Wine Impressions - 7-12-18

Bobbles:
2008 Baron-Fuente, Champagne Brut - the nuttiness I associate with aged Champagne but no oxidation, broad fruit, consistent bead, bright acidity; a very nice aged Champers.

Whites:
2012 Leo Steen, Chenin Blanc, The Steen - from the Jurassic Park Vineyard in the Santa Ynez Valley, vines from the early Ď80ís planted in sand and limestone soils; initially rocky and crisp but this wine is not relying on just its acid - thatís just part of the mix; clean, fruit sweet Chenin with remarkable volume; precision and focus across the palate and then, a damn near endless finish. If you have this, save it; itís really good now but the potential here is that of a Ďlife listí wine. As much promise as any dry Chenin from anywhere.
2008 Cowan Cellars, Skin-fermented Sauvignon Blanc - tangerine and cardamom nose with a hint of cider, rich in the mouth and pretty exotic, no oxidation. This wine has evolved away from phenolics and toward fruit and spice while gaining volume. 100% skin-fermented to dry. Itís a little surreal drinking a wine I made a decade ago.
2016 Birichino, Chenin Blanc Jurassic Park Vineyard - four years younger than the Leo Steen noted above and that much more backward. The same fruit about a point lower in alcohol but very much a wine of substance and promise.
2015 Idlewild, Cortese - brass colored from the part of this wine that is skin-fermented, although it looks oxidized, it isnít; deep aromatic profile - lots of bass tones; some cooked fruit flavors with licorice and allspice notes; plenty of finish. Simply, the most expressive Cortese on Earth. 12.4 abv.
2016 Saladini Pilastri, Pecorino - organic grapes, high-toned aromatics with a rich, oily palate that is spicy and almost full bodied. No flab here because of lovely acids but these textures are unusual for a white wine. About $12 SRP. Better than good and perfect with Swiss cheese.
2016 Cave Dog, Godello - broad in the mouth with layers and cut; a wine of pleasure and much more ready than the AlbariŮo of this vintage and producer.
2015 Hanzell, Chardonnay - quite crisp, layered and just a hint of oak. Very young and built to age but at $78?
2016 Hanzell Farm, Chardonnay De Brye Selection - more opulent and less complex than the preceding wine and no noticeable oak. I liked this better for today.
1996 Trimbach, Pinot Gris - very full in the mouth and fairly sweet, good depth and length but I canít get past the sweetness.

Roses:
2017 Arnot-Roberts, Rose - ridiculously good; fresh, dry, charming stuff and as good a light rose as you can find anywhere. Bravo!

Reds:
2014 Vincent, Pinot Noir Zenith Vineyard - another graceful, balanced Pinot from a guy who ďgetsĒ this grape. At four, young and undeveloped but not without nuance and, more importantly, balance. The future bodes well even as this performs nicely now.
2015 Buttonwood, Cabernet Franc - sawn lumber nose, wood infused to the point of dumping the glass
2014 Heringer Estates, Norton - Norton in CA, why? Sweet, sloppy, disgusting.
2013 School House, Zinfandel Blend (mag.) - understated, pleasant and almost suave; hard to believe itís Zin. 13.8 abv and pretty darn good.
2017 Broc Cellars, Valdique - touch of brett, but otherwise a balanced, layered and pretty rendition of a grape I generally donít like.
2017 Von Holt, Pinot Noir Suacci Vineyard and Pinot Noir Hummingbird Vineyard - both showing very young, the Suacci is sweeter and simpler, the Hummingbird is more savory and complex. Both well made; it will be interesting to see where they go.
2011 St. Innocent, Pinot Noir Shea Vineyard (mag.) - some whole cluster evident, interesting nose but the tannins are still tough. This might be terrific if the fruit out lives the structure.
2016 Sandlands, Trousseau - 12.7 abv but feels bigger. Good freshness, lovely aromas and flavors but I donít see this aging much. For today, nice.
2014 Hanzell, Pinot Noir - focused on fruit, a touch of sweetness and good structure. Also built to age but at $98?
2012 Herve Murat, Bourgogne Hautes Cotes de Nuits - savory aromatics, evident structure, concentrated and much more engaging than the Hanzell. Ah, Burgundy . . .
2016 Birichino, Cinsault Bechthold Vineyard - I have written about this before and this bottle is every bit as delicious and unusual. Great wine.
2015 Bedrock, Syrah Hudson Vnyd. South TíníS Blocks - homage au St. Joseph; black olive scents and ripe fruit with a fine grained mouthfeel and hidden structure. A wine of promise that tastes good now.
2016 Bedrock, Zinfandel Monte Rosso - this walks me back into my memories of the Ravenswood single vineyard Zins., especially Dickerson. Delicate but intense fruit, feminine textures, plenty of structure, and a feeling that, when it matures, it will be the Lauren Bacall of wine - ďYou know how to whistle donít you? Just put your lips together and blow.Ē Finest kind.

Best, jim
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Jim Cowan
www.CowanCellars.com