2001 Hospice du Rhône-

a Celebration of Rhône Varietals

photos courtesy of: A. David Chan

Notes and brief impressions from two Rhône varietal tastings - the Library/Auction Tasting and the Grand Tasting, held by the Hospice du Rhône on Friday & Saturday, June 1 & 2, 2001, in Paso Robles, CA. This annual event draws Rhone enthusiasts from around the world to see and hear about what's new in Syrahs, Grenaches, and the rest of the Rhône varietals.

Several hundred wines were poured during each tasting, with a fee of $40 per event. The tasting notes below are a compilation from both of this year's events. My scores are alpha ratings of the both the aroma and taste profiles. Below are tasting notes for the 120 wines tasted.

Overall Impressions: what an incredible pair of tastings. There were some very nice offerings from the 'usual suspects' from both France and Australia and some of the long-standing California Rhone producers. But in addition, there were also some fabulous wines presented by many somewhat new California "breakout" wineries, including: Carlisle, Cedarville, Frog Pond, and Novy.

Some conclusions:

  • forget Zins - the Sierra Foothills AVAs are really Rhône-varietal producers in disguise
  • Paso Robles Syrah has come of age
  • Mendocino County has served notice - watch out!
  • Lodi, it isn't just for Jug wines anymore
  • there's a whole lot of Shiraz out there that isn't going to age well
  • I can't believe I forgot to stop at the Ridge and Turley tables
  • I can't believe there wasn't enough time to get to every table in the place
Individual Tasting Notes:


1995 Syrah - Viking Estate.Very shoe polishy in the nose, with a tasty but tart mouthfeel and long finish. Aroma/Taste: B/B

1996 Syrah -Viking Estate. A bit more fruity and somewhat sweeter in both nose and mouth, with a long slightly overipe finish. Aroma/Taste: B/B


1992 Roussanne. Stemmy and and still fruity nose, with a nicely balanced mouthfeel, plenty of fruit, and a nice aftertaste. Aroma/Taste: B/B+

1996 Reva. Huge blackberry nose, with a rubbery and shoe polishy background note. Kind of gamy, yet fruity on the palate, long finish. Aroma/Taste: A-/B+

Andrew Murray

1996 Viognier. Light pineapple and peach fruit with the suggestion of pecan. A bit lean on the palate, yet with a tasty mouthfeel, but seems a bit hot through medium finish. Aroma/Taste: B/B

1995 Syrah. Stemmy blackberry nose. A bit bitter in mouthfeel, with a stemmy long finish. Aroma/Taste: B/B

1996 Esperance. Nice moderately fruity nose, with blackberry and some gamey notes. Good balance, good fruit, medium-long finish. Aroma/Taste: B+/B


1996 Ensemble. Fascinating nose of chocolate, smoke and meat. Somewhat gamey in mouthfeel, with an obvious red meat Mouvedre streak, touch of oak, and long finish. Geez, why're they hiding this? Aroma/Taste: B+/B+

1996 Syrah - Signet. Nice blackberry and toast nose. Medium bodied, with a balance to the acid side of the equation. Aroma/Taste: B/B


1997 Syrah. Fruit bomb of a nose and mouth, juicy and chewy with a long finish. Aroma/Taste: A-/A-

2000 Grenache - Alban Selection, Purisma Mtn. Wow! Sweet nose and mouth, lots of raspberry-blackberry fruit, anise, and tar. Long tasty finish. Aroma/Taste: A-/A-


1998 Arabesque - California. Meaty and musky in the nose. Medium-full body, slightly sweet blackberry-raspberry fruit, long finish. Aroma/Taste: B+/B+

1999 Syrah - Central Coast. Nose of sweet anise and blackberry. Full body, lightly chewy and sweet, long fruity finish. Aroma/Taste: B+/B+


1996 Syrah - Tempesquet Vnyd. Nose of game, blackberry, minerals, and rubber.Very tasty mouthfeel, though the fruit falls off just a bit early on the finish. Aroma/Taste: B+/B+


