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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.

Wines from Briceland Vnyds - December 5, 2012

We tried last night (12/5/12) the Wines of BricelandVnyds:

  1. BricelandVnyds Rose SparklingWine HumboltCnty (Methode Champenoise; 12.5%; 65% PN/35% Chard) Redway/HumboldtCnty NV: Rather copper/orange color w/ fine/enduring bubbles; rather yeasty/bready some appley/perfumed light earthy attractive nose; rather appley/earthy/tangy some bready/yeasty slight candied/cotton candy flavor; med.short tangy/appley/bready/yeasty/cinammon bread/spicy finish; an altogether pleasant sparkler but seems overpriced relative to the other Briceland wines. $40.00
  2. LostCoastWnry CuveeBlanc (WTW; SauvBlanc/Arneis/Chard + hard press from Sparkling wine) NV: Med.yellow color; rather ripe/appley slight herbal/SB pleasant/simple/fruity nose; rather soft slight tangy/grapefruity/ metallic some herbal/appley/SB slight earthy/candied/pepperminty low-key/simple flavor; med.short soft slight earthy/figgy/candied light appley/herbal/SB finish; a rather simple/pleasant/fruity white at a more than fair price; has more character than most TJ's $10 whites. $10.00
  3. BricelandVnyds Arneis GlenMcGourty/SpiritCanyonVnyd/MendoCnty (TW) JoeCollins/Winemaker 2010: Light yellow color; rather classic Arneis/stony lightly floral/perfumed talc rather attractive/pleasant nose; soft rather stony/earthy/mineral/Arneis light floral/pineapple slight tangy/grapefruity flavor; med.long soft light/tangy/grapefruity some floral/pineapple strong stony/earthy finish; a nicely done if low-impact white that speaks definitely of Arneis at a very fair price. $17.00
  4. BricelandVnyds SauvBlanc HumboldtCnty (TW; Organically Grown) 2011: Light gold color; very intense cat pee/ herbal/classic SB bit metallic/grapefruity nose; fairly tart/tangy strong herbal/SB/cat pee light tangy/lemon/ grapefruit slight earthy flavor; med.short tart/tangy/grapefruity bit metallic very strong SB/cat pee/herbal/ bit vegetal finish; certainly speaks of the cat pee character of SB; a bit too intense for some, though. $18.00
  5. BricelandVnyds Chard LolonisVnyd/MendoCnty (TW; Organically Grown) 2011: Light gold color; pleasant melony/ Chard/appley/valve oil light oak attractive nose; fairly tart bright/melony/Chard/pineapple/bubble gum slight valve oil/pungent flavor; med.long ripe/melony/Chard/appley slight pineapple/candied/bubble gum finish; a bit more bright fruit than the HumboldtCnty Chard; a pleasant 4-square/MendoCnty Chard at a fair price. $21.00
  6. BricelandVnyds Chard Rhonda's & Pierce vnyds/HumboldtCnty (TW) 2011: Light gold color; very similar appley/ melony/Chard/pineapple bit earthy/dusty/smokey nose; bit softer/bigger appley/ melony/Chard some earthy/dusty slight tangy/metallic/grapefruity; med.long attractive/melony/ appley/Chard/pineapple light earthy/dusty/tangy/ metallic finish; a bit bigger/earthy/interesting and less bright fruit than the Lolonis; pleasant enough Chard at a fair price. $21.00
  7. BricelandVnyds Rose of PinotNoir Dry HumboldtCnty (TW) 2011: Med.salmon color; quite attractive bright/cranberry/ floral/watermelon/ruhbarb slight earthy rather pretty nose; fairly tart/tangy pretty/cranberry/ruhbarb/watermelon slight peppermint candy light earthy flavor; med. tangy/earthy pretty/cranberry/ruhbarb/bright light earthy finish; a pretty/pleasant rose at a fair price. $16.00
  8. BricelandVnyds PinotNoir HumboldtCnty (TW) 2010: Med.red color; some black cherry/PN slight earthy/cinammon/ all-spice/clove light toasty/oak/smokey some earthy/woodsy/piney attractive nose; fairly tart bit metallic/earthy some black cherry/bing cherry/PN slight herbal/spicy/all-spice/cinammon bit dusty/earthy light toasty/oak flavor w/ light tannins; med. some earthy/dusty/woodsy/mushroomy light black-bing cherry/PN light toasty/oak finish w/ light tannins; a light-bodied varietally-correct interesting Pinot. $23.00
  9. BricelandVnyds PinotNoir Pam&Todd Phelps/PhelpsVnyd/HumboldtCnty (14.2%; U/U) 2011: Med.light color; fairly bright/ candied/black cherry/PN rather spicy/cinammon/cloves some earthy/dusty/herbal light toasty/oak rather interesting nose; fairly tart some cranberry/sour cherry/black cherry/PN slight peppery/spicy some earthy/loamy spicy/cloves/ cinammon light toasty/oak finish w/ light tannins; med.long fairly bright/black cherry/PN/cranberry/cherry pie some earthy/loamy light toasty/oak finish w/ light tannins; more bright cherry fruit than the Bosco but the same underlying earthy/dusty character; reminds me more of a Friuli Pinot or an AltoAdige PetiteRouge than a Calif Pinot. $27.00
  10. BricelandVnyds PinotNoir BoscoVnyd/HumboldtCnty (TW; OrganicallyGrown) 2011: Med.light color; less bright fruit some bing-black cherry/PN rather earthy/dusty/loamy some spicy/cinammon/cloves light toasty/oak interesting nose; tart rather earthy/dusty/loamy light black cherry/PN light toasty/oak slight spicy/cloves/woodsy/piney flavor w/ light tannins; med.long somewhat earthy/dusty/loamy/mushroomy light black cherry/PN/cherry pie light toasty/oak bit spicy/cloves/cinammon finish w/ light tannins; not as much bright Pinot fruit as the Phelps and more of the coarse/earthy character; quite an interesting Pinot. $27.00
  11. BricelandVnyds Zin MendoCnty (13.9%; Organically Grown; LolonisVnyd) 2011: Med.color; light spicy/Zin some MendoCnty/tomatoey/earthy bit perfumed slight vanilla/Am.oak nose; soft light/spicy/Zin/raspberry somewhat tomatoey/stewed tomatoes/MendoZin light vanilla/oak slight candied/peppermint flavor w/ light tannins; med. long spicy/raspberry/Zin rather tomatoey/stewed tomatoes/MendoZin light vanilla/oak finish w/ light tannins; has much of that stewed tomatoes character I often find in MendoCnty Zins; reminds me a lot of the old Parducci Zins; pleasant enough Zin at a fair price. $21.00
  12. BricelandVnyds Syrah LakeCnty (14.5%; TurnerVnyd/Kelsyville) 2010: Dark color; rather earthy/dusty light blackberry/Syrah some cracked black pepper/herbal slight smokey/oak quite attractive nose; soft some spicy/ Syrah/blackberry strong cracked black pepper/earthy/herbal light vanilla/toasty/oak/smokey slight licorice/ pungent flavor w/ modest tannins; med.long strong cracked black pepper/herbal light earthy/mushroomy some spicy/blackberry/Syrah slight pungent/licorice light smokey/oak/vanilla finish w/ modest tannins; needs several yrs of age yet; has a noticible cracked pepper character I associate w/ cold-climate Syrah but Kelsyville is hardly cold-climate; quite a nicely done Syrah at a fair price and my favorite of the Bricelands. $21.00

