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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.

Recent Odds & Ends - February 18, 2015

We tasted tonight (2/18/15) Some Recent Odds & End:

  1. CowanCllrs SauvBlanc BigVllyVnyd/LakeCnty (12.0%; 195 cs; www.CowanCellars.com) SantaRosa 2013: Med.gold color; rather melony/herbal bit earthy/chalky slight celery/peppery attractive nose; soft ripe/melony/herbal/SB slight earthy/chalky flavor; med.long rather melony/ripe/honeydew some herbal/SB bit earthy/chalky finish; an altogether nice-drinking/mild-mannered/gentle/understated kind of SB at a very fair price. $20.00
  2. CowanCllrs Bel NorthCoast (12.0%; 75% SauvBlanc/25% RibollaGialla; 200 cs) 2013: Med.light gold color; rather pungent/peppery/smokey/RG bit ripe/waxy slight herbal/SB/earthy some complex very attractive/interesting nose; fairly tart some pungent/peppery/RG/smokey/ripe light SB/herbal quite attractive flavor; med.long slightly tart rather peppery/RG/smokey/fume light herbal/SB bit earthy/chalky finish; the RG really gives this wine a lift and gives it a bit rustic character; lovely blend at a very good price. $22.00
  3. CowanCllrs RibollaGialla RRV (11.7%; 110 cs) 2012: Med.gold color; strong orangey/green olive/peppery/ spicy light cidery/phenolic quite fragrant nose; fairly tart lightly phenolic/cidery rather peppery/spicy light orangey
    slighht earthy/chalky/stony/mineral flavor; very long somewhat tart some peppery/RG/orangey/spicy/earthy slight
    phenolic/cidery bit tangy/austere finish w/ light tannins; quite an interesting rather tangy/austere RG much
    like some of the Friulian ones like Miani at 1/4'th the price; rather low-level of phenolic character but a bit
    tangy/austere character of a skin-contact RG. $28.00
  4. Idlewild Cortese FoxHillVnyd/MendoCnty (13.4%; 25% frmtd on skins for 20 days) 2013: Med.light gold color; very fragrant/perfumed floral/spicy bit waxy/pineapply/figgy/earthy/mushroomy/stony slight pungent/ reduced rather complex nose; strong floral/spicy/perfumed rather waxy/figgy bit earthy/rustic light phenolic/cidery interesting flavor w/ slight tannic bite; very long/lingering strong mango/pineapple/floral/perfumey slight tannic/cidery/phenolic some waxy/figgy/spicy rather rich/perfumed/tart finish; lacks the stony/mineral/ earthy austerity of Piemonte Cortese but rather exotic rendition of Cortese w/ modest phenolics. $30.00
  5. Ryme Vermentino LasBrisasVnyd/Carneros (12.8%; "Hers") 2013: Light yellow color; lovely perfumed/ fragrant very spicy/floral/mango/perfumed talc light earthy/dusty/chalky/figgy beautiful nose; fairly tart very strong floral/mango/pineapple slight tangy/metallic powerfully aromatic flavor almost like GWT; very long/lingering
    very strong floral/pineapple/mango bit stony/mineral/metallic/tangy bit complex finish; rather tart/tangy on the palate but also rich/lush; wonderful/powerful aromatics but other interesting stuff; one of the best "Hers" yet & very reasonably priced at $24.00
  6. Ryme Vermentino LasBrisasVnyd/Carneros (12.1%; "His") 2013: Med.dark gold color; some appley/apple cider/phenolic bit stony/earthy very light floral/Vermentino/mango/Pledge Wax/shoe polish complex very exotic nose; soft rather phenolic/cidery/appley some earthy/shoe polish/new leather light floral/Vermentin bit tannic/
    metallic/tangy/austere flavor w/ light tannins; very long/lingering light floral/mango/Vermentino some austere/
    phenolic/cidery bit earthy/new leather upolstery rather dry/austere finish w/ light tannins; quite an exotic
    wine w/ a noticible phenolic loading but not as austere/phenolic/tannic as previous versions; one of the
    best "His" yet. $30.00
  7. Castelfeder Breitbacher Vernatsch/Schiava DOC: Sudtirol/AltoAdige (12.5%; www.Castelfeder.It; www.VolioVino.com) Egna/Cortina 2012: Light red color; strong dusty/earthy quite spicy/cherry/cherry mash/classic Schiava lovely fragrant nose; rather tart quite earthy/dusty/mineral/granatic bit mushroomy bright cherry/PN-like/spicy slight Beauj-like interesting/perfumed flavor w/ light tannins; very long/lingering quite dusty/earthy/mineral/terroir-driven strong bright/cherry/Schiava/spicy fairly tart bit lean/delicate finish w/ light tannins; pretty classic AltoAdige Schiava w/ lots of earthy character and bright cherry fruit; maybe the best Schiava I've had. $16.00 (DiV)
  8. Neyers SageCanyon Calif RW (45% Carignan from 135-yr old own-rooted vines in Oakley/25% Grenache from ClementsHills in Lodi/15% Mourvedre from 125-yr old own-rooted vines in Oakley/15% Syrah from Sangiacomo Hillside Vnyd on OldLakesideRd) 2013: Dark color; strong grapey/plummy/Mourv bit black cherry/Carignan some dusty/OV earthy/mushroomy/rosemary/ContraCosta somewhat interesting nose; soft some earthy/mushroomy/ContraCosta rather grapey/plummy/Mourv slight black cherry/Carignane little Grenache flavor w/ light/soft tannins; med.long earthy/dusty/OV rather grapey/plummy/dark fruits bit black cherry finish w/ light/soft tannins; dominated by an earthy/plummy character; could use a few yrs; seems a bit unfocused & muddled in character; a pleasant enough Rhone blend but just that. $30.00
  9. Neyers PinotNoir RobertsRoad/SangiacomoFamily/PetalumaGap/SonomaCoast (13.8%; JosephSwan budwood) 2013: Med.dark color; very peppery/whole-cluster/very spicy almost Rhonish strong earthy/dusty light black cherry/cold-climate/black cherry cola/herbal/rosemary very interesting rather complex nose; fairly tart very strong W-C/peppery/spicy/herbal/cold-climate some black cherry/black cherry cola/spicy/PN lovely flavor w/ some ripe tannins; very long/lingering W-C/peppery/herbal strong black cherry/black cherry cola/cold-climate PN very
    light toasty/oak finish w/ some tannins; loads of peppery/W-C character and good PN fruit; reminds me some
    of the Fallia Estate Pinot; a very/very good/interesting PN. $47.00
  10. Neyers PinotNoir PlacidaVnyd/RRV (14.1%; JosephSwan PN budwood) 2013: Med.dark color; much stronger black cherry/cola/PN some toasty/smokey/oak slight peppery/W-C rather perfumed/perfumed talc rather classic RRV PN nose; lightly tart strong black cherry/cola/RRV PN/spicy light toasty/oak bit peppery structured/ripe flavor
    w/ modest tannins; very long strong black cherry/cola/RRV PN light toasty/oak slight earthy/peppery finish
    w/ modest/smooth tannins; rather classic expression of RRV Pinot; reminds of Failla KeeferRanch PN. $47.00

