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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 Reds - December 12, 2012

We tried tonight (12/12/12) Some New Reds:

  1. LaMadone Gamay sur Volcan AC: Cotes du Forez/Loire (Organic grapes; 11.5%) EURL Gilles
    Bonnefey 2007
    : Med.light color; rather earthy/dusty strong strawberry/Gamay/spicy/cinammon quite
    attractive nose some like Bone-Jolly w/ slight brett/smokey character; light bit tannic/hard pretty/
    strawberry/Gamay rather earthy/dusty flavor; fairly long hard/tannic pretty/Gamay/strawberry some
    earthy/dusty finish; quite an attractive nose but somewhat agressive tannins on the palate; nice enough
    Gamay for $8.00 (WoP)
  2. RobertGilliard Dole des Monts (12.8%; PinotNoir+Gamay) Valais/Suisse NV: Rather light color; slight
    bretty/horsecollar/sewer gas slight volatile some strawberry/Gamay/earthy/dusty bit funky nose; tart
    light very bright/strawberry/Gamay/spicy slight earthy/dusty rather attractive flavor w/ light tannins;
    med. bright/light/strawberry/Gamay some earthy/dusty racy finish w/ little tannins; a bit funky/unclean
    on the nose but quite pretty/attractive on the palate; way/way overpriced. $42.00 (BWM)
  3. Chateau Feuillet DOC: Valle d'Aosta Torrette (PetiteRouge or Picciourouzzo + 10% Mayolet; 13%) 2005: Med.color; light bit earthy/dusty quite Pinotish light toasty/oak rather attractive nose; fairly tart
    some earthy/loamy very Pinotish light toasty/oak flavor w/ light tannins; med.long some earthy/dusty/
    loamy quite Pinotish finish w/ light tannins; a lighweight pleasant enough wine that speaks of Valle
    d'Aosta or Swiss Pinot. $22.00 (WE)
  4. InstitutAgricole Regional Cornalin DOC: Vallee d'Aoste (13.5%) 2007: Med.color; very attractive/pretty strawberry/Gamay-like slight earthy/dusty spicy/candied/peppermint very nice nose; light bright/cherry/ strawberry/Gamay-like slighht earthy/dusty peppermint candy flavor w/ light tannins; med.long bright/ cherry/strawberry/candied/pepperminty light earthy/dusty finish w/ light tannins; this is what Loire Gamay would be if it could; quite a pretty/drinkable Gamay-like red. $18.00 (vRT)
  5. JeanOrliac LeLoup dans la Bergerie VdP du Val de Montferrand Rouge (www.EuropeanCellars.com; 40% Syrah/ 30% Grenache/30% Merlot) Herault 2010: Dark color; some blackberry/grapey bit toasty/oak  rather artificial bananna slight loamy nose; soft strong  blackberry/boysenberry/Syrah-like fairly smooth/polished some toasty/oak flavor w/ a bit of a tannic bite; very long bit tannic/hard strong blackberry/Syrah-ike some toasty/oak finish; a rather attractive wine in an international style at a very good price. $13.00 (BWM)
  6. Bibich R6 Riserva Croatia/NorthDalmatia (34% Babich/33% Plavina/ 33% Lasin; www.BlueDanubeWine.com) 2009: Med.light color; slight volatile rather raspberry/plummy/spicy somewhat Zin-like slight funky/earthy/ dishwater nose; fairly tart rather raspberry/plummy/Zin-like/spicy bit minty/menthol slight funky/unclean/ horsecollar rather pleasant flavor; med.long bright/zippy/raspberry/ plummy/grapey very Zin-like/spicy finish w/ light tannins; slightly funky/unclean but a very Zin-like red. $19.00 (VintageBerkeley)
  7. MorrisonLane Cinsault WallaWallaVlly (Black Malvoisie; 12.8%): Med.light color; rather attractive plummy/ black cherry/cherry cola aromatic some toasty/oak light earthy/loamy nose; soft light toasty/oak strong plummy/black cherry/black cherry cola bit earthy/dusty/loamy attractive flavor; long strong plummy/black cherry/cola/boysenberry light toasty/smokey/oak finish w/ modest tannins; a rather attractive/interesting red. $30.00 (vSC)
  8. MorrisonLane Counoise WallaWallaVlly (12.9%) 2005: Med.color; very heavy vanilla/dill/Am.oak/pencilly some black cherry/earthy/minty nose; soft very strong vanilla/dill/Am.oak slight earthy/black cherry/cola/minty flavor w/ some tannins; med.long bit tannic very strong dill/Am.oak/vanilla/pencilly some black cherry/earthy/ loamy finish; underneath an interesting wine but the oak seems to dominate everything. $30.00 (vSC) 
  9. MorrisonLane Sangiovese WallaWallaVlly (14.2%; www.MorrisonLane.com) 2005: Med.color; very attractive cherry/ Sangio/spicy rather dusty/root cellar bit earthy some toasty/oak nose; rather tart bright/spicy/cherry/Sangio/ cherry cough syrup some toasty/oak flavor w/ modest tannins; long rather tart earthy/dusty quite spicy/cherry/ Sangio/cherry cough syrup/cherry cola finish w/ modest hard/tannins; bit more lean and angular than the other MorrisonLanes; speaks strongly of Sangio; quite an attractive rendition of Sangio. $30.00 (vSC)
  10. MorrisonLane Nebbiolo ColumbiaVlly (14.3%) 2004: Med.color; lovely floral/violets/Nebb/lilacs light toasty/ oak some spicy/herbal/rosemary/thyme/cinammon slight tarry/pungent rather interesting nose that speaks of Nebbiolo; rather tart bit tannic/hard somewhat floral/violets/lilacs/Nebb bit herbal/rosemary/thyme/dried herbs flavor; med.long some herbal/rosemary/dried Italian herbs pleasant/floral/violets/lilacs slight pungent/tarry fairly hard/tannic finish; some very attractive floral aromatics but classic Nebb tannins and needs some age; pretty classic Nebb in character but not of Barolo/Barbaresco. $30.00 (vSC)
  11. Arnot-Roberts Syrah NorthCoast (12.9%; Nellessen/ClaryRanch/AlderSprings/OldLakeville vnyds) 2011: Med.dark color; rather strong roasted/Rhonish/peppery/smokey hot dog rather herbal/cranberry/ blackberry/Syrah/dusty some complex nose; very tart/lean some roasted/Rhonish/peppery some herbal/ blackberry/cranberry/Syrah/dusty somewhat hard/tannic flavor; med.long hard/tannic very tart almost schreechy some herbal/blackberry/Syrah/ dusty finish w/ some gritty/chalky tannins; needs some time in btl. $35.00
  12. CowanCllrs Syrah MoaveniVnyd/BennettVlly (13.2%; 50 cs) 2010: Very dark color; light toasty/charred/oak strong blackberry/blueberry/Syrah/spicy rather perfumed/floral/violets slight peppery/cold-climate very attractive/perfumed nose; fairly tart strong blieberry/Syrah/blackberry bit peppery/pungent very spicy bit tannic/hard slight toasty/oak flavor; very long very spicy strong blueberry/Syrah/blackberry some floral/ violets bit tannic/hard light toasty/oak finish w/ fair tannins; needs some age yet; a bit like SteveEdmunds Syrahs w/o the earthy component of ElDoradoCnty; quite an interesting Syrah at a more than fair price. $26.00
  13. MorrisonLane Syrah WallaWallaVlly (15.6%) 2005: Very dark color; very strong floral/violets/ blackberry/Syrah/boysenberry very perfumed/aromatic/spicy some toasty/oak bit alcoholic/fumey nose; soft intense blackberry/boysenberry/Syrah rather floral/violets/perfumed bit licorice/Oz-style light toasty/oak flavor w/ modest tannins; very long intense blackberry/boysenberry/ framboise/Syrah light pungent/licorice bit toasty/oak some floral/violets finish w/ smooth/modest tannins; more floral/high-toned notes than most WashState Syrahs; quite a lovely Syrah and my favorite of the MorrisonLanes. $30.00 (vSC)
  14. Slight of Hand Levitation Syrah ColumbiaVlly (14.8%) 2010: Black color; intense blackberry/Syrah/boysenberry/framboise/spicy some toasty/oak huge fruit slight earthy/WashState plummy quite attractive nose; soft bit tannic huge fruit/blackberry/boysenberry/Syrah/plummy slight earthy some toasty/charred/oak flavor; very long huge fruit/ intense blackberry/Syrah/boysenberry/ earthy/plummy some toasty/charred/oak finish w/ some fine-grained tannins; can use several yrs yet; big huge fruit but not over-the-top our out of balance. $42.00

