July 07, 2009

2001 Edmunds St. John Los Robles Viejos Red Wine

It shouldn't be a surprise, but I'm astonished by how Gigondas-like the 2001 Edmunds St. John Los Robles Viejos red wine smelled and tasted over the past two nights.

This southern Rhone blend from the Rozet vineyard in the Paso Robles area of central California is classic Edmunds St. John -- uniquely Californian, but with a savor and earthiness that you just don't see much in wines from the golden state.

Initially the wine isn't very aromatic, but with about 20 minutes it seemed to wake up and gently fill the air with a dark, earthy and perfectly herbal fragrance that reminded me of some Domaine Cayron Gigondas. There's a bit of age showing, with a leathery sweetness but no loss of fruit or freshness.

The flavors are similarly dark, stoney and just a bit herbal, with smoothed out tannin and a long finish. Perhaps the acid is a bit high to make this an easy sipper without food, but with roasted vegetables one night and pizza the next night I loved it. So complex, so interesting, so delicious.

I would have guessed this was simply dark fruited grenache. I see it's half mourvedre with the balance being grenache, syrah and counoise, and that makes sense. The slightly hard acid, the earthy, undergrowth quality, that's classic mourvedre. If you have this and you think you like Edmunds St. John wine, definitely try one now. Just give it a little time to blossom in the glass. Excellent.

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