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

2007 Lewelling Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Wight

St. Helena more

10/23/2015 - grafstrb wrote: NR

-- popped and poured --
-- tasted non-blind over 2 days --

NOSE: soft/lush/ripe/fruit shake; oak; fumey; soft/lush/ripe non-descript fruit; fairly anonymous --- this could be a big lush overoaked/ripe Central Coast Rhone Blend; hints of mint and cinnamon.

BODY: ruby-garnet color of great depth; full bodied; some sediment present.

TASTE: very oaky; 15.8% alc. is obscene --- this wine actually has a malty whisky taste to it; tastes a bit like a Ruby Port or LBV Port; this is pretty gross. Ultimately ended-up dumping a lot of this. Lewelling really messed this one up badly. Gut impression score: somewhere in the 70's or high 60's.

  • Comment posted by grafstrb:

    11/8/2015 8:07:00 PM - Oddly, I found the "regular" St. Helena bottling to be slightly less offensive, with an emphasis on "slightly." I'm massively disappointed I ever spent my money on these '07s from Lewelling. Oh well ... c'est la vie!


2005 Concha y Toro Cabernet Sauvignon Don Melchor

Puente Alto more

9/19/2015 - rocknroller wrote: 91 points

South American Stars (Rocknroller's (Kevin & Vicki's Place)): Very dark red color. Decanted for 1.5hrs, drank 1 glass over 90 minutes. 97% CS, 3% CF. Very much an enigma tonight as this bottle just didn't show as expected at all. A rather nondescript nose with cedar and dark fruits that gives some nuances after awhile. The palate seems youthful tonight, medium full bodied, cassis, gritty, graphite, dry tannins and showing more wood. Good, but not great, it just seemed like it was tight and in a dumb phase. It didn't really change much over the evening though.

  • Comment posted by grafstrb:

    10/15/2015 2:35:00 PM - Thanks for this. I keep wondering if now is a good time to check back in on this wine; your note helps me stand by "Not right now."

  • Comment posted by grafstrb:

    10/15/2015 10:00:00 PM - I've only had the '05 on one previous occasion --- back in 2010 --- and I thought it presented as closed/tight back then. Hopefully this wine eventually relaxes and shows more of itself ... especially b/c I'm sitting on four bottles! Hope all is well with you and yours, Kevin. :)


2014 Stone Brewing Company Fyodor's Classic Imperial Russian Stout

San Diego County Malt more

4/25/2014 - grafstrb wrote: NR

-- caged and corked 500mL bottle --
-- bottled: Feb. 14, 2014 --
-- aged in Bourbon barrels for 12 mo. --
-- IBU: 38 --

NOSE: expressive and intense; dark chocolate; anise; molasses; chocolate powder; toasted and candied pecans and hazelnuts.

BODY: foamy dark tan head; black color of great depth; medium-full to full bodied.

TASTE: bitter/sweet with flavors of molasses, bitter chocolate, and bitter coffee on the rear palate; 13.9% alc. well-hidden; this is excellent; warming in the belly; sweet and bitter --- perhaps a touch more bitter than it is sweet. As a BBAS: 9.0/10

  • Comment posted by grafstrb:

    9/13/2015 2:46:00 PM - I agree --- it probably will. And your comment reminds me that I need to grab a couple of my bottles and check back in on this beer. Cheers!


2005 Château Clerc Milon

Pauillac Red Bordeaux Blend more

2/16/2015 - Nutty08 Likes this wine: 92 points

Finishing a prior Corvined bottle. This was great with steak. Lovely but shy flint and pencil nose, with pure red fruit core on the palate. Plenty tannic, but with a fine velvety texture typical of the '05 vintage. Really delicious. Without food the structure was mostly overwhelming, but the quality is very apparent. Definitely hold to reach maximum enjoyment, but can be approachable with hearty food.

  • Comment posted by grafstrb:

    8/30/2015 1:31:00 PM - How well did the Coravin work?


