Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Naked Vine Double Barrel -- Geyser Peak Redux

When we checked in with Geyser Peak back in the summer, they were rolling out some new packaging, logos, and such to bring their California heritage to the forefront. Now, as winter party season rolls around, Geyser Peak is adding Pinot Noir to their stable of wines, which currently includes Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Geyser Peak’s selections are what I would term “walking around wines” – wines that you might have at a party when you’re walking around, chatting with folks, and not really thinking too much about what’s in your glass at the time. In general, these are wines with basic varietal character, not too much complexity, and straightforward flavors. They’d also make decent tables wines, in my experience.

Initial thoughts about the new Geyser Peak 2012 Pinot Noir? In my judgment, it’s just OK. The nose hasfairly strong cherry and wood aromas. After even a couple of sips, it tasted a little disjointed, like the flavors sort of careen around your palate without a lot of focus. There are some rich raspberry and cocoa flavors, but that’s about it. There’s almost a “hitch” in the wine’s flavor as it goes towards the finish. There’s a little smokiness at the end, but it almost tastes a little artificial – like Liquid Smoke flavoring. It’s definitely drinkable, but it’s certainly not going to make anyone shake their head and go “Yes! This reminds me of a fine Burgundy. Get me another bottle of this immediately!”

The Geyser Peak 2012 Sauvignon Blanc was a little better. It seemed a little different from the bottle I sampled back in July. There are some lime, floral, and melon scents on the nose and the palate is an acidic blend of grapefruit and more of that melon flavor. The crisp finish winds up a little bit on the grassy side, so if you like a New Zealandish style of Sauvignon Blanc, you’ll probably not be disappointed with this one. The finish on the bottle from the summer seemed more fruity to me than the acidic zip of this one.

For some reason, I had in my head that both these bottles retailed for around $8, which would have made them very solid wines for that price. Going back over the promo materials, I saw that the Sauvignon Blanc retails for $10-12. Certainly a reasonable value. The pinot noir is a $15-17 bottle, which I honestly feel is about five bucks too expensive. You can find better pinot noir at that price point. Think of it as Geyser Peak working out the kinks in the process. I would expect the 2013 to be better.

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