WTN: Mostly Idlewild/AguaDolce Wines..(long/boring)

The place for all things wine, focused on serious wine discussions.

Moderators: Jenise, David M. Bueker, Robin Garr

WTN: Mostly Idlewild/AguaDolce Wines..(long/boring)

Postby TomHill » Thu Jan 09, 2014 4:13 pm

e tried tonight (12/18/13) Some New Arrivals:
1. Idlewild Arneis FoxHillVnyd/MendoCnty (14.2%) 2012: Light gold color; quite fragrant/perfumed/pineapple/
almost R-like some stony/mineral/perfumed talc slight waxy/lanolin quite lovely nose; strong floral/carnations
fairly tart/lush/rich almost R-like/pineapple/apple slight waxy/hand-lotion/lanolin rather exotic/perfumed
flavor; very long/lingering R-like/apple/pineapple/mango slight waxy/lanolin very perfumed/exotic finish;
a powerfully aromatic Arneis somewhat like the Viettis. $28.00
2. Idlewild Cortese FoxHillVnyd/MendoCnty (skin-contact; 13.4%; www.IdlewildWines.com) Healdsburg 2012: Light gold
color; light phenolic/savory/resiny/cider some stony/earthy/smoky/dusty rather interesting/complex nose; tart
rich/lush graham cracker light phenolic/cider/savory light stony/earthy/dusty finish w/ very light tannic bite;
long light savory/phenolic/resiny/cider tart/rich/lush smokey/pungent/graham cracker finish w/ light tannins;
sort of a skin-contact Lite w/ a rather low-key phenolic character; quite an interesting/exotic wine; doesn't
have the austere/stony character of Piemonte Cortese. $30.00
3. Idlewild VinGris RoseWine DryCreekVlly/SonomaCnty (100% Syrah @ 21 Brix; 13.6%) 2012: Light salmon/copper color;
quite attractive spicy/perfumed/cranberry bit candied rather aromatic nose; soft/ripe/rich some candied/spicy/
cranberry/watermelon tarts quite pretty flavor; long candied/cranberry/watermelon/spicy/juicy fairly ripe/lush
finish w/ little tannins; would like a bit more acidity/austerity but a quite pretty rose and everything you'd
want in a summertime rose. $22.00
4. Idlewild GrenacheGris GibsonRanch/MendoCnty (12.6%) 2012: Med.light rose/salmon color; very strong strawberry/
Grenache/floral very perfumed/aromatic light earthy/dusty lovely nose; fairly tart strong strawberry/Grenache/
floral/perfumed talc slight earthy fairly rich/juicy quite interesting flavor w/ little tannin; quite long
juicy/strong strawberry/Grenache/spicy perfumed/fragrant/rose petal finish w/ light tannins; quitte a pretty
wine a bit more interesting than the VinGris. $26.00
5. Donkey&Goat Carignane OakVllyVnyd/AlexVlly (120+ yr old vines; U; 14.2%; 70 cs) 2009: Med.dark color w/ a bit
of bricking; some fumey/volatile/EA/alcoholic some black cherry/Carignane rather dusty/OV some earthy/leathery
bit bretty interesting nose; rather hot/fumey/volatile/EA some earthy/rustic/black cherry/Carignane slight
leathery/brett flavor w/ some rough/coarse tannins; med.long hot/fumey/volatile/EA rustic/earthy/black cherry/
Carignane finish w/ rough/coarse tannins; bit too unclean & volatile to my taste, but speaks of Carignane.
6. Donkey&Goat Carignane AlexVlly (14.2%; U) 2010: screwtop closure; Dark color; strong reductive/fecal/sewer gas
strong black cherry/blackberry/Carignane earthy/rustic/dusty/OV bit toasty/oak nose; soft earthy/dusty/OV strong
cherry/black cherry/Carignane/cola bit hot/fumey/alcoholic/overripe rather sauvage/rough/coarse flavor w/ some
rough tannins; long some cherry/black cherry/Carignane rather ripe/overripe some alcoholic/fumey/hot finish w/
rough/coarse tannins; the reductive nose lessens a bit but seems on the overripe/fumey side. $25.00
7. Idlewild Carignan TestaVnyd/MendoCnty (13.2%) 2012: Med.color; rather earthy/dusty/OV/rustic some black cherry/
blackberry/Carignane some earthy/stony/Languedoc-like bit Mendo/tomatoey fairly complex nose; bit tart/lean bright/
cherry/Carignane quite dusty/OV bit earthy/Mendo-tomatoey interesting complex flavor w/ some hard/bitey tannins;
long tomatoey/Mendo-red bright cherry/cranberry/Carignane rather dusty/OV/earthy/stony finish w/ some light/hard
tannins; speaks strongly of Mendo w/ the tomatoey character; probably could use a few yrs age; a very interesting
rather rustic/old-timey Calif red. $32.00
8. Ridge Carignane TriangleBlock/OldVines/GeyservilleVnyd (13.8%; 44 brls; Bttld: 2/13; 110 yr old block; Drk:
12/12-12/17-12/18: EB; Yield: 3.1 tons/acre) 2011
: Dark/very dark color; strong vanilla/Am.oak/toasted coconut/
ZagNutBar strong black cherry/Carignane/spicy/blackberry bit Zin-like some dusty/OV/earthy interesting nose;
soft strong vanilla/Am.oak/coconutty strong black cherry/Carignane/RCCola bit dusty/OV bit earthy/rustic slight
complex flavor w/ some hard tannins; very long strong black cherry/Carignane/cola/spicy/bit Zin-like/blackberry
strong coconutty/vanilla/Am.oak finish w/ some hard tannins; actually resembles Geyserville more than Buchignani
Carignane in character; one of the best Ridge Carignanes I can recall but still not a silk purse. $28.00 (ATP)
9. Idlewild Dolcetto FoxHillVnyd/MendoCnty (13.4%) 2012: Med./med.light color; strong grapey/spicy/cherry very
attractive juicy/fruity/grapey slight earthy some perfumed nose; fairly tart/lean quite juicy/grapey/floral/
Dolcetto rather pretty/bright/floral/spicy flavor w/ some lean/bitey tannins; long bright/grapey/juicy/Dolcetto/
floral/cherry rather tart/lean interesting finish w/ some light/hard/bitey tannins; speaks loud & clear of
Dolcetto but lighter & more elegant than most Piemontese ones. $30.00
10. Pecchenino SanLuigi DOCG: Dogliani (100% Dolcetto; www.Pecchenino.com; 13.5%) Borg.Valdiverti/Dogliani 2011:
Dark color; very strong grapey/Dolcetto/licorice/earthy/dusty/wet pavement slight fecal/reductive/unclean
Italianate fairly lush nose; slight spritz soft very lush/juicy/grapey/black cherry/Dolcetto maybe a bit
off-dry bit earthy/fecal/unclean flavor w/ light/soft tannins; long bit fecal/unclean quite juicy/Dolcetto/grapey/
black cherry cola very ripe/off-dry finish w/ light/soft/plush tannins; lots like an unclean Refosco or
