Tag Archives: 2013

Secret Squirrel 2013 Bordeaux Red

Blended Impulse

Secret Squirrel 2013 Bordeaux Red, Columbia Valley, Washington

Fellow wine lovers, Washington State is certainly among the best in the world at putting together scrumptious Bordeaux style blends. Today it’s a Bordeaux blend by Secret Squirrel, dominated by Cabernet and Merlot. They had a 2012 Bordeaux blend last year, but I didn’t feel the quality was on par with their other wines, however their recently release 2013 Bordeaux definitely makes the cut. If you’ve enjoyed their Cabernet and their GSM from our previous offers on Impulse, you’ll surely enjoy this one

Secret Squirrel 2013 Bordeaux Red $24.99

The Secret Squirrel 2013 Bordeaux red is a crowd pleaser. It’s comprised of the classic Bordeaux grapes Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc, and Malbec, all sourced from the Corliss Estate vineyards, aged for 22 months in 35% new French oak. It’s medium-full in body, and smooth with lovely dark color. There are notes of blueberries, blackberry, black currants, and stewed black plumbs, followed by hints of vanilla, toast, and sage. The finish is clean, medium long, and shows hint of crushed rocks.

Click here to order the Secret Squirrel Bordeaux Red

Region: Columbia Valley AVA, Washington State Wine

Vineyard(s): Corliss Estate Vineyards

Grape(s): Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec

Aging: 22 Months in 35% New French Oak

Drinkability: Now through 2020

Body: Medium-Full

Alcohol: 14.5% by volume

Drink This if you Like: Avennia, Manu Propria, Numbskull



Damsel Cellars Stillwater Creek Syrah

Damsel Impulse

Damsel Cellars 2013 Syrah, Stillwater Creek Vineyard, Columbia Valley, WA

Fellow wine lovers, not every Damsel is in distress. In fact, today’s Damsel seems to have things pretty well in order. Damsel Cellars is a new winery started by owner and winemaker Mari Womack. She spent a several years working and volunteering at boutique Washington wineries such as Obelisco, Bear, and Darby, before having the gumption to start her own project. Now into her second vintage, she’s making some wines worth sharing on Impulse.

Damsel Cellars 2013 Columbia Valley Syrah $34.99

Mari Womack is focusing on making all 100% single varietal wines, such as this Syrah, which is also a single vineyard Syrah, all from Stillwater Creek Vineyard in the Columbia Valley. Over the past 10 or so years, Stillwater Creek has become a favored site for Syrah, and other varieties, among boutique winemakers in Washington. I myself had the pleasure of working with their Syrah, Sauvignon Blanc, and other grapes, when I was making wine at Matthews back in the day. It’s a very well managed vineyard, growing excellent wine grapes.

The Damsel Cellars 2013 Columbia Valley Syrah is aged for 14 months in 25% new French oak barrels. Mari Womack also included 25% stems in the fermentation, which bring a bit of earth tones to the profile, as well as adding texture and a bit of tannin. It’s a smooth wine, but does have a bit of grip to the palate, and those extra tannins will go a long in making this an ageable and food friendly wine, especially with a fatty meat dish. The nose reminds me of the sweet smoky essence of a barbecue pit, with notes of black raspberry, cured olives, and hints of tobacco and dried leaves. The color is deep and dark, and the palate is full bodied, with flavors of vanilla, cherries, blueberries, and hints of toast. It finishes with a hint of game and palate cleansing acidity.

Click here to order the Damsel Cellars Syrah

Damsel Cellars 2013 Syrah

Damsel Cellars 2013 Syrah

Region: Columbia Valley AVA, Washington State Wine

Vineyard(s): Stillwater Creek Vineyard

Grape(s): 100% Syrah

Aging: 14 Months in 25% New French, 25% Stem Inclusion

Drinkability: Now through 2021

Body: Full body

Alcohol: 14.5% by volume

Drink This if you Like: Darby Cellars, Mark Ryan, DeLille Doyenne

Food Pairing: Burgers, Steaks, Summer Sausage

Production: 104 cases

Avignonesi Vino Nobile

Noble Impulse

Avignonesi 2013 Vino Noblie di Montepulciano

Fellow wine lovers, another flash sale today, with a Sangiovese at 30% off. As with before, please have orders in by midnight tonight. Please note, there isn’t enough time for me to guarantee delivery of this wine before Christmas,
The Avignonesi Montepulciano get 91 points from Wine Spectator Magazine. It’s sourced from Avignonesi’s own estate vineyards in Tuscany Italy, where their vines are as old as old as 40 years. It’s comprised of 100% Sangiovese grapes, aged a total of 18 months, 12 months in French oak barrels, followed by 6 months in Slovenian oak barrels. Similar to a Chianti, the wine shows notes of dried red cherries, hints of tomato vines, oregano and spice, with a bit leather and tobacco, finishing on a bright acidic note.

