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Here From the Very Start




Wed Mar 29, 2006 1:01 pm

WTN: Mostly LasMadres Syrahs...(long/boring)

by TomHill » Wed Nov 06, 2013 3:09 pm

We tried last night (10/30/13) Mostly LasMadres Syrahs:
1. NicholsonRanch Syrah BennettVlly (14.8%;; 219 cs; SyrahNoir and 877 clones;
25% new Fr.oak) 2006
: Very dark color; very strong blackberry/Syrah classic cold-climate/black pepper
strong Rhonish/espresse/smokey/roasted bit black olive tapenade complex beautiful nose; fairly tart
intense blackberry/Syrah cold-climate/black pepper quite Rhonish/pungent/roasted complex flavor w/ light/
smooth tannins; very long/lingering cold-climate/cracked black pepper/bit olive tapenade strong blackberry/
Syrah/spicy complex finish w/ light/well-integrated tannins; a beautiful cold-climate Syrah probably at its
peak and should go another few yrs. $38.00
2. NicholsonRanch Syrah Estate SonomaVlly (14.4%; 271 cs; 15% new Fr.oak) 2004: Dark color w/ little bricking;
strong blackberry/Syrah/spicy slight tomatoey/earthy bit alcoholic rather simpler nose w/ no cold-climate
character; bit tart some blackberry/Syrah/spicy rather attractive flavor w/ soft/smooth tannins; long strong
blackberry/Syrah w/ light/drying tannins; no evident cold-climate character and starting to dry out; much
simpler than the other NicholsonRanch Syrahs. $40.00
3. NicholsonRanch Syrah LasMadres/LosCarneros (14.9%; 623 cs; Clones 174 & 300; 25% new Fr.oak;
60% Whole Cluster) ThomasRiversBrown/Sonoma 2005
: Dark color; beautiful cracked black pepperr/cold-climate/
black olive tapenade strong Rhonish/roasted/smokey/espresso bit smokey/BarBQue sauce some blackberry/
boysenberry/Syrah complex wonderfully aromatic nose; very strong Rhonish/espresso/roasted/black olive
tapenade strong blackberry/Syrah/cracked pepper/very spicy quite complex flavor w/ light/smooth/graceful
tannins; very long/lingering Rhonish/roasted/espresso/olive tapenade strong spicy/blackberry/Syrah finish
w/ smooth/light tannins; a spectacular Calif Syrah loaded w/ Rhonish character. $35.00
4. NicholsonRanch Syrah LasMadres/LosCarneros (15.2%; 40% new Fr.oak) 2006: Very dark color; much less Rhonish/
roasted/espresso bit alcoholic/fumey slight funky/earthy/licorice/pungent some blackberry/Syrah/spicy very
slight cracked black pepper somewhat simpler nose; softer very smooth/lush/ripe strong blackberry/blueberry/
Syrah/spicy light toasty/oak/pungent slight Rhonish/roasted flavor w/ light/smooth tannins; long spicy/
blackberry/blueberry/Syrah light toasty/charred/oak very light Rhonish/roasted finish w/ light/smooth tannins;
more Calif Syrah in style, little cold-climate character, and much less Rhone character; not nearly as
interesting as the spectacular '05. $35.00
5. Marelle Syrah PeayVnyd/SonomaCoast (14.5%; AshleyHeiseyWines/StHelena 2004: Med.dark
color; quite fragrant/floral/violets/spicy/some C-R-like light green pepper/cold-climate Syrah bit ozone/
pungent some blackberry/blueberry/Syrah very attractive nose; fairly tart bright/floral/violets/perfumed slight
peppery/blackberry/Syrah/spicy very aromatic flavor w/ light/delicate tannins; very long quite floral/violets/
lilacs/spicy some blueberry/blackberry/Syrah/peppery slight brett/pungent finish w/ light/smooth tannins;
a lovely perfumed/aromatic/elegant/floral Syrah that speaks strongly of PeayVnyd Syrah. $47.00 (SWC)
6. Marelle Syrah Calif (13.5%;; Peay + NapaVlly) AshleyHeiseyWines 2005: Dark color; rather
ripe/plummy bit smokey/toasty/oak slight ozone/pungent/burning steel wool ripe Syrah/blackberry/Syrah/licorice
rather complex nose; soft pungent/burning metal/ozone strong/ripe/Syrah/blackberry slight funky/interesting
flavor w/ light tannins; med.long soft bit funky/burning metal/ozone/pungent/graphite rather ripe/blackberry/
Syrah finish w/ light tannins; emphasis is on ripe Syrah fruit and some strange graphite/mineral things
therein but a rather interesting Syrah. $27.50 (MX/Enoteca)
7. eno the Matriarch Syrah LasMadresVnyd/Carneros (15.6%) 2004: Med.color w/ some browning; classic wet dog fur/
