I hadn't been up to the Russian River and Dry Creek valleys for a year, but today I managed to combine some winery visits with taking my 87 year old mother up to Santa Rosa to have lunch with her brother and sister, who live in the area. Lunch was a great success, and the wine visits were even better!
At Joseph Swan, Rod Berglund was clearing out some of his library wines, and I got a couple of bottles of '98 Lone Redwood Ranch zin, which is drinking beautifully now. It took a while for its tannins to integrate! I came home with a case of assorted wines, of course.
He didn't get any chardonnay at all this year, with the wet spring messing up the budding.
After lunch I visited David Coffaro to see what the '05 tastes like in bottle and pick up my couple of cases. I asked Dave why he has started making wines with Spanish and Portuguese grapes, and (I hope I'm saying this right) he told me he wanted to get some Tannat to use in blending, and the person he found who's growing some introduced him to several other such grapes, and when I suggested the idea, he agreed that he felt like a kid in a candy store. He was definitely grinning!
David and Rod both said the harvest will be 4 to 6 weeks late this year, combination of the late, wet spring and the hot spell in July that shut down the vines.
When they start picking the '06, David will be getting Tannat from Gallo, which has a planting in the Russian River Valley.
On the way home I stopped at Foppiano, shortly after 4 PM, and found they're also clearing out library wines. They had some 1986 Petite Syrah for tasting and sale. When I tasted, I said I wanted a couple of bottles of it, and I lucked out in getting the last two they had. I also got some '01 and '03.
So here I am with 4 cases of wine! (I got some PN and Zin at Sunce, too. Sunce is one of those wineries I hope nobody ever hears about.)
Let's see, what can I say about the '86 Foppiano Petite Syrah?
It's dark and fresh looking in the glass, no hint of transparency or bricking. Very little nose for a PS, what there is reminds me more of cab than PS. But I have a very poor nose.
In the mouth, it starts slow, with a bit of dust/must around the edges, and builds and builds and builds. Tannin is present, but very mild, and the black pepper is late to show up and not terribly strong. But my, goodness, the length, persistence and even-ness of the wine! The development is just a matter of going into dark rooms and evoking the spirits that live there. But they're not DEAD spirits, the wine is very much alive and well.
Entirely ready; these two bottles will be gone by the end of the year. My only challenge is to find the proper occasions.