Prestigious Cali Grand Cru “The Master & The Protégé”

“I wanted to make wines following the classic, artisanal traditions of Burgundy and Bordeaux. The first time I stood on the steep, rocky slopes of Mount St. Helena, I knew we had found the place to do it.”
– Sir Peter Michael

Peter Michael – 2014 Ma Belle Chardonnay The 2014 Chardonnay Ma Belle Fille has essentially the same aromatic and flavor profile as well as huge body and concentration that also characterized the 2015, with oodles of caramelized citrus and honeysuckle in its explosive aromatics and intense flavors”.(Robert Parker Wine Advocate)

Aubert Chardonnay Lauren Vineyard 2014 The 2014 Lauren Estate Chardonnay is the pinnacle of Aubert’s winemaking efforts. At over 15 years old, this is the first estate vineyard and has hit its stride over the past few vintages and was considered our wine of the night. “Sleek and graceful, offering rich, elegant flavors, with subtle shades of peach, nectarine, honeydew, tangerine and light oak. Impressive for the juicy aftertaste and lingering presence”. (Wine Spectator)

Aubert CIX Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast 2015Aubert CIX Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast 2015 Aubert’s first ever Estate Pinot Noir, the CIX is Grand Cru Aubert. This Pinot is the winery’s most reminiscent of red Burgundy. This cooler site in Forestville creates an ethereal, delicate, and elegant wine. “Close to perfection is the 2015 Pinot Noir CIX Estate, which is reminiscent of a great grand cru Burgundy from Northern Côte de Nuit Forest floor, porcini mushrooms, underbrush and loamy soil notes intermixed with hints of black raspberry, cherry and blueberry are followed by a full-bodied wine with 15% natural alcohol and great intensity, making for a prodigious Pinot Noir that should age gracefully for 10-15 years”. (Robert Parker)

Peter Michael Les Pavots While the blend varies from vintage to vintage, it is typically two-thirds Cabernet Sauvignon, with the remainder roughly equal parts Cabernet Franc and Merlot, and a final soupçon of Petit Verdot. This has great density with a firm and silky texture that caresses your palate, giving layers of mouthfeel. It shows so much, yet has subtle grilled meat, black truffles and dark fruits. Sous bois gives a mushroom and cedar character. Long finish”. (James Suckling)

California Grand Cru Master & Protégé



Pinot Noir Tasting: California, Burgundy and South African Wines

Pinot Heavy

Kistler Cuvee Elizabeth 2009 A salty, saline quality that runs through the fruit in this powerful, structured wine.Waves of fruit crescendo on the explosive finish. This is a dazzling Pinot Noir, but it will require at least another year or two in bottles. Reviewed and rated by The Wine Advocate.


Sea Smoke  “Ten” Sta. Rita Hills 2005  “Ten is Sea Smoke’s biggest Pinot, a barrel selection chosen for sheer volume. It easily handles its 100% new oak coating. Needs decanting; even 15 minutes in the glass brought a unifying process, integrating the cedar and smoke with the explosive blackberry, cherry and chocolate fruit, and revealing the rich, dense, satiny texture.” Reviewed and rated by: 94 points Wine Enthusiast



Lucien le Moine Nuits St. Georges Les Vaucrains 2012-“The 2012 Nuits Saint Georges 1er Cru Les Vaucrains has a precise bouquet with superb tension – a bouquet that is already shimmering with anticipation! The palate has a supple effervescent entry, with orange peel and marmalade, and fine weight on the finish. Reviewed and rated by Robert Parker Wine Advocate.”


