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TomHill

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WTN: Tasting With Dave & Gena..(long/boring/historical)

by TomHill » Mon Oct 08, 2018 1:50 pm

Tasting w/ Dave & Gena Oct 7, 2018

Dave & Gena Yates were here in NM for the BalloonFiesta this week. He's been saving the Hallcrest Cab
to taste w/ me, so they journeyed up to Pig+Fig in WhiteRock w/ this relic. So we had a late lunch and
tried a few wines. Joining us was P+F owner/chef, Laura. Turns out the only relic at the tasting was probably me.
So we tried:
1. J.J.Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling (QmP, Auslese; 7.5%; A.P.Nr.2 576 511 17 06; Goldkapsule; EA) Wehlen 2005:
Deep gold color; intense buttery/botrytis/peachy/apricotty classic botrytis Aus very complex nose; fairly tart
very rich/lush quite sweet intense botrytis/peachy/apricotty/buttery slight pencilly quite complex flavor; very
long/lingering somewhat tart very rich/lush quite sweet but balanced bit pencilly/buttery very complex finish;
still pretty primary w/ lots of unresolved sugar and no signs of Mosel valve oil showing yet; a beautiful Auslese
that still has 15-20 yrs to go yet, maybe longer. $36.00 (KK)
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2. Hallcrest CabSauv SantaCruzMtns HallcrestVnyd/SantaCruzCnty (EB; 12 1/2%) 1959: Very dark color w/ no bricking
apparent; very strong herbal/Cab very Bdx-like some cedary/pencilly/oak bit blackcurranty/licorice quite perfumed
very complex very youthful nose; rather tart/tangy intense herbal/Cab/dusty/OV very Bdx-like quite cedary/pencilly/
bit oak some rustic/SCM Cab licorice/cedary/blackcurranty/Cab slight minty very structured beautiful complex flavor
w/ some bit drying/astringent tannins; very long/lingering some herbal/Cab/rustic SCM Cab rather Bdx-like some
licorice/blackcurranty/Cab structured beautiful complex finish w/ modest some astringent/drying tannins; still
plenty of Cab fruit and very youthful; a beautiful piece of history.
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3. Lagier-Meredith Syrah MtVeeder/NapaVlly (14.3%; www.LagierMeredith.com) 1998: Very dark/near black color w/ no
obvious bricking; intense blackberry/Syrah/rather peppery/very spicy bit licorice some toasty/pencilly/oak bit
Rhonish beautiful complex nose; fairly tart bit angular/hard very spicy/blackberry/Syrah/peppery some toasty/oak
rather complex flavor w/ light hard/grippy tannins;very long/lingering rather hard very strong blackberry/Syrah/
very spicy/bit peppery light toasty/oak bit Rhonish some complex finish w/ modest hard/chewey tannins; still
has plenty of that classic MtVeeder/spicy fruit; a beautiful Syrah.
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4. Jaffurs Syrah ThompsonVnyd/SBC (15.3%) 2005: Dark color w/ no bricking; very strong ripe/chocolaty very strong
boysenberry/blackberry/Syrah licorice/milk of magnesia classic Thompson/peppery bit earthy/dusty some smokey/
toasty/oak beautiful complex nose; fairly soft very Thompson/peppery intense blackberry/Syrah/ripe/boysenberry
bit licorice/chocolaty slight milk of magnesia/chalky strong smokey/toasty/oak some complex flavor w/ light
ripe/lush tannins; very long/lingering classic Thompson/peppery/spicy bit licorice/chocolaty intense blackberry/
Syrah/boysenberry/pungent some smokey/toasty/oak complex finish w/ modest ripe tannins; no signs of alcoholic
heat; loads of classic Thompson/peppery character; probably near its peak or a bit beyond; will go another
4-6 yrs probably.
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5. NewlanVnyds&Wnry JohannisbergRiesling NapaVlly (LateHrvst/BunchSlctd; SaH: 35.6 Brix; RS: 18.0 Brix; 10.7%;
130 cs) Napa 1981
: Cork loose & dropped into the wine; very dark/brownish/light PX/Oloroso sherry color w/ lots
of suspended fine-grained particulates; very intense botrytis/rotted peaches/apricotty bit pencilly quite complex
beautiful nose; very tart/tangy quite sweet very intense botrytis/apricotty/rotted peaches bit pencilly/cedary
slightly bitter complex flavor; very long/lingering very intense botrytis/apricotty/rotted peaches/peach compote
slightly cedary/pencilly very sweet rather tart/tangy slightly bitter finish; a pretty classic example of a
Calif TBA that will go another 10-15 yrs; seems slightly on the bitter side. $16.75/hlf (Beltramos)
_____________________________________________
More effnsipple from TheBloodyPulpit:
1. Dave used to be the GeneralManager at Jaffurs when Craig owned it. I might mention that I followed Craig from
(before) the very start, when he had made his first wine at the CentralCoast Wine Coop in SantaMaria. BobSenn/
LOW&SE told me I must meet this guy and then greased the skids to do so. So LarryArchibald & I sat in the