1999 Syrah - Sonoma Co. Fascinating nose of blackberry, tarragon, rubber, shoe polish, and a hint of matchstick. Delicious mouthfeel, chewy, somewhat sweet fruit, lots of grip on the palate, with a light cinnamon sugar conetaste to the fruity finish. Holy smokes, Batman! If the matchstick dissapates, this one's a stone killer. Aroma/Taste: A-/A


1999 Syrah - Fair Play. Big spiced blackberry nose, with a chewy mouthfeel and long finish. Originally a a wine that started out with very nice structure and moderate weight, then started bulking up and has fleshed out fabulously. Aroma/Taste: A-/A-

1999 Grenache - Fair Play. Abundant raspberry fruit and toast in the nose are very nice, but give no nint to the surprisingly chewy mouthfeel and long finish. This has fleshed out even better than the Syrah, and is my candidate for the Grenache Enfant Terrible of the tasting. Aroma/Taste: A-/A-

Clarendon Hills

1995 Grenache - Blewitt Springs. Nose of chocolate and raspberry. Tasty raspberry fruit, very good balance, long tannic finish. Aroma/Taste: A-/A-

1996 Shiraz. Surprisingly veggie in the nose, with obvious snow pea and green bean. Nice blackberry fruit on the palate, but the green component still creeps through. Aroma/Taste: B/B


1997 Shiraz. Nose of green bean and snow pea, with some background fruit. Moderately fruity mouthfeel, medium finish, with hints of green veggies. Now if you want a Shiraz to go with that stir fry.... Aroma/Taste: B/B

Clos Mimi

1997 Syrah - Shell Creek. Gamey and varnishy in the nose. Sweet and tasty mouthfeel, hint of acids at mid palate, with major extraction BBQ-like flavors and tannins on the latter palate and finish. Certainly different, yet I cannot look away. Aroma/Taste: B/B+


1995 Syrah - Ambassador Vnyd.Very nice nose of blackberry, roast beef, and smoke. A bit tart and lean on the palate, moderate finish. This vineyard's a bit of a chameleon. A couple of other wineries bottle this Syrah, and I always find the nose outlasts the mouthfeel. Good source for complex short-term-aging Syrah. Aroma/Taste: B+/B

Daniel Gehrs

1999 Syrah - Harmon Vnyds, Santa Ynez. Very nice blackberry compote nose. Buttery and smoky on the palate, with jammy fruit, and slightly sweet finish. Quite a surprise. First use of this vineyard that I'm aware of, and an impressive debut. Located near LinCourt and Sunstone wineries. Aroma/Taste: A-/A-

David Bruce

1999 Petite Sirah - Estate. Lots of tar in the nose and mouth, but seems tightly wound, and not much real fruit. Aroma/Taste: B/B

1999 Petite Sirah - Central Coast. Somewhat herbaceous and lettucey in the nose, with tar and licorice background notes. Chewy mouthfeel, toasty blackberry finish. Aroma/Taste: B+/B+

1999 Petite Sirah - Shell Creek. Nose of tar, asphalt, and licorice. Sweet chewy mouthfeel, long finish. Aroma/Taste: B+/B+

Delas Freres

1996 Cote Rotie. Very smoky and roasted nose, with somewhat charred wood and meat flavors on the palate. Nice, but a little too "well-done" for my tastes. Aroma/Taste: B+/B+

1996 Crozes Hermitage. Roasted, smoky and a bit stemmy in the nose. Fruit get a bit too sour from mid-palate onward, and finishes a bit brief on fruit. Aroma/Taste: B+/B

Dom. De La Terre Rouge

1994 Syrah -Sentinental Oak Vnyd. Huge nose of sweet blackberry fruit and stem. Chewy mouthfeel initially, but the fruit drops off a bit too quickly in the otherwise tasty long finish. Aroma/Taste: B+/B

2000 Syrah - Special Cuvee. Nose of sweet fruit, rose petal, violets, and melted butter. Big chewy mouthfeel, tons of fruit, toasty tar and anise flavored finish. Aroma/Taste: A-/A-

1998 Syrah - Sentinental Oak Vnyd. Nice enough nose of blackberry jam, but even better mouthfeel with lots of chewy fruit and a long finish. Aroma/Taste: B/B+

