WTN - Rosenblum tasting plus two interesting Italians

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WTN - Rosenblum tasting plus two interesting Italians

Postby Ryan M » Mon Sep 15, 2008 2:12 pm

Not this past Saturday but the week before I happened to be at the local store when they were tasting some Rosenblum wines. I don't have a lot of experience with Rosenblum, but based on the wines I've tasted, they make distinctive wines of good quality. Also included here are two unusual Italians I drank at home.

Rosenblum tasting (9/6/08)

Rosenblum, Viognier, Appellation Series, Kathy's Cuvee, California 2006
Citrus and wonderful, ripe, sweet peach and tropical fruits, with creamy vanilla. Lots of character. Wow. This is the best Viognier I've had to date. This can be had for under $15, and at that price a tremendous value. Excellent / Exceptional (89 - 91). [9/6/08]

Roseblum, Mourvedre, Appelation Series, San Francisco Bay 2004
Nice, interesting nose. On the palate, cherry, plum, violets, smoke, and spice. Frim finish. Very fruity and aromatic for Mourvedre. Lots of character. Great wine. Around $15, and a good value. Excellent / Exceptional (89 - 91). [9/6/08]

Rosenblum, Syrah, Rominger Vineyard, Yolo County 2006
Dark berries, earthy herbs, spice, and a touch of mineral. Very nice, but not nearly as interesting as the Mourvedre. If you can find this for $15, it's worth trying, but the price online seems to be around $20, and at that price I'd pass. Excellent (87 - 90). [9/6/08]

Rosenblum, Zinfandel, Appellation Series, Paso Robles 2006
Softish cherry with a touch of raspberry upfront, then blackberry, and a spicy finish. Quite good, but more or less 'just another' California Zin, and for around $15, not all that exciting (although it's not an unfair price). Excellent (87 - 90), but only merely. [9/6/08]

And the Italians:

Voga, Quattro, Sicilia IGT 2005
This is a blend of (are you ready for this?) Cab Sauv, Merlot, Pinot Noir, and Syrah. Clearly an attempt to cash in on the appeal of the 'Cal-Rhone' style blends. Cherry upfront, followed by a touch of soft red berry (that might suggest the Pinot), then Shirazy plum, and currants (from the two Bordelais), with a finish of white pepper and Cab Sauv / Merlot - style structure. With all of that, a touch of tomato paste, orange rind, and generous acidity that that hints at its Italian provenance. The white pepper does perhaps hint that's it's Sicilian. Very fruity and extracted - reminds you strongly of California or Australia. The fruit mellowed a bit the second day and it tasted much more Italian. Definitely a nice wine, and worth it's under $10 price tag, but not if you're looking for something that tastes Italian. Very Good Excellent (86 - 88). [9/6/08]

Vini di Bacco, Vino da Tavola Rosso NV
Cherry upfront, with a tantelizing hint of blackberry, and espresso (which cupples with the fruits to given an impression of cola), then juicy red plum (and perhaps even a bit of plum tomato), a touch of aromatic vanilla, and a generously spice finish. Also has a touch of orange rind to it. Very lush. A lovely wine. No grape indicated, although I noted that the front palate reminded me strongly of Montepulciano. The fine print on the back label says it was bottled in Asti, however, which led me to guess it must have been Dolcetto. But, looking it up online, it is actually a blend of Sangiovese and Montepulciano. Now, the strange part is that having had two glasses, I vacuum-sealed the bottle and stuck it in fridge for later. But, coming back to it only a hour later for a another half-glass to sip on, I found that it had gone very far down hill (and under vacuum no less!). I'll I can say is that this is an NV, obviously for basic everyday drinking, and this batch of bottles has been at a local store for over a year. An example of what I call the 'time-capsule effect,' which is to say wines that have somehow been perfectly preserved well past their prime, but subsequently collapse very rapidly upon openning. All that aside, if the current bottling is comperable, then this is a steal of a value (under $10), and the Italophiles should buy it by the case for everyday drinking. Lovely stuff. Excellent (87 - 90) when first openned. [9/6/08]
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Re: WTN - Rosenblum tasting plus two interesting Italians

Postby Jenise » Mon Sep 15, 2008 2:55 pm

Ryan Maderak wrote:Not this past Saturday but the week before I happened to be at the local store when they were tasting some Rosenblum wines. I don't have a lot of experience with Rosenblum, but based on the wines I've tasted, they make distinctive wines of good quality.


