ASHBASH notes 7.26.15

Quick hits on a plethora of wines tasted this weekend at EMBER in Arroyo Grande with TASTES OF THE VALLEY wine shop.

Old-world minerality +oak and AL.  Dusty fruit and floral.  Fairly simple nutty chewy entrance.  Bright spicy pepper and acid.  Slight afterburn.

SAN MARCOS CREEK fairly simple but a huge fan of this winery.  Flies completely under the radar.  This was the “Ruby”, not sure of blend but generous fruit and structure.  A bit flabby.
MITCHELLA really simple fruit, dark and not brooding or complex.  A new label for me and might research more.
ROXYANN (Rogue River, OR)  Interesting but simple.  Fruit-FWD and lovely acid.  Interesting to taste.

MONDAVI MERLOT a serious merlot, incredible briar, acid and tannin.  Big oak, but matching dense fruit. I was happily shocked.  NOT a merlot for the merlot-crowds.  No way.  Not soft by any stretch of the imagination.  Really surprised.
ROXYANN (Rogue River OR) and nice representation of the variety.  Dark and dense and feeling tired already, with peppery afternotes.  Pass.

 LABYRINTH Syrah.  Incredible, overpowering oak and after that, a fairly simple SY.  I really like Colson Canyon offerings, and this one did not disappoint but at the same time it was not anything to go “Wow” over.  The last CC I had–a Brander–left me with nearly the same opinion and the one before that–a McPrice-Meyers–was equally boring.  Maybe it turns out I actually DON’T like Colson Canyon as much as I thought.  An interesting appell for sure, but this one didn’t do anything for me.  Yummy, yes. and your typical layers of tar and spice.
COTIERE CH.  Forced to taste.  Big oak and full malo.  “Chardonnay”.  End of conversation.
GREG LINN Ancient Ocean  Well, now here we go with some serious PN.  Needs an hour of decant at least.  Big and dustily vibrant and settles down into layers and layers of amazing Pinot construction.  Dark raspberry and incredible terrior starting dusty and ending briary.  A world-class California Pinot.

POSEUR  Ripe and round with great texture.  Gamey and alcoholic though.
NERELLI  Fruit-FWD and interesting.

WILSON is the Zinfandel we all have been missing since the horrors which are Zin started happening.  15-6 but carries it wonderfully.  Dense and vibrant and not alcoholic or fat at all.  A true old-school Sonoma zin.
TOLOSA Clonal Selection represents what this ‘tourist winery’ is capable of behind the scenes.  Ripe and round, of course, but fairly serious pure Pinot situations going on inside.  Still, a fairly big offering of crowd-pleasing proportions.

Here we go.  This was my ‘young’ wine of the night.  Do you remember Petite Sirah?  Way back 20 years ago when it was unapproachable and massively tannic and undeniably California?  Think: Cornas.  Color and density screams unmistakable PS.  Fruit not forward like som any PS’s today.  Dense and brooding and wrapped in unforgettable tannin.  The most tannic wine of the night.  Chewey and dense.  An absolute tour de force.  Find some if you can.  This thing just CRUSHES.

The Wagner is a fairly soft crowd-pleasing effort long on price and pedigree and short on delivery.  Vapid middle after a big oaky entrance.
2006 PINE RIDGE Cave 7 hands down WOTN.  Nose so opulent and layered in briar and spice, teeming with terroir.  Fruit sharp as a razor and int he mouth delivers even more than the stunning bouquet.  What a wine.  Words do not do it justice.  I would KILL for a couple bottles of this.  Everything a napa cab SHOULD be, and nothing remotely resembling 99% of the hi-end lush-bombs we have Napa force on us almost daily by the Parkers.  Searing and bright and an absolute infant.  20 more years easily.  Wow.

VILLA CREEK James Berry GSM had tight blackberry fruit not-terribly-tightly wound in a backbone of ripeness.  Not miserably impressed.
TENSLEY Thompson  showed most of the wonderfulness of one of my favorite vineyards for SBco Syrah.  Dense tar and leather with crisp fruit delivered on a balanced platform.  Doesn’t get much better than this.

2005 KOVACS was one of the three or four older cabs in attendance.  Nowhere near as impressive as the PINE RIDGE or B R COHN, but impressive for something I had never heard of.  Rich–if not a tad fat, but showing almost NO sign of polish.  Could not believe it was 10yo.

A-NON-AH-MUS  Massive floral nose with tar and leather wonderfulness spilling over into the intensely fruity entry–ripe and round with medium tannins.  Love this wine.

OLIVE HILL ESTATE 1995 dusty layers of deep polish perfectly exhibited in both bouquet and palate.  These never cease to amaze.  Why don’t I own any of these?!?!?!

MORRO VIEW  Fairly take aback by the concentration on this one.  Someone insisted I try it and being on a five-year ME kick, I bit.  not disappointed.  Rich and round and not lacking a mid-section like a lot of ME’s.  Nice briar and tannin.  Might have to look into this one.

OH NO!!!!  someone in attendance was a HAFNER devotee (only way to get these) and it was empty before I got to it.  So I jsut threw in a stupid blurry pic to piss everyone off.  These are fabulous old-school, family wines.  They’ll never win a 95, and that is a good thing.

 HALL not surprising a fairly entry-level crowd-pleasing cab with not much going on.  Yummy and that’s about it.

EOS ESTATE Napa Valley Zin.  Fat and ripe.  Not interesting.

And… I almost forgot the three I brought.
2003 ARTISTS SERIES  funky and over, by itself a fairly interesting older wine but in this crowd–the Pine Ridge, the Olive Hill and the 2005 whatever–it was funky and dead and boring and lifeless.
2009 BLACK ZEPPELIN got lots of attention.  People were photographing the label all night.  It felt a little fat in this company to me, dark and dreary and overly concentrated.  


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