Archive for ◊ January, 2010 ◊

23 Jan 2010 Thai fruit icewines — Radee Wines
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I had the opportunity to taste three Thai fruit icewines recently.  The entire concept of Thai icewines is just plain odd, but the fruit side of it makes it even more intriguing.  The flavors of the icewines are: Pineapple, Mangosteen and Passionfruit.  Mangosteen is a fruit only grown in Southeast Asia; it is a wonderful fruit that is exotic and familiar in flavor — floral, apple, pear and good crunchy texture.

The three icewines were all very interesting and good in quality.  My preference was for the Mangosteen and the Passionfruit.  The Pineapple tasted about equal parts pineapple and lemon — the two do not work as well as you might expect.  The Passionfruit and Mangosteen would make excellent bases for some very interesting cocktails. 

If you are looking for something out of the ordinary or something that would be a natural drink to work with Asian and Indian food, you should definitely give these products a try!

14 Jan 2010 2010 Pinot Noir Shootout – Final round judging
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I was one of the judges in the 2010 Pinot Noir Shootout held on January 11th at Boudin’s restaurant in Fisherman’s wharf in San Francisco.  The final round consisted of 64 wines being split into two panels of 32 wines.  Each panel had 4 flights of 8 wines to be judged on a 100 point scale.  A wine given a score of 90 or higher indicated the judge felt the wine should be included in the final list of Pinot Noirs to be included in the public tasting as part of the 2010 Pinot Noir Summit (Feb 27th, Osher Marin Jewish Community Center, 200 N. San Pedro Road, San Rafeal, CA, 94903 — tickets available on the Affairs of the Vine website).   Each group of 32 wines had 13 judges rate the wines. The Pinot Noir Shootout had approximately 280 wines entered from all over the world.

Flight 1:
87 pts - Ampelos Cellars, 2006 Ampelos Vineyards, Reserver – Rho, Santa Rita Hills, 520 cases, $45  retail
90 pts - Claiborne & Churchill, 2007 Edna Valley, 2380 cases, $25 retail
89 pts - Row Eleven, 2006 Santa Maria Valley, 2000 cases, $36 retail
89 pts – Cumbre of Vine Hill, 2007 Barrel 31, Santa Cruz Mountains, 187 cases, $59 retail
89 pts – Spy Valley, 2008 Marlborough, 8106 cases, $29 retail
90 pts - MacMurray Ranch, 2007 Sonoma Coast, 75000 cases, $24 retail
92 pts - Robledo, 2006 Rancho Rincon, Estate, Los Carneros, 900 cases, $40 retail
90 pts - Fulcrum, 2007 Anderson Valley, 100 cases, $52 retail

Flight 2
88 pts – River Road Vineyards, 2007 Stephanies Vineyard, Estate, Russian River Valley, 997 cases, $26 retail
87 pts – Oak Knoll Winery, 2006 Red Hill Vineyard, Red Hill Oregon, 430 cases, $24 retail
89 pts – Hahn SLH Estate, 2007 Santa Lucia Highlands, 2591 cases, $29 retail
91 pts - Shandel’s Oppenlander Vineyard, 2007 Estate Grown, Mendocino County, 250 cases, $40 retail
93 pts – Lionheart Wines, 2007 Sonoma Coast, 50 cases, $40 retail
89 pts – TR Elliott, 2007 Three Plumes, Russian River Valley, 150 cases, $40 retail
90 pts – Left Edge, 2008 Sea Ridge Vineyard, Timberline Block, Sonoma Coast, 300 cases, $40 retail
91 pts – Artesa, 2007 Carneros, 20664 cases, $24 retail

Flight 3:
90 pts – CRU, 2008 Appellation Series, Santa Lucia Highlands, 240 cases, $32 retail
85 pts – La Fenetre, 2007 Le Bon Climat, Santa Maria Valley, 115 cases, $55 retail
87 pts – Sonoma Coast Vineyards, Freestone HIlls, Sonoma Coast, 450 cases, $40 retail
88 pts – Handley Cellars, 2007 Anderson Valley, 4029 cases, $30 retail
88 pts – David Bruce Winery, 2007 Santa Cruz Mountains, 1232 cases, $30 retail
87 pts – Truchard Vineyards, 2006 Carneros Napa Valley, 4503 cases, $35 retail
85 pts – Belle Vallee, 2006 Grand Cuvee, Willamette Valley, 382 cases, $42 retail
84 pts – Orentano, 2007 Russian River Valley, 400 cases, $40 retail

