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by Tom Hill

A self-admitted wine geek, Tom lives in Northern New Mexico and works as a computational physicist at Los Alamos National Laboratory doing numerical neutron transport & large scale code development. He has been tasting wines since 1971, participates locally with a couple of large tasting groups in his area, and is practically a fixture at most California wine festivals, such as the Hospice du Rhône, Rhône Rangers, and ZAP. Other interests: Tom is heavily into competitive sport fencing (foil & epee), biking, cooking, basketball, skiing, backpacking, mountain climbing.

Some New Rhones - August 7, 2007


We tasted tonight (8/7/07) some Some New Rhones:

  1. Cuilleron Condrieu LaPetiteCote (14%; MeBalPl 18,000 btls) 2006: Med.gold color; lush/ripe peach/pear/Viog some toasty/oak slight Condrieu/mineral very CalifViog-style nose;soft/lush/ripe/ rich pear/peach/Viog very slight minerally/Condrieu flavor; med. lush/rich ripe/pear/peach light toasty/oak finish; loads of ripe Calif-style Viog character; way overpriced at $70.00
  2. Harrison-Clarke SYV/SBC Grenache (14.5%; www.HarrisonClarkeWine.com) 2005: Med.dark
    color; lush/bright strawberry/Grenache/raspberry slight oak nose; tart slight tannic/hard pretty bright Grenache/strawberry/raspberry light oak flavor; med.long bright/zippy very strawberry/ Grenache/alpine strawberry/spicy light oak bit astringent/tannic finish; a slight hard edge but lots of very pretty/bright Grenache fruit. $27.00
  3. MollyDooker TheBoxer Shiraz (16.0%) Sarah&Sparky Marquis 2005: Black color; big
    blackberry/boysenberry/chocolaty/Syrah rather vanilla/oak somewhat hot/alcoholic nose;soft very ripe/blackberry/boysenberry/Syrah/chocolaty rather vanilla/oak some hot/alcoholic flavor; long some hot/alcoholic big/ripe/lush/boysenberry/blackberry/Syrah finish w/ light tannins; a classic fores-square bit simple Oz Shiraz. $21.00
  4. MollyDooker TwoLeftFeet (65% Shiraz, 19% Merlot, 16% CS; 15.5%) 2005: Black color;
    strong boysenberry/blueberry/Syrah very black cherry/cough syrup/blackcurranty/Cab slight vanilla/oak nose; soft/fat bit alcoholic/hot boysenberry/blueberry/Syrah rather black cherry/cough syrup/blackcurranty slight herbal some oak/vanilla flavor;med.long cough syrup/blackcherry/ black curranty some vanilla/oak slight hot finish w/ slight tannins; attractive Oz Cab but just that. $21.00
  5. Domaine Terlato & Chapoutier Australia lieu dit Malakoff Shiraz Pyrnees (14.5%)
    : Very dark/black color; quite French oak/toasty some blackberry/Syrah slight peppery/spicy nose; quite peppery/spicy rather strong/toasty/Fr.oak ripe blackberry/Syrah rather Calif-style flavor; med.long ripe blackberry/Syrah some peppery/spicy toasty/oak finish w/ light tannins; not Oz, not French, but more Calif in style; pretty pricey at $41.00
  6. Cuilleron Syrah Ligne VdP des Collines Rhodaniennes (MeBalP; 13%; 15% Viognier;
    Eleve en Barrique; 5,000 btls) 2006
    : Very dark color; very ripe blackberry/Syrah slight charred/oak very light coffee/roasted/mocha/NR nose; tart ripe/Syrah/blackberry light toasty/oak very slight coffee/roasted flavor; med. ripe/blackberry/Syrah some toasty/charred/oak slight mineral/roasted finish w/ fair tannins; needs several yrs; lots of ripe Syrah fruit and very Calif in style; little NR terroir. Slightly pricey. $30.00
  7. Novy NapaVlly Syrah (15.4%) 2004: Very dark color; lovely very juicy/blackberry/Syrah
    rather toasty/pencilly/oak nose; soft rather juicy/blackberry/Syrah rather pencilly/toasty/oak lush/ripe flavor; med.long juicy/blackberry/Syrah rather toasty/oak/pencilly ripe finish w/ light tannins; a lovely rather Pinotish Syran at a great price. $20.00
  8. Novy Syrah Page-NordVnyd/NapaVlly (15.5%; 419 cs) 2004: Very dark/black color; bit more
