Kempton Clark, “Mad Zin”, Zinfandel, California 2001 ($11) ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ Garnet with purple edges, strong currant and blackberry aromas with a touch of oak, plum and blackberry flavors with firm tannins. A bit hot and raisony on the finish. Good now, but will reward a couple years in the cellar. A bit disappointing after tasting the Petite Sirah earlier. Score 7.5/10
Kempton Clark, Dunnigan Hills, Petite Sirah 2001 ($11) – From a Zinfandel specialist and second label of R. H. Phillips.
As Agent Cooper from Twin Peaks would say, “black as the night sky on a moonless night”. Intense pepper and oak aromas, deeply wound fruit, pepper and oak with the typical silky Pet mouthfeel. Long, spicy finish. Delicious now but a good cellar selection. Too bad this wine was corked during my Petite Sirah tasting as this would have taken “Best of Tasting” honors.
If this is what they do with Petite Sirah, I look forward to tasting their Zin! Score: 9/10
Last evening, I met Garrick Van Buren of the First Crack podcast at Bev’s Wine Bar in the warehouse district of Minneapolis. After picking 2 other wines on Bev’s list that were out of stock, I picked the following which we enjoyed while we recorded a podcast:
Jim Neal “Chariot”, Sangiovese, Central Coast 2003 – Dark ruby, nice black cherry nose, dusty cherry fruit and moderate tannins, nice finish, very good now but might be better with a little more time in the cellar; will re-taste on a future show, plastic cork! Score: 8/10
I have decided to start to rate the wines I taste and podcast/blog about on a 10-point scale. I have arrived at this decision as I prepare to post for Wine Blogging Wednesday later this evening, which should help readers/listeners relatively judge the wines tasted during this event. It will also make it easier for me to rank the “Best of Tasting” and “Best Value” wines in my upcoming listings and a future “BestÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦” round-up podcast.
“Why 10 points and not 100 points?”, you might ask. Like Alder over at Vinography, I think the 100-point scale made famous by The Wine Spectator is too fine a gauge for my palate, preferring to use 10 points as the top-end and half-points in between to delineate the scores a bit more precisely.
So here is my scale, with a cross reference to the subjective “word ranking” I have used up to now on Winecast:
|Numerical Rank||Word Rank||Comments|
|10||Excellent||Heitz “MarthaÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s Vineyard” Cabernet Sauvignon 1974 comes to mind as the best wine I have ever had the good fortune to taste and would earn a “10”. This rating is reserved for classic wines.|
|9||Delicious||A wine of complexity and distinction; the top-end of wines tasted on the show to date.|
|8||Very Good||Highly recommended wine; one that I probably have in my cellar right now.|
|7||“Quaffable”||Like Miles says in “Sideways“, a well made, but ultimately non-distinctive wine. Nothing wrong here, just not a transcendent wine experience.|
|6||Fair, but has noticeable flaws||A drinkable wine, but one that is not recommended due to winemaking problems or thin fruit flavors.|
|5||Pretty bad||A wine that is on the verge of being undrinkable; avoid!|
|4||Undrinkable||I would demand a refund should I have the bad fortune to taste a wine that rates a 4 or below.|
I picked up this wine originally for Wine Blogging Wednesday #7 (WBW), as I had never heard of the name “Torsa” which I incorrectly assumed to be an obscure Spanish grape variety. A Google search didn’t turn up any details on the wine, but I was able to find out more about the people who made it and their email address. A day later, I heard from their US importer, International Gourmet, who provided details of the blend being made from Tempranillo (60%), Cabernet Sauvugnon (30%) and Merlot (10%). A couple days later I also received an email from Javier Asensio confirming the percentages noted above.
Since this violates the rules of this monthÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s WBW, I offer my tasting notes here:
Asensio Vinedos y Bodegas, “Torsa” Tinto, Navarra, Spain 2003 ($8)
Dark ruby, fresh strawberry/cherry nose with hint of cloves; robust, bright cherry flavors explode on the palette, nicely balanced with light tannins. Would make a nice “house red”. Very good wine and an excellent value. Highly recommended!
Asensio Vinedos y Bodegas is a family owned winery founded in 1994 in the Navarra region of Northern Spain near the town of Pamplona made famous by the annual running of the bulls. They grow 72 HA of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Tempranillo that are used to produce all their wines including Torsa. I am very much looking forward to tasting their other bottlings.
Thanks to Christine Steil of www.internationalgourmet.net for her assistance with the details and label picture and Javier Asensio for making such great wine for the money!