Rhone Report, Issue 10: Observations

General Wine Discussion (Tasting Notes, Reviews, Info, Etc...)

Rhone Report, Issue 10: Observations

Postby Phil_Carpenter » Mon Dec 05, 2011 9:21 pm

Jeb Dunnuck's "The Rhone Report", Issue 10 was released recently with over 80 pages focused on California Rhones. Jeb does a great job of focusing on the Rhone varietals. I particularly looked forward to this issue since so many Santa Barbara wines would be covered. Jeb did a great job of covering the area.

I thought I'd go through the labels he covered and give some general observations. I won't give the scores since this is paid subscription report now. So, here we go!

Ampelos:
Solid scores for the Viognier, Grenache, and Syrah. Reminds me that I have to hit the tasting room myself since I haven't had the Grenache or Syrah. LOVED the vio when we had it last year.

Andrew Murray
Very good scores for Andrew...who is truly on a ratings hot streak. I've yet to have the reserve syrah (which has received amazing scores)...but hope to soon. Also was hoping to see what Jeb thought of the RGB...which is one of my personal favs.

Autonom Wines
This is a label I have yet to try. Tasting room is in Los Olivos...shared with Alta Maria and Native 9. Even more excited after reading the reviews and scores for the blends and syrah. Wines sound pretty dang good.

Barrel 27
Very solid scores for a label that has amazing prices for the quality. I find myself buying, consuming, and sharing these with friends and family. Always a crowd pleasure.

Beckman
Very good scores for this label. This is a very popular label in Santa Barbara. Full disclosure, we've had some spotty service in the tasting room that has precluded us from going back. I'll definitely give them another shot after reading what Jeb has to say.

Blair Fox
Great scores for Blair! Blair, who is the head winemaker at Fess Parker, has received some great scores over the past vintages. Love his Paradise Road and Thompson stuff. Blair has a tasting room in Los Olivos...make sure to visit if you haven't.

Brander
Decent scores on their syrahs. Widely known for their Sauv Blancs, they do a pretty good job on their syrahs if you ask me. The Colson is the most expensive at $35...but the others are in the $20/bottle range. Not bad for those prices.

Core
Dave Corey knocked it out of the park. Jeb was particularly a fan of the 07 Mister Moreved (37 & 42 month). The 07 Hard Core (42 month) might be the real steal at $25/bottle. I seriously owe Dave a visit. Been slackin'.

Curtis
Solid scores. I'm thinking these will creep up over a few vintages since Ernst Storm is now the winemaker. Ernst makes crazy good wine...and this label sells their wine for great prices. Really want to try the Vio btw.

Epiphany
Very solid scores. I've enjoyed the Révélation for a few years now. Another label we should visit again. Tasting room is in Los Olivos.

Fess Parker
The syrahs are seriously sleepers here. Always seem to surprise me. Jeb gave them good scores.

Foxen
Crazy as it sounds...still haven't visited the tasting room. I've had their wines a few time. Very good stuff...Jeb thought so too. I need to go by and check them out. Located on the beautiful Foxen Canyon Road.

Herman Story
Mr. From nailed it. These wines are turned up to eleven and will knock your socks off. Try these if you can.

Jaffurs
Craig, Dave, Matt, Joaquin...you guys just keep on chuggin'. Jeb especially liked the Upslope and Verna's syrah. Thought the Vio might score a bit higher, but it definitely gets the Phil rec. If for some reason you haven't had these wines yet...send me an e-mail, then GO!!

JC Cellars
One syrah reviewed, "Fess Parker Vineyard"...given a pretty good score. A label I'll have to check into. Looks like tasting room is in Oakland.

Jonata
Looks like Jeb had the same experience we did recently. These wines are PSYCHO!!! The acid, structure, flavors...all off the grid. Never have had wines like these. 2009 Jonata Winery La Sangre de Jonata was the big scorer.

Lido Bay
Vio from Santa Barbara...never heard of this label...got a decent score.

Lillian
I love Lillian...and so does Jeb. This is a Sine Qua Non Jr. Maggie used to work with Manfred...and the wines reflect the style. The best description of wines like Maggie's and Manfred's came from one of my San Diego tasting buddies. "An iron fist with a velvet glove". These wine tread a razors edge of power and grace. Truly amazing.

