We tasted the other night (5/16/12) some Archives Wines:
1. Qupe Marsanne LosOlivosVnyd/SBC (12.5%) 1991: Med.dark gold/burnished bronze color; some oxidized/nutty/toasted
hazelnuts slight appley quite honeyed/oldRhone complex nose; tart some oxidized/toasted hazelnuts slight
maderized some honeyed/caramel/smokey slight appley flavor; long honeyed/caramel/smokey some toasted hazelnuts/
oxidized/oldRhone finish; more oxidized than the Viognier; showing its age but still a pleasure to drink.
2. Qupe Viognier LosOlivosVnyd/SBC (12.5%) 1991: Med.gold/slight bronze color; slight pear/Viog light oxidized/
toasted hazelnuts/oldRhonish complex nose; tart light peach/pear/Viog some toasted hazelnuts/oldRhone/slight
oxidized complex flavor; very long light peach/Viog toasted hazelnuts/oldRhone complex finish; showing some
oxidation but still pleasurable & more bright/alive than the Marsanne.
3. LaJotaVnyd Viognier HowellMtn/NapaVlly (13.0%) 1991: Med.gold color; some nutty/hazelnutty/waxy vanilla/oak
bit oxidized/oldRhone rather earthy very slight pear/Viog some rustic/earthy nose; tart rather earthy/dusty
nutty/toasted hazelnuts/oldRhone bit oxidized light toasty/vanilla/oak somewhat earthy/rustic flavor; long bit
caramel/cajeta toasted hazelnuts/nutty/oldRhone earthy/dusty/rustic some waxy/angel food cake finish w/ slight
bitterness; not much Viog fruit left bit more oxidation showing; that rustic HowellMtn character shows thru.
4. Alban Viognier Estate/EdnaVlly/SLOCnty (TW) 1991: Med.gold color; bit reduced/stinky at first strong toasty/
charred/oak light peach/ripe/Viog slight nutty/oldRhone bit fresher/alive/Viog complex nose; rather tart strong
toasty/charred/oak rather caramel/honeyed/cajeta light peach/ripe/Viog fairly fresh complex flavor;very long
strong charred/toasty/Fr.oak light nutty/oldRhone slight caramel/honeyed/cajeta complex finish; still very much
alive & shows Viog fruit and only a trace of oxidation; a terrific old Calif Viog.
4a. Wolffer Chard EstateSlctn TheHamptons/LongIsland (13.0%) 2002: Light gold color; rather butterscotchy/toasty/
oak/smokey slight melony/Chard bit earthy/loamy interesting nose; soft/fat/glycerined somewhat underacid/soapy
bit dilute/melony/Chard strong toasty/vanilla/caramel/oak flavor; long strong vanilla/smokey/oak bit dilute/melony/
Chard soft/underacid bit watery finish; dominated by the oak but still an interesting wine.
5. ColoradoCllrs GrandGame (Uncommon Austrian Varietal/Lemberger; 12.5%) JimSeewald/Palisade/CO
1988: Med.color w/ slight bricking; rather earthy/dusty/loamy/wet pavement classic Lemberger bit Zin/
blackberry/ruhbarb slight toasty/oak complex nose; tart quite earthy/loamy/wet pavement/dusty/mushroomy
light toasty/oak slight blackberry/ruhbarb/Zin bit herbal/plastic rather smooth flavor w/ little tannins;
fairly long rather earthy/loamy/dusty/mushroomy slight blackberry/Zin/grapey/ruhbarb complex finish w/
smooth/soft tannins; speaks very strongly of Austrian BlauFrankish w/ the earthy/loamy character; an
absolutely amazing Lemberger that's still very much alive.
6. Ravenswood Zin SonomaCnty (OldVine; 13.7%; 46% AlexVlly/37% DCV/17% SonomaVlly; 4133 cs;
Bttld: June 15, 1990) 1988: Med.color w/ some bricking; some toasty/oak slight blackberry/Zin bit funky/
dishwater/mushroomy/Kansas root cellar nose; very tart some pencilly/toasty/oak/oldZin slight blackberry/Zin
bit dried out/tangy/astringent flavor; med. tart/tangy slight funky/dishwater/root cellar slight blackberry/Zin
bit astringent/dried out finish; strange tart/tangy character on palate; still hanging in there, but barely.
