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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.

Some Carlisle and Bedrock Zins - May 5, 2014

We tasted last Mon night (5/5/14) w/ my SFWG some Carlisle/Bedrock Zins:

  1. BedrockWineCo Compagni-PortisVnyd/SonomaVlly/SonomaCnty WW (Planted in 1954; 14.2%) 2012: Light yellow color; rather stony/mineral/earthy slight melony/waxy rather spicy almost Semillon-like slight perfumey nose; fairly tart/lean strong stony/mineral light melony/waxy/spicy flavor; very long stony/mineral/earthy bit melony/honeydew some tart/lean finish; quite interesting white that reminds me some of whites from the Savoie orAltoAdige; seems a bit tight and needing some age; not the perfume of the Carlisle. $25.00
  2. Carlisle Compagni-Portis WW SonomaVlly/SonomaCnty (13.8%; Planted in 1954; GWT/Trosseau Gris/ Riesling; Frmtd in SS; no ML; 90 cs) 2012: Light yellow color; very perfumed/aromatic/floral/GWT-R-like quite Alsatian-like lovely perfumed nose; softer strong floral/perfumed/GWT-R-like fairly lush/ripe lovely flavor; very long/lingering quite aromatic/floral slight stony/mineral finish; powerful almost muscatty aromatics some like an Alsatian R, a bit like a Friulian Malvasia (d'Istria). $33.50
  3. BedrockWineCo Zin KirschenmannVnyd/Lodi (14.6%; Olivia&Tegan Passalacqua; Planted in 1915) 2012: Med.light color; strong earthy/mushroomy/loamy/classic Lodi light raspberry fruit nose; bit soft rather earthy/mushroomy/loamy/Lodi slight tangy light raspberry/Zin flavor w/ light/lean tannins; long earthy/loamy/portabello light raspberry/Zin finish w/ light/bitey tannins; speaks mostly of Lodi terroir w/ light/bright fruit; rather light on its feet and not the usual goopy Lodi Zin. $28.00
  4. Carlisle Zin KirschenmannVnyd/Lodi (15.3%; own rooted vines planted in 1916; 100 cs) 2012: Med.light color; somewhat brighter blackberry/raspberry light Lodi/mushroomy/earthy nose; bit tarter light toasty/oak brighter raspberry/blackberry/framboise light Lodi/mushroomy/earthy flavor w/ soft/smooth tannins; very long rather bright raspberry/framboise/Zin light Lodi/mushroomy/earthy finsh w/ light/smooth tannins; one of the best Lodi Zins I can recall in a long time; speaks quietly of Lodi and more of bright Zin fruit; reminds me of some of the Ridge Lodi Zins of the early '70's w/o the strong Am.oak component; a bit like the Turley Lodi Zins w/o the heat. $33.50
  5. BedrockWineCo Zin MonteRossoVnyd/SonomaVlly/SonomaCnty (15.0%; Planted in 1886; Drk: for yrs: MTP) 2012: Dark color; strong bright/raspberry/Zin very spicy light toasty/oak slight earthy/dusty/OV bit graphite/pungent quite lovely/fragrant/high-toned nose; fairly tart bit lean/hard bright/raspberry/Zin very spicy some dusty/OV flavor w/ modest/hard tannins; very long rather leaner/tighter/tarter very spicy/ raspberry/Zin/Zinberry some dusty/OV finish w/ some hard/firm tannins; lots of bright raspberry fruit that speaks more of DCV Zin than SonomaVlly Zin; speaks a bit more of MonteRosso than the Carlisle. $39.00
  6. Carlisle Zin MonteRossoVnyd/SonomaVlly/SonomaCnty (15.3%; Vines planted in 1886; +GrandNoir interplanted; SaH: 25.0 Brix; U/U; 230 cs) 2012: Dark color; deeper more ripe/blackberry/boysenberry/ Zin/very spicy slight dusty/OV nose not as perfumed as the Bedrock and more aking to RRV w/ deeper/ more bass notes; slightly softer more blackberry/boysenberry/ripe very spicy light toasty/oak slight dusty/ OV flavor w/ ample soft/round tannins; very long/lingering very strong blackberry/boyseberry slightly softer bit dusty/OV light toasty/oak finish w/ample round/smooth tannins; a bit lean/tight for a Carlisle Zin; has that typical firm/hard structure of MR Zin; a stunning example of MR Zin. $44.00
  7. BedrockWineCo Zin SodiniVnyd/RRV/SonomaCnty (14.8%; Planted in 1905 along LimerickLane; Drk:
    10/2014-10/2020: MTP) 2012
