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Notes and brief impressions from two Rhône varietal tastings - the Library/Top Dog Tasting and the Grand Tasting, heldat the Tenth annual Hospice du Rhône on Friday & Saturday, May 31 & June 1, 2002, in Paso Robles, CA. This annual event draws Rhône wine enthusiasts from around the world to see, hear and taste what's new in Syrah, Grenache, and nineteen other Rhône varietals.

Hundreds of wines were poured at each of the two tastings. With fees of $50 and $65 respectively, this venue is arguably the best opportunity to taste such a wide spectrum of Rhône varietals, and in great depth. The brief tasting notes here for 105 wines have been compiled from both of this year's tastings. Impressions of the aroma and taste profiles are expressed in an alpha format, and may be approximately compared to numerical scores by referencing my conversion chart.



Clarendon Hills
Crystal Basin
David Bruce

Eaglepoint Ranch
Edmunds St. John

Frog Pond
Jade Mtn
Lagier Meredith
Linne Colado

Robert Hall
Spring Mtn
Stags' Leap
Tablas Creek
Zaca Mesa

Overall Impressions: without a doubt, two of the best tastings I've ever attended - theme/venue notwithstanding. As with last year's HdR, there were very nice offerings from many of the usual suspects out of France and Australia, along with some of the long-standing California Rhône producers like Alban, Ridge, Jade Mountain, and Ojai. In addition, some fabulous wines were offered by the West Coast's "2nd wave" of Rhône producers, including Carlisle, Cayuse, Pax and Garretson. The Napa contingent was also very impressive this time out, with stellar wines from Lagier Meredith, Neyers, and Spring Mountain. And finally, local Paso producers such as Saxum, Winchester, L'Aventure and Pipestone made very impressive debuts.

  • several new Paso Robles vineyards are going to turn heads
  • Syrah is now leveling the varietal playing field in most appellations
  • "cool climate" Syrah is the "hot" thing right now
  • Lodi appears to be taming the effects of the torrid Central Valley heat
  • what's the deal with older Shiraz having a "green" streak?
  • are you serious? You mean there were French wines at this tasting?
  • twelve hours wouldn't even be enough time to get to every table in the hall
Tasting Notes


1999 Syrah - Viking Estate. Big nose of blackberry, tar, licorice and a hint of ink. Slightly tart mouthfeel, with plenty of chewy blackberry that seems to shorten up a bit on the finish. Aroma/Taste: B+/B

E. Paul Sowerby, Adelaida Cellars


2000 Grenache. Uncommonly dark, with a huge dense nose and masses of blackberry/raspberry fruit and tar on the palate. Largely monolithic, this is either Grenache on steroids, or someone added a big slug of Petite Sirah to the bottle. Aroma/Taste: B+/B+

2000 Reva. Slightly closed in the nose, with a faint blueberry/blackberry aroma. Chewy mouthfeel, with a gamey tate from midway through the long finish. Aroma/Taste: B+/B+

Registrants picking up their nice thick HdR guide and Riedel glass


1999 Shiraz. Spicy nose of red and black fruits, with a medium-full mouthfeel, moderate oak, and a long finish. Aroma/Taste: B/B


1991 Hermitage. Smoky and toasted fruit in both aroma and flavor, with the fruit starting to pick up some interesting bottle bouquet qualities. Aroma/Taste: B+/B+

1993 Shiraz. Fabulous nose of spiced and toasted blackberry/boysenberry, with a smooth chewy mouthfeel, and long finish. Aroma/Taste: A-/B+


1997 Syrah - Signet. Lots of licorice and tar compliment the dark fruit in the nose. Full mouthfeel, though it seems a bit pinched on the back end. Aroma/Taste: B+/B

1999 Syrah - Signet. Nice blackberry/blueberry fruit in the nose. Medium-full bodied, with a nice balance and a bright finish. Carneros fruit. 9% Grenache. Aroma/Taste: B/B


2000 Syrah - Estate. Fruit bomb of a nose and full on the palate; spicy, juicy and chewy with a long smooth finish. Aroma/Taste: B+/B+