And the usual bloviations from the BloodyPulpit:

1. MorrisonLane: Run by Dean & Verdie Morrison, long-time farmers in WallaWalla. A wnry I had never heard of until I got a request to add them to our NEB (Nebbiolo Enthusiasts & Believers) e-mail list. I asked a friend who travels up to WashState often to check them out. He visited their (very retro) tasting room in WallaWalla and liked what he tried and ordered some for us to try. They focus a lot on some fairly unusual varieties (for WashState). Alas, their WebSite (www.MorrisonLane.com) is a bit lacking in information...like prices and availability.

Overall...I liked their wines. Solid/well-made/interesting wines that reminded me a bit of some of the (late) McCrea wines. The Syrah was my easy favorite. I also thought the Nebbiolo, of particular interest to me, was as good as any I've been tasting from Calif. Definitely a wnry I need to keep track of.
2. Arnot-Roberts: This is a wnry that is a darling of all the hip/big-city Somms because they are lower in alcohol and "wines of balance". This Syrah was clearly less ripe than most Calif Syrahs. Appears to be made w/ a lot of whole-cluster fermentation. This reminded me a lot of an EricTexier St.Joseph. It is quite an interesting/atypical Calif Syrah. A "wine of balance"??? I suppose if your definition is a wine that is lower in alcohol, then I suppose it is. But I certainly wouldn't describe it as "balanced". The acidity was almost screechy on the palate. The tannins were lean/hard/gritty ...almost like a young Nebbiolo. One can only hope that this wine will come into balance w/ bottle age. I suspect it will be very interesting Syrah somewhere down the road. Sometimes you just gotta believe. Sometimes...your guesses/instincts are totally wrong, though. We shall see.
3. Cornalin: A variety indigenous to the Valle d'Aosta and now almost extinct there, with only 1 ha in plantings. More plantings in the Swiss Valais where it's known as HumagneRouge. This btl came to me from RobTebeau.


[Additional Wine Reviews from Tom Hill]


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