Gotta love dem Mountain Wineries

Oh… the Sierra Foothills.  Brings back memories of stomping around Amador and Placerville and Apple Hill and Calaveras and Murphys and Jackson.  Madrona, Montevina, Renwood, Boeger, Sobon Estate… back in the early 90’s.  Slightly reminiscent of some recent tastings in Manton, too.  Back-woods wine regions always have this certain *quality* in their LACK of quality.  I haven’t tasted any of those wines in years, but this one tells me not much has changed.  It is a cute little wine–and not a horrid one… it is just not Napa or Alexander or SYV, either.  It has a lovely–although simple–nose.  Cleanliness and lab issues are prevalent.  Deeply American-oaked, with dark cherry, eucalyptus, and leather.  But au natural and flawed.  Somewhat like a gas-station restroom:  a welcome find–and no one’s complaining–but raw, dirty nuances abound and a strong back-up of line-cleaner.  Oh, and there’s the breath-mint in the urinal!  I turn around almost expecting to see Brittney Spears standing there barefoot.  Thin and acidic and mind-numbingly tannic on the tongue–again, nothing *terribly* wrong, just… not… a world-class cab.  Nothing dense or dark or particularly compelling, just an estate vineyard struggling at 3000 feet and a winery strong on family and self-taught skills and short on consumer-palate-pleasing finesse.  Falls apart rather quickly in the glass.  Could we call this ‘Old World’?  Really not a dreadful wine, just…. An impressive nose, followed by a thin and simple wine.  Minty and tannic and well-fruited, but put this in front of a well-rounded winesnob and it will get poor marks.  A taste-adventure into a past time.  A flavour-profile left behind by the extraction and manipulation of both today’s ‘check-book’ wineries and wineries in AVA’s where world-scrutiny, consumer palate, and a constant striving for “Something Better” rules the dry-erase board in the lab.  13-1   ◊

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