2000 Grenache - Purisma Mtn. Lots of raspberry/cherry aromas and flavors. Somewhat chewy in mouthfeel, very nice balance, with a long fruit-filled finish. Aroma/Taste: A-/B+


2000 Two Acres - Russian River. Lovely spiced blackberry/boysenberry nose. Smooth and elegant on the palate, and tasty finish. Aroma/Taste: A-/B+

2000 Syrah - Dry Creek. Huge nose of blackberry, ink, licorice, and shoe polish. Very chewy in mouthfeel, with lots of grip on the somewhat sweet fruit, and a very long finish. Aroma/Taste: A-/A-


2001 Syrah - Coccinelle Vnyd. Very nice spiced blackberry/boysenberry nose. Smooth, even elegant on the palate, with a long tasty finish. Aroma/Taste: B+/B+

2001 Syrah - Cailloux Vnyd. Big nose of blackberry, ink, and licorice. Quite chewy mouthfeel, sweet blackberry fruit and licorice, with lots of grip and a smooth long finish. Beautiful! Aroma/Taste: A/A-

Christophe Baron, Cayuse Vnyds

2001 Syrah - En Cerise Vnyd. Huge nose of tar, ink, blackberry, rubber and shoe polish. Very rich and chewy mouthfeel, with lots of tannic grip and a very long finish. Aroma/Taste: A/A-

Charlie Chadwick, with Susan & Jonathan Lachs, Cedarville Vnyd


2001 Viognier - Fair Play. Nose of minerals, pear, and a hint of sugar pea. Fabulous acidity, clean and crisp, with abundant pear and white peach flavors, and long finish A welcome contrast to some of those flabby and oily examples. Aroma/Taste: A-/A-

2000 Syrah - Fair Play. Lovely blackberry nose with hints of licorice and rubber. Chewy on the palate, with lots of grip, fabulous balance, and plenty of blackberry and licorice flavors. Aroma/Taste: B+/A-

2000 Grenache - Fair Play. Spicy and sweet raspberry nose, with a fleshy and chewy mouthfeel and long finish. Aroma/Taste: B+/A-


2000 Viognier - California. Nose of peach with a hint of lime. Moderate mouthfeel, clean and mostly crisp in flavors, long finish. Aroma/Taste: B/B

Clarendon Hills

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

1992 Shiraz. Surprisingly green in the nose, with snow pea edging out the blackberry fruit. Nice fruit on the palate, but the green still seems creeps through the slightly bitter finish. Aroma/Taste: B/B

1996 Shiraz. A touch leafy in the nose, with sweet fruit and toast. Nice toasty blackberry fruit on the palate, with a long off-sweet finish. Aroma/Taste: B/B

Blah, blah, blah...brix, ...blah, blah, blah...maceration, blah, blah, blah...malolactic..

Crysal Basin Cellars

1995 Renegade Red. Nose of cherry and raspberry, with a hint of stemminess. Moderate mouthfeel, good fruit, tasty long finish. Aroma/Taste: B+/B


1999 Lloyd Shiraz Reserve . Spicy dark fruit throughout, with moderate oak and a long finish. Aroma/Taste: B/B

David Bruce

2000 Petite Sirah - Shandon Hills. Dark and slightly herbaceous, with tar and licorice background notes. Chewy mouthfeel, somewhat monolithic in blackberry flavors and long finish. Aroma/Taste: B+/B+

2000 Syrah - Santa Cruz Mtns. Nose of blackberry, asphalt, and licorice. Slightly sweet chewy mouthfeel, grippy long finish. Aroma/Taste: B+/B+

Mitch Tallan and his Traveling Bacchus

Eaglepoint Ranch

1999 Syrah - Mendocino. Nose of toast, blackberry and raspberry. Tasty elegant dark fruit, very good balance, long smooth finish. Aroma/Taste: B+/B+

2000 Syrah - Mendocino. Nose of floral and dark fruit aromas. Big rich mouthfeel, very good balance, long moderately tannic finish. Aroma/Taste: B+/B+

