One of the partners very graciously took time out from the incredibly busy operations in the winery: they were just in the process of a major packing operation to get shipments out to customers and were working to a deadline, with the couriers arriving later that afternoon. So, I’m grateful for the time taken to guide me through their wines, although unfortunately it meant there wasn’t time for any real conversation or discussion.
Their first vintage was in 1998 and they now produce some 3800-4000 cases per annum, from grapes from their own 76 acres of vineyards and others which are bought in. Much of the wine is sold direct to consumers; distribution is aimed mainly at putting their wines in restaurants. Zinfandel is king here, and they recommend most are drunk within two to three years.
Outsider, Paso Robles, Linne
This is a blend of 68% zinfandel, 20% syrah and 12% mourvèdre from northern facing slopes and some lower lying areas where the soil is deeper and the temperatures cooler. It is aged in both new American and neutral oak barrels. Cellar door price: $42. Quite a perfumed black fruit nose. Good, deep palate. Very structured with a real chocolatey feel on the finish. But overall, it just feels a touch simple and unexciting. Good. 83/100
Child, Paso Robles,
This is a blend of 71% zinfandel, 17% syrah and 12% mourvèdre, and is made from grapes which they buy in. Cellar door price is $45.
2005 was apparently a vintage marked by high levels of acidity and tannins for zinfandel in the vineyards supplying Linne Calodo: the syrah helps cut the acidity and adds meaty qualities, while the mourvèdre “brings the wine back to earth”. This had been very recently bottled, on the 2nd February 2007.
It has some fairly meaty black fruit on the nose, but it’s quite restrained. There is some nice balanced fruit on the palate. Probably a bit more impressive than the Outsider. 87/100
Leona’s, Paso Robles, Linne
This is a blend of 74% zinfandel, 21% syrah and 5% mourvèdre, produced by Leona Mastan on her 28 year old, 17 acred zinfandel vineyard. The grapes for this wine come from a dry-farmed vineyard planted in the 1970s. It is a field blend, with the vineyard being planted with some alicante and a touch of muscat.
It has a plummy, chocolate nose. It’s quite open and fresh on the palate with nice balance. There’s some real spice on the finish. Very long and lingering, with the spicy blackberry notes lingering very long after. Very Good Indeed. 91/100
& Stones, Paso
Robles, Linne Calodo,
In contrast to the other Linne Calodo wines I tasted, this is not a zinfandel-based wine, but reflects their desire to produce some Rhône style blends (Sticks & Stones has been produced since 2001). The is a grenache-dominated wine, blending 62% grenache, 24% mourvèdre and 14% syrah. (They also make a syrah-based wine, called Nemesis, but that wasn’t available for tasting.) It was blended in April 2006 and bottled on 2nd February, so possibly there’s some bottle shock to take into account.
It has quite a floral nose, with some scented blackberry fruit. Fresh and very, very young on the palate, but it has a nice balance and notable elegance. Promises well, though it probably needs three years or so to really come to proper drinkability. 88 – 90/100
Leona, Paso Robles,
This was made from the most heavily desiccated zinfandel clusters from Leona Mastan’s vineyard. The clusters were destemmed twice. The free run juice was removed to concentrate the sugar: this produced about 38-40 brix. After fermenting, it was left at 16.8% alcohol and 12% residual sugar. Two barrels were made in 2004.
It has a very attractive nose indeed: there’s floral, raisiny, blackberry fruit. Very open and attractive on the palate. It’s rich, but very gently sweet and has some really very interesting flavours: it’s a touch raisiny, but with full orangey notes. This is a very interesting wine indeed. Very Good Indeed/Excellent. 93/100
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Last updated: 3 January 2008