Tasting Notes for Arinbraghe

(121 notes on 120 wines)

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Red
12/7/2015 - Arinbraghe Likes this wine:
89 points
Popped and poured at dinner and followed over ~90 minutes. I know the Estate wine is the vin de garde at this address, but if we're applying a Bordeaux model to this producer (which given the house style and pedigree seems apt) then the 'second wine' should be able to go some distance as well. And it does, with some provisos. Actually one major proviso, which is a huge (in context) dollop of coconutty, creamed-dill oak that billows up and squats unceremoniously atop a very savory, soil-driven Cabernet. The underlying fruit profile is svelte and totally evolved, and strongly tokens a Right Bank wine of riper vintage with its somewhat horsey leather and red loam components. But that oak sheen takes forever to quit and while it does integrate in time to pair with the last couple bites of your entree, you feel rather cheated since all the other elements played so nicely together from the get-go. A frustrating wine for the first ~60 minutes, although once the wood finally shuts up it becomes a very pretty one.
Red
12/7/2015 - Arinbraghe wrote:
81 points
Hugely skeptical of this and opened more out of curiosity than thirst or excitement (also: trying not to deplete a friend's modest under-counter wine fridge of any cherries.) If cherry-avoidance is the goal then this is a 95+ pointer; certainly no one would long miss this out of their cellar. But you'll notice that I haven't indicated any glaring flaw or that we poured it all down the drain. Indeed, the damn thing's drinkable at this stage, if pretty hollowed out and clearly wanting for some acid lift (that vintage signature surely did this wine no favors.) But the fruit's still hanging on and the oak has less of a stranglehold than I would have supposed. Don't get me wrong, it's not good wine; it's just surprisingly inoffensive given the combo of vintage and producer.
Red
10/31/2015 - Arinbraghe Likes this wine:
91 points
Oh, this is good. Immediately on opening the breed of Pichon Baron is evident here, from the grain of the tannins to the woodspice-seasoned latticework of flavors. Where the Paveil de Luze from Margaux that was opened alongside is reminiscent of green tobacco, this is redolent of sweet, seasoned brown tobacco, and the feel in the mouth is just a bit more suave and angular than the Margaux. On Day 2 the tannins are a bit toothier but the cassis-dominated flavor profile is still very poised and utterly classic. This is a wine where the nose and the palate recapitulate each other with great fidelity. It may not end up being terribly long-lived given how open-knight it is right now, but hard to hate on a classically-proportioned Bordeaux that drinks like this at age 4.
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Red
10/31/2015 - Arinbraghe Likes this wine:
89 points
Quite a successful vintage for this wine, a charmer from the pop of the cork but especially after about 3 hours of airtime. This is a bit more than 2/3 Cabernet Sauvignon and it certainly sings loudest in the choir. There's a bulky mid-palate of black fruits here that manages not to obscure an array of subtler tones highlighting pepper and green tobacco, especially late on Day 1 and into Day 2. The scale here may not scream elegance but it does show plenty of amplitude and power, especially for the vintage. And a bona fide value for Margaux.
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Red
2010 Duluc de Branaire-Ducru St. Julien Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
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.
Red
9/27/2015 - Arinbraghe wrote:
God I just do not get Cabernet Sauvignon as a variety. Or at least, that's what I think now everytime I have a Cab-based wine from a producer I like, that fails to push my buttons. I popped this thinking that at 10 years on the wine would be grown up, if anything kinda shuffling into shapeless old age, a good quick-turn match for fancy burgers. Never pegged this as needing 20 years in bottle or figuratively flipping us the bird as it rode through town on its chopper, anything like that. Well, I was wrong. Among the other, mostly-desultory Cellartracker notes on this wine, Woodford's review most resonates with my impressions when he points out tobacco (there's an ass-load of it here) and dark fruits (ditto). Beyond that the wine is pretty soupy and unappetizing when first opened, and the flavors are aggressive and blaring -- the wine kinda screeches at you like an old analog radio where you haven't quite dialed in the station frequency correctly. So we backed away and bided our time, which helped this to civilize after about an hour or so but not the point where it would win any kind of congeniality award. Airtime did crank the tobacco notes up to about 10.5 here (we're not quite in Spinal Tap territory but it's close). The tannins are a bit too drying but the fruit's still plenty sticky, so the wine's oddly balanced in a 'two wrongs make a right' sense. Also, it's an academic point but the alcohol's listed at 13.9% and I'd be very surprised if a Cali Cab this brawny actually clocked in under 14.5% on analysis. I like this producer and what they've done the last 10 years or so in Alexander Valley, but this is not a wine that's going to convince any newcomers.