    : Dark color; very strong blackberry/RRV Zin/quite spicy/peppery slight toasty/oak quite aromatic/perfumed lovely nose; bit tart aromatic/perfumed very spicy/blackberry/Zin/bit peppery light toasty/oak flavor w/ rather hard/rugged/angular tannins; very long/lingering very spicy blackberry/peppery/classic RRV light toasty/oak slight dusty/OV finish w/ ample rugged/hard tannins; a bit more perfumed/high-toned and restrained than the Carlisle; seems to show a bit more DCV character in it; beautiful fairly classic RRV Zin. $32.00
  8. Carlisle Zin SodiniVnyd/RRV/SonomaCnty (15.2%; Plntd in 1905; +AlicanteBouschet/Carignane/PS; U/U; 410 cs) 2012: Dark color; lighter blackberry/RRV Zin/boysenberry slight herbal/rosemary/peppery light toasty/oak bit more dusty/OV lovely/fragrant nose; bit riper strong blackberry/RRV Zin/boysenberry light toasty/oak slight herbal/peppery/rosemary/pungent some dusty/OV flavor w/ strong/rugged/bit softer tannins; very long/lingering strong blackberry/boysenberry/RRV Zin bit peppery/herbal light toasty/oak finish w/ softer/rugged/hard tannins; not the high-toned character of the Bedrock and more classic deep/ RRV Zin character; very structured and somewhat softer/rounder tannins;a beautiful classic RRV Zin.$39.25
  9. BedrockWineCo PaperaRanch Heritage RRV/SonomaCnty RW (14.7%; Planted in 1934; Drk: 2015-2025: MTP) 2012: Very dark/black color; very strong blackberry/boysenberry/RRV Zin/licorice/quite spicy bit earthy/dusty/OV light toasty/oak some complex nose; very strong blackberry/RRV Zin/boysenberry/ licorice quite spicy/bit peppery very lush nose; very strong blackberry/Zin/boysenberry/quite spicy light toasty/oak some dusty/OV flavor w/ample/hard tannins; very long classic RRV Zin/blackberry/ boysenberry/ quite spicy light toasty/oak finish w/ample/hard tannins; loads of RRV Zin fruit that covers up some big tannins; a beautiful/classic RRV Zin; a bit more restrained/less exhuberent than the Carlisle. $36.00
  10. Carlisle Zin PaperaRanch/RRV (15.5%; Planted in 1934; 600 cs; U/U) 2011: Very dark/near black color; bit riper/lusher very intense blackberry/RRV Zin/boysenberry/framboise slight herbal/peppery/licorice rather dusty/OV slight alcoholic light toasty/oak complex classic RRV Zin nose; bit softer/riper very intense
    blackberry/RRV Zin/boysenberry/framboise some licorice/peppery light toasty/oak flavor w/ some soft/plush/round tannins; very long/lingering intense blackberry/RRV Zin/boysenberry/framboise slight herbal/peppery some dusty/OV light toasty/oak finish w/ ample soft/plush/round/smooth tannins; beautiful RRV Zin; a bit more perfumed/lusher/riper than the Bedrock w/ a bit rounder/smoother tannins. $44.75
  11. Bedrock PaganiRanch Heritage Wine (14.8%; Zin + MixedBlacks: Alicante/Lenoir/PS/GrandNoir) 2012: Very dark/black color; very strong/intense peppery/blackberry/boysenberry/Zin/licorice bit earthy/plummy quite dusty/OV bit charred/toasty/oak slight perfumed talc deeper quite complex nose w/ lots of bass notes; rather tart intense peppery/blackberry/boysenberry/Zin quite dusty/OV rather earthy/plummy slight alcoholic light charred/oak/pungent quite spicy flavor w/ strong/firm/bit coarse tannins; very long/lingering intense peppery/blackberry/boysenberry/plummy/licorice very dusty/OV very spicy light toasty/oak quite complex finish w/ strong/hard/rough tannins; pretty incredible Pagani and my easy favorite of the Bedrocks because of the rustic/complex character; a killer Pagani. $38.00
  12. Carlisle Zin PaganiRanch/SonomaVlly (15.8%; Planted in 1900; +AlicanteBouschet/GrandNoir/ Carignane/PS; 300 cs; 92% Zin/8% Alicante&GrandNoir; U/U) 2011: Very dark/near black color; very strong/intense very perfumed blackberry/Zin/very spicy/peppery/framboise/licorice quite dusty/OV some plummy/earthy/licorice/ripe light toasty/oak nose w/ no signs of alcohol; softer bit riper/lusher intense blackberry/Zin/boysenberry some licorice/plummy rather dusty/OV quite spicy/some peppery light toasty/oak flavor w/ big/ripe/soft/round tannins; very long/lingering intense blackberry/boysenberry/ Zin/plummy/peppery/framboise quite perfumed light toasty/oak rather dusty/OV finish w/ ample/soft/ripe tannins; a bit softer/riper/more interesting than the Bedrock; another killer Pagani. $43.00

