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.

More New Wines - January 30, 2013

We tried last week (1/30/13) some More New Wines:

  1. JeanPerrier Apremont AC: Vin de Savoie (100% Jacquere; CuveeGastronomie; 11.5%; www.BondImports.com) 2011: Pale gold color; quite pretty fresh apple/mineral/stony slight floral rather fragrant nose; fairly tart/lean/metallic rather mineral/apple/stony bright/crisp flavor; med. tart/lean/mineral/ stony light apple/floral fresh/crisp/bright finish; not a profound wine but a pretty little fresh classic Savoie Jacquere at a great price. $14.00 (BWM)
  2. CharlesGonnet Chignin AC: Vin de Savoie (100% Jacquere; 11.5%; NeoCorq closure) 2011: Pale gold color;
    stronger more fruity/apple/pear/fresh slight stony/mineral deeper nose; bit richer bright/pretty/fresh apple/ pear/fruity light mineral/stony flavor; med.long somewhat fruity/floral/pear/apple light stony/mineral finish; a bit more fruit & floral richness than the first; quite an attractive Savoie Jacquere at a good price. $18.00 (DaV)
  3. Gugiarolo PinotNeroBianco DOC: OltrepoPavese (13.5%; www.MadRose.com) Vercesi del Castellazzo/
    MontuBeccaria 2011:
    Med.light gold color; quite pretty spicy/floral/green apple/carnations light
    earthy/dusty rather interesting nose; rather rich/lush spicy/floral/carnations/green apple/angel
    food cake some spicy light earthy/dusty flavor; med.short fairly rich/lush spicy/floral/carnations/
    green apple/angel food cake finish; seems fully ripe and not green/eviscerated; not obvious PinotNoir
    character; quite a nice/interesting WhitePinot. $24.00 (BWM)
  4. LaClarineFarm WhiteBlend SierraFoothills (37% Semillon/32% Viog/31% Marsanne/U/U; 13.3%;
    www.LaClarineFarm.com) HankBeckmeyer/Somerset 2011:
    Med.gold cloudy/hazy color; quite strong waxy/
    nutty bit smokey/pungent some apple/figgy slight funky/rustic/earthy quite interesting nose that speaks
    mostly of Marsanne and a bit of Semillon; soft fairly rich nutty/figgy/floral/waxy/ripe bit earthy/
    funky interesting flavor; fairly long rich/ripe nutty/figgy/waxy bit earthy/pungent finish; quite an
    interesting that speaks mostly of figgy/Semillon and a bit of aged Marsanne; quite attractive if
    unusual white at a very good price. $20.00
  5. Abbazia di Novacella DOC: Kalterersee Auslese/AltoAdige (100% SchiavaGrossa/Vernatsch; 13%) Varna/
    AltoAdige 2010:
    Light cherry/red color; rather pretty/bright/cherry/juicy some earthy/mushroomy/dusty
    some Pinot-like bit Gamay-like somewhat terroir-driven nose; bit tart very light pretty/cherry/juicy/
    Gamay-like rather earthy/mushroomy/dusty flavor w/ no tannins; med.short light buttery light/cherry/
    juicy/Gamay-like some earthy/dusty finish w/ no tannins; rather pretty cherry character but rather light
    and a bit washed out; some like a very light Loire Gamay but not as earthy/dusty; nice/pretty but just
    that; disappointing for a Novacella. $22.00 (BWM)
  6. WilhelmWalch PinotNero Prendo IGT: Vigneti delle Dolomiti (12.5%; www.Walch.It) Tramin 2009: Med.light
    color; some earthy/Pinotish/pungent/metallic/ozone bit charred/burnt/oak somewhat interesting nose;
    tart/lean earthy/Pinotish some pungent/charred/burnt/oak some earthy/metallic flavor w/ light tannins;
    med.short bit earthy/dusty/mettalic/ozone/pungent some charred/burnt/oak rather earthy/dusty/Pinotish
    finish w/ little tannins; much like a light Loire Pinot w/o the tannins; interesting Pinot w/ the
    price about the only think going for it. $10.00 (BWM)
  7. LaClarineFarm Syrah "sumu kaw" SierraFoothills (12.4%) 2011: Med.dark color; quite interesting herbal/
    green/underripe quite dusty/earthy/terroir-driven/Kansas root cellar some pungent/roasted/Rhonish/
    green walnuts slight blackberry/Syrah very unusual/strange nose; very tart/lean rather earthy/dusty/
    root-cellar some roasted/espresso/smokey/Rhonish some underripe/Syrah/blackberry very unusual/
    atypical flavor w/ some tannins; med.long green/underripe/green walnuts/pungent/earthy/dusty some
    smokey/roasted/espresso/Rhonish light blackberry/Syrah rather earthy/dusty finish w/ some tannins;
    a bit like Arnot-Roberts ClaryRanch but not the bright fruit nor the screechy acidity; rather green/
    underripe character but enough Rhonish/roasted character to save this wine (IMHO); a rather conflicted/
    controversial Syrah that's not for everyone; no telling what this will age into so will have to rely