LaCrima de Morro d'Alba; a bit on the unclean side and lacks Dolcetto typicity but some interesting things
therein. $18.00 (BWM)
11. AguaDulceWnry Zin SierraPelonaVlly/Calif (12.5%; U P Non-MEV; www.AguaDulceWinery.com) AguaDulce;
CraigWinchell/Winemaker 2010
: Med.dark color; quite spicy/blackberry/Zin/mushroom/Shinola/pungent rather peppery/
bit Lodi-like rather exotic Zin nose; bit soft exotic/pungent/Shinola/blackberry/Zin rather black pepper light
pencilly flavor w/ soft/smooth/round tannins; very long peppery/blackberry/Zin/Shinola/pungent slight pencilly/
mushroomy finish w/ smooth/polished tannins; a rather exotic rendition Zin that reminds me a bit of WashState
Lemberger, a bit of ContraCosta old-vine Zin, some like SaucelitoCnyn Zin. $30.00
12. AguaDulceWnry Syrah SierraPelonaVlly/Calif (12.90%; U P Non-MEV 2010: Dark color; slight earthy/mushroomy very
strong lush/blackberry/Zyrah/peppery/cracked black pepper/floral/licorice bit smokey/pungent distinctly Syrah
quite lovely nose; soft rich/lush strong blackberry/Syrah/blueberry/cracked black pepper bit smokey/pungent
light earthy/dusty flavor w/ modest/smooth tannins; very long/lingering strong blackberry/blueberry/Syrah bit
DrPepper/RCCola/smokey/pungent finish w/ some soft/smooth/graceful tannins; reminds me a lot of Ojai RollRanch
Syrah w/o the oak; quite a lovely/interesting Syrah that can stand up to any in Calif. $35.00
13. AguaDulceWnry CabSauv SierraPelonaVlly/Calif (13.5%; U P Non-MEV) 2010: Dark color; strong licorice/chocolaty/
blackcurranty/Cab/slight herbal light toasty/pungent/oak big fruit distinctly Cab quite interesting nose; soft/
lush/rich/mouthfilling strong blackcurranty/Cab/chocolaty/ripe light toasty/oak flavor w/ modest/smooth tannins;
very long big fruit/strong/blackcurranty/Cab/chocolaty/RCCola/ripe light smokey/toasty/oak finish w/ some soft/
smooth/graceful tannins; lots of blackcurranty Cab fruit. $45.00
And the usual nonsense from TheBloodyPulpit:
1. D&G: Not a very good showing from Donkey&Goat. With Tracey&Jared's emphasis on natural winemaking, I guess you
should expect a few that don't do too well in the btl.
2. Carignane: I'm not a big fan of this grape. I like a lot the bright cherry/black cherry/cola character the wines have
in the nose; but they often seem rather earthy/coarse and tannic on the palate. Despite the tannins; it's seldom
that the wines develop into anything interesting. Even some of those very old-vine Carignanes from Priorat seldom
grab me by the throat. And most of the Languedoc ones epitomize the worst qualities of the grape. Maybe it's true
that you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.
That said, I rather liked these two Carignanes. The Idlewood had an old-timey character to it that reminded me
some of the old Pedroncellis and Parducci's back in the '70's. The Ridge, I thought, was maybe the best (young)
Ridge Carignane I can recall. This ATP Carignane is a new wine for Ridge.
3. Idlewild: This is the wnry of Sam & Jessica Bilbro. If that name sounds familiar, Chris Bilbro is the owner/
founder of MariettaCllrs, of Marietta OldVineRed fame. Sam's bro's, Jake & Scot, are making their mark w/ the
recently acquired LimerickLaneWnry. And the family recently acquired the old BillyCrawford's GibsonRanch, up in
McDowellVlly; a national treasure. Lots of stuff planted back in the late 1800's, including what is probably
the oldest block of Syrah in Calif. Sam's GrenacheGris (the gris version of GrenacheBlanc&Noir) comes from very
old-vine stuff on Gibson.
KenZinns had given me a head's up on Sam's Idlewild operation several yrs ago when he first tasted one, so
I finally got around to ordering the tableau of Idlewild to try. I was favorably impressed. Both the Arneis and
the Cortese are as good as any of those varieties I've had from the Piemonte. Of the reds, the Dolcetto was my
easy favorite. Not sure what other wines Sam has in the works, but it's certainly a wnry I'me going to be
following....from close to the very start.
3. AguaDulce: I've known CraigWinchell for a number of yrs on the wine boards where he'll often post interesting
comments on winemaking questions from time to time. He's the winemaker at AguaDulce (sweet water) in AguaDulce,
CA. Not heard of it??? Me neither...back then. This is a town in a high desert vlly along the AntelopeVllyFrwy,
midway between SantaClarita and Lancaster, in SoCal. Not at all an obvious location to be growing grapes to make
fine wine. My sense is that it's pretty dry up there and irrigation is a necessity. Perhaps a bit in climate/
terroir like the UpperOjaiVlly?? Hopefully, I can make a side trip in a few weeks when I'm out there to take
a look-see at the area.
A few months ago, Craig queried me if I would like some samples of his latest release and, being interested
in off-beat/unusual growing areas, I jumped at the chance. These three wines were those wines.
The three wines had a certain softness on the palate that suggested some high pH wines like if find in
WashState Cabs or many ContraCosta reds. Craig assures me this is not the case and the pH's are in the normal range.
They seemed to have ample tannins that were not at all hard or angular. Actually, the wines far exceeded my
expectations for coming from a totally unknown (to me) growing area. The Zin was a bit on the strange side in that
is was picking up a bit of a pungent/Shinola character that took me back to my ROTC days when I labored mightly
to polish those danged shoes for inspection. But still plenty of Zin character to make it attractive. The Cab
was a big fruit wine that reminded me mostly of Lodi Cabs in ripeness. The Syrah (which recently won some award)
was my easy favorite. Lots of bass-notes of Syrah that resembled some of the RollRanch Syrahs of Adam's.
All in all..I was favorably impressed by Craig's wines.
Here From the Very Start
Posts: 3317
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 1:01 pm

