Continued 2000 Tasting Notes

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Glen Fiona  Syrah, Columbia Valley, Bacchus Vineyard, 1997, $23  Exc-

Although slow to come around, this was a giant. Packed with fruit and earth in lovely balance. A lovely Syrah. With a year of age under its belt, it wasn't the super-giant it was a year earlier, which made it more drinkable with a meal. I was glad to find that it hadn't become unbalanced in the interim. I don't think it was drunk too early, though [4/22].

Haut Bernasse  White Dessert Wine, Monbazillac, 1994, $15  VG

A very respectable sister of the Sauterne. Light, but not thin; orange-laced fruit but not cloying. Not ``turned'' like many, but still possessing ineffable qualities that suggest Botrytis [4/22].

Apex  Gewurztraminer, Colubmia Valley, 1998,   Exc-

Extraordinary. Beautiful gold color. Rich fruit with a touch of orange and nuts. Lovely texture. A perfect appetizer or appertif wine [4/28].

Ojai  Syrah, California, 1997, $16  VG

Very restrained, only opening up after nearly an hour to show classic berry fruit in front of still-restrained earth [4/28].

Preston  Barbera, Dry Creek Valley, 1997, $34 (rest)  VG+

Bright, rustic, forward fruit with plenty of acidity to stand up to a creamy pasta dish with tomatoes. A real winner [4/29].

St. Francis  Zinfandel, Sonoma, Old Vines, 1997, $19  VG+

Vibrant, lively fruit, flavorful but not super-concentrated [4/30].

Ravenswood  Merlot, Sonoma, Donnell, 1997, $22  VG+

Complex, a little mysterious, dark. Quite different than the straight Sonoma, which is more overt [4/30].

Gallo of Sonoma  Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley, 1997, $9  VG-

Tannic on first drinking, but the next night it was fruity and delicious, albeit straightforward [5/3].

Beaulieu  Zinfandel, Napa, 1997, $9  VG

Dark, complex fruit flavors, well balanced. More mysterious than effusive [5/14].

Chateau Potelle  Zinfandel, Amador, 1997, $10  VG-

Nice fruit, but rather tannic and a bit harsh. Calmed down the second night [5/18].

Venezia  Chardonnay, Napa, 1997, $9  VG-

Toasty with high acidity, but not enough fruit to balance [5/21].

Mount Palomar  Chardonnay, Temecula, 1997, $9  VG

Similar to the Venezia, but with richer fruit and a bit less harsh [5/22].

Venezia  Sangiovese, Alexander Valley, Nuovo Mondo, 1997, $9  VG-

A fine production. Bright, forward Sangiovese fruit with some weight and nice balance, perhaps due to the addition of 15% Syrah. A true bargain. I saw this going for $21 at a grocery store. This bottle came from Trader Joe's [5/23]. Later bottles weren't as impressive, but still quite nice [6/3]. A little dry, earthy, and bitter; lacking fruit [9/21].

D-Cubed  Zinfandel, Napa, 1998, $38 (rest.)  Exc-

We were blown away by the intensity and purity of the forward fruit. This reminded me of Rosenblum Zins in style--very jazzy and playful, rather than elegant [5/26].

Altesino  Alte d'Altesi, Tuscany, 1990,   VG

This is one of the best super Tuscan's from a super year. Unfortunately, this wine was over the hill, probably because of the warm storage conditions at our home. It was flat, lacking fruit, and a bit tarry, albeit interesting [7/2].

Meridian  Chardonnay, Santa Barbara, 1998, $10  VG

Crisp, nice fruit, not especially oaky [7/8].

Yalumba  Museum Muscat, Australia, NV, $?? (375ml)  Exc-

Yalumba's premium dessert releases seem to be uniformly astonishing. Rich flavor, polish, complexity [7/8].

Ravenswood  Chardonnay, Sonoma Valley, 1997, $15  VG

A very nice production, but didn't blow me away. For that price (probably list) I expect more richness and character [7/9].

Villa Mt. Eden  Chardonnay, Monterey, 1998, $8  G+

Nice, but quite different and not as pleasant as their California Chard. A little leaner and less oak [7/15].

Beringer  Alluvium, Knights Valley, 1994, $18  Exc-

Really extraordinary. Tom at SDWC had complained on its release that it was ungenerous, but time had clearly worked some magic. Gorgeous dark fruit, soft from age, with lots of mystery yet still friendly [7/28].

David Bruce  Cabernet Sauvignon, Santa Cruz Mtns, 1994, $15  VG+

I was worried that this would be over the hill, but it was actually in very good shape, just a little farther along than the Beringer. Cabs rule when it comes to aging [7/14].

Guenoc  Petit Verdot, Napa, 1993, $14  VG

This grape is added to Bordeaux's for color, and that's apparent here. Gorgeous color and rather lean in flavor, especially after a couple of years of aging [7/22].

Guenoc  Chardonnay, California, 1998, $8  G+

Nice, but there's just not enough fruit, oak, or acidity to make it go [7/29].

Banrock Station  Shiraz & Cabernet Sauvignon, South Eastern Ausraila, 1999,   G+

Not especially fruity or rich; a little flat [8/5].

Marietta  Old Vine Red, California, Twenty Two, $7.50  VG+

Unga bunga! Except for pleasant softness and fine balance, this drank like a new release. Bright berry fruit [8/11].

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