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eviews & Awards

Robert Parker’s Tasting Notes:

From a very consistent Rhone Ranger producer, the superb 2007 Viognier displays plenty of honeyed citrus and white peach in a full-bodied, mineral-laced style with good acidity as well as plenty of power and depth.  It is certainly one of the better Viogniers in the marketplace and sells for a song.  Sweet cherries, resiny pine forest notes, pepper, and spice characterize the aromatics and flavors of the mid-weight, soft, but authentic tasting 2007 Grenache Unti Vineyard.  It could use more texture, depth, and concentration, but it is very pretty and best drunk over the next 1-2 years.  The 2007 Syrah Truchard Vineyard exhibits plenty of forest floor, acacia flowers, black currant, and blackberry notes, light tannins, and medium to full body, with a gamey mouthfeel and good fruit.  It should drink nicely for 5-6 years.  Another impressive wine with more meatiness and earthiness, is the dark purple-colored 2006 Syrah Kick Ranch, which shows hints of tobacco leaf, roasted Provencal herbs, meat juices, and loads of spice and earth.  It is not as fruit-driven as the Truchard Vineyard, but rather a very different animal altogether, in a completely different style, but it is all the better for it. The 2007 Syrah from Kick Ranch and Unti Vineyard from is an inexpensive California version of a French Cotes du Rhone. Although not complex, it exhibits red and darker fruits intermixed with herbs and spice. A stunning bargain, the 2007 Syrah California is one of the best Syrah values in the marketplace. Its deep plum/garnet color is followed by sweet aromas of crème de cassis, damp earth, pepper and roasted meats. Deep rich, fleshy, and silky textured, it is a hedonistic Syrah to drink over the next 2-3 years.

2007 GRENACH UNTI VINEYARD

DRY CREEK

RED

86 pts.

2009 ROSE

CLEMENTS HILLS

ROSE

89 pts.

2007 SYRAH

CALIFORNIA

RED

89 pts.

2006 SYRAH

SONOMA

RED

86 pts.

2006 SYRAH KICK RANCH

SONOMA

RED

88 pts.

2008 VIOGNIER

SONOMA

WHITE

89 pts.








Renard Wines in Robert Parker's "The Wine Advocate
   
September 2007 August 2004
August 2006 August 2003
June 2005 February 2002
 


Renard - P.O. Box 672 Rutherford, CA 94573 tel 707.265.9061  fax 707.253.8850, email info@renardsyrah.com

Robert Parker’s Tasting Notes, August 2004

Renard has again fashioned a strong portfolio of Rhône Ranger offerings.  For starters, they have produced a gorgeous dry Rosé.  The medium to full-bodied 2003 Rosé is a serious effort that gets its flavor from extract, not sugar.  Perfumed and earthy, it could easily pass for a top-flight Tavel.  Drink it over the next year.  I was enchanted by the light green/gold-colored 2002 Roussanne.  Its floral-scented bouquet it’s followed by hints of honeyed citrus and lanolin. Medium-bodied, textured, pure, rich, ripe and heady, it should be consumed over the next 1-2 years.  For a Roussanne, it is also very reasonably priced.  The 2003 Viognier possesses good stuffing, but a touch of SO2 interfered with a full sensory appreciation.  That characteristic did eventually blow off, but this wine was not up to the level of the Roussanne or the Rosé.
          Renard had produced a bevy of good reds from a wide selection of diverse vineyards.  The outstanding 2001 Tres Niños exhibits notes of roasted meat juice intermixed with pepper, loamy soil, licorice, plums and black currants jump from the glass of this medium to full-bodied tightly structured, impressively endowed red.  It can be drunk now a s well as over the next 7-8 years.  Five Syrahs were produced in 2001: all impressive.  The 2001 Syrah Arroyo Vineyards (14.5% alcohol) exhibits classic aromas of bacon fat, new saddle leather, forest floor, animal fur, and black currants.  The French-styled aromatics are followed by a medium to full-bodied, ripe Syrah with soft tannin and an accessible style.  Consume it over the next 5-7 years.  Slightly lower in alcohol (13.6%), the brilliant 2001 Syrah Unti Vineyards reveals more pure black fruit characteristics without the spice and animalistic side of the Arroyo cuvee.  The Unti exhibits more blackberry and crème de cassis notes as well as a layered palate impression, a hint of fried lard, medium to full body, sweet tannin, and enough acidity for delineation and vibrancy.   Drink this beauty over the next 7-8 years.  The inky/ruby/purple-colored, full-throttle 2001 Syrah Peay Vineyard possesses a deep, layered, intensely concentrated style, and copious quantities of blackberries, cassis, licorice, earth and mushrooms.  Deep, chewy, and muscular, it is a large-scaled, serious Syrah to cellar for 1-2 years, and drink over the following 8-10.  The most austere and leanest of Renard’s Syrahs is the 2001 Syrah Sonoma.  While pleasant, it is more superficial, with more austerity and earthiness in its black cherry and currant flavors.  It should be drunk over the next 4-5 years.  Made in a completely different style, the 2001 Syrah Schatz Vineyard is a big fruit bomb with 14.5% alcohol, medium to full body, and loads of black cherries, black currants, and licorice offered in a n exuberant, flamboyant format.  This outstanding effort is impressively pure, textured and intense. Drink it over the next 5-6 years. 
Lastly, Renard had fashioned a 2002 Grenache Unti Vineyards (15.3% alcohol) that will undoubtedly be controversial because of its borderline fecal note that is pleasant in a cow pasture sort of way.  Dark ruby-colored, with herbs de Provence, ground pepper, and kirsch liqueur aromas, it possesses a gorgeous texture, medium body, and loads of fruit.  IF the nose did not resemble that famous Burgundy cheese, Époisse, this would clearly merit an outstanding rating, but I suspect some readers will find it too in-your-face as well as somewhat dirty, even though there are plenty of positive attributes. It’s worth trying, but some tasters may have to hold their noses.


