Home | Recent Tastings | Wine Touring | Cellars | What's New

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.

Tercero Wines - July 1, 2009


We tried last night (7/1/09) Larry Shaffer's Tercero Wines:

  1. Tercero GrenacheBlanc Camp4Vnyd/SantaYnezVlly (13.5%; www.TerceroWines.com) 2006: Pale gold color; slight herbal/grassy some waxy/figgy/floral slight nutty/oxidized/Rhonish/toasted hazelnuts somewhat complex rather attractive nose; soft/fat/ripe some Rhonish/nutty/oxidized/ earthy rather waxy/ figgy/floral some complex flavor; med.long slight metallic/earthy slight nutty/oxidized rather floral/ waxy/figgy finish; moving right along but has that lovely nutty character of an aged Rhone. $18.00
  2. Tercero GrenacheBlanc Camp4Vnyd/SantaYnezVlly (14.1%) 2007: Pale yellow color; much brighter/
    floral/carnations/fresh slight waxy/nutmeg/spicy aromatic/perfumed nose; tarter/leaner bright/
    floral/carnations/fragrant bit spicy/nutmeg/waxy flavor; very long bright/fresh/floral/carnations slight waxy/nutmeg/spicy finish; loads of bright floral GrenacheBlanc aromatics; one of the best Calif GrenacheBlancs I've yet had; lovely white at a great price. $18.00
  3. Tercero GrenacheBlanc Camp4Vnyd/SantaYnezVlly (13.5%) 2008: Very pale yellow color; bright
    appley/low-key/tight light floral/GB slight earthy/minerally nose; lean/tight light floral/GB/appley slight earthy/minerally flavor; med.short lean/tight appley/floral slight minerally finish; more like an Albarino than GB; seems tight and in need of some age. $18.00
  4. Tercero TheOutlier SantaBarbaraCnty GWT (12.5%) 2008: Very pale near colorless; very strong
    lychee/GWT/spicy no cheap hair-oil/GWT character very slight petrol/minerally lovely aromatics
    nose; very tart/lean/austere rather floral/lychee/GWT slight minerally/earthy flavor; med. lean/
    austere some lychee/floral slight minerally/petrol finish; a lovely perfumed/aromatic GWT nose
    but lean/austere on the palate like old-time Alsatian Riesling; needs some age and will probably
    go out 10 yrs or beyond. Unusual rendition for Calif GWT. $18.00
  5. Tercero Rose 90%Grenache/10% Mourvedre SantaBarbaraCnty (13.5%) 2008: Bright salmon color; lovely fragrant/strawberry/cranberry/watermelon slight earthy nose; tart juicy/cranberry/watermelon/ bright/zippy perfumed flavor; med. tart/lean juicy/cranberry/watermelon slight austere finish; a bright/
    juicy/zippy rose; everything a rose should be. $15.00
  6. Tercero Rose 80%Grenache/10% Syrah/10% Mourvedre SantaBarbaraCnty (14.1%) 2007: Darker salmon color; stronger/spicier strawberry/cranberry/Grenache nose; tart bit earthy/dusty some strawberry/juicy/Grenache flavor; med.short earthy/perfumed talc rich/strawberry/Grenache bit more spicy finish; bit richer & more varietal Grenache and bit more Rhone-like than the '08; still mighty tasty drinking.
  7. Tercero Rose 85%Grenache/15% Mourvedre SantaBarbaraCnty (14.1%) 2006: Light red color; strong juicy/watermelon/fragrant bit earthy/dusty/Rhonish slight funky nose; softer watermelon/ strawberry bit earthy/dusty flavor; short watermelon/strawberry some earthy/dusty finish; not nearly the bright fruit of the '08 or '07 but still pretty good drinking. $12.00
