Born in the USA

The Great Hall, One Great George Street, Westminster

Tasted October 23, 2017 by chatters with 237 views


My first British Wine Society tasting. I've written these notes up as per the order of the tables though I actually did the whites then the reds…

Flight 1 - Washington State (4 notes)

2014 The House of Independent Producers Chardonnay Dionysus Vineyard USA, Washington, Columbia Valley
Butter tending to butterscotch, muted stone fruit, similar on the palate with a little bitterness. Meh
2013 Grace Lane Cabernet Sauvignon USA, Washington
Red berry, a little funky and farty, herbaceous touches. It's s a bit spicy and quite warm on the palate and the tannins are drying and gritty. Nah.
2013 Lauren Ashton Cellars Cuvée Arlette USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Red Mountain
Sour blackcurrant over red plum. Touches of Ribena and red currant a little cedar. Ooh, bitter tannins on the palate, married to oddly sweet fruit. Nah.
2012 Goedhart Family Syrah Bel’ Villa Vineyard USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Red Mountain
Dense blackberry polished oak and sweet spice Joined by dense chocolate and fine, by slightly drying tannins. Hmm.

Flight 2 - Oregon (4 notes)

Usually a favourite region of mine but these didn't really shine for me...

2013 Bergström Chardonnay Old Stones USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
stone fruit, lemon, butter, caramel, slightly woody notes. In the mouth it's juicy, citrus focussed over stone fruit. Fruit forward, nice.
2014 Lemelson Vineyards Pinot Noir Six Vineyards USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
cherry and chocolate, cream and vanilla and slight spice. Wet & spicy. Fruit is a little muted. Hmm.
2014 Lemelson Vineyards Pinot Noir Thea's Selection USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
Ooh, a little more serious than the six vineyards. Though still fruit forward it's quite savoury. Dark hued fruit, plain chocolate, perhaps slightly stalky? Toasted oak. Hmm, much of a muchness on the palate. Perhaps a little to rich as it seems to lack a touch of acidity. Hmm
2008 Lemelson Vineyards Pinot Noir Meyer Vineyard USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
funky, almost bretty, earthy over cherry fruit, spice and toasted oak. Better on the palate - fruit is more to the fore but doesn't really do it for me.

Flight 3 - Sonoma (7 notes)

2016 Pedroncelli Chardonnay Signature Selection USA, California, Sonoma County, Dry Creek Valley
Melon, pear, apple…lovely fruit. Less pleasant on the palate though, a little flabby and buttery. Fruit is a little cloying.
2016 Fess Parker Pinot Noir Parker Station USA, California, Central Coast
Red currant, sweet spice, very clean and pure. Though it's juicy the fruit is perhaps a little sweet. Hmm
2014 Pedroncelli Cabernet Sauvignon USA, California, Sonoma County, Dry Creek Valley
Cedary with pyrazine notes over blackcurrant and brambles backed by red currant and plum. Chocolate and tight tannins. Fruit is a little muted. Meh
2015 Broc Cellars Zinfandel Vine Starr Red USA, California, Sonoma County
Slightly sour plum and cherry, slight vanilla. Hmm, again it's sour on the palate but the fruit is slightly raisined as well. Tannins are silky but drying. Nah.
2014 Broc Cellars Cuvée 11.9 USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Lucia Highlands
Slightly sour black berry, joined by black pepper. Touches of cream and struck match. Quite meaty. More sourness on the palate. Perhaps a little to much. Nah.
2011 Ridge Geyserville USA, California, Sonoma County
Slightly herbaceous, plums and cherry, vanilla, sweet spice. Juicy, soft, plummy with cherry elements, spicy and those herbaceous notes. Fine tannins. Yum
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2011 Ridge Lytton Springs USA, California, Sonoma County, Dry Creek Valley
Cherry, plums, vanilla and chocolate over slight herbaceous notes. Very juicy with more cherry and plum backed by firm tannins and a touch of alcohol warmth. Nice but, for me, a little out of whack.
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Flight 4 - Napa Valley (6 notes)

