Saturday, April 26, 2008

My Rosenblum Cellars Besides Zin Wine Tasting for The Pompous Twits tasting group

I hosted our winetasting group, The Pompous Twits, April 19th (2008) for a reprise of my tasting last year, where we tried a number of wines from Rosenblum Cellars, of Alameda, California, going beyond Rosenblum's famed Zins to see what else they are making these days.

The Rosenblum Redux tasting this year, at the excellent Paradisio Restaurant at the Castro Valley (CA) golf club, was a big hit -- 18 Twits showed up to sample a cross-section of Rosenblum's finest -- not just their traditional Zinfandels, but numerous others as well -- mainly with a focus on California-grown Rhone-style grapes and blends.

Despite the variety, one Rosenblum twist was evident in all the wines: They were all high in alcohol, even the whites, which ranged from 14.5 to 15.0%! The lowest was the Rhodes Petite Sirah at "only" 13.8% alcohol, while the highest was the classic Rockpile Road Zin at 16.3%! Luckily we only tasted 17 wines (plus a nonRosenblum Dave Hulet brought)!

Flight 1: Whites
1. Rosenblum Preston Vineyard Marsanne, Dry Creek Valley, 2006, 14.5% ($25)
2. Rosenblum Santa Barbara County Roussanne, Appellation Series, 2005, 15.0% ($18)
3. Rosenblum Chateau La Paws Cote du Bone Blanc, White Wine, 2006, 14.6% ($14)

The first flight was three whites -- Marsanne, Roussanne, and Cote du Bone Blanc, all Rhone-style blends. The Roussanne was especialy rich and ripe, while the Cote du Bone Blanc Gail Engstrom dubbed a "deck wine" -- one that would be great sitting out on the deck on a warm summer evening!

Flight 2: Reds
4. Rosenblum Rhodes Vineyard Grenache, Redwood Valley, 2006, 14.5% ($25)
5. Rosenblum Contra Costa County Mourvedre, 2006, 14.0% ($18)
6. Rosenblum Russian River Valley Merlot, Appellation Series, 2005, 14.8% ($18)
7. Rosenblum Holbrook Mitchell Trio Red Wine (Meritage), Napa Valley, 2004, 15.7% ($25)

The second flight included a Grenache, a Mourvedre, a Merlot, and a Holbrook Mitchell Trio Meritage. Lots of people especially like dthe Grenache.

Flight 3: Mostly Syrahs
8. Rosenblum Vintner's Cuvee Syrah, California, 2005, 15.0% ($12)
9. Rosenblum Chateau La Paws Cote du Bone Roan, California Red Wine, 2005, 14.9% ($14)
10. Rosenblum Abba Vineyard Syrah, Lodi, 2005, 14.9% ($20)
11. Rosenblum Rhodes Vineyard Petite Sirah, Redwood Valley, 2005, 13.8% ($20)

The third flight was nearly all California Syrahs of one kind or another: the Vintner's Cuvee Syrah, a Chateau La Paws Cote du Bone Roan Rhone-style blend of Carignane, Syrah, and Mourvedre, with a Rosenblum twist of some Zin in there; an QAbba Vineyard Syrah from Lodi--rich and fruity as one would expect but not flabby; and a Rhodes Petite Sirah that many of our tasters liked.

Flight 4: Super-Zins!
12. Rosenblum Rockpile Road Vineyard Zinfandel, 2004, 16.3% ($25)
13. Rosenblum Snows Lake Vineyard Zinfandel, Lake County, 2004, 15.5% ($35)

With the fourth flight we entered Zin territory, starting with a 2004 Rockpile Road Vineyard Zinfandel that was stunningly jammy and dense. Second was a 2004 Snows Lake Vineyard Zin that at first was knocked over by the Rockpile, but Tom Tilley detected some subtleties in it and predicted that as it opened up in the glass it would turn into a powerhouse every bit equal to the Rockpile - and by gad, he was right! By the end of the evening, the Snows Lake has opened up to reveal both richness and subtle refinement that put it on equal footing, or maybe even slightly above, the Rockpile - if you can believe that! Tom recommended we take another look at it next year -- fortunately, I have a bottle of same left, and Joe and Ann Farias have two bottles of that same year! So we can try a bottle each year for three years, see when exactly it turns perfect! (And of course there aren't any left to buy when we DO find the perfect timing!)

(Note that these two cost me the prices listed when I bought them as futures a few years ago; both brands are now in the $45 range for the current releases--and you can't find the prior releases to buy anywhere, unfortunately!

Flight 5: Reds Not Zins
14. Rosenblum Aparicio Vineyard Zinfandel, Amador County, 2004, 14.9% ($20)
15. Rosenblum Eagle Point Vineyard Zinfandel, Mendocino County, 2004, 15.3% ($22)
16. Rosenblum Harris Kratka Vineyard Zinfandel, Alexander Valley, 2005, 14.7% ($28)
17. Rosenblum Richard Sauret Vineyard Zinfandel, Paso Robles, 2006, 14.7% ($20)

Flight 5 showed four Zins from four different parts of California: Aparicio Vineyard in Amador County 2004, Eagle Point VIneyard from Mendocino Co., 2004, Harris Kratka Vineyard in Alexander Valley 2005, and Richard Sauret Vineyard in Paso Robles, 2006. This was a real tough call as to which was tastier -- as Jerry Rose said, each was very different and they were all fabulous!

A great tasting with a great bunch of Twits made it another Pompous Month to Remember!


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