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TomHill

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WTN: White Rhone Varietals..(long/boring)

by TomHill » Sun Aug 06, 2006 9:25 pm

We tasted last night (8/2/06) Some New Rhone Whites:
1. Pierre Olivier Viognier VdPd'Oc (12.5%) 2004: Light gold color; pleasant simple pear/
Viognier bit stoney nose; tart simple/vapid light pear/Viognier slight stoney flavor;
very short no fruit slight stoney finish; a simple/vapid wine not worth $8.00
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2. Domaine de Caillan Viognier VdPd'Oc (MeBaD; 12.5%) Guilhem L'Epine/Bessan 2003:Med.
dark gold color; deep/ripe peach/pear/Viognier fragrant/perfumed some Condrieu/minerally
nose; rich/ripe peach/pear/Viognier bit oaked slight Condrieu/mineral somewhat bitter
flavor; med. bit metallic rather ripe/peach/pear/Viognier some bitter some minerally
finish; a good Condrieu look-alike at a very attractive price. $12.80
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3. Jean-LucColombo Viognier LaViolette VdPd'Oc (12.5%) 2004: Med.dark gold color; attractive
fragrant/perfumed/floral 7Up/appley/Riesling-like/honeysuckle some peach/Viognier slight
stoney/minerally nose; soft/lush ripe/pear/peach/honeysuckle slight stoney/bitter flavor;
med. rather bitter/stoney ripe/rich/pear/honeysuckle/floral finish; lots of ripeness
but some austerity on the palate; maybe the best Pd'Oc Viogniers I've had; fairly
priced at $17.00
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4. DomaineGeorgesVernay Viognier VdPdesCollinesRhodaniennes LaPied de Samson (12.5%)
2004: Med.gold color; lovely fragrant/floral/perfumed pear/minerally/Viognier nose;
tart/acid bit lean ripe/floral/pear/Viognier some minerally flavor; med.short bit lean/
austere peach/pear/Viognier slight minerally/Condrieu finish; not Condrieu but a
reasonable look-alike; fairly priced at $25.00
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5. Isenhower Snapdragon 55% Roussanne/ 45% Viognier ColumbiaVlly (14.3%;
http://www.IsenhowerCellars.com) 2005: Light gold color; attractive fragrant/floral/honeysuckle
slight earthy/minerally lovely nose; fat lush/ripe off-dry(?) very floral/perfumed/
honeysuckle slight earthy/dusty flavor; soft/fat off-dry/ripe/floral/honeysuckle finish;
bit underacid/unstructured but lots of lovely floral/honeysuckle character. Fairly
priced at $21.00
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6. CougerCrestWnry Viognier WallaWalla (14.3%) 2004: Med.gold color; slight SO2 some bacon
fat/smoked hot dog/BarBQue intense floral/Viognier/peach very attractive/bizarre nose;
soft strong smoked hot dog/bacon fat/pungent bit smokey/oak ripe/floral/lush/Viognier/
peach lovely/ripe/lush flavor; long pungent/smoked hot dog/bacony very strong/ripe/
Viognoer/peach finish; a rather bizarre rendition of Viognier but quite an interesting
wine at a good price. $20.00
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7a. SanSakanaCllrs Viognier BrokenLegVnyd/AndersonVlly (14.6%; http://www.SanSakana.com) 2005:
Light gold color; lovely pear/Viognier/floral/fragrant slight herbal/OldSpice/7Up/very
perfumed/spicy bit minerally/stoney very attractive nose; tart very spicy rather pear/
Viognier/minerally slight herbal/earthy perfumed flavor; med.long quite spicy bit
minerally lovely/floral/pear/Viognier finish; rather atypical Calif Viognier, more like
a WashState/Condrieu blend; great structure & acidity; has a very exotic spiciness;
lovely/exotic Viognier. $34.00
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7b. SanSakanaCllrs Viognier Catie'sCorner/RussianRiverVlly (14.4%) 2005: Light gold color;
more flamboyant very fragrant/perfumed/peachy/ripe/Viognier lovely nose; soft rather
floral/perfumed/peachy/pear/Viognier attractive/aromatic flavor; long ripe/peach/pear/
Viognier/floral finish; lots of bright/floral/Viognier varietal character. $38.00
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8. Beringer NapaVlly Viognier (14.1%; http://www.Beringer.com) 2004: Pale yellow color; simple
pear/Viognier light intensity nose; soft/simple light pear/Viognier flavor; med.short
light pear/Viognier finish; varietally correct but pretty dull/simple; must have been
cropped at 10 tons/acre; an "Oakland" wine... there's no there there!!. $14.00
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9. BlackBart's Bride StageCoachVnyd/NapaVlly (14.2%; http://www.VeraisonWine.com;
48% Viognier, 35% Chardonnay and 17% Marsanne) 2004: Med.gold color; attractive floral/
fragrant bit appley/Chard slight toasty/oak slight earthy/Rhonish nose; soft rather
