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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 New Wines - January 26, 2011

We tasted last week (1/26/11) Some New Wines:

  1. Thacher Viognier HastingsRanchVnyd/PasoRobles (14.4%; www.ThacherWinery.com; 185 cs)
    : Light gold color; very atractive peach/pear/Viog very floral/spicy/perfumed talc/ minty very fragrant nose; soft very lush peach/pear/Viog very floral/spicy/minty lovely/ perfumed flavor; very long/lingering slight floral/valve oil very lush/spicy/minty/pear/ peach/Viog lovely/perfumed finish; one of the best Paso Viogs I've had outside TablasCreek; loads of bright Viog fruit w/ slopping over into DollyParton cleavage. $25.00
  2. Hermitage AC: Hermitage (70% Marsanne/30% Roussanne; 13%) Nicolas Jaboulet, Perrin Freres
    : Light gold color; some floral/honeysuckle/appley slight stoney/minerally/waxy rather attractive low-key nose; tart bit tangy/grapefruity some floral/honeysuckle/appley/waxy slight charred/oak bit stoney/earthy flavor; med.shortt tangy/grapefruity light appley/floral/ honeysuckle finish; more Calif in style than austere Rhone; nice/aromatic nose but doesn't deliver much on the palate; have a sneaking suspicion that this'll deliver a whole lot more w/ 5-10 yrs of age; rather pricey at $76.50
  3. Thacher Syrah CoastViewVnyd/MontereyCnty (15.2%; 180 cs) 2006: Dark color; strong blackberry/
    Syrah/boysenberry/ripe bit smokey/toasty/charred/oak slight herbal/chocolaty pleasant nose; soft bit herbal/earthy fairly strong blackberry/blueberry/Syrah rather toasty/charred/oak bit ripe/lush fairly spicy flavor; med. ripe/plummy/blueberry/Syrah/blackberry slight herbal/chocolaty rather toasty/charred/oak; a rather attractive Monterey Syrah w/ only a slight Monterey herbal character. $30.00
  4. GillesRobin AlbericBouvet AC: Crozes-Hermitage (13.5%) 2006: Med.dark color; some peppery/
    roasted/NothernRhone slight blackberry/Syrah some brett/horsecollar rather earthy/dusty nose; tart bit lean/hard/tannic some earthy/dusty slight raosted/NR very slight blackberry/Syrah some bretty/unclean flavor; med.short some roasted/NR/earthy slight blackberry somewhat hard/tannic finish; rather underwhelming example of Crozes red. $33.00
  5. GramercyCllrs Syrah WallaWallaVlly (13.9%) 2007: Dark color; beautiful roasted/coffee/mocha some
    smokey/pungent/oak slight floral/violate/blackberry/Syrah/licorice quite Rhonish/complex nose; tart rather roasted/Rhonish/pungent/peppery some smokey/pungent/oak light blackberry/blueberry/
    Syrah/peppery some violets/floral/high-toned lovely flavor w/ modest tannins; med.long bit tannic
    some roasted/peppery/Rhonish/mocha light smokey/pungentoak finish; needs 2-5 yrs; a beautiful
    Syrah w/ very nice NothernRhone character.
  6. GramercyCllrs Tempranillo InigoMontoya/WallaWallaVlly  (13.9%; www.GramercyCellars.com)
    GregHarrington 2007
    : Med.color; somewhat earthy/black cherry/Temp/floral/cherry very perfumed/bright/ spicy light toasted/oak nose; fairly tart slight pungent/tarry rather bright/cherry/black cherry/Temp light toasty/oak quite perfumed flavor; long bit hard/tannic/edgy bright/cherry/black cherry/Temp slight pungent/tarry light toasty/oak finish; has that tannic/edgy character of young Temp; needs 2-5 yrs; lots of Temp character and quite a good example of Temp. $53.00
  7. ThomasCoyne Tannat Lodi (100 cs; TW) 2006: Dark color; rather earthy/dusty fairly alcoholic slight chocolaty/licorice slight metallic/pungent nose; soft somewhat alcoholic chocolaty/plummy/earthy/metallic rustic/licorice bit soupy some tannic/hard flavor; med.short rough/rustic/ tannic slight chocolaty/plummy earthy/metallic finish; not very expressive of anything and rather uninteresting rendition of Tannat. $18.00
  8. Steele Zin DuPrattVnyd/MendoRidge (13.5%; www.SteeleWines.com) Kelseyville/LakeCnty 2006: Med.light color; some dusty/old vines some spicy/blackberry/Zin/cranberry light vanilla/oak pleasant/simple nose; soft rather strong vanilla/Am.oak pretty blackberry/cranberry/Zin slight dusty flavor; med. bright/spicy/ cranberry/blackberry/Zin some vanilla/oak slight dusty finish w/ light tannins; a pretty/simple Zin that totally fails to capture the majesty & grandeur that DuPratt Zin can deliver; disappointing. $24.00
  9. Bucklin Zin Bambino OldHillRanch/SonomaVlly (14.3%; 680 cs) 2008: Dark color; some dusty very strong blackberry/Zin/boysenberry light toasty/oak quite spicy/fragrant lovely nose; rather hard/tannic intense boysenberry/blackberry/Zin/very spicy/brambly light toasty/oak flavor; long rather hard/tannic very strong/spicy/ blackberry/boysenberry/spicy/Zin slight earthy/dusty light toasty/oak finish; needs 2-5 yrs; lovely aromatics but a bit hard on the palate now; very good Zin for $22.00
  10. Thacher ControlledChaos PasoRobles (42% Zin/37% Mourvedre/21% Grenache; 15.7%) 2007: Dark color; bit alcoholic strong boysenberry/jammy/Zin/plummy rather spicy/strawberry light toasty/oak very attractive nose; soft rather plummy/boysenberry/Zin/blackberry/jammy/ripe light toasty/oak slight hot/alcoholic bit tannic flavor; med.long soft/ripe/jammy/plummy/blackberry/Zin light floral/strawberry/ Grenache light toasty/oak finish w/ light tannins; speaks mostly of Paso Zin w/ bass/plummy notes from the Mourv and some bright/high-toned notes from the Grenache; an unabashed Paso red. $33.00
  11. Thacher Zin PasoRobles (14.8%; 620 cs) 2006: Med.color; some alcoholic/hot rather ripe/jammy/ Paso/blackberry/Zin slight earthy/cardboardy/funky (not TCA) bit tired nose; rather tired/aged some alcoholic jammy/PR/ripe/blackberry/ Zin bit tired flavor; med.long bit tired some alcoholic/hot ripe/ jammy/PR/blackberry/Zin finish w/ light tannins; seems rather mature for a '06 Zin and a bit on the tired side. $29.00
  12. Thacher Zin PasoRobles (15.9%; 168 cs) 2007: Med.dark color; much stronger/blackberry/Zin/ boysenberry/jammy/ripe slight alcoholic/hot big/ripe nose; soft bit hot/alcoholic very strong blackberry/boysenberry/ripe/jammy slight earthy flavor; med.long strong blackberry/boysenberry/ jammy/ripe/PR Zin slight hot/alcoholic finish w/ light tannins; pretty ready to drink now and not much benefit to aging. $29.00
  13. Thacher Triumvirate Reserve Zin PasoRobles (34% Will'sHills/33% aileyRanch/33% Je T'aime;  216 cs; 15.9%) 2007: Very dark color; intense blackberry/boysenberry/PR Zin/jammy slight alcoholic rather perfumed/spicy/aromatic slight earthy nose; strong/mouthfilling bit hot/alcoholic intense/ripe/ jammy/blackberry/boysenberry/PR Zin fairly spicy light toasty/oak bit licorice/pungent/tarry attractive flavor; rather long ripe/jammy/blackberry/boysenberry/ PR Zin fairly spicy/licorice/pungent finish w/ some tannins; much more spicy & interesting than the other two Zins; reminds me a lot of the DoverCanyon Zins; bit pricey at $36.00

