A Few Recent Tastes XCIII

1994 Kalin Cellars Pinot Noir, Sonoma County, “Cuvée DD.” Reddish purple core, yellowish orange rust rims, liquid generally clear but there are some nice chunks of sediment in there. As one would expect takes awhile for the nose to unwind, then there’s ripe sous bois, cranberry, pomegranate, cherry fruit, leather and orange peel, Indian spices, good kind of muskiness. Medium-bodied with a velvety heaviness slides more than glides. Cola bean, spice, more orange peel. On the cleaner side here, not as much forest floor. Tannin resolved into minor bumps in the road. Savory red fruits mixed in with tea and tobacco leaf, leather and a hint of celery. Strong finish. Spot on for the “Kalin experience,” wouldn’t be shocked if it is in a sort of infinite stasis, as in what would it take for it to actually go over the hill. Curiously I liked this better than when sampled in 2004 and 2005.

2019 Bedrock Sonoma Valley, Bedrock Vineyard, “Bedrock Heritage.” Quite dark core, slowly admits a thin rust red rim, clean and youthful looking. Caramel and toffee notes lend depth to the nose and help the blackberry, cherry scents spread out, agreeable floral musk, trace of menthol, approachable with staying power. Medium-bodied, compact and muscular. This without leaning too hard on tannin. That caramel like oak stuff present here too in a proportionate manner. Heavy on the berryish fruit. Steady flow forward. Baking spices and orange pekoe tea. Kind of surprised at how open this is but certainly not complaining. Should hold for a good while. Approximately 50% Zinfandel, remainder unspecified percentages of Carignane, Mataro, Petite Sirah, Alicante Bouschet, Grand Noir de la Calmette, Tempranillo, Trousseau, Mission, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon.

2006 Bryant Family Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, “DB4.” Black purple core, rims a dull brick red and shows age, doesn’t seem to be throwing much sediment. Nose of rich cassis, blueberry, plum fruit, smoky but the oak seems resolved, some dill and caramel, waft of florality, doesn’t come across as all that matured. Slimmed down to just about medium-bodied, tannin is somewhat astringent. Rip black fruits, doing a good job of holding up but not sure I’d push a lot longer. Toastier here but again not excessively oaky. Mostly along the lines of caramel and honey. Little minty No palpable change as went through the bottle. In spite of the tannin, sweet finish. Kind of expected it to be more evolved, show more tertiary elements. Maybe it wasn’t “built” for that? Dunno. Very good but to me not great. Which is likely not why the wine was purchased. Felt the 15.3%.

2016 Bedrock Zinfandel, Sonoma Valley, Monte Rosso Vineyard. Dark purple core, the rims dulling to a more scarlet hue, no glow, clarity remains good. Nose developing a smoky kind of stoniness, fruit shading black, momentary wafts of florality, seems to have withdrawn a bit, a sign that it is maybe not yet in its prime drinking window. Medium to full-bodied, pretty gosh darned tannic and dry. Fruit here edges back towards red, sort of in the middle. Stony earth, twigs and leaves, black tea leaf, orange peel, for me coming across as on the rustic side. This particularly at the finish. Minimal presence of oak. Stepping back, the fruit should go another 3-4 years in its present state so just have to hope the structure softens.

2018 Bedrock Contra Costa County, Evangelho Vineyard, “Evangelho Heritage.” The violet to ruby coloration glows yet, shiny surface, only throwing a tiny bit of sediment. Juicy nose of strawberry, raspberry, blueberry fruit as well as citrus zest and pressed flowers, lighter eucalyptus, not much lift to it. Full-bodied with pleasing roundness, this while not sacrificing a good tannic spine. The florality takes off here. The helps center the fruit and extend it into the finish. The more you sip the drier it gets, thus I wouldn’t characterize it as an easy drinker. I like where it’s at today. Unspecified percentages of Zinfandel, Carignane, Mataro, remainder Alicante Bouschet, Palomino, Grand Noir, Mission.

