Rhône Variety Tasting hosted by TCWC

Virtual

Tasted February 18, 2021 by AllRed with 122 views

Introduction

TCWC hosted another virtual tasting, this time with six very high end wines featuring Rhône varieties. This was not a cheap tasting but we felt it was a good opportunity to try some wines that we'd likely never taste otherwise, and so away we went. Our samples were delivered Wednesday, so I assume once again these had to have been opened/prepped by TCWC staff Tuesday.

Flight 1 - Blind pre-tasting (6 notes)

We enjoy tasting blind and so as we did before the last TCWC tasting, we started a little early and had a single blind tasting in order to find our favorites without label bias and hopefully identify the wines behind the bag. As the samples were pulled from the box the label was turned away from me so that I could not see what I was pulling. The samples were mixed around a bit and then I took a strip of brown grocery bag paper and hid the labels. Labeled A through F, we poured the samples and began our tasting. Due to our work schedules we only had about thirty minutes to spend with these before the Zoom event began.

As usual, always humbling, and as often happens, Domino beat me correctly guessing two of the six. I got one of the six. It just goes to show how difficult blind tasting can be. When you have six glasses in front of you and know the six wines and still only guess one or two correctly...frustrating.

Red
2013 Sine Qua Non Grenache ♀ USA, California, Central Coast
94 points
Blind. Lighter garnet/crimson color. Notes of red berry fruit, spice, cherry and raspberry with a nice herbal overtone. Softer tannins. Flavors of red fruit and warm spices with nice underlying avidity. Balanced.

My #2 (guessed Prefert)
Domino’s #3 (Cayuse)
2nd overall, 5 pts
2 people found this helpful Comment
Red
2011 E. Guigal Côte-Rôtie La Mouline France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Côte-Rôtie
Blind. Light crimson red color with an even lighter meniscus. Looks like the oldest in the flight based on color alone, so perhaps the Mouline? A tobacco note gives way to something troubling- it’s not the full blown cardboard/moldy basement, but there’s something lurking there that I don’t like. What does TCA-sensitive Domino say? “Yeah I noticed that but I’m not sure.” The palate has some tannic heft but also red fruit and iron.

As TCA usually gets worse as the wine sits, we’ll set this aside for now and hope for improvement. We both guessed Guigal here.

My #6, Domino’s #5
6th overall, 11 pts
Red
2014 Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Hermitage
94 points
Blind. Dark crimson color. Aromas of clay, black fruit, something a bit wild/feral, with background tapenade and herbal, almost garrigue-like qualities. Wonderful complexity and nuance. Medium- to full-bodied with dark fruit, pine, tapenade, herb and spice flavors. Has some tannin to integrate. This has power, depth and balance. Gorgeous. 94-95 pts.

I kept going back and forth here- Chave to Cayuse to Chave to Cayuse to Chave to, finally, Colgin. Domino thought this might have been the CndP due to the garrigue-like notes that kept poking through.

My #1, Domino's #2
1st overall, 3 pts
3 people found this helpful Comment
Red
2016 Colgin Syrah IX Estate USA, California, Napa Valley
93 points
Blind. Inky opaque color- the darkest in the lineup. Black fruit, pepper, spice and blue fruit notes. Firm tannin. Big and juicy- lots of nicely ripened fruit. Sweet and big, but done well in the style. 93+ pts.

My #3 (guessed SQN)
Domino's #6 (guessed Colgin, securing her 2nd correct guess for the win)
5th overall, 9 pts
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2018 Cayuse Syrah En Chamberlin Vineyard USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Walla Walla Valley
90 points
Blind. Light crimson red color. Pine and red berry fruit notes with weedy, vegetal undertones (brettanomyces). Flavors of tar, red and black fruit with decent underlying acidity.

I initially guessed Cayuse as Baron's wines tend to be a bit bretty, but as I changed my guesses elsewhere I had to change this as well and settled on the CndP.

My #5, Domino's #1 (guessed Chave)
3rd overall, 6 pts
Red
2017 Domaine Saint Préfert Châteauneuf-du-Pape Collection Charles Giraud France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
92 points
Blind. Initial note of dried hay/straw, along with red berry fruit. One of the lighter wines in the lineup. Red berry fruit dominates the palate. Nicely balanced; good underlying acidity. In my mind this had to be one of the old world wines and having thought I found the CndP and Guigal, this had to be the Chave.