And yet another sorry BloodyPulpit:

1. Thacher: Started by Sherman & Michelle Thacher; he of a beer brewing backgnt.lanl.gov/round. I've passed the property up on VnydDrive any number of times and noted the barn w/ the big KR painted on the end, but never took the time to stop. Recently, their (unreleased) '08 Triumvirate Zin won the Sweepstakes Red category in the SFChron judging, which brought them to my radar screen. When a friend recounted to me how his cousin's son had won an award, I sprung for a hlf case to try. I liked the wines quite a bit. The Viog was one of the best ones I've had from the Paso area. Reminded me a lot of the TablasCreek ones. The (Monterey) Syrah I also liked a lot, as well as the ControlledChaos blend. The Zins were pretty straightforward/classic Paso Zins w/ a lot of jammy character; maybe a bit too ripe for me...but that's Paso Zin I guess.
2. CoastviewVnyds: This was not a vnyd I was familiar with, so assumed it was one of those mega-vnyds in the SanAntonio/Lucas areas that makes rather soupy/herbal kind of Syrahs. This is, in fact, a vnyd at a high elevation on the east side of the SalinasVlly above Chuluar run by IanBrand and just north of the Chalone AVA. They make their own wine under the Coastview Vnyds label. Not yet tried them, but will soon.

I was rather impressed by this Thacher Syrah. My first smell/taste was that this was not the kind of Monterey Syrah I'm familiar with. Unlike the SantaLuciaHighlands ones, unlike the Ventana herbal/peppery ones; it showed a lot more bright/blackberry fruit than I was expecting. I look forward to trying Ian's rendition.
3. Steele: These wines continue to be a disappointment to me. Back about '75, when JedSteele became winemaker at Edmeades up in the AndersonVlly, he totally turned that place around. Back in the late '70's (by crackey); he made some of the most profound Zins made in that era from DuPratt/Ciapuski/Zeni/Anzilotti vnyds. His CortiReserve Cabs he made in that era were some of Calif's greatest Cabs ever, with a grace & elegance that are rare these days in Calif. He then went to Kendall-Jackson and then eventually opened his own wnry up in LakeCnty. Those wines have always been a shadow of his Edmeades wines. So....JedSteele [b]knows[/b] what great wines
are all about. He just chooses not to make them any longer...for whatever his reasons are.
4. Grammercy: These were my first experiences w/ the wines from GrammercyCllrs. Owned by husband/wife team of Pam/Gregg Harrington. The Syrah was a gift from PatrickComiskey, but believe it's priced about the same as the Tempranillo. I was very impressed by the Syrah for its NorthernRhone character. The Temp was likewise a pretty impressive wine. I need to try Grammercy again.


[Additional Wine Reviews from Tom Hill]


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