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Wine Type Vintage Name Variety Locale Date Posted Score Helpful Comments Comment Date Community Score More...

2005 Arcadian Pinot Noir Pisoni Vineyard

Santa Lucia Highlands more

1/16/2015 - grafstrb wrote: 90 points

-- decanted 4 hours before initial taste --
-- tasted single-blind on Day 1; tasted non-blind on Day 2 --

NOSE: Day 1: expressive; red-fruited; floral; hints of cumin and mild chilli powder. Day 2: darker fruits today; hint of black licorice; dry cured meats – Italian salami.

BODY: clear; garnet color of medium-light depth; medium-light to light bodied.

TASTE: Day 1: smooth; high acidity; red-fruited; no tannin; medium-light oak; 13.8% alc. not noticeable; single blind, I guessed this to be the ’03 Francesca’s Pinot Noir. Day 2: tight; light to medium-light green streak; fruits a bit muted. Hold.

50, 5, 12, 16, 7 = 90

  • Comment posted by grafstrb:

    2/12/2015 4:42:00 PM - Yeah, I would. But, it's even better to not open one right now, imo.


2010 Domaine Bernard Baudry Chinon La Croix Boissée

Cabernet Franc more

1/7/2015 - grafstrb wrote: 90 points

-- decanted ~ 30 min. before initial taste --
-- tasted non-blind over 2.5 hours --

NOSE: extremely meaty – raw bloody steak; savory; pronounced green streak; high-toned, in an odd/sewage kind of way; expressive; hints of bloomy rind cheese and dry mineral; deep; complex; slightly bretty; light/ hint-toned red fruits.

BODY: medium-light bodied; superfine particulate matter present; violet-garnet color of medium-deep depth.

TASTE: rustic; lots of garrigue and low-level brett; fruit is muted; plum, to the extent fruit flavors are presented; pronounced green aspect; solid mineral note (pencil lead); tannins are pretty light, which makes this a flashy wine; medium to medium-light fruit concentration; better with food (steak) than without; medium to medium+ acidity; 13.5% alc. not noticeable; a touch ashy, with a hint of oak; complex; I do hope future bottles aren’t this bretty, as this wine is probably gangbusters without it (or at a lower concentration level) – I could imagine scoring it in the 93 – 95 range, if clean. Need to check-in on another bottle soon, just to see if I can get a better feel for the brett situation here.

50, 5, 13, 15, 7 = 90

  • Comment posted by grafstrb:

    2/12/2015 11:47:00 AM - :)


2008 Dacalier De La Terre

Lake County Red Rhone Blend more

4/20/2014 - grafstrb wrote: NR

-- popped and poured --
-- tasted a couple glasses non-blind over approx. 1 hour --
-- 81% Grenache, 14% Carignane, 5% Syrah --

Savory; spicy; fruit is a bit more tertiary than primary; seems to be at its peak right now, but I’d be willing to bet that it would ride in the cellar for a couple more years; expressive; hint of brett?; richer/fuller than the ’98 Clos des Papes opened next to it; very good; two of the four folks at the table preferred this to the aforementioned CdP.

  • Comment posted by grafstrb:

    1/29/2015 12:08:00 AM - Thank *you*, Dave! This is the bottle you gifted to me back in the day, and it was well cared-for until the date the cork was pulled. It provided great drinking pleasure for me and three other folks, and it was a marvelous pairing with roasted leg of lamb, ta boot. :)


2009 Rhys Pinot Noir Family Farm Vineyard

San Mateo County more

12/2/2014 - grafstrb wrote: flawed

-- popped and poured --
-- tasted non-blind over approx. 3.5 hours --

NOSE: high-toned florals; pomegranate; a noticeable gamey quality.

BODY: dark ruby color of medium-shallow to medium depth; medium-light bodied.

