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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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)
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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Cold Heaven

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

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?
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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.
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WallaWalla producers

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


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.
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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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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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