Blatherings from TheBloodyPulpit:

1. Neyers: I've followed BruceNeyers from the very start, back when he was the marketing guy at JosephPhelps. Then followed him to Natl marketing guy at KermitLynch. And then when he started making wines under his own label and EhrenJordan was his winemaker. So we have a history.
I pretty much bought only his Syrahs, which are some of the best Syrahs being made in Calif. The
Cuvee d'Honneur is probably one of the best Syrahs being made in Calif, very Rhonish in character from the whole-cluster fermentation. I've pretty much had little interest in his other wines. To fill out
my case on this last Cd'H order, I tried these two Pinots and the Rhone blend. I was rather impressed by these two Pinots. Another discovery.
2. Sangiacomo: Have a number of different vnyds. Apparently planted to mostly Chard & Pinot. I've never been paticularly impressed by the wines that come of their vnyds. This RobertsRoad Pinot is, by far, the first really good wine I've tried from Sangiacomo. They sell Syrah to Neyers, which I presume is the source of their OldLakeville Syrah. That is really good. But Sangiacomo sells to a ton of clients.
3. Cowan: The two FloridaJim wines w/ RibollaGialla in them, the RibollaGialla only was fermtd w/ skin-contact. The phenolic loading in both those wines seemed rather low-key, so skin-contact time must not have been very lengthy. One of the few RG in Calif not from GeorgeVare's (now GaryBengier) Napa vnyd.
4. Ryme: From Ryan & Megan Glaab, two of my most favorite people. Ryan is asst winemaker at WindGap and Megan is the Somm at Farmhouse Inn & Restaurant in Healdsburg. Their Vermentino comes from FrankMahoney's LasBrisas/Carneros vnyd, one of the coldest Vermentino plantings in the World. They make two versions, Hers and His. The Hers is made by conventional white wine techniques, whilst the His is made w/ skin-contact. The Hers is consistently my favorite of the two because of its wonderful aromatics. This '13 His seemed less phenolic than previous vintages.
5. Idlewild: This is the wnry specializing in Italian varietals of SamBilbro, son of ChrisBilbro/Marietta and brother of Scot/Jake of LimerickLane. His FoxHill Cortese come frome E/W planted rows. He harvests the S-facing Cortese separately and makes it as a skin-contact to capture the phenolics of those darker/riper Cortese grapes. The N-facing are given conventional white-wine treatment. This '13 Cortese has less of a phenolic loading than previous vintages. A great guy & a great winemaker. Followed him from the very start, I did.


[Additional Wine Reviews from Tom Hill]


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