Nuits St George “Les Charmois” 2010 -“Bright and sleek, with a mix of herb, cherry, earth and iron flavors. Firm and linear in profile, exerting a tight grip on the finish. Best from 2015 through 2024”. Reviewed and rated by: Wine Spectator


Joseph Drouhin Clos Vougeot 2005
The 2005 Clos Vougeot from Drouhin’s two parcels in that famous cru, is much more earthy and less fine-grained than the majority of their wines from this vintage, but it exhibits impressive concentration. A bone meal-like meld of mineral and meat dominates the nose and suffuses the palate along with black raspberry, plum and cherry fruit accepted by faintly bitter fruit pit notes. This is quite full and rich, but without being heavy; overtly tannic and chewy, but without being coarse. A promising more tart than sweet juiciness of black fruit mingles with roasted meat and stony, chalky minerality in the finish. Reviewed and rated by: Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate.


Louis Jadot Latricieres Chambertin 2005A deep meatiness and pungent spiciness unite with sweet richness of fruit on the palate, leading to a staining intensity of bitter-sweet black cherry, licorice, meat juices and cassis in a full-throttle finish. Reviewed and rated by Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate.



Hamilton Russell Vineyards 2010 Pinot Noir-
The sublime 2010 Pinot Noir is aged for 10 months in oak, of which 44% was new and the remainder used. It has a ripe bouquet of redcurrant, strawberry and Morello that shows no signs of under-ripeness that Hamilton’s Pinots occasionally exhibit due to leaf-roll. The palate is medium-bodied with ripe  fleshy redcurrant and cranberry fruit that is underpinned by extremely fine tannins. This has wonderful build in the mouth and the finish is exuberant, almost feisty! This is an audacious Pinot Noir from one of South Africa’s top estates. Drink now-2020. Reviewed and rated by Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate.

Pinot Light

June Tasting: Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Powerful Pinots…

First and foremost, I must state, I enjoy being the President of the club.  It’s not an easy task leading nine grown men into the woods, but as they entrust me with the tastings, we ultimately make time to drink wine and compare notes.  This tasting will go down in the history books as I broke the rules, and boy did I catch heat for it.

Now back to the Pinot! This fickle grape grows all over the world, but is it versatile?  I made this experiment for my personal experience. I admit my inexperienced with Pinot Noirs, but it’s time for me and others to learn.  I had the member team up to “comb the desert”. Their goal was to find a wine from a region that would be distinct enough that you would be able to spot it out of a line up.

This tasting wasn’t creative or unique.  It was simply sampling five Pinot Noirs around the world and being able to pick out the region.  We drank these amazing bottles blind, not side by side, we required our memories back track and start deciphering the regions.  I provided a score card for notes and comparisons.


They were expressed the following notes, try guessing where they were from:

1st.  Our first wine was the platform… the color was crimson like a “typical” Pinot.  Earthy and concentrated fruits on the nose.  A nice bouquet of sweet apple, strong and powerful.  A tight, long finish.   This wine was great to start off the night.

2nd.  Again the crimson color, but more depth and earth notes on the nose.  Cherry and floral palates.  Soft body with Excellent character.  Light finish.

3rd.  Bold and powerful nose!! Powerful palate and structure.  A solid Pinot.. from….

4th.  Full-bodied with soft tanning.  The alcohol lingers for a few seconds, but isn’t sharp.  Swirls well on the palate.  Ripe cherries with hints of cocoa..

5th.  A tight tannic flavor.  Rich and earthy.  Ripe berries and raspberries.  Had depth and complexity with a long finish.  Amazing!!

On the table we had Pinots from Oregon, Argentina, France, California and New Zealand.   While the Pinots were bagged we all order our food from the best pizzeria in the world, Fratelli La Bufala.

1.  Argentina – Patagonia.  Chacra, Cincuenta y Cinco 2010. 11.5% Alc.

2.  France – Côtes du Jura. Les Chais de Vieux Bourg 2009. 12.7% Alc.

3.  Oregon – Willamette. Cristom, Eola-Maity Hills Jessie Vineyard 2010. 13.5% Alc.

4.  New Zealand- Martinborough.  Cobblestone, Te Muna. 2009. 14.9% Alc.

5.  California – Sta. Rita Hills.   Sea Smoke Southing 2010. 14.5% Alc.

New Zealand was the overall preferred wine of the group.  I suggest you hit these Pinots hard as they are making exceptional quality wine.