The usual stuff from TheBloodyPulpit:

1. C-P: These two wines were strikingly different. The Bedrock was more old-timey white, more of a mineral/stony character, a bit like a Semillon, perhaps. Maybe displays the terroir more. The Carlisle was powerfully fragrant, almost like an Alsace Riesling/PG, maybe a bit like Friuli Malvasia (d'Istria), almost muscatty in character. Reminded me a lot of his Gruner. Strikingly different wines.
2. Kirschenmann: These two Zins were much more similiar. Both displayed the classic LodiZin/ mushroomy/earthy/loamy character I get from Lodi reds. The Bedrock showed the Lodi terroir more, the Carlisle only hinted at it. Lodi Zins tend to be rather soft/soupy/porky and both of these were much more lively than most Lodi Zins. These are both quite pretty Zins, but not the powerhouses you expect from Carlisle/Bedrock Zins. Would I recognize the
Kirschenmann terroir in a blind tasting?? I doubt it. If I found a Zin that spoke of Lodi, but showed more bright Zin fruit than most, I might guess it is Kirschenmann, but not w/ the absolute authority of a Monktown attourney, though.
3. MonteRosso: The Zins out of MR vnyd typically show a very strong spiciness more akin to DCV Zins that the strong blackberry Zin that comes out of the SonomaVlly a few miles away. They typically show more acid and bright Zin fruit than other Zins by the same producers from other vnyds. They typically show more tannins and a firmer/tighter/harder structure than most Zins. And they typically don't show as well young as they do w/ some age on them. That's uusually been the case w/ the Ravenswood MR Zins. Both of these MR Zins showed that character in spades. Would I recognize the MR terroir in a blind tasting? I doubt it.
4. Sodini: This is a rather interesting vnyd w/ which I have little experience. When you turn of EastSideRd onto LimerickLane, cross below 101; Sodini is the first OV vnyd on your right. A bit further down LL, you get to the CollinsVnyd/LimerickLane on your left. This is sorta on the NE edge of the RRV as it transitions into the DryCreekVlly.

