1. DonGiovanni: Back in the old days I used to post a lot on the Squires board, back when it was an happening place to hang out, back before it bacame morbund. JohnZuccarino, winemaker at SilverSprings/ DonGiovanni used to post quite lot on that Board. He noticed that I tasted quite a lot of wines and wanted me to try some of his wines. So we connected and these btls duly arrived. This was probably 4-5 yrs ago. I thought it would be interesting to include, finally, in this tasting. I had rather low expectations for these two btls...it's UpState NewYork red wine...how good could they possibly be??
I was pleasantly surprised at how good they really were. At 12.5%, they were rather light, almost anemic, on the palate. But they delivered both good aromas and (lightweight) flavors that reminded me quite a bit of Loire Cab & CabFranc. This is probably all those grapes could deliver from that cold-climate, but I thought they delivered it well. Everybody else was also pleasantly surprised as well.
2. Ridge: The single varietals from MonteBello is a new program launched by Ridge almost a yr ago. It focuses on mono-varietals from the historical Ranches on MonteBelloRidge...Torre/Short; Perrone; Klein/Schwabacher/Jimsomare; using their names from the 1800's. Details can be found at: (www.ridgewine.com/About/Historic%20Monte%20Bello%20Vineyards). Ridge recently leased the old Rousten/Ortmann ranch between Jimsomare and Short and planted it in '08. So there
will be a RoustenRanch wine a few yrs down the road. This means Ridge farms the entirety of MonteBelloRidge from the old Zin on lower Jimsomare all the way to the tippy-top of Perrone. On the back side of Perrone, to the North & West, are some old terraces of abandoned vnyds that lie on the MonteBelloPreserve. They hope to plant those terraces sometime in the future.
Interestingly, when you go to GoogleMaps and enter 17100, the first address, of all the 17100's in the world, that pops up is....MonteBelloRd!! It's worth taking a look at the satellite image and locate the various ranches on MonteBello. I've suggested to Ridge they outline those on the GoogleMaps image.
Of these four wines, I was unthrilled by the Merlot...no surprise there. It was much simpler than the CabFranc and the CabSauv. Those two I liked a lot. But, after the MonteBello, when I went back to them, they seemed a bit simpler, more mono-chromatic. The MB was a big wine, but superbly balanced and made for the long haul.
3. Chester'sAnvil: This is the collaborative label of SteveLagier/CaroleMeredith and the Potts, their neighbors up the ridge on MtVeeder. Not being much of a fan of Cabernets, I'd put off tasting these wines. Sorry I did now. I was pretty impressed with these, especially the two '09's. They all had plenty of tannins and were quite structured, but that tannins were rather soft and not at all hard. The only Cab, Calif or otherwise, I buy is MonteBello. I may break down and start buying the Chester'sAnvil ones now.
The Hattori Hanzo name comes from a famous Japanese sumarai warrior and ninja master. Sorta describes the wine I think.