A Few Recent Tastes XLIII

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A Few Recent Tastes XLIII

#1 Post by Marc_Hanes »

2013 Halcón Petite Sirah "Tierra" Theopolis Vineyards, Yorkville Highlands, Mendocino County. Saturated and glowing purple core, heavy set magenta rims, unblemished, warmly fills the glass. There’s a meadowy herbal quality to the nose, fresh underbrush rather than sous bois, jolt of white grapefruit introduces the plum, cassis fruit scents, no overripeness, mild notes of cocoa and pain grille, overall full but restrained. In the mouth it’s full-bodied with a velvety texture, the tannin like a fine grit sandpaper. Has more of a “roasted” than “toasted” character, adds more textural crispness than flavor, albeit there are those cocoa to coffee bean notes. The blueberry, blackberry, currant fruit shows snap as well as richness. This bottle is in keeping with previous one consumed March 2020, excellent wine with many years ahead.

2019 Sandlands "Red Table Wine" Lodi. Bright, trim pinkish violet hue, utterly transparent, sleek surface. In the nose sandy, dusty earth creates a foundation for flighty strawberry, rhubarb, blueberry scents, there’s a curious funkiness which turns out more textural than olfactory, pressed flowers, dried orange peels, it’s like watching a balloon you let go by mistake take off into the sky, you want it back but it’s pretty up there. In the mouth it’s light-bodied but tannic enough that it’s not light of touch. Again with the sandy, dusty texture. Ripe sour red berry flavors, more of an edgy white citrus presence here. Mild floral dew accrues at the finish. Well integrated, leaves you satisfied and without much else to say except can someone please fill my glass? Equal thirds Cinsault (Bechthold Vineyard, 1886), Carignane (Spenker Ranch, 1900), Zinfandel (Kirschenmann Vineyard, 1915).

2014 Jean Edwards Petite Sirah "Cooper’s Cuvée" Calistoga, Napa Valley. The reddish purple core falls short of opacity, I’d guess that the broad scarlet rims were more garnet on release, strikes me as a wine that would generally get darker with age. There’s a fresh minty, mentholated quality to the nose and time has done a good job of knitting in the creamy oak, the fruit comes off as blueberry, boysenberry based, off the nose I’d go so far as to call this a delicate rendition of the grape. Medium-bodied, big floral perfume makes a positive impression right off. Slim and trim, there’s nothing obtrusive about the tannin nor acidity to slow down the pacing. Touch more toast and caramel to the oak treatment here. Dark berry fruit now, could turn plummy with more bottle age. Lip smacking finish, rather quite like this.

2015 Turley Zinfandel Judge Bell Vineyard, Amador County. The purple core infiltrated by a scarlet hues, the rims a dried blood red cast, flat with a dull surface. Buttered popcorn and butterscotch jump out first in the nose, perhaps age has pushed the mixed berry scents off centerstage, otherwise there’s a cleansing mentholated aspect and a woodsy, brambly character. Medium-bodied, noticeably fluid and smooth. Grip starts to weaken through the mid-palate leading to a truncated finish. Menthol, licorice, sweet garden herbs fashion an agreeable complement to the raspberry, blueberry, blackberry fruit. The oak kind of caramel based but mostly adding sweetness more than flavor. I much preferred this on release to now.

2018 Stereophonic Wines "Starblanket" Paso Robles. Luminescent throughout, opaquely black purple core surrounded by thin dark magenta rims topped off by a sleek surface shine. Upon first opening the leathery scents and earthiness dominant but as it breathes the plum, blackberry scents grow in stature, every once in awhile some strawberry pops out to remind you of the Grenache, otherwise offers a light piney accent, unevolved. Medium-bodied plus, much fuller through the attack, releases well through the finish. Same uneven mix of fruit flavors, perhaps made more notable by the absence of a strong oak presence. Acidity gives it a chewiness as well as general angularity. Menthol, twigs and earth, moments of white citrus. More bottle time should smooth it out more, unsure what tertiary elements to expect. 50% Petite Sirah, 50% Grenache. (Composite Cork: Diam10)

