TomHill (wine git like Roger)
1. Ahhhh Viognier..... one of the best sets of Viognier I've had
in a tasting. The Terre Rouge & Tria were stunning; the Araujo, Eberle,
and Graham out- standing. The Tria is the first (to my knowledge) Carneros
Viognier produced. And it shows it; a tartness & zippiness that is
unusual in Viognier. Connoisseur's Guide really blew it on the Tria
(no meadow muffins). Maybe the Carneros is REALLY Rhone, rather than Burgundy,
country?? The Terre Rouge Viognier was the debut vintage Viognier for Bill
Easton and it's a killer; better than the Renwoods & Shenandoah Vnyds
Viogniers. Terre Rouge/Easton is a winery to keep your eyes on up in Amador.
The Eberle Viognier was his best yet. The charred oak/caramel character,
Gary insists, come from the Viognier grape (at least in Paso Robles) and
NOT from exposure to new,toasted oak. It's a character that I find sometimes
in the Vernay Coteaux de Vernon Condrieu, so he's in good company. It will
be interesting to see what WestSide Paso/Perrin vnyd Viognier tastes like.
No denying that Calif makes great, world-class Chard. They fail sooooo
miserably at aromatic whites like Riesling & GWT (I know..... the Novarro
GWT....... it IS good..... but NOT GREAT), the Alsatian types of wines,
which I regard as ever bit as great as WhiteBurg. I think Calif Viognier
is the ONE aromatic, Alsatian-style dry white that they can make great,
world class wine with. They don't often have that minerally character and
the structure of great Condrieu, but many Calif Viogniers are some of the
best in the world. Too bad about the prices!!
2. Ahhhhh Mourvedre..... another enigmatic variety in Calif. Most of the
early Mourvedre wines came from Cline grapes down in Oakley/Sacramento
Delta area. They tended to be wines on the saft, fat, mushy, flat side;
only the Bonny Doon Old Telegram showing much character. There are more
plantings coming on line from cooler areas in Calif & wer're starting
to see some very good Mourvedres now. Even Cline Mourvedre, from Oakley
grapes, is showing much more inspired winemaking than their first ones.
It'll be exciting to watch the evolution of the variety in Calif.
The Swan Mourvedre, though a bit heavy on the oak, was probably one of
the best, most structured, most Bandol-like Mourvedre yet from Calif. Not
Domaine Tempier yet, but getting there. Over the last few yrs, Rod Bergland
has continued to improve his winemaking there at Swan and some of his Rhone
wines, many made from very old vines, are outstanding.
3. For those that like Tavel Rose (and I am a closet rose drinker), you
should try the Eberle Connouise (sp?) Rose...... not great... but good
4. The Qupe Bien Nacido Hillside Block Syrah '94 has been released, about
$35- $40/btl. Probably the best Calif Syrah ever made, of Cote-Rotie calibre.
It ain't gonna be floor-stacked at your local Piggly-Wiggly!! Try the Wine
Cask in SantaBarbara or LosOlivios Wines& Spirits.
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