WTN: New Calif Syrahs...(long/boring)

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WTN: New Calif Syrahs...(long/boring)

Postby TomHill » Sun Apr 02, 2006 5:49 pm

We tasted last night (3/22/06) Some New Syrahs:
1. ThreeRivers of WallaWalla ColumbiaVlly Syrah (14.3%; http://www.3RiversWinery.com) 2001: Dark
color; rather smokey/toasty/dusty/meaty slight herbal rather blackberry/blueberry/
Syrah some roasted/espresso bit alcoholic nose; soft meaty/pungent/smokey earthy/dusty
licorice/blackberry/Syrah flavor; med.long meaty/smokey light pungent/roasted fairly
blackberry finish w/ some tannins; needs several yrs; very attractive classic WashState
Syrah at a good price. $24.00
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2. K-Syrah MilbrandtVnyd/WahlukeSlope/ColumbiaVlly (13.5%; http://www.K-Syrah.com) 2003: Very
dark color; rather peppery/spicy/toasty/oak spicy/blackberry/Syrah bit Rhonish/charred/
pungent nose; soft very rich/lush blackberry/boysenberry/Syrah/licorice/chocolate some
toasty/oak/Rhonish flavor; very long toasty/roasted/pungent very ripe/blackberry/Syrah
slight earthy/dusty finish w/ some tannins; needs several yrs; very/very good WashState
Syrah w/ some ersatz/Rhonish character. $29.00
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3. Consilience SamtaBarbaraCnty GreatOaksVnyd Syrah (16.5%; 175 cs) 2002: Very dark color;
rather carbon arc/pencilly/toasty/minerally pretty alcoholic very ripe/overripe licorice/
boysenberry/Syrah interesting nose; dreadful sour/bitter hot/alcoholic/fumey weak
boysenberry/jammy flavor; very unpleasant bitter/astringent/sour light boysenberry/
overripe finish w/ some/lots(?) tannins; sorta OK nose but terrible on the palate;
grossly overextracted; DNPIM. $28.00
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4. Consilience HamptonVnyd/SBCnty Syrah (16.0%; 208 cs) 2003: Black color; rather fumey/
alcoholic very ripe/overripe blueberry/boysenberry/Syrah some toasty/oak nose; soft/fat
overripe/boysenberry/blueberry/Syrah some toasty/smokey/oak rather hot/alcoholic/fumey/
burney flavor; fairly tannic hot/fumey/alcoholic overripe/poysenberry/jammy/Syrah finish;
way too fumey and overextracted; an IncredibleHulk wine. $36.00
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5. Consilience Cuvee Mambo/SBCnty (16.2%; 108 cs; Syrah/PS/Zin/Grenache) 2003: Black color;
very ripe/blackberry/boysenberry bit smokey/oak/toasty fairly fragrant nose; soft/fat
quite grapey/boysenberry/licorice/chocolaty/plummy slight earthy some toasty/oak flavor;
med.long very ripe/grapey/plummy/boysenberry some tannic finish; not as fumey/alcoholic
as the other two; very overripe/porky and overpriced. $38.00
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6. HalterRanch Syrah EB/PasoRobles (http://www.HalterRanch.com; 14.5%) 2002: Very dark/black color;
deep earthy/boysenberry/black berry/black cherry cola light/toasty/oak bit spicy/jammy
nose; soft/fat bit tannic slight chalky/earthy ripe/licorice/chocolaty/boysenberry/Syrah
slight toasty/oak flavor; med.long boysenberry/blackberry/cola some Paso/jammy bit earthy
finish; packed w/ ripe/Paso fruit but some other things therein; interesting/ripe Syrah.
$29.00
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7. Blue*Rock AlexanderVlly Syrah (14.5%) 2001: Very dark color; rather spicy/blackberry/Syrah/
straightforward bit gamey/meaty/green olive slight toasty/charred/oak nose; very soft/fat
grapey/blackberry/Syrah/straightforward some buttery/toasty/oak flavor; med.short soft/fat
ripe/simple/blackberry/Syrah finish w/ little tannins or structue; rather interesting nose
but falls way short of delivering on the palate. $32.00
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8. Enkidu Odyssey RussianRiverVlly Syrah (14.5%; http://www.EnkiduWines.com; 175 cs) 2004:Dark color;
rather toasty/smokeyoak bit medicinal spicy/blackberry/peppery nose; tart rather toasty/
smokey/charred/oak some blackberry/Syrah slight peppery flavor; long toasty/smokey/oak rather
blackberry/peppery/Syrah finish w/ modest tannins; quite a lot of oak, maybe a bit overdone.
$24.60
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9. PaulLato BienNacidoVnyd/SantaMariaVlly Syrah LongShot (U/U; 14.9%) 2002: Very dark color;
rather toasty/oak slight earthy/funky very spicy/blackberry/Syrah almost Ojai-like slight
pungent/tobaccoy interesting nose; soft spicy/black cherry/black berry/Syrah some toasty/
charred/oak flavor; med.long rather toasty/charred/oak strong/ripe/blackberry/Syrah finish
w/ some tannins; needs several yrs; seems a bit short on the mid-palate; interesting
rendition of BienNacido Syrah but a bit overpriced.
$41.00 (LA)
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10. ColdHeaven Syrah SecondSin SBCnty Vogelsang/LaPurisma/BienNacido vnyds (13.5%) 2003: Very
dark/black color; lovely peppery/spicy/cracked pepper/blackberry/Syrah slight cough syrup
light NR/roasted complex nose; tart bit light blackberry/cracked pepper/cola/Syrah light
toasty/smokey/oak flavor; med.long peppery/blackberry/Syrah light toasty/pungent/Rhonish
finish w/ some tannins; very attractive/interesting Syrah. $36.00
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11. Foxen Syrah Williamson-DoreVnyd/SantaYnezVlly (14.5%; http://www.FoxenVineyard.com) 2002: Black
color; rather Rhonish/NorthernRhone cracked black pepper/walnutty/roasted strong blackberry/
Syrah some toasty/oak/espresso complex/lovely nose; tart roasted/espresso/cracked black
