Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Two new releases from Cinnabar (and one older one)

This review marks a milestone for the blog; it's the first time that a winery has contacted me to submit wines for review.

The first wine is Cinnabar 'Lot 310 Philosophers stone' As I've noted before, non-vintage wines and wines with a 'California' appellation can be something of a hard sell. The Philosopher Stone is such a wine; it's a blend of 67% 2006 Zinfandel from Dry Creek Valley and Sonoma Valley, and 33% 2004 Teroldego from the Mistral Vineyard in the San Ysidro District.

I decanted and served it immediately. In the glass it had a clear, deep garnet colour. The nose jumped out with black fruits, oak and white pepper; with a little air more perfume emerged. On the palate it was spicy and peppery, with lots of raspberry fruit and an oaky finish. It was nicely balanced; the acid seemed a little on the light side and the tannins were soft. It didn't seem to change significantly over the course of the hour or two that it was open; I think it's probably as good as it's going to get but can hold. Overall it's a delicious wine and at $32 I'd definitely buy this; it's comparable in quality to a Ridge Zin. 92 Recommended.

The Teroldego intrigued me; apparently it's a grape from northern Italy. It's not a variety I'm familiar with, though it's name rang a bell. On checking my cellar I discovered that I had a bottle of 2004 Cinnabar Teroldego, Central Coast, so the following day I opened that as a comparison.

The nose was very different; savoury, with notes of grilled steak, earth/compost, tar and smoke. While there were flavours of sour raspberry and blackberry there was lots of earth and tannin, and as the evening went on that came to dominate the fruit. I'm not sure what that says for its ageing potential; could well be that the tannins will outlast the fruit. Although it's compared by some to Zinfandel I thought it had more in common with Petite Sirah. An interesting wine, but not as good as the blend, and at $35 it's a touch more expensive. 89

The other wine in the package was 2007 Cinnabar Merlot, Paso Robles.

The fruit for this was sourced from two distinct vineyards in the Paso Robles AVA and includes 5% Petit Verdot.

The nose shows black fruit, dust and a little heat from the whopping 15.9% alcohol. On the palate it's fairly flat; there's some nice fruit, soft, ripe tannins which become more prominent on the finish and a fair degree of acidity. I know some Merlot fans who would enjoy this, but for my tastes it's not a particularly interesting wine; I greatly prefer their Mercury Rising blend. $21 86


Anonymous said...

I was wine tasting Saturday at Cinnabar...wonderful ZIN I tried there..nice wines...