Vintages Pre-Release Tasting—California Premium—Have your Say!

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Reported by Bill Ellis

We tasted the premium products in the Vintages release. This was a great offer for those that appreciate California wines in that the release had enough for us to taste a full selection from California products. Of note were 2 products, the Treana due to its unique attributes as well as the Josh Cellars due to the value offered. The rest of the wines were well made and well appreciated with the Shafer being the group overall favourite. Guild President Bill Ellis took us through the product tastings while providing a slide deck talking to touring the Napa and Sonoma Valleys.

Here’s a listing of what was tasted from the release:

Flight 1

  • Frei Brothers, Chardonnay, #317891, $24.95 This is a barrel-aged Chardonnay from the Russian River Valley AVA where we found toasty butterscotch on nose with flavours of apple and orange on the palate. It was the second favourite of the flight.
  • Macrostie, Chardonnay, #244467, $35.95 Lemon pie on the nose. Zesty minerality on palate on the finish.
  • Treana, White Blend, #011247, $29.95 An interesting wine, group was surprised to see that it was from Treana/Liberty School. 50/50 blend of Marsanne and Viognier, offers notes of peach, pear and tangerine. Rich palate with good acidity and bright citrus and surprising length. An amazing wine timed perfectly for spring! This was the favourite of the flight.

Flight 2

  • Duckhorn, Zinfandel, #327502, $31.95 (not from the release) aromas..It’s.robust.with.juicy. acidity..Fruit.well.showcased..It. was.the.second.favourite.of.the. flight.
  • Storybook Mountain, Zinfandel, #682989, $69.95 A well-balanced Zinfandel showcasing succulent fruit with good acids and firm grip.
  • Ridge, Zinfandel, #652875, $35.95 A blend of 80% Zinfandel, 11% Carignan, 8% Petite Sirah and a splash of Alicante Bouschet. Lots of berry fruits, bramble, spice-box and licorice. It’s not like the Lytton Spring, but it’s a full-flavored. Priced to enjoy! This was the favourite of the flight. Flight 3
  • Shafer, Merlot, #346262, $94.95 This is a rich full bodied with great tannins and will age exceptionally well. Full red and blue fruit, graphite, smoke, tobacco and menthol. Proves the saying that you get what you pay for! This wine was the favourite of the flight.
  • The Prisoner, #104299, $49.95 Noteworthy is that the winemaker Jen Beloz worked for 10 years with the Zinfandel specialist Joel Peterson of Ravenswood. Dark berry and cigar and spice on the nose, full robust mouth filling wine with some surprising floral attributes.
  • Jonata, #218941, $79.95 Blend in this wine is 75% Syrah, 13% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Grenache, 4% Sangiovese, 2% Viognier, 1% Petit Verdot and 1% Merlot. Shows notes of blackberry, violets with food friendly mouthwatering acids and approachable tannin in this well made wine.
  • Josh Cellars, Cabernet Sauvignon, #412320, $17.00 They liked this “value wine” at the 2015 San Francisco International Wine Competition awarding it with double gold. Dark fruit and cocoa on both the nose and palate. Price won’t break the bank for this enjoyable wine. This wine was well-liked and considered a best value buy.
  • Brandlin, Cabernet Sauvignon, #340513, $54.95 Dark berry, anise, cedar and earthiness with firm yet tannins.
  • Joseph Phelps, Cabernet Sauvignon, #189795, $106.95 This is a big wine with robust tannins and berry fruit and spices. Another Phelps blockbuster that will age gracefully. Lay it down for a while and enjoy in 5+ years. A definite cellar selection! This wine was the second favourite of the flight.