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

2000 Harlan Estate

Napa Valley Red Bordeaux Blend more

4/18/2009 - Tory Griffin wrote: 95 points

My first Harlan, so was not sure what to expect, especially from a 2000. I was blown away by this wine. Dark color, great bouquet. Actually I don't remember so much about the specifics of the bouquet other than it was classic Napa cab. Probably the reason I don't recall the bouquet so much is because the wine, in the mouth, went on and on and on. Again, I couldn't believe this was a 2000. It had so many layers of penetrating flavors that evolved over the course of a minute, easily, so it's hard to identify more precisely the actual flavors. Was this really a 2000? Not a huge wine, but not what I'd call elegant either. I can't imagine this getting better with age. If a 2000 Harlan was like this, then I need to save up for one from a "good" vintage.

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Red

2005 Château de Fonbel

St. Émilion Grand Cru Red Bordeaux Blend more

5/5/2009 - Tory Griffin wrote: 88 points

What else to drink on a night alone with my Napa-born thus bordeaux-disliking wife out of town? One of the first 2005s I've cracked, and for a young bordeaux at $20 I was impressed by what this one delivered. Classic bordeaux dirty and steely nose, medium-ruby color, and good tannic structure. Plenty of fruit, but by no means a fruity wine. Got better as the night went on, over 3 hours (or maybe that was just my impression because I killed the whole bottle myself). Still I enjoyed it, and for $20 it's a very worthwhile experiment with a young bordeaux. Probably will be better in 2-3 years.

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Red

2006 Erna Schein Syrah Homage to Ed Oliveira Alder Springs Vineyard

Mendocino County more

5/3/2009 - Tory Griffin wrote: 90 points

Open an hour and ran through the vinturi before drinking. The thing that struck me most about this wine was the evolution of the bouquet...it had just so many things going on it's hard to describe. Interestingly, this was not an over-the-top fruit bomb wine, but rather was medium-full bodied, silky, jammy, and had a good backbone and acidic profile. Balance is an overused word but really here it is appropriate. This was a fun wine to drink on its own. Very good stuff.

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Red

2007 Viña Cobos Cabernet Sauvignon Felino

Lujan de Cuyo more

4/21/2009 - Tory Griffin wrote: 89 points

Really like this wine. Dark brooding color, not completely giving on the nose quite yet, and still a bit rustic at this stage, but it clearly has the fruit and stuffing to be much better in a year. It has amazing concentration for a wine of the price. My experience with this wine is consistent with my experience with the 06, which after a year was just a dynamite wine for the price. Good now, especially with some decent time in the decanter, it will just get better.

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Red

2006 Switchback Ridge Merlot Peterson Family Vineyard

Napa Valley more

2/27/2009 - Tory Griffin wrote: 89 points

Very different from prior vintages. Not the big, dense, juicy mocha-infused wine like the 2004 or 2005. This wine had a remarkably pure cola/berry bouquet, and creamy cola and red fruits in the mouth. Medium bodied with a moderate finish. Different, and good, but not up to the quality of prior vintages.

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Red

2005 Moniz Vineyard Petit Verdot

Napa Valley more

2/18/2009 - Tory Griffin wrote: 88 points

Dark as night, with classis petit verdot bouquet, dark dark fruits with a touch of spice. A pretty big wine for the modest price ($20), with dark dusty, not to sweet fruits leading to a somewhat tannic finish. Stuffing to last several more years. This wine presents a very good way to try a varietally-correct petit verdot at a reasonable price.

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Red

2006 Capiaux Cellars Pinot Noir Garys' Vineyard

Santa Lucia Highlands more

2/13/2009 - Tory Griffin wrote: 91 points

Light ruby in color, which is deceiving given the wine's mouthfeel. Great bouquet of cherry/vanilla and spice. Almost weightless on the palate. Everything here seems to be in balance. Not a fruit bomb or an overpowering wine, just a silky smooth, palate caressing, pure pinot. My first try with this winemaker's pinots, I was impressed.

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Red

2005 William Harrison Cabernet Sauvignon Rutherford

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2/13/2009 - Tory Griffin wrote: 91 points

One of my favorite Napa cabs that consistently delivers for a relatively modest price by Napa standards. Medium-dark ruby color, nose of dusty red and dark fruits, and palate-caressing silky flavors. The sweet red fruits dominate and lead to a fairly long finish that screams Rutherford. Good complexity. Tasted blind, one would be shocked to find out that this Rutherford cab can be found for in the mid-$30s. Great value.