2012 Gardienne des Vignes (Gardienne Wines) Zinfandel "1915 Old Vine" Kirschenmann Vineyard, Mokelumne River, Central Valley. Pretty much consistent throughout with a scarlet washed purple hue, rims betray minor bricking and age. The nose is mostly menthol, sandy earth and smoke, seems gamey now and then, some prune but fruit more or less gone, can’t speak to how it was on release. Medium-bodied, firm and unyielding, and bracingly sour to boot. Kind of like licking hot rubber, the smokiness is not the good kind. Stewed tomatoes. More prune, raisin fruit here but not sweetness, certainly not fresh juiciness. Just perceptible softening with some air. Run out of things to note, this definitely falls into the disappointment category.

2017 Jeff Runquist Wines Teroldego Creekside Vineyard, Lodi Jahant District. Glowing and opaque purple core, thick scarlet red rims of equally glowing intensity. Initially the nose rife with oak cream and toast but it’s overall too blunt for even that to last, mentholated breeze then earth, dense black fruits and finally a whole lot of nothing. Full-bodied, palpable tannic backbone, the oak could be considered in proportion to the whole. Abundance of flavorless black fruits. Minty. Fresh, supple leather notes. Then, get ready, nothing. It seems like the whole wine is an exercise in how fast it can vacate the premises. Doesn’t even hesitate to grab an after dinner mint from the bowl before hitting the door. Well, it does leave a mild astringency behind. Challenged me to dig deeper but it was a “fruitless” endeavor. Wow.

2019 Idlewild Arneis Lost Hills Ranch, Yorkville Highlands, Mendocino County. Filmy, glowing yellow, almost looks radioactive or such, certainly fills the glass in spite of the lack of shine. There’s a certain cidery appeal to the nose, comes across as “flatter” than the 2018 version, lowkey lemon peel, hint of oil slick, matted straw, dried apples and pears, seems more intent on burrowing than lifting. Full-bodied, acidic unto tannic, square-jawed and bristling with muscle. Nutty here with a whipped cream element which brings a moment of needed sweetness. Lemon, green apple, honey and violets noted. Puckering finish, particularly as it warms. Really not sure what I think here, tempted to throw me second bottle deep into the cellar rather than replicate this experience in the near term. (Composite Cork)

2019 Sandlands "White Table Wine" California. Straw gold hue of some depth, consistent throughout, neither particularly shiny nor flat. Very fresh minty nose, almost licorice in concentration, lemon sorbet, crushed seashells, has solid apricot, pear, melon fruit scents and for the better they remain part of the general chorus, round and semi-soft nostril texture. Medium-bodied and actually feels like it gains weight as it progresses across the palate. Has a vanillin to whipped cream aspect which lends the wine a plushness. Here the citrus leans toward tangerine with that same confectionary character. Cherry, apricot, green melon, pear, maybe even pineapple, all over the map. Floral and again minty. It’s agreeable but not certain I’d seek it out again. Have one bottle to age. 63% Chenin Blanc (Lodi), 37% Sémillon (Napa Valley).

2005 Stéphane Othéguy Saint-Joseph. Reddish purple core, more blood red moving outwards, very fine filminess to it and adequate surface shine. Keenly penetrating nose of cracked black pepper, white grapefruit, violets and olive tapenade, really brings it all, the red currant, cherry fruit decent enough but not getting any attention with all the rest swirling about. Medium to even light-bodied, on the whole smooth, very strong acidity and to me no trace of volatility. Pronounced floral component, minerally with blood iron notes. The citrus most present through the finish, before that the ripeness of the currant, plum, cherry fruit evident. Grows chewier in the glass. This leaves a very positive impression.

