Fetzer Vineyards

Fetzer Vineyards

Flatbed Red Blend

Very easy drinker — 2 years ago

Fetzer Vineyards

Eagle Peak California Merlot 2015

Smooth and jammy. A consistently tasty product. Not a hint of metallic. Tried again after 15 years and was definitely impressed. — 4 years ago

Karalyn Lane
with Karalyn

Saxum Vineyards

James Berry Vineyard Syrah Blend 2012

David T

A night of Saxum and Booker comparisons. On the nose, bright, ripe; dark cherries, cherries, strawberries, cranberries, pomegranate, vanilla, cinnamon, red vines, crushed volcanic minerals, loamy top soil, dark Burgundian earthiness with dark red florals. The body is M with well resolved tannins. The fruits are bright; dark cherries, cherries, strawberries, cranberries & pomegranate. Vanilla, cinnamon, steeped fruit tea, red vines, cherry cola, crumbled, grey volcanic minerals, limestone chalkiness, stem inclusion, red roses, violets, cherry lifesavers, softened leather, bright red florals, brilliant fresh acidity and a long, lush, round, elegant and well polished finish. This will be even better in 2-3 years. Photos of; the James Berry Vineyard, barrel room, rock shale and Justin barrel tasting. Producer notes and history...Justin's father James was a veterinarian in a fast-growing suburb of San Diego who wanted to live in the countryside. He bought the James Berry Vineyard property when Smith was 10 years old and planted Chardonnay, because that's what he liked to drink. He sold the grapes to Fetzer and argued continually with Bobby Fetzer who wanted them farmed organically. Justin Smith does farm organically, but is not certified because he says, "my dad would keel over." James Smith still lives on the property, a few hundred yards away, and still farms a section of the vineyard for his own pleasure. But he has given over the majority of it to Justin, although that didn't happen for years. It was in the late 1980s, John Alban (Alban Vineyards) that convinced James Smith that the area in western Paso Robles was better for Rhône varieties than Chardonnay. Slowly over time, the Smiths pulled out Chardonnay and replanted to Mourvèdre, Viognier and Syrah. Justin did much of the early work. When he graduated from Cal Poly, he came back to manage the vineyard. As payment, his father gave him one block of Syrah. Justin and his college roommate Matt Trevisan started Linne Calodo winery with the fruit, making 300 cases in their first vintage. They later parted ways and Smith formed Saxum. In 2003, he built the garage winery under his house. By 2004 it was the most crowded building in the county. Villa Creek also made its wine there. At the time, they were all making about 500 cases of wine. Saxum is now well out of the garage and makes around 4500 cases give or take what conditions allow. Only a few hundred cases are not sold to their members and into marketplace, mostly in restaurants in California, New York and Chicago. Saxum's largest production wine is Broken Stones, a multi-vineyard blend that's heavily weighted towards Syrah and is a little more mineral driven. There most famous wine is the one Smith has been farming the longest, the James Berry Vineyard red blend. The stylist labels for Saxum's single vineyard wines are made by local artist Joe Kalionzes. Some change from time to time., but the Paderewski Vineyard, Joe scratched an eagle onto a rock that came from the vineyard and made a block print from it. For the Terry Hoage single vineyard wine, he painted a label and scratched some of the paint away to create a dragonfly because Terry Hoage has a big pond in his vineyard with lots of dragonflies. — 5 years ago

Ellen, TheSkip and 12 others liked this
Isaac Pirolo

Isaac Pirolo Influencer Badge

@David T If Justin Smith also runs the Tulsa PR firm, Saxum, he really is a god.
David T

David T Influencer Badge

@Isaac Pirolo I cut & pasted from the wrong document and did pay attention to what I posted before hitting the pillow. Correct note now posted.
Norman Gennaro

Norman Gennaro Premium Badge

Can't wait to see the Booker compares. Also a big Linne fan.

