WA 196

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TomHill
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Well.....

#51 Post by TomHill » September 4th, 2011, 4:06 pm

I was not going to post in this thread since I'm not an "official" subscriber, though I have followed TWA from the very start, courtesy of a friend
who was a charter subscriber and lends me his copy to read. Some would assert that, therefore, I'm not entitled to comment. But I got several
requests for my take on Antonio's first Calif review. So I'll wade in here:
1. I thought the transition from Parker to Galloni was pretty seamless. The tenor of both their review styles was remarkably similar and there scoring
seemed to be pretty much in sync. Whether Parker would give a particular wine a 98 and Antonio a 96....BFD I'd say. It didn't seem that there
was really much of a disparity in their respective palates as far as wine styles go. Which I find remarkable, given Antonio's background w/ Italian wines.
I think Parker is more inclined to take certain winemakers to the woodshed who's style he does not like or appreciate and be rather scathing in his
review of their wines. Whereas, Antonio seems much more restrained and gentlemanly about those winemakers.

2. The organization of Antonio's Calif section struck me as a bit puzzling. It was labeled as a Central Coast review, with the rest of Calif promised
for Feb 2012. The inclusion of ElDorado Rhone varietals (only) seems a bit of a geographic stretch to me and not sure why they were included,
rather than the Feb'12 edition. The inclusion of EdnaVlly in the PasoRobles section, rather than the SantaBarbara section seems a real puzzle
as the EdnaVlly is much more similar to SantaBarbara than Paso...unless it's because EdnaVlly and Paso are in the same county. Some NorthCoast
wineries (Carlisle) he only included their CC/Paso wine, with the remainder to be reviewed in Feb. Yet others (Novy/Siduri), included a bunch of
their NorthCoast wines, rather than wait until Feb. Don't understand. Inclusion of the Enkidu wines, all of which are NorthCoast, is a real head-scratcher.
Same w/ the Renard and Skylark wines, amongst others.

3. There were a number of comments by Antonio that led me to believe Parker's sent a rookie (albeit a very/very competent rookie) into the maelstrom.
That Antonio doesn't have the background or long track record with many of these Calif wines to review them w/ a great deal of competence. It takes more
than a great palate to review wines...you have to have followed them for a goodly number of yrs to understand them. I noticed a number of mis-spellings that
I would not have expected from someone who knew these wines intimately.

4. His comments in the preamble of the PasoRobles section are rather puzzling. "Paso's inextricable ling to the RhoneVlly and the RhoneRanger's movement
pioneered by JohnAlban, ManfredKrankl, and TablasCreek...." To me, the really strong connection w/ the Rhone would be the Tablas/Perrin connection.
And to explicitly tie JohnAlban and ManfredKrankl so closely to Paso seems a bit of a stretch. And to assert that John & Manfred pioneered the Rhone
movement in Calif is just....dead wrong. The CalifRhone movement was already up & running by the mid-'80's and John&Manfred, despite being
undisputed great winemakers, were in the 2'nd wave of the Rhone movement in Calif.

5. Ojai: Antonio states that "At the same time, it is obvious that yields aren't particularly low..." I seriously doubt that he can make that statement just by
tasting the wines. Though he doesn't own his own vnyds, Adam is pretty meticulous about what goes on, farming wise, in his blocks of the vnyds he takes from
and I seriously doubt the actual yields support Antonio's claim. From the vnyd owners I've visited with, Adam is view as a pain in the arse when it comes to
what they do for him in the vnyd. He buys his grapes by the acreage, so I suppose the yields could have crept up....but I seriously doubt it. I thinking
he's attributing Adam's style to high yields out of ignorance.

6. Palmina: He gave Steve's Nebbiolos scores in the low-90's, even though Parker has stated that Nebbiolo is a failure in Calif. I thought that to be pretty
perceptive on Antonio's part to score those wines that high, given his exhaustive background w/ Piedmont Nebbs.

7. Qupe: Bob's wines, once again, receive fair-to-middling scores, from TWA. At least Antonio didn't accuse Lindquist of being an underachiever in the
Rhone wines in Calif. The scores indicate, to me, a real lack of understanding of the Qupe wines because of his inexperience with them. Like SteveEdmunds wines,
they don't smack you in the chops upon release. Oftentimes, they seem pretty quotidian upon release, but you have this belief, based on a long track record with them,
that they'll be something special down the road w/ btl age. To label the Qupe Marsanne drinkable in the 2011-2014 window is laughable. I seriously doubt Antonio has ever had
a Qupe Marsanne at 10-20+ yrs of age, when they typically really start to get interesting. Unless you're a "gobs of hedonistic fruit" sort of wine drinker.