1998 Mourvedre - Amador. Beautiful nose of meaty and ripe raspberry-blackberry fruit. Fleshy mouthfeel, lots of chewy fruit, but gets a bit hot toward long finish. Aroma/Taste: B+/B

Edmunds St. John

1989 Syrah - Durell Vnyd.Nose of smoky game, blackberry and rubber. The mouthfeel is running out of steam, but still some interesting light blackberry and tar flavors left. Aroma/Taste: B+/B

1994 Syrah - Durell Vnyd.Very similar to the '89 in profile, but there's still a lot of life left in this nose. Bigger and more tannic in the mouth, with lots of blackberry fruit, tar and a bit of gamey quality. Aroma/Taste: B+/B+

1995 Les Cote Sauvages. Lots of raspberry, ash, and toast in the nose. Dusty on the palate, with a nice core of raspberry fruit, and a tannic finish. Aroma/Taste: B/B

1999 Syrah - Wylie Fenaughty. Nose is a dense mass of tar and licorice. Thick and chewy on the palate, with big core of fruit, and long anise-filled finish. Aroma/Taste: A-/A-

1999 Rocks and Gravel. interesting nose of tar and licorice. Trading muscle for grace, this one's a little easier on the palate that the Wylie, with nice balance and core of fruit, and fabulously long finish Aroma/Taste: B+/A-

1997 Syrah - Higher Ground. Nose of blackberry, tar, licorice and ink. Huge chewy monster, you'll need a crowbar to pry your lips away from your teeth. What hath Steve wrought? Aroma/Taste: B+/A-


1996 Shiraz - Command. Lots of blackberry, game, horse blanket, rubber and barnyard in the nose. Somewhat sweet mouthfeel, with ripe blackberry, caramel, and butterscotch flavors through long finish. Aroma/Taste: A-/B+


1997 Syrah - Napa. Nose of blackberry, toast, and a hint of tar. Very nice balance, chewy mouthfeel, long mostly toasty finish. You'd think the 3% Grenache would be barely noticable, but it adds a nice dimension. Aroma/Taste: B+/B+


1998 Syrah - Old Yokayo. Smoky and fruity nose. Nicely balanced, tasty acids and a ton of fruit, very long finish. Aroma/Taste: A-/A-

2000 Syrah - Milovina Vnyd. Lovely, yet dense nose of blackberry and toast. Huge, thick and chewy mouthfeel, fabulous balance, very long finish. Aroma/Taste: A-/A-


1998 Syrah - Fanucchi Vnyd, Alexander Valley. Nose of blackberry, mushroom and a touch of dill. Moderate body, decent fruit, long toasty finish. Aroma/Taste: B/B

1998 Syrah - Meadow Vnyd, El Dorado. Nice bright spicy nose. Medium-full blackberry fruit in mouthfeel, touch of cedar on long finish. Aroma/Taste: B+/B+


1996 Syrah - Morehouse Vnyd. Nose of blackberry, game, and toast. Some spiciness in the blackberry fruit, with toast and slightly smoky mouthfeel, long finish. Aroma/Taste: B+/B+

1999 Syrah - Morehouse Vnyd. Nose of bacon fat, blackberry, and spice. Mass of blackberry and blueberry fruit, with a toasty mouthfeel and long finish. Aroma/Taste: A-/A-

1999 Cuvee Jeanne Marie. Slightly sweet nose of raspberry-blackberry fruit, and cinnamon. Medium-full mouthfeel, very nice balance, black and red fruit, and long tasty finish. Aroma/Taste: B+/A-

1999 Syrah - Carhartt Vnyd. Very Albanesque in the nose, with tar, rubber, and asphalt. Fullmouthfeel, flavors of bacon and tar, with a tasty minerally finish. Aroma/Taste: A-/A-

Frankland Estate

1995 Shiraz - Isolation Ridge. Slight veggie components in nose, but still nice. Surprisingly big and tannic mouthfeel, good balance, long finish. Aroma/Taste: B/B

