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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 Burgs - March 11, 2009


We tried last week (3/11/09) Some New Calif Burgs:

  1. Novy Chard KeeferRanchVnyd/RRV (14.1%) 2007: Med.gold color; strong melony/Chard/ripe slight toasty/lemony/oak/bit charred nose; soft lush/ripe melony/tropical fruit/Chard light toasty/lemony/oak flavor; med.long soft/ripe/lush honeydew melon/tropical fruit/Chard lemony/light oak finish; a pleasant soft/lush/ripe Chard. $15.50
  2. Novy Chard Rosella'sVnyd/SantaLuciaHighlands (14.2%) 2006: Med.gold color; very fragrant/
    perfumed/ripe/melony/lemony/Chard slight grassy/dusty/celery seed rather unusual nose; tart rich/ lush/perfumed ripe/melony/Chard/celery seed slight dusty/grassy light toasty/oak flavor; med.long tart/lush/melony/ripe/Chard light celery seed/grassy/dusty finish; seems much riper than the Keefer; pleasant ripe/melony Chard. $16.00
  3. Novy Blanc de Noir WW WillametteVlly/OR (13.9%) 2007: Pale yellow color; pleasant rather
    fruity/appley slight minerally light toasty/oak nose; tart/lean bit thin/austere/metallic light floral/fruity light toasty/oak flavor; med.short tart/lean/austere simple/fruity/appley slight metallic light toasty/oak finish; does not speak of PinotNoir but maybe an Aligote from a lesser region like Burgundy. $16.50
  4. DryCreekVnyd DCV10 Chard/RRV (13.5%; 970 cs; Brl frmtd, brl aged in Fr.oak 16 mo. sur lies;
    TA: 0.52, pH: 3.66) 2006
    : Light gold color; rather strong toasty/tobbacoy/oak/caramel lush/lemony/ floral/melony/spicy/nutmeg/Chard nose; soft rich/lush/melony/lemony/Chard/spicy/floral/pienapply slight celery big/toasty/tobaccoy/oak flavor; long soft/lush/ripe melony/Chard/floral/pineapply rather toasty/tobaccoy/oak finish; fairly classic ripe/Calif Chard; maybe a bit on the porky/ripe side. $30.00
  5. Peay Estate Chard SonomaCoast (13.9%; www.PeayVineyards.com) 2007: Light gold bit hazy color; lovely minerally/stoney very appley/melony/floral/nutmeg/Chard light charred/oak complex nose;
    very tart steely/minerally very appley/melony/Chard/floral/perfumed very light tobaccoy/pencilly/oak complex flavor; very long bright/zippy very appley/melony/cinammon/nutmeg/floral/Chard some minerally/stoney/steely light tobaccoy/charred/oak finish; a very bright/zippy/spicy Chard that's packed w/ flavor & aromas. $50.00
  6. A Donkey&Goat Chard BrosseauVnyd/Chalone (14.1%; www.ADonkeyAndGoat.com; 96 cs) 2006: Med. gold bright color; very spicy/appley/apple pie/cinammon/nutmeg/Chard slightly overripe light toasty/oak slight earthy nose; soft very ripe/appley/tropical fruit/melony/Chard/spicy/apple pie/nutmeg light toasty/pencilly/oak slight metallic/earthy flavor; long very ripe/apple pie/spicy/melony/Chard/tropical fruit light toasty/oak bit earthy finish; reminds me some of the old Chalone Chards when they were making great Chards; seems a bit on the overripe side for 14.1%. $40.00
  7. TreViti PinotNoir StoloFamilyVnyd BienNacidoVnyd/SantaMariaVlly (14.2%; www.TreViti.com)
    : Med.color; levely pencilly/oak some black cherry/BienNacido/Pinot slight Burgundian attractive nose; classic BN Pinot nose; rather pencilly/oak black cherry/Pinot somewhat tannic/bitter//hard/austere light pencilly/oak flavor; med.long hard/tannic/bit bitter some black cherry/PN/BN finish; needs age but doubt it'll outlive these tannins; a lovely/classic BienNacido/Pinot nose but seemes hard & overextracted on the palate. $30.00
  8. TreViti PinotNoir StoloFamilyVnyd/CentralCoast/Cambria (13.8%) 2005: Med.color; very strong