This two pair of Zins showed a bit less distinctiveness than the other vnyds. Both were pretty classic RRV Zins w/ loads of blackberry/Zin fruit. The Bedrock had a bit more aromatic/ perfumey character that suggestd a bit of a DCV influence. Would I recognize Sodini terroir in a blind tasting? I doubt it, though I'd probably guess it to be a RRV Zin from the strong blackberry character.
5. Papera: This has always been probably my most favorite Carlisle Zin. These two wines were probably the most similar of the Bedrock/Carlisle pairings; the least different. The Bedrock seemed more straightforward interpretation of Papera; the Carlisle a bit more exotic & more things going on in it. This Carlisle was the only one I got any whiff of alcoholic heat, but it was still pretty minimal. Both of these were stunning examples of RRV Zin. Would I recognize Papera terroir in a blind tasting?? Haaa...fat chance. Though I would probably recognize it as RRV Zin blind.
6. Pagani: These two were both pretty terrific interpretations of Pagani. Probably because of the greater mixed black stuff in Pagani, plus the Alicante, Pagani always has more of a rough/rustic/sauvage character than most Zins. These two displayed that in spades. To me, the Pagani typically displays more of a dusty/OV character than most Zin vnyds. But, on the other hand, it may be all the mixed black stuff, the Mourv & the Alicante in there that's tricking me into believing that. I'm easily duped.

Would I recognize Pagani terroir in a blind tasting?? Hmmmmm....that one I might stand a fighting chance of succeeding...but, in truth, probably not!!
7. Bedrock/Carlisle style: So....this is the kind of tasting I've long wanted to do but it's only been in the last yr that Mike/Morgan have had enough vnyds in common that I could do this.
On of the things I thought this tasting would provide is a clear indication of the characteristics of each particular vnyd. Indeed, all the Bedrock/Carlisle Zins showed some commonality that would suggest they were from the same vnyds. But was it sufficient that I could but that commonality of character into words?? Not a chance. If I were given this same tableau of Zins blind, all scrambled up, would I be able to pick them out blind?? Not w/ much success, I suspect. Probably would get the two Lodis, perhaps the two MonteRossos,
maybe the Paganis on a good day; but that's probably it.

Putting a finger on the differences in style between Carlisle/Bedrock is also not so easy. The differences between the two winerys in style is pretty minimal. Just based on the labeled achol levels alone, it's clear that Mike goes for a slightly riper style. But I'd say it not enough of a difference to get you knickers in a knot. What has always amazed me about Mike's Zins is that, even though they're often over 15%, I seldom get much alcoholic het nor fumey character from them..unless I serve them too warm. That was not so of 15%+ Zins back
in the '70's...when you'd often get raisen/pruney/late harvesty character.

In this set of Zins, there also appeared to a be a bit of difference in tannin management. Although I couldn't say w/ much confidence anything about the absolute tannin levels; the tannins in the Carlisles seem a bit rounder/softer/plusher; the Bedrocks seemed to show more angular/harder tannins. Again, it may be the lusher/riper fruit in the Carlisles masked, to some degree, the tannin levels.

Anywho....a pretty exciting tasting for me that I thought would shed some light on the differences betwixt the vnyds and the winemaking styles. Can't say as it actually did...I'm still pretty clueless.
9. The prices listed are what I charged my folks for the wines. The Carlisle prices reflect NM tax (5.13%) and full shipping charges. Bedrock does not charge NM tax and heavily subsidizes our shipping. I've suggested to Chris/Morgan that it's not fair for folks purchasing only a few btls pay the same shipping as for the 4-5 cases I get. Sounds like the way a Commie organization would operate!! :-) But Mike acknowledged that even they subsidize, to a limited extent, their shipping costs, as they continue to rise. And that's true as well
of some of my favorite wineries like Siduri & TablasCreek.
10. Terroir: Ahhhh....the dreaded T-word that the wine geeks babble on so incessently about. I am always totally in awe of those folks who can taste a bunch of Pinots blind and totally nail them...."this is the LaTache, this the Richebourg, this the Echezeaux, this the Hirsch, this the Pisoni, this the Caragasacchi" and so on.

