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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 Calif Burgundies - June 20, 2007


We tasted recently (6/20/07) some Calif Burgundies :

  1. HubertLignier AC: Bourgogne Aligote (12.5%) 2004: Med.gold color; some stoney/earthy
    slight damp basement slight floral/green apple pleasant nose; very tart/lean green apple/spicy earthy/damp basement flavor; very tart/lean bit thin somewhat earthy/stoney slight floral/green apple finish; bit on the schreechy/acid side. $18.00
  2. Calera 30th AnnivVintage Mt.Harlan Aligote JensenVnyd (52 cs; SaH: 21.1%; 624 btls;
    www.CaleraWine.com) 2005
    : Med.gold color; somewhat minerally/smokey rather floral/
    perfumed slight mineral/apple nose; quite acid bit metallic light smokey/minerally some lush/green apple flavor; med.long tart/acid bit smokey/minerally green apple finish; high acidity but an overlying lushness; maybe best Aligote I've ever had. $22.50
  3. Radio-Coteau Savoy/AndersonVlly Chard (290 cs; /U; 14.4%; www.RadioCoteau.com)2005:
    Med.light gold color; lovely fragrant very melony/ripe/Chard some floral slight pencilly/oak quite aromatic/perfumed nose; good acidity rather floral/melony/ripe/Chard light pencilly/oak some spicy/nutmeg flavor; very long light pencilly/oak spicy/floral/ripe/melony/Chard finish; a beautiful balanced/spicy very perfumed Chard at a more than fair price. $40.00
  4. Failla Chard EstateVnyd/SonomaCoast (14.3%; 125 cs) 2004: Med.gold color;some toasty/
    charred/Fr.oak some minerally very spicy/melony/Chard loads of fruit nose; tart some toasty/ charred/Fr.oak minerally/spicy ripe/melony/Chard flavor; very long toasty/charred/oak ripe/ melony/Chard very spicy finish; lots of oak but plenty of spicy Chard fruit to support it; very structured and should go 10 yrs. $48.00
  5. A Donkey and Goat Chard BrosseauVnyd/Chalone (14.1%; U; www.ADonkeyAndGoat.com) 2004: Slight cloudy med.gold color; quite spicy/melony/Chard some yeasty bit butterscotchy/oak
    rather perfumed/aromatic nose; tart/acid very spicy/apple pie/melony/ripe bit yeasty some minerally light butterscotchy/oak flavor; med. tart/green apple apple pie/ripe/melony/Chard bit yeasty some butterscotchy/oak finish; an interesting lean/crisp yet rich very spicy Chard at a more than fair price. $40.50
  6. OjaiVnyd Chard ClosPepeVnyd/SantaRitaHills (14.0%; www.OjaiVineyard.com) 2004: Med.gold color; strong toasty/oak/smokey ripe/melony/Chard quite spicy/fragrant/perfumed nose;
    tart rich/lush some toasty/pungent/oak ripe/bright/melony/Chard bit minerally very spicy flavor; very long rich/lush tart ripe/melony/Chard some toasty/smokey/Fr.oak ripe/melon/honeydew/Chard quite spicy finish; will age well for 2-5 yrs; a lovely fairly oaked Chard w/ plenty of spicy/melony fruit to back it up; good value at $35.00
  7. Kosta Browne SonomaCoast PinotNoir (15.0%; www.KostaBrowne.com) 2005: Med. color; rather pencilly/oak strong black cherry/cherry/spicy lovely Pinot bit Dehlinger-like nose; tart bright cherry/black cherry/Pinot some pencilly/toasty/oak loads of Pinot fruit flavor; long bright cherry/ black cherry/Pinot smooth/polished/elegant some pencilly/toasty/oak finish w/ some tannins; needs several yrs; quite a lovely Pinot, though not that expressive of SonomaCoast, at a stupid price. No regrets on passing on the RRV. $84.00
  8. AlcinaCllrs PinotNoir RamondoVnyd/SonomaCoast (14.7%; www.AlcinaCellars.com) 2005:
    Med.dark color; very spicy/peppery/black cherry/cola some toasty/oak classic cold-climate Pinot very rich/spicy nose; tart rather rich/black cherry/peppery/PN quite spicy/perfumed/black cherry cola light toasty/oak flavor; very long cold-climate/peppery/spicy lush black cherry/cherry/cola/PN very spicy light toasty/oak finish w/ some tannins; needs several yrs; a beautiful Pinot quite expressive of SonomaCoast; fairly priced at $50.00
  9. OjaiVnyd PinotNoir BienNacidoVnyd/SantaMariaVlly (14.0%) 2004: Med.dark color; rather
    toasty/charred/smokey/Fr.oak bit earthy/dusty lovely black cherry/classic BN/PN/cola lovely/ complex nose; tart bit earthy/herbal rich/black cherry/cola/PN/ripe some toasty/smokey/Fr.oak bit earthy flavor; very long black cherry/PN/cola some toasty/smokey/Fr.oak finish w/ some tannins; needs 2-5 yrs; loads of that BienNacido black cherry terroir; good price at $37.00
  10. OjaiVnyd PinotNoir ClosPepeVnyd/Sta.RitaHills (14.0%) 2004: Dark color; deep earthy/dusty/
    Burgundian very strong black cherry/blackberry/PN huge fruit quite toasty/oak complex nose; tart very strong black cherry/blackberry/PN/huge fruit somewhat dusty/earthy/Burgundian rather toasty/Fr.oak flavor; very long/lingering huge/black cherry/blackberry/PN some toasty/charred/ Fr.oak Burgundian finish w/ fair tannins; needs 2-7 yrs; big huge PN fruit wine w/ fair charred/ toasty/oak; rather Burgundian in style. $46.00
  11. OjaiVnyd PinotNoir FeCiegaVnyd/Sta.RitaHills (14.0%) 2004: Very dark color; rather spicy/
    peppery/cold-climate more prefumed/fragrant/elegant high-toned/charry/black cherry/PN light toasty/charred/oak nose; softer more bright/cherry/black cherry/PN slight toasty/smokey/oak high-toned/elegant flavor; very long spicy/bright cherry/black cherry/PN light toasty/oak finish w/ some tannins; more bright fruit & more balance than the other two; a lovely Pinot. $46.00

