Best of Hospice du Rhône 2012

2012 HOSPICE DU RHONE GRAND TASTINGS – Hospice du Rhône, Paso Robles, California (4/27/2012-4/28/2012)

2012 Hospice du Rhone
delicious charcuterie at HdR Friday tasting from Tennessee’s Blackberry Farm

For my third installment on this year’s major HdR event in Paso Robles (which they subsequently announced would be the last such event ever), I am summarizing the 172 wines I tasted at the two grand tastings–Friday and Saturday. This doesn’t include the sparkling Shirazes I wrote up here, the older vintages of Cayuse poured that I included in this report, or the d’Arenberg wines I still plan to report on in another post.

A theme of the Friday grand tasting was large format bottles. For a wine geek, it’s a fun and rare opportunity to taste from these, but since relatively few of these large format bottles are available and wine tends to age or develop a lot more slowly in large formats, I worry that the notes I took on wine tasted from the large formats may not be terribly representative of how the rank and file 750 millimeter bottles are doing. I always indicate what format I tasted from, if it’s other than 750 ml, so you can note those below.

Of the over 14 dozen wines I tasted between the two tasting events, the producers whose wines most impressed, leading me to score them 92 points or higher, were Alban, Cabot, Clos Saint Jean, DuMOL, Font du Loup, Francois Villard, Grand Tinel, Halcon, Jamet, Jonata, Kale, Keplinger, L’Aventure, Les Cailloux, McPrice Myers, Mouriesse Vinum, Paul Lato, Pierre Gaillard, Tablas Creek, Terry Hoage, Torbreck, Torrin, Westerhold Family and Yves Cuilleron.

Of these, the producers that were new to me were Kale Wines, Keplinger, Paul Lato and Torrin, all California based.

2012 Hospice du Rhone

Kale Anderson and his father

Kale Anderson is the winemaker/proprietor of Kale Wines, whose first vintage was 2008, when he made less than 200 cases. He didn’t make much more, only about 250 cases, in ’09. I’d actually tried one of his ’08 Syrahs, from Russian River fruit, at another tasting and found it to have what tasted like smoke-tainted fruit (so common in that cursed ’08 vintage) and to be rather disjointed, so it was a big surprise to me that his two ’09s at HdR were so good. The Home Run Cuvee is well named–it’s a rich but poised combo of Syrah, Grenache and Viognier with good aromatics and some complexity on the palate. The Alder Springs Syrah was also rich, flavorful and appealing. I guess I would have been less surprised if I’d known then that Kale is also Director of Winemaking at Pahlmeyer, and was previously winemaker for Cliff Lede, for seven years. Before that he was assistant winemaker for Terra Valentine. So clearly, Kale knows his way around Syrah and Rhone varieties.

Keplinger is the project of winemaker Helen Keplinger, who is also winemaker for Bryant Family. She completed the U.S. Davis Master’s Degree Program in Enology in 2000, and lived in the Priorat for awhile to help launch Cellers Melis. She’s previously worked with Heidi Barrett, Kathy Joseph, consultant Claude Gros, and David Abreu. Helen’s husband, pictured below above the Keplinger tasting notes, is Douglas Warner. Their first vintage was 2006. They currently offer eight different bottlings, including a port-style wine, all made with Rhone varieties. I look forward to sampling more of their wines.

2012 Hospice du Rhone
Paul Lato

Paul Lato is originally from Poland. In Canada, he trained as a sommelier, working in that profession for 12 years in Toronto. He got into winemaking starting as a cellar rat at the Santa Maria Wine Cooperative after moving to the U.S. in 2002. He worked harvests at Au Bon Climat and Qupe, and made his first six barrels of wine in 2002. He has gained a reputation for his Pinots, and his wines are carried at an impressive list of restaurants, including French Laundry, Michael Mina and Boulevard. All of his wines at HdR showed well, and the two vintages of Bien Nacido Syrah were very strong. complex and flavorful. I look forward to trying his Pinots and Chardonnay.

2012 Hospice du Rhone

Viquel and Scott Hawley

Scott and Viquel Hawley purchased a 30-acre parcel with ten planted acres in the Templeton Gap in Paso Robles in 2005. Their vineyard was originally part of the Booker Vineyard, located next to L’Aventure’s vineyards, which was planted by Eric Jensen and Justin Smith. It contains multiple clones of Syrah, Grenache, and Mourvedre, with small blocks of Tannat and Cabernet Sauvignon. Scott and Viquel renamed it Torrin, and they’re making some really delicious Rhone blends from it, some of which also contain fruit from James Berry Vineyard. Besides making wine for his own label, Scott was a winemaker at Fetzer and Summerwood, and now serves as consulting winemaker at Alta Colina.

On the French front, the greatest Chateauneuf-du-Papes I tasted at this event (and it was delightful there were many CdP producers present) were:
2009 Clos Saint Jean Sanctus Sanctorum – 94 points
2010 Château de la Font du Loup – 93+ points
2009 Château de la Font du Loup – 92+ points
2005 Château de la Font du Loup – 92+ points
2009 Domaine du Grand Tinel Alexis Establet – 92+ points
2007 Les Cailloux (Lucien et André Brunel) Cuvée Centenaire – 93+ points
2009 Mouriesse Vinum Tour d’Ambre – 92+ points

The best Northern Rhones, both white and red, I tasted at this event were:
2010 François Villard Condrieu Quintessence – 92+ points
2007 Domaine Jamet Côte-Rôtie – 92 points
2010 Pierre Gaillard Côte-Rôtie – 94 points
2009 Domaine Yves Cuilleron Côte-Rôtie Terres Sombres – 93 points

The most impressive offerings from California that I tasted, and there were many, were:
2009 Alban Vineyards Syrah Patrina – 93 points
2008 Alban Vineyards Syrah Reva – 93-95 points
2005 Alban Vineyards Syrah Reva – 92+ points
2000 Alban Vineyards Syrah Reva – 93 points
2009 Cabot Vineyards Syrah Humboldt County – 92+ points
2008 Cabot Vineyards Syrah Humboldt County – 92 points
2009 Cabot Vineyards Syrah Kimberly’s – 92+ points
2007 Cabot Vineyards Syrah Kimberly’s – 93+ points
2009 DuMOL Syrah Eddie’s Patch – 93+ points
2006 DuMOL Syrah Eddie’s Patch – 93 points
2005 DuMOL Syrah Eddie’s Patch – 93 points
2009 DuMOL Syrah Jack Robert’s Run – 93+ points
2006 DuMOL Syrah Jack Robert’s Run – 92 points
2011 Halcon Vineyards Syrah Alturas – 93-95 points
2010 Halcon Vineyards Syrah Alturas – 93+ points
2009 Halcon Vineyards Syrah Alturas – 92+ points
2005 Jonata El Corazon de Jonata – 93 points
2009 Jonata La Sangre de Jonata – 93+ points
2008 Jonata La Sangre de Jonata – 94 points
2005 Jonata La Sangre de Jonata – 94 points
2007 Jonata Todos – 92 points
2009 Kale Wines Syrah Home Run Cuvee Kick Ranch – 93 points
2009 Kale Wines Syrah Alder Springs Vineyard – 92+ points
2007 Keplinger Syrah Kingpin Rows – 92+ points
2009 Keplinger Grenache Red Slope – 92+ points
2010 L’Aventure Roussanne Estate – 92 points
2009 L’Aventure Estate Cuvée – 94 points
2009 McPrice Myers Syrah Les Galets – 92+ points
2010 Paul Lato Syrah Cinematique Larner Vineyard – 92 points
2010 Paul Lato Syrah Il Padrino Bien Nacido Vineyard – 93+ points
2009 Paul Lato Syrah Il Padrino Bien Nacido Vineyard – 93 points
2003 Tablas Creek Esprit de Beaucastel – 92+ points
2009 Terry Hoage Vineyards Syrah The Hedge – 92+ points
2009 Terry Hoage Vineyards Grenache-Syrah The 46 – 92 points
2009 Torrin Akasha – 93 points
2009 Torrin The Banshee – 92+ points
2009 Westerhold Family Vineyards Syrah Westerhold Vineyard – 92+ points
2008 Westerhold Family Vineyards Syrah White Label Westerhold Vineyard – 93 points
2008 Westerhold Family Vineyards Syrah White Label (extended barrel age) Westerhold Vineyard – 93+ points

