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TN: Rhone varieties from California, plus Barolo, Mosel, Champagne

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Feb 5, 2024, 2:49:33 PMFeb 5
Had the local non-serious wine group over Friday, theme was California Wines made with Rhone Varieties. I had some cheeses, charcuterie, lamb/white bean stew, and spinach.

NV Grongnet Blanc de Blancs Champagne
Crisp, citrus and green, perky. B+/B

Rest of wines were blind. I was a little worried we’d have some 16% monster with this theme, dodged that, but I noted abv levels.

A white! Fairly low acid, melon and red delicious apple, pretty short. Guessed Marsanne only because I was sure it wasn’t Viognier. Wait a sec, Vermentino isn’t in Rhone (and not usually short on acid). 2022 Bonny Doon Le Cigar Blanc (60% Vermentino, 40% Grenache Blanc) (Central Coast)12.4 abv C+

A kinda white. We quickly got orange wine, got Viognier by playing odds, I think style obscures grape. A little cloudy, with an apple cider edge, but also some interesting spiced peach. Some hated, I kinda liked. 2022 Florez Kind of Orange Viognier 12 abv B/B-

Red #1 dark berries, meat, smoke, lovely. Knowing it was mine group guessed ESJ, nope.
2009 Arnot-Roberts Hudson Vineyard North Block Syrah 12.7 abv A-/B+

Red #2 - I didn’t think this was Mourvedre, Grenache, or Syrah, guessed Carignan. Oops. Red cherry fruit, some interesting mocha notes, smooth but not real long. 2021 Cline Ancient Vines Mourvedre (Contra Costa)14 abv. B

Red #3- black fruit, smoke, a little heat. A little pruney note, not a fan. 2022 Tensley Syrah (Santa Barbara) 14.5 abv C+

Red #4 - I guessed Grenache (partially right). Strawberry and red cherry, a little jammy. On the sweet side overall. 2022 Hahn GSM (California). 14.5 abv, B-/C+

Red #5 - a real beauty. Lovely mature nose of dark fruits, tree bark, coffee, herbs. Ready to go but not tired. 1994 Edmunds St John Cotes Sauvages (Mourvedre, Syrah, Grenache, Cinsaut, Carignan) 13.7 abv. A-

Then Saturday seafood larb (!!). First opened was the 2015 Martin Mullen Trarbacher Huhnerberg Riesling Kabinett Trocken, but it was corked. So the 2015 Martin Muller Krover Letterlay Riesling Spatlese** Trocken (AP 10-16) filled in. Peach, citrus peel, gingery spices. Nice balance, long finish. B++

Sunday grill pork bulgogi, fried rice, and a kale/feta salad. Wine was the 1997 Einaudi Barolo. Somewhat floral nose with cherry fruit, on palate red cherry and raspberry. Moderate acid, mostly resolved tannin. Easy going, easy drinking, doesn’t really shout Barolo to me. Good simple fruit forward wine. B-

Grade disclaimer: I'm a very easy grader, basically A is an excellent wine, B a good wine, C drinkable. Anything below C means I wouldn't drink at a party where it was only choice. Furthermore, I offer no promises of objectivity, accuracy, and certainly not of consistency.
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