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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 Wines - April 22, 2009


We tried way back (4/22/09) Some New Wines:

  1. Peay Estate Viognier SonomaCoast (14.0%; www.PeayVineyards.com) 2007: Med.light gold color; very attractive pear/Viog/perfumed talc slight leesy some minerally beautiful/perfumed nose; very tart
    minerally strong pear/Viog/perfumed talc some minerally/stoney/earthy structured flavor; very long
    tart/minerally/stoney strong pear/Viog/floral lovely finish; underripe by most Calif Viog standards
    but packed w/ Viog flavor; a JuliaRoberts Viog rather than a DollyParton. $36.00
  2. Peay Estate 65% Roussanne/35% Marsanne SonomaCoast (13.7%) 2007: Med.gold color; lovely floral/honeysuckle/Roussanne/peachy slight minerally nose; rich/textured/oily/lush tart/structured very
    strong floral/honeysuckle/Rouss/peachy light toasty/oak flavor; very long/lingering floral/
    honeysuckle/peachy light toasty/oak slight minerally/stoney finish; more Viognier-like than the
    Viognier; rich/textured/lush but great acidity and structure; killer Roussanne. $40.00
  3. DueVigne Viognier ElDoradoCnty (10% Roussanne, 3% Marsanne; www.DueVigne.com; 14.4%)
    : Light gold color; very strong very floral/very ripe peachy/pear/Viog slight earthy/stoney/
    ElDorado lovely nose; soft very rich/lush/oily/textured very floral/peach/pear/Viog some earthy/
    stoney very light oak/toasty flavor; long soft very floral/peach/pear/Viog/ripe slight earthy/
    stoney finish; much like SteveEdmunds HeartOfGold blend; a bit low in acid but beautiful/ripe/
    floral flavors; great price at $20.00.
  4. IlPodere Bricco BuonNatale Barbera BienNacidoVnyd/SantaBarbaraCnty (13.5%) 2005: Dark color; rather Italianete/iodine/medicinal earthy some spicy/Barbera/sausage slightly unclean bit smokey nose; tart/lean tannic/astringent Italianete/iodine some herbal/spicy/Barbera flavor; med.short iodine/medicinal
    hard/tannic/astringent lean/tart finish; some Italian character and speaks of Barbera but not very
    attractive for a Calif red. $12.00
  5. Eberle Barbera 64% SteinbeckVnyd/36% Christian-LazoVnyd/PasoRobles (14.5%;
    www.EberleWinery.com) 2007
    : Med.dark color; rather strong toasty/oak/toasted coconut/ZagNut bar/
    macaroons sime spicy/Barbera/floral nose; somewhat soft for Barbera very strong oak/toasted coconut
    some spicy/Barbera attractive flavor; long slightly tart pleasant/spicy/Barbera finish w/ some tannins;
    pretty Barbera but just that; the coconutty/oak character beats up the fruit pretty badly.
  6. Pavi NapaVlly Dolcetto (14.2%; www.PaviWines.com) RobertLawson & Pavi Micheli Lawson/
    Oakville 2004
    : Very dark color; rather earthy/licorice/gamey bit smokey/pungent/tarry some ozone/WWII beacon rather interesting/complex nose; soft lush/chocolaty/tarry/pungent/smokey/ perfumed talc bit gamey/licorice slightly tannic rather interesting flavor; very long bit tannic/hard spicy/pungent/licorice/ripe/chocolaty finish; not your Piedmont Dolcetto but a rather interesting/unusual rendition of Dolcetto. $20.00
  7. DueVigne Dolcetto ElDoradoCnty (16% Barbera, 3% Nebbiolo; 14.4%) 2005: Very dark color; strong oak coffee/mocha/chocolaty/licorice strong grapey/Dolcetto some earthy/mushroomy very interesting nose; soft bit coffee/mocha/Am.oak rather grapey/Dolcetto slight earthy flavor; long bit tannic mocha/ chocolaty/oak strong grapey/Dolcetto slight earthy finish; needs several yrs; very expressive of Dolcetto w/o the acid/tannic bite that many of the Piedmontese ones show; great Dolcetto for the price. $18.00
  8. WilliamKnuttel LePetitMalin SonomaCnty Proprietary RW (13.8%; PetiteVerdot+Malbec) 2004: Dark color; strong chocolaty/licorice/ripe/lush light toasty/oak slight herbal/Bdx lovely/complex nose; rich/lush/
    balanced chocolaty/licorice/pungent very light toasty/oak very balanced slight Bdx/herbal bit tannic
    very balanced flavor; long chocolaty/licorice slight herbal/Bdx bit tannic light toasty/oak finish; needs
    3-8 yrs; a lovely red by slight Bdx-character; very balanced & well-made; attractive price at $35.00.
  9. ThompkinCllrs Couchant SBC (85% CabFranc, 15% EstrellaClone Syrah; ThompsonVnyd;
    www.ThompkinCellars.com) JeffDobkin&Julie Thompson-Dobkin/CostaMesa; 2004
    : Dark color; beautiful chocolaty/blackberry/coffee some black cherry/Syrah-like big fruit/lush slight herbal lovely ripe nose; soft bitherbal/Cab lush coffee/chocolaty/blackberry/black cherry/blackcurrant light toasty/smokey/oak light tannic flavor; very long slight herbal rich/lush/chocolaty/ripe/blackcurranty light toasty/pungent/oak finish with modest tannins; loads of ripe fruit but good underlying structure & balance; a terrific SBC Cab at a great price. $27.50
  10. Dehlinger CS RRV (EB; 14.9%) 2005: Huge TCA-infested/corked nose; undrinkable. So sad. $47.00
  11. DryCreekVnyd CS MoodHillvnyd/DryCreekVlly (14.5%; www.DryCreekVineyard.com) 2003: Black color; lovely intense/herbal/blackcurranty/Cab very spicy/minty huge fruit slight chocolaty very light toasty/oak lovely nose; soft very lush/ripe/blackcurranty/Cab slight herbal light toasty/oak balanced flavor; very long chocolaty/blackcurranty/Cab/lush/ripe light toasty finish w/ modest tannins; needs 2-8 yrs but very lovely drinking now; big/huge fruit but good balance & structure; screaming deal at $28.00
  12. DryCreekVnyd TheMariner DCV RW (13.9%; 46% CS, 40% M, 6% PV, 5% Malbec, 3% CabFranc;
    www.DryCreekVineyard.com) 2005
    : Black color; very strong toasty/charred/oak/pungent ripe/blackcurranty/Cab/chocolaty big fruit nose; soft/balanced/lush bit tannic intense blackcurranty/Cab/chocolaty/ripe light some charred/toasty/Fr.oak flavor; very long bit tannic big/lush/blackcurranty/Cab some pungent/charred/toasty/oak beautiful finish; big fruit but balanced & structured; needs 2-8 yrs; if this had NapaVlly on the label, it'd be a $100 btl; very well-priced at $40.00
  13. DryCreekVnyd Endeavor CS/DCV (13.9%; 749 cs; 8% PetiteVerdot; 25 mo. in Fr.oak, 64% new;
    TA: 0.50, pH: 3.92) 2004
    : Dark color; strong blackcurranty/Cab/blueberry very light/toasty/oak/pencilly
    slight herbal/earthy nose; balanced/smooth/elegant lush/ripe/blackcurranty/Cab slight herbal light toasty/
    oak/pencilly some complex flavor; very long ripe/blackcurranty/Cab light toasty/Fr.oak/smokey smooth
    finish w/ modest tannins; a polished/seamless Cab packed w/ fruit; the balance should easily take it
    out 10 yrs or longer; fairly priced at $55.00
  14. DryCreekVnyd Endeavor CS/DCV (14.2%; 799 cs) 2003: Dark color; very strong/ripe/blackcurranty/ Cab light pungent/toasty/oak rather fragrant/perfumed/complex nose; slightly softer bit more tannic/structured strong blackcurranty/Cab light toasty/oak flavor; very long/lingering strong blackcurranty/Cab light toasty/smokey/oak balanced/elegant some complex finish w/ modest tannins; a bit more ripe and tannic than the '04; beautiful/balanced Cab w/ yrs ahead. $55.00

