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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 Rhone Wines From the Archives - May 1, 2013

We We tasted last night (5/1/13) Some Rhones from the Archives:

  1. Donkey&Goat Four Thirteen ElDorado RW (14.3%; U) 2007: Med.dark color w/ slight bricking; attractive strawberry/Grenache some earthy/mushroomy slight spicy/blackberry light cinammon/thyme slight Rhonish/ garrigue bit stewed fruit attractive nose; soft some earthy/mushroomy/ElDorado pleasant strawberry/ Grenache/garrigue/Rhonish flavor w/ lighht tannins; med.long soft bit tangy/metallic some strawberry/ Grenache rather earthy/dusty/mushroomy finish w/ light tannins; starting to show some age but pretty Grenache fruit; a good mature CdR-level wine.
  2. Donkey&Goat Mourvedre TheProspector ElDorado (14.2%; U) 2007: Med.color w/ no bricking; somewhat plummy/ Mourv/boysenberry/strawberry some earthy/ElDorado rather fragrant attractive nose; soft slight metallic/ tangy strong plummy/Mourv bit earthy/dusty/stewed tomatoes bit drying/yannic flavor; med.long some plummy/Mourv somewhat tangy/metallic finish w/ bit of drying/astringent tannins; pretty good/tasty Mourv but showing its age.
  3. Donkey&Goat Syrah VieillesVignes McDowellVlly/Mendocino (14.1%; U) 2005: Med.dark color w/ no bricking; very attractive blackberry/Syrah slight floral/violets/lilacs some dusty/OV slight mocha/coffee rather perfumed nose; bit tart strong blackberry/Syrah/spicy bit dusty/OV some mocha/coffee/smokey flavor w/ bit of a tannic bite; long some floral/violets/menthol strong blackberry/Syrah slight smokey/ mocha/ espresso finish w/ light tannins; probably as good as it'll get; quite attractive mature Syrah.
  4. Donkey&Goat Syrah VieillesVignes Mendocino (14.4%; U) 2006: Dark color w/ no bricking; less floral/ perfumed rather strong/blackberry/Syrah slight dusty/earthy bit spicy/cinammon nose; softer slight tangy/metallic some blackberry/Syrah slight dusty/earthy slight violets pleasant flavor w/ light tannins;
    med.long some blackberry/Syrah slight floral bit dusty/earthy finish w/ light/smooth tannins; much like
    the '05 but lighter in character and starting to fade; drink up.
  5. Dom. Moulin-Tacussel AC: CdP (MeBaD; 13%) AlberteMoulin 1988: Med.light color w/ fair bricking;
    somewhat tired/cedary/pencilly/old red some toasty/charred/oak rather complex nose; soft rather
    old/tired strong cedary/pencilly/old Cab smokey/pungent/coffee grounds some toasty/charred/oak
    bit astringent/dried out/tired flavor; med.long slight strawberry/Grenache somewhat astringent/
    dried out/tired strong toasty/charred/oak mostly cedary/pencilly/old Cab complex finish; still some interesting things there but on its last legs.
  6. Ch.deFonsalette Syrah AC: CdR (Reserve; MeBalP; 14%) Ch.Rayas 1997: Med.color w/ some bricking; very strong green olive/garrigue/olive tapenade rather smokey/pungent bit roasted/espresso slight herbal/rosemary/Herbs de Provence slight blackberry/Syrah very complex nose; soft smooth slight astringent some green olive/olive tapenade/garigue/herbal/rosemary rather smokey/charred/oak slight
    blackberry/Syrah flavor; very long olive tapenade/garrige/herbal slight blackberry/Syrah smooth
    complex finish w/ slight astringent bite; lots of very interesting stuff in this wine, but starting
    to dry out a bit and probably as good as it'll ever be; lovely old bones. $35.00
  7. Dom. LesGoubert AC: Gigondas (MeBaD; 13%) JeanPierreCartier/Gigondas 1988: Med.color w/ fair bricking; rather pungent/ozone/metallic/burning metal slight earthy/strawberry some cedary/pencilly rather complex nose; metallic smell like an empty grapefruit can; bit tart/astringent/bitey some tangy/metallic/ pungent slight tangy/strawberry/Grenache some pencilly/cedary flavor; med tangy/metallic/grapefruity rather cedary/pencilly slight strawberry/Grenache somewhat astringent/bitey/dried out finish; still clinging to life but rather on the tired side. $14.00
  8. Dom.deFont-Sane AC: Gigondas (MeBaD; 14%) G.Peysson et Fille/Gigondas 1986: First btl horribly corked. Med.dark color w/ some bricking; some strawberry/Grenache bit smokey/garrigue/spicy/herbal light earthy/ dusty old CdP fairly complex nose; soft bit flat/underacid rather earthy/dusty/garrigue/spicy/herbal slight strawberry/Grenache slight astringent/bitey complex flavor w/ smooth tannins; long some cedary/ pencilly light strawberry/Grenache earthy/dusty slight herbal/garrigue complex finish w/ light/ smooth tannins; quite a nice example of a fully mature & then some SouthernRhone that still speaks of Grenache.
  9. Gaillard AC: StJoseph (MeBalP; 12.5%) PierreGaillard/Malleval 1988: Med.color w/ some bricking;
    beautiful coffee/roasted/espresso/smokey/classic NR light blackberry/Syrah bit pungent/ozone very
    complex nose; very strong coffee/roasted/espresso/smokey/bacon fat bit tart light blackberry/Syrah smooth/ polished complex flavor; very long roasted/espresso/bacon fat/smokey light blackberry/Syrah complex finish w/ smooth/graceful tannins; a beautiful classic NR Syrah as good as it'll ever get.
  10. Domaine des Entrefaux AC: Crozes-Hermitage (12.5%; RhoneWineImports/Angwin) Charles Tardy et Bernard Ange/ Chanos-Curson 1988: Med.light color w/ some bricking; strong roasted/espresso/ coffee/smokey/bacon fat/ classic NR slight cedary/pencilly/old red/cigar box quite complex old NR nose; soft slight horsecollar/leathery strong smokey/roasted/bacon fat/coffee grounds/espresso smooth/silky slight floral/violets/blackberry/Syrah gentle/elegant flavor w/ light/smooth tannins; very long slight horsecollar rather smokey/espresso/bacon fat/coffee grounds/roasted slight floral/violets/Syrah finish w/ light/ smooth/delicate tannins; a beautiful example of a fully-mature/complex NR.
  11. Gaillard AC: C-R Cote Brune et Blonde (MeBalP; 12.5%) 1989: Dark color w/ slight bricking; lighter smokey/ roasted/coffee slight floral/blackberry/Syrah/violets bit more aromatic/perfumed/high-toned complex nose; bit tart light roasted/smokey/coffee/pungent some perfumed/floral/blackberry/Syrah slight metallic/tangy complex flavor w/ smooth/silky tannins; long floral/violets/blackberry/Syrah light smokey/roasted/coffee bit tart finish w/ light/smooth tannins; not as big/intense as the StJ and more elegant/high-toned/floral character; a beautiful fully-mature elegant/delicate C-R. $28.00
  12. Dom.J.Vidal-Fleury AC: C-R Cotes Brune & Blonde (13%) 1988: Med.light color w/ some bricking; light smokey/roasted/espresso/NR bit cedary/cigar box slight blackberry/Syrah light/delicate complex nose; tart/lean delicate/light/ethereal light roasted/coffee/NR/smokey slight blackberry/Syrah flavor w/little tannins; med.short light smokey/coffee/NR/roasted light pencilly/cedary/cigar box light blackberry/
    Syrah finish; fully mature and then some and just sort of fading away into the sunset; very delicate/
    ethereal and very quiet wine; not much left but what's left is pretty enough.
  13. AlbanVnyds Syrah Reva AlbanEstate/EdnaVlly (15.8%) ArroyoGrande 2003: Black color; very reduced/sewer gas/stinky nose that clears to very intense boysenberry/blackberry/Syrah toasted coconut/charred/burnt/oak rather herbal/rosemary somewhat hot/alcoholic very primary complex pungent nose; some tart huge/rich intense boysenberry/blackberry/Syrah strong toasty/charred/ burnt/coconutty/ oak somewhat hot/fumey/alcoholic slight herbal/rosemary flavor w/ modest/smooth/ripe tannins; long intense boysenberry/blackberry/Syrah strong charred/burnt/oak/coconutty fairly hot/fumey finish w/ some smooth/lush tannins; still a huge/intense Syrah and on the fumey side but the tannins have smoothed out considerably; will probably go another 4-8 yrs. $48.00

