Browse Tag

edmunds st. john

Durell hand cream

Edmunds St. John 1993 Syrah Durell (Sonoma Valley) – Glacially-cellared, and this was in mind as we opened the wine, because in retrospect I’m not sure I’ve ever had a Durell syrah that I thought was fully mature. This one gave its best effort, though, and is the closest I’ve come. Very masculine, all rippling muscles and five o’clock shadow, wrapping dark blackberry residue in leather and tarnished metal buckles. Lingers, a very long while. Very, very good. (8/10)

Woven so well

Edmunds St. John 2007 “That Old Black Magic” (El Dorado County) – Steve’s wines aren’t always this approachable in their youth, but the surplus here doesn’t come at the cost of overall balance or integrity. Dark, deep, a little brooding, and quite solid…and yet light and lively despite the gravitic press. Dark fruit, dark soil, dark carpeting. Really, really good. (5/10)

Barsotti voce

Edmunds St. John 2008 Gamay Noir Barsotti Ranch “Porphyry” (El Dorado) – A stark, bare rock face of minerality with some tart, rhubarb/raspberry-ish fruit. Ungenerous and light, but long. I’d like to see this one again after some time in the cellar; a little erosion would be welcome. (5/10)

A Witters tale

Edmunds St. John 2009 Gamay Noir Rosé “Bone-Jolly” Witters (El Dorado County) – Raspberry and something in the peach realm, deft and light and gripping the palate as loosely as possible. Deft but not dodgy, light but not ethereal; very present without being insistent. (5/10)

Durell hand cream

Edmunds St. John 1995 Syrah Durell (Sonoma Valley) – 14.4%. Such a deep purple it’s like drinking a Jon Lord keyboard solo. Still very structured, with fine balance but with its cards held very close to its chest. It takes about five minutes to unwind from a cranky and difficult opening, and then it just sits there, unchanging, for hours. And hours. A touch of volatile acidity eventually develops in the glass, but it’s minor and non-hyper-sensitives probably won’t even notice it. Five to ten more years, at least, are required here; it’s certainly not in a generous mood at the moment. (3/10)

St. sy.

[winemaker]Edmunds St. John 2001 Syrah (California) – It will be to my ongoing regret, I’m sure, that the succulent appeal of this wine has kept me from aging it as long as it deserves. Dark fruit in the black & blue realm, leather, resolving but not quite diminishing structure, and complexity in micro-flake form…this wine regularly performs well above its pay grade, and has gotten better with each bottle I’ve uncorked. (8/09)


Edmunds St. John 2001 Syrah (California) – Smoked meat, a little bit of brett (a first from this wine, at least in my experience), blackberries, and a dusting of char. Smooth and elegant in the context of California syrah…which isn’t, in a wider context, all that smooth and elegant. Still, I like it, and this is the first bottle that, to me, seems like it might be sniffing around the edges of maturity. (9/08)

No sand?

Edmunds St. John 1999 “Rocks and Gravel” (California) – I’m not enraptured by the way this has developed, in that the bubblegumness of grenache is not only on full display, but dominant. There’s appealing herbed hearth and a few slabs of meat in the background, but they struggle to push past the strawberry gobsmacker (not that this is a “gobby” wine). Moreover, alcohol is prodding at the boundaries. Did I hold this too long? Maybe, because I think I liked it more a few years ago, and the grenache/alcohol tandem doesn’t bode enormously well for the future. (5/09)

Durell Owens

Edmunds St. John 1994 Syrah Durell (Sonoma Valley) – Corked. Holy crap, is this corked. It’s like an entire year’s worth of TCA took up residence in this bottle. (3/09)

Rocks in the head

Edmunds St. John 2005 “Rocks and Gravel” (California) – Way too young, and yet showing its promise with thyme-infused skin not yet fully leathered, the densest blackberries, and a structure that’s at least half micro-particulate; this wine has a vibrant presence in a very non-liquidy way. Very long. Let it rest. (11/08)