Various Wines -
Results from a tasting of mixed varietals - Saturday, January 29, 2000, at the Wine Exchange in Orange, CA. Nineteen wines were poured for a tasting fee of $18.
The wines, in the order tasted:
'97 Il Podere d'ell Olivos Refosco - Santa Maria. $14.99. Deep
purple ruby color. Very fruity nose of cherry and spice. Dry, mouth clinging,
chewy, with narrowly focussed fruit. Long tannic finish.
'97 Swanson Sangiovese - Napa Valley. $16.99. Medium ruby garnet.
Nose of spicy black cherry, vanilla and sawdust. Spicy sweet mouthfeel,
good palate coverage and balance. Long, slightly oaky finish.
'97 La Pantera Barbera - Napa Valley. $17.99. Medium garnet color.
Interesting burnished herbaceous spicy sweet nose. Sweet spicy mouthfeel,
lots of fruit, very ripe, medium-long finish.
'97 Runquist Barbera - Nostro Vino Vnyd, Amador Co. $17.99. Medium
dark garnet color. Burnished, ripe, raisiny nose, with hints of vanilla
and cardboard. Very ripe, slightly sweet fruit, medium finish. I liked
this wine much better when I tasted it last June.
'98 Savannah-Chanel Pinot Noir - Central Coast. $14.99. Medium-light
ruby color. Sweet nose of strawberry, cherry, and meat, with fleshy and
stemmy qualities. Light fruity mouthfeel, good balance, with a touch of
heat and sourness at finish.
'97 Mueller Pinot Noir - Sonoma Coast. $19.99. Medium-light ruby
color. Slightly closed nose, but notes of sweet ripe strawberry and cola.
Good concentration, with a touch of heat and oak on long finish
'98 Ken Wright Pinot Noir - Willamette Valley. $28.99. Medium-light
ruby garnet. Mostly closed nose of unfocussed strawberry and cherry fruit.
Seems like an under-extracted quaffer, than a $30 Oregon Pinot.
'97 Morgan Pinot Noir Reserve - Monterey County. $21.99.
Medium-light garnet color. Big Pinot nose of ripe strawberry, black cherry,
and cola; more candied than Burgundian. Long off-sweet finish.
'97 Culler Syrah - Napa Valley. $22.99. Purple ruby color. Floral
and spicy nose, with aromas of black raspberry and shoe polish. Soft yet
full fruit on the palate, with an acid-edged mouthfeel, and somewhat brief
finish. Karen Culler was former winemaker at Vichon.
'97 Havens Syrah - Napa Valley. $21.99. Dark purple color. Subtle,
complex and integrated nose of black cherry, raspberry, vanilla, and hardwoods.
Sweet, succulent and dense on the palate, with lots of fruit and spice.
Smooth long delicious finish. Nice work.
NV Rosenblum Zinfandel Vintners Cuvee MM. $7.59. Violet
garnet color. Initial blast of raspberry followed by green bean in the
nose. Fortunately, the veggie seems to blow off. Light-medium mouthfeel
of sweet boysenberry, and medium finish. A quaffer.
'97 Beaulieu Vineyard Zinfandel Centennial Release - Napa Valley.
$8.49. Medium dark garnet color. Nose of boysenberry, raspberry, and
cheese. Nice concentrated of off-sweet fruit, with a slightly astringent
'97 Firestone Zinfandel Old Vines - Cucamonga Valley. $8.99.
Medium garnet color. Steely ripe nose of shoe polish, paint thinner, and
herbaceous raspberry. Sour and acidic mouthfeel, tart medium finish. What
can I say, it's from Cucamonga.
'97 Four Vines Zinfandel - Paso Robles. $10.99. Medium dark ruby
garnet color. Jammy, nicely ripened raspberry fruit in the nose. Bright
raspberry fruit on the palate, medium-long finish. First effort, from
a new winery using French methods with Paso Robles fruit. Nice job on
the nose, with the mouth not far behind.
'97 Savannah-Chanel Zinfandel - Westside Vnyd, Paso Robles. $14.99.
Dark ruby garnet color. Spicy raspberry nose. Pinot-like taste with strawberry,
black cherry, cola flavors. Gets a bit coarse and grainy on the acid-driven
'97 Acacia Old Vines - Napa Valley. $15.99. Dark violet
purple color. Dense peppery black raspberry nose. Big chewy mouthfeel,
long finish. 70% Petite Sirah, 30% Zinfandel.
'97 Elyse Zinfandel - Morisoli Ranch, Napa Valley. $19.99. Purple
ruby garnet color. Big smoky raspberry nose. Tasty mouth filling fruit
on palate, smooth tannins, and long seamless finish.
'97 Kunde Zinfandel Century Vines - Shaw Vnyd, Sonoma County.
$17.99. Dark garnet ruby color. Slightly closed, with moderate raspberry
fruit evident. Moderate mouthfeel, a bit steely and astringent. The nose,
what there is of it, seems nice. But, the mouth comes across as rough
'98 Deloach Zinfandel - Pelletti Ranch, Sonoma County. $17.99. Dark
violet ruby color. Dense nose of raspberry and spice, with a hint of herbaceousness.
Sweet fruit on the palate, nice balance, slightly acidic long finish.
Overall impressions: this semiannual tasting is always an interesting one. Running through 3-4 varietals alters your tasting expectations as you go along, and it's often good to go back to a few out of the original order just to confirm initial observations. Well the Havens Syrah was certainly the highlight of the flight. And, at $22 is a bargain is today's Syrah market. Elyse never fails to impress me. The combination of Ray Coursen's winemaking and Morisoli fruit has turned out a very nice wine here.
On the other hand, the Kunde seemed to miss the mark, the Rundquist
doesn't appear to be improving with time, and the Firestone...well,
I can't imagine why they want to make a Zin, when they have enough on
their hands trying to make other varietals.
Here is my relative ranking, by tier and in order of preference, of the wines tasted.
'97 Havens Syrah - Napa Valley. $21.99.
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