in the summertime when the weather is high…

1997 Williams Selyem Allen Vineyard Pinot Noir: As Dotor√© purges his cellar tBoW benefits. We opened his 1997 Richioli Riverblock at the last Super Bowl. Loved it. Fact is the wines from WS are best enjoyed in their youth. In my experience the Allen is among the slowest WS wines to come around. At 11 years this bottle is not spry but it still has some hops. WSAllen1997.jpgMaybe not as spectacular as the Rochioli Riverblock but nothing to sniff at. Perfectly balanced. Showing some red brick color in the bowl. The first impression is how delicate. Like a dragonfly showing wonder and light. We can smell and taste the figs. “As good as California pinot gets” declares Dotor√© [ed. obviously he is coming around to you position that WS trumps Rochioli in sheer pleasure which was originally noted by IGTY]. Yes, it is more fruit forward than Burgundies. Aren’t all Calif Pinot Noirs? But only Williams Selyem has the candy. 13.8%
williams_selyem_vista_verde_2002.jpg2005 Williams Selyem VIsta Verde San Benito County Pinot Noir: Contributed by IGTY. Unusual source prompts discussion about from how many vineyards WS sources their fruit. Where is San Benito County? Hollister, which you fellow Angelenos know is where they grow garlic and asparagus. This is inland farm country on the hottest stretch of the 101 freeway. Nevertheless, against all odds the wine is pretty nice. Has a deeper color than the Allen, but then it is 8 years younger. Rich, more dense flavor, and still delicate consistent with the WS style. 13.9%
sidurisonomacoast PN 06.jpg2006 Siduri Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir $24: The odd bottle from a highly reputable Pinot Noir specialist vintner. “37% Sonatera Vineyard, 31.5% Terra de Promissio, and 31.5% Hirsch Vineyard” which sounds like pretty good pedigree. Very different form the Williams Selyem wines. Earthy. Like a Gevrey is to a Volnay. Almost (but not quite) rustic. Liked it. Did well in this group. Very nice. 14.1%
2006 Paul Lato Larner Vineyard Syrah $60: Opened it first which was probably a mistake. Should have let it air out. Needed the time. Very intense and focused. Too big too soon. “Hot” with high alcohol. This needs to be aerated. It is a pricey wine but then when you fall in love… you do crazy things! Paul Lato wines are the only ones I am willing to buy from the region. I hasten to point out that Paul makes his Pinot Noir from Santa Maria which is like being on the Eastside of the 101 in Paso. He is now being sought as a winemaker by the premium growers in Santa Rita Hills. I do not blame him for charing premium. He makes so little and his winemaking style is absolutely right when it comes to working with SRH fruit. “The fruit is so muscular it does not need more muscle. I try to give it some grace and intelligence”. Hell yeh. 80 cases. 15%
abbayetholomies2005.jpg2005 Abbaye de Tholomies $14: Purchased at K&L Hollywood. Grenache based from the Languedoc. The village of Minerve and its historical tragedies at the hands of the Papal armies are documented in another post [ed. with photos of the “island” village]. This wine shows the hot and arid country surrounding Minerve. Highlands, up-river. Hardy country where head cut Grenache and Mourvedre grows well. The “story” is that the winery and vineyards were purchased in 1980s by a surgeon obsessed with quality. Dark red color. Sweet high toned fruit with plenty of backbone acid. The mIssus would call it thin. Call it sinewy, muscular like a dancer (not a gymnast or a diver). [ed. tBoW concedes a lone Olympic reference] Good hot dry fruit. We have happily witnessed the resurgence of Languedoc wines in the past decade. Now will this make me forget Tablas Creek or Gauby? No. But for $14 I can forget a lot of overpriced cabs and red burgs. 13.5%
Kracher tba 1995.jpg1995 Weinlaubenhof Alois Kracher Grande Cuv√©e TBA #12~$80: Not a U20 but a wine probably worth the splurge if you like sweeties. Fantastically delightful and delicious dessert Riesling blend from Kracher. At 13 years there is plenty of time to enjoy this wine. We had it with a cheese plate that matched very well. ..and coffee. Topped off another great meal at Palate. Sommelier Steve Goldun says this vintage is the last of Kracher’s more acidic Kracher sticky styles. Apricots, apples, just enough acid to keep it firm. Most amazing…only 12%

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