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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 Wines from Bedrock & Muscardini - July 29, 2009


We tasted tonight (7/29/09) Some New Wines From Bedrock & Muscardini:

  1. BedrockWineCo CuveeCaritas SonomaVlly WW (55% 100 yr old Semillon/MonteRossoVnyd;
    45% SauvBlanc/KickRanchVnyd; 14.1%; www.BedrockWineCo.com) 2008
    : Light gold color; attractive figgy/waxy light vanilla/oak slight herbal/green olive spicy perfumed nose; rich/lush very tart waxy/figgy deep spicy light vanilla/oak flavor; very long spicy/nitmeg/vanilla/oak intense Semillon/waxy/figgy textured finish; a lovely expression of Semillon w/ little SauvBlanc character. $35.00
  2. BedrockWineCo Ode to Lulu SonomaVlly Rose of Mourvedre (BedrockVnyd; Planted in 1988;
    SaH: 23.5 Brix) 2008
    : Med.salmon color; very strong watermelon/cranberry/plummy slight earthy/dusty
    quite fragrant nose; very strong cranberry/plummy slight earthy/dusty rather tart/crisp slight tannic
    flavor; very long/lingering plummy/cranberry/Mourvedre finish w/ slight tannic bite; great depth of
    flavor and length; very good rendition of a Bandol Rose w/o the austere character. $20.00
  3. Muscardini Sangiovese MerloVnyds/DryCreekVlly/SonomaCnty (13.9%; 392 cs) 2006: Med.light color; lovely cherry/Sangio slight dusty some raspberry/DryCreekVlly Zin-like light toasty/oak very attractive nose; tart/lean/austere rather tannic bright/cherry/Sangio/dusty light toasty/oak flavor; long rather hard/ tannic bright/cherry/Sangio tart some dusty/earthy finish; needs 3-8 yrs; lots of bright cherry/Sangio fruit w/ classic tannic/acid attack on the palate; one of the better Calif Sangios I've had. $38.00
  4. Muscardini Tesoro SonomaCnty (50% Sangiovese/MerloVnyd;25% Syrah/UntiVnyd;
    25% CabSauv/TyCatonVnyd; 14.1%; 400 cs) 2006
    : Dark color; slight herbal/Cab strong spicy/cherry/blackberry slight gamey rather blackcurranty/NapaCab nose; tart rich/lush/mouthfilling very spicy/cherry/blackberry light toasty/oak somewhat tannic flavor; very long some toasty/oak blackcurranty/blackberry/black cherry cola finish w/ ample tannins; needs 3-8 yrs of age yet; quite an interesting SuperTuscan blend that resembles NapaVlly Cab (but still a good wine despite that trait). $42.00
  5. Muscardini Barbera PauliRanch/PotterVlly/UkiahVlly/MendocinoCnty (204 cs; 14.2%) 2007: Dark color; beautiful spicy/sausage/Barbera bright cherry/raspberry/blackberry dusty very fragrant/perfumed complex nose; tart bright/zippy/cherry/raspberry/blackberry slight spicy/Italian sausage very low-key/toasty/oak very fragrant flavor; very long/lingering very spicy/cherry/Barbera/sausage tart finish w/ light tannins; doesn't have the acid edge many Barberas show; unusually perfumed/fragrant for Barbera; almost Pinot-like in character; one of the best Barberas I've had in yrs; beautiful wine. $49.00
  6. Medusa OldVine Zin Lover'sLaneVnyd/MendocinoCnty (Planted in 1958; Hrvstd: Oct31/2005; 8 mo in 100% FrenchOak; 320 cs; 14.3%; www.MedusaWines.com; RobMondavi) 2005: Med.color; very exotic/ perfumed watermelon/raspberry/apple cider/bright/spicy/Zin rather weird nose; tart very apple cider/ watermelon/fragrant/raspberry/Zin light toasty/oak flavor; med.long strong apple cider/raspberry/
    watermelon/Zin finish w/ light tannins; a very weird wine dominated by the apple cider character and
    barely speaking of Zin and nothing of MendocinoCnty. Not a bad wine but a very weird rendition of
