Special Winery Profile: Sheldon Wines, Santa Rosa California

The Latest Reviews of Sheldon Wines

by Kerry Winslow, grapelive.com

2007 Sheldon Wines, Deviant Velocity, California.
This remarkably elegant and vibrant red is unbelievably 100% Petite Sirah from near Lodi, but such is the deft winemaking that you’d almost never guess the grape or region, even though it is worth mentioning that the vineyard site is completely unique as it is limestone soil and sits below sea level. All of these factors shine through of this medium weight Rhone like wine that shows bright blueberry, tangy boysenberry and juicy plum fruits with pepper and sweet spices along with hints of briar, mineral and bitter chocolate. This wine dances on the palate and lingers well on the finish with just a hint of tannin. This under 14% wine is well balanced and has all come together nicely and should drink gracefully for many years to come, this is a truly special example of Petite Sirah.
($28 Est) 93 Points, grapelive

2008 Sheldon Wines, Vinolocity, Proprietary Red.
The Sheldon’s are Grenache fiends and adore the grape, so it is the flagship wine in their line up, the Vinolocity and their passion and love for this grape shows deeply in this artisan wine crafted from vines at the Voglzang Vineyard in Santa Ynez. Dylan and Tobe started their winery wanting to make wines that showed the essence of their much loved Gigondas and Chateauneuf-du-Pape, they even spent part of their honeymoon working with Louis Barruol at Chateau St. Cosme, which is the oldest estate in Gigondas with some of the most interesting terroir and vines in the region, not only that St. Cosme makes some of the greatest Grenache wines in the world, and from that experience Sheldon Wines was born and has led to their Vinolocity wines based on Grenache. The 2008 Sheldon Vinolocity is vibrant and sweetly elegant showing framboise and kirsch along with strawberry and pomegranate fruit while pepper and fennel add contrast and spice. Silky smooth and lengthy this Grenache is framed by subtle wood and nice acidity with lingering plum and lavender.
92+ Points, grapelive

2009 Sheldon Wines, Weatherly Cuvee, Old Vine Field Blend, California.
This vintage of “Weatherly Cuvee” is 50% Dry Creek Cabernet Sauvignon and 50%  Calistoga Petite Sirah from vines that average 70 years old and was fermented on Viognier skins and aged in neutral French oak barrels. It is really hard not to love this wine just for the label and elegant wax capsule, but the wine inside is stunning and full of fruit, life and charm with violets, blueberry, sage, tobacco leaf, blackberry, plum and cassis all bursting from the glass. This perfumed and medium weight red shows fresh red, black and blue fruits and has excellent balance and length with touches of earth, spice and mineral. This is a great drinking wine now, though I should think a bit of cellar time with have rewards as well, the Sheldon’s are really making some fantastic wines and this one is especially pleasing and graceful.
($42 Est.) 93-94 Points, grapelive

2009 Sheldon Wines, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma County.
I have watched this wine from barrel to bottle with great interest and it just continues to gain in class and depth with intriguing flavors and old school or old world character. While in barrel it was heady with perfume and Loire Franc like spiciness and acidity, but while keeping those qualities it has gained real Cabernet Sauvignon grip and force, pushing it along and reminds of the 1970’s Joseph Phelps Cabs, wines that showed California fruit but had Bordeaux like grace and refined tannins. Not a modern port like rich Cab, but a wine to enjoy with a meal that while deep and darkly flavored it never feels overly heavy or over-oaked. From an old vine plot of Cab in Dry Creek Valley the 2009 Sheldon Wines, Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma County is a graceful wine with acacia flowers, cigar box, cedar and pepper leading to blackberry, tangy plum, currant and kirsch while melted licorice, vanilla, smoke and sage linger in the background. This wine is a throw back to the lower alcohol style cabs with fresh vibrant flavors that can be found in the Ridge wines as well, I can’t wait to have some more of this one.
($32 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

2010 Sheldon Wines, Pinot Noir “Roma’s Vineyard” Anderson Valley.
I have twice now reviewed this wine, but it deserves the attention, and it keeps getting better and changing all the time, easily making it one of my favorite wines of the vintage. The 2010 Sheldon Wines, Pinot Noir “Roma’s Vineyard” Anderson Valley is something of a miracle, as it had to survive a very difficult vintage and a huge storm that threatened to ruin harvest, but it lives and is glorious in everyday from it’s floral perfume to the long sexy finish. The nose is seductive with a dance of violets, roses and dried currants with hints of vanilla and subtle wood, plus a touch of truffle and spice. The palate is alive with tangy cherry, framboise, fennel and plum with a streak of mineral rockiness and touch of pepper along with tea notes. This fresh and silky Pinot is a match for any Premier Cru Beaune wines with it’s Burgundy like class and texture. This wine cannot be recommended more highly, I urge you to jump on it while it is still available from the winery, don’t wait as sadly it is a tiny production artisan wine that will disappear quickly.
($45 Est.) 95 Points, grapelive

