Browse Tag

sonoma valley

A bundle of schu

Gundlach Bundschu 2003 Gewürztraminer Rhinefarm (Sonoma Valley) – Thick and sweet-feeling…sweet-tasting, too…with a light wisp of acrid nut that verges on armpitty, but doesn’t quite get there. This is fading rather than developing, and in another year or two it will just be watery. (7/08)

Gundlach Bundschu 2006 Gewürztraminer Rhinefarm (Sonoma Valley) – More sugary than it needs to be, with good nectarine and peach flavors, but lacking the verve of lychee or the spice prevalent in better versions. There’s some acidity, which is helpful, and the wine is quite pleasantly drinkable, but no more. (7/08)

That Kunde-do spirit

[vineyard]Kunde 2000 Zinfandel (Sonoma Valley) – I’d be surprised if this wine has changed much since its youth. There’s some spicy fruit, less concentrated than the wine deserves, with some obvious wood and a little spike of acidity (probably the only indication of age). Average. (7/08)

Parmelee for the course

Edmunds St. John 2005 Syrah Parmelee-Hill (Sonoma Valley) – The nose is mercaptan-dominated and difficult to assess at the moment, but what’s underneath seems to be nutty and dark, full of charred (not in a bad way) blackberries and chunky black soil. This needs time to be drinkable, and much more time to reach its peak, but it should be great in a decade-plus. (5/08)


Ridge 1995 Zinfandel Pagani Ranch “Late Picked” (Sonoma Valley) – Concentrated blackberry that narrows to a thin beam of acidity. Ridge’s late-picked wines are rarely my favorites, but for reasons (volatile acidity, mostly) not on display here. Rather, this is a wine that seems to be thinking about coming apart. It’s quite approachable, but it’s pretty much all approach, and no follow-through. (4/08)

Rocky start

[les pierres]Sonoma-Cutrer 2004 Chardonnay Les Pierres (Sonoma Valley) – Appealing for about three seconds, after which it turns highly synthetic. Aromas are all on the bright, sunny side, but I’m not sure any of them are identifiably from nature. It feels almost oppressively “worked,” and about halfway through a glass it requires an effort of will simply to take another sip. (3/08)

Say it three times fast

[bottle]Gundlach Bundschu 2003 Gewürztraminer Rhinefarm (Sonoma Valley) – Soft but varietally true, with the fruit more in the spiced peach spectrum than the lychee/cashew realm. It drifts along pleasantly, neither demanding nor asserting, for a surprising length of time. A solid wine. (11/07)

Matthew, Mark, Luke…

[steve & grapes]Edmunds St. John 1995 Syrah Durell (Sonoma Valley) – Very primary and mostly monolithic, despite some hints of darkly brooding earth and slowly-developing roasted fruit. There’s still a load of tannin as well, and while the quality of this wine is obvious, it’s nowhere near being ready to drink, much less anything even vaguely approximating maturity. Do it (and yourself) a favor and put it back to bed before it hurts somebody. (8/07)

TN: God bless North America (BWE notes)

[label]Tasting notes from the Boston Wine Expo. These were difficult tasting conditions, where speed and distraction were the norm rather than the exception. Thus, notes are brief at best, somewhat superficial, and cannot in truth be otherwise.

De Lille 2005 “Chaleur Blanc” (Columbia Valley) – Thick with wood and ripe fig, with stone fruit and peach/apricot syrup. Good, if exceedingly heavy and even a bit ponderous, in a ripeness-above-all New World style. (2/07)

Sterling 1976 Cabernet Sauvignon “Reserve” (Napa Valley) – Black pepper, plum, blackberry and tobacco. Rich, complex and beautiful, with fantastic balance. Remember when Sterling actually made good wine? Anyone? (2/07)

Sterling 1978 Cabernet Sauvignon “Reserve” (Napa Valley) – Somewhat tired on the palate, though the nose retains its charm: tobacco and old flowers. It hardens on the finish. This wine is, unfortunately, past its drink-by date. (2/07)

Whitehall Lane 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley) – Rich spiced plum, blackberry and ripe tannin, with a warm softness predominating. A balanced structure provides some backbone. Not bad at all. (2/07)

Ravenswood 2004 Zinfandel (Sonoma County) – Simple and obvious, showing spiced nothing. (2/07)

Ravenswood 2004 Zinfandel Teldeschi (Dry Creek Valley) – Structure over fruit, with red cherry and strawberry asserting a friendlier aspect on the finish. Fair. (2/07)

Ravenswood 2004 Zinfandel Barricia (Sonoma Valley) – Structured, with dark plum, black cherry and a brooding, heavy palate. It’s long, but things turn a little sour by the end. I wonder about the future of this wine. (2/07)

