Comments on my notes

(5 comments on 5 notes)

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Red
2010 Duluc de Branaire-Ducru St. Julien Red Bordeaux Blend
10/31/2015 - Arinbraghe Does not like this wine:
81 points
From the outset this is not very appealing, especially when tasted alongside a complement of Bordeaux from more classic vintages and displaying a lighter hand on oak. Even more problematic than the over-generous lumber is the fruit, which is prunish, baked, and tending towards the kind of surmature quality you often find in wines from lower latitudes (or that hire high-priced consulting enologists...). Total pass.
  • Arinbraghe commented:

    5/8/16, 9:59 AM - Patrick, thanks for the note. Noted and agreed on 2010 Bordeaux as a vintage, that's the character of the year. My dislike of this wine comes from the sticky, surmature quality (as I perceived it) of the fruit rather than the tannin profile or overall scale. I might eat my words in 10 years, but for me right now, this is an ungainly wine.

Rosé - Sparkling
N.V. Chartogne-Taillet Champagne Le Rosé Champagne Blend
12/31/2014 - kuumies wrote:
2009 vintage. An attractive salmon color, though not of the wild kind (darker, more stronger red). A superb nose of complex, vivid savoury red fruit (strawberry, cherry, peach, apple), pastry dough, seashells and herbs. This sort of clarity, purity and expressiveness is not common at all at this price range, in fact I find this to be reminiscent of the Cuvée William Deutz Rosé 2000 I had a while ago. On the palate one first notices the firm, lively mousse and strawberry-led ripe yet dry red fruit, but a while in the glass reveals a vinous, serious fizz that sports excellent acidic structure and crunchy, savoury fruit that offers a kaleidoscope of nuances and is downright delicious. Bone dry with some really enjoyable citrusy and minerally tones, with an impeccable balance. Really long with a beautifully sour, mouthwatering finish. While massively drinkable right off the bat, the wine just keeps on getting better and better after opening. I was already a huge fan of Chartogne-Taillet but now I'm pretty much certain that they are simply unable to produce anything less than stellar. 30 €? hard to find a better rosé at that price.

Day2: Performs very similarly compared to PnP the day before, but what is more obvious to me is now how much of a wine this sparkling wine really is. The closer to room temp it gets and the less fizz there is the more tasty the wine becomes. The last glass, now some 30min after pouring, is easily the best, with the wine having grown tremendously in terms of body. Deliciously chewy and seamless all the way to the lingering finish, possessing a perfect marriage between citrusy crispness and red fruits.
  • Arinbraghe commented:

    1/3/15, 11:30 AM - Hi Kuumies. Thanks for your tip on your experience with this wine. I saw your tasting note as I was reviewing my own on this wine, some parts of my experience resonate with yours (the deep-inflected red fruits) but as you say, you seem to have got hold of a much fresher-complected bottle. I am surprised that this seems to be most recent disgorgement -- I actually picked this out for the extra bottle time, though in this instance it did me no favors! Glad you had much better time with your bottle. Cheers!

Red
2003 Concha y Toro Cabernet Sauvignon Don Melchor Puente Alto
Had this not been a very gracious offering from a friend with a widely divergent palate from my own, I would not have gotten past the first few sips. Put simply this is badly made wine, yet another instance of oak treatment being used as some kind of proxy for dick size, and the winemaker decided he wanted 9 inches. The fruit underneath gives some indication of fairly high quality, though this is a speculative assessment given all the dill and sawdust under which it is buried. I do know that whatever fruit is present will succumb before it ever has a hope of eating up all the wood. This is also a textbook wine for pointing and laughing at the critics, though perhaps less the (relatively modest) 93 point score from the palate-dead Bob Parker than the appalling 96 points from Spectator. A substantial cohort of poor newbs no doubt bought this stuff at a ridiculously-inflated tariff based on the rating (and #4 ranking in their 2006 'Top 100' awards) and now have a variable number of moribund oak bombs inexorably giving up the ghost in their cellars. As for more experienced point-chasers I have far less sympathy; you dance with them what brung ya.
  • Arinbraghe commented:

    11/2/14, 11:55 AM - Rollerball, thanks for your comment! I'm glad my over-wrought reviews generate some sentiment among fellow Cellartracker users, even if it's contempt. To which I would say, after reading your note, glad you liked the 03 Don Melchor! Obviously I won't compete with you for any of it. Also: if anyone deserves your disdain, it's the people who slavishly follow Spectator, Advocate, etc in their self-appointed position as taste-makers. They are the sole reason this stuff costs $75 a bottle. We should all be drinking better, for less money.

