2014 Syrah (Jay Wilderotter) by Terre Rouge Easton Wines, Plymouth, CA

Tonight’s Occasion: 2014 Syrah (Jay Wilderotter) by Terre Rouge * Easton Wines, Plymouth CA

Dark inky opaque color. Out of the bottle, nose is a bit shy. Dry, tart plum skins, blackberry and a touch of ripe dark cherries take center stage. A woody leather permeates the background. Swirling vigorously unlocks ripeness, licorice, a hint of crisp eucalyptus wood, herbal notes and granite mineral essence (a subtle bitterness that usually accompanies anise/licorice).

Body is firm, greeting with a touch of acidity and spice. This is almost immediately balanced by heavy dusty fine grained tannins dropping deep down and creating a solid monolithic base structure. Midway through, dry dark plum, and blackberry, conspire with crisp oak to create a slightly softer mouth feel. This quickly gets absorbed by the monolithic structure beneath, leaving black currants and a bitter mineral essence on the palate. At this point the entire palate is under a warm spice heat. Massive tannins and granite minerality sway the palate momentarily from slightly moist to dry and grippy and back again. This act continues until there is little left but parched lips and a spice tingle.

Also affectionately referred to as The Wildebeast, this wine is stands as yet another fine example from our 2019 Winemaker Of The Year. With great sense of place, and crisp execution, this wine is a faithful representation, a world class wine from this highly understated region. No journey into California wines is complete without venturing into Amador and the Sierra Foothills. This Winemaker’s wines stand as solid reference point for what this region and California at large has to offer.

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2011 Syrah (Monarch Mine) by Terre Rouge Easton Wines

Tonight’s Occasion: 2011 Syrah (Monarch Mine Vineyard, Sierra Foothills) by Terre Rouge * Easton Wines, Plymouth CA

Dark semi opaque color. Looks unfiltered. Out of the bottle nose is warm and weighted. This wine is all terroir up front. Reminds me of Beaujolais Gamay or Loire Cab Franc in its expression. Big leather up front with unmistakable wet wood and dusty granite. This wine asserts its origins with a keen sense of place. Within minutes it’s full identity reveals itself in the form of a rich, creamy anise. An unmistakable hallmark expression of the Sierra Foothills. Just beautiful. As it settles, ripe dark cherries, sweet berries and plum reveal themselves with hints of herbs I can’t pinpoint, a sort of eucalyptus.

There is no attack. You are greeted by a long, wide and fairly deep body from start to finish. Dry dusty tannins provide a thick chassis upon which a well integrated melange of leathery notes, dark plum, blackberries and hints of mushroom slowly play. As it finally transitions to finish, the stage clears, leaving black currants and anise and warm gentle spice. The palate is rendered slightly dry and tingling with spice and the chest warms.

There are many reasons why Terre Rouge * Easton was our first inaugural Winemaker of the Year for 2019. This bottle reminds me of all of them. A fine example of what is possible in this region, California and the world at large with a relentless commitment to the art form and excellence. I am just tickled every time I open one of these wines.

Nicely done Bill, Jane and the entire crew at Terre Rouge Easton Wines!

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2012 Zinfandel (Fiddletown) by Easton

Tonight’s occasion: 2012 Zinfandel (Fiddletown) by Easton (@terrerougeeastonwines), Plymouth, Amador, California.

Deep dark clear ruby red color. Pouring right out of the bottle fills the air with crisp plum. Closer inspection reveals this Zinfandel’s faint raisin/berry underpinnings and a very unmistakable star anise, a hallmark of this region’s terroir. The nose then recedes until swirled again. Hints of wet wood leather linger in the back. This is surprisingly restrained for a Zin

Body is precisely balanced from front to back. Clean crisp and measured. Plum turns more ripe dark cherry, wet wood and oak become more refined crisp caramel. Crisp tannins provide precise frame as they quickly turn buttery, and render the palate moist. Mouth feel is clean, light. Transition to finish is characterized by subtle black currant as the body fades gently, revealing a gentle spice, moist lips and slight dusty tannic grit.

This Winemaker’s work is some of the best I’ve seen yet. This zinfandel is no exception and should easily stand as a reference, an example of everything Zinfandel could be, not just in this region but California and the world at large. NOW! is the time to indulge in his work.