The only Aussie wine that scored in that range for me was the 2005 Torbreck Run Rig, from a 3-liter, 94 points.

For my complete tasting notes, and a few more details regarding some of the producers, see below:

Alban

John Alban has been the moving force, and primary emcee, for Hospice du Rhône for many years. It’s always a treat to taste his wines at this event, as they always show the rich and complex fruit that John’s wines, and vineyards, are famous for.

  • 2010 Alban Vineyards Viognier – USA, California, Central Coast (4/28/2012)
    Light canary yellow color; floral, pear nectar, peach nose; soft, plush, pineapple, floral palate; medium-plus finish 90+ points (90 pts.)
  • 2009 Alban Vineyards Syrah Patrina Alban Estate Vineyard – USA, California, Central Coast, Edna Valley (4/28/2012)
    Dark purple red violet color; violeys, ripe berry nose; tight, plush, ripe berry, violets palate; medium-plus finish (93 pts.)
  • 2008 Alban Vineyards Syrah Reva Alban Estate Vineyard – USA, California, Central Coast, Edna Valley (4/28/2012)
    Barrel sample- opaque purple red violet color; lifted, ripe berry, ripe black fruit, violets nose; ripe, plush, black fruit, violeys, ripe berry palate; medium-plus finish 93-95 points (to be bottled in one month) (93 pts.)
  • 2005 Alban Vineyards Syrah Reva Alban Estate Vineyard – USA, California, Central Coast, Edna Valley (4/27/2012)
    From magnum; opaque red violet color; complex, tart berry, tart plum, mineral nose; tasty, youthful, tart berry, tart black fruit, integrating oak palate; medium-plus finish 92+ points (92 pts.)
  • 2000 Alban Vineyards Syrah Reva Alban Estate Vineyard – USA, California, Central Coast, Edna Valley (4/28/2012)
    Opaque red violet color; rich, tart black fruit, roasted black fruit nose; rich, dense, baked black fruit, olive tapenade palate; medium-plus finish (93 pts.)

Barroche

  • 2009 Domaine la Barroche Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Pure – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape (4/27/2012)
    Medium dark red violet color; brett, tart black fruit, roasted plum nose; tart black fruit, tart roasted plum palate; needs 3 years; medium-plus finish 91+ points (91 pts.)
  • 2009 Domaine la Barroche Châteauneuf-du-Pape Signature – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape (4/27/2012)
    Dark purple red violet color; tart berry, tart plum, brett nose; tight, tart berry, tart plum, brett palate; medium-plus finish (66% Grenache, 15% Mourvedre, 13% Syrah, 6% Cinsault) (89 pts.)

Black Sheep Finds

  • 2010 Black Sheep Finds Roussanne Holus Bolus – USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Barbara County (4/28/2012)
    Light golden color; lemon oil, citron nose; lemon, oil citron palate with low acidity; medium finish 86+ points (86 pts.)
  • 2010 Black Sheep Finds Syrah Hocus Pocus – USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Barbara County (4/28/2012)
    Very dark ruby color; tart berry, ripe black fruit nose; tart berry, ripe black fruit palate; medium-plus finish (89 pts.)
  • 2009 Black Sheep Finds Syrah Holus Bolus Rim Rock – USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Barbara County (4/28/2012)
    Very dark ruby color; herbs, brett, tart black fruit nose; herbs, brett, tart black fruit palate; medium-plus finish 88+ points (88 pts.)
  • 2008 Black Sheep Finds Syrah Holus Bolus White Hawk Vineyard – USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Barbara County (4/28/2012)
    Very dark purple red violet color; lavender, tart berry nose; tart berry, lavender palate; medium-plus finish (89 pts.)

Bosquets

  • 2009 Domaine des Bosquets Gigondas – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Gigondas (4/28/2012)
    Dark purple red violet color; tart black fruit, reduction nose; tart black fruit, reduction, mineral palate; needs 2 years; medium-plus finish (70% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 5% Mourvedre, 5% Cinsault) (89 pts.)

Bréchet Famille

  • 2010 Bréchet Famille Lirac Plateau des Chenes – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Lirac (4/27/2012)
    Opaque purple red violet color; tart black fruit, violets nose; tasty, fresh, tart black fruit, violets, garrigue palate; medium-plus finish (60% Syrah, 40% Grenache) (89 pts.)

Brun-Avril

  • 2010 Domaine Brun-Avril Châteauneuf-du-Pape – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape (4/27/2012)
    Opaque purple red violet color; herbs, tart black fruit, reduction nose; tart black fruit, reduction, pencil lead palate; needs 3-plus years; medium-plus finish 91+ points (91 pts.)
  • 2009 Domaine Brun-Avril Châteauneuf-du-Pape – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape (4/27/2012)
    From magnum – very dark red violet color; lifted, herbs, ripe black fruit, baked black fruit nose; tasty, ripe black fruit, baked black fruit, baked berry palate; needs 5 years; medium-plus finish 91+ points (91 pts.)

Cabot

John Cabot continues to do a great job with his flavorful, cooler climate Syrahs. The prices are very reasonable too.

2012 Hospice du Rhone

  • 2009 Cabot Vineyards Syrah Humboldt County – USA, California, North Coast, Humboldt County (4/28/2012)
    Opaque red violet color; reticent, roasted black fruit nose; tasty, tart black fruit, roasted black fruit, mineral palate; medium-plus finish 92+ points (all neutral oak) (92 pts.)
  • 2008 Cabot Vineyards Syrah Humboldt County – USA, California, North Coast, Humboldt County (4/28/2012)
    Very dark red violet color; appealing, bacon fat, smoke nose; smoke, tart black fruit, bacon fat palate; medium-plus finish (92 pts.)
  • 2007 Cabot Vineyards Syrah Humboldt County – USA, California, North Coast, Humboldt County (4/28/2012)
    Dark purple red violet color; tart black fruit, asphalt nose; tart black fruit, ripe berry, asphalt, mineral palate; medium-plus finish 91+ points (25% whole cluster, 20% new Hungarian oak) (91 pts.)
  • 2009 Cabot Vineyards Syrah Kimberly’s – USA, California, North Coast, Humboldt County (4/28/2012)
    Cloudy dark purple red violet color; roasted plum, bacon fat nose; tasty, tart roasted black fruit, bacon fat palate; needs 2 years; medium-plus finish 92+ points (92 pts.)
  • 2007 Cabot Vineyards Syrah Kimberly’s – USA, California, North Coast, Humboldt County (4/28/2012)
    Dark purple red violet color; lavender, bacon fat, roasted black fruit nose; tasty, lavender, bacon fat, roasted black fruit palate; medium-plus finish 93+ points (93 pts.)

