Saturated, nearly opaque, dark ruby color; appealing, tart berry, tart black fruit, tar, black currant nose; medium bodied, tasty, ripe berry, wild berry, tart blackberry, black currant palate with good balancing acidity; medium-plus finish (75% Zinfandel, 23% Petite Sirah, 2% Carignane; 14.5% alcohol; from vines averaging over 95 years old)
Light medium yellow color with steady, tiny bubbles; aromatic, oxidative, dried apple, hazelnut nose; oxidative, dried apple, hazelnut, mineral palate with medium acidity; medium-plus finish (75% Pinot Noir, 25% Chardonnay)
7/24/2015 10:27:00 PM - Please go to Margaret River in Western Australia. We lived in Perth for a number of years and spent many a lovely weekend exploring wineries in that region. We returned with 17 cases of their delightful wines.
1/12/2015 8:35:00 AM - Hi Richard! This is Luis from Spain, a new member of Cellar Tracker. Are you a Rioja Wine lover? If you feel like it, I could send you some samples of Marques del Puerto Gran Reserva 2004, recently rated with a 92 by WE, how is that sounds?For the sake of clarity I am an Export Manager working for this winery (and a wine-maker- lover!!!). My email is firstname.lastname@example.org
8/9/2014 8:47:00 PM - I just signed up for Cellar Tracker and noticed you live close to us! We're having an event in SF on September 3rd featuring newly imported French Wines!! I've been lucky enough to do the full tasting already. Please let me know if you can make it as we have a limited guest list and need to confirm it. We're excited to meet new people. Cheers!
When : Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014 at 5.30 pm
Where : Millenium Tower, 301 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94105
What: Discover exclusive French wines, imported for the first time in the US :
- Heure d’été An exquisite and delicate French Rosé. (Côtes de Provence, Sainte Victoire - Le domaine des Diables)
- Nicolas Noble Grower Champagne, served at Elysée Palace. (Maison Gremillet - Les Riceys )
Other regions will be also presented and available for tasting during this Tour de France : Côtes du Rhône, Burgundy and Bordeaux.
Please let me know if you're able to attend.
Have a nice night,
2/5/2014 5:48:00 PM - Charles,
Unfortunately I have not spent time in Piedmont in recent years (hope to remedy that in the next year or two), so am not a good source of info on restaurants and where to visit there. I can, however, strongly recommend Antonio Galloni's site--VinousMedia--as a great source of info on the Piedmont, and Italy in general. All of his tasting notes and articles, going back to the Piedmont Report he started in 2004, are housed on that site. You can view a limited number of articles for free--five or six as a guest--but I would strongly recommend a subscription if you want to bone up on who to see, and where to eat, in the Piedmont. The URL is http://vinousmedia.com/
2/5/2014 1:25:00 AM - I'm a Sydney, Australia based CT user. I spending two weeks n Piedmonte in June/july and wonder if you have any time to post recommendation on wines and restaurants there. Cheers Charles Fox
1/28/2014 7:42:00 AM - Welltraveled01,
I can't think of any particular channel for selling the Plumpjack. I'm sure you'll find interested buyers, though, on WineCommune, which is the biggest auction house for private sellers offering single bottlings or lots. You need a much bigger lot to have an online auction house like WineBid sell the wine for you. Here's the link to WineCommune: http://www.winecommune.com/
1/28/2014 7:39:00 AM - 3 Canine Domain:
You're in for some delightful exploration. Congrats on finding your way to CT already. Washington has some very good Merlots, as does northern California. You should also compare Bordeaux from the right bank appellations, like St. Emilion and Pomerol.
My blog periodically has suggestions for wine newcomers. Here's a link to a piece you might find useful: http://www.rjonwine.com/advice/what-style-of-wine-appeals-to-you/
1/27/2014 11:52:00 PM - Richard, I happen to have the boxed version of the 1997 Plumpjack screwtop vs. cork cabernet. Any idea of where I could sell this? Perfect condition in a wine cellar since 1998 and hasn't been touched. Any help is much appreciated.
1/26/2014 1:38:00 PM - Hey Richard I'm new here, and new to wine. I'm going to be watching and trying to learn by reading your notes, my palate is raw and unrefined so it's difficult. Going to try to hit local tastings here in Maryland as much as I can. So far I know I like some red blends, and Washington Merlots. Thanks!
11/26/2013 10:15:00 AM - Peter,
I'm glad you find the TNs helpful. Thanks for the good question.
The vast majority of wines I taste are ready to drink and I score them based on my estimation of their quality, complexity and balance at the time I taste them. For the smaller percentage that are young wines that clearly have a lot of development ahead, my rating is based on my best guess as to how they will develop. I try to be conservative on that, as I obviously can't know exactly how well they will develop. Red Burgundies are particularly tricky, as the ones with lots of structure--major tannins and acidity--often lose their fruit before the tannins mellow out, so it can be hard to guess whether they'll be delicious, mature creatures or fruitless and unbalanced after 8 to 10 years of development. Nonetheless, my estimate is based on a lot of experience with either that particular producer or wines from the same region and grape and how they typically develop over time.
11/26/2013 7:54:00 AM - Richard,
Thank you for very helpful tasting notes.
I have one question. Do your scores indicate the quality of the wine as it was when you drank it or is it your best estimate of the potential at peak?
This is clearly most relevant for young wines before maturity, but it would be quite helpful to understand.
10/3/2013 8:12:00 AM - donash,
Lucky you! I hope you're enjoying your time in Bordeaux.