Click here to order the Avignonesi Vino Noblie di Montepulciano

Region: Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG, Tuscany, Italy

Vineyards: Avignonesi Estate Vineyards
Grape(s): 100% Sangiovese
Aging: 12 Months in French Oak Barrels Followed by 6 Months in Slovenian Oak Barrels
Body: Medium
Alcohol: 14% by volume
Drink This if you Like: Chianti
Press: 91 Points from Wine Spectator
Food Pairing: Roasts, Cassoulets, Tomato Sauce



Red Car Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

Flash Impulse: 30% Off Pinot Noir Today Only

Red Car 2013 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

Fellow wine lovers, I have a bit of lead time on today’s flash sale, allowing me to do a more thorough write-up. Coming in at just over 30% off, it’s an excellent Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir which sells on the winery’s own site for $45, but we have it for $29.99 just for the day. All orders must be in by midnight tonight, Friday December 16th, or until it sells out, whichever comes first

Red Car Winery is a newer one, launched around 2000. They take their name from the Red Car Trolleys which once traversed the streets of Los Angeles. They hold the belief that wine should embody the place from which it originates, and this sentiment is summed up nicely in their own words, “Wine is important because it connects us to nature. But to offer meaning beyond itself, a wine has to come from a certain place, not just any place. And the winemaker must stand aside and allow that place to transmit its story without manipulation. This is our never-ending pursuit at Red Car.”

It’s rated 91 points by Wine Enthusiast Magazine, with the following tasting note provided:  “This wine draws from a handful of tremendous vineyard sites, including the producer’s estate, Platt and Clary Ranch, all cool-climate and windswept. It’s a tight, light and minimally messed-with wine…”

At Red Car Winery, they’re believers in cooler climate viticulture, hence their sourcing from the Sonoma Coast. The grapes for this Pinot Noir come from cooler sites which are both at higher elevation and close to the coast, yet the wine is still ripe and luscious- not thin and ultra-light as we’ve seen with many Pinot Noirs lately. It’s fermented with 13% stem inclusion to add some meat and earth notes, then aged in 100% French oak barrels, 10% of which are new. Ripe dark cherry and strawberry jam, hints of rose petals, cedar, dried leaves, just a touch of vanilla, are what drive this wines tasty profile.

Red Car 2013 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

Red Car 2013 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

Just a few cases are available, and they are first come first serve.

Click here to order the Red Car 2013 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

Region: Sonoma Coast AVA, California
Vineyard(s): Red Car Estate, Platt, Bohemian Station, Falstaff, Riddle Ranch, Hagan, Clary Ranch
Grape(s): Pinot Noir
Aging: 100% French Oak Barrels, 10% New, 90% Used
Drinkability: Now through 2019
Body: Medium
Alcohol: 13.3% by volume
Drink This if you Like: Failla, Flowers, La Crema, Littorai, Patz & Hall
Press: 91 Points Wine Enthusiast



Failla Pinot Noir

Sonoma Impulse

Failla 2013 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

Fellow wine lovers, I rarely offer up California wines on Impulse, not because I don’t like them but because it can be difficult to find a good value which isn’t mass produced and readily available. Everyone once in awhile, however, something catches my eye and today that’s Failla.

Failla Winery is a mom and pop operation in St Helena, but husband and wife Ehren Jordan and Anne-Marie Failla are firmly focussed on Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from Sonoma. Ehren boasts an impressive resume which include making wine with the likes of Turley and Neyers – he was also named Winemaker of the Year by the San Francisco Gate a few years back. I don’t see much of their Failla wines represented outside of California, as they are of rather limited availability, you can’t even order them off the winery’s own website.

Failla 2013 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir $34.99

This is classic well made Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir – elegant yet dense, ripe and supple yet delicate and balanced. It’s a blend of a handful of different vineyards, including one of my personal favorites, Hirsch Vineyard, alongside some of Failla’s own estate plantings. All vineyard lots are fermented individually, with native yeasts and some whole clusters included as well. The cooler nature of the Sonoma Coast climate means that this wine comes in at under 14% alcohol, and is served by just a kiss of oak. It’s aged in 10% new French oak barrels, 65% neutral French oak, and 25% stainless steel. It presents classic Pinot elements of soft strawberries, hints of cedar, red cherries, and a touch of rose petals and cardamom. Easy drinking, versatile with food, and a good value.

Failla 2013 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

Failla 2013 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

Click here to order the Failla Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

Region: Sonoma Coast AVA, California
Vineyard(s): Hirsch, Failla Estate, Occidental Ridge, etc…
Grape(s): 100% Pinot Noir
Aging: 10% New French Oak, 65% Neutral French Oak, 25% Stainless Steel
Drinkability: Now through 2020
Body: Medium
Alcohol: 13.9% by volume
Drink This if you Like: Pinot from Hirsch, Pillow Road, Flowers
Food Pairing: Pork, Wild Boar, Pasta with Tomato Sauce



Force Majeure “Parabellum” Syrah

Major Impulse

Force Majeure 2013 “Parabellum” Syrah, Red Mountain, Washington

Fellow wine lovers, you may have heard of a cult winery in Washington’s Red Mountain region, called Force Majeure Vineyards- formerly known as Grand Reve. They’re known for having the highest elevation vineyard currently producing wine on Red Mountain. They’re also known for turning out big, highly-sought-after, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah from their estate vineyard. Force Majeure’s flagship wines can go for as much as $90 upon release. Luckily for us, today we’re able to debut their brand new second label, Parabellum, which comes at a much more approachable price of entry. This inaugural vintage features very small quantities, as only 120 cases have been produced, of which they’re offering us just about a handful.