Caliza

  • 2009 Caliza Winery Syrah – USA, California, Central Coast, Paso Robles (4/28/2012)
    Opaque purple red violet color; baked black fruit, baked berry nose; baked black fruit, baked berry palate; medium-plus finish (87 pts.)
  • 2009 Caliza Winery Cohort – USA, California, Central Coast, Paso Robles (4/28/2012)
    Opaque purple red violet color; baked black fruit nose; baked black fruit palate; medium-plus finish (55% Syrah, 20% Petite Sirah, 20% Primitivo, 5% Grenache) (88 pts.)

Coto de Hayas

Daou

  • 2010 Daou Vineyards Grenache Blanc – USA, California, Central Coast, Paso Robles (4/27/2012)
    Light yellow color; floral, honeysuckle, poached pear nose; floral, honeysuckle, poached pear palate; medium finish (89 pts.)
  • 2009 Daou Vineyards Celestus – USA, California, Central Coast, Paso Robles (4/27/2012)
    Opaque black red violet color; pencil lead, tart black fruit, violets nose; plush, rich, ripe black fruit, chocolate palate; needs 4 years; medium-plus finish (61% Syrah, 28% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Petit Verdot) (91 pts.)

DuMOL

This was Andy Smith’s first return to HdR since the terrific seminar featuring his wines that I attended in 2007. As usual, these are delicious wines and it was a treat to taste a vertical of the Eddie’s Patch.

2012 Hospice du Rhone

  • 2010 DuMOL Viognier Lia – USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley (4/28/2012)
    Light golden yellow color; appealing, floral, tart peach, tart pear nose; tart peach, mineral, floral palate; medium-plus finish 91+ points (91 pts.)
  • 2005 DuMOL Viognier Lia – USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley (4/27/2012)
    Light medium golden yellow color; honeyed, honeycomb nose; mature, a little oxidized, lanolin, honeycomb palate; medium-plus finish (89 pts.)
  • 2009 DuMOL Syrah Eddie’s Patch – USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley (4/28/2012)
    Opaque purple red violet color; violets, tart berry, lavender nose; delicious, tart black fruit, berry, violets palate with sweet tannins; medium-plus finish 93+ points (93 pts.)
  • 2006 DuMOL Syrah Eddie’s Patch – USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley (4/28/2012)
    Dark purple red violet color; smoky, tobacco, savory nose; tasty, complex, tobacco, tart black fruit, roasted black fruit palate; medium-plus finish (93 pts.)
  • 2005 DuMOL Syrah Eddie’s Patch – USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley (4/27/2012)
    From double magnum – very dark red violet color; roasted plum, tart black fruit, herbs nose; roasted plum, tart black fruit, herbs, bacon fat palate; medium-plus finish (93 pts.)
  • 2000 DuMOL Syrah Eddie’s Patch – USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley (4/27/2012)
    From magnum – bricking dark red violet color; mature, brett, roasted meat, olive nose; mature, brett, roasted meat, olive palate; medium-plus finish (1st vintage) (91 pts.)
  • 2009 DuMOL Syrah Jack Robert’s Run – USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley (4/28/2012)
    Opaque purple red violet color; violets, tart berry, lavender nose; delicious, tart black fruit, berry, violets palate with sweet tannins; medium-plus finish 93+ points (93 pts.)
  • 2006 DuMOL Syrah Jack Robert’s Run – USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley (4/28/2012)
    Opaque purple red violet color; maturing, roasted meat, tart black fruit, tobacco nose; tart black fruit, roasted black fruit, tar palate; needs 3 years; medium-plus finish (92 pts.)
  • 2004 DuMOL Syrah Jack Robert’s Run – USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley (4/27/2012)
    From magnum – dark red violet color; brett, tart baked plum nose; maturing, tart baked plum, tart black fruit palate; medium-plus finish 91+ points (91 pts.)

Durand

  • 2009 Eric & Joel Durand Cornas Confidence – France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Cornas (4/28/2012)
    Opaque purple red violet color; tart black fruit, herbs nose; tight, tart black fruit, herbs palate; needs 5 years; medium-plus finish (91 pts.)

Durieu

2012 Hospice du Rhone

  • 2009 Domaine Durieu Châteauneuf-du-Pape – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape (4/27/2012)
    From magnum – dark red violet color; tart plum, reduction nose; tart black fruit, roasted plum, bacon fat palate; needs 2 years; medium-plus finish (90 pts.)
  • 2009 Domaine Durieu Châteauneuf-du-Pape Réserve Lucile Avril – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape (4/27/2012)
    From magnum – dark red violet color; reduction, tart black fruit nose; tight, tart black fruit, roasted plum palate; needs 4 years; medium-plus finish (91 pts.)

Fausse Piste

  • 2010 Fausse Piste Viognier Ma Conviction – USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Yakima Valley (4/28/2012)
    Light yellow color; tart pear, mineral nose; tart pear, citrus palate with medium acidity; medium-plus finish (90 pts.)
  • 2010 Fausse Piste Roussanne l’ortolan – USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Yakima Valley (4/28/2012)
    Light yellow color; oak, tart apple nose; oak, tart green apple palate; medium-plus finish 88+ points (88 pts.)
  • 2010 Fausse Piste Syrah Garde Manger – USA, Oregon/Washington (4/28/2012)
    Dark red violet color; VA, cinnamon, tart red fruit nose; cinnamon, tart red fruit palate; medium-plus finish (87 pts.)
  • 2009 Fausse Piste Syrah Les Vignes de Marcoux Red Willow Vineyard – USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Yakima Valley (4/28/2012)
    Opaque purple red violet color; roasted black fruit, tar nose; roasted black fruit, tar palate; medium-plus finish 90+ points (90 pts.)
  • 2009 Fausse Piste Grenache Les Garçons – USA, Oregon, Columbia Valley (4/28/2012)
    Dark red violet color; roasted plum, baked plum nose; baked black fruit palate; medium-plus finish (87 pts.)
  • 2009 Fausse Piste Syrah Riverrock Vineyard – USA, Oregon, Walla Walla Valley (4/28/2012)
    Very dark red violet color; lifted, roasted plum nose; roasted plum, baked black fruit palate; medium-plus finish (89 pts.)
  • 2009 Fausse Piste Syrah Ambassador Vineyard – USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Red Mountain (4/28/2012)
    Very dark purple red violet color; roasted plum, olive nose; roasted plum, tart black fruit, olive palate; medium-plus finish (89 pts.)

Font du Loup

I’m a big fan of Font du Loup, and it’s, unfortunately, rare to see their wines here in California. So it was delightful to taste and compare these to some of the other CdPs on hand, and to meet the very engaging winemaker/proprietor (with her husband) Anne Charlotte Melia-Bachas.