The blog that is most devoted to Bordeaux wines, and has good info on visiting wineries there, is Jeff Leve's The Wine Cellar Insider. Here's the link to his landing page on Bordeaux wineries: http://www.thewinecellarinsider.com/wine-topics/wine-educational-questions/bordeaux-resources-buying-guides-education-questions-answers/
I haven't been there during harvest, and haven't been there for a number of years, so I can't really give you any good recommendations on where you should visit this week. I would think Jeff's page on smaller and lesser known chateaux might be of particular help in this particular season: http://www.thewinecellarinsider.com/bordeaux-wine-producer-profiles/bordeaux/bordeaux-value-wine-guide-to-smaller-lesser-known-chateaux-and-estates/
10/3/2013 8:06:00 AM - bugdoced,
You are a very attentive reader, aren't you? ;-) I do taste about 7,000 wines a year at this point. Many of those are at tastings for the trade or media events, but I also receive a lot of samples, from domestic as well as European and Australian producers, so several nights a week I work to keep up with the flow of those samples as well. The key to tasting at that pace, for me and every other critic I know, is learning to taste thoroughly without drinking the wine (i.e., spitting). I couldn't hope to taste and fairly rate more than a couple of wines a day if I was actually drinking the wines.
It's kind to call my descriptions thoughtful and intuitive. At any rate, the key is spitting. I never leave home without my red Solo spitcup--it's become something of a trademark for me.
All the best,
10/2/2013 8:30:00 PM - I couldn't help but notice that you have commented on 37,000 bottles in ~9 years;this works out to about ~11 bottles per day.How are you so fortunate to taste 11 wines per day yet remain intuitive in your thoughtful descriptions?
9/17/2013 11:59:00 AM - Richard: I am brand new to this site and I have been reading some of your tasting notes. I agree with Seimo79 that your ratings are easy to understand. If you have the time, would you consider providing recommendations on places to stay and wineries to visit in Napa Valley. I will be there to visit in the spring along with my wife and some of our closet friends.
8/29/2013 12:44:00 PM - Seimo,
Thank you for your very kind words. Exaggerated notes and scores turn me off too. I try hard for objectivity and fairness. You can find more of my work on my website: http://www.RJonWine.com
All the best,
8/29/2013 8:45:00 AM - Hi Richard! What I really do like in your tasting notes is that they do not seem as exaggerated as others. Sometimes you get the opinion that only 90+++ wines are consumed and rated by the CellarTracker community. As if there was hardly a wine below 90, and if, then many times the ratings are really bad (below 80). Just like there was nothing in between. Your ratings are easy to understand and believable.
Thanks & greetings from Germany!
5/26/2013 11:32:00 AM - walkerjfw - Thanks for the kind words. I added another piece on the site about two more SB producers this past week, and am working on a lengthy one about the Sanford & Benedict Vineyard.
The challenge with getting to know SB County is the long distances between the various parts of the region. If you only have one day, you really need to focus somewhere. If you want to do a lot of tasting in one spot, I'd suggest focusing on the Lompoc Wine Ghetto, where 19 producers now make wine, and where many of them have tasting rooms (some are by appointment only). From there you could also take a scenic trip through the Santa Rita Hills, and taste at Melville or one of the other wineries in that area that has a tasting room.
If you and your wife are more interested in Syrah than Pinot Noir, my suggestion would be the Ballard Canyon area, where you'll find Jonata, Stolpman and Rusack.
Another way to spend a productive day in the County would be to pick on of the appellations, like Santa Maria Valley (Presqu'ile has an amazing visitor center opening late June this year), Ballard Canyon or Sta. Rita Hills, for a drive through and some tasting, and to finish by heading down to the Funk Zone in the City of Santa Barbara, where a number of wineries have tasting rooms.
One way or the other, I'm sure you'll have a great trip.
5/24/2013 11:12:00 AM - Richard - have really enjoyed your tasting notes, great content and lots of it. very helpful for a collector like me.
I saw on your site you had made a visit to Santa Barbara County. I will be there with my wife for a few days in July. If you had only one day for tastings/visits - which places would you visit? Are palates are broad so we are up for anything. Any insights or thoughts would be much appreciated...
Thanks in advance - keep up all the great work!
6/13/2012 8:18:00 PM - Hi Richard...thanks for taking the time to share your knowledge and experience. I have found your notes incredibly helpful. Just want you to know that your efforts are appreciated!
10/5/2011 7:27:00 AM - Just want to give you a shout out. You're the only author I have tagged as a favorite. I trust your tastings and you seem to have tasted a large portion of the wines I research. Thanks for the good work.
10/27/2010 3:53:00 PM - Ben,
Thanks for the kind words on the D'Oliveiras tasting notes. I find the smaller, bell shaped, Madeira glasses, that expand in the middle, but then narrow toward the nose, to be great for tasting vintage Madeira. That's what they use at D'Oliveiras. The d'Oliveiras current offerings are pretty much all labeled by varietal, but that should be taken to mean style, as there was relatively little of the noble Madeira varietals left after the devastation of phylloxera in the 1870s, and still a small, but growing percentage of the noble varietals (something like 10% of what they currently make vintage Madeira from). Let me know if that didn't answer your question.
10/26/2010 5:20:00 PM - Richard--
Just read your very informative notes on the D'Oliveiras tasting you had earlier this year. If you have the time I have two questions for you:
First, can you offer a comment on the style of glasses you used or D'Oliveiras used during that tasting.
Second, are D'Oliveiras' current offerings varietially labeled even if they are from older vintages? Or are they labeled by "style"? (I may be mis-understanding Madeira labeling law here as well).
If you don't have time for a response I certainly understand.
All the best,