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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 Rhones - June 6, 2007


We tasted last week (6/6/07) some Rhones :

  1. Trou de Bonde GrenacheBlanc Camp4Vnyd/SantaYnezVlly (14.1%; www.TroudeBonde.com) 2005:Light gold color; lovely floral/gardenia/aromatic/perfumed nose;fairly lush/ripe very perfumed/ floral/gardenia very attractive flavor; med.short floral/gardenia finish that drops off rapidly; a lovely perfumed nose but finishes a bit short on the palate; great price at $16.15
  2. Ch. Mas Neuf AC: Costieres de Nimes TraditionBlanc (65% WhiteGrenache, 35% Roussanne; 13.5%;www.ChateauMasNeuf.com) 2006: Light gold color; very attractive floral/honeysuckle/Rouss
    slight stoney/minerally nose; tart lovely floral/honeysuckle slight stoney flavor; long slight caramel/ butterscotch very floral/honeysuckle finish; seems to speak mostly of Roussanne; a lovely wine at a terrific price. $13.00
  3. AlbanVnyds Viognier CentralCoast (14.5%) 2005: Light gold color; some toasty/oak slight
    herbal/cabbagey rather floral/spicy/peachy/perfumed ripe nose; tart caramel/toasty/oak some peachy/Viog fairly perfumed flavor; med.long tart creme caramel/toasty/oak sime ripe/peachy/Viog finish; a very nice Viog at a very fair price. $21.00
  4. Failla Viognier AlbanVnyd/EdnaVlly (14.5%; 155 cs) 2005: Med.light gold color; some
    butterscotchy/caramel/graham cracker some peachy/pear/floral/Viog slight herbal/fresh mown hay quite spicy interesting nose; tart very lush/glycerined beautiful very spicy peach/pear/Viog very graham cracker exotic flavor; very long/lingering tart very spicy/graham cracker spicy/peach/Viog finish; a very exotic/bizarre rendition of Viog but one I like quite a lot. $41.00
  5. RobertMichel Cornas Cuvee des Coteaux (MeBalP; 12.5%) 2003: Med.dark color; very strong
    Syrah/blackberry very ripe slight roasted/pungent/grassy nose; soft rather thin very blackberry/Syrah very ripe some RCCola/cream soda rather tannic flavor; lean tannic bit thin very cream soda blackberry/ripe/Syrah finish; this is how they'd make PasoRobles Syrah in Cornas if they could; lots of ripe Syrah fruit but a paucity of NorthRhone/ roasted character; way overpriced at $55.00
  6. Verve Syrah ColumbiaVlly (14.5%; 100 cs; www.AubinCellars.com) WallaWalla 2004: Very dark
    color; very strong toasty/charred bit roasted/Rhonish some blackberry/Syrah/licorice quite interesting nose; very strong vanilla/oaked/charred/pungent some blackberry/Syrah/licorice flavor; med.long very vanilla/oak/charred some blackberry/licorice/Syrah finish w/ some tannins; slammed pretty heavily w/ oak and not the fruit to support it; decent WashState Syrah at a fair price. $25.00
  7. AlbanVnyds CentralCoast Syrah (15.4%) 2005: Black color; bit volatile some toasty/charred/oak some roasted/Rhonish very strong blackberry/boysenberry/Syrah almost Oz-like nose; soft very intense
    boysenberry/blackberry/Syrah/DrPepper/cola some toasty/charred/oak bit roasted/pungent flavor; long bit hot/alcoholic intense boysenberry/blackberry/Syrah/framboise finish w/ slight tannins; somewhat lacking in structure; bit pricey for a Calif Syrah made in an Oz-style, but very tasty. $43.00
  8. HugCllrs PasoRobles Syrah (14.9%; www.HugCellars.com) 2005: Black color; slight tarry/charred/
    oak slight roasted/pungent strong blackberry/boysenberry/Syrah/licorice big fruit slight jammy nose; soft rather tannic/hard very strong blackberry/boysenberry/Syrah/licorice some charred/oak/pungent flavor; long blackberry/boysenberry/Syrah bit jammy/ripe somewhat hard/tannic some toasty/charred/oak bit roasted/pungent finish; a bit hard & tannic on the palate & needs some age; loads of blackberry/Syrah fruit but not going over into the jammy/overripe territory; very good Syrah for the price. $24.50
  9. HugCllrs CedarLaneVnyd/ArroyoSecco Syrah (13.9%) 2005: Black color;slight herbal/green walnut
    some toasty/oak strong blackberry/boysenberry/Syrah fairly lush nose; soft/lush/ripe bit herbal ripe/ blackberry/boysenberry/Syrah slight toasty/oak/pungent flavor; long soft/lush some herbal/spicy/ rosemary ripe/blackberry/boysenberry/Syrah finsih w/ light tannins; balanced & lush and a nice Monterey/herbal touch; veryy attractivly priced at $24.50
  10. HugCllrs BassettiVnyd/RenaBlock/SLOCnty Syrah (13.9%) 2005: Very black color; slight reduced/
    funky bit roasted/pungent/peppery strong blackberry/spicy/Syrah interesting/complex nose; tart some hard/tannic strong blackberry/Syrah/boysenberry/spicy slight toasty/charred/oak some pungent/ roasted/smokey flavor; very long rather hard/tannic light peppery/roasted some toasty/charred/oak strong blackberry/Syrah finish; needs 2-6 yrs; the cold-climate/peppery Bassetti terroir seems a bit subdued from previous vintages. $34.50
  11. LasTablasEstates GlenroseVnyd PasoRobles (35% Syrah,29% Mourvedre,26% Grenache,
    10% Counoise; www.TablasCreek.com) 2002
    : Dark color; attractive strong blackberry/Syrah/
    plummy bit alcoholic slight herbal/chalky nose; tart bit green plummy/blackberry/Mourv spicy some vanilla/toasty/oak flavor; med.long plummy/blackberry/Syrah some vanilla/toasty/oak slight herbal/ minerally finish w/ light tannins; interesting wine but just that; bit pricey at $30.00
  12. DryStackCllrs Syrah Marie'sBlock/DryStackVnyd/BennettVlly (144 cs;13.9%; www.DryStackCellars.com; 2.5 tons/acre) Peter&Marie Young; Consulting WineMaker: Russell
    Bevan 2005
    : Black color; beautiful cold climate/very peppery/cracked black pepper some roasted/
    toasty bit Rhonish quite blackberry/peppery intense complex nose; tart beautiful very spicy/
    cracked pepper/toasty/roasted/Rhonish very strong blackberry/spicy/Syrah/licorice some oak/toasty flavor; very long/lingering cracked black pepper/Rhonish very strong blackberry/Syrah/ licorice/DrPepper/ cola finish w/ fair tannins; needs 2-5 yrs; terrific Syrah.
  13. Carlisle DryCreekVlly Syrah (15.9%; 235 cs; U/U; Drk: 2007-2013) 2005: Black color; slight
    reduced nose that clears rapidly to very spicy/blackberry/raspberry/Syrah almost Zin-like light toasty/ pungent/oak slight herbal/complex nose; tart rich/blackberry/raspberry/Syrah some smokey/ toasty/oak flavor; very long spicy/bramble/blackberry/raspberry/Syrah light toasty/oak finish w/ fair tannins; needs 2-5 yrs yet; beautiful Syrah that suggests DCV Zin a bit. $34.00
  14. Carlisle RussianRvrVlly Syrah (15.7%; 260 cs; 2 tons/acre; Clone 877, 174, EstrellaRvr;
    U/U; Drk: 2008-2013) 2005
    : Black color; beautiful peppery/spicy intense blackberry/Syrah light toasty/oak complex some cold-climate Syrah nose; tart intense blackberry/Syrah very spicy slight cracked black pepper light toasty/oak flavor; very long/lingering intense/blackberry/Syrah light toasty/ oak fairly tannic beautiful/complex finish; needs some age yet; another terrific Carlisle Syrah. $34.00
  15. Qupe LosOlivosCuvee Ibarra-Young/Stolpman vnyds/SBCnty (13.5%; 44% Syrah, 44% mourvedre, 12% Grenache) 1996: Med.color w/ some bricking; quite bretty/barnyardy low fruit slight plummy old wine nose; soft quite barnyardy/bretty bit Rhonish slight plummy flavor; med.short slight smokey/oak very bretty/barnyardy finish w/ slight tannic bite;more like an over-the-hill Cote du Rhone. Sonny's mystery.
  16. Carlisle DryCreekVlly Syrah (15.9%) 2000: Very dark color; very intense eucalyptus/minty/menthol huge blackberry/blueberry/Syrah some toasty/oak rather aromatic fairly tight nose;tart some hard/tannic some eucalyptus/minty/menthol big/rich/mouthfilling blackberry/blueberry/Syrah light toasty/oak flavor; very long/lingering somewhat hard/tannic rather minty/menthol/euclyptus big/ripe/blackberry blueberry/ Syrah fruit slight toasty finish;fair amount of eucalyptus w/ big/huge Syrah fruit; not closed down or
    anything but just doesn't seem to be moving along any more than a snail's pace; terrific Syrah whose future lies ahead.