    perfumed/fragrant bright/cherry/black cherry/Nehi cherry soda pop slight earthy very light pencilly/oak terrific/aromatic Pinot nose; tart bright/spicy very cherry/black cherry/Pinot almost confected zippy light pencilly/oak slight dusty/earthy complex/elegant flavor; very long very bright/zippy very floral/cherry/black cherry/Pinot slight pencilly/oak slight earthy finish w/ light tannins; some like Calera Pinots w/o the earthy/terroir character of those; beautiful bright/elegant/zippy Pinot. $30.00
  9. Peay Estate PinotNoir SonomaCoast (14.5%) 2007: Med.color; very strong black cherry/PN bit earthy/ Burgundian light toasty/charred/oak complex/fragrant/perfumed nose; tart very strong black cherry/PN slight toasty/charred/oak some Burgundian/earthy complex flavor; very long strong black cherry/Pinot/ RCCola light toasty/charred/oak slight earthy complex finish; a beautiful slightly Burgundian Pinot; terrific Pinot. $42.00
  10. Peay Pomarium Estate PinotNoir SonomaCoast (14.2%) 2007: Med.color; some toasty/charred/oak
    very perfumed/very spicy strong black cherry/cola/Pinot bit Burgundian/earthy/minerally quite aromatic/floral complex nose; tart bit Burgundian/toasty/charred/oak/earthy very strong floral/black cherry/Pinot/violets some tannic/hard flavor; very long/lingering powerful/perfumed/Pinot/black cherry very spicy slight earthy/Burgundian light toasty/charred/oak perfumed/floral/fragrant finish w/ some tannins; needs 2-6 yrs and should go out 10-15 yrs; this is how they'd make Pinot in Burgundy if they were on the PacificOcean; terrific cold-climate Pinot. $52.00
  11. Kenneth-Crawford PinotNoir TurnerVnyd/SantaRitaHills (14.9%) 2007: Dark color; strong
    blackberry/black cherry/PN bit Syrah-like quite dusty RCCola ripe/boysenberry some toasty/oak intense nose; tart some black cherry/Pinot/RCCola bit dusty some toasty/smokey/oak flavor; very long toasty/pungent/oak black cherry/blackberry/PN/RCCola slight Syrah-like fairly tannic finish; in the Syrah camp of Pinot style but very definitely Pinot; very good/big powerful Pinot. $40.00
  12. Kenneth-Crawford PinotNoir BabcockVnyd/SantaRitaHills (14.5%) 2007: Very dark color; intense
    black cherry/PN/ earthy/DrPepper incredibly spicy some toasty/charred/oak some blackberry/
    Syrah-like complex nose; tart rich/powerful very strong/black cherry/Pinot/cola/DrPepper some toasty/charred/oak very/very spicy flavor; very long/lingering very spicy/Pinot/black cherry slight earthy/dusty strong toasty/charred/smokey/oak finish w/ fair tannins; needs 3-7 yrs; definitely in the Syrah style. $45.00
  13. Ojai PinotNoir ClosPepeVnyd/StaRitaHills (14.2%) 2002: Very dark color; strong toasty/oak/
    charred/smokey/pungent intense black cherry/blackberry/Pinot some earthy/dusty slight Burgundian/ smokey complex nose; very tart/acid some earthy/Burgundian very strong black cherry/blackberry/Pinot some toasty/charred/oak/pungent flavor; very long very tart/acid strong black cherry/blackberry/Pinot bit floral/perfumed strong toasty/charred/oak slight Burgundian/earthy finish w/ fair tannins; not showing much development yet; rather 4-square in the Pinot as Syrah camp; needs 3-6 yrs of age and should go out 10-15; terrific Pinot.
  14. St.Cosme Cotes du Rhone (14%) 2007: Black color; very strong/pungent slight herbal/reduced
    fragrant strawberry/blackberry/floral slight herbal some toasty/oak nose; soft very strong spicy/ strawberry/blackberry/Syrah/Grenache some toasty/Fr.aok bit earthy/dusty flavor; long blackberry/ strawberry/Grenache light toasty/oak bit earthy/funky finish w/ some tannins; terrific CdR at a great price. $13.00

