Sunday, 1 July 2012

American Wines

Wednesday, 27 June 2012.

A selection of wines from the USA tasted at the Leckhampton Wine Club of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. Retail prices and retailers are indicated, where known; apologies for the sub-standard picture quality.

2010 Clay Station Unoaked Viognier. Lodi, California.
Bibendum £11.52 | B+

Peach skins, thick white fruits and apricots; some sweet floral and sweet tropical notes too, along with a ester / sweet chemical nose; smells quite heady. On the palate, plenty of ripe fruit, ripe sweet peaches, decent acidity and generous mouthfeel without being too flabby. Good, very drinkable.

2010 Chateau Ste Michelle and Dr. Loosen 'Eroica' Riesling. Columbia Valley, Washington.
Noel Young £19.49 | B+

Neutral nose, some lime zest, hints of lime air freshener and lime cordial, somewhat confected nose. Palate again shows ripe limes, high acidity with a balancing touch of residual sugar (~10g/l maybe), some lime sherbet in there. Interesting interpretation of riesling.

2009 L'Ecole No 41 Semillon. Columbia Valley, Washington.  
Noel Young £16.49 | A-

83/17 blend of Semillon / Sauvignon Blanc, with barrel aging and lees contact.
Saboury nose, with nutty and bready characteristics showing, some toast and leesy nose. Fruit is good and ripe, good acidity giving freshness and backbone; the secondary notes of oak and lees is well integrated. I like the weight and texture on palate, some persistence on the finish too; opens up as it warms in the glass (becoming bit more savoury and toasty), which is always a good sign for a white wine; very French in style, in fact, it compares well with any classed growth white Pessac Leognans.

2011 Frog's Leap Sauvignon Blanc. Napa Valley, California.
Noel young £18.49 | B

Correct varietal nose - green capsicum, some leafy touches and ripe gooseberry. On the palate it predominantly feels thin and watery, theres some ripe gooseberry flavours and hints of acidity, but just isnt persistent enough; so reserved you have to hunt for flavour. Closed, linear and rather disappointing.

2008 Ramey Wine Cellars Chardonnay. Russian River Valley, Sonoma, California.
Noel Young £33.95 | A-

Savoury, buttered toast, biscuity and bready nose, then some creamy oak showing with some guava and tropical fruit; its Burgundian and then some. Palate is filled with ripe tropical fruits, passionfruit and ripe peaches and sweet vanilla too; textured mouthfeel, nice balancing acidity; slight savoury touch at the end. Theres a lot of oak here but theres enough fruit to support it; big wine, quite alcoholic, like an overcharged tropical Burgundy - best white of the night.

2009 Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir, Santa Maria Valley, California.
Noel Young £22.99 | B+

Warming sweet spice, some earthy and truflled notes too, red cherry and red currants there, perhaps even a hint of compote / stewed fruits there. Juicy red fruit, cherries and strawberries; ripe but rather simple and one dimensional, fruity acidity; hardly any tannins, smooth mouthfeel. A perfectly enoyable and correct, if rather unexciting Pinot Noir.

2010 Hartford Family Winery 'Russian River' Old Vine Zinfandel
Noel young £30.49 | B+

Dark fruit, black plums and dark cherries, balckberry / cherry liquer, cassis and brambly fruits with plenty of sweet vanilla too - big nose, voluptutous and heady. Dripping with sweet dark fruit on the palate, thick and dark fruits; big flavours, no holds barred style; warming and full mouthfeel, almost feels like port than red wine; spicy fruit on the finish, quite persistent. Just too big for me, still a good wine but drinking more than a glass will be a struggle.

2009 Shafer Vineyards Merlot. Napa Valley, California.
Noel Young £35.99 | B

Dark plummy fruit, mulberry and dark cassis, forward fruit on the nose; then theres some earthy and green leafy characters too; a correct varietal nose. Good amount of fruit, dark fleshy plums, some acidity there; fruit concentration just isnt there, ripe tannins. Overall theres fruit but nothing else, rather one dimensional and feels a bit clumsy, disappointing - maybe this bottle isnt showing particularly well?

2001 Silver Oak Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. California.

Plenty going on in the nose - dark fruit compote and jammy blackberries, some green capsicum, anise and phenyl, and sweet vanilla from the oak; great perfume, expressive. Dark fruit, ripe blueberry and blackberry, the fruit is cool yet luscious; fresh acidity and grainy tannins towards the finish. Structured mouthfeel, feels very proper with persistent flavours, not flash in the pan; the finish is drying and fresh, beckons you for more. Drinking wonderfully now but has plenty of life ahead of it, best red of the night (by some distance too); drink now - 2025+

2005 L'Ecole No 41 Seven Hills Vineyard Estate Syrah. Walla Walla Valley, Washington.
Noel Young £29 | B+

Dark fruits but with lots of secondary notes - smoky and gamey, cured meats (bacon like), some savoury and rustic touches; blackcurrant fruit, quite fragrant; some sweet oak too. Ripe fruit on the palate, blackberry and blueberry with savoury notes; balancing acidity and smooth tannins; feels very balanced, could be easily mistaken for a good Crozes Hermitage. Drinking nicely now, drink now - 2015+

2009 Domaine Drouhin Pinot Noir. Willamette Valley, Oregon.
Noel Young £25.99 | B+

Sweet red fruit, red cherries and currants, with sweet spice and touch of star anise; some floral touches too, rosewater. The palate isnt quite as delicate as the nose suggests; ripe and dark fruits, black cherries, feels quite extracted and alcoholic. Some savoury touches; smooth and juicy mouthfeel, sweet ripe tannins; has a few years in it but showing well; drink now - 2015+

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