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

2007 Nysa Vineyard Pinot Noir

Dundee Hills more

7/3/2015 - Keith Levenberg wrote: NR

Remember when everyone was saying the 2007 Oregon vintage was thin and weedy? Well, this is a heavyweight both in terms of its footprint and the sheer density of the material, which fortunately isn't jammy at all but finessed it ain't. I don't know how it will evolve from here but it doesn't seem to be showing much evolution yet; I spent dinner waiting for the shell to crack and show what's underneath but it never really got there. Nysa Vineyard is high on the hills, adjacent to Domaine Drouhin. Other producers make it but this is the vineyard proprietor's own label, and apparently from the older plantings which would probably be about 25 years old by now. The sommelier says the owner is a good friend and a brain surgeon who selected the plant material in the vineyard by identifying the vines that made the best clusters each year and grafting their shoots onto other vines. At Recipe in Newberg, Oregon.

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Red

2012 Domaine Chandon de Briailles Pernand-Vergelesses 1er Cru Ile des Vergelesses

Pinot Noir more

6/30/2015 - Keith Levenberg wrote: NR

This wine is almost always challenging to drink on release, and this one is so out of sorts it's like someone turned a box of jigsaw puzzle pieces upside down. It takes some time to pull itself together, and even then it's a very structured wine - an enjoyable one, make no mistake about it, but one you appreciate precisely for its robustness and solidity.

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Red

2012 Domaine Dublère Morey St. Denis 1er Cru Les Blanchards

Pinot Noir more

6/30/2015 - Keith Levenberg Likes this wine: 90 points

This is a little bit more difficult to get at than the 2010 was - for one thing it starts out with a bead of CO2 so it needs a good heavy shake to get into form. It feels denser and still takes a little bit of time to unwind and show what's behind the primary fruit. Eventually some stony earth comes into play, but until then it's something you enjoy for its purity and suavity without necessarily a ton of personality.

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Red

2008 Rhys Pinot Noir Home Vineyard

San Francisco Bay more

6/28/2015 - Keith Levenberg Likes this wine: 93 points

This is evolving in a very interesting direction. I can't believe it's only been four years since release, but the wine is already in a different place while still hitting a lot of the same notes. There is a dazzling array of flavors here with most of the plush, primary fruitiness giving way to tarter fruits like dried cranberry and even a twist of candied orange peel that's extremely reminiscent of the Calera pinots - I probably would have guessed this as a Calera on a blind pour. It also still features the iron and rusty mineral flavors that were here on day one. The most enticing thing about it continues to be the texture. On the entry it's stop-you-in-your-tracks cashmere refinement, but on the back end it shows a serious grippiness.

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Red

2010 Arnot-Roberts Syrah Clary Ranch

Sonoma Coast more

6/20/2015 - Keith Levenberg wrote: NR

"Clary Ranch, how can I help you!"
"Hello! Can we get a few tons of syrah grapes?"
"Sorry, mister. All out of syrah. How about some nice, juicy olives?"
"Olives?"
"You bet. Finest olives this side of the Mediterranean."
"Thanks, but we were kind of looking to make some wine...."
"Wine, you say! Well, that's just perfect! These'll make the greatest olive wine you've ever tasted! I guarantee it!"
"Olive wine? Is there such a thing?"
"Sure! Why not? You gotcher grape wine, rice wine, dandelion wine, why not olive wine? Mister, when you've got olives as tasty and juicy as these, there's nothing you can't do with 'em!"
"I dunno.... Are you sure you're all out of syrah?"
"Son, I'll tell you what. I've got one last bowl of syrah grapes in the back. I was gonna have 'em myself for lunch, but if you wanna take three barrels of olives off my hands, I'll throw in them there grapes for free. And if that doesn't make the finest olive wine or syrah or whatever it is you wanna call it, then my name isn't Oliver McOliveson!"

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Red

1995 Château Duhart-Milon

Pauillac Red Bordeaux Blend more

6/18/2015 - Keith Levenberg Likes this wine: 93 points

I was always puzzled why the short-lived Chinese Lafite fetish extended to Carruades, but not to Duhart-Milon. This was bought not long ago on the cheap and delivers a legitimately Lafite-like experience. A classic Pauillac with the usual cedary aromatics and a pitch-black fruit complexion, even a bit of nuttiness. The texture is slick and glossy and while there is still some tannin here it's mostly smoothed over. Very easy drinkability here and while it may not have the dimensions of Lafite it's got very much the same taste, and even a lot of the elegance.

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White

2013 Ravines Wine Cellars Dry Riesling

Finger Lakes more

6/11/2015 - Keith Levenberg Likes this wine: 88 points

Starts off with a profile very much like a Muscadet. Pale, crisp, lean, and steely. Enjoyable for its freshness. With enough air it develops a more interesting gravelly mineral element, with some relief to the texture. For $12, this is really good.