 

Visit the Sheldon Wines Tasting Room in Santa Rosa, known as “The Sippy Lounge” and check them out online at www.sheldonwines.com

Wine of the Day

2010 Rochioli, Valdequié Estate Grown, Russian River Valley.
Formerly known as Gamay, the Rochioli Valdeguie is a rare treat that is sadly very limited and only available in the tasting room, though if you call they might sell you a few bottles. I caught wind that it was released and trekked up west of Healdsberg on Westside Road to the winery to get some, and lucky for me they still had some on hand, and they even had the Rose of Pinot Noir, making for a great catch on my part. I have missed out on these wines in the past and been very sad, so it is with a happy smile I write this review. Valdeguie is a rare grape, and for decades it was thought that it was Gamay, the grape of Beaujolais, though in recent years through vine DNA testing it was found not to be Gamay at all, but the lowly Valdeguie that has almost been wiped out in its original Southern European homeland. That said, it can prove to be a worthy and interesting wine in California and I have been a fan of this wine for many years, even when it was “Gamay” labeled and enjoy it’s pure fruitiness and freshness. It has wild strawberry, cherry and pomegranate layers and zingy acidity and can be drunk slightly chilled or served with BBQ or Asian cuisine. J Lohr makes a light Valdeguie from Monterey County, again where it was thought to have been Gamay Noir, but Rochioli’s version is more interesting and richer with a lingering blueberry finish.
($20 Est.) 91 Points, grapelive

Wine of the Day

2007 Sheldon Wines, Deviant Velocity, California.
This remarkably elegant and vibrant red is unbelievably 100% Petite Sirah from near Lodi, but such is the deft winemaking that you’d almost never guess the grape or region, even though it is worth mentioning that the vineyard site is completely unique as it is limestone soil and sits below sea level. All of these factors shine through of this medium weight Rhone like wine that shows bright blueberry, tangy boysenberry and juicy plum fruits with pepper and sweet spices along with hints of briar, mineral and bitter chocolate. This wine dances on the palate and lingers well on the finish with just a hint of tannin. This under 14% wine is well balanced and has all come together nicely and should drink gracefully for many years to come, this is a truly special example of Petite Sirah.
($28 Est) 93 Points, grapelive

Wine of the Day

2011 Unti, Rose Dry Creek Valley.
This is a dry rose as it is meant to be, and I really like the spicy intensity it delivers along with refreshing zing and bright flavors, it is a Grenache and Mourvedre blend that pays homage to the wines of Provence and Bandol of France. At almost half the price of Domaine Tempier, the Unti scores in the value stakes and it has been released almost a month before the French legend lands here, and it was one of the reasons I grabbed it, ready for a bit of warm weather, though I must admit I love rose year round, especially with Sunday brunches regardless of weather. The 2011 Unti Rose shows sour cherry, plum and watermelon with a tangy touch of strawberry while pepper, earthy loam and minerals play in the background. The Mourvedre gives a heightened intensity and bolder expression to the wine and it should drink great for a year, I do recommend picked up a few bottles while it lasts.
($24 Est.) 90 Points, grapelive

Wine of the Day

2010 Domaine Jean Foillard, Morgon “Cuvee Corcelette” Cru Beaujolais, France.
For those that had the patience not to drink every bottle of Foillard they saw, the reward is great as the 2010 vintage is now starting to really hit form, and while the 2009 was considered the greatest vintage ever for Beaujolais, in fact this 2010 is almost it’s equal. Without question Jean Foillard makes some of the most sublime wines anywhere regardless of vintage, but the 2009’s were ripely exotic Gamay beyond comparison, even though I am in awe of how the 2010 are drinking now. In early tastings these Cru Beaujolais were crisp, tight and much less hedonistic leading some disappointment, but now these wines have gained in every way, developing depth, texture and length making them more balanced and complex, especially this 2010 Foillard “Cuvee Corcelette” that is now mind-blowing in total pleasure it delivers, and it should get even better in another couple years in the cellar. Foillard’s Morgons are masterpieces and drink on par with Burgundy greats, with delicacy, elegance and subtle richness that make them tributes to the unheralded Gamay grape. The nose has a mix of floral perfumes, baking spices, walnut shells and wild strawberries while much of the same flows on to the palate with silky grace along with fresh plums, black cherry, sweet red peach and lavender oil finishing with lingering strawberry liqueur. This wine still has freshness and lifting acidity that adds lots of life and heightens the whole experience, pure joy awaits those that drink this beauty.
($40-42 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

 

