Nothing but quality from PBE.
Last night was Pick Up night at Pleasant Hill Wine Merchants. There was a gathering of the Usual Suspects. PHWM tends to get on a jag and the jag this month was Roessler. Not a bad jag to be on. And a little wine company named R&B. Audelssa and Trinitas were also heavy in the mix. Generally the mix is affected by who was there for an in-store recently. All three had been there recently. I missed them all. As usual, I run through all three club levels before I make my call. I’m in the mid level club since I have so much premium wine shipped to my house, I use PHWM for finding new Sunday through Thursday wines. We ran through the Smart Buy club and the only one that was moderately drinkable was the Masi white and the Bogle Petite Syrah. And that was a stretch. The Masi was a little oaky for an Italian and the Bogle was pretty flat, but it’s Bogle, so there you have it. But those two didn’t hurt my tongue and some of the others did. Then we moved up to the Estate level, which is my club. We opened with a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc from Fairhill Downs. It was a typical New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, crisp, lively. Very acidic with lots of citrus. It was okay but quite honestly I couldn’t figure out what to pair it with and it was too much to drink by itself. I read the winemakers accompaniments and it would be a stretch. It really needs something to calm it down, you could almost taste the stainless steel in it, but he says he uses barriques. The next wine the 42 degree S. Chardonnay had a nose of cat piss. Really. I couldn’t get past that. The wine itself was minerally with a bit of grapefruit, but the nose was brutal. Then I got to the Roessler Chardonnay -Alder Springs Mendocino. This was a pretty oaky Chardonnay. It was creamy, well balanced with a very nice mouthfeel. By far the best one yet, but I don’t know at retail $35 a bottle that I had that much love for it. It was $20 for club members and it was a serviceable Chardonnay at that price. I moved to the reds and then things got a little difficult. The Roessler 2007 La Brisa Pinot Noir ended up coming home with me. It had all of the components I expect in a good pinot. Ever since Sideways Pinot has been the “it” wine. So there’s tons of them around and really they’re starting to bore me. But I liked this one. It had that earthiness that a pinot is supposed to have, nice plums on the front and a chocolaty vanilla-y finish. For it’s light color it really had a darkness to it that was very interesting. We’ll be hanging out together again some time very soon. They also had the Roessler Brosseau, La Encantada, the Clos Pepe, and Widdoe open. All were very nice offerings. The Brosseau and the La Encantada were in the level above me. Both very similar except there was a bit of smoke on the end of the La Encantada. Audelssa had the Sonoma Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and the Tephra Red blend open. The Tephra was a very serviceable red blend. It was gentle, spicy and full of red fruit. A very decent offering. The Cab was surprisingly good. I’m not that big of a fan of Sonoma Cabs. There I said it. I think Cabs need to be grown in the mountains above Napa and Sonoma needs to grow Pinots and Chards and other grapes that require more moisture in the air. Good Cabernet Sauvignon grapes need to fight for their little grape lives. That’s what makes the fruit powerful and the wines interesting. But that’s just the world according to me. Audelssa thought it was okay to grow Cabernet Sauvignon grapes in Sonoma and, well, they were right. It’s a pretty hot cab, in looking it up the alcohol is at 14.6%. It’s well balanced with a lot of red fruit on this one too. I think time in the bottle will soften this up a little and it will grow nicely into itself. I like vanilla finishes and this one’s got it. I don’t love it at $36 retail but at $25 for the wine club, I got some love for it.
Finally, Best of Show. The Lucia 2006 Gary’s Vineyard Syrah. Generally if Parker gives it a 93 I’m not going to be thrilled with it. His ratings have all to do with that big fruit shit that I have never liked. You know when you walk into the tasting room and they say “This is a big jammy fruit forward…” and all I hear is blah blah blah Ginger. The Lucia Vineyards Santa Lucia Highlands Syrah is a different story. The wine is a deep purple in color letting you know the goodness that is to come. It’s got some dark earthiness too it, almost like wet ground. The wine has the lushness of a forest as it delivers multi-layers of flavors. There is ripe blackberries and blueberries on the palate with spice and a hint of charcoal in the finish. I should have brought home a bottle of this one, but my wallet was out in the car and I was too lazy at this point to go get it. There is so much going on with this wine that I just want to sit and enjoy it and let it tell it’s own story. Quite an interesting little wine from the Santa Lucia Highlands and most definitely the Best of Show last night.