Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Neal Napa Valley Rutherford Dust Vineyards 2006 Petite Syrah

Neal Napa Valley Rutherford Dust Vineyards 2006 Petite Syrah, $30.59-$37.99, 88 points. 

I think I'm going to get some flak for this score, but I've got to call them as I experience them.
I am a fan of Neal wines, but this one, which I had great expectations about, caught me off-guard.
The color had a sliver thin silver rim lining, but quickly went black to the core.
The aroma was a quite nice clove/cedar wafting bright and clear.
A nearly full body carries an early palate sleek smoky earth, but then falters on a muted plum and black licorice with little spiciness. However, the finish has a long herbal cayenne quality. 
There may have been a problem with this bottle, but without having another or a more recent vintage, I can't say for sure, but this wine just did not have a brightness or lively fruit, or spiciness which I would expect. So, as it stands, this is not a buy for me.


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  1. The thing that struck me is they actually took the term "Rutherford Dust" and coined it into a vineyard name. And hey, 88 is still a great score. It may not be a QPR killer, but by any definition, we should be happy to drink "88" wines.

  2. John, you are right about that (87-89) is kind of my sweet spot for AFFORDABLE everyday wines, but $30-$40 really needs something more than an everyday wine. My expectations were high as well. The thing to keep in mind is that QPR is what I'm generally looking for as an advocate, and I wouldn't advise my son to buy this wine to have with his friends, neither would I do that to my readers, and I think if this Petite Syrah had something distinctively unique about it, I would have skipped the "not a buy for me."
    I have had only a few Brunello DI Montalcino wines, I have six or seven in my cellar, and every one I've tried easily bests this Neal (Some at a similar price), however the Neal Zinfandel is another matter altogether, and at $22, I loved that Zin.
    Thanks for making me think about this, as I'm more aware how important it is to be very sensitive yet honest about scoring wines, and attempting to avoid becoming jaded. I was warned: the better the wines we drink, the more difficult it is to step it down.

    1. "I was warned: the better the wines we drink, the more difficult it is to step it down."

      This is, without question, a very true understatement. And I agree with you - at that price point, I expect a bit more myself.

    2. John, you definitely have one of the more interesting blogs that I regularly visit, with that said, thanks for making this one better with you time-taken to comment. Also, since I do love many Italian wines, your blog posts have become a feast of, not only for the hope I can find some of the wines you review (2006 Stella di Campalto Brunello di Montalcino-WOW), but also for your great cuisine. Anyone, including GR, would do well to bookmark "Tuscan Vines".

  3. Dennis, thanks for the nice remarks. I truly enjoy doing it and hope you continue to find it enjoyable. You can never have too many data points for wine. GR? What is GR?