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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 Calif Burgundies - September 9, 2009


We tried last night (9/9/09) Some Calif Burgundies:

  1. FortRoss Chard FortRossVnyd/SonomaCoast (14.1%; www.FortRossVineyard.com) 2006: Med.dark color;rather toasty/smokey/oak very strong melony/peach/Chard bit minerally/perfumed talc lovely nose;
    tart rather toasty/smokey/oak intense ripe/melony/peachy (botrytis?)/Chard slight minerally/
    earthy/perfumed talc flavor; very long ripe/melony/peachy/tropical fruit/melony/Chard rather
    smokey/toasty/oak finish; ripe Chard w/ lots of oak but structured & interesting minerality;
    fairly priced at $32.00
  2. Failla Chard EstateVnyd/SonomaCoast (125 cs; 14.1%) 2007: Light gold rather cloudy color;
    very light toasty/oak rather minerally/floral/almost R-like strong melony/Chard/apple/very
    spicy restrained beautiful some complex nose; tart/lean very spicy/melony/Chard rather
    minerally/appley structured complex flavor; very long/lingering elegant/restrained spicy/melony/ Chard bright minerally structured finish; a bit Chablis in style, bit more like AltoAdige Chard in character; a beautiful/structured Chard that will probably go out 8-10yrs. $48.00
  3. OjaiVnyd Chard SolomonHillsVnyd/SantaMariaVlly (14.0%) 2007: Med.gold color; light spicy/melony/
    Chard elegant very light oak nose; very tart restrained/elegant bright/melony/Chard very light
    toasty/oak flavor; tart/lean very spicy/melony/Chard crisp/bright very long finish; a lovely
    restrained/elegant pure-fruit Chard at a very good price. $27.00
  4. OjaiVnyd Chard BienNacidoVnyd/SantaMariaVlly (14.0%) 2007: Med.gold color; very strong melony/
    honeydew/Chard some toasty/smokey/oak/nutmeg lovely nose; tart bit softer very rich/lush ripe/
    melony/honeydew/Chard light toasty/oak/spicy/nutmeg slight earthy/minerally flavor; very long
    spicy/nutmeg/toasty/oak very spicy/honeydew/melony/Chard slight earthy finish; more rich/spicy
    character and a bit more oak than the SolomonHills; lovely Chard at a good price. $27.00
  5. Siduri PinotNoir SonomaCnty (14.1%) 2007: Med.color; bright cherry/black cherry/Pinot light
    pencilly/oak classic Siduri nose; tart bright/cherry/black cherry/Pinot some toasty/pungent/
    pencilly/oak flavor; med.long slightly bitter bright/spicy/Pinot/cherry light pencilly/oak
    finish w/ light tannins; good drinking now; a classic straight-forward Siduri signature Pinot
    at a great price. $16.50
  6. Cep SonomaCoast PinotNoir (14.2%; PeayVnyds) 2007: Med.color; strong spicy/bright/cherry/cherry
    candy/Pinot light toasty/smokey/oak slight bretty interesting nose; tart very bright/spicy/cherry/
    cherry Nehi soda pop/cold-climate light toasty/smokey/oak slight bitter/tannic flavor; med.long
    bright/cherry/cherry soda pop/Pinot light earthy some toasty/oak/pungent bit tannic/bitter finish;
    lots of bright/cold-climate Pinot character w/ some oak. $28.00
  7. Siduri PinotNoir RussianRvrVlly (14.3%) 2007: Med.color; attractive black cherry/Pinot bit deeper
    light toasty/pencilly/oak slight peppery nose; tart bit peppery deeper black cherry/Pinot some
    pencilly/toasty/oak flavor; tart bit pepper slightly bitter black cherry/Pinot light pencilly/oak
    finish w/ slight tannins; another signature-Siduri Pinot w/ a bit deeper fruit than the Sonoma at
    a great price. $23.50
  8. Siduri PinotNoir SonomaCoast (14.1%) 2006: Med.color; more bright cherry/spicy/cherry pie/black
    cherry/Pinot light toasty/oak very attractive nose; softer/lusher bright cherry/black cherry/Pinot
    light toasty/Siduri/oak spicy/cherry pie light tannic flavor; med.long bright cherry/black cherry/
    Pinot some toasty/oak rather spicy/cherry pie/vanilla slightly bitter finish; more of the bright
    cherry/cool-climate/Pinot character; could use a yr maybe; great price at $22.50.
  9. Novy PinotMeunier Van der KampVnyd/SonomaMtn (14.8%) 2004: Dark color; rather earthy/menthol/
    forest floor slight funky some licorice/black cherry nose; soft bit pungent/earthy/forest floor
    some licorice/black cherry slight tannic flavor; med.long light tannic bit funky/earthy/forest floor
    rather licorice/black cherry finish; a very interesting aged red; some thought the wine slightly
    corked because of the slight funky character, but I didn't get that. $16.00
  10. Novy PinotMeunier Van der KampVnyd/SonomaMtn (14.8%) 2005: Med.dark color; some earthy/dusty black cherry/licorice very light toasty/oak very interesting bit rustic nose; bit tannic/hard earthy/dusty black cherry/licorice fairly rich/lush almost Mourvedre-like flavor; long bit earthy/tannic/
    rustic licorice/black cherry finish; needs yr or three yet; quite interesting red some like a
    Mourvedre w/o the plummy character; great price at $18.00
  11. Novy PinotMeunier Van der KampVnyd/SonomaMtn (14.1%) 2007: Med.dark color; strong black cherry/earthy/licorice very light toasty/oak bit dusty more bright/Pinot-like nose; lush/tart black cherry/
    licorice some earthy/dusty/wet Kansas basement bit hard/tannic flavor; long black cherry/pungent/
    licorice some dusty/earthy some tannic/hard finish; more perfumed and Pinot-like than the others;
    needs 2-5 yrs of age. $20.00
  12. Siduri PinotNoir VanDerKampVnyd/SonomaMtn (14.1%) 2006: Light color; strong Burgundian/smokey very perfumed/fragrant some bright cherry/Pinot very light toasty/oak nose; tart elegant/delicate some
    smokey/Burgundian light/bright/cherry/Pinot flavor; med.long elegant/restrained some bright cherry/
    Pinot rather smokey/Burgundian light earthy finish w/ light tannins; nice rather Burgundian character
    and elegant Pinot character at a great price. $19.50
  13. Siduri PinotNoir SonateraVnyd/SonomaCoast (13.6%) 2006: Med.color; strong black cherry/ripe/Pinot
    very spicy light pencilly/toasty/oak lovely classic-Siduri nose; tart very strong black cherry/
    Pinot quite spicy/cool-climate/slight peppery some Siduri/toasty/oak light tannic flavor; very long/
    lingering spicy/black cherry/Pinot some toasty/Siduri/oak intense fruit bit tannic finish; lots of
    intense almost RussianRvr Pinot fruit w/ classic Siduri oak; beautiful Pinot. $40.50
  14. BakerLane HurstVnyd/SonomaCoast PinotNoir (14.4%; www.BakerLaneVineyards.com) 2006: Med.dark color; some toasty/oak bit Burgundian some black cherry/PN slight earthy/damp forest floral
    rather attractive nose; tart bit earthy/Burgundian light black cherry/PN some toasty/oak/
    pungent bit hard/tannic flavor; tart bit lean/tannic some earthy/forest floor bit Burgundian
    light black cherry/PN/appley finish; an attractive somewhat Burgundian Pinot but a bit hard/
    tannic on the palate and needs a few yrs. $25.00

