Joseph Phelps

There was a nice turn-out for the Joseph Phelps tasting. These were some of their less expensive wines in the tens and teens, and a couple in the thirty-dollar range. In general I wasn’t really impressed, but my tastes have gravitated a bit higher as of late.

First off was the…

2002 White Pastiche $10
Nice light color, very clear.
Nice fruity aroma like peaches or apricots.
This is a nice blend and the taste curve is well-rounded. It was a little too sweet for me, but I heard others say that it was a little tart for their taste.
It had a nice finish.

2002 Sauvignon Blanc $16
Beautiful, clear appearance.
Lightweight aroma, with just a touch of oak.
Okay in the mouth, but nothing special.
Finish is okay, but not great.

I’ll pass on this one, as nothing beats a Marlborough appellation Sauvignon Blanc right now.

2001 Los Carneros Chardonnay $23
Clear yellow, typical Chardonnay look.
Toasty oak aroma.
Too much oak in the flavor.
Finish turns a little bit bitter.

I’m passing on this one too…

2001 Red Pastiche $10

This was clear the crowd favorite for the evening. Too bad they ran out of bottles for sale, as I heard several people say that they would buy this one if there were some left. Most also said that they wouldn’t make a special trip back to the store for this one the next day when it was in the works to have more in stock. I think that about wraps up my feelings about it. It seems like a nice wine for the price, but nothing to go out of your way for. It is touted as a Rhone-style wine. It doesn’t seem completely typical of that style to me, but I’m not going to suggest that is a bad thing for this wine, as I did like it.

Very dark red, especially if they are trying to emulate a Rhone style. (Being a very dark red is okay by me for most any wine!)
Nice spicy aromas.
A little too fruity flavor for me, but nice. And others liked this characteristic.
There is a touch of pepper just before the finish.
The finish is pleasant.

2001 Merlot $37
I thought this was the wine of the night. Now if you’ve been paying attention, you know that is high praise from me about a Merlot.

VERY dark red, similar to a Cabernet Sauvignon. (They say that there is only 5% Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend, with the rest being Merlot.) There is just a hint around the edge of brown starting to sit in. I think this is appropriate for a 2001.
Nice fruity aroma with a hint of cherries. (Several others, whom I polled said that they too smelled cherries, and no one smelled anything resembling chocolate as the corporate write-up suggests.)
This is nice on the palate. There is a lot of Cabernet Sauvignon characteristic to this one.
Very nice finish. Several thought that the tannins were a bit much here. I didn’t think so.

I thought it was a decent wine even for $37.

2001 Cabernet Sauvignon $38
Very dark, very nice look, with nice legs.
Black fruit aromas.
Very fruity flavors. Not huge, but big. Not as nice as expected considering the appearance.
Okay finish.

I didn’t think this was worth the money even though it was okay. I would part with about $15 for this one, but no more.

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