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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.

Wines from Boulder - January 23, 2013

We tried last night (1/23/13) some New Wines From Boulder:

  1. Dom.Frey Terre de Granit PinotBlanc Rayon de Lune AC: Alsace (12%;www.MatinicusWines.com) Dominique et Julien Frey/Dambach-la-Ville 2011: Pale yellow color; ratherstoney/mineral/rocks austere/grapefruity verylight floral/fruit nose; very tart/lean/mineral/stoney tangy/metallic/grapefruity austere/lean little fruitslight perfumed talc flavor; very tart/lean/austere perfumed talc/mineral/ stoney/ metallig tangy/grapefruitfinish; typical Alsace PB that's very lean/austere and little fruit. $16.00 (BWM)
  2. EmileBeyer Riesling Tradition AC: Alsace (MeBalP; 13.3%;www.Emile-Beyer.Fr; MichaelCorsoSlctns) Eguisheim 2011: Med.light color; lovely fragrant/Mosel valve oil/mineral rather floral/pineapple/spicyclassic Alsace R nose; tart/lean steely/mineral/Mosel valve oil some floral/ pineapply/R/perfumed talcperfumey flavor; very long tart/lean/metallic/austere some floral/pineapple/ Mosel valve oil spicy/perfumed talc finish; a terrific old-timey bone dry Alsace R at a great price. $22.00 (BWM)
  3. Abbazia di Novacella Veltliner DOC: ValleIsarco/AltoAdige (13.5%)Varna 2010: Med. yellow/gold color;very attractive fragrant/floral/carnations/GV/spicy slight pungent/smokey/peppery slight mineral/earthy rich/lush really lovely nose; fairly tart rich/lush/mouthfilling very spicy/floral/carnations lightpungent/smokey bit peppery/mineral/stoney flavor; very long/lingering bit metallic/mineral/granitic
    very spicy/floral/carnations fairly tart/rich/lush complex finish; probably will go out 10 yrs or more;
    atypical of Austrian GV but quite a beautiful GV at a very good price. $26.00 (BWM)
  4. Veyder-Malberg Kreutles GrunerVeltliner (12%; Unterloibner Kreutles;Q: trocken; www.Veyder.Malberg.At) Spitz/Wachau 2011: Med.light yellow color; classic Austrian GV/peppery/ spicy very fragrant/perfumed light earthy nose; bit CO2/prickly fairly soft/lush some peppery/spicy/classic GV light earthy/stoney flavor;med.short 7Up/peppery/spicy/floral/classic GV light earthy finish; quite a lovely/ classic GV in the nose but doesn't quite deliver on the palate; rather pricey for what it is. $39.00 (BWM)
  5. BoulderCreekWnry Viognier Colorado (13.6%; www.BoulderCreekWine.com) Boulder 2011: Light yellow color;slight stinky/SO2/funky/pungent rather attractive perfumed/pear/Viog slight earthy/pungent nose; soft rather lush ripe/pear/Viog light earthy/peppery attractive flavor; med.short soft/lush/ripe pear/Viog/ peach slight peppery/earthy finish; a bit stinky/SO2 in the nose that clears but a sound/solid Viog underneath; maybe a bit on the soft side; quite a pleasant Viog at a good price. $16.00 (BWM)
  6. LaCoteChery AC: Condrieu (13%) Ogier Caves des Papes 2005: Deep gold/bronze color; some oxidized/butterscotchy/caramel/aged slight peach/pear/mineral/Condrieu slight earthy nose; soft rather oxidized/caramel/butterscotch very slight Condrieu/peach/pear/Viog flavor; med.long rather oxidized/ caramel/ butterscotch very slight peach/Viog/Condrieu finish; some slight Condrieu/Viog underneath but dominated by oxidized character; probably poor storage and old before its time. $16.00 (Arg)
  7. EdmundsStJohn BoneJolly GamayNoir ElDldoradoCnty (12.3%) ThumbnailMoonlight/Fairplay 2009: Med.light color; quite attractive cranberry/strawberry/Gamay/spicy/tomatoey very perfumed light mineral/earthy quite pretty nose; tart slight lean/metallic bright/strawberry/cranberry/Gamay slight granite/earthy flavor w/ little tannins; med.long bright/strawberry/cranberry/Gamay/spicy
    light earthy/granitic/mineral finish w/ very little tannins; probably starting to fade a bit but quite a