And the usual BloodyPulpit:

1. CalifChard: If I hear one more time Calif Chards being tarred&feathered as "buttery/oaky/overripe Chard"; I think I'm gonna barf. If that's what you're finding, then you're drinking the wrong friggin' Chards. There's plenty of them out there that don't fit that trite mold.
The Failla is a particularly stunning Chard that breaks that mold. It has plenty of Chard fruit,
but is very structured and shows good minerality. Reminds me some of the Ridge MonteBello Chard
but w/o the oak. A Chard that ought to go out 10 yrs or more.
2. OjaiChards: Adam seldom gets much recognition for his Chards (and SauvBlanc), but they are
consistently, yr in & yr out, one of my must-buys.
3. Siduri Pinot: I've followed Adam & Diana's Pinots from the very start, back afore they were
discovered by Parker. They make a $hit-load (Kansas colloquialism for "a lot") of different
Pinots each year. It always amazes me how they keep on top of all of them (plus care for 3
little munchkins). What I find amazing is that all the Pinots are distinctive, even if they
come from vnyds relatively close to each other; yet have a distinct Siduri signature. The
appellation-series Pinots are very good QPR wines. One of my favorite Pinot craftsmen.
4. PinotMeunier: This is a grape variety that is primarily used in sparkling wine production,
particularly in Champagne. The name "meunier" is French for "miller", which refers to the flour-
like dusting the underside of its leaves display. DomaineChandon is one of the few other Calif
producers that bottle this as a varietal. I've found PM to be somewhat similar to PinotNoir but with deeper, more earthy/rustic, bit more tannic character, not quite the aromatics of Pinot.


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