On the nose, French roast coffee, dark currants, dark cherries, Kirsch cherries, blackberries, black raspberries, cherry cola with liqueur notes, blueberry hues, vanillin, cinnamon stick, light clove, toast, rich, dark soil, limestone minerals, sweet tarry notes, soft leather, hint of mint/eucalyptus, light graphite with bright red & dark florals.
The body is round, ripe and full. The tannins are nice rounded. The length, structure, tension and balance are coming into their own. Upon first pour, lots of French roast coffee, dark currants, dark cherries, Kirsch cherries, blackberries, black raspberries, strawberries, cherry cola with liqueur notes, blueberry hues, vanillin, cinnamon stick, light clove, cocoa powder, dark spice with just a touch of lifting heat, toast, rich, dark soil, dry stems, good presence of dry herbal notes (sage), limestone minerals, sweet tarry notes, soft leather, hint of mint/eucalyptus, light graphite with bright red & dark florals. The acidity is about as good as it gets. The finish is rich, ripe, well balance, very elegant as it opens and last several minutes.
While this is delicious tonight, it’s early on this wine. Give it another 5 and will cellar another 15 years plus.
Photos of, the newer Stag’s Leap Winery with the rock wall...all the stones used in the wall collected from the vineyards prior to planting. The cellar pendulum ball that never stops its motion once started, the newer tasting room and the twilight view from their tasting room.
— 4 days ago
Second bottle of this wine & vintage in the last month or two. Of all the CA Syrah producers, I think Alban comes the closest to the true style of Northern Rhône and certainly one of my favorite producers of Syrah out of CA.
The nose reveals; creamy roasted blackberries, dark cherries, spiced black plum, huckleberries, black raspberries, raspberry cola, some bacon fat, savory meats, black & white pepper, hints of tobacco leaf, softened leather, touch of dry herbs, dry crushed rocks, dry top soil/clay, dry stems, light vanilla with withering dark flowers, lavender & violets.
The body is round, ruby, lush, rich and full. The structure, length, tension and balance are rounded in harmony. The wine is seamless wire to wire. Creamy roasted blackberries, dark cherries, spiced black plum, huckleberries, black raspberries, raspberry cola, strawberries & cherries that start on the mid palate some bacon fat, savory meats, black & white pepper, hints of tobacco leaf, saddle-wood, dark spice w/ some lifting heat, touch of dry herbs, tarry notes, dry crushed rocks, dry top soil/clay, dry stems, light vanilla with withering dark flowers, lavender & violets. The acidity is round and excellent. The long, elegant, well balanced finish goes on for minutes.
While Alban makes many excellent single Vineyard Syrah’s like; Reva, Lorraine & Seymour, which are much more expensive, I am happy to enjoy Patrina for much less money. The QPR for Patrina is superior to their other more expensive bottling’s with far less drop in wine quality vs. the price difference.
Photos of, their Reva Vineyard, Owner-Winemaker, John Alban, their barrel room and the beautiful fruit they grow ready for harvest. — 10 days ago
If you are looking for a really good inexpensive Chardonnay, as Val Kilmer said in role as Doc Holiday in the movie “Tombstone”, “ I’m (Novellum) your Huckleberry.” This is around $10-$12 depending on where you buy it.
On the nose, cream, kiwi, white peach, lemon, lime, Bosc pear, orange citrus, green apple, butter, vanilla, honey notes, soft, light spice, chalky volcanic minerals, jasmine, spring flowers and white & yellow lilies.
The body is full, creamy and waxy. Beeswax/honeycomb, cream, kiwi, white peach, lemon, lime, Bosc pear, orange citrus, green apple, pineapple, butter, vanilla, soft, light sharp spice with a touch of heat, chalky volcanic minerals, jasmine, spring flowers and white & yellow lilies. Round beautiful acidity and a long, Rich, full, delicious, well balanced finish. A steal for $10-$12.
Photo of; the area this wine is from, Roussillon where the Pyrenees meet the Mediterranean. Winemakers, Jean-Marc & Eliane Lafage & Owner Eric Solomon of Eric Solmon Selections.
The Novellum is fermented in tank, 30% aged in French oak with the remainder in tank on the lees of Viognier. Average age of the vines are 30 years and are farmed organically.
— 11 days ago
Wednesday is not the best day for the 4th of July. But, I’ll make the most of it by starting things off on a Tuesday night with some Ruinart.
