Wine impressions - 10-29-18

Whites:
2012 Cowan Cellars, Isa - 100% skin fermented Sauvignon Blanc, dark brass color; reminds me of a low alcohol (12%) amaro with fresh and dried herbs in an infusion of citrus peels and slightly sweet Earl Gray tea. Grippy but not drying, with good length. And despite its color, not even a hint of oxidation. Needs decanter time.
This spent almost two years in old barrels and was disjointed and unpleasant when bottled. But several years ago Steve Edmunds gave me a great piece of advice; “you can always dump it but why not wait and see what happens.” What has happened four years later is a unique and captivating beverage that some might call wine and some might not. Whatever, this works for me. Forty cases; not yet released.
2005 Keller, Riesling Trocken S - a wonderful showing; dry but always with a reference toward sweet fruit this takes me on a hike thru rocky vineyards, beautiful vistas and juicy deliciousness. Terrific wine!
2017 Cowan Cellars, Ribolla Gialla - needs time to open - once it does it becomes more of Friuli than CA and almost salty. I like it and think it will make old bones. This grape continues to fascinate.
2002 Cazin, Cour Cheverny Cuvée Renaissance - Romorantin vinted with some RS; bought on release and, now at 16, I’m not sure I’d bother again. The sweetness has dissipated since release, ripe apple and kiwi fruit, plenty of cut, a nice stony background but there is little development or complexity. Aside from being dryer, there is not much difference from what it was on release. Interesting but not fascinating.
More integrated and of a piece on day two but no more complexity showing.

Reds:
2015 Ladd Cellars, Primitivo Musick - 13.5 abv (which is certainly unusual), little here says Zin except flavor - a pretty, lifted, fruit-filled palate with plenty of cut. Atypical to CA Zin but a wonderful food wine - none of the huge alcohol, cloying fruit-syrup Zin that I am used to - Mike Dashe would be proud.
Even more complete on day 2; this may age well.
2015 Dirty & Rowdy, Mourvèdre Antle Vineyard - I know I am early to this but it tastes so good I really don’t care (and I saved some for tomorrow). Everything is in place for the long haul but there is some youthful (maybe semi-carbonic) fruit showing at this stage. A lithe, graceful wine that is the essence of the grape. Yum.
More complete on day two and hasn’t lost a step.
2000 Gallet, Cote Rotie - a bit disjointed at first but with decanter time, this is all it should be - old school Northern Rhône made with great care and a deft touch. Perfect with roast chicken and root veggies.
2015 Black Trumpet, Syrah - Heintz Vineyard, Sonoma Coast Syrah that is indicative of its place, well balanced, becoming more focused over time and nicely complex. A small label doing good work. Lots of years in this wine but went well with duck sausage and onion jam tonight.
2007 Lagier Meredith, Syrah - a bit closed but still a typical LM nose and palate with just a bit of complexity starting to peak through.
2007 Hundred Acre, Cabernet Sauvignon Ark Vineyard - concentrated, simple but pure CS with “lavish” oak and big alcohol. There is nothing here for me - it could be from anywhere, there’s no complexity and the oak is obtrusive. $500 these days - “so I’ve got this bridge in Brooklyn for sale . . .”
2016 Bedrock, Zinfandel Monte Rosso Vineyard - the only bottle of Zin in my cellar and now, I wish I had more. Balanced, mountain Zin with character and restraint and something more - Morgan hit a home run here and I caught the ball. Yum!
2009 Auteur, Pinot Noir Manchester Ridge - while the nose is decent the palate seems to be flawed - I don’t think it actually is flawed, but it gives that impression - too much oak, weird, disjointed and oddly shaped fruit; a wine that is lost from its place. Not a pleasant experience.
2009 Rhys, Pinot Noir Family Farm - lifted nose with the whole cluster clearly in charge; that said, it is attractive in a savory way. Somewhat thin in the mouth but the savory elements keep it interesting. I really think this needs more time in bottle but, at nine years, I can see those who think I’m being a bit too kind saying so. Whatever, it is so much better than the preceding wine that I may be thrown by the comparison.
2015 Cusumano, Nero D’Avola - young, varietally accurate, straightforward, lightly rustic and no wood showing. Benefits from decanter time and costs about $9. Why not?
Relaxes on day two and fans out over the palate to overachieve well beyond its price point - a no brainer!
2015 Piedrassasi, Red Wine Harrison Clarke Vnyd. - from Ballard Canyon, half Mourvèdre and half Syrah; a fine grained, soulful blend that is pure and complex even now. With aging, this should develop nicely into a more polished version of something Bandol-esque.

Best, Jim
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Jim Cowan
www.CowanCellars.com