December 02, 2006

2003 Edmunds St. John Rocks and Gravel

I’ve written before about how good Edmunds St. John wines can be. So when I saw the latest issue of Rocks and Gravel, their grenache, syrah, mourvedre blend, marked down to $13 from the usual $18, I grabbed a couple.

This wine is usually a great deal at full price, and I still have memories of the terrific 2001. Peppery, meaty grenache-dominated wine that tasted like a Gigondas or other good southern Rhone wine.

Alas, the 2003 isn’t the 2001. It’s not bad wine, and it improved markedly with food. But on its own the aromas and flavors seemed muddled, with a vegetal streak that I wasn’t sure about.

Then with dinner on the table, the food aromas mixed with the wine to bring out cherry fruit and the vegetal note evolved to an iodine, earthy complexity.

So I enjoyed the wine. But I wish I had the 2001 instead. And with The Shadow still a dollar or three cheaper around town, that’s what you want on the cheapside from ESJ.


Marshall Manning said...

Interesting, as I had a glass of the '03 with lunch on Friday. I don't think it's quite as good as the '01, either, but liked it more than the Shadow, and at $13 I'd definitely buy a few.

Shelly Ridder said...

It's hard to be to picky at such cheap prices, they're both good buys. The Shadow just seemed more articulate than the '03 Rocks and Gravel, your opinion that the Shadow has a weak midpalate notwithstanding. And really my issue with the R&G was without food, which is probably not the place to judge it. It reminded me of an "off" vintage southern Rhone red, like a '97 when young. Sort of there, but not completely.