1. Nalle Chard: This is the first Chard that Andy/Doug has made (I believe). I was sort of expecting a low-key/mild-mannered/MrPeepers-style Chard. A bit like Doug himself. I was shocked at how good this Chard was...one of the best Calif Chards I've had in some time. A bright/snappy/zippy/ very spicy Chard yet packed w/ flavor. Beautiful first effort.
In yrs gone-by, Doug used to make Riesling & GWT from the AndersonVlly. They were very lean & austere in a distinctly Alsatian style. Not particularly profound on their release, they actually developed quite nicely in the btl. Wisht he make those wines again.
2. DougNalle: I have, of course, followed his wines from the very start. Some yrs ago, he came to NM when his wines were available in the State and did a tasting of his Zins (and Cabs) from my archives. He seemed a bit puzzled why anyone would save his Zins for aging. But they seem to age just fine, thank you. He stayed at our house after the tasting and absolutely charmed the sox off my young daughter (about a 4'th grader then). She still has great memories of his visit and a very soft spot in her heart for Nalle Zin, so I send her a btl every now & then.
The one time I did a visit to NalleWnry, I knew from his label about Sophie and Blackie, the wnry cat and dog. As I recall Blackie was a very enthusiastic Lab. So I took a few treats with for Blackie.
Most wnry dogs are very friendly and all over you. As was Blackie. But I was amused by his/her reaction. I offered up the treat and he paused a minute, then eagarly snatched it from my hand and then headed out into the vnyd, never to be seen again (by me) that day.
Doug's son, Andy, is now taking over responsibility for winemaking at NalleWnry. From what we tasted here, the place seems to be in good hands. However, I doubt that Doug is yet ready to be turned out to pasture. Waaaay too young for that.
The Nalle WebSite (www.NalleWinery.com) is worth checking out. It's a hoot to read; rather on the irreverent side. This year marks 25 yrs of the winery. There is a collection of the labels on the Site that are highly amusing; a strange sense of humor in most cases.
Of these three Zins, my favorite was the regular '08 Nalle. It was to me the classic rendition of a
DryCreekVlly Zin w/ very pretty/spicy/fragrant Zin character. The Henderlong and the Reserve Zins were much bigger Zins that reminded me more of RussianRiver Zin than DCV. Less Nalle in style. In fact, they seemed almost like a Carlisle Zin than a Nalle. But they are very good Zins that should age well. And now for today's trivia question: What winemaker always travels with his own pillow to sleep upon???
3. Sunce: Several months ago, a friend from the wine boards, FredBerry, was in SantaFe and we & his wife got together for dinner. Fred owns a PetiteSirah vnyd, GoldHawkVnyd, up near Windsor, and sold his grapes to Sunce (Croation for "sun"). Fred wanted me to try his grapes in this wine, so sent me a btl to try. It is a pretty extracted PetiteSirah but, because of its reductive character, I suspect it'll be a very good wine w/ lots of age. It reminded me quite a bit of the Durif that KenBurnap used to make and those aged into some pretty amazing old wines.
4. RedTail: This is a wine I got out at MissionWines in SouthPasadena a month ago; but not on Dave's recommendation, though. Not a good name for a wnry, marketing-wise, because lots of folks will think YellowTail when they see it. Plus there's a RedTail Cllrs up in Ontario and a RedTailRidge in the FingerLakes. Plus their WebSite seems not to exist. And I have no idea what the SP stands for. And have no idea where the vnyd is located. And have no idea the connection to SteveMcQueen, who I assume is the famous actor. I'm clueless about RedTail...but can brag that I "followed them from the very start" at least.