More pontifications from the BloodyPulpit:

1. HumboldtCnty: My first real/known introduction to HumboldtCnty (the county just north of Mendocino) wines was when JohnCabot showed his Syrah at HdR some yrs ago. I was rather impressed w/ that wine. But when I look at the wineries (http://humboldtwines.com/) that are in HumboldtCnty, my reaction is "who be dat??".

I had known (in CyberSpace) AndrewMorris for several yrs on the WB board. I believe he's the chair of the HumboldtCnty vintners association. I had often noted his "Briceland Vnyds" on his sig line but never gave it much thought until I finally associated him w/ HumboldtCnty. Their WebSite (www.BricelandVineyards.com) is pretty much non-existent, so I contacted him directly and he forwarded me a current price list. The wines looked interesting and (hopefully) representative of HumboldtCnty; so I ordered a mixed case for my group to try. The hope was that this would give me a better feel as to what HumboldtCnty had to offer as a wine growing area.....at least as interpreted by Andrew's winemaking. Not sure that I actually accomplished that goal. I'm still pretty clueless about HumboldtCnty wines in general.

This is an area of Calif that I've not explored ever at all. All the pics I've seen show very impressive scenery, blanketed by huge redwood forests. It's an area I'd like to poke around a bit and get to know better.

So...what was my take on the Briceland wines?? I thought they were decent/well-made wines at a fair price. The only one I didn't like was the SauvBlanc because of its overly-agressive herbal/cat-pee character that reminded me too much of the onerous task of cleaning Boots' cat litter box afore I tasked my son to the job. The Syrah, w/ its cracked pepper character, was my favorite of these wines. I found the Pinots the most interesting of the wines. They didn't seem to show much of the high-toned/bright fruit character that you get out of Pinots from down in Sonoma. They seemed to show somewhat of an earthy/dusty character that I most often find in SantaCruzMtns Pinots, if anything. That earthy/dusty/loamy/herbal character is something I also find in reds out of Stu's AlderSpringsVnyd...a vnyd whose terrain is, I think, like much of HumboldtCnty. The Pinots reminded me some of AdamLee's PinotMeuniers as well.

These were not profound wines by any means...but interesting enough that I'd like to explore more the HumboldtCnty wines.

So...what's my take on HumboldtCnty wines...acknowledging that my data base is pretty sparse?? I guess I see no reason that HumboldtCnty can't grow wines as good as anywhere else in Calif. They remind me a bit of Nevada and Calaveras Cnty in that, on paper, it's an area that can grow serious quality wines. JohnCabot's Syrahs are ample evidence of that fact. The problem is that there are not enough great examples out there for HumboldtCnty wines to be taken seriously. When you mention HumboldtCnty wines to most wine geeks...it's sorta like.....snicker/snicker..."Ohhhh..they also grow wines in HumboldtCnty??". For that perception to change, I think it behooves the HumboldtCnty growers to get some of their grapes into the hands of some of the name/high-profile winemakers to the South. I'd absolutely love to see what AdamLee could do with HumboldtCnty Pinot...or even Syrah. Then I think I could get a better feel of what HumboldtCnty can deliver in the way of quality wines.

Anyway...HumboldtCnty..a place I really need to explore some day....both the wines and the scenery.


[Additional Wine Reviews from Tom Hill]


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