TN: JosephPhelps Delice du Semillon '85...(short/boring)

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TomHill
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TN: JosephPhelps Delice du Semillon '85...(short/boring)

#1 Post by TomHill » May 2nd, 2020, 5:03 pm

Tried this last night with the Pig+Fig carrot cake:
1. JosephPhelpsVnyds Delice du Semillon NapaVlly (13.0%; RS: 10.3%; 4% SauvBlanc) 1985: Very dark brown/PX-color; intense butterscotchy/caramel/toasty/Fr.oak/pencilly very intense botrytis/peachy/apricotty/orange marmalade slight volatile some complex nose; fairly tart/tangy intense botrytis/peachy/apricotty/very honeyed/orangey strong caramel/butterscotch/Fr.oak fairly sweet slight volatile/fumey fairly complex flavor; very long/lingering very intense botrytis/peachy/apricotty/honeyed fairly sweet tart/tangy some caramel/Fr.oak/pencilly bit earthy finish; will go another 10-20 yrs; totally dominated by the botrytis and not the evolution/complexity of a 35 yr old Sauternes; a terrific dessert wine w/ no signs of oxidation but definitely not a Sauternes. $8.75/hlf
____________
A wee BloodyPulpit:
1. This wine is pretty typical of an old Calif botrytis wine, be it Riesling or Semillon. The botrytis just keeps getting more & more strong but it never seems to develop the complexity of an old Sauternes or a German BA/TBA. And probably never will.
This was a gift from Stacey from the BlairSwartz cellar. Blair was very fond of dessert wines and he still has a bunch remaining.
Tom

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Re: TN: JosephPhelps Delice du Semillon '85...(short/boring)

#2 Post by Karl K » May 2nd, 2020, 7:07 pm

Tom

Winemaking wise, what could Craig (I think he was the winemaker back then - regardless, whoever the winemaker was) done differently so the wine would show more multidimensionality 35 years later?
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Kris Patten
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Re: TN: JosephPhelps Delice du Semillon '85...(short/boring)

#3 Post by Kris Patten » May 2nd, 2020, 7:19 pm

Grow it in Bordeaux, Germany, or Hungary....or find a place where acid could balance out sugar.
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Re: TN: JosephPhelps Delice du Semillon '85...(short/boring)

#4 Post by Karl K » May 2nd, 2020, 7:20 pm

So too ripe, in terms of sugar-acid balance?

Makes sense.
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Re: TN: JosephPhelps Delice du Semillon '85...(short/boring)

#5 Post by Kris Patten » May 2nd, 2020, 7:33 pm

Karl K wrote:
May 2nd, 2020, 7:20 pm
So too ripe, in terms of sugar-acid balance?

Makes sense.
Yes, and then kind of like a banana as they age they get ripe, sugars drop and botrytis is the remaining flavor.

Totally untrue of some great wines from Dick Arrowood when he was at St. Jean in Sonoma.
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Re: TN: JosephPhelps Delice du Semillon '85...(short/boring)

#6 Post by Karl K » May 2nd, 2020, 7:34 pm

Cooler climate at Arrowood so more acid balance?
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Re: TN: JosephPhelps Delice du Semillon '85...(short/boring)

#7 Post by Rich Brown » May 2nd, 2020, 8:42 pm

Nice note Tom. I have a half bottle of this and the late harvest riesling (sisters birthryear) and am looking forward to opening them with her. Any chance you've tried the LH Johannisberg Riesling lately?

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Nope..

#8 Post by TomHill » May 3rd, 2020, 2:24 am

Rich Brown wrote:
May 2nd, 2020, 8:42 pm
Nice note Tom. I have a half bottle of this and the late harvest riesling (sisters birthryear) and am looking forward to opening them with her. Any chance you've tried the LH Johannisberg Riesling lately?
Nope, Rich. Not that I can recall. But I bet there's some in Blair's cellar.
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Re: Nope..

#9 Post by Rich Brown » May 3rd, 2020, 9:50 am

TomHill wrote:
May 3rd, 2020, 2:24 am
Rich Brown wrote:
May 2nd, 2020, 8:42 pm
Nice note Tom. I have a half bottle of this and the late harvest riesling (sisters birthryear) and am looking forward to opening them with her. Any chance you've tried the LH Johannisberg Riesling lately?
Nope, Rich. Not that I can recall. But I bet there's some in Blair's cellar.
Tom
Gotcha! I'll be sure to report back once I open it. Thanks again for posting!

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Re: TN: JosephPhelps Delice du Semillon '85...(short/boring)

#10 Post by Craig Williams » May 3rd, 2020, 1:41 pm

Karl:

Working with Walter Schug in the 70's, fruit with Botrytis, in this case Riesling, was macerated to increase sugar content. This technique increased sugar concentration but also elevated phenolic content. Indeed, we selected moldy grapes but often the Botrytis was very dry. In addition, raisined grapes could be found in some clusters, making for high sugar content but low in Botrytis character. The '85 Delice was my first attempt with Semillon, grown in a block adjacent to the Napa River, across the Silverado Trail from the winery location. The sugar content was not as high as I would have liked in terms of the residual sugar content post-fermentation. The practice of macerating grapes was helpful but as Tom noted, made for an extremely dark wine as it aged. Fining more aggressively would have been a better maneuver, IMO. For me, the phenolics/tannins produced more "tea-like" attributes in the wines as they aged; some more gracefully than others. I think the '86 Delice was a slightly better year in terms of Botrytis and results. Dleice was only make in '85 and '86. Low humidity during the growing season in our region made Botrytis hard to come by. And while there were certainly some wonderful late-harvest wines produced from Napa Valley grapes @ JPV, I believe the best came from Ordway's Valley Vineyard in Mendocino, in the early 90's, before we stopped producing Riesling/Gewürztraminer altogether.
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Thanks...

#11 Post by TomHill » May 3rd, 2020, 1:54 pm

Thanks for chiming I'm here, Craig, and sharing the rest of the story.
Tom

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Re: TN: JosephPhelps Delice du Semillon '85...(short/boring)

#12 Post by Craig Williams » May 3rd, 2020, 2:01 pm

Tom:

My pleasure; thanks for posting your note!

Best,

C
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Re: TN: JosephPhelps Delice du Semillon '85...(short/boring)

#13 Post by Eric Ifune » May 4th, 2020, 3:38 pm

Still have some of the 1986. Also a bunch of Phelps Riesling and Scheurebe from the late 70's and early 80's.

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