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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.

More Rhones from the Archives - November 21, 2012

We tried last night (11/21/12) Some Rhones From The Archives:

  1. EdmundsStJohn Syrah Wylie-Fenaughty/ElDoradoCnty (14.1%) 1999: Med.dark color w/ little bricking; some earthy/dusty light blackberry/Syrah/quite spicy bit cedary/old red slight Rhonish/coffee
    quite complex/interesting nose; tart bit lean/tangy some earthy/dusty/granite slight tannic/
    dried out slight mushroomy/forest floor light blackberry/Syrah flavor; long very tart/tangy/
    grapefruity light blackberry/Syrah slight Rhonish/pungent/coffee slight cedary/old red some
    astringent/dried out complex finish; rather tart/tangy/screechy on the palate w/ a quiet undercurrent
    of blackberry/Syrah; rather interesting Syrah but probably headed downhill. $26.00
  2. RoccaFamilyVnyds Syrah Yountville/NapaVlly (14.2%; EG) 1999: Dark color; very strong blackberry/
    boysenberry/Syrah strong charred/oak/toasty/smokey very spicy nose; soft fairly smooth strong
    blackberry/boysenberry/Syrah very strong charred/toasty/oak slight bretty bit tannic/dried out flavor;
    long smooth/soft slight tannic/dried out quite charred/toasty/oak/smokey/pungent flavor; a rather
    attractive fully mature Syrah but a bit too much like a Syrah made by a Cabernet producer. $40.00
  3. Consilience Syrah Rodney'sVnyd/SBC (14.4%) 2000: Med.color w/ some bricking; strong pencilly/oak strong blackberry/Syrah/spicy light pungent/graphite/ozone very nice nose; soft slight hot/alcoholic strong blackberry/Syrah/boysenberry/spicy slight pungent/graphite slightly dried out/tannic some complex flavor; med.long strong blackberry/spicy/Syrah/peppery fairly pencilly/oak bit pungent/espresso/graphite finish w/ some tannic/astringent bite in backtaste; a solid/typical SBC Syrah that is starting to dry out a bit. $25.00
  4. Consilience Syrah GreatOaksVnyd/SBC (14.5%) 2001: Dark color w/ some bricking; very interesting chocolaty/ walnutty strong blackberry/Syrah some toasty/oak bit complex/interesting nose; bit tart/tangy rather strange herbal/walnutty/pungent strong blackberry/Syrah/spicy/chocolaty/boysenberry light toasty/pencilly/oak slight tannic/dried out flavor; long herbal/walnutty/pungent strong blackberry/Syrah/boysenberry/chocolaty light pencilly/oak finish w/ slight astringent/dried out aftertaste; a rather interesting/atypical SBC Syrah that's probably as good as it will ever be. $25.00
  5. HugCllrs Syrah BassettiVnyd/SLOCnty (13.1%) 2004: Very dark color w/ slight bricking; beautiful
    cold-climate/peppery very spicy/blackberry/Syrah/peppery bit roasted/pungent/Rhonish slight earthy
    quite complex nose; tart very intense blackberry/Syrah rather peppery/cracked black pepper/cold-
    climate some roasted/Rhonish/smokey quite complex beautiful flavor w/ smooth/polished/well-
    integrated tannins; very long/lingering intense blackberry/Syrah/blueberry/spicy quite cold-climate/
    cracked black pepper rather pungent/espresso/Rhonish/roasted quite complex finish w/ smooth/soft/
    polished tannins; a pretty stunning cold-climate Syrah and demonstrates that Bassetti grapes are
    (sometimes) some of the best Syrah being grown in Calif. $30.00
  6. SeanThackrey Pleides VII OldVines (13.5%; Carignane/Syrah/PS/Zin/Mourv/Sangio/
    Grenache; Bttld: May 1998) NV
    : Med.light color w/ some browning; rather earthy/dusty some menthol/
    eucalyptus rather cedary/pencilly/old red bit tired some unclean/bretty bit complex nose; light
    fairly smooth cedary/pencilly/old Zin slight minty/menthol bit tired/dried out flavor w/ some
    astringency; med.long cedary/pencilly/old Zin bit tired/dried out/astringent slight menthol/eucalyptus
    somewhat astringent finish; some interesting things in there but probably on its last legs. $18.00
  7. Turley PetiteSirah AidaVnyd/NapaVlly (13.7%) 1997: Med.dark color w/ some bricking; rather earthy/dusty slight unclean/mousey/mouse nest/hantavirus-laden/weird some pungent/ozone/graphite/burnt bit vegetal nose w/ hardly any fruit; quite tired/dried out slight mousey/unclean/herbal somewhat tangy/grapefruity some cedary/pencilly/old Red tired flavor w/ no signs of any fruit; med rather mousey/mouse nest/unclean/ herbal somewhat tannic/dried out/tired finish; very strange/weird PS w/ a real paucity of fruit. $35.00
  8. JacobFranklin PetiteSirah HayneVnyd/NapaVlly (8 brls; 15.5%) 2000: Black color w/ slight bricking; intense blackberry/PS/peppery/boysenberry/chocolaty/licorice/very spicy/ripe huge fruit slight toasty/oak beautiful fruit-driven nose; soft slight alcoholic/hot huge fruit/blackberry/PS/boysenberry/ licorice/chocolaty very ripe/quite spicy light toasty/oak flavor w/ smooth/polished/round/fine-grained tannins; very long slight hot alcoholic intense huge fruit/blackberry/boysenberry/PS/licorice/chocolaty very spicy finish w/ round/ smooth/gentle tannins; still a huge fruit/monolithic PS buut probably at its peak; amazing PS. $46.00
  9. JacobFranklin PetiteSirah HayneVnyd/NapaVlly (10 brls; 14.4%) 2001: Black color w/ slight bricking; strong blackberry/PS/peppery/licorice/spicy slight herbal/earthy some toasty/charred/oak very fragrant/interesting nose that shows more of the clunky/rustic side of PS; tarter very spicy strong blackberry/PS/boysenberry slight herbal/earthy some charred/oak slight alcoholic/hot more interesting flavor w/ some smooth tannins; very long strong blackberry/boysenberry/PS/licorice some charred/oak slight herbal/earthy some tannic finish; a bit more of the rustic/clunky side of PS than the other two, but also a bit more interesting and complex; probably near iits peak; beautiful PS. $46.00
  10. JacobFranklin PetiteSirah HayneVnyd/NapaVlly (9 brls; 14.4%) 2002: Black color w/ no bricking; very intense boysenberry/blackberry/blueberry/PS slight peppery/earthy/licorice huge fruit some toasty/
    charred/oak stunning nose; soft/smooth/lush intense huge fruit/blackberry/PS/boysenberry slight menthol/ euclalyptus slight alcohlic light toasty/oak/charred flavor w/ smooth/ripe tannins; very long/lingering slight herbal/menthol/eucalyptus very intense blackberry/boysenberry/PS/very spicy light toasty/charred/oak fairly smooth/lush/ripe finish w/ round/fine-grained tannins; probably near its peak and should go out another 10 yrs; a stunning huge-fruit PS. $48.00
  11. TobinJames SolarFlair Zin PasoRobles (15.4%) 1991: Med.dark color w/ some browning; intense boysenberry/ raisened/pruney/blackberry/chocolaty some alcoholic classic LateHrvst Zin nose; rather sweet intense overripe/raisened/pruney/chocolaty/boysenberry very ripe/overripe flavor w/ little tannins; long quite sweet strong boysenberry/raisened/pruney/overripe bit alcoholic finish w/ little tannins; a pretty classic overripe LateHrvst Zin that seems to be getting shakey and showing lots of raisened/pruney character. $13.00/hlf
  12. Turley Delinquent Zin NapaVlly (19%; RS: 10%) 1998: Med.color w/ some browning; very intense blackberry/ boysenberry/Zin/LateHrvst/chocolaty some raisened/pruney bit cedary/oak some alcoholic/hot some complex nose; soft rather hot/alcoholic very ripe/blackberry/boysenberry/ Zin/LateHrvsty fairly sweet bit raisened/pruney slight cedary/oak flavor w/ little tannins; quite hot/alcoholic rather raisened/overripe/pruney very intense blackberry/boysenberry/Zin slight cedary/oak finish w/ little tannins; the alcohol is pretty searing but in better condition than I expected; pricey at $41.00/hlf