8. AndrewMurray: Scores in the low-90's. I was delighted to see that and it confirms what I've heard thru the grapevine that young Andrew is back.

9. All in all, I thought Antonio did a pretty good job on reviewing these wines. Scores a bit higher on the low end and lower on the high end than I'd have
guessed from Parker. Since I've never used Parker to guide any of my buying decisions, I doubt that Antonio will have much influence either. But I can
see his reviews will be valuable to some. And, unlike Parker, he'll probably blow a few calls I expect.
Tom

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Re: WA 196

#52 Post by Antonio Galloni » September 5th, 2011, 6:23 am

Tom,

Thank you for your very thoughtful critique. In regards to the points you raise:

2. There is no question organization is one of the biggest challenges confronting anyone who reviews California wines. For this issue, my first covering California, I thought the best choice was to keep things as close as possible to what our readers have become accustomed to, in terms of which wines/producers are covered in which issues. Some of the wineries you cite that are outside the Central Coast submitted wines to one of my Rhone Rangers tastings. The same thing applies to producers such as Siduri/Novy who showed me some wines outside the Central Coast. I could have kept those notes out of the current issue and published them later, but that seems silly to me. Going forward I may change things and adhere to a more strict sense of regional coverage, but I have not made a final decision on that. One of the things I always have to keep in mind is the size of the articles and the overall workload at various times throughout the year. The next articles on California are Napa (Dec 2011) and Northern California (Feb 2012), pretty much the same schedule we have had for the last few years.

3. I am sorry to hear there are typographical errors. Our articles are read and proofread by several people. Personally, I hate these types of mistakes. If you let me know where the errors are we will make the corrections on our website.

4. With regards to the Rhone Ranger movement, one reference was historical (Tablas Creek), while Alban and Krankl were coming from more of a perspective of prominence and visibility. Certainly the first producer who first turned me on to Rhone varieties in the US was John Alban when I sold his wines in restaurants in the early/mid 1990s.

5. Ojai. I would never make this type of statement without being able to back it up. After tasting/talking with Adam at length, as well as other producers, it seemed to me the yields at Ojai were higher than those of other top properties. Of course, it's always possible I made a mistake, or misunderstood the numbers, but I don't think that is the case. I would like to think I am pretty meticulous about the details, but I do know that everything I write is the product of first-hand research rather than speculation. That doesn't mean I got it right, but that is my approach.

6. Palmina. Last year RP wrote this about Steve Clifton "and he continues to dial up the quality of the Italian varietal reds, even managing to come close to conquering the hardest varietal of all for anyone outside Northern Italy – Nebbiolo." I don't think our views on these wines are that far off.

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Thanks....

#53 Post by TomHill » September 5th, 2011, 8:27 am

Thanks for taking the time to respond, Antonio. I was hoping you'd give some feedback.
Antonio Galloni wrote:Tom,
Thank you for your very thoughtful critique. In regards to the points you raise:

2. There is no question organization is one of the biggest challenges confronting anyone who reviews California wines. For this issue, my first covering California, I thought the best choice was to keep things as close as possible to what our readers have become accustomed to, in terms of which wines/producers are covered in which issues. Some of the wineries you cite that are outside the Central Coast submitted wines to one of my Rhone Rangers tastings. The same thing applies to producers such as Siduri/Novy who showed me some wines outside the Central Coast. I could have kept those notes out of the current issue and published them later, but that seems silly to me. Going forward I may change things and adhere to a more strict sense of regional coverage, but I have not made a final decision on that. One of the things I always have to keep in mind is the size of the articles and the overall workload at various times throughout the year. The next articles on California are Napa (Dec 2011) and Northern California (Feb 2012), pretty much the same schedule we have had for the last few years.
That makes absolute sense to me. So it was a composite tasting of Central Coast wines and CalifRhone wines. If you've got the notes on some of the outlier wines, it
makes sense to go ahead & publish them. Perhaps it would have made more sense to title the section as something more generic than "Exploring Calif's Central Coast" and then it
wouldn't have seemed so hodge-podgy.
3. I am sorry to hear there are typographical errors. Our articles are read and proofread by several people. Personally, I hate these types of mistakes. If you let me know where the errors are we will make the corrections on our website.
Two that I recall were the Siduri Ewald Pinot Noir. Other one was Glenn Skrabnik of Alban. When I did my homework, turns out I been mis-spelling Glenn's name for some 15 yrs now. I stand corrected
on that one. There were 3-4 others that I thought looked wrong, but didn't take the time to go back to check them.
4. With regards to the Rhone Ranger movement, one reference was historical (Tablas Creek), while Alban and Krankl were coming from more of a perspective of prominence and visibility. Certainly the first producer who first turned me on to Rhone varieties in the US was John Alban when I sold his wines in restaurants in the early/mid 1990s.
I've been sorta interested in the Calif Rhone movement for a number of yrs. Using the word "pioneering" and TablasCreek, ManfredKrankl, and JohnAlban seemed a bit wrong. There's no denying those three
have made enormous contributions to the Calif Rhone movement and have been responsible for lifting the bar even higher. To me, the real pioneers of the Rhone movement (note that I don't use the
term RhoneRangers movement..a significant point) would be GaryEberle, BobLindquist, AdamToimach, JohnMacCready, RandallGrahm, SteveEdmunds. These guys were on the scene and making great wines 10-15
yrs afore John/Manfred/Tablas. PatrickComiskey is working furiously on his book on the Calif Rhone movement and will (hopefully) lay it all out. Stay tuned.
5. Ojai. I would never make this type of statement without being able to back it up. After tasting/talking with Adam at length, as well as other producers, it seemed to me the yields at Ojai were higher than those of other top properties. Of course, it's always possible I made a mistake, or misunderstood the numbers, but I don't think that is the case. I would like to think I am pretty meticulous about the details, but I do know that everything I write is the product of first-hand research rather than speculation. That doesn't mean I got it right, but that is my approach.
I, and winemakers who take grapes from those same vnyds, have long regarded Adam a bit crazed on how far he cranks down the yields on the blocks he takes grapes from. So your statement just
struck me as the opposite of what I knew. So, maybe Adam's been spoofing all of us and if he shared the actual yields he was taking on those vnyds, you may, in fact, be correct. But I have my doubts on that one.
6. Palmina. Last year RP wrote this about Steve Clifton "and he continues to dial up the quality of the Italian varietal reds, even managing to come close to conquering the hardest varietal of all for anyone outside Northern Italy – Nebbiolo." I don't think our views on these wines are that far off.
I guess the basis for my statement was that a couple of winemakers once heard him state (maybe some 10 yrs ago?) that "Nebbiolo is a failure in Calif" or something along those lines. At least, that's
what they related to me. They have sorta viewed that as a challenge and are trying to make what they hope is great Nebbiolo in Calif. I've been sorta interested in Calif Nebb for a number of yrs. I think
in the last few yrs, there's been some great strides made in that direction. Maybe where the Calif Rhone movement was in 1984. Not just SteveClifton, but others. I think the paradigm for Calif Nebbs is more
along the lines of the Valtelline or CollineNovaresi instead of Barolo/Barbaresco and I seem to recall Parker has not much use for those wines, at least Valtelline. Not quite sure where you stand , though.

Like I said, I thought you did a pretty good job on reviewing these wines, the ones with which I'm familiar, and the transition looked pretty seamless. But there were a few things I saw that indicated you'd
not been following those wines, particularly the Rhones, for a whole lot of yrs. Like the Qupe Marsanne. Many of the Calif Rhone fans regard that wine as one that needs at least 10 yrs to really show much.
You should make an effort, if you've not already, to try a 10-15-20 yr old example of that wine. They can be pretty incredible in a French Rhone kind of way.
That said, I view you as extremely competent and feel you'll be up-to-speed on Calif faster than most people expect. I very much look forward to your coming reviews (though my interest in Napa Cabernets
is next to zero, I hope you'll discover some of the exciting things they're doing w/ Refosco and other things Friulian).
And thanks again for responding, Antonio.
Tom

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Re: WA 196

#54 Post by LarryA » September 5th, 2011, 9:55 am

To reinforce what Antonio is saying about RP's respect for California nebbiolo, at least the ones made by Palmina, the Parker scores from 2005 back to 1997 are 90, 88, 90+, 89, 85, 87, 90, 90, 89, and 89. It's clear that Parker has a lot of respect for what Steve Clifton has done with all Italian varietals in California, not just nebbiolo.

Antonio's writeups have been even more positive than Parker's. Tom, maybe you should post a list of CA nebbiolo producers you think Antonio should try.
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Re: WA 196

#55 Post by Nathan Smyth » September 5th, 2011, 9:57 am

C. Bowman wrote:SQN no 100 but solid scores
Jim Karegeannes wrote:Pattes Loup Chablis' (plural) were well received (92-93)
Didn't Galloni take over Burgundy from Schildknecht?