Red
2004 Eagles Trace Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
12/8/2013 - Arinbraghe Likes this wine:
90 points
From a 375 ml bottle. In this format, perfectly à point and ready to be drunk. Completely resolved but still fully plush of fruit, this betrays its age only on the finish which is a bit bonier and more splayed-out than either the attack or mid-palate. Old-school Cali style with new(ish)-school 14.5% alcohol that you couldn't detect if you tried. In fact the only complaint one could have here is that the wine's a bit too binary: the attack and mid-palate put you in mind of ribeye, but the finish is a touch frayed and retiring, such that you'd much rather match with root vegetables or pulses. Have not had this in 750 ml format but if the backside is anything more like the front end in those bigger bottles, you have runway model-grade material on your hands right now.
  • Arinbraghe commented:

    12/9/13, 10:38 AM - Thanks. Yes, I was a bit surprised by how vital and punchy this was from half-bottle at almost 10 years of age. Maybe I made too much of the fall-off on the finish, but it was about the only gripe I could muster. Nothing really comes apart here, it just fades a touch compared to the front end. Hence my surmise that in 750 ml this is firing on all cylinders. Great little bottle of wine.

Red
2010 Mollydooker Two Left Feet South Australia Shiraz Blend, Syrah
This is of course really, really terrible, but the main thing that continues to mystify me is how people call this kind of thing a crowd-pleaser. I poured it for a crowd and almost nobody liked it. It smells like blueberry Smuckers jam and tastes so sweet and grapey one wonders if they even bothered to ferment it; this resembles the Kedem grape juice that my 3-year-old drinks more than wine, albeit with an admittedly higher Fruit Weight™ index and the completely gratuitous addition of an obscene amount of oak that tastes of such raw, pure wood (not even toast or chocolate or spice or any of those things) that it almost seems like they figured out some way to crush and ferment a truckload of tongue depressors, which I guess is ironic considering the totally unfermented flavor of the grapes. There was actual jawdropping around the room when I pointed to the explanation on the Mollydooker web site that the producers consider this a 65-70% on their Fruit Weight™ scale and that they make other wines that go all the way up to 100, considering that we are already well into Spinal Tap territory here. On the "other" point scale I am scoring this a 55 rather than a flat 50 only because the 16% alcohol actually didn't stick out so bad, but this really does taste like a wine made by somebody who has never actually drank wine. I get that the idea here is to take all the characteristics that impress the critics so much and use those trademarked techniques and the Aussie sun to crank them up to 11 (and beyond), but if this is an attempt to emulate any style of actual wine it's akin to having Stevie Wonder try to copy a painting.
  • Arinbraghe commented:

    5/17/13, 5:16 PM - To comment on marcellevi's comment (hey, how'd I end up in this echo chamber?) - if the minority report is to be discounted, then Kendall Jackson Chardonnay and Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc must be the cat's ass of the wine world; container ships' full of those wines sell every year, to a consumerate that can't seem to get enough. Quite apart from the trope that all taste is subjective, it would seem that deferring to the majority opinion in any critical arena is a race to the just-above-average, if not worse.

    And I would disagree with robrats: please, Keith, keep purchasing the occasional Mollydooker, inter alia! There's nothing like tasting a wine you absolutely, unequivocally despise to calibrate the palate and heighten the appreciation for wine one really *does* like. It's akin to the dozing Buddhist adept being struck with a rod to wake him up. A good, atrocious bottle of wine is sometimes just what the doctor ordered...

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