Thank you Bill, Jane and the entire crew at Terre Rouge Easton wines for bringing us world class wines.

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2013 Syrah (Les Cotes de L’ouest) by Terre Rouge

Tonight’s occasion: 2013 Syrah (Les Cotes de L’ouest) by Terre Rouge * Easton Wines, Plymouth, California.

Dark rich intense color. Nose is restrained with gentle notes of plum, dark berries and hint of sweet cherry. Terroir is tastefully expressed through subtle wet sandy leather. Once opened up, a hint of mushrooms emerges when swirled.

Body is balanced from front to back, attack to finish. Mild acidity opens up the palate which is quickly filled in with plums, dark cherries and the faintest hint of dried apricot all wrapped in massive, heavy tannin. A seamless transition to finish characterized by an ever tightening tannic grip resulting in parched lips sealed shut with a spicy tingle.

Terre Rouge is our 2019 Winemaker Of The Year. This is their flagship wine, intended to introduce the wider consumer audience to their exquisite small batch wines. It is a head scratcher of a wine because it stands head and shoulders above most reserve Syrah I’ve had. It presents an incredible value at a mind boggling price point. It embodies what a classic California Syrah is all about. I keep a case on hand as a baseline comparison whenever reviewing a Syrah and I can say many Syrah have fallen to this humble wine. Well done Bill, Jane and the entire Terre Rouge Easton Team! πŸ·πŸ˜πŸ‘ŒπŸ½

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2008 Syrah (Sentinel Oak) by Terre Rouge

Tonight’s occasion: 2008 Syrah (Sentinel Oak Vineyards) by Terre Rouge * Easton Wines, Plymouth, CA.

Deep inky color. Rich nose with lots of plum, blackberry and a hint of caramel on the back. Big, beautiful and bold structured body with great balance. That plum and blackberry carries through into the body accompanied by a little acidity. Massive finish dominates the palate as those big tannins roar to life and demand your attention. This is a fantastic wine. A well built wine that punches above it’s weight. The winemakers’s tireless attention to detail, commitment to excellence without compromise and decades of practice in the art and science of wine making really shows here.

This wine is just now becoming approachable in my opinion and has easily another decade of expression ahead of it. At 11+ years old, it is nowhere near its peak expression.

Well done Terre Rouge * Easton! 😁🍷🍷🍷

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2011 L’Autre (GSM) by Terre Rouge.

Tonight’s occasion: 2011 L’Autre by Terre Rouge * Easton Wines. This is a GSM – Grenache, Syrah, Mauvedre.

A red blend from one of our favorite winemakers. Warm rich nose, with lots of cherry and plum wrapped in just the right amount of oak. Earthy mineral terroir is nicely expressed. Body is all business. Very structured, complex and balanced. Just the right amount of acid, tannin, fruit, oak, and terroir. A vibrant finish plays back and forth with tannin and spice, finally relenting to long lasting tannic grip. Once opened up, the tannins begin to spread from the finish to the back of the body, slowly dominating the entire experience reminding you that even though this is the 2011 vintage, it is still young and nowhere near it’s fullest expression.

We opened a 1992 GSM by this winemaker earlier this year. It was a true honor to partake in such a well built well preserved wine. So tonight we continue to explore this winemaker’s craft and how it evolves. There are moments where we feel fortunate to indulge in such art in a bottle. This would be one of them.

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1999 Syrah (Sentinel Oak) by Terre Rouge

Tonight’s occasion: 1999 Syrah (Sentinel Oak Vineyard) by Terre Rouge * Easton Wines of Shenandoah Valley, California.

It has an elusive nose with a hint of oaky chocolate, maybe a little plum.

Once opened it almost vanishes. Body has a mature late stage balance with a hint of acidity that gently and patiently segues into the finish which is introduced by a very brief bite of spice before riding into the sunset with a final gentle wave of mild tannic grip. This wine is ripe and has been ripe for a while.

After 20 years of patiently waiting, it came right out of the bottle ready with the posture of an old sage. It needs no decanting. It is absolutely beautiful. I cannot say enough about a winemaker whose craft shows so well after so long. A bottle like this is a distinct honor, privilege and true occasion. Where were you in 1999? Now imagine where this winemaker was at the same time.

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