Home | Wine Reviews | Wine Journals | Updates

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 Calif Wines - April 4, 2012

We tried tonight (4/4/12) Some New Calif Wines:

  1. TablasCreekVnyd Cotes de Tablas Blanc PasoRobles (54% Viog/30% GrenacheBlanc/8% Marsanne/8% Roussanne; 13.5%) 2010: Light gold color; very attractive stoney/mineral/bit Rhonish lemony/melony/pineapply light oak slight butterscotch nose; fairly tart/mineral/stoney/Rhonish some pineapple/lemon lovely flavor; very long mineral/stoney/ Rhonish spicy/melon/lemon/pineapple finish w/ a very long/lingering honeyed aftertaste; quite a lovely/solid Rhonish like wine at a very attractive price. $21.60 (VIN)
  2. TablasCreekVnyd GrenacheBlanc PasoRobles (14.2%) 2010: Light yellow color; quite fragrant/ floral/honeysuckle/honeyed slight valve oil/Riesling very perfumed nose; slight mineral/stoney very fragrant/floral/honeyed tart flavor; fairly tart floral/honeyed/honeysuckle very fragrant long finish; not the structure of previous GB's but quite a pretty wine for the short term at a very good price. $21.60 (VIN)
  3. TablasCreekVnyd Antithesis Chard PasoRobles (la vineuse clone; 13.5%) 2010: Light gold color; slight pencilly/oak quite perfumed/aromatic strong melony/lemony/Chard light toasty/oak quite perfumed/aromatic nose; soft ripe melony/Chard/ lemony light pencilly/oak bit simple aromatic flavor; med.long very perfumed/aromatic strong melony/lemony/Chard soft finish; a purity of Chard you don't often get out of Paso w/ lovely aromatics; almost like a Chard made by a Viognier producer. $28.00 (VIN)
  4. TablasCreekVnyd Cotes de Tablas PasoRobles (46% Grenache/39% Syrah/10% Mourvedre/5% Counoise; 14.5%) 2010: Med.color; rather strong perfumed/Grenache/strawberry slight herbal/spicy slight earthy quite fragrant nose; fairly tart some spicy/Grenache/strawberry light earthy/metallic slightly sour flavor; med.long spicy/Grenache/strawberry finish w/ light tannins; an altogether pleasant drinkable/balanced RhoneRed that I suspect will improve over the next few yrs. $24.00 (VIN)
  5. TablasCreekVnyd Grenache PasoRobles (14.5%) 2009: Med.color; pleasant strawberry/Grenache slight earthy/spicy rather fragrant nose; bit soft attractive strawberry/Grenache slight earthy/spicy/ rosemary balanced flavor w/ light tannins; med.long pleasant bright/strawberry/Grenache/spicy/thyme/ rosemary light earthy/chalky finish w/ light tannins; a pretty balanced/light/attractive/bit simple/nice drinking Grenache that I suspect will put on weight and become much more interesting w/ a few yrs of age. $32.00 (VIN)
  6. TablasCreekVnyd Esprit de Beaucastel Panoplie PasoRobles (65% Mourvedre/26% Grenache/9% Syrah; 14.5%) 2009: Med.dark color; light pencilly/oak rather plummy/Mourv bit sauvage/fragrant/ perfumed/cinammon very attractive/aromatic nose; fairly tart strong plummy/Mourv/earthy/blackberry bit spicy/cinammon light pencilly/oak polished/balanced/elegant flavor w/ smooth/graceful tannins; long plummy/Mourv/blackberry/spicy light pencilly/oak slight earthy/sauvage quite perfumed finish w/ modest tannins; a well-made/polished/seamless/plummy/ Mourv; not a profound wine now but another I think will put on weight and be verry attractive/interesting w/ 5-10 yrs of age. $76.00 (VIN)
  7. Ridge Zin PasoRobles BenitoDusiRanch/PasoRoblles/SLOCnty (14.4%; Bttld: Dec 2011; Drk: 8/16-8/18: EB) 2010: Med.dark color; strong blackberry/boysenberry/PasoZin/licorice quite perfumed/ cinammon/aromatic strong vanilla/ bourbon/Am.oak slight chocolaty/licorice lovely nose; fairly tart strong blackberry/ black cherry/boysenberry/Paso jammy/Zin slight raspberry/perfumed strong bourbon/vanilla/ Am.oak flavor w/ light/soft/plush tannins; long strong blackberry/black cherry/chocolaty/licorice/Paso jammy strong Am.oak/bourbon/vanilla finish w/ soft tannins; one of the best Ridge Paso Zins in yrs; very well priced at $27.00 (Z-List)
  8. Ridge Zin EastBench DryCreekVlly/SonomaCnty (12 yr old 100% Zin; 15.1%; Bttld: Jan'12; Drk:
    1/11-1/16-1/17: JO) 2010
    : Med.dark color; very strong raspberry/blackberry/Zin rather exotic/ herbal/ cranberry bit underripe rather spicy slight earthy/dusty very unusual nose; very tart/acid almost screechy lean/cranberry/raspberry light pencilly/oak some earthy/dusty flavor; med.long tart/lean bright raspberry/blackberry/strawberry/cranberry light pencilly/oak finish; probably the most DryCreekVlly Zin I've ever had from Ridge; a rather strange Zin for Ridge but the acidity suggests it'll age well. $25.00 (Z-List)
  9. Ridge Calif Zin JimsomareRanch/SCM (100% Zin; 14.3%; 13 brls; Bttld: 5/10; Drk: 3/10-3/17: EB) 2008: Dark color; very strong very spicy/blackberry/Zin/spicy very perfumed/aromatic light vanilla/oak slight earthy/SCM bit alcoholic nose; fairly tart bit alcoholic very spicy/bright/blackberry/Zin light dusty/earthy/SCM Zin light vanilla/oak very pretty flavor w/ light tannins; very long bright/ blackberry/ Zin/spicy light earthy/SCM some vanilla/oak finish w/ modest tannins; not so much a keeper as the '07 and the alcohol stick out a bit. $32.00 (ATP)
  10. Ridge Zin JimsomareRanch/SantaCruzMtns (100% Zin; 15.7%; 12 brls; Bttld: 3/11; Drk: 12/10-12/20-12/25: EB) 2009: Dark color; much riper more intense blackberry/boysenberry/Zin/very spicy more earthy/dusty/SCM Zin slight vanilla/oak quite lovely/perfumed nose; softer/lusher much richer/bigger ripe/blackberry/Zin/boysenberry/licorice/ very spicy light vanilla/Am.oak slight pungent/tarry somewhat tannic/hard/primary lovely/perfumed flavor; very long/ lingering ripe/blackberry/boysenberry/ Zin/very spicy light earthy/SCM Zin/dusty light vanilla/Am.oak somewhat hard/ tannic finish; badly needs more age; clearly riper, but doesn't show the alcohol at all; wonderful Jimsomare, maybe
    best in many yrs. $29.00 (Z-List)
  11. Ridge Geyserville SonomaCnty (64% Zin/20% Carignane/12% PS/2% AlicanteBouschet/2% Mataro; 14.3%; Bttld: Feb 2012; Drk: 1/12-1/22: EB) 2010: Dark color; beautiful blackberry/raspberry very fragrant/perfumed some dusty/old vines light vanilla/toasty/oak lovely complex nose; rather tart very perfumed/fragrant strong blackberry/ raspberry/very spicy/Zin light dusty/earthy/old vines balanced/structured some toasty/vanilla/oak lovely flavor w/ well-integrated/modest tannins; very long/lingering strong blackberry/raspberry/Zin/spicy quite perfumed slight dusty/ old vines some vanilla/toasty/oak finish w/ seamless/polished tannins; another lovely Geyserville w/ wonderful aromatics to it. $33.00 (Z-List)
  12. ForlornHope PetiteSirah LesDeuxMatieux Mr.T'sVnyd/SuisunVlly (14.7%; www.ForlornHopeWines.com; 97 cs) 2007: Black color; very strong blackberry/boysenberry/PS bit peppery/licorice/pungent quite aromatic nose; soft rather tannic/ hard intense boysenberry/blackberry/PS light peppery/earthy/licorice some toasty/charred/oak big/powerful flavor;
    very long rather hard/tannic soft intense blackberry/boysenberry/PS/peppery/licorice slight pungent/tarry/road tar some toasty/oak big/extracted finish; badly needs age; a powerful/structured PS but wonderful aromatics; needs 5-10 yrs of age; very attractive price. $30.00

