We tried last night (11/14/12) Some Rhones from the Archives:
1. TerreRouge Calif Reserve RW (14.5%; 990 cs) 1991: Med.color w/ some bricking; some cedary/pencilly light
earthy some strawberry/fragrant/perfumed bit tired/oldZin nose; soft rather astringent/dried out rather
pencilly/cedary/old red slight strawberry/perfumed flavor; med.short astringent/dried out/tired some
cedary/pencilly slight strawberry/Grenache/perfumed finish; some pretty Grenache fruit in there but just
barely clinging to life.
2. Novy 45% Grenache/32% Mourvedre/15% Counoise/8% Syrah AlderSpringsVnyd/MendoCnty (15.0%) 2002: Med.light
color w/ slight bricking; some herbal/forest floor/rosemary quite perfumed/strawberry/milk of magnesia/spicy
light pencilly/oak quite attractive some complex nose; soft rather earthy/mushroomy/forest floor/herbal
pretty Grenache/strawberry/chocolate covered strawberries light toasty/oak slight drying/astringent flavor;
med.long rather spicy/strawberry/Grenache/chocolaty herbal/forest floor/woodsy/mushroomy slight astringent/
dried out finish; some very interesting/attractive aromatics but starting to dry out on the palate.
3. TerreRouge Syrah AmadorCnty (14.5%) 1992: Med.dark w/ some bricking; some cedary/pencilly/old red bit
blackberry/strawberry/Syrah/spicy licorice/smokey/pungent complex nose; soft rather pretty blackberry/
strawberry/Syrah/spicy light cedary/pencilly quite smooth flavor w/ little tannins; long slight drying/
astringent smooth/velvety some strawberry/blackberry/Syrah bit cedary/pencilly/old red finish w/ little
tannins; no AmadorCnty/briary character that I can pick up; starting to dry out a bit and a pleasant/quiet
expression of Syrah.
4. TerreRouge Syrah AmadorCnty (14.5%) 1993: Med.dark w/ light bricking; slight EA/fumey bit stronger more
licorice/pungent stronger blackberry/Syrah bit earthy/mushroomy/vegetal less bright/fruity nose; rather
strange herbal/vegetal/earthy/mushroomy slight tangy/metallic light blackberry/Syrah/licorice flavor;
med.short tangy/metallic somewhat herbal/vegetal/earthy/mushroomy light blackberry/Syrah/pungent/
licorice finish w/ little tannins; not a lot of Syrah character and quite strange in the way it has
5. Garretson Syrah HdR Cuvee/BassettiVnyd/SLOCnty (13.5%) 2000: Very dark color; rather reductive/fecal/sewer gas
some bretty/horsecollar bit peppery/cold-climate/Rhonish blackberry/Syrah pretty stinky nose that clears only
slightly; tart rather fecal/sewer gas/reductive/stinky pretty unclean/bretty/horsecollar/very barnyardy slight
peppery/cold-climate/Syrah/tangy flavor w/ little tannins; med.long very unclean/bretty/barnyardy slight
blackberry/peppery/Syrah finish w/ light tannins;
6. Garretson TheReliquary CentralCoast (67% Syrah/20% Grenache/8% Mourv/5% Viognier; 15.2%) 2001: Dark color w/
some bricking; rather mousey/mouse nest/oxidized/tired nose w/ almost no fruit; tired mousey/oxidized no fruit
flavor w/ no tannins; short unclean/mousey/oxidized finish w/ no tannins; obviously a SupremeCorq failure.
7. Havens Syrah Carneros (13.2%) 1993: Med.dark color w/ little bricking; rather bretty/horsecollar some Syrah/
blackberry/spicy light toasty/oak some complex nose; fairly strong blackberry/blueberry/Syrah/spicy/peppery
rather bretty/horsecollar/unclean light earthy flavor w/ light tannins; med.long rather bretty/horsecollar
some spicy/peppery/blackberry/Syrah finish w/ light tannins; some really nice things underneath but rather
too bretty for my tastes.