pepper intense blackberry/spicy/Syrah some tannic flavor; very long cracked black pepper/
roasted/espresso intense blackberry/Syrah finish w/ ample tannins; needs 2-6 yrs; a terrific
Syrah w/ lots of NR character; great value at $30.00
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12. Bonaccorsi LarnerVnyd/SantaYnezVlly (15.0%; http://www.BonaWine.com) 2003: Black color; some
reduced/funky/pungent nose that clears to roasted/espresso/mocha NR/complex intense Syrah/
blackberry some herbal/forest floor very interesting nose; tart/rich spicy/roasted/smokey/
espresso/meaty intense blackberry/spicy/Syrah bit toasty/oak flavor; very long roasted/
pungent/toasty/smokey intense blackberry/Syrah finish w/ ample tannins; needs 3-8 yrs;
a bit like an Alban, a bit like an AlainGraillot w/o the searing acidity; terrific Syrah.
$48.00
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13. PointConcepcion CuveeJalama CentralCoast Syrah (14.1%) 2002: Med.color; very pretty cherry/
black cherry/cola bright fruit slight peppery/spicy very floral/aromatic nose; ;ight floral/
spicy/cherry/aromatic bit lean light peppery/blackberry almost Pinotish flavor; light very
floral/aromatic/perfumed cherry/cola/bright fruit finish w/ light tannins; a very lovely
perfumed/aromatic Syrah rather Pinotish in character.
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14. Viader NapaVlly Syrah (14.0%) DeliaViader/DeerPark/HowellMtn 2002: Very dark color; very
strong toasty/Fr.Oak bit herbal some licorice/blackberry/Syrah slight smokey/Rhonish more
Napa Cabernet nose; big/extracted toasty/FrOak slight herbal/Cabish slight blackberry/Syrah
tannic flavor; med.long toasty/charred/FrOak rather tannic light herbal/Cab some blackberry/
Syrah finish; needs much age; speaks way more of Napa Cab than Syrah; very pricey at $54.00
____________________________________________________________________________
And the usual BloodyPulpit:
1. Consilience: This wnry has always been sort of hit-or-miss with me. Seem to be getting
lots of misses tonight. The GreatOaks actually hurt when it hit the palate; like sticking
your tongue betwixt the jaws of a vise and torquing that sucker down. The wines seem to be
consistently overripe and alcoholic. I'll probably stay on the Club list for another
year and see what develops.
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2. AlexanderVlly Syrah: This is a region that has never particularly enamored me. I find many
of the wines quite soft on the palate and lacking in structure. Fortunately, Syrah seems not
to have caught on much in AlexVlly, which means just a few fewer frogs I have to kiss.
The Hanna is easily the best I've had from that AVA. This Blue*Rock had a pretty interesting
nose, but it fell flat on its face when it hit the palate.
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3. Enkidu: New one for me. When I was visiting w/ MikeOfficer several weeks ago & we were
talking about all the wineries who are making wine at Well's facility, he mentioned Enkidu.
So, when I saw a btl in BottleBarn, had to try it. Pretty nicely done Syrah w/ plenty of
oak, but plenty of fruit as well. From the Site (http://www.EnkiduWines.com), the owner/winemaker
is Phillip Staehle, formerly of Carmenet. Dog's (golden lab) is, of course, Enkidu. He also
makes NapaVlly/FazekasVnyd PetiteSirah and SonomaCoast/KainbarellVnyd PinotNoir. I'll
probably try those as well.
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4. PaulLato: Paul I've known for a fair number of yrs. He's been a sommelier at Hospices for
many a yr, where I first met him. Makes his wine at the CentralCoast Wine Coop. I've heard
lots of good things about his Pinot as well.
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5. Viader: First time for me to try a Viader Syrah. It delivered pretty much what I expected;
a Syrah made by a NapaCab producer. Speaks far more of NapaCab than of Syrah, or even Napa
Syrah. It seems that so many of the big-name NapaCab producers have started producing Syrah,
but it comes out tasting more like their Cab than a Syrah. I think there are some really
outstanding Napa Syrahs being made (Lagier-Meredith, Rocca, AshleyHeisey, EhrenJordan); but
none by any of the big-name Cab producers. Probably the Shafer Relentless is the best of
that ilk. A few yrs ago, at the HdR seminar on his Syrahs, I pointedly asked RandyLewis
what his experience of making quality NapaCabs brought to the Syrah table. He spoke a few
words, but it was pretty much a non-answer. Maybe these folks should stick to their Cab-
making and leave the Syrah to folks who really understand the grape. End of rant.
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6. FoxenSyrah: Owwwww...easily the best Foxen Syrah ever made. One of the most NorthernRhone-
like Syrahs I've had from SantaYnezVlly. I assume this is the first vintage from their
own estate vnyd. A killer Syrah I thought.
I've pretty much followed Foxen wines from the very start. They used to be slammed w/
a ton of new/toasty French oak. The Foxen boys have since gotten far away from that paradigm
and are now making some of their best wines ever, I think. Their dry CheninBlanc is one of the
best made in Calif.
_________________
7. PointConcepcion: This Syrah, of course, comes from the famed PeterCargasacchi; SantaRitaHills
grower extraordinaire. Quite an attractive Syrah and a good first-effort. This btl was a
replacement for a previous one that was badly corked.
Tom
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Cold Heaven