Edmunds St. John

1992 Grand Heritage Syrah.Nose of smoky and gamey blackberry, with touches of tar and licorice. Very nice and tasty mouthfeel, with plenty of blackberry and tar flavors left. Aroma/Taste: B+/B+

2000 Los Robles Viejos Red. Rich nose with lots of tarry blackberry and almost floral raspberry. Thick and chewy on the palate, with big core of fruit, and long anise-filled finish. Steve's GSMC blend. Aroma/Taste: B+/B+

2000 Syrah - Wylie Fenaughty. Big and dense nose of inky blackberry and asphalt. Bigger and somewhat tannic in the mouth, with lots of blackberry fruit, tar and a bit of gamey quality on the long finish. Aroma/Taste: A-/B+

Steve Edmunds, Edmunds St. John


1996 Command Shiraz. Sweet and smoky nose, with lots of blackberry and licorice on the palate. Very tasty. Aroma/Taste: A-/A-


1999 L'Attitude 39 - Mendocino. Smoky and fruity nose. Nicely balanced, smoky fruit, seems a bit short on finish. Aroma/Taste: B+/B

1999 Max Cuvee - Napa. Dense nose of blackberry, tar and toast. Huge, thick and chewy mouthfeel, fabulous balance, somewhat sweet long finish. 50/50 Syrah and Petite Sirah. Very nice! Aroma/Taste: A-/A-

Jeff Cohen (JC Cellars) and his cool shirt

1999 Syrah - Old Yokayo. Rich blackberry nose. Very good balance, tasty mouthfeel and lots of fruit, with long finish. Aroma/Taste: B+/B+

1999 Redhead Carignane - Mendocino. Lovely, nose of blueberry, coacoa and toast. Thick and chewy mouthfeel, very good balance, long finish. Aroma/Taste: B+/B+

1999 Redhead Petite Sirah - Mendocino. Smoky and inky licorice-infused nose. Nicely balanced, very Syrah-like spicyness, slightly soft mouthfeel and long finish. Aroma/Taste: B+/B+

Which of these venues hosts the Rhône 'n Bowl


1998 Syrah - Baby Rattlesnake Vnyd, Fair Play. Nose of blackberry/blueberry, with hints of tar and licorice. Moderate mouthfeel, slightly steely flavors and balance, long finish. Aroma/Taste: B+/B

Frog Pond

2000 Syrah - Fralich Vnyd. Muted nose of blackberry and toast. Soft, tart and sour, with a muddy midpalate, and moderately long finish. This same wine seemed very nice last year - what the heck happened? Aroma/Taste: B-/C+

Attack of the killer Syrah!


2000 Garretson Syrah - Rozet Vnyd, Paso Robles. Huge gorgeous nose of blackberry, smoked meats, blueberry, and ink. Chewy mouthfeel, loaded with big tasty fruit, that has a slight game and stem quality, and a very long finish. 70 cases. (Newly bottled.) Aroma/Taste: A-/A-

2000 Garretson Aisling Syrah - Paso Robles. Very ripe briary and gamey nose. Smooth and slightly soft mouthfeel, long finish. (90% Fralich Vnyd, 10% James Berry Vnyd.) Aroma/Taste: B+/B


1996 Syrah - Hill of Grace. Smooth and toasty blackberry fruit, wood spices, and a hint of cedar add to the light floral quality in the nose. Smooth, toasty and fine-grained mouthfeel, nice ripeness and balance, and long finish. Aroma/Taste: A-/A-

Hey, there's a big mob standing outside. Think we should we let them in?

2001 Syrah - Hill of Grace. Outstanding nose of toasty black cherry, blackberry and new oak. Rich and lush on the palate, gobs of semi-sweet fruit, spicy long finish. Aroma/Taste: A/A

Augie Hug, Hug Cellars

Hug Cellars

1994 Syrah - Edna Valley. Beautiful nose of blueberry-blackberry fruit, tar and licorice. Slightly high-toned mouthfeel, still chewy texture, very long finish. Aroma/Taste: A-/B+

1997 Syrah - Alban. Big nose of blackberry fruit. Slightly sweet mouthfeel, with a big and chewy texture, and very long finish. Aroma/Taste: A-/A-

