Tasted this a few weeks ago at the Q3 tasting with MC2 and friends. At the time, I agreed with others that it was showing well, had a Bordeaux profile, a nice level of acidity that makes it a great wine with food, but probably didn't live up to expectations in terms of complexity. That said, I now realize how tough the competition was that night. Popped a bottle from my cellar tonight to pair with some juicy burgers. Maybe there's some bottle variation, the change in context or differences in storage because tonights experience was pretty different. Started out with a nose of dark cassis fruit and a touch of bordeaux bret. On the palate, the fruit is still big and bold. The tannins are resolved and the acid is at a very enjoyable level...especially with the burgers. My tipping point came at hour 2.5 where the wine seemed to come together a bit more. I suspect this will evolve to be an even more interesting and enjoyable wine with a few more years in the cellar. For me, tonights bottle was a bit better than what I had a few weeks earlier.
Hillside, Pride, Myriad, Montelena, Rhys, Peter Michael, Yquem (Cleveland Heights): I bought a fair amount of this so, I have been watching it every few years. Perhaps not their best vintage but all the wines have been similar. IIRC, it was discounted as that was when Laube was writing about systematic TCA at the winery, but all my bottles have been sound. This bottle has passed into a stage where it drinks more Bordeaux-esque. Of course, that meant my wife was not a fan. The nose is earthy with some funk, cigar tobacco, leather but still plenty of darker cassis fruit. Full bodied. On the palate, this seems at peak to me. Some fruit left. Mostly cassis but some cherries. Tannins are almost all resolved. Good acidity. Layers of complexity. Nice finish. Worked well with food. If you own any, plan to drink a bottle. No point in waiting IMO.
Q3 Tasting - Aged Cali (The Apt): Wine #3: Also good fruit, this wine tasted a bit younger than some of the earlier ones for some reason to me (odd since it was right after the '03 Bucella). My first Montelena and I'd say I enjoyed it although it was in tough company and could perhaps have used some more secondary/tertiary flavors.
Q3 Tasting - Aged California Wines - Pre 2006 (New York, NY): #3 of 20 wines tasted double blind. Dark red no bricking. On the palate this is higher acid than the previous wines, not as plush with grippy tannins, more old world style. Noted that this would be better with food. My guess was possibly syrah from 2000-2006. This one was middle of the pack for me. From the group it received 2 pennies (tied for 11th place with 6 other wines).
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