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November 14, 2012 / Wine in Tami Time

Grip O’ Chard

At the California Grapevine tasting tonight, we went through 10 2010 chardonnays and 8 2010 zins. My top 2 chards were both from the Heintz Vineyard in the Russian River Valley, the Williams Selyem and the DuMol Isabel. My third favorite was the Benovia Sonoma Coast. The zin flight was hard for me, none of them really blew my skirt up, but when has zinfandel ever rocked my world? My top 3 were Force of Nature Moss Fire Ranch from Paso Robles, the Williams Selyem Bacigalupi Vineyard Russian River Valley and Artezin from Dry Creek Valley. Tasting notes on all follow. I list my top 3 first, then they are more or less in order of my preference. If you’re interested in how the group as a whole voted, check out

2010 Chardonnay, Russian River Valley unless noted

  • Williams Selyem Heintz Vineyard – medium intensity on the nose, mandarin orange, pineapple, guava, hint of green vegetable, vanilla, white flowers. Clean, some minerality, medium+ acidity and finish 2 Sticks of Butter out of 5
  • DuMol Isabel Heintz Vineyard – medium intensity on the nose, yellow apple, tropical fruit, citrus, popcorn, molasses, cinnamon, hint of vegetable, gardenia. Clean, 1 Stick of Butter out of 5.
  • Benovia Sonoma Coast – medium + intensity on the nose, the fruit is very ripe and yellow – apple, lemon, pineapple. Tuberose, vanilla, butter, definitely some new oak. Rich but balanced. 3.5 sticks of butter.
  • Williams Selyem Drake Estate Vineyard – medium+ intensity on the nose, citrus, pineapple, smoke, jasmine and talcum. Medium minus complexity, but with 1 stick of butter, it’s to my taste.
  • Williams Selyem Allen Vineyard – lemon, mandarin orange, tropical fruit. Hints of butter and vanilla, 2 sticks of butter in fact.
  • DuMol Chloe – medium + intensity of ripe pear, lemon and pineapple. Baking spices, hints of veggies and 3 sticks of butter. Boozy high alcohol.
  • DuMol Clare Carneros – Smoke, popcorn, yellow apple, vanilla, caramel, a little funky. Just struck match. balanced, 2 sticks of butter.
  • Benovia La Pommeraie – yellow apple, ripe pear, sweet lemon, baking spices, 5 sticks of butter! Full bodied and lots of oak but high acidity not integrated. Cougar juice.
  • Merry Edwards Olivet Lane – Pear, pineapple, baking spices. hints of green veggies. Butter more prominent on nose, on palate, 2 sticks. Not a standout in this lineup.
  • Dunstan Durrell Vineyard Sonoma Coast – Yellow apple, overripe tropical fruit, white flowers. Hint of a funky greenness. 3 sticks of butter.

2010 Zinfandel

  • Force of Nature Moss Fire Ranch Paso Robles – Ripe red fruit, strawberry, cherry, plum. Green stems I find common in zin.Baking spices and green olives. Big full zin.
  • Williams Selyem Bacigalupi Vineyard Russian River Valley – Ripe berries, cherry, almost Koolaid like. Baked plum, cinnamon and clove. Medium body, tannins, complexity, alcohol and finish.
  • Artezin Dry Creek Valley – Red fruit, pomegranate, baking spices, and green stems. Medium body and tannins, but hot.
  • Maccia Oblivious Old Vine Lodi – Opaque purple color and fruit. Hoisin, teriyaki, a savory, meaty element.Full bodied with chewy tannins.
  • Frank Family Napa Valley – Ripe and baked fruit, black cherry, plum and cranberry. Leather and stems.
  • Klinker Brick Lodi – opaque, purple fruit, vanilla, wood, petrol, stems. Big hot zin.
  • Renwood Old Vine Lodi – Cranberry, pomegranate, clay, rubber. No faults but no complexity.
  • Saldo California –  Dark fruit, damp, musty, unpleasant.


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