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WineRelease.com's January 15, 2010 Monthly Newsletter.


Happy New Year from WineRelease.com, now 1,547 winery listings strong!

Saddleback Cellars sent out a "Save the date: Winter Tag Along, Sat, Feb 6th" email with the message "It's a great day to taste at Oakville wineries since most of us in the area tag along to Silver Oak's Release Party. Here at Saddleback, we'll have an enhanced tasting day so c'mon by! Cost: $20 pp tasting fee includes a logo glass." I think this is smart. Wineries should band together, within their appellation, and host a weekend to pour new releases and host special events. This gives the local out-of-towners an excuse to spend the weekend and taste thru their appellation.

This reminds me of one of my early wine trips to France in 1999 with my friend Nick Ramkowsky. We were at a winery in the South of France where a guy was packing his car with 5 cases of wine and 2 big jugs he brought himself that the winery owner filled for him. Nick spoke to him and he said he has been going to the winery each year since he was a kid. His father had done the same. He would drink the case bottles over the next year and the jugs were for the next few weeks. It was a yearly tradition for him. I thought that was very cool. Being able to bring your own jugs and filling them with wine is a great idea. Nick explained to me that wine, for this guy and many French, is not a trophy but a beverage shared in their daily life during meals. Having a direct relationship with the winery owner that develops over generations adds to the enjoyment of wine.

My friends and I visited Brian Loring (Loring Wine Company) and tasted thru his 2008 Pinots last week. He makes Pinots from 16 different vineyards, he had 8 open for us to taste. Although 2008 was a difficult vintage because of an early frost on the Central Coast, the wines were superb and each were distinct yet had the classic Loring plushness.

Loring is in a new facility, well, new to me since the last time I visited him in 2004. I called asking for directions and Brian said "We are in the orange building behind the Wal-Mart (in Lompoc)". So we get to Wal-Mart, drive around back and find what we think, is the winery. We knock on the door and no one answers. I then notice that the barrels outside weren't marked with the LWC seal. The door opens and Victor Gallegos, General Manager/Director of Winemaking of Sea Smoke (and owner of Melis) comes out. We look at each other and say "what the hell are you doing here?" Victor and I go way back (a 42 minute 2007 podcast with Victor is here - it will take a minute or two to load the 9 meg file). We had the wrong building. Victor took us on a tour of their new winery and then pointed out the window to Loring's building and we were off. Victor also owns a winery in Priorat in Spain and I vowed to visit in April when he is there blending. I realized that it is kinda pathetic that I have been living in Spain since April and have yet to visit a wine growing region here. That is my 2010 goal is to visit Rioja, Ribera del Duero, La Mancha, Navarra, Priorat and hopefully more since there are over 100 regions.

I was on KRON last month talking about Champagne Values from the December WineBlueBook issue (WineRelease.com's sister publication): Neil Monnens of WineBlueBook.com on KRON4 San Francisco I admit it... I do a terrible job of explaining WineBlueBook. I should have picked up the Veuve Clicquot and Piper Heidsieck and said "both of these wines received 89 points, but the Piper is $17 cheaper." Then I should have put down the bottle of Piper and picked up the bottle of Charles Heidsieck and said "both of these wines cost $37, but the Charles received 91 points vs only 89 for Veuve. That is what WineBlueBook does, it lists wines by score and price and shows you the values." Next time.


And now, on to the wine...


