||And the usual profundities from the BloodyPulpit:
Although I've followed Calif WhiteRhones from the very start, this was
the first one I've done devoted solely to them. It was a pretty good bunch
of wines. Only thing missing: JimHarris!! He would have been in hog-heaven
(Kansas colloquialism) last night!
StolpmanViognier: This 2000 was made by CraigMacMillan and then probably
finished up by SashiMoorman. Although the wine was somewhat corked,
it also tasted as if it had some winemaking problems along the way. The
2001 we tasted, just bttld, at the winery w/ Sashi was absolutly first-rate,
as good as any I've had from the SantaYnez Valley.
JaffursRoussanne: Larry brought this mystery and we served it to replace
the corked Stolpman. I was pretty convinced it was some high-end SouthernRhone
CdP. It had that lean stoney/earthy character that those SouthernRhones
have but a big/thick/unctuous texture to it. Quite surprised when it turned
out to be a Jaffurs. Craig makes his whites in a bit leaner/harder style,
less of a DollyParton style. It showed in this wine. I expect it to soldier
on for another 3-5 yrs.
TurleyWhiteCoat: This is the first WhiteRhone out from Turley Cellars,
to my knowledge. No doubt about it; it's very Turley in style. Most people
thought it was over-oaked and disliked it. I, who never see'd an oak stave
I didn't like, thought it had such exotic/powerful fruit that it could
carry the oak and found the wine very intriguing; liked it a lot for its
eccentric style. It reminded me of some of Manfred Krankl's whites. More
accurately, this wine reminded me a lot of the DavidBruce GWT '78 (?);
one of the more bizarre wines I've had. That was a powerfully- scented
GWT that was, in David's inimical fashion, loaded up w/ new French oak.
Pretty weird stuff, but I loved it. This WhiteCoat was cut from the same
cloth, I thought. Serve it only to the open-minded friends.
RosenblumMarsanne: The wine had a fragrance that spoke to me much more
of Viognier than of Marsanne. Since LouPreston does have Viognier planted
there, I suspect there is also some Viognier in this wine. I never recall
any of the Preston Marsannes having this much fragrance to them. But nicely
QupeMarsanne: I've followed BobLindquist's Marsannes from the very start.
He was, as I recall, the first Marsanne producer in Calif. They have always
come from the LosOlivos Vineyard, now Ibarra-Young Vineyard. In the
past, they've always been 100% Marsanne. This produces a wine that is rather
stoney/earthy/ appley fairly simple at first, then they really shut down
for a few yrs, but to emerge down the road with the nutty/oxidized-like
very perfumed character; a white variety that really benefits from aging.
With the '01 vintage, Bob has begun adding Roussanne to the wine; producing
a wine with much more aromatics when it's just released. It'll be interesting
to watch how these wines age.
WhiteRhoneBlends: Many of the Calif red blends, modeled on the Chateauneuf
blends, have been very successful. The EdmundsStJohn LesCotesSauvage was
easily one of the best, a world-class red. The white blends in Calif seem
to not have been quite so sucessful. Perhaps it's because the CdP Blancs
are few and far between and many of them not particularly good; rather
earthy/stoney and austere. Probably it's also driven by the thought that
most consumers automatically regard a pure varietal as superior to a blend.
BobLindquist has been making his Viognier/Chard blend for a fair number
of yrs and it was one of the first. I've not been particularly taken by
it. It reminds me more of a Chard wanna-be more than anything. Nicely done
and reasonably priced, but it doesn't float my boat. It seems to me that
this may be changing. The Beaucastel was killer stuff. The Ojai and the
EdStJohn were some of the best ones I've yet had from Calif; terrific perfumed/aromatic
wines with the richness and structure on the palate that one finds in great
Chard. That's a compliment. I'm looking forward to seeing more as more
Roussanne is getting planted.
Return to the Tom Hill Archive Index