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

2007 Long Shadows Wineries Cabernet Sauvignon Feather

Columbia Valley more

2/16/2015 - mjnickel Likes this wine: 90 points

My three-day Presidents Day weekend was pretty much spent eating a steak so obscenely large it would make Larry Flynt blush. The son-of-a-bitch weighed over 5 pounds and cost $100, but went down easier than Lindsay Lohan for cocaine money

It was a dry-aged tomahawk ribeye and the meat I trimmed off the handle got ground up and yielded six of the tastiest hamburgers I ever had (actually, two of them are still in my refrigerator). And the steak was thrown onto a cast iron griddle, went in the oven until medium rare, and finished back on the griddle with garlic, butter and fresh thyme. If I had a time machine, I'd like to take that steak with me and dance with it on Soul Train to Michael Jackson's "Don't Stop Til You Get Enough." What happens after that is between a consenting adult and his Tomahawk Ribeye.

Don't judge me! I'm a tax payer and a licensed driver!

I'd like to say I chose the wine because I thought its bright Washington State fruit would carry the beets and turnips I roasted with the steak (which it marvelously did), but really, I just grabbed the first Cabernet I wasn't saving for a special occasion. As it turns out, it's dang tasty. Fruit forward and savory at the same time. Cherries, firm tannins and fresh herbs on the finish that carry the thyme-butter all the way through. It was my last bottle, so I can't share any with you when you invite me over for dinner, but could I interest you in a Syrah so tasty it'll make you excuse yourself to the back yard to contemplate the direction of your life?

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2010 Etude Chardonnay

Carneros more

4/2/2014 - mjnickel wrote: 88 points

This is going to be an odd tasting note, but hang with me and don't over think it. But this wine makes me want some biscuits and gravy. You know, the southern staple of fresh homemade biscuits and sawmill gravy.

This is not to say this wine tastes like either of those things, or would go well with either, but there's something here that is fatty and thick, but uplifting enough that you could full yourself with it for half a day.

There's some nice tropical fruit here, with just a hint of a grassy note, that takes a backseat to the oily, oakiness of the, um, well, oak. It's not overbearing, but about 15% more acid would have made this kinda special. As it is, it's still pretty good. I'd drink it again if you gave me a bottle. Hell, I'm drinking it right now as I type this. But I could also pick up a bottle of La Crema at just about any wine shop for $10 less, and enjoy it just as well.

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Red - Fortified

1994 Dow Porto Vintage

Port Blend more

12/31/2013 - mjnickel Likes this wine: 93 points

OK, stick with me here, because I'm about to break out some terms that will certainly mark me as a wine douche...

The attack on this bottle is not shy; right up front I got that sweet dark, red fruit you'd expect, and on the finish, there's that brandy with which port is fortified, so full of alcohol and oak, and caramel as it is. If I were a St. Bernard, I would happily wear a small cask of this around my neck while rescuing you from an avalanche, dear reader.

But what I like about this wine is the middle. You know the good part. Whereas so many wines show hollow, this was like swallowing a round ball of blackberries, dates, and figs. Really, I'm not making this up. This is an excellent bottle of wine. My friend thought it finished a little hot, and I wanted to punch him right in his mouth, because I thought it finished excellently.

I announced that we should be eating blue cheese with this, and my friend's wife produced a large wedge of stilton, then added, "I think we should be eating figs with this."

And so, we ate them both, and drank the bottle while ringing in the New Year (2014). I'm rating this a 93, which is lower than where it will be years from now after growing in complexity. It's so youthful, after 20 years, that it felt like infanticide. Hold on to your bottle for another 20 years, and you might even feel the same. It's gonna last a while is what I'm trying to say.

My New Year's resolution? It's the same as it is every year. I resolve to live more like a woman, because that's the best way I can imagine being a better man.

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2009 Williams Selyem Pinot Noir Russian River Valley


9/8/2013 - mjnickel wrote: 90 points

I opened this bottle tonight for two reasons. The first is that I didn't want to wait any longer, and the other is that I'm celebrating some very exciting news. According to my latest Tarot card reading, I'll be the new lead singer of The Dixie Chicks in 2017. If anybody knows all the words to "Goodbye Earl," please forward them to me tout de suite. I'm bad with memorization and really want to hit the ground running with this new gig.