  8. EdmundsStJohn Bone-Jolly GamayNoir Rose WittersVnyd/ElDoradoCnty (13.7%;
    www.EdmundsStJohn.com) 2008
    : Bright/light red color; very strong aromatic/floral/strawberry/cherry
    quite spicy bit earthy/Beaujolais nose; tart juicy/strawberry/cherry/cranberry loads of jucy fruit
    slight earthy/spicy flavor; long very juicy/strawberry/cherry/fruity slight earthy/Beaujolais
    finish; like having a nude JuliaRoberts rolling down an embankment covered w/ alpine strawberries
    and getting the privledge of licking off the juice; my best rose of this year. $18.00
  9. Tercero Grenache WatchHillVnyd/SantaBarbaraCnty (15.6%) 2006: Med.dark color; strong blackberry/strawberry/Grenache bit alcoholic some vanilla/toasty/oak slight menthol/eucalyptus bit earthy nose; tart some earthy/dusty lush/strawberry/Grenache/blackberry slight vanilla/oak bit tannic/raspy flavor; long bit tannic/hard some vanilla/oak strong strawberry/Grenache slight earthy finish; needs several yrs; some like the Ojai Grenache w/ less oak; lovely Grenache. $28.00
  10. Tercero CuveeChristie 60% Grenache/30% Syrah/10% Mourvedre SantaBarbaraCnty (15.1%) 2006: Med.dark color; some earthy/dusty strong strawberry/blackberry some menthol/eucalyptus light oak quite interesting nose; soft fairly rich/lush blackberry/Syrah bit juicy/strawberry light tannic slight eucalyptus flavor; med.long blackberry/Syrah some juicy strawberry/Grenache quite spicy slightly alcoholic light eucalyptus slight tannic finish; a very attractive red blend; some like a brighter/livier LosOlivosCuvee.
  11. Tercero Mourvedre Camp4Vnyd/SantaYnezVlly (14.4%) 2006: Med.dark color; strong plummy/ blackberry/light licorice some toasty/oak some floral/rose petal rather spicy quite attractive nose; soft light licorice/pungent strong plummy/blackberry some toasty/oak quite spicy/Mourvedre flavor; med.long bit tannic licorice/plummy/blackberry some pungent/toasty/oak slight chalky finish; needs several yrs yet; lots of plummy Mourvedre character w/ a nice spiciness. $28.00
  12. Tercero Syrah TierraAltaVnyd/SantaYnezVlly (15.5%) 2006: Dark color; strong blackberry/blueberry/ Syrah bit spicy/cinammon/cloves/peppery strong pungent/smokey/oak very attractive nose; soft/lush/rich strong blackberry/blueberry/Syrah some toasty/smokey/oak slight peppery/spicy lightly tannic flavor; long
    strong blackberry/blueberry/Syrah some toasty/pungent/smokey/oak slightly spicy/peppery finish w/ modest tannins; needs several more yrs; reminds me a bit of the Beckmen Syrahs w/ less pure/primary fruit and a more interesting spiciness. $28.00
  13. FessParker Syrah Rodney'sVnyd/SBC (15.6%; Planted: 1989) 2005: Very dark/black color; intense
    blackberry/Syrah/boysenberry/licorice some toasty/oak bit roasted/Rhonishmocha/coffee slight
    herbal/peppery lovely/complex nose; soft huge/blackberry/Syrah/boysenberry rather roasted/toasty/
    charred some Rhone/coffee/mocha/espresso rich/lush flavor; very long intense blackberry/boysenberry/
    Syrah some roasted/espresso/charred/toasty/oak finish w/ some tannin; needs 2-6 yrs; huge fruit
    but very good Rhonish character. $38.00