    Zinfandel. $31.00
  7. Muscardini Zin 88 RevelFamilyVnyds/SonomaVlly/SonomaCnty (14.8%; Planted: 88 yrs ago; 40 cs;
    www.MuscardiniCellars.com) 2007
    : Med.color; lovely blackberry/Zin/spicy/raspberry/black cherry cola/
    peppery some dusty/old vines very light oak complex/fragrant nose; tart very bright/blackberry/Zin/
    cherry cola bit peppery/spicy light toasty/oak balanced/complex flavor; very long slight tannic bright/
    spicy/blackberry/Zin slight peppery some dusty/old vine light toasty/oak finish; needs several yrs; a lovely very spicy Zin more like DryCreekVlly than Valley of the Moon. $42.00
  8. BedrockWineCo TheBedrockHeirloom SonomaVlly RW (15.7%; 119 yr old Zin/Carignan/Syrah/ Barbera/mixed blacks) 2007: Very dark color; some pungent/roasted/mocha/coffeedeep/ blackberry /Zin/black cherry/ licorice dusty/old vines light perfumed talc rather complex nose; big/tannic/hard strong blackberry/ Zin/licorice/black cherry cola bit roasted/mocha/pungent complex flavor; very long/lingering rather hard/tannic very light oak strong licorice/pungent/blackberry/Zin/RCCola finish; needs 4-10 yrs;
    a big/structured/tannic/complex red some like JoelPeterson's in the late '70's or WillBucklin's OldHills. $35.00
  9. Muscardini Syrah UntiVnyds/DryCreekVlly/SonomaCnty (14.5%; 182 cs) 2006: Very dark/black color; intense blackberry/boysenberry/Syrah light licorice/peppery/smokey beautiful/complex nose; tart rich licorice/ blackberry/Syrah/boysenberry bit roasted/peppery/Rhonish rather tannic flavor; very long blackberry/Syrah/ licorice light roasted/peppery fairly tannic finish; lot different in style than the previous Muscardinis; needs 4-8 yrs; one of the best DCV Syrahs I've had; fairly priced at $42.00
  10. Muscardini Syrah GracieCreekVnyds/SonomaVlly/SonomaCnty (14.6%; 159 cs) 2006: Very dark/black color; strong boysenberry/blackberry/Syrah slight earthy/dusty some licorice/pungent/smokey beautiful complex nose; tart intense blackberry/boysenberry/Syrah some licorice/pungent/spicy rather tannic flavor; very long fairly hard/tannic rather lush/blackberry/Syrah/boysenberry finish; needs 4-8 yrs of age; some like the Carlisles w/o the oak; some like the Ridges w/o the DraperPerfume; bit more big fruit and less other things than the Unti; an impressive Syrah and fairly priced at $42.00
  11. BedrockWineCo GlenlyonVnyd SonomaVlly Syrah (14.4%; Fridell family vnyd; 25% whole clusters;
    1% Viognier) 2007
    : Very dark color; strong licorice/blackberry/Syrah bitsmokey/pungent/mocha/ tobaccoy light pungent/charred/oak slight ozone/WWII beacon complex nose; soft/rich/lush bit hard/tannic very spicy/ blackberry/Syrah almost RussRvrVlly/peppery light mocha/oak big structured/textured flavor; very long very spicy/blackberry/Syrah some peppery/cracked white pepper light mocha/pungent/oak fairly big/tannic finish; more like RRV Syrah w/ its very spicy/peppery/pungent character; needs 3-6 yrs; lovely big/ structured Syrah; very fairly priced at $35.00
  12. Cristom WillametteVlly Syrah Estate (14.0%; Unfltrd) 2003: Med.dark color; strong spicy/blackberry /Syrah somewhat dusty/floral/violets/aromatic light cracked pepper/mocha light oak complex nose; tart floral/ violets/peppery/spicy blackberry/Syrah light oak bit hard/tannic flavor; very long floral/violets/ cracked black pepper blackberry/Syrah complex some tannic finish; near or slightly beyond its peak. $26.00

And the required BloodyPulpit:

