Seattle Wine Blog

This blog is dedicated to commentary on all aspects of wine, especially short entries to help you find the best wines without the usual hype and spin. These are my frank, independent opinions, usually based on tasting wine at a public event, off the shelf or at the winery. "All creative acts must arise out of a specific soil and flicker with a spirit of place" -D.H. Lawrence

Monday, May 12, 2008

Wine Notes

2005 St. Clair Reserve Merlot - Arizona is not the only state in the Southwest that produces wine. In fact, New Mexico's St. Clair Winery dates back to 1984. To me this is the ultimate chocolate wine. Not really big (only 13% alcohol), it nevertheless fills your mouth - kind of like chocolate mud pie with hint of raspberries and other black fruit. The mouthfeel seems to come from lots of soft tannin. The back label says lamb, cheese, roasts or venison. I say, Hersey's Milk Chocolate.

2005 Callaghan "Junior" - This brick red Merlot/Cab/Syrah combo is fairly transparent, but it has a nice nose of cigar box. Tastes of raspberry hard candy and fruit, but has a somewhat hard finish.

2004 Adelaida "Version" - This version of a Rhone beauty - Mourvedre, Syrah, Grenache, Counoise, Cinsualt - has lost a lot of weight since I tasted it at the winery, but that really hasn't improved its figure. It was full and curvaceous at the winery, but it may have become anorexic. Now it is easy, but too light and slim for my taste.

2004 Baer "Ursa" - While no bear of a wine, this beautiful Bordeaux Style Blend with a fairly light ruby color has a classic bouquet of blackcurrant and cedar. Raspberries, vanilla and coffee flavors make you want to drink more.

1998 L'Ecole No 41 Columbia Valley Merlot - Another ten year survivor, mellow and tasty in an old sort of way. Good fruit, balanced, mellow, but a little wrinkled and dusty.

2005 Opolo Mountain Zinfandel - Excellent big, full-bodied Zin from Paso Robles at 16.1% alcohol. Somehow I always unfairly compare every Zin the Grandpere vineyard in the Sierra foothills. This one was not bad!

2005 Ken Wright "Canary Hill" Pinot Noir - Good fruit, but too bright for me. A little too much acid in the finish for my taste.

2004 Turley Hayne Zinfandel - Big and complex, but not as great as its reputation. If this wine had not been made by a wine Goddess, expectations would not be so high, and you would love it.

2004 DeLille "Grand Ciel" Cabernet Sauvignon - Very European! Lots of fruit and lots of tannin. This Red Mountain biggie is DeLille's bid for a new Washington State "cult" wine. Reminiscent of the famous Bordeaux, Chateau Latour in a very good, but not great year. It has the size, depth and character of Latour and only the slightly hard tannins stop it from greatness at the moment. The real question is how will it age?

1996 Chateau Guiraud - Sauternes from this famous Chateau should be fabulous, but in fact it is prematurely bronzed in color and oxidized in taste. Tastes like a not so great 30 year old that has seen better days. Costco's buyer blew it on this one, even with the relatively inexpensive price for "great" Sauternes of only thirty buck

1988 Chateau Rieussec - Now this is what it's all about. A classic example of what aged great Sauternes should be - not too sweet, with beautiful floral notes.

1988 Chateau de Rayne Vigneau - Lighter than its two more famous cousins, this twenty year old is exquisitely elegant and refined. Had the famous Czeck writer Milan Kundera tasted this, he might have written "The Incredible Lightness of Being." Ineffable, paradisical!


  • At 8:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Turley is actually made by Ehren Jordan, and owned by Helen's brother Larry.

  • At 10:11 AM, Blogger SeattleWineBlog said…

    Thanks for the heads up. Still, expectations play a role and the Turley name signifies excellence.


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