2006 Dry Creek Valley


$36.00 a bottle

Excited to say this is my very first blog on a Syrah. I have really been enjoying more Syrah’s this year. In the past I have felt food was so needed to be able to enjoy that bottle. Over the last year I have been trying more Syrah’s and finding many great bottles that are smooth and don’t necessarily need food to be enjoyed.
Both Cartograph and Stark Wines share the very hip, new Garagiste tasting room right off the Healdsburg Plaza in Healdsburg, California. When I was invited out to taste at Cartograph wines a few weeks ago I was introduced to Christian Stark owner and winemaker of @Starkwine. A very humble, sincere winemaker full of passion, who in 2003 followed his dream and started Stark Wine. A true artist that reflects so much in his awesome 2006 Syrah.

Starks 2006 Syrah is a blend of two Syrah vineyards, 55% Unti Vineyards and 45% Teldeschi Vineyards. Both vineyards are located in the Dry Creek Valley. This Syrah has strong aromas of fruit, dark cherry, black berry, cinnamon, and oak. First tasting of cherry, black pepper, and nutmeg. This Syrah finishes with light musty oak and creamy vanilla. Really I think this is one of the biggest Syrah’s I have had in terms of flavors and structure. Super bold and hearty, yet smooth enough to enjoy without food. When paring this Syrah with food it only intensified its flavors. A true gem of a wine. Christian also makes two other great varietals that I also highly recommend, a 2009 Russian River Valley Chardonnay and a 2009 Sierra Foothills Viognier.


2009 Pinot Noir

Russian River Valley

$38.00 a bottle

With Pinot Smack Down right around the corner I only found it appropriate for my next blog to be an awesome Russian River Valley Pinot that I was recently introduced to. Friends I met through twitter Alan Baker @Cellarrat and Serena Lourie @Slourie of @Cartographwines just recently opened their new tasting room right off the Healdsburg Plaza in Healdsburg, California, called Garagiste. I was invited out to come taste their wines for the first time, the weekend before their opening. Cartograph wines all began back in 2009 when both Alan and Serena moved to the heart of Wine Country. Their new tasting room is chic and modern with a lovely outdoor tasting space with plush, cozy couches and a large flowing fountain. Indeed a very inviting tasting room. With Cartograph's focus on Pinot Noir, I definitely couldn’t wait to visit and try. I really fell in love with Cartograph’s Pinot at first sip. Cartograph’s 2009 Russian River Pinot comes from the Floodgate Vineyard. This appellation is home to some of the most prestigious Pinot Noir Vineyards. This vineyard is located adjacent to Mark West Creek on the south end of the Middle Reach section of the Russian River Valley, harvesting the perfect weather for Pinot grapes to thrive. These Pinot vines are primarily planted on the hillsides of Floodgate Vineyards in very rocky soils allowing for excellent drainage and also allowing all of the energy of the vines to focus on the grapes.

Cartograph 2009 Russian River Pinot has aromas of huge red cherry and spice and that traditional Russian River Valley earthiness, tasting first of cherry, tea, and rhubarb. In a really good Russian River Valley Pinot the finish tends to be my favorite part. This Cartograph Pinot did not disappoint. Its finish was my favorite part long and lasting of mushroom earthiness. A very complexed yet also very balanced Pinot. This Pinot comes highly recommended and I’m adding it to my list of Russian River Valley favorites. Cartograph also makes a great Mendocino Ridge Pinot and a Russian River Valley Dry Gewurztraminer.

Sierra Starr

2007 Proprietary Blend


$30.00 a bottle

A few months ago I attended a blind wine tasting of two different varietals. A tasting of Sparkling’s and Zinfandel’s for under $20.00. When both winners of each varietal came from an unknown winery to me, called Sierra Starr I was determined to make a stop there the next time I was in Nevada County. I have been able to taste a few Nevada County wines and I must admit, I have not yet been very impressed. Living in the heart of California’s Wine Country, of course most of the wines I drink come from Sonoma and Napa County. A few weeks ago I was finally able to make a trip to Sierra Starr’s tasting room located on Main Street in Grass Valley California. Grass Valley is located in the Sierra Nevada Foothills between Sacramento and Reno, Nevada. To my surprise downtown Grass Valley was very cute full of charm and history. Main Street looked as if it was right out of an old western film. Sierra Starr’s tasting room was very pretty and inviting with walls made of brick and old rustic wood floors.

I was excited that day to meet one of the family owners and assistant winemaker Jack Starr who was pouring behind the tasting bar. Jack poured all their wines that day for me to taste. One bottles that really stood out and I enjoyed the most was their Cabernet Blend called, “Inertia”. This blend is a make up of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Cabernet Franc, 15% Syrah, and 10% Petite Sirah. A very nice Cabernet blend. Inertia’s aromas are of blackberries and cigar box. First tasting lots of dark fruits and creamy plum and finishing with a smokey light tobacco. Most of the Cabernet blends I usually drink are hearty and complex but this blend is light yet still extremely complex with flavors. Has a definite beginning, middle, and end. This wine has won a double gold at the El Dorado County Wine Competition and Best of Class in the category of Bordeaux Blends. Sierra Starr also makes many other varietals of wines which include Sparkling’s, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonny, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cab Franc, Port, and Ice Wine. A definite stop to taste if in Nevada County.