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.
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.
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.
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.
Robert Foley Vineyards is based in the town of Angwin, in Napa County, California. While best known for its Claret, the winery has branched out into production of a full line of reds using different varietals. Recently, they have also introduced a Pinot Blanc and a Semillon.
The 2006 Robert Foley Vineyards Petite Sirah Pepperland was 100% Petite Sirah. The wine was aged in French oak barrels for 18 months. The label listed ABV was 15.1%. The fruit for this wine was harvested from the rocky soil of Spring Mountain. There were approximately 500 cases of this vintage produced.
Previously, I had tasted, and enjoyed, the 2007 Robert Foley Petite Sirah and the 2008 Robert Foley Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon. While shopping at a local beverage store, I came across the 2006 Robert Foley Pepperland.
Given my past success with the winery, I decided to give Pepperland a try.
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.
Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars (not to be confused with Stags’ Leap Winery) is located a few miles north of the town of Napa in Napa Valley, California. The winery may be best known for the 1976 Paris Tasting in which their 1973 Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon was declared number one, ahead of many prestigious French wines. Today, their current releases include four single vineyard wines (one Chardonnay and three Cabernet Sauvignons), as well as four Napa Valley blends (a Cabernet Sauvignon, a Merlot, a Chardonnay, and a Sauvignon Blanc).
The 2009 Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Sauvignon Blanc was 74% Sauvignon Blanc, 20% Sauvignon Musque, and 6% Semillion. The wine was fermented in a combination of French oak barrels (65%) and stainless steel tanks (35%). The barrel aging took place over 6 months in 100% old French oak. The label listed ABV was 13.5%.
I had originally purchased two bottles for International Sauvignon Blanc Day on the 21st of June, 2012. The first was Cloudy Bay, which didn’t turn out very well. This Stag’s Leap was the other. I was unsure which to open for Sauvignon Blanc Day and I chose the Cloudy Bay.
After that experience, I was afraid to open the Stag’s Leap. Every time I looked at the bottle, I thought Sauvignon Blaaah. What was I going to do with this wine? Summoning up all the courage in my taste buds, I uncorked the Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars bottle.