Some highlights from the New California tasting

new california wine
Yesterday’s New California tasting, organized by Roberson, was remarkable. So many great wines, with the hallmark being detail, sense of place and balance – traits not always associated with Californian wine. Jon Bonne, who has authored a brilliant book on the subject (The New California Wine: A Guide to the Producers and Wines Behind a Revolution in Taste), presented a seminar and chaired two panels during the day. Here’s my selection of some of the highlights, although I feel bad to have highlighted just seven wines, because there were many more worthy of a mention. I’ll include some of those in another blog post.

Sashi Moorman, winemaker Domaine de la Cote, Sandhi, Piedrasassi

Sashi Moorman, winemaker Domaine de la Cote, Sandhi, Piedrasassi

Domaine de la Côte ‘La Côte’ Pinot Noir 2011 Santa Rita Hills, California
Beautifully floral, perfumed nose with sweet raspberries and cherries. The palate has a spicy, sappy edge to the textured, fine cherry and plum fruit, showing great concentration and a mineral energy under the fruit. Such finesse and detail. 96/100
piedrasassi

Piedrasassi Rim Rock Syrah 2010 San Luis Obispo County, California
13.2% alcohol, 100% whole bunch, bottled in the same squat bottle that Sicilian winery COS uses. Pure liqueur-like nose with some meatiness alongside the fruit, leading to a supple, ripe, smooth palate. So pure and expressive with peppery, textured red fruits and a bit of grip. A really pretty wine. 95/100
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Sandhi Sandford & Benedict Chardonnay 2011 Santa Rita Hills, California
From the famous vineyard planted in 1971. This is very fine and pure with lovely detailed aromatics of matchstick, minerals and spice. Brilliantly complex palate with pear, apple, spice and minerals, showing amazing freshness and precision, without sacrificing any flavour or intensity. This is a mind-blowing wine. 97/100
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Jolie-Laide Rossi Ranch Red 2012 Sonoma County, California
This is co-fermented Grenache/Syrah/Viognier/Muscat. Lovely floral cherry fruit nose with bright, pure raspberries and cherries. The palate is silky and fresh with sweet cherry and raspberry fruit, and some bright peppery notes. Real finesse, and so pretty with it. 95/100
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Arnot Roberts Syrah 2012 North Coast, California
13% alcohol. Textured, meaty, fine and fresh with bright, focused raspberry fruit, and fine grained yet firm tannins. Grainy mouthfeel with lovely purity of fruit. A really seductive, intriguing wine. 94/100

Wells Guthrie, Copain

Wells Guthrie, Copain

Copain Kiser En Haut Pinot Noir 2010 Anderson Valley, California
Sweetly aromatic with ripe cherries, plums, herbs and spice. Lovely supple, sappy cherry fruit is really expressive, with fine herbs and minerals. A floral, sappy style with lovely complexity and freshness. 95/100

Chris Brockway, Broc Cellars

Chris Brockway, Broc Cellars

Broc Cellars Whole Cluster Cabernet Franc 2012 Santa Lucia Highlands, California
11.9% alcohol. Pale coloured. Beautifully floral with real finesse to the aromatics, showing pure cherries and herbs with some sappy greenness. The palate is sweetly fruited, elegant and fresh showing lovely precision and supple, pretty fruit. A wonderful (and brave) wine. 94/100

See also – More highlights from the New California tasting

8 comments to Some highlights from the New California tasting

  • Jason Carey

    So Its awesome to see that these wines are finally making it over there.. are they being imported or just for a tasting?
    Also try Donkey and Goat, Clos Saron, Dashe, and a bunch of others who are doing amazing things there now.

  • Awesome lineup all around. BTW – pretty sure the Copain is from ANDERSON VALLEY, not Alexander Valley.

  • Shall force myself to be not-so-Napa-centric and seek these wines out.

  • Patrick

    Quite refreshing to see some Cali alcohol levels below 15%…

  • John you are correct, the tasting sheet was wrong. I have now corrected the text.

    These wines are all available from Roberson (apart from the ones that have already sold out!)

  • No doubt the wines were amazing.

    Are these your highest scores ever for a post?

  • Hello Mr Goode,
    I am Yannick Rousseau, owner and winemaker for Y Rousseau Wines located in Napa Valley. I am also one of the producer mentioned in Jon Bonné’s book.
    How can I submit wine for your review?

    Thank you very much,
    Yannick

  • I have tasted Syrah Grenache Jolie Laide a few times now and every time i have a pleasant experience
    well done Robersons for bringing this in and well done Jamie for getting behind them.

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