(old folks) rocking chairs on the LOW&SE front porch on a chilly/overcast/drizzly day and tried Craig's Viognier
and Syrah, which he'd just taken from barrel up at the Coop, served in Craig's finest Reidel Gerber's Baby Food
jars. A class act on Craig's part, I thought. We were impressed by the wine but even more for Craig's enthusiasm &
passion for Rhone varietals.
Jaffurs was purchased in 2016 by DanGreen, who was then making Pinot & Chard in the ghetto up in Lompoc. He
has since moved his entire winemaking down into the Jaffurs facility and will continue the Pinot & Chard, either
under the Jaffurs label or a new, yet unnamed, label. They have recently come out w/ a new/redesingned, but
instantly recognizable as Jaffurs, label. A tweak that has made for a classier-looking label.
Dave was also a winemaker at Jaffurs, making some wine under the Cane Felice label. He left computer software
when Craig realized he needed some help on the office side, so hired Dave as his GM. His real claim to fame was
in the early '90's, when he made a PetiteSirah from the first crop of that variety from the ThompsonVnyd, near
LosAlamos. Inky black as the ace-of-spades. At barrel tastings at Jaffurs, the PS proved to be so well-liked that
Craig hijacked the wine and bttld it under the Jaffurs label. And the rest is history. Jaffurs continues to make
maybe the best PetiteSirah in all Calif. I haven't received my '17 Jaffurs futures wines yet, but I'm confident
they wines will only continue to get better & better under Dan.
______________________
2. Hallcrest: This vnyd is a legend. It is located on the crest of a hill overlooking metropolitan Felton. It was
was purchased by the Hall family in the late 1880's as a weekend retreat (sound like a familiar story?? For you
Ridge fans). The vnyd was planted in 1941 to Cabernet and Riesling by Chaffee Hall, a prominant SanFrancisco
business attourney; pursuing his passion for wine.
ChaffeeHill died in 1969, so this '59 would have been made by him. Chaffee was good buddies with Dave/Hew/
Charlie/Howard, the Ridge founders. I suspect Chaffee was the inspiration for DaveBennion to try his hand with
Cabernet at Ridge and were probably good drinking buddies.
After Chaffee's death, I think the vnyd was abandoned for a number of yrs. In the early '70's, the property
was purchased by LeoMcCloskey (then a lab guy/winemaker at Ridge) and BillGibbs (marketing guy) and starting
producing wine under the Felton-Empire label. Mostly Riesling and Cabernet from their Estate. The F-E label
still exists under the Benchmark Wine Group, but has no relation to the original F-E, just commodity wines.
Leo McCloskey did some important research on yeast strains during his tenure at Ridge, but I don't know the
entire history there. Leo eventually founded Enologix, a company that advises, whith his specialized software,
how to make your wine to get 100 pts from Monktown attourneys. May not taste good, but it has 100 pts, though.
I recall some of the F-E Estate Reislings from the mid-late '70's. They were classic dry/old-timey SCM Reislings,
much in the style Dave Bennion made in the mid-'60's, that badly needed age to evolve.
In 1987, the property was purchased by John Schumacher, who continues to operate the property under the
Hallcrest label (and Organic Wine Works). I've not had his wines, but plan to try some soon. Whether the
original 1941 ChaffeeHall vnyds continue to exist, I cannot find out.
Dave acquired this wine several yrs ago when he & Larry purchased a cellar there in SantaBarbara when the
owner/attourney died. He (the owner) was good friends of AndreTschelitchof and would often make northward forays
to buy wine. It's very likely that he actually purchased this btl from ChaffeeHall himself. Dave related that
this '59 was very similar to the the '58 he & Larry shared recently. So thanks for sharing this history with
another relic, Dave.
The cork came out w/ the AhSo and was perfectly intact and not at all crumbly. Amazing for a 60-yr old wine.
The first striking upon smelling/tasting this wine was how youthful it was. However, like any such very old wine,
by an hr later when we'd started our lunch, it had lost quite a bit, turned rather murky brown, and a mere shadow
of itself upon opening. But still pretty danged good, if a bit dried out & astringent. The wine reminded me quite
a lot of the '64 Ridge MonteBello in its kinda rustic/SCM Cab character, a DaveBennion wine I had in the early
'80's.
______________________
3. Lagier-Meredith: This would have been Steve & Carole's third Syrah, if'n I recall rightly. Still has plenty of youth
but not sure it will ever have the tannins fully resolved. The wine was still going strong 4-5 hrs later when I
finished it up.
Tom

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