And the usual pontifications from TheBloodyPulpit:

1. Novy BdN: I had this out at the wnry last August and found it utterly unremarkable; rather tart and austere, not much flavor or aromatics. Six months of age has done a lot for this wine. It bears no perceptible character (that I could identify) of PinotNoir, but probably reminded me of a lesser Aligote than anything. Hardly a profound wine, but perfectly acceptable for what it is....making a silk (or maybe rayon) purse from a sow's ear. As I recall, these were underripe Pinot from Oregon's besotted '07 vintage and were immediately pressed off and fermented into this BdN.
2. Peay Chard: Pretty much blown away by this Chard; one of the best Calif Chards I've had in many a moon. It has a minerality in it you usually get only from Chards across the pond. It's a lean wine, yet packed w/ flavors. Who says you need physiological ripeness to achieve intense flavors. Simply stunning.
3. TreViti: This is an operation waaaay out on the coast just NE of Cambria. The Estate Pinot uses a Cambria appellation that the Feds let slip thru on a mistake...Cambria is not a legimate appellation to use. This is very/very cold climate and even further West than Bassetti vnyd....within view of the Pacific. This is definitely a wnry to watch. I've had the Chards and the Syrahs, Very/very impressed w/ both, particularly the Syrah...classic peppery cold-climate Syrah. Winemaker is Steve Dooley, formerly of Talley and presently of Stephen Ross wnry. Very/very good/competent winemaker as most already know. This is my first try of their Pinots. The Estate Pinot was all you'd want in this style of Pinot. The kind of Pinot Asimov would go ape over. It just pirouettes across the palate like great Pinot should do. Stunning first effort for these grapes.
4. PeayPinot: Both of these Pinots were impressive examples of a more elegant/restrained Pinot
that Asimov would love. The Pomarium is, of course, named after the attack Pomaranian dog the Peays keep at the vnyd to drive off the deer, bears, and wild boars. It is very similar to the regular Pinot except more of everything; flavor, aromatics, spice; yet doesn't sacrifice that elegance and balance that is characteristic of the Peay Pinots. Magnificant effort I think by the Peays and Vanessa. The vnyd, way up the hell and gone, near Annapolis in the extreme SonomaCoast, is an
amazing site and definitely worth the drive for a visit.
5. K-C Pinots: These two Pinots are definitely in the Syrah camp that Asimov rants against. They're big/powerful wine in a Syrah-style but yet very difinitely speak of PinotNoir with their black cherry character. The TurnerVnyd is just behind the BabcockVnyd in the StaRitaHills. Though stylistically similar, the wines were markedly different. The Turner was a bit more clunky & powerful; the Babcock had an incredible spiciness to it. Both very good examples of Pinot that not everyone appreciates. I liked them quite a lot.
6. Ojai: SteveSterbenz mystery wine. One that would be placed in the Syrah camp. The ClosPepe
Pinot of Adam's has always been about my favorite because of the bracing acidity it typically shows. It's showing painfully slow development it is.
10. StCosme CdR: Larry's mystery wine. Supposedly made from 100% Syrah. This is how they'd make Syrah in the Rhone if they could. Ohhhh...I guess this is the Rhone!! This is one of the
greatest CdR Syrahs I've had since the Rayas. Better than any Guigals I've had. It speaks loudly of Syrah w/o that candied/confected Grenache character many CdR's have and lacks the earthy character many show. Terrific wine at a great price.
11. This was a terrific Pinot tasting, comming right on the same day of Asimov's NYTimes article in which he extolled the charms of the more elegant/lower alcohol/less extracted Pinots and soundly trashed those bigger/Syrah-like Pinots. The TreViti & Peay were definitly in the former class, the K-C definitely in the latter camp. Yet the Peay/TreViti Pinots were packed w/ flavor and aromatics and hardly what you'd consider as wuss wines. I loved 'em all.


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