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Red

2011 Guimaro Ribeira Sacra Finca Meixeman

Mencía more

6/11/2015 - Keith Levenberg Likes this wine: 93 points

There's lots of delicious Ribeira Sacra out there but this is one of the particularly old vine examples and it does strike me as more serious than most. Lots of hearty fruit here with a leathery sheen and that old-vine sap and a slatey, almost metallic mineral element. The mouthfeel is soft but classy. There is so much fruit sap here that the tannins are not a huge factor but with that sheen it feels like the most supple leather.

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Red

2012 Domaine Hervé Sigaut Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru Les Fuées

Pinot Noir more

6/9/2015 - Keith Levenberg wrote: 85 points

The Sentiers says Vieilles Vignes and this one does not. Still, I found it a bit richer than the Sentiers, although otherwise the profile was very similar - elegant without a whole lot of personality. It did have a slightly ashen note to it, did a little bit of rot get in here?

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Red

1996 Bruno Giacosa Barbaresco Gallina di Neive

Nebbiolo more

6/8/2015 - Keith Levenberg Likes this wine: 92 points

Starts out with those rugged '96 tannins. A powerful Barbaresco, could pass for Barolo. It had a spearminty herbal streak which never really went away, but the structure eventually did open up and while the wine remained in a very solid, robust style, there were plenty of waves of fruit to sweeten it up. Lots more material and oomph here than in the '98 I had a few months ago.

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Red

1998 Giacomo Conterno Barolo Cascina Francia

Nebbiolo more

6/8/2015 - Keith Levenberg Likes this wine: 95 points

I admit it, I was skeptical of everyone saying how gorgeous this is to drink now. But while it's not mature Barolo by any means, it really is gorgeous and a very smooth, accessible drink. It poured out a pale brown in color so worried me at first but, as these wines somehow manage to do, turned more ruby in the glass. I was positively bowled over by the texture on my first sip after an hour or so in a wide decanter. It was like sinking into a waterbed with the most supple satin sheets. So the structure is definitely not a factor getting in the way of enjoying this. Next to the '96 Giacosa Gallina, this came across as by far the more feminine, delicate wine, almost pinot noir-like. The flavors, however, have barely budged since release.

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White

2013 Dirty and Rowdy Chardonnay Alder Springs Vineyard

Mendocino County more

6/8/2015 - Keith Levenberg Likes this wine: NR

The first chardonnay from Dirty & Rowdy? First one I've had, in any event. It's a totally different kind of white wine from the semillon (no skin element here) and the comparison that really comes to mind for me is that this is the white version of what this winery does with some of its reds - unafraid to use a *very* light hand in terms of extraction, as if painted in watercolor as opposed to the splotches of oils that characterize most California chardonnays. It tempted me to whip out the "mountain stream" cliche but it has a pretty powerful lemony acidic cut that takes it out of that category, and it actually isn't very minerally. Some chalkiness comes out towards the end of the bottle but the flavors here are still mostly fruit flavors, just in a very gentle and ethereal fashion.

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Red

1978 Robert Ampeau & Fils Blagny 1er Cru La Pièce-sous-le-Bois

Pinot Noir more

6/8/2015 - Keith Levenberg Likes this wine: 93 points

Ah, my old friend, the '78 Ampeau Blagny - the very first 'old' Burgundy I ever had, maybe 15 years ago, on recommendation of Chanterelle's master sommelier Roger Dagorn. It was fully mature then and, truth be told, has to be on the downslope now, although not by all that much, thanks no doubt to the long rest in the domaine's frigid cellars before its late release. It is still plenty rich in material with savory, mature flavors, brothy and mushroomy with a touch of sweet molasses - still a profile that's characteristically Burgundy and nowhere near the category of just generic mature red wine. There's no noticeable tannin left so the mouthfeel is slick with plenty of gloss. 15 years ago it was very aromatic and perfumed though, and now it's much shyer in that department.

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Red

2010 Rhys Pinot Noir Home Vineyard

San Francisco Bay more

6/8/2015 - Keith Levenberg Likes this wine: 90 points

This is still fresh and primary with a slick and glossy texture, though without the "dialed up to 11" fruit intensity of the Swan Terrace. It was enjoyable right out of the gate and a very tasty drink but right now there isn't much more going on than the pure fruit.

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Red

2007 Domaine Les Roches (Alain et Jérome Lenoir) Chinon

Cabernet Franc more

6/1/2015 - Keith Levenberg Likes this wine: NR

This is one of the most mature-tasting Lenoir Chinons I've had. It opens up with a nice smack of Chinon earth funk and has a fairly aged fruit profile, which has sort of Rioja-like apple-skin flavors but is already more winy than fruity. What it lacks in stuffing it makes up for in drinkability.

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White

2013 Nigl Grüner Veltliner Alte Reben

Kremstal more

6/1/2015 - Keith Levenberg Likes this wine: 90 points

Old vine gruner, though it doesn't say from where. Pure, textbook varietal flavors that started out more about the fruit, but with time to air out showed a more solid and filigreed texture. It's crisp and super-drinkable, and while I might have wanted a little more distinction from something that gets an alte reben designation, this rang up really high on the pleasure-o-meter.