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Red

2004 Havens Wine Cellars Black and Blue

Napa Valley Red Blend more

2/13/2009 - Tory Griffin wrote: 90 points

Here's an underrated wine from an underrated winery. Dark purple color. Good nose. Spicy and sweet dark fruits, good structure, and a moderately long finish. The syrah/cab blend makes for a very unique flavor profile, with the darker plummy fruits and spicy syrah component really showing through, yet the cab provides good structure to the wine. For a Napa wine in the low $30s, this wine totally overdelivers.

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Red

2005 Domaine Serene Pinot Noir Evenstad Reserve

Willamette Valley more

2/13/2009 - Tory Griffin wrote: 90 points

Burgundian in style, with scents of pomegranate and cherry. Good crisp acidity and structure. More pomegranate and red fruits on the palate, with a silky, slightly chewy mouthfeel. A far cry from many of the syrupy, unstructured California pinots. Nice wine. Probably will continue to improve for another 2+ years.

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Red

2004 Château Grand-Puy Ducasse

Pauillac Red Bordeaux Blend more

2/14/2009 - Tory Griffin wrote: 92 points

This wine REALLY improved after being decanted for two hours. Dark ruby/purple color with scents of espresso, clove, raspberry and cassis. The bouquet just soared from the glass. Very nice. This also had a great mouthfeel. The initial attack on the palate was amazingly sweet, then folded into a velvety midpalate with layers of red and dark fruits. Finish was moderately long, with some refined tannins. I loved the way the wine improved with each sip. The way this wine opened up suggest this wine will easily continue to develop for several years. I wouldn't be afraid to drink one now with decanting but also look forward to having this wine in another several years. Great fruit, excellent Pauillac for a great price.

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Red

2001 Robert Mondavi Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley

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2/9/2009 - Tory Griffin wrote: 89 points

I was worried about this wine in my cellar for some time--probably because I paid $ 15 for this at, of all places, Target (the one and only bottle I've ever purchased there). It exceeded my expectations by a long shot. Still a dark ruby purple color on this one. It was giving up little bouquet, a tad more with some coaxing. But wow did it deliver on the palate. Several layers of dark red fruits--black cherry, cassis came to mind--rolled across the palate. No noticeable tannins, just good, balanced and structured wine that was amazingly complex for what I paid for it. A very nice surprise from 2001. Drink now or hold for 5 more hears.

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Red

2005 Domaine La Garrigue Côtes du Rhône Cuvée Romaine

Red Rhone Blend more

2/8/2009 - Tory Griffin wrote: 87 points

Great bouquet, sweet ripe and slightly steely fruits jump from the glass. Interestingly, in the mouth this wine is young, much younger than expected given the bouquet. There is good fruit here, but it is wrapped in layers of finely grained tannins that coat the entire mouth. It's almost like you're drinking wine with a super-fine grated chalk dust in it that leaves a gritty feeling everywhere. Suffice it to say that I think this wine needs at least another year, perhaps 2 or up, before it becomes more civilized. The fruit is definitely there, as is the acidity for aging. I was shocked to find that this $10 red was in need of some good cellar time! Certainly we can almost never say that for American wines.

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Red

2005 William Harrison Simpatico

Rutherford Red Bordeaux Blend more

2/7/2009 - Tory Griffin wrote: 88 points

First tried this one at the winery a few weeks ago and bought a few due to the good QPR ($26). This one didn't disappoint tonight. Dark ruby purple color, very nice floral bouquet (from the cab franc). In the mouth this had good fruit, was a tad rustic (rutherford-like personality), and a medium finish. Very enjoyable but not terribly complex. Probably not much of an ager but solid table wine right now. Had with grilled burgers and it paired pretty nicely.

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Red

2006 Henry's Drive Pillar Box Reserve

Padthaway Shiraz Blend, Syrah more

1/21/2009 - Tory Griffin wrote: 88 points

What you see is what you get--a dark, big, super jammy, ripe wine with dark fruits dominating the palate. Pop and pour, a heavy, syrupy wine, I don't think it gets much better. Nor do I think it's got enough acidity to be a great food wine, but on a cold winter nite, sitting by the fire, this one is fun to sip.

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Red

2006 Del Dotto Sangiovese

Napa Valley more

1/17/2009 - Tory Griffin wrote: 92 points

Disclaimer -- I typically don't like Sangiovese, and probably one looking for a "traditional" sangiovese would not be too into this wine. That said, I really, really llked this for what it was. Interstingly, it came off almost like a very ripe, creamy pinot. Strawberry/vanilla jam on the nose, and just layers of similar flavors on the palate. Ready to go, no aging necessary, this is a huge crowd pleaser--"a meal in a glass" proclaimed one of my guests. Well, it's not a big wine, so a "meal" in and of itself it is not, but still it was a complete wine from start to finish that keeps demanding additional sips. Shockingly, me, a cab/bordeaux lover, love this wine. Call it my dirty little secret.

