Courtesy of Mark Johnson – a continuation of his thorough tasting notes from the recent Hospice du Rhone event in Paso Robles…Thanks Mark, as usual, terrific notes – I only wish I had half your palate and could be as descriptive.
Hello all –
Here is part two of the tasting notes from Friday and Saturday at the HdR walk-around tasting event.
I will use the same scoring system as Tuesday’s notes:
X = bad wine
< = less than average wine
1 = just OK. Pleasant and drinkable, but there are better choices out there.
2 = pretty good. A nice, well made wine.
3 = very good. Definitely consider buying.
4 = WOW! Must buy.
This is another new winery that just released their first wines last October. They are off to a good start!
2005 Jersey Girl Syrah: 3
2005 Mirror (47% Syrah, 30% Cab, 23% Merlot): 2+
2006 Hell’s Kitchen — barrel sample (40% Syrah, 28% Grenache, 16% Mourvedre, 16% Tannat): 3 (an very interesting blend to be released October 2008)
Their new tasting room opens May 15
CINQUAIN CELLARS (San Miguel)
2006 Nagengast Syrah: 2+ a nice wine with tasty peppery notes
AMBYTH ESTATE (Paso)
ALERE VINEYARDS (Cuyama Valley)
I only tasted one wine. That was enough. Feeble at best.
RED CAR (Culver City)
2006 Speakeasy: 3 a very big wine
2006 Vinyl: 3 this is the exact same wine as the Speakeasy, except it was barrel aged 5 months longer. Interestingly, we actually preferred the Speakeasy a bit more.
PAX WINE CELLARS (Santa Rosa)
Over the years I have purchased a fair amount of Pax wine futures, usually after barrel tasting at his facility in Santa Rosa. However, while the barrel samples were impressive, what finally was put in the bottle never seemed as good. I’d wait; try a bottle a year later, and it would be the same “just OK” taste. While he gets great Spectator scores, Pax has a very unique flavor profile, and — combined with his lofty prices – it ultimately doesn’t work for me.
2006 Nepenthe Roussanne/Viognier blend: 3 OK, OK, this wine is pretty good, but $65??
2006 Cuvee Moriah GSM: 2
2005 Griffins Lair Syrah: 1
ARNOT-ROBERTS: (Santa Rosa)
One of the owners works at Pax Wine Cellars, so the wines have a very “Pax like” flavor profile.
2006 Clary Ranch Syrah: 1
2006 Alder Springs Syrah: 1
29 SONGS (Napa)
2005 Suscol Creek Syrah: < the winemaker said he is purposely making a low alcohol, food friendly Syrah. To me it was more low flavor and very unfriendly.
SAXUM ( Paso)
He had three wines, they were all great of course — but who cares since you can’t buy them. Damn!
AUSTEN HOPE (Paso)
2006 Grenache: 3
2005 Syrah: 1 tasted too sweet
JOSHUA TREE IMPORTS (Duarte)
2005 Schubert Estate Goose Yard Block Shiraz: 3 this wine is great year after year
2005 Rolf Binder Hanisch Shiraz: 2+
2005 Kilikanoon Prodigal Grenache: 2+ this is a nice Grenache a pretty good value
2006 Descendant: 4 this is an excellent wine. Very spicy.
2005 Factor: 1+ it seemed kind of neutered.
2005 Run Rig: 3+ yes it’s great, but $175? Get real.
2004 Syrah: X
DRY STACK VINEYARDS (Santa Rosa)
2005 Syrah: 1
2006 Syrah: 3+ wow, what a difference a vintage makes. This will be released in October of 2006.
2007 Simpson Viognier: 3 this is a zippy, fun wine.
2005 Odyssey Syrah blend: 2+
TASTING NOTES FROM WINERIES AROUND THE PASO AREA:
I think Terry and Jennifer Hoage make some of the best wines in Paso. They are nice people and their prices are fair.
