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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 New Red Wines - November 19, 2008


We tasted last night (11/19/08) Some New Red Wines:

  1. DeRose Zin CienegaVlly NickDeRoseSrVnyd (16.4%; EB) 2006: Dark color; very intenseblackberry/ boysenberry/Zin very jammy quite fumey/alcoholic/burning slight chocolaty bit pencilly/vanilla/oak nose; very tart/shrill very ripe blackberry/boysenberry/jammy/Zin bit hot/alcoholic light vanilla/oak flavor; med.long tart/shrill/citric very ripe/blackberry/boysenberry/Zin/jammy bit hot/alcoholic finish w/ light tannins; huge very ripe jammy Zin fruit but rather shrill on the palate; tastes acidified. $26.00
  2. DeRose Zin CienegaVlly DryFarmed OldVines CedoliniVnyd (16.2%; EB) 2006: Med.dark color;
    strong blackberry/jammy/ripe/Zinberry very spicy/peppery/dusty/old vines more restrained less fumey nose; tart very spicy/dusty/old vines ripe/blackberry/Zin/jammy bit hard/tannic flavor; very long tart ripe/blackberry/jammy/Zin/raspberry rather dusty/old vines finish w/ some tannins; meeds 2-4 yrs; much less overripe character and loads of spicy/dusty/old vines character. $30.00
  3. DeRose Syrah SantaCruzMtns (14.1%) C&B by CienegaVllyVnyds&Wnry/Hollister 2006: Med.dark
    color; some blackberry/Syrah quite SCM-dusty/earthy slight gamey/meaty bit diacetyl/buttery/oak nose; very hard/tannic/tough slight blackberry/Syrah tight/closed flavor; short very hard/tannic/tough/severe light blackberry/Syrah rather earthy finish; needs age but ???; a pleasant enough nose but quite hard/tannic/severe on the palate and age may not take this wine anywhere. $24.00
  4. DeRose Syrah CienegaVlly DryFarmed OldVines (15.5%; EB) 2006: Med.dark color; slight dusty/
    earthy some blackberry/Syrah ripe/spicy/jammy lovely nose; tart somewhat hard/tannic grapey/juicy/ blackberry/Syrah/jammy rather spicy/Zin-like flavor; med.long tart some tannic blackberry/Syrah ripe/ jammy/juicy finish; a rather interesting very ripe Syrah but a bit on the pricey side for what it is. $42.00
  5. Parrone Syrah ColchaguaVlly/Chile (15.3%; SantaJulia estate of Vina ElHuique; TA: 0.51; pH: 3.63; RS: 0.13%; SaH: 26.5 Brix; 100% FrOak for 12 mo; www.DeRoseWine.com) 2006: Med.dark color; unattractive herbal/earthy/sweaty sox/band-aid/metallic some burnt/charred/oak little Syrah fruit nose; soft bit tannic herbal/earthy/dusty some cahrred/burnt/oak somewhat sour little fruit flavor; med.long slight buttery/oak/toasty/diacetyl rather earthy/herbal/metallic fairly sour finish w/ some tannins; very
    strange unattractive wine. $16.00
  6. DeRose Negrette CienegaVlly DryFarmed OldVines MillerFamilyVnyd (EB; 15.5%) 2006: Very
    dark/black color; strong earthy/licorice/pungent/dusty somewhat rustic/Languedoc-like very interesting nose; tart bit tannic/hard licorice/pungent/dusty/old vines rather minerally/dusty/spicy fairly rough/rustic flavor; long some tannic/hard licorice/spicy/dusty/old vine finish; rather interesting red w/ strong licorice
    character and lots of dusty/old vine character; bit pricey for a rough/rustic/country wine but the rarity of
    old-vine Negrette experience justifies the $$. $39.50
  7. Schulz Zin LampyridaeVnyd/MtVeeder/NapaVlly (14.1%; 200 cs; www.SchulzCellars.com) 2006:
    Med.dark color; quite spicy/blackberry/raspberry/Zin/Zinberry light toasty/oak bit dusty/complex very attractive nose; tart slight buttery/vanilla/Am.oak very spicy/raspberry/blackberry/Zin slight dusty lovely complex flavor; very long slight tannic vanilla/oak deep/spicy/raspberry/blackberry/Zinberry finish; needs 2-5 yrs of age; a very lovelyrather old-timey Zin like the Skys or the MtVeeders of old under the
    Bernsteins. Very fairly priced at $30.00
  8. Schulz Syrah FortunatiVnyd/OakKnollDist/NapaVlly (14.5%; 102 cs) 2006: Very dark color; strong blackberry/Syrah/spicy slight peppery some toasty/Fr.oak pleasant nose; tart spicy/blackberry/Syrah light toasty/oak slight spicy/peppery bit tannic flavor; long bit tannic spicy/blackberry/Syrah light toasty/oak finish; needs several yrs; a straightforward, 4-square pleasant Napa up-valley Syrah, but just that;
    much like the Failla PhoenixRanch w/ less oak. $36.00
  9. Schulz Samuel'sCuvee RW NapaVlly (60% Syrah/40% CabSauvg; 14.5%; 200cs) 2006: Very dark color; dusty strong toasty/oak somewhat herbal/blackcurranty/Cab slight Syrah/blackberry spicy very attractive nose; tart lush spicy/Cab/herbal/black-curranty rather toasty/Fr.oak bit tannic flavor; very long
    herbal/Cab/blackcurranty slight Syrah/blackberry rather toasty/oak finish; a structured/balanced wine
    that needs 3-7 yrs of age; speaks mostly of Napa Cab; very/very attractive Cab at a great price. $25.00
  10. Dom.St.Andre de Figuiere Reserve AC: Cotes du Provence (90% Mourvedre, 10% Syrah; 13%)
    : Very dark color; strong plummy/black cherry/licorice light toasty/Fr.oak rather floral/violets/fragrant lovely nose; soft bit hard/tannic/lean spicy plummy/licorice/Mourv slight earthy/minerally slight bretty/ horsecollar flavor; med.long strong plummy/licorice some earthy some bretty/horsecollar rather hard/tannic finish; a fairly big/rustic/rough Mourv that needs some age. Good example of Mourv but a bit pricey. $37.00
  11. Jaffurs Mourvedre ThompsonVnyd/SBC (13.5%) 2007: Very dark color; intense very spicy/licorice/ plummy/Mourv very perfumed/aromatic huge fruit nose; soft/lush rich/ripe plummy/licorice/black cherry/ Mourv slight toasty/oak flavor; very long lush/ripe/rich very strong plummy/licorice/spicy/Mourv slight oak flavor w/ light tannins; loads of huge Mourv fruit; drinkable now and should age several yrs. $34.00
  12. Hawley PetiteSirah PonzoVnyd/SonomaCnty (3% Zin; 250 cs;www.HawleyWine.com; 14.8%)
    : Black color; intense blackberry/peppery/PS bit herbal rather strong Am.oak bit earthy interesting nose; soft/fat rather hard/tannic strong peppery/PS/blackberry slight earthy flavor; long rather Am.oak/ vanilla peppery/PS slight blackberry fairly hard/tannic finish w/ ample tannins; good example of the oafish/clunky side of PS. $32.00
  13. Jaffurs PetiteSirah ThompsonVnyd/SBC (16.0%) 2007: Very black color; bit milky/vanilla/oak
    very spicy/blackberry/licorice/PS/slight peppery/forest floor light toasty/oak huge PS fruit nose; soft some tannic huge fruit/blackberry/peppery/PS/licorice light toasty/oak flavor; very long/lingering soft/lush/huge fruit blackberry/peppery/PS/spicy light toasty/oak some tannic finish; lovely now but should go out 4-8 yrs longer. $34.00