 

avail. at www.sfwtc.com ($36.00) imported by Kermit Lynch

Wine of the Day

2010 Auguste Clape “Le Vin des Amis” Vin de Table, France.
The Vin des Amis is from young Cornas vines and vines just outside the appellation, but don’t let that fool you, this Clape Syrah is an amazingly fine effort that oozes class and beauty. The 2009 and 2010 vintages are like a one two punch of greatness for the three generations of Clape winemakers, Auguste, his son Pierre-Marie and grandson Olivier. While the 2009 was fuller and very intense for the Clape wines, but the vibrant 2010 is so stunning and pure I give it the nod in early tasting, and especially this 2010 le Vin des Amis with it’s slightly more subtle approach and medium weight it highlights the more feminine side of Syrah, like a baby Cote-Rotie in many ways with perfume of violets, white flowers and kirsch starting the magic before a clean and bright palate of plum, blueberry, boysenberry and black cherry fruits. The wine has so much life and sex appeal it is hard not to be seduced by it’s charms and the pepper spice, lavender, mineral streak and bitter coco notes just add to the joys of this pure Syrah. There is a touch of earthiness and game, but everything folds together perfectly and the acidity is lifting, providing sublime balance. Without question I’ll be drinking more than a few bottles of this wine in the near future and so should you.
($28 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

 

 

Avail at www.sfwtc.com & imported by Kermit Lynch

Wine of the Day

2007 Azienda Agricola Antoniolo, Gattinara DOCG (Nebbiolo) Lambardy, Italy.
This Nebbiolo is pure class and while Gattinara is not a household name such as Barolo and Barbaresco it widely accepted it is one of the top sites for this grape given a good vintage, especially for those that admire the more lively and traditional style Nebbiolo. Antoniolo is known as the king of Gattinara, so I’m not giving you a scoop here and most critics agree these wines rival any Barolo or Barbaresco, but I had not had Antoniolo in recent years and had not recalled just how fantastic these wines can be. The 2007 Gattinara is lovely, vibrant and amazingly lengthy with intense vigor and earthy charms, it shows pretty rose petals, dried flowers, trufflely earth tones, tar, licorice and mountain sweet herbs along with red currants, plum and cherry fruit. There is plenty of acidity and tannin in this young Nebbiolo and decanting is recommended if you plan to open this vintage anytime soon, but there should be great rewards for those that put a few bottles away for 3-5 years, as it surely will fill out and deepen over time. The long wild strawberry finish is remarkable and impressive and the lingering effect is much like a great burgundy in elegance and class.
($42) 93+ Points, grapelive

Wine of the Day

2009 Robinia, Sauvignon Blanc Russian River Valley (by Kevin Kelley)
This is an amazing wine, a long skin contact white that was aged in acacia wood that delivers an almost “orange” wine feel and look while still being a pure Sauvignon Blanc. Orange/yellow cloudy color leads to a palate of tangerine, lemon/lime and red peaches with tropical essences and spiciness. The mouth is rich, but tangy fresh with bright acidity and mineral tones plus a crisp lingering finish of candied citrus rind gooseberry. Kevin Kelley is making some of the most interesting wines out there and it is well worth tracking them down. After stints at Copain in Sonoma and Meo-Camuzet in Burgundy Kevin has created an exciting new project with his Salina label and his avante garde wines like this one.
($18 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

Wine of the Day

2009 Occhipinti, Nero D’ Avola “Siccagno” IGT, Sicily (Italian Red)
The long wait for a new wine from Arianna Occhipinti is over and the 2009 Siccagno has arrived, it it was well worth the wait. The queen of the natural wine movement has graced us again with a brilliant wine that offers subtlety, grace and intrigue with the 2009 Nero D’ Avola which shows unique and fresh flavors that include lingonberry, duck fat and earthy truffle notes to go with bright blue and black fruits. While weightier that her Frappato and a bit darker in character Arianna’s Siccagno shows more delicate details than most Nero wines and highlights her gentle winemaking touch. The nose has a slight, but charming rustic edge before revealing dried flowers, herbs and lavender oil which leads to a palate of blueberry, briar, fennel and wild strawberry while hints of mineral and sage mingle in the back ground. This wine is a statement of purpose and clearly a wine that makes it’s own path and those that have followed Occhipinti will be thrilled by it.
($39 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

Wine of the Day

2009 Castro y Morgan La Palma “Tendal” Vina Tinto Ecologico, La Palma, Canary Islands, Spanish Red.
This wonderful red is made up of Prieto Picudo and Negramoll grapes grown on the Island of La Palma in the Canaries, one of Spain’s most exciting wine areas. This 2009 Tendal shows perfume, spice and mineral with crisp, but forward red fruit and great acid/tannin balance making it an ideal food wine and an exotic pleasure. The Tendal is a biodynamic and organic wine that captures purity of fruit and terroir with ripe flavors and hints of iodine and crushed stones that add interest. The nose starts with dried flowers, cranberry and red pepper spices before a medium weight palate of red berry, blueberry, cherry and plum while fresh acidity heightens the wine.
($20 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive