Wine Review: 2006 Edward Sellers “Le Thief”

13 03 2011

If I wanted this much booze, I'd spend less and buy vodka.

Yet another well-made, well-intentioned California wine done in by an overabundance of alcohol.  I think I’m putting a personal embargo in place effective right now on any wine over 15%, because it seems like once a wine crosses that threshold, everything but the booze level just doesn’t keep up.  It’s a shame too, because some of the elements of this wine were quite impressive.

The “Le Thief” (don’t blame me for the butchered French…Le Voleur?) is a Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre blend from Paso Robles, California produced in very low quantities:  less than 800 cases total (or less than 10,000 bottles) made.  I got it from The Ferocious Grape on 8th St & 10th Ave SW, one of my favourite wine shops in the city due mainly to its friendly, helpful, knowledgeable yet laid-back staff (and also due to the fact that its vault-worthy wines are in an actual [sort of] vault).  FG just started bringing in Edward Sellers’ wines, which are not widely found in Alberta.

I was really struck by the colour on this wine:  a clear, vivid red, not black or inky, and with only medium pigmentation (I could see my hand through it).  The predominant note on the nose was blueberry, along with some dusty and almost floral undertones, and the bright dark fruit flavours carried over to the palate.  Once the fruit notes tailed off, though, what was mainly left was a glycerol-like impression of sweetness and a slight burn from the elevated (15.2%) alcohol.  The finish was accentuated by almost chalky tannins, but they weren’t enough to keep the wine properly in check.  I had the “Le Thief” with marinated BBQed flank steak, and it certainly worked better with the food than without — the proteins from the steak and the acids from the marinade helped give the wine the structure it needed to restrain the alcohol level.

I don’t want to be too down on this wine, partly because I’m on a real Syrah kick right now and partly because I did enjoy bits and pieces of it quite a bit.  But as a card-carrying member of the brand-new-as-of-this-blog Sub-15% Club, I can’t overlook the totally unnecessary fiery heat on the midpalate and finish of the Sellers, and I can’t help but think this would have been a much more balanced, structured, enjoyable wine at 1% less.

Cork Rating: 3/10 (Stop Putting Your Website On Your Cork)

86 points

[Wine Jargon Notes:
pigmentation = the depth and opaqueness of a red wine’s colour, based on the amount of pigment it has taken on from the skins of the grapes during fermentation
midpalate/finish = the tasting of a wine can be broken into three “time zones”:  the attack is the initial perception of the wine on the palate, the finish is the final perception of the wine both before and after swallowing, and the midpalate is everything in between]
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15 03 2011
Wine Review: 2009 Sleight of Hand “The Spellbinder” « pop & pour

[…] 83 points [Wine Jargon Notes: midpalate = see this previous post] […]

20 03 2011
Wine Review: 2008 Juan Gil Monastrell…and Is Kraft Dinner the Perfect Wine Food? « pop & pour

[…] $20 to $30 CDN [Wine Jargon Notes: varietals = see this previous post structure = the sum total of all of the compounds/components that form the framework or architecture of a wine, including its acidity, tannin, and alcohol pigmentation = see this previous post] […]

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