Wine Notes: June
Jeffery Lindenmuth / June 2013
Bergevin Lane Calico Red Columbia Valley 2009
A winning red blend: Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot, and Malbec. With dark currant fruit, herbal nuances, and fine-grained tannins—rendered tastefully modern with toasty oak and sweet vanilla—this is an easy-drinking wine to please all comers. A great option for a house pour or by the glass.
Hahn GSM Central Coast 2011
For this latest blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre, Hahn has upped the percentage of Syrah, leveraging more of its characteristic plum and blueberry fruit and peppery complexity. Ripe fruit coupled with youthful ebullience, bright acidity, and dry tannins make this red versatile with a variety of proteins.
Hogue Gewürztraminer Columbia Valley 2011
This widely available perennial value wins again for its lovely aromatics with varietal lychee, stone fruit, and rose petal notes leading to a palate of apple and lime. Plump richness and a hint of sweetness are balanced with tangy acidity, for a white that stands up nicely to salty or spicy Asian preparations.
Pali Wine Co. Pinot Noir Sta. Rita Hills Cargasacchi Vineyard 2010
A fine example of the ripe, opulent, and intense Pinots of Santa Rita Hills, this wine boasts pure fruit aromas of raspberry preserves, black cherry, and plum that sail through the palate, revealing underlying toasty oak and baking spices, while the finish firms up nicely with solid tannins and good structure.
Lewis Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Mason’s 2010
This stylish wine offers lots of flashy oak, dressing its youthful fruit in layers of cedar, chocolate, and spices. Revealed on the palate, the dark fruit core is dense and jammy, with vivid cherry and raspberry flavors leading to a finish of firm tannins and an encore of oak-induced flavors.
Ponzi Chardonnay Willamette Valley Aurora Vineyard 2010
Dijon clones are at the heart of this elegant, finely tuned Chard. Apple and pear fruit are not masked but enriched by oaky spice and rich leesy notes that contribute to a silky texture. The finish is deep and long, bouyed by vibrant acidity and finishing with hints of vanilla and mineral.
Paul Hobbs Cabernet Sauvignon St. Helena Beckstoffer Las Piedras Vineyard 2009
The inaugural vintage of this wine represents a Cabernet of grand scale, constructed with solid structure and refined design. The bounty of dark fruit—blackberry, plum, and currant—is joined by secondary flavors of coffee, tobacco, cedar, and earth, as the chewy mouthful of dense fruit and ample tannin lingers long on the palate.
Shafer Relentless Napa Valley 2009
A field blend of Syrah and Petite Sirah, this dark, brooding effort is aromatic of black fruit, scorched earth, smoked meat, espresso, and mineral. That power comes to life on the palate, bearing down with buckets of berry fruit before turning more supple and sophisticated on the finish, enhanced by violet and spice notes.
Araujo Syrah Napa Valley Eisele Vineyard 2009
In a nod to Côte Rôtie with the addition of Viognier, this wine displays delicate aromas of white flowers and orange blossom, but it’s the slick blackberry, dark mocha, sultry cedar, and smoky fat notes that win out on the palate—wonderfully ripe and oozing with dark fruit and finely polished tannins.
Note: Wine Spectator rates on a 100-point scale. 95–100: Classic, a great wine. 90–94: Outstanding, superior style and character. 80–89: Good to very good, a wine with special qualities. Prices listed are average wholesale case prices. All ratings are taken from Wine Spectator with permission. Wine Spectator School professional courses are now free with a WineSpectator.com membership ($49)