2002 Catherine et Pierre Breton Bourgueil Clos Senechal. Scarlet core, bricking red further out, yellowish rims, very nice clarity as well as overall brightness. Nose overflows with asphalt, tar, merde and dried grasses, burning autumn leaves, not getting much bell pepper, touch of white grapefruit left, the red currant to cherry fruit lean and taut, it’s mostly tertiary now and powerfully so. Light to medium-bodied, demands time to open up and when it does there’s a good amount of sweet red fruits and blueberries. Not nearly as funky as the nose, the asphalt gets minerally. Savory herb nuances give it a spiciness that brings it close to “hot” even at 11.7% ABV. There’s a menthol like cleansing thing at the end. If you wanted more fruit then maybe 4-5 years ago was the apex but this fits my expectations just fine.

1995 Château Lagrange Saint-Julien. The core black smeared with red clay, wide brick red rims that might just be starting to yellow some. Brings some barnyard funk to the nose at first, however, after it moderates it comes across as unevolved with a focus on currant, cherry fruit and creamy oak, that said blends in tobacco, bell pepper, leather to some degree, moments of a medicinal cleansing whiff. Medium-bodied, the tannin chunky and somewhat uneven if not oppressive. The black currant, blackberry, cherry fruit rich and resonant. Floral, more sweet tobacco, then fresh leather. Here the oak adds creamy texture more than overt flavor. Easy to drink but as measured by tertiary development not ready for prime time. 44% Cabernet Sauvignon, 43% Merlot, 13% Petit Verdot.

2007 Domaine du Mas Blanc (Dr. Parcé) Clos du Moulin, Collioure, Languedoc/Roussillon. The core is pretty much black and opaque, the rims a dark crimson to lighter brick along the rims. Nose of incense, caraway seeds, wet wool and potpourri musk, powerful if somewhat clumsy, it’s neither fruity nor underfruited, the plum to currant scents rightsized for the rest. Full-bodied, soft and heavy at once, you easily feel its downward pressure on the palate. But it lightens up appreciably for a clean finish. No real tannin to speak of, acidity is slight. Light mutter of peanut shells. Layers of plum, blackberry, cassis fruit that stops this side of pruney. Again with the musky florality and some citrus tones. Wish I had caught it earlier when the tannin likely had more teeth. But for what I paid bottom feeding on the ’Bid no complaints. 90% Mourvèdre, 10% Counoise.

2016 Château de Durette "Cuvée Les Brurreaux" Chénas, Beaujolais. Very clean and transparent, more garnet than ruby with a minor violet darkening at the core. Pleasing dustiness to the nose, chalk, ash and lighter mineral powder, dried meadow grasses as well as old lemon peel, the red berry scents feel like little pinpricks to your nostrils. Light-bodied, solid acidic frame, the strawberry, rhubarb fruit trails off a bit too much for my liking but what’s there has some crunch. Sour, semi-pickled quality is welcome to me, keeps it lively. Floral and citrusy before it all dissolves away. Not a lot of Chénas on American retail shelves so always happy to try one regardless. And this one is satisfactory even with a few flaws evident. (Composite Cork: Diam3)

2005 Clos Floridene Graves Blanc. Day-glo, black light greenish tinted yellow, hums in the glass, not particularly shiny. At first the nose smells like someone hit you in the face with a coconut custard pie, takes time to open into iron shavings and sauna smoke, if one might be allowed acrid in the good way, pineapple, apple, pear to apricot scents, there’s a floral underpinning in there that shows when the rest stops to catch its breath. Medium-bodied, replicates things here, creamy and candied at first with toffee, custard, butterscotch notes then as the palate acclimates and the acidity starts squeezing the wet slate, minerally smoke and tarry earth seep out. Violets and lilacs, orange blossom. I can see this wine pissing off people and there’s a segment of the cognoscenti who diss the winery. But it gave me what I wanted when I laid it down in 2008. 55% Sémillon, 44% Sauvignon Blanc, 1% Muscadelle.