February 2010 Wine Releases

  • Abacela Winery; 2006 Southern Oregon Syrah Umpqua Cuvée
  • Brass Tacks Wines; 2008 North Coast Petite Sirah
  • Bryant Family Vineyard; 2007 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Ca’ Momi; 2009 Napa Valley Chardonnay
  • Cerro Caliente Cellars; 2005 Paso Robles Vina de Leon Vineyard Barrel Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, 2005 Edna Valley Dixon Ranch Barrel Reserve Syrah, 2006 Paso Robles Vina de Leon Vineyard Zinfandel, 2007 Edna Valley Dixon Ranch Pinot Noir, 2009 Edna Valley Viognier, 2009 Santa Barbara Chardonnay
  • Dunn Vineyards; 2006 Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Heitz Cellars; 2005 Napa Valley Martha's Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, 2005 Napa Valley Bella Oaks Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
  • The Hobo Wine Company; 2008 Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel, 2008 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Inman Family Wines; 2008 Russian River Valley Chardonnay, 2007 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, 2007 Russian River Valley OGV Pinot Noir, 2007 Russian River Valley Thorn Ridge Ranch Pinot Noir
  • Legends Estates Winery; 2007 Merlot Reserve
  • Lewis Cellars; 2006 Napa Valley Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, 2008 Napa Valley Reserve Chardonnay, 2008 Russian River Barcaglia Lane Chardonnay
  • Madorom; 2006 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, 2006 Napa Valley Merlot, 2007 Napa Valley Camouflage Red Wine Blend, 2008 Camouflage Sauvignon Blanc
  • Meander Cellars; 2009 Conspire Sauvignon Blanc, 2008 Pinot Noir
  • Merus Wines; 2007 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Neal Family Vineyards; 2006 Napa Valley Howell Mountain Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, 2006 Napa Valley Rutherford Dust Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, 2006 Napa Valley Wykoff Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, 2006 Napa Valley Second Chance Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, 2006 Napa Valley One Lane Bridge Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, 2006 Napa Valley 1540 Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Oakwood Cellars; 2005 Merlot
  • Raymond; 2006 Generations Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Roudon-Smith Winery ; 2007 Cabernet Franc, 2008 Russian River Valley Chardonnay
  • Silver Oak Cellars; 2005 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Stomping Girl Wines; 2008 Santa Lucia Highlands Lone Oak Vineyard Pinot Noir, 2008 Sonoma Coast Split Rock Vineyard Pinot Noir
  • Tayson Pierce Estate Wines; 2008 Alder Springs Vineyard Chardonnay
  • Toucan Wines; 2007 Estate Zinfandel, 2008 Old Vine Evangelho Vineyard Carignane
  • Viader Vineyards; 2006 DARE by Viader Cabernet Franc, 2007 DARE by Viader Tempranillo
  • Wind Gap; 2009 Russian River Valley Fannuchi-Wood Road Vineyard Trousseau Gris, 2008 Central Coast Yuen Chardonnay, 2008 Sonoma County Chardonnay, 2008 Chalk Hill Windsor Oaks Vineyard Pinot Gris, 2007 Sonoma Coast Syrah

WineRelease.com's Winery Newsletters and Mailing Lists Sign Up Page: Click here.

The following 28 winery information pages have been updated since December 15, 2009:
  • Abacela Winery; United States: Oregon: Umpqua Valley
  • Ancient Peaks Winery; United States: California: Central Coast: Paso Robles
  • Angel Vine; United States: Oregon
  • Aston Estate; United States: California: South Coast
  • Banyan Wines; United States: California: Monterey County
  • Blue Rock Vineyard; United States: California: Sonoma County: Alexander Valley
  • Boeschen Vineyards; United States: California: Napa Valley: St. Helena
  • Capay Valley Vineyards; United States: California
  • Carlisle Winery & Vineyards ; United States: California: Sonoma County: Russian River Valley
  • Cerro Caliente Cellars; United States: California: Central Coast: San Luis Obispo
  • Domaine de la Terre Rouge; United States: California: Sierra Foothills: Shenandoah Valley
  • Easton Wines; United States: California: Sierra Foothills: Shenandoah Valley
  • Graeser Winery; United States: California: Napa Valley
  • Indigenè Cellars; United States: California: Monterey County: Carmel Valley
  • Kistler Vineyards; United States: California: Sonoma County: Russian River Valley
  • Kobalt Wines; United States: California: Napa Valley
  • Parallel Wines; United States: California: Napa Valley
  • Sawyer Cellars; United States: California: Napa Valley: Rutherford
  • Scherrer Winery; United States: California: Sonoma County
  • Sea Smoke Cellars; United States: California: Santa Barbara County
  • Shane Wine Cellars; United States: California
  • Soléna Cellars; United States: Oregon
  • Stomping Girl Wines; United States: California
  • Tayson Pierce Estate Wines; United States: California: Napa Valley
  • The Hobo Wine Company; United States: California: Sonoma County: Russian River Valley
  • White Rock Vineyards; United States: California: Napa Valley
  • Wind Gap; United States: California
  • Zacherle Wines; United States: California: Napa Valley


  • Wine Quote of the Month: "I feast on bread and wine, and feasts they are." Michelangelo


    Till next month.


    Neil Monnens


    Special thanks to the following sponsors of WineRelease.com: Viader Vineyards, DeSante Wines, Hestan Vineyards, O'Brien Family Vineyard, Raymond and Vie Winery. They help make WineRelease possible.


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