Meaning SQN & Chablis were tasted within three months of one another?

Yikes - talk about cognitive dissonance.

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Re: WA 196

#56 Post by c fu » September 5th, 2011, 10:10 am

Nathan Smyth wrote:
C. Bowman wrote:SQN no 100 but solid scores
Jim Karegeannes wrote:Pattes Loup Chablis' (plural) were well received (92-93)
Didn't Galloni take over Burgundy from Schildknecht?

Meaning SQN & Chablis were tasted within three months of one another?

Yikes - talk about cognitive dissonance.
What you can't drink SQn one week and magnificant burgundy the next neener
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Re: WA 196

#57 Post by Stephen Pepe » September 5th, 2011, 10:28 am

For the ten years or so that Adam had an acrage contract with us for Pinot and Chard. he was no more or no less yield sensitive than our other producers. Depending on Mother Nature the Pinot would come in at 2 1/4 - 2 1/2 TPA and the chard. around 3 TPA + or -.
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Re: WA 196

#58 Post by Ken V » September 5th, 2011, 12:08 pm

Nathan Smyth wrote:
C. Bowman wrote:SQN no 100 but solid scores
Jim Karegeannes wrote:Pattes Loup Chablis' (plural) were well received (92-93)
Didn't Galloni take over Burgundy from Schildknecht?

Meaning SQN & Chablis were tasted within three months of one another?

Yikes - talk about cognitive dissonance.
You never watched Shakespeare and Mel Brooks in the same week?
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Perhaps....

#59 Post by TomHill » September 5th, 2011, 5:40 pm

LarryA wrote:To reinforce what Antonio is saying about RP's respect for California nebbiolo, at least the ones made by Palmina, the Parker scores from 2005 back to 1997 are 90, 88, 90+, 89, 85, 87, 90, 90, 89, and 89. It's clear that Parker has a lot of respect for what Steve Clifton has done with all Italian varietals in California, not just nebbiolo.
Probably true. But I think there are others who are as passionate, maybe more so, in Calif for Italian varieties. I think Steve's whites are quite pretty wines. But I think
there are others up in Napa/Sonoma who are doing more interesting stuff w/ Friulian varieties; though I've not tasted Steve's orange wine yet.
Antonio's writeups have been even more positive than Parker's. Tom, maybe you should post a list of CA nebbiolo producers you think Antonio should try.
His 93 for the Palmina Sisquoc Nebb is probably the highest ever for a Calif Nebb. I should have my post on the NAP#2 wines up in a few days. FWIW.
Tom

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Re: WA 196

#60 Post by M.Kaplan » September 5th, 2011, 5:50 pm

Nathan,
This weekend we drank '06 SQN A Shot in the Dark Grenache and '08 Edmond (now Anne) Vatan Sancerre, among other wines. I liked them both (although neither is my favorite vintage from either producer). Vatan is one of my few annual case-buys. As is Sine Qua Non. So, either I have a dexterous palate. Or a defective one.
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Re: WA 196

#61 Post by BTraub » September 6th, 2011, 9:40 pm

LarryA wrote: Tom, maybe you should post a list of CA nebbiolo producers you think Antonio should try.
Not Tom, Larry, but check out the Giornata from Luna Matta Vineyard in Paso (they also make Aglianico from there). A bit bigger and denser than the Palmina versions, but with real Neb character. I understand Pax Mahle is making some long-barrel aged Nebbiolo from Luna Matta as well.
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Yup....

#62 Post by TomHill » September 7th, 2011, 6:51 am

BTraub wrote:
LarryA wrote: Tom, maybe you should post a list of CA nebbiolo producers you think Antonio should try.
Not Tom, Larry, but check out the Giornata from Luna Matta Vineyard in Paso (they also make Aglianico from there). A bit bigger and denser than the Palmina versions, but with real Neb character. I understand Pax Mahle is making some long-barrel aged Nebbiolo from Luna Matta as well.
Yup, Bennet....you're definitely not Tom...you're way too handsome. Me...I'm just a TomCruise look-alike...but taller!!!! [snort.gif]

We had the Giornata at NAP#2 & I liked it quite a bit...the Nebbiolo managed to shine thru its PasoRobles terroir.
And Pax makes a Nebb from both Glenrose and LunaMatta vnyds in Paso. As does BryanHarrington.
Tom

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Re: WA 196

#63 Post by Tim Thomas » September 7th, 2011, 10:18 am

I had the 2001 Clendenen Family Vineyards Nebbiolo Bricco Buon Natale Bien Nacido last week, and I am very favorably impressed by this wine for a CA nebbiolo. It drinks very well right now and seems to have many years of positive development ahead. Tried it at a tasting and bought a case. Think it was low to mid $30's and I am glad I bought it.

