Tasting with the Historic Vineyard Society 4/30/2013

A very grateful group of 35 students and guests of the UC Davis Viticulture and Enology department were joined by Mike Officer, Steve Hall, and Tegan Passalaqua last night for a tasting of historic vineyards of california. What began as an email asking for some help with what wines to get for the tasting turned into these three rounding up wines from their colleagues, ultimately donating 2 cases of wines, and driving hours to come to Davis for the tasting. What is typically an hour long tasting group pushed almost to three hours with great insight and discussion of the history, farming practices, philosophy, politics, and winemaking practices associated with the production of California’s historic vineyards’ wines.

Thank you Mike, Tegan, Steve, and all of the wineries who donated wine to this event. The wines and the experience was amazing.

The wines:
2011 Carlisle Sonoma County The Derivative White Wine
1989 Harbor Winery Wente Vineyard Semillion
2012 Turley Lodi El Porrón Cinsault
2005 Ridge Geyserville
2008 Seghesio Home Ranch Zinfandel
2011 Bedrock Sonoma Valley Pagani Ranch Heritage Red Wine
2010 Ravenswood Belloni Vineyard Zinfandel
2009 Bucklin Sonoma Valley Old Hill Ranch Zinfandel
2011 Carlisle Russian River Valley Carlisle Vineyard Zinfandel
2010 Biale St. Helena Old Kraft Vineyard Zinfandel
2009 Turley Napa Valley Hayne Petite Syrah
1984 Harbor Winery Mission del Sol

That 84 Misson del Sol is really something huh?

Awesome event Brian! You can’t beat the passion and enthusiasm of the HVS.

How about some impressions on the wines?

Still have a few bottles of the Mission del Sol. Experimenting by seeing how well they’ll age in bottle. I believe the vinyard was ripped out, too bad.

Yea Eric, i think it came out in '97 or '99 because it supposedly wasn’t producing anymore, but I don’t know any details. I should have initially said that these wines were brought by Darrell Corti who is one of only a few people who would know the details on this.

Larry, I don’t have any formal notes, but some general impressions of the group:

pretty much every wine was a favorite of someone, and they were all good to great.

Turley Cinsault might have been most people’s favorite, it was very elegant, juicy, and aromatic.

The Carlisle “The Derivative” was extremely well received and had great freshness, weight, texture, and a touch of phenolic bitterness we all thought added an interesting dimension (and we thought could serve the wine well as it ages.)

Harbor semillon was over the hill, but was interesting.

ridge geyserville was good, but was a bit reticent and didn’t seem to be showing as well as I had hoped it would be at 8 years old

Seghesio had some good richness to it, but there was some obvious oak overshadowing the rest of the wine.

Bedrock was one of my favorites of the night with a really nice balance between power and finesse, that I imagine will develop nicely with age (but i do not have experience with prior vintages, so that’s just a guess.)

The Ravenswood was really nice and very perfumed. We were all happy to see that Ravenswood is still making some great wines after so many years of going at it.

Bucklin was about as big of a wine as you can imagine with huge power, with some noticeable heat you would expect out of a 16.3% wine, but had a great savory aroma and flavor (lots of eucalyptus, bay leaf,
carraway, mint, etc. being thrown around as descriptors)

Carlisle Zin was definitely in my top wines, showing off a ton of acidity that was totally unexpected from a wine with as much ripeness as they achieved in the grapes. Would love to revisit this wine in 7 years and see what’s going on.

Biale was great with lots of fruit, richness, and really nice mineral (graphite) note on the finish.

Turley Petite was a revelation to me about what Petite Sirah can be. So much power without being overbearing, and had a great balance between sweet fruit and a savory meaty characteristic.

Mission del sol is tough to describe as it is just a totally different beast, but was sweet, oxidized, with an interesting burnt caramel character that many people enjoyed. I would guess none of us have had a wine before made in this style, so there was no basis for comparison (continuously adding conc throughout the ferment, followed by 20+ years in barrel).

These notes do the tasting zero justice as the wines were only a portion of what made the night interesting. If only we had recorded the conversations and debates that emerged throughout the tasting - that would be the good stuff.

Thanks Brian. Glad to hear everything showed so well. My experience with The Derivative is that it’s great pop-n-pour but better on night 2. That bitterness you describe definitely starts to integrate, so I’d agree on your ageability guess. The Geyserville is just a baby!