03 February 2006

Boston Wine Expo notes pt. 2 -- USA

Tasting notes from the Boston Wine Expo. Because of the rather large number of notes, the usual supplemental material has been eliminated; contact me if you have specific questions about a wine. Also, please keep in mind that this was a large, crowded tasting at which a certain efficiency was a necessity; these are notes based on short takes (except where noted), and not necessarily the ideal conditions in which to render definitive judgments.

Part 2 – USA

Adelaida 2004 Roussanne/Grenache Blanc The Glenrose Vineyard (Paso Robles) – Honey and wax gum with fatty cashews and a slightly sweet aspect. Decent.

Adelaida 2004 Viognier The Glenrose Vineyard (Paso Robles) – Sweet honeysuckle and apricot. Nice.

Adelaida 2003 “Rhone Style Red Wine” The Glenrose Vineyard (Paso Robles) – Earth, ripe plum and a touch of bubblegum with a nicely floral finish, though overall it’s fairly hot.

Adelaida 2003 Syrah “Reserve” Viking Estate (Paso Robles) – Hard leaves and perfumey blueberry blossoms. Strident.

Adelaida 2003 Syrah “Reserve” The Glenrose Vineyard (Paso Robles) – Fluffy, sweet blueberry syrup. Very forward, but more of a waffle topping than a wine.

Adelaida 2003 Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Mt. Range HMR Estate (Paso Robles) – Strawberry and leafy aromatics in a firm, concentrated balanced package. Very nice.

Anne Amie 2004 Pinot Gris (Oregon) – Ripe pear, mostly. This is succulent and fresh, if slightly syrupy, and very modernistic and easy-drinking. No challenges, to the mind or the palate, here.

Anne Amie 2002 Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley) – Vegetal and lightly herbal, with raspberries and floral notes. Too restrained; this gives “elegance” a bad name.

l’Aventure 2002 Syrah (Paso Robles) – Blackberry, blueberry and earth with a initial shock of chocolate. This fades and smoothes while the fruit fills out, bringing with it a lovely graphite-like texture. Very, very nice wine.

l’Aventure 2002 “Optimus” (Paso Robles) – 50% syrah, 46% cabernet sauvignon, 4% zinfandel. Beautifully structured, showing lush and full-bodied plum and gorgeous graphite textures. Outstanding.

l’Aventure 2003 “Estate Cuvée” (Paso Robles) – Chocolate, tough and somewhat seedy strawberry, black cherry and blackberry in a firmer, much-less lush package than the Optimus. A bit tough at this stage, but I think it will age well.

Chatom 2004 Chardonnay (Calaveras County) – Peach sorbet. Fairly fluffy and insubstantial.

Chatom 2004 Sauvignon Blanc (Calaveras County) – Grassy, with crisp melon. Clean and simple.

Chatom 2002 Syrah (Calaveras County) – Black pepper, leather and blueberry with low acidity. Good raw materials, but needs structure.

Chatom 2002 Zinfandel (Calaveras County) – Rustic wild berries (mostly micro-raspberries) with cappuccino and a nice, zingy but clean intensity. Good acidity.

Deerfield 2003 “Old Vine” Zinfandel Buchignani/Garcia Vineyard (Dry Creek Valley) – Spiced berries and light coconut; a soft and elegant zin, which doesn’t necessarily strike me as the best expression of this vineyard, but is also not unwelcome (despite the intrusive coconut).

Eberle 2004 Viognier Mill Road Vineyard (Paso Robles) – Sweet peach and honeysuckle. Why do all viognier notes come out the same? Decent enough, possibly bordering on tasty.

Eberle 2004 Zinfandel Steinbeck Vineyard (Paso Robles) – Spiced plum, coconut and big cherry aromas. A tropical, coconutty fruit bomb with some supporting structure. Did I mention the coconut? Oh yeah, twice. Well, there’s a third time. Not my style, but good in its idiom.

Eberle 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon (Paso Robles) – Balanced and structured, showing cases, black cherry, leather, thyme and the expected wash of vanilla-scented chocolate. Long, though the length is mostly tannin by the end. There’s serious aging potential here, and even some complexity.

Hunt Cellars 2001 “Moonlight Sonata” Chardonnay (Santa Barbara County) – Fig, orange and good acidity with some wood bitterness. A full-throttle but fairly well-executed chardonnay.

