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TomHill

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WTN: Tasting @ Saddleback w/ Lars...(long/boring)

by TomHill » Mon Jul 09, 2018 3:14 pm

Tasting at Saddleback w/ Lars (6/27/18)
When I arrived in the NapaVlly from Healdsburg, I made a bee-line to Saddleback Cllrs to taste w/
Asst winemaker Lars Bjorkman (sorry...no detailed notes):
1. Vermentino '16: Grown on FrankMahoney's estate (but not at LasBrisas); very perfumey/fragrant classic Vermentino;
resembles some the Ryme "Hers" but a bit more structured and not quite as rich; a lovely Vermentino.
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2. Verdelho '16: A bit leaner & more restrained; lightly floral/stony.
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3. Pinot Blanc '16: Some toasty/pencilly oak; ripe melony bit leaner than the Chard and quieter.
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4. Chard NapaVlly '16: Strong toasty/pencilly oak fairly ripe/melony/Chard bit spicy; good acidity & balance; a solid/
4-square NapaVlly Chard. .
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5. Freisa Rose '17: Wow...very perfumey/fragrant bright/floral/strawberry Freisa nose; lightly tart/brist very strong
strawberry/Freisa/alpine strawberry/spicy flavor; a terrific expression of Freisa.
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6. Charbono FriedianiVnyd/Calistoga '14: Very dark color; very strong plummy/earthy/Charbono perfumed nose; soft big/
rich some earthy/rustic/brawny rather plummy/Charbono flavor w/ modest rough tannins; avoids the oafish side of
some Charbonos.
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7. Nebbiolo '17 (in barrel): Med.dark color, dark for a Nebb; strong floral/lilacs/violets/classic Nebb very light
pungent/tarry nose; lightly tart floral/violets/lilacs/Nebb slight pungent slight oak flavor w/ light ripe tannins;
not as hard/tannic as I expected; quite a good Calif Nebb.
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8. Teroldego '17 (in barrel): Dark color; rather dark classic black cherry/plummy/blackberry Teroldego slight earthy
nose; bit soft ripe/blackberry/black cherry/Teroldego flavor w/ light smooth tannins; a classic expression of
Teroldego; not at the level of a Foradori, but a solid producer like Mezzacorona.
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9. Montepulciano '17 (in barrel): Very dark color; strong plummy/black cherry somewhat earthy/loamy/rustic nose; bit
soft some earthy/rustic strong plummy/black cherry flavor w/ modest slightly rough/coarse tannins; shows to somewhat
sauvage/rustic/earthy side of Montepulciano.
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10. Tannat '17 (in barrel): Very dark/near black color; very strong Tannant/licorice/bousenberry/plummy slight earthy
fairly ripe nose; bit soft rich/ripe/structured somewhat licorice/boysenberry/Tannat slight oak flavor w/ modest
hard/ripe tannins; a pretty big/structured Tannat but more polish than most Tannats.
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11. Dolcetto '17 (in barrel): Med.dark color; pretty classic Dolcetto/grapey/bit locorice/boysenberry light earthy
fairly fragrant nose; bit soft light earthy grapey/Dolcetto/licorive/boysenberry slight earthy flavor w/ light
ripe/smooth tannins; pretty classic Dolcetto w/o the hardness of Piemonte Dolcettos.
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12. Nils Trousseau LateHrvst RRV/SonomaCnty (SaH: 40.0 Brix; RS: 6%; 16.6%) Oakville 2015: Very dark/near black color;
very intense grapey/licorice/chocolaty bit alcoholic some complex nose; quite sweet bit alcoholic intense grapey/
chocolaty/licorice/plummy slight cedary/oak bit complex flavor w/ ligh smooth/ripe tannins; very long/lingering
intense grapey/chocolaty/licorice soft/ripe/lush complex finish w/ some ripe tannins; lots of ripeness but not
stray into overripe/late harvesty/pruney territory; no Trousseau character that I can pick up; carries the high
alcohol very well and not at all portish; very much resembles a good Banyuls; probably not an ager and will become
more raisened/prunish w/ age.
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A wee BloodyPulpit:
1. Saddleback: Most people blow off Saddleback (www.saddlebackcellars.com) as just anuther NapaVlly Cabernet house.
That, is, of course their speciality from the very early days. I was first attracted to Nils wines early on by his
Zins. But Saddleback is much more than Cab & Chard. They make a pretty broad range of very interesting wines.
Most of them are for their wine club members. Lars has a good connection w/ Matt Gallo over in the RRV and has
access to a lot of interesting Italian varieties.
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2. Freisa Rose: Having had two Freisas the day before w/ SamBilbro, I was mightly impressed by the rose expression of
Freisa. In fact, so much so that I bought a btl to give to SamBilbro and DarrellCorti. A rose may just be the
ideal expression of Freisa in Calif.
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3. Nebbiolo: As I was out here for NEB#8 (Lars came to our NEB#7 the yr before), he was eager to show me his Nebb.
I was rather impressed w/ it for hs first stab at Nebb. It ranked right up there w/ any of the Nebbs we tasted at
NEB#8. Alas, there is only a small barrique & a carboy of it...only 33 cs worth...too small a release for the
Saddleback WineClub program. He may purchase it & put it up under his Grow label.
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4. 3T Red: Since the have so little of the respective wines; they blend the Teroldego/Tannat/ and Tempranillo
together to make what they call their Three T's blend. It's quite an interesting wine if a bit on the rustic side.
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5. I was pretty impressed w/ what Lars is doing w/ the Italian varieties. Oftentimes, when a Cabernet producer
ventures afar into Italian (or Spanish or Rhone) varieties, I'll think "Yup...this tastes like an XX made by a
Cabernet producer". Not so in this case. I thought the oak levels were pretty modest (at least in this point
of their life) and all the wines were varietally correct. Too bad they aren't made in larger quantities.
Tom

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