    on Monktown scores to decide if it'll go anywhere; very interesting Syrah at a good price. $24.00
  8. LoringWineCo Mourvedre RussellFamilyVnyd/PasoRobles (14.9%; www.LoringWineCompany.com) Lompoc 2011: Dark color; somewhat buttery/toasty/charred/tobaccoy/pungent/oak very strong plummy/Mourv/chocolaty/ ripe/licorice quite lush very fruit-forward slight alcoholic nose; soft very strong/plummy/Mourv rather charred/ toasty/tobaccoy/oak flavor w/ modest tannins; some buttery/buttered popcorn rather charred/toasty/oak strong plummy/Mourv/ripe/chocolaty fairly balanced finish w/ modest tannins; needs several yrs; not as overripe/jammy as many Paso Mourvedres. $50.00
  9. LoringWineCo Grenache RussellFamilyVnyd/PasoRobles (14.9%) Lompoc 2011: Med.dark color; very attractive strawberry/Grenache/floral/blackberry/plummy some toasty/charred/oak bit dusty/spicy nose; soft very strong strawberry/Grenache/floral/perfumed/plummy lush/ripe/balanced some toasty/charred/oak flavor w/ light tannins; fairly long bright/strawberry/Grenache/floral/blackberry/bit licorice strong toasty/charred/oak finish w/ modest tannins; doesn't have the tutti-fruity character nor the overripe/jammy character of many Paso Grenaches.
  10. LoringWineCo Convergence PasoRobles (75% Grenache/25% Mourv; 15.7%) 2010: Med.dark color; slight buttery/buttered popcorn very strong strawberry/Grenache/plummy/licorice quite spicy/herbal rather toasty/charred/smokey/oak slight pungent/licorice/tarry slight alcoholic nose; very strong Grenache/strawberry/plummy/licorice bit hot/alcoholic some charred/tobaccoy/toasty/oak quite spicy very interesting flavor w/ modest tannins; bit hot/alcoholic strong strawberry/Grenache/plummylicorice/plummy quite spicy/bit herbal/rosemary some charred/toasty/oak balanced/structured finish w/ modest tannins; shows a bit of alcoholic heat but quite spicy and an attractive Rhone blend that speaks mostly of Grenache. $79.00
  11. CortiBros CS NapaVlly (65'th Anniv Bttlg; 1947-2012) St.Andrews/Napa 2010: Med.dark color; rather strong
    herbal/blackcurranty/Bdx-like/dusty some cedary/pencilly/oak rather elegant/femine very attractive nose;
    slightly tart very balanced/femine strong herbal/blackcurranty/Cab light dusty/loamy/Bdx-like flavor w/
    some tannins; very long smooth/polished/balanced strong blackcurranty/Cab/herbal some cedary/pencilly/oak
    light loamy/dusty/earthy/Bdx-like finish w/ modest tannins; a rather elegant/balanced/polished/well-made
    expression of NapaVlly Cab the likes of which you don't see much anymore; not the kind oof NapaVlly Cab
    that'll turn heads in Monktown; will go out 10-20 yrs on its balance; very good value at $38.50 (CB)
  12. TheLabel CabSauv NapaVlly (14.5%; www.DrinkTheLabel.com) StHelena 2010: Med.dark color; somewhat richer/chocolaty strong balckcurranty/Cabriper/milk of magnesia some smokey/toasty/oak quite lovely nose; some
    tart ripe/blackcurranty/Cab/bit chocolaty some smokey/toasty/oak loads of fruit but not overripe flavor w/
    modest tannins; very long/lingering strong ripe/blackcurranty/Cab light toasty/smokey/oak lush/plush
    rather structured finish w/ fair tannins; should go out 10-15 yrs; not an extracted/bombastic style of
    Cab but structured and very well-made; very fairly priced at $48.35
  13. DryCreekVnyd Zin Heritage SonomaCnty (13.5%; 12% PS) 2010: Dark color; strong blackberry/raspberry/ Zin/very spicy light Am.oak/vanilla quite attractive/spicy/perfumed nose; bit tart smooth/balanced bright/ Zin/blackberry/raspberry light pencilly/Am.oak/vanilla flavor w/ light tannins; very long strong spicy/blackberry/ raspberry/Zin slight earthy/dusty some pencilly/Am.oak finish w/ smooth/polished tannins; not as bright raspberry/Zin in character as previous one but seems to have more depth & structure; quite lovely Zin at a very attractive price. $18.00
  14. Holly'sHillVnyd Mourvedre Estate/ElDorado (14.7%; www.HollysHill.com) 2010: Med.color; bit herbal/
    rosemary/spicy some dusty/earthy/ElDorado/mushroomy somewhat plummy/Mourv/blueberry attractive nose; soft/lush rather earthy/muushroomy/ElDorado slight spicy/herbal/rosemary/pungent light Am.oak/toasty some ripe/plummy/Mourv flavor w/ light tannins; long rather earthy/mushroomy/ElDorado some plummy/Mourv light toasty/vanilla/oak finish w/ light tannins; a nicely done Mourv that speaks strongly of its ElDorado terroir.