Ravenswood 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon (Sonoma County) – Very powdery, with graphite-dusted black cherry and blackberry. Heavy but pleasant. (2/07)

Ravenswood 2004 Zinfandel “Old Vine” (Lodi) – Dark raisin and ripe, concentrated plum and black pepper. Slightly hot, but carrying good intensity. (2/07)

[bottle]Ravenswood 2003 “Icon” (Sonoma County) – Chocolate-coated raspberry dessert (except, of course, it’s supposed to be a dry wine). Grossly overoaked, with a bitter, nasty finish. (2/07)

Ridge 2005 “Three Valleys” (Sonoma County) – Full-bodied, showing plum and burnt coconut, with a shortish finish. Good, with helpful acidity. This seems more approachable than in the past. (2/07)

Ridge 2004 Zinfandel York Creek (Napa Valley) – Strawberry and concentrated plum with good structure and balance. Fine work. (2/07)

Ridge 2003 Geyserville (Sonoma County) – Dark and dusty, showing black cherry, blackberry and boysenberry. There’s an undergrowth of brambles and thorns here, and the finish – while long – is not free of wood and tar. Still, it’s otherwise balanced, and it could just be struggling with its youth right now. (2/07)

Ridge 2003 Santa Cruz Mountains (Santa Cruz Mountains) – Quite structured, with leathery blueberry and tobacco-scented cedar. Long and balanced, with a little bit of chocolate on the finish. This would be a fine cabernet in any portfolio, though here at Ridge it pales in comparison to the Monte Bello. (2/07)

Ridge 1999 Monte Bello (Santa Cruz Mountains) – Leather, tobacco and blackberry with leather and a slathering of American oak. This is tightly-wound and almost pulses with energy, as exhibited on a finish that fights and claws against fading. It’s a little surprising that there’s anything to taste here, because I’d expect this to be closed tight, but it definitely shows the promise within. (2/07)

TN: Kunde roots

[bottle]Kunde 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon (Sonoma Valley) – The basic Cal-cab character set, with dark fruit, some toasty wood, sludgy but ripe tannin, very little acidity and a thick, chunky texture. With air, the fruit definitely comes to the fore, and this isn’t a bad exemplar of the type by any means. But there’s also nothing new to discover here. (3/07)

TN: Clearing the cellar

A “clear the cellar” (a/k/a “make room for more wine”) tasting with friends in Connecticut. One addition: the mini-vertical of Clos des Briords (posted elsewhere) properly belongs among these notes.

Chateau des Charmes 2004 Gamay “Droit” St. David’s Bench (Niagara Peninsula) – Faint sweet cherry with a dry soda aspect and spiky acidity. The texture is all aspirin and baby powder. I don’t care for this at all. (8/06)

Mugneret-Gibourg 2002 Bourgogne (Burgundy) – Lovely and balanced, with strawberry seeds the dominant characteristic. (8/06)

[St. Innocent]St. Innocent 1999 Pinot Noir Seven Springs (Willamette Valley) – Gorgeous black cherry soda on the nose, with a rougher, more tannic brew of raspberry, strawberry, plum and grey earth on the palate. Just starting to round into form…though a few more years will bring superior harmony. (8/06)

St. Innocent 2004 Pinot Noir Shea (Willamette Valley) – Woody, showing layers of coconut over raspberry, with lots of thick tannin. Full and almost fat, but structured. Opened way too early. (8/06)

Téofilo Reyes 1996 Ribera del Duero (Castilla & León) – Caramel nougat and thick, dark, sticky fruit. It’s not as awful as it sounds, but it’s sludgy and one-note and, ultimately, pretty boring. (8/06)

Lopez de Heredia “Viña Tondonia” 1976 Rioja Gran Reserva “Viña Bosconia” (Center-North) – Dill and smelly feet, with crabapple tartness and a hot finish. (8/06)

Edmunds St. John 1999 Syrah Durell (Sonoma Valley) – Leather, blueberry and powdery tannin, with all sorts of yummy, earth-and-herb-and-sweat characteristics starting to bubble to the surface. The future looks promising. (8/06)

Müller-Catoir 1996 Mussbacher Eselshaut Rieslaner Spätlese 04 97 (Rheinpfalz) – Clumsy tropical fruit with searing, tongue-scalding acidity. (8/06)

Wittmann 1999 Westhofener Steingrube Spätburgunder Beerenauslese 23 00 (Rheinhessen) – Intense to the point of being overwhelming, with grass, red-toned melon, and pomegranate with huge acidity. Bizarre, and I can’t quite decide what to think of it. (8/06)

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