2015 Damien Laureau "La Petite Roche" Savennières, Loire. Semi-dull, worn gold just starting to take on a bronzing, consistent core to rims. Already showing doughy, maderized notes, honeyed, no real spark to it, spiced oranges, wax, comes close but doesn’t deliver on smokiness, the kumquat, passion fruit to pineapple scents are dry not “dried.” Medium to full-bodied, has volume but not weight if that makes sense, Sour, here the minerally smoke aspect present but distracting and not in step with the whole. Blood orange to grapefruit citrus contributes to the angularity. Star fruit, passion fruit, pineapple, kiwi, all the anger and none of the juicy fun. Doughiness holds off until forming an aftertaste. This is not an old wine, kind of flummoxed. Could be why it was at auction, ehh?

2019 Weingut Joh. Jos. Prum Riesling Bernkasteler Badstube Kabinett AP #7. On the dull side without much luster, white to light gold straw, virtually hueless at the rims. Fruit cocktail nose topped with powdered sugar, cherry, plum, white pit fruit, conversely there is a pleasing wet slate element, light lemon zest, not much textural lift. Medium-bodied, more round than chiseled, the acidity curiously feels stronger as it warms rather than right out of the fridge. Melon, pear, apricot, cherry and so on, equally fruity here as well. The slate element muted, luckily the accent of fresh cream likewise on the quiet side. Nice naval orange, lemon adorned finish. Again, air and slightly warming helps it but not finding myself falling in love. Could just be the curse of young Prum wines, bound to perplex.

2005 Conterno Fantino Barolo Sorì Ginestra. Sunset red throughout, slight darkening to violet at the core, fiery appearance. Medicinal, mentholated nose, scrubbing lift to it, incense, cherry cough drop, licorice, dried orange peel, now and then a hint of mushroom comes through, lacks persistence which is all the more disappointing given the pleasing array of aromas present. Light-bodied, dry and stings more than clings, perhaps has the flesh which absorbed the acidity’s jabs. The cherry, raspberry impact unwoven through the mid-palate. Cedar, anise, leather, tea leaf, more angular here than in the nose. Appears to be drying out earlier than might be reasonably expected. Considering “culprits” for this, one might want to think just what the oak regimen was, myself not sure.

2016 Llano Estacado "1836 Red Table Wine" Texas High Plains. The core is a blackish purple more so in hue than intensity or depth, wide crimson to dried blood red. Shows admirable posture in the nostrils, the currant, cherry, dark berry scents display controlled ripeness, the oak shows a more judicious hand than its broad peer group, mocha and crème fraîche, has an herbal aspect for sure, a menthol or anise fueled lift, can see aromatic upside. Medium-bodied, slims down well as it progresses across the palate, clean finish. Savory herbs, leather there, feels a touch hot even at stated 13.9% ABV. Blueberry, blackberry to red currant fruit, juicy without any overripeness. Minty clean. There’s makeup, as with the nose I hold out hope that the primary material can absorb the oak over time and allow rewarding tertiary elements to develop. Ain’t got no more so won’t be able to tell you. Unspecified percentages of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot. (Composite Cork: Diam10)

2016 Rancho Loma "The Tempest Reserve" Reddy Vineyards, Texas High Plains. Reddish tint to the dark purple core, brick to clay red rims, fine clarity. Fat plummy nose, fruit laden, coffee bean to toffee crisp notes, floral mush, brush of stewed tomatoes, what’s there has resonance but as a whole lacks coherence. Full-bodied, fleshy but not chubby like excess fat. No real tannic presence, acidity fares slightly better. Any upright posture probably due to wood tannin. Minty more than floral here, citrusy as well. The oak creamy on the whole, again the coffee element gives it some snap. Plum, cherry, blackberry fruit, more juice than distinct flavor. Can’t shake a feeling that it is “concocted” which may even be true but also true to intent. Would need to compare it to an unoaked version to really assess the primary material. 61% Tempranillo, 25% Tannat, 14% Merlot.

