Last night it seemed most of my tasting group had other obligations, so three of us met at a local restaurant, and enjoyed a nice meal with our theme; Rhone Rangers. The bottles were consumed non-blind over the course of 3 hours with food. It was a very nice and relaxing way to enjoy the wines.
A white to start:
2009 Lagier Meredith Pott Chesters Anvil Gretna Green - USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast
Green/gold in color. What a lovely nose. Very floral with a steely minerality. Complex and also some kiwi notes. Medium bodied with a silky texture. On the palate, this is much tighter. Perhaps it opens, but I am not sure how well this ages. During dinner, it did open up nicely with limes and minerals. I really like this wine and will drink mine up this spring and summer. Went well with hummus and pita bread. (91 pts.)
The reds went well with my Roasted Vegetable Platter and the others said the same for their lamb dishes.
2005 Outpost Grenache - USA, California, Napa Valley, Howell Mountain
Light ruby in color. The nose was very nice with strawberries, raspberry kool-aid and a slight warm, musty funk that was very nice. On the palate, it was nice, but lagged behind. An upfront attack of raspberries was good. The mid-palate was hollow. Then the finish was just ok. A fair amount of heat that never really went away. It went well with roasted vegetables and rice. Good if not great. (88 pts.)
2004 Saxum James Berry Vineyard - USA, California, Central Coast, Paso Robles
I know that 04 was a variable year for Saxum. This bottle was, for whatever reason, not perfect, but still a very good wine. On opening the nose has black raspberries, grilled meat and black pepper. There is also this off chemical note, slightly sour. With an hour of air, the nose smoothed out and was quite good. On the palate, I found the fruit still vibrant, mostly black raspberries and some blue berries, but there was a tingly acidity. Not enough not to enjoy the bottle, but not quite right either. Was I looking for this? Maybe, but we all mentioned it and it never really dissipated. Still, it was a delicious and outstanding bottle if not what other bottles can be and have been. (90 pts.)
2006 Jonata Winery La Sangre de Jonata - USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Ynez Valley
I really liked this wine. It was my WOTN but IIRC, this was $125. Simply not worth it and at that pricing I am no longer a buyer. Purple in color, opaque and bright. The nose is very good, earthy, black raspberries, bacon fat and reasonable. On the palate, there is some restraint here and it is very tight. It opened throughout the evening showing layers of black raspberries, grill smoke and leather. Nice balance. Long finish. Really an outstanding wine. (93 pts.)
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