Last week, I got samples of two excellent Edmunds St. John
wines from their local distributor, and when I asked Bennett Traub
(who is “enjoying” an extended sojourn in the Day-twah area) if he’d like to “evaluate” them with us, he needed very little arm twisting. Both wines were enjoyed with lamb burgers, sweet corn on the cob and crispy fried cauliflower, and were also quite tasty on their own as we continued to sip them after dinner.
2000 Edmunds St. John Los Robles Viejos Paso Robles Red Wine Rozet Vineyard, $27.99, 14.1% alc.:
Dark garnet in color, fading to pink at the rim; on the nose, this gives dark plums and berries underscored with subtle earth and spice. Flavors echo and expand with plenty more earth, some smoke and a certain roasted, sunbaked quality. After his first few sips, Bennett observed that this is “soft, but not unstructured; almost Bordeaux-like,” and in fact, while the excellent structure bodes well for some years of further development, it is already drinking quite well right now. It really mellows with extended air, maintaining a long, lingering finish throughout, and you can bet that I’ll be bringing a few more of these home, since I bought a case each of this and the following wine for my department. A blend of 45% Mourvedre, 30% Syrah, 21% Grenache and 4% Counoise that is surprisingly Chateauneuf du Pape-like in character. Edmunds St. John Owner/Winemaker Steve edmunds
tells me that this was the first year that these vines produced any grapes, so obviously, Bacchus was watching over things with loving care!
2000 Edmunds St. John El Dorado Syrah “Wylie-Fenaughty,” $34.99, 14.1% alc.:
Dark garnet in color, fading to pink at the rim; aromas of sea air, dark plums and berries accented with hints of vanilla cream and subtle spice waft from the glass, following through on the palate with more of everything, and some added earth, smoke and even a note of shiso leaf, according to Bennett and Kim. Again, the wine shows excellent structure and length on the finish; Bennett noted that this one is riper than the Los Robles Viejos, adding that it’s “ripe, with its toes on the line” of going over the top, but never crossing that line. I found it to be perhaps a little better behaved than that, but still, this is one very tasty and impressive wine, both for current consumption and/or for laying down for three to five years or more.
These are both delicious wines; to me, they show no excesses of any kind, and perhaps best of all, they exhibit more earth and, dare I say it, terroir, than many from the left coast. In fact, these are two of the closest things to red Rhones from California that I’ve ever had the pleasure to taste. Next week, I think I’ll bring in the ‘01 Edmunds St. John California Syrah
and give that a try, based on some favorable notes
I’ve read lately.
Reporting from Day-twah,