The Bernard Roth Archives
We 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 December 2, 1999:
Paradise Cafe Dinner
|95 Cardinale (Cab blend)--Very attractive bouquet
showing harmonious integration of oak and dark fruit aromatics. In the
mouth, really quite suave, smooth and showy. The wine shows a deft touch
in blending with no component sticking out. Certainly good tannins, somewhat
soft acid, but all in balance. Decent length without edges. Easy to drink
now, I would not hold this wine longer than 2-5 years. 93/100
97 Longoria Blues Cuvee Cab Franc--One of the most solid performers from Santa Barbara County among the generally weak cabernet family of wines. This shows telltale cab franc aromatics, unhindered by excessive oak, of ripe black currants and violets. Well honed, not blowsy, showing the fruit upfront but with a touch of restraint, elegance. Slightly edgy from acidity and tannins that keep poking out. Tamed by food, as cab franc is food friendly, this wine makes a nice dinner companion. Drink over 2-3 years. 89
97? Jory Syrah--I didn't look closely at the vintage, but I think this is the current release. Pretty dark color, reasonably aromatic, with a bit of a candied, jammy quality. Rather low acid and lowish tannins makes this a pretty easy slurping wine. Not particularly complex, but it does show good density. Finishes clean, if not especially inspiring. 88
96 Araujo Syrah--Of course everyone will want to compare this to the 95. We'll get there. First...Pretty good deep purple color. Fairly perfumy nose, the oak is held in check allowing the boisenberry and blueberry fruit to come through. In the mouth, the wine caresses, not overpowers, with an elegance of pure fruit overlaying soft oak. The flavors are on the dark end of the spectrum, reasonably intriguing hints of earth, minerals, and spice. But never venturing too far from its restrained profile. Long enough in the finish, with fine tannins that will probably show more buoyancy in a few months. At that point, I'd put the wine down for 4-5 years and drink it over the following 5 years. 92+
97 Pierre Bise Coteaux du Layon "Rouannierres"--My contribution, showing my ongoing love affair with Loire chenin blanc. The pale gold color is deceptive because the wine has real concentration. Smells very waxy, with high toned citrus and floral elements. The attack is unctuous, thick and syrupy. Pure fruit essence of peach, nectarine, sharlyn melon, grapefruit zest. Very young and not showing the complexity that will come with time. Not especially minerally, but undercurrents of honeysuckle and jasmine. Maybe a bit shy in acidity, the finish is nevertheless fairly extended. A real YUM! 93+
A bloody pulpit for old time's sake...
I haven't had much Cardinale ever. My previous experience (maybe the 91, 92 vintages) left me unimpressed. Well as much as I hate to admit that Kendall- Jackson has made good wine, I'll say it. "They made good wine!" There. I'll still not buy a bottle of K-J, but that's another pulpit that's been bloodied to death...
Rick Longoria makes good solid wines in Santa Ynez. Some of his pinot noir is exceptional. His cab franc is real good. This is a wine you can buy for its label (featuring a painting of an old blues figure), but you can reliably enjoy its contents, too. Not gonna turn the head of the cult geek fixated on Maya, but for everyone else, this is a winner.
I was disappointed in the Jory. I am under the impression that this is a rather pricy bottle of wine. But it is no more interesting than a good $20 shiraz.
The 96 Araujo syrah is not as big or in your face as the 95 version. The 95 was very controversial among some wine lovers I respect who found the oak way too predominant. And without question, the 95 was seriously oaked. BUT... SQN's 95 the other hand was also seriously oaky at release, and that oak melded nicely within a year. The argument over 95 Araujo was whether the fruit would hold up to the oak over time. I say it will. We'll see. Anyway, the 96 should not stir such controversy, at least so far as oak is concerned, because the oak is nicely proportioned. I think those who only give big scores to big wines will tend to downgrade this wine because it is elegant. But it is wonderfully elegant. I expect the 96 Araujo to pick up weight over the next 3-4 years. It will surprise those whose first impression is based on comparing its density to the 95. Even though I think the 95 vintage will be the better wine over the long haul, I think the 96 drinks better today. The 95 will be a 95-97 pointer when it hits its peak. The 96 may only get to the 94 point level. Big deal! It is excellent wine indeed.
I guess I should have said that the Pierre Bise was sweet! Yeah! If you love sugar, and you love balance, but you have a tolerance for lowish acidity in a dessert wine, then you should find a bottle. It is not that pricy (less than $30 for a 500 ml bottle). But mind you, the acidity is not so low that the wine risks falling apart. It just isn't searingly acidic as chenin blanc can be when it's really zingy.
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