TN: Syrahs With The Painter's...(short/boring)

Monday (7/18) A Tasting with the Painter’s
I’m a big fan of cold-climate Syrah since I first had those from Peay and Bassetti vnyds. They have a peppery/
cracked black pepper character that I find most attractive. The first planting in the Carneros was by LeeHudson
of HudsonVnyds. Shortly thereafter the LasMadresVnyd of John & Jean Painter came on-line. When I tasted the first
LasMadres Syrah from BrianKane/VIE, I knew we had another winner in a cold-climate Syrah vnyd.
I did a visit w/ the Painter’s about 4 yrs ago. Susan had not seen the vnyd and thought she might enjoy this
beautiful setting down in LosCarneros, just a bit west of LeeHudson’s vnyd. The vnyd itself is broken into two
blocks, named after the two Mothers. One of the things John has been doing in the vnyd of late is interplanting
Viognier. He will identify a Syrah vine that seems weaker than the rest, plant a Viognier vine between it, and then
lop off the weakling Syrah after the Viognier has taken. After a walk thru the vnyd, we adjorn to try some
LasMadres Syrahs:

  1. LasMadres Syrah 2008: Dark color; strong blackberry/Syrah rather pungent/graphite/mineral light earthy
    some black pepper rather coffee grounds fairly complex nose; fairly tart graphite/mineral/peppery/coffee grounds strong
    blackberry/Syrah slight tangy/metallic attractive flavor some some tannins; long strong pungent/coffee/graphite strong
    Syrah/blackberry finish w/ fair tannins; needs another 2-6 yrs; plenty of peppery blackberry fruit w/ a strong coffee/
    semi-Rhonish component.
  2. NicholsonRanch Syrah LasMadresVnyd (60% whole cluster) ThomasRiversBrown 2005: Very dark color; spectacular
    Rhonish/roasted/espresso very cracked black pepper strong peppery/blackberry/Syrah light toasty/oak/smokey very complex
    nose; very strong espresso/roasted/pungent/very Rhonish strong blackberry/Syrah/peppery slightly tart balanced/polished
    flavor w/ modest tannins; very long/lingering intense pungent/roasted/espresso/mocha strong peppery/blackberry/Syrah
    light toasty/oak finish; showing some development and smoothing out but should go another 4-6 yrs; a very spectacular
    very NorthernRhone style of Syrah.
  3. Myriad Syrah LasMadresVnyd/EstherBlock (14.4%) MikeSmith 2009: Very dark color; very strong metallic/graphite/
    coffee grounds pungent/licorice strong blackberry/Syrah light peppery/pungent rather complex nose; soft/smooth/polished
    some tannic strong blackberry/Syrah some pungent/coffee grounds/graphite/metallic bit Rhonish very attractive flavor;
    long smooth/polished/round strong blackberry/peppery/Syrah some tannic some pungent/graphite/coffee grounds finish;
    a polished/well-sculpted Syrah that should go out another 5 yrs; quite drinkable for an '09; lovely Syrah

And a wee BloodyPulpit:

  1. This first Syrah is one that John makes in his garage for his own consumption. He will eventually go
    commercial once his garage renovation is complete and is bonded.
  2. Nicholson: ThomasBrown made two LasMadres Syrah '05. One conventional, and then this whole cluster version. The label
    did not distinguish which one was which. The conventional one was the big seller in the tasting room and this 60%
    didn’t sell squat because it was too “different”. I thought this to be a spectacular Calif Syrah that was a dead-
    ringer for a NortherRhone Syrah. Amazing juice.

After biding adieu to the Painter’s, we head over to BoonFly Cafe to have lunch w/ Frank Mahoney. I, of course,
followed FrankMahoney’s CarnerosCreekWnry from the very start, the '72 Gamay. He made some amazing Amador Zins
in the mid-'70’s (Esola & Eschen vnyds); for which he caught no end of grief from me when he quit making them.
But, obviously, PinotNoir was (and is) his passion. He sold CarnerosCreek to the Mondavi’s and now makes wine under
the MahoneyFamilyVnyds label. In addition to PinotNoir, he makes a number of other varietals, mostly from his
LasBrisasVnyd there further west in the Carneros. His LasBrisas Vermentino of undoubtedly the coldest-climate
planting of Vermentino in the world. All of his wines are very reasonably priced.
I hadn’t seen Frank in probably 25 yrs. It was great to reconnect and catch up on past histories. The wine was
his Mahoney Vermentino. Delicious and went well w/ our light lunch. No TN’s.