Alexander Valley Vineyards, California

2006 Chardonnay Reserve, Alexander Valley Vineyards, 14%
100% Alexander Valley fruit.  Matured in 70% stainless steel and 30% French oak.  It has quite a delicate chardonnay nose.  Fairly concentrated on the palate: it comes across as big and full with a condensed fruit note.  83/100

2005 Viognier, Wetzel Family Estate, Alexander Valley Vineyards, 14.2%
Whole cluster pressed and then cold fermented in stainless steel.  It has a very creamy, bitter almond nose.  Very attractive palate.  Nice and restrained with lovely balance.  91/100

2007 New Gewurz, North Coast Gewurztraminer, Alexander Valley Vineyards, 12.8%
A rather – undefinably – unusual gewürztraminer nose, that feels fairly closed.  Much better on the palate, and much more distinctively and varietally correct.  Builds in power towards the finish.  Fairly well handled.  86/100

2005 Sangiovese, Wetzel Family Estate, Alexander Valley Vineyards, 14%
A lively bright nose with red cherry fruits.  Vibrant and delicious on the palate.  Young and hardly over complex, but yummy.  88/100

2005 Temptation Zinfandel, California, Alexander Valley Vineyards, 14.5% (screwcapped)
This has 8% sangiovese in the blend, with the fruit coming from Dry Creek, Alexander Valley and Solano County.  It’s remarkably light on the nose for a zinfandel: black cherries, raspberries and a bit of chocolate.  This is a light, fresh, zingy Zin in a style that puts it out of the norm.  90/100

2006 Sin Zin, Alexander Valley Vineyards, 14%
95% of the fruit comes from the Alexander Valley, with the remaining 5% derived from Dry Creek vineyards.  The finished wine is aged for 10 months in French and American oak. 
There are rich black and mulberry fruit on the nose.  On the palate, it feels very young.  It has good structure with a good balance of fruit, acidity and tannins.  The fruit is riper than in the Redemption Zin.  89/100

2006 Redemption Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley, Alexander Valley Vineyards, 14.5%
This has a completely different fruit profile on the nose to the Sin Zin: it’s more minerally with more plummy fruit, plus some very fresh raspberries to lighten it.  The palate largely follows the nose.  There are deep black-fruit, concentrated flavours, lightened by some red fruit and acidity.  It seems more mature than the Sin Zin, though both are the same age.  Completely different, with maybe more of a European profile?  More restrained than the Sin Zin.  92/100

2005 Syrah, Alexander Valley Vineyards
This has 2% viognier in the blend and is aged for 14 months in American and Hungarian oak.  There is quite muted blackberry fruit on the nose.  Very restrained, elegant palate; feeling still quite young.  90/100

2004 Two Barrel, Alexander Valley Vineyards, 13.8%
A blend of 50% syrah : 50% merlot that spends 4 months in American and French oak.    The nose has concentrated blackberry and plum fruits with a hint of fruit jelly.  Good palate: very open and easy, but there’s a nice structure too.  88/100

2006 Merlot, Wetzel Family Estate, Alexander Valley Vineyards, 14%
This has 3% cabernet sauvignon and 2% syrah in the blend, and is aged for 12 months in French and American oak, 25% of which are new barrels.  There’s subdued black fruit and a bit of tobacco on the nose.  In the mouth, there’s a very firm tannic structure.  This is big and mouthfilling.  It needs time to allow tannins to meld and mellow, as it’s just a bit too aggressive at the moment.  85?/100

2006 Cabernet Sauvignon, Wetzel Family Estate, Alexander Valley Vineyards, 14%
This has 2% merlot, 2% malbec and 1% petit verdot in the blend.  It is aged for 14 months in French and American oak, 25% new.
There’s a dark, brooding black fruit nose.  By contrast, it’s much more open on the palate.  The tannins are less aggressive than in the merlot, but still very substantial.  Needs 5-7 years to come round fully, I think.  Very nice balance.  88/100

2004 Cyrus, Alexander Valley Vineyards, 14%
This is a blend of 68% cabernet sauvignon, 15% merlot, 15% cabernet franc and 2% malbec, which is aged for 24 months in French and American oak.  On the nose there is very deep blackcurrant fruit with sweet vanilla oak – feeling well integrated.  Ripe fruit.  This really feels like it’s made to the premium Cali Cab recipe.  Ripe fruit, concentrated, with heavy oak.  Big, powerful stuff.  87/100 if you like this sort of thing, but for me, personally, more like 83/100


Back to Andrew Stevenson's web page

Last updated: 27 April 2009