And the usual stuff from the BloodyPulpit:

1. Another strong release from Ridge. The Paso was their best Paso Zin that I can recall in a long time. Generally, BeniDusi's Zin is the first Zin that Ridge harvests each year. But in '10, it was actually their last. The wine shows a classic Paso jammy blaclberry character; but it has a brightness and acidity on the palate that almost gives it a DryCreekVlly character.

The EastBench is generally my least favorite of the Ridge regular Zins. It's often just a pretty raspberry Zin w/o much depth or character; just that. The '10 version is a strange duck for an EastBench. Despite 15%+ alcohol, it has a strident acidity to it that suggests much lower. I didn't dislike the wine, it was just not the usual quotidian EastBench. I think it might age into something pretty interesting. Who knows?

The Geyserville is another successful Geyserville. Impeccable/seamless/polished/balanced. This '10 has amazing aromatics to it and seems more brighter/Zin-spicy like and less oak than recent ones. The balance should take it

The '07 Jimsomare Zin was an exceptional Jimsomare. One of the best Ridge Zins of late that I can recall. This '08 didn't quite seem to measure up to that. It seemed a bit lighter, less interesting, and the alcohol a bit more obvious. A pretty Zin, but just that. Sold in 2-paks w/ the Jimsomare Chard. The '09 Jimsomare was back on track, maybe even the best one of late. Clearly a bit riper, it didn't show any alcoholic heat and seemed very structured and needing age and an incredible spiciness to it. Terrific Zin.
2. ForlornHope: This is an effort by MattRorick who likes to focus lesser known grape varieties..."forlorn hope". He's doing some very interesting things w/ some weird stuff. This PS iis not really a "forlorn hope", but it's one of the best ones around in Calif. The grapes come from the TenbrinkVnyd in SolanoCnty, near SuisanCity, where Matt makes his wines. There's a fair amount of grapes grown in SolanoCnty, but I sense many of them makes their way west into the NapaVlly. You don't see a lot of wines around sporting the SolanoCnty or SuisunVlly label. The few that I've had over the yrs have not impressed me. They seemed rather on the soft/soupy side. The '06 version blew me away... I described it as resembling the Ridge YorkCreek '71 in its youth....high praise, indeed. This just-released '07 version didn't seem quite of that stature, but is, nonetheless, a mightly impressive PS. It certainly raises the bar for SolanoCnty wines.


[Additional Wine Reviews from Tom Hill]


Home | Wine Reviews | Wine Journals | Updates

Copyright © 1993 - 2012, Tom Hill- All rights reserved
No original material may be reproduced without written consent
Mail & Comments
- Grape-Nutz
Updated 4.01.12