2015 Signor Touriga Nacional Texas High Plains. Moderately dark purple core, yields to brick red, scarlet rims, looks sort of like a deep bruise. There’s notes of burnt rubber, cow patties, matted grasses in the nose before moving onto cinamon dappled prune and date scents, light floral mist, nothing complex to be found here but just when you go, alright, froot it is, that plastic thing relaunches. Medium-bodied, soft and smooth, sloshes around until every mouth pore is well coated. Plum, prune, blackberry, date flavors with modest length. Maybe a sour citrus splash. Not marred by what plagued the nose. But it lacks dimension and clear personality. Couldn’t even begin to guess what the winemaker wanted it to be when it grew up. Grapes sourced from Gold Vineyard in Rogue Valley, OR and vinified/bottled by Signor in Texas.
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Re: A Few Recent Tastes XLIII

#2 Post by Markus S »

Marc_Hanes wrote: May 3rd, 2021, 5:06 pm 2005 Conterno Fantino Barolo Sorì Ginestra. Sunset red throughout, slight darkening to violet at the core, fiery appearance. Medicinal, mentholated nose, scrubbing lift to it, incense, cherry cough drop, licorice, dried orange peel, now and then a hint of mushroom comes through, lacks persistence which is all the more disappointing given the pleasing array of aromas present. Light-bodied, dry and stings more than clings, perhaps has the flesh which absorbed the acidity’s jabs. The cherry, raspberry impact unwoven through the mid-palate. Cedar, anise, leather, tea leaf, more angular here than in the nose. Appears to be drying out earlier than might be reasonably expected. Considering “culprits” for this, one might want to think just what the oak regimen was, myself not sure.
I had good luck with the 2001 rendition of this. Perhaps their oak regimen in a poorer year could be a culprit?
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Re: A Few Recent Tastes XLIII

#3 Post by D@vid Bu3ker »

I think the 2019 Idlewild Arneis is a different vineyard source than the 2018, so not quite comparable.
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Re: A Few Recent Tastes XLIII

#4 Post by Marc_Hanes »

D@vid Bu3ker wrote: May 3rd, 2021, 5:56 pm I think the 2019 Idlewild Arneis is a different vineyard source than the 2018, so not quite comparable.
That makes sense. Wonder how many vineyards grow Arneis in California. In any event, do have the one bottle to try and compare a few miles down the road to this experience.
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Re: A Few Recent Tastes XLIII

#5 Post by Jim Stewart »

Nice notes and info, Marc, and as always [welldone.gif] on some of those similes and metaphors. Visual and palpable! Cheers.
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Re: A Few Recent Tastes XLIII

#6 Post by Rich Brown »

Always such a treat to read your tasting notes Marc - thanks for posting!

I especially appreciate the feedback on the 2012 Gardienne des Vigne Zinfandel Kirschenmann Vineyard, as I was really close to snagging some on Winebid. Now glad that I did not.

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Re: A Few Recent Tastes XLIII

#7 Post by Jayson Cohen »

Thanks. Your dedication to (and my ignorance of) strong West Coast wines is always impressive.

I’ve still got 3 of the ‘02 Senechal left, and I’m debating based on your note whether I really open one or I should let the wine soften just a bit more.

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Re: A Few Recent Tastes XLIII

#8 Post by Robert.A.Jr. »

Quite a read, wow. Many thanks.
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Re: A Few Recent Tastes XLIII

#9 Post by D@vid Bu3ker »

I am going to say something controversial in the Riesling world - Prüm’s Badstube has become generally dull. Maybe it’s climate change, but I haven’t had an exciting Badstube from Prüm in many vintages. I have historically loved the wines from that site, but lately it’s been a whole lot of “meh.”
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Re: A Few Recent Tastes XLIII

#10 Post by Jason L. »

Marc, just wanted to express my appreciation for your notes on Starblanket as well as the other useful notes here. It really gives an insight into your process of analysis and the range of experience you draw from. I look forward to your thoughts on our other wines should you choose to publish them. Thanks, JL
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Re: A Few Recent Tastes XLIII

#11 Post by Karen Troisi »

Glad you enjoyed the 2014 Cooper’s Petite! [thankyou.gif]
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