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 Big Reds - September 19, 2012

We tried tonight (9/19/12) Some Big Reds:

  1. Sassicaia TenutaSanGuido Riserva VdT (12%; #29105 of 60,257) Bolgheri 1980: Med.dark color w/ slight bricking; lovely complex cherry/black cherry/blackcurranty bit dried leaf/Kansas Fall leaf pile/herbal some smokey/dusty light vanilla/oak very fragrant/complex nose; soft smooth/velvety slight metallic/
    tangy/licorice/pungent light herbal/Cab/blackcurranty/cherry dried rose petal/dried leaf quite complex
    gentle/elegant flavor; very long smooth/velvety light black cherry/blackcurranty/herbal/Cab slight
    smokey/vanilla/oak light dried rose petal/leaf elegant/quiet complex finish w/ very smooth/polished/light
    tannins; a quiet/gentle/smooth/complex wine that's come together quite nicely; no signs of drying out or
    cracking up; will probably just quietly fade into the sunset w/ nary a whimper. $21.35 (CB)
  2. Giornata il Campo Central Coast (Sangiovese + ?; 350 cs; 14.5%; www.GiornataWines.com) 2008: Dark color; strong milk of magnesia/cherry/black cherry/Sangio bit floral/cherry blossom rather strong toasty/charred/oak very attractive nose; soft rich/lush very strong black cherry/pie cherry/Sangio/Visciola some toasty/smokey/oak structured flavor w/ modest tannins; long black cherry/cherry pie/Sangio fairly rich/lush/structured some smokey/toasty/oak finish w/ modest tannins; reminds some of Visciola; quite a lovely/rich Sangio w/o the hard/tannic bite many of them show; one of the best Calif Sangios I've had of late. Very fair price at $20.00 (CB)  
  3. Ridge Calif LyttonEstate Grenache (10% PS/10% Zin; DryCreekVlly; 14.7%; 49 brls; Bttld: April '08; Drk: 3/08-3/12-3/13: EB) 2006: Med.dark color; some vanilla/Am.oak/smokey bit earthy/dusty some strawberry/ Grenache/blackberry rather fragrant attractive nose; bit tannic/hard bright strawberry/ Grenache/blackberry some vanilla/smokey/Ridge oak pretty flavor; long bright/strawberry/ Grenache/ blackberry some smokey/vanilla/ oak finish w/ some chalky/gritty tannins; a pretty Grenache w/ some CdP/garrigue character but the gritty tannins are coming to the forefront; probably best to drink up. $28.00
  4. Ridge Calif LyttonEstate Syrah (LyttonWestVnyd; 92% Syrah/8% Viog; DryCreekVlly; 14.4%; 49 brls; Bttld: Nov 2008; Drk: 9/08-9/18-9/20: EB) 2006: Very dark color; strong smokey/oak/ vanilla/Ridge strong blackberry/Syrah bit DryCreek/raspberry slight floral/herbal classic Ridge nose; softer black cherry/blackberry/ Syrah light vanilla/Am.oak/smokey classic Ridge red flavor w/ some smooth/round tannins; long blackberry/black cherry/Syrah some Am.oak/smokey/vanilla finish w/ plush/round/smooth tannins; still needs some age; speaks strongly of Syrah and has good balance for a young wine. $33.00 (ATP)
  5. Garretson Syrah BassettiVnyd/SLOCnty HdR Cuvee (13.5%; SupremeCorq) 2000: Dark color w/ no bricking; very strong reductive/fecal/dirty diaper pail/pungent/H2S/SO2 some peppery/blackberry/Syrah metallic/ozone/burning metal slight smokey/oak nose; soft unattractive/fecal/reduced/dirty diaper pail/H2S/pungent slight peppery/ blackberry/Syrah slight toasty/oak flavor w/ slight tannins; med.long reduced/H2S/fecal/dirty diaper pail some peppery/blackberry/Syrah light toasty/smoky/oak finish w/ light tannins; some nice/interesting cold-climate Syrah in there but pretty overwhelmed by the reductive character; maybe several hrs of breathing would help but it was still very reduced the next morning. $28.00 (WWvBS)
  6. Garretson Syrah MonAmie BasettiVnyd/SLOCnty (13.8%; SupremeCorq) 2001: Med.light color w/ major browning; rather oxidized/sherry slight aged Syrah/tired nose w/ no fruit to speak of; soft rather sherry/oxidized no fruit little flavor; long oxidized/sherry bit tannic/dried out/tired finish; way too oxidized from a failed seal; so sad. $28.00 (WWvBS)
  7. Garretson Syrah MonAmie BasettiVnyd/SLOCnty (16.8%; Stelvin) 2003: Dark color; intense boysenberry/ blackberry/Syrah/Smucker's jam/overripe huge fruit slight alcoholic/fumey nose w/ no cold-climate character; soft very intense boysenberry/blackberry/Syrah huge/overripe/fruit rather hot/ alcoholic/fumey flavor w/ some tannins; long huge fruit/overripe intense boysenberry/blackberry/ Syrah/jammy/Smuckers rather hot/alcoholic light toasty/oak finish w/ light tannins; no cold-climate Syrah character that I could identify; pretty alcoholic and overripe/over-the-top for my taste. $28.00 (WWvBS)
  8. Martinelli Syrah "TerraFelice"/RussianRvrVlly (14.8%; www.MartinelliWinery.com) 2004: Very dark color; intense charred/smokey/Fr.oak/burning forest/burnt marshmallows very little Syrah/blackberry fruit nose; rather hot/fumey intense burnt marshmallow/charred/burnt/Fr.oak flavor w/ little tannins and no fruit; med.long soft/porky intense burnt marshmallow/charred/burnt/oak finish w/ light tannins & no fruit; an ugly wine that is overwhelmed by the burnt oak and has no Syrah fruit peeking out at all; thanks you Helen; way overpriced at $65.00 (SFW&S)
  9. Turley PetiteSirah RattlesnakeAcres/NapaVlly (14.2%) 2000: Dark color w/ little bricking; pleasant peppery/ blackberry/PS some complex light pencilly/oak attractive nose; slight bretty/unclean bit peppery/PS/blackberry light pencilly/oak slight tannic/dried out flavor; long biit tannic/hard/dried out spicy/peppery/PS/blackberry finish; some nice old PS complexity but starting to dry out and brett shows thru. $36.00
  10. Turley PetiteSyrah RattlesnakeRidge/HowellMtn (15.6%) 2009: Very dark/near black color; some vanilla/toasty/ oak intense very spicy/peppery/PS/blackberry some earthy/dusty very attractive nose; soft strong/peppery/PS/ blackberry/big fruit/DrPepper some earthy/dusty rather tannic/structured light vanilla/oak pretty classic/ tough/PS flavor; very long some vanilla/pencilly/oak strong peppery/PS/ blackberry/ spicy/DrPepper finish w/ ample tannins; a pretty classic hard/tight PS that needs another 3-8 yrs yet. $49.00
  11. Turley PetiteSyrah TurleyEstate/NapaVlly (13.8%) 2009: Very dark/black color; intense blackberry/PS/ boysenberry/very ripe bit overripe huge fruit nose; soft very ripe/lush intense boysenberry/blackberry/PS light toasty/oak/vanilla cream soda slight alcoholic flavor w/ light tannins; long very ripe/huge fruit intense boysenberry/blackberry/PS light pencilly/oak finish w/ light tannins; huge fruit almost an Essence PS; some like the JacobFranklin PS; maybe a bit over-the-top. $43.00
  12. Turley PetiteSirah LibraryVnyd/NapaVlly (15.5%) 2008: Very dark/black colot; strong peppery/PS/blackberry quite spicy classic PS slight floral/lilacs some toasty/smokey/Fr.oak quite attractive nose; somewhat tart intense blackberry/black cherry/spicy/peppery some toasty/smokey/oak some tannic/structured lovely/classic PS flavor; very long/lingering peppery/spicy/PS/blackberry/floral/ lilacs some toasty/smokey/oak finish w/ ample tannins; a classic/structured PS w/ ample fruit that needs 3-10 yrs of age; my easy favorite of the Turleys. $42.00
  13. Jamet Cote-Rotie (12.5%) 1994: Med.color w/ slight bricking; rather smoky/roasted/NorthernRhone/ coffee some herbal/dusty bit bretty/horsecollar/leathery lovely complex classic NR nose; tart/lean very strong smoky/roasted/coffee/NR slight tannic/dried-out little fruit complex flavor; very long lovely/classic NR/coffee/roasted/smoky slight herbal/dusty/leathery finish w/ light tannins; a lovely classic NR/fully mature C-R that's starting to fade somewhat.