2002 GRENACHE UNTI VINEYARDS

DRY CREEK

RED

88pts.

2003 ROSE

CALIFORNIA

ROSE

89pts.

2002 ROUSSANNE

SANTA YNEZ VALLEY

WHITE

89ps.

2001 SYRAH

SONOMA

RED

87pts.

2001 SYRAH ARROYO VINEYARDS

NAPA

RED

89+

2001 SYRAH PEAY VINEYARD

SONOMA COAST

RED

91pts.

2001 SYRAH SCHATZ VINEYARD

LODI

RED

90pts.

2001 SYRAH UNTI VINEYARDS

DRY CREEK

RED

90pts.

2001 TRES NINOS

NAPA

RED

90pts.

2003 VIOGNIER

SONOMA

WHITE

85pts.

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Robert Parker’s Tasting Notes, September 2007

I always enjoy the diversity and character of Renard wines.  Although they tend to be among the more rustic offerings I taste, they possess so much soul and personality that the top cuveés are undeniably intriguing.  One of my favorites in this group is the 2004 Syrah Purisma Mountain Vineyard.  Aromas of blackberries, forest floor, and flowers jump from the glass of this full-bodied, pure, meaty effort.  Supple tannins, admirable depth, and full-bodied opulence as well as length suggest it should be consumed over the next 7-8 years.  The brilliant 2004 Tres Niños, a blend of Syrah, Petite Sirah and Cabernet Sauvignon, reminds me of Napa’s famed Shafer Relentless. It is a bold, full-bodied, dense, powerful wine with an inky/blue/purple color, notes of graphite, camphor, blackberries, new saddle leather, roasted meats and new wood, superb fruit, and layers of concentration as well as power.  This beauty should age beautifully for 10-15 years.
          The outstanding 2005 Syrah Kick Ranch offers up scents of road tar, crème de cassis, ground pepper, and loamy earth.  Deep ruby/purple, chewy and rich, it is a stunning effort from the cool 2005 vintage.  The 2005 Syrah California is a simple, straightforward, one-dimensional red.  The earthy underbrush and herbal components of the 2005 Syrah Sonoma will appeal to readers who enjoy the greener, cooler side of Syrah.  With only adequate depth, it needs to be drunk over the next several years.
          From Dry Creek’s Unti Vineyard, the 2005 Grenache reveals a dark plum/ruby color, a sexy kirsch liqueur character, sweet expansiveness in the mouth, fine ripeness, loads of appeal and sensualism, and a lusty, heady finish.  Year in and year out, one of California’s finest dry roses is produced by Renard.  Their excellent 2006 Rosé exhibits a medium salmon/bright pink color as well as beautiful floral, plum, and currant notes, medium body, and loads of flavor and length.  Moreover, it sells for a song.
          Renard’s white wines include two fine offerings.  The 2005 Viognier’s aromas of peaches litchi nuts and tropical fruits are offered in a medium-bodied, richly fruity style that begs to be drunk over the next year.  The 2005 Roussanne from Santa Ynez’s cool climate Westerly Vineyard smells of lemon oil intermixed with heady tropical fruits.  Medium to full-bodied with decent acidity, plenty of punch and a waxy, citrusy mouth feel, it should be enjoyed over the next 2-3 years.