1. Muscardini: Started several yrs ago up in Valley of the Moon by Michael Muscardini in a career change from the construction biz. I first heard of this wnry over a month ago on a wine board with a review of their Barbera. Since I'm a big fan of Calif Barbera and of Mendocino wines, I went to their WebSite and bought a mixed hlf case to try. Sure am glad I did.
Across the board, I was rather impressed with these wines. Michael shows a very quiet hand with the oak and pretty much lets the vnyd speak for itself. The pricing may seem a little out of line w/ others out there, but I didn't think they were greatly out of line with their quality.
Both the Sangio and the Barbera were some of the best examples of those varieties I've had in many a year. The Zin was absolutely first-rate and reminded me a bit of BillKnuttle's vonWeidlich Zin w/ a toned-down oak treatment. But we were probably most impressed by the two Syrahs. They were quite similar in character for coming from vnyds miles apart. Both had big fruit, but a structure that reminded me some of MikeOfficer's Syrah w/ less oak, maybe a bit brighter fruit. I particularly liked the UntiVnyd Syrah. I'm not a big fan of DryCreekVlly Syrah and find many of them resemble DryCreek Zin as much as Syrah. This Muscardini speaks in an unmistakable voice of Syrah and one I will rebuy (the Carlisle and the Ridge Syrahs are the only other DryCreekVlly Syrahs I much care for). Definitely a wnry to keep your eye on.
2. Bedrock: I first heard of Bedrock several weeks ago from a friend who's a big rose fan and bought some of the Mourvedre Rose. Took a look-see at their WebSite andthe Peterson name certainly caught my attention. Morgan Twain-Peterson, winemaker, is the son of JoelPeterson, founder of Ravenswood. I first met Joel back in '74 in a SanFrancisco wine shop (of PhilReich's), when he was making wine up with JoeSwan. Phil introduced us and admonished me to follow this guy from the very start, as he'd be making wine under his own label. I, of course, do such. His first Zins in '76 were mightly impressive, of the stature of Joe's I would say.
In addition to winemaking duties, Morgan is also part-owner of the BedrockVnyd, in the heart of the Valley of the Moon. I notice from their WebSite that another part-owner is a name of Kenworthy. I presume this to be DianneKenworthy. She is daughter of JohnKenworthy, a guy a first met up in the ShenandoahVlly in the late '70's when he was making wine under the Kenworthy label. Interesting crusty old guy, but friendly as all get out. The vines at Bedrock date back to the late 1860's....well before my time I must point out.
Across the board, I was pretty impressed by the BedRock wines. The Rose was Tempier-level at a fraction of the price. The Semillon was also impressive, an absolutely first-rate Calif white of a style you don't often see...some like the Kalins w/o the oak. The Heirloom was also impressive....reminded me a bit of RidgePagani w/o the DraperPerfume. All in all...a wonderful discovery of a new wnry I intend to follow from the very start. Thanks, Bob.
3. Medusa: This is a label that specializes in Zins from old-vine vnyds in Calif. The winemaker is Rob
Mondavi, son of MichaelMondavi. They also make an old-vine Zin from the PigPenVnyd on DeaverRanch. I remember when I first visited w/ KenDeaver Sr. in the mid-'70's. He had his pig pen right there in the crook of the (Shenandoah School) road. He would feed his leftover/2'nd crop grapes to his pigs. The Deaver pork chops were legendary in the region. From Google sattelite, it looks as if the pig pen is still there. I believe used to serve Deaver pork and DalPorto lamb at ChezPanisse way back when.
This LoversLane Zin was pretty weird stuff w/ a strong apple cider component to it. Have no idea where that came from but don't ever recall it in a Zin. I would guess LoversLane vnyd is in the UkiahVlly but could find no info on it at all. JohnHoldredge has made a LoversLane Zin, but I think that was from a RussianRiver vnyd.
4. Cristom: This was, I believe, the first vintage of the Cristom Syrah and the first WillametteVlly
Syrah. In its youth, I was quite struck by it's intense cold-climate Syrah/cracked black pepper
character. That pepper character has subsided noticeably and has been replaced by a lovely floral/
almost Pinot-like character. These was a SteveCostigan mystery wine and I picked it as an older
Peay or QueSyrah vnyd Syrah.


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