TASTE: muted fruits; hint of stems; hint of very fine tannin; 13.4% alc. not noticeable; good acidity; moderate brett; nice little floral spiciness on the mid-palate; mostly red-fruited, but perhaps just barely ticking into the purple fruits spectrum; seems like good raw material here, but the brett is strong enough to be both distracting and unfortunate.

  • Comment posted by grafstrb:

    12/2/2014 5:52:00 PM - I haven't decided yet what I'm going to do with my remaining bottles. By most accounts, the clean bottles are fantastic. But I'm not sure I want to play that game of roulette, so I might take Rhys up on their offer to allow returns on this wine.

White - Off-dry

2005 Gunderloch Nackenheim Rothenberg Riesling Spätlese

Rheinhessen more

8/18/2014 - grafstrb wrote: 89 points

-- cracked and poured --
-- tasted non-blind over a few hours --

NOSE: moderate petrol; tropical fruit aromas are faint; lightly spicy – woodsy; simple.

BODY: full bodied; medium tan-yellow color; no spritz.

TASTE: sweet; papaya; mellow pear note; good mineral note; seems to be out of its infancy now (sweetness doesn’t come across as white sugar); 8.5% alc. not noticeable; acidity is low, but it is a touch tangy; slight petrol note; weak on the rear palate; good – very good, really -- but I’m not sure this will make it another 11 years without being much worse for the wear, so drink remaining bottles now or over the med.-term.

50, 5, 11, 16, 7 = 89

  • Comment posted by grafstrb:

    11/18/2014 5:35:00 PM - Hi Dave,

    Opening that bottle now certainly wouldn't be criminal. I hope you enjoy it! I still have a couple bottles in our cellar, so I'll see any tasting note you post for it. :)


1995 Château Clerc Milon

Pauillac Red Bordeaux Blend more

8/23/2014 - grafstrb wrote: NR

-- decanted for approx. 1 hour before initial taste --
-- tasted a couple glasses non-blind over 1 hour --

Youthful color, with no bricking. Nose was very expressive, with a typical Pauillac profile --- pencil lead, moist earth, and purple fruit. Pretty youthful on the palate for a wine of nearly 20 years: this bottle showed lots of freshness, and still has some tannins that have yet to resolve; that said, the fruits are starting to take on a relaxed/aged character, but there's still a long way to go until I'd consider this wine mature; alc. was not noticeable. This is drinking very nicely right now, but if you've been cellaring any with the intention of drinking them at maturity, then you should continue to let them sleep in the cellar.

  • Comment posted by grafstrb:

    11/17/2014 2:18:00 PM - Did you ever open this, Tim?

  • Comment posted by grafstrb:

    11/17/2014 3:08:00 PM - Damn. That sucks. Glad to hear the Lynch- Bages was on-point! :)


2010 Samuel Smith Yorkshire Stingo

Malt more

2/26/2014 - grafstrb wrote: NR

-- crown-capped 550mL bottle --
-- BBE: June 2013 --

NOSE: sweet; molasses; hint of sweet spearmint; smells like a dubbel; a bit sweeter smelling than the ’12;

BODY: auburn-ruby color; medium-low carbonation produces a medium-fine bubbled head that is a golden-tan color; medium to medium-full bodied.

TASTE: sweet taste, but dry mouthfeel; 8% alc. is well-hidden; pleasant red licorice flavor; quite malty; this has aged into a more subtle state than the ’12, but, truth be told, there’s not much of a meaningful difference between the two; I find it interesting that the producer says this is best by the end of June 2013, as I find it still quite pleasurable --- the side-by-side comparison with the ’12 seems to suggest that the brewer intends this to be consumed when it still has a rather intense flavor to it. I have a slight preference for where the 2012 is at this time.

