TN: Some New Calif Wines...(long/boring)

We tasted last night (11/29/17) Some New Calif Wines:

  1. Carlisle Compagni-Portis SonomaVlly/SonomaCnty WW (13.9%; Plntd: 1954; GWT/TrousseauGris/Riesling; 90 cs)
    : Light gold color; lovely aromatic GWT/lychee/cheap hair oil very spicy/nutmeg beautiful nose; fairly
    tart very perfumed/GWT/lychee/hair oil very rich/textured dry very spicy/nutmeg beautiful GWT flavor;
    very long/lingering GWT/lychee rich/textured very spicy finish; a beautiful expression og GWT for Calif.

  1. Carlisle TheDerivative f’(x) SonomaCnty WW (13.9%; Vines Plntd: 1886-1922; 49% Muscadelle/39% Semillon/
    11% Colombard/1% Palomino; 405 cs) 2015
    : Light gold color; more neutral lightly floral/apple/pear light
    stony/earthy very quiet nose; fairly tart bit lean some stony/earthy light floral/apple/quince subtle/
    quiet/shy flavor; long light stony/mineral/chalky light floral/apple finish; definitely an Oakland wine
    that is very quiet/shy now but most certainly will improve w/ some btl age. $27.75

  1. Harrington PinotNoir RonSilettoVnyd/Hollister CentralCoast/Calif (13.4%; Basket Pressed) 2016: Light color;
    very fragrant PN/cherry/spicy light pencilly/toasty/oak somewhat Burgundian lovely complex nose; fairly tart
    very spicy/bright cherry/PN some smokey/oak slight earthy/dusty rather Burgundian light/zippy flavor w/ light
    smooth/silky tannins; very long/lingering light toasty/oak/pencilly bright/cherry/PN bit earthy light finish
    w/ light smooth tannins; a lovely elegant/svelte somewhat Burgundian Pinot that reminds a lot of the lesser
    Calera Pinots but w/ less oak; quite a pretty/lightweight Pinot at a stupid/silly price. $23.00

  1. OjaiVnyd PinotNoir Bloom’sField StaRitaHills (12.5%) Oakview 2015: Med.light color; very strong black cherry/
    PN/very spicy light toasty/oak/smokey quite perfumed nose; rather tart/tangy/bit lean very strong black cherry/
    PN/cherry/very spicy some smokey/toasty/oak flavor w/ modest lean tannins; very long/lingering quite tart/tangy/
    bit lean very strong black cherry/cherry/PN some smokey/toasty/Fr.oak fairly structured finish w/ modest bit
    crunchy tannins; high acidity but packed w/ Pinot flavor and not at all green or eviscerated; needs several yrs
    yet; should be quite a good Ojai Pinot w/ age; bit on the pricey side at $93.00

  1. UntiVnyds LaCrima DryCreekVlly (12.9%; 50 cs) NV ('15-'16): Dark color; beautiful herbal/pungent/rosemary/thyme
    strong black cherry cola/blackberry/LaCrima very aromatic/insecticide-like very exotic terrific nose; lightly
    tart very exotic very herbal/pungent/rosemary&thyme very strong black cherry cola/LaCrima/DrPepper/root beer
    beautiful flavor w/ light bit bitey tannins; very long/lingering intense herbal/pungent/rosemary&thyme bit
    earthy/dusty very strong LaCrima/black cherry cola/blackberry/DrPepper very exotic finish w/ light brisk tannins;
    a very/very unusual/exotic some may say bizarre Calif red at a great price. $25.00

  1. Kerria DOC: LaCrima di Morro d’Alba (12%; BelVino/Solon/OH; L.61/14) Gioacchino Garofoli/Castelfidardo/
    Marche 2013
    : Very dark color; rather earthy/pungent strong black cherry cola/blackberry/very spicy classic LaC
    aromatic nose; lightly tart strong black cherry cola/blackberry/very spicy some earthy/dusty very attractive
    lush flavor; very long slightly tart strong black cherry/black cherry cola/blackberry/LaC/spicy finish w/ light
    brisk tannins; a lovely classic LaC di Md’A at a great price. $20.00 (KK)