[cheers.gif]

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Huh???

#64 Post by TomHill » September 7th, 2011, 10:38 am

Tim Thomas wrote:I had the 2001 Clendenen Family Vineyards Nebbiolo Bricco Buon Natale Bien Nacido last week, and I am very favorably impressed by this wine for a CA nebbiolo. It drinks very well right now and seems to have many years of positive development ahead. Tried it at a tasting and bought a case. Think it was low to mid $30's and I am glad I bought it.
[cheers.gif]
Huh??? What the heck does that mean, Tim??? Damning w/ faint praise??? [snort.gif]

We had the '03 Clendenen at NAP#2 and it was a real pleasure. Back in July, I had the IlPodere (Clendenen) '88 and the Ramsay (Rasmussen)
'92 Nebbs. They were all you would want in a mature red wine....and not just "for a Calif Nebbiolo"!!!!

If people can give up the notion that good/great Calif Nebb has to taste like good/great Barolo/Barbaresco...to just open their friggin' minds...then
they will not automatically blow off all Nebbiolos made in Calif...or WashState for that matter and realize some good Nebbs are being made in Calif.
Tom

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Re: WA 196

#65 Post by Tim Thomas » September 7th, 2011, 11:01 am

Hi Tom,
I don't usually buy a case of something of which I have a "damning w/faint praise" assessment. To clarify, I did think this an excellent wine regardless of its country of origin. I don't pretend to have your level of expertise on CA nebbiolo, but I have had 2 or 3 different bottles from other CA producers and didn't like them enough to buy more. I do remember being very surprised with how good this wine was compared to the other CA nebbiolos I had tried. So there you go, my reaction and mine alone. YMMV.

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Re: WA 196

#66 Post by Tim Thomas » September 7th, 2011, 11:03 am

And, by the way, I just posted on this wine because I agree with you that people may blow off CA nebbiolo prematurely.

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Yup....

#67 Post by TomHill » September 7th, 2011, 11:38 am

Tim Thomas wrote:Hi Tom,
I don't usually buy a case of something of which I have a "damning w/faint praise" assessment. To clarify, I did think this an excellent wine regardless of its country of origin. I don't pretend to have your level of expertise on CA nebbiolo, but I have had 2 or 3 different bottles from other CA producers and didn't like them enough to buy more. I do remember being very surprised with how good this wine was compared to the other CA nebbiolos I had tried. So there you go, my reaction and mine alone. YMMV.
I know, Tim. I was just jerking your chain a bit.

The '88 Il Podere I had at DarrellCorti's. The first or second of Jim's from BienNacido Nebb. I remember that wine in its youth. Very hard/tannic
w/ quite a bit of oak...a mean and plug-ugly wine. I was, quite frankly, amazed as to how well it had evolved. Darrell as well.

My guess is that your '01 (I've not had it) will probably go out as long as 20 yrs as well. I think the '03 I had will do the same.
Be sure to save a few and dazzle your friends with them in 2021 or 2022. By then, the word will have got out on Calif Nebb
and you'll be seeing them from SQN and Carlisle and Bedrock!! Or, at least, one can only hope.
Tom

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Re: WA 196

#68 Post by scott c » September 7th, 2011, 5:19 pm

If anyone is done with their issue and would be willing to let it go, let me know. I'll pay for the stamps for you to send it to me.
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Re: WA 196

#69 Post by G. D y e r » September 7th, 2011, 9:38 pm

Tim Thomas wrote:I had the 2001 Clendenen Family Vineyards Nebbiolo Bricco Buon Natale Bien Nacido last week, and I am very favorably impressed by this wine for a CA nebbiolo. It drinks very well right now and seems to have many years of positive development ahead. Tried it at a tasting and bought a case. Think it was low to mid $30's and I am glad I bought it.

[cheers.gif]
I had this wine earlier this year. It is outstanding. For me at least the equal of an '04 Produttori.
Greg

In that way, he is like cornerback Darrelle Revis, deserving of his own island, Mangold Island, if you will. “That would be a rusty, filthy island where people wear ripped jeans and stay in hotel rooms that are half price,” tight end Dustin Keller said. “But they would serve wine, and only the finest for Nick Mangold.”

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Re: WA 196

#70 Post by Reginald Wheeler » September 8th, 2011, 6:51 am

Wow, 4500 views and I thought you folks didn't give a toot about TWA.

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