We tasted last week (1/2/13) some Rhones from the Archives:
1. Dom.Grand Romane AC: Gigondas (MeBaD; 13.5%) 1989
: Med.dark w/ fair bricking; rather earthy/dusty slight smokey/cedary/
tobaccoy/old red no fruit somewhat tired nose; soft bit roasted/cedary/old red rather astringent/tired/dried out bit
metallic/tangy rather earthy flavor; pretty much over the hill but not really bad.
2. LesHauts de Montmirail AC: Gogondas (13%; Eleve en Futs de Chene Neufs; MeBaD) DanielBrusset/Cairanne 1989
color w/ light bricking; some slight strawberry fruit light toasty/oak old Grenache/cedary/tobaccoy some complex nose;
rather cedary/toasty/oak bit tangy some cedary/tobaccoy rather tired/dried out flavor; long very tangy rather tired/
dried out/astringent finish; in its youth, this was a highly toasty/oaked modern-style wine; the oak is still pretty
3. LaPialade AC: CdR (12.5%; MeBalP) Proprietaire: J.Reynaud 1988
: Med.color w/ some bricking; bit volatile/EA/fumey some
earthy/piney/forest floor/mushroomy somewhat tired/old red bit smokey/charred nose; tart dried out/tired/tangy/astringent/
metallic flavor; short bit musty/earthy/mushroomy rather tired/astringent/bitter/dried out finish; pretty dead & gone.
4. Ch.de Beaucastel AC: Chateauneuf du Pape (13%) 1989
: Med.light w/ some browning; rather funky/mousey/mouse nest/
hantavirus/decayed slight sweet/Grenache fruit nose; slight sweet/Grenache/fruit somewhat tired/astringent rather funky/
mousey/mouse nest flavor; med.long slight sweet/Grenache/fruit rather mousey/mouse nest/funky tired/astringent finish;
shows a bit of sweet fruit and not oxidized tasting but pretty dead/tired. $26.00
5. EdmundsStJohn LesCotesSauvages Calif RTW (53% Mourv/24% Grenache/17% Syrah/6% Carignane; 13.1%) 1989
: Med.light color w/
fair bricking; rather cedary/pencilly/old red slight brett/barnyardy light spicy/plummy/strawberry pleasant complex nose;
soft delicate/elegant light cedary/pencilly/old red light sweet/strawberry/Grenache fruit flavor w/ light/delicate tannins;
med.short smooth/delicate slight cedary/smokey light strawberry/Grenache some complex finish w/ light tannins; not
particularly dried out or tired but just a faded red that's a shadow of its former glory.
6. C. de Fonsalette Syyrah AC: CdR (Reserve; 14%) J.Reynaud 1989
: Med.dark color w/ slight bricking; some pencilly/cedary/
smokey slight blackberry/Syrah bit funky/earthy/mushroomy/wet wool slight volatile nose; some funky/earthy/mushroomy
slight blackberry/Syrah/earthy some tangy/dried out flavor w/ some astringent/dried out tannins; med.long bit old Syrah/
funky/wet wool/mushroomy light cedary/old red/pencilly finish w/ dried out tannins; still speaks of Syrah but in a rather
strange voice; still has a bit of life but headed downhill.
7. Clape AC: Cornas (12.5%; MeBalP) Proprietaire-Viticulteur: A.Clape/Cornas 1989
: Med.color w/ slight bricking; some light
roasted/espresso/NR/smokey bit dusty/earthy/mushroomy/old Rhone slight blackberry/Syrah rather complex nose; bit tannic/
dried out some roasted/espresso/NR slight blackberry/Syrah bit tangy flavor w/ light/smooth tannins; med.long soft/smooth
light roasted/espresso/NR very light blackberry/Syrah finish w/ light tannins; still has a bit of life and shows some
NorthernRhone character and the classic Clape rusticity, but headed downhill; best of the French Rhones.
8. l'Ecole #41 Syrah Estate/SevenHillsVnyd/WallaWallaVlly (14.4%; www.lEcole.com; U/U) 2001
: Dark color w/ little bricking;
very strong blackberry/boysenberry/ripe/Syrah/chocolaty/plummy some buttered popcorn/diacetyl bit licorice/pungent slight
alcoholic nose; soft very ripe/plummy/chocolaty/blackberry/Syrah/boysenberry fairly smooth/lush/ripe light toasty/oak
bit DrPepper/RCCola flavor w/ light tannic bite; long/soft/fat/lush very ripe/chocolaty/plummy/boysenberry/Syrah light
toasty/charred/oak finish w/ light tannins; a bit on the soft/porky/fat side and not showing much complexity but
big/ripe fruit and probably not going to get any better. $32.00
9. BrocCllrs Syrah DryStackVnyd/BennettVlly (15%; www.BrocCellars.com) Novato 2005
: Very dark color w/ little bricking; strong
blackberry/Syrah/boysenberry/ripe some cracked black pepper/cold-climate very spicy/DrPepper lovely nose; rich/lush/ripe
soft strong blackberry/Syrah/spicy bit cold-climate/peppery light toasty/oak flavor w/ light/smooth tannins; very long
big/ripe/blackberry/Syrah/spicy/boysenberry/DrPepper bit alcoholic light toasty/oak finish w/ light/smooth/textured
tannins; on the ripe side but not over the line into overripeness; lots of spicy Syrah fruit but some cold-climate/
peppery character shows thru; quite a lovely Syrah and near its peak.