2005 GRENACH UNTI VINEYARD

DRY CREEK

RED

89 pts.

2006 ROSE

CALIFORNIA

ROSE

89 pts.

2005 VIOGNIER

SONOMA HILLSIDE

WHITE

88 pts.

2005 ROUSSANNE WESTERLY VINEYARD

SANTA YNEZ

WHITE

88 pts.

2005 SYRAH

CALIFORNIA

RED

85 pts.

2003 SYRAH

SONOMA

RED

84 pts.

2005 SYRAH KICK RANCH

SONOMA HILLSIDE

RED

91 pts.

2004 PURISMA MOUNTAIN VINEYARD

SANTA YNEZ

RED

92 pts.

2004 TRES NINOS

NAPA

RED

94 pts.

 

 

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Robert Parker’s Tasting Notes, August 2006

One of my favorites in this portfolio is the beautiful, crisp, soul-filled, light salmon-colored 2005 Rosé.  Possessing serious flavor intensity, medium body and a dry finish, it should be enjoyed over the next 6-12 months.  The 2004 Roussanne Westerly Vineyard reveals a tannic grip (as if it were a red wine) along with a light straw color with a greenish hue, solid, medium-bodied flavors, and a monolithic character that is hard to penetrate.  It is best consumed in its fresh youth.
          The generic Syrahs include the 2003 Syrah Santa Rita Hills, a French-styled, elegant effort revealing lovely kirsch and raspberry, black currant underbrush, pepper, and spice characteristics.  IT is a rich but restrained, well-balanced, savory, distinctive wine that should drink well for 5-6 years.  More earthy, herbaceous, smoky, and meaty is the 2003 Syrah Sonoma.  Its tannin, austerity, and leanness suggest it is a good, but uninspiring red to consume over the next 5-7 years.  The dark ruby-hued, open-knit 2003 Syrah California offers aromas of herbs, pepper, spice, black cherries, and currants.  It should be drunk over the next 2-3 years. 
          There are four single vineyard Syrah offerings.  The outstanding 2003 Syrah Peay Vineyard boasts a deep ruby/plum/purple color in addition to a bouquet of smoked meats, dried herbs, pepper and black as well as red fruits.  Displaying wonderful ripeness, nuances, and complexity, medium to full body, light to moderate tannin and decent acidity, this beauty should provide plenty of enjoyment over the next 7-8 years.  A Crozes-Hermitage-like offering, the 2003 Syrah Truchard Vineyard exhibits smoky, herbaceous, garrigue notes intermixed with a Mediterranean sea breeze-scented character. Soft, black currant and cherry fruit flavors are also found in this seductive, medium-bodied, distinctive effort, which only lacks that extra level of concentration.  It is meant to be consumed over the next 4-5 years.  The 2004 Syrah Unti Vineyard reveals a Côtes du Rhône-like herbal character as well as notions of pepper, cherries, black currants, can loamy soil.  With medium body as well as fine ripeness and length, and an angular finish, it, too should be drunk over the next 4-5 years.  The monolithic 2002 Syrah Cappelli Ranch offers dense dark ruby/purple color along with loamy soil and spice box aromas, simple red and black fruit flavors, and a one-dimensional personality.
          Lastly, the biggest wine of this group (15.1% alcohol) is the 2004 Grenache Unti Vineyard.  Although superficial, it is a charming red revealing a deep ruby color, a sweet nose of cherry jam, raspberries, and minerals, and a lovely attack, but it falls off in the mouth.  Drink this well-made Grenache over the next 2-3 years.

2004 GRENACH UNTI VINEYARD

DRY CREEK

RED

87 pts.

2005 ROSE

CALIFORNIA

ROSE

88 pts.

2004 ROUSSANNE WESTERLY VINEYARD

SANTA YNEZ

WHITE

84 pts.

2003 SYRAH

CALIFORNIA

RED

87 pts.

