Continued 1999 Tasting Notes

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Schuetz Oles  Zinfandel, Napa, Korte Ranch, 1996, $16  VG-

Light and slightly lacking in fruit [3/22].

Schuetz Oles  Zinfandel, Napa, Korte Ranch?, 1997 (barrel sample), $16?  VG+

Rich, rustic, and complex, if slightly unformed at this point [3/22].

Schuetz Oles  Zinfandel/Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa, 1997 (barrel sample), $25?  Exc-

Blew me away, with Zin ripeness, Cab structure, rustic, chocolate flavors [3/22].

Storrs  Zinfandel, Central Coast, 1996, $16  VG-

A typical light '96 [3/22].

Storrs  Zinfandel, Santa Cruz, 1996, $20  VG+

Very harmonious with lovely if not intense fruit [3/22].

Storrs  Zinfandel, Santa Clara, Lion Oaks Vineyard, 1996, $25  VG+

Intense and structured, but didn't win me over [3/22].

Rancho Zabaco  Zinfandel, Dry Creek, 1997,   VG+

Apparently the ``second label'' of Gallo of Sonoma, this wine impressed. Petite Sirah is added to provide richness and backbone, which is probably why it piqued my fancy [3/22].

Karly  Syrah, Amador, 1997, $17 (half, rest.)  VG+

Outstanding ripeness and richness, every sip a pleasure [3/24].

Estancia  Meritage, Alexander Valley, 1996, $19  Exc-

Wonderful outgoing bouquet, harmonious cab fruit and chocolate without too much tannins. Divine with my grilled and richly sauced lamb [3/25].

Daniel Gehrs  Syrah, Paso Robles, 1996, $16?  Exc-

This is undoubtedly one of the most complex and enjoyable wines I've ever had. It started fairly closed, but quickly opened to show classic Syrah fruit, at times revealing chocolate, green berry, ripe berry flavors, you name it. And that's just the bouquet. Debut release [3/26].

Amberhill  Chardonnay, California, 1997, $6  G+

Sound fruit and buttery oak, but diminished by bitterness [3/29]. The next night, its lightness became apparent [3/30].

Kenwood  Zinfandel, Sonoma, Jack London Vineyard, 1996, $15  VG+

Classy, jazzy Zin with typical forward fruit for a '96, with interesting spice notes [4/3].

Yalumba  Tawny Port, Australia, Clocktower, NV,   VG-

A pleasant mixture of caramel and fruit flavors. Sound, but not revelatory [4/8].

Renwood  Zinfandel, Amador, Old Vines, 1995, $16  VG+

Simply outstanding, with forward, luscious fruit, dazzling spice, and a touch of earth for balance. An intense quaff, it edges out the Kenwood [4/9]. A second bottle was rather different, but still very good. Focused fruit embedded in oily tar, quite complex [5/15].

Talley  Chardonnay, Arroyo Grande Valley, San Luis Obispo, 1997, $17  VG+

Rich butter and fine acidity, it finished a little bitter, perhaps because it was too warm [4/10].

Presidio  Pinot Noir, Santa Barbara, 1997, $12  VG-

Light in color, pleasant sweet cherry flavors with spice. Could be outsanding with a meal [4/10].

Rosemount  Shiraz, South East Australia, 1998, $8  VG

Purple black in color, considerably lighter in flavor. Fine balance between dark, focused fruit and luscious earth. Reminds me of the Glen Fiona--including the low acidity--albeit a lot less concentrated. Consequently, it's a great quaff on its own but doesn't quite stand up to a hearty meal [4/10-11].

Gary Farrell  Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma, Hillside Selection, 1996, $20  VG

Tight, concentrated, dusty fruit. Very sound with plenty of promise [4/10].

Qupe  Syrah, Santa Barbara, Bien Nacido Reserve, 1997, $24  VG+

Much more balanced and concentrated than their standard release, but also more restrained, less spicey, and less jazzy. It may need time to develop [4/10].

David Bruce  Cabernet Sauvignon, Santa Clara, 1996, $16  VG+

Oo la la! David Bruce has moved to greener (disease-free) pastures, but it seems like the same old (delicious) wine. Lovely focused fruit and vanilla oak [4/10]. After a meal at home, chicken sausage pasta, I'm a little less overwhelmed. Although lovely, it seems unable to stand up to any spiciness. I'd love to try this side-by-side against the '96 Chateau Souverain [4/22]. Another tasting at SDWC showed pleasant hints of mint, could well be a VG+ [5/8]. Very generous [6/26].

Benziger  Chardonnay, Carneros, 1997, $8  VG-

Fine body, acidity, fruit, and oak, but a trace of bitterness detracts [4/13].

Kenwood  Pinot Noir, Russian River, 1997, $10  G+

Light, soft, and spicey, with typical cherry fruit [5/1].

Les Grands Pretans  Red, Givry 1st Cru, Burgandy, Reserve, 1997, $16  G

Light color and flavor, with earth [5/1].

Vincent Dureuil Janthial  Red, Rully, Burgandy, Reserve, 1997, $14  G+

A slight improvement on the Pretans [5/1].

Presidio  Pinot Noir, Santa Barbara, 1997, $12  VG-

Light but rich fruit [5/1].

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