Browse Tag

el dorado county

Between a Broc & a hard place

Broc Cellars 2009 Roussanne (El Dorado) – Tastes natural, but not Natural…by which I mean it tastes like an authentic attempt to express roussanne (I’ve not had sufficient El Dorado County roussanne to speak to terroir-expression) without the trappings of biological spoilage or cultish ephemerae, but with one foot in the orange wine camp. But anyway: stone fruit, adhesive and dense, with a mysterious sense of space illuminated in ultraviolet. And then, tannic. Let’s not leave out the macerative component, perhaps not (strictly speaking) roussanne-as-roussanne, but which in this case provides more of a contrapuntal complexity than a true rethinking. (11/11)

Silver syrah

Sierra Vista 1999 “25th Anniversary” Syrah (El Dorado) – 13.5%. Succulent maturing-blackberry fruit braced by leafy and somewhat brittle tannin and coal dust. A bit coniferous. This wine is diverging in a fashion that should lead anyone still holding it to make a choice: wait for further maturity in the fruit (which will undoubtedly occur), or recognize that the structural elements are not aging on the same curve and choose to drink up before they become actively intrusive (which I also think is somewhat inevitable). Right now it’s in a good place, but whether or not it ever gets to “better” will very much depend on one’s view of that choice. (10/11)


Sierra Vista 2000 Zinfandel “Old Clone” (El Dorado) – 14.6%. Crisping but shriveled berries, dark earth, pine needles, and a spine of slender but embittered wood. Drink up. (12/10)

Orack Bebame

Bebame 2009 Red (El Dorado County) – It takes me a long time to move past an active dislike for this wine into a wary tolerance, but ultimately I’m happy when my glass is empty of it. Tart, puckery fruit (not overly acidic, though there’s plenty of that, but without enough generosity to support the acid that’s there), underripe melon, sour greenness, green sourness. I feel like I should like this more, given that my favorite California winemaker is involved, but I just don’t. (11/10)

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)


Cedarville 2000 Zinfandel (El Dorado) – 15.7%. I’ve never had a Cedarville wine that I didn’t think was too oaky for its own good, and this caused me to give up on the winery – despite palates I trusted trying to convince me otherwise – years ago. Based on this bottle, I kinda wish I’d listened. The oak, once lavish, has integrated; it’s not gone by any means, but it is now just a partner to the vibrant, spicy, mountain-pine and fields-of-berries fruit. That fruit, however, is still fairly primary, and there are no disjointed elements to the structure, so I can’t say that I think this is any danger of needing consumption. In fact, it might not even be ready yet. (3/10)


[bottle]A Donkey and Goat 2006 “Tamarindo” Roussanne (El Dorado) – For about five minutes after opening, toasted fruit aromatics rush from the glass, heralding a weighty but not overblown palate. And then, as that initial burst of uncorked goodness diffuses, it goes immediately and completely to hell…overwhelmed with volatile acidity, for starters, and bringing up some nasty, decaying animal scents from the cellar. (“Smells like a cow vomited and then died on top of it,” opines one drinking companion.) Really terrible, and an absolutely horrendous value. (1/09)