Tuesday, July 6, 2010
2005 Hearthstone "Slipstone" Paso Robles
Check out that imposing bottle! So serious, like the wine inside is brooding, dark, moody, and soulful. I might have set the bar a bit high right off the bat though. Still, I can easily make a list of my friends who'd love to drink a wine described like what I expect the Hearthstone to be.
The 2005 Hearthstone is 72% Grenache, 12% Syrah and Mourvedre, 4% Zinfandel. Later vintages show more of a focus towards Grenache and Syrah.
In the glass, the wine is light like a California Pinot Noir, but I expected it to be darker because of the Syrah and Zinfandel. To see it looking the way it does disappointed me, my palate was hoping for something big and intense tonight.
On the nose, good dose of heat assaults your nostrils but quickly fades into the background. I smelled toffee (oak?), red cherries and dust. Continuing the theme of being surprised by Hearthstone's effort, the wine reminded me of a rustic French red you'd find for 6 Euros at the Supermarche.
What was the winemaker going for in this offering? It's very one-dimensional. Where's the concert of varietals, each adding a note to the chorus? Why do I get an overwhelming sense of singularity?
Delicate flavors of allspice, earth, and a lot of ripe red cherry. While definitely not heavy-handed, it lacks the finesse and elegance of a Cotes du Rhone too. At this point the wine's been open over an hour and I'm desperately fumbling for my Wine Soiree (@winesoiree) and hoping it'll help add something to the sensory experience. Unfortunately it didn't allow anything new to show, rather it enhanced the existing flavors.
By the way, you should buy a Soiree. Seriously. I became a convert after talking to Andrew Lazorchak at the Wine Bloggers Conference in Walla Walla this past June. Wine Soiree website.
What I like about the Hearthstone: nice acidity, interesting notes of spice, an approachable (beyond the alcohol) nose and smooth finish, .
Still, I'm disappointed. I expected more but got a lot less. California Rhone-style blends almost always hit a sweet spot for my palate yet this falls short. There isn't much going on and for $10 there are better, more enjoyable options. I give it a C, an average wine with no flaws and no excitement. If I'd paid $25 like the winery website says, the grade would be lower.
By Beau at 8:17 PM