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 May 28, 2002:
|98 Alban LH Roussanne—Light botrytis, mandarin
orange and citrus nose. Waxy, nutty aromatics. Perky acidity, golden fruit.
Medium sweet. Excellent balance, crisp. Honey, bitter almond in finish.
90 points. I guessed Barsac. Tom guessed it was piña colada mix.
95 Swanson LH Semillon—Sweet butterscotch nose. Very sweet, bitter back end, tastes like probably Roussanne. Cinnamon nose. Very spicy, almost medicinal, anise quality. 93. Maybe it’s the Grüner Veltliner TBA that Howard had mentioned as a possible submission. Tom guessed it was NV Arbor Mist Cranberry Twist White Merlot.
93 Santa Barbara Winery LH Sauvignon Blanc—Dark gold/orange. Severe botrytis in nose. Smells like Sauvignon Blanc, but taste softer, like Riesling. Honey, nectar, apricot. Long finish. 94. Maybe the Navarro or an Aussie Semillon. Tom guessed it was Brilcream.
99 Baumard LH Verdelho (from non-Appellation Quarts de Chaume vines)—Light straw. Petrolly, hay, volatile. Medium sweet. Floral, nectarine, white grape. Bit of bitterness. Bergamot nose. 89. Guess: Tom’s ringer. Tom guessed it was my ringer.
94 Deiss Riesling “Schoenenberg” SGN (Alsace) —Turpentine and talc bouquet. Classic Riesling taste. Pear, white nectarine. Not so sweet, about Auslese level. 89. Tom guessed it was Mentholatum.
83 Pepperwood Springs LH Chardonnay—Medium dark brown/gold. Very botrytised, slight corkiness. Must be sauvignon blanc. Zesty, burnt orange, apricot. 90 (despite slight musty corkiness). Guess: The 93 SB Winery LH SB. Tom guessed it was the remnants of Larry’s mystery wine from a “Mostly Zins” tasting 3 years ago.
96 Baumard Quarts de Chaume (Chenin Blanc) —Very botrytised, burnt rubber. Furniture polish. Cocnutty, Mounds Bar nose. Very sweet, luscious, viscous, bit of bite in finish. Very long. Apple tarte tatin. Some anise. Chenin Blanc? Must be Loire. 95. Guess: 96 Quarts de Chaume. Tom guessed Marc de Bourgogne.
98 Knoll Grüner Veltliner TBA (Austria)—Not much bouquet. Caramel, lemon, pear. Very thick, sweet, apple jelly. Very long. Grapefruit zest bite. Not as much acidity as previous wine (the QdC), but still pretty good zing. 94. Guess: Riesling. Tom guessed it was his ringer on steroids.
97 Navarro Cluster Select LH Riesling—Medium botrytis. Some petrol, eucalyptus, lemon, orange syrup. Very yummy. Zingy acidity. Long. Very sweet. Initially think Riesling, then Guess: Alsace Pinot Gris SGN. 94. Tom guessed Deet.
93 Beringer LH Riesling—Medium botrytis. Treacly, very viscous, sweet. Apricot, golden raisins. Has bouquet of an older Riesling, so that’s my guess. 93. Tom guessed Aqua Lube with Nonoxynol-9.
Observations and biased conclusions:
First, there were some pretty impressive wines, as my scores indicate. Only two of the ten failed to reach the 90 point level, and those were both 89 pointers.
Most often, even those who brought a wine could not identify it. The easiest wine to identify was the 96 Baumard QdC, but this bottle was only single blind! I guess young chenin blanc of such purity and clarity is a dead give away.
I thought three of the wines really went against the spirit of the tasting—both of Tom Hill’s wines and Howard’s GV. One might even question having a LH Roussanne, which I’ve had only tried once previously. The reason is because nobody really had a baseline for what LH Verdelho, Chardonnay and GV should taste like, so failure to identify their varietal character is like Ray Charles failing to recognize a Susan B. Anthony dollar the first time he put his hands on one. Furthermore, we had agreed beforehand that only certain varietals would be submitted, namely those that have sufficiently wide enough use as dessert wines that tasters should have a point of reference. So IMNSHO, this was really a tasting of just 6 or 7 standard wines with 3 or 4 ringers.
I was disappointed in not getting my LH SB. In looking over my notes, the bouquet descriptors and my initial instinct should have been sufficient.
In any case, I guessed correctly 3 varietals (the chenin and 2 rieslings),
had indications in my notes for 2 others (SB and Navarro Riesling) before
changing my mind, and I also nabbed Tom’s ringer as a non-typical varietal
(Verdelho). So I’d call my score 3 out of 6 or 7 varietals, and 1 out of
3 or 4 ringers.
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