    pretty/frivolous little Gamay; think of the cute little red-head girl that Charlie Brown lusts for...or ShirleyTemple on the good ship Lollipop. $21.00
  8. Herve Souhaut LaSouteronne IGP: Vin de Pays de l'Ardeche (12.5%;www.JennyAndFrancois.com; 100% Gamay from 60-80 yr old vines across from StJoseph) Dom.Romaneaux-Destezet/ Arlebosc/Ardeche 2011: Med.dark color; very strong roasted/Rhonish/smokey/espresso/ peppery/meaty some Gamay/Bojo GC/earthy/mushroomy/truffly rather dusty/OV quite complex nose; fairly tart rather roasted/Rhonish/smokey/peppery/meaty strong dusty/OV some earthy/funky/Bojo GC/spicy flavor w/ modest tannins; very long roasted/espresso/smokey/peppery strong dusty/OV some earthy/mushroomy/Bojo GC complex finish w/ some tannins; needs 2-6 yrs yet; lots of NorthernRhone/ roasted character w/ an underlying earthy/Beauj GC character; an amazing wine that reminds me
    a lot of the Swan Gamay '70 w/o all the oak; stunning Gamay. $34.00 (BWM)
  9. Cuvee GeorgesReynaud AC: Crozes-Hermitage (VignesAuthentiques; 100%Syrah; 13%; Certified: Organic & BioDynamic; LesBruyeres) DavidReynaud 2010: Dark color; intense blueberry/blackberry/ Syrah rather WashState-like light smokey/toasty slight roasted/NR/coffee/peppery bit volatile/alcoholic/ minty/menthol rather complex nose; very tart/lean/hard/tannic strong blueberry/blackberry/Syrah
    light roasted/Rhonish/peppery/herbal flavor; long quite tart/hard/tannic/angular strong
    blueberry/blackberry bit herbal/peppery/roasted/NR/ coffee bean finish w/ hard/unyielding tannins; a pretty eccentric expression of Crozes-Hermitage that reminds me more of WashState Syrah than C-H, except for the hard/angular tannins; may develop into something interesting w/ age. $35.00 (BWM)
  10. Herve Souhaut Sainte Epine (100% Syrah, > 100 yr old vines across from HermitageHill; 12.5%) 2011: Dark color very strong roasted/Rhonish/espresso/peppery/meaty quite dusty/OV slight iodine/pungent some peppery/blackberry/Syrah rather pungent quite complex nose; bit soft strong pungent/roasted/NR/espresso/meaty/smokey quite dusty/OV some peppery/Syrah slight licorice/pungent/ blackberry very balanced complex flavor w/ modest tannins; very long/lingering bit soft strong roasted/ smokey/meaty/espresso/NorthernRhone rather peppery/Syrah quite complex finish w/ modest tannins; needs 2-8 yrs yet; a bit on the rustic side like a good Cornas but pretty amazing stuff. $65.00 (BWM)
  11. BoulderCreekWnry Syrah Colorado (15.2%) Boulder 2010: Dark color;strong toasty/charred/oak quite niceblackberry/Syrah/boysenberry/licorice slight herbal/earthy/spicy/peppery quite an interesting nose under all the oak; soft ripe/lush slight alcoholic/hot strong blackberry/boysenberry/ripe/Syrah/ licorice light herbal/ earthy strong toasty/charred/oak flavor w/ light tannins; long soft/ripe strong blackberry/ boysenberry/Syrah/licorice slight earthy/herbal finish w/ light tannins; speaks strongly of ripe Syrah under all the oak and one of the best Colorado reds I've had. $20.00 (BWM)
  12. Ridge Calif Syrah LyttonEstate/DryCreekVlly (LyttonWestVnyd; 89% Syrah/11% Viog; 14.9%; 43 brls; Bttld: August 2010; Drk: 6/10-6/18-6/22: EB) 2008: Very dark color; very strong blueberry/ blackberry/Syrah very aromatic/perfumed slight volatile some vanilla/Am.oak/pencilly/Ridge redslight spicy/peppery quite attractive nose; fairly tart balanced strong ripe/blackberry/blueberry/Syrah/spicy light Ridge red/ vanilla/Am.oak rather rich/lush/balanced slight ripe/alcoholic lovely flavor w/ modest tannins; very longripe/blackberry/blueberry/Syrah bit tart ripe/lush/balanced light Ridge red/pencilly/vanilla/Am.oak/smokey finish w/ some tannins; needs another 2-8 yrs; one of the best young Ridge Syrahs I've had. $34.00 (ATP)

