The Rad List: The Raddest of the Rad from 2013

It’s that time of the year everybody!

It’s time for the Rad List!

What you are about to read is an alphabetical list of my most memorable wines from 2013. These are not necessarily the top scoring wines that I tasted in 2013 (for that, just take a look at my Rad Wine Reviews page). These are the wines that were delicious, thought-provoking, and just plain rad. Along with each wine, I’ll give you the reason why I picked them, as well as my original tasting notes.

So…

Without further ado…

The Rad List: The Raddest of the Rad from 2013

1. Big Basin Vineyards 2009 Coastview Vineyard Pinot Noir – 91+

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Big Basin Vineyards 2009 Coastview Vineyard Pinot Noir

Another tasting with my old buddy, Dave TheVegetarian.  Another knockout wine.

Dave and I both grew up in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Now… He’s not normally a Pinot Noir guy, but he was very stoked on the mountain fruit from this Big Basin Vineyards effort.  Here’s the original video of our tasting…

2. Cornerstone Cellars 2010 Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon – 91+

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Cornerstone Cellars 2010 Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon

I’ve been such a big fan of Cornerstone over the years.  You have got to try their Oregon Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays.  Always fantastic.

But… The power, balance, and structure of their Napa Cabernet Sauvignon is where their proverbial bread is buttered.

So… When I had the opportunity to taste their 2010 Napa Valley and Howell Mountain efforts side-by-side, I jumped all over it.

Here’s the 49+ minute food and wine pairing video I posted on these wines…

3. Dehlinger 1998 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir – 93

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Dehlinger 1998 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

One of two wines I had the privilege of tasting from my Uncle Art’s cellar last spring.  Here are my original tasting notes…

Color: Light rusty burgundy red.

Nose: Bacon and mushrooms up front, followed by a juicy strawberry component.

Taste: Ripe strawberry on the front palate gives way to leather and mushrooms.  There’s a nice touch of black pepper that is sprinkled throughout.

Score: We were all impressed by the longevity of this wine.  There’s a great acidity to this wine that, along with the balanced backbone of 14.5% alcohol, that kept this wine quite fresh some 15 years after bottling.  93, y’all!

4. The Infinite Monkey Theorem 2011 Cabernet Franc – 92+

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The Infinite Monkey Theorem 2011 Cabernet Franc

One of my favorite parts about doing this blog is the great number of friends I’ve been able to make in the wine and wine-blogging community.  One such wine-blogging friend is Jeff Eckles of TheLonelyVine.com.

Jeff lives in Colorado.

He’s a Denver Broncos fan.

I’m a huge San Francisco 49ers fan… But you knew that already.

Last year, during the NFL playoffs, our two favorite teams were looking to be the favorites to go to, and subsequently win, the Superbowl.  So… We made a bet…

If the Broncos went further in the playoffs, I would send him a bottle of wine from California.

If the 49ers went further, he would send me a wine from Colorado.

The 49ers, of course, went farther.

Now… Although I was heartbroken at the Niners just missing out on a sixth Superbowl ring last year (I mean… Come on… The best offensive line in the NFL gets a first and goal at the seven, and you dial up three straight passing plays!?!?!?!), this bottle of The Infinite Monkey Theorem helped to ease my pain.  Here is the original tasting video I did for the wine…

Incidentally, Jeff and I have the same bet going on this year too.

Follow us on Twitter (@JeffIsRad and @JeffEckles) to see trash talking live on game day.

5. Long Meadow Ranch 2008 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon – 92

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Long Meadow Ranch 2008 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Last year, I made a half-assed attempt to create my own wine day.

The idea was that the Sunday before the Superbowl would forever be known as #StayRadDay (A day to celebrate family, friends, wine, and this blog… A bad idea… I know).

Now… Although my attempt at making my own wine day fell flat, this Cabernet from Long Meadow Ranch saved the day.

Here’s my original video tasting for this wine…

6. Pontificis 2011 Grenache-Syrah-Mourvedre – 91+

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Pontificis 2011 Grenache-Syrah-Mourvedre

If I were to only place one wine from 2013 on The Rad List, this would be it.  Here are my original tasting notes…

You know that I am a big fan of Rhone-style wines.

