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

NV Espiral Vinho Verde

White Blend more

5/12/2015 - bretrooks wrote: NR

Two small pours consumed over ~1 hour, warming from fridge temp to room temp. Slightly effervescent at pour, showing lemon/lime notes and maybe a hint of melon or peach. Refreshing acidity. Yes, it's fairly short and simple, but for $4.49 at TJ's, if the current release consistently shows like this, I can see us picking up more throughout the summer.

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Rosť

2013 Antichi Vinai Etna Petra Lava

Etna DOC Nerello Blend, Nerello Mascalese more

5/12/2015 - bretrooks wrote: 89 points

One glass consumed over ~45 minutes, warming from fridge temp to room temp. I was struck by how bright red this was in the glass, looking like liquid candy. The nose showed ripe strawberries and bright cherries, with floral notes also adding to the mix. This was drier on the palate than expected from the nose, with an edge of cranberry acidity, and I think Dbunk's mention of hibiscus is a good one as well. Medium-bodied, and very enjoyable.

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Red

2004 Cantina Rotaliana Teroldego Rotaliano Clesurae

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5/8/2015 - bretrooks wrote: 87 points

Not decanted, consumed over 1 1/2 hours. My first time with teroldego. For a 2004, this still showed relatively youthful, with dark grapey/plummy fruit alongside bittersweet chocolate and subtle spiciness. Fairly large-scaled wine with decent acidity. Good overall, if somewhat limited in complexity and with a flavor profile that didn't particularly draw me in. 86-87ish.

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White

2012 Betwixt White Saralee's Vineyard

Russian River Valley White Blend more

5/8/2015 - bretrooks wrote: NR

One glass consumed over ~30 minutes, warming from fridge temp to room temp. This reads correctly as marsanne/roussanne, showing floral & baking spice components with muted white fruit but without much brightness or liveliness to counterbalance the heft. For my palate, not as successful as the Betwixt grenache we opened previously.

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Red

2004 Tolo Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve

Paso Robles more

5/2/2015 - bretrooks wrote: NR

Decanted 3+ hours, consumed over 2 hours with grilled steaks & balsamic gorgonzola baked brussels sprouts. Similar to the bottle from 12/25/2013, still a little porty and just a touch candied, but with oak more integrated and everything working together better than in any previous bottle we've opened. No rush on these.

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Red

2012 La Mano Bierzo

Mencía more

5/1/2015 - bretrooks wrote: NR

Not decanted, consumed a small pour over ~30 minutes. This showed a little bit of muted dark berry fruit, but it really was more about dried herbs, humus, and tomatoes, in an interesting but wouldn't-want-to-drink-it-all-the-time way. Not especially exciting, but more than fair for $4 at TJ's, as long as you know what to expect.

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White

2012 Espiral Vinho Verde

White Blend more

4/29/2015 - bretrooks wrote: NR

Quick note on a small pour of this at room temp. Slightly effervescent, tart, simple citrus/green apple fruit, short but refreshing. At $4, passable for sipping on the porch on a hot day if not for much else.

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Red

2012 CT Barrel Project Syrah Upland Syrah Upland Vineyard

Yakima Valley Snipes Mountain more

4/26/2015 - bretrooks wrote: NR

Decanted ~1 hour before consuming over 2-3 hours. This needed the air we gave it, as it started off relatively closed (especially on the nose) and was just waking up at the time the first pours went into glasses.

Medium-to-deep ruby/purple in the decanter. Slightly roasted dark berry fruit, peppery spice, and a distinct saline element were fairly constant, while notes of meat, dark chocolate, and black licorice came and went in intensity. Nice persistence, and there seems to be good potential for more depth to develop. Not as 'huge' as I expected from the high listed alcohol content, although there is just a touch of heat and a little unintegrated acidity as well. Tannins struck me as mild and smooth.

Time in bottle to integrate and develop should be beneficial, although this drinks well enough now with air given its youth and scale. Still, I suspect that I'll never find out the extent of the drinking window on this, since ours will be gone before we hit the far end of it.

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Red

2012 Chamisal Vineyards Grenache

Edna Valley more

4/19/2015 - bretrooks wrote: NR

Not decanted, consumed with dinner. I didn't get to pay close attention to this, but this struck me as a nicely balanced CA grenache - not over-extracted or over-ripe. Fruit-forward and not showing a lot of spice, maybe, but still with some freshness. A pleasure to drink.