7. RosenblumCllrs Zin GeorgeHendryVnyd/NapaVlly (SaH: 22.2 Brix; TA: 0.89 gm/100 ml; TW) 1988: Med.dark color w/
slight bricking; rather minty/menthol slight blackberry/Zin/boysenberry/Rosenblum lush slight pencilly/toasty/
coconutty/vanilla/oak slightly perfumed soap/fragrant interesting/complex nose; soft some minty/menthol rather
toasty/vanilla/toasted coconut/oak some lush blackberry/boysenberry/Zin/licorice bit pencilly/tobaccoy/oldZin
flavor w/ light/gentle tannins; long minty/menthol some toasted coconut/ZagNutBar/vanilla/oak some lush/ripe/
boysenberry/Zin/licorice light pencilly/tobaccoy/oldZin finish w/ smooth tannins; no signs of drying out; still
a very much alive Zin but speaks quietly in a gentle voice.
8. BuehlerVnyds Zin NapaVlly (13%) 1987: Med.color w/ considerable bricking; totally TCA/musty/corked nose; DOA.
9. TerraRosa 18% NapaVlly CabFranc/82% SonomaCnty CabSauv (12.5%) V&B by LaurelGlenVnyd/ StHelena 1988: Dark color
w/slight bricking; rat6her herbal/Cab/earthy/old timey slight brett/unclean light toasty/oak nose; soft rather
herbal/weedy/Cab slight funky/unclean/bretty bit toasty/oak flavor w/ little tannins; med.long herbal/Cab some
earthy/loamy light toasty/oak finish w/ slight tannins; not much excitement left in this wine but not yet drying
out and in amazing condition for a "cheapie" Cab. $10.40
10. CarnerosCreekWnry CabSauv EsolaVnyd/AmadorCnty (13.4%) 1988: Dark color w/ little bricking; strong briary/blackberry/
boysenberry/blackcurranty/Cab licorice/bramble some tobaccoy/toasty/oak slight menthol lovely complex nose; soft
bit tannic/hard strong briary/brambly/AmadorZin/blackcurranty/Cab slight herbal/spicy light toasty/tobaccoy/menthol/oak
rather lush/youthful flavoor w/ smooth/elegant tannins; very long/lingering ripe/briary/brambly/AmadorZin some
herbal/blackcurranty/Cab some pencilly/tobaccoy/oak/menthol lush/youthful some complex finish w/ smooth/polished
tannins; no signs of drying out; a beautiful/complex old-timey Cab that speaks both of AmadorZin and blackcurranty/
11. Nalle CabSauv DryCreekVlly/SonomaCnty (13.2%) 1988: Med.dark color w/ slight bricking; rather spicy/blackcurranty/
Cab very berry/spicy almost Zin like some pencilly/Fr.oak/licorice complex lovely nose; tart bright/blackcurranty/
Cab bright berry/Zinberry/spicy light pencilly/Fr.oak smooth/polished/svelte flavor w/ light/smooth tannins; very
long tart bright/blackcurranty/Cab/Zin-like/berry/spicy light pencilly/oak finish w/ smooth/graceful tannins; still
very much a bright & alive Cab in classic Nalle style.
12. Ridge MonteBello SantaCruzMtn (95% CS/3% Merlot/2% PetiteVerdot; 12.9%; 54 tons from 40 acres;
Selection: 20% held out; Bttld: April '90; Drk: 4/90-4/05: PD) 1988: Med.dark color w/ slight bricking; rather bretty/
horsecollar/unclean strong pungent/blackcurranty/Cab/licorice some smokey/Am.oak/roasted/coffee bean complex nose;
tart rather unclean/bretty smooth/polished slight tannic strong blackcurranty/Cab/licorice/earthy/SCMCab bit
tangy/tart complex flavor; long quite unclean/bretty slight tannic/dried out earthy/licorice/blackcurranty/Cab/
pungent some vanilla/Am.oak/coffee bean finish; some really nice & interesting things therein but too uncllean/bretty
to be really enjoyable. $30.00
13. Darby PurpleHaze ColombiaVlly RW (CS/Merlot/PetiteVerdot/Syrah; 14.9%) 2010: Very dark color; quite smokey/toasty/
charred/oaky slight volatile chocolaty/boysenberry/plummy/spicy vanilla/oak quite lush/grapey/plummy attractive
nose; soft bit tannic strong vanilla/oak/toasty/charred quite lush/grapey/plummy/blackcurranty slight earthy flavor;
quite long bit tannic/bitey soft/lush/ripe/grapey/blackcurranty/plummy/licorice/chocolaty strong vanilla/oak/charred
finish; lots of ripe character but would get a bit tiring on the palate after a few glasses; quite good for $20.00
14. Alban Syrah Reva Estate/EdnaVlly/SLOCnty (15.6%) 2001: Very dark/black color; intense charred/smokey/toasty/
Fr.oak/burnt very intense blackberry/boysenberry/Syrah bit herbal/peppery/cough syrup/black cherry huge nose; tart
very strong charred/toasty/burnt/Fr.oak slight peppery/herbal intense blackberry/boysenberry/Syrah some black cherry/
cough syrup slight tannic/bitey flavor; very intense blackberry/boysenberry/ripe/Syrah slight herbal/peppery strong
burnt/charred/toasty/Fr.oak slight tannic/bitey finish; still a huge intense Syrah; some softening of the tannins
but not showing much evolution or complexity.