Rosé
9/7/2015 - Arinbraghe wrote:
Not bad wine, but it's been several years since I had a bottle of this Tavel and I remember Trinquevedel being slightly more suave and layered than this. One-dimensional and fairy candied fruit, and wanting a bit of lift and definition. The wine pours more crimson than pink and that is at least truth in advertising. Pleasant enough but there are better options out there, at least in this vintage.
Red
8/31/2015 - Arinbraghe wrote:
Wow, just.... wow. Crankiest bottle of wine I have opened in a long time. As in, we spent 30 minutes trying to decide whether it was corked, cooked, or just so wound up and backward that nobody in his or her right mind would knowingly open it right now. We determined it was definitely not corked - I'm no keen nose for TCA but I searched hard for a corky note and found none. Be advised instead that right now this wine is as awkward as a Model UN social mixer. It's no Burgundy ringer, and the clearly New World armature seemed like an empty auditoreum when combined with the near-total absence of fruit. Then at about the hour mark, somebody flipped a switch and the wine started to wink at us, dark plummy notes emerging out of nowhere and hinting at the grace and style that the producer is known for. I'm reaching though, because honestly this wine is about as cozy right now as a barbed wire fence. Withholding judgement, although I will say I've never liked this wine as much as I'd hoped I would.
White - Off-dry
8/23/2015 - Arinbraghe Likes this wine:
91 points
Effortlessly yummy mature Riesling flavors of peach cobbler and brown dessert spices. Still lots of RS on the palate, just enough to be glossy but not enough to be challenging for dinner service. Only caveat I would add is that with a bit of age, this has lost a bit of the kaleidoscopic peacock's tail of flavors that some younger Lauer bottlings have shown. It is delicious but not categorically different in its charms the way young Lauer is compared with, say, young JJ Prum or Fritz Haag. Warrants further investigation.
Red
I opened this bottle, the first Clos Saron wine for me, expecting to find anything from Grand Cru Burgundy lookalike to bacteriological horror show. Didn't get the former, but we definitely didn't get the latter either. I'm sure there's a lot of bottle variation at play from following online commentary here and elsewhere, but while our bottle showed a significant amount of spritz the wine itself was reasonably clear and fruity. It did require a hearty, 20-second shake to dispel the gas, but almost immediately afterwards began to show plenty of charming, mature/muddled dark berry flavors. I also get where people point up some oxidative notes, since there's a brown brick dust bassnote to the dark-fruited profile that was plain but (for me) not off-putting. The texture was the most appealing element here, as the tannins are barely a feathery whisper at this point but the minerality lends almost a pea gravel sensation in the mouth. Whether this is due to the wine or to some remaining dissolved gas isn't clear, but the overall effect in this bottle at least, was very charming. I was hoping for 'drinkable,' this was all of that and then some.
Red
Absolutely no need for panic here -- if you have this and you like to drink your wines with a smattering of maturity, then you have a ten- or fifteen-year drinking window and we are at the early end of it. Opened this last night, poured a small taste right away, and then replaced the cork in the bottle for a dinner party two hours later in the evening. This never was less than charming to me as well as to my fellow partygoers, none of whom (other than myself) are notable funky wine lovers. It may be further along in its development than one might expect from such a structure-driven terroir, and it is probably not a 30-year wine, but it is a terrific 10-year wine. Despite the provenance and cool vintage there's not much in the way of green leafy notes or pondwater to work through, instead it's generous, purple-toned, tobacco-inflected Cab Franc fruit. I could actually have wished for a bit more funk and textural grit, but much like the people who made it, this is impossible not to like.
