91 points from The Wine Spectator for our 2012 Smoke and Mirrors?
Score: 91 Refreshingly quirky, this offers ripe cherry and spicy nut bread aromas, leading to zesty dried blackberry, cracked pepper and licorice flavors that linger toward ripe tannins. Zinfandel, Syrah, Grenach...
What can I say; another wine from the Rockpile AVA, but with a very Chateauneuf du Pape aromatic and flavor profile, but then again the wine are so reminiscent of a St. Peters church Zinfandel, where the original budwood comes from. This wine is one of the most layered and complex wines I have made from Rockpile A.V.A. This may have been due to the cool growing season and just a little bit more hang time to get this fruit where it needed to be.A vibrant purplish color is followed by aromatics that are the pure essence of what Mountain fruit is all about. I am talking hot blackberry pie wafting in the air on a warm sunny day. That’s how intense this wine is aromatically. On the palate this wine is like going to an amazing outdoor food market. There is so much going on and so many great things to see and eat; you just do not know where to start. That’s exactly what this wine is like on the palate. A couple of years in the bottle and I assure an incredible experience.
If there was one Zinfandel, that screams Zinfandel in our portfolio, it would have to be the Dusi.
Wine & Spirits Magazine Feb 2014 93 Pts
The Isabel Dusi Vineyard sits along Highway 101 in Paso's Templeton Gap - which means that is gets some cooling influence from the Pacific. The vines here are 60 to 80 years old, dry farmed, the zin interrupted by an occasional vine of carignane. In 2011, these old vines delivered fruit with a heady ripeness that feels vigorous rather than jammy. A ping of acidity points the fruit toward black raspberry flavors, shot through with scents of black pepper, pine needles and smoke. A cooling layer of tannin keeps it on the rails and provides plenty of length. Have this on hand for roast leg of lamb - it's a beautiful example of what zin can do on Paso's sunny, rolling hills.
Once again this wine shines through. Lush, exotic and just brimming with blackberry fruit, mixed with red raspberries and crème brule, this year’s version shows more of the structure that this vineyard canprovide during a cool growing season.
Zinfandel has long been one of Jeff Cohn’s specialties, and his 2011 Zinfandel St. Peter’s Church Vineyard reveals a surprisingly dense, ruby/purple color as well as remarkable concentration and intensity (especially for a 2011), lots of briery, peppery, berry fruit intermixed with a touch of incense, and a full-bodied mouthfeel. This impressive effort is one of the top Zinfandels in this challenging vintage. Drink it over the next 4-5 years. 91 Pts.
As this section of the vineyard continues to mature, the more it has gone from just being a beautiful
expression of sight and selection of the oldest clone of Syrah from Cote Rotie (Suitcase selection), but
now it it shows pure elegance, finesse and Rockpile intensity. These wines aromatics are a combination
of roasted earth, ripe cassis, black truffle, bacon fat and just a touch of mint in the background. The mint
is also found in wines that re from the vineyard source that the budwood was sourced from. This is
classique Rockpile and should only improve with time in the bottle.
Another 100% Syrah offering is the 2011 Syrah So Serine Rockpile Vineyard. As black as a moonless night, it possesses lots of sweet black raspberry and blackberry fruit with a floral underpinning that made me think of the hillsides of Cote Rotie in the Northern Rhone Valley. The wine possesses good tannin, a slight deficiency in fat and charm on the mid-palate, but a beautifully pure and exciting style. It is a success in this problematic vintage. Enjoy it over the next 7-8 years. 90 Pts.
The opaque purple-colored 2011 Syrah Haley Rockpile Vineyard (100% Syrah) is loaded with intoxicating aromas of blackberries, white flowers and an underlying wood component. The complex aromatics are followed by a wine with a big framework and foundation, but perhaps a slight deficiency in charm and flesh on the mid-palate. Nevertheless, it is pure and ripe, and if it fills out, it will merit an even higher score. It should drink well for 5-6 years. 88+ Pts.
Killer Rockpile color that is followed up with that beefy, bacon fat nose that has black cherry pie filling and minerality exploding from the glass. The palate is lush and extracted, but has plenty of back bone for the long haul, and enough sweet fruit to enjoy now, with a few hours in the decanter and a good steak.
Winemaker Jeff Cohn conceived the name Smoke & Mirrors to reference the freedom he experiences in putting his own stamp on the blends. “My wines are all about flaunting the impeccable terroir of our vineyard sources,” Cohn said, “But Smoke & Mirrors lets me work with several wines from several properties. There is no formula or equation for how they’ll be made each vintage, so each release will be a secret, waiting to be revealed.”
The Impostor is about my philosophy that a wine should not be about a set of rules or a specific design. It should be able to go down any path it wants. As much as I love the flavor profiles of individual grape varieties and single vineyard designated wines, I have a zeal to work with blends. Taking different varieties and exploring their deepest, darkest secrets is my passion. I find that in blending them they all have a different story to tell.
From Robert Parker: The 2011 Grenache The Fallen Angel El Diablo Vineyard (100% Grenache) offers the lavender, pepper and kirsch characteristics that define this wonderful varietal that has come of age over the last decade. With good acidity and hefty, but well-hidden alcohol (15.3%), this tasty Grenache should drink well for 4-5 years. 89 Pts.
Grown on a beautiful hillside near Occidental, and a combination of the Pommard and 777 clones, this Pinot Noir exhibits the softer side of our winemaker. This wine has all the characteristics of gorgeous Russian River fruit, stewed bing cherries, a hint of rhubarb, and a finish with a touch of salt from the cooling Russian River fog.
Opaque black purple color with aromas of grilled meats, blackberries, raspberries and touches of black cherries with wisps of Herbs de Provence and roasted coffee. Full bodied and concentrated. Blackberry and raspberry jam ooze from this wine. But then all the wild side starts to show, with Asian spices, smoke meats, cedar and fruit leather finish.