By Jason Barlow

Monterey Label Reviews 2009

Chateau Julien

Chateau Julien 2005 Bravura / Monterey County
Produced from fruit grown on the winery's Monterey County Estate Vineyard, this out of the ordinary blend of Merlot and Melbec spent twenty-two months aging in fine French oak. Allowed to open in a glass, this bold, dark ruby wine unfolds with powerful red fruit flavors of plum, cherry, and raspberry, accented by intrepid notes of clove, earth, and smoke. Firm tannins and a vibrant acidity give this wine a full, lingering finish. Drink it now with a well-seasoned, tender roast, or let it age in the cellar.

Chateau Julien 2005 3.2 Ton Merlot / Monterey County
A lush, wet winter and modified pruning method helped bring an early and full canopy development for all the varietals. Prime Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon fruit from the Estate Vineyard were then aged in the finest French oak for thirty months. The resulting wine is a bold violet with a full bouquet of ripe cherry, raspberry, pepper, vanilla, and spice. Solid tannins and a bright finish give the wine a full, yet supple character, and a good structure gives it great potential for aging.
Score: 84
Chateau Julien 2006 Black Nova / Monterey County
A grand blend of 60% Zinfandel and 40% Syrah, made from exclusive Estate grown fruit, this is a lush, big, and ripe wine. Twelve months of aging in New American Oak brought out great complexity. Leisurely swirled and sipped, rich layers of flavors unfurl with cherry and raspberry flowing into deeper notes of vanilla, clove, oak, and spice. Bright, smooth, and lingering at its finish, this is a wine not soon forgotten. Only 300 cases were produced, so get yourself a bottle while you can.
: 91
Estancia Estate Wines
Estancia 2007 Chardonnay / Monterey County
Sourced from their Pinnacles Vineyard on the east side of the Salinas Valley and the Santa Lucia Highlands, this 2007 Chardonnay is a nice, full-bodied wine with a pleasing hint of acidity. From its soft golden hue, rich aromas of tropical fruit, apple, oak, and vanilla open up. On the palate, crisp apple and lush tropical fruit return, with hints of creamy oak and minerals lingering at the finish. Pair with an heirloom tomato and chicken pasta.

Estancia 2006 Reserve Pinot Noir / Santa Lucia Highlands
Made from fruit grown at Estancia's Stonewall Vineyard, where morning fog and cool breezes make for ideal growing conditions. After harvest, the wine was aged for nine months in French Oak. Out of the bottle and in a glass, this deep, ruby wine entices drinkers with rich aromas of dark cherry, plum, blackberry, and sweet spice. Deep dark fruit flavors, cola, and nutmeg drift across the palate after that first sip. A very nice, medium-bodied wine, it would pair quite nicely with a tender lamb chop.
Score: 88

Estancia 2006 Reserve Meritage / Paso Robles
With nighttime layers of ocean fog and plentiful sunshine during the day, the Paso Robles appellation is known for its grand temperature swings. After harvest, the fruit for this vintage was aged fourteen months in French and American oak. Now mature, the wine has a deep, black-purple hue. Rich aromas of cherry, blackberry, plum, and chocolate rise out of a freshly swirled glass. A sip and soft tannins carry rich dark fruit flavors over the palate, with accents of mocha and oak. A smooth, supple wine that pairs very nicely with tender rib-eye. Drink it now or give it some time to age.
Estancia 2006 Merlot / Central Coast
CSourced from fruit grown in Monterey County, as well as Paso Robles, and aged for fifteen months in French and American oak, this Estancia Merlot is a pleasing wine with a fruit driven character and supple tannins. When sipped, cherry and plum dominate the palate, with notes of chocolate and coffee lingering at its finish. Pair with an indulgent dark chocolate mousse and enjoy.
Score: 84
Hahn Family Wines
Hahn SLH 2007 Pinot Gris / Santa Lucia Highlands
Made from 100% Pinot Gris fruit grown on the gentle slopes of the Lone Oak Vineyard, the resulting wine entices drinkers with a lovely translucent-gold hue.
Swirling a glass brings fresh aromas of lemon zest, honeysuckle, figs, and minerals. On the palate, the wine is light and subtle, with citrus fruit and grassier notes building towards a mineral finish. Pair with your favorite shellfish and enjoy a bottle!