2012 Hospice du Rhone

  • 2010 Château de la Font du Loup Châteauneuf-du-Pape – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape (4/27/2012)
    Dark ruby color; tart berry, herbs, ripe berry, redolent nose; tasty, structured, tart berry, tart black fruit, anise palate; medium-plus finish 93+ points (93 pts.)
  • 2010 Château de la Font du Loup Châteauneuf-du-Pape Le Puy Rolland – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape (4/27/2012)
    From magnum – dark ruby color; herbs, tobacco nose; tart berry, herbs, tobacco, garrigue palate; medium-plus finish 91+ points (100% Grenache) (91 pts.)
  • 2005 Château de la Font du Loup Châteauneuf-du-Pape – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape (4/27/2012)
    From magnum – dark red violet color; ripe black fruit, baked berry, violets nose; tasty, poised, tart black fruit, tart berry palate; medium-plus finish 92+ points (92 pts.)
  • 2009 Château de la Font du Loup Châteauneuf-du-Pape – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape (4/27/2012)
    From magnum – dark red violet color; roasted berry, plum nose; ripe plum, roasted berry, anise palate; medium-plus finish 92+ points (92 pts.)

François Villard

  • 2010 François Villard Condrieu Le Grand Vallon – France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Condrieu (4/27/2012)
    Light yellow color; floral, tart pear, poached pear nose; floral, tart pear, poached pear palate with lowish acidity; medium finish (90 pts.)
  • 2010 François Villard Viognier Les Contours de DePoncins – France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes (4/27/2012)
    Light golden yellow color; floral, tart pear, lifted nose; tasty, tart pear, mineral, peach, floral palate; medium-plus finish (91 pts.)
  • 2009 François Villard Côte-Rôtie Le Gallet Blanc – France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Côte-Rôtie (4/27/2012)
    Dark ruby color; deep roasted plum, black fruit nose; fresh, tart plum, brett palate; medium-plus finish (89 pts.)
  • 2008 François Villard St. Joseph Reflet – France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, St. Joseph (4/27/2012)
    Medium dark red violet color; roasted plum, roasted black fruit, violets nose; roasted plum, roasted black fruit, violets palate; needs 2-3 years; medium-plus finish (91 pts.)
  • 2010 François Villard Condrieu Quintessence – France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Condrieu (4/27/2012)
    From 375 ml – light golden color; lifted, baked apricot, ripe peach nose; tasty, rich, baked peach, apricot palate with near medium acidity; medium-plus finish 92+ points (92 pts.)

Galévan

  • 2009 Domaine Galévan Châteauneuf-du-Pape – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape (4/28/2012)
    Very dark red violet color; rich, tart black fruit, herbs, garrigue nose; tart black fruit, herbs, garrigue palate; needs 3 years; medium-plus finish 91+ points (91 pts.)
  • 2009 Domaine Galévan Côtes du Rhône l’Esprit Devin – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Côtes du Rhône (4/28/2012)
    Dark red violet color; nice, ripe black fruit, anise nose; tart black fruit, anise, tart berry palate; medium-plus finish 88+ points (60% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 20% Mourvedre) (88 pts.)
  • 2009 Domaine Galévan Côtes du Rhône Paroles de Femme – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Côtes du Rhône (4/28/2012)
    Dark purple red violet color; ripe berry, tart black fruit nose; ripe berry, tart black fruit palate; medium-plus finish (60% Grenache, 20% Mourvedre, 10% Cinsault, 10% Carignan) (88 pts.)

Grand Tinel

  • 2002 Domaine du Grand Tinel Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape (4/27/2012)
    Light medium golden color; oxidized, tart citrus, orange nose; tart citrus, tart orange, oxidized palate; medium-plus finish (60% Grenache Blanc, 20% Clairette, 20% Bourboulenc) (88 pts.)
  • 2009 Domaine du Grand Tinel Châteauneuf-du-Pape Alexis Establet – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape (4/27/2012)
    From magnum – dark red violet color; garrigue, tart plum, tart berry, mineral nose; garrigue, tart plum, tart berry, mineral palate; medium-plus finish 92+ points (100% Grenache from 80 yr old vines) (92 pts.)
  • 2007 Domaine du Grand Tinel Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Heres – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape (4/27/2012)
    From magnum – dark red violet color; herbs, tart black fruit, tart plum nose; maturing, tart black fruit, tart plum, herbs palate; needs 3 years; medium-plus finish 91+ points (100% Grenache) (91 pts.)

Halcón

I’ve previously written about Halcón here. Scott Shapley continues to produce wonderful wines from this exceptional vineyard. The barrel samples were particularly impressive indications of what’s ahead.

2012 Hospice du Rhone

  • 2010 Halcón Vineyards Mourvedre Esquisto Halcon Vineyards – USA, California, North Coast, Yorkville Highlands (4/28/2012)
    Dark ruby color; tart black fruit, pepper, charcoal nose; poised, tasty, tart black fruit, black pepper, charcoal palate; medium-plus finish 91+ points (with 5% Syrah) (91 pts.)
  • 2011 Halcón Vineyards Esquisto Halcon Vineyards – USA, California, North Coast, Yorkville Highlands (4/28/2012)
    Barrel sample – dark ruby color; lovely, tart berry, violets, floral, tart blackberry nose; delicious, tart berry, blackberry, tart black fruit palate; medium-plus finish 91-93 points (40% Grenache, 30% Mourvedre, 30% Syrah) (91 pts.)
  • 2011 Halcón Vineyards Prado Alder Springs – USA, California, North Coast, Mendocino (4/28/2012)
    Barrel sample (still in malo) – light yellow color; floral, ripe peach nose; tart peach, floral palate; medium-plus finish 90-92 points (45% Marsanne, 45% Roussanne, 10% Viognier) (90 pts.)
  • 2011 Halcón Vineyards Syrah Alturas – USA, California, North Coast, Yorkville Highlands (4/28/2012)
    Barrel sample – lovely nose, raspberry, violets, black fruit; tart black fruit, tar, roasted black fruit, structured palate; medium-plus finish 93-95 points (93 pts.)
  • 2010 Halcón Vineyards Syrah Alturas – USA, California, North Coast, Yorkville Highlands (4/28/2012)
    Opaque purple red violet color; lifted, lavender, violets, tart berry nose; delicious, tart berry, black fruit, tar, mineral palate; needs 3-plus years; medium-plus finish 93+ points (93 pts.)
  • 2009 Halcón Vineyards Syrah Alturas – USA, California, North Coast, Yorkville Highlands (4/28/2012)
    Opaque purple red violet color; ripe berry, blackberry, violets, charcoal nose; tart berry, blackberry, tar, violets palate; medium-plus finish 92+ points (92 pts.)

Henson

  • 2010 Henson Wines Viognier – USA, California, Central Coast, Paso Robles (4/27/2012)
    From magnum – light medium yellow color; floral, tart pear, tart peach nose; tart peach, tart pear, floral palate; medium-plus finish 90+ points (90 pts.)

Herman Story

  • 2010 Herman Story Tomboy – USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Barbara County (4/28/2012)
    Floral, tart peach, tart pear nose; ripe peach, ripe pear palate; medium finish (79% Viognier, 21% Roussanne) (88 pts.)
  • 2010 Herman Story Larner Vineyard – USA, California, Central Coast, Paso Robles (4/28/2012)
    Very dark purple red violet color; lifted, black fruit, lavender nose; tasty, tart black fruit, lavender palate; medium-plus finish 89+ points (65% Syrah, 35% Grenache) (89 pts.)
  • 2010 Herman Story Syrah Nuts and Bolts – USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Barbara County (4/28/2012)
    Opaque purple red violet color; ripe berry, black fruit, violets nose; tart berry, violets, berry palate; medium-plus finish (90 pts.)
  • 2010 Herman Story Grenache On The Road – USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Barbara County (4/28/2012)
    Dark ruby color; ripe berry, black fruit nose; ripe berry, black fruit palate; medium-plus finish (89 pts.)