Red
Figured to check in on this as it's a one-off in my collection, and there are noises about how 02's at the village/1er Cru level in Beaune are starting to drink (some very prestigious experts among them). This one ain't, and if it's emblematic of the vintage's current character I would say '02's along with '99's are in 'sit on your hands' territory at all levels. Blocky and big-fruited as Burghound and some reviewers here have indicated, yet now lacking juicy exuberance but also any tertiary payoff. For my palate I would give this at least another 3 years sideways to lose some of the tannic bite and murky darkness of fruit. I would hope the nicely-detailed review below indicating this as 'resolved' is incorrect, if that implies all the pieces here have settled into a holding pattern; this is a wine that to me seems very much akimbo.
White
6/13/2015 - Arinbraghe Likes this wine:
91 points
Delicious, fairly small-scale 1er Cru Chablis that is in a terrific place to drink right now. No need for decanting or indeed patience of any kind upon popping the bottle - ours was perfumed and inviting from the moment the cork came out. What I especially like about the wine at this time is that while it's still well-fruited with flavors on the yellow citrus end of the spectrum, the secondary character of salt-breeze minerality and chalk have become more, rather than less, prominent over time and are now the main flavor components of the wine. At the same time I got none of the oxidative notes that another taster mentioned below. This may be a wine of modest dimensions but it's delicious, even gulpable at this point.
Red
Typically I love the wines Rod Berglund crafts at Joseph Swan; they can be some of the most compelling Yankee pinots in their brown-spiced, savory red-fruited idiom. This is not one of their greatest hits as the VA that often lightly seasons their pinots is pretty out of control here (even for my highly VA-tolerant palate), prickling the nostrils and marring an otherwise-textbook graceful wine.
White
In a great place for drinking and I would indeed recommend to drink soon, before the fruit slips further towards the burnished/mature end of the spectrum. But on the other hand I am glad to have gotten at this now, rather than 5 years ago, since I have to think this would have seemed overly unctuous at the time -- and indeed everyone who's reviewed this wine has taken pains to note the 16-point font sweetness. So for my palate this is at a terrific inflection point now. While there's still palpable minerality you get the sense that the acid will be the first element to slip; another compelling reason to drink in the near term (Salil always writes a great tasting note and mentions high acidity; our bottle showed considerably less four years further on). But it's just adorable right now -- I mean, who doesn't love a busty German girl?
Red
2000 Château Lanessan Haut-Médoc Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
3/23/2015 - Arinbraghe wrote:
82 points
Disappointing, given that this chateau is often cited for honest, classically-proportioned Bordeaux, and of course this particular bottle hails from a one-time 'vintage of the century,' before the proceeding decade made that quaint phrase into a 95+ point joke. (Of course, 2000 Bordeaux has since proved to be more of a minefield than a tide that raised all ships, but that's another discussion...) Honestly this wine is just totally dull now, neither ripe enough to please the flavor-chasers, nor severe enough to please classicists, nor indeed classic enough to draw a curled lip from the hipster wine bar crowd. It does make me wonder, given its (semi) pedigree, if there was a point at which this wine was "mature" without tasting dried-out and anemic, or if it just dawdled its way into senility without ever having achieved an "oh yes that's claret" moment of distinction. Regardless, I can think of a lot better ways to spend thirty bucks.