I carried this bottle with a chicken breast stuffed with shallots, goat cheese and thyme. Then, I made a sauce with tawny port and figs and put that on my chicken. Figs, y'all, they don't just come in Newton form. Did you know they're also a fruit? It's true.

By the way, here are three things overheard today while buying the figs at Whole Foods:

1) The cakes here are so good; they're made with free range eggs.

2) Excuse me. What kind of cheese are you sampling today?

3) That cupcake dog is the most adorable thing ever. And so is that cupcake pig.

Incidentally, Cupcake Pig is what the other Dixie Chicks and I are going to call Natalie Maines when I'm the new lead singer. Seriously, though, she's very talented. The three of us wish Cupcake Pig all the best.

Now, onto the wine: I would have been rewarded with another year or two of patience. The acid was stronger than expected, which is a good sign, as I like acid in my reds, just as with my whites. But with all that strawberry, cherry, rhubarb and sassafras, I would have liked the acid to settle down into some interesting spicy notes. Still, an excellent wine. Drink it. Drink it. Open a bottle and drink it.

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2009 Celler Vall Llach Priorat Embruix

Grenache Blend, Grenache more

8/15/2013 - mjnickel wrote: 90 points

Imagine slurping Grenache through a Swisher Sweet. That's kind of what this tasted like, only that's supposed to be a compliment. There's dark fruit here, and cigar box spiciness, too. The tannins are present and I suspect they'll tame a bit over a year or two. This is inexpensive, though, and tasty. Don't feel guilty about drinking it now. Instead, you should feel guilty about that thing you did in college. You know the thing I'm talking about. Your freshman year. Before you knew how to behave responsibly at parties.

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2010 Domaine Weinbach Gewurztraminer Réserve Personnelle

Alsace Gewürztraminer more

5/10/2013 - mjnickel wrote: 93 points

Gewürztraminer is a woefully underrated grape, and this is the best I've ever had. Made in Alsace, which has been passed back and forth for years between France and Germany, this bottle is bright, floral, Aryan, spicy, feminine and beautiful, much as I recall Brad Pitt in Legends of the Fall. For those who are allergic to uppity tasting notes, please excuse yourself now or give yourself that Epinephrine injection you so often have to administer when reading about wine.

With this, I get apricots (no, not peaches you pedestrian sons of bitches...apricots!) all over the mid-palate and this thing I want to call grapefruit marmalade on the finish. Is grapefruit marmalade a thing? If not, you can have that idea for your own start-up specialty food business provided you give me a few jars and a shout out at your bankruptcy hearing. At 14% abv, the alcohol is really well integrated. I would have guessed something closer to 12-13%. Yes, the acid and spice make this a great pairing for curry, as one expects from Gewürztraminer, but to paraphrase Cousin Eddie in National Lampoon's Vacation, it does just fine by itself.

P.S. Patti Labelle just texted me to say that "Grapefruit Marmalade" is her cat's drag name.

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2008 Sutor Burja

Vipava Valley White Blend more

4/24/2013 - mjnickel wrote: 87 points

I'm going to be absolutely, one hundred percent honest with you: I don't know what to make of this wine. This is the only one from Solvenia I've ever had, so there's not much to compare it to. When I picked it up, I was hoping it would remind me of the crisply acidic whites from Greece for which I make no effort to hide my enjoyment. But this lacks the acidity I look for in white wine. In fact, it has all the fattiness of new world Chardonnay, but the simple first level pleasure of Pinot Grigio. And a slightly grassy finish. It's like every girl who ever had a crush on me in high school: buttery, simple, and smelling more of weed than flowers. But you know what? I kinda liked those girls, and I kinda like this wine, too, even though I totally understand if it's not your bag. In fact, I'd be surprised if you liked, it too.

I would serve this with something very rich and creamy, like brie on a salty crust of bread. But even while I'd suggest this to those of you who have a few bucks and are curious about Slovenian wine, for everyone else, I'd recommend picking up your favorite California Chardonnay under $25 and enjoy that instead.

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2009 Williams Selyem Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast


3/24/2013 - mjnickel wrote: 92 points

This winemaker is special to me because they are recognized as not only the finest producer of California Pinot Noir, but also as a champion barbecue team who has recently competed in the Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Contest. This is one of the first of their wines I received after getting on their mailing list. And even though their fall releases are considered their lineup’s bettors, this spring released Somoma County bottle is round, full-bodied and packed with rhubarb, strawberry and mid palette goodness. It’s excellent wine, and I could just hug myself for obtaining more than just the bottle I drank tonight. Invite me over for salmon, pork chops or chicken, and I’ll bring a bottle to share. I promise. All I ask is you don’t be an asshole or try to convince me that my politically liberal leanings are immoral. Almost everything else I can tolerate.