  1. OjaiVnyd Barbera RichVnyd/VenturaCnty (14.5%) 2015: Med.dark color; very fragrant Barbera/Italian sausage/
    Italian dried herbs/cherry classic Barbera light toasty/oak lovely nose; lightly tart/tangy cherry/Barbera/
    Italian herbs bit vanilla/toasty/oak fairly rich flavor w/ some brisk tannins; very long/lingering bright/
    cherry/Barbera/dried Italian herbs/dried sage light toasty/oak finish w/ some tangy tannins; quite an
    attractive Barbera that needs several yrs of age. $38.00

  1. Vigne Marina Coppi Barbera Sant’Andrea DOC: Colli Tortonesi (13%; TheSortingTable/Napa;; +Croatina) Francesco Bellocchio/Castellania 2013
    : Very dark color; very classic
    Italian Barbera/Italian dried herbs/bit blackberry somewhat earthy quite attractive nose; somewhat tart fairly
    rich/lush classic Barbera/spicy/Italian herbs some earthy/dusty slight tangy/metallic quite spicy flavor w/ light
    crunchy tannins; very long rather tart/tangy but rich/lush strong Barbera/Italian herbs/spicy slight blackberry
    finish w/ some crunchy/brittle tannins; quite an attractive Piemonte Barbera; speaks strongly of Barbera but
    the rich/lush character mediates the crunchy tannins & fierce acidity that Barbera can show; very well-priced
    Barbera. $22.00 (KK)

  1. OjaiVnyd Syrah WhiteHawkVnyd/SBC (14.5%) 2005: Very dark color w/ no bricking; intense smokey/toasty/Fr.oak/smokey
    intense licorice/boysenberry/blackberry/Syrah rather Rhonish/espresso/roasted beautiful complex classic SBC mature
    Syrah nose; lightly tart very intense smokey/pungent/charred/oak strong blackberry/Syrah/boysenberry bit peppery
    quite roasted/Rhonish/smokey/Fr.roast coffee bean structured flavor w/ light ripe/smooth tannins;very long/
    lingering intense charred/smokey/pungent/Fr.oak very strong blackberry/Syrah/licorice rather pungent Fr.roast
    coffee/roasted/Rhonish/smoked meats structured/balanced w/ light smooth/gentle tannins; a classic fully-mature
    beautiful Ojai Syrah and or slightly beyond its peak; stunning Syrah. $32.00

  1. OjaiVnyd Syrah WhiteHawkVnyd/SantaBarbaraCnty (13.5%) 2014: Dark color; some blackberry/Syrah/blueberry light
    floral/violets some Rhonish/smokey/earthy/Cornas-like more restrained bit complex nose; quite tart/tangy herbal/
    blackberry/Syrah/bit peppery some floral/violets light Rhonish/Cornas flavor w/ some green/crunchy tannins;
    very long quite tart/tangy/bit screechy some blackberry/blueberry/Syrah/bit spicy some floral/violets very light
    toasty/Fr.oak slight herbal/thyme light earthy finish w/ some crinkly tannins; clearly less ripe than the '05
    but shows a floral character you don’t often find in Calif Syrah; probably needs 5-10 yrs of age; not a dramatic
    Syrah now but should improve. $49.00

  1. OjaiVnyd 50% Syrah/Grenache JohnSebastianoVnyd/StaRitaHills (13.0%) 2016: Dark color; lovely aromatic Grenache/
    strawberry bit blackberry/Syrah/spicy slight earthy quite pretty Grenache nose; some tart/tangy bright/strawberry/
    Grenache bit blackberry/spicy/peppery slight Rhonish/roasted flavor w/ light brisk tannins; very long bright/
    strawberry/Grenache light blackberry/Syrah/peppery very slight Rhonish/pungent lightly tart finsih w/ light
    crisp tannins; quite a pretty Rhone blend that speaks mostly of Grenache. $nc (FC)