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Red
2/23/2015 - Arinbraghe Likes this wine:
91 points
Quo vadis, 2006 En Bas Kiser? Because I see notes here from folks who say this wine's best years are behind it, but I sure don't necessarily read it that way. (Disclosure: I never drank this wine when it was young.) From the start, the nose is evolved beyond what a truly young wine would show, but in the mouth this is still all about sweet (admittedly, a bit too sweet) red fruit for 45 minutes (or more - YMMV) after opening. So yes, it does start out a bit flash, and a bit candy-apple. But if you keep after it, the tacky-textured fruit subsides a bit and you get lots of pretty, if not fully earthy, at least quite finely-hewn mineral elements that broaden and deepen across the palate, which dries up but never loses the plushness and luxe texture. Folks, this isn't a wine to hold onto purely for science -- if I had to guess I'd say this is in a slightly weird, betwixt spot, but certainly not yet fully evolved. I could easily be wrong but my vote would be to hold, if only because it's a bit of a simpleton at the moment, there's fruit to burn, and seemingly plenty of other 'stuff' underneath to keep the party going for some time to come.
White
2/20/2015 - Arinbraghe Does not like this wine:
78 points
Unappetizing, insipid, gaunt wine that smells and tastes strongly of overcooked artichokes and vaguely also of bug spray. Quite a disappointing effort from this address.
White
2/10/2015 - Arinbraghe Likes this wine:
92 points
I once worked for a wine retailer who thought 'minerally' was a vaguely distasteful way to describe a wine to customers (don't ask...) If that's the case, then at some point in the past this was the wine version of a Pier Pasolini film. Because while the fruit (which also must have been comically massive upon first release) and the acidity (ditto) have settled into something like civilized late middle age - all lying awake nights thinking about mortgage payments and term life insurance policies - the mineral buzz still comes crashing over your palate with all the genteel decorum of a fraternity hazing ritual. About half an hour of airtime is needed for the yellow-fruit notes to sweeten up and take some shape amid the textural haze. Yet I agree with other reviewers that this is fully mature now, which puts me of two minds: I think it is almost certainly more enjoyable now than when it was younger, but really find myself wishing I'd drunk it during its crazy, coked-up pornstar youth instead.
Red
2/7/2015 - Arinbraghe Likes this wine:
91 points
Geoffroy Choppin de Janvry is a very modest, soft-spoken guy, and it's always nice to have something nice to say about his wines. Easy to do here. This is plump, clad in babyfat and full of 2009 character, showing flavors that are plush and a bit monotone for the better part of an hour. Tough to nurse the wine sufficiently over the course of a restaurant meal, but we did the best we could and the last couple glasses were easily best, losing sweetness and gaining a brothy, vinous savor. This doesn't seem at all under-stuffed, and while I believe the Morot wines are de-stemmed there's a hint of briary, twiggy goodness lurking underneath the velvety purplish fruit profile that I think bodes well for the longevity of the wine. Some 2009's starting to shut down, and this too might be on the verge of slipping into a more dormant phase, but with a bit of coaxing it's still ready for action, albeit in a very youthful guise.
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Red
Those who follow a certain Viking-themed online wine forum or have consulted the vintage chart at Bill Nanson's excellent website, may have heard the rumblings about 2011 red Burgundy widely sharing in the (presumed) ladybug/coccinnelle-derived taint that affected so many 2004's. I have not encountered this problem personally in 2011 red Burgundy. Better said: among the limited number of 2011 reds I've tasted, none displayed the green, astringent, vegetal notes that I (and most Burg-philes) did detect in many 2004's. So with that preamble it may come as no surprise that the 2011 Amoureuses from Groffier - a Grand Cru-quality terroir from a producer whose wines never lack for a bit of sheen - does not come across as green, herbaceous, or weedy. Phew! That said, this is not the wine that one would point up as Exhibit A in the case for Les Amoureuses as a Grand Cru climat. There is plenty of elegance and good purity here, but the 'best of breed' depth and intensity that this site usually delivers are decidedly MIA. Indeed, the lacy tannins turn the barest hint bitter and astringent on the finish and the entire impression is of a fairly fragile wine. Make no mistake, this is the class of the field among Groffier's 2011 1er's, and is pretty lovely by those lights; I even think the whiff of bitterness on the finish adds to the wine's intrigue. It's just no Grand Cru apologist.