Jade Mtn

1999 La Provencale . Nice effusive floral nose, with aromas of black and red berries, and a touch of toasty grain. Full mouthfeel, lots of flavor that lasts through the long finish. A blend of Grenach, Syrah, Mourvedre. Aroma/Taste: B+/B+

2000 Mourvedre - Old Vines. Nose of spicy chocolate with a meaty background note. Big and spicy on the palate, very nice flavors and texture, and long finish. Aroma/Taste: B+B+

1999 Syrah - Paras Vnyd. Lots of tar and licorice aromas blend nicely with the blackberry nose. Dense and a bit closed, the flavors of blackberry and licorice dominate the chewy texture. Aroma/Taste: A-/B+

1997 Syrah - Paras Vnyd P-10 block. Bright and a bit high-toned in the nose, with aromas of ash, and lots of charred and smoky oak. Very similar to its nose, this one packs lot of Cote Rotie flavors across the palate, and through its long finish. Aroma/Taste: A-/A-

1999 Syrah - Paras Vnyd P-10 block. Smoke, ash and some charred aromas dominate the blackberry nose. Not quite as expansive on the palate as the '97, this '99 vintage seems a bit reclusive at present, but seems to be on the right track. Aroma/Taste: B+/B+

Jory Winery

2000 Syrah - Lock Vnyd . Fabulous nose of dark fruit, toast, and licorice. Chewy on the palate, nice toasty blackberry fruit, with a touch of tarry fruit on finish. Aroma/Taste: A-/B+

Party on Dude! Stillman Brown, Jory Winery

2000 Syrah - Central Coast. Lots of chocolate and mocha aromas mingle with the lush fruit and toast. Very tasty, moderately complex fruit and herb notes, with long tasty finish. Very nice. Aroma/Taste: A-/B+

1999 Syrah - Lion Oaks Vnyd. Bright and high-toned in the nose, with abundant fruit and a big chewy mouthfeel, and long finish. Aroma/Taste: B+/B+

1999 Syrah - Coastal Mtn Range. Fabulous nose of blackberry, and spicy tarry noset. A blend of Cienega Valley and Monterey County fruit, this wine really delivers the fruit, with moderately complex mouthfeel, and very long finish. Aroma/Taste: A-/B+

Kestrel Vintners

1999 Syrah - Yakima Valley. Fruity and somewhat toasty nose, with hints of licorice and tar. Lots of blackberry fruit on the palate, with a nice long brambly finish. Aroma/Taste: B/B+

1999 Syrah - Signature Estate. Very nice moderately complex nose of toast and blackberry. Initially chewy and flavorful mouthfeel mellows out a bit quickly on the finish. Aroma/Taste: B+/B

Kunin Wines

2000 Syrah - French Camp. Warm and meaty in the nose, with aromas of black cherry and raspberry. Full and chewy mouthfeel, mostly red fruit flavors and long tarry finish. Aroma/Taste: B/B+

2000 Syrah - Santa Maria. Nose of blackberry and licorice, with a touch of black cherry cola. Full mouthfeelAroma/Taste: B+/B+

2000 Syrah - Santa Rita Hills. Lovely nose of blackberry, licorice, toasted grain and tar, with some nice floral aromas. Dark and jammy flavors, full and rich on the palate, with a long toasty finish. Very nice. Aroma/Taste: A-/A-

Kynsi Winery

1998 Syrah - South Ridge. Nose of lightly creamy blackberry, licorice and a touch of rubber. Moderately full mouthfeel, touch of stemminess, with a long fruity finish. Aroma/Taste: B+/B

1999 Syrah - Paragon Vnyd. Lots of licorice and tar elements mingle with the blueberry/blackberry fruit. Semi-sweet mouthfeel, lots of fruit, tar and fennel flavors, and long finish. Aroma/Taste: B+/B+


1999 Optimus - Paso Robles. Fruity and meaty in aromas, with a raspberry/cassis quality. Full mouthfeel, with a nice melding of fruity flavors and toast, and long finish. A "Paso" blend of Syrah, Cab and Zin. Aroma/Taste: B/B+