More nonsense from TheBloodyPulpit:

1. Peay: Those Peay boys really know what they're doing w/ Viognier & Roussanne. The Roussanne blend was one of the best Rhone blancs I've had this year; beautiful aromatics but the structure to
carry it out several yrs. Stunning wines. Must be that terroir thing they got going for them.
2. DueVigne: This is a joint Napa-based wnry of KenMusso and RonHoule and their wives. I met Ken some yrs ago out in CyberSpace and found out he was growing Nebbiolo (a variety that particularly interests me...unless it comes from the Piedmonte). We even got together in Sacramento for lunch (along with MikeFiligenzi) to try some EmilioBulfon wines...it was a loooong lunch as I recall. So early this year, I pulsed Ken to see if he had gone commercial yet. He had....DueVigne. So I went to there WebSite and ordered one of everything. Ron has a NapaVlly vnyd and grows the Cabernet grapes they use. Kent provides the ElDorado grapes, plus some purchased from vnyds RonMansfield manages. I was fairly impressed with these two DueVigne wines. Proud to say/brag that I've followed them from the very start. Definitely a wnry to watch.
3. Eberle: This Barbera was sent to me by GaryEberle in appreciation for my greasing the skids to get his wines back in NewMexico. Waaay back in '77, I made my first visit to PasoRobles and Gary, then at EstrellaRiverVnyd. He'd been gaining some attention for his Chards and Cabernets there, some of the best Paso wines being made since StanleyHoffman's days. After exchanging pleasantries and tasting thru those wines, I asked Gary if I could taste his....Syrah and Barbera. He was quite taken aback. He knew he had a really nut-case on his hands then & there. These were wines made in tiny quantities and sorta kept under wraps. The Syrah was....not great or earth-shaking...but it was a very/very pretty strawberry-scented wine and gave me my first glimpse that Syrah had potential to make great wine in Calif. And we all know the rest of the story!! That Barbera came from ArtNorman's vnyd up in WestSide Paso/SantaLuciaMtns. Another very/very pretty wine and loads of spicy Barbera character. He (and CaryGott up at Montevina) were making easily Calif's best efforts with Barbera. He subsequently lost access to Art's Barbera and managed to get HowieSteinbeck to plant some for him on EastSide Paso. I've no idea where the Christian-Lazo vnyd is located in Paso. This '07 Barbera was pretty enough, but not up to the efforts I recall from ArtNorman's grapes.
4. Cabernet: I must admit that I'm not a very big fan of Cabernet-based wines. Been there/done that and they're just not wines that often ring my chimes these days. But this bunch was some of the best I've had in quite some time. I may start drinking Cabs again, who knows.
The Thompkin was impressive, particularly when you think back to the Cabs that were being made in Santa Barbara some 10 yrs ago. Over the last few yrs, there's been much to be impressed with in the way of Cabs from SantaBarbara. The Dry Creek Cabs were also impressive. BillKnuttle has a very fine hand and his tenure at DryCreekVnyd has seriously notched upward their wines. Their wines are every biit as good as those coming out of the NapaVlly IMHO. Their just not as big/extracted/ alcoholic as those Cabs, and, therefore, don't garnish the big scores from the critics...but they're hard to beat for good drinking. I even like....shhhhhh...their Merlot and have even been known to drink it with pleasure.


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