Posts Tagged ‘Garys’ Vineyard’

Happy New Year!

January 1, 2013 2 comments
Happy New Year! Enjoying Andrew Will Sorella '98 and Quliceda Creek Merlot '93 during the fireworks in PB, FL!

Happy New Year! Enjoying Andrew Will Sorella ’98 and Quliceda Creek Merlot ’93 during the fireworks in PB, FL!

Andrew Bird, The Jack of Hearts, and DeLoach Zinfandel OFS 1997

June 28, 2011 Leave a comment

DeLoach Zinfandel OFS 1997 is yet another example of a reasonably priced old vine CA zinfandel that proves what an underrated varietal it is for aging. While it’s almost cheating to bring up Ridge– well-known makers of some of the finest aging zin that’s ever been bottled- a ’94 Ridge Geyserville was once the crowd favorite at a tasting I held of CA heavyweights and I have been an advocate ever since. This DeLoach OFS ’97 (a growing season of high yields and excellent quality) was deliberately made in a more traditional style that the winery had retreated from in the mid-’80s in attempts to produce a younger drinking crowd-pleasinger bottle. The timing couldn’t have been better meteorologically and what remains today is braving the years with fortitude.

Another compelling iphone 3G pic.

While getting to know this bottle of DeLoach Zinfandel OFS 1997, I’m listening to an entire itunes library on shuffle, the one on a decade-old imac, which once ran the office of my defunct publishing company, but now only functions as a jukebox and DVD player. I’ll skip the gratuitous Dylan reference today even though the alternate (original) version of “Lily, Rosemary, and the Jack of Hearts” is just fading out. On however to Andrew Bird, “Tables and Chairs” off of his breakthrough album, Andrew Bird & The Mysterious Production of Eggs. It’s a heavy-minded, light-hearted, off-kilter glimpse of a post-apocalyptic playground: think Fight Club meets SpongeBob, aesthetically. Individually, the lyrics and spritely flowing orchestration of the melody are more than minor paradoxes. Together they make up a textural menagerie that’s like the structure of a Beach Boys tune (sad lyrics over happy music) with a head full of DMT. The beauty of Andrew Bird’s best work- which is most of it- is that one can get lost in the music alone, which is crushing when one ponders the depths of his stories. This is why Andrew Bird has been my platonic man-crush ever since Beck‘s records started to suck; a Sea Change indeed.

For an inexpensive wine, this ’97 DeLoach Zinfandel OFS, with proper aging and now a decent amount of air in it, is still as weighty as one might imagine, but it’s got a supple roundness to it that is more than what could have been hoped for, and depth to spare. There’s been some softening, visually, and of the raspberry and cherry, which make up the majority of this wines fruit profile, but it is not yet thin in the middle. Not relenting are the pronounced cedar, pine tar, dry forest floor, hearty herbs- rosemary, and a touch of menthol, hanging down around the 14.5% alcohol, which will always be present. For a non-luxury (industry code for ‘over-priced’) cuvee, this wine over delivers, but that’s part of the magic of old vine CA fruit, particularly from a banner vintage.

While We’re Talking Garys’ Vineyard…

June 25, 2011 Leave a comment


While we’re on the subject of Garys’ Vineyard, I recently tasted another 2001 produced under the now defunct Lorca label, which was an early victim of the simultaneous market saturation in CA and economic downturn. Still they sourced grapes from some of the vey best and made a nice pinot, while they lasted. Previous bottles from the same parcel came off swampy and as somewhat oxidized, but this last of its kind in my collection showed no such affectations.

The Lorca Pinot Noir Garys’ Vineyard 2001 shows deep garnet in the glass, tapering to a thin yellowish, watery edge. The nose is somewhat muted, but more concealed by alcohol. 45 minutes in, the alcohol blows off to reveal a faint minerality, predominantly red fruit, cherry, soft earth. The palate is more lush with the same red fruit around which many of the secondary flavors seem to be fading, leaving a light to medium bodied wine, wholly pleasant, but shorter of finish than expected. There is a lingering wisp of spice on the aftertaste. The final glass is raised to the memory of the label.