Rosenblum used to make much better wines than they do now. Every single Rosenblum I've had in recent years, well--all three or four of them, and only reds but never a mourvedre, have been sappy, high alcohol fruit bombs where once upon a time I sought out Rosenblum's Sonoma zins in particular (maybe at that time it was all they made) for classicness, ageability and restraint (I fondly recall '95 Carla's, Hendry and Kafka or something like that). Which may be the reverse of what agrees with your palate, but if you find old tasting notes that don't square with your recent impressions, this might be why.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: WTN - Rosenblum tasting plus two interesting Italians

Postby Ryan M » Mon Sep 15, 2008 3:08 pm

Jenise wrote:
Ryan Maderak wrote:Not this past Saturday but the week before I happened to be at the local store when they were tasting some Rosenblum wines. I don't have a lot of experience with Rosenblum, but based on the wines I've tasted, they make distinctive wines of good quality.


Rosenblum used to make much better wines than they do now. Every single Rosenblum I've had in recent years, well--all three or four of them, and only reds but never a mourvedre, have been sappy, high alcohol fruit bombs where once upon a time I sought out Rosenblum's Sonoma zins in particular (maybe at that time it was all they made) for classicness, ageability and restraint (I fondly recall '95 Carla's, Hendry and Kafka or something like that). Which may be the reverse of what agrees with your palate, but if you find old tasting notes that don't square with your recent impressions, this might be why.


Actually, that's probably not inconsistent with my impressions to an extent - the Syrah and the Zin fit the high alcohol fruit bomb description, but I'd say the Syrah had enough character to cope. The Mourvedre has a lot more personality than that; and although the 2004 noted above is quite fruity for a Mourvedre in fact, a previous vintage I had had almost no fruit to - it was all earth and smoke and tar and minerals - great stuff. The Viogner is definitely Californian, but in a very good way.
"The sun, with all those planets revolving about it and dependent on it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as if it had nothing else to do"
Galileo Galilei

(avatar: me next to the WIYN 3.5 meter telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory)
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Yup....

Postby TomHill » Mon Sep 15, 2008 5:19 pm

Jenise wrote:Rosenblum used to make much better wines than they do now. Every single Rosenblum I've had in recent years, well--all three or four of them, and only reds but never a mourvedre, have been sappy, high alcohol fruit bombs where once upon a time I sought out Rosenblum's Sonoma zins in particular (maybe at that time it was all they made) for classicness, ageability and restraint (I fondly recall '95 Carla's, Hendry and Kafka that would be Harris-Kratkaor something like that). Which may be the reverse of what agrees with your palate, but if you find old tasting notes that don't square with your recent impressions, this might be why.


I'd tend to agree w/ you on this, Jenise, for the low-end wines...their Appellation Series. Their high-end wines (StPeter'sChurch, Rockpile, Rhodes, Maggie's, Hendry) are all, I think, pretty much as good as they've always been. But as Kent expanded more & more towards the bottom end, I find those wine are not that interesting...a bit on the soupy/sappy side. One of the things Kent does w/ those wines is back-blend a few % of wine from the current (just-fermented) vintage vintage to give them that lush/fruit-forward Rosenblum style. That also means they change quite a bit over the first yr they're in the btl and don't age quite as predictably. They're tasty wines w/ loads of fruit, characteristic of their fruit sources, but just not that interesting. But what the heck would I know?? Only followed Rosenblum from the very start..the '86 vintage.
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Re: WTN - Rosenblum tasting plus two interesting Italians

Postby Loweeel » Mon Sep 15, 2008 5:25 pm

I've enjoyed most of their PS, which I've found has a "house style" of a sort of blackberry liqueur, creamy oak, and crushed gravel flavor palette on the palate. The heritage clones is quite nice for the price, and the rockpile reserve is exquisite. I haven't had the newly-sourced vineyards (Kick Ranch and Pato) yet.

The Annette's Reserve Zin is awful. Heat and no finish. I also really enjoyed the Kathy's Cuvee Viognier.
Last edited by Loweeel on Mon Sep 15, 2008 6:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: WTN - Rosenblum tasting plus two interesting Italians

Postby Ryan M » Mon Sep 15, 2008 5:28 pm

Loweeel wrote:I've enjoyed most of their PS, which I've found has a "house style" of a sort of blackberry liqueur, creamy oak, and crushed gravel flavor palette on the palate. The heritage clones is quite nice for the price, and the rockpile reserve is exquisite. I haven't had the newly-sourced vineyards (Kick Ranch and Pato) yet.

The Annette's Reserve Zin is awful. Heat and no finish.


Given the style of their other wines, I imagine their PS is killer - have to try it sometime!
"The sun, with all those planets revolving about it and dependent on it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as if it had nothing else to do"
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Re: WTN - Rosenblum tasting plus two interesting Italians

Postby JC (NC) » Mon Sep 15, 2008 6:34 pm

My past favorites of their zins were the Harris Kratka (the one that sounds kind of like Kafka) and the Rockpile. At their tasting room in Healdsburg in 2007 I wasn't very impressed with what we sampled but did buy a novelty chocolate infused Port (haven't opened it yet but may include it in a November 15 wine tasting of Thanksgiving wines and dessert wines.)
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