||And the usual pompous pronouncements from the bloody pulpit:
TomHill... off to a bit of bloodshed & mayhem on the fencing piste!!
The Edmunds St. John was a terrific mature Calif Syrah; in great shape
for a pretty dismal vintage. I recall this wine as being pretty unclean/horsecollar/barnyardy/
bretty when it was young; typical of Steve Edmunds wines then. No sign
of that character remains in this wine.
Foxen & Mourvedre.... the Foxen winemaking style is sort of to obliterate
the varietal & vnyd character and impose to Foxen style on the wines....
a style that I happen to like. But the Mourvedre character was pretty low
key in this wine. But some of the Mourvedre character did come thru. What
was interesting is that this wine came from the Rothberg Vnyd, just west
of Buelton, a very cool growing area for Mourvedre. Much of the Calif Mourvedre
thus far has come from Cline/Oakley area and displays a soft fatness character
typical of wines from that area. As more and more Mourvedre plantings come
on line from different and cooler areas, I think we're going to see some
pretty exciting and interesting wines from this grape. This Foxen is one
of those. Stay tuned.
Augie Hug.... met Augie at my visit to John Alban a month ago. He tasted
us on the '94 Syrah & the '96 Roussanne. Both I liked a lot then....
but then you usually DO like a wine when you taste it w/ the winemaker....
so I was eager to try them, and the '96 Syrah, on my home turf. They did
not disappoint.... in fact, tasted even better. The Roussanne is a killer
white, a huge wine. Don't know how it will evolve in the bottle, but it's
a killer now. A better Viognier than most other folks actual Viognier.
As I've proclaimed before, Calif Roussanne is a grape to watch... especially
if you like Zind-Humbrecht style of wines. And the '94 Syrah..... lots
of brett in it... a character I kinda of like in Beaucastel as an interesting
feature... but there's seldom the fruit to go along with it as in this
'94. A few of my tasters grumbled a bit about the brett, but most found
so much other stuff going on in this wine that they didn't mind. This too
is a big huge extracted Syrah and, I expect, 10 yrs down the road is going
to be a killer Syrah. We shall see. And the '96 Syrah.... Augie warned
me that it was a much lighter Syrah than the '94; didn't seem to encourage
me to try it. But I bought a bottle anyway. It's a bit on the unusal/strange
side and a bit of stinky character to it; but I found some pretty interesting
things in it. It'll be interesting to see how it ages; I expect the smells
to go away. Most of the people in my tasting were not so forgiving
of this wine; but I kanda liked it for its eccentricity.
The Kynsi Syrah was an impressive debut vintage; an unusual variation on
Syrah that I really liked a lot, maybe a bit like some of the Eberle Fralich
Syrah w/ more blackberry fruit to it. A new winery by a guy named Dan Othman
up in Arroyo Grande, who invented a "Bullfrog" pump that is used to gently
pump Pinot Noir (the mention of which launched this very spirited discussion
on syphons, gravitational fields, and the like in the middle of the
tasting.... only ONLY in Los Alamos (NM) .... where everyone's an expert
on everything.... whether they know anything about the subject or not!!!!).
He also has a Sanford & Benedict Chard that I tasted w/ Bob Senn last
month and liked quite a great deal. A winery to watch.
The Tablas Hills pair.... these are the wines from the Perrin/Beaucastel
folks up on the West Side in Paso Robles. The first releases a yr ago,
under an Adelaida Hills label, were pretty unthrilling. These are much
better wines, especially the Blanc. They seem to really be dragging their
feet on the winery part of their operation up there. And I keep looking
for the brett, but it's not there (yet). 6. One thing that really struck
me, and several others about this tasting is that we're starting
to see a real variety and spectrum of styles in Syrahs and Rhones from
California. Styles from various regions and styles from different winemakers.
This is why the California/Rhone are some of the most exciting wines around
these days. And the WS and Parker are totally clueless to that fact!! Several
yrs ago, I had a real problem trying to get my folks to come to a Calif
Syrah/Rhone tasting I'd have to throw in some of the French stuff to entice
them. Now, they seem to be more excited to taste Calif Rhones than Zinfandel...
the times they are a changin'.
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