Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Zaca Mesa

On Monday, I had the privilege of tasting a small lineup of wines from Zaca Mesa Winery. For more information visit their website. Four wines were poured. I like these smaller tastings, it gives me a good snapshot of what the winery's style is like without being overwhelming.

The first wine poured was the 2004 Roussanne. I've always loved Rhone Valley grape types & roussanne is no exception. It's quite surprising what happens to this grape when grown outside of its homeland. It is either really BAD or quite delicious. Luckily, this wine fell into the latter category. Aromas of spiced pear, clove & applewood sprung out of the glass, but didn't knock me over. The palate exhibited a round, rich but not heavy texture with bright acidity, flavors of almond & a lanolin-glycerol finish. Just lovely.

Next up was the 2005 Chardonnay. Okay, typically I'm not a chard guy. In fact most of the time I loathe what gets done to this poor grape in the new world. However, this wine was a surprise. Notes of apple, preserved lemon & lime curd on the nose. It showed limestone, poached apple & a fresh, crisp acid on the palate.

On with the reds, with the 2003 Z cuvee, a blend of grenache, syrah & mourvedre. The aromas were quite savory at first with the cinnamon & dill which led to cranberry & blackberry. The palate was luscious with notes of dark wild berry compote, smoke, dried meat & lavender.

Last up was the 2003 Z Three, also a blend of syrah, grenache & mourvedre. However, this wine was a more elegant expression than the Cuvee. I wish it would have been poured first, but oh well. The nose was straight up Rhone Valley traditional with notes of garrigue, earth & red berries. The palate was ripe & earthy, medium-bodied with integrated tannins, very Chateauneuf du Pape in style. Very nice.

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