1999 Syrah - Paso Robles. Sweet tar, blackberry, and licorice aromas jump from the glass. Sweet and succulent fruit, very chewy on the palate, with smooth long finish. Very nice. Aroma/Taste: A-/A-

Lagier Meredith

1999 Syrah - Mt. Veeder. Dense, slightly restrained jammy blackberry nose, with a touch of herbs and sweet oak. Full and

Steve Lagier, Lagier Meredith

rich in mouthfeel, with a very smooth mid and latter palate. Lots of blackberry fruit and deft use of oak blend very well with the fennel and anise notes. Aroma/Taste: A-/A

Linne Calodo

2000 Cherry Red. Very extracted nose, with a mass of black and red fruit aromas, and a meaty background note. Full on the palate, with boysenberry and blueberry fruit and hints of tarry licorice. Blend of Zin, Mourvedre, Syrah. Aroma/Taste: B+/B+

2000 Linne Calodo Red. Nose of raspberry and blackberry aromas, with a meaty minerally quality. Spicy mouthfeel, very tasty fruit, with a nice toasty long finish. Blend of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre. Aroma/Taste: B+/B+

Miner Winery

2000 Syrah - Napa. Nose of blackberry and ink, with light herbaceous tones. Full mouthfeel, with chewy consistency good flavors and long finish. Aroma/Taste: B/B

Neyers Vineyard

2000 Syrah - Cuvee d'Honneur. Effusive nose of rose petals, black/blueberry fruit and light stemmy notes. Big and chewy on the palate, loads of smooth fruit, and a long and very toasty finish. Aroma/Taste: A-/A-

Ojai Vineyard

1997 Syrah - Roll Ranch. Thick inky and tarry nose, with background notes of shoe polish and rubber. Aroma/Taste: A-/A-

1997 Syrah - Bien Nacido. Nose of charred toast, blackberry, with hints fennel and rubber. Surprisingly mannered on the palate, very seamless fruit flavors and texture, and long finish. Aroma/Taste: A/A-

1997 Syrah - Blend for HdR. Smooth and succulent nose of blackberry and licorice. Very chewy mouthfeel, with sweet black fruit, nicely integrated oak, and a very long smooth finish. Aroma/Taste: A-/A-

Opolo Vineyards

2000 Syrah - Paso Robles. Rich and sweet in the nose, with lots of black and red fruit, and a touch of stem. Tasty mouthfeel, with flavors of licorice, tar, and blackberry jam,and a long finish. Aroma/Taste: B+/B+

Telephone call for Mr. Viognier. Is there a Mr. Viognier in the house?

A Few Favorites


2000 Alban
2000 Beckmen
1995 Clarendon Hills - Blewitt Springs


2000 Carlisle - Dry Creek
2001 Cayuse - Cailloux
2001 Cayuse - En Cerise
2000 Cedarville
2000 Edm. St John - Wylie Fenaughty
1996 Elderton Shiraz - Command
2000 Garretson - Rozet
1996 Henschke - Hill of Grace
2001 Henschke - Hill of Grace
1997 Hug - Alban
1997 Jade Mtn - Paras Vnyd P-10 Block
2000 Kunin - Santa Rita Hills
1999 L'Aventure - Paso Robles
1999 Lagier Meredith
2000 Neyers - Cuvee d'Honneur
1997 Ojai - (esp the HdR blend)
2001 Pax - (esp the Lauterbach Hill)
2000 Saxum
1995 Spring Mountain
2000 Winchester


2001 Cedarville Viognier
1999 Fife Max Cuvee (Syr/Petite Sirah)
2000 Linne Calodo Red (GSM)
2000 Winchester Cuvee Voisins (GSM)

Paraiso Vineyards

1996 Syrah - Santa Lucia Highlands. Mostly tarry in the nose, with an herbaceous quality to the blackberry fruit. Moderately full mouthfeel, slightly bitter blackberry fruit, long finish. Aroma/Taste: B/B

1999 Syrah - Santa Lucia Highlands. Nose of licorice and stemmy blackberry fruit. Full mouthfeel, slightly restrained fruit. long finish. Aroma/Taste: B+/B