My #4, domino's #4 (guessed SQN)
4th overall, 8 pts

Flight 2 (0 notes)

Silas, Gerard and Simon from TCWC once again hosted the group on Zoom. Always informative and insightful, our hosts fought through some technological issues to host a great event.

It was never the intention of our hosts to have the wines compete against one another in the flights, but merely to showcase the wines. I think the flights were done rather well, ultimately, and have no complaints about how these were presented.

Flight 3 - Flight I (2 notes)

Red
2014 Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Hermitage
95 points
Red fruit leads the way, along with tapenade, iron and a terrific wild, feral quality. I could smell this all night long- I love it. Full-bodied, with firm but fine tannins. Flavors of red and black fruit and tapenade. Long finish, accented by a bit of spice. All class. The wine of the night for both of us. 95+ pts.
3 people found this helpful Comment
Red
2018 Cayuse Syrah En Chamberlin Vineyard USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Walla Walla Valley
90 points
The sample has now been in my glass for exactly one hour and while there's a little more going on, that weedy element has gotten stronger too. Bright red fruit, hints of pepper, weedy and vegetal, and something along the lines dill as well. Full-bodied. Red fruit and weedy vegetal tones on the palate, picking up a little bit of earth along the way. My last place wine, Domino's 5th place. 90-91 pts.

Flight 4 - Flight II (2 notes)

Red
2011 E. Guigal Côte-Rôtie La Mouline France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Côte-Rôtie
This has now been in the glass for just over an hour and we are still trying to decide whether or not this has some TCA in there. I've been swirling this vigorously trying to get it to either open up or show definitively that there's some TCA there. When I was tasting something in one hand, I was swirling this in the other. By the end of the night neither of us detected anything resembling TCA, but this wasn't as expressive as what our hosts were tasting, so perhaps, just maybe, there was some very low level taint here.

Notes of red fruit and mesquite with a fleeting hint of bacon fat. Medium tannins. Flavors of red fruit, iron, tar, a bit of wood and pepper.

Maybe some day we will get another crack at this and we'll know whether or not this was a pristine sample, but it'll have to be on someone else's dime as I'm out at the current retail $.

By the end of the night, this was my 5th place wine; Domino's 3rd.
Red
2016 Colgin Syrah IX Estate USA, California, Napa Valley
94 points
Deep color. Notes of black fruit, pepper, violet and just a touch of heat is noticeable too, but not distracting. Full-bodied. Loads of black fruit and peppery syrah spice. Long finish. I find this to be well-proportioned in terms of its fruit and structure. 94-95 pts.

I've not had any Colgin wines before and had no expectations and came away impressed. My 2nd, Domino's last...go figure.
2 people found this helpful Comment

Flight 5 - Flight III (2 notes)

Red
2017 Domaine Saint Préfert Châteauneuf-du-Pape Collection Charles Giraud France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
94 points
This wine changed more than any other during the course of the evening. Now in our glass for ninety minutes, this has really blossomed. Aromas of bright red berry fruit, holiday spices, fruitcake and pine sap. Medium-bodied. Cherry and white currant flavors, with herbs and - I think it was Jose who noted it - black tea, and yes, he's absolutely right. Good balancing acidity. Finishes with good length, highlighting the bot the fruit and spice tones. My #3 and Domino's #2 in the final WOTN rankings. 94+ pts.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2013 Sine Qua Non Grenache ♀ USA, California, Central Coast
93 points
Ninety minutes in the glass and showing well, with blueberry, black raspberry, pepper, baking spices and Chambord notes. It's big and sweet and ripe and does it in a way that it feels balanced. Flavors of black fruit and pepper with a long finish. As I have said numerous times, Manfred's wines are not something I want to drink every day (even if it were affordable to do so), but these scratch a certain itch. I can't think of anyone doing this style as well as the team at SQN. We both had this ranked fourth in our final rankings. 93-94 pts.
3 people found this helpful Comments (1)

Closing

Thanks again to TCWC's team for putting on another fun event.

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