Darker more pronounced mid red fruits than other N/V Champagne. Richer & fuller with nicely pronounced sharp chalkiness. Some peach & tangerine. Happy 4th all, enjoy! 💥 🇺🇸 — 15 days ago
On the nose, ripe, lush, rich; blackberries, dark cherries, plum, blueberries, olallieberries, black raspberries & strawberries on the glass edges, mixed berry cola, black licorice, vanilla, mocha & dark chocolate, liqueur notes, slight alcohol burn, crush dry rocks, saddle-wood, dry brown top soil/clay, rich, moist, black soil and candied red florals with very fragrant violets.
The body is full, lush and ruby. Tannins are round, velvety and slightly dusty. The fruits are candied and super ripe (perhaps a touch overripe); blackberries, dark cherries, plum, blueberries, olallieberries, black raspberries & strawberries on the glass edges, mixed berry cola, black licorice, sweet tarry notes, vanilla, cinnamon, clove, mocha & dark chocolate, lots of caramel, liqueur notes, just a touch of alcohol burn (14.8%), dark spice with heat that lifts off the palate, crush dry rocks, saddle-wood, dry brown top soil/clay, rich, moist, black soil and candied red florals with very fragrant violets. The structure, length, tension and balance are harmonious...right at their peak. Acidity is perfect. The long, rich, ripe, ruby, lush, velvety, elegant finish is spectacular and lasts minutes.
There is still plenty of life ahead for their 02 Merlot. Another 5 years and perhaps a little more.
Photos of, the gate entrance to Switchback Ride, Kelly Peterson, Managing Partner and Switchback Estate vines. — 4 days ago
Saturday, steak & Claret night. Ribcap (the prime and most tender meat cut) & an 05 Clerc Milon. 05 an excellent vintage in Bordeaux! 😋
Time to look in on the 05 Clerc Milon after 10 years in bottle. 10 years in bottle is always a good first check with quality producers. Since I have nearly a case of the 05, I’ll open another bottle in about 3 years.
On the nose, slightly candied, ripe fruits of; blackberries, dark cherries, black plum, black raspberries, baked strawberries and hues of blueberries. Vanilla, caramel, mocha chocolate, some cinnamon, saddle-wood, steeped tea, light graphite, dark rich soil, sweet tarry notes, crushed, dry rock powder, stones with lavender, fresh dark flowers and violets.
The body round, ruby, lush and full. The tannins like velvet. It’s starting to enter a very good drinking phase with another 15 years plus ahead. The fruits are ripe but more floral on the palate than the nose. Blackberries, dark cherries, black plum, black raspberries, baked strawberries, creamed raspberry cola, hues of blueberries and cherries on the long set. Vanilla, caramel, mocha chocolate, some cinnamon, saddle-wood, steeped tea, dark roasted coffee, used leather, light graphite, dark rich soil, underbrush, sweet tarry notes, crushed, dry, rock powder, stones with lavender, fresh dark flowers and bright violets. The structure, tension, length and balance is hitting its stride. Great round acidity. The ripe, rich, lush, well balanced finish is very good and will continue to get better & better and lasts minutes.
Photos of, Clerc Milon, their new barrel room first used for the 09 vintage. Their dining & reception room, our friend and Winemaker Jean Danjoy. He was the Assistant Winemaker at Opus One for 10 years before designing the new Clerc Milon Cellars and becoming the Winemaker for the 09 vintage. He has pushed the quality at Clerc Milon with each vintage...achieving the highest rating every for Clerc Milon with a 93-95 Parker rating for their 2017 vintage. Not only is he a very talented Winemaker but, perhaps the nicest person I know. And the last photo, Chateau Clerc Milon and Estate vines.
Clerc Milon sits adjacent to her sister property, Chateau Mouton Rothschild. — 11 days ago
One of my favorite whites. First, because it’s so good but, also for its uniqueness. It’s a wild blend of; Garnacha Blanca, Macabeo, Marsanne, Pedro Ximénez, Pinot Noir & Viognier.
The color is pale gold.
On the nose; because of the bottle age, you get just a hint of petroleum. Ripe peach, pineapple, orange zest, some green & more golden apple, nectarines, lemon/lime, ginger, chalky volcanic minerals, smokiness and yellow florals.