2015 Frog's Leap Chardonnay USA, California, Napa Valley
Funky wild ferment, lemon, mandarin peel and sweet spice. In the mouth it's juicy and funky with savoury lemons that travel quite long and some leesy notes. This is pretty handy.
2014 Frog's Leap Merlot USA, California, Napa Valley, Rutherford
Ripe plummy fruit, cream, vanilla. Slightly spicy but, overall, this is a very soft nose. Juicy plummy fruit with a soft mid palate and soft fine tannins…Actually this is all soft and velvety easiness. Hmm.
2014 Frog's Leap Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Grown Rutherford USA, California, Napa Valley, Rutherford
Biscuit, toast, slight cassis over polished oak and more of the same on the palate The tannins are finely textured but drying. I want to like this more than I am - there is a slight confected note in here that I find is dragging me away from happiness...
2014 The Wine Society Exhibition Cabernet Sauvignon Frogs leap USA, California, Napa Valley, Rutherford
Spicy pyrazine notes over muted blackcurrant and quite earthy elements. On the palate the fruit is a little muted and the tannins are drying though the muted fruit persists…Hmm. I wonder if time will help?
2015 First Press Cabernet Sauvignon USA, California, Napa Valley
Slightly saline on the nose initially then cassis vanilla, muted chocolate and ripe black cherry…In the mouth? Ooh! Hello jammy ripe fruit, boisterous tannins and general Yankee boo hah! This is, for my nose and mouth, hilarious after a fortnight in Bordeaux. Not out of balance but there is an awful lot everything here.
2013 Rutherford Hill Barrel Select USA, California, Napa Valley
Pretty perfumed fruit on the nose; more red than black spectrum for me but ripe none the less. A little cedar here as well. It's a touch darker than I expected on the palate, a bit more bully box with bold ripe tannins that are integrated. Hmm. Today I don't like this but I could see times when I would.

Flight 5 - Amador Country (2 notes)

2014 Sobon Estate Zinfandel Rocky Top USA, California, Sierra Foothills, Amador County
Slightly reductive notes. With agitation cherry, spice and plain chocolate with an underpinning of dusty earth. Quite concentrated and confected fruit on the palate backed by a touch of tobacco leaf. Meh.
2015 Shenandoah Vineyards Zinfandel USA, California, Sierra Foothills, Amador County
Medium minus intensity aromas of plums chocolate and a little sweet and sour cherry. Off dry in the mouth but with gritty tannins that are quite drying. Nah.

Flight 6 - Central Valley (5 notes)

2015 McManis Family Vineyards Viognier USA, California
Sweet apricot fruit, very clean, with slight ginger. More of the same on the palate. Perhaps a tiny little bit cloying but not a bad fruit forward effort…
2015 McManis Family Vineyards Petite Sirah USA, California
Chocolate, vanilla, sweet and savoury spice all underpin ripe plums. In the mouth the wine is plummy with an almost tart note lending acidic freshness. Chocolate and vanilla are behind this and the tannins are silky.
2015 Peltier Pinot Noir Limited Release USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
Funky, wild ferment, cranberry, spicy. Wild ferment translates to the palate as well Hmm. Not for me or give it a bit of time to calm down?
2015 The Wine Society Zinfandel The Society's Old Vine USA, California
Ooh, quite brambly with cherry fruit in the backdrop, oak is controlled and there are slight mocha notes here as well. More Zinfandel on the palate with cherry plums, cream and a touch of fruit sweetness. Mmm. Someone throw another snag on the barbie
2014 Brazin Zinfandel Old Vine Lodi USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
Yeah, everything I'd expect on the nose - plummy, spicy, vanilla and touches of blackcurrant And so it proves on the palate. Rather pleasant and a good go to Zin.

Flight 7 - Central coast (5 notes)

2016 Fess Parker Chardonnay USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Barbara County
Soft, jubey, honeydew melon over oaky lemon and sweet spice. Quite toasty oak on the palate and the wine is almost off dry. Nah.
2014 Au Bon Climat Chardonnay Los Alamos Vineyard USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Barbara County
Buttery, honey, butterscotch, sweet spice especially cinnamon sit with lovely peachy fruit, Spicy rich, juicy with peaches and touches of pineapple. Okay it's a bit American but then why shouldn't it be and, to be honest, it's bloody nice.
2013 Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir Bien Nacido Vineyard USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Maria Valley
Cherry and red currant aromas over slight chocolate, spice and a very slight ashy component. In the mouth it's all juicy, fleshy cherry fruit backed by a tiny touch of coconut. Exceedingly quaffable. Yum.
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2014 Lompoc Wine Co. Pinot Noir Sta. Rita Hills USA, California, Central Coast, Sta. Rita Hills
wild ferment and rich cherry backed by sweet spice and slight bonfire/struck match as well. Equally well done on the palate, quite harmonious and well done.
2014 Qupé A Modern Red USA, California, Central Coast
Red and blackberry fruit especially cherry, lightly spiced with some pepper. In the mouth it's spicy with cherry and berry, fine, slightly gritty tannins. Pretty. Hmm. Nice in fact.


What a thoroughly lovely tasting at the institute of engineers. Very posh. I think Central Coast was my winning region of the night, looking back on my notes.

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