Frog Pond

1999 Syrah - Fralich Vnyd. Sweet and slightly oaky and rubbery nose. Sweet mouthfeel, tasty fruit, long licorice-laced finish. Aroma/Taste: B+/A-

2000 Syrah - Fralich Vnyd.Similar in profile to the '99, the '00 has a little less rubber-tar components and more blackberry fruit. Very nicely balanced fruit and acids, long toasty finish. Aroma/Taste: B+/A-


1997 Syrah - Aisling. Nice sweet jammy blackberry nose. Big brooding mouthfeel, a bit stern, but with lots of black fruit and tar, leading up a long finish. Aroma/Taste: B+/B+

2000 Syrah - Bassetti Vnyd.Interesting spiced gamey and oaky nose. Tasty blackberry flavors, obvious oak, and a bit of tar and licorice through long finish. Aroma/Taste: B+/B+


1998 Shiraz - The Bishop. Nose of blackberry, spice, smoke and toast. Tasty mouthfeel, somewhat thick and chewy, with a minty quality to the fruit and finish. Aroma/Taste: A-/A-


1997 Cote Rotie. Lots of smoke and roasted meats, that seem a bit one-dimensional. Moderate mouthfeel, toasted and roasted fruits, with an ashen quality to the finish. Aroma/Taste: B/B

1997 Hermitage. Nose of blackberry and Marischino cherry, with a light smoky quality. Nice mouthfeel, good fruit and balance, long finish. Aroma/Taste: B+/B+

1998 Chateauneuf du Pape - La de Ma Mere. Nicely balanced nose of toast and fruit. Moderately full mouthfeel, smooth and seductive, long slightly sweet finish. Much more impressive this time out, over previous tastings. Aroma/Taste: A-/A-


1995 Syrah - Carneros. Nice blackberry compote fruit, but also very floral and buttery in the nose. Sweet, slightly stemmy mouthfeel, nice ripeness and balance, long finish. More lush and fleshy, than muscular. Aroma/Taste: B+/B+


1997 Shiraz - L'Oizeau. Attractive nose, with a light impression of beet . Full mouthfeel, nice fruit, long very ripe blackberry-boysenberry fruit-infused finish. Aroma/Taste: B+/B+


1993 Cotes d'Orange - Virginia. Light-medium extraction, and the wine is getting quite amber in color. Moderately effusive fruity nose, with a surprising amount of fruity flavors left. Nice. Aroma/Taste: B/B+

Hug Cellars

1999 Grenache - Alban. Big nose of raspberry-blackberry fruit. Slightly tart in mouthfeel, big and chewy texture, very long finish. Aroma/Taste: B+/B+

JC Cellars

1999 Syrah - Ventana Vnyd, Monterey. Sweet blackberry nose, with a stemmy background note. Full mouthfeel, somewhat chewy fruit, lots of fruit, with a bit of stem and licorice, long finish. Aroma/Taste: B+/B+

1999 Syrah - Rodney's Vnyd, Santa Barbara. Sweet nose of blackberry-boysenberry fruit, with a hint of cinnamon. Full sweet mouthfeel, lots of black plum-boysenberry fruit, and chewy long finish. This is one of Fess Parker's Vnyds. Aroma/Taste: A-/A-

1999 Syrah - Philary Vnyd, Napa. Complex smoky nose of blackberry and bacon fat. Delicious mouthfeel, chewy textures, long finish and really nice aftertaste. Aroma/Taste: A-/A-

1999 Petite Sirah - Frrediani Vnyd, Napa. Dense nose of dark fruits, toast, and spiced wood aftershave. Heavy mouthfeel, flavors of tar, licorice, and sweet dark-fruited jam, long finish. Aroma/Taste: B+/B+


1997 Syrah - Bien Nacido Vnyd. Beautiful smoky nose. Medium-full mouthfeel, slightly spicy and smoky fruit, long tasty finish. Aroma/Taste: A-/B+

2000 Syrah - Stolpman Vnyd. Somewhat stemmy blueberry-blackberry nose. Nice mouthfeel, a little tangy on the back end due to its youth, and a rich long finish. Aroma/Taste: B+/B+

