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  • 2012 Rivers-Marie Chardonnay Sonoma Coast

    Popped and poured, bright yellow-gold. Initially showing just a touch of reduction, the nose soon opens into expressive, citrus-filled aromas of lime slices, lemon verbena and orange zest along with hints of spice from subtle oak. Medium body. Honeyed citrus on the palate plus flavors of stone fruits and bit of toast on the back from deftly utilized oak. While there's also a tiny bit of sweetness on the close, it's cut by a deceptively quenching level of acidity. Very approachable now, this should get even better with short term cellaring and will make for nice drinking over the next few years.
    Great quality for $28, this is a lovely Chardonnay.

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  • 2005 La Rioja Alta Rioja Viña Ardanza Reserva

    Popped and poured, clear black cherry hue. Subtle berry fruits on the nose are accompanied by earthy aromas of dried mushrooms, tobacco, black tea and stale herbs along with menthol notes and some American oak. As the oak recedes with air, the fruit and menthol notes gain in prominence. Moderate-plus body. Along with flavors which largely mirror the nose, as is often the case with fine Rioja there's also that compelling, immediate freshness and the overall sensation derived from this is one of finesse and refinement. Mild, somewhat chewy tannins on the lengthy close.
    Will undoubtedly age for some time but might be showing at it's best right now and over the next 3-4 years.
    Splendid QPR in Rioja, highly recommended.

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  • 2012 Seven of Hearts Pinot Noir Curmudgeon Cuvée Armstrong Vineyard

    Popped and poured, medium-plus purple/ruby, youthful. A bit refrained at first, the nose opens with air to show subtle complexities of under-ripened raspberry, black cherry, root vegetables, mint, cedar shavings, ginger-spice and an impression of minerals...really expands at the 2 hour mark. Medium to medium-plus body. Flavors in mouth showcase the darker spectrum of Pinot Noir fruit and are nuanced by interesting herbaceous notes and hints of spice. Plush, seamless and well-balanced with velvet tannins.
    While this seems slightly muted right now it should be excellent after another 1-2 years of cellaring and will drink well for many more.

    Quick comment: Cheers to Bob, will always miss you on the forums.

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