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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 - July 2, 2008


We tasted the other week (7/2/08) Calif Burgundies:

  1. Charles Smith Wines HolyCow Chard ColumbiaVlly/WashState (13.5%) 2006: Light gold color; earthy/minerally light vanilla/oak pleasant slightly floral/melony/appley nose; tart some
    earthy light minerally clean/apple/nutmeg/Chard light vanilla/oak flavor; med.short bit earthy/dusty light appley/Chard crisp/clean finish; a pleasant WashState Chard w/ low-key oak and a good price. $12.00
  2. Nalle Chard HopkinsRanch/RRV (13.7%; www.NalleWinery.com) 2006: Med.gold color; ripe peach/melon/Chard some pencilly/oak light spicy/nutmeg nose; tart lush/rich ripe peach/melon/ Chard light vanilla/pencilly/oak flavor; very long/lingering ripe/peach/melon/Chard light pencilly/
    vanilla/oak spicy/nutmeg balanced finish; a lovely Chard in a style that you'd expect from
    DougNalle; bit pricey at $38.00
  3. Brewer-Clifton Sta.RitaHills Chard RanchoSantaRosa (15.9%) 2004: Med.gold color; strong
    toasty/oak slight herbal rather perfumed/aromatic/very ripe/melony/Chard nose; soft bit hot/
    alcoholic very ripe/perfumed/melony/Chard rather vanilla/toasty/oak flavor; long bit alcoholic/
    hot very ripe/melony/Chard tropical fruit/mango/peneapple rather toasty/charred/Fr.oak
    finish; pretty tasty if a bit over-the-top Chard. $42.00
  4. Brewer-Clifton Sta.RitaHills Chard Melville (14.6%) 2004: Med.gold color; more toasty/charred/
    oak ripe/spicy/nutmeg/Chard nose; tart very spicy/nutmeg/cinammon ripe/melony/pear/Chard/
    peach more restrained flavor; very long tart rather toasty/charred/oak very spicy/nutmeg melony/
    peach/pear/Chard finish; bit more toasty/oak but more balanced & restrained; lovely big classic StaRitaHills Chard. $45.00
  5. Ojai Chard BienNacidoVnyd/SantaMariaVlly (14.0%) 2006: Med.gold color; some toasty/oak
    spicy/melony/Chard fragrant bit minerally/earthy lovely nose; tart slight minerally/earthy rather toasty/oak ripe/melony/Chard/pear very attractive flavor; med.long tart rather toasty/oak melony/ ripe/pear/Chard finish; fair amount of oak but the fruit behind it to hold it up; very attractive price at $26.00
  6. Ojai Chard SolomonHillsVnyd/SantaMariaVlly (14.0%; Dijon clones) 2006: Med.dark gold color;strong floral/aromatic/perfumed/ripe/melony/Chard/peach lovely nose; tart quite floral/
    aromatic ripe/melony/Chard/peach light vanilla/oak flavor; very long very floral/aromatic
    melony/ripe/Chard/peach light oak finish; levely balance and great aromatics almost like
    a Riesling; great buy at $30.00
  7. Ojai Chard SolomonHillsVnyd/SantaMariaVlly SpecialBttlg#1/Dry (6brls; Botrytis effected;
    14%) 2006
    : Med.dark gold color; very light/toasty/oak some earthy less floral deep/ripe/melony/ Chard slight earthy very interesting some complex nose; softer very light/toasty/oak/pencilly some earthy slight Sauternes-like/Oz Semillon much less floral//rather melony/Chard fairly complex flavor; very long light/Chard/melony light earthy very light/toasty/oak finish; a quite interesting less floral rather exotic rendition of Chard. Well-priced at $34.00
  8. Nalle PinotNoir HopkinsRanch/RRV (13.8%; www.NalleWinery.com) 2006: Light color; pleasant earthy/dusty some cherry/PN light oak bit spicy nose; light earthy/dusty some pencilly/oak/ vanilla light/bright/cherry/PN flavor; med.long bright/cherry/PN some pencilly/oak finish
    w/ light tannins; needs a yr or two; a pretty/pleasant Pinot but a bit pricey at $42.00
  9. DuttonGoldfield PinotNoir DuttonRanch/FreestoneHillVnyd/RRV (13.8%; www.DuttonGoldfield.com) 2005: Med.color; very strong black cherry/PN very spicy light
    toasty/oak quite attractive nose; tart strong/black cherry/cherry/PN very spicy/fragrant
    light toasty/charred/oak bit earthy flavor; long black cherry/cherry/PN light toasty/oak finish w/ modest tannins; a rather classic SonomaCoast Pinot w/ lots of spicy character but pretty overpriced at $58.00
