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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.

New & Old Jaffurs Wines- January 28, 2015

We tasted this week (1/28/15) some New/Old Jaffurs Wines w/ DaveYates:

  1. Jaffurs Roussanne StolpmanVnyd/SBC (14.0%) 2013: Med.gold color; very fragrant/honeyed/ honeysuckle/Rouss/butterscotch light toasty/oak quite perfumed/aromatic nose; bit tart/lean rather honeyed/honeysuckle/Rouss very perfumed fairly rich/textured/structured flavor; very long/lingering honeyed/honeysuckle/Rouss/fragrant slight smokey/oak fairly tart finish; seems more svelte/structured & less powerful than previous Roussannes; beautifully fragrant wine and should go out 6-10 yr; very fairly priced at $26.50
  2. Jaffurs GrenacheBlanc ThompsonVnyd/SBC (14.2%) 2013: Light gold color; strong TCA/musty/corked nose and nothing else; flavor is nothing at all; pretty shot down by the TCA. $24.00
  3. Jaffurs Syrah SBC (14.8%) 2013: Med.dark color; strong juicy/blackberry/boysenberry/Syrah/ripe/ framboise light toasty/smokey/oak very perfumed/lovely nose; fairly tart very strong blackberry/ boysenberry/Syrah/juicy slight smokey/toasty/oak flavor w/ modest/ripe tannins; very long blackberry/ boysenberry/Syraj/ripe/juicy light smokey/oak finish w/ modest/smooth/ripe tannins; loads of juicy Syrah fruit w/o being over the tope; well-structured and should go out 4-8 yrs; one of the best Jaffurs SBC Syrahs yet. $24.00
  4. Jaffurs Syrah LarnerVnyd/SBC (14.3%) 2012: Dark color; bit peppery/smokey strong spicy/blackberry/ Syrah slight fumey/alcoholic bit WC/peppery/perfumed talc complex/aromatic nose; bit softer/lusher/riper very strong blackberry/boysenberry/Syrah some WC/peppery/spicy fairly smooth flavor w/ some smooth/gentle tannins; very long boysenberry/blackberry/Syrah slight WC/peppery/spicy quite smooth/rich/lush finish w/ some smooth tannins; lots of ripe Syrah fruit and maybe a bit soft & less structured than the others. $39.30
  5. Jaffurs Syrah KimseyVnyd/SBC (14.9%) 2012: A new vnyd for Jaffurs. Dark color; very spicy slight peppery/WC more subtle/reticent blackberry/spicy/Syrah rather perfumed/voilets/floral slight mineral/graphite lovely nose; fairly tart very spicy/blackberry/Syrah bit floral/violets lovely flavor w/ some smooth tannins; very long/lingering very spicy/blackberry/Syrah slight floral/roses/violets/perfumey light toasty/oak slight graphite/pungent finish w/ some smooth tannins; not as intense but lovely spicy aromatics; an auspicious debut for this vnyd. $39.30
  6. Jaffurs Syrah BienNacidoVnyd/SBC (14.8%) 2012: Dark color; classic BN/black cherry/black cherry cola/
    blackberry/Syrah/spicy bit earthy/dusty light toasty/oak lovely nose; slightly tart strong black cherry/
    blackberry/spicy/Syrah slight earthy/dusty bit toasty/oak flavor w/ ample/smooth tannins; very long very
    strong black cherry/spicy/blackberry/Syrah bit earthy/dusty slight toasty/oak finish w/ ample bit coarse
    tannins; a bit on the clunky side and not as high-toned as the other Syrahs; will be a classic BienNacido
    w/ age. $39.30
  7. Jaffurs Syrah ThompsonVnyd/SBC (14.5%) 2012: Dark color; rather peppery/spicy/Syrah/blackberry slight WC/peppery slight earthy/dusty light toasty/oak rather spicy nose; lightly tart rather earthy/dusty strong blackberry/Syrah/spicy slight WC/peppery light toasty/oak flavor w/ modest/smooth/ripe tannins; very long some earthy/dusty very strong spicy/blackberry/Syrah bit peppery/WC light toasty/oak raher structured/big light toasty/oak fininsh w/ modest/smooth/blocky tannins; the biggest oof the Syrahs and a bit on the blocky/clunky side; should age very well. $39.30
  8. Jaffurs PetiteSirah ArchibaldCuvee ThompsonVnyd/SBC (15.1%) 2013: Black color; very intense boysenberry/blackberry/PS/peppery/milk of magnesia huge fruit very light toasty/oak beautiful nose; soft intense blackberry/boysenberry/PS/peppery/spicy/milk of magnesia/chalky huge fruit flavor w/ ample soft/smooth/lush tannins; very long/lingering huge fruit/intense/blackberry/boysenberry/PS/peppery light toasty/oak slight earthy/chalky/milk of magnesia slight earthy/peppery finish w/ ample/smooth tannins; not the high-toned aromatics of the Syrahs but huge fruit; another ArchibaldCuvee winner at a great price. $30.00
  9. Jaffurs Syrah Verna'sVnyd/SBC (14.1%; 70% WC from hillside fruit) 2012: Dark color; slight herbal/thyme/rosemary some roasted/Rhonish/peppery/WC slight saline strong blackberry/spicy/Syrah bit alcoholic rather complex nose; slightly tart some herbal/WC/peppery bit Rhonish/smokey/roasted strong blackberry/Syrah/spicy light toasty/oak complex flavor w/ some firm tannins; very long rich/lush/slightly tart strong blackberry/spicy/Syrah some WC/peppery/herbal/Rhonish/roasted finish w/ some firm tannins; quite structured and should age out well; more Rhonish character than the other '12 Syrahs; best Verna's I yet had. $39.30
  10. Jaffurs Syrah Verna'sVnyd/SBC (14.6%; 271 cs) 2009: Med.dark color; beautiful complex smokey/ pungent/roasted/WC some blackberry/Syrah/spicy/framboise/blueberry rather Rhonish complex nose; slightly soft strong smokey/roasted/Rhonish/peppery/WC/herbal some ripe blackberry/blueberry/Syrah/ spicy slight smokey/toasty/oak flavor w/ some smooth/gentle tannins; very long/lingering strong roasted/Rhonish/smokey/pungent some herbal/peppery/WC some blackberry/blueberry/Syrah light oak finish w/ modest/gentle tannins; a spectacular Rhonish SBC Syrah and my favorite of the night; probably at a perfect spot for this wine. $39.00
  11. Jaffurs Syrah Verna'sVnyd/SBC (15.8%) 2008: Med.dark color; bit alcoholic/fumey slight herbal/earthy some blackberry/boysenberry/Syrah/ripe slight jammy light toasty/oak fairly complex nose; soft some alcoholic/fumey fairly strong blackberry/Syrah/boysenberry/ripe slight herbal/earthy/dusty fairly complex flavor w/ light/hard/astringent tannins; very long some blackberry/boysenberry/Syrah/ripe/bit jammy light toasty/oak slight earthy/herbal some complex finish w/ light/bitey tannins; quite a nice/complex Syrah but just seems a bit tired & drying out some; least favorite of these wines. $35.50
  12. Jaffurs Syrah Verna'sVnyd/SBC (15.8%; www.JaffursWine.com) 2007: Dark color; more delicate/ complex/restrained strong blackberry/Syrah/spicy slight herbal/floral rather perfumed/aromatic complex lovely nose w/ no signs of alcoholic heat; soft/smooth elegant/floral some blackberry/Syrah/spicy bit herbal/earthy/peppery light toasty/oak complex flavor w/ light/smooth tannins; very long slight herbal/earthy/dusty some blackberry/Syrah/spicy/licorice/pungent complex finish w/ light/smooth/soft tannins; starting to show some maturity and probably near its peak. $36.00
  13. Jaffurs SBC Syrah Verna'sVnyd (15.6%; www.JaffursWine.com) 2006: Med.dark color w/ slight bricking; strong pencilly/smokey/roasted/Rhonish bit licorice/pungent light blackberry/Syrah/spicy/peppery complex nose w/no signs of alcohol or heat; soft/smooth/elegant pencilly/smokey/roasted rather Rhonish slight blackberry/blueberry/Syrah light toasty/oak rather complex flavor w/ light/smooth/ripe tannins; very long/lingering some roasted/Rhonish/peppery/herbal/smokey light blackberry/Syrah/spicy/bit licorice finish w/ light/smooth tannins; no signs of the alcohol; probably pretty near its peak or a bit beyond; a lovely/complex example of a mature Jaffurs Syrah. $35.00

