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  • 1998 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape

    92-93+ Points. Tasted serially over 2-3 hours at 60-65 degrees.

    On the nose dried red fruits, roasted meat, incense and savory spices. On the palate, dried raspberry and red currants gave way to roasted meat, dried herbs, cedar wood, spice and a lengthy and resonant cigar wrapper finish.

    Still seemed to be quite fresh although it seemed at a point where it might be in a graceful descent from its peak. Good overall acidity with nice density and steady structure. Moderate weight and texture on the palate but well delineated with nice clarity.

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  • 2012 Chappellet Cervantes Mountain Cuvee

    88 Points. Served serially over 3 hours between 60-65F.

    Black cherry, blackberry and oak spice on the nose. On the palate, blackberry coulis and boysenberry fruits followed by cedar, cocoa, oak spice and charred wood / creosote. Over time, ripe black currants and blueberries come and go. Where this wine really suffers is texturally - little to no structure, disjointed acidity, little density on the mid-palate and rather hollow. The alcohol shows quite significantly as well.

    Overall, I'm pretty disappointed. I like the 2010 and 2011 vintages far more and this seems too primary, too blown out, too messy. There's a deliciousness factor here, but even for the style it seems to miss the mark. Maybe some more time will bring it together, but this is most definitely a near-term drinker.

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  • 2011 Mount Eden Vineyards Chardonnay Domaine Eden

    92+ Points. Tasted serially over two hours. Served at 58-62F.

    On the nose, toasty lees and spice dominate. On the palate fresh white peach and candied citrus are followed by toast and warm spices. Texturally, there's tremendous mouthfeel here that's counterbalanced perfectly by solid acidity. The barrel fermentation and sur-lie are obvious on the wine, but complement the density, length and energy on the palate.

    Right now there's not much delineation on the palate, but the palate intersects perfectly between richness and freshness. With some time in the cellar it's possible greater complexity might show, but this is primarily about the tremendous texture and energy. A stunning showing for a second label wine and an excellent value. I continue to be impressed by California's 2011 whites.

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  • Grinner says:

    11/28/2012 9:16:00 PM - TSB: Thanks for the comments! We missed Terry Hoage, but loved Epoch. Tablas Creek was a little too far off our path, in haste to get to Monterey. We get some of their wines in Eugene and have enjoyed them. Cheers back atcha