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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 Burgs - November 12, 2008


We tried last week (11/12/08) Some Calif Burgs:

  1. TreViti Chard CentralCoast (13.5%; www.TreViti.com) 2004: Light gold color; lovely perfumed bright appelley/melony/Chard light pencilly/oak nose; light rather lean/tart light appley/Chard light pencilly flavor; short tart/lean simple/appley/Chard light pencilly finish; very attractive nose but not deliver much on the palate. $17.00
  2. TreViti Chard StoloFamilyVnyd/CentralCoast/Cambria (13.9%) 2005: Med.gold color; deeper/richer more toasty/oak ripe/melony/Chard some spicy/apple pie very fragrant/perfumed talc/aromatic floral lovely nose; tart very rich/lush toasty/pencilly/oak rich/lush/melony/ripe/Chard flavor; very long tart lush/melony/Chard
    light tpasty/oak finish; can go another several yrs; a very attractive rich balanced Chard at a terrific price. $18.00
  3. Failla Chard KeeferRanch/RRV (14.1%; 375 cs) 2006: Light gold color;lovely/aromatic minerally/dusty/stoney very melony/Chard elegant very floral/perfumed perfumed talc/valve oil/gardenias light pencilly/oak complex nose; tart fairly rich floral/pineapply/melony/Chard light minerally/stoney elegant complex flavor; med.long floral/pineapply/Chard/melony finish; a really lovely/exotic Chard; structured & balanced. $46.00
  4. Failla PinotNoir SonomaCoast (14.2%) 2006: Med.color; very attractive bright/cherry/black cherry/PN some toasty/oak bit earthy/Burgundian lovely nose;soft bright cherry/black cherry/PN light toasty/oak slight earthy/Burgundian very attractive flavor; long bright/cherry/black cherry/PN light Burgundian/earthy/toasty/oak
    finish w/ light tannins; a very pretty elegant some Burgundian Pinot. $33.00
  5. Failla PinotNoir OccidentalRidge (14.1%) 2006: Med.dark color; very exotic/perfumed/framboise/black cherry/CheeringHeering liquer/Pinot very light pencilly/oak nose; tart very exotic/cherry framboise/liquer/black cherry big/spicy/Pinot light pencilly flavor; very long exotic/framboise/cherry liquer/Pinot light pencilly/oak finish w/
    some tannins; needs several yrs; a very exotic rendition of Pinot. $68.00
  6. Failla PinotNoir HirschVnyd/SonomaCoast (13.8%; www.FaillaWines.com) 2005: Med.dark color; slight volatile very fragrant/perfumed black cherry/cherry/Pinot bright classic extreme SonomaCoast beautiful/aromatic nose; tart very bright cherry/black cherry/Pinot elegant/spicy flavor; very long bright/cherry/black cherry/Pinot very
    perfumed/fragrant slight earthy finish w/ light tannins; a classic Hirsch Pinot w/ lots of bright/zingy/aromatic fruit. $71.00
  7. Failla PinotNoir HirschVnyd/SonomaCoast (14.1%; 475 cs) 2006: Med.dark slight cloudy/murky color; rather closed/tight/unyielding some toasty/oak light Pinot/cherry/black cherry nose; rather hard/tannic/tight somewhat toasty/oak slight earthy/minerally bit black cherry/earthy/Pinot flavor; med. hard/tannic/tight some
    toasty/oak slight earthy/black cherry/Pinot finish w/ fair tannins; hard to tell much about this wine; seems very tight & closed & in need of age; jury's out here. $73.00
  8. Failla PinotNoir KeeferRanch/RRVlly (14.1%) 2006: Med.color; strong black cherry/Pinot earthy/dusty bit Burgundian slight toasty/oak nose; big/ripe black cherry/Pinot some toasty/oak some earthy/dusty flavor; long some tannic rather toasty/charred/oak strong black cherry/Pinot/earthy finish w/ fair tannins; a rather blocky/4-square/chunky Pinot that needs some age. $40.00
  9. Failla PinotNoir EstateVnyd/SonomaCoast (14.2%; 100 cs) 2006: Dark color; beautiful/complex very spicy/herbal/spicy/exotic cold-climate peppery/spicy/black cherry/Pinot light earthy/Burgundian very perfumed nose; tart fairly rich spicy/herbal/black cherry/Pinot slight earthy/dusty/herbal light toasty/charred/oak bit
    Burgundian complex/peppery flavor; very long tart strong herbal/spicy/black cherry/peppery/Pinot slight earthy/Burgundian light toasty/oak finish w/ some tannins; needs several yrsyet; very interesting/complex exotic cold-climate Pinot; beautiful Pinot. $98.00
  10. Williams-Selyem PinotNoir WeirVnyd/YorkvilleHighlands (14.1%) 2002: Very dark color;rather earthy/walnutty/dusty/Burgundian boysenberry/black cherry/Pinot light pencilly/oak complex nose; soft fairly rich/lush boysenberry/black cherry/Pinot rather taosty/pencilly/oak slight Burgundian/earthy flavor; med.long black
    cherry/boysenberry/Pinot strong toasty/pencilly/oak slight earthy bit Burgundian finish w/
    light tannins; a very attractive soft/drinkable Pinot. Sterbenz mystery wine/$60.00
  11. Siduri PinotNoir Rosella'sVnyd/SantaLuciaHighlands 2006: Med.color; very strong toasty/charred/oak rather herbal/black cherry/blackberry/plummy bit Burgundian lovely/complex nose; tart very toasty/charred/oak/ Burgundian rather herbal/licorice/plummy black cherry/blackberry/Pinot lovely flavor; very long charred/toasty/oak rather herbal/SLH strong black cherry/blackberry/Pinot finish w/ some tannins; needs several yrs; a lovely
    classis Siduri Rosella. $35.50

And the usual BloodyPulpit:

1. TreViti: I stumbled upon TreViti/StoloFamilyVnyds several months ago when I found out they were way out in Cambria within a mile or so of the Pacific, even further west than Susan&Ellis Bassetti's. Makes it (probably) one of the coldest-climate vnyds in Calif. They grow Chard, Pinot, and Syrah out there. The Syrah is quite impressive. Classic cold-climate Syrah, very peppery/Rhonish. The '05 Chard is a lovely
example of cold-climate Chard and a great value. Their winemaker is Stephen Ross Dooley, whose Stephen
Ross wines are no slouches of wines. They clearly grow great grapes and put them in the hands of one of the CentralCoast's best winemakers. Definitely a wnry to watch.
2. Failla: Here's a wnry that doesn't seem to get the recognition they deserve. I think EhrenJordan is making some of the most interesting classic-styled elegant wines in Calif. He may be tarred a bit by his association with Turley. When HelenTurley was making these Zins, they were big/high-alcohol/high oak/intense blockbuster wines that got big scores from the critics. That style of Zin seems forever etched in people's
mind for Turley Zins still. Thay are not that at all anymore. Though they're still fairly alcoholic, they are much more restrained, much less oak Zins that show the individual vnyds characteristics...far more so than in HelenTurley's days. You want old-style over-the-top Zins...you buy Martinelli. Today's Turleys are not like that any longer. But if you look at the wines Ehren makes at Neyers and Failla, they are classic iron fist in a velvet glove wines. His Pinots are absolutely top-notch and restrained in style. And his Syrahs are some of the best in Calif, though the PhoenixRanch, like many/most up-valley Syrahs, don't excite me all that much. But the wines coming out of their (extreme) SonomaCoast vnyd are some of Calif's best.


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