Castle Rock Winery – Californian wines that won’t break the bank

It’s a struggle to find sensibly priced Californian wines in the UK – here are three that deserve closer attention…

Castle Rock Central Coast Pinot Noir 2008, California (£13.99 Adnams Cellar & Kitchen)
Soft spice, gentle ripe raspberry red cherry, a hint of Mivvi lollies (vanilla and strawberry if you don’t know them), juicy and friendly wine, hint of leather, not too complex but very tasty. S-

Castle Rock Syrah 2007, Russian River Valley, California (£11.99 Adnams Cellar & Kitchen)
Vanilla and wafers, the winemaking rather obscures the fruit, there is some spice and and dark, almost ginger-like berry and plum character, but for me the vanilla/chocolate edge of oak is overdone. B(-)

Castle Rock Petite Sirah 2006, Russian River Valley, California (£11.99 Adnams Cellar & Kitchen)
Quite big blue fruit and chocolate character, exuberant, almost tar and ash character, some vanilla from the oak aging, but it’s not as clunky as in the Syrah – maybe due to the extra year on bottle? Still plenty of tannin, nicely rustic, and with its best still to come. B(+)

Viader 2005, Napa Valley, California (£59.99
Massive, intense blueberry and blackcurrant aromas and flavours, intense, rich almost oily texture, a touch of tar from the Cab Franc (31% of the blend) and hints of graphite, dark chocolate, green olives and Mediterranean herbs. Undoubtedly concentrated, yet is it almost too much of a good thing? Over the course of 5 hours, it remained very forward and showy – I’m sure earlier vintages were more lithe and fine-boned. Impressive but I don’t know if I want to drink it. S(+)

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