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White - Sweet/Dessert

2011 Yorkville Cellars Sémillon Late Harvest

Yorkville Highlands more

4/18/2015 - bretrooks wrote: 91 points

Consumed over ~1 1/2 hours. Rich on both nose and palate, with notes of apricots, marmalade, honey, and (happily) all buttressed by plenty of acidity. If you told me this was sauternes from a good-quality house in a ripe but low-botrytis year, I'd believe you. I think this should provide quality drinking over the next five years, at least.

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White

2011 Nicolas Potel Mâcon-Villages

Chardonnay more

4/11/2015 - bretrooks wrote: 87 points

Consumed over ~2 hours at room temp. Basic impressions were of lemony citrus notes with a little bitterness and something just slightly musky or nutty. Decent acidity. At the price point, a fine basic all-around chard for near-term drinking.

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Red

2010 Louis Latour Pernand-Vergelesses 1er Cru Ile des Vergelesses

Pinot Noir more

4/9/2015 - bretrooks wrote: NR

Not decanted, 1 glass consumed over ~45 minutes. We didn't give this much air, which was a mistake. Aromatically, this came and went, sometimes only showing muted red fruit and at other times giving off whiffs of tea leaf/tobacco and spice. On the palate, medium-weight with lots of tart berry/sour cherry fruit and something a bit green and woody/herbal around the edges. Although reserved, this was pretty decent, and may have a little potential for improvement when it loosens up.

(Update from finishing this off two evenings later: this has opened up aromatically and gained just a little depth; aside from that, the description above holds.)

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Red

2008 Château Belle-Vue (Haut-Médoc)

Red Bordeaux Blend more

4/5/2015 - bretrooks wrote: 87 points

Not decanted, consumed over ~2 hours. Slightly more open than the bottle we opened back on 12/22/2014, but otherwise similar. Good balance, simple dark red fruit, hints of wood and herbs. An enjoyable enough bottle, if not a particularly memorable one.

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Red

2012 Domaine Regnier Saumur-Champigny

Cabernet Franc more

4/1/2015 - bretrooks wrote: 88 points

Not decanted, consumed over ~1 1/2 hours on its own. Lean cherry fruit with a bit of an herbal olive note but no real greenness to speak of. There are also background floral notes showing on the nose as well as an overlay of cocoa and smoke on the palate. Simpler on the palate than on the nose, but still quite enjoyable. Nice acidity and subtle tannins make this one to drink over the next couple of years.

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Red

2010 Bodegas Valdemar Rioja Valdemar Inspiración

Tempranillo Blend, Tempranillo more

3/29/2015 - bretrooks wrote: NR

Not decanted, consumed over 1+ hours with spicy grilled steaks and roasted veggies & potatoes. I wasn't paying close attention to this, but in general it struck me as solid, leaning a bit modern but with good balance and some nice earthiness to play off of the dark cherry/blackberry fruit. A tasty example of a straightforward, fruit-driven (for now) Rioja at a very fair price. Upper 80's if scoring.

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Red

2006 Maison Albert Bichot Savigny-lès-Beaune

Pinot Noir more

3/21/2015 - bretrooks wrote: NR

Not decanted, consumed over ~2 hours. We opened this towards the tail end of dinner, and it wasn't the greatest bottle to sip on its own afterwards. The impressions from my 12/20/2014 note still stand, with savory notes reminiscent of roasted root vegetables dominant over any remaining fruit. Still decently balanced and not going to vinegar or anything like that, but time to drink up, at least for my palate.

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Red

2012 Domaine des Ruettes Saumur-Champigny

Cabernet Franc more

3/19/2015 - bretrooks wrote: 87 points

Not decanted, consumed over ~1 hour with some left for another day. Dark berry fruit, dried herbs with some astringency but no bell pepper, enough structure and acid for decent balance and maybe a couple years of ageability. Not especially complex and maybe a little dilute on the finish right now, but really a pretty nice cab franc for its humble price range. Likely going back for more.

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Red

2004 Calabretta Etna Rosso

Etna DOC Nerello Mascalese more

3/14/2015 - bretrooks wrote: NR

Aerated in bottle ~1 1/2 hours before pouring out for our tasting group alongside sausage and wild mushroom pizza. Consistent with previous bottles - concentrated tart cherry fruit, a mushroomy earthiness which worked well with the pizza, and background hints of smoke and dried herbs. Blind, I suspect it would be very difficult to guess the age of this. Our bottle showed a little bit more ripeness to the fruit than previous bottles at first, but it came together nicely and was well-received with the dinner.

