano, 2007 Russian River Valley, 400 cases, $40 retail
83 pts [80-89] – Wild Earth, 2008 Central otago, 7000 cases, $29.99 retail
84 pts [74-92] – Clary Ranch, 2007 Estate, Clary Ranch Vineyard, Sonoma Coast, 458 cases, $36 retail

Flight 4:
86 pts [75-91] – Villa Mt. Eden, 2007 Grand Reserve, Russian River Valley, 1120 cases, $23 retail
83 pts [76-86] – Firesteed, 2008 Oregon, 25114 cases, $15.99 retail
91 pts [83-92] – Deaver Vineyards, 2007 Sierra Foothills, 112 cases, $24.99 retail
89 pts [79-89] – Kyra, 2008 Washinton State, 350 cases, $22 retail
87 pts [82-91] – Phillips Hill, 2008 Oppenlander Vineyard, Mendocino, 600 cases, $45 retail
84 pts [81-89] – Balletto Vineyards, 2007 Burnside Road vineyard, Russian River Valley, 300 cases, $34 retail
82 pts [81-87] – Erath, 2006 Leland Vineyard, Willamette Valley, 550 cases, $45 retail
85 pts [80-90] – CRU, 2008 Appellation Series, Santa Maria, 317 cases, $32 retail

My scores tended to be in the middle or toward the higher end of the ranges.  I scored the first two flights a bit higher than I probably should have as I needed to calibrate my scoring range a bit.  This is a great example of why wines should be tasted double-blind to make sure they deserve the score given.  If I was judging more often, I think the recalibration time would be much quicker.  Also, after each flight the judges discussed the high and low scores of each wine which is a great way to get feedback on how you are rating a wine.

I hope that my wine makes it into the final round!  I guess only time will tell.

03 Dec 2009 Preparing for the holiday season…
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This is one of my favorite times of the year — Christmas and New Years.  My wife and I are preparing for our annual charity Christmas dinner.  We are planning menus, decorating the house, putting up lights and planning the annual holiday Lionheart Wines promotion.  This year has been a very difficult year for many people.  The Lionheart staff are very aware of recent trials in the past and the upcoming trials in the new year.  We would like to help make this holiday season a bit brighter for all the fans of Lionheart Wines.   I will be sending out an email shortly with the details of the promotion.

We donate 5% of purchases to certain charities that we support:  The Lionheart School in Georgia which teaches children with varying levels of autism, Rebuilding Together San Francisco and San Francisco SPCA.  When you make a purchase, please use the following coupon code to let me know who you would like to give the 5% to: The Lionheart School (“LionheartSchool“), Rebuilding Together -SF (“RTSF“) or San Francisco SPCA (“SPCA_SF“).  The coupon code work with other coupon codes as well.

Other news:
The 2008 Sonoma Coast, Pinot Noir, has been bottled!  The wine is tasting very good now but will need 6 months in the bottle before showing what it truly has going for it.  Your patience will be well rewarded!

We will be releasing the 2008 Angel’s Fare (Marsanne/Roussanne/Viognier), 2007 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and the 2007 Roaring Red, Proprietary blend in time for Christmas.  We are waiting on the labels to be come back from the printer before the wines will be available for sale.  Those wines have already had many months of bottle aging so they should all be out of bottle shock and ready for you to give a try.