Home | Wine Reviews | Wine Journals | Updates

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 Wines - May 19, 2010

We tried the other week (5/19/10) Some New Wines:

  1. Nalle Chard Reserve HopkinsRanch/RRV (13.6%; www.NalleWinery.com) 2007: Light gold color; very attractive ripe/melony/appley/Chard light pencilly/oak spicy/floral beautiful/perfumed nose; very tart bright/zippy quite floral/melony/Chard fairly tart/acid quite spicy light pencilly/oak flavor; very long zippy/bright ripe/melony/appley/Chard light pencilly/oak very spicy/floral/perfumed finish; a beautiful bright/snappy Chard packed w/ spicy flavors; one of the best Chards I've had in some time. $40.00
  2. Nalle PinotNoir HopkinsRanch/RRV (13.9%) 2008: Very light ruby/red color; pretty spicy/bright/ cherry/PN light floral/violets light pencilly/oak nose; light/delicate/elegant very pretty/bright/cherry/PN light pencilly/oak balanced/zippy flavor w/ slight tannic bite; bright/light/delicate/snappy cherry/PN slight
    earthy light pencilly/oak finish w/ light tannins; can use a yr or two; a very pretty/bright cherry/PN
    w/ a light hand on the oak; very much in the Nalle style; tastes like a Pinot made by a Nalle Zin
    producer. $35.00
  3. Spell SonomaCoast PinotNoir (14.1%; 170 cs; www.SpellWinery.com) Winemaker: ShaneFinley/
    Sebastopol 2008
    : Med.light color; Med.light color; rather dusty/earthy some toasty/charred/oak strong
    cherry/cherry kirsch/confected nose; tart cherry/black cherry/kirsch/Pinot strong toasty/charred/oak
    bit hard/tannic flavor; long very ripe black cherry/kirsch some toasty/charred/burnt/oak w/ some tannins;
    needs several yrs; a sort of edgy Pinot w/ a lot of very ripe/kirsch character. $30.00
  4. Nalle Zin DryCreekVlly/SonomaCnty (13.9%; 25;th Anniv, 1984-2008) 2008: Med.dark color; bright spicy/Zinberry/Zin/raspberry light vanilla/pencilly/oak slight dusty/old vines perfumed talc lovely/fragrant
    nose; tart bright/Zinberry/Zin/raspberry/very spicy light pencilly/oak elegant/bright/sappy/balanced
    flavor w/ light tannins; very long bright/zippy/very spicy/Zinberry/Zin/raspberry light dusty light pencilly/ oak finish w/ light tannins; a classic Nall bright/Zinberry Zin; it's all about the balance and this should age very well, though great drinking now. $35.00
  5. Nalle Henderlong Zin HenderlongRanch/DryCreekVlly/SonomaCnty (13.9%) Winemaker: Andrew Henderlong Nalle 2007: Med.dark color; deeper/more blackberry/peppery less Zinberry/spicy some pencilly/oak nose; softer more lush/blackberry/peppery/Zin light raspberry/Zinberry bit hard/tannic some toasty/oak flavor; long bit softer/riper/deeper more blackberry/Zin light spicy/Zinberry light pencilly/oak finish w/ fair tannins; needs 2-6 yrs of age yet; more like a RRV Zin than a DCV Zin; almost like a Carlisle Zin in style and less Nalle in style; should be a great one w/ age. $40.00
  6. Nalle Zin Reserve DryCreekVlly (14.0%; 144 cs) 2007: Med.dark color; deeper spicy/blackberry/Zin some dusty/earthy bit toasty/pencilly/oak slight cinammon/peppery/rosemary complex nose; fairly big rather tannic/hard deep/blackberry/Zin/peppery some toasty/pencilly/oak some complex flavor; long rather tannic/hard some toasty/oak strong blackberry/Zin/boysenberry/rich bit dusty/old vine finish; a pretty big/lush rich Zin that needs some age. $45.00
  7. SunceWnry&Vnyd PetiteSirah GoldHawkVnyd/RRV (14.5%; 11 brls; www.SunceWinery.com)
    Grower: FredBerry/Windsor 2007
