Well a scheduling snafu, and the fact that both NY football teams are in the playoff hunt, reduced turnout for this weeks blind tasting.
I had to juggle the flights as well so this was a little bit of a different tasting with 2 flights of Italians varieties and 2 flights of Syrah so the break down will be a little different.
In any event the small group consisted of
Ali - Wine Professional
Dave- Wine Blogger
Scott - Wine Enthusiast
Eden - Wine Professional and of course your humble scribe.
Our first flight was a trio of California Sangiovese.
Flight 1 -Sangiovese
2005 J Pedroncelli Alto Vineyard Dry Creek Valley $11.99
Groups #2 My #1
To me this spoke of Sangiovese, medium bodied, austere and slightly astringent. That astringency turned Scott of as he called the wine “harsh” and said it reminded him of “unripe red plum” though he did mention that it smelled sweet. Dave caught a whiff of “ripe cherry” on the nose as well as hints of violet while both Eden and Ali commented on the oakiness of the wine, feeling the oak masked the fruit.
2006 Terra d’Oro Amador County $13.99
Groups #3 My #3
To my palate this wine was more marked by oak than the previous wine and was a bit plump and simple. Ali had this is her favorite and loved the “big time violet” nose. She “really liked this, it’s brighter than the other wines”. Eden, while finding violets on the nose was put off by a note of “candied banana” she found on the nose and just felt the wine “doesn’t feel sunny like Sangiovese should. I didn’t want to drink it.” Scott had a tougher time getting a read on this and while Dave found “grapefruit rinds “ on the nose and some “chocolate and cassis” on the palate there was not a lot of enthusiasm here.
2005 Pietra Santa Cienega Valley $18.00
Groups #1 my #2
This is a big, bold intense wine that, while a good wine, lacks any Sangiovese typicity for me. Dave sort of captured my opinion when he said, “ I love this, and the concentration really pops out. Thus reminds me of an Amarone with its cherry syrup flavors.” Eden was also impressed with this wine adding, “ it announces itself, it’s a mouthful, chewy and inviting. I would definitely drink this!” Scott noted it was his favorite with “ a super full mid-body I really enjoyed that and the little chalky not to the ripe plum fruit.” Ali was a dissenter her finding the nose “one dimensional with charred toast and smoke but it is pretty complex in the mouth with an earthy style and a bit of mint that lifted the end of it.”
Flight 2 - Other Italians
2006 Montevina Amador County Aglianico $12.00
Group #2 My #2
This was a bit simple but offered up gulpably fresh and juicy black fruits with just enough complexity to keep it interesting for a geek but it will really please a crowd. Dave liked this commenting “it has vanilla and blue fruits on the nose but still has a freshness that I liked.” Scott “ liked the nose a lot more than the mouth”, though Eden found the nose to be “hot, buttery and candied, I didn’t find much that appealed to me, simple is a good word for this wine.” Ali also found this to be “candied and full of blueberry and vanilla and kind of overly sweet too”
2006 Bocella Rasott Campi Taurasini $TBD
Groups#3, My#1 This organic Aglianico has yet to be distributed in the USA so this was the first tasting of this wine in this country. Well this was a controversial wine to say the least. The nose was very assertive with bitter vitamin and root notes dominating the sweet fruit. In the mouth the fruit was very expressive but the nose will be off putting to many. Ali captured the essence of this wine when she said, “this is bizarre, I don’t know what to think of it but I like it!” Dave found himself on the “other end of the extreme, this is chemical cherry and plastic wrap!” Eden couldn’t get past the “offensive smell” and found the wine “undrinkable”. Scott was caught in the middle finding the nose “smoky, stewy and jammy with a sweetness of rotten fruit. I don’t know what to make of it”
2004 Pietra Santa Dolcetto Cienega Valley $15.00
Groups #1 My #3
I found this to be a good wine but a bit too monotone and blocky, neither as interesting as the Rasott nor as fun as the Aglianico. It also suffered from some reductive funk on the nose that gave it a burning tire/ play doh nuance that was a bit off putting. Dave said that “the aromas are really great, this has an earthiness I really like.” Scott “wasn’t in love with it but I liked the dark fruit”. Eden found it to be “ One dimensional and the palate is just not my style” Ali on the other hand felt that “ the smoke covers everything on the nose” and found the wine “one dimensional, oaky and boring”
Flight 3 - Syrah/Shiraz
2005 Shoo Fly South East Australia $12.00
Groups #2 My #2
This was a big, rich wine but lacked a bit of balance and finesse yet was full of honied, roasted sweet berry fruit. Ali enjoyed the “sweet fruit and vanilla” and felt this was “drinking really well right now but it’s still a little clunky.” Eden felt the same way offering, “ while this is really stewy with prune and apricots it’s the prettiest one to drink right now.” Dave enjoyed the wine’s " earthiness and notes of violet and underbrush” while Scott “ wasn’t sure about this, at first the fruit was dark, then it was bright but it had an old peachy note that threw me.
2006 Kilikanoon The Lackey South Australia $15.00
Groups#1 My #1
This offered up a nice spicy profile with a nice blend of subtle wood spice notes, pepper, fruit and meat tones that delivered a pure, layered, fresh palate impression. Ali was in the minority with her comments “ this is too minty, it smells like Girl Scout cookies. Me no likey!” Eden felt the wine “really needed coaxing to open up but with time the boysenberry is really coming through.” Dave also found “ lots of berries on the palate, this has a smoothness I really like.” While Scott though this was “very drinkable”.
2005 Valley of the Moon Sonoma County $13.00
This suffered from slight TCA so was not rated
Flight 4 - Syrah/Shiraz
2004 d’Arenberg The Love Grass McLaren Vale $18.00
This was certainly on the funky side but had a ton of complexity and was balanced, fresh and very appealing. Scott felt the funk on this wine was “smoky and reminded me of meat. The tannins made it hard to get a lot from this but I still liked it.’ Eden felt this was simple and a little leathery” while Dave noted that it was “almost a fruit bomb but the lavender and violet notes helped cut it as did the white pepper on the finish.” Ali enjoyed the funk on the nose and commented that the palate was “ much fresher, lifted and balanced with an undercurrent of smoke.”
2005 Sixth Sense Lodi County $17.00
This is spicy meatball! Lots of backing spices from the toasty oak and a very sweet profile made this stand out from the pack. Eden couldn’t get past the sweetness, even on the nose commenting “every time I go back to this it smells like another fruit cordial from orange to raspberry. It’s also hot like a cordial.” Scott felt it was more like “raspberry wine and cranberry reduction, rich and full of life if a bit caramelized.” Dave found this “really interesting thing going on the nose with cherry and orange liquor.” While Ali liked the wine's ”leaner, subtle, earthier style” and found notes of “ tea, white flowers and cocoa powder.”
2005 Toasted Head Dunnigan Hills CA $13.00
This was fresh and easy and while it lacked a bit of focus it had solid and expressive fruit, decent complexity and integrated alcohol. Eden felt that “ from the nose I didn’t think I was going to like this but it’s easy to drink.” Ali felt much the same way noting also that it was “very soft” while Scott felt it was “ a little jammy but with hints of blood, vanilla and brown sugar it’s got some nice complexity.” Dave though this was “very pleasing, soft and balanced with perfectly ripe bing cherries in the mouth.”
More Shiraz coming tomorrow! Then look out for our California Cabernet Tasting and the line-up for January soon to be released in the events page on our revamped Snooth Forums!
Gregory Dal Piaz is the Community Manager at Snooth , an avid Wine Geek with a passion for things Italian, and a long suffering Mets fan.
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