The Usual profundities from TheBloodyPulpit :

1. Kosta-Browne: I've liked all the K-B Pinots we've tried thus far, but not willing to pay
the price when you can find Pinots as good, maybe better, at a third-half the price. We'll probably continue to try what shows up her in NM, but nobody in my group is buying them to drink. So sad.
2. Alcina: This is my first wine from Greg Piatagorski, a long-time friend from his days over in WalnutCreek. I was pretty impressed with it. Next up is the Syrah.
3. Radio-Coteau: This was my first R-C Chard ever. I had very high expectations for this wine; it did not let me down. I've not been all that impressed with AndersonVlly Chards.
Given the right winemaker, the can grow Chard as good as any in Calif I would say.
4. Failla: This is a wnry that seems to be flying well below everyone's radar screen. I've
been pretty impressed w/ everything I've had of Ehren's thus far. They're not particularly
flashy or showy wines, but they are very well structured for the long haul. This Chard, from their estate way out on the SonomaCoast, reminds me a lot of some of the Hanzell Chards, which age amazingly well.
5. Donkey&Goat: I first had their wines at RhoneRangers yr & half ago and was mightly
impressed w/ these efforts. This was the first non-Rhone varietal of theirs I've tried. Still impressed by what they're doing.
6. Ojai: AdamTolmach gets most of his buzz over his Syrahs. And rightfully so; one of the
original four RhoneRangers. But he has, for yrs, been quietly making Burgundy varietals
that are, I think, as good as his Rhone program. Particularly his two Chards are some of
my favorites. The Pinots are pretty big, but never over the top. One of Calif's top
winemakers, but he keeps such a low profile that he doesn't get a lot of press. He'd
much rather be hanging w/ his family than schmoozing up customers. BobLindquist refers
to him as an "anti-marketing" guy. Fortunately, the quality of his wines are such that he doesn't have to do much marketing. A wnry I've followed from the very start in 1982, when he was making wine up in Mary Vigorossa's barn in LosAlamos (the other one).


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