October…switch to football wines

September and October are transition months in the wine calendar. We leave behind the summer wines Рthe Rosés, Moscati and lean and frothy acidic white wines from Austria to the Basque country. It is football time and that means red wine. The Trojans have begun their march to another championship [ed. cue Conquest please] with the obligatory loss to a bottom dweller. The tBoW team has opened some interesting reds with greater success. Here are some bottles that recently popped their corks celebrating the change of season.
tillie.jpgTillie Claret $20: Purchased at Aramenta Cellars in the northern Willamette Valley (north of Dundee Hills and west of Portland). The winery is first and foremost devoted to Pinot Noir. They also produce Chardonnay. Total case production is 1,000 of which 250 cases were Tillie in 2005. The 2006 vintage is the first wine labeled as vintage. The bottle I had was probably 2005 juice blended with 2004. The wine is very interesting tasting like mocha coffee in the most milkshake way. Creamy, frothy, rich. A gift and quite rare, this wine is a real treat. Turns out Brick House is also in the Ribbon Ridge AVA.14.1%
insignia2000-2.jpg2000 Phelps Insignia $120: Big ticket Napa Meritage with all the collectible pedigree anyone could desire in a premium Napa winery.sedrickellis.jpg Even the squat Sedrick Ellis shaped bottle demands immediate comment and admiration. The Insignia label has a long history of producing outstanding if sometimes idiosyncratic wines. The 1985, for example, was remarkable for its minty flavors [tBoW puts on his wine snob cone cap]. This 2000 edition is still young. Lots of berry, black cherry, some cinnamon and milk chocolate. The earthy Cabernet at 77% is balanced with 18% Mertlot. The wine is delicious. 20,000 cases! 14.1%
Saxum04.jpg2004 Saxum Bone Rock $60: The blend is 85% Syrah, 12% Grenache, and 3% Mourvédre. The winemaker is Justin Smith. The vineyard is Bone Rock which is owned by James Berry Smith (yes they are related, Pop and Son). I am linking to an excellent review from Gang of Pour of the vineyard and wines that feature Bone Rock and James Berry fruit, and regional wineries that produce wines from these vineyards. The nose was veggie like arugula. Bitter and sharp. Made tBoW a bit nervous as Paso has always been notorious for its vegetable qualities. This blew off in 5 minutes. The flavors showed none of that. Ripe blueberry and blackberry fruit. Soft tannins. This is a vintage to drink early. Love that. Quite the delicious wine that blows away the recent big ticket cabs and cab blends (which are nice and impressive but I will take the Saxum even at the U20-busting price). Amazingly, the alcohol was not detectable even at 15.8%!!!

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