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

2009 Gramercy Cellars Syrah John Lewis Reserve

Walla Walla Valley more

1/3/2012 - rjhilgers Likes this wine: 95 points

Oh man, was I excited to dive back into this wine when I got it. One of my favorites and the '09 does not disappoint. On the nose, dark ripe fruit, with a touch of cedar, sage and leather. On the palate, more dark fruit, both red and black, with swirling notes of cherry, raspberry, rhubarb, all pull together with a nice woodsy undertone. This is truly one of the most silky wines out there, with incredible balance and an absolutely stunning structure. And, if that weren't enough, it's the longest finish I've experienced in 6 - 12 months. Unbelievable and a true find for Washington Syrah lovers.

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Red

2008 Gramercy Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley

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1/3/2012 - rjhilgers Likes this wine: 92 points

Fairly typical nose on this Cabernet with dark cherry, sweet tobacco, vanilla and maple syrup, with similar elements on the palate. But, don't be tricked into thinking this isn't something special as it is incredibly smooth and well balanced, with a finish that's lingered longer than any wine for me in the past 6 months. Once again, Gramercy Cab shines in a crowded marketplace of Washington Cabs.

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Red

2009 Gramercy Cellars Syrah "Lagniappe"

Columbia Valley more

12/29/2011 - rjhilgers Likes this wine: 93 points

So much ripe and tart raspberry, with warm smoke, minerals and toast on the nose. On the palate, incredibly silky with more raspberry and smoke, accompanied by tobacco and cedar. Strong tannins and a surprising level of acidity (all good), with a very strong and lingering finish. Still a little tight, but that will just take some time to resolve, so if you already have some bottles, wait a year or two minimum - you won't regret it.

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Red

2009 Gramercy Cellars The Third Man

Columbia Valley Red Rhone Blend more

12/29/2011 - rjhilgers Likes this wine: 92 points

There's a lot of menthol on this nose, far more than I've experienced lately. For me, that is a beautiful aroma, one that grabs the nose and holds on as if it really was meant to heal what ails you. Beyond that, red and black fruits (a fair amount of rhubarb coming through, actually), tobacco and a slight touch of hickory smoke. This wine is more subdued than the Lagniappe, with less acidity and richer, but definitely fighting at the same weight in terms of depth, balance and finish. The blend is 50% Grenache, 28% Syrah and 22% Mourvèdre.

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Red

2004 Yalumba Shiraz - Viognier Hand Picked

Eden Valley Shiraz Blend, Syrah more

10/9/2011 - rjhilgers wrote: 91 points

Overall, a very nice wine. Strong berry fruit up front, with a woodsey feel on the palate, like having a nice mild stogey at a camp fire on the river.

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Red

2007 Robert Sinskey Vineyards POV

Napa Valley Red Bordeaux Blend more

5/22/2011 - rjhilgers Likes this wine: 90 points

I've always been a fan of Sinskey wines, but it's a hit or miss line of wines with friends and family. This offering - the 2007 POV - is all organic and another hit from Sinskey. Nice acidity levels, with a big fruit front and then a dry, layered mid-section and finish. Not a big, heavy wine, which was nice and paired very nicely with green chile burgers. At $28 (or so), this is a very nice CA wine for the price.

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Red

2007 Archery Summit Pinot Noir Arcus Estate

Dundee Hills more

4/26/2011 - rjhilgers Likes this wine: 91 points

One of the stronger Pinot Noir's I've tasted from Willamette Valley. Strong in substance and structure, but elegant in its weight and mouth feel, this wine truly delivers. Plenty of good red and black fruit, but not overbearing, with a nice earthy feeling to the palate. There is also a little mushroom and sage on the finish. Paired well with both halibut and wagyu strip loin. Solid Pinot Noir from Dundee Hills.

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Red

2009 Veramonte Pinot Noir Ritual

Casablanca Valley more

4/25/2011 - rjhilgers Likes this wine: 90 points

I was very pleasantly surprised by this wine. I have to admit that the further I get into wine, the less Pinot Noir comes up on my list of wines I'm eager to dive into. My wife loves Pinot, so that allows me to keep up with what's out there, but if I had to choose, it's not the type of wine I'd pull from the cellar on any given night. However, this Pinot Noir from Chile is one I would pull on a weekday to enjoy something a little out of the ordinary. There is very little fruit on this wine, which is fine with me as I find delicate, over-fruity Pinots not to my liking, and the complexity comes from a mix of not-yet-ripe dark black fruit and earth. Not for all Pinot Noir lovers, but if you are on the fence about Pinot, this one may be worth a shot. The 2008 of this wine is #87 on Wine Spectator's 2010 Top 100.

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Red

2006 Loma Larga Syrah BK-BL

Casablanca Valley more

4/18/2011 - rjhilgers Likes this wine: 87 points

Blackberries, cured meat, cinnamon and herbs. This is a big Syrah, with a very broad mouth and a long, lingering finish. Acidity is low and the wine overall comes across as brooding, with a hot finish. Not the best Syrah I've ever had, but definitely has some redeeming qualities.

