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Slurping Around with P.D.W. February 2013

Slurping Around, February 2013

Dear Friends:

All I seem to do lately is apologize for a late column. Well, here goes again, another apology. My house was broken into and trashed two weeks ago, and the front door left swinging..... You don't need to hear any more, other than that the break-in, and not wine, has been on my mind. So here is what I can offer right now. As it turns out, I have tasted very few white wines and those I did try were not worth recommending to you. So, for the first time (I think) an all-red column.

2010 Chateau St. Michelle Red Blend "Indian Wells", Columbia Valley, Washington $15. This is a solid wine. Nice dark plum and cherry fruit on the nose; rich and ripe (but nor sweet or overripe), viscous and smooth, with medium light tannins and balanced acid, and with good length.

2011 Chronic Cellars Red Blend "Purple Paradise", Paso Robles $12. Forward dark cherry fruit on the nose with a bit of green bean (OK if in background as here); Excellent, intense dark berry fruit on the palate - very tasty. The fruit tastes young (a bit grapey) but that will improve with time. There are dry herbs, spice, and a ripeness that seems to give it a sweet edge (but it is dry).

2006 Derby Zinfandel Laura's Vineyard, Paso Robles $9. This is a high alcohol (15.7%) wine, and it is "old" for a Zin. Most zin's this old would be oxidized and flat by now, but not this one. Slightly herbal, dark berry fruit. A rich yet medium bodied wine, not too extracted, and not too tannic and not sweet (thank goodness). It has good acid and length, some dry herbs behind the rich dark fruit.

2010 Brassfield Zinfandel, Volcano Ridge vineyard $14. I forgot to identify the region/state, sorry. It too has high alcohol (15.5%). The nose is a bit dry and briary/stemmy, but the palate opens up with rich dark berry fruit. it is has medium tannin, it is not sweet, and has good length and acid. There are dried herbs and a briary edge to make it interesting.

2007 Hearthstone Red Blend "Slipstone", Paso Robles $13. This wine has a soft dark berry nose, medium to light body, slight minerality/chalkiness (interesting), and is neither overripe nor sweet. It is 65% grenache and 35% syrah, so a Rhone blend. The fruit is forward and rich. Alcohol is 15.1%. This is a very good everyday wine, good alone or with food.

2011 Chronic Cellars Red Blend "Sofa King Bueno", Paso Robles $17. I have no idea what that name means, only that someone was probably "experimenting" at the time. A forward plum/cherry nose and palate with a rich, full bodied mouthfeel. Again, not overripe or sweet. It is a Rhone blend, mostly Syrah (79%) with the rest from other Rhone varietals. This is a good dinner party wine with something hearty on the plate.

2008 John Alan Meritage Reserve, Paso Robles $18. This is a well-made and substantial but not at all overpowering wine. It is a classic Bordeaux blend led by Cabernet Sauvignon (50%). There is strong red/dark berry fruit, rich and full mouthfeel, obvious American Oak with dill, and a slight minty edge. It is not too tannic, has good acidity, and length.

Well, that's about all I have this month, now back to house restoration. Hopefully, better times ahead.


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