Tag Archives: Freemark Abbey

Grocery Store Chardonnay Project

Findings include:
• Very drinkable (86 to 87 point) wines can be obtained for as low as $7-9
• While high QPR (quality price ratio) wines can be found at virtually all price points, the highest rated wines (92 and 91+ points) can be found at the $15-20, $20-25 and $30-and-above price ranges
• The $26-30 range contains surprisingly few highly rated wines
• Three U.S. wine firms are responsible for nearly 17% of these wines, and the top eight wine firms own over 37% of these labels
• Nearly 16% of these grocery store Chardonnays exhibited relatively high residual sugar (sweetness)
• Less than 14% of these wines were bottled under screwcap
• 6% of the wines were affected by TCA and/or oxidation Continue reading

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California Wines Showing More Balance: SF Family Winemakers Tasting

What was noteworthy for me among the wines I tasted was a decline in the overripe versions of these wines that had come to dominate production over the last two decades. Due, I’m sure, to the relative coolness of the last few vintages in California, as well as to a conscious aim for higher acid, more balanced wines by an increasing number of winemakers here, I tasted many more balanced, lower alcohol Cabernets this year. Continue reading

Posted in Cabernet Sauvignon, California Wine, Chardonnay, Napa, Paso Robles, Petite Sirah, Pinot Noir, Russian River, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz Mountains, Sonoma, Sonoma Coast, Syrah, Zinfandel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Petite Sirah: Stealth Grape Approaching Its Moment?

I learned from this year’s Petite Sirah Symposium, the tenth year of this event, that the 2010 vintage, bottlings of which are just starting to hit the market, is probably the grape’s best vintage since Petite debuted as a “soloist.” Maybe this California heritage variety, which has for so long been in relative stealth mode, is finally poised for its breakout moment. Continue reading

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Petite Sirah: French Reject Excels in California

Producers who do an excellent job with the grape, and whose wines have a track record of aging well, include Corté Riva, Foley, Freemark Abbey, Ridge, Robert Biale, Rosenblum, Stags’ Leap and Turley. Other newer producers who are producing delicious versions are Aver Family, David Fulton, Gustafson, Heringer Estates, Mettler Family, Stanton and Tres Sabores. A brand new, small Sonoma-based producer I was quite impressed with is Trueheart. Good producers of bargain priced versions of Petite Sirah are Concannon and Lava Cap. Continue reading

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Great California Chardonnay and Cabernet: From 1965 to Present

My favorite wine from our Chardonnay flights was the gorgeous 2007 Rhys Alpine, which is still a baby, but our 1990 Mount Eden was also a real treat. We then had three flights of Cabernet: an older flight, going back to 1965; a maturing flight from the ’90s; and a vertical of Shafer Hillside Select. The stars of these three flights for me were the 1991 Peter Michael Les Pavots, my WOTN; a stellar bottle of 1965 Charles Krug Vineyard Selection; and the ’97 Shafer Hillside Select. Continue reading

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