Pax Wine Cellars

2000 Syrah - Cuvee. Somewhat bright nose of raspberry and blackberry. Rich mouthfeel, mostly high-toned blackberry fruit, with a long and crisp finish. Aroma/Taste: B/B+

2000 Syrah - Lauterbach Hill. Nose of lightly floral blackberry fruit, pepper and toasty background notes. Big chewy mouthfeel, sweet fruit, with a very long crisp and fruity finish. Aroma/Taste: B+/B+

2001 Syrah - Castelli-Knight Ranch. Slightly restrained dense nose of tar and blackberry. Almost Petite Sirah-like in flavor and texture, with dense tarry blackberry fruit, and licorice flavored finish. Aroma/Taste: A-/A-

2001 Syrah - Lauterbach Hill. Beautiful floral-infused blackberry and spice aromas, with a nice peppery background note. Rich and smooth on the palate, loaded with fruit, with a seamlessly long finish. Aces! Aroma/Taste: A-/A

2001 Syrah - Walker Vnyd. Nose of lightly floral aromas mingled with blackberry and spice, compliment pepper and toast notes. Big chewy mouthfeel, sweet fruit, with a very long smooth finish. Aroma/Taste: A-/A-


1995 Syrah - Arroyo Vnyd. Very nice fruit-filled nose, with a touch of herbs and spice. Still seems a little tight and tannic in the mouth, with lot of tarry blackberry, and gripping finish. Lots of punch for a '95. Aroma/Taste: B+/B+

David Gates and Paul Draper, Ridge Vnyds

Ridge Vineyards

1997 Syrah - ATP Lytton Estate. Sweet succulent nose of dark fruit and spice. Plenty of sweet fruit on the palate, with a toasty - almost nutty - quality to the finish. Aroma/Taste: B+/B+

1997 Grenache - ATP Lytton Estate. Nose of creamy raspberry, with a hint of sage. Lots of structure to the mouthfeel, with sweet raspberry and black cherry fruit, and a long finish. Aroma/Taste: B+/B+

Robert Hall Winery

2001 Rouviere Rose. Somewhat fruity nose of fairly indistinct aromas. Dry on the palate, with light fruity flavors and medium length finish. A kitchen sink blend of varietals. Aroma/Taste: B-/B-

2000 Syrah - Paso Robles. Moderate varietal aromas, a bit light and stemmy in the nose. Light and mostly attenuated mouthfeel, medium-long finish. Sort of a claret style of Syrah. 15% Cab. Aroma/Taste: B/B

1999 Syrah - Reserve, Huerbuero Vnyd. Sweet and forward in the nose, with nice blackberry fruit and some toasty aromas. Fleshy mouthfeel, with flavors of black fruit, some chocolate and stems. Slightly soft on the palate, with medium-long toasty finish. Aroma/Taste: B+/B+


2000 Syrah - James Berry Vnyd. Dense, yet bright nose of blackberry, licorice, tar and shoe polish. Big and chewy in mouthfeel, with lots of licorice-infused fruit, and a very long fabulously sweet finish. Aroma/Taste: A-/A-

Justin & Heather Smith, Saxum

2001 Syrah - James Berry Vnyd. Stunningly beautiful nose of black jam, with blueberry and mocha, mingled with licorice, tar, and redwax lips! Rich and full on the palate, with lots of chewy dark fruit, tarry notes, and long finish. Aroma/Taste: A/A-

Spring Mountain Vineyard

1995 Syrah - Napa. Dark, spicy and smoky in the nose. Full and chewy mouthfeel, quite a bit of blackberry and toasty/gamey flavors, and a long finish. 5% Viognier. Aroma/Taste: A-/A-

1997 Syrah - Napa. Predominately tar, rubber and shoe polish notes blend well with the big blackberry fruit and licorice aromas. Fleshy mouthfeel, slightly soft and accessible, yet there's lots of structure through the long finish. Aroma/Taste: A-/B+

Stags' Leap Winery

1997 Petite Sirah. Beautiful, though somewhat monolithic in the nose, with obvious tar and anise aromas. Very full, yet somewhat soft mouthfeel, with long smooth finish. The soft palate isn't fooling me - this one needs more time. Aroma/Taste: B+/B+