Hahn SLH 2007 Pinot Noir / Santa Lucia Highlands
Fruit sourced from four different Santa Lucia vineyards, with sun drenched afternoons and cool ocean breezes, contributed to this vintage. In sunlight, its bold ruby hue sparkles. Swirl a glass and take in the rich aromas of cherry, strawberry, plum, cola, and sweet spice. Sip and enjoy the deep red berry flavors, with notes of spice accenting the earthy finish. With a medium-body and firm tannins, this wine can work well with grilled pork, salmon, or tuna.

Line Shack Winery
Line Shack 2007 Roussanne / San Antonio Valley
At the southern end of Monterey County, the San Antonio Valley is the area's newest appellation, and it is starting to gain notoriety for growing French varietals. For this wine, a blend of 80% Roussanne and 20% Marsanne come together to produce a soft, laidback wine. Slowly swirling and sipping brings an array of flavors, with pinapple, pear, mango and apricot mingling on the palate. The finish lingers, leaving the soft touch of fruit and minerals behind. Pair with a lighly seasoned, steamed-clam pasta and enjoy.
Line Shack 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon / San Antonio Valley
While the San Antonio Valley AVA is fairly new, this Cabernet is one of the reasons people are taking notice. Hold a glass up to sunlight and admire the deep purple hue. Sip slowly and indulge in the rich flavors of black cherry, plum, chocolate, vanilla, raspberry, and a hint of licorice. Smooth and light on the tannins, this is a very nice wine, particularly for the $20 range. Pair with tender lamb chops with a baby artichoke sauté.
: 88
Manzoni Wines
Manzoni 2006 Santa Lucia Chardonnay / Santa Lucia Highlands
Foggy mornings, moderate afternoons, and cool evenings are trademarks of the Lucia Highlands. After a late October harvest, French Oak and stainless steal were used for fermentation. The resulting wine has a soft golden hue that releases deep aromas of tropical fruit, with caramel and yeasty notes lingering around the edges. When sipped slowly, pineapple, pear, and a touch of honey drift over the palate, finishing with a hint of oak. Medium-bodied, with a nice acidity, this wine rates well in terms of drinkability. Try it with sole baked in a creamy butter sauce.
Manzoni 2006 Santa Lucia Pinot Noir / Santa Lucia Highlands
A blend of two French clones, this estate grown pinot matured for nearly a year in oak before being bottled. In a freshly swirled glass, the elegant violet-ruby hue conveys rich fruit aromas of cherry and plum, with accents of spice, lavender, and cola. The palate is fruit forward and bright, unfolding layers of flavor as plum, strawberry, and spice mingle together. Slightly sweet but balanced by a firm acidity, this is a highly drinkable wine. Pair it with a pork-tenderloin in a maple-chipotle sauce and enjoy!.
: 84
Paraiso Vineyards
Paraiso Vineyards 2007 Riesling / Santa Lucia Highlands
The forty acres of Paraiso's Riesling vines are now thirty-five years old, and the fruit for this vintage was selected from Block One of the hillside vineyard, after conditions allowed it to hang until early November. Bright flavors of apricot, tropical fruit, pear, and a touch of honey drift over the palate before finishing with a kiss of minerals. Quite crisp, with a bold acidity, light and refreshing, this wine would pair well with fresh, ripe figs or a spicy Asian dish.
Paraiso Vineyards 2005 Syrah / Santa Lucia Highlands
Winemaker David Fleming selected fruit from Blocks Fifteen and Seventeen of the vineyard's "Wedding Hill" section. Bottle-aged for a year prior to release, the wine's nose is dominated by perfumed blackberry and cherry, with pockets of vanilla and pepper accenting the bouquet. Solid tannins unfurl a palate of rich dark fruit that finishes dynamically upon notes of oak and earth. This potent wine ought to accompany a hearty, well-seasoned roast.
Pessagno Winery
Pessagno Winery 2006 Intrinity Chardonnay / Santa Lucia Highlands
Produced from fruit grown throughout the Santa Lucia Highlands, the Intrinity Chardonnay represents winemaker Steve Pessagno's finest effort for the varietal, the name signifying the endless pursuit of lofty goals. When held up to sunlight, the wine glows with a soft golden hue. A sip brings ripe flavors of crisp pear and tart apple, which flow into deeper notes of caramel and smoke. A rich wine, with nice depth, it would pair nicely with a fresh pesto and chicken pasta salad. Only 396 cases were produced..
Pessagno Winery 2006 Four Boys Vineyard Pinot Noir /
Santa Lucia Highlands

