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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 Wines - February 5, 2014

We tried last night (2/5/14) Some New Wines:

  1. LiquidFarm Chard GoldenSlope/StaRitaHills (40% Rita'sCrown/30% BentRock/16% ClosPepe/10% Zotovich/4% Kessler-Haak; 14.2%; 940 cs; www.LiquidFarm.com) Nikki&Jeff Nelson/Buellton 2012: Light gold color; clean/bright melony/Chard/pineapple/tropical fruit light pencilly/oak quite fragrant nose; fairly tart very clean/crisp ripe/melony/Chard/tropical fruit/floral light pencilly/oak quite perfumed flavor; very long/lingering ripe/melony/Chard/tropical fruit lighht pencilly/toasty/oak slight valve oil/complex
    finish; a lovely svelte/clean/polished very well-made Chard; bit richer & more oak than the WhiteHill.
    $54.00 (WH)
  2. LiquidFarm Chard WhiteHill/SRH (63% Bentrock/16% Zotovich/8% Rita'sCrown/6% Huber/4% ClosPepe/3% Radian/1% Kessler-Haak; 13.8%; 988 cs) 2012: Light gold color; lighter less ripe melony/appley/Chard slight dusty lighter pencilly/oak attractive nose; bit tarter/leaner crisp/clean/bright melony/appley/Chard/spicy light pencilly/oak flavor; very long appley/melony/Chard/spicy light pencilly/oak crisp/bright/floral finish; a bit lighter & leaner than the GS, but very well-made Chard. $42.00 (WH)
  3. Failla Viognier AlbanVnyd/EdnaVlly (14.7%) 2010: Light gold color; Light gold color; strong pear/Viog/spicy/bright very light/toasty/oak slight earthy/stony quite aromatic/floral/perfumed lovely nose; tart/bright/clean very spicy/nutmeg ripe/pear/Viog/bright very light/toasty/oak structured/rich flavor; very long slight Mosel valve oil ripe/pear/Viog very spicy/nutmeg very light toasty/oak complex finish; a very spicy/floral/ripe pear well-made Viog; definitely non-DollyParton and doesn't seem 14.7%; terrific Viog at a grea price. $35.00 (SFW&S)
  4. Chester'sAnvil GretnaGreen NapaVlly (13.8%; Roussanne/Viognier; 120 cs) 2012: Med.gold color; slight reductive/cabbagy nose that clears to quite attractive/floral/honeysuckle light ripe/peachy/Viog some toasty/oak quite lovely/perfumed nose; soft lush/rich/ripe quite floral/honeyed/honeysuckle/Rouss light peachy/Viog some toasty/smokey/oak flavor; long some toasty/oak ripe/lush/honeyseckle light peachy/ ripe/Viog perfumed finish; quite rich & lush but balanced and great drinking at a great price. $31.50
  5. Syrah d'Ogier IGP: CollinesRhodaniennes (12.5%) StephaneOgier/Ampuis 2011: Med.color; strong bright/Syrah/blackberry slight brett/bandaid light earthy/Rhone/roasted/smokey nose; tart bit lean some roasted/Rhonish/coffee/smokey/smoked keilbasa some blackberry/Syrah flavor w/ some hard/astringent tannins; med.short bit brett/band-aid some blackberry/Syrah slight roasted/smoked keilbasa/earthy/ Rhonish finish w/ somewhat hard/lean/angular tannins; speaks lightly of NR but more Calif in style and dissapointing for Ogier. $22.00 (BWM)
  6. SettembreCllrs Syrah GrandVlly AVA/CO (14.2%; 439/606) Boulder 2009: Med.color; rather earthy/peppery slight funky/pungent rather plummy/Syrah/black cherry some herbal/thyme/pungent light toasty/oak quite interesting nose; quite tart/tangy/grapefruity rather earthy/dusty/herbal/thyme/pungent some plummy/Syrah flavor w/ some hard/green tannins; med.long herbal/thyme/pungent/resiny some plummy/Syrah earthy/dusty finish w/ some hard/green tannins; quite an unusual rendition of Syrah like they might make in the AltoAdige or Savoie; tastes a bit like it was physiologically underripe but the 14.2 suggests otherwise; quite interesting Syrah. $28.00
  7. Lenore Syrah ColumbiaVlly (13%) CorvidaeWineCo/BentonCity 2011: Dark color; strong plummy/black cherry/blackberry/Syrah bit floral slight alcoholic/fumey some earthy very attractive nose; soft/rich/lush blackberry/Syrah/plummy bit toasty/charred/oak light earthy/dusty flavor w/ light/soft tannins; long soft/lush/ripe strong blackberry/plummy/Syrah light earthy/dusty light toasty/oak finish w/ light/round tannins; a bit lacking in structure but loads of Syrah fruit and a great price. $16.00 (BWM)
  8. CowanCllrs Syrah MoaveniVnyd/BennettVlly (13.6%) 2011: Very dark color; very strong blackberry/Syrah/black cherry/black cherry cola rather cold-climate/peppery some floral/violets very perfumed/aromatic beautiful nose; fairly tart very strong blackberry/black cherry/Syrah/violets/floral rather peppery/cold-climate flavor w/ some rich/lush/round tannins; very long/lingering blackberry/black cherry/Syrah/cola rather spicy/peppery/cold-climate quite perfumed finish w/ ample ripe/round tannins; needs 2-6 yrs; a beautiful cold-climate Syrah at a terrific price. $26.00
  9. Jaffurs PetiteSirah ThompsonVnyd/ArchibaldCuvee/SBC (15.2%) 2012: Black color; very intense boysenberry/blackberry/PS/chocolatey very spicy/peppery/Thompson some milk of magnesia huge fruit beautiful nose; slightly soft very intense boysenberry/blackberry/PS/chocolaty/spicy slightly hot/fumey some toasty/oak huge fruit w/ample smooth/round tannins; very long/lingering intense boysenberry/ blackberry/PS/chocolaty slight DrPepper/milk of magnesia some toasty/oak finish w/ smooth/round tannins; a terrific PS at a very good price. $30.00
  10. Forlorn-Hope LesDeuxMathieux PetiteSirah 10BrinkVnyd/SuisunVlly (15.9%; 47 cs) 2009: Black color; very strong boysenberry/PS/bit peppery some toasty/oak bit spicy/earthy intense fruit nose; soft/rich/lush very strong blackberry/boysenberry/PS some earthy/peppery/spicy some toasty/oak flavor w/ ample soft/round tannins; very long intense blackberry/boysenberry/spicy/peppery/PS bit earthy/rustic some toasty/oak finish; needs 2-8 yrs; a bit on the soft side but packed w/ intense fruit; the wine has ample tannins but they have an almost soft/silky feel on the palate and not as hard as many; terrific PS at a great price. $35.00
  11. EdmundsStJohn Syrah Wylie-FenaughtyVnyd/ElDorado (14.1%) Intuition&BlindLuck/Berkeley 1999: Med.dark color w/ slight bricking; bit funky/earthy/mushroomy/wet wool nose that clears to a somewhat strong blackberry/Syrah/blueberry light floral/violets light pencilly/oak rather Rhonish/smokey/roasted lovely/complex nose; rather tangy/grapefruity quite Rhonish/smokey/roasted/peppery/black olive some blackberry/blueberry/Syrah slight earthy/mushroomy flavor w/ light slightly bitey tannins; very long very strong Rhonish/roasted/smokey/black olive/peppery light blueberry/blackberry/Syrah/earthy complex finish w/ light tannins; a beautiful mature very Rhonish Calif Syrah maybe starting downhill now; as good an EdStJ Syrah as I've can recall.
  12. McLaren Syrah DryStackVnyd/BennettVlly (14.5%; www.MacLarenWine.com) TaltyWnry/Healdsburg 2008: Very dark/black color; intense blackberry/Syrah/boysenberry/spicy somewhat cold-climate/cracked black pepper rather toasty/smokey/oak rather high-toned/bright bit floral complex nose; somewhat tart very strong blackberry/Syrah/boysenberry/blueberry some cold-climate/black peppery some smokey/oak quite structured flavor w/ some rough tannins; very long very strong blackberry/Syrah/blueberry fairly cracked pepper/cold-climate some toasty/charred/oak structured/ balanced slight Rhonish/peppery finish w/ fair tannins; needs 2-5 yrs yet; reallylovely example of a cold-climate Syrah at a very fair price. $35.00 (vSC)

