1. Pelaverga: This is a rather rare grape that is native, as best we can tell, to the Piemonte. I've only had 4-5 over the yrs. It produces a kinda lightish wine, not to different from Schiava, but generally not as earthy/mineral as that AltoAdige wine. The strong black pepper character in this Burlotto is a character I've never picked up before. This was probably the best Pelaverga I've yet tried. Not as profound a Piemonte wine as Freisa or Brachetto; but quite nice in its own way. Probably something the hipster somms will, or have already, glomm onto.
2. Ruche: This is a variety that most think is indigenous to the Piemonte, though some believe that it is an adaptation of some variety brought from Burgundy many yrs ago. There is no ampelographic data to support that belief. I was first exposed to the grape when DarrellCorti brought in some Scarpa Rouchet in the late '70's and fell in love with it because of its ethereal/delicate floral/berries aromatics. To me, it resembles a bit Marzeminno, a bit Freisa, a bit MoscatoRosa. But it's a grape w/ wonderful aromatics and they should be planting it all up & down the coast of Calif. Alas, not available from FPS.
3. Mondeuse: Technically known as MondeuseNoire. There is a parent/sibling relation w/ MondeuseBlanche. Syrah is a cross of MondeuseBlanche X Deureza. SteveLagier refers to their MondeuseNoire as the bastard uncle of their Syrah, hence their interest in the variety. Mondeuse was originally (mis-)identified as Refosco dal PeduncoloRosso in Calif. Hence, many of the plantings known as Refosco in Calif are actually Mondeuse. Which is not a bad thing.
Most of the Mondeuse is grown in the Savoie region of France, particularly in Bugey. It's a bit of a trick
to get the grape to ripen there and they tend to be a little spare & lean. The wines, to me, have sort of a plummy/black cherry character w/ a distinct earthiness characteristic of Savoie reds. A variety we should see more of in Calif.
4. L-M Mondeuse: This is a much different beast from Steve&Carole's previous Mondeuses. It had a very strong herbal/rosemary character that I'd not picked up in their earlier renditions. Yet that plummy/floral character that I like so much in Mondeuse came thru loud&clear. I believe Carole said that Parker gave it a 77 in his NapaVlly review. Given Parker's aversion to wines lacking big fruit and tasting of underripeness, that score doesn't surprise me a bit. This herbal/rosemary character reminded me quite a lot of DarrellCorti's Mondeuse '09 that he made (by Trinchero) from the last crop of Mondeuse/Refosco off Antinori's AtlasPeak vnyd.
This herbal/rosemary character gives the Mondeuse a bit of a rustic/sauvage character that resembles a bit some from the Savoie. I thought this was quite an exotic rendition of Mondeuse that I really loved. But not a wine that would appeal to Monktown attourneys.
5. Zins: I was quite taken by the strong spiciness and aromatics of the Chester'sAnvil. I generally am not a big fan of the AtlasPeak/MeadRanch Zins, finding them a bit on the quotidian side. Easily the best MeadRanch Zin I've yet had.
I was less taken by the Ridge. Being as it's all from the LyttonEast (old-vine stuff); I was expecting great things from it. But I think the 25% PS sorta dumbs it down a bit and it doesn't have the strong spiciness I usually find in LS. At this point in time, the regular LS seems better. But this LyttonEstate is a big wine and well probably evolve into a very good Zin.