1999 Grenache - Stolpman Vnyd. Nice raspberry-black cherry nose. Seems a bit light on the palate at present. Good flavor profile, and long finish. Aroma/Taste: B+/B+

1999 Syrah - Bien Nacido Vnyd. Lightly smoky blackberry-blueberry nose. Moderate-full mouthfeel, fruit seems a bit tart from mid-palate onward, long finish. Aroma/Taste: B+/B

Some of My Favorites:


2000 Beckmen
1999 Cedarville
1995 Clarendon Hills - Blewitt Springs
1997 Wira Wira - Allawah


1996 Alban Reva
1997 Beckmen
1999 Carlisle
1999 Cedarville
2000 Terre Rouge Syrah - Special Cuvee
1999 Edmunds St John- Wylie Fenaughty
1997 Edmunds St John- Higher Ground
1996 Elderton Shiraz - Command
1998 Fife - Old Yokayo
2000 Fife - Milovina Vnyd
1999 Foxen - Carhartt Vnyd
1998 Guigal CdP - La de Ma Mere
1999 J.C. Cellars - Philary Vnyd, Napa
1997 Jaffurs - Bien Nacido Vnyd
1999 Novy - Page-Nord Vnyd
1999 Novy - Garys' Vnyd.


1999 Linne Calodo Syrah/Grenache/Mourvedre - James Berry
2000 Linne Calodo Syrah/Mourvedre - Bone Rock




1995 Syrah - South Ridge. Somewhat stemmy blackberry nose, with a gamey background note. Very tasty mouthfeel, exellent balance, long finish. Aroma/Taste: B/B+

1996 Syrah - San Luis Obispo. Nose of jammy blackberry fruit, with a sweet toasty and slightly stemmy quality. Nice chewy mouthfeel, excellent balance, and long finish. Aroma/Taste: B+/B+

Linne Calodo

2000 Syrah/Mourvedre - Bone Rock. Big ripe nose of blackberry, smoke and meat. Chewy mouthfeel, lots of meaty flavors, long finish. Aroma/Taste: B+/A-

1999 Syrah/Grenache/Mourvedre - James Berry. Beautiful fruity and floral nose, with toasty meat aromas. Very chewy mouthfeel, lots of fruit, a touch of bacon fat, very long off-sweet finish. Aroma/Taste: A-/A-

1999 Willow Red. Dense fruity and slightly floral nose. Young astringent mouthfeel, tart pomegranete flavor, long finish. Aroma/Taste: B+/B

1999 Syrah/Mourvedre - Bone Rock. Ripe nose of cassis, clove, meat, and smoke. Big mouthfeel, delicious slightly candied flavors, very long finish. Aroma/Taste: A-/A-

1999 Cherry Red. Nose of ripe berry, cheese, and banana. Puckery and astringent mouthfeel, sweetens up at mid-palate, then sours up a bit on long finish. Aroma/Taste: B+/B


1995 Syrah - Mendocino. Gamey and floral, with a touch of stem in the nose. Very nice fruit and mouthfeel, chewy texture, long finish, delicious aftertaste. Aroma/Taste: B+/B+

M. Brown

1998 Shiraz - Barossa Valley. Big beautiful nose of boysenberry-blackberry, toast, and hints of tar and licorice. Substantial mouthfeel, lots of tasty fruit, long spicy finish. Aroma/Taste: A-/A-

1999 Shiraz - Barossa Valley. (barrel sample) Nose of raspberry-boysenberry fruit, toast and spice. Sweet mouthfeel, spicy somewhat bright fruit, long finish. Aroma/Taste: B+/B+


1999 Syrah - Hammer. Big blackberry and black cherry-scented nose. Huge mouthfeel, lots of black cherry-blackberry flavors, and long finish. 76% Syrah, 19% CS, 5% CF. Aroma/Taste: A-/A-


1998 Syrah - Monterey. Nice ripe peppery nose, with a bit of leaf and olive in the background. Spicy and peppery on the palate, with a touch of stem, plenty of ripe fruit, and a long tasty finish. Aroma/Taste: B+/B+

