The Monday after RhoneRangers, Susan & I had lunch at BayWolf w/ SteveEdmunds
and OliverMcCrum. As might be expected w/ such a motley bunch, there was some
1. EdmundsStJohn ElDorado PinotGris WittersVnyd/ElDoradoCnty (13.2%) 2006:
Light gold color; fragrant/floral some stony/earthy very attractive/perfumed
nose; softer/rich somewhat lush perfumed/floral some pungent/smokey flavor
w/ slight stony/earthy underlying character; quite long fairly rich/lush/ripe
floral/aromatic slight earthy/minerally finish ; rather Alsatian in style
but has acidity and NOT in the porky/PillsburyDoughBoy Z-H style; quite a
lovely PG at a great price. $16
2. Weingut Niklas Sudtiroler Kerner 2005: Light yellow color; powerful fragrant/
perfumed/aromatic rather GrunerVeltliner-like some earthy/dusty/minerally
complex nose; very tart/lean/austere quite stoney/minerally powerful/perfumed/
floral flavor; long lean/austere very fragrant/floral/fruity lean/steely/very
minerally austere finish; beautiful aromatics that belie the austere steely/
minerally character on the palate; quite a terrific food wine at a very good
3. EdmundsStJohn BoneJolly ElDorado GamayNoir Rose; P&B by Hook or by Crook/
Fairplay 2006: Pale rose/strawberry color; fragrant/aromatic very grapey slight
earthy/dusty interesting nose; tart/lean some stoney/earthy/minerally quite
grapey/framboise btight/zippy flavor; med.long bright/grapey/strawberry some
earthy/stoney finish w/ little tannins; quite perfumed but rather Beaujolais-like
earthiness. Very fairly priced at $16.
4. EdmundsStJohn BoneJolly GamayNoir WitterVnyd/ElDoradoCnty 2006: Pale red color;
rather grapey/Gamay/strawberry slight earthy/dusty/mushroomy nose; softer very
grapey/strawberry/Gamay rather mineral/dusty/earthy flavor; med. grapey/Gamay/
strawberry/violets/lilacs tart some earthy/minerally finish w/ light tannins;
more bright strawberry fruit than earlier BJs, maybe Steve's best one yet.
5. Josef Solva Weingut Niklas Sudtiroler Lagrein 2004: Very dark color; very intense
plummy slight licorice very perfumed/fragrant some spicy/peppery slight earthy/
stoney/slatey lovely nose; tart very rich/very plummy/licorice/spicy/peppery
some earthy/minerally flavor; long very plummy/berry/licorice rather earthy/
minerally finish w/ some tannins; a big plummy/earthy red at a terrific price. $18
6. Holdredge Schioppettino MacBrydeVnyd/RussianRvrVlly (12.9%) 2005: Very dark
color; very interesting very spicy/dusty/peppery some taosty/smokey/pungent/oak
spicy/berry/blackberry/licorice/plummy nose; tart some pungent/toasty/oak/smokey
rather spicy/peppery/plummy bit dusty/earthy complex flavor; very long some
taosty/pungent/oak quite spicy/peppery/plummy/licorice/slight black cherry/
Pinotish bit dusty/earthy w/ some tannins; needs several yrs; quite an interesting
7. Berson IGT RavennaRosso 2003: Very dark color; slight bretty/funky/horsey slight
plummy/licorice/earthy nose; funky/bretty/musty/earthy rather tannic flavor;
seems to be rather off and probably a bit corked. Too bad. $16
8. EdmundsStJohn BassettiVnyd/SLOCnty Syrah (14.2%) 2005: Black color; huge blackberry/
Syrah quite spicy/peppery/cold-climate bit pungent/smokey/roasted quite Rhonish
complex nose; huge tart very spicy/peppery/cracked white pepper very strong
blackberry/boysenberry/Syrah/licorice very structured/tannic some roasted/pungent
flavor; very long intense blackberry/Syrah roasted/cracked white pepper smokey/
pungent finish w/ ample tannins; stunning cold-climate Syrah. Fall release at
And a bit of a BloodyPulpit:
1. EdStJ PinotGris: This wine is a distinct departure in style from Steve's
earlier PinotGrigio. Much bigger/riper/richer than his previous efforts (the
'05 had a lean/austere almost schrrechy acidity to it), it is much more in an
Alsatian style. Hence the name change. Yet it still has the slightly earthy
quality you oft find in ElDorado whites. Actually, it speaks a bit more of
AltoAdige PinotGris than Alsace...at least what most Alsace PG is now like.
But probably Steve's best PG yet.
2. BoneJolly: Good news...Steve has two BJs this vintage. The Rose was made
specifically as a rose wine, rather than just using saignee juice as is often
done in Calif. Consequently, it has much more flavor than most Calif roses.
In fact, the regular/red BJ was only slightly darker than the Rose. But they
both have that kind of earthy minerality that you get in real Beaujolais...it's
not just about grapiness. The Rose has just been released but the regular BJ
is scheduled for a Fall release.
3. Holdredge Schioppettino: This was my first test drive w/ John's Schioppettino.
It's always hard to taste a lesser-known variety when the ones (some 15-20) you've
had vary all over the map; hard to find the niche or pigeonhole for it in your
taste memory. Nonetheless, I liked this wine quite a lot and thought it as good
as any Italian Schioppettinos I've had thus far. It had a bit of the earthiness
I often find in Northern Italian reds, yet also had the peppery character I find
in RussianRvrVlly reds, particularly Zin and Syrah. Distinctly NewWorld in style
because of the oak, yet I didn't feel it overoaked at all. It probably reminded me
more of an oaked Teroldego or Picolit Neri than anything, but w/ more bright
fruit. One of the things that struck me about John's wine was the anemic alcohol
level (by today's standards), yet it seem fully ripe, packed w/ flavor, and not
the least bit underripe or green. I'm sure, however, as Schioppettino becomes
the next Pinot wave, we'll get the 16% versions that will achieve big scores.
Probably the only way Schioppettino is going to achieve greatness in Calif.
Alas, sold out at the wnry and prospects for an '06 version are dim I
4. Burson: This is a wine from Roberto at WineExpo/SantaMonica. It is made from
uva Longanesi, a grape variety recently discovered there in the Emilia/Romagna
area. It is thought to be an ancient Roman variety that exists nowhere else
in the world. This bottle seemed slightly corked and not nearly the fruit &
quality of the previous one I had.
4. EdStJ Bassetti: The Bassetti vnyd, way out towards the Cambria/coast west of
Paso is truly one of the world's great Syrah vnyds. This is how J-L Chave would
grow Syrah if he could. Alas, this is the last year Steve will have Ellis &
Susan's grapes. I presume they'll continue to go to Mat & Augie, plus some for
their own label. I've followed this vnyd from the very start and think that
Steve's version of that Syrah is probably the best, much more Rhonish in
character (not to put down the other three..they too are outstanding). This
'05 edition is purt-near (Kansas colloquialism for damn close) the quality
of his '03 version, one of Steve's (and Calif's) greatest Syrahs ever made.
It will probably outlive this '05 version. When I'm scooting my walker down the
hallways at LazyDazy Assisted Living Facility, I'll probably still be muttering
to myself about when's this '03 ever going to come around, as I drain another
glass w/ my chicken fried steak. So sad....the end of an era (the EdStJ Bassetti
5. The two Sudtirol wines were brought by Oliver (http://www.OMWines.com
) and are two new
additions to his portfolio. They are particularly terrific values I think. Sorta
like the EdStJ wines... it's dishonest to sell wines this good that cheaply.