The vineyard's name just happens to coincide with the number of sons winemaker Steve Pessagno has. Handpicked block by block as each reached maturity, the fruit was first cold-soaked for up to six days and then aged in French oak for eleven months. The resulting wine has a robust smoky, yeasty nose with notes of plum and cola mingling together. A slow sip and the lovely palate brings forth the soft, smooth flavors of black cherry, plum, vanilla, and chocolate. A big wine, with a nice depth of flavor, it would pair nicely with grilled pork chops or lamb seasoned with rosemary and thyme..
: 88
Pierce Ranch Vineyards
Pierce Ranch 2005 Tempranillo / San Antonio Valley
Tempranillo has long been a flagship for Spanish wine. Pierce Ranch's own take on the varietal was grown on the rocky slopes of their "Y" Ranch Vineyard. After harvest, the fruit was aged eighteen months in American, French, and Hungarian oak. The resulting wine, with its deep ruby hue, conjures up rich fruit flavors of cherry and strawberry. Hints of vanilla, licorice, cocoa, and pepper complicate the palate. A medium-body and soft tannins make this wine easy to drink. Try it with a traditional Spanish paella with quail seasoned by a touch of garlic, salt, and pepper.
Pierce Ranch 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon / San Antonio Valley
A much wetter than average growing season meant careful crop management to control yields. After harvest and an extended cold soak, the fruit was aged 18 months in French oak. Swirl a glass and soothing blackberry and dark cherry aromas rise up to greet you. Sip and the cherry returns alongside boysenberry, with subtler notes of cocoa and vanilla. Supple tannins and a smooth mouthfeel give the wine a fine drinkability. Try a bottle with a thick rib-eye steak with a garlic-salt and pepper rub..
Scheid Vineyards
Scheid Vineyards 2007 Sauvignon Blanc / Monterey County
For the 2007 vintage, fruit was sourced grapes from their Baja Viento and Mesa del Rio vineyards and then aged in stainless steel. Out of its vibrant white-gold hue, notes of bell pepper, bright citrus fruit, and grassy tones envelope the senses. With a sip, the lively citrus returns, alongside gooseberry and herbier accents. A very crisp wine with a firm acidity, it would pair quite nicely with shrimp cocktail or scallops in a light white-wine sauce. 672 cases were produced.
Scheid Vineyards 2007 Gewürztraminer / Monterey County
Fruit from their Greenfield-area vineyards (Viento and Scheid), with the cooler, windier climate that Gewürztraminer thrives under, was sourced for this vintage. Fermentation took place at very cold temperatures to enhance the fruitiness and mouthfeel. The resulting wine has a lovely, soft golden hue. Rich layers of flavor drift over the palate as peach, apricot, honeysuckle, and sweet spice unfold after a slow sip. A nicely balanced wine, with just the right touch of sweetness, it would pair very nicely with an elegant cheese and fruit appetizer.
: 88
Ratings Key:
96 — 100
92 — 95
89 — 91
85 — 88
81 — 84

Other Great Related Links:
Realms of Imagination in Monterey - The Great Wine Escape Weekend
Monterey Wine Reviews 2009

More Links:
The Livermore Valley Harvest Celebration:Rediscovering the Charm of Family
Livermore Valley Label Reviews 2008
Andy Beckstofferís Imprint On The Wine Industry
A Day in the Dust: A Tasting of 2005 Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon
Duckhorn: A Portfolio Tasting
Freemark Abbey
Rutherford Napa Valley Tastings 2008
Paso Robles, CA Tastings 2008

Paris Wine Bars (Bistros) By Eric Gaudet
Italian Wine Classification
Guide to Napa Varietals
Ten Best Wines of 1998

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