Lee & Shirley Sobon (ShenandoahVnyds/SobonEstate) were in town last week, so Susan & I Had them over for some simple apps and a few wines:
1. GregoryGraham Riesling RoumiguiereVnyd/RedHills/LakeCnty (13.5%; www.GGWines.com) 2009
: Light gold color; quite attractive pineapple/mango/tropical fruit light chalky/mineral/slatey slight valve oil nose; off-dry (1%?) rather tart/metallic/slatey/mineral light pineapple/mango/tropical fruit slight valve oil flavor; med.long slatey/mineral/chalky light pineapple finish; quite a pretty/drinkable/lovely Reisling alnog the lines of some from the Ahr or Austria. $18.00
2. ShenandoahVnyds Calif Zin AmadorCnty SpecRes (13.1%; ChesterEschenVnyd/Fiddletown; SaH: 22.7%; TA: 0.78; pH: 3.15; 970 cs) 1982
: Med.color w/ some bricking; rather earthy/leathery some dried cherries/rose petals cedary/pencilly/old Zin bit metallic/iron little fruit interesting old nose; tart bit dried out/tannic/tired leathery/dried cherries/rose petal pencilly/cedary/smokey/oak some tangy/metallic fairly smooth flavor; long dried rose petal/leathery/earthy cedary/pencilly/oak light blackberry/Zin some tired/dried out/tannic finish; a bit tired & dried out but still clinging to life in a quiet/gentle way; with time it smooths out in the glass and not as tannic/dried out.
3. ShenandoahVnyds CabSauv AmadorCnty (13.8%; DeaverVnyd) 1980
: Med.dark some brownish color; rather earthy/dusty light herbal/Cab some cedary/smokey/oak complex nose; rather tannic/hard/dried out light herbal/Cab some smokey/oak/cedary leathery/earthy bit alcoholic flavor; med.long hard/tannic/dried out leathery/earthy some smokey/charred/oak finish; not oxidized but drying out and still pretty tannic; will probably never really come together.
4. ShenandoahVnyds Calif OldCreamMuscat (15%; LateHrvst BlackMuscat in barrel 10 yrs) NV(ca. 1980)
: Med.dark brown color; strong oxidized some muscatty rather vanilla/oak bit amatillado-like, bit Moscatel de Setubal-like slight herbal/haymow complex nose; somewhat sweet bit oxidized/cream sherry some vanilla/oak bit herbal complex flavor; rather long somewhat sweet cream sherry/light muscatty/oxidized rather vanilla/oak complex finish; not a lot of Muscat character but quite an interesting dessert wine.
5. Santino LisaMarie AmadorCnty Zin (15.7%) 1984
: Med.dark color w/ slight bricking; rather late harvesty/Zin raisened/pruney somewhat alcoholic/old Port/spirity complex nose; rather sweet spirity/old Port/alcoholic fairly grapey/raisened/pruney strong boysenberry/Zin complex flavor; med.long alcoholic/spirity/old Port slight herbal/Kansas hay mow raisened/pruney/boysenberry/Zin complex finish; showing lots of alcohol but still plenty of Zin fruit.
A wee BloodyPulpit:
1. I have, of course, followed Lee&Shirley Sobon from the very start...in 1977. They started ShenandoahVnyds when Montevina was in its hey-day and AmadorCnty was a happening place. They were located up on the top of the hillside on SteinerRd overlooking the (then) JohnDowningVnyd...now (old) GrandPere vnyd. Lee started out as a home winemaker in SanJose when he was working in materials science for LockheedAircraft. His first Zins came from the (very old) ChetEschenVnyd in Fiddletown (now Rinaldi) and FrankDalPorto's vnyd on ShenandoahRd, near BaldinelliVnyd.
His early Zins and Cabs were (along w/ Montevinas) the best coming out of the ShenandoahVlly. Lee was particularly passionate about dessert wines and has made some exceptional ones over the yrs (Ports, CreamSherries, Passitos, LateHrvst Black & Orange Muscats). Lee has pretty much turned over the operational reins to sons Paul and Robert; though he continues to work several days a week on the stuff they don't want to mess with (compliance issues, HR issues, labels, etc). Shirley still continues to work at the wnry, firmly in control of the financial side w/ eagle-eyes.
2. The '82 Zin was the identical wine to the one I took out there for lunch w/ Lee back in mid-June. Except that btl had about 1/3'rd of the wine ullaged away. That wine then was substantially the same as this btl, which had virtually no ullage. So much for ullage being the destroyer of wines.
Both of these wines were pretty tight and a bit funky upon opening. Over the 2 hrs we drank them, they cleaned up quite a bit and were good examples of old Calif Zin and Cab. On their last legs...they still gave a pleasurable experience.
The '78 Cab I took out in June was, I thought, in much better condition and a genuine pleasure to drink. This '80 version was always a pretty tannic beast and doesn't seem to have outlived those tannins.
3. I have, of course, followed GregGraham's wines from the very start...when he was making wines down in Napa. His Viogniers, both from Napa & Knight'sVlly, have always been some of my favorites from Calif. When I was out there 2 wks ago, I made a quick journney from Calistoga up into LakeCnty. Greg's wnry was one of my first stops. He established his CrimsonHill vnyd up there some 10-15 yrs ago in the RedHills AVA. I tasted thru his lineup w/ Greg when I was there. His wines are good/solid wines, some of the better ones coming out of LakeCnty. I was particularly taken by the Riesling....a very pretty wine and easily the best Riesling I've had from LakeCnty.
LisaMarie: This was, as I recall, one of ScottHarvey's LateHarvest/stuck fermentation Zins and was not fortified. Rather alcoholic & like an old Calif Port. The (hlf) btl was quite interesting in that it had over hlf a cup of very slimey/mucous-like sediment in the bottom of the btl.