charred/toasty/oak mostly Chard-like some floral/perfumed/earthy flavor; very long
tobaccoy/toasty/charred/Fr.oak some floral/perfumed finish; more like an exotic/floral/
perfumed Chard than a Rhone Blanc. Pretty pricey at $50.00
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10. Curran SantaYnezVlly/SantaBarbaraCnty GrenacheBlanc (14.1%; http://www.CurranWines.com)
2005: Light yellow color; very fragrant/aromatic/perfumed/Viognier-like/Riesling-like
heaps of fruit nose; soft very floral/aromatic very Riesling/Viognier-like pretty
flavors; long soft/fat very floral/perfumed/aromatic finish; a pretty/girly-girl white
that out-Viogniers many Viogniers. Attractive price at $22.00
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11. Calera Viognier Mt.Harlan (1.96 tons/acre; SaH: 27.4%; 677 cs; 14.5%) 2004: Med.yellow
color; slight toasty/oak very fragrant/perfumed floral/pear/peach/Viognier slight
chalky/minerally nose; tart rather minerally tipe/pear/peach/Viognier/spicy quite
interesting/exotic flavor; long spicy/minerally/chalky ripe/lush/floral pear/peach/
Viognier lovely finish; less DollyParton than early ones; beautiful Viognier that has
more structure than most. $38.00
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12. ZacaMesa SantaYnezVlly Viognier (EG; 14.5%; http://www.ZacaMesa.com) 2005: Light gold color;
classic fragrant/floral/pear/peach/Viognier very perfumed/aromatic nose; soft correct/
Viognier/pear/peach/floral slightly dilute flavor; med.short classic/perfumed/pear/peach/
Viognier finish; a lovely classic Viognier nose but a bit dilute and tastes overcropped
on the palate. Very nice for $16.00
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13. Consilience Viognier SantaBarbaraCnty (15.6%) 2005: Med.light gold color; very ripe/lush
peachy/pear/Viognier quite perfumed/floral/fragrant nose; soft/fat rich/lush very ripe/
peachy/Viognier slightly hot flavor; long very ripe/lush/floral/peachy/Viognier finish;
a bit on the fat/overripe side but carries the alcohol well. Fairly priced at $23.00
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14. St.Nicholas Commandaria DessertWine (15%) Matured&Bttld by Etko Ltd, Limassol/Cyprus
NV: Med.brown color; intense raisened/pruney lightweight PX bit oxidized/maderiezed
very complex nose; tart very sweet madierized very raisened/pruney flavor; very long/
lingering raisened/maderized quite sweet complex finish; very exotic dessert wine like
a lightweight PX and a Malmset Madeira combo. Great price at $17.00
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And the same ol'/same ol' from the BloodyPulpit:
1. SanSakanaCellars: A new wnry for me (http://www.SanSakana.com). One of the principles, Bettina
Briz, was coming to SantaFe a few weeks ago and oferred to bring samples of their
current releases. Haven't yet tried the Syrah, but I liked these two Viogniers quite
a lot. The Catie'sCorner was attractive ripe Calif Viognier. But I really liked the
BrokenLeg for a very exotic spiciness it showed; a very unusual Calif Viognier.
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2. Calera Viognier: I've followed JoshJensen's Viognier from the very start, when he first
showed it at the TasteOfVail in the mid-'90's. In fact, it deserves the credit for the
invention of "DollyPartonViognier". There was a panel on Viognier, which included Josh,
BobLindquist, John Alban, and one other. In the tasting I was quite taken by Josh's
Viognier for its big/ripe/lush/in-your-face/jiggly/silicone-laden character. In the
question session, I asked Josh exactly how he went about creating a "DollyPartonViognier",
with the appropriate hand-gestures, of course. It brought the house down and a new
term entered the wine lexicon.
Most of his early Viogniers were very much in that style. The more recent ones, of
which this '04 may be the best, show more of a restrained/elegant character and much
more structure. Big but without the jiggly/silicone character.
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3. BlackBart: Though it spoke mostly of Chard than anything; I actually liked this wine
quite a lot; though not at $50. The finish and mouthfeel really made this wine.
The NapaVlly seems like a pretty high-rent district to be growing Rhone white
varietals unless you can make them of a quality that can compete w/ Condrieu. None
thus far strike me as of that calibre. Probably they should stick to $500/btl Cabs
and let other areas grow these varietals where they can do so more economically.
Tom

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