  • Comment posted by grafstrb:

    11/16/2014 2:32:00 PM - Hi mulligan,

    Thank you for the kind words. :)

    My bottles of the '10 and '12 vintage both had a "best before end" date on the back label, directly above the bar code. Hope that helps. :)


2002 Arcadian Pinot Noir Francesca's Cuvée

Santa Lucia Highlands more

8/7/2014 - Frank Murray III wrote: NR

This wine was off to me. Immediately on opening it, had a sense of barnyard, something just above subtle to noticeable, in both the aromatic and palate. I'm not a fan of this note, as it's a detractor for me. In addition, adding that to what seemed to be riper tones for one of Joe's wine, it simply didn't work for me. Comparing this to a recent bottle of 2005 Arcadian Clos Pepe, that wine was fantastic and thematic of what I see in Joe's best wines, yet this 2002 Francesca's was not. I appear to be in the minority based on the TNs below and I'm calling the wine as I found it.

  • Comment posted by grafstrb:

    11/13/2014 2:23:00 PM - We opened a bottle of this last night; our bottle was *exactly* as you describe this wine in your note, and I had the exact same feelings about the brett level in this wine as you did. Looks like there may be some bottle variation going on.

  • Comment posted by grafstrb:

    11/14/2014 11:35:00 AM - There ya' go, Frankie! LOL!!

    Funny thing is --- that's actually the way *I* felt when I saw *your* note! ;)


2011 André-Michel Brégeon Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine Sur Lie

Melon de Bourgogne more

3/31/2013 - Wine-Strategies Likes this wine: NR

What jelly is to peanut butter, and butter is to toast, this wine is to Oysters. One bottle was all I had on hand to wash down 2 dozen freshly shucked Kumamoto, but given how tasty this is (and, as Drwine2001 says, given the spotty quality of Loire in 2011), this is clearly one of the standouts; I've promptly ordered a case, though I doubt that'll be enough to carry us through this summer. Good now, probably even better summer '14 as this still has some development remaining. highly recommended, 12,0% abv

  • Comment posted by grafstrb:

    10/8/2014 12:44:00 PM - Thanks for this note, Tim. I was just looking at a store's inventory, wondering if I should give this a go. In this price band, I routinely throw my hands in the air and just let the wine winds carry me wherever they may. For whatever reason, today, I felt like trying to find truly good wines, and your note here helped me find this one. Thank you. :)

  • Comment posted by grafstrb:

    10/8/2014 6:01:00 PM - When I got to the store they only had the 2012 vintage. Apparently, they haven't updated their online inventory. The guy in the store kept harping on how a 2011 Muscadet is "way too old now, anyways." Pfffft ... whatever.


2000 Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste

Pauillac Red Bordeaux Blend more

3/29/2014 - grafstrb wrote: NR

-- double decanted 8 hours before the event --
-- tasted a couple pours, blind, over a couple hours --

Mahogany color of medium-deep depth, with some bricking. Nose is dominated by blackberry, black cherry, and an odd earthy/plastic note. Medium bodied. Tastes old; smooth; hint of brett; black cherry; came across as a wine that is at its peak, but after the reveal the owner of the wine and I surmised that this bottle simply saw way too much air before it was tasted. Regardless, I’m surprised this didn’t take the 8 hours of air better than it did.

  • Comment posted by grafstrb:

    6/12/2014 1:56:00 PM - Thanks for chiming-in, Ibetian. I appreciate your specific mention of the '01 being superior to the '00, in your opinion. I'll keep an eye out for bottles of the '01 and will take one for a spin if the price is right. :)


2006 Dover Canyon Barbarian

Paso Robles Zinfandel Blend, Zinfandel more

4/18/2014 - grafstrb wrote: 93 points

-- popped and poured --
-- tasted non-blind over a few hours --
-- 60% Zinfandel, 40% Petite Sirah --

NOSE: wild red berries; a touch floral; dark berry compote; hint of mineral; moderately complex; a bit high-toned.

