1. Ridge: We had this same wine at dinner a week earlier and I thought it was starting to show a decline. This btl was far/far better and about as good an example of a fully mature Zin as you can find. Across the board, Ridge did an exceptional job w/ their '91 Zins.
2. StorybookMtn: This is JerrySeps wine. Because he makes a more restrained/less bombastic style of Zin; he seldom gets big points from the critics. He should get more recognition than he does. His Zins age better than most of the big-pointy Zins. I was expecting this '84 to be totally dead & gone. It was not, though it was clinging to life and oferred up some pleasure.
3. Preston: Back in the mid-late '80's; LouPreston made some exceptional wines; some of the finest coming out of the DryCreekVlly. His Zin/Barbera/PetiteSirah were outstanding. He had one of the very first plantings of Syrah in the area and made a Sirah/Syrah blend that was excellent. In the '90's, I found the wines dropped off in quality and became rather quotidian; just not very exciting. I seldom bother to try them anymore. But, last time I tried it some 6-7 yrs ago, Lou's bread was some of the best around.
4. CarnerosCreek: I, of course, followed FrankMahoney's wines from the very start; the '72 Gamay. Frank's passion was (and still is) PinotNoir, where he did some of the pioneering work on clones (well before the Dijon clones were imported and became all the rage) of Pinot. He used to make Zins in the mid-'70's from John&Ernie Esola's and ChetEschen's vnyds up in Amador. They were amazing Zins; some of the best of that era. When his Pinot vnyd was first producing there at CarnerosCreek, he made some of Calif's first truly great Pinots. And he also dabbled a
bit in Cabernet; from ErnieEsola's vnyd; as well as from NateFay's and Dick Steltzner's vnyds. They were good; but just that. I don't think he got much recognition for them. He should have.
So....I served up this Cab last night w/ very low expectations of it being any good. Frank was instrumental in convincing Tony&Joan Truchard to plant their vnyd. This Cab was probably the first crop off Truchard. The wine was in beautiful condition....a truly old-timey kind of Cabernet that they just don't make nomore in the NapaVlly. It had just enough herbal character to make it resemble a RedBordeaux (old-timey...like they used to make..not a MichelRolland slutted up version of Bdx). Almost...almost....enough to make me drink NapaVlly Cabernet again.
Out of curiosity, I went to Frank's WebSite (www.MahoneyVineyards.com). I was astounded at the variety of wines he is making nowadays...some of my favorite varietals. Could...not....resist; so ordered a mixed case to try. I'm very much looking forward to trying. But...danged...if only he'd make Eschen and Esola Zins again....my wine world would be complete again.
And whilst we're tripping down memory lane here....Frank was instrumental in getting PaulCassayre&MikeForni into the wine biz. I believed they designed his CarnerosCreek winery. And he was also instrumental in getting CharlieWoods/NapaWineCellars into the wine biz. It was located in the geodesic dome winery near Mustard'sGrill. And Frank's marketing guy at CarnerosCreek, Bill Bishop, was a real hoot. Curious as to what happened to Bill. Those were the most special of times.
5. EdmundsStJohn: No secret here that SteveEdmunds is a master of Rhone varietals. I have, of course, followed him from the very start. They may not be that appreciated in Monktown; but he sure has his fans in LosAlamos. The '89 LCS was a bit faded, but still offered up considerable pleasure. The Durell '90 was probably starting its downhill slide, but in wonderful condition. Steve indicates the alcohol level was well above the quoted 12 1/2%. SteveSterbenz brought the GrandHeritage (sure sounds a lot like Grange Hermitage to me) as a mystery. Pretty much everyone was guessing it to be a NorthernRhone. LarryArchibald did suggest it might be the GrandHeritage but he waffled a bit and didn't state it with enough conviction to be credited with guessing its identity. But it was as magnificant a mature Calif Syrah has I've had in some time. Kudos to Steve on that one.
6. Jaffurs: This was the first PS that Jaffurs produced. It was originally to be a DaveYates project because Craig didn't think much of PS as a Rhone variety. After it was made and they started pouring it for events, it was such a big hit that they decided it should be under the Jaffurs label after all.
This is one of the very rare "Archibald Cuvee" bottlings of this PS. All of the Jaffurs PS that come to
LosAlamos (and there is a pretty fair amount I admit) receive the famed "Archibald Cuvee" stamp to honor LarryArchibald's contribution to its making. He was hanging out at Jaffurs wnry the day the load of PS came in from Thompson, so was commandeered to help w/ the sorting. The pay was $0...but he could have all the earwigs to eat he wanted. And he was, of course, wearing one of his ugly Hawaiian shirts.
Larry indicates the alcohol was nearer 16.5% than the quoted 15.7%. The fruit, though huge, is starting to fade a bit. I expect, as the wine continues to age and drop fruit; the alcohol will come more to the forefront. So it's probably best that this wine be drunk over the next few yrs.
The Jaffurs PS is probably one of my favorite PS's produced in Calif. It has much more fruit than most others made out there. But it never shows the coarse/oafish/clunky/clumsey side that many Calif PS's have.