10. Dutton-Goldfield Syrah CherryRidgeVnyd/DuttonRanch/RRV-GreenVlly (13.8%; www.DuttonGoldfield.com) 2005
: Med.dark color;
some toasty/pencilly/oak bit pungent/ozone/cracked black pepper/cold-climate slight herbal some black cherry/Pinotish
strong blackberry/spicy/Syrah beautiful/complex nose; bit tart blackberry/black cherry/Syrah/Pinotish bit herbal/cold-
climate/peppery some pencilly/toasty/oak flavor w/ smooth tannins;very long some herbal/peppery/cracked black pepper
strong black cherry/blackberry/Syrah light toasty/pencilly/oak finish w/ smooth/modest tannins; a beautiful fully-
mature Syrah made in a Pinot-style some like the Radio-Coteaus.
11. Vie Syrah LasMadresVnyd/Carneros/SonomaCnty (Clone 174 & 300; 14.1%; www.VieWinery.com) SanFrancisco 2006
w/ no bricking; strong cracked black pepper/roasted/smokey/cold-climate strong blackberry/Syrah/blueberry slight
alcoholic some charred/toasty/Fr.oak lovely nose; soft some pungent/cracked black pepper/cold-climate very strong
blackberry/blueberry/Syrah/spicy rather toasty/charred/oak flavor w/ light tannins; very long ripe/blackberry/
blueberry/Syrah some cold-climate/peppery somewhat toasty/charred/oak finish w/ smooth/light tannins; lots of ripe
fruit & the alcohol shows a bit but levely cold-climate character; lovely mature Syrah.
12. SanSakanaCllrs Syrah LasMadresVnyd/Carneros (14.4%; Drk: '06-'10-'12: BB) ThreeFishes/SanFrancisco 2005
: Dark color
w/ no bricking; beautiful NT/roasted/espresso/coffee/charred/smokey strong blueberry/Syrah/blackberry/spicy bit herbal/
rosemary some cracked black pepper/cold-climate very complex NR nose; soft very stronf roasted/NR/espresso some cold-
climate peppery strong blueberry/Syrah bit toasty/charred/oak slight herbal/rosemary/DrPepper/licorice flavor w/ modest
tannins; very long/lingering NR/roasted/espresso/coffee strong blueberry/Syrah/spicy some herbal/licorice/pungent
rather charred/toasty/oak complex finish w/ modest tannins; probably near or at its peak; a beautiful Syrah w/ lots
of NR character.
13. Failla Syrah EstateVnyd/SonomaCoast (14.1%; www.FaillaWines.com) 2005
: Med.dark color w/ slight bricking; rather dusty/
walnutty some cracked white pepper/cold-climate slight acrid/HNO3 rather NR/roasted/pungent/smokey/espresso strong
blackberry/Syrah/spicy/pungent quite Rhonish nose once it opens up; quite tart/angular strong cracked white pepper light
blackberry/Syrah/spicy/herbal/pungent quite NR/roasted/smokey/pungent light floral/violets flavor w/ some tannins; very
long tart/angular light blackberry/Syrah/spicy/herbal rather cracked white pepper some NR/roasted/smokey/espresso/smokey
complex finish w/ some firm/structured tannins remaining; still needs another 2-6 yrs; a rather eccentric Calif Syrah and
developing in a really interesting way; atypical but amazingly good.
And the usual stuff from TheBloodyPulpit:
1. I was not expecting a whole lot from the French Rhones. They pretty much delivered on that. The Clape and the
Fonsalette were easily the best of a pretty sorry lot. The Beaucastel and the Fonsalette had well over a quarter
of the btl ullaged away...but there was no signs of oxidation in them, other than the color. At the end of the
evening when I dumped them out after retasting, they had all turned a very murky brown in the two hrs. Not at
all unusual for such highly-reduced wines. The wines were not particularly "bad" or unpleasant to drink....they
just didn't offer up a lot of pleasure.
2. BrocCllrs: Thiis is, of course, ChrisBrockway, who makes his wine in lower Berkeley. Followed him from the very
start when he first showed at HdR. I was quite impressed by this Syrah and it reminded me a lot of the Novy BennetVlly
Syrahs w/o the classic Siduri oak treatment. I've sorta lost track of his wines and need to revisit them.
3. LasMadres: This is a Syrah vnyd located in western Carneros, several miles to the west of LeeHudson's vnyd, but in
the SonomaCnty part. Owned by John & Jean Painter. Followed 'em from the very start. Jean's sone, Seth, is the
wine guy for Dopo and Addesso restaurants in Oakland on Piedmont and is very knowledgeable. LasMadres is one of
Calif's iconic cold-climate Syrah vnyds and what I would call one of Calif's truly great Syrah vnyds. They sell to
a number of different wineries and I find they are, across the board, some of Calif's best Syrahs. These two were
particularly outstanding w/ my nod going to the SanSakana for its more intense NorthernRhone character. I've had three
(mylast ones) of the SanSakana LasMadres and this last one was easily the best...sigh.
4. Failla: Ehren's SonomaCoast Estate and the StoloFamilyVnyd/TreViti are probably the two coldest Syrah vnyds in Calif;
both within a stone's throw of the Pacific. The TreViti is a very elegant/understated rendition of Syrah. Ehren's
is a pretty big/powerful of the same fruit. I wouldn't be surprised if he doesn't get some help from C&H in some
yrs. Ehren has made, over the yrs, some truly profound Syrahs, both from QueSyrah vnyd and his own Estate. And
his Phoenix Ranch Syrahs are pretty good...for up-Valley Napa.