We tasted through their complete line-up of mostly new releases. I think the scores posted below may actually get better in time as most of these wines had just been bottled 4 – 8 weeks ago.
2007 Grenache Blanc “The Gap”: 2+
2007 Picpoul Blanc “Hangtime”: 2 this is a very unusual wine, and was “controversial” in our group. It has a pronounced tart, lemony flavor, that some loved and others not as much. I’m on the fence. I wouldn’t necessarily drink as a “cocktail” wine, but instead I would match with a lemony fish or chicken dish to really set it off.
2006 Grenache “Skins”: 3
2006 Cuvee “The Pick”: 3+ this one was kind of spicy!
2006 Grenache-Syrah “The 46”: 3
2005 Syrah “The Hedge”: 4
2006 Syrah blend “5 Blocks: 3+ this wine won’t be released until the fall of 2008, and they were even hesitant to open it at this point. Yes it was tight, but I think this will be a great wine in time.
Note: Terry Hoage is modifying and soon limiting their mailing list. This would be a good time to get on: www.terryhoagevineyards.com
2007 Prelude Marsanne/Roussanne blend: 1 it seemed a bit thin to me
2005 Rendition GSM: 2+
2005 Syrah: 3
2005 Cabernet: <
2005 Zin: 2
Well, the good news is after two years of being in a slump, Linne is back with some really good new releases. The bad news is prices are higher than ever.
2006 Stick and Stones GSM: 3
2006 Rising Tides: 2
2006 Leona’s (Zin, Mourvedre, Alicante, Syrah): 3.5
2006 Cherry Red (Zin, Mourvedre, Syrah): 3
2006 Nemesis: 3
2005 Martyr (Mourvedre, Syrah, Grenache): 3+ nice wine, but at $95 – ouch!
The 2005’s at Denner last year were a real mixed bag, plus there was a lot of barnyard funk was going on. The 2006’s are much better.
2006 Theresa white blend: 2
2006 Grenache: 3
2006 Ditch Digger, GSM: 3
2006 Zin: 3
2006 Dirt Worshipper, Syrah/Viognier: 3 this wine is not yet released. It was tight and a bit disjointed, but it will be a big boy. Should be out in fall of 2008.
These guys usually put out some crappy wines, but occasionally they knock out a good one, like the Petite below.
2006 Anarchy Rhone Blend: 2+
2006 Heretic Petite Sirah: 3
2006 Chardonnay: 3
2006 Pinot Noir: 2+
2006 Pinot Noir Reserve: 3+
2005 Syrah: 3
Other Paso wineries we visited and tasted, but were totally forgettable:
Vihuela ( booooring)
More in the Santa Ynez area:
Casa Cassara (yuk)
RESTAURANTS AND WINES WHILE IN PASO:
Thursday: Villa Creek
We’ve had several good meals at VC and several ho-hum. This night they were definitely good.
2007 VC white blend: 2
2005 Kosta Browne Syrah: 3+
2004 Shirvington Shiraz: 3 it was big, but seemed a bit syrupy.
Overall, we had a very good meal and great service, though the noise can be deafening in the back room.
2005 Ramey Hyde Chardonnay: 3+
2006 Kosta Browne Sonoma Coast: 3+
2005 Kosta Browne Gary’s: 4
2006 Saxon Brown “One Oak” Zin: 3+
2005 Ramey Syrah: 3+
Usually this place is great, but things were off. Michael, the floor manager, was cooking in the kitchen, his brother was AWOL? Several of our dishes were so-so.
2006 Alban Viognier: 2+ this is always a good “go to” wine that is reasonably priced.
2006 Kosta Browne Russian River Pinot Noir: 2+
2006 Mollydooker “Carnival of Love” Shiraz: 3+
Well, that wraps it up — until next time.
Thanks for “listening”,
Commander Printed Products
3450 Camino del Sol
Oxnard, CA 93030
805-988-5880 / Fax: 805-988-6880