Re: WTN: Mostly Idlewild/AguaDolce Wines..(long/boring)

Postby Brian K Miller » Thu Jan 09, 2014 4:57 pm

I tend to like rustic, funky wines, so enjoy Carrignane more than you, Tom.

Never got a sense of high alcohol from Donkey and Goat, but definitely can be bretty. They don;t use very much sulfur, so there might indeed be some volatility.

Luc at Terroir Wine Bar in San Francisco agrees with you w/r/t the alcohol in some of their wines. I am usually hyper-sensitive to hotness in wines, so I have no reason for given D&G a pass on this issue!
...(Humans) are unique in our capacity to construct realities at utter odds with reality. Dogs dream and dolphins imagine, but only humans are deluded. –Jacob Bacharach
Brian K Miller
Passionate Arboisphile
Posts: 7124
Joined: Fri Aug 25, 2006 2:05 am
Location: Northern California


Postby TomHill » Thu Jan 09, 2014 5:07 pm

Brian K Miller wrote:Never got a sense of high alcohol from Donkey and Goat, but definitely can be bretty. They don;t use very much sulfur, so there might indeed be some volatility.
Luc at Terroir Wine Bar in San Francisco agrees with you w/r/t the alcohol in some of their wines. I am usually hyper-sensitive to hotness in wines, so I have no reason for given D&G a pass on this issue!

