Browse Tag

russian river valley


Ridge 2002 Zinfandel Ponzo (Russian River Valley) – A fine blend of berries and coniferous underbrush, pure-fruited yet just complex and peppery enough for sustained interest. While the fruit has more transformation to go, I think this is about at its optimum point regarding aromatic/structural balance. (8/12)


Swan 1999 Zinfandel Mt. Olivet Mancini Ranch (Russian River Valley) – 13.9%. There aren’t many 1999 zinfandels I would be, of my own volition, holding this long (a statement somewhat belied by my cellar contents, but…well, see the next sentence). The ones I would are all from wineries much more concerned about structural edifices than Swan, which allows structure in its essentials but does not push the wine to achieve that structure. And so, here’s a fully mature zin, with juicy mixed berries, black pepper, and a cat’o’nine acidities in the finish. Quite attractive. On day two and from a mostly empty bottle it’s still steady-state, so I suspect that the maturity in question is a plateau rather than a moment. (10/11)

Trousseau, funny how it seems…

Wind Gap 2010 Trousseau Gris Fannuchi-Wood Road (Russian River Valley) – 13.2%. Peach and orange (buds and blossoms more than the fruit). Fruity and simple Forward, with nice presence. The finish is a bit short. Pleasant. (5/11)


Limerick Lane 2001 Zinfandel Collins (Russian River Valley) – 14.6%. I suppose this isn’t yet old, but it’s showing signs of being one of those zins that holds rather than ages. The fruit’s a little more syrupy than it was, though still in the dark berry and black pepper realm, but for that texture it has given up some of its overall weight and presence in both good and bad ways…less palate impact, but also less prominent alcohol. It has not, it’s worth noting, completely shed any impression of the latter, but it also hasn’t eroded to the point where the alcohol shoots forth, as some maturing zins do. It’s a good enough wine, but I’m not sure there was great value in cellaring it. I’ve another bottle, though, and will let it sit for a while longer, to see if there’s anything on the way. (2/11)


Swan 2008 Pinot Noir “Cuvée des Trois” (Russian River Valley) – Absolutely gorgeous, bringing lush New World fruit into a fine simulacrum of maturity even at this very young age; while past experience suggests that the wine will endure and morph for a while, this specific bottle gives me cause to question that norm. In any case, I see absolutely no reason not to drink this right now, because it’s delicious. Soil, baked plums, fall leaves, rich morels, and soft golden memories of old-growth forest and well-tilled earth. I could drink a case of this, and still be on my feet…Joni Metaphorically-speaking. (11/10)

I gotta Hanna to you

Hanna 2007 Pinot Noir (Russian River Valley) – Starts off a little tentative, but by the end it’s achieved a moderate, medium-weight appeal. Plums and somewhat dried berries, earth, and just enough structure…though that structure is a little prematurely resolved in this bottle, which may have seen some poor treatment along the way. Nonetheless, it’s pleasant. (11/10)

Mind the Gap

Wind Gap 2007 Pinot Gris (Russian River Valley) – Spicy pear with a slightly lactic note, but not enough to be unpleasant. Intense, big, long, and luscious. Way more interesting than anything the Scholium Project has produced. (7/09)

Just in Timbervine

[winery entrance]Porter Creek 1997 Syrah Timbervine Ranch (Russian River Valley) – 14.6%. The black raspberry and blackberry fruit is rough, fulsome, and still seems primary. It’s also hard to enjoy, because the tannin very nearly obliterates it; a mix of hard and leathery chew, bludgeoning all else. There’s acidity, but it hardly matters…this wine has fallen victim to an overabundance of dry bitterness, and while the fruit itself probably has years to go (it’s certainly not showing much tertiary character), the wine itself will never make it…unless one sucks on tea bags for fun. (7/09)

W’s slope

[vineyard]Porter Creek 2001 Chardonnay George’s Hill (Russian River Valley) – Showing the baked nuts, light toast, and faded fruit of a fully mature wine, this faded a lot faster than I’d have guessed from its youthful vibrancy. Oh, well. (5/09)

Swans crossing

[vineyard]Swan 2000 Pinot Noir “Cuvée de Tois” (Russian River Valley) – Perhaps not all the way to wherever its going, but it’s in a strangely bipolar place now. The palate is light, crisp, and pure, full of red cherry and sharp raspberry acidity. But the nose, while it has some nice earthen elements, also speaks loudly and repetitively of smoke and cola. None of it is anywhere close to bad, and it’s a compelling enough wine to go back to again and again in an attempt to make some sense of it, but it’s just weird. (1/09)

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