1999 Syrah - Monterey. Big dense nose of blackberry, tar, asphalt, licorice, and rubber. Almost Petite Sirah-like initially, more flavors develop at mid-palate, and the wine finishes out with fruit, tar and licorice flavors through long finish. Aroma/Taste: A-/B+


1998 Mouvedre. Slight chocolate quality to the raspberry-boysenberry nose. Somewhat meaty on the palate, with good fruit, a touch of cocoa, very nice balance, and a long finish. Aroma/Taste: B+/B+

1999 Grenache. Sweet ripe raspberry-pomegranete nose. Medium-full mouthfeel, sweet high-toned raspberry fruit, long finish. Aroma/Taste: B+/B+

1999 Syrah. Nose has hints of rubber and tar in a sea of jammy blackberry. Ripe and spicy mouthfeel, with a toasty and vanilla-flavored core of fruit and tar, and long finish. Aroma/Taste: A-/A-


1999 Syrah - Garys' Vnyd. Nose of blackberry, tar, and licorice, with a hint of rubber. Big and sweet mouthfeel, very open and accessible, lot of ripe fruit and spice, toasty smooth, silky finish. Aroma/Taste: A-/A-

1999 Syrah - Napa. Big nose of black fruit, chocolate, with hints of rubber and tar. Very chewy mouthfeel, lots of fruit, spice, toast, and licorice, with a massive sweet finish. Aroma/Taste: A-/A-

1999 Syrah - Page-Nord Vnyd. Incredible nose of blackberry-blueberry jam, spices, floral notes, and licorace. Big mouthfeel, smooth yet massive on fruit and tannins, very concentrated flavors, and very long smooth finish. Aroma/Taste: A/A-

2000 Syrah - Page-Nord Vnyd. (barrel sample) Lots of blueberry and blackberry fruit, toast and spice in the nose. Chewy mouthfeel, slightly spritzy across the palate, tight young fruit, long finish. Aroma/Taste: A-/A-


1996 Syrah - Sauber Vnyd, El Dorado. Average nose of blackberry and toast. Sweet mouthfeel, medium-full body, long finish. Aroma/Taste: B/B+

1997 Syrah - El Dorado. Accessible, but seems a bit underripe in the nose. Slightly tart initially, but fruit sweetens up at the back end. leading to long tasty finish. Aroma/Taste: B/B+


1995 Shiraz - St. Henri. Average nose of lightly spiced fruit. A bit drawn in mouthfeel, with somewhat tart fruit and moderate finish. Aroma/Taste: B/B


1996 Shiraz - Highland. Lightly spiced blackberry nose. High-toned puckery and acidic mouthfeel, medium-long finish. Aroma/Taste: B/B

1998 Shiraz - Highland. Predominately raspberry scented nose, with a touch of toast. A bit tart on the palate, with something of an acid bent and a long finish. Aroma/Taste: B+/B

1999 Shiraz - Highland. Mostly tight nose of spicy raspberry-blackberry, and oak. Nice off-sweet fruit, good balance, long finish. Aroma/Taste: B/B+

1996 Shiraz/Cabernet. Predominance of green bean in the nose. A bit tannic and tart in mouthfeel, long slighly pinched finish. Aroma/Taste: B/B

1997 Shiraz/Cabernet. Interesting, if somewhat stinky nose of rubber band, tar and asphalt. Average fruit and flavors, medium-long finish. Aroma/Taste: B/B

1998 Shiraz/Cabernet. Attractive nose of stemmy and spicy cassis. Slightly chewy mouthfeel, spicy sweet-sour fruit, long finish. Aroma/Taste: A-/B+

1997 Shiraz - AusVetia. Slightly veggie, yet appealing nose with celery seed note in background. Tasty fruit, with flavors of raw meat and licorice, and a long finish. Aroma/Taste: B+/A-


1998 Carignane. Nose of raspberry, black cherry and blueberry. Smooth and spicy mouthfeel, medium-full body, nice balance, long finish. Aroma/Taste: B+/B+

1998 Syrah. Ripe nose of sweet blueberry-blackberry fruit. Chewy mouthfeel, very nice balance, long finish. Aroma/Taste: B+/B+