  1. OjaiVnyd Syrah HenryDaniel Calif (34% BienNacido/33% Melville/33% RollRanch; 14.5%) 2008: Very dark/black color;
    very strong blackberry/boysenberry/Syrah/slight licorice/bit floral/violets light toasty/oak some roasted/Rhonish/
    espresso rather complex nose; fairly tart strong blackberry/boysenberry/Syrah/black cherry/very spicy bit licorice/
    pungent some toasty/charred/Fr.oak bit peppery light Rhonish/roasted/espresso rather complex flavor w/ modest
    ripe/angular tannins; very long/lingeringstrong blackberry/Syrah/black cherry/very spicy some toasty/charred/oak
    light Rhonish/roasted/espresso some what tart very structured finish w/ some ripe tannins; a beautiful classic
    youthful Ojai Syrah w/ the structure to age well; a powerful Syrah but balanced and clearly not over the top.

More made-up stuff from TheBloodyPulpit:

  1. Carlisle Whites: Like Bedrock, Mike doesn’t get the recognition he deserves for his white wines. Probably
    because they’re such a small part of his production. But, across the board, they are excellent. I really liked
    this latest C-P. It’s as good as GWT gets in Calif. The richness & lushness reminded me a lot of an Alsace
    VendageTardive GWT. From olden days, back when VT were made dry (and cheap).
    The Derivative was a rather quiet white and not very expressive. Like the Sauvignon Verts in Calif used to
    be. However, based on my experience w/ Mike’s Derivative, I fully expect it to put on weight and turn into a
    very interesting btl of wine.
    SauvignonVert used to be (sorta) widely planted in Calif, where it made very boring wines. SauvignonVert
    is also an alternative name in Friuli for Tokaji Friulano. According to Mike, DNA testing showed that most of
    the SauvVert in Calif to be Muscadelle, a minor grape in Sauternes. But there may be some Calif SauvVert that is
    actually Friulano. I gather the TTB is not very rigorous in what you call your SauvVert. There may be some
    Calif Tokaji Friulano that is suspect.

  1. Harrington: I have, of course, followed BryanHarrington’s wines from the very start, when I first heard of him
    from KenZinns. Hard to believe, but Bryan’s first love was to make great Calif Pinot. Somewhere along the way,
    he went off the deep end and now his passion is to make great Calif wines from varieties nobody ever heard
    of (can we say Teroldego or Tazzalenghe). They’re not always home-runs, but sometimes a sharp single down the
    third base line is good enough for tonight’s drinking. He has a very active effort to bring in more obscure
    grape varieties, get them thru FPS and released, and then find some grower crazy enough to plant them for him.
    Sure ain’t gonna be in the NapaVlly. Fortunately, his production is sufficiently limited that he doesn’t
    have to be worried about being out on the streets flogging his latest Cesanese to BevMo or TotalWines.
    I usually find his Pinots the least exciting in his portfolio. But I was quite taken by this latest Pinot
    from the RonSiletto vnyd. It’s not a profound Calif Pinot, but just really good drinking Pinot at a great price.
    Now…if we can only get Bryan to make Calif’s first Visciola. It’s a no-brainer. Then we can finally say
    that Bryan has arrived as a winemaker!!