Well, Brian....the alcohols on those two D&G wern't all that high. But these two seemed to be a bot hot/fumey...which kinda surprised me.
Here From the Very Start
Posts: 3317
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 1:01 pm

Re: WTN: Mostly Idlewild/AguaDolce Wines..(long/boring)

Postby David M. Bueker » Thu Jan 09, 2014 5:56 pm

Waiting on my sick pack of assorted Idlewild wines. The polar vortex put the brakes to my shipment.
There behind the glass lies a real blade of grass. Be careful as you pass. Move along. Move along.
User avatar
David M. Bueker
Riesling Guru
Posts: 22256
Joined: Thu Mar 23, 2006 12:52 pm
Location: Connecticut

Re: WTN: Mostly Idlewild/AguaDolce Wines..(long/boring)

Postby Craig Winchell » Thu Jan 09, 2014 9:28 pm

Thanks for looking at the wines, Tom. If you will recall, you were a party to a Berzerker's thread about Agua Dulce Winery a while back, thinking it might be similar to New Mexico's high desert wines. Having come across that thread in my web wanderings, I figured you might want to see for yourself. Others posted about the inane winery tour, and other negatives. The inane tour still exists, and is as bad as ever for anyone with wine knowledge. I have nothing to do with it- I'm just the winemaker.

That said, the fruit here is as close to dry-farmed as you can get, due largely to lack of irrigation water. Very highly stressed. 2010, my first year there, came together nicely, with harvest throughout September rather than early August, and the longer hang times certainly helped with balance. 2011 was also a very late year, then the climate reverted to Central Valley-type early August harvest, with all of the difficulties that entails. In the past, the vines were well irrigated, crush was somewhat later, and the wines were old-style CA long-oaked reds

I'm glad you enjoyed these wines. IF the high country in New Mexico is similar, then they should be able to produce some pretty damned decent wines there.
User avatar
Craig Winchell
Wine guru
Posts: 1002
Joined: Tue Jan 19, 2010 2:09 pm

Re: WTN: Mostly Idlewild/AguaDolce Wines..(long/boring)

Postby Craig Winchell » Thu Jan 09, 2014 10:40 pm

Re: Carignane, there are many who believe the great grape of Israel is Carignane. No matter how good the other varietals coming out of Israel, they are typically (but probably exceptions exist) stylistic reminiscences of those grown elsewhere, but I have heard that Carignane develops quite interestingly there. I have not the experience to know, but it's worth looking at.
User avatar
Craig Winchell
Wine guru
Posts: 1002
Joined: Tue Jan 19, 2010 2:09 pm

Re: WTN: Mostly Idlewild/AguaDolce Wines..(long/boring)

Postby Jenise » Fri Jan 10, 2014 2:35 pm

Had no idea anyone was growing grapes in Agua Dolce. I have seen the area from a car window--the drive from the San Bernardino mountain ski slopes of Wrightwood to Agua Dolce via the Pear Blossom Highway is one of Southern California's great day drives (and an easy place to pick up a speeding ticket, I KNOW)--and I roamed the area a bit when I worked on a project whose management offices were located in Santa Clarita. I cannot picture grape vines, but love the thought.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
FLDG Dishwasher
Posts: 26552
Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2006 3:45 pm
Location: The Pacific Northest Westest

Re: WTN: Mostly Idlewild/AguaDolce Wines..(long/boring)

Postby Craig Winchell » Fri Jan 10, 2014 3:18 pm

Evidently, the previous owners were real estate developers of questionable ethics who could not sell all the land they had subdivided, and looking for a get-rich-quick scheme, came up with a winery (and we all know the great investments they typically make). They began operations in 1999, eventually planting 75 acres of vineyard, building the winery buildings, and pissing off everyone for miles around, and eventually going bankrupt in 2009. Jim Yerkes was their first winemaker, until 2008, and he did a pretty good job making old-style heavy oak, smooth wine, the kind that is eminently drinkable with or without food, but that's the extent of it (although Vaynerchuk did like one of their Zins quite a bit, and a couple of wines took minor medals at the LA County Fair). Bruce Scotland was then engaged as their consultant for a year or so, with work being done by the field hands. The biggest thing this winery did was to open the area up to winemaking, so that now there is a custom crush place in Santa Clarita, 3 wineries in Sierra Pelona Valley (1 right next door, Reyes Winery), and supports Antelope Valley and Leona Valley vineyards up the way, so a person could almost make a day in the wineries (with a healthy period at Vasquez Rocks).
User avatar
Craig Winchell
Wine guru
Posts: 1002
Joined: Tue Jan 19, 2010 2:09 pm

Return to The Wine Forum

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Majestic-12 [Bot] and 4 guests