    : Very dark color; quite reduced/H2S/stinky/sewer gas nose that clears off after awhile to some earthy/peppery/licorice some pungent/oak nose; very hard/tannic/ extracted strong boysenberry/peppery/DrPepper/RCCola some toasty/oak flavor; very long tannic/extracted/hard some blackberry/peppery/earthy/DrPepper/licorice some vanilla/Am.oak; needs much age; a rather reduced wine that needs to be decanted afore serving; this is a hugely extracted PS that shows some of the oafish character that PS can show; hard to say where it will go and it may always be a brutal wine, but I expect it will be pretty interesting w/ 8-12 yrs of age because of the reductive character.
  8. Patrick Jasmin AC: Cote-Rotie (MeBalP; 12.5%) 2006: Med.dark color; attractive blackberry/Syrah/ floral/violets/perfumed light peppery/roasted/espresso slight reduced/sewer gas nose; tart light peppery/roasted/espresso some floral/violets/blackberry/Syrah/spicy flavor w/ light tannins; long slight roasted/peppery/espresso light floral/violets/blackberry/Syrah finish w/ light tannins; rather light in the NortherrnRhone character but a pretty/fragrant almost Calif-like rendition of C-R; the Villard VdP at $13.50 blows this wine away for NorthernRhone character. $40.00
  9. RedTailWnry S.P. Syrah UpperHillside/VenturaCnty (14.1%; www.RedTailWinerySP.com; Vnyd:
    Barbara & Steve McQueen) Proprietors: Don&Bonnie Owen/Camarillo 2007
    : Very dark/black color; very intense boysenberry/blackberry/Syrah/spicy some toasty/oak almost Tensley-like, some Paso-like slight peppery/licorice nose; soft/fat/porky pungent/toasty/Fr.oak strong licorice/DrPepper/blackberry/ boysenberry/Syrah very ripe flavor; very long soft/fat/porky pungent/Fr.oak/toasty very ripe/ boysenberry/Syrah/licorice/DrPepper finish w/ some tannins; needs a yr or two; packed w/ lots of interesting flavors but seems on the fat/porky side and more like a Paso Syrah than anything. $35.00
  10. Nalle SonomaCounty DryCreekVlly Zin (13.5%; "Everything I learned about Zin I learned in Zindergarten") 1994: Med.dark color w/ slight bricking; lovely Zinberry/spicy/dusty/old vine light pencilly/oak very spicy/cinammon slight bretty complex nose; tart very spicy/pencilly/Zinberry/Zin light pencilly/oak slight bretty rather complex flavor; very long spicy/Zin/Zinberry/raspberry light earthy/dusty/ old vines some pencilly/oak finish w/ light/smooth/polished tannins; a lovely elegant/balanced Zin that's still plenty alive.
  11. Ridge Calif LyttonEstate Grenache (12% PS/10% Zin; DryCreekVlly; 14.4%; 52 brls; Drk: 3/03-3/08-3/10: PD)
    Med.light color w/ slight bricking; beautiful strawberry/alpine strawberry/fragrant/perfumed some toasted coconutZagNutBar/Am.oak complex nose; tart strong toasted coconut/ZagNutBar/Am.oak/ DraperPerfume lively/strawberry/alpine strawberry bit tannic some complex flavor; long slight tannic/lean bright alpine strawberry/Grenache some toasted coconut/ZagNutBar/Am.oak finish; probably could still use another 2-4 yrs; these has really developed into a lovely perfumed Grenache, though still definitely a Ridge; like being firmly grasped in a nude JuliaChild's bosom and then rolling together downhill thru this meadow of alpine strawberries.

And the usual pontifications from TheBloodyPulpit:

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.


[Additional Wine Reviews from Tom Hill]


Home | Wine Reviews | Wine Journals | Updates

Copyright © 1993 - 2010, Tom Hill- All rights reserved
No original material may be reproduced without written consent
Mail & Comments
- Grape-Nutz
Updated 5.29.10