1. Jaffurs: I've always liked Craig's Roussanne & Viognier. The Viognier has typically been on the ripe/ blowsy side, but good acidity on the palate to carry that ripeness. This '08 Viog seemed much more restrained and elegant, not at all blowsy, yet showed plenty of flavor and good structure on the palate. My favorite Jaffurs Viog yet.
The Thompson PS was pretty characteristic Jaffurs PS; loads and loads of blackberry PS fruit. But
this '08 didn't seem to have the tannins and structure of those past. It seems more for the short-term than previous PS's. Kinda like a big StBernard bounding up to you, knocking you to the ground, standing on your chest and slathering your mug w/ big/wet/sloppy kisses.
2. I was prompted to do this Trip Down LimerickLane a month ago. I had cracked a btl of the LimerickLane Zin '94 and liked it quite a bit. I dawned on me that I used to buy the LL Zins all the time, but that I hadn't had any of their wines since the late '90's...they'd sorta fallen off my radar screen. So I ordered up a bunch of their latest releases (alas...they were out of the Furmint). Then I recalled their neighbors up the road, ChristopherCreek. I had liked their Syrahs early on, so ordered up some of their latest efforts as well.
3. ChristopherCreek: This property came onto my radar back in the late '80's, when they released a Syrah. I was, then as now, trying every Calif Syrah that came down the pike. This was a Syrah, ca.1986, put up under the Sotoyome label, a rather garish label w/ a very early map of the RanchoSotoyome land grant on it. The wine was a bit on the rough/rustic side, but spoke of Syrah, though not of Syrah's greatness. RanchSotoyome was founded in '74 by BillChaikin.
The land was planted in the '70's to 4.5 acres each of Syrah & PetiteSirah by the Chaikin family.
What in the world prompted them to plant Syrah, one of Calif's earlier plantings, I have no idea. The wnry was purchased in '88 by the Mitchell family and renamed ChristopherCreek, after their son and the creek that runs thru the property. CC was then purchased by part-time SantaFe residents, Fred & Pam Wasserman in '97. In the late '90's-early-'00's, the Wassermans did a number of promotional events in SantaFe for their wines. At that time, I thought the winemaking had been markedly improved and liked the wines pretty much, though the Syrah was not to the high standards being achieved by then by other Calif winemakers. But they indicated that RRV could be a home of great Calif Syrah.
Of these current wines, I liked the Syrahs best of all. Especially the '06 for its greater Rhone
character. The Reserve was a bit on the tough side and needs more age. The PS was a pretty hard wine and also needs some age, though like many PS's, hard to predict where that wine will go. The two Zins didn't move me much. They seemed to lack the bright fruit you usually get from DCV Zin, had a bit of a strange/funky character. Didn't really dislike them...they just didn't appeal to me.
4. LimerickLane: Back in the early '90's, LL made some of the best Zins being made in Calif. They were pretty classic RRV Zins w/ loads of blackberry fruit and that light peppery character you often find in RRV Zin. MikeCollins vnyd deliver some impressive Zin fruit and I suspect they still do.
I was rather underwhelmed by this batch of Zins. They didn't have the intensity of fruit that I recall; the seemed a bit muddled and simple; some strange things going on in the wines. They wern't bad wines... but they just didn't deliver the level of excitement that I'd expect from this quality of a vnyd.
5. CLWines: This is a joint effort by KendraCraven and DavidLattin (hence...CL), he formerly being with AcaciaWnry. I had tried an odd btl I'd ordered a month ago to fill out a case from K&L and was blown away by its cold-climate/Rhonish character, especially at $11/btl. So ordered another case for my peeps. After we tasted it together last Wed, they, too, were mightly impressed, so we got another 3 cases on the way. It is, easily, one of the best wine deals I've seen in yrs. The Syrah grapes come from the PetalumaGap area. They also make several Pinots as well that I'd like to try.
6. RidgeGeyserville: Ridge has marked all the vines on the Geyserville ranch as to variety. So it was not at all that difficult to make a PS from Geyserville; if'n you pick the right vines. To my recollect, this is the only time they made a Geyserville PS. Why they made it....beats heck out of me. I found the wine a bit on the bretty side, but one of the better/more interesting mature PS's I've had.
7. LimerickLane: For some reason, all thru this tasting, I couldn't get the line out of my head: "There once was a man from Nantucket.....". The name for Limerick Lane comes not from the poetry genre, but from the lime kiln that used to exist at the end of the road, called a lime rick. LarryA was trying to write a limerick during the tasting that described me, but he either couldn't come up w/ the last line or he couldn't make it bawdy enough for his tastes.
8. Catie'sCorner Viog: Named after SaraLee Kunde's daughter. This is supposedly cool-climate Viog, planted to an "unknown" Condrieu clone, which I presume refers to a suitcase clone. I've had maybe 10-12 different Viogniers from this vnyd. They all seem to have a pretty powerful/ripe Viog nose. But they all seem to be on the underacid side...a bit fat & porky...definitely DollyParton. The SanSakana's have been the best I've had, but they, too, were on the fat side. Not yet convinced that Catie'sCorner is a great Viognier site. But will continue to gather evidence.