Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Two 2007 Sonoma Valley Reds

I like experimenting with aging California reds, even those that may generally be consumed within a few years of the vintage. Sometimes, this pays off, and the wines are gorgeous. Sometimes, like a recent tasting of two 2007 reds from Sonoma Valley, the results are more mixed. 

2007 was marked by small yields and small berry size, a product of a mild growing season, which Gundlach Bundschu
winemaker Jeff Bundschu said was welcome after a very dry winter.

Both wines had fresh acid and restrained fruit, although the Gun Bun Merlot’s fruit had waned further. Surprisingly, the Merlot’s tannins were stronger than the Syrah’s. 

2007 Eric K. James Syrah Moon Ridge Vineyard
California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Valley
Medium ruby colored. Red and black cherries, some blackberries mixed in, laced through with notes of smoke, black olive and campfire soot. Full-bodied but the tannins have smoothed out, and the moderate acid makes it easy to drink. I like the black cherry and blackberry fruit, tangy but bright, and the elements of black olive brine, bacon fat and campfire smoke. Kalamata olives and roasted red peppers come out with time. Not incredibly deep or profound, but it does what it does very well. Lots of interesting flavors. (87 points)

2007 Gundlach Bundschu Merlot Estate Vineyard
California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Valley
A bit flat on the nose, takes a lot of swirling to coax out the blackberry cobbler and currant jam aromas, some underlying woodsy notes of leaves, loam and moss, but very subtle. Tart and a bit bracing on the palate, the tannins and dusty but still holding down the structure. The fruit tastes a bit tired though, like currants left out in the sun, and the fruit falls flat when compared to the toast and tannic structure. Some smoky, charcoal notes, wood, moss and soil, mushrooms come out with time, but the fruit stays quiet. I usually really enjoy Gun Bun Merlots, but too bad the fruit seems tuckered out on this one, because the rest is still going. Opens up on day two, the wine calms down with time though, the tannins soften and even though the fruit is still lacking, the wine becomes more balanced. (85 points)

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