    toasty/oak/pencilly quite spicy/blackberry/Syrah lovely nose; tarter rather toasty/pencilly/oak very spicy/blackberry/Syrah flavor; long toasty/pencilly/oak quite blackberry/Syrah/spicy finish w/ some tannins; can use another yr or two; much like the Napa in profile but more spicy/oak/intensity, more of everything. $25.50
  9. Novy Syrah Parson'sVnyd/RRV (14.1%) 2005: Black color; beautiful pungent/toasty/oak very spicy/peppery/blackberry/Syrah slight herbal huge fruit complex nose; tart rich/lush intense peppery/blackberry/Syrah very spicy/peppery rather toasty/smokey/oak flavor; very long/lingering very peppery/spicy/blackberry/blueberry/Syrah some toasty/charred/smokey/oak finish w/ some tannins; needs several yrs yet; terrific peppery/spicy Syrah at a great price. $25.50
  10. Novy Syrah AmberRidgeVnyd/RussianRvrVlly (14.9%; 74 cs) 2004: Black color; some
    reduced/pungent/sewer gas/stinky nose that clears to huge/blackberry/Syrah quite tobaccoy/ toasty/pungent/oak some Rhonish complex nose; tarter very intense blackberry/blueberry/Syrah bit alcoholic big toasty/smokey/oak bit Rhonish flavor; very long/lingering intense blackberry/Syrah rather pungent/toasty/oak rather Rhonish/complex finish w/ fair tannins; needs several yrs; somewhat Rhonish Syrah; very good price at $27.00
  11. Novy Syrah SantaLuciaHighlands (14.8%) 2004: Black color; bit reduced/pungent rather
    herbal/dusty smokey/charred/oak very blackberry/boysenberry/ripe/Syrah big fruit nose;tart rather herbal/classic SLH very blackberry/Syrah/boysenberry light toasty/oak slight licorice flavor; long ripe/blackberry/boysenberry/Syrah slight herbal finish w/ light tannins; a lovely SLH Syrah at a great price. $21.50
  12. Novy Syrah SantaLuciaHighlands (14.5%) 2005: Very dark/black color; more pungent/
    smokey/Rhonish bit reduced/pungent more toasty/oak very strong blackberry/boysenberry/Syrah flavor; long slight herbal/classic SLH Syrha some toasty/oak finish w/ light tannins; needs a yr or two yet; great value at $21.50
  13. Novy Susan'sVnyd/SantaLuciaHighlands Syrah (15.2%) 2004:Black color; slight TCA/musty
    some blackberry/Syrah rather beat-down nose; lots of blackberry/Syrah light toasty/oak slight musty flavor; med.short slight musty rather blackberry/Syrah finish w/ some tannins; not much SLH character; the TCA seems to have robbed this wine of a lot of things; too bad, friggin' corks. $27.00
  14. Novy Syrah Rosella'sVnyd/SantaLuciaHighlands (14.5%; www.NovyFamilyWines.com; 364 cs) 2004: Black color; slight reduced/pungent huge boysenberry/blackberry/Syrah rather herbal/ classic SLH some licorice/very spicy complex nose; tart rich/lush ripe/blackberry/boysenberry/ licorice/spicy some toasty/pungent/oak rich/mouthfilling flavor; very long/lingering rich/ripe/ blackberry/boysenberry/Syrah some licorice/chocolaty bit toasty/charred/oak finish; terrific classic SLH Syrah at a great price. $26.50

Ye Olde BloodyPulpit:

1. Cuillerons: I was pretty disappointed w/ both these Cuillerons. Although the label
on the Condrieu stated 14%, the legs and the flavor indicated it was probably above
15%. The wine is adequate evidence to the assertion that overripe grapes destroys
terroir; the classic Condrieu minerality was hardly apparent at all. Served blind,
I would have pegged it as a Jaffurs Viognier.
The Syrah was somewhat more expressive of NorthernRhone but, again, that terroir
character was pretty hard to find. Methinks Yves Cuilleron may be spending too much
time in Calif.
2. Novy Syrahs: This was by far the largest collection of Novy Syrahs we've had in one
tasting. The wines are impressively good and very/very good values. As usual, I thought
the NapaVlly ones were the least of the Novy Syrahs. Not bad, but they just don't have
the interest of Adam's other Syrahs. The two RRV Syrahs were stunning; about as fine as
RRV can be. My favorites of the bunch. And the SLH all displayed that slight herbal
character that speaks of SLH.
3. Prices on the Novys are all pre-release pricing plus shipping.


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