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.

Some New Calif Rhones - May 13, 2009


We tried last Wed (5/13/09) Some New Calif Rhones:

  1. eno Grenache EaglePointRanch/MendoCnty "yes dear" (14.4%; GrenacheNoir; pH: 3.9; TA:0.54;
    www.enoWines.com) 2006
    : Light color; slight tobaccoy/pungent/oak earthy/strawberry/Grenache light
    perfumed nose; soft strawberry/Grenache/spicy light earthy/candied flavor; med.long candied/strawberry/
    Grenache light earthy/mushroomy finish w/ light tannins; lots of pretty Grenache fruit w/ an underlying
    earthiness. $25.00
  2. Prospect 772 TheBrat SierraFoothills/CalaverasCnty (80% Grenache, 20% Syrah; 14.8%;
    www.Prospect772.com) 2006
    : Med.color; strong bright strawberry/blackberry/Syrah light toasty/oak nose; soft somewhat hot/alcoholic strawberry/blackberry/Syrah rather smokey/pungent/oak flavor w/ some tannins; med.long some tannic strawberry/blackberry/Grenache somewhat hot/alcoholic rather toasty/Fr.oak finish; needs several yrs yet; seems dominated by the Syrah; nice blend but a bit pricey. $36.00
  3. Cabot Syrah KlamathRvr/HumboltCnty (14.8%; www.CabotVineyards.com; 300 cs) 2006: Med.dark color; deep earthy/dusty/tomatoey/herbal/basil peppery/blackberry/Syrah/spicy smokey/waxy interesting nose; some earthy/mushroomy/dusty tart/lean bit hard/tannic fairly peppery/blackberry/Syrah/spicy slight vanilla/ oak flavor; med.long tart/lean/hard some spicy/peppery/basil/herbal rather peppery/blackberry/ Syrah finish with fair tannins; needs several yrs; unusual Syrah that reminds me of Languedoc Syrah w/ its dusty/earthy character; very attractively priced at $23.00
  4. Cabot Syrah Aria's KlamathRvr/HumboltCnty (14.8%; 170 cs) 2006: Med.dark color; rather earthy/ dusty/mushroomy deep/blackberry/peppery/Syrah slight herbal/basil/garrigue bit ozone/roasted/pungent/ smokey very interesting nose; tart bit lean/tannic earthy/mushroomy some blackberry/Syrah light herbal/ garrigue flavor; Med.long bit lean/tannic earthy/terroir-driven light blackberry/Syrah/earthy slight leathery/ garrigue finish w/ fair tannins; almost like ElDorado Syrah; needs several yrs; interesting Syrah. $35.00
  5. Cabot Syrah Kimberly's KlamathRvr/HumboltCnty (15.3%; 390 cs) 2006: Dark color; light earthy/dusty/mushroomy bit minerally strong spicy/blackberry/Syrah/licorice bit peppery/roasted very interesting/attractive nose; tart bit lean/tannic quite spicy/herbal/basil some blackberry/Syrah light oak/toasty some complex flavor; long spicy/herbal/basil/mushroomy quite blackberry/Syrah/peppery light oak/toasty some complex finish; needs 2-6 yrs yet; quite terroir-driven; my favorite of the Cabots. $31.00
  6. Prospect 772 TheBrawler SierraFoothills/CalaverasCnty (96% Syrah, 4% Viognier; 15.4%) 2006: Very dark color; bit earthy rather hot/volatile some buttery/oak/toasted coconut very ripe boysenberry/ blackberry/Syrah nose; rather hot/alcoholic very ripe blackberry/boysenberry/Syrah slight dusty some vanilla/oak/toasted coconut flavor; med.short very ripe/boysenberry/blackberry/Syrah some alcoholic/ fumey/hot light vanilla/oak/toasted coconut finish w/ light tannins; a bit overripe and over-the-top for me. $36.00
  7. Saisons des Vins Syrah L'hiver MendoCnty (13.7%; www.CopainWines.com) 2006: Med.color; low key tomatoey/blackberry/Syrah slight funky/pungent/oak rather strange nose; tart bright blackberry/ Syrah light earthy/tomatoey light funky/oak pleasant/bit simple flavor; med.short bright/blackberry/Syrah light funky/oak finish w/ light tannins; a pretty/bit strange little Syrah but just that. $20.00
  8. Copain Syrah "LesVoisins" McDowellVlly (13.8%; www.CopainWines.com) 2006: Dark color; low-key blackberry/Syrah rather spicy/dusty light toasty/oak nose; tart spicy/blackberry/Syrah bit dusty/old vines interesting flavor; rather tart/lean blackberry/Syrah/dusty rather spicy finish w/ light tannins; a bit EdmundsStJohn-like; pleasant spicy Syrah but just that; overpriced at $38.00
  9. Copain Syrah ThompsonVnyd/SBC (14.7%) 2006: Dark color; lovely intense blackberry/boysenberry/Syrah some peppery/walnutty/herbal DrPepper/cola complex/perfumed nose; rather tannic/hard strong blackberry/boysenberry/Syrah somewhat herbal/peppery/DrPepper light smokey/pungent/oak interesting flavor; long intense blackberry/blueberry/Syrah light toasty/oak bit herbal/peppery finish w/ ample tanins; needs 3-8 yrs yet; big/intense/interesting Syrah that speaks of Thompson. $42.00
  10. Radio-Coteau LasColinas SonomaCoast Syrah (544 cs; U/U; 14.6%; www.RadioCoteau.com)
    : Dark color; lovely bright cherry/black cherry/blackberry/Syrah/cherry cough syrup very fragrant/
    perfumed/Pinotish nose; very tart very bright floral/spicy/cherry/black cherry/Cheracol/Nehi soda pop light
    earthy slight toasty/oak flavor; very long tart floral/cherry/black cherry/Syrah light toasty/oak finish
    w/ light tannins; tastes like a Syrah made by a Pinot producer; lovely bright spicy Syrah. $38.00
  11. Radio-Coteau Timbervine/RRV Syrah (JoeMesias & EvaAuchincloss growers; 375 cs; U/U; 15.2%;
    www.RadioCoteau.com) 2006
    : Dark color; strong peppery/blackberry/Syrah light toasty/charred/oak slight funky/earthy noose; slight hot/alcoholic light peppery strong blackberry/Syrah/blueberry slight earthy/mushroomy light charred/oak flavor; med.long blueberry/blackberry/Syrah slight cherry lingt pencilly/charred/oak finish w/ light tannins; needs several yrs; some cold-climate Syrah character; bit pricey at $50.00
  12. Radio-Coteau CherryCamp/SonomaCoast Syrah (Planted in 1910 by Pedroia family/FreestoneVlly;
    343 cs; U/U; 15.7%) 2006
    : Dark color; bit volatile/fumey rather raisened/pruney/overripe slight blackberry/Syrah nose; soft rather overripe/raisened/late harvesty some peppery/cracked black pepper/Syrah/blackberry slight oak flavor; med.long overripe/late harvesty/pruney slight cracked black pepper somewhat tannic finish; some cold-climate Syrah but bit too much overipe character for me; a rare clunker from R-C. $50.00