And the Usual Nonsense from TheBloodyPulpit:

1. The prices are all Jaffurs future's pricing.
2. DaveYates was in SantaFe on his way up to the Taos WinterWineFestival. They night before, we
did a casual wine dinner w/ my SantaFe group at LoyalHound. Dave had shipped out a case of older
Jaffurs and we had the opportunity to taste some of those. The Jaffurs age amazingly well, not
a single one was on its last legs, going back to a 2001, even the Viognier. Alas, no notes were taken.
I invited him to come up & taste w/ my LosAlamos group on Wed. We tasted thru all the new Jaffurs
releases, supplemented w/ some additional Jaffurs from the archives; mostly Verna's Syrahs.
3. These '12 Syrahs have not yet been released or are about to be released. These '12's may be the best, across the board, release of Jaffurs Syrahs yet. The basic SBC Syrah is only a small step below the vnyd-designates, a bit more softer & drinkable, but (as usual) a genuine value. Of the SV-designates, the Verna's was, surprisingly, my favorite, followed by the Larner. The Archibald Cuvee PS '13 is yet another gem. Consistently one of the greatest PS produced in Calif. One thing about the Jaffurs that impresses is the tannin management. They have ample tannins, but they are smooth and never particularly hard.
4. Verna's: I've never been particularly impressed by the Syrahs from Verna's. Located out on CatCanyonRd before you get to the multiple oil rigs, it's a distant outpost of the Melville operation. In the Jaffurs linup of SV Syrahs, the Verna's has always seemed the weakest player. But after tonight, I've gained a new-found respect for Verna's. Of the '12's, it was my favorite. And thru the older ones, I was impressed how they were maturing into really fine Syrahs. I don't know if they use more WholeCluster on their Verna's or not.

This tableau of Verna's & their alcohol levels are a reflection of evolution in style at Jaffurs I think.
In the early '00's, the alcohol levels semed to rise and 15% Syahs were not that uncommon. I'd rib Dave about the "Oz-style" Syrahs they were making in an attempt to appeal to certain palates in Monktown. But over the last few yrs, their alcohol levels have dropped down noticibly. I'd like to think it was to appeal to certain palates in LosAlamos...but I think it's more a reflection of cooler vintages than anything. Still, I don't think the IPoB authorities are going to be making any cold-calls at JaffursWnry anytime soon. And the 15%+ alcohol levels don't seem to be interfering w/ the maturation of these Syrahs.


[Additional Wine Reviews from Tom Hill]


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