Tasting with Joe Gallo

Buffalo, NY

Tasted May 25, 2010 by Kirk Grant with 822 views


Joe was a wonderful host and provides a tremendous opportunity to learn who can check their ego at the door. Providing a wonderful atmosphere to learn in and a setting that is likely to dwarf all others that are not paid for.

Flight 1 (1 note)

2003 Torbreck RunRig Australia, South Australia, Barossa, Barossa Valley
92 points
Color: Opaque Violet

Smell: Vanilla, menthol, cacao nibs, olives, smoke, toffee, and dark fruits.

Taste: Cherries, plum, boysenberry, dark chocolate, and blueberry

Overall: A deep and unctious full bodied wine that was showing a lot of oak treatment, high tannin, and average to low acidity. However, because the intensity of the fruit, acid, and tannin were also dialed quite high it retained a balance that was quite enjoyable. After a little time in the glass the alcohol became more obvious...and the wine showed a little more round and fat. While this wine has some time left to it I think it might have showed its best in its youth. It would be interesting to see where this wine is in another 5+ years.

Flight 2 (3 notes)

Fruit/Vegetable Wine
2005 Bartlett Blueberry Winemaker's Reserve USA, Maine
Color: ruby

Smell: Clove, spice, orange rind, blue fruit, and lilac notes.

Taste: A melange of bright red fruits, cinamon, a hint of flint, and kumkuats.

Overall: This is a wine I am probably biased on. I do love how elegant and delicate it shows while still holding the power and intensity of flavors as it does. At 11.5% it is food friendly, and the sort of bottle that I can drink all by myself without batting an eyelash.
2003 Ceretto Barolo Zonchera Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
79 points
Color: Ruby

Smell: Earth, truffles, baked plums, dried cherries, leather, orange rind, tar, and slightly ashy notes

Taste: cherries, and a hint of strawberries was all that I really got.

Overall: The tannin(+++) was so intense as was the acid (++) that I found this difficult to enjoy. It simply was not interesting to me and i find it difficult to think that with the lack of fruit and the intense level of tannin that this will ever unfold into something that others might enjoy.
1998 Paolo Scavino Barolo Bric dël Fiasc Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
84 points
Color: Violet/Ruby

Smell: Dried red fruit, tobacco, leather, tar, and a hint of roses.

Taste: Cherry, strawberry, and a hint of ashiness

Overall: The quality of this wine was quite clear and it may offer something more with a little time...however, at the present moment I can't say more than it was good. Given the other notes I have to wonder if this was somehow an "off" bottle.

Flight 3 (3 notes)

2007 Marchesi de' Frescobaldi Tenuta di Castiglioni Toscana IGT Italy, Tuscany, Toscana IGT
91 points
Color: Opaque Violet

Smell: Smoke, pyrazines, coffee, lilacs, milk chocolate, and dark fruits

Taste: Smoke, pyrazines, coffee, lilacs, blueberries, and cedar

Overall: A wonderful wine that is structured for the long haul. While enjoyable now it is a tad too extracted for my personal liking. I have to believe that with 2-3 years in the cellar this will open up into a beauty of a wine that is a bargain at the present price.
2007 Domaine Michel Poinard Crozes-Hermitage France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Crozes-Hermitage
92 points
Color: Violet

Smell: violets, dark fruits, earth, funk, lilacs.

Taste: Blackberry, (med + tannin), blueberry, tobacco, (med+ alcohol), minerality, and a faint lingering of heat at the tail end of the finish pulls this back from being something that borders on classic for me.

Overall: This was such a great bottle of wine that was showing so well. Served blind I thought it was Rhone but couldn't settle on an answer for Northern or Southern. I would love to see this wine in a few years to see if everything remains in the balance that it had this evening.
2003 Bodegas Pintia Toro Pintia Spain, Castilla y León, Toro
95 points
Color: Violet

Smell: roasted coffee, dark fruits, smoky notes, vanilla, fig, cinnamon, and a bit of char

Taste: Chocolate, dark fruits, blueberry, cedar, plum, and graphite

Overall: This wine was tasted side by side from a Riedel Tempranillo glass (95 points) and from a regular Riedel Bordeaux glass (92 points). The marked difference in the nose and palate presence was breathtaking. I am officially sold on yet another glass in the Riedel line-up.

With all that said, this was a wine that moved me and brought me back to the present place and time. For me, it's easy to get lost, sidetracked, or distracted in blind tastings. Yet this wine demanded the complete attention of everyone in the room...and that to me is a hallmark of a classic wine.

Flight 4 (1 note)

White - Off-dry
1983 Verwaltung der Staatsweingüter Rauenthaler Baiken Riesling Auslese Germany, Rheingau
86 points
Color: Deep golden yellow

Smell: Apricot, peach, Kumquat, bees wax, petrol, and crushed rocks. (***** for the nose)

Taste: Lemon, Marmalade, clementine, nectarine, and a walnuts.

Overall: With the nose as captivating as it was...I was crused by the lack of complexity and presence in the mouth. The slightly bitter walnut note at the tail end really detracted from my enjoyment of this.

NOTE: The cork was fully saturated and at some point in time it looked like the bottle was either (a) overfilled or (b) experienced some heat damage. This was sourced from a cellar that had good maintenance and upkeep. So I suspect this bottle is just on the downslope.

Flight 5 (1 note)

2006 Anwilka Stellenbosch South Africa, Coastal Region, Stellenbosch
92 points
Color: Violet/Ruby

Smell: Vanilla, caramel, dark fruit, and a light hint of pyrazines.

Taste: Dark and red fruits, vanilla, chewing tobacco, and blueberries.

Overall: A lean and well structured wine that presents itself in a "new world" fashion with a significant presence of oak treatment. For me this was the first South African red that I have had that did not reek of band-aid, and a slightly sour note that reminds me of a landfill. This was a wonderful revelation for me around the quality of wines that can come out from South Africa.


2:30 am came far too soon after a full day of driving. I will look forward to getting together again in the future with the opportunity presents itself again.

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