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.
Bohem Cellars/Que Syrah Vnyds - March 21, 2006
Tasting Bohem Cellars 3/21/06
been a big fan of AlRago's QueSyrah vnyd ever since they
were first being made by EhrenJordan under the Failla-Jordan
label. Some of them have been the greatest Syrahs I've had
from Calif, very NorthernRhonish in character. The QueSyrah
vnyd is a unique site way out on the SonomaCoast and one
of the truly cold-climate Syrah vnyds in Calif. A vnyd I've
frequently called one of Calif's great Syrah vnyds.
Al ended his relationship w/ Ehren several yrs ago after
not being able to reach agreement w/ Ehren on the farming
of QueSyrah. He has since partnered w/ Kurt Beitler of CaymusVnyds.
Kurt is part of the Wagner family and has responsibility
for farming the Caymus TaylorLane Pinot vnyd. The grapes
goes into the BelleGlosTaylorLane Pinot and is just down
the road from Al's vnyd. It is a very bizarre looking vnyd,
trained on the Italian Pergola system of Trentino/AltoAdige.
Al's QueSyrah vnyd is planted to Clone 1 (Durell) and ENTAV
Clone 877. When he was sourcing his vines from the Kunde's
SonomaGrapevines, they ran out of Clone 1, but offerred
him some of the new stuff, Clone 877, that they were propagating.
Al really lucked out. This is the first Calif vnyd planted
to 877 and the clone that is looking more and more to be
far superior to Clone 1. Al expects he'll probably graft
over some of the Clone 1 to 877. He gets noticibly higher
yields from 877; yet the wine is darker/more interesting/intense
than Clone 1. And, as RussellBevan also pointed out to me,
the 877 seems to be able to soak up the new oak much better
w/o becoming blatently oaky.
Al's son lives nearby and is growing Pinot and Chard grapes
that are coming on-line now. They will also be vinified
by Kurt. Kurt will be releasing his wines, vinified at the
Caymus/Rutherford wnry, under a label call Bohem, a take-off
on the bohemian name. He also will have a Santa Lucia Highlands
Syrah under that label. He points out that the Wagners are
very supportive of his efforts. So, afore RhoneRangers,
I made an appointment to hook up w/ Al and Kurt down at
the Caymus wnry and taste thru the Bohem wines. Man...it
felt really weird to be in a wnry loaded to the gills w/
Cabernet wine, I must admit. We tasted:
1. QueSyrah Section 1/Clone 1 2004: Very dark color; intense
smokey/spicy/peppery/forest floor nose; hard/tannic very
tart peppery/blackberry/Syrah flavor.
2. QueSyrah Section 2/Clone 877/new oak 2004: Very dark/black
color; beautiful cracked black pepper/spicy intense blackberry/spicy/Syrah
slight roasted/toasty nose; tart very spicy/intense cracked
black pepper/blackberry/Syrah flavor; loads of interesting
cracked black pepper character and more intense blackberry
3. QueSyrah Clone 1/Rocky section/neutral oak 2004: Very
dark color; slightly reduced/pungent very strong spicy/blackberry/Syrah
bit closed/tight nose; tart very spicy/blackberry/Syrah
bit simpler flavor
4. QueSyrah Section 3/Clone 1/more nearby woods&less
sun 2004: Very dark color; tight/closed very black strong
blackberry/Syrah nose; tart/tight/hard spicy/blackberry
bit simpler flavor.
5. QueSyrah Clone 877/new oak 2004: Black color; beautiful
intense/blackberry/Syrah very spicy/cracked black pepper
roasted/toasty/espresso complex/aromatic nose;big/intense/
extracted/tart toasty/roasted/espresso intense blackberry/black
cherry/Syrah flavor; easily my fave of the 8 barrels; terrific
6. QueSyrah Blend/60% Clone 877/40% Clone 1 2004: Very dark
color; intense blackberry/
Syrah spicy/peppery/cracked black pepper slight toasty/roasted
nose; tart more forward/ blackberry/Syrah slight cracked
7. BelleGlos TaylorLaneVnyd PinotNoir 2004: Very dark color;
intense black cherry/Pinot/black cherry cola/DrPepper very
spicy complex nose; tart/rich very spicy/black cherry/Pinot/black
cherry cola light toasty/oak flavor; a big/intense beautiful
Pinot that reminds me some of Cargasacchi Pinots by Bruno
8. QueSyrah Clone 877 2005: Tasted outside in cold/drizzly
weather, not optimal: Dark color; bit herbal/green olive
rich/juicy/lush blackberry/Syrah/boysenberry loads of juicy
fruit slight peppery nose; tart juicy/fruity/blackberry/Syrah
lush slight pepper flavor; loads of juicy fruit at this
point w/ slight green olive/herbal notes.
9. QueSyrah Blend 2005: Much like above w/ loads of juicy
fruit; bit simpler w/ more
10. Bohem SantaLuciaHighlands Syrah 2004: Very dark color;
slight SLH/herbal ripe/chocolaty/ blackberry/boysenberry/Syrah
fruit nose; slight softer ripe/chocolaty/herbal very strong
blackberry/boysenberry/Syrah flavor; strongly SLH Syrah.
The notes were a bit sketchy. In almost all cases, I much
preferred the Clone 877 over the Clone 1; they seemed to
have more of a complex/peppery/light roasted/Rhonish character
than the Durell. The Durell always seemed leaner/tighter
and not quite the interesting aromatics of 877. All had
a Alban-like acidity to them that suggests they'll be long
agers. With only 8 barrels with which to work, it'll be
interesting to see what the final blend turns out to be.
Al notes that the 2004 vintage is the ripest he ever got
his grapes. By contrast, 2005 was a very long/protracted
growing season and it was a struggle to ripen them.
Definitely, Bohem is a label to follow from the very start.
I was impressed. Afterwards, we all adjourned to the Rutherford
Grill to finish off the BelleGlos with a terrific lunch.
Al and I reminisced about our early Nuclear days. I first
met Al at Argonne National Laboratory in 1967 when I had
a summer job there in the Reactor Physics Division. Al was
just down the hall from my office and we lunched frequently
with a group. Of course, we both had a bit more hair in
© 1996 - 2006, Tom Hill - All rights reserved
No original material may be reproduced without written consent
Mail & Comments