2019 Bedrock Gewürztraminer, Sonoma County, Moon Mountain District, Alta Vista Vineyard. Basic golden color, some shine but on the whole looks somewhat flat. A floral musk pushed first into the nose then predictably lychee nut, spiced orange peel, solid foundation of apricot, melon, kiwi scents, honeyed tones glue it together, fills the nostrils very well. Medium-bodied, touch bottom heavy as might be expected. Acidity is slight, relies on sheer heft for general structure. Again, floral, sweet citrus and nuts. Along with the apricot, peach, melon fruit, it in aggregate massages your pleasure nodes. Somehow manages a firm grip at the finish. Seems to be drinking in a good place.

2002 Sherwin Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, Spring Mountain District, Estate." Black purple core, incredibly thin brick red rims, utterly opaque, surface sleek. Smells like it was bottled a week ago, slowly builds into a tidal wave of cassis, plum fruit, molasses, menthol, cedar, cola bean, serves up enough nuances to give if lift, but it is offering a fruit driven experience. Medium-bodied, offers a tannic firmness that does a great deal to channel the abundant dark fruit into a more muscular shape. Oak toast, caramel, mint, it weaves in like it belongs. Cedar, tea leaf. Some orange peel, not horribly advanced yet it mixes in enough that it convinces you it has gone somewhere. I have no idea if there’s any meaningful development in its future but right now if you have a right-down-the-middle Cab experience this delivers the goods. Contains small unspecified percentages of Merlot, Cabernet Franc.

1992 Philip Togni Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley. Black core that just slides into opaque, heavyset brick red rims with a thin yellow aura, clarity seems good. Rugged nose of tar, damp leather, tilled black earth and sous bois, nothing subtle about it, some air brings out bell pepper notes I associate with the bottling, the black fruit scents diminished, probably better than having turned to prune. Medium-bodied, feels firm more by dint of residual muscle than tannic structure, the latter as resolved as it’s ever going to be. Very tarry here with a broad herbaceous streak, benefits from a mentholated lift. Surprisingly there’s sizably more fruit here, dry but recognizably currant and cherry. Nice tang at the finish, notes of white grapefruit. Didn’t fade with air nor did it improve. Generally speaking, I like the Togni profile so what some might perceive as shortcomings are good to me. For my tastes on the back end of what I’m sure has been a long plateau. Some small percentages of Merlot and Cabernet Franc added.

2019 Bedrock Sonoma County, “Cuvée Karatas.” Dark golden coloration, clean and vibrant, polished through to the mostly hueless rims. The nose has a curious reticence, slow to unveil orange spice, floral dew, vanillin cream, the orchard fruit scents developing a semi-tropical touch. Full-bodied, citric without being noticeably acidic. The sweet attack moderates into nuttiness, the same orchard fruit and citrus peel. From sip to sip tends to present unevenly, as if unsure of its preferred direction. Squarish finish needs to find an organizing principle. Otherwise, tasty enough. Mainly Sémillon (Monte Rosso Vineyard), remainder Sauvignon Musque (Ubaldi Vineyard), Sauvignon Blanc (Judge Vineyard).

2022 Bedrock Syrah, California. Good darkness to the purple core, rims a dark scarlet rather than ruby, trim and clean. The nose has a dewy thickness to it, violet pastilles, smoky grill fat, and orange peel wrapped around plum, currant fruit scents, its roundness inhibits any textural lift, if it loses some heft it could gain more transparency into complexity. In the mouth it is medium-bodied and slimmer than expected. And certainly much drier than expected. With this in mind, no lack of fruit, here moving towards mixed berry and lighter on its feet. More grill smoke, pork cracklins, and iodine than florality. Past the mid-palate getting an increasing caramel, vanilla nuance. Not much perceptible tannin which leaves the acidity to clean up things. Good wine at a good price. Grapes sourced from Nolan, Bien Nacido, White Hawk, Weill, Hudson, Bedrock Vineyards. (Composite Cork: Diam10)

2007 Kistler Pinot Noir, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast, Occidental Station Vineyard, “Cuvée Catherine.” Black purple core, fully opaque, dense brick red rims, average shine. Meaty nose in a salami fashion, grill smoke, minerally earth, the fruit scents are slight, plum to cassis, oak comes off as resolved, minimal lift. Full-bodied, attack spreads very wide then it swirls down a funnel into a dry, semi-astringent finish. So, good to enjoy the dried fruit richness when it hits the tongue. Orange peel, spice, caramel. Oddly primary without any of the development found in the nose. As a result, it is kind of a one trick pony and not what you really want this far out. That said, tastes good enough and has plenty of weight. No clue if this was the intended outcome.