8. EaglePointRanch PetiteSirah MendoCnty (14.5%) 2002: Very dark/black color; very strong licorice/chocolatey/
blueberry/bit peppery/PS slight oak/forest floor/piney/menthol complex nose; soft strong blueberry/PS/peppery/
chocolaty some vanilla/Am.oak rather hard/tannic/structured slight earthy/dusty flavor; long strong blueberry/
PS/peppery/earthy/mushroomy some vanilla/Am.oak some complex finish w/ hard/stern tannins; showing some
evolution but not sure it will outlast the tannins.
9. McCrea Sirocco YakimaVlly/ColumbiaVlly/RedMtn/WashState (52% Grenache/24% Syrah/19% Mourvedre/
5% Counoise; 14.8%; www.McCreaCellars.com) DougMcCrea/Rainier 2002: Dark color w/ slight bricking; strong
fragrant strawberry/blackberry/plummy/bit earthy light cedar/oak slight mineral/wet concrete bit alcoholic
rather complex nose; soft/smooth/velvety strawberry/blackberry/plummy slight earthy/mineral light cedar/oak
flavor w/ little tannins; med.long smooth/silky strong plummy/blackberry/strawberry/tart cherry bit earthy
somewhat complex finish w/ little tannins; still plenty of bright fruit left and tannins fully resolved;
a very pleasant fully-mature red blend.
10. McCrea Counoise Ceil du ChevalVnyd/RedMtn/WashState (1st vintage; 14.8%) 2002: Dark color; rather musty/
wet cardboard/TCA/corked nose w/ some nice black cherry/licorice/earthy character buried under there; bit
hot/alcoholic somewhat musty/fusty/TCA/corked slight licorice/plummy/black cherry/earthy flavor w/ little
tannins; short somewhat musty/TCA/corked light licorice/plummy/black cherry finish w/ little tannins; some
nice fruit underneath all the TCA, but the TCA has pretty much destroyed this wine.
11. McCrea Mourvedre Ceil du ChevalVnyd/RedMtn/WashState (14.8%) 2002: Very dark color w/ slight bricking;
lovely strong licorice/plummy/black cherry/bing cherry biit earthy/loamy light toasty/oak complex nose;
fairly tart strong licorice/plummy/bing cherry/chukar cherry light earthy bit toasty/oak quite smooth/lush
flavor w/ light tannins; med.long smooth/lush/rich strong plummy/bing cherry/licorice/earthy light toasty/oak
fairly complex finish; still plenty of rich fruit and fully-resolved tannins; quite lovely mature Mourv.
12. McCrea Syrah WashState (14.8%) 2002: Dark color w/ little bricking; strong plummy/blackberry/Syrah/spicy/
CherryMash slight cold-climate/peppery rather complex/perfumed nose; bit tart smooth/lush/round strong
spicy/blackberry/Syrah/plummy/chocolate cherries light toasty/charred/oak fairly complex/perfumed flavor;
very long strong/blackberry/Syrah/plummy/spicy/peppery/CherryMash light earthy/loamy very smooth/polished/
round complex finish w/ smooth/fine-grained tannins; my easy favorite of the McCreas; a very attractive
fragrant mature WashState Syrah.
A speaking from TheBloodyPulpit:
1. Garretson: Both of these btls were closed by the hard-plastic SupremeCorq. These ugly closures have been
responsible for Mat's wines to age in very erratic ways. The closure on the HdR Syrah seems to have
remained sound. The thing obviously failed on the Reliquary. The EaglePoint was also closed by a SupremeCorq
that seems to have held just fine.
2. Havens: Some of MichaelHavens early Syrahs were marred by brett. This was just such a one. The grapes came
from LeeHudson's vnyd, but it was not so-designated on the label. Not clear if there was some Viognier
included. Michael did much of the seminal work on co-pigmentation.
3. McCrea: I have, of course, followed DougMcCrea's wines from the very start, when he first showed them at
HdR many a yr ago. Doug was the first WashState winemaker to specialize in Rhone-style wines. I used to follow
his wines pretty closely, but have sorta lost track of them since he quit showing at HdR. These four were from
the last stash of his wines I bought. I was quite pleasantly surprised as to how well they were holding up.
My people really liked them and urged me to check out some newer ones. When I look at the McCrea Cellars
WebSite (www.McCreaCellars.com), the list of wines looks pretty stale. I trust that he's still in business??