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Ridge Jimsomare Zinfandels
Ridge Jimsomare Cabernets
Ridge Other
Flowers Vineyard and Winery
Belle Pente Vineyard and Winery
Chehalem Winery
California Reds
California Whites
Oregon Wines
Other World Wines
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1998 Chardonnay blend: from three or four vineyards. Medium straw to pale gold; beautiful vanilla/tropical fruit nose; Greg described crème brulee and peach flavors and high natural acids, noting that Flowers Chardonnays have twice the natural acids of many other California Chardonnays, and malolactic fermentation is employed to bring those levels down.

1998 Porter Bass Chardonnay: Deeper gold than the first sample, with lovely clove/nutmeg on the nose and more finesse than the blend. Greg called the fruit "very expressive this vintage," and said both wines will be bottled in August.

1998 Camp Meeting Ridge Chardonnay: Greg called this wine "full boogie tilt," and "pulling out all the stops." While my brief notes only mention a deeper gold color, luxurious and high extract character; there is no doubt that this is some serious, serious Chardonnay.

1997 Flowers Sonoma Coast Chardonnay Camp Meeting Ridge: Though Greg and Bree both opined that this lovely golden colored wine is too tight right now, I thought that it opened up nicely and was an excellent choice to accompany the mixed green salad with grilled portabello mushrooms and citrus-white truffle oil vinaigrette. It showed big butter/tropical fruit flavors and aromas, and some maple syrup on the nose with air. Rich and intense, it’s is smooth but not fat. There’s a very bright future in store for this one.

1996 Flowers Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir Camp Meeting Ridge: We sipped both the ’96 and ’97 CMR Pinots with Sandra’s delicious mushroom and English pea risotto. The ’96 is a ruby dark garnet that’s browning slightly at the edge. It shows BIG smoky sweet black cherry flavors and aromas with tea leaf nuances, all in what I’m coming to recognize as the Flowers style. (Will I soon be commenting on "all that Flowers perfume?") This is creamy, lovely and ready to drink now, and was served at the White House in April for the 50th Anniversary of NATO.

1997 Flowers Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir Camp Meeting Ridge: This is another ruby dark garnet, but more purple at the edge, as one would expect from its youth. While it may not be as expressive aromatically, as Bree observed, I found it to have purer fruit on the nose, and cleaner black cherry fruit on the palate. There are plenty more tannins and acidity than the earlier model, and in fact this is one too tight mama right now, and needs cellaring. Greg said it will be "most long lived and elegant," and I have no reason to believe otherwise. We’ll give mine a minimum of three years in the cellar, when we get our allocation.

 1998 Camp Meeting Ridge Pinot Noir: Greg called this the mishmash barrel, and commented on the huge color, tannin and sugar, despite only 12.8 % alcohol; he said this cool climate Pinot has the longest hang time in California. He noted Indian spice in the flavors and aromas, while Joan mentioned cardamon. These complimented the huge black cherry essence of the wine. While we were being wowed by this, Greg stated "This is a magic place, a happy, favorite site for Pinot."  This point was becoming increasingly obvious to us.

1998 Mendocino Zinfandel: Yes, Zinfandel! 15.1 % alcohol and no heat to speak of at this point, just big spicy fruit without much oak. Greg said they were just concentrating on the fruit. Pure beautiful stuff!

1997 Flowers Sonoma Coast Pinot Meunier: This ruby garnet isn’t as dark as the Pinots, nor is it available, as only a very small amount was made. Bree commented on "the wonderful smoky nose," but Walt said it wasn’t as brilliant as it had been in December." Though not as sharp and focused as the Pinots, I found it to have a nice soft, perfumed quality on the nose and palate, with rich, delicious cherry plum flavors and aromas. It came as no surprise that it opened and improved in the glass.

1995 Flowers Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir Camp Meeting Ridge Moon Select; 13.5 % alc: The color is a deeper smoky ruby dark garnet than you find in most Pinots, giving the first hint of how powerful this wine is. Huge perfumed aromas of black cherry/smoke with a hint of melted paraffin wax erupt from the glass and follow through on the palate, gaining a note of lapsang souchong tea. Tannins and acidity beg for five years in the cellar; there’s power here, but this will be an elegant wine as well when it’s finally ready.

1994 Flowers Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir Camp Meeting Ridge: (From the Portland Off Line) The generous Mr. Jenesse brought this, and as soon as I saw it, I had to have some. A darker garnet than your average Pinot, it shows beautiful sea air/smoky black cherry/plum/tea leaf flavors and aromas, all in that unique Flowers style. Dense, with plenty of stuffing, it still has significant tannins and lots of acidity. Give it another 3-5 years.


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