2003 SYRAH

SANTA RITA HILLS

RED

90 pts.

2003 SYRAH

SONOMA

RED

86 pts.

2002 CAPPELLI RANCH

EL DORADO

RED

87 pts.

2003 SYRAH PEAY VINEYARD

SONOMA COAST

RED

90 pts.

2003 SYRAH TRUCHARD VINEYARD

CARNEROS / NAPA

RED

89 pts.

2003 SYRAH UNTI VINEYARD

DRY CREEK

RED

87 pts.

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Robert Parker’s Tasting Notes, June 2005

Renard’s production for these cuvees ranges from a low of just under 100 cases to nearly 700 cases of the Lodi Syrah.  In short, these individualistic offerings boasting considerable personality/character are very limited in production.  Readers looking for a California imitation of a spicy, full-throttle Bandol rosé should not miss Renard’s 2004 Rosé.  With a good acidity and grip as well as plenty of cherry, currant, and plum-like fruit, it is a big, fresh, vibrant, fragrant, captivating rosé.  The light gold-tinged, full-bodied, dense honeyed 2003 Roussanne exhibits this varietals honeysuckle and rose petal-like characteristics.  Drink over the next 1-2 years. The 2004 Viognier (14.8% alcohol) boasts full-bodied, honeyed apricot and peach notes, good delineation, and a heady finish with a hint of heat pushing through.
          My favorite reds include the 2002 Syrah Arroyo Vineyards (190 cases produced).  Its dense, ruby/purple color is followed by sweet aromas of white chocolate, crushed rocks, black fruits, licorice and herbs.  Elegant with medium to full body, loads of crème de cassis fruit, and a touch of spice.  It will drink well for 5-7 years. I also enjoyed the complexity and elegance of the 2002 Syrah Peay Vineyard from the cool Sonoma Coast micro-climate.  An elegant nose of camphor, truffles, blackberries, and cassis jumps from the glass of this dense ruby/purple-colored wine.  As it sits in the glass, floral characteristics also emerge.  Complete, beautifully-textured, and opulent, this medium-bodied, complex, stylish Syrah offers considerable finesse and elegance.  It should drink well for 5-7 year.  The complex 2002 Tres Niños, a Napa Valley proprietary blend made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah and Syrah, exhibits classic aromas of lead pencil shavings, black currants, blackberries, and earth. Medium to full-bodied, textured, and powerful but well-balanced, pure fruit is found in this impressive 2002 blend. It can be drunk now or cellared for a decade.
          The other Syrahs include the somewhat monolithic, but serviceable and correct 2002 Syrah Sonoma.  It possesses a dark ruby/purple color and a clipped finish, but offers good aromatic penetration as well as an attractive attack.  The 2002 Unti Vineyards’ peppery, spicy, earthy nose reveals hints of loamy soil as well as red and black fruits.  Well-endowed, but monolithic in the mouth, with hard tannin and austere, angular finish, whether it will totally integrate its rustic tannin remains to be seen.  It should last for 7-8 years.  The 2001 Syrah Santa Rita Hills comes across like a French Crozes-Hermitage with its tapenade, herb, licorice, and black currant-scented nose, sweet cassis on the attack, medium-body, and crisp, tangy acidity in the finish.  A strong performance is offered by the 2002 Syrah Schatz Vineyard from Lodi.  It is good to see a wine of this quality emerge from this backwater region. Notes of pepper, dried Provencal herbs, melted licorice, dusty earth, plums, and black currants are present in the complex aromatics.  The wine is round, opulent, and savory with great fruit, and a heady finish (despite its relatively low 14.1% alcohol). 
          Renard also fashioned a competent 2003 Grenache Unti Vineyard.  This straightforward, medium-bodied Grenache exhibits cherry and raspberry notes along with decent acidity and a slightly herbal edge to the fruit.  Drink it over the next 2-3 years.

2003 GRENACHE UNTI VINEYARDS

DRY CREEK

RED

86pts.

2004 ROSE

CALIFORNIA

ROSE

89pts.

2003 ROUSSANNE

SANTA BARBARA

WHITE

89pts.

2001 SYRAH

SANTA RITA HILLS

RED

88pts.

2002 SYRAH

SONOMA

RED

85pts.

2002 SYRAH ARROYO VINEYARDS

NAPA

RED

91pts.

