Perfectly balanced when freshly opened and poured. Ripe red fruit at first sip. Minimal squeaky feel. Fruit flavor transitions to almost overripe midway through the glass. Dirt and pebbles. Enjoyed this at Farm Bloomington. — a month ago
Very good! — a year ago
The 14 is a blend of 77% Merlot, 16% Cabernet Franc & 7% Merlot. Nose of; ruby dark cassis, blackberries, black plum, dark cherries, black raspberries, hues of blue fruits, pepper and liquid violets. The mouthfeel is lush & ruby. M+ body & M+ tannins. Blackberries, dark cherries, black plum, black raspberries and hues of blue fruits. Crushed rocks, soft leather, dry herbs, underbrush, loamy soil powder, notes of cigar, violets, dark florals, nice acidity and beautifully round, lush finish with sex appeal. Photos of; an aerial view of Pepper Bridge, estate grapes going through veraison, Owner-Norm McKibben, and ground shot of the estate. Producer notes and history...Norm McKibben is one of founding fathers of Walla Walla's wine industry. To his good friends and colleagues, he is better know as "Stormin' Norman." In Norm's 30 plus years in Walla Walla, the valley has evolved from a 40 vineyard acres to an appellation with more than 2,800 acres under vine. A good portion of the boom can be attributed to Norm even after coming to the game late after working for several decades as an engineer in the construction industry. Not wanting to retire after, he moved to Walla Walla to become an apple farmer. In 1989, he realized Walla Walla's potential for grape growing. Norm planted his first vineyard with help from his wife, Virginia and their eldest son, Shane. Two years later, Norm added Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. These vines soon became the backbone of Pepper Bridge. Not long after he expanded his business and resume further. Norm got involved in the budding wine industry. He served as a partner and director at Canoe Ridge Vineyards, Hogue Cellars and worked with a number of Walla Walla's leading vintners. In 1996, he partnered with Gary Figgins of Leonetti Cellar and Marty Clubb of L'Ecole No. 41. At this point, McKibben had increased his vineyard holdings to 200 acres. In 1998, Norm officially started Pepper Bridge Winery. Today, Pepper Bridge Winery is a benchmark property in Walla Walla and Norm is an icon of the industry. He manages and consults for more than 600 acres of the top vineyard sites in Walla Walla; Pepper Bridge, Seven Hills and Les Collines. Norm also has introduced state of the art irrigation systems, soil moisture temperature monitoring equipment and sustainable farming techniques. Norm is a big believer in sustainable viticulture. All of his vineyards are certified sustainable by VINEA, the Walla Walla Valley's Sustainable Trust, and LIVE, an Oregon-based sustainable viticulture organization. They are also certified Salmon Safe and are monitored by the IOBC, the international body responsible for setting sustainability standards. In 1998, the Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers honored Norm as "Grape Grower of the Year." That same year, he was appointed chair of the Washington Wine Commission and served in that position until retiring from the organization in 2001. If there is a Maverick of the Walla Walla wine producers, it would be Norm. — 2 years ago
No detailed notes as we were out to dinner with friends. However, a very classic example of Randy’s Cabernet. This 86 no different. Still in youth form with another 10 plus years of life.
Photos of, Dunn Estate vines, Randy Dunn - Owner/Winemaker and Napa Maverick, older shot of harvest time at Dunn and their barrel room. — 5 months ago
Smooth and fruity - a really nice port type fortified wine — 2 years ago
On the nose; liqueur style blackberries, dark cherries, black plum, plum, blueberries, baked strawberries, sweet spice, vanilla, wood shavings, dark, rich, moist soil, crushed, dry rocks, violets and fragrant, fresh, dark florals. The palate is medium bodied and the tannins are nicely resolved and round. The fruits are also liqueur is style. Blackberries, dark cherries, black plum, plum, blueberries, boysenberries, raspberries, baked strawberries and a touch of dry cranberries. Sweet, soft leather, lead pencil, cola, vanilla, cinnamon, soft spice-box, understated herbal notes, rich, moist, dark soil, crushed rocks, a touch of bramble, crumbled volcanic minerals, nice, soft, round acidity and a long, lush, fresh, elegant fruit finish that is 75% fruit and 25% earth. The 06 has plenty of life ahead of it...at least 10 years. I'm pretty sure this bottle was around $35 at Costco upon release. Photos of, the view from their tasting terrace, the legend/Napa maverick Joseph Phelps, terrace seating and interior shot of the remodeled estate. Producer notes...the winery was founded in 1973 by Napa wine pioneer, Joseph Phelps. Like a number of other vintners in the valley, Joseph came to wine from another industry. In the 1960’s he ran one of the largest construction companies based in the USA, Hensel Phelps Construction One of his projects was to work on building the BART system in the San Francisco Bay Area (Bay Area Rapid Transit). Joseph's transition into the winery business started with a banker informing him of several potential winery projects in Napa and Sonoma. One of the projects was to build Souverain Winery in Napa (now Rutherford Hill Winery). After that project Joseph became interested in purchasing his own property in the valley. He acquired 600+ acres. His first vintage of Insignia was 1974. Joseph Phelps began planting grapes – varieties such as Riesling, Gewurztraminer and Pinot Noir. They ultimately discovered these grapes were not suited to the particular climate of this part of the valley and they changed over to other varietals...namely Bordeaux based red varieties.The first vintage of Joseph Phelps was made at Heitz Cellars. Sadly, Bill passed away in April 2015 at 87...may he rest in peace with a glass that never empties. All and all a good life I'd say. Today his son Bill Phelps is President of winery. Not that long after Joseph's passing, Joseph Phelps opened their remolded hospitality center (photos above) located in what was the original winery building. It's sad that Joseph did not live to see it's full completion and opening. The last 1/4 of glass or less from the bottom of the bottle which; is called "The Truth" was so rich, concentrated & beautiful, I was tempted to push the rating to 9.3/9.4.
— 2 years ago
Good at $10 — a year ago
Second tasting two months since last. Moderate extraction, red. Funk, wood, white and green pepper, cherry and eucalyptus notes in nose. Cherry and black pepper flavors, orange and moderate skin astringency on tip of tongue on finish. Needs time to open. Fruit flavors soften while seed tannin bitterness comes through in finish and aftertaste. A wild wine, all herbs and tannin structure with a soft fruit center. Clear this is a Syrah with a maverick winemaker's vision. Not to everyone's taste but memorable — a year ago