Sweet white- 80% Semillon, 20% Sauvignon Blanc, aged in 33% new oak for 18 months. Very high fruit and bright acids, with sweet stone fruits, peach, nectarine, and sweet pink grapefruit. Quite young, this will settle down with cellar time into something lovely. Highly recommended.
here is a lot of hype flying around about the 2008 Oregon Pinot Noirs. This is one that justifies it. Lovely nose of rose petals, star anise, and ripe berry with some slight cedar undertones. Opens up with rich, focused flavors of raspberries and earth that hang around for a very long time with a long, impressive finish. Even shows well the morning after (and makes for a helluva eye opener). Try with roast duck, but hold off the fruity sauces with it that would clash. Keep it simple. Highly recommended.
Interesting, and reasonably priced. A few extra dollars are worth it for a next-tier-up wine. Fruits are deep black, mostly blackberry, made darker with a generous helping of unsweetened chocolate and black pepper. It also has a surprising zing of cayenne pepper, showing through on the mid-palate. There is some wood effect but it is not overpowering. Acids are high, equally matching the generous tannins. It is a little one-dimensional, lacking much evolution from attack to finish, but has depth worth the price. Pair with a Flinstone-sized rack of beef ribs. Recommended.
The 2008 Witch Creek Aglianico, from Valle de Guadeloupe fruit, was a bit of a stylistic departure from this producer’s Montepulcianos (from the same region). Brambly blackberry aromas, up front, were followed by hints of pepper and smoke and a faint hint of maple syrup. In the mouth, light berries were backed by a faint brininess. This upper medium-bodied wine had supple, slightly astringent tannins, good acidity, and a touch of heat. A medium-length finish carried berry flavors into some astringency. On the second day, it showed some oxidation, suggesting it may not be built for the long-term. Some savory herb and fruit aromas were disitinct. In the mouth, it remained faintly briny, with faint oak notes and hints of brown spice towards the back. There was also a greener edge to the dusty, suede-like tannins. Proportionate acids persisted. Some heat was present on the noticeably shorter, vaguely plumy finish. This wine was lighter than expected and was far less briny than the Montepulcianos. Nevertheless, it matched the brisket and BBQ ribs well. (12.4% ABV, 1 bottle tasted, 140 cases made)
The 2008 Terra d'Oro is 100% Aglianico from the Shenendoah Valley in Amador County. The wine was fermented in half-ton bins and was pressed directly into barrels after seven days of skin contact. It spent 16 months in 100% second fill American oak. The initial aromas consisted of a smoked bacon note up front, oak notes and, fainter berries in background. In the mouth, slight sweetness embellished fleshy, sweet red fruit. This lower medium-bodied wine was round, rich and plush with a velvet-like texture, good acids, a bit of heat. An upper medium-length finish started with heat and transitioned to some juicy red and dark fruit. On the second day, the fruit aromas were more distinct and consisted of vague, plummy fruit accompanied by spice and vanilla oak notes. The character of the fruit carried onto the palate. Tannins remained fine and velvet-like, but were rather drying, initially. Acids become more declared after a short delay. A pruny note lingered at end of the finish. This riper, somewhat mature-tasting wine was unobtrusive with brisket and the BBQ ribs. (14.2% ABV, 2 bottles tasted, 308 cases made)
The 2008 Mandola Aglianico from Duchman Family Winery, is a 100% varietal wine sourced from fruit grown in the Reddy Vineyard in the Texas High Plains. The wine was fermented in stainless steel and then spent 10 months in American oak. The wine started with very brambly, jammy raspberry aromas up front accompanied by plum aromas and light, cocoa-like oak notes. In the mouth, cranberry flavors with a candied edge were the dominant flavor. A faint hint of rose petals was also detectable. Medium-bodied, with slightly dusty, but not bitter, fine grained tannin texture, good acids. The wine became a bit dry and a bit lean or thin-feeling towards the back. The finish was quite long, with berry flavors and some cranberry notes. This wine did better with the brisket better than the BBQ ribs which overwhelmed it. This wine did not hold up well overnight. Aromas of melted butter and kefir dominated with the latter persisting into the flavors. (12.5% ABV, 1 bottle tasted, production volume unknown)
The 2008 Witch Creek Montepulciano was more ungainly. Aromas of dill, at first, were followed by briary, vaguely herbal notes. In the mouth, brine dominated with meaty flavors coming before light strawberry. Structurally, this wine was light, creamy and thinner than the ’07. Strawberry persisted into the finish. On the second day, aromas of wild sage became more defined and were accompanied by a distinct salty aroma. In the mouth, it was much brinier than the 07, with light black fruit and an almost peppery character. Overnight, this wine medium-boded wine had become fuller, smooth and unique in its saltiness. Game, blackberry and brininess lingered on the finish. This wine definitely overpowered the pizza, needing pure, rare red protein. It overpowered the blackened salmon. (13.3% ABV, 1 bottle tasted, 150 case made)
Shauna and Kent Rosenblum obtained the fruit for their 2008 Rock Wall Montepulciano from Randy Taylor’s vineyards in Contra Costa County. The grapes were fermented in small macrobins after spending some time out in the sun. The Rosenblums allowed 15%-20% whole berry inclusion, did a cold soak at 42 degrees, tannin addition and used of their house yeast, RP15, a Zinfandel yeast, as the core of their regimen. All new French oak was used for ageing. The wine started with strong oak aromas—dill initially—then notes of leather. Coffee became more pronounced with a little air. In the mouth, plush black cherry/strawberry led into light, supple tannins. Lighter bodied, the soft acids in the mid-palate made the wine seem a bit hollow. A fairly complex finish consisted of a briary cherry-strawberry mélange, with a crème fraiche note and slight bitterness. On the second day, the collective aromas screamed “Zinfandel”. Dill, herbs and vanilla up front, crossing into espresso, the fruit come through had a distinct briar-like quality. In the mouth, espresso notes preceded ripe, very plump briary fruit flavors. Slight, fine-grained tannins, and softer but more pronounced acids made for a round and rich mouthfeel. The wine was an unobtrusive companion to the mushroom pizza and did not overpower the blackened salmon. (14.1% ABV, 1 bottle tasted, production volume unknown, This wine is produced in small lots and tends to sell out to club members.)