Fetzer Vineyards

Echo Ridge California Sauvignon Blanc 2017

Shared with Emily watching handmaids tale — 3 years ago

Fetzer Vineyards

Goosefoot Road Monterey County Riesling 2014

Very nice smooth flavor. Not sharp or sour. — 4 years ago

Fetzer Vineyards

Monterey County Gewürztraminer 2015

Surprising quality, nice palate weight, and fantastic acid backbone for an $11 California Gewürz! Really pleasant. — 5 years ago

Kirk, Velma and 1 other liked this

Fetzer Vineyards

Shaly Loam Monterey County Gewürztraminer

Would be great dessert or after dinner in warmer months — 5 years ago

Clay liked this

Fetzer Vineyards

Anthony's Hill Merlot

Smooth and bold — 3 years ago

1 liked this

Fetzer Vineyards

Lake County Cabernet Sauvignon 1978

Surprisingly alive enough. 1978 Lake county cab say guys! — 4 years ago

Concha y Toro

Don Melchor Puente Alto Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2004

David T

The first Don Melchor from my storage and it’s very good but still early. I won’t open another for at least 5 years or more. The nose on first open showed ruby dark currants. As it opened up in the two hour decant, it’s nose changed and showed some earthy funkiness with a fair amount of mushroom. Dark currants, blackberries, dark cherries, black plum, black raspberries, overly baked strawberries, blueberries, black cherry cola, dark dry soils, dry crushed rocks, dry stems, soft leather, lead pencil shavings, dry stones, mushrooms, darker Asian spices, mint, dry herbs, anise, tarry notes, black tea, lilacs and fresh & dry dark florals. The body is full, round, lush & elegant. The tannins are round & beautiful, but only 50% resolved. The palate matches the nose very closely. Dark currants, blackberries, dark cherries, black plum, black raspberries, overly baked strawberries, blueberries, black cherry cola, dark chocolate & mocha, dark dry soils, dry crushed rocks, dry stems, soft leather, lead pencil shavings, tobacco with ash, dry stones, darker Asian spices, mint, dry herbs, anise, tarry notes, black tea, lilacs and fresh & dry dark florals. The acidity is round & beautiful. The length, balance, structure and tension are extremely solid. The finish is still big, full, round, richly elegant and lasts minutes. Photos of; their beautiful Estate, harvested fruit, a library cellar that I think we’d all like to raid and their barrel room with tasting area. Producer history and notes...Concha y Toro was founded by Don Melchor de Santiago Concha y Toro and his wife, Emiliana Subercaseaux, in 1883. They are the largest producer of wines from Latin America and are headquartered in Santiago, Chile. They own 8,720 hectares spread throughout Chile's major wine regions of; Maipo, Maule, Rapel, Colchagua, Curico, and Casablanca. He started the winery with grape varieties that he brought from Bordeaux. The grapes he brought were; Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Merlot, and Carmenère. Concha y Toro started exporting wine in March of 1933 to the port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands. In 1950, the winery began to acquire more vineyards. They also began the process of adapting its wine to new markets and meeting a higher demand. In 1971, Eduardo Guilisasti Tagle became Chairman of the Board and succeeded in expanding the company. In 1987, they partnered with the U.S. importer Banfi Vintners. This partnership advanced sales and were able to incorporate more advanced technology in all stages of their production. They also started using small French oak barriques that further advanced the quality of their wines. In 2011, Concha y Toro bought the California portfolio of wines from Brown-Forman. The portfolio included these properties; Fetzer, Bonterra, Five River Wines, Bel Arbor Wines, Jekel Vinyards, Coldwater Creek, Sanctuary Wines Little Black Dress Wines. They are now a huge company with nearly a billion dollars in revenues annually. Don Melchor was Chile’s first iconic wine and has received with few exceptions consistent 90+ Parker scores since 1995. Most in the mid 90 range. This 04 is an excellent example of what they can produce in Chile. If I put this in a blind tasting, many would guess Bordeaux and some Napa Cabernet. — 5 years ago

Shay, Eric and 11 others liked this
Severn Goodwin

Severn Goodwin Influencer Badge Premium Badge

Thanks for the notes! We've been buying this since '00, and I haven't broken up any of the six packs for tasting. We've bought random loose bottles now and then to check in, but they have been newer vintages. Glad to know the '04 is doing well.