TNs: Cowan Cellars, Eaglepoint Ranch, Mendocino, others

  • 2006 Eaglepoint Ranch Petite Sirah Eaglepoint Ranch - USA, California, North Coast, Mendocino County (8/26/2009)
    Yum. Quite nice. I was ready to go fry a steak to go with this. A little bit lighter petite sirah and it’s drinking well now. Dark fruit and pepper on the nose and plum and pepper on the palate. Nice balance and good finish. Some tannins but not too bad.
  • 2006 Eaglepoint Ranch Syrah - USA, California, North Coast, Mendocino County (8/26/2009)
    The Eaglepiont wine that I liked the least of the three I tried this day, but it has its merits. The thing that jumped out at me was the olive flavors that I usually get in French syrah. It’s less common in California syrah. Also, some nice blueberry flavors. But there was a streak of something on the palate I can’t pin down that threw the wine off, maybe a slight medicinal/chemical flavor. It could be that the wine is evolving and it’s still a bit young.
  • 2007 Eaglepoint Ranch Grenache Eaglepoint Ranch - USA, California, North Coast, Mendocino County (8/26/2009)
    I love grenache, especially those from the southern Rhone and the Central Coast, the friendly, inviting, put-out-on-the-first date hedonistic kinds. Eaglepoint Ranch’s grenache is not like that. It’s pretty, refined, plays sports and going to college grenache. 14.2 percent alcohol. Nice nose of red fruits and earth and maybe a pinch of tobacco. Lighter red fruits on the palate, strawberry and maybe raspberry. A nice mushroom earthiness that you don’t get in a lot of California grenache. Perfectly balanced. Not a huge grenache. I liked it.
  • 2008 Cowan Cellars Syrah Dry Stack Vineyard - USA, California, North Coast, Bennett Valley (8/25/2009)
    The nose seemed slightly off, but it’s a barrel sample so it’s still developing. The nose reminded me more of the tire tread associated with Lagrein. At this point the nose didn’t seem typical of syrah. But the palate was all syrah. More black fruit than red fruit, plums and something else. Maybe a little bit of violets peaking through and some pepper. There’s nice structure to the palate and no noticeable oak. A nice wine.
  • 2008 Cowan Cellars Sauvignon Blanc Silver Pines Vineyard - USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Mountain (8/25/2009)
    Stills seems kind of tight and undeveloped. It is a different kind of wine. It’s a full-skin contact sauvignon blanc, reductive rather than oxidative. For me the tannins showed up on the attack, compared to the few orange wines I’ve had where they seem more prominent on the finish. The nose seemed more like traditional sauvignon blanc with some grapefruit and maybe some flowers. The palate seems less developed. More grapefruit and some white fruits. Jim indicated he was going to leave it longer in the barrels.
  • 1996 Bollig-Lehnert Piesporter Goldtröpfchen Riesling Spätlese - Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer (8/23/2009)
    Seemed unusually sweet for a spatlese, especially a 1996, which was supposed to be a high acid vintage overall in Germany. I wish there was a German expert to try it. It seems more like an auslese, like maybe this was one built to age a long time. The sweetness distracted from the food and was considerably greater than say the 1989, which is also a recent library release.
    The nose was baked apple and petrol. Apple and nuttiness on the palate and some spice. The finish isn’t as long as the 1989. I’d like to get another bottle or two of this and try them in a few years.
  • 2006 Cavallo Etna Rosso - Italy, Sicily, Etna DOC (8/26/2009)
    My attempts to look for other Nerello Mascalese hit another bump with this wine, which seems like box wine in a fine wine botler There’s a coarse, acidic taste on the attack and a bitter finish. There’s a sensation of a fizz but no bubbles. I wasn’t expecting a whole lot for $10, but DiMajor Norante is nice in that price range and I hoped for something similar from this.Doesn’t taste anything like Palari Faro. The back label says it is bottled by Emanuele Scammeca del Murgo. Imported by Cavallo Siciliian Wines.
  • 2004 Baxter Winery Syrah Eaglepoint Ranch - USA, California, North Coast, Mendocino County (8/26/2009)
    Syrah on the nose, definitely, with some meatiness/bacon fat. The palate seems less obvious. Darker fruits. Kind of one dimensional. No major flaws. Maybe it’s still developing.
  • 2007 Mendocino Farms Grenache Dark Horse Ranch - USA, California, North Coast, Mendocino County (8/26/2009)
    No major flaws in this wine but there’s no major strengths, either. More of a generic red fruit flavor. Doesn’t scream grenache! Balanced. Maybe a lilttle too industrial.
  • 2006 Artevino Chardonnay Reserve - USA, California, North Coast, Mendocino County (8/26/2009)
    I really wanted to come down on this wine but I realized it’s largely because of the tasting note in the tasting room that described this as Burgundian. This is pure Californian. The tell-tale sugar is a dead give away. it doesn’t have the oak, sure. But it doesn’t have any minerality that I could perceive. Tropical fruits for flavor. Short finish. Not particularly focused or zingy either. Maybe it needs age to come together. But if this reserve the regular must be terrible.
  • 2007 Naughty Boy Chardonnay - USA, California, North Coast, Potter Valley (8/26/2009)
    Excellent QPR. From some place called Potter Valley that’s northeast of Hopland in Mendocino County.Varietally correct. Nice balance. Lemon zest on the nose, apple and some other white fruit flavors on the palate. Decent finish. Lightly oaked but it’s not intrusive and I like the texture of this wine. Some minerality as well. I would purchase this for my cellar.
  • 2008 Patianna Chardonnay - USA, California, North Coast, Mendocino County (8/26/2009)
    Simple, couldn’t really tell it was chardonnay. A faint hint of apple flavors. Mild flare of alcohol on the finish. Stainless steel but doesn’t have the zippiness of a good chardonnay that sees no oak. Shows organic wines can be weak, too.

Thanks for the notes, Steve-- any idea when Jim’s going to offer the Cowan Cellars wines?

He keeps saying when it’s ready. Both 2008s are still in the barrel, so I wouldn’t expect them any time soon.

Likely in the spring but no final decision has been made.

FWIW, I think your notes on my wines are pretty accurate; or at least I preceive them much as you do.
Stop by anytime you’re out here.
Best, Jim