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White
Really in an enjoyable spot right now. This is slightly less crunchy than it was a year or two ago, but there's still plenty of celery-like snap to the texture, and the fresh leafy-green herb notes that were perhaps over-dominant in the past have softened to show rounder, more yellow-fruited tones. But while it's no longer chirpy it's still very Touraine, with plenty of cucumber, lime rind, and crushed seashell for your Loire Sauvignon jones.
White
1/3/2015 - Arinbraghe Likes this wine:
93 points
It's funny, not to mention maddening that the word "terroir" persistently defies quantifiable definition, yet the phenomenon clearly exists. In yet another example of the fact, this tastes way more like another wine from white-mineral-laden soils -- namely Chablis -- than it does like most Muscadet. Granted this similarity owes something to the fact that while most Muscadet, even most good Muscadet, is built like a 1970's tennis pro, this is built like a 21st century decathlete. But I don't think that tells the full story, because this doesn't merely seem like Melon de Bourgogne that does barbell lifts at the gym; it really does share more in common with, say, unwooded Premier Cru Chablis than it does with 95% of its appellation cohort. It's as though varietal character for both categories is subsumed by the lemony-stony essence of the growth medium, with grapes being merely the palatable vehicle of that substrate. That's even more true of the wine now than several years ago, as the brawny fruit has taken on a burnished quality and the structure come to the fore. One more thing's certain: if I'd bought this for the same intended purpose as most Muscadets, I'd feel as though I'd brought a Howitzer to a squirrel hunt. It's certainly no seaside quaffer, or to toss back like Fresca at an oyster roast.
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Rosé - Sparkling
1/1/2015 - Arinbraghe wrote:
My contributions to the 'What did you drink on New Year's?' meme. Back label of the bottle indicated "Cuvee 2009" and that it was disgorged in December of 2012. This particular disgorgement is not setting the world on fire right now. There's an ocean of sweet fruit here, it's plush and almost over-generous; the main cognate flavor is strawberry and I don't think you could get a truer flavor profile from a strawberry smoothie. At the same time though, there's a mealy quality to the wine and an oxidative cast suggesting that some of the strawberries at the bottom are turning brown. The upshot is a distinct two-step in the mouth -- a rush of exuberant berry fruit on the attack followed by a midpalate where the touch of rot sets in, making it by turns moreish and yucky. I've long admired this producer's wines and a younger disgorgement would likely acquit itself far better. As an aside, this is why I consider listing disgorgement dates (or lot/"vintage" years, etc) to be crucial consumer info, and I'm loathe now to purchase a bottle of NV Champagne that lacks it.
Red
12/24/2014 - Arinbraghe Likes this wine:
87 points
Properly "Les Vignes Rondes" but whatever, the Cellartracker listing is clear enough if wrong. This is a producer that has never impressed me -- the wines seem too straightforward and a bit lacking in intrigue. But this is a stalwart little Nuits that's drinking pretty much at peak right now. I certainly wouldn't cellar it any longer -- the nose is fully mature, darkly-perfumed Cote de Nuits fruit, and the palate while well-integrated seems to be fraying at the edges. That lends toward the wine feeling slightly stretched, although to be fair I don't think this was intended to be cellared till well past its 10th birthday. If for whatever reason you have this wine on-hand, it's time to pop the cork.
Red
Tempier Rouge is, in my experience, a wine to drink young or old -- either on first release, or stick it in the cellar and forget about it for 10+ years. Disappointment comes when you open these wines as teenagers, moreso even than with many other ageworthy labels. In the case of this bottle, we didn't barge in on it during its "I hate you get out of my room get out of my life" phase, but maybe we could have let it spend another year or two figuring out what it wants to be when it grows up. This showed just a touch dull, the palate sort of matte-finished without giving you fully mature, tertiary development notes. Prominent black licorice and anise on the nose, good-enough dark-structured fruit on the palate. A touch dried-out and diffident. Honestly couldn't tell if it's heading towards better days, or simply lacks focus and is perhaps a minor victim of the vintage. Still in all, not a disagreeable wine.
