Behrens Family Winery is based in St. Helena in the Napa Valley section of California. The boutique winery produces limited quantities of blended red wines and a 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. The owners of the winery are Les Behrens and Lisa Drinkward. The name Erna Schein is a dedication to Les’ mother.
The 2007 Erna Schein Jersey Boy was red blend, comprised of 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 14% Syrah, 6% Petit Verdot, and 5% Cabernet Franc. The wine’s labeled ABV was 14.5%. There were 384 cases of this vintage produced. The back label of the wine declared it “California Red Wine”.
Last month, we joined our neighbors (yes, the neighbors) for dinner at Drew’s Bayshore Bistro. Drew is one of the finest chefs in the Northeast and his restaurant is a BYOB. I arrived at Drew’s with some Robert Biale Zins in tow. They are always a great match for Drew’s Cajun style. My neighbor popped out a bottle of 2007 Jersey Boy. I had never heard nor tasted the wine before and it turned out to be quite good. Unfortunately, there were no notes taken that evening.
I inquired where he procured the said Jersey Boy, and promptly set about obtaining a bottle to review in greater detail.
Founded in 1999, Two Hands Wines has become one of the most recognized wine producers in Australia. While they initially began producing only Shiraz, the winery has since branched out into a full line of red and white wines, using a number of varietals, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Riesling, and Grenache, to name a few.
The 2010 Two Hands Bella’s Garden Shiraz was 100% Shiraz. The wine was aged in French oak barrels (15% new, 25% one- and two-year old, 60% three- and four-year old) for 20 months. The wine carried a listed ABV of 15.5%.
Over the years, I had tasted a number of the Two Hands “Garden Series” with great success. On the basis of my past experience, I tried their 2010 Angels Share earlier this year. That outing was less than spectacular.
Coming across a bottle of Bella’s Garden in a local wine store, I decided to see if I could redeem my faith in the brand.
Oakville, California in the Napa Valley region of the state is home to Far Niente Winery. The estate was founded in 1885, but fell into disrepair with the onset of Prohibition. In 1979, Gil Nickel began a three-year restoration of the historic site. Today, Far Niente produces a Cabernet Sauvignon and a Chardonnay.
The 2009 Far Niente Estate Bottled Chardonnay was 100% Chardonnay. The wine was aged in French oak barrels (61% new, 39% once-used) for 10 months. This wine did not undergo malolactic fermentation. The label listed ABV was 14.3%.
I came across this bottle in a local wine store. The owners of Far Niente founded the Nickel & Nickel winery in 1997. Given my recent success tasting the 2006 Nickel & Nickel Bonfire Vineyard Zinfandel and the 2008 Nickel & Nickel Kelham Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, I thought I would give this Chardonnay a try.
I am generally not a fan of Chardonnay. I was hoping this bottle would be different.
Maximin Grunhaus is located on the left bank of the Ruwer river in the Mosel section of Germany. This historic estate dates back to the year 966. Maximin Grunhaus was purchased in 1882 by an ancestor of Carl von Schubert, the fifth generation of the family to manage the estate. Today, the winery is a premier producer of Riesling wines.
The 2010 Maximin Grunhauser Riesling was 100% Riesling. The wine was the Maximin Grunhauser Riesling Trocken (QbA) (I had a lot of difficulty identifying which Maximin Grunhauser this was. I could be mistaken.)
I had been searching for a dry Riesling for the summer. My last attempt with the 2009 S.A. Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling was a sweet disaster, due to my failure to listen to the advice of Oliver at The Winegetter.
Undaunted, I continued my search at a large discount wine store and headed to the Riesling section. The vast majority of Rieslings were all low alcohol (7-9% ABV), which equates to super sweet. I went through a number of bottles, searching the labels for the key words Oliver had provided. Finally, on the back label of the 2010 Maximin Grunhauser I saw the word “Trocken”. The ABV was 11.5%.
Hoping this was the one, I purchased the bottle.
PlumpJack Winery is located in the Oakville section of Napa Valley, California. The winery produces Cabernet Sauvignon (one Estate and one Reserve), Chardonnay, Merlot, and Syrah.
The 2006 PlumpJack Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve was 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine was aged in French oak barrels (100% new) for 21 months. The labeled ABV was 15.2%. The fruit for this bottle was harvested from the McWilliams Oakville Vineyard.
Over the years, I had tasted PlumJack’s Cabernet Sauvignon many times. It has always been an outstanding wine. In June of 2012, I was at a small wine shop in Southern New Jersey, when I came across the 2006 Reserve. I eagerly grabbed the bottle and headed to the checkout. Unfortunately, the bottle was mispriced on the shelf (too good to be true). The actual cost was quite a bit more than what was listed.
Having never come across the Reserve at a retail location, I weighed the odds of finding another. Then, I thought, what would NJ Vinoman do?
I bought the wine.
Nickel & Nickel is located in Oakville in the Napa Valley section of California. The winery’s focus is the production of single-varietal, single-vineyard wines. Their current vintage offerings include wines sourced from both Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley. The majority of the Napa Valley offerings are Cabernet Sauvignon, while their wines from Sonoma include a Chardonnay, a Syrah, and two Zinfandels.
The 2006 Nickel & Nickel Bonfire Vineyard Zinfandel was 100% Zinfandel. The wine was aged in French oak barrels (35% new, 65% once-used) for 14 months. The label listed ABV was 15%. The fruit for this vintage was sourced from Bonfire Vineyard, located in Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma.
I had tasted several Nickel & Nickel wines over the years. Most recently, I revisited the brand to great success with their 2008 Kelham Cabernet Sauvignon. It had been some time since I sampled their Bonfire Vineyard Zinfandel, but I recalled liking the wine. When I came across it in a local store, I decided to pick up a bottle.
This turned out to be a good decision.
Frog’s Leap Winery is based in the town of Rutherford, in Napa Valley, California. The winery produces a number of red and white wines, including Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Zinfandel, to name a few.
The 2009 Frog’s Leap Merlot Rutherford was 100% Merlot. The wine was aged in French and American oak barrels for 18 months. The label listed ABV was 13.2%.
I had heard the Frog’s Leap name talked about frequently, but had never tried any of their wines. I came across their 2009 Merlot while shopping a local beverage store.
Purely out of curiosity about the brand, I picked up a bottle.