2006 Ortman Family Vineyards San Luis Obispo County, “Cuvée Eddy.” Splash of purple to the core otherwise a lot of brick to rust red, liquid unblemished, bumps up against opaque. The nose is on the pruney side with milk chocolate and menthol accents, on the barnyardy side, full enough to stick in clumps to your nostrils. Full-bodied, its age is on full display with raisin, date flavors next to the plum and black currant. If there was much tannin in its youth it has turned into a dense, inert material. Flowers and menthol, lingering oak toast, likely had bombast right out of the gate. Taking into account the aforementioned, no lack of fruit flavor and basically a credible pizza wine. Which has its place. 44% Syrah, 30% Grenache, 15% Petite Sirah, 9% Mourvèdre, 2% Viognier.

2001 Lewis Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, “Reserve.” Filmy black core, broad washed out rust red rims, looks its age. Smells alcoholic even at a “modest” 14.2%, plenty of oak toast residue, what fruit is there plummy in a sugary way, Asian spices that got pushed to the back of the cabinet for too long, sorta minty. Medium-bodied minus, metallic and astringent until about 20+ minutes in when it starts to stabilize. Then turns to just “dry” as in on the way to “dried out.” Today, though, has a credible amount of currant, black cherry and blackberry fruit that is (no longer?) super concentrated. Vague tobacco to mineral notes. But not much going on by way of development. So, what one is left with is a bowl of fruit on the downward slope. A wine that should have been consumed young to take advantage of the fruit and the winemaker’s intent.

2001 Domaine de la Mordorée Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, “Cuvée de la Reine des Bois.” Pure black core, thin rust red rims, clarity appears to be okay, nice surface shine, does look its age. Sinewy, smoky nose, charred meat, mixed black fruits seem to have more thickness than actual aroma, has nicely developed beyond its youth, pleasing length. Medium-bodied, sweet blackberry, raspberry to even plum fruit, dappled in cocoa powder to milk chocolate. No acidity, tannin more like sawdust than a fresh skeleton. Potpourri, lavender, wild flowers, adds a pretty touch. I can’t go out and say that it has developed a bucket of tertiary elements. But the flavors and aromas one might associate with it from its youth persist. Happy with it. Unspecified percentages of Grenache, Mourvèdre and Syrah.

2022 Thierry Navarre 100% Oeillades, Languedoc, Vin de France, Vin d’Oeillades. Plum purple to red, sort of dark and transparent at once, rims notably full. Dusty, sandy nose contrasted by bright rhubarb, strawberry, raspberry scents, incense ash, light scrub matter, quick lift, not a lot going on but what it does it does right. Light to medium-bodied, tannic web holds it in place while allowing for a sense of movement. Same basic sour fruit array, lavender and garrigues, leather. Same mild funk on the outskirts of town. Tactful finish, clean and in no way abrupt. Like a wine from a simpler time when you drank what your forebears drank.

2015 Bernard Baudry Chenin Blanc, Loire, Chinon. The golden color darkening, fairly flat which gives it a blockish appearance. Nose of cellar aged apple, apricot fruit, lanolin, honey and an unassuming waft of white smokiness, notable more for textural darkness than any lift or prettiness. Full-bodied, soft with an immediate coating sensation. Acidity struggles to assert itself, oddly most through the finish. That said, pleasing orange to lemon citrus zing which sharpens the apple, pear, peach fruit and evokes tropical notes. More brown sugar than honey, feels drier the more you sip it. Personally, I’d expect more given its sort of “middle aged” status. May be suffering a little from the vintage characteristics. In the end perfectly acceptable if not exciting.