And the old BloodyPulpit:

1. Prospect772: This is a new operation started by RonPeriotti (formerly worked w/ Jeff at Rosenblum) and friends, using grapes they've planted up in CalaverasCnty. The wine is made at JCCllrs in Oakland and I believe JeffCohn is involved in some way.I was eager to try this wine as I believe CalaverasCnty has the potential to make great wines, but have not yet. These wines were certainly two of the better wines I've yet had from CalaverasCnty, though both seemed a bit hot & alcoholic. An operation to keep your eye upon I suspect; some very competent people involved.
2. eno: I've followed SashaVerhage's wines from the very start. Located in lower Berkeley. He does a particularly good job w/ Casey's Eaglepoint Grenache, much in the same style of a bright/zesty Grenache that Casey does with his own Eaglepoint label. My favorite of his wines, though, is his LasMadres Syrah, a particularly elegant expression of JohnPainter's grapes.
3. Radio-Coteau: I've followed EricSussman's wines from the very start. He makes a style of Syrah that I like quite a bit...a Syrah made by a Pinot producer. Bright/lively/zippy w/ lots of fragrance. Of these three, I much preferred the LasColinas for its bright Pinot-like character, yet still speaks of Syrah.
4. Cabot: I've followed John & Kimberly Cabot's work from the very start. On one of the wineboards, he mentioned his vnyd work and when I inquired, he related that it was located on the Klamath River up in Humbolt Cnty. Humbolt Cnty???...where the heck is that?? North of MendocinoCnty, of course. Must be friggin' cold up there?? Nope...not where they're located near Orleans. These Syrahs seemed to be rather terroir-driven and unlike any I've had in Calif. The dusty/earthy character reminded me some of Languedoc reds, particularly the texture on the palate. The earthy/ mushroomy character reminded me some of ElDoradoCnty Syrahs, a bit of NevadaCnty reds. They have good Syrah fruit to them, but not "gobs of hedonistic fruit" like Paso or SantaBarbara Syrahs. With good acidity and structure, I think they will be very interesting Syrahs down the road w/ some age. What the Humbolt Cnty terroir is...I haven't a clue. But I intend to keep taking data. Definitely a wnry to follow.


<< 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