Browse Tag

mendocino county

You give love a bad name

[dashe zinfandel]Dashe “Les Enfants Terribles” 2014 Zinfandel Heart Arrow Ranch (Mendocino County) — 13.8%, native yeast. I remember the first vintages of this experiment, which were usually tasty, but rather loose and a bit wild…nudging into the natural realm without seeming to feel confident in any particular world. Since then, control (of a sort) as been reasserted. I think it would be fair to call Mike Dashe a structuralist — certainly the rest of his zinfandels are firm, unquestioned candidates for aging — and while this remains unlike the “normal” zins, it adds just enough structure and form to its boisterous (but not explosive) mélange of berries, barks, needles, and dusts that it feels entirely cohesive and self-possessed. Another wine I’d like to have on permanent, free-flowing tap. (6/16)


Steele 2008 Zinfandel (Mendocino County) – Soft and supple. As round and smooth a zinfandel as I’ve ever tasted, its fruit light but rich. I suppose it reeks of crafting-for-the-market, but there’s some really excellent craft here. And as the “market” does need something to drink, this would fit the bill as well as anything. (1/12)

Indica ink

Lioco 2006 “Indica” (Mendocino County) – Old-vine carignan with some petite sirah. 14.2% alcohol. And it does taste very carignan-ish, with boisterous bubblegum-tinged red cherries (8/11)

All together now

Copain 2007 Syrah “Tous Ensemble” (Mendocino County) – 14.2%. Very weighty and Californian, though appealing in that genre. Hot blue fruit, hot purple texture, hot black soil. Syrah, but only barely…though there’s structure and, eventually, the weight settles in. I suspect this will be better after a few years, but it’s not my thing now. (5/10)

Testa results

[label]Coturri 2005 Carignane Testa (Mendocino County) – Ripe, a bit hot, and full of gummy pink-purple fruit. Even when these wines are clean – and they sometimes aren’t – I don’t really understand the appeal; they seem simplistic and obvious. (8/08)

Artezinal wine

[bottle]Artezin 2006 Zinfandel (Mendocino County) – 14.5%. Dense, over-structured…and over-wooded? The leaden spice box aromas alongside oak-like tannins suggest so, but I don’t know for sure. This wine is full of something I wouldn’t quite call flavor, but that flavor mostly just lies there, uninterested in much aside from the size of its triceps. Time might help, but I suspect instead that this will simply collapse under its own weight. (5/08)

Summer lovin’

[logo]Copain 2005 Viognier “L’ete” (Mendocino County) – This is served to me blind, and after a brief flirtation with something white and Rhônish, I veer off in a completely wrong direction. But even if I’d stuck to my guns, I never would have guessed viognier, because there’s not much of it here. Dried flowers, perhaps, but none of the lurid, oily, aromatic explosion for which the grape is known. It’s hot and flabby, sure, and that is at least authentic, but there’s some acidity lingering about, and that can’t possibly be viognier, can it? Strange wine. Needs food. I can’t quite commit to liking it, but it’s at least interesting. (3/08)