  1. LaCrima: This is a variety that originated in the Marche of Italy. About the only place it’s planted, particularly
    around the village of Morro d’Alba, where it is a DOC. It has become one of my favorite lesser-known Italian
    grapes. It often has an aroma of black cherry cola that I particularly like, w/ a slight bit of earthy/rustic
    character. Supposedly it does not take well to aging, probably a bit like Dolcetto. It often reminds me a bit
    of Refosco and Terrano.
    Unti has the only producing planting of LaCrima in the US. Alas, it’s badly virused and the production level
    is quite low. Only about 2 rows planted. Their first release was a little over a yr ago. It was a blend of the
    '12-'13-'14, about 1 barrel of each.
  1. Unti LaCrima DCV (13.2%; LaCrima di Morro d’Alba; 85 cs; >> ) NV ('12-'13-'14): Med.dark color;
    some toasty/oak some black cherry cola/plummy light earthy fairly strong nose; fairly tart some black cherry
    cola/Lacrima/plummy fairly strong toasty/vanilla/oak flavor w/ light ripe tannins; very long rather toasty/oak
    strong black cherry cola/plummy/licorice light earthy finish w/ modest ripe/lush tannins; speaks of Lacrima
    under all the oak; quite a nice red at a very fair price. $22.00

This latest release was a blend of the '15-'16 vintages. I preferred this newest release necause the oak was
much more toned down, it seemed more varietally correct. It is a very exotic wine because of the very strong
herbal/pungent character and may be too bizarre for some folks. In fact, StevieStacionis/BayGrape described
a Giusti LaC di Md’A as the first wine she ever hated. My tasters, in general, really liked this wine for
its very exotic character.
Last Spring, in his foray into Italy searching for unusual grape varieties, BryanHarrington sent back
some LaCrima. As soon as it’s cleared as virus free, he will get some planted somewhere.
In the Marche, they also make a wine called Visciola. It is a blend or co-ferment of LaCrima and Visciola
cherries. The stuff is pretty incredible as a dessert wine. It would be a no-brainer for the SuisunVlly,
where they have lots of cherries and with PetiteSirah, could make great Visciola. Just takes someone a bit
on the nutty side to do it. It’d be a slam/dunk.

  1. Barbera: Not a big fan of Piemonte Barbera in general. Many have a teeth-chattering acidity to them (“salato”)
    that often works w/ foods but makes them sometimes painful to drink. This Coppi Barbera I liked quite a lot
    because it was not too painful to drink. You don’t often see Barbera from the Colli Tortonesi, an area most
    well known for some outstanding Timarasso whites.

  1. Ojai: Another impressive showing from Ojai. I’ve never regarded the WhiteHawk vnyd as a source of particularly
    distinguished Syrah. Of the level of BienNacido or Thompson. But this '05 was a very impressive mature SBC Syrah.
    The Barbera was exceptional, one of the best Calif Barberas I’ve had over the last few yrs. He made a
    '14 Barbera, but found it had a screaming acidity and took 18 mo. to finish M-L. With the '15, and Sashi’s
    advice, he used some whole-cluster to raise the pH a bit. To prevent tannin overextract from the stems, he
    used pump-overs rather than punch-downs. It gave a Barbera Adam was far happier with.
    The HenryDaniel Syrah was a library re-release, hence the high price. Adam has never been very agressive
    in his pricing and they remain pretty reasonably priced.

Now…if we can only get Bryan to make Calif’s first Visciola. It’s a no-brainer. Then we can finally say that Bryan has arrived as a winemaker!!

Next time you attend a certain mid-Peninsula tasting group, just ask. The host’s cousin makes fantastic Visciolino and Nocino. Maybe if I get Bryan a try I can further warp his fragile mind…

Thanks for all the notes, Tom!

White Hawk is a pretty special site, my friend. That sandy soil and southern exposure lead to the possibility of some pretty wonderful syrahs - as well as sangiovese :slight_smile:

I have worked with the vineyard on and off since 2009 and have enjoyed working with the grapes - but there is quite a bit of variability based on clones and where on the hill you get your fruit from. Lower on the hill, the crop levels are a lot heavier and the clonal material to me is not as ‘distinct’.

As you climb near the top, crop levels are relatively small (2 tons/acre or less) and the berry size seems to sharing precipitously. Of the vintages I’ve produced from there, I tend to get a meaty, peppery note on each - quite distinct from, say, the Larner syrahs that I produce.