Let's start with the larger of the two, Falcor Wine Cellars. Falcor was founded in 1995 by Trial Lawyers Jim Peterson and Mike Bee. They got winemaker Ray Coursen on board, who has been in the wine industry since 1983, created Elyse Winery in 1987 (named after his daughter), and has since then added the Jacob Franklin label (named after his son).
The 2003 Bacigalupi Vineyard Russian River Valley ($33) has some white floral and tropical fruit on the nose. It is very round and creamy on the palate with a good amount of oak and the typical buttery flavor. A very good Chardonnay if this is your style. If you prefer a more light and not so oaky Chard, you need to look elsewhere...
The 2004 Napa Valley Sangiovese ($30) is made in the "Super Tuscan" style with 88% Sangiovese and 12% Cabernet Sauvignon. Red cherries and licorice on the nose with an earthy aroma. On the palate, black currant and red cherries with medium firm tannins and medium-low acidity. Nice long finish.
Next up was the 2002 Napa Valley Le Bijou (the jewel in French) ($41). This wine is a Bordeaux style blend with 44% Merlot, 29% Cabernet Franc, 24% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Petite Verdot. This offers the wine several layers on both nose and palate and great complexity. On the nose I initially got a grassy, green vegetable aroma that gave way to a more earthy aroma with black currant, cherries and black berries. It has great, restrained and not to ripe, red fruit and berries on the palate with high acidity and big, firm tannins that all lends this wine a beautiful lingering finish.
Last but not least the 2002 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($50) was poured. The composition of this wine is 91% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petite Verdot. Lush fruit on the nose with plum, dark cherries with a hint of basil. The great dark, ripe fruit and berries carries through to the palate with good amount of acidity, that gives it some backbone, and big tannins.
I really enjoyed all of the wines from Falcor and thought they were very well crafted.
Andrew and Jennifer Phipps
The second winery was the Phipps Family Cellars. It was founded in 2004 by Andrew "Andy" (has 16 years of experience in the wine and beverage industry) and Jennifer Phipps (also works for Falcor). They hired winemaker Jeff Fontanella who has wine making experiences from Opus One, ZD Winery, Saddleback Cellars, Venge Family Winery and more.
The 2004 is their first vintage with a production of 300 cases.
Their one and only wine so far, the 2004 Sonoma County Ranches Zinfandel ($36), was poured at the tasting, and by no other than Andy Phipps himself! It was a great privileged to be able to talk to the proprietor about his wine, and he also knew the Falcor wines he poured inside out.
His grapes are from three different vineyards. The Zinfandel is 72% from Bacigalupi Vineyard, Russian River Valley, and 18% from Ramazzotti Vineyard Old Vines, Dry Creek Valley, blended with 10% of Petite Sirah from Bacigalupi Vineyard.
This wine has toasty nose with ripe, dark berries and a hint of vanilla. The palate reveals black cherries, dark berries and peppery spice. I was very impressed by the first vintage from the Phipps family and I am looking forward to tasting the upcoming vintages to see how they evolve.
If you are interested in any of these wines you can find them at the winery web site or at the wine store I visited. Just click on the name of the winery/wine store in the body above.
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