And the usual nonsense from the BloodyPulpit:

1. Rocca: I have, of course, followed RoccaVnyds from the very start, at least on the Syrah side,
when MaryRocca and Eric (tall...once was a star center for the Rice Owls BB team) first showed
their Syrah at HdR. I liked it quite a lot and thought it one of the better (after Lagier-Meredith)
up-Valley Syrah. I'm not a big fan of NapaVlly/up-Valley Syrahs save the L-M. Too many of them
taste like a Syrah made by a Cabernet producer, w/ too much toasty/oak character. The speciality of Rocca is their Cabs, which I have never tried.
2. LateHarvest Zins: These last two wines were examples of LateHarvest Zins; a genre that seems to be of a vanishing breed. More accurately, they should be called Essence Zins because of their high RS. I find that these wines are pretty iffy in the way they age. They typically have a huge fruit nose that suggests the wines will age forever. Oftentimes, though, as they age the alcohol starts to take over and the pruney/raisened character comes to the forefront. They're tricky to catch at their peak. But some, like the Ridges, can go on forever.
3. Consilience: This is a wnry I followed from the very start when they first started making Syrah and PetiteSirah. In the mid-'00's, I thought the alcohol levels started to get out of control, with many of them over 16%, and they seemed to be a bit over-the-top and overblown fruit bombs. So I had low expectations for these two Syrahs. Though I think they are starting their downhill slide, they were much better than I expected. I need to order a mixed case of Consilience/Tre Anelli wines and see where they are these days.
4. JacobFranklin: This is, of course, an arm of the ElyseWnry, named after their son (Elyse is their daughter). Run by Ray & Nancy Coursen. Ray started in Napa as winemaker at WhitehallLane before starting Elyse in '87. I've pretty much followed Ray from the very start because Nancy is the cousin of a good friend down in SantaFe.

The JacobFranklin PS from HayneVnyd has always been one of my favorite Calif PS's. When young, it usually shows much more fruit than most PS. I find that Calif PS can be a bit erratic when they age and that some of the huge/monolithic PS's remain a beast of a wine throughout their entire life. Though these JacobFranklins had not developed a lot of complexity, they had shed much of their tannins and come together quite nicely. The prices reflect a family discount and these Hayne PS's are normally priced about $65.

When it comes to Calif PS; my gold standard remains the Carlisle, JacobFranklin, and Jaffurs for the intensity of fruit they display. They Ridge YorkCreeks I like as well (the unreleased '07 will be the last DynamiteHill), but they're different beasts and it's not clear the LyttonSprings vesion will every equal those legendary YorkCreek bottlings.


[Additional Wine Reviews from Tom Hill]


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