The body is round, full and waxy. It’s simply delicious and unlike most whites many have experienced. Touch of petroleum, ripe peach, nectarines, dry apricots, marmalade, orange zest, overripe pineapple, golden apple with just a hint of green apple, beeswax, meyer lemon, some lime flesh, touch of ginger, a little smokiness, chalky volcanic minerals and beautiful yellow florals from the Viognier. The acidity is round and perfect. The long, lush, rich, well balanced is artful and lasts two minutes.
Treat yourself and get a couple bottles. You’ll be glad you did.
Photos of, Clos Mogador, their barrel room, René Barbier Jr. - a great guy who told us to jump in his SUV and drove us through their steep vineyards. Some tricky driving for the novice but not René and one of hillside vineyards.
Outstanding producer in Priorat. If you visit them, have lunch at Amics about two miles from Clos Mogador. Perhaps, the best lunch and value we’ve had at a non-starred Michelin restaurant that absolutely deserves one and maybe two. They also do a lot catering for Clos Erasmus and the other Bodegas in the area — 12 days ago
After dinner wine. One hour plus in the the decanter.
On the nose, sweet, bright, floral fruits of, blackberries, black raspberries, dark cherries, purple fruits, black plum, creamed mixed berries, a dark fruit liqueur presence, loads of baking spices; cinnamon, clove, nutmeg & vanilla bean. Caramel, some black licorice, dark spices, volcanic minerals, crushed dry rocks, saddle-wood, some dry herbs and amazing dark, fresh floral bouquet.
The body is round and full. Tannins still quite firm...tarry like. The structure, tension, length & balance is beginning to take excellent form. The fruits are ripe, lush, brightly, dark floral & ruby. Bright, floral fruits of, blackberries, black raspberries, dark cherries, purple fruits, black plum, strawberries, creamed mixed berries, a dark fruit liqueur presence, mixed berry liqueur cola, loads of baking spices; cinnamon, clove, nutmeg & strong vanilla. Caramel, milk & dark chocolate, some black licorice, dark spices, volcanic minerals, crushed dry rocks, saddle-wood, some dry herbs and amazing dark, fresh floral bouquet. The acidity is round and nicely done. The long, ruby, ripe, lush, elegant finish is a really excellent. It last 5 minutes.
Only a slight fault, a little heat in the alcohol that fades the more it opens up on the long decant. This wine is still youthful & will last another 10 years properly stored.
Photos of, Alpha Omega, Owners of Alpha Omega Winery - Robin and Michelle Baggett, Alpha Omega tasting room and Estate vines.
— 18 days ago
One of my favorite Napa producers & vintages from Philip Togni.
On the nose, ripe, perfumed florals, creamy fruits of; blackberries, mulberries, dark cherries, black raspberries, raspberries, plum and strawberries on the glass edges. Vibrant baking spices; vanilla, light cinnamon, clove & nutmeg. Dark smooth spices, mocha chocolate with caramel, dark berry cola, notes of black licorice, sweet tar, forest floral, fresh tobacco leaf, just a touch of dry herbs, graphite, loamy clay and dark, fresh red florals with lavender & violets.
The body is, round, ruby, lush & full. The structure, tension, length have just tipped to the very beginnings of the waning stage but, the balance is incredible. Ripe, perfumed florals, creamy fruits of; blackberries, mulberries, dark cherries, black raspberries, raspberries, plum and strawberries on the glass edges. Vibrant baking spices; vanilla, light cinnamon, clove & nutmeg. Dark smooth spices, mocha chocolate with caramel, dark berry cola, chalky volcanic minerals with some grit, crushed dry rocks, notes of black licorice, sweet tar, forest floral, tobacco with ash, soft leather, saddle-wood, some underbrush, just a touch of dry herbs, graphite, loamy clay and dark, fresh red florals with lavender & violets. The round acidity is near perfect. The long, round, ripe, ruby, lush, well balanced finish sings on the palate for minutes.
Photos of, the Philip Togni vineyard, cellar staff-Salvador Sanchez, Philip Togni and his daughter Lisa and their barrel room.
Producer notes and history...Philip Togni was born in England and earned a degree (the Dipome National d’Oenologie) at the University of Bordeaux under Emile Peynaud. World famous Winemaker & mega Wine Consultant Michel Rolland also studied under Emile.
After his studies, Philip Togni moved to the Napa Valley in 1959. His first job was planting vines at Mayacamas.