Postby Redwinger » Sun Apr 02, 2006 6:27 pm

Tom,
Isn't Cold Heaven the venture put together by Morgan Clendenen (the better half of Au Bon Climat's Jim Clendenen)? Any idea if she has any distribution outside of California?
Thanks.
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Yup.....

Postby TomHill » Mon Apr 03, 2006 10:21 am

Morgan Clendenen, Jim's spouse, is the one behind ColdHeaven (see last week's LATimes article on her & LouisaLindquist). Originally, it was all about Viognier, but she now seems to be edging into a full Rhone portfolio.
I know she does have some distribution outside Calif. Probably thru the same distributors that AuBonClimat uses I would guess.
Tom
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WallaWalla producers

Postby rumpole » Tue Apr 04, 2006 1:30 pm

Tom,

Thanks for the notes. Will be visiting WallaWalla in May for new releases. Is their a Syrah producer(s) there you hold above the others? I will visit K Vintners (an annual visit), Cougar Crest, and Isenhower Cellars.
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Other WashState Rhones...

Postby TomHill » Tue Apr 04, 2006 1:35 pm

I did a post about a month ago on the tasting I did of WashState Rhones... back on the Netscape WLDG board. If you can't track them down, let me know & I'll e-mail you my notes. I liked the WalterDacon and BaselCllrs ones quite a bit.
Tom
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WalterDacon

Postby rumpole » Tue Apr 04, 2006 1:53 pm

Thanks Tom, I think I do remember that post and will find it. I too enjoy WalterDacon and help out at the winery (5 miles from my home) on occasion. The 2004s are very nice as well! :D
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Foxen

Postby JC (NC) » Tue Apr 04, 2006 7:27 pm

Read in one of the wine mags that Foxen is developing a style of Chardonnay with less oaking and malolactic--letting the grapes speak for themselves. That's a style I would like to sample from California. Will try the Syrah if I get the opportunity.
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