In this tasting, I thought the Lodi Zins and the MonteRosso Zins were pretty characteristic of those regions, less so the Paganis. But Sodini/Saitone/Bedrock/RossiRanch/ Carlisle .....wouldn't have a clue of picking those out, one from the other, in a blind tasting. To have that skill, I think you have to be tasting those single vnyds on a frequent, perhaps weekly, basis. In other words, probably if you're the winemaker of those vnyd Zins, you'd have a chance. But us mere mortals...no way. To tell the truth, tasting a tableau of Zins blind, I might be able to pick the Lodi, the RRV, the DCV, the PasoRobles, the SantaCruzMtn...but only on a good day. But to pick out the Sodini, the Kirschenmann, the Deaver, the Bedrock...no friggin' way. To tell the truth, I cannot think of a single vnyd in Calif, or the World, that has a sufficiently distinctive signature that I could accurately identify a wine as coming from that vnyd. Ahhhhhh...the burden I must carry for having a wooden palate!!
11. Background stuff for the SFWG:
Carlisle is a winery that started in the garage of their home in SantaRosa in the early '90's by Mike & Kendall Officer. He became commercial in 1998, making his wine at SiduriWnry. After doing that for two yrs, they moved to a nearby Copain custom-crush facility, where he gradually expanded over the next 13 yrs. Outgrowing that space (and the concomitant headaches of a shared facility), he bought the old MeullerWnry in nearby Windsor and had his first crush there in 2013. He is, as we speak, doubling the size of the wnry by adding a barrel storage facility. www.CarlisleWinery.com

Bedrock is a wnry that started about 2007. It is owned by Morgan Twain-Peterson; aided by his father, Joel Peterson. Joel founded (along w/ Reed Foster) the RavenswoodWnry in 1976 and became famous as a master of Zinfandel. He sold Ravenswood to ConstellationBrands about 1999, but has remained as the consulting winemaker for their single-vnyd Zins. Joel and Morgan bought the very old Bedrock vnyd in the early 2000's and returned it to
productivity. www.BedrockWineCo.com

Both Mike and Morgan are part of a cabal of Sonoma winemakers whose focus is making wines from very old/Heritage vnyds (www.HistoricVineyardSociety.org). They also include TeganPassalaqua/TurleyCllrs and JakeBilbro/LimerickLaneWnry and DaveGates/Ridge. According to Mike, this sort of comparative tasting of Bedrock/Carlisle has never been done, though they oftentimes get together to taste each others wines.

The object of this tasting is not to determine who makes the best wines. It offers a unique opportunity, however, to better understand the winemaking style of the two wnrys and, hopefully, get a grasp on the terroirs of the respective vnyds. Probably not gonna happen, though.

Some Stuff (from MikeOfficer):
1. Our Kirschenmanns were picked from the same rows at the same time. We loaded each bin trailer with 2 of his bins and 1 of mine and filled them concurrently.

2. Morgan's Papera is from a block that is 50% Zin, 43% Carignane, and 7% mixed blacks. Ours comes from two blocks that average about 94% Zin and 6% Carignane.

3. Our Monte Rosso's are essentially from the same block. Morgan's is more mid-slope while ours is at the top. I recall us picking a few days apart.

4. Our Sodini's were picked at the same time, similar to how we picked at Kirschenmann. Fruit was split 50/50. One bin trailer would have 2 Bedrock bins and 1 Carlisle bin and the other would have 2 Carlisle and 1 Bedrock.
I recall a third bin trailer in which we would alternate 2 and 1 and 1 and 2.

5. Pagani? I don't recall for certain when Morgan picked but I'm pretty sure it was on the same day as me. Our blocks are side by side so not a huge difference vineyard-wise.


[Additional Wine Reviews from Tom Hill]


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