BODY: red-violet color of medium-deep depth; medium-full bodied

TASTE: wow … this is really good! Wild berry is repeated on the palate; excellent acidity; slight hint of leather; an elegant prune note (I think this is some tertiary character that has developed); low-to-moderate oak; a touch medicinal --- black cherry syrup; tannins fully resolved (I seem to recall that this was quite tannic upon release); 15.0% alc. is well-hidden by the ripe fruit and good acidity; clean; leather note gets a bit stronger after approx. 4 hours open; this far exceeded my expectations; this is probably in its prime drinking window right now.

B: 50, 5, 13, 17, 8 = 93

  • Comment posted by grafstrb:

    5/14/2014 1:50:00 PM - LOL! Very well may be, my friend! :)


2006 Dover Canyon Barbarian

Paso Robles Zinfandel Blend, Zinfandel more

5/24/2009 - brigcampbell wrote: 91 points

Interesting blend of Zin/PS. great nose sitting in the bottle like maple syrup, but unique taste not syrupy. nice big finish. This has potential to really be special, I'll sit on the other bottle.

  • Comment posted by grafstrb:

    5/13/2014 10:30:00 AM - You should have sat on your other bottle longer, my friend. Your initial impression that this has the potential to be really special was right!

  • Comment posted by grafstrb:

    5/13/2014 1:08:00 PM - I know! You should have held onto it, man. A bottle I had a month ago (just posted my TN today) was amazing. Very sad I only purchased one bottle. :(


2010 Radikon Pinot Grigio

Venezia Giulia IGT more

5/5/2014 - grafstrb wrote: NR

-- popped and poured --
-- tasted non-blind over 3 days --

NOSE: expressive; faint notes of mint, varnish/expoxy, cigar, and cedar; moderately alcoholic

BODY: hazy tan-amber color --- looks like a natural apple cider; medium-light bodied.

TASTE: slight tannin; lots of umami; medium-high acidity; slightly sour; non-descript mineral aspect; light cigar flavor. Interesting, and I liked it.

  • Comment posted by grafstrb:

    5/13/2014 1:25:00 AM - Thanks! Hopefully, next time, you'll be able to drink some of your own wine! :P


2007 Cayuse Syrah Cailloux Vineyard

Walla Walla Valley more

5/5/2014 - grafstrb wrote: NR

-- popped and poured --
-- tasted a couple glasses blind, over approx. 1 hour --

The super peppery/stemmy Syrah Nose here had me convinced this was a St. Joseph from a ripe vintage. The palate was bitter with somewhat muted ripe dark fruit flavors; polished (not tannic); young; green; a bit dumb. After I was assured that this was a New World wine, I did guess Cayuse --- the killer Nose combined with the muted palate led me there, as that’s exactly the experience I’ve previously had with Cayuse. The second glass showed much more promise than the first, with the wine starting to unfurl and reveal some more focused fruit flavor. 14.6% alc.. This bottle, being the second Cayuse I’ve tasted, has me quite befuddled and worried about these wines; despite many opinions to the contrary, maybe Cayuse Syrahs simply need lots of time in the cellar to show well?

  • Comment posted by grafstrb:

    5/13/2014 1:24:00 AM - Thanks for your comment, Radboy. I have a few Cayuse in my cellar, so I appreciate the tip on how to handle them. :)


2012 Indaba Chenin Blanc

Western Cape more

1/3/2014 - grafstrb wrote: 87 points

-- popped and poured --
-- tasted non-blind over a couple hours --

NOSE: green (pyrazines?); papaya; banana; slight honeyed edge; tight to moderately expressive.

BODY: pale yellow color; medium-light bodied.

TASTE: very nice acidity; lots of mineral; hint of oak or something oak-like; very dry; a bit tangy; lightly tropical, but nonetheless very lean --- little fruit --- mostly mineral; lemon/lime; 13.5% alc.; very interesting take on this variety; awesome value at ~$10; this is more proof that South Africa is producing lots of interesting wines these days; not complex; medium-short finish of medium-light intensity; wish this had more fruit flavor, but overall it’s really hard to complain, given the price.