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2010 Les Vins de Vienne Condrieu La Chambée

Viognier more

3/2/2013 - mjnickel wrote: 91 points

I love Condrieu for all its florid charms. When treated with Northern Rhone crispness, viognier is the rose on your birthday cake. Buttery, fattening and delightful in equal measures.

This bottle is so full bodied that it reminds me of new world viognier, which doesn't quite rise to the scarcity of this Nother Rhone version of the grape. This is not to say it's a bad wine. I liked it very much. I drank it with scallops on top of a a white bean puree. It was as round, soft and delightful as Scarlett Johansson , but when it comes to Condrieu, I expect all that, plus the angular sharpness of Charlotte Rampling. Still, the $50 I paid for the bottle was money well spent. It's a lovely wine.

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2007 Molino di Sant' Antimo Brunello di Montalcino

Sangiovese more

1/20/2013 - mjnickel wrote: 89 points

Brunello sneaks up on you, man. It starts off simple and tasty like Juliette Lewis in Cape Fear, but once it opens up, it becomes broad and complex, like Juliette Lewis in Natural Born Killers. While still young compared to top flight Brunellos, this is marked with sweet, soft tannins and just enough acidity to walk along side the tomato sauce that was ladled over the gnocchi I served it with. Yes, it’s still an adolescent, but it won’t get better. Drink it now. Don’t look at me like that! Drink it!

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2007 Domaine Potel Côte de Nuits Villages

Pinot Noir more

1/13/2013 - mjnickel wrote: NR

slightly fruity, but with some funk thrown into the mix, like Michael Jackson's "Off the Wall" album.

Not bad, but it lacks vibrancy.

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White - Sweet/Dessert

1997 René Renou Bonnezeaux La Montagne

Chenin Blanc more

12/31/2012 - mjnickel wrote: NR

If you'd told me this was Madiera, I'd believed you. Old, hot and flabby, like Kathleen Turner.

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2010 Roots Run Deep Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Hypothesis

St. Helena more

12/28/2012 - mjnickel wrote: NR

thus is to wine as Gary Buaey is to teeth: over the top, unnatural, and seemingly made from wood. Seriously.

I would have rated it lower, but some like that over oaked style. and to them, you can have my share.

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White - Off-dry

2008 Emile Beyer Gewurztraminer Cuvée de l'hostelerie

Alsace Gewürztraminer more

12/4/2012 - mjnickel wrote: NR

This is sweet, spicey and mouth filling...justvlikebRosie Perez. With this I find quite a bit of residual sugar as with an Auslese Riesling, but with just a hint of cinnamon and cardemon. Mango, orange peel and crisp acidity is in there too, along with a want for an extra bottle or two.

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2009 Marziano Abbona Dogliani Papà Celso

Dolcetto more

11/28/2012 - mjnickel wrote: NR

I never understood why "pizza wine" is used as a pejorative. Everybody loves pizza, and with its tomato sauce, buttery crust and myriad toppings, it takes Alan acidic and versatile red to stand up to it. And so I use the term here as a compliment. This is a pizza wine. Blackberries up front along, with some anise that's that will work pretty well with pepperoni and sausage (the two beet parts of the pig, by the way). Good acidity, too. Dry tannins on the finish, though a little hollow in the middle. The pizza set me back $12 and the wine $20. Good deal on both counts.

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2009 Waterstone Cabernet Sauvignon

Napa Valley more

11/15/2012 - mjnickel wrote: NR

This is actually very good wine. I mean, if I had a woman I was trying to impress over for dinner and I was sure I'd get awway with it, I'd serve this and say it was $100 a bottle instead of $25. after all, it says Napa right there on the label. And I'm an unrepentant liar
My notes: purple color, midnight dark fruit, milk chocolate mouth feel, tastes a little lukeblicking a cedar chest made by a prisoner in the 1950s. I mean that as a compliment. This is a good wine made with character. I have more, but am greedy and wish I hade even more, still. This is the equivalent of a nerdy girl in a teen comedy who removed her glasses and becomes prom queen.