And the usual bloviations from the BloodyPulpit:

1. LaSouteronne: I stumbled across this wine last week up at BoulderWineMerchant. A producer that I'd never heard of before. They are imported by Jenny&Francois: (http://www.jennyandfrancois.com/), an importer that was new to me. The guy on the floor said it was Gamay from the Rhone. Say whot?? The label on the btl made no mention of Gamay, but there was a little back label on the shipping box that identified it an IGP Gamay. The vnyd islocated just outside the AC boundary (hence the IGP designation) on the hills above the StJoseph AC, across the Rhone river. His WebSite is: http://romaneaux.destezet.free.fr/presentation-e.htm. I was quite impressed by this wine...maybe the most profound Gamay I've ever tried. It spoke strongly of NorthernRhone/ roasted character and quietly of Bojo GrandCru. I sent a btl of it to SteveEdmunds to get his take on the wine. The wine, alas, was closed w/ a NeoCork...not a good sign for long ageing.
2. StEpine: Another wine that is outside the AC boundary from a vnyd of 100+ yr old Syrah vines just across the river from the Hermitage hill. Rather expensive for a "mere" IGP wine, but not at all overpriced in the scheme of things for a NorthernRhone. His wines are supposedly "natural" so that I assume he's one of sweet Alice's darlings. If this is a "natural" wine, it's probably the best I've ever had of that genre. Pretty amazing stuff.
3. Beyer: I've delivered this rant before. When I started drinking Alsace R back in the early '70's, they were lean/austere/bone-dry and....cheap. I found that the leaner & more austere they were in their youth, the more terrific a wine they developed into w/ age. With a plate of weenies & kraut, they were the ideal wine. Then, in the mid-late '80's, along came the Z-H style...harvested
later, higher alcohol, lower acidity, often a touch of RS, ripe/lush "gobs of hedonistic fruit". Big scores out of Monktown and rapidly escalating prices. OlivierHumbrecht was annointed as the world's greatest winemaker. Other wineries emulated his style and charged commensurate $$'s. And it's been downhill ever since for Asatian R & GWT.

When I want great GWT.... I look to the AltoAdige. Only a few of of the Alsace producers hew to the traditional line, Trimbach for one.
I'd had the LeonBeyer wines in the past and found them pleasant,but just that. When I saw this Emile Beyer up in Boulder, a producer I'd never seen before, I thought I'dgive it a try. Glad I did. This was a classic old-timey R the likes I've not seen in yrs. Bone dry, austere, acid. Not really that good drinking now...I have little doubt that it will go out 10-20 yrs and become something pretty exceptional. And it's (relatively) cheap (like the $4-$6 I was buying back in the
mid-'70's). I'm going back for more.
4. Ridge: I've long had a sorta love/hate w/ the Ridge Syrahs. I was excited when I heard that Ridge was going to make a Syrah. DonnReisen (JeezLueeze I miss that guy...tomorrow is the anniversary of his death) brought a pre-release btl (the '96 I believe) to the SantaFe W&C at my
request. I tried it and it tasted like...just another Ridge red wine. It didn't have that intense blackberry/Syrah character I was looking for. Donn could tell from my crestfallen look that I was not thrilled. He arched his eyebrows and gave me his "you doofus" look that I'd received from him before. He admonished me to "you wait and see". He, as he usually was, was absolutely right and it developed into a very lovely wine...though it still spoke mostly of Ridge winemaking and spoke quietly of Syrah. That's long been my criticism of Ridge Syrahs...at least upon release. They speak
more of Ridge oak treatment and less of Syrah varietal character. But, since that night w/ Donn, I've made my peace w/ the Ridge Syrahs. They are what they are and they're Ridge's
particular expression of Lytton Syrah. They're not big & bombastic in their youth. But they, most often, evolve into a really lovely old Ridge red w/ lots of complexity and great balance.
So I tried this just released ATP Syrah '08 w/ my usual low expectations. Wow...this one is different. It fairly shouted of Syrah varietal character and spoke quietly of Ridge red winemaking. The Ridge oaak was certainly there. But the Syrah intensity was a new wrinkle to this wine. I've little doubt that it, too, will evolve into a lovely Syrah w/ age. I'm going back for more.
5. Colorado: I have followed Colorado wines from the very start...when dentist Dr.Ivancie made his first wines up in Denver. He had a rather amateur winemaker by the name of WarrenWiniarski, who went out to the NapaVlly and made somewhat of a reputation for himself. Those Ivancie wines, made from Calif grapes, were pretty miserable wines. Plus the labels were plug-ugly. JimSeewald then went on to promote grape-growing over on the west slope around GrandJunction. Probably the first Colorado wine that got my attention was a Cabernet from
GrandRiver. Pretty heavily oaked..but there was some competent winemaking behind it. Over the yrs, I've periodically tried some of the Colorado wines and found them a bit of a mixed bag. In the last yr or two, I've been picking up a few odd btls here and there to try and finding some I really like. The ones from InfiniteMonkey and BoulderCreek have been the ones that have made the best impression. Last weekend, I met up w/ KyleSchlachter up in Denver and he showed me four Colorado CabFrancs, a variety that he thinks does the best in that State. They were Creekside '08, BoulderCreek '09, CanyonWind '09, and ReederMesa '09. No detailed note as I was mostly absorbed in learning about Colorado wines from Kyle. But those four were all well-made and interesting renditions of CabFranc. They didn't have the lush fruit of Calif CabFrancs, but they avoided the strong earthy/herbal/vegetal flavors I find in many LongIsland CabFrancs. They had only hints of the earthy/mushroomy character you find in Loire CabFrancs. I guess they were more similar to WashState CabFrancs than anything. These two BoulderCreek wines I was favoribly impressed with. The Viognier was marred by a pretty strong SO2 character, but that eventually blew off. The Syrah was a solid/well-made wine that resembled, probably, a WashState Syrah than Calif. Probably the best Colorado red I've yet tried.


[Additional Wine Reviews from Tom Hill]


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