B: 50, 5, 11, 15, 6 = 87

  • Comment posted by grafstrb:

    1/29/2014 3:47:00 PM - I have no idea what IPMP or IBMP are! Sooo ... yeah. :P

    I've been just *loving* discovering the wines of S.A. over the last three years. I will miss the superlative S.A. selection of my LWS when I move back to the States.


2005 Arcadian Pinot Noir Francesca's Cuvée

Santa Lucia Highlands more

9/14/2013 - rocknroller wrote: 89 points

Mpls Wine Club: Spotlight on Arcadian Winery (Tracy's, Mpls): Dark red color. Had a 1.5hr decant. Drank 1 glass over 45 minutes. The nose is ripe, pungent, sweet fruits, strawberry, cherry cough drops, spice. The palate delivers spice, oak, medium body, sour cherry, spicy and average finish. There is something else there that I can't quite put my finger on that is in many central coast pinots. Not sure what it is, but I don't find it desirable. 88-89pts.

  • Comment posted by grafstrb:

    10/3/2013 4:45:00 PM - Thanks for these notes, my friend. I *really* wish I could have been at this event, as Arcadian is my favorite USA producer. I think it's unfortunate this is the only Arcadian Pinot that was in the lineup, though. If one person provided all of these wines, then that was a very generous person, indeed. :)

  • Comment posted by grafstrb:

    10/4/2013 3:03:00 PM - Cool stuff. Sadly, we will not be making it back to MN for XMas this year, but we should make it for XMas 2014. :)


2006 Tablas Creek Esprit de Beaucastel Blanc

Paso Robles White Rhone Blend more

7/7/2013 - mr.spock wrote: 90 points

Been sitting on this one since I purchased at the winery in Paso...
-some smoked bacon on the nose, medium golden hue
-taste: lemon, honeysuckle, lots of depth, coats the mouth, velvetty with a little powerful kick to it...also get a subtle cologne mixed with 7-UP thing going on!
Overall very nice and elegant but packs a little bit of a punch. Drank this with a homemade dinner of Octopus and arugula and prosicutto salad.

  • Comment posted by grafstrb:

    7/29/2013 5:44:00 PM - Ooooh! That sounds like a killer dinner, and a great wine to open for the occasion.


2011 Elena Walch Lagrein

Alto Adige - Südtirol more

7/19/2013 - mr.spock wrote: NR

bought this because I love lagrein cheese and wanted to try the wine...

simplistic, purple in color, slightly dry, gets better after its been opened for 2 days...nice table wine

  • Comment posted by grafstrb:

    7/29/2013 5:43:00 PM - Glad you liked this one ... I love lagrein. Never heard of the cheese, though!


2008 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc Cuvée Roussanne Vieilles Vignes


10/26/2010 - grafstrb wrote: NR

– tasted a single glass non-blind over approx. 15 minutes –
– 100% old-vine Roussanne –

NOSE: crazy expressive Nose of musk, oily lanolin, and pineapple.
TASTE: full bodied and buttery; honeysuckle; good minerality without being a mineral-bomb; ridiculously long finish. Showy. Serious. Gut: 92 - 94.

  • Comment posted by grafstrb:

    7/13/2013 2:48:00 PM - It's a fantastic wine, Robert. I just wish it wasn't so expensive!


2008 Rhys Pinot Noir Alpine Vineyard

Santa Cruz Mountains more

4/15/2013 - t_moderne wrote: 90 points

Pop and pour and followed for three hours, without food, unless you count Wheat Thin crackers as food. The re-corked, chilled, and tasted the following day. This has the Rhys signature nose and flavor profile. A savory and crisp Pinot. Some herbal elements (whole cluster) and fresh crushed raspberries. A hint of mint and basil mixed in. This has a lively flavor, some tartness, with the fresh fruit. Light in weight but there is good flavor, leaning to the savory side of the spectrum.

  • Comment posted by grafstrb:

    5/6/2013 3:16:00 AM - Did you think this was better on Day 1 or on Day 2?

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