And the usual bloviations from TheBloodyPulpit:

1. LiquidFarm: Picked these up at WineHound a few weeks before. My first exposure to LiquidFarm wines.
I was pretty impressed by these two Chards & hope to try others.
2. Failla: This Viog was one of the best Calif Viogs I've had in a long time. Very spicy & perfumed.
Too bad JohnAlban can't make his Viog this good.
3. Settembre: This is a wnry in Boulder that KyleSchlachter tipped me off to. They were doing a tasting
at a local olive oil shop, so I stopped in to try their wines. Liked them across the board.
4. Cowan: Owned by Jim & Diane Cowan..otherwise known as FloridaJim. He worked a crush or two w/ Steve
Edmunds..so he's hung out w/ the right crowd. This is the 2'nd Syrah of his and I thought it was a step
up over the 2010. A terrific Syrah at a great price.
5. Jaffurs PS: The Jaffurs PS is consistently one of the greatest PS's produced in Calif. Some like the
Carlisles in intensity but bigger fruit and a roundness on the palate, yet very structured, that you
don't often find in Calif PS. This btl was from the ArchibaldCuvee, which is one step higher.
6. F-H: The most recent release of Matt's PS's. LesDeuxMathieux refers to his first PS from Tenbrink that
he made in partnership w/ MattDees. MattDees is winemaker at Jonata and has recently planted PS in
BallardCanyon, so we may soon have another great PS from SBC. Probably pretty pricey, though.
Both of these PS's had huge PS fruit, like Biale or JacobFranklin, but the tannins were much softer
on the palate than those two often are. Slightly preferred the Jaffurs over the F-H, but a close call.
7. EdStJohn: When initially opened, this wine was very much on the funky side in the nose. As it sat in the
glass, that funkiness cleard out and it evolved into a very Rhonish character; much like a good/mature
StJoseph. One of the best mature EdStJ Syrahs as I've had.
8. MacLaren: This was a new wnry for me. Started in 2007 by SteveLaw and making his wine at Talty. His focus is
on cool-climate Syrah from Sonoma. I was pretty impressed by this Syrah & hope to try some of his others.
Hopefully, I will meet him at RhoneRangers in April.


[Additional Wine Reviews from Tom Hill]


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