Flight 4:
89 pts – Deaver Vineyards, 2007 Sierra Foothills, 112 cases, $24.99 retail
89 pts – Nicholson Ranch, 2007 Sonoma Coast, 169 cases, $42 retail
88 pts – Manzoni, 2007 Manzoni Family Estate, Santa Lucia Highlands, 324 cases, $24 retail
89 pts – Mahoney Vineyards, 2006 Las Brisas Esate, Carneros, 300 cases, $28 retail
90 pts – Heart O The Maountain, 2007 100% Pommard Clone, Santa Cruz Mountains, 25 cases, $58 retail
87 pts – Dierberg Vineyards, 2006 Estate, Santa Maria Valley, 4400 cases, $42 retail
86 pts – Pessagno, 2007 Four Boys Vineyard, Estate Grown, Santa Lucia Highlands, 192 cases, $55 retail

I did score my wine the highest out of the flight of 32.  Note: I did not realize it was my wine during the tasting — I am a bit embarressed to say that but it is the truth.  At least, I consistently like my own wine. :)   After the tasting, the judges were conferring and it appeared that my scoring was fairly consistent with other judges including picking the Lionheart Pinot Noir as the top in the flight.  I hope that I do place in the top three after everything is tabulated.   

The wines in the other grouping were:
David Bruch Winery, 2007 Anderson Valley
Wedell Cellars, 2006 Hillside Vineyard, Edna Valley
Canihan Family Vineyard, 2007 Exuberance (Reserve), Carneros/Sonoma Valley border
Big Basin Vineyards, 2007 Alfaro Family Vineyard, Santa Cruz Mountains
Clary Ranch, 2006 Estate Sonoma Coast
CRU, 2007 Vineyard Montage, Central Coast
Ampelos Cellars, 2006 Lambda, Ampelos Vineyards, Santa Rita Hills
Longboard Vineyards, 2007 Russian River Valley
Bogle, 2007 Russian River Valley
Bjornstad Cellars, 2007 Hellenthal Vineyard, Sonoma Coast
Nicholson Ranch, 2007 Estate, Reserve, Cactus Hill, Sonoma Valley
La Fenetre, 2007 Calmant Creek vineyard, Sonoma Coast
Gloria Ferrer, 2005 Rust Rock Terrace vineyard, Carneros
Sonoma Coast Vineyards, 2006 Petersen Vineyard, Sonoma Coast
Pacific Coast Vineyards, 2007 Babcock Vineyards, Santa Rita Hills
Elk Cove Vineyards, 2008 Mount Richmond vineyard, Willamette Valley, Yamhill-Carlton District
Bohemian Vineyard, 2008 Bohemian Vineyard, Russian River Valley
Willamette Valley Vineyards, 2007 Tualatin Estate, Willamette AVA
Brophy Clark, 2007 Garey & Goodchild Vineyard, Santa Maria Valley
Eric Ross, 2008 Saralee’s Vineyard, Russian River Valley
Amisfield, 2007 Lowburn, New Zealand
Russian Hill, 2007 Estate Vineyards, Russian River Valley
Wild Earth, 2008 Central Otago
Vine Hill, 2007 Santa Cruz Mountains
Perception, 2007 Russian River Valley
Balletto Vineyards, 2007 Winery Block, Russian River Valley
Pegasus Bay, 2007 Waipara Valley, New Zealand
Kendric Vineyards, 2007 Marin County
Kenneth Volk Vineyards, 2006 Bien Nacido Vineyard, Santa Maria Valley
Lucienne, 2007 Doctor’s Vineyard, Santa Lucia Highlands
Stephen & Walker, 2006 Monterey
Scott Cellars, 2008, Sierra Madre Vineyard, First Mesa, Santa Maria Valley

I believe that the top 40 or so wines from the final round will be included at the Pinot Noir Summit based on the aggragated scoring of all the judges in each flight as part of the public tasting.