Posts Tagged ‘Argyle 2011 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir’

The Rad List: The Raddest of the Rad from 2012

January 6, 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 2012. These are not necessarily the top scoring wines that I tasted in 2012 (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.


Without further ado…

The Rad List: The Raddest of the Rad from 2012

1. Argyle 2011 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir – 91+

This is the second year in the row in which Argyle has made the Rad List. At $17, this tasty Pinot Noir is a fantastic value.

Let’s go to the tape!

2. Bonny Doon Vineyard 2007 Le Cigare Volant normale – 90+ (en foudre 91+ / en demi-muid 91)

Kara and I got into this wine (in all three versions) on a quiet day in Santa Cruz. Here’s why I liked the wine so much…

Bonny Doon Vineyard 2007 Le Cigare Volant normale

Le Cigare Volant is Bonny Doon’s Chateauneuf-du-Pape style blend of 60% Grenache, 32% Syrah, 4% Mourvedre, and 4% Cinsault. This is their flagship wine. I can see why. Good raspberry nose. Raspberry, cranberry, leather, and pepper on the palate. This wine is mad complex. This wine is mad balanced. I’d plant my flag in this wine too. 90+

The neat thing about Le Cigare Volant is that you can also try a couple of variations of the same wine based on the vessel in which they were aged…


Bonny Doon Vineyard 2007 Le Cigare Volant en foudre:

The normale blends some wine aged in giant casks and others that were aged in normal sized wine barrels. The en foudre is just the stuff that was in the giant cask. Since less of the wine is in contact with the wood, the en foudre is a bit juicier than the normale. Blackberry nose. Raspberry, cranberry, and leather are still the prodominent flavors on the palate. Everything just seems to be a bit more rich and ripe. Good stuff. 91+

Bonny Doon Vineyard 2007 Le Cigare Volant en demi-muid:

With the smaller barrels, a lot more wine is in contact with the oak. On the nose, this added some pepper notes to the blackberry fruit. The pepper also comes through on the palate… and it lingers for a while. 91

Yeah… Bonny Doon pretty much brings it.

3. Cornerstone Cellars 2009 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon – 92 (93 the second time around, when paired with a bacon-wrapped filet mignon)

I got to taste a whole lot of stuff from Cornerstone Cellars this past year.  Their 2009 Napa Valley Cabernet is an exceptional example how a fantastic wine can get even better when paired with the right foods…

Color: Dark ruby-red to black.

Nose: Blueberry, blackberry, and raspberry fruit with a hint of leather, spice, menthol, and tomato skin.

Taste: Up front, there is this beautiful dark fruit component with a pop of red fruit.  Think of blackberry and plum with a blast of cranberry.  There are these awesome, velvety tannins that round this wine out beautifully.

Score: Fantastic!  It’s not often that I refer to a $65 bottle of wine as a steal, but this wine can go toe-to-toe with the best of them.  93 points.

Back to the meal…

20121208-191807.jpgBacon-Wrapped Filet Mignon with Blue Cheese and a Big Ass Baked Potato

The juiciness of the filet mignon amps up the black and blue fruit in the wine.

4. Joel Gott Wines 2009 California Zinfandel – 90+

I have a lot of fun doing videos on this blog.  This video I made with Dave TheVegetarian was one of my favorites.  The wine was really good too…

5. Krupp Brothers 2008 Stagecoach Vineyard M5 Cabernet Sauvignon

A personal wine highlight for me last year was getting a personal tour of Stagecoach Vineyard from Dr. Jan Krupp.  Here’s a bit of what happened on the tour.

We took a left at the stagecoach…

The Stagecoach

And drove to the top of the world…

While Kara and the Krupps set the table…

Kara and Dr. Jan setting the table.

I took a little time to enjoy the view…

The low sun over the Napa Valley

Dr. Jan served us some fantastic wines…

Krupp Brothers 2009 Napa Valley Chardonnay
Krupp Brothers 2007 Black Bart’s Bounty Syrah
Krupp Brothers 2007 Veraison Stagecoach Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
Krupp Brothers 2008 Stagecoach Vineyard M5 Cabernet Sauvignon

The Krupp Brothers wines were fantastic.  They were each a great expression of the rugged terroir of Stagecoach.

6. Kunde 2009 Sonoma Valley Cabernet Sauvignon – 86

When I do my blind tastings, I am usually way off…

When I made this video for the 200th post on Stay Rad, I knocked it out of the park…

7. Ridge 1993 Monte Bello (Half Bottle) – 95

You know I am a huge fan of Ridge.  As members, Kara and I take many trips up the mountain in Cupertino to taste everything they have to offer.  Just when I’ve gotten to the point when I thought I had tried them all, they broke this one out…


Behind the counter, they had open a Half Bottle of Ridge 1993 Monte Bello, so we had to have a taste. It’s hard to believe that this wine is 19 years old. Considering that half bottles age more quickly than those that are full-sized, it was neat to see how young it still behaved. The color was a dark reddish-purple with just the slightest rustiness near the rim. The nose had this fantastic spice that Kara and I were having trouble putting a name to. Kara settled with chai tea. The spice to me was more that of nutmeg and carob. There was also a generous aroma of plum. On the palate, this bad boy brought it all. Black tea, green peppers, clove, mint, ginger, blackberries, cranberries, and leafy tobacco married perfectly. This wine, right now, is in a sweet spot. It is F-ing great! 95

8. Tablas Creek 2009 Esprit de Beaucastel – 92

When Kara and I took a trip down to Paso Robles last year, we were pleasantly surprised by how great all the wineries were.  Tablas Creek happened to be the most exceptional of them all…

Tablas Creek is partly owned by the Perrin family of Chateau de Beaucastel in the Chateauneuf du Pape region of France. Slowly, but surely, over the years they have been importing Rhone vines from France to plant in their vineyards. It is an extremely time-consuming, and expensive process, but I can’t think of many other places in California that can match the style and quality of the Rhone wines that we tasted on Tuesday.

Here are some of my favorites…


Tablas Creek 2010 Cotes de Tablas


Tablas Creek 2010 Mourvedre (How do you pronounce it?)


Tablas Creek 2009 Esprit de Beaucastel: Ripe blackberry and raspberry on the palate. Rich. Luscious. Dope. 92

9. Williams Selyem 2009 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir – 93+

When it comes to California Pinot Noir, Williams Selyem sets the standard.  I had a blast tasting this one…


There you have it.

Another year…

Another Rad lineup of wines.

Stay Rad,



Stay Rad Wine Blog TV Episode 77: Tangled Up in Argyle

December 19, 2012

In this episode, Jeff revisits a label that made the Rad List in 2011

Wine Tasted:

Stay Rad,


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