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Some advice on US wines

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Ian Sutton

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Some advice on US wines

by Ian Sutton » Fri Sep 01, 2006 1:15 pm

I'm interested to know any opinions on the following US wines, as I'm still seeking to investigate US wines. I've approximated the prices to USD to make life easier. Generally prefer lower alcohol, unspoofulated (as Otto so succintly puts it) wines, with some complexity. Anything at 15% alc or above is probably not something I'd enjoy.

2001 CLOS DU VAL ZINFANDEL $20
2000 CLOS DU VAL ARIADNE SEMILLON SAUVIGNON $9
1999 DOMINUS $95
1998 ROSENBLUM MAGGIES RESERVE ZINFANDEL SONOMA VALLEY $25
1991 RIDGE LYTTON SPRINGS ZINFANDEL $60
1989 CLOS DU VAL STAGS LEAP ZINFANDEL $50
1988 CLOS DU VAL STAGS LEAP MERLOT $75
1987 CLOS DU VAL RESERVE NAPA $95
1987 CLOS DU VAL STAGS LEAP MERLOT $75

I'm not expecting any huge bargains compared to what is available at source, but would appreciate a view on those that are fair enough to consider a punt on. The Ariadne sounded of most interest, but is this a cellaring wine or one that should have been drunk up by now?

many thanks

Ian
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TomHill

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My Thoughts...

by TomHill » Fri Sep 01, 2006 1:27 pm

The ONLY one I'd recommend is the Rosenblum, maybe the Ridge LyttonSprings. Both of them are likely to be around 15%, though.
The rest of them are a pretty uninteresting bunch. Clos du Val has been a serious underperformer for yrs. The Ch.Lafite connection can only carry you so far if the quality is not in the btl. The Ariadne is probably fairly decent of any of them.
On the other hand, knowing the British penchant for tired/feeble/decrepit/old wines, you might like some of the Clos du Vals!! :-)
Tom
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Ian Sutton

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Re: My Thoughts...

by Ian Sutton » Fri Sep 01, 2006 1:31 pm

TomHill wrote: On the other hand, knowing the British penchant for tired/feeble/decrepit/old wines, you might like some of the Clos du Vals!! :-)
Tom

Tom
Damn your accurate description of me :wink: Yes I must admit I do like age on my wines.
regards
Ian
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Re: My Thoughts...

by Ian Sutton » Fri Sep 01, 2006 1:35 pm

TomHill wrote: On the other hand, knowing the British penchant for tired/feeble/decrepit/old wines, you might like some of the Clos du Vals!! :-)
Tom

Tom
Damn your accurate description of me :wink: Yes I must admit I do like age on my wines.
regards
Ian
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Mark Lipton

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Re: Some advice on US wines

by Mark Lipton » Fri Sep 01, 2006 2:54 pm

Ian Sutton wrote:2001 CLOS DU VAL ZINFANDEL $20
2000 CLOS DU VAL ARIADNE SEMILLON SAUVIGNON $9
1999 DOMINUS $95
1998 ROSENBLUM MAGGIES RESERVE ZINFANDEL SONOMA VALLEY $25
1991 RIDGE LYTTON SPRINGS ZINFANDEL $60
1989 CLOS DU VAL STAGS LEAP ZINFANDEL $50
1988 CLOS DU VAL STAGS LEAP MERLOT $75
1987 CLOS DU VAL RESERVE NAPA $95
1987 CLOS DU VAL STAGS LEAP MERLOT $75


Ian,
Clos du Val is an underappreciated Napa Valley producer run by a Bordelais expat, Bernard Portet. Their cabs tend to be quite ageworthy and usually underappreciated in their youth. Their Zins have been a bit more hit and miss in my experience, but occasionally are very good. Rosenblum is a reliable source of good-to-excellent Zin; Ridge Lytton Springs is one of the top produced IMO. Dominus is (as you likely know) Petrus's CA outpost.

Of your list, I'd go first for the '87 Clos du Val Reserve and '91 Ridge Lytton Springs -- both are good wines from top years. The '98 Rosenblum would also be good, and the '01 Dominus would be too young but OK. The Merlots and '89 Zin I would steer clear of, as they're likely over the hill. The Ariadne I can't comment on, except to say that I doubt it's very ageworthy.

HTH
Mark Lipton
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Bob Parsons Alberta

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Re: My Thoughts...

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Fri Sep 01, 2006 7:16 pm

Ian Sutton wrote:
TomHill wrote: On the other hand, knowing the British penchant for tired/feeble/decrepit/old wines, you might like some of the Clos du Vals!! :-)
Tom

Tom
Damn your accurate description of me :wink: Yes I must admit I do like age on my wines.
regards
Ian


Me too of course. They all drink their wines way too young over here!!!!
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Carlo

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Re: My Thoughts...

by Carlo » Fri Sep 01, 2006 10:12 pm

>>1991 RIDGE LYTTON SPRINGS ZINFANDEL $60
Wow that`s pricey...
Also I didn`t know if Zins can hang that long in the bottle.
That O2 thing again.

I love the winery and the wines.....a great place to visit

Dry Creek Zins....very peppery
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John Treder

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Re: Some advice on US wines

by John Treder » Fri Sep 01, 2006 11:38 pm

The Rosenblum zin looks like a good deal. '98 was a "lean" year in Sonoma County, and several of my '98 Zins are looking real good now. (I wish I hadn't kept checking them out until they were mostly all gone!)

Ridge Lytton Springs will hold for a long time. I don't have any notes on '91, but I did drink a bottle of '92 Geyserville in 2003 and I noted, "You'd think it was 4 years old".

The Dominus is priced similarly to what it would have cost in a shop on release. Probably a very fair value if it's been stored reasonably well.

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