2 people found this helpful Comments (2)
Red
10/8/2014 - Arinbraghe wrote:
70 points
Rather nasty wine. A badly-oversulfured, stinky, dark-fruited mess with little Pinot Noir character and even less grace and intrigue. And the finish... let's just say it saves its best insult for last. Tastes like it was rushed to release as I cannot believe the producers would want their wine to show in this fashion. It's inexpensive by Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir standards and is probably intended as a value play, but that still doesn't make it cheap, it just tastes that way.
White
9/10/2014 - Arinbraghe Likes this wine:
90 points
Starts out awfully stern and humorless - the vinous equivalent of a McLaughlin Group episode, minus the bilious outbursts. But with merciful speed this softens and adds some white flowers to the mouthful of gray granite. I see in Meadows's note this bottling sees no wood, and while there's sufficient heft here for 1er Cru palate presence, it's a wine of fairly narrow shoulders that after a time more resembled aged Muscadet than it did the other white Burgs with which it shared the table. Stands up to lobster with clarified butter, but just barely, and more in contrast than complement.
White
9/10/2014 - Arinbraghe wrote:
Wow - our bottle was ANGRY that we opened it at this point! Nose very reduced and palate a mess of sulfur and match-head aromas. For over an hour the wine was completely discombobulated. Then, over time, you got to see glimpses of appealing, Grand Cru-scale Chablis character well-framed by wood. But drinking this right now is like waking up your SO from a deep sleep for sex -- sure, they *might* do it, and after a while even get into the spirit of the thing, but you know you're not getting anywhere near maximal payoff from the experience.
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Red
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.
1 person found this helpful Comments (2)
White
3/14/2014 - Arinbraghe Does not like this wine:
84 points
Oh dear. I've loved previous vintages of this wine, which is of course very much in the old school style of Rioja Blanco, and eschews freshness of fruit in favor of texture and tradition; besides which, this wine is never about fruit anyway. But I'm afraid in this vintage, it's not about much of anything at all, other than being a vacant, rather lifeless and bony wine. There's none of the taffeta-richness and buttery-leather texture that made the absence of fruit and screaming acidity pleasurable in better installments I've enjoyed in the past. And instead of lending savory intrigue, the oxidative quality of this vintage tastes just like that - oxidation, not as a stylistic intent but a symptom of a wine past its best days. Overall the wine comes across as moribund and screechy, and finishing a glass took way more effort than I'd hoped or expected it would. Not happy!
Red
3/12/2014 - Arinbraghe Likes this wine:
91 points
Demonstrates both the virtues and the limitations of its grape and appellation. On the one hand, just textbook beautiful Cabernet Sauvignon, cool-fruited, well-apportioned, and impeccably made. On the other hand, this wine doesn't budge an inch over the course of 90 minutes of airtime. So, what you get 5 minutes in is pretty much what you get at the hour mark... which amounts to black fruit, some oak spice, and fine-grained, silky tannins, all very harmonious but also a touch slick. A bit of bottle evolution and some softening of the 'Cab!' character would be nice to see in an almost ten-year old bottle of largely-unspoofy wine. Still, this is rock-solid qualitatively, albeit a bit boring after awhile. Maybe it just needs more time sideways?
Red
1998 Domaine de Trévallon Vin de Pays des Bouches-du-Rhône Syrah Blend, Syrah (view label images)
2/14/2014 - Arinbraghe Likes this wine:
96 points
Barely two months into 2014, and already I know I'm unlikely to drink a wine I like better than this one for the rest of the year. Just in a perfect place for drinking, at least for me; I like wine that's past its primary fruit stage but still displays varietal character and idiosyncrasy, and that's where this vintage of Trevallon is right now -- still redolent of Cabernet, still with a dark mineral lattice from the Syrah to furnish structure, but seamlessly melded together and perfectly complementary. What's perhaps most interesting is that it's the acidity rather than the tannin that's the cornerstone of the wine's structure, the pole around which all the other elements revolve. This changes minute by minute in the glass, there's no real point to take you on a merry-go-round of flavors and aromas; suffice it to say that the gestalt effect here is one of utter deliciousness. This was the last bottle of a friend's stash of '98s, and I feel so lucky to have been in on it. Really worth investigating right now, if you have any.