And the usual bloviations from the BloodyPulpit:

1. PinotNoirBianco: I've had maybe a dozen PinotNoir Blancs over the yrs, mostly from Oregon. Never seen
one from Italy before (though have had several Nebbiolo Biancos). Even have had the DomaineSerene
PinotBianco, which is priced at $70/btl. It's a joke...but you have to fund the Evenstads lifestyle
I guess. Most of the PinotNoir Blancs are made, best I can tell, to salvage a PinotNoir crop that didn't
get ripened. They often have a tart/lean/green/eviscerated character to them. This Oltrepo rendition
seemed perfectly ripe and had some interest to it. And no PinotNoir character I could pick out.
2. SumuKaw: Made by HankBeckmeyer and from (I recall) the Bush vnyd Syrah grapes. The LaClarine wines are made by "natural" winemaking (whatever you choose for that to mean) and are the darlings of sweetAlice. The few that I've had thus far (about 5 now) have, I thought, been well-made and interesting, not your mainstream wines, and have avoided the excesses/flaws that many "natural" wines can show. No bugs or bacteria growing in the wines.

This was a very/very controversial wine. Most people disliked it because of its green/underripe
character. It had a very pungent character that reminded me of the oils from green walnut husks (know
that smell well...used to sit up on our outhouse and pluck green walnuts off the tree and throw them
against the sides of Billy & Nanny...with a resounding "thump".... the Utter's goats next door...which
would provoke ole lady Utter to come running out of the house and holler at me "TommyHill...you leave
my goats alone"); a smell that would stay on your fingers for days. But it had enough roasted/pungent/
espresso/green olive/Rhonish character that I rather liked the wine...for its eccentricities. Sorta
like why I'm much more attracted/endeared to Quasimodo or Frankenstein...rather than TomCruise or
ArnoldSwartzenegger. But it's assuredly not a Syrah for everybody. As we're admonished by Monktown
attourneys.."You have to think outside the box".
3. CortiCab: Another in a recent set of Corti Reserve wines released to celebrate the 65'th yr anniversary of the founding of CortiBros. The wine was actually made at Clos du Val and selected for this bttlg
by Darrell. I liked this Cab quite a bit and it reminded me a lot of the BernardPortet's early Cabs
from the '70's; though more loamy and Bdx in style. The Corti Reserve Cab '78, made by JedSteele up
at Edmeades from MendocinoRidge fruit remains one of the greatest Calif Cabs I've ever had. I don't
think this Cab is in that same league...but it is a very good one.
4. Heritage Zin: This is DryCreekVnyd's basic Zin that iis made from Heritage clones that they planted
some yrs ago. This is always my go-to red when I see it on a restaurant list...which is, alas, not
nearly often enough. The vine age that goes into this wine is roughly 30 yrs old. This 2010 version
struck me as having a bit more depth and structure than previous ones...maybe the best one yet.
5. Loring: I have, of course, followed BrianLoring from the very start....when he first started making
Pinot down in the StaRitaHills. I've always liked his Pinots, and still do when I taste them from time-to-time, but since I don't buy that much Pinot anymore, I've sorta lost track of them.

Knowing my proclivities for SantaBarbara Rhone varietals, Brian sent me these samples to try with
my group. These are Brian's first foray into the Rhone field and he wanted my opinion on how I thought
he was doing.

The grapes come from WestSide PasoRobles from the RussellFamilyVnyd. Thought that name had a bit of a
familiar ring to it. Turns out to be another guy I followed from the very start, ErichRussell. Back when
he started RabbitRidge up in Healdsburg in 1981.

The group generally liked Brian's Rhones quite a bit. Plenty of toasty/oak but ample fruit to support
it. Stylistic, the wines lay somewhere between the lithe/elegant character of the TablasCreek and the
big/bombastic style of the Saxum. They showed little of that overripe/jammy character that you get in many
Paso Rhones. Maybe more elegance & lightness than I expected. Sorta like a Paso Rhone produced by
a Pinot producer. Very good/well-made Rhones, though a bit on the pricey side.


[Additional Wine Reviews from Tom Hill]


Home | Wine Reviews | Wine Journals | Updates

Copyright © 1993 - 2013, Tom Hill - All rights reserved
No original material may be reproduced without written consent
Mail & Comments
- Grape-Nutz
Updated 2.25.13