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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.

VIE/SolRouge Wines - January 7, 2009


We tasted last night (1/7/09) Some VIE/SolRouge Wines - an Evening With
Bryan Kane:

  1. VIE Roussanne RoundRiverRanch/LakeCnty (14.1%; www.VieWinery.com; 100 cs) 2006: Light gold
    color; ripe/lush/honeysuckle/Roussanne slight smokey/pungent/oak slight earthy/appley almost
    Chard-like interesting nose; slight citric/spritz/7Up light floral/honeysuckle light earthy/ pungent flavor; med. soft/ripe light floral/honeysuckle slight earthy/pungent finish; not strongly Roussanne but a quite nice/understated white. $27.00
  2. VIE Roussanne RoundRiverRanch/LakeCnty (14.7%; www.VieWinery.com; 100 cs) 2007: Med.gold
    color; some caramel/toasty/oak strong floral/honeysuckle/Roussanne slight floral/orange blossom slight earthy interesting nose; soft lush/ripe Roussanne/honeysuckle/floral/honeyed some toasty/caramel/ creme brulee/oak flavor; long ripe/lush some toasty/creme brulee/oak some floral/honeysuckle finish; more oak & lushness; like a Jr. Alban; very attractive white that speaks of Roussanne. $27.00
  3. SolRouge GypsyBlanc (48% Marsanne/RRV, 48% Roussanne/LakeCnty, 4% Viognier/RRV; 14.5%;
    www.SolRouge.com) 2007
    : Med.light gold color; lovely lush/floral/appley/melony/honeysuckle very light oak some Viognier/pear/floral lovely nose; rich/lush somewhat tart lovely floral/ aromatic/perfumed/ honeysuckle light oak/toasty flavor; very long lush/floral/honeysuckle/perfumed light pear/Viognier finish; a lovely floral/perfumed Rhone white w/ restrained touch of oak; good value at $28.00
  4. VIE L'Imaginaire Grenache SantaBarbaraCnty (14.5%; www.VIEWinery.com) 2006: Med.dark color;
    strong blueberry/strawberry/Grenache bit garrigue/CdP light toasty/oak bit dmokey/pungent/cinammon lovely nose; soft some toasty/charred/oak strong blueberry/strawberry/Grenache slight meaty bit tannic/hard flavor; long bit tannic/tight blueberry/strawberry/Grenache light toasty/charred bit meaty/ garrigue finish; needs a few yrs to soften a bit; very much like a lighter/more floral Ojai Grenache. $39.00
  5. SolRouge Zin TomFeeneyRanch/RRV (14.7%) 2006: Med.color; some toasty/oak bit earthy/dusty/old vines fragrant/raspberry/blackberry/spicy/Zin perfumed nose; soft bright/raspberry/spicy/Zin/blackberry light toasty/oak flavor; long bit tannic/hard bright/raspberry/Zin/blackberry some dusty/old vine light oak/toasty finish; needs yr or two; seems more like DCV than RRV Zin; unusual bright/zippy rendition of FeeneyRanch; bit lean & hard but good old vine character. $36.00
  6. SolRouge CabSauv LakeCnty (14.7%) 2006: Very dark color; strong herbal/CS light blackcurranty/
    Cab some dusty/earthy rather Bdx-like rather toasty/charred/oak nose; tart rather hard/tannic
    rather herbal/Cab/Bdx-like earthy/dusty somewhat toasty/charred/oak flavor; med.long herbal/
    dusty/earthy/Cab some toasty/oak finish; not a lot of ripe/blackcurranty/Cab fruit but more on the Bdx/herbal side; needs 3-8 yrs; should develop into an interesting Cab; well priced at $32.00
  7. SolRouge "TheGypsy" LakeCnty RW (14.7%; Grenache/Mourv/PetiteSirah/Syrah) 2006: Med.color;
    rather earthy/dusty plummy/licorice/blueberry some strawberry/Grenache light toasty/oak bit spicy/ cinammon interesting nose; tart bit lean/hard rather strawberry/Grenache rather earthy/dusty light toasty/oak flavor; med.long some earthy/dusty light plummy/Grenache/strawberry w/ light tannins; an attractive drinkable/elegant red w/ an earthiness like a lighter Languedoc red. Fairly priced at $28.00
  8. VIE "L'Intruse" Mourvedre AltaMesaVnyd/SBC (www.VieWinery.com; 2% AltaMesaVnyd Grenache,
    23% Thompson&WhiteHawk vnyd Syrah; 14.2%; 75 cs) 2006
    : Dark color; very strong pungent/
    tobaccoy/WWII beacon nose becomes very plummy/licorice/Mourv exotic/herbal/peppery some toasty/oak complex nose; tart rather lean/hard plummy/licorice/Mourv light herbal/spicy/peppery slight Chilean/ sour/earthy some toasty/oak complex flavor; long hard/tannic rather plummy/licorice/herbal/Mourv some toasty/oak very interesting finish; needs 2-5 yrs; one of the better Mourvs I've had of late; some like DaveCorey's w/o his lushness and a more tannic/hard structure; very interesting expression of Mourv. $35.00
  9. SolRouge "TheKeep" Calif RW (14.6%; Clone 99 Syrah + Mourv/Grenache/Syrah/PetiteSyrah)
    : Med.dark color; very strong/intense blackberry/Syrah/boysenberry some peppery/pungent/
    cold-climate/coffee some taosty/charred/oak beautiful/complex rather Rhonish/Graillot-like nose; tart very cold-climate/peppery/spicy rather Rhonish/coffee/blackberry/Syrah/boysenberry bit toasty/charred/oak complex Rhonish flavor; very long Rhonish/coffee/peppery/smokey some pungent/charred/oak intense blackberry/spicy/Syrah some tannic finish; a beautiful peppery/Rhonish Syrah like a Graillot; bit pricey at $60.00.
  10. SolRouge Syrah LakeCnty (15.2%) 2006: Dark color; very strong blackberry/boysenberry/Syrah/
    rather Oz-like huge fruit some toasty/oak nose; soft/lush big/ripe/blackberry/Syrah/boysenberry
    slight peppery/framboise some toasty/smokey/oak flavor; long bit tannic/hard intense blackberry/ boysenberry/Syrah/framboise light toasty/oak finish; needs several yrs; some like an Oz Shiraz w/o all the oak; one ofd the best LakeCnty reds I've ever had. $38.00
  11. VIE Syrah AlderSprgsVnyd/MendoCnty (15.4%; www.VieWinery.com; 25% WholeCluster, 75% WholeBerries; 3% Viog cofrmtd; 50 cs) 2006: Black color; very fragrant/perfumed blackberry/Syrah/ boysenberry almost Zin-like/perfumey strong toasty/oak fairly ripe/lush interesting/complex nose; tart rather tannic strong blackberry/Syrah/boysenberry/peppery quite spicy some taosty/pungent/oak perfumed/aromatic flavor; very long perfumed/aromatic strong blackberry/Syrah bit tannic some toasty/ oak finish; almost Zin-like rendition of Syrah because of the aromatic/berry character; lovely Syrah. $42.00
  12. VIE Syrah LasMadresVnyd/Carneros/SonomaCnty (14.1%; Clone 174 & 300)2006: Black color; slight funky/hot/volatile nose that clears to rather Rhonish/coffee/roasted toasty/oak chocolaty/ deep/ blackberry/pungent/Syrah fairly cracked black pepper/cold-climate rather complex nose; tart very Rhonish/ black pepper/spicy/coffee/pungent strong blackberry/Syrah some toasty/smokey/oak complex flavor; very long Rhonish/blackberry/Syrah/coffee some toasty/oak finish w/ a bit of tannin on the aftertaste; needs several yrs; a lovely very Rhonish/cold-climate Syrah. My favorite of the entire tableau. $39.00
  13. VIE "LesAmours" Syrah 87% Thompson&WhiteHawk vnyds/SBC (+AltaMesaVnyd 12% Mourvedre +
    1% Grenache; 125 cs; 14.5%) 2006
    : Dark color; very strong blackberry/Syrah/black cherry quite spicy/ peppery light toasty/oak some Rhonish/roasted/coffee light toasty/oak lovely/perfumed nose; tart rather hard/tannic strong/blackberry/black cherry/licorice/Syrah slight earthy/Rhonish/mocha some toasty/ smokey/oak slight peppery flavor; med.long strong blackberry/black cherry/Syrah light spicy/peppery/ Rhonish/esppresso fairly tannic finish; needs 2-6 yrs yet; speaks mostly of Syrah; levely wine that needs age. $37.00
  14. SolRouge Syrah ThompsonVnyd/SBC (14.2%) 2006: Black color; intense spicy/peppery/Syrah/
    blackberry some toasty/charred/oak bit DrPepper/RCCola rather classic Thompson nose; somewhat hard/ tannic bit toasty/Fr.oak/charred very spicy/peppery intense blackberry/Syrah flavor; very long somewhat hard/tannic spicy/peppery/blackberry/Syrah some charred/Fr.oak bit DrPepper/RCCola complex finish; needs 3-8 yrs of age; a classic expression of Thompson Syrah much like the Ojais; wonderful Syrah. $39.00

