home wine cellar
Buying Wine

2011 “Birth Year” Case Wine Recommendations

This is my 3rd annual “Birth Year” case blog post. This post can serve as a guide for readers who had children born in the year of 2011. My 2009 list and 2010 list were published around this time in the preceding years. 2011 was a challenging year in many regions known for the longevity of their wines including both…

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home wine cellar
Buying Wine

A Couple New Mailers to Consider

I’m on too many mailing lists. It was one of the first topics I wrote about when Zinfandel Chronicles launched almost two years ago in Confessions of a Mailing List Addict. I think the last mailer I added to my annual purchases was Bedrock. All that being said, two new projects have really caught my attention. Sandlands is the personal…

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Bottle Notes, Buying Wine

Cayuse 2014 Release Party

Cayuse was founded in 1997 by Christophe Baron, a native of France who grew up in family of winemakers in Champagne. Baron studied viticulture in Burgundy and Champagne, and had ambitions to make Pinot Noir in Oregon. However, on a visit to Walla Walla, he found property that he believed would be perfect for growing grapes and decided to purchase…

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Buying Wine

Barrel tasting with Chris Figgins

Chris Figgins, son of Leonetti Cellar founder Gary Figgins, assumed full responsibility for winemaking at Leonetti in 2001. For years Leonetti purchased their grapes but over time have moved to using Estate grapes from their own vineyards. The genesis for FIGGINS was the idea of making one wine from a single estate vineyard. For the second year in a row…

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Bottle Notes, Buying Wine, Pinot Noir

Thomas Winery: The Best Pinot Noir You Have Never Heard Of

One of the most collectible Pinot Noirs made in all of Oregon is from a winery you’ve probably never heard of: Thomas Winery. Located in Carlton, Oregon, winemaker John Thomas has been releasing small amounts of wine from the Thomas Vineyard since 1988. I don’t recall ever seeing ratings from the Wine Advocate or the Wine Spectator, and I don’t think…

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wine cellar
Buying Wine, Random Musings

The Zinfandel Chronicles Power Rankings Revisited

I published the inaugural version of the Zinfandel Chronicles Power Rankings last November. My intent was to rank domestic wineries based on buzz, “it” factor, excitement and the intrigue generated among wine collectors and consumers. I’ve ranked the wineries below and indicated whether they’ve moved up the list or down. I’ve also highlighted wineries new to the list and those…

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home wine cellar
Buying Wine, Random Musings

Vintage Charts Only Tell Half the Story

When I first started collecting wine I paid so much attention to vintage charts and rankings. I would buy sparingly from mediocre vintages like ’89 Napa Cabernets but I would back the truck up for a vintage like 1990. Nowadays I find myself paying far less attention to vintages and far more attention to producers. What changed my mind? I…

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Efeste 2013 Spring Release Party
Buying Wine

Efeste Spring 2013 Release Party

Efeste, pronounced like the letters “F-S-T” strung together, was named after the last names of founders Helen & Dan Ferrelli, Patrick Smith, and Kevin & Angela Taylor. Efeste is located in the Warehouse District of Woodinville, Washington. Peter Devison took over full-time winemaking duties when Brennon Leighton left to work with Charles Smith in 2012. My wife Lisa is a…

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FIGGINS Wine Studio
Buying Wine

A Visit to FIGGINS Wine Studio

Chris Figgins, the son of Leonetti Cellar founder Gary Figgins, assumed full responsibility for winemaking at Leonetti in 2001. For years Leonetti purchased grapes, but over time moved to using Estate grapes from their own vineyards. The genesis for FIGGINS was the idea of making one wine from a single estate vineyard. During a recent trip to Walla Walla, we…

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