2021 Marco de Bartoli Pignatello, Sicily, Terre Siciliane, “Rosso di Marco.” While completely unblemished, the core comes close to inky purple, dense garnet red rims, just stops short of a saturated glow. A burst of mixed berries in the nose countered by asphalt, tar, and resin, lighter leatheriness as well, if a nose could be described as “chewy” this comes close. Medium-bodied and in spite as a powerful blanket of tannin it retains a velvety fluidity. The blueberry, raspberry, blackberry fruit lends more flavor than a “wet” juiciness. That asphalt, stone element persists while overall it is clean and devoid of funk. There is a grassiness here not found in the nose. Feels very even from attack to finish. Of course, after a glass or two that tannin starts to build up and the tongue gets blunted. As a result, despite the berry goodness needs food with some fat content. (Composite Cork: Vinc Reserve)

2001 Uccelliera Sangiovese, Tuscany, Brunello di Montalcino, “Riserva.” Brownish purple core, touch more red further out, then yellow, clarity is decent but overall hue makes it come off as muddy. Nose is volatile with sloe leather, sweaty horsehide, merde notes, hint of sandalwood, mesquite barbecue sauce, the fruit close to full absence. Medium to light-bodied, tannin still throwing punches and the acidity ain’t no slouch. The cherry, currant fruit holding on here but just, saved by the hard candy sweetness. Anise, lavender, tea leaf, murmur of orange peel. Drying finish, hard to tell if it’s the tannin or general drying out. Time and a lot of swirling did not change it. Does have an interesting inner mouth perfume and thus sense of motion. Basically, fans of well aged Brunello are its audience now, to be fair I’m not really in that camp.

2012 Clos Mogador Spain, Priorat. Glowing opaque purple core, dark garnet rims, good shine, pretty darn youthful. Turbulent nose of peanut shell, muddy earth and lighter vegetal matter, then gets super smoky, takes some time to calm down to create space for raspberry, blackberry fruit, not finding any overt oak presence, sort of high-toned. Medium-bodied, on the tannic side but not dry. Still, inert enough that not a lot coming through, makes me think it is in a shutdown phase. Plenty of blueberry, raspberry fruit and a nice topping of caramel. Close to tarry at the end. Offers a pleasing profile but I don’t think it is close to what it can be. 49% Grenache, 25% Cariñena, 16% Syrah, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon.

2021 DuCard Norton, Virginia. Dark purple core, no glow just opaque, dark blood red rims, no lack of color per se. Nose produces tangy cranberry, blackberry to cherry scents, a little off-center as one might expect, no animal fur or other funky elements, if anything it could use some junk in the trunk, medium grade leatheriness, overall neutral. Medium to light-bodied, the latter especially so at the finish. Keenly edged acidity and tannin, slims it down and sets a brisk pace. Sour red fruits, a minerally bite sharpens this feel. Here you do get some of the animality but it is not all that distracting. Horsehide and leather. Like its buoyancy, well done iteration of the grape. (Composite Cork: Diam5)


Awesome notes as always - thank you so much for posting!

Oddly enough i popped the 1995 vintage of this wine the other day! While your notes are WAY better…there’s definitely some similarities

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great notes, Marc.

Especially appreciate the one on the 1994 Kalin. I hunt them.


Saw your note on the 1995, alas there will be fewer and fewer notes on these wines as they get consumed. Sort of in the same boat as Thackrey, singular enough that when they are gone they are gone.

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Year in and year out it’s my favorite Bedrock bottling - that juiciness juxtaposed with the citrus grabs me and won’t let go.

I will not say it is my favorite bedrock, but I love how elegant of a wine this is. It also has some interesting ripe sappy notes to play along with the zippy citrus notes. My sense is that this is a polarizing wine in the bedrock portfolio, I know a handful of Bedrock afficionados that are not in love with it, @Rich_Brown . I would be very hard-pressed to identify my favorite, but I am really digging the Monte Rosso Zin. Of course, the Oakville farmhouse is probably the most distinct wine in their portfolio. By the way, I like the Monte Rosso Cabernet and the Monticello Cabernet as well.

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If I had to make a “top 5” list…off the top of my head it might go like this:

Evangelho Heritage (inclusive of the Areio e Vento e Amor micro-cuvee)
Teldeschi Zinfandel/Teldeschi Heritage
Old Hill Ranch Heritage
Oakville Farmhouse
Dolinsek Heritage


Great list. I would probably swap out Sky for Dolinsek. Or just get the real Sky, gosh so delish.

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Nice note. I found the 2018 entirely similar. FWIW, Foreau/Domaine du Clos Naudin considers 2015 to be one of the greatest Chenin Blanc vintages ever.

Sky is a treasure!


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