1999 Syrah. Ripe nose of blueberry, blackberry, toast, and floral notes. Ripe sweet mouthfeel, very nice balance, tasty finish. Aroma/Taste: A-/B+

1999 Cinsault. Fruity, if somewhat stinky nose of stagnant water and musty barrels. Smooth mouthfeel, that tastes quite mature, long finish. Aroma/Taste: B/B+


1997 Shiraz/Grenache/Mourvedre. Very ripe and burnished nose. Tasty mouthfeel, ripe, fabulous acids and tannins, long finish. Aroma/Taste: B/B+

1995 Shiraz - Reserve. Bit of French stink to the nose, along with tar and anise. Sweet mouthfeel, lots of blackberry, smoke and tar, with a somewhat acidic finish. Aroma/Taste: B/B+


1996 Syrah - Arroyo Vnyd. Gamey and mature nose of blackberry and stems. Tasty somewhat chewy mouthfeel, flavors of blackberry, tar, asphalt, with some stemmy and earthy notes. Aroma/Taste: B/B+

Sierra Vista

1993 Syrah - Red Rock Vnyd. Slightly stemmy nose of blackberry, shoe polish, and vanilla. Smooth mouthfeel, mature flavors, medium-long finish. Aroma/Taste: B+/B

1995 Syrah - Red Rock Vnyd.Stemmy blackberry-blueberry fruit, toast, and vanilla. Full mouthfeel, nice fruit and balance, and long finish. Aroma/Taste: B+/B

1997 Syrah - 5 Star Reserve. Dense nose of blackberry, tar and rubber, with very toasty background note. Chewy mouthfeel, inky flavors through mid-palate, and a nice smooth sweet finish. Aroma/Taste: B+/B

Tablas Creek

1999 Reserve Cuvee. Very dense and aromatic nose of blackberry, blueberry, cranberry, with some toast and a bit of French stink. Full rich mouthfeel, tasty ripe fruit, tannic yet smooth long finish. Aroma/Taste: A-/A-

Tim Adams

1994 Shiraz. Nose of blackberry, and rubber, with a nice pine nut note. Nice initially, but the acids seem to overcome the fruit from mid-palate through finish. Aroma/Taste: B+/B


1996 Syrah - Napa. Very nice nose of slightly floral and stemmy black fruit. A bit weak on the palate, with a stemmy and thin blackberry taste and medium-long finish. Aroma/Taste: B+/B

Wirra Wirra

1997 Grenache - Allawah. Hi-toned nose of raspberry-black cherry-boysenberry, with a light varnishy note. Fabulous sweet big mouthfeel, long chewy finish. Aroma/Taste: B+/A-

1998 Shiraz - Chook Block. Big spicy and fruity nose, with a toasty floral background. Full, fleshy and smooth on the palate, with a long finish. Aroma/Taste: A-/B+

1998 Shiraz - RSW. Complex nose of blackberry, spice, toast, anise and rubber. Bit tart and tight on mouthfeel, spicy core of fruit, long finish. Aroma/Taste: A-/B+

1999 Shiraz - RSW. Nose of tar, blackberry, tar, licorice, and tar. Ditto in flavors with a nice chewy texture and long finish. Aroma/Taste: A-/B+

1999 Shiraz - McLaren Vale.Fabulous nose of licorice, tar, blackberry compote, and toast. Solid mouthfeel, chewy licorice and blackberry flavors, long toasty finish. Wirra Wirra? Uh-huh, uh-huh! Aroma/Taste: A-/A

Zaca Mesa

1997 Grenache - Chapel Vnyd. Lightly stemmy raspberry-cranberry nose. A bit stemmy on palate, moderate fruity flavors, long finish. Aroma/Taste: B/B

1999 Mourvedre - Chapel Vnyd. Nice and stinky nose of ripe berry, Ovaltine, vitamins, old meat. Chewy texture, chocolaty-fruit flavor,with a slight sweetness to the toasty finish. Aroma/Taste: B/B+


1999 Syrah. Nose of blackberry-raspberry, and licorice. Big young chewy mouthfeel, lots of grainy fruit, very long off-sweet finish. Aroma/Taste: B+/A-

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