2002 SYRAH PEAY VINEYARDS

SONOMO COAST

RED

91pts.

2002 SYRAH SCHATZ VINEYARD

LODI

RED

89pts

2002 SYRAH UNTI VINEYARDS

DRY CREEK

RED

88pts.

2002 TRES NINOS

NAPA

RED

91pts.

2004 VIOGNIER

NAPA

WHITE

88pts.

Close

Robert Parker’s Tasting Notes, August 2003

I have enjoyed Renard’s offerings, which always seem to have one foot in France and one in California.  There is a European complexity and structure to these efforts, along with the sweet fruit that makes California such a viticultural paradise.  The well-delineated, medium-bodied 2002 Viognier Napa offers scents of tangerines, orange marmalade, and peaches in its fleshy, tasty, honeyed personality.  Enjoy it over the next year.  Even fuller, more exotic, and intense is the 2002 Viognier Sonoma. It manages to carry its nearly 15% alcohol with a degree of elegance.  Nevertheless, this is heady stuff with loads of glycerin, tropical fruits, and peaches.  Drink this rich, full-bodied, hedonistic cocktail over the next year.  High glycerin levels in the 2001 Roussanne make it taste almost sweet. Aromas of white peaches, rose petals, apricots, and smoke are followed by a medium to full-bodied, viscous white that might be too over the top for some tasters.  Nevertheless, I enjoyed it and suggest consuming it over the next 1-2 years. 
The 2000 Syrah Santa Rita Hills could easily be mistaken for a French Côte-Rôtie.  Its dark plum/ruby color is followed by a provocative perfume of bacon fat, violets, cassis, and tapenade.  Rich with sweet fruit, medium body, terrific purity, and good underlying acidity, this beauty should provide immense pleasure over the next 5-7 years.  Readers looking for more animal, earth and leather notes along with black currant and blackberry fruit components, should check out the 2000 Syrah Arroyo Vineyards.  It exhibits a fleshier tactile impact than the Santa Rita Hills offering, and in that sense seems much more Californian.  Dense, full-bodied, chewy, and filled with personality, it should drink well for 7-8 years.
Lastly, I would be remiss in not recommending the medium pink-colored 2002 Rosé, a serious offering that tastes like a strawberry/kir cocktail.  Medium to full-bodied, with loads of fruit, it is filled with character (as are all Renard’s wines).  Drink it over the next 6-12 months.

2002 ROSE

CALIFORNIA

ROSE

88pts.

2001 ROUSSANNE

SANTA YNEZ

WHITE

88pts.

2000 SYRAH

SANTA RITA HILLS

RED

90pts.

2000 SYRAH ARROYO VINEYARDS

NAPA

RED

90pts.

2002 VIOGNIER

NAPA

WHITE

88pts.

2002 VIOGNIER

SONOMA

WHITE

90pts.

Close

Robert Parker’s Tasting Notes, February 2002

Proprietor Bayard Fox (renard is French for fox) continues to fashion interesting wines.  Sadly, quantities are limited, ranging from 100+ cases of the Syrah Arroyo Vineyards, to 336 cases of the Napa Syrah.  Nevertheless, they are well worth checking out. The 2000 Viognier (the first Viognier I have tasted from Renard) offers crisp tropical fruit and mineral notes in a medium-bodied, straightforward style. 
          The saturated dark ruby/purple-colored 1999 Syrah Napa reveals knock-out aromas of black fruits, pepper, licorice and flowers.  It possesses excellent purity, and a rich, medium to full-bodied personality with loads of fruit, and no hard edges.  Drink it over the next 7-8 years.  New oak characteristics along with blackberry liqueur and cassis are present in the 1999 Syrah Timbervine Ranch.  Dense, chewy, moderately tannic, and full-bodied, this 1999 will be at its finest between 2003-2012.  The richest, longest, most complete and multidimensional is the 1999 Syrah Arroyo Vineyards.  It boasts abundant quantities of blackberry and cassis fruit along with pepper and camphor notes.  Full-bodied, rich, pure, and seamless, with multiple nuances, this impressive, classic Syrah will drink well for a decade.

1999 SYRAH

NAPA

RED

89pts.

1999 SYRAH ARROYO VINEYARDS

NAPA

RED

90pts.

1999 SYRAH TIMBERVINE RANCH

NAPA

RED

89+

2000 VIOGNIER

NAPA

WHITE

87 pts.

 

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