More Profundities from the BloodyPulpit:

1. Jaffurs: These were two pre-release samples sent by Dave for us to try. Like their '07 SBC Syrah; these two wines were marked by huge/intense fruit, a softness on the palate that indicates early drinking. Maybe a bit lacking in tannins/structure for the long haul, or maybe the huge fruit covers it up. The ArchibaldCuvee PS continues Jaffurs strong run for one of the best PS's in Calif. Booth terrific wines for a more than fair price.
2. DeRose: I had had a couple of their Zins over the yrs at tastings, probably FamilyWinemakers, and thought them pretty good & typical of CienegeVlly Zins w/ a lot of jammy fruit. They attracted my attention recently when I found out that they had Viognier planted before 1900. That was a totally new fact & I had always assumed that Viognier didn't make it to Calif until the 1980's. Well...things are not always what they seem. Turns out they had taken an old pre-1900 vnyd and grafted it over to Viognier in the early 1990's. So young Viognier on very/very old roots/trunk. No formal notes on the Viognier, but I was so impressed with it non-DollyParton character and strong minerality that I hauled off mytasting btl to share w/SteveEdmunds. The Syrah is probably the same story as the Viognier. These two Zins had a pretty potent alcohol level, but they did not
show any of that overripe/pruney/raisened character that you'd expect of 30+Brix grapes.
3. OldVine Viognier: Some people would quibble the fact that this Viognier vnyd is truly "old vine". But, since the greatness of old-vine vnyds is always attributed to their deep roots, that part of the vnyd is intact and I think "old-vine" is an appropriate descriptor for this vnyd. I'm not sure how you'd graft new plant material onto a very old vnyd. I don't think you could simply graft a bud onto the side of one of these old trunks. I suspect the graft would not take well. I would guess they had to graft the Viognier onto a younger branch or shoot, let it grow a yr, and then hack of the old plant material. Not quite sure how you'd keep some of those old variety shoots from cropping up. And I wonder about the dynamics of the vine when you have a young shoot being fed by a massive old-vine root system. I think the vines in this vnyd must look pretty weird.
4. CienegaVlly: This is an area that doesn't get much attention or recognition. A pity, 'tis. Back in the '70's, I had some pretty interesting wines, mostly Zins, from the likes of LimeKilnWnry, SycamoreCreekWnry (under the Park's ownership), and EnzVnyds. With the collapse of the Almaden empire in SanBenito Cnty, the area sorta sloched off into the sunset, leaving a lot of vnyds of very interesting stuff either abandoned or living by the skin of their teeth. Stuff like Negrette and PinotStGeorge and CabernetPfeffer. Actually, Almaden made, under EdFreidrichs, some pretty interesting and tasty wines under their Charles LeFranc Label, the founder of Alamden back in the 1800's. Of course, Calera is the "name" winery of the area. And DeRose and PietraSanta are regarded as two of the best. And I've had some pretty good wines from Flint as well. It's an area I'd like to explore a bit more.
5. Parrone: I found this to be a thoroughly unpleasant wine and one that typifies many of the
Chilean wines that I dislike so much. Back in my (wine-) formative yrs, this wine would be labeled as having a strong "gout de terroir", taste of the earth. That was, back then (by crackey), an approbative term to apply to a wine. Now that "terroir" has become a very trendy/fashionable term, I guess I'm now supposed to like "gout de terroir". But I just can't bring myself to do that with this wine.
6. Schulz: This was a new wnry for me. Got an e-mail of their initial offer a few months ago and decided to give them a try. They (John & Michele) have a wine background, he now w/ von Strasser and her at Arrowood. I was particularly taken by the Zin. The Cuvee was a very good expression of (mostly) Napa Cab at a very good price. The Syrah was like many up-valley Napa Syrahs; good but a bit on the simple/underwhelming side. All three very good wines at more than fair prices. Not sure where the wine is made but they have a GlenEllen address, which I suspect is where they live, in the USofA.


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