And the usual bloviations from the BloodyPulpit:

1. Moulin-Tacussel: This was one of the original Parker-style CdP's. Big fruit, ripe, lots of new French oak..a wine I really liked. I was expecting it to be pretty dead & gone. It was not...but it didn't offer up much joy, either.
2. Fonsalette: This was one of the very rare "Reserve" bottlings. Made from a plot of Syrah just outside the CdP area as I understand it. Cuttings came from Chave. This has always been one of my favorite SouthernRhone wines. Pricing has got a little out of hand. It seems to age in a unique way, different from NothernRhone Syrahs. This '97 was spectacularly good.
3. D&G: A few weeks ago, we had the BrokenLeg Syrah '10, '09. '07. The '10 had an unpleasant screechy acidity/ undrinkable. Both the '09, '07 seemed to be moving along faster than I'd have expected. So I was getting a little worried about my stash of D&G wines, so I pulled these out to try. Guess I needn't have worried. Though not profound Calif Rhones, they were doing just fine, thank you.
4. McDowellVlly: BillyCrawford used to farm this vnyd that contained one of the oldest blocks of Syrah in Calif. Followed them from the very start. I did/I did. Under the McDowellVllyVnyd label, early on, Billy made some really exceptional Syrahs from those grapes. But then they seemed to lose their way and the the wines became rather pedistrian. I think GeorgeBursick made those first wines, but I presume he must have left. I believe he now does consulting winemaking and is associated in some capacity w/ J Vnyds/ Healdsburg.

McDowellVllyVnyds was facing foreclosure back in 2010. I presume it must have happened as the tasting room in Hopland is apparently closed. When you go to the MVV WebSite, it redirects you to: www.McDowellSyrah.com , which is a pretty weird WebSite and doesn't have much about wine on it. Strange. But I hope the vnyd is being taken care of and wonder where the grapes are going to??


[Additional Wine Reviews from Tom Hill]


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