Geyser Peak recently rebranded with strikingly different new labels, and to celebrate, the winery sent us a selection of recent releases. Thoughts follow.
2018 Geyser Peak Sauvignon Blanc California – A standard bottling of from-all-over-California sauvignon blanc, showing a sharp acidity, moderate to heavy tropical character, and a hint of ammonia on the back end. This is sort of a “greatest hits” of sauvignon blanc, wholly innocuous and built from the ground up for a wine-by-the-glass service. B / $9
2016 Geyser Peak Malbec Alexander Valley – 97% malbec, 3% cabernet sauvignon. Surprisingly delightful, this malbec is loaded with fruit first and foremost — notes of plum and spiced apple overpower secondary notes of black pepper, which are quite modest here, to the point where they add just a hint of heat to an otherwise deft and well-balanced wine. The tart finish evokes berries, with just the right amount of sugar dusted on them. A- / $34
2016 Geyser Peak Zinfandel Dry Creek Valley – 95% zinfandel, 5% petite sirah. This is a gummy expression of zinfandel, its fruit character shunted to the side. A kind of spiced cereal note seems to dominate, though notes of plums and cherries manage to push through on the back end. Surprisingly staid. B- / $NA
2016 Geyser Peak Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley – 100% cabernet. Quite dry, with overtones of fresh-cut, green wood, and a rather muddy, pruny character behind all that. These two worlds circle one another for some time but never quite meet in the middle, culminating in a rather flat character with only a modicum of interest thanks to some spice elements on the finish. C+ / $46
2017 Geyser Peak River Ranches Sauvignon Blanc Russian River Valley – Lastly, one entry from Geyser Peak’s higher-end Appellation Series (which has a different label design). Lightly sweet and tropical, there’s enough acidity to lift it out of sugar-land, though the finish ultimately comes across as a bit sour and on the green side. I especially liked it less the warmer it became. B / $22