And the usual BloodyPulpit:

1. GrenacheBlanc: This is a variety that is starting to get some play in Calif. The grape tends to
produce a wine that's on the underacid side if harvested very ripe. A lot are just flat-out fat & porky. Of these three, I liked all quite a bit for differing pretty impressivereasons.The '06 is
already showing some of that nutty/hazelnutty character that older RhoneBlancs show. The '07 had beautiful aromatics and shouted loudly of GB, yet had a great acidity and structure to it. The '08 seemed pretty tight and lean and probably needs a bit of age yet. It had an underlying minerality that you seldom find in pretty impressiveGB...the TablasCreek being the one exception.
2. GWT: I am not a big fan of Calif GWT. Even those that are labeled "dry/Alsatian-style" almost
always have too much RS left behind to make them enjoyable to my palate. Yeah..even the Navarros, who many regard as Calif's best GWT. This GWT that Larry has fashioned is definitely an...."outlier". It is totally bone-dry...the way I prefer them. It was obviously harvested at below "physiological maturity". It has lovely aromatics that speak loudly of the lychee part of the GWT spectrum, rather than the very perfumey, cheap hair-oil part of the GWT spectrum that characterizes Zind-Humbrecht and other very ripe GWTs that are harvested at higher sugar levels.
On the palate, it has a pretty high acidity level that reminds me of old-time/pre-Z-H Alsatian
Riesling, like you seldom see anymore. My rule of thumb in those days was the more hurtey the wine was on the palate, the greater a Riesling it would be with age. Using that rule of thumb, I've had many a great Alsatian Risling that had evolved into a spectacular wine, loaded w/ petrol character, with 15-20 yrs of age. This Tercero GWT reminded me of exactly those old-timey Alsatian Rieslings and I see no compelling reason that this GWT won't go out 10-15-maybe 20 yrs. I think, by far, the best is yet to come.
3. ParkerSyrah: This btl was a replacement for one we had several weeks ago that was horribly/
unredeemingly corked. I was mightly impressed by this Syrah...maybe the best FessParker wine I've yet had. I sense that the quality of the Parker wines has been ratcheted up a notch over the last few yrs. Now if only they'd do the same w/ the FrassCanyon wines.
4. Rose: This was an interesting trio of roses. My preference was for the '08 for its fresher/brighter/
zippier character. The '07 seemed more earthy and along the French model. Interestingly, most of my group preferred the '06 for its richer/softer/rounder character. It seems to have not nearly the
bright fruit but may be slipping a bit for a rose.
5. There seems to be renewed interest in producing Alsatian-style Riesling & GWT in Calif. 'Tain't gonna be the next Merlot craze, but there seems to be a quiet movement stirring. AdamTolmach recently released his Ojai KickOn Riesling '08 from an old vnyd up on DrummCanyonRd. It has a screaming acidity, but a richness and texture that suggests it'll go out quite a few yrs. Back in the mid-'80's, when BryanBabcock was just getting started, he planned to set the world on fire w/ his Alsatian-style/dry JR and GWT. The were actually pretty good and aged remarkably well. But the realities of the marketplace beat the holy crap out of Bryan, and he eventually abandoned the
idea. Larry's GWT is a good step on the comeback trail for JR and GWT in SantaBarbara. Some of the greatest Calif JR & GWT I've ever had came from...of all people...DavidBruce.He used to have JR planted on hs Estate property in the SantaCruzMtns. He made it exactly like he made his Estate Chards...barrel-fermented, aged in new Fr.oak, above 14% alcohol. Of course, the purists were
aghast & apalled at this obimination, insistent that if it didn't taste like Mosel JR, then it couldn't
be JR. I kinda liked the stuff and regarded it as David's unique expression of JR. In '77, he made a
spectacular GWT from Mendocino fruit, a dead-ringer for a great Alsatian GWT of the BottFreres or
ClosGaensbroennel mold. Couldn't sell the stuff. The next year he made another GWT, but in the style of his JR and Chard. Again, the purists were infuriated by the idea and drummed him out of the GWT market. Too bad...as they were pretty interesting and great wines....if you're not too closed-minded about what JR and GWT can/should be.
5. Camp4: This is a vnyd planted in the late '90's and has had a lot of stuff, mostly Syrah, grafted over to a whole $hitload of interesting stuff. Out SE of LosOlivos on RoblarRd, east of Bridlewood. Stuff like grenache, syrah, mourvedre, counouise, carignane, cinsault, petite sirah, cab franc, cab sauv, merlot, sangiovese, tempranillo, viognier, riesling, marsanne, rousanne, grenache blanc and vermentino. It's going to be exciting to see what kind of wines will be coming from this vnyd in the future.
6. I've known LarryShaffer for a number of yrs out in CyberSpace when he first started working w/
FessParker, and since with EpiphanyCllrs. Probably first met him in RealSpace at HdR some 4-5 yrs
ago. Since he's been making wines under his Tercero label, he's tried me on a couple of them, but it's usually been under less than ideal conditions at HdR luncheons. I've been feeling badly over the last year or so for not giving his wines a test drive...can't sleep at night, crying jags, bags developing under my eyes, hair falling out...it's been hell. So a month ago, I finally broke down and ordered some from his WebSite for my group to try. He threw in a couple of unreleased samples as well. So this was my first opportunity to try his Tercero wines. I was fairly impressed with them...good/ solid SBC wines. I particlarly liked the GrenacheBlancs...some of the best I've yet had from SBC. The rose's were good and tasty...rose's are not a wine for contemplating your navel over...just for good drinking. The reds were all good/solid/well-made SBC Rhones. Some had fairly high levels of alcohol...but I thought they all carried the alcohol perfectly well and not a hotness or fumey character they can sometimes show. He is really excited by his '07 versions and I'm eager to try them. So...twenty yrs down the road when I crack open a '26 Tercero Nebbiolo...I'll be proud to flaunt the fact that I've followed Tercero...from the very start!!
7. Maps: Some ten yrs ago or so, the SBV&GA put out two maps of SantaMariaVlly and SantaYnezVlly, with all the vnyds indicated on them. They were beautiful maps. Thru them and a phone call from WesHagen, I first met one PeterCargasacchi...followed him from the very start, I did, I did. The current SYV map is badly out of date. These people need to get off their duffs and get them maps updated.


<< back to TomHill archive

Home | Top of page | Recent Tastings

Copyright © 1996 - 2009, Tom Hill - All rights reserved
No original material may be reproduced without written consent
Mail & Comments
- Grape-Nutz