funky/sewer gas some oxidized no fruit nose; very sour oxidized/wet dog fur/fecal undrinkable flavor; totally
shot wine from oxidation & other things; closed w/ a NeoCork, so no big surprise. $35.00
8. eno Syrah LasMadresVnyd/Carneros (14.9%; pH: 3.8; TA: 0.6) Berkeley S08/2008: Dark color; some blackberry/Syrah/
boysenberry/very ripe/plummy bit perfumed/cologne slight alcoholic nose; soft/fat/ripe some blackberry/
boysenberry/Syrah perfumed/cheap cologne light pencilly/oak flavor w/ little tannins; long ripe/boysenberry/
blackberry/Syrah bit pencilly/oak slight hot/alcoholic finish w/ very light tannins; emphasis is on ripe fruit
and not much/any LasMadres/cold-climate character. $nc (SVvKZ)
9. eno Syrah LasMadresVnyd/Carneros "in your own time" (14.6%; Clone 174, 300; pH: 3.7; TA: 0.59; 2006
: Dark color w/ slight bricking; strong blackberry/Syrah/plummy/ripe slight green olive/
black pepper quite attractive nose that speaks quietly of LasMadres; bit soft strong blackberry/blueberry/Syrah/
spicy light green olive/black pepper/cold-climate bit complex lovely flavor w/ smooth/graceful tannins; very
long strong blackberry/Syrah/boysenberry/very spicy light peppery/green olive finish w/ light tannins; speaks
quietly of LasMadres Syrah and more like Paso winemaking; quite a lovely/fully-mature Syrah. $30.00 (WoP)
10. VIE Syrah LasMadresVnyd/Carneros/SonomaCnty (Clones 174 & 300; 14.4%) 2007: Dark color; strong blueberry/
blackberry/Syrah some green olive/black pepper bit dusty pavement/mineral slight Rhonish/complex quite lovely
nose; fairly tart strong blueberry/blackberry/Syrah/spicy light black peppery/green olive textured flavor w/
soft/smooth tannins; very long blueberry/Syrah/blackberry rather olive tapenade/black pepper slight Rhonish/
espresso rather complex finish w/ smooth/well-integrated tannins; speaks loudly of both Syrah fruit and
LasMadres terroir; fully-mature lovely Syrah. $39.00
11. LasMadres Syrah John&Jean Painter 2006: Med.dark coor w/ slight bricking; strong ripe/blackberry/blueberry/
Syrah some green olive tapenade/peppery/cracked black pepper/cold-climate lovely/complex nose; rather tart/lean
strong blackberry/Syrah/blueberry some green olive/black pepper/cold-climate bit tangy/grapefruity slight Rhonish/
mineral/graphite complex flavor w/ modest/low-key tannins; very long/lingering tart/tangy strong blueberry/Syrah/
blackberry light olive tapenade/black pepper structured/balanced complex flavors w/ modest tannins; probably
near its peak and can go another 3-4 yrs; a beautiful cold-climate Syrah and textbook LasMadres. $nc (J&JP)
12. Myriad Syrah las madres vnyd/Carneros (; 14.9%) MikeSmith 2006: Dark color; slight herbal/
pungent/smokey/metallic/graphite bit charred/toasty/oak some green olive/black pepper strong blueberry/Syrah/
blackberry/licorice fairly complex nose; softer rather riper/blueberry/Syarh/blackberry/boysenberry rather
green olive/black pepper/cold-climate slight Rhonish/roasted/espresso complex flavor w/ light/smooth/gentle
tannins; very long/lingering strong blueberry/blackberry/Syrah/boysenberry/ripe light Rhonish/roasted some
black pepper/olive tapenade balanced/complex finish w/ smooth/graceful tannins; speaks loudly of ripe Syrah
w/ a strong LasMadres/cold-climate undertone; a classic LasMadres that'll go on another 3-6 yrs. $nc (J&JP)
13. Kenneth-Crawford Syrah LafondVnyd/SantaRitaHills (15.5%) 2006: Very dark color; strong black cherry/blackberry/
Syrah/ripe bit earthy slight alcoholic/hot light toasty/oak nose w/ little complexity; strong DrPepper/RCCola
strong blackberry/Syrah/black cherry/ripe light toasty/oak flavor w/ light/smooth tannins; long ripe/blackberry/
Syrah/black cherry cola/licorice light toasty/oak finish w/ smooth tannins; little cold-climate character;
not nearly as interesting as the one I had a few weeks ago. Costigan mystery.
14. Tensley Syrah ColsonCnynVnyd/SBC (15.0%; 2007: Very dark color; very ripe chocolaty/
boysenberry/Syrah/spicy/jammy bit toasty/oak some peppery/RCCola nose; bit alcoholic very ripe/chocolaty/