Hug

2012 Hospice du Rhone

  • 2008 Hug Cellars Syrah El Grandé – USA, California, Central Coast, Paso Robles (4/28/2012)
    Very dark purple red violet color; lifted, ripe plum, berry, violets nose; ripe plum, berry, violets palate; medium-plus finish 90+ points (90 pts.)
  • 2010 Hug Cellars Syrah el Chico – USA, California, Central Coast, Paso Robles (4/28/2012)
    Very dark purple red violet color; ripe black fruit, violets nose; ripe black fruit, violets, ripe berry palate; medium-plus finish (90 pts.)
  • 2010 Hug Cellars Mourvedre el Forastero – USA, California, Central Coast, Paso Robles (4/28/2012)
    Medium red violet color; earthy, tart plum nose; earthy, tart plum, tar palate; medium-plus finish 88+ points (88 pts.)
  • 2009 Hug Cellars El Jefe – USA, California, Central Coast (4/28/2012)
    Medium dark red violet color; baked berry, baked plum nose; baked berry, baked black fruit palate; medium-plus finish 88+ points (55% Grenache, 40% Mourvedre, 5% Syrah) (88 pts.)

Jacob Toft

  • 2006 Jacob Toft Mourvedre Mary Jane’s Cuvee James Berry Vineyard – USA, California, Central Coast, Paso Robles (4/27/2012)
    From magnum – opaque black red violet color; violets, tart berry nose; tart black fruit, roasted berry palate; medium-plus finish (80% Mourvedre, 10% Grenache, 10% Syrah) (91 pts.)
  • 2009 Jacob Toft Sarah’s Cuvee – USA, California, Central Coast, Paso Robles (4/28/2012)
    Opaque purple red violet color; ripe blackberry, violets nose; ripe berry, blackberry, violets palate; medium-plus finish (91 pts.)
  • 2009 Jacob Toft Tessa’s Cuvee Torrin Vinyard – USA, California, Central Coast, Paso Robles (4/28/2012)
    Opaque black red violet color; violets, tart blackberry nose; ripe blackberry, black fruit, oak palate; medium-plus finish (74% Syrah, 26% Cabernet Sauvignon) (89 pts.)
  • 2009 Jacob Toft Mary Jane’s Cuvee – USA, California, Central Coast, Paso Robles (4/28/2012)
    Opaque purple red violet color; VA, tart berry, blackberry nose; tart black fruit, ripe berry palate; medium-plus finish (34% Mourvedre, 33% Grenache, 33% Syrah; James Berry and Torrin vineyards) (90 pts.)

Jamet

  • 2008 Domaine Jamet Côte-Rôtie – France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Côte-Rôtie (4/27/2012)
    Dark red violet color; olive, roast plum nose; tasty, olive, roast plum palate; medium-plus finish 91+ points (91 pts.)
  • 2007 Domaine Jamet Côte-Rôtie – France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Côte-Rôtie (4/27/2012)
    Very dark red violet color; mature, roasted plum, olive nose; tasty, mature, roasted plum, olive, roasted meat palate; medium-plus finish (92 pts.)

Jasper Hill

  • 2005 Jasper Hill Shiraz Georgia’s Paddock – Australia, Victoria, Central Victoria, Heathcote (4/28/2012)
    Very dark red violet color; redolent, baked berry, spice nose; baked berry, spice palate; medium-plus finish 91+ points (91 pts.)

Jerome Gradassi

  • 2009 Domaine Jerome Gradassi Châteauneuf-du-Pape – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape (4/28/2012)
    Very dark red violet color; brett, tart black fruit, herbs nose; tart berry, roasted black fruit, brett palate; medium-plus finish (80% Grenache, 20% Mourvedre) (90 pts.)

John Duval

2012 Hospice du Rhone

  • 2009 John Duval Wines Shiraz Entity – Australia, South Australia, Barossa, Barossa Valley (4/28/2012)
    Opaque red violet color; rich, black fruit, ripe berry nose; soft, ripe berry, ripe plum palate; medium-plus finish (89 pts.)
  • 2007 John Duval Wines Shiraz Entity – Australia, South Australia, Barossa, Barossa Valley (4/27/2012)
    From magnum – opaque purple red violet color; maturing, lifted, ripe plum, berry nose; tart black fruit, tart berry, blueberry palate; medium-plus finish 91+ points (91 pts.)

Jonata

I’ve previously written about Jonata here. These were some of the best wines of the tastings, and I continue to be a big fan of winemaker Matt Dees’s work, even if the wines are, in my opinion, still substantially overpriced.

2012 Hospice du Rhone

  • 2005 Jonata Winery El Corazon de Jonata – USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Ynez Valley (4/27/2012)
    From magnum – opaque red violet color; tart currant, tart plum, lightly herbaceous nose; poised, tart currant, tart plum, lightly herbaceous palate; medium-plus finish (93 pts.)
  • 2009 Jonata Winery La Sangre de Jonata – USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Ynez Valley (4/28/2012)
    Opaque purple red violet color; tart black fruit, tar, lavender nose; tasty, tight, tart black fruit, lavender, tar palate; needs 3-plus years; medium-plus finish 93+ points (93 pts.)
  • 2008 Jonata Winery La Sangre de Jonata – USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Ynez Valley (4/28/2012)
    Opaque purple red violet color; aromatic, appealing, tart black fruit, tar, lavender nose; tart black fruit, tar, lavender palate; medium-plus finish (with 2% Viognier) (94 pts.)
  • 2005 Jonata Winery La Sangre de Jonata – USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Ynez Valley (4/27/2012)
    From 3 liter – opaque black red violet color; nice, roasted black fruit, tart black fruit, herbs nose; tight, tart black fruit, tart roasted fruit, mineral palate; needs 4-5 years; medium-plus finish (94 pts.)
  • 2008 Jonata Winery Todos – USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Ynez Valley (4/28/2012)
    Opaque black red violet color; aromatic, tart black fruit, floral, charcoal nose; tasty, tart black fruit, tar, charcoal palate; medium-plus finish (91 pts.)
  • 2007 Jonata Winery Todos – USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Ynez Valley (4/27/2012)
    From magnum – opaque red violet color; tart plum, roasted plum, pencil lead, tart black fruit nose; tasty, tight, tart black fruit, tart chocolate, pencil lead palate; needs 3-plus years; medium-plus finish (45% Syrah; 35% Cabernet Sauvignon; 3-4% each Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Sangiovese and Petit Verdot; 1% each Viognier, Grenache, Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc, hence “todos”) (92 pts.)

