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.
The town of Healdsburg, in Sonoma County, California, is the home to Ramey Wine Cellars. The winery produces Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah blends, as well as several Chardonnay selections.
The 2008 Ramey Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley was 94% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Cabernet Franc, and 2% Petit Verdot. The wine was aged in a combination of French and American oak barrels (63% new, 37% old) for 24 months. The label listed ABV was 14.5%.
It had been a year or so since I last tasted a Ramey Cabernet. I came across the label while shopping in a local discount beverage store.
In the interest of research, I thought it time to revisit the wine.
The town of Paso Robles, in the Paso Robles appellation of California, is home to Justin Vineyards & Winery. The winery’s primary focus is the production of two Bordeaux blends, one using Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc, and the other using Merlot and Cabernet Franc. In addition to this, they use a number of different varietals (Tempranillo, Zinfandel, Sauvignon Blanc, and Chardonnay to name a few) to produce smaller quantities of wine.
The 2008 Justin Vineyards & Winery Isosceles was a red blend, composed of 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Cabernet Franc, 8% Merlot, and 1% Petit Verdot. The wine was aged in French oak barrels (65% new, 35% old) for 24 months. The label listed ABV was 15%.
Recently, I was dining at Salt Creek Grille, in Rumson NJ, when the manager approached me. He mentioned they had one bottle left of the 2008 Justin Isosceles. Previously, I had neither heard of the vineyard, nor tasted the wine. On his recommendation, I decided to give it a try.
I was glad I did.
The Antinori family dates their family line in Italy to the early 13th century. The family were initially members of the Guild of Silk Weavers in 1285. Then, in 1385, an Antinori joined the Guild of Wine Merchants. Today, Marchesi Antinori is a wine empire. They produce wines from Tuscany and Umbria, and have formed joint ventures with other wineries in the United States, Chile, Hungary, Malta, Romania, and Italy.
The 2008 Antinori Tignanello was a red blend, comprised of 80% Sangiovese, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Cabernet Franc. The grapes were sourced from the Tignanello and Solaia vineyards, 30 kilometers south of Florence in the Tuscany region of Italy. The wine was aged in French and Hungarian oak barrels (60% new, 40% second vintage) for 12 months, and spent an additional 12 months aging in the bottle prior to release. The label listed ABV was 13.5%. The wine carried an IGT classification. There were 335,000 bottles of this vintage produced.
Tignanello was one of the Super Tuscan pioneers. Today, it is one of the more widely recognized names in the Super Tuscan universe. I had not tasted the wine for some time. Given my recent comments on Sapaio, Argiano Solengo, and Sassicaia (my favorite), I thought it time to turn my attention to Tignanello.
The Spottswoode Winery is located in St. Helena in the Napa Valley section of California. The winery produces two Cabernet Sauvignons, a Sauvignon Blanc, and a Rhone-style Syrah blend.
The 2008 Spottswoode Cabernet Sauvignon Estate was 92.4% Cabernet Sauvignon and 7.6% Cabernet Franc. The wine was aged in French oak (65% new, 35% old) for 22 months. The label listed ABV was 14.5%. This vintage saw 1,954 cases of 750 ml and 220 cases of magnums produced.
As regular readers of this blog know, I have great neighbors. They have been huge supporters of NJVinoman.com (it helps that they like to drink wine!). One of them recently asked if I had ever tasted Spottswoode’s Cabernet Sauvignon, as he had had a bottle a while back and found it quite good. Since I had not, he thought it would be in the best interests of the blog if we were to sample some (yes!). He quickly set out to obtain the wine. Faster than you can say, “Napa Valley”, I had an invitation to taste some Spottswoode along with grilled steaks.
Strictly in the name of research, I felt obliged to accept.
– Taken by me at a local tavern in June 2012.
On the 28th of June 2012, Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House in New York City hosted a winemaker dinner for Silver Oak and Twomey Cellars. Attending from the wineries were David Duncan, President and CEO, and Daniel Baron, the head winemaker. The dinner was part of the Silver Oak Tower Tour 2012, celebrating 40 years of Cabernet Sauvignon production by Silver Oak.
Silver Oak produces two Cabernet Sauvignons. One is produced with grapes harvested from Napa Valley, while the other uses grapes from Alexander Valley. The Duncan family, Silver Oak’s owners, established Twomey in 1999 when they acquired the Soda Canyon Ranch in Napa Valley. Twomey Cellars produces a Merlot, four types of Pinot Noir, and a Sauvignon Blanc.
I found out about the wine dinner by way of my neighbors, who asked if there would be interest in attending. Let’s see…Del Frisco’s, second best steakhouse in New York City, check. Silver Oak, premier producer of Cabernet Sauvignon, check. Great wine and great food with great friends, check. That decision didn’t take very long.
Oakville, in Napa Valley, California, is home to Turnbull Wine Cellars. Turnbull produces two white wines and a number of red wines. The reds are primarily blends, utilizing many of the seven different varietals grown in their vineyards.
The 2008 Turnbull Cabernet Sauvignon was 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc, 7% Syrah, 4% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot, 2% Petite Sirah, and 1% Malbec. The wine was aged in new French oak barrels for 20 months. The ABV was 14.5%. There were 6600 cases of this vintage produced.
I found this wine on the list at Salt Creek Grille in Rumson, New Jersey. The restaurant’s wine list is predominantly California offerings (at one point it was exclusively California) with a very wide range of prices.
As I had not previously tasted Turnbull, I decided to give it a try.