Brief Notes on Vision Cellars Pinot Noir Garys’ Vineyard 2001

June 24, 2011 Leave a comment

For those that have read here before, you know that I am a great proponent of the fabulous fruit from Garys’ Vineyard and of *most* of the vintners who are smart/lucky enough to work with the Garys’ remarkable grapes. Upon last tasting, over a year ago (two+?), Vision Cellars‘ 2001 Garys’ Pinot was still, shockingly, a little stiff with a slightly astringent acidity, and I have been hoarding my tiny remaining stash, awaiting its summit on that ideal age plateau, ever since. It seems we’re there.

Properly aged and near perfect.

In the glass, this wine is light, but bright translucent ruby, browning slightly at the edges. The nose is initially somewhat muted, but soft and sweet, and slightly floral, like wildflowers, long since hung upside down and now bone-dry. The palate is soft, but full and round, almost buttery, led by copious red fruit, slightly overripe raspberry and pervasive bright red cherry off of which the supporting flavors- and hint of spice- drape. There are simply no hard edges left anywhere in this medium bodied 2001 Vision Garys’ Pinot. The long(ish) tapering finish begins with just a touch of damp, earthy funk, and ends with a wholly pleasing nutty dryness. Vision Cellars continues to do impressive things with both single vineyard and regional blends of CA pinot noir. I’m certainly not the first wine nerd to sing their praises, but take my word for it, Vision is worth a taste, especially if you can locate some older bottles.

With a Heavy Heart, Notes on Loring Pinot Noir

March 17, 2011 1 comment

A few days ago, I sent out some reasonably disparaging tasting notes, in the form of a tweet, regarding Loring Pinot Noir The Llama ‘03. These were, to date, my harshest words toward any wine I’ve bothered to mention which is because I review wine the way I used to review records. I would rather not take the time to review something I didn’t enjoy at all. And I’d like to think that this is why so many latter day wine reviewers seem to rate on 100 point scales that start at 88 points. I only write a truly scathing review if the finished product is so unpleasant that I want that amount of time of my life back (as well as the money spent). Every Loring Pinot Noir to cross my palate to date has left me with this feeling.

Nose of aging pumpkin and wet dog.

While I am neither sommelier, winemaker, nor grape grower, I have tasted thousands of wines, most specifically, I have taste wine made from Garys’ Vineyard grapes by almost every winemaker who has ever worked with them, going back to 1999. Wine from this fine fruit made by Lucia, Arcadian, Miner, Capiaux, Lorca (RIP), Novy, Vision, Antiqv2s, Roar, Copain, Morgan, Siduri, Tantara, Testarossa, Pessango, Ryan, and even the shockingly overpriced Kosta Browne are amongst the finest American pinot noir and syrah ever to pass my lips. In the right hands, this fruit is simply magic.

Like the label image, the wine is scattered.

In fact, I first started buying Loring Pinot Noir specifically because they buy grapes from some of the best growers in the country, but I have been perplexed by Loring’s expression of every vintage of Garys’ vineyard grapes. Before writing this, I consulted Loring’s own website where I found that they recommend these wines be enjoyed in their youth, which is a dubious claim that many wine producers use to better sell their most recent vintages. But perhaps in this case, it was true, and I decided to purchase a couple of bottles of ’07 Loring Pinot to taste, given that this was an outstanding vintage for Pinot Noir in that region and it’s still a relatively young bottle. Then I did the math on how much I’ve spent on Loring Pinot against the enjoyment gained and decided to just open the most recent bottle from my favorite vineyard that I already own.

Being St. Patrick’s Day (when everyone is drinking and you couldn’t pay me to enter Manhattan), I stayed home and opened a Loring Pinot Noir Garys’ Vineyard 2005 at 1:02pm to find a slight Burgundian funk barely apparent under the burning throb of alcohol. The palate had some nice components to it, but they seemed rather disparate, causing the mouthfeel to come off as somewhat biting. After significant breathing time, the alcoholic nose subsided a bit, to reveal some faint earth tones. The palate is still somewhat sharp and is showing little sign of noticeable integration, though some red fruit is present. It’s not a terrible wine, but given the quality of the fruit from Garys’ in ’04 and ’05, this one just isn’t worth the price. Everyone’s palate is different. Loring Pinot Noir just doesn’t jibe with mine.

If anyone out there enjoys these wines, I’ll gladly pass off the rest of my Loring collection with a reimbursement below original cost. Look me up.

Anybody Interested?