||And then a couple of dessert wines to go with Dotty's
Ricotta Cassatta Cake:
More pompous points from the Bloody Pulpit:
Preston Late Harvest Dry Creek Valley Semillon (13.6%; RS: 8.0%) 2000:
Pale yellow color; strong peachy/botrytis/figgy/Semillon slight volatile
nose; quite sweet soft/fat strong peachy/figgy/ botrytis/Semillon rather
simple flavor; med.long soft/fat very ripe/botrytis/peachy finish; strange
but pretty good dessert wines; the botrytis is definitely there but the
flavor speake more of mute, as does the color.
Jaffurs Santa Barbara County LatreHrvst Viognier
(16.5%) 2001: Dark gold color; slight herbal light pencilly/oak
very ripe/floral/honeysuckle/spicy/nutmeg/perfumed/grapey nose; soft/rich
very lush floral/honeysuckle/perfumed very grapey/figgy slightly hot flavor;
very long lush/ floral/honeysuckle finish; really coming together nicely
into a lovely dessert wine.
Qupe Marsanne: I've followed Bob's Marsanne from the very start. They are
pretty unthrilling when young; rather appley and simple w/ a bit of spicy
oak. They really don't start to show much until they get some age on them
and start to show that aged/hazelnutty character. This is clearly an oxidation
product and many dismiss the wine as being oxidized and over-the-hill.
Yet it is clearly, to me, different from oxidized Chard in character. When
you've had an old Chave HermitageBlanc or RayasBlanc; you learn to recognize
and love that character that you find in the old Qupe Marsannes.
AndrewMurrayRoussanne: This was, I believe, young Andrew's first (labeled)
Roussanne. As most of you know, much Calif "Roussanne" turned out to be
Viognier (thank you Randal). So this was, in fact, Viognier. In remarkably
good condition for an old Viognier I thought.
IlSanto Viognier: This wine is made in LosAlamos by JohnBalagna, who's
been a member of my tasting group for over 30 yrs. The grapes come
from a very warm area, Deming, far to the South of NM. I thought it to
be one of the most typical/varietally correct wines John's ever made. That
being said, I was surprised at how rapidly (15 minutes or so) that the
wine lost all the varietal Viognier fragrance and just started to smell
a bit earthy/grapey but little more.
NovellumChard: Interesting wine in which the Viognier character is definitely
there. This wine (an EricSolomonSelection) was made from Chard juice fermented
on left-over/after-pressing Viognier skins. It's a technique that I think
should be more widely used in winemaking.
GrenacheBlanc: Here's another variety to keep your eye on in Calif. I believe
all the plantings in Calif have come from TablasCreek vnyd. It's a variety
that tends to be, I understand, on the soft/flabby/underacid side. Certainly
the greatest examples I've had of the variety, the Rayas and the ScalaDei/Priorat/OldVine,
have seemed that. I had at HdR the TablasCreek version and was mightly
impressed by it. The ChrisCurran (Seasmoke) version seemed to be from grapes
harvested early in order to retain the acidity I would guess. It is quite
a lovely wine but on the crisp/clean/austere side on the palate. I suspect
it will be much more attractive w/ 6 months of age on it. Keep your eye
on GrenacheBlanc from Calif.
TablasCreek Wines: The early TablasCreek wines left me rather underwhelmed,
especially for the price. However, I have been very/very impressed by their
wines from the last two yrs. And the prices have moderated a bit it seems.
Originally, they were going to make only a Blanc and a Rouge blend and
eschew varietal labeling. They seem to have been backing off that decision
and releasing more varietally-labeled wines; a decision I support.
Jaffurs wines: The prices are all pre-release plus shipping. www.JaffursWine.com
for info. It's been interesting to watch Craig's style of white wines evolve
over the yrs. The early ones were on the lean/hard/austere side. The last
few yrs, they have shown more richness, more texture, more lushness; yet
keeping the alcohol levels under control. The last few yrs have seen, to
me, a distinct up-tick in their quality. Some of the best SantaBarbara
Rhones being made.
Roussanne grape: The first Calif Roussannes (followed them from the very
start) were the Alban and the BonnyDoon. I struggled mightly to identify
the varietal character of Roussanne in Calif and sorta gave up. The Alban
is not very typical...speaks more of Alban than Roussanne, though one of
the best renderings of Roussanne in Calif. The BonnyDoon....that turned
out to be Viognier, not Roussanne. Likewise the early ZacaMesas. In the
last 3-4-5 yrs, the Roussannes coming out in Calif have been particularly
stunning. Much the aromatics like Viognier; but the flavors of a powerhouse
Chard. It does well with oak; or you can keep it out of oak. Seems to be
able to age well too.A versital grape. The wines will only continue to
improve I suspect.
Jaffurs Late Harvest Viognier: A yr ago, the alcohol level was quite noticible
in the wine and it had a rather fumey/volatile distinctly hot character.
A yr's time has done wonders for this wine and it is coming together into
a very lovely dessert wine.
Return to the Tom Hill Archive Index