The Usual BloodyPulpit :

1. Tru de Bonde: This is a wine made by Clay Brock, winemaker at ZacaMesa. Though it finished rather short, I liked it better than the Curran, whose '06 version is maybe her best
one yet.
2. DryStack: This was one of my favorite Syrah at HdR this yr. Loads of cold-climate/cracked
pepper character. An auspicious innagural Syrah for DryStack. This was a gift btl for us to
try from Russell and Peter. I was impressed.
3. Carlisle: The '00 Syrah was Larry's mystery wine. Because of the noticible eucalyptus
component, I suspected it was a Carlisle Syrah. The wine is still a terrific Syrah, but seems
to be moving along at a glacial pace. Both of the '05 Syrahs were terrific/stunning Syrahs. The DryCreek version, like many of the DCV Syrahs, had this bright/raspberry component that almost speaks of Zin as much as Syrah. I preferred the RRV version for its more Syrah varietal
character w/ a strong RRV peppery component. Two more knockout Carlisles.
4. Hug: These wines are all at the pre-release prices. Unlike his bowling skills, Auggie's wines seem to keep getting better & better. This trio of Syrahs a are mighty fine set. The Bassetti didn't seem to display the strong cracked black pepper/cold climate Syrah character to the degree it has in the past vintages. Both the Paso & Bassetti wines have a hard/tannic backbone to them that really needs some time to resolve.


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