Paul & Stef were opening the Chaine d'Or winery for a guest from England and invited me to join them, to get a preview of the forthcoming fall releases.
2008 Chardonnay, Chaine d'Or Vineyard.
Light, fresh lemon and peach nose. A rather creamy mouthfeel; lemon/lime flavours with a chalky mineral finish. The oak was present but not intrusive, and there's nice acidity. Reminds me of the Cooper Garrod "Gravel Ridge" Chardonnay. $24 89 Only 72 cases produced
2007 "Haut Tubbe", California
A blend of small lots from multiple vineyards; roughly 50% Syrah with the remainder Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Grenache and Mourvedre.
Nice dark colour. The nose showed dark fruit and toast. Good body with a rich, creamy mouthfeel. Spicy berry/fruit punch flavours and a medium finish. Recently bottled and just opened, it clearly needed air and put on weight in the short time it was open. Excellent value at $20. 91+ Only 94 cases produced.
We then moved on to some barrel samples:
2008 Pinot Noir, Santa Cruz Mountains AVA Barrel Sample
Lightish colour. Nose showed some Pinot funk and sulphur. As it blew off, notes of roses and cherry emerged. Palate showed tart cranberry and raspberry; 88+ now, will be interesting to see how it develops.
2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, Santa Cruz Mountains AVA
Blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvivnon (Chaine d'Or and Harvest Moon Vineyards) 20% Merlot (Elandrich Vineyard)
Barrel Sample, 1yo oak: Light, smoky, berry nose. Good flavours of blackberry blackcurrant and earth. 90+
Barrel Sample, New oak: More dusty oak showing on the nose. Palate was dry and tannic; tight with spicy bramble flavours. 90+
Both samples showed good acidity and structure. With 5 barrels made, total production should be around 125 cases. Note that because of the small crop all the 2008 Chaine d'Or Vineyard Cabernet will go into the Santa Cruz Mountains.
And to finish, some existing releases:
2006 Cabernet Sauvignon, Santa Cruz Mountains AVA
Appealling nose of blackcurrant and eucalyptus, plus a hint of menthol, follows on to the palate in spades. Like a liquid Halls blackcurrant mentho-lyptus (but in a good way). Good, fine tannins on the finish. Paul has noted that the eucalyptus component waxes and wanes from tasting to tasting and has an interesting theory on the cause. For the record, the moon is currently waxing gibbous. Either way, the wine is showing superbly right now but has plenty of fruit and structure to merit patience. 93
2006 Cabernet Sauvignon, Uvas Creek Vineyard, Santa Clara Valley
Faint hint of volatile acidity on the earthy, brambly nose. Showed nice black fruits and good balance. Drinking well now. 91
2007 Syrah, Eaglepoint Ranch Vineyard, Mendocino
Hints of candied plums, smoke and hay. Rich, black cherry flavour with notes of black pepper and a long, spicy finish. 92