2005 Long Shadows Wineries Merlot Pedestal

Columbia Valley more

5/23/2014 - wine strategies wrote: NR

Dark ruby toward purple, no sign of age. Initially greeted with clay, cocoa shavings, glue, Andes mints, and blueberry on the nose. Dense palate, with a somewhat gratuitous build, but some cool, redeeming acidity, as well. Chewy, and round, made for instant gratification; styled, not grown. Toasty oak, espresso dreg. Some earth, balsamic and black cherry by the second hour. BE SURE to serve this on the cool side (i.e. cellar temp or just above) as the EtOH can rear its head pretty quickly. 14,7% abv., drink now or in the next 4 years.

Aerated to decanter (mild amount of fine sediment) for 3 hours, served non-blind. Ridiculously heavy bottle.

update: after a long decant, this was returned to bottle, served 2 hours later and enjoyed over 2 hours. While the wine never really got interesting, it was enjoyable - the credit goes to the acidity. Tannins are fully resolved, this is in its window.

  • Comment posted by grafstrb:

    8/25/2015 11:57:00 PM - I've been thinking about opening my last bottle of this, and saw your note. Interesting to see your note about the tannins being fully resolved; I wouldn't have been surprised if you had reported a very tannic wine. How was the oak on this one?

  • Comment posted by grafstrb:

    8/27/2015 8:44:00 PM - Cool. thanks for the additional info, T. :)


2006 Château Gruaud Larose

St. Julien Red Bordeaux Blend more

1/17/2015 - pjaines wrote: NR

Usually I am a fan of super mature wines but this really is already sitting in a nice place where structure, fruit acidity and balance all align into a wine that is Bordeaux-cliche. All cedar, leather, black fruit, minerals and lightness. Lovely stuff - ready now and I'd be inclined to not bother with much more ageing (and I am not a fan of younger wines either)

  • Comment posted by grafstrb:

    6/19/2015 5:38:00 PM - Oh, boy ... seems rather early for this wine to be tasting this way, no?

  • Comment posted by grafstrb:

    6/27/2015 6:41:00 PM - hmmm ... weird. I guess you simply got lucky opening this one when you did. With the memory in my mind of Barry's magnum of the 2000 he brought to that XMas supper a couple years ago (my favorite wine that night), I recently took advantage of an opportunity to buy three regular size bottles of that vintage. I'll have no hesitation to let that one go to 20 years, and beyond.

    Hope all is well with you, yours, and the kids. :)

  • Comment posted by grafstrb:

    6/29/2015 12:06:00 AM - A stunning '07?!? You have my eyebrows flying ...


2013 Saint Verny Pinot Noir Vin de Pays du Puy de Dôme


4/30/2015 - pjaines Likes this wine: NR

This is the perfect midweeker for next to nothing (7 meagre English pounds, m'Lord) that gives a nice little pinot hit without the Burgundy price tag. Very lean and clear and tight, but give this 2 hours of air and it starts to unfurl to reveal punch little cherry notes, dry soild and a firm spine of acidity - certainly the equal of a lot of Bourgogne level reds - perfect summer red. Excellent value.

  • Comment posted by grafstrb:

    6/19/2015 5:36:00 PM - I cannot recall which vintage it was, but I've had a similar experience with a prior vintage. Fantastic little value wine, indeed.


2014 Dirty and Rowdy Sémillon

Yountville more

6/8/2015 - grafstrb wrote: 91 points

-- popped and poured --
-- tasted non-blind over 2 days --
-- one of the bottles that arrived w/temp of 83F --

NOSE: quite expressive; lots of mineral; smells like it will be quite acidic; interesting and pleasant note of woodsy salami; blind, I might struggle to identify this as a white wine; light lemonade note after extended air exposure.

BODY: hazy; sediment present; pale yellow color; light to medium-light bodied.

TASTE: interesting spiciness --- seems to be some kind of fragrant wood – cedar? – not sure where this comes from, as I'm fairly certain this wine never saw oak; lots of mineral flavor; medium-high acidity contributes to this wine's zesty presentation; hint of sun tea; paired very nicely with pork & shitake mushroom spinach salad; although I wish this was a little richer, I like it a lot, and I wonder if this will gain weight with age. Will happily follow this wine with interest over the next few years, and might even give one a chance to go 5+ years.

50, 5, 12, 17, 7 = 91

  • Comment posted by grafstrb:

    6/14/2015 9:21:00 PM - Yes, "Time?" is the million dollar question here, isn't it? fwiw, I liked this more than my wife did.


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. :)

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