And a wee BloodyPulpit:
1. I have, of course, followed Colorado wines from the very start. That would be IvancieCllrs, located in
Denver and using grapes purchased from Calif, often from the Stag'sLeapDistrict. Dr.GerryIvancie was
a successful Denver dentiist and started as a home winemaker, before going commercial in the early-mid-'70's.
He hired as winemaker a StJohn's/Annapolis graduate and foil fencer and amateur winemaker from Chicago,
who was transitioning from his position as Prof of Philosophy at Univ of Chicago, a dead-end profession, to
the much more fertile career as winemaker. This winemaker, Dr.WarrenWiniarski, went on to achieve a small
modicum of success in the NapaVlly when his Ivancie gig was completed.
The next wnry, and first true CO wnry, was ColoradoCllrs, also based in Denver. It was founded by a home
winemaker, JimSeewald, who ran a supply shop there for home winemakers. He had convinced some farmers on the
WestSlope, near Palisade, CO, to plant some grapes for him, from which he sourced for his wines.
As I was pulling wines from the archives for this tasting, I stumbled across this lone btl and thought
I'd throw it in as a joke; convinced that it was absolutely dead & gone. When it was young, this wine was
loaded w/ ripe/grapey/blueberry flavors; not particularly tannic or structured. But, it's a CO wine and no way
could it have survived 24 yrs of cellaring. But what a friggin' surprise this wine was. It was totally alive,
quite complex, very reminiscent of young Austrian BlauFrankisch; a real pleasure to drink. An absolutely
astonishing wine...who'd have thunk.
2. Esola Cab: FrankMahoney started making Zin from ErnieEsola's ShenandoahVlly vnyd back in '73 or '74. They were
some of the greatest Zins produced in Calif in the mid-'70's. Ernie also had a little Cab planted that Frank took
as well; mostly for blending in and darkening up his NapaCabs. He would occasionally, when he has some left over
after blending, btl it as a SV Cab. This be one of those.
Back in the mid-'70's, during a visit w/ Frank, he tasted me on a brl of the EsolaCab and I was blown away by it.
It spoke to me more of ShenandoahVlly Zin than of Cab; w/ a strong briary/brambly/blackberry character that resembled
his Esola Zins. Probably why i liked it so much. Even after Frank dropped the EsolaZin (for which I raised bloody hell
with him over the yrs...and still do), he continued to by Ernie's Cab. This is some of those later purchases. It still,
to my taste, resembles Amador Zin, but speaks gently of blackcurranty/Cab. Maybe the best mature Amador Cab that
I've ever had.
Frank was known, back in the mid-late-'70's for is AmadorZins, though Pinot was clearly his passion. It was only
later that his reputation for great Pinot eventually came to the fore. However, during those early yrs, he quietly
made NapaVlly Cab, mostly from NateFay and Steltzner vnyds. They were wonderful, old-timey Calif Cabs, the likes of
few would deign to make in the NapaVlly these days, the usually matured into wonderful old-timey old Cabs. He never
got the recognition for his Cabs I felt he deserved.
3. OldRhoneWhite vs. OrangeWines: The Viogniers/Marsanne were quite interesting wine w/ much oldRhoneWhite character
and showing varying degrees of oxidation. I thought them rather good and would go fine w/ food. However, they are not
the style of wines that everyone would like. My group is pretty open-minded on wines (lord knows they have to be...
considering the amount of weird stuff I throw at them), but for other folks where even a trace of oxidation is a
fatal flaw...these wines are not for them. It struck me as we tasted thru them how much they resemble "orange" wines
that are made in an oxidative style....interesting wines that show better w/ food...but just not to everyones taste.
So....even though I like these "interesting" wines...don't become a TomHill sheep...you'll likely be led astray.
If you want to be any kind of sheep...stick w/ the Monktown attourneys...safer, though more expensive.