Red
2/7/2014 - Arinbraghe wrote:
Dark, brooding, and oh-so serious. Ayres makes impeccable, mineral-driven, elegant Pinot Noirs, and this is no exception. But damn this wine sure doesn't want to have fun! The fruit has fully shifted into secondary mode, and nobody on Kistler's or Kosta Browne's mailing list would give this a second sip. But right now it's also a bit of a humorless clod, with this unchanging monolith of black-tinged, minerally fruit that dominates the sense impression. You can tell that these folks love Burgundy, that it's their lodestar, but unlike say a top-drawer Savigny-les-Beaune of similar vintage, this bottle hardly changes an iota from first pour to the dregs.
White
2/7/2014 - Arinbraghe Likes this wine:
92 points
Gewurztraminer for Riesling lovers. Not that you'd mistake this for Riesling - this has plenty of varietal character, all the yellow stone fruit and allspice and technicolor aromatics that Gewurztraminer is known for. And yet, there's a restraint and mineral raciness to this wine's flavors, and a delineation of the boundary between palate presence and finish, that I am far more accustomed to experiencing with Riesling (or Chenin Blanc, or any higher-acid white grape). Because let's be honest: if all the various wine grapes got together and threw a house party, Gewurz would be the motor-mouthed girl who gets drunk RIGHT AWAY on Pina Colada mixer and vodka, starts dancing like a maniac, and has to be cajoled into putting her shirt back on before the cops arrive. Likewise for me, Gewurz is usually appealing for the first glass, somewhat tiresome for the second, and 'for the love of god can we drink something less lurid?' after that. Yet this -- I split an entire bottle of this over dinner with a colleague, and we seriously considered the attractive proposition of ordering Bottle Number Two. It's the admirable restraint on display here from first sip to last that got me to that point, makes this so eminently drinkable. I mean, when's the last time you had Gewurz that you thought was holding something back?!
White - Sparkling
1/18/2014 - Arinbraghe Likes this wine:
93 points
Sea Smoke's Pinot Noirs are of course polarizing, with people who like the style finding it the kind of thing they like, and the opposing camp taking righteous pride in dismissing the wines as overwrought, overpriced wines for trophy whores. I've belonged firmly in the latter camp on the still Pinot Noirs, but even at the knee-buckling price I don't know how to gainsay this particular wine, which is the best American sparkler I've ever drunk. If you blinded me, I'd be completely stumped if you told me it wasn't Montagne de Reims Blanc de Noirs from a top-notch Grand Marque or grower-producer. Right out of the gates this is mineral-dominant and vinous, with absolutely nothing tooty-fruity about it. The minerality and the effervescence work in tandem to make this hugely zesty, and there's a sternness about the wine that is just so Champenois, such that I've seldom experienced with other American sparklers. With some air you do begin to get this billowing Pinot fruit that seems to well up like a hot spring from below the chalky minerality and gives a deeper bassnote of succulent fruit to the sizzling minerality. Really delicious stuff, and I hate to say it, but damn near worth the price tag.
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Red
1/5/2014 - Arinbraghe Likes this wine:
90 points
Almost worrisome how similar in profile and breed this seemed to the Corton-Languettes Grand Cru of lauded vintage we drank alongside it. This also showed lots of dark fruits, more brown baking spices and less depth of register but overall a strikingly similar wine. The mid-palate was where matters settled out a bit, as this was leaner and harder, less expansive moving into the finish. Still, delicious and a great apology for German Pinot Noir, albeit for folks who already dig on fruitless, high-acid mineral bombs from Burgundy.
Red
1/5/2014 - Arinbraghe wrote:
91 points
Don't know what differentiaties this from the Mischief & Mayhem bottling cross-listed for this same wine; the bottle we drank referred only to Domaine Chapuis so I believe this entry is correct? Regardless, this was top-notch and fully into secondary-flavor mode. Lots of dark, pine bough and resin notes circulating under the wash of black and red fruits, plenty of dark mineral grit and gristle. It's a serious wine that seems to be working very hard to make you acknowledge its Grand Cru status, since this is one of those parcels of Corton you hardly ever run across. But ultimately an appealing wine with fine tannins and a terrific mid-palate, very moreish.