Kale

  • 2009 Kale Wines Syrah Home Run Cuvee Kick Ranch – USA, California, Sonoma County (4/28/2012)
    Opaque purple red violet color; tart berry, violets nose; tasty, rich but poised, tart berry, violets palate; long finish (68% Syrah, 27% Grenache, 5% Viognier) (93 pts.)
  • 2009 Kale Wines Syrah Alder Springs Vineyard – USA, California, North Coast, Mendocino County (4/28/2012)
    Opaque purple red violet color; violets, lifted berry, berry syrup nose; rich, ripe, berry, blackberry, violets palate; medium-plus finish 92+ points (w/5% Viogner co-fermented) (92 pts.)

Keplinger

2012 Hospice du Rhone

  • 2007 Keplinger Syrah Kingpin Rows – USA, California, Sonoma County, Knights Valley (4/27/2012)
    From magnum – very dark red violet color; rich, aromatic, tart black fruit, roasted black fruit nose; tasty, tart black fruit, roasted black fruit palate; medium-plus finish 92+ points (92 pts.)
  • 2009 Keplinger Grenache Red Slope – USA, California, Sonoma County, Knights Valley (4/27/2012)
    From magnum – dark red violet color; aromatic, roasted black fruit, roast plum nose; tasty, complex, tart black fruit, roasted plum palate; needs 3 years; medium-plus finish 92+ points (92 pts.)
  • 2007 Keplinger Grenache Red Slope – USA, California, Sonoma County, Knights Valley (4/27/2012)
    From magnum – dark red violet color; appealing, roasted red fruit, herbs nose; tasty, roasted red fruit, herbs palate; needs 2 years; medium-plus finish 91+ points (w/10% Syrah) (91 pts.)

L’Aventure

2012 Hospice du Rhone

  • 2011 L’Aventure Estate Rosé – USA, California, Central Coast, Paso Robles (4/28/2012)
    Light yellow pink color; tart Rainier cherry nose; tart Rainier cherry, dry, juicy palate; medium-plus finish (70% Syrah, 20% Mourvedre, 10% Grenache) (91 pts.)
  • 2010 L’Aventure Roussanne Estate – USA, California, Central Coast, Paso Robles (4/28/2012)
    Light lemon yellow color; lovely, tart peach, citrus nose; tasty, rich, poised, tart peach, mineral palate; medium-plus finish (87% Roussanne, 13% Grenache Blanc) (92 pts.)
  • 2008 L’Aventure Côte-à-Côte Estate – USA, California, Central Coast, Paso Robles (4/28/2012)
    Opaque purple red violet color; violets, tart plum, tart berry nose; violets, tart plum, tart berry palate; needs 2 years; medium-plus finish 91+ points (40% Grenache, 40% Syrah, 20% Mourvedre (91 pts.)
  • 2009 L’Aventure Estate Cuvée – USA, California, Central Coast, Paso Robles (4/28/2012)
    Opaque black red violet color; poised, tart berry, violets, black fruit nose; tasty, tart berry, violets, black fruit palate with firm, sweet tannins; needs 4-plus years; medium-plus finish (42% Cabernet Sauvignon, 42% Syrah, 16% Petit Verdot) (94 pts.)
  • 2009 L’Aventure Plus 16 – USA, California, Central Coast, Paso Robles (4/28/2012)
    Opaque purple red violet color; VA, tar, tart black fruit nose; tar, tart black fruit, clove palate; medium-plus finish (42% Mourvedre, 42% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Syrah) (90 pts.)

La Bastide Saint-Dominique

Les Cailloux

Les Clos Perdus

Paul Old, pictured below, is the vigneron and co-owner of this Languedoc-based project with Hugo Stewart. The name is based on the fact that they look for “lost” or neglected old vineyards for their fruit sources. I was quite charmed by these minerally, characterful wines.

2012 Hospice du Rhone

  • 2010 Les Clos Perdus Corbières Cuvée 81 – France, Languedoc Roussillon, Languedoc, Corbières (4/28/2012)
    Dark purple red violet color; earthy, mineral, tart berry nose; earthy, mineral, tart berry palate; medium-plus finish (50% Carignan, 35% Grenache, 15% Mourvedre) (89 pts.)
  • 2010 Les Clos Perdus Corbières Prioundo – France, Languedoc Roussillon, Languedoc, Corbières (4/28/2012)
    Dark purple red violet color; fresh, lifted, tart berry, mineral nose; tasty, mineral, light pepper, tart berry palate; medium-plus finish 90+ points (Grenache and Cinsault) (90 pts.)
  • 2009 Les Clos Perdus Vin de Pays des Côtes Catalanes L’Extreme – France, Languedoc Roussillon, Roussillon, Vin de Pays des Côtes Catalanes (4/28/2012)
    Light yellow color; white pepper, tart lime nose; white pepper, tart lime, mineral palate; medium-plus finish 91+ points (95% Grenache Gris) (91 pts.)
  • 2008 Les Clos Perdus Corbières Mire La Mer – France, Languedoc Roussillon, Languedoc, Corbières (4/28/2012)
    Dark red violet color; appealing, fresh, mineral, tart berry nose; tasty, mineral, tart berry, charcoal palate; medium-plus finish (65% Mourvedre, 30% Carignan, 5% Grenache) (91 pts.)
  • 2007 Les Clos Perdus Corbières L’Extreme – France, Languedoc Roussillon, Languedoc, Corbières (4/28/2012)
    Slightly cloudy dark red violet color; tart berry, fresh nose; fresh, tight, tart berry, mineral palate; needs 3 years; medium-plus finish 91+ points (75% Llandoner Palut, 25% Syrah, on north-facing schist) (91 pts.)

Louis Bernard

  • 2009 Louis Bernard Gigondas – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Gigondas (4/28/2012)
    Dark red violet color; tart black fruit, lavender nose; tart black fruit, lavender palate; medium-plus finish (91 pts.)
  • 2009 Louis Bernard Châteauneuf-du-Pape – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape (4/28/2012)
    Bricking medium dark red violet color; earthy, herbs nose; maturing, baked plum, herbs palate; medium-plus finish (89 pts.)

McPrice Myers

  • 2010 McPrice Myers Terre Blanche – USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Ynez Valley (4/28/2012)
    Light yellow color; floral, tart pear nose; ripe pear, mineral palate; medium-plus finish 90+ points (64% Roussanne, 36% Viognier) (90 pts.)
  • 2009 McPrice Myers Altas Vinas Alta Mesa Vineyard – USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Barbara County (4/28/2012)
    Very dark red violet color; appealing, tart plum, tart black fruit nose; tart black fruit, tart plum, tar palate; medium-plus finish 91+ points (42% Grenache, 29% Mourvedre, 29% Syrah) (91 pts.)
  • 2009 McPrice Myers Syrah Les Galets – USA, California, Central Coast, Arroyo Grande Valley (4/28/2012)
    Opaque purple red violet color; appealing, roasted plum, ripe black fruit nose; tasty, plush, ripe black fruit, integrated oak, violets palate; medium-plus finish 92+ points (92 pts.)

Michel & Stéphane Ogier

Miquettes

  • 2008 Domaine des Miquettes St. Joseph – France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, St. Joseph (4/28/2012)
    Dark purple red violet color; tobacco, olive, roasted black fruit nose; tobacco, olive, roasted black fruit palate with medium acidity; medium-plus finish 88+ points (88 pts.)

Mordorée

Mouriesse Vinum

  • 2009 Mouriesse Vinum Châteauneuf-du-Pape Tour d’Ambre – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape (4/27/2012)
    From magnum – slightly cloudy dark purple red violet color; ripe black fruit, raisins nose; tasty, rich, ripe black fruit, anise palate; medium-plus finish 92+ points (100% Grenache) (92 pts.)

