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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.

New "Calif Burgundies" - November 28, 2007


We tried last night (11/28/07) some New "Calif Burgundies" :

  1. TheOjaiVnyd Chard ClosPepeVnyd/Sta.RitaHills (14.0%; Clone 76) 2005: Med.gold color;
    some toasty/smokey/oak/nutmeg ripe/melony/Chard lovely/aromatic nose; tart bright/
    spicy/nutmeg/melony/Chard lush structured flavor; very long tart spicy/nutmeg/cardammon
    ripe/lush/melony/Chard finish; needs several yrs and should go out 10; lots of ripe Chard fruit but acidity & structure to carry it; lovely Chard at a good price. $35.00
  2. Ampelos rose of Syrah CuatroVientosVnyd/SantaYnezVlly (14.1%; www.AmpelosCellars.com; 290 cs) 2006: Pale salmon/pink color; attractive bright/strawberry/ berry/raspberry nose;tart clean/bright/spicy strawberry/raspberry flavor; long juicy/watermelon/ raspberry/spicy finish; a very attractive bright/strawberry/raspberry Syrah rose. $16.00
  3. Siduri SonomaCnty PinotNoir (14.1%; 1940 cs) 2006: Very light color; some toasty/oak
    light bright/cherry/PN classic Siduri nose; rather toasty/oak very light cherry/black cherry/ PN slightly bitter flavor; short bright cherry/PN some toasty/oak slighhtly bitter finish; a pleasant Pinot at a very attractive price. $16.50
  4. Siduri RRV PinotNoir (14.3%; 789 cs) 2006: Light color; much deeper spicy/black cherry/
    PN some RRV/peppery very light toast/oak nose; soft some peppery/PN/black cherry light
    toasty/oak flavor; med. spicy/black cherry/PN slight peppery light toasty/oak finish w/light tannins; clearly RRV PN and ready to drink; good value at $23.50
  5. Siduri SapphireHillVnyd/RRV PinotNoir (14.1%; 408 cs) 2005: Med.dark color; strong
    toasty/oak ripe/black cherry/PN loads of lovely fruit nose; soft lush/blacl cherry/PN
    slightly spicy/peppery rather toasty/oak very attractive flavor; long ripe/black cherry/
    PN fairly toasty/oak spicy/peppery finish w/ some tannins; good drinking now and for
    another 4-5 yrs; very attractive classic/RRV Pinot. $32.00
  6. Siduri PisoniVnyd/SantaLuciaHighlands PinotNoir (14.1%; 433 cs) 2006: Med.dark color;
    deep/strong chocolaty/black cherry/PN slight herbal/earthy light toasty/oak slight reduced/licorice bit alcoholic nose; tart light chocolaty/licorice/pungent fairly black cherry/PN slight herbal bit tight/closed flavor; long somewhat tight chocolaty/licorice/black cherry/cola/PN light toasty/oak some tannic finish; seems rather tight & closed and not really singing like it probably will down the road; needs some time before trying again. $40.50
  7. PaliWineCo PinotNoir TurnerVnyd/Sta.RitaHills (14.3%;www.PaliWineCo.com) Winemaker:
    BrianLoring 2005
    : Med.dark color; strong ripe/black cherry/blackberry/PN some toasty/pungent/ oak big fruit nose; tart bit hard/tannic spicy/blackberry/black cherry/PN some toasty/oak flavor; long rather hard/tannic some black cherry/blackberry finish; a pretty big/structured somewhat Syrah-like Pinot; needs several yrs of age yet. $40.00
  8. The Bohan-Dillon PinotNoir HirschVnyd/SonomaCoast (14.6%;www.HirschVineyards.com)
    : Very light color; very bright very cherry/Cheracol/PN/spicy light toasty/oak lovely/fragrant nose; tart light/vibrant very spicy/cherry/PN light toasty/oak flavor; med.short cherry/Cheracol/Nehi soda pop finish w/ very light tannins; a light/pretty Pinot. $30.00
  9. Ampelos PinotNoir AmpelosVnyd/Sta.RitaHills (15.2%; 98 cs) 2004: Med.dark color; deep
    black cherry/PN/spicy slightly pencilly/oak slight earthy lovely/fragrant/perfumed nose; tart light pencilly/oak very spicy/black cherry/PN/ripe/cherry flavor; very long/lingering bright/spicy/ripe/black cherry/PN light pencilly/oak slight earthy finish w/ light tannins; lots of PN fruit and very balanced and polished; lovely example of SRH PN. $42.00
  10. TheOjaiVnyd PinotNoir SolomonHills/SantaMariaVlly (14.0%) 2005: Very dark color; very
    strong toasty/charred/pungent/Fr.oak strong chocolaty/licorice/bing cherry/PN bit earthy nose; tart some earthy/dusty quite charred/pungent/toasty/oak rather black cherry/cola/PN flavor; rather tannic/hard very toasty/charred/Fr.oak slightly tarry/earthy strong black cherry/cola/PN finish; seems a bit on the clunky & overextracted side; needs some age yet; hard to say where this will go. $39.00
  11. TheOjaiVnyd PinotNoir ClosPepeVnyd/Sta.RitaHills (EarlyHrvst; SaH: 24 Brix; 14.0%) 2005: Very dark color; very strong black cherry/PN some boysenberry/blackberry bit toasty/oak nose; very tart/zippy brighht cherry/black cherry/PN appley some toasty/oak flavor; very long bright cherry/ black cherry/PN slight blackberry some toasty/oak finish w/ modest tannins; needs several yrs; more acidity and brightness and more high-toned cherry character and less oak than the regular; lovely Pinot. $48.00
  12. TheOjaiVnyd PinotNoir ClosPepeVnyd/Sta.RitaHills (SaH: 26 Brix;14.0%) 2005: Very dark
    color; strong black cherry/PN/blackberry fairly toasty/oak bir riper more chocolaty nose; tart strong black cherry/blackberry/PN rather toasty/oak flavor; very long black cherry/cola/blackberry/PN/riper more toasty/oak some tannic finish; also needs a few yrs. $48.00
  13. SQN Over&Out Calif PinotNoir "PinotMore" (15.2%) 2005: Black color; very intense toasty/ charred/pencily/oak strong black cherry/bing cherry/cherry cola somewhat Syrah/blackberry/ boysenberry huge fruit nose; very strong toasty/charred/oak/smokey/pungent intense black cherry/cola/blackberry/PN flavor; long rather tannic quite toasty/charred/oak/smokey very strong black cherry/cola/PN/blackberry finish; loads of oak but huge fruit underneath; needs much age; definitely Pinot and Syrah only in style; not a Pinot for the faint of heart. $80.00
  14. Dehlinger PinotNoir GoldRidgeVnyd/RRV (14.3%) 1999: Med.light color w/ slight browning;
    some black cherry/PN light floral/violets bit toasty/oak slight barky/earthy nose; tart bit tired rather pencilly/oak light black cherry/PN flavor; med.long rather pencilly/oak light cherry/black cherry finish w/ light tannins; starting to show a little tired and should be drunk up. Larry's mystery wine.