And the usual BloodyPulpit:

1. Sassicaia: This is, of course, the first and quintessential SuperTuscan. I was introduced to it way back when by DarrellCorti. Quit buying when the $$'s started to go thru the roof. Haven't tasted a recent one in many yrs. My last btl of Sassicaia.
2. Garretson: Strange wines. The '00, '01 were closed by the hard/plastic SupremeCorq; a big mistake that Mat realized after the fact. The '00 seemed to hold it's seal, the '01 obviously failed badly. The '03 was more characteristic of Mat's later wines....rather over-the-top and alcoholic. They were harvested so ripe that any cold-climate Syrah character was burned out of the grapes. Mat acknowledged that the SupremeCorq was a bad move. It seems to be a very unreliable seal. There was no obvious differences in the "corks" to indicate why the one failed and the other didn't. Like all SupremeCorqs, they were both harder than hell to extract, and then remove from the corkscrew.
3. Turley: I see postings from time-to-time that still gives their wines a rap on the knuckle for being too over-the-top.....a leftover from the excesses of HelenTurley's winemaking style. When Ehren became winemaker at Turley, I thought he pretty rapidly moved away from that style, toned down the oak, and made the (Zins, particularly) wines much more expressive of the vnyd. True, the Zins are often over 15% alcohol, but they usually/mostly carry that high alcohol well and I seldom get an overripe/raisened character in the wines. Those old Turley Zins are a thing of the past. With Tegan as winemaker and, given his strong interest in vnyds and terroir, I expect that style to continue and even having the terroir more prominent. They may have lost a bit of the cult status from the early Parker yrs (least I seem to see them around more on retail shelves than I used to), but I think the wines are better than they have ever been.

The Turley PSs are consistently my favorite of the Turley lineup. They usually clock in at lower alcohol and seem to me the most consistent/reliable agers of them all.


[Additional Wine Reviews from Tom Hill]


Home | Wine Reviews | Wine Journals | Updates

Copyright © 1993 - 2012, Tom Hill- All rights reserved
No original material may be reproduced without written consent
Mail & Comments
- Grape-Nutz
Updated 4.01.12