The Bernard Roth Archives
We are happy that Bernard, who has sampled so many wines, has shared his notes with us. We do have, or have had for sale a few of the wines Bernard writes about, and we include a link to our stock page whenever it is a producer we carry (but since the stock page is kept up-to-date and the wines are sold, don't expect any but the newest of wines to show up in our stock!). Mostly though, since we specialize in County of Santa Barbara Wine and Central Coast Wine, we don't carry a lot of the wines Bernard writes about. But we think it is important that you be able to have an idea what they're like in case you are planning to buy some somewhere, or have them in your own collection. Enjoy.
Here are Bernard's notes from August 1, 1998:
|96 Peachy Canyon Westside (Paso Robles)--Earthy,
black raspberry and cassis nose. Intense, spicy, tart. Strong tannins.
Plum, cherry, and strawberry. Long, alcoholic, finish is rather smooth.
Well-made wine. 91 points.
96 Ravenswood Dickerson (Napa)--Cherry, petrol, vanilla, spicy nose. Opens up over time. Lush, bright cherry, oak flavors. Concentrated. Fine, silky texture. Finish shows fine tannins, bit acidic. 90
96 Ridge Lytton Springs (Sonoma Valley)--Darker than the two above. Closed up, showing some sweet black cherry bouquet. Sweet, oaky attack. Tart, plum-skin tannins. Missing a bit of depth. Long, tannic, alcoholic finish is short on fruit. Rather too woody. 84
96 Ravenswood "Big River" (Sonoma Valley)--Sweet oaky, cherry, vanilla, chocolate, earthy nose. Sweet cherry, medium weight in mouth. Big tannins and not much complexity, but good concentrated fruit, spicy. Finishes with drying tannins, alcoholic. Needs bottle age. 89+
96 Turley Old Vines (AVA?)--Darker than above wines. Bouquet is a bit restained, hinting of the forest floor, mushrooms, cherry. Briary and horsey aromas emerge over time. Huge mouthful of wine. Blackberry, lots of oak, tannic. Chocolate. Chewy. Very long, tannic finish surrounded by lush fruit. Very impressive. 93
96 Ravenswood Kunde (Sonoma Valley)--Dark ruby. Closed nose. Over time it opens up to reveal very nice aromas of cherry and blackberry. Sweet candied apple, loads of fruit and tannin. Very concentrated. Black fruit flavors. Long finish with fine tannins, but a bit woody. Impressive. 92
95 Rosenblum Brandlin (Mt. Veeder)--Rich, warm, black cherry, vanilla, toasty oak nose. Sweet, lush cherry, raspberry, oak. Rich fruit, oak. Very concentrated. Fades a bit on finish showing some stemmy tannins. Very good, but the stemminess is intrusive. 89
96 Peachy Canyon Especial (Paso Robles)--Bouquet is a bit off. Slightly green, herbal, funky. This eventually blows off, but wine remains rather closed. In the mouth, sweet ripe fruit. Cherry, raspberry, very concentrated. Layers of flavor. Fine finish. Excellent integration of tannins. Impressive. 90+ (would be even higher had the nose been better)
96 Peachy Canyon Dusi Ranch (Paso Robles)--Closed nose. Grassy, bell pepper, cherry, petrol. Opens up after a while showing some earthy elements. Softer palate than Especial. Sweet cherry, plummy, blackberry, vanilla. Greenish tannins. Decent, long, tannic finish. Initially the tannins seemd a bit severe, but improved with time in the glass. 90
96 Ravenswood Monte Rosso (Sonoma Valley)--Warm, cherry, vanilla, cocoa, orange blossoms. Very open bouquet. Sweet cherry. Big fruity attack. Well-integrated oak. Delish! Immense concentration. Finishes with very fine tannins. Long. Very impressive, classy wine. Needs time. 94(+?)
96 Ravenswood Old Hill Ranch (Sonoma Valley)--Bit closed. Cherry cough syrup and band-aids in the nose with earthy tones. Sweet cherry, alcoholic. Very concentrated, but green, minty, out of balance. Very alcoholic finish. Long, bit unbalanced. Awkward, raw finish. 83
96 Ravenswood Wood Road/Belloni (Russian River Valley)--Color blackish violet. Black cherry, chocolate. Bit closed nose, but opens with time to yield some earthy aromas. Creamy smooth cherry cola, very oaky, very concentrated black fruit. Leathery. Fine tannins, bit stemmy. Drying, talcky finish. Should be much better with age. 89+
To finish up:
93 Santa Barbara Winery LH Zinfandel (SB County)--Nose of huckelberry jam. Creamy smooth, sweet blackberry and cassis. Luscious. Finish is impeccably balanced. This dessert wine has significant residual sugar and drinks like cassis liqueur (though with lower alcohol). This wine gets its complexity from botrytised grapes. 94
Maniacal rantings from the bloody-ol' pulpit:
What a fun tasting. Overall, the quality of these 96 Zins is very high. Of course the atmosphere was improved by the carload of jet-lagged Brits who just arrived to join us, and the saucy, blue joking and flirting that ignored the boundaries of spouses, significant others, and (thankfully) good taste.
This is the most Ravenswoods I've had at one time and they were more impressive as a lot than any I've had in the past. The Monte Rosso is great Zin that should hold its own against most anyone's 96's.
I was expecting less of the Turley. Having had the Rafanelli and Hayne earlier, the Old Vines is not out of its league among them. It's not quite as intensely concentrated as the "named" Turleys, but it is by no means a wine to be ashamed of should it be the only Turley in your cellar.
The favorites among the group were: 1. Turley Old Vines 2. Peachy Especial 3. Peachy Dusi 4. Ridge Lytton 5. Ravenswood Old Hill
As you can tell from my scores, the first three were pretty decent picks, but the umps blew the call with the next two (my lowest rated, and, I believe, defective wines).
To keep the preacher honest, I've included below my notes from my first tasting of the Peachy Especial: 96 Peachy Canyon Especial (Blend of Paso Robles vineyards)--Medium red-violet. Unusual berry nose, cough syrup. Good intense, sweet fruit. Lot of oak in mid-palate. Very full, alcoholic (15.3%). Huge. Staining, long lingering tannins. 93 It looks like a case of bottle variation, for the nose was off this time around.
OK, then, Father Tom. You may now render judgment upon your accolyte. How many more sips of the forbidden Altar-Zin must I sneak before I may be admitted to the clergy?
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