And the usual BloodyPulpit:

1. LakeCounty: I was particularly eager to try these wines because of all the LakeCnty grapes
in them. LakeCnty is an area that doesn't get a whole lot of respect or recognition. Yet, like Mendocino/UkiahVlly, it's an area that I think can produce wines every bit the equal of any area in Calif. It just hasn't yet, on a consistent basis. My hope was to identify a terroir characteristic of LakeCnty wines from this set. Alas, I'm not sure my palate was up to the task and nothing stood out that shouts "LakeCounty/RedHills. Nonetheless, being a LosAlamos guy...I'll make something
up. The wines all seemed to have just a bit of earthiness, save the SolRougeSyrah. Yet not an
earthiness that was anything different from what you have in some of the SantaCruzMtn wines. Maybe it was more akin to what you find in NevadaCnty wines. Maybe...gasp...that red earth of LakeCnty doesn't have a unique terroir?? Or maybe the winemakers haven't yet learned to express that terroir in their wines. Anyway...I couldn't find anything that shouts "LakeCnty". But I'll keep looking, though. That said, these LakeCnty wines of Bryan were easily the best bunch of LakeCnty wines I've ever had. I'm looking forward to trying more.
2. Bryan: I first met BryanKane at his first showing of his wines at HdR, some 4 yrs ago as I recall. Like others there, I was mightly impressed with them. I believe he showed a LasMadres Syrah that was as good as any Syrah there. Since then, I pretty much followed all his wines. And I still find them as good as any in Calif. These were my first try of his SolRouge label. Not quite clear on the distinction of his VIE and SolRouge label. But, across the board, I liked these wines and think his is a wnry worth following in the future. Of this bunch, the LasMadres was my easy favorite for its Rhonish character. But I also liked the SolRouge LakeCnty Syrah and the Thompson nearly as much. Superb wines.


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