Wednesday, April 15, 2009

One to avoid?

I always give the benefit of the doubt to wineries when I don't like their wine, especially when wine is not manufactured but hand-crafted by smaller producers. Who am I to judge someone else's work, even if I do wield very little influence, especially when so much effort goes into it and it's how some people earn their living?

One local winery, Rancho Sisquoc, however, has consistently been poorly aligned with my taste. Maybe I'm missing something, but I just haven't liked their wines at all with the exception of their inky, rich, blueberry jam-like '05 Syrah (a 3.4 pH, .77 TA and 14.7 % ABV tell the story of a BIG wine with high acidity present to maintain balance). At their tasting room, most of their wines gave the impression of being very acidic, which perhaps shouldn't be surprising since they generally produce wines with a low pH. Quick tastings tend to favor softer, high pH wines, while acidity tends to be refreshing over a longer time period, especially with food. But even in a fairer context, the wines have come across as clumsy, disjointed and hot. My most recent notes indicate the '06 Cabernet Sauvignon (tasted blind) simply tasted and smelled like alcohol, while the '05 Merlot (not blind, but tasted over several glasses) was pretty much identically hot and astringent.

On one hand, these wines are designed for someone with a vastly different palate. They impress with high octane power and intensity. They're also not all that expensive by boutique winery standards. But alco-burn is a flaw. And the wines are pretty much one-note. Alas, I shall be diplomatic. These are not wines for a Cab Francophile, but if you like turbo-wine for about $20, go for it.

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