Hunt Cellars 2001 “Rhapsody” Sangiovese Destiny Vineyards (Paso Robles) – Spiced wood, bitter strawberry and a short, hot finish.

Hunt Cellars 2001 “Hilltop Serenade” Syrah “Reserve” Destiny Vineyards (Paso Robles) – Chewy, with weird plastic and vinyl characters dominating.

Hunt Cellars 2002 Zinfandel Outlaw Ridge “Reserve” (Paso Robles) – Heavy, thick, and sludgy with strong oak spice dominating. The finish is long, but what of it?

Hunt Cellars 2001 “Bon Vivant” Cabernet Sauvignon “Reserve” Destiny Vineyards Derek Heights Selection (Paso Robles) – Amazingly dense black cherry and blackberry with good acidity and a powdery tannin texture. Succulent and massively of its place.

Hunt Cellars 2000 “Cab-Ovation” Cabernet Sauvignon Destiny Vineyards Mount Christo Block (Paso Robles) – Hard, impenetrable tannin. I’d write more, see, but let’s get back to that “impenetrable” thing…

Hunt Cellars 2000 “Rhapsody” Meritage (Central Coast) – Herb-dominated, with a firm structure. Eh.

Hunt Cellars 2002 “Irresistible” Petite Sirah “Old Vines” (Paso Robles) – One of the biggest wines I’ve ever put in my mouth, fortified wines included. Blueberry liqueur, thick black chocolate, and strong, firm but balanced structure. Absolutely tooth-staining.

Hunt Cellars 2001 “Cab-Ovation” Cabernet Sauvignon Destiny Vineyards (Paso Robles) – (Mount Christo Block as well? My notes aren’t clear.) Black cherry, plum and dark, brooding wood. Much better than the 2000.

Hunt Cellars 2002 “Hilltop Serenade” Syrah “Winemaker’s Private Reserve” Destiny Vineyards (Paso Robles) – Black dirt, blueberry and huge, thudding tannin; I might have to take back the description of the petite sirah, because this is equally over-endowed. Just a huge, huge wine.

Hunt Cellars 2001 “Zinful Delight” Zinfandel “Winemaker’s Reserve” (Paso Robles) – Great, briary blueberry fruit with a zingy finish. Fun.

Justin 2004 Sauvignon Blanc (Paso Robles) – Screwcap. Sugar-dusted brioche; this does a great imitation of a breakfast pastry. Wait, what’s that…?

Justin 2004 Petit Verdot (Paso Robles) – Thudding dried nut, raw bark, and chewy chocolate with a papery dryness and scalding heat.

Justin 2002 “Isosceles” (Paso Robles) – Smoked cedar and thick, bitter chocolate coffee. Ultra-dense, thick and sludgy, though obviously time will help it along.

Opolo 2004 Viognier (Central Coast) – Peach, pear and honeysuckle. Low acid with sweet fruit, but decent enough.

Opolo 2002 “Rhapsody” (Paso Robles) – Blueberry and dark earth, with loads of tannin.

Opolo 2001 Syrah (Paso Robles) – Plum and blueberry, with a sugary aspect, dense tannin, and a finish highly reminiscent of Lowland Scotch.

Opolo 2004 “Mountain” Zinfandel (Paso Robles) – Baked celery. Absolutely horrid.

Opolo 2004 “Late Harvest” Zinfandel (Paso Robles) – Concentrated berry syrup with maple drizzle.

Peachy Canyon 2004 Zinfandel “Indredible Red Bin 118” (California) – Oak, spiced chocolate and tart berries.

Peachy Canyon 2003 Zinfandel Westside (Paso Robles) – Big fruit, huge spice and sweat. Zingy.

Peachy Canyon 2003 “Jester” (Paso Robles) – Dull, soupy herb sludge with green tannins.

Peachy Canyon 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon (Paso Robles) – Blueberry-infused milk chocolate and fluffy cotton candy; simplistic, childish, and so confected it tastes off-dry (but it’s not).

Peachy Canyon 2002 “Para Siempre” (Paso Robles) – Big, with underripe berries, plum and dill-dominated structure. The finish is long, but that’s not necessarily a good thing here.

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