Mullineux Family

  • 2010 Mullineux Family Wines White – South Africa, Coastal Region, Swartland (4/28/2012)
    Light yellow color; fresh, tart green apple nose; tart green apple palate; medium-plus finish (89 pts.)
  • 2009 Mullineux Family Wines Kloof Street – South Africa, Coastal Region, Swartland (4/28/2012)
    Very dark red violet color; smoke, oak nose; smoke, oak palate; medium-plus finish (73% Syrah, 12% Mourvedre, 8% Cinsault, 4% Carignan, 2% Grenache) (86 pts.)
  • 2009 Mullineux Family Wines Syrah – South Africa, Coastal Region, Swartland (4/28/2012)
    Dark red violet color; roasted plum, oak nose; tart black fruit, oak, smoke palate; medium-plus finish (88 pts.)
  • 2010 Mullineux Family Wines Syrah Schist – South Africa, Coastal Region, Swartland (4/28/2012)
    Cloudy dark red violet color; roasted tart black fruit nose; roasted tart black fruit, olive palate; medium-plus finish (90 pts.)

Nalys

2012 Hospice du Rhone

  • 2009 Domaine de Nalys Châteauneuf-du-Pape – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape (4/27/2012)
    From magnum – very dark red violet color; reduction, tart berry, garrigue nose; reduction, tart berry, garrigue palate; needs 3 years; medium-plus finish (91 pts.)
  • 2009 Domaine de Nalys Châteauneuf-du-Pape Reserve – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape (4/27/2012)
    From magnum – very dark purple red violet color; tobacco, herbs, savory nose; tasty, tobacco, herbs, savory palate; medium-plus finish 91+ points (91 pts.)

Nicora

  • 2009 Nicora Syrah Buxom – USA, California, Central Coast, Paso Robles (4/28/2012)
    Opaque purple red violet color; dense, ripe plum, berry nose; ripe plum, ripe berry, cinnamon palate; needs 3 years; medium-plus finish (90% Syrah, 10% Grenache) (91 pts.)

Orange River

  • NV Orange River Cellars Star Tree Brut – South Africa, Western Cape (4/28/2012)
    Light golden color; lanolin, tart apple nose; lanolin, tart apple palate; medium-plus finish 88+ points (88 pts.)
  • 2009 Orange River Cellars Syrah Star Tree – South Africa, Northern Cape (4/28/2012)
    Dark red violet color; olive, tart roasted plum nose; smoke, tart roasted plum palate; medium-plus finish 88+ points (88 pts.)

Paul Lato

2012 Hospice du Rhone

  • 2010 Paul Lato Syrah Cinematique Larner Vineyard – USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Ynez Valley (4/27/2012)
    Very dark purple red violet color; aromatic, roasted plum, tart black fruit nose; tasty, rich, ripe black fruit, tart berry palate; medium-plus finish (92 pts.)
  • 2010 Paul Lato Syrah Il Padrino Bien Nacido Vineyard – USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Maria Valley (4/28/2012)
    Dark ruby color; lifted, tart black fruit, ripe black fruit, pepper, graphite nose; tasty, intense, tart black fruit, pepper, violets, mineral palate; needs 3 years; long finish 93+ points (93 pts.)
  • 2009 Paul Lato Syrah Il Padrino Bien Nacido Vineyard – USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Maria Valley (4/28/2012)
    Very dark purple red violet color; aromatic, charcoal, tart black fruit, blueberry nose; complex, charcoal, tart black fruit, blueberry palate; medium-plus finish (93 pts.)

Pégaü

Penley Estate

  • 2004 Penley Estate Shiraz Special Select – Australia, South Australia, Limestone Coast, Coonawarra (4/27/2012)
    From magnum – very dark red violet color; maturing, mint, tart plum nose; maturing, mint, tart plum palate; medium-plus finish 91+ points (91 pts.)

Pierre Gaillard

  • 2010 Pierre Gaillard Côte-Rôtie – France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Côte-Rôtie (4/27/2012)
    Medium dark ruby color; lifted, elegant, pepper, mineral nose; tasty, tart roasted black fruit, pepper, mineral palate; needs 3-plus years; medium-plus finish (94 pts.)

Plantagenet

  • 2008 Plantagenet Shiraz – Australia, Western Australia, South West Australia, Mount Barker (4/28/2012)
    Very dark red violet color; tart black fruit, smoke nose; juicy, ripe black fruit, ripe berry palate; medium-plus finish 90+ points (90 pts.)

Qupé

  • 2004 Qupé Syrah Bien Nacido Hillside Estate – USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Maria Valley (4/27/2012)
    From 5 liter – very dark red violet color; tart plum, tart black fruit nose; tart plum, tart black fruit, mineral palate; medium-plus finish 90+ points (90 pts.)
  • 1992 Qupé Syrah Bien Nacido Vineyard – USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Maria Valley (4/27/2012)
    From 5 liter – bricking dark red violet color; tobacco, roasted fruit palate; tobacco, roasted fruit, mushroom palate; medium-plus finish (91 pts.)

Relic

  • 2010 Relic Wines Petite Sirah Apothecary Old Vines – USA, California, Napa Valley (4/28/2012)
    Dark purple red violet color; aromatic, tart plum, tart black fruit, tart berry nose; tart plum, tart black fruit, tart berry palate; approachable now; medium-plus finish (66% Carignan, 34% Petite Sirah) (91 pts.)
  • 2009 Relic Wines Petite Sirah Old Vines – USA, California, Napa Valley (4/28/2012)
    Opaque black red violet color; tar, tart black fruit nose; tight, tar, tart black fruit palate; medium-plus finish (91 pts.)
  • 2010 Relic Wines Ritual – USA, California, Napa Valley (4/28/2012)
    Dark purple red violet color; deep, tart black fruit, charcoal, tar nose; tar, tart black fruit, roasted black fruit palate; medium-plus finish 91+ points (45% Mourvedre, 25% Carignane, 17% Grenache, with Syrah and Petite Sirah) (91 pts.)

Rudera

  • 2009 Rudera Chenin Blanc De Tradisie – South Africa, Western Cape (4/28/2012)
    Light yellow color; tart apple, leesy, lanolin nose; tart apple, leesy, lanolin palate; medium-plus finish (from 45 yr old bush vines) (89 pts.)
  • 2009 Rudera Syrah – South Africa, Coastal Region, Stellenbosch (4/28/2012)
    Opaque purple red violet color; nice tart black fruit, roasted black fruit nose; tart black fruit, roasted black fruit palate; medium-plus finish 88+ points (11 mos. in neutral French barriques) (88 pts.)

Saviah

2012 Hospice du Rhone

  • 2010 Saviah Cellars Syrah The Funk Walla Walla Valley – USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Walla Walla Valley (4/27/2012)
    Barrel sample – opaque purple red violet color; aromatic, tart black fruit nose; tart black fruit, tar palate; medium-plus finish 90-92 points (33% stem inclusion) (90 pts.)
  • 2009 Saviah Cellars Syrah The Funk Walla Walla Valley – USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Walla Walla Valley (4/27/2012)
    Pre-release (Fall 2012 release) – opaque red violet color; aromatic, roast black fruit nose; tart black fruit, roast black fruit palate; needs 3 years; medium-plus finish 91+ points (w/3% Viognier) (91 pts.)
  • 2006 Saviah Cellars Syrah Reserve Walla Walla Valley – USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Walla Walla Valley (4/27/2012)
    Opaque black red violet color; maturing, tobacco, olive, tart black fruit nose; maturing, tobacco, olive, tart black fruit palate; medium-plus finish 91+ points (91 pts.)