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White

2013 Black Mountain Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc

California more

3/9/2015 - bretrooks wrote: NR

Consumed over ~1 1/2 hours, warming from fridge temp to room temp. Medium-plus body, dry, a little apple-y/tropical, a little grassy/skunky (but not unpleasant), a little bitter. Simple and dilute in the mid-palate, but otherwise, I have to say I liked this better than I thought I would.

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Red

2009 Tolo Cellars Aria

Paso Robles Red Rhone Blend more

3/8/2015 - bretrooks wrote: NR

Not decanted, consumed over ~1 hour after 30 minutes of aeration. A little volatile and showing a little heat at first, but this did settle a bit with time in the glass. After the initial attack, a full mid-palate with somewhat stewed/candied red fruit and spicy (not toasty) barrel notes. Intense, as is typical for Tolos, and could probably use more time to integrate as well as good decant.

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Red

2010 Bodegas Lambuena Ribera del Duero Crianza

Tempranillo more

3/7/2015 - bretrooks wrote: 89 points

Not decanted, consumed over ~1 hour with a dinner of chicken, home fries, and steamed veggies. There is an undercurrent of dark berry fruit here but the character seemed to me more marked by dusty earth and a whiff of peppery dried herbs. Smooth, mild tannins and lowish acid, but still nicely balanced, although it may lack some complexity to push my score much higher with time. I like the style, though, and would consider buying more in the ~$15 range. 89-90.

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White

2012 Roger Sabon Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc Renaissance

White Rhone Blend more

3/1/2015 - bretrooks wrote: 91 points

Not decanted, half a glass poured off upon opening about 1 hour before serving with dinner. Consumed over ~1 1/2 hours at cool room temp. A nice balance of freshness and creamy heft, showing mostly lemon, white peach, and floral notes, with a slightly honeyed character on the nose which didn't show very much on the palate. Moderately complex and youthful, with enough acid to be lively, but with just a little heat or volatility showing on the finish.

Drinking quite well now and should continue to over the next couple of years...I don't have enough experience with aged white Rhones to speculate on how it may evolve after that.

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Red

2011 Bodegas Nekeas Garnacha El Chaparral de Vega Sindoa

Navarra more

2/27/2015 - bretrooks wrote: NR

Not decanted, consumed over ~1 hour. Should have looked at my notes on our 1/9 experience before opening this. With less airtime, we never really got beyond the closed, spicy phase, and didn't enjoy this as much previous bottles. Still fine, but I need to remember that this needs air...chalk this one up to user error.

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Red

2013 Bodegas Ateca / Zabrin Garnacha Calatayud Honoro Vera

more

2/26/2015 - bretrooks wrote: 84 points

Not decanted, consumed over two evenings. Vivid garnet/blood red in the glass. At first, concentrated dark berry fruit with some heat and tart acidity was the dominant impression. With air, the ripeness moderated and a peppery spiciness and hints of wood came out, but this remained pretty big and simple overall. Not much in the way of tannin, and not widely food-friendly.

For me, this improved with air, but I'd still only call it 84ish by the end of the bottle. If your palate leans towards big fruit and doesn't mind a bit of heat, though, this could be a good inexpensive choice at ~$6/bottle...I can think of a couple of people I might recommend it to. Probably best over the next year or two.

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Red

2012 Betwixt Grenache Boer Vineyard

Chalone more

2/21/2015 - bretrooks wrote: NR

Not decanted, opened and a little poured out about an hour before filling glasses, consumed over ~1 1/2 hours. A friendly, pure, polished grenache. All exuberant, slightly-candied strawberry/cherry fruit up front, giving a sense of summery ripeness although without seeming overextracted or showing its 14.5%. On the finish, hard-to-place spice and herb notes eventually started peeking through, hinting that that there was more to its personality. My impression was that there was a little bit of structure, but that it was fairly subtle.

Based on first impressions and knowing that this is a fresh new release, I'd guess that this will be at its best for my palate in a year or two once the fruit subsides enough that the other notes can be more prominent. Still, this was quite tasty now (my wife particularly loved it), and it harmonized fairly well with my dinner of pork chop and hash with a slightly-sweet pomegranate drizzle.

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  • Tasting notes: 701 notes on 524 wines

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