Family Winemakers of California

Pasadena, CA
Tasted Tuesday, March 18, 2008 by Paul Lin with 1,028 views

Flight 1 - Pinot Noir (55 Notes)

Generally speaking, I feel that the 2006 vintage is a significant step down from the glorious 2005. While some of the wines did show well, many -- especially those from Sonoma County -- tended to display some underdeveloped flavors. From a collector's prospective, I will be making more of an effort to taste as many 2006 Pinots as I can in advance of buying them. Or better yet, I might just wait for the 2007s to come out, which should be a fantastic vintage. My favorite 2005 Pinot at the tasting: the 2005 Clos Pepe Estate. My favorite 2006? The 2006 J. Wilkes Pinot Noir Bien Nacido Hillside Estate.

Flight 2 - Rhone Varietals (9 Notes)

The Rhone verietals showed very well at this tasting. I loved the 2003 Rocca Family Syrah, but the winner for me was the 2006 Thompkin Cellars Grenache -- an incredible wine!

  • 2004 Blue Rock Syrah 89 Points

    USA, California, Sonoma County, Alexander Valley

    A little heavy handed with the oak, but a nontheless enjoyable wine. Notes of blue and black fruits, grilled meats, and Pez candies. Good acidity helps to balance out the sweetness of the fruit.

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  • 2005 Lagier Meredith Syrah 90 Points

    USA, California, Napa Valley, Mt. Veeder

    Notes of blueberries, grilled plums, with some earthy pomegranate creeping though on the finish. Balanced with excellent acidity.

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  • 2003 Rocca Family Vineyards Syrah 92 Points

    USA, California, Napa Valley, Yountville

    Seductive aromas of baked bread and espresso are followed my plum puree and mocha on the palate. Really outstanding juice!

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  • 2004 Rocca Family Vineyards Syrah 91 Points

    USA, California, Napa Valley, Yountville

    Notes of plum jam, red currants, dark chocolate, and a touch of espresso. Plush texture. 91-92 points.

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  • 2006 Thompkin Cellars Grenache 93 Points

    USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Barbara County

    The bottled version turned out even better than the barrel sample I had 3 months ago. Denser and darker than the sample, with concentrated notes of strawberry and raspberry jam, exotic brown spices, and with a hint of wet soil and espresso on the finish. A rich and decadent wine -- loved it! 93-94 points.

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  • 2006 Thompkin Cellars Syrah 91 Points

    USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Barbara County

    This wine turned out bigger and better than the barrel sample I had 3 months ago. Huge aromas reminiscent of Côte-Rôtie followed by notes of blueberries, ripe plums, and candied necklaces. An exuberant and lavish wine.

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  • 2006 Turchi Syrah 87 Points

    USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Barbara County

    Tangy red fruits with a good dose of white and black pepper onthe finish. Very good, but not very memorable as a wine.

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  • 2006 Vie Winery Grenache L'Imaginaire 91 Points

    USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Barbara County

    A delicious Grenache. Notes of black raspberries, strawberry coulis, crushed minerals, and grilled meats. Very well done.

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  • 2006 Vie Winery Syrah Las Madres Vineyard 88 Points

    USA, California, Napa / Sonoma, Carneros

    Candied notes of blue fruits and vanilla with some pink peppercorns on the finish.

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Flight 3 - Bordeaux Varietals (13 Notes)

My general impression is that 2004 is a stronger vintage than 2005 for Cabernet. But that evaluation depends largely upon what one is looking for in a wine. The 2004s tended to show more power and density of fruit, while the 2005s were more elegant. Both were very good across the board; however, it just seems to me that the balanced 2005s will come to maturity a bit sooner than the concentrated 2004s. My favorite Cab of the tasting was the 2004 Rocca Family Cabernet.

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