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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.

New "Calif Rhones" - October 17, 2007


We tasted tonight (10/17/07) some Some New "Calif Rhones" :

  1. NaggiarVnyds SierraFoothills Viognier (14.6%; 380 cs;www.NaggiarVineyards.com) 2005:Med.gold color; attractive fragrant/pear slight minerally/earthy nose; fairly rich tart attractive/ floral/pear/peach light minerally/earthy flavor; med.short attractive peach/pear/Viog; an attractive Viognier w/ nice touch of minerality at a very good price. $19.00
  2. Saisons des Vins L'ete MendoCnty Viognier (13.5%; www.CopainWines.com) 2006: Med.gold
    color; bit reduced/cabaggey rather toasty/charred/oak/smokey bit oily/valve oil very ripe/rotted fruit nose w/ little Viognier character; very tart rather lean very toasty/charred/burnt/oak overripe/rotted fruit flavor; very long overripe/rotted fruit finish; quite overripe and little Viognier character; OK for the price but expected better from Wells; with all the overripe character, this must have been RO's. $16.00
  3. Cass PasoRobles Hacienda (70% Mourvedre, 30% Grenache; 15.2%; www.CassWines.com; 450 cs) 2004: Med.dark color; ripe plummy/licorice/chocolaty some Fr.oak nose; soft/fat/jammy some plummy/strawberry bit toasty/Fr.oak somewhat overripe/jammy flavor; med.long soft/fat
    jammy/overripe light toasty/oak finish w/ little tannins; a bit too overripe and short on structure; pricey for $32.00
  4. Core Grenache Calif SaroyanVnyd (Planted: 1957 in Sanger/Calif; 85 cs; 14.5%) 2005:
    Med.color; lovely fragrant strawberry/Grenache/Nehi soda pop some dusty/earthy bit Fr. oak nose; tart juicy/strawberry/Nehi soda pop/Grenache slight earthy bit bitter/tannic flavor; med.long tart Nehi/strawberry/Grenache bit bitter/tannic finish; very nice wine for the provenance. $21.00
  5. broc cllrs Grenache DryStackVnyd/BennettVlly (14.8%; www.BrocCellars.com) 2005: Dark color; lovely strawberry/alpine strawberry/Grenache/high-toned slight roasted/pungent/blackberry light toasty/oak nose; tart slight bitter/astringent bright strawberry/Grenache slight pungent/ toasty/oak rather spicy/high-toned flavor; long bright/vibrant/strawberry/Grenache slightly bitter finish; a very pretty/bright Grenache. $36
  6. broc cllrs Syrah DryStackVnyd/BennettVlly (15%) 2005: Very dark/black color; strong
    charred/roasted/pungent/Rhonish some ozone/WWII beacon/carbon arc very strong blackberry/
    Syrah/spicy some complex nose; tart rich very strong blackberry/Syrah some roasted/peppery/
    Rhonish bit tannic fairly lush flavor; very long blackberry/Syrah some roasted/peppery/pungent/ Rhonish finish; needs several yrs; very nice Rhone character with lots of Syrah fruit; well-structured; very good Syrah for the price. $34
  7. Paraiso MontereyCnty Syrah SantaLuciaHighlands (14.1%;www.ParaisoVineyards.com)
    : Very dark/black color; rather herbal/chocolaty slight vegetal bit volatile nose; soft rather licorice/chocolaty fat slight herbal/vegetal some toasty/Fr.oak flavor; med.short bit herbal/vegetal rather toasty/oak finish w/ little tannins; bit too herbal & bit too much toasty oak. $18.00
  8. Perlin LesViolettes Syrah ParaisoVnyd/SantaLuciaHighlands (5% Viognier; 14.4%) 2004:
    Dark/black color; some charred/toasty/oak slight herbal/chocolaty strong blackberry/Syrah nose; soft chocolaty/blackberry/Syrah slight herbal/licorice some toasty/charred/oak flavor; med. long chocolaty/licorice bit herbal blackberry/Syrah finish w/light tannins; almost as good as an $18 Novy Syrah; big/soft/rich Syrah but way overpriced. $38.00
  9. SaxonBrown Syrah ParmaleeHill/OwlBoxBlock/SonomaVlly (14.5%;www.SaxonBrown.com; 220 cs) 2005: Dark/black color; very strong/blackberry/Syrah some minerally/metallic toasty/oak rather herbal/strange/SouthAfrica bit bacterial nose; slightly green/herbal fairly toasty/oak bit sour/SA/rustic bit strange flavor; med.long rather green/hard/sour bit herbal/blackberry pretty toasty/oak finish w/ fair tannins; rather strange rendition of Calif Syrah; has that somewhat sour/rustic character of SA Syrah; bit pricey. $35.00
  10. Zacherle LawerVnyd/KnightsVlly/FranzVlly Syrah (14.8%;www.LavaVine.com) StHelena 2004: Black color; strong simple/blackberry/fruity/Syrah one-dimensional nose; soft blackberry/
    Syrah some toasty/oak rather extracted/hard bit simple flavor;med.long blackberry/Syrah
    hard/tannic/extracted some toasty/smokey/oak finish; needs 2-5 yrs; a bit on the simple side and quite extracted; hard to tell where it will go; quite overpriced. $54.00
  11. JohnAnthony Syrah OakKnollDist/NapaVlly (www.JAVWine.com; 14.7%) Michele& JohnAnthony Truchard/Napa 2004: Very dark color; some roasted/Rhonish bit toasty/oak/charred strong blackberry/Syrah rather interesting/complex nose; soft quite toasty/Fr.oak attractiveripe/ blackberry/Syrah slight roasted/coffee flavor; med.long ripe/Syrah/blackberry some toasty/charred/ oak slight Rhonish/roasted finish w/ light tannins;quite a nice NapaVlly Syrah; a bit pricey at $35.00.
  12. CalixCllrs Syrah MaskedManVnyd/NapaVlly (524 cs; 14.8%; www.CalixWines.com) RudyZuidema 2004: Black color; rather toasty/Fr.oak/smokey strong/spicy/blackberry/Syrah bit one-dimensional nose; soft attractive/blackberry/Syrah/ripe fairly toasty/oak flavor; med.long
    pleasant/blackberry/Syrah some toasty/oak finish w/ light tannins; can use several yrs; a pleasant Syrah but just that; bit pricey at $35.00
  13. Garretson Mourvedre HastingsRanch/PasoRobles (15.9%) 2002: Med.dark color; rather ripe/
    overripe/Amador-like very ripe/plummy/boysenberry some oaked slight earthy/dusty bit alcoholic nose; soft/fat/rich very ripe/plummy/grapey/boysenberry bit hot/alcoholic light toasty/oak flavor; med.long very ripe/plummy slight earthy/dusty bit hot finish w/ light tannins; bit on hot/alcoholic/ overripe side and probably not going to get better. Blair's mystery wine.
  14. Gopfrich EstateVnyd Syrah DryCreekVlly/SonomaCnty (15.3%) 2005: Black color; rich/ripe
    grapey/blackberry/boysenberry/Syrah slight oak nose; soft very rich/ripe/blackberry/Syrah slight spicy/raspberry/DCV light toasty/oak flavor; long rich/ripe/boysenberry/blackberry slight chocolaty/ spicy light oak finish w/ light tannins; rather ripe but pretty good for a DCV Syrah. Norm&Barb's mystery. $28.00