Margerum
Another Santa Barbara legend...Doug did very well. I love his wines, and love hanging out with Doug even more. Dude knows how to party! Doug does great with Syrah...with the Uber getting the highest score. Great stuff...and great pricing. I have to try the Grenache Blanc...haven't had it before.

McPrice Myers
Great scores...some great wine. Have always enjoyed them. I need to try more according to Jeb!

Melville
This is a Santa Barbara standard. The $24/bottle Verna's syrah did well...the $36/bottle Donna's did even better. Both great values for this juice. Great examples of cool climate syrah. Time I go back to the tasting room.

The Ojai Vineyard
Adam Tolmach and assistant winemaker, Fabien Castel are producing some stellar wines. Not like they haven't before! Jeb seems to love this wine as much as me. The Bien Nacido syrah garnered the most points. This is prime fruit...handled by a Rhone pioneer of the area. The tasting room in downtown Ojai is a must visit.

Paul Lato
Wow...Jeb loved these wines. 09 Bien Nacido syrah scored a near perfect! Bien Nacido is truly an amazing site...chard, pinot, syrah...it churns out world class fruit. Paul is doing an amazing job.

Qupe
Jeb gave out some great scores. The Roussanne got the highest score...and my wife, the Roussanne freak agrees with Jeb. Qupe is one of the most historic labels in the valley. Producing great stuff. Would have loved to see what Jeb thought of the Ethan wines though...

Rusack
One syrah...one good score. Great wine coming out of this label. Perhaps the most beautiful drive to a tasting room in the valley. Great experience.

Sanguis
Jeb handed out some great scores. Had these wines at bottling with assistant winemaker Jessica Gasca. You could sense the potential then. A very slick and meticulous winery. In the Sine Qua Non mold.

Sans Liege
Curt got some great scores...and good for him, he makes some great wine. All the wines I've had have been SUPER enjoyable. Recently had "The Offering" and it was just so damn tasty. If in Monterrey, check out the new tasting room!!

Shai Cellars
I've recently been talking with Shawn Shai Halahmy...looking forward to trying these wines. Jeb gave the wines a very solid score. Available for purchase at Avant in Buellton.

Silver
A Camp 4 Grenache...and a White Hawk Syrah...why haven't I tried these yet?! Jeb gave them good scores. Adding to the "Labels I Need to Try" list.

Sine Qua Non
KILLER scores for some killer wines. These wines will blow your mind. Try them!

SonkinCellars
Loren Sonkin lives in Ohio...and makes one smokin' bottle of Syrah...mainly from White Hawk. Congrats on the score Loren.

Tercero
Full disclosure...I'm really good friends with Larry Schaffer (Winemaker). So I'm quite biased...Jeb gave out some pretty good scores. I agree with his highest ranked wines...08 Cuvee Loco & 08 Thompson syrah. Some really great words from Jeb...surprised by the Mourved review since I love this bottle. I have a feeling the White Hawk Vio is going to flesh out a bit more with time. Seems to be trending that way with my recent tastings.

Travieso
One from Santa Barbara...2008 Travieso El Chupacabras. Syrah, Grenache, Vio...Los Tres Burros Syrah, McGinley Syrah, Watch Hill Grenache, with Louvau Vineyard (Dry Creek Valley) Vio. Interesting label...interesting wines. Pretty damn good scores too...add it to the list.

Wesley Ashley Wines
Another label I've never had...or heard of! Solid scores from Jeb...tasting room by appointment and in Santa Rosa. The red did better than the white...

Zaca Mesa
Arguably the birth place of Santa Barbara Rhones...solid scores. Wines are always extremely solid and enjoyable. Eric Mohseni does a great job...and makes a KILLER Sauv Blanc under his own label, "Osseus". A staple in the valley.

The whole issue is a great, and very interesting read. So many great wines covered. I would have loved to have seen Jeb's thoughts on Dragonette, Piedrasassi, Holus Bolus, Samsara, Jalama, Stolpman, Tensley, Kaena, and Municipal WInemakers.

Check out Jeb's site: https://therhonereport.com/

Enjoy!
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