Tag: Russian River Valley

J. Cage Cellars 2016 Hallberg Vineyard Pinot Noir

After experiencing the van der Kamp Pinot Noir I was excited to try J. Cage’s expression of the same varietal from a different vineyard. In conversing with proprietor Roger Beery, he said, “Single vineyards should be the lead singer..not the winemaker.” True, very true. A good winemaker lets the vineyard tell the story. And it’s amazing tasting the two so close together how one can taste, not a winemaking style, but the disparate style of two different pieces of Sonoma. “Let these outstanding vineyards and winegrowers have a voice,” Beery said. And so they do.

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J. Cage Cellars 2017 Rosé of Pinot Noir

I feel like I’ve been presenting a lot of rosés lately. I guess it’s the season for it. And what I’m discovering as I taste through all these rosés is that, in the right hands, rosé is not a drink for a season, but can be as timeless as even the finest reds. Of course the French figured this out long ago, and California, we seem to be headed in the right direction.

Conch Beery, winemaker and cellar master for J. Cage Cellars says “As a winemaker, it is my duty to create wines that are true to place, true to the soil, true to the climate, and true to the spirit of the growers. My goal is to translate the magic of each vineyard into every glass of wine.” And it’s evident he gives just as much care and attention to his rosé as he does with any other of his single vineyard, single varietal wines.

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McKahn Family Cellars 2016 Viognier

I’m a Rhone girl. That’s a fact. I love Rhone-style wines and I think that winemakers who are truly focused on those varietals and understand where in California these grapes grow best, craft some of the most beautiful wines. California is no Rhone. Indeed, our West Coast, New World, expression is much more different than what you’ll taste from France. And I love that. I love that we have something that is simultaneously etched in wine history, but uniquely our own.

Charles McKahn, winemaker and co-owner of McKahn Family Cellars is one such winemaker whose passion is infectious. Though his family’s winery is based in Livermore, he’s used his years of experience working in wineries all over California to understand the variations of terroir and sources his Rhone grapes from regions that both grow quality fruit and showcase distinct character.

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Inman Family 2017 Endless Crush Rosé of Pinot Noir

This is my first taste of Kathleen Inman’s wine and I have to say I am absolutely honored that she and her team sent this my way. Because of scheduling issues, I’ve had to turn down at least two invites to meet with the iconic vintner herself, which left me gutted. Well, this little pink surprise perked me right back up to day the least. A solid acidity that provides a hint of effervescence that just fizzes away on the tongue leaving a solid finish — without giving too much away here, I will say that I was pleasantly surprised at how structurally sound this rosé of Pinot Noir was; it’s a rosé varietal that’s proven a bit too fruity and fatty in the past. If you’ve had that experience, cast those aspersions aside. Kathleen knows what she’s doing and, what’s more, it’s a wine that’s important to her, as it has a bit of a personal story behind the name and label…

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Benziger Family Winery 2016 Reserve Pinot Noir

Benziger has a long-standing family reputation in Sonoma. The family made the migration to California’s northern wine country when it was still had its “wild west” status and together groomed the land to make some top quality wines. Since 2000, all four of Benziger’s estate vineyards have been officially certified Biodynamic, meaning they’ve eliminated the use of all synthetic materials, encourage biodiversity in the field, and nurture a closed nutrient system. The effects? Well let’s have a taste and see, shall we?

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