You also know that I’ve been loving the value and quality of wines coming from the Languedoc-Roussillon in Southern France.

So…

When I see a seven dollar Languedoc composed of the popular GSM Rhone blend of Grenache (50%), Syrah (30%), and Mourvedre (20%), you know I’m going to be all over it.

But… Does it deliver?

Hells to the yeahs, it does!

Note: I opened, and poured, this wine a good 45 minutes before tasting it.

Color: A dense, and inky, deep ruby red.

Nose: Beautiful notes of dusty chocolate with fresh strawberry, raspberry, and blackberry fruits.

Taste: Though young, this wine has a medium body of very soft, and approachable tannins.  The front palate starts off strong with dense and brambly fruits of blackberry and dark cherry, which transition nicely to a mid-palate of cranberries and orange zest.  On the finish, these fruits begin to raisinate, and show off a wonderfully long, acidic finish.

Score: Wow!  This wine is a strong 91+…

And I almost feel bad scoring it that low.  My only reservation is that this wine appears to lack the ageability of a truly fine wine… But… C’mon guys… This wine is what it is.  This is a fantastic wine that is ready to be consumed right, the F, now… And the great part is that you can find this at your local Trader Joe’s… Right.  The F.  Now.  Of course, if you shop at my local TJ’s, you’re gonna have some trouble finding it.  I’m buying them all up.  Right.  The.  F.  Now.

7. Ridge 1981 York Creek Devils Hill Petite Sirah – 94

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Ridge 1981 York Creek Devils Hill Petite Sirah

The second of two wines that my Uncle Art shared with me last spring.  This was I wine I had anticipated tasting with him for months, and when he finally broke it open, I was very much impressed.  Here are my original tasting notes…

Color: As older wines go, it has still retained a lot of its red color, though it does get brownish orange near the edges.

Nose: Beautiful notes of menthol and tobacco leaf with one of those dried out oranges decorated with cloves.

Taste: On the palate, this wine is straight herbaceous.  Forest floor and tobacco leaf for days.  There’s a nice note of dried cranberries that gives an impression of sweetness to this dry wine.

Score: What is most impressive about this Petite Sirah is that 32 years later, the grapes are still bringing these massive tannins.  My feeling is that the wine has the structure to go another 10 years.  This wine is massive, yet subtle in its complexity.  Does anybody else have one of these bottles they’d like to share with me?  94, fa sho!

8. Twomey 2008 Merlot – 92

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Twomey 2008 Merlot

Last April, Kara and I took a tour of the Silver Oak, Napa Valley winery.  As impressive as the Silver Oak wines are (and we got to taste a bunch), the most memorable wine of the day was from their sister label.  Here are my original tasting notes…

Twomey is the sister label of Silver Oak. With a slogan like “Life is a Cabernet”, it would be kind of weird to see a Silver Oak Merlot or Pinot Noir.  This Twomey Merlot is their ode to the great wines of Pomerol in Bordeaux, France.  As such, this wine has been aged on French oak.  It costs $50.

Color: Lighter ruby red.

Nose: Blackberry fruit with hints of vanilla and spice.

Taste: Massive blackberry and blueberry fruit, balanced out with a good acidity and herbaceous notes of black tea.

Score: Yes. The Napa Valley Cab is worth it at $110, but the Twomey Merlot at $50 is a steal. 92.

9. Viña Eguía 2007 Reserva Rioja – 93

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Viña Eguía 2007 Reserva Rioja

A gift from Dave TheVegetarian’s dad, Papa Don Cattivera, this wine was originally released in 2011 for $20.  At the time of the tasting, it was available at CostCo for $8.  I would pay $35 to get my hands on another bottle.

Here is the original video I made for this wine…

Well…

There you have it.

Another year…

Another Rad lineup of wines.

Stay Rad,

Jeff

What was the Raddest wine you tasted in 2013? Leave a comment, and tell us about it.

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