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Red

2009 Tamaya Syrah Reserva Limarí Valley

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4/18/2011 - rjhilgers wrote: flawed

I don't give in very quickly on calling a wine flawed, but, alas, on this one, I must throw in the towel and call a spade a spade. Too bad - I really wanted to see what this wine had to offer.

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Red

2009 Hacienda Araucano (Lurton) Syrah

Colchagua Valley more

4/18/2011 - rjhilgers Likes this wine: 88 points

I originally thought this wine was a little thin when I first tasted it, but a few nights later, I'm very pleasantly surprised by how much it's opened up and become a very nice wine. In fact, nice enough to score a 90 with Wine Advocate, not an easy feat for a $13 wine. Big, earthy, ripe red fruit nose, with hints of forest floor and sage. On the palate, plum, dark brooding cherries and tree bark. Broad mouthfeel, nice acidity, good strong finish - man, I am going to find some more of this. At the $13 price point, this wine is a major steal.

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Red

2009 Undurraga Syrah T.H.

Leyda Valley more

4/15/2011 - rjhilgers Likes this wine: 90 points

Had this as part of the Wines of Chile tasting earlier in the week and really enjoyed. It's a savory, big nose with dark red fruit, bacon and earth. ON the palate, a surprisingly high level of acidity, giving this wine much more life than I expected. Actually thought from the nose that this would be a lot darker and more brooding than it is. Dark cherry, pomegranate and cedar. Still tastes like a big Syrah, but very well balanced in both its elements and acidity levels. Very nice.

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Red

2009 Kosta Browne Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast

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3/28/2011 - rjhilgers Likes this wine: 93 points

Once again, Kosta Browne comes through with a stunner. This is not your delicate flower Pinot that decided it would be a a ski bum in Mount Hood, Oregon...this one makes no apologies about being a big, bold, in your face California Pinot. On the nose, it's rose petals smashed into a queen-size bed of dark chocolate, with a hint of marshmallow and spice. The palate is stemmy - good tree bark stemmy - with a wash of rose petals, mocha and dried cherry. Okay, so that was a little dramatic on the description, but, at least take this away - if you have not had Kosta Browne Pinot Noir before, I'm not sure I want to hear from you until you have.

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Red

2007 Quilceda Creek Red Wine Columbia Valley

Red Bordeaux Blend more

2/18/2011 - rjhilgers Likes this wine: 91 points

I do not remember the Quilceda red wine tasting this good. It's certainly not as good as the flagship Cabernet, but this wine is incredibly robust for the price (mid-30's). Dark cherry, pomegranate, rosemary and spring rain on the nose - a complex, somewhat tight nose. On the palate, this is definitely tight and could use some gang, but, for now, big rich fruit, caramel and cedar, with big tannins and a long, very well balanced finish. Delicious!

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Red

2006 Chanticleer Sangiovese

Yountville more

2/6/2011 - rjhilgers Likes this wine: 89 points

Interesting Sangiovese. First pulled this one out to compliment some pasta we were planning for dinner. Turns out it wasn't the best pairing but still a good and very interesting wine. What struck me the most was the amount of oak on the wine. The first glass was almost as if the wine had been "burned" by the inside of the barrel, billowing pillows of smoke all over my palate, not at all what I expected from a Sangiovese. It did ease up a bit as the wine had time to open on the 2nd glass and the smoke turned out to be a nice addition to the juice. I wouldn't run out and buy any more, but I always like when a wine surprises me.

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Red

2007 Ceja Pinot Noir

Sonoma Coast more

2/1/2011 - rjhilgers Likes this wine: 90 points

Dark cherry, herbal notes and a very light spice note on the palate. This is a very smooth drinking pinot and one that does not skimp on flavor. Not quite a huge CA Pinot, but not an Oregon delicate diva either. Nicely balanced and strong, lingering finish. Well done, Ceja...well done.

NOTE: this wine was sent to me as a sample from the winery.

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White

2008 Ceja Chardonnay

Carneros more

2/1/2011 - rjhilgers Likes this wine: 89 points

There are so many California Chardonnay's on the market and so many of them are big, gnarly oak bombs, sometimes to the point that I feel like I may have gotten an oak stave stuck between my teeth. To be fair, I'm actually pretty good with those oak monsters now and again and have even found myself craving that flavor from time to time (but that's between you and me). What I like about this Ceja Chard is that there's definitely oak, enough to experience it, but it's not overwhelming and plays more of a support role than a lead acting role. Meyer lemon, honey and a bit of spice on the nose, with a smooth and layered palate of meyer lemon, grapefruit, lavender and oak. Overall, very nice Chardonnay.

NOTE: this wine was sent to me as a sample from the winery.