Tablas Creek

  • 2003 Tablas Creek Esprit de Beaucastel – USA, California, Central Coast, Paso Robles (4/28/2012)
    From magnum – cloudy, bricking, dark red violet color; tart plum, tart berry nose; tight yet, tart berry, charcoal, mineral palate; needs 4 years, at least in magnum format; medium-plus finish 92+ points (50% Mourvedre, 27% Syrah, 16% Grenache, 7% Counoise) (92 pts.)

Tensley

  • 2011 Tensley Blanc Camp 4 Vineyard – USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Barbara County (4/28/2012)
    Light yellow color; fragrant, tart lime, ripe green fruit nose; tart lime, ripe green fruit palate; medium-plus finish (65% Grenache Blanc, 35% Roussanne) (91 pts.)
  • 2010 Tensley Grenache – USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Barbara County (4/28/2012)
    Very dark ruby color; tart black fruit, roasted plum nose; tart black fruit, roasted plum palate; medium-plus finish 88+ points (88 pts.)
  • 2009 Tensley Syrah Tierra Alta Vineyard – USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Barbara County (4/28/2012)
    Very dark red violet color; lifted, tart red plum, cinnamon nose; currant, tart red plum palate with medium acidity; medium finish 87+ points (87 pts.)
  • 2009 Tensley Syrah Thompson Vineyard – USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Barbara County (4/28/2012)
    Very dark red violet color; tart black fruit, tart plum nose; tight, tart plum palate with medium acidity; medium-plus fniish (89 pts.)

Terry Hoage

  • 2010 Terry Hoage Vineyards Picpoul Blanc Pik Pool – USA, California, Central Coast, Paso Robles (4/28/2012)
    Light yellow color; lemon, apple nose; clean, tart apple, ripe lemon palate; medium finish (89 pts.)
  • 2009 Terry Hoage Vineyards Cuvée The Pick – USA, California, Central Coast, Paso Robles (4/28/2012)
    Dark ruby color; lifted, ripe cherry, berry nose; tasty, ripe, plush, ripe berry palate; medium-plus finish 91+ points (60% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 10% Mourvedre, 10% Counoise) (91 pts.)
  • 2009 Terry Hoage Vineyards Syrah The Hedge – USA, California, Central Coast, Paso Robles (4/28/2012)
    Dark red violet color; lifted, violets, ripe black fruit nose; ripe berry, violets, ripe black fruit palate; medium-plus finish 92+ points (92 pts.)
  • 2009 Terry Hoage Vineyards Grenache-Syrah The 46 – USA, California, Central Coast, Paso Robles (4/28/2012)
    Dark purple red violet color; evocative, ripe berry, blackberry, violets nose; tasty, ripe, violets, blackberry, ripe black fruit palate; medium-plus finish (50/50 Grenache/Syrah) (92 pts.)

Torbreck

  • 2006 Torbreck Grenache Les Amis – Australia, South Australia, Barossa, Barossa Valley (4/27/2012)
    From a 6 liter bottle – bricking medium dark red violet color; lifted, herbs, tart berry, red berry nose; tart berry, herbs, red berry palate; medium-plus finish 91+ points (91 pts.)
  • 2005 Torbreck Run Rig – Australia, South Australia, Barossa, Barossa Valley (4/27/2012)
    From a 3-liter bottle – opaque black red violet color; rich black fruit, ripe berry nose; tight, tart black fruit, tart berry, orange, lemon peel palate; needs 5-plus years, at least from this format; medium-plus finish (94 pts.)

Torrin

  • 2009 Torrin Akasha – USA, California, Central Coast, Paso Robles (4/28/2012)
    Opaque purple red violet color; ripe black fruit, ripe berry, violets nose; tasty, tight, ripe black fruit, ripe berry, violets, smoke palate; needs 2 years; medium-plus finish (95% Syrah, 5% Grenache) (93 pts.)
  • 2009 Torrin The Banshee – USA, California, Central Coast, Paso Robles (4/28/2012)
    Very dark red violet color; focused, tart berry, floral nose; tasty, ripe black fruit, violets, ripe berry, black cherry palate; needs 3 years; medium-plus finish 92+ points (75% Grenache, 25% Syrah) (92 pts.)

Vaudieu

2012 Hospice du Rhone

  • 2011 Château de Vaudieu Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape (4/27/2012)
    Light yellow color; tart apple, tart pear nose; tart apple, tart pear palate; medium finish (88 pts.)
  • 2010 Château de Vaudieu Châteauneuf-du-Pape Val de Dieu – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape (4/27/2012)
    Dark purple red violet color; tart black fruit, garrigue nose; tart black fruit, plum, garrigue palate; medium-plus finish 91+ points (50/50 Grenache and Mourvedre) (91 pts.)
  • 2009 Château de Vaudieu Châteauneuf-du-Pape – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape (4/27/2012)
    Dark purple red violet color; reduction, tart black fruit, herbs nose; tight, tart black fruit, herbal, mineral palate; medium-plus finish (80% Grenache, 15% Syrah, 5% Mourvedre) (90 pts.)

Vidal-Fleury

  • 2009 J. Vidal-Fleury Côtes du Rhône – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Côtes du Rhône (4/28/2012)
    Opaque purple red violet color; brett, tart plum nose; brett, tart black fruit palate; medium-plus finish (86 pts.)

Westerhold Family

I’ve tasted these terrific, flavorful Syrahs made by the talented Russell Bevan a few times, with consistent notes. I was particularly fascinated by the extended barrel age version of the ’08, which had seen 39 months in oak and was even more delicious than the original ’08. Good stuff.

2012 Hospice du Rhone

Yarra Yering

2012 Hospice du Rhone

  • 1999 Yarra Yering Shiraz Underhill – Australia, Victoria, Port Phillip, Yarra Valley (4/28/2012)
    From magnum – bricking dark red violet color; mature, roasted plum, herbs nose; mature, roasted plum, herbs palate; medium-plus finish (91 pts.)

Yves Cuilleron

  • 2009 Domaine Yves Cuilleron Condrieu Vertige – France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Condrieu (4/27/2012)
    Light golden yellow color; floral, tart pear, honey nose; floral, tart pear, very honeyed and fat palate; medium-plus finish 90+ points (90 pts.)
  • 2009 Domaine Yves Cuilleron St. Joseph Les Serines – France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, St. Joseph (4/27/2012)
    Opaque purple red violet color; roast plum, tart black fruit nose; tart black fruit, roasted fruit palate; needs 2-3 years; medium-plus finish 90+ points (90 pts.)
  • 2009 Domaine Yves Cuilleron Côte-Rôtie Terres Sombres – France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Côte-Rôtie (4/27/2012)
    Very dark purple red violet color; lovely, roasted plum, bacon fat, tart black fruit nose; tight, roasted plum, bacon fat, tart black fruit palate; needs 4-plus years; medium-plus finish (93 pts.)
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