  10. WilliamKnuttel PinotNoir RRV Clone 777 (14.5%; 16 mo in FrenchOak) 2005: Med.color; rather
    pencilly/oak somewhat spicy/cherry/PN bright/spicy slight earthy/licorice nose; tart somewhat hard/tannic rather spicy/cherry/PN bit lean/austere flavor; med.long rather hard/tannic rather spicy/cherry/PN/cherry pie/nutmeg finish; needs several yrs; a bit lean & tight on the palate and may develop into something good; seems pretty tight right now; fairly priced at $35.00
  11. Summerland PinotNoir RanchoSantaRosaVnyd/Sta.RitaHills (14.1%; #0797;
    www.SummerlandWine.com) 2005
    : Light color; big/ripe/black cherry/PN bit chocolaty/ CherryMash light toasty/oak nose; tart ripe/black cherry/PN somewhat toasty/charred/oak bit clunky/earthy/clumsey flavor; med.long toasty/oak ripe/black cherry/PN/chocolaty rather strong
    toasty/oak finish w/ some tannins; on the ripe side & a bit clunky; not worth $40.00
  12. Ojai PinotNoir BienNacidoVnyd/SantaMariaVlly (35-yr old vines; 14.0%) 2005: Med.dark color;strong toasty/oak rather ripe/plummy/black cherry/licorice/PN ripe/lush fairlt fragrant/
    perfumed nose; tart very plummy/black cherry/PN/licorice slight floral/violets rather toasty/
    charred/oak bit tannic structured flavor; very long ripe/plummy/black cherry/PN/very spicy light floral fairly toasty/oak some tannic finish; lots of oak but plenty of ripe/plummy/Pinot fruit to back it up; structured and needs 2-6 yrs. $38.00
  13. Ojai PinotNoir FeCiegaVnyd/SantaRitaHills (14.0%) 2005: Med.dark color; very bright/vibrant/
    cherry/black cherry bit earthy/dusty light toasty/oak more elegant/complex quite spicy/floral
    nose; tart bit lean/hard very spicy/bright/cherry/black cherry light toasty/oak light earthy some tannic/structured flavor; very long/lingering tart spicy/cherry/bright/black cherry/PN light toasty/charred/oak finish w/ some tannins; a tart/firm/structured/nervy cold-climate
    Pinot that should age very well for 3-10 yrs. $47.00
  14. Roar PinotNoir SantaLuciaHighlands (14.5%; www.RoarWines.com)Gary&Rosella Franscioni/SantaRosa 2002: Med.color w/ slight bricking; some cedary/pencilly/toasty/oak slight volatile/perfumed/floral some black cherry/herbal/cherry pie/PN raspberry/framboise/ripe interesting
    nose; soft/lush some toasty/pencilly/oak strong black cherry/framboise/PN slight herbal flavor; long soft/ripe/lush rather black cherry/framboise/PN some pencilly/toasty/oak finish w/ slight tannins; probably near its peak; still plenty of Pinot fruit but lush & round on the palate. Larry's mystery.

And yet another long/boring BloodyPulpit:

1. Ojai Chard: Adam Tolmach doesn't get much buzz about the Chards he makes but they (and his SauvBlanc) are always one of my must-buys each year. Both of the SolomonHills Chards were pretty exotic stuff. When he took his Chard from SH, he noted there was a block of Chard that was hanging & found the owner rejected them because of a slight botrytis infection. So Adam took the grapes and made this SpecBttlg out of it. It's a pretty interesting rendition of Chard and only offers hints of the botrytis. He also left some of the grapes out in the vnyd and made a few barrels of heavy-botrytis Dessert Chard.
2. Knuttle: BillKnuttle is currently winemaker (now consulting winemaker as he focuses more
on his own and his Ottomino label) at DryCreekVnyd. He was originally winemaker at Saintsbury and then started his own Tria label (since sold) and then at ChalkHill before
going to DryCreekVnyd and giving their wines a real boost in quality. This is my first wine I've tried under his epynomous label. Given his Saintsbury background background, I was expecting great things of this Pinot. It was not. It's not a bad
Pinot and certainly priced correctly, but it was a bit too lean & eviscerated for my palate..


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