Posts Tagged ‘torrin wine’

Hospice du Rhone Tasting Notes Part 1

Friday, May 9th, 2008

Courtesy of Mark Johnson…

Greetings all –

Well, I have so much to report on about the Paso HDR event weekend that I am going to break it into two different e-mails. Todays will be just straightforward tasting notes about the Friday and Saturday tastings, Part 1. The next e-mail (in a few days) will be more of the same event tasting notes (Part 2) plus additional tasting notes from winery visits in the Paso area (Denner, Terry Hoage, Linne Calodo, Ecluse and several others). I will also include restaurant and dinner wine notes. Yikes, maybe it will be three e-mails!


The scoring system I will be using is a much simplified version of my usual 1 – 10 point scale with .01 increments. With the fast pace at these tastings I must make a quick decision and rate it 1 to 4, 4 being best. I will use a + sign to designate a half point. If I use a < sign that means less than average and an X means a bad wine. These scores are not carved in stone, just quickie ratings for you to use as a guide for future purchases and/or to watch out for these wines upon release. Many of  these wines tasted won’t even be released for several months.

 So, let the ratings begin!

 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.

 ERIC KENT (Santa Rosa)

2005 Dry Stack: 2

2005 Kalen’s Big Boy: 2+

The 2005’s were pretty good, but the 2006’s were even better. They will be out in fall of 2008.

2006 Dry Stack: 3

2006 Kalen’s Big Boy: 3+



These guys were THE hit of the show for me. I tasted three wines, and all were great. They were somewhat tight and a bit tannic (on Friday) but there was so much fruit and stuff going on you know it’s going to be great. They will be released in fall of 2008. Production will be VERY small, so you might want to get on his list:


2006 The Maven Grenache: 3+, maybe 4

2006 Syrah: 3

2006 The Banshee (a Grenache, Alicante Bouschet, and Syrah blend): 4   A killer wine, lot’s of pepper.

I believe there might have been another Syrah and Grenache, but unfortunately my notes are incomplete



Another great vintage for Booker. What’s their secret??

2006 Vertigo Syrah blend: 3+

2006 Fracture Syrah: 3+

2006 ripper Grenache: 4   a great wine! Not as monstrous as last year. Much more balanced.



This was another winery to definitely watch. He makes very good Grenache. My notes on his other two wines are gone as my recorder malfunctioned right after tasting his wine.

2007 Grenache Blanc: 2   a nice and crisp white.

2006 Grenache, Camp 4 vineyard: 3

2006 Grenache, Watch Hill vineyard: 3+  Very nice! I tasted this Grenache at the Wine Cask futures and gave it a similar score.

2006 Cuvee Christie (60% Grenache, 30% syrah, 10% Mourvedre): 3



The 2005 tasted like his previous vintage: too tight and too acidic. For $50 you can do better.

2005 Syrah: 1



2006 Cab/Syrah: X

2006 GSM: X

2006 Rhone blend: X



2006 Bien Nacido Syrah: a very tasty wine, nice and peppery

2006 Verna’s Syrah: 3+  he actually wasn’t pouring it here, but I tasted it about a month ago and it’s definitely worth buying now on his futures program



2006 The Bride white Rhone blend: 3  I like this wine, even though it could use a bit more fruit.

2006 Marsanne: 3  not as complex as The Bride, but gushing with great fruit

2005 Stagecoach Syrah: 3   don’t confuse with a similarly labeled Napa Syrah that’s not as good.

2006 Stagecoach Syrah: 4  Wow, this was an incredible wine, definitely in the top 5 of the weekend. It won’t be released until November or December of 2008. Must Buy!!


5 MILE BRIDGE (Atascadero)

2005 Syrah: X  watery

2006 Syrah: X  hoo-eee, barnyard



2006 Alta Vinas Grenache: 2  pretty good, but a bit sweet

The next 3 wines were barrel samples that weren’t quite ready for prime-time, so it’s hard to score

2006 L’Ange Rouge Grenache: 2 ?  too sweet

2006 Larner Grenache: 2 ?  also too sweet

2006 Les Galets Syrah: 3  this wine showed quite well


ALBAN (Arroyo Grande)

2005 Grenache: <  Kathie and I both thought this had a very odd flavor

2005 Reva Syrah: 2+  this wine was big, rich and deep, but a little too stinky/earthy for my tastes. I’m sure others loved it.


FOXEN (Santa Maria)

2006 Cuvee Jeanne Marie Grenache blend: 3

2005 William-Dore Syrah: 1+  it seemed a bit candied



2005 Artistico Syrah: 2+

2006 Viognier: 3



This is another new find. To be released in fall of 2008. Get on the list:

2006 Syrah: 3

2006 GSM: 3



I’ve tasted these guys three times now in the last few months at different events, and have been impressed. The 2005’s are pretty good, but watch out for the 2006’s! (not yet released)

2005 Bossman: 3

2006 Novillero Syrah: 4  available fall 2008

2006 Infadels Syrah: 3+  available fall 2008

2006 As the Crow Flies Syrah: 2+, maybe 3. Won’t be released until spring of 2009.        


That’s all for now. Watch for Part 2..or maybe even more.

Mark Johnson

Commander Printed Products

3450 Camino del Sol

Oxnard, CA 93030

805-988-5880 / Fax: 805-988-6880