I’m becoming convinced that some of the best wine from California is from Alexander Valley. Not to over emphasize the region over the producer….
There’s a story behind how we got this wine, but you’ll have to ask to hear it (comment!)… but we didn’t pay for it (OK, fine, Rika’s boss gave it to her). Basically, all we knew was what was on the bottle, and that it cost around 20 bucks.
The wine has a pretty nice bouquet – certainly not timid. Rika said she smelled a sugary candy. I think it smells of vanilla – a result of the toasted oak. In fact, it is mostly oak, a fairly strong floral component, and noticeable alcohol. When I first smelled it I thought it might be a little hot, but it isn’t. It is 14.5% alcohol, which is slightly high, but it has enough umph else-wize to hide it.
The color is just slightly orange tint, a sign of age. It is 6 years old now, but honestly, it hasn’t peaked yet. I would keep it another 2-3 years before opening it, if you have some of this wine. It isn’t so often that a $20 California wine stands the test of time as well as this one does… and it will be worth the wait, trust me. In 2014-5 this wine will drink like a $45-75 bottle. Back to color, it IS fairly dark, but not as dark as the flavor would suggest. Nice trick guys!
A note on taste… decant this baby! We didn’t, and didn’t fully appreciate the wine until it had time to air. To enjoy this wine to the fullest, from the first sip, decant for a half hour before pouring. As I mentioned, it is rich – not Australian Shiraz rich, but better than most of the offerings we’ve had from CA. So, my only complaint, if you can call it that, is that the oak covers the fruit a little too much. It is hard to read the fruit as… strawberry, cherry, etc… although I do taste it. A strong point is its complexity, and spice. Its a little smokey, which I like. There is good acidity and tannin, and I really think this is a wine tailor made for a hearty meal.
The finish is long, and pleasant, although at the end gets a little baked. It isn’t bad, but I’d prefer the spice or fruit, or even the tannin be what’s left in the end. Still, most pro wine critics place a lot of weight on a wine’s rating on length finish, and this wine would win big in this department.
All in all, this is an excellent offering for a $20 California wine. I’ve certainly had worse that cost more. Would I go out and buy it again? Probably not, but that’s my personal taste. If you regularly drink CA wine, out of preference, BUY THIS WINE. Personally I would opt for our staple wines from Chile or Argentina… or even some bargain finds from Italy or France. Small wineries rule… until they blow up. ;-) In Geyser Peak’s defense, it is very hard to offer a good wine at prices that would compete with Chile or Argentina. I think they did an excellent job with this wine. I’ll have to look into their story to see what their philosophy is, who runs it, what their distribution channels are, etc. Maybe even a visit! Yes, I’m that interested.
FYI, it is 92% Cab, 8% Syrah. You’ll notice this when you try it, and we appreciate it. It smooths it out.
Price: $20 (deals can be found)