Some strikingly profound thoughts from TheBloodyPulpit:

1. CoreGrenache: I've liked, across the board, pretty much all of DaveCorey's wines. When I
saw the provenance (Sanger) of this Grenache, on the eastern side of the SanJoaquinVlly,
near Fresno, I had my doubts on it and lowered my expectations. Surprise/surprise...it did not taste at all like CentralVlly wine. Quite a nice effort for grapes with no pedigree.
2. broc cellars: These are wines made by Chris Brockway, using DryStackVnyd grapes. I had
tried the '04 versions and, low and behold, these '05 editions showed up on my doorstep. Think they are even better than the '04's. I've been very impressed by all the wines I've
had from DryStackVnyds. Peter and Marie Young are doing an impressive job growing these
grapes and making sure they go to winemakers who know how to translate them. Russell Bevan is now their winemaker for their own wine.
3. Gopfrich: This is a new wnry for me that Norm & Barb discovered in a recent vist to the
DryCreekVlly area. I thought the Syrah was a pretty, maybe better than most, example of
DCV Syrah; an area that seems to be an underperformer w/ that grape. Interestingly, they
also import KlemmerFamilyWines from the Rheinhessen. Not sure what the connection there is.
Norm&Barb brought the Riesling Spatlese '05 to Thanksgiving dinner and I was rather impressed with it, especially at $16/btl.
4. This was a rather mixed-bag of mostly unknown wines I assembled. The broc and the Core
showed their pedigree. Some of the others had plenty of pedigree, but they kept it hidden
from me.


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