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2009 Château de Barbe Blanche

Lussac-St. Émilion Red Bordeaux Blend more

10/6/2012 - mjnickel wrote: NR

This one is purple and fruity like Prince circa 1985. Also, like Prince, it's best when young. As suggested, its dark fruit is right up front, and is carried through the palate with hibtsbof cedar and mellow oakiness. At 14% abv its alcohol is hidden quite well under drying tanins and its youthful vibrancy. At this price get a bottle to drink now with grilled meat and maybe another for a couple of years down the road. The 1992 era Prince was pretty good, too, and this one might surprise in say 3-5 years.

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2007 Novy Family Wines Syrah Garys' Vineyard

Santa Lucia Highlands more

9/23/2012 - mjnickel wrote: NR

This is a nice bottle of wine. Very dark fruit and extracted. The oak is well integrated and helps balance its power. it opened a little more on 2nd night, but the alcohol is just a tad hot. Consider decanting and/or serving slightly chilled

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2008 Domaine Sarrabelle Gaillac Croix Blanche

Duras more

6/20/2012 - mjnickel wrote: NR

maybe I'm being unfair because Im not very familiar with the blend, but this tasted to me like someone set a pencil on fire. d
Dry, woody tanins, graphite and a slightly bitter finish where I expected a little more fruit. bought it as a curiousity.

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White - Sweet/Dessert

2006 Daniel Schuster Riesling Late Harvest Hull Family Vineyard Waipara


6/17/2012 - mjnickel wrote: NR

Sweet wines are hard to rate because they're so delicious it's hard to put them in context. This one is, in fact delicious. full of orange peel, peaches, and caremel. but it has kept it's acididty, which makes it fresh. I picked this half bottle up for $20 and consider myself lucky.

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2008 Luca Chardonnay

Valle de Uco more

6/16/2012 - mjnickel wrote: NR

Really enjoyed this wine which had loads of pineapple, tropical fruit and citrus all kept in check with crisp acidity. This is a high elavation wine and and tastes like it. I'll be buying. more.

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2008 Domaine Georges Vernay Syrah Côtes du Rhône Sainte-Agathe


6/8/2012 - mjnickel wrote: NR

Undrinkable with an near indestructible tunable nose. Think barnyard combined with a sol enter left opened in your garage. I thought the first bottle was flawed, si I bought another bottle the next time I found it and it was equally as bad. This is a quality producer with prestige vineyards in Condrieu, so maybe the distributor in my area improperly stored it before distribution.

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2006 Château Malmaison Baronne Nadine de Rothschild

Moulis en Médoc Red Bordeaux Blend more

5/31/2012 - mjnickel wrote: NR

Astringent and tight even on the second day and a lengthy decant. its just the way this wine is, I think. A little then, too, but not undrinkable. Just wouldn't buy it again.

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2009 Broc Cellars Carignane Carbonic

Alexander Valley more

4/18/2012 - mjnickel wrote: NR

Bright, fresh and a Katy Perry record. It's pretty simple and would be a good wine fir people who don't like wine. Drink on the porch in summer, but only worth about $15

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2006 Tenuta Caparzo Brunello di Montalcino

Sangiovese more

4/7/2012 - mjnickel wrote: 86 points

So, last month when I was in San Francisco, I walked over to North Beach for dinner where a very nice Italian man served me a plate of fettuccini with the meat from braised short ribs. That meal was so good that I'm now Catholic. Incidentally, I also gave up Protestantism for Lent.

Tongiht, I attempted to recreate that meal in my own kitchen, and while I wasn't as successful as the professional chef who learned his trade in Italy, I was extremely successful for a man from Tennessee who owns a .38 Special album. What you see here is pasta with shredded short ribs braised for three hours in beef stock, tomatoes, onions, carrots and various aromatics. And get this...there's grated chocolate on top. Yeah, I know, crazy, right?

The wine is so-so. Burnello should be more complex than this...or at least more flavorful. This is Sangiovese treated more like Chianti than Brunello, but still not bad. If I could figure out how to drink wine while lying down, I'd take a glass into the back yard and enjoy it in the hammock (Allow me another aside: "Enjoy it in the Hammock" is the title of a straight to VHS movie I made in the late 80s. I needed the money and placed too much trust into mustachioed gentleman who paid me $35.00 to feature in it. You can find it in the back room of your neighborhood video store we're all pretending still exists for the sake of this joke).

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  • Tasting notes: 119 notes on 118 wines

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