In his career, he has been the Winemaker for Chalone, Chappellet, Cuvaison, Gallo, Inglenook and Sterling before starting his own winery.
Philip Togni was the Winemaker at Chapellet when they made one of the top wines from the 1960’s, the legendary 1969 Chapellet.
Philip Togni Vineyards were founded in 1975 when he purchased 25 acres atop Spring Mountain at an elevation of 2,000 feet. It took until 1981 to plant the vineyard. Sadly, he had to replant in the early 1990’s due to phylloxera.
The winery released its first vintage in 1983, a Sauvignon Blanc. However, he no longer produces white wine.
It took a few more years until the first Cabernet Sauvignon wines were produced at the estate. The debut vintage for Philip Togni Cabernet was the 1985 vintage. The initial vintages of Philip Togni were 100% Cabernet Sauvignon.
Philip Togni does not produce wines with high alcohol. A style from Napa that is sorely missed by me.
The style of his wines are Left bank. Left Bank wines had a big influence on his winemaking and the estate. However, if you have ever spent time looking at his labels for alcohol levels, they’re nowhere to be found.
During the 1980’s, the BATF allowed wineries to state that their wine had the alcoholic strength of a table wine, which was around 7% to 14%. For wineries that had not requested to change their labels, those wineries were not forced to provide specific percent of alcohol. If their labels remain unchanged from their label during the 1980’s, they were only required to state the wine as table wine.
The vineyard contains rocky and clay soils at 2,000 feet. Like Howell Mountain, the vineyard is well above the fog line, which allows for more sunlight and riper fruit.
The Estate is planted to 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot.
Philip Togni makes three wines:
Philip Togni Cabernet Sauvignon. It is aged in 40% new, French oak barrels for an average of 20 months before bottling.
Philip Togni Cabernet Sauvignon is a big, powerful, tannic when wine young. PT requires longer cellar time. It’s made from ripe mountain fruit that can easily take a 10 to 20 year to fully mature. And trust me, it is closer to 20 years of aging before it’s ready to drink.
Philip Togni also produces a second wine called “Tanbark Hill.” It’s named after a prominent hill near the Estate. Tanbark Hill is a 3 1/2-acre parcel of young vines. A very good second wine for less money.
The third wine is Philip Togni Ca’ and is sweet red dessert wine that is produced from the grape, Black Hamburgh. This grape was popular in the Napa Valley before Prohibition. Black Hamburgh is also know as Black Muscat. It is a grape variety derived from the crossing of the Schiava Grossa and Muscat of Alexandria by R. Snow of Bedforshire, England in 1850, according to my studies.
Philip Togni remains a family Winery. The estate is managed by Philip Togni (in his 90’s), his wife Brigitta Togni and their daughter Lisa Togni. In time, it is expected that Lisa Togni will take over the estate.
— 5 days ago
The producer is using Tinto Fino not Tempranillo. Respectfully, requested Delectable change.
Ten years in bottle, time to check in on my first bottle of six.
On the nose, dark currants. Blackberries, black raspberries, dark cherries, baked black plum, raspberries & ripe strawberries. Vanilla, cinnamon stick, crushed limestone minerals, dry rock & stone, some black rich earth, soft leather, dry stems, steeped fruit tea, dark berry cola, sweet tarry notes with red & dark fresh florals.
The body was big and very full with a hour in the decanter it moves to more medium full with another hour in the decanter. The structure, length, tension and balance are just arriving to a sweet spot. Still plenty of life left in this 05. Another 10 years and perhaps more. The tannins are still pronounced but softened & round with a strong dusty presence. The fruits are; gorgeous, sexy, lush & ripe. Blackberries, black raspberries, dark cherries, black plum, creamy raspberries, raisins, ripe cherries & strawberries. Vanilla, cinnamon stick, dark chocolate, crushed limestone minerals, a fair amount of dry rock & stone, some black rich earth, soft leather, dry stems, hints of mint, dry herbs, steeped fruit tea, black licorice, dark berry cola, sweet tarry notes, used espresso roast with red & dark, purple, fresh florals. The acidity is near perfect. The long, ripe, lush, well balanced finish is excellent and lasts minutes. Beautiful wine with sex-appeal.
Photo of, Bodega Uvaguilera top and bottom photos, Winemaker/Supervisor-Isaac Fernandez and cellar shot.
— 15 days ago