Sunstone Vineyard & Winery

1999 Syrah - Santa Ynez. Nice fruit-driven nose, with accents of herbs and spice. Smooth mouthfeel, lot of accessible fruit with moderate spice and tarry notes, and long finish. Aroma/Taste: B+/B+

1999 Syrah - Artiste. High-toned, almost floral in the nose, with light charred and ashen notes. Fleshy mouthfeel, smooth textures, good fruit, and long finish. Aroma/Taste: B+/B+

Swanson Vineyards

1999 Syrah - Schmidt Ranch. Smooth and silky nose of blackberry, licorice, and rubber. Very dry on the palate, with the fruit hiding behind a veil of oaky tannins through its long finish. Fairly chunky and unfocussed at present. Aroma/Taste: B+/B

Tablas Creek Vineyard

2000 Clos Blanc - Paso Robles. Largely tropical in nose, with a nice light toasted grain and stem aroma. Fleshy and rich on the palate - viscous in texture, with a nice meaty taste. Mouthfeel comes on big, but leaves smoothly, with crisp acids giving a very long finish. Aroma/Taste: B+/B+

2000 Rose - Paso Robles. Very fleshy and ripe in the nose, with lots of strawberry, raspberry, and stems. Dry on the palate, with soft fruity flavors and slightly crisp finish. Aroma/Taste: B+/B+

1999 Petite Cuvee - Paso Robles. Slightly floral nose, with tar, shoe polish and stemmy strawberry fruit. Very fruit-laden on the palate, with major clinging tannins through the huge long finish. Aroma/Taste: B+/B+

1999 Reserve Cuvee - Paso Robles. Deep nose of floral and fruity aromas, with background notes of flint, shoe polish and tar. Huge chewy mouthfeel, big on fruit, with lots of clinging tannins, and a very long finish. This is a huge wine, but not at all monolithic or plodding. Aroma/Taste: B+/B+

Truchard Vineyards

1996 Syrah - Napa. Nose of blackberry and a touch of boysenberry and stems. Nice mouthfeel, with lots of dark fruits, smooth tannins,and long finish. Aroma/Taste: B/B+

Winchester Vineyards

2000 Cuvee Voisins - Paso Robles. Seductive aromas of dark fruit, tarry notes, with slight stewy notes and hit of bacon. Very fleshy and meaty on the palate, the mid-section of this wine is terrific, and the fruit lasts through the finish and beyond. Structured very nicely, this GSM blend has a future. Aroma/Taste: A-/A-

2000 Syrah - Paso Robles. Dark fruits, tar, bittersweet chocolate and a hint of shoe polish in the nose. Rich and smooth, the licorice seems to dominate the blackberry fruit at the front-end, with Black Jack gum flavors picking up at mid and latter palate, and through long very smooth finish. Aroma/Taste: A-/A-

Clay Brock, Zaca Mesa Winery

Zaca Mesa Winery

1996 Syrah - Santa Ynez Valley. Nose of blackberry, blueberry and some stemmy quality. Nice mouthfeel, lots of dark fruit, with smooth tannins and long finish. Aroma/Taste: B+/B

1997 Syrah - Santa Ynez Valley. Nose of charred toast and blackberry, with a bit of herb and stem. Smoky on the palate, with nice fruit flavors and texture, and long finish. Aroma/Taste: B+/B+

1996 Z Cuvee - Santa Ynez Valley. Sharp nose of boysenberry and licorice. Slightly tart mouthfeel, with decent fruit that seems to shorten and sour up a bit on the finish. Aroma/Taste: B/B-

1997 Z Cuvee - Santa Ynez Valley. Ripe and aging nose of raspberry and blackberry, with a smooth minerally quality. Spicy mouthfeel, very tasty fruit, with a nice toasty long finish. Aroma/Taste: B/B+

1997 Grenache - Santa Ynez Valley. Nose of raspberry and black cherry. Somewhat chewy in mouthfeel, very nice balance, and a long fruit-filled finish. Aroma/Taste: B+/B+


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