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Red

2012 Guillaume Gilles Cornas

Syrah more

6/1/2015 - Keith Levenberg Likes this wine: 94 points

This is terrific. Clearly a step-up in class from the not-quite-Cornas Les Peyrouses, while still having plenty of Cornas's structural muscle. The fruit is inky and saturating on the palate with a deep-blue complexion, and feels infused with a granite stoniness from top to bottom. Despite its density, it cuts a slender figure and would seem almost feminine (certainly so in comparison to the Peyrouses) except for the fact that the tannin is true rugged Cornas style. It feels weird that a wine can pull off classiness and rusticity at the same time but that's what you get here. This is serious, textbook Cornas.

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Red

1999 Renaissance Cabernet Sauvignon Première Cuvée

Sierra Foothills more

5/29/2015 - Keith Levenberg Likes this wine: 92 points

Intensely tarry, another showing of this that gestured at Graves-like asphalt but ultimately ended up reminded me of nothing so much as Barolo. It's showing more age than my last bottle, taking on some leatheriness and the usual blue-fruited profile turning more crimson. It is still very thick and dense and glossy, so I am seeing this in sort of an in-between stage where the flavors are evolving but the texture isn't yet mellowing out.

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Rosť

2014 Ameztoi Getariako Txakolina Rubentis

Rosé Blend more

5/29/2015 - Keith Levenberg wrote: 88 points

As usual. Crisp and steely with a light fizz. And that's all I have to say about that.

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Red

2005 De Tierra Pinot Noir Silacci Vineyard

Santa Lucia Highlands more

5/29/2015 - Keith Levenberg wrote: 85 points

It's been awhile... over 7 years in fact. The wine is older but my impression of it is basically the same: it gets the proportions mostly right, but there's not much personality to it. This is from a cool, northern vineyard, one of the most northern in the appellation if I remember right. No fat syrupy fruit here, more prickly blackberry, even though it does have some alcoholic bite (14.5% listed on the label). Not much structure left so it does have a slick, comfortable mouthfeel, but, again, not much personality either, just a pleasant Cali pinot.

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Red

2010 Rhys Pinot Noir Swan Terrace Alpine Vineyard

Santa Cruz Mountains more

5/23/2015 - Keith Levenberg Likes this wine: 92 points

One of my realizations on Rhys is that when they shut down, they shut down hard, so I'm trying to enjoy some more of my stash in the early window of opportunity. This one is definitely still there, so rich at first that it's practically saucy though without any candied flavors. Rhys always benefits from a long decant but this one was so primary it needed even more time than most to show its underlying contours and reveal some of the rocks beneath the fruit. What I love about the house style here is that even though this flirts with being too much of a good thing, for all that dense, saturating, luscious fruit, there is still a whole lot of energy and vibrancy here too.

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White

2013 Weingut Karlheinz Schneider u. Sohn Sobernheimer Marbach Riesling trocken

Nahe more

5/22/2015 - Keith Levenberg wrote: NR

This is old-style trocken riesling that can shear the enamel off your teeth and then say, "If he dies, he dies." Fortunately it picks up some more color and flesh as it warms up.

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Red

2004 Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande

Pauillac Red Bordeaux Blend more

5/21/2015 - Keith Levenberg wrote: 85 points

Eh. For one of my favorite château in all of Bordeaux this was rather lacking in personality as well as class. Not closed either as it is still fairly primary in fruit. I guess that counts as a triumph for the vintage, which isn't always so ripe. This did have a slight bite of bell pepper but that's something I welcome in PLL. I was mostly disappointed because PLL usually has a very graceful figure and this didn't show its breed as far as the texture goes.

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Red

2011 Éric Texier Côtes du Rhône Saint-Julien-en-Saint-Alban Vieille Serine Domaine de Pergaud

Syrah more

5/17/2015 - Keith Levenberg Likes this wine: 90 points

When Eric introduced this wine he describes the terroir as similar to Cornas. This is the first vintage where that's really been apparent to me, and boy, is it ever. There is so much muscular tannin at first that it starts out totally dry and backwards. The fruit sweetens up in the glass a bit but it's really the leftovers two whole days later where it finally gets friendly and easygoing and brings the fruit into the foreground. At that point, it features the signature fresh, piercing purity and succulence that typifies the house style for me, with just a hint of the tannin that was totally dominant on day one.

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Red

2005 Catherine et Claude Maréchal Bourgogne Cuvée Gravel

Pinot Noir more

5/17/2015 - Keith Levenberg wrote: NR

2004 Red Burgundies: Ringer. I thought this might be funny to toss in and see if the bottom of the hierarchy from '05 ends up besting the top of the hierarchy from '04. Didn't really work out that way; whatever you want to say about the '04 vintage, those were wines already and this is still kind of tutti frutti (reminded Cristi of Beaujolais, which makes sense). It got a bit more grippy and, well, gravelly in the glass but the '04s were clearly more serious and engaging.

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  • Tasting notes: 4,188 notes on 3,556 wines

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