blackberry/boysenberry/cola/jammy rather hot/fumey light toasty/oak flavor w/ light tannins; very long ripe/
boysenberry/Syrah/jammy/RCCola bit hot/alcoholic light toasty/oak finish w/ light tannins; not doing well
w/ age and the overripe character starting to dominate. $40.00 (vSC)
And the usual bloviations from TheBloodyPulpit:
1. LasMadres: I first had a LasMadres Syrah made by BryanKane/VIE just as the vnyd was coming on-line.
I was mightly impressed by the wine and made an appt to visit John&Jean Painter out there on my next
visit. It's a beautiful sited vnyd, in a large bowl, right there in the Carneros a few miles to the
West of the HudsonVnyd. Driving across the Carneros from Napa, you pass LeeHudson's Ranch w/ the
Hermitage up on the hillside. Turning onto the NapaRd to go the back way into Sonoma, at the dairy
barns, the NicholsonRanch is right there at the intersection on your right. The next road down takes
you back south to the LasMadres vnyd at the end of HerschelRd.
LasMadres is planted in two separate blocks, Esther and Hulda. Presume those are the names of the two
mothers. ENTAV clones 174 and 300.
This '06 LasMadres was the first Syrah that John&Jean have made themselves. ThomasRiversBrown was
consulted in its making.
There has been little doubt from over the last few yrs that LasMadres is one of Calif's truly great
Syrah vnyds. This tasting certainly confirmed that fact. It exhibits lots of cold-climate Syrah/black
pepper/olive tapenade character, one of the signatures of Hudson Syrah, but maybe with a bit more ripe
blackberry fruit. I prefer the ones made with partial/motly whole-cluster ferments because of the Rhonish
character it brings to the wine. Would I recognize LasMadres terroir if served it blind?? Prolly not;
only if I made a lucky guess. I am such a doofus.
2. Marelle: Back at one of the HdR events some yrs ago, CaroleMeredith introduced me to AshleyHeisey,
who Carole thought was making very good Syrah there in Yountville. I tasted them at a subsequent HdR
or RR and was rather impressed w/ them. Ran into Ashley one other time after that at a RR tasting, then
sort of lost track of her. Her WebSite no longer exists and I presume she's no longer making Marelle
wines. Her day job appears to be the winemaker at LongMeadowRanch. Talented lady and liked both these
Syrahs quite a lot.
3. NicholsonRanch: This is a beautiful property right there at the NapaRd/SonomaHwy intersection. Extensive
underground caves for barrel aging. They seem to emphasize their SonomaVlly location rather than Carneros,
which I guess they're not included in. They make Chard/Pinot/Merlot/Syrah. I once tasted thru their lineup
in the tasting room and found the wines attractive enough, but just that. However, two of these Syrahs
(BennetVlly and LasMadres) were terrific. I don't know if they continue to take LasMadres Syrah or not, though.
At one time, JeanPainter worked there, don't know if she still does.
4. eno: This is the wnry of SashaVerhage, located in lower Berkeley. Originally in the first wnry that Steve
Edmunds crafted his first wines, but believe they have now moved down near Donkey&Goat. Have followed eno
from the very start, when Sasha first showed his wines at HdR. He's made some very interesting wines over
the yrs. Looking at his WebSite, which is totally stale & out of date, I was afraid he'd gone under. But
KenZinns assures me eno is still very much alive.
5. Myriad: This is the label of MikeSmith. He's worked w/ ThomasRiversBrown over the yrs. I've never had a Myriad
before. This btl was gifted to me by John&Jean. Not a wnry I've followed from the very start, alas.
6. VIE: This is the label of BryanKane, from PaloAlto. Followed him from the very start, I did, when he first
showed at HdR. He know owns vnyds up in LakeCnty and makes some very interesting wines under his SolRouge
label. Originally he made his wines at the crush facility in SanFrancisco. He now occupies a converted hanger
on TreasureIsland where he continues to make very good wines.

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