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Red

2005 Mas Carlot Costières-de-Nîmes Les Enfants Terribles

Red Rhone Blend more

1/18/2009 - Tory Griffin wrote: 82 points

Same secondary fermentation problems reported by others. Gave it the biggest possible MD shake, then let it rest. On day 2, it still had a little of the brightness from the secondary fermentation, but it came off mostly as a wine with good acidity, blackberry, wet rocks/graphite flavor profile. Probably 87-88 points on day 2. Interesting.

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Red

2005 Larkmead Vineyards Firebelle

Napa Valley Red Bordeaux Blend more

1/18/2009 - Tory Griffin wrote: 91 points

Still love this wine. Amazingly sweet, cocoa berry nose. As smooth as can be in the mouth, yet with good grip. Silky finish. A fantastic crowd-pleaser. Can't wait to try the 2006.

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Red

2004 Château d'Angludet

Margaux Red Bordeaux Blend more

1/18/2009 - Tory Griffin wrote: 75 points

No fruit, way too tannic and tight. Ran it through the vinturi and decanted. Even on day two nothing. What happened? I have 5 more. Hope this was on off bottle. Not corked.

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Red

2007 Viña Cobos Cabernet Sauvignon Felino

Lujan de Cuyo more

2/3/2009 - Tory Griffin wrote: 89 points

Lots of potential here. Dark almost purple color, good legs. Wasn't initially giving up much on the nose, but after being open an hour or so started to give up some dusty, dark fruit flavors. Good structure and balance in the mouth, with espresso and dark fruits dominating. 88 points on day 1, but given how the 2006 blossomed after a year (see my recent CT note), and given how I prefer the 2007 to the 2006 at the same stage of life, I am expecting very good things in about 6-12 months. My view is informed by the fact that on day 2, the bouquet was jumping out of the glass, chocolate/blackberry spices, while still maintaing the great balance and structure in the mouth, with a fairly firm tannic grip. Given how it behaves on day 2 I should say that I would give this another 12 months before starting to tackle my stash. Knowing me, however, I'll break into one or more sooner than that. It's very enjoyable now, with air, and promises to get better.

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Red

1995 Château Lynch-Bages

Pauillac Red Bordeaux Blend more

1/30/2009 - Tory Griffin wrote: 91 points

One of those wines you can just smell all night long. Still a dark ruby purple color, amazing classic pauillac bouquet, not a big or overpowering wine but had major finesse while still having penetrating flavors. A remarkable food wine. Still has time left on it, but I love its present state.

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Red

2007 Bodegas Borsao Garnacha Campo de Borja Tres Picos

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1/28/2009 - Tory Griffin wrote: 89 points

This young wine was open for business. Medium ruby, aromas of cherry and baking spices, good grip and length in the mouth with more of a typical spanich grenache profile than the quaffer cherry pie wines in 05 and 06. Nice wine, great complexity for the price. A crowd pleaser.

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Red

2005 Ehlers Estate Merlot St. Helena

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1/17/2009 - Tory Griffin wrote: 89 points

A pretty darn good merlot. Adequate structure, a nice bouquet filled with espresso/spice, and nice balance in the mouth. Dark fruits and cocoa, medium finish, a well made, thoroughly enjoyable wine. Nothing light or thin about it.

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Red

2006 Del Dotto Cabernet Franc Seven Rows

Rutherford more

1/18/2009 - Tory Griffin wrote: 93 points

A big, bold cab franc. Dark ruby/purple, penetrating bouquet, layers of ripe, rich fruit, chocolate, raspberry-liquer, long long finish for this very big luscious cab franc.

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Red

2005 Bodegas Volver La Mancha Volver

Tempranillo more

1/11/2009 - Tory Griffin wrote: 90 points

I was initially surprised by the dark purple color given the inexpensive price tag for this wine. A big, penetrating bouquet of sweet raspberry/cherry liquor, with a hint of vanilla spice. A tad rustic in the mouth, medium-full bodied, good lingering finish. Although it is a different varietal, for whatever reason the flavor profile of this wine reminded me of an El Nido Clio--more scaled back and not as full-throttle as the Clio, but a similar flavor profile.

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  • Tasting notes: 59 notes on 57 wines

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