And profundities and absurdities from TheBloodyPulpit:

1. Peter & Becky Work were in SantaFe for a vacation, so came up to join us for this tasting.
They have been making wine several yrs under their Ampelos label, plus selling some of their Syrah to CraigJaffurs. They regaled the group w/ their trials and tribulations of growing grapes in the SantaRitaHills. They fielded lots of questions on their taking the vnyd biodynamic. Kinda like Parker showing up at a WineSpectator tasting for a biodynamics guy to show up amongst a bunch of LosAlamos scientific types. At least the scientist-types realized that biodynamics folks are not wooly-headed and a bit nutso. Winemaker is DonSchroeder, of SeaSmoke and Becky's son. It's definitely a label to watch.
2. Bohan-Dillon: Can't really find out for sure, but I gather this is a 2'nd label for
HirschVnyd, for wines that didn't make the cut into that label.
3. SantaMariaVlly Pinot: The first really great SantaBarbara Pinots came from S&B Vnyd and the BienNacidoVnyd. Over the yrs, I've been less & less thrilled by the Pinots coming from the SantaMariaVlly. It's not that they're bad, per se, but they just don't seem to have in many cases the brightness and liveliness and perfume you get from Sta.RitaHills Pinots. They sometimes seem to be a bit on the clunky & coarse side compared w/ their brethern to
the South. Maybe I'm just not tasting enough of them these days.
4. Ojai: AdamTolmach has been quietly making some of the best Chard and SauvBlanc in Calif
for quite a few yrs, but never seems to get much notice for them. It's one of the few Calif Chards I buy yr after yr. Though I'm obviously prejuidiced in favor of his Syrahs, Adam's
Pinots are also consistently some of the best made in Calif. They tend to be pretty big Pinots, but speak resoundly of Pinot and certainly not Syrah-like Pinots. And they seem to age quite
well, thank you. The two ClosPepevnyd Pinots were an interesting comparison. The regular seemed to have more of a ripe character (doh!!!) and a bit more oak; not as much high-toned cherry in character as the EarlyHrvst. I slightly preferred to EarlyHrvst version for this reason.


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