Being new, the Parabellum wines aren’t yet review by any major wine critics, however Jeb Dunnuck of Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate has been quoted as saying the following about Force Majeure’s wines in general, “I’ve raved about this producer in the past, and I continue to do so… I urge you to taste through this lineup as the quality of the fruit shows in each wine…I’ve put these wines in numerous blind tastings with the best wines in the world and they always hold their own.”

Force Majeure 2013 “Parabellum” Syrah $44.99

Interesting story about how the folks at Force Majeure came to choose the name for their new wine. Purportedly they found the word “Parabellum” stamped on some shell casings which they discovered at the vineyard site during excavation and planting of the vines. I did a bit of research myself, and learned that Parabellum is the name of a German firearms manufacturer. Hence the crosshair style imagery on the wine’s label.

The wine itself is 100% Syrah sourced from Force Majeure’s estate vineyard, high atop Red Mountain. It’s aged for 18 months in 30% new French oak barrels, is a bright fuchsia color in the glass, and medium-full bodied on the palate. It has an enticing nose, with hints of vanilla, ripe and berries, and notes of smoke. The palate is very gratifying, with velvety texture and delectable flavors of cookie dough, bright raspberry and blueberry, and hints of that signature Syrah meatiness. Overall, a very satisfying wine right out the gate, and I think it will development in complexity with another year or two in the bottle, can keep for several.

Force Majeure "Parabellum" 2013 Syrah

Force Majeure “Parabellum” 2013 Syrah

Click here to order the Force Majeure “Parabellum” Syrah

Region: Red Mountain AVA, Washington State Wine
Vineyard(s): Force Majeure Estate Vineyard
Grape(s):100% Syrah
Aging: 18 Months in 30% New French Oak Barrels
Drinkability: Now through 2020
Body: Medium-Full
Alcohol: 14.6% by volume
Drink This if you Like: Force Majeure, DeLille Cellars, Mark Ryan
Production: 120 case
Availability: 6 cases



Schloss Schönborn Dry Riesling – Rheingau

Dry Impulse

Schloss Schönborn 2013 Rüdesheimer Dry Riesling (Trocken), Rheingau, Germany

Fellow wine lovers, about a year and a half ago we featured an impressive 1996 Riesling by Schloss Schönborn from the Rheingau region of Germany, and received tremendous feedback from all of you who snagged a bottle. If that bottle of 1996 is any indication, the wines of Schloss Schönborn are built to age. I’ve personally had several bottles from them, ranging from ten to twenty years old, or more, and I can attest to their age worthiness myself. There is no shortage of Riesling lovers out there, and I also know that some prefer a more dry Riesling, so that’s what I’ve snagged for you today.

Schloss Schönborn 2013 Rüdesheimer Dry Riesling $19.99 (Regularly $24)
3 cases available

The Barons of Schönborn have a history of winemaking which dates as far back as 1349, making Schloss Schönborn the oldest estate in Germany, and one of the oldest in the world, still continuously owned by the same family. They employ sustainable viticultural practices throughout their vineyards, and produce impeccable Rieslings which are true to the Rheingau style.

This Schloss Schönborn 2013 Riesling is dry (or Trocken, as the Germans call it). It displays all the classic Riesling characteristics, and then some, showing bright notes of tangerine and lime, with high acidity and a hints of spritz – all of which make it a perfect oyster wine. There are also hints of the archetypal petrol notes, for which German Rieslings are known. The wine has a medium-rich texture, with essence of honey and nuts, followed by a background of white flowers. It has just a hint of sweetness in the mid-palate, but then finishes bone dry with intense minerality. An outstanding companion for virtually any style of cuisine, it’s great with meats and cheeses, just about any seafood, and hardier dishes such a veal and sausage, or pasta with white sauce. Sweeter Rieslings tend to age best, but a well made dry Riesling like this one should go for another 10 years or so.

Schloss Schönborn 2013 Rüdesheimer Dry Riesling Trocken

Schloss Schönborn 2013 Rüdesheimer Dry Riesling Trocken

We have just 3 cases to offer on Impulse, and they’re available first come first serve.

Click here to order the Schloss Schönborn 2013 Rüdesheimer Dry Riesling

Region: Rüdesheim, Rheingau, Germany
Grape(s): 100% Riesling
Drinkability: Now through 2030
Body: Medium
Alcohol: 12.5% by volume
Drink This if you Like: Eroica, Poet’s Leap, Barth
Food Pairings: Oysters, Shellfish, Prawns, Aged Cheese, Cured Meats
Availability: 3 cases