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Red

2003 Reverie Cabernet Sauvignon Special Reserve

Diamond Mountain more

1/15/2011 - rjhilgers Likes this wine: 91 points

I had never heard of Reverie until last week when I was at a friend's house and he gave me a bottle. In fact, there are very few Diamond Mountain wineries that are on my radar, with the exception of Diamond Creek. So, when I got this bottle home, it didn't take long to dive in and see what was in the bottle. Very nice juice, I must say. This is a big, age-able wine from Napa, but not in the dark brooding sense, more like a Kathryn Kennedy Lateral, with a bit more acid and liveliness in the blend. A somewhat subdued nose with black fruit, eucalyptus and smoldering campfire embers. The palate shows the same rich dark fruit, cedar and tobacco leaf, with a much higher level of acidity than I would expect. So vibrant and alive, this wine. A very nice diversion from the dark, bone crushing Napa Cabs of note (although, please don't get me wrong - there are some great ones in that category as well).

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Red

2007 Sparkman Cellars Wilderness

Rattlesnake Hills Red Blend more

1/11/2011 - rjhilgers Likes this wine: 88 points

It's always nice to find a good $20-ish bottle of wine, one that holds its own and you don't feel guilty drinking on a weeknight. This is one of those wines. Nicely balanced, with a smooth, mid-length finish. Bright, juicy red fruits up front, with tobacco and earth. Medium and refreshing acidity, with surprising;y grippy tannins. Next time I have this wine, it's going to be with a very juicy burger and a huge plate of fries.

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Red

2006 Grand Rêve Vintners / Force Majeure Collaboration Series I Ciel du Cheval Vineyard

Red Mountain Red Bordeaux Blend more

1/10/2011 - rjhilgers Likes this wine: 91 points

On to the 2006...Grand Reve has clearly worked out some of the wrinkles of the 2004 and continue to improve the Series I. The 2006 offering is very strong, with a nose of dark cherry, mexican chocolate and anise and a palat to match. Still some savory notes, like the 2004, but more integrated into the blend this time. Smooth and long finish. My pick of the two...

NOTE: this wine was sent to me as a free sample.

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Red

2004 Grand Rêve Vintners / Force Majeure Collaboration Series I Ciel du Cheval Vineyard

Red Mountain Red Bordeaux Blend more

1/10/2011 - rjhilgers Likes this wine: 89 points

When I last posted about this wine, I didn't like it - gave it an 80 and didn't really get what the wine was about. I thought maybe it was because it was the first run of Grand Reve and they still had some kinks to work out. But, turns out I may have gotten a bottle that, if not fully corked, was at the very least not the best bottle of the lot.

So, the good folks at Grand Reve saw my reaction and reached out with a new bottle of the 2004 and an additional bottle of the 2006. This new bottle was much better. I will stand by what I said that the Series I is not my favorite of the Grand Reve series (the Series III is my consistent favorite), but this 2004 showed much better than the previous bottle. Dark red fruits, menthol and bacon on the nose, followed by an additional mocha note on the palate. There is a definite savory undertone to this wine that can be off-putting to some, but to those who appreciate a savory note now and again (you know who you are, Cayuse fans), this is probably right up your alley.

NOTE: this wine was sent to me as a free sample.

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Red

2005 Neil Ellis Cabernet Sauvignon Vineyard Selection

Jonkershoek Valley more

1/8/2011 - rjhilgers wrote: 88 points

I'm not generally a big South African wine fan, and the last bottle of Thelema almost convinced me of that...but, this wine is quite nice. Big, bold, with dry tannins and red fruit, saddle leather and leaf tobacco, I wish I would have made a steak to enjoy it with. I'll have to remember that the next time I open one of these bottles.

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Red

2006 Hightower Cellars Red Wine Red Mountain

Red Bordeaux Blend more

12/30/2010 - rjhilgers Likes this wine: 88 points

Part the Garagiste #9 mystery wine case that I just picked up today, this is a much better wine than I expected, mostly because I've been living in Washington for almost 20 years now and have never heard of them. And, that made opening the mystery case all that much better as it was a wine I didn't expect. Win-win on that count. And, a win on the wine itself. Bold, ripe fruit, with earth, leather, chocolate and whip cream. I'd say it tastes very much like a Red Mountain wine, but that's only gut and don't have much to back it up except for my own memory of Red Mountain wines. Anyone else had this? Would love to hear opinions on that aspect of it.

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Red

2006 Chanticleer Sangiovese

Yountville more

12/28/2010 - rjhilgers wrote: 89 points

My wife and I visited Chanticleer a few years back on the recommendation of our driver. When we arrived it turned out to be the owner's home and not an actual winery. That said, he had a fantastic cave-like cellar off the side of his house, built into the hill, and a hillside vineyard to make it all complete. Pretty cool location and cellar. The wine is good - a nice nose of chocolate, cherry and herbs with a palate that adds more chocolate and a bit of spice. Not the most memorable wine, but something that was worth pulling out of the cellar - probably drinking close to its peak right now.

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Red

2006 Thelema Cabernet Sauvignon

Stellenbosch more

12/27/2010 - rjhilgers Does not like this wine: 82 points

One dimensional - all liquid smoke...

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  • Tasting notes: 472 notes on 453 wines

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