Browse Tag


London arenas

[label]Domaine de la Terre Rouge 2003 “RO2X” (Sierra Foothills) – An interesting tribute to the partially-oxidized style of wine one can find all over Europe, but rarely (except by accident) here. The grape is roussanne, and its Californian interpretation is most definitely on display here, as despite relatively restrained rancio there’s a great deal of lush golden fruit of an intensity not usually found in its old world models. This upsets the balance somewhat, but that could just as easily be a matter of expectations. I find this wine most enjoyable, and wholeheartedly support further experiments in this direction. Plus, anyone who loves a good pun as much as me has to like the name. (1/09)

When it was 2006, it was a zinfandel year

Easton 2006 Zinfandel (Amador County) – Upon first opening, a huge rush of bubbles and massive volatility seems to indicate an in-bottle refermentation. I put it aside and open something else. Two days later, it’s still a little prickly. A full week later, at room temperature – something I would not generally recommend – it has come into full form, shedding some of the wood along with the volatiles and knitting itself into a far more cohesive and more “winy” wine, full of dark, wild berries and that pine bark-edged touch of pruniness, twisted and sauvage, that so often seems to mark the region. I’m not sure what was going on at first opening, though. (1/09)

Go Ouest, young man

Domaine de la Terre Rouge 2005 Syrah “Les Côtes de l’Ouest” (California) – Big and pleasantly blundering. The roasted coffee overlay isn’t too dominant, and the stew of sun-baked red fruit underneath is quite pleasant. It’s neither long nor particularly complex, but then that’s not really the point. (1/09)


Easton 2002 Barbera (Shenandoah Valley) – 14.5%. Receding under a looming shark bite of coconut and vanilla, and though the neon red fruit holds for the moment, it’s not getting any better, and soon there’s going to be maraschino and heat left in its wake. So drink up. (12/08)


Easton 2002 Barbera (Shenandoah Valley) – 14.5%. Massive fruit, perhaps too dense for its structure, with a bit of nagging volatility and a brief, angry snarl at the end. I’m not sure where that’s coming from, but all doesn’t end well with this wine. And certainly, it’s unrecognizable if one’s lens is Piedmontese barbera, though it fits nicely into the dominant Sierra Foothills expression. Maybe it’s just a little bit too old? (10/08)

Easton down, Easton down the road

Easton 2006 Zinfandel (Amador County) – 14.5%. Suave zinfandel, carrying its weight with ease, and dressing up its usual tangled-vine Amador gnarliness in a fine, tailored suit…which it wears well. Those for whom differential character in zins is the primary goal will be slightly disappointed in this wine, but it’s very hard to criticize it from any other perspective, as it could hardly be more sluggable. (10/08)

Easton exposure

[vineyard]Easton 2006 Zinfandel (Amador County) – Comes in columns, with separation and little integration, of sweet black fruit, pepper-spice, wild-eyed – almost olive-like, though the wine doesn’t taste of olives – brininess, and minor structure. The finish is shorter than usual, and there’s a significant final chord of vanilla. This might just need a little bit of time to knit, but I think it’s not quite the wine it has been in recent years. (7/08)

Veterans’ Administration

[vineyard]Easton 2006 Zinfandel (Amador County) – Perhaps an off bottle. If not, a rather dramatic stylistic left turn. The nose is quite volatile, then a breath of coconut precedes a crisp, light, tangled and gnarly palate of thin vines and biting, early-picked acidity. I like it (once that volatility blows away), but it’s certainly not what I expect from either Amador or Easton. (4/08)


[vineyard]Easton 2006 Zinfandel (Amador County) – Reliably fruity and vine-y, its twisty palate a result of grapes that have been goofing around rather than studying Dadaism. There’s very little a zin should have that’s not present here, and while it’s fairly straightforward, it holds on to a varietal purity that grows increasingly rare in these days of tricked-and-tarted volume wines. (12/07)

Red soil at night

[terre rouge vineyards]A tasting of and dinner with the wines of Bill Easton (Domaine de la Terre Rouge), hosted by Bill Easton himself at Oleana in Cambridge, MA. This was mostly a social event, and so the following notes will be comparatively light on the wine geekery, other than the notes.

I’m the last to arrive, thanks to Oleana’s difficult parking situation, and the rest of the attendees have started with a little Prosecco at the bar. We move to the table while I catch up.

Adami Prosecco di Valdabbione “Sur Lie” (Veneto) – Tart and papery. Segmented, and the lack of cohesion renders the wine a little flat. Unserious Prosecco is fine, even welcome, but it needs to taste alive. This tastes like it’s attempting some sort of profundity, but if so it’s a failure in that regard. It simply comes across as deadened. (5/07)

Easton 2005 Sauvignon Blanc (Sierra Foothills) – Big and aromatic…is that a little creamy leesiness?…with a surplus of ripe gooseberry and some fat to the texture. The cream and its accompanying butter are deceptive, as the wine doesn’t go through malo, but the ripe greenness reasserts itself on the finish. This drinks like sauvignon blanc aromatics wedded to a viognier texture (though without the heat that so often plagues the latter). Interesting, though unmistakably New World.(5/07)

…continued here.