White
1/5/2014 - Arinbraghe wrote:
This pointed up the mocking flip-side of the whole pre-mox problem. Based on the other Cellartracker reviews for this wine, I was expecting it to be either a) DOA or b) fully mature, maybe even past its prime. So came as a surprise and a frustration when I opened my lone bottle of this and heyo! it's nowhere near all-grown-up. Big fruit, big, oily attack, and beefy, almost painfully primary flavors. Seemed to age in reverse while the bottle was open; what little bottle character had developed blew away like the morning fog and revealed tons of fruit and a distinctly un-Burgundian buttery texture. I should have held this particular bottle for at least another 5 years, considering where on the development arc I like my white Burgs. As for other reviewers -- if their bottles showed anything like mine, and they claimed the wine was at or near peak maturity... THEY LIED!! [Insert Rage comic image here].
Red
12/24/2013 - Arinbraghe wrote:
Not in a place to fairly assess right now. Opened and decanted right away, but air didn't reveal much character here beyond an open-knit, red-fruited, rather anonymous-styled wine with fine, soft tannins. A bit more grit and texture would sure be nice, as the fruit shines too bright and has kind of a fake cherry sweetness to it at the moment. Keep 'em closed and hope for more personality to emerge in the next couple years.
White
12/24/2013 - Arinbraghe Likes this wine:
94 points
Popped, a glass poured, and the remainder decanted and drunk over approximately 90 minutes.
Opening aromatics were tantalizingly deep and very savory -- while the 2002 Raveneau 'Montee de Tonnerre' we drank alongside this was still quite Chablisien with a linear brininess and at least a suggestion of yellow fruits, this was expansive and even less reminiscent of its fruit origins. Deeply-pitched and vinous, with an immense umami factor along the lines of fresh chanterelles, yet still brightly-complected and certainly not over-mature or oxidized. Whereas the Raveneau fattened and deepened over the course of the evening, this trimmed some weight and freshened up during the same span. Still at the finish this was boxing one weight class heavier than the Raveneau, and seemed the elder wine. Tremendously versatile with dinner, it paired beautifully with a stylistically-broad range of seafood and meat treats.
White
12/24/2013 - Arinbraghe Likes this wine:
93 points
Popped, a glass poured, and the remainder decanted and drunk over approximately 90 minutes.
I anticipated this would be hitting early maturity, and that's just about where it is at this time -- on first sniff it's still very fresh with sea-breeze aromas, totally stony. Winter orchard fruits if you must make a flavor-wheel reference, but like the 2002 Dauvissat 'Les Clos' we drank alongside it, very much more about its vinous attributes than obliging any 'name that fruit!' comparison. Really quite a wintry wine in all aspects, with a high descant from the acidity that persist throughout the bottle, and a cool elegance that initially borders on reticence. Over time this broadens and packs on some weight, such that it ultimately took on dimensions not far leaner than the Les Clos, although it remained the fresher, more youthful-seeming wine throughout. A bit more fickle at the table than the Dauvissat, this matched decidedly better with more high-toned dishes.
Red
12/15/2013 - Arinbraghe Likes this wine:
87 points
Turning just a touch wan, a touch stretched at this point. Tastes very much like aging Sangiovese, lots of soil notes and hints of balsamico to accompany the dried cherry fruit (folks always talk about Pinot Noir tasting like cherry, but to me Pinot Noir usually just tastes like Pinot Noir. But I totally get the Sangiovese-cherry correlation.) I'm a big fan of Felsina, but the "normale" Riserva has always seemed a bit like the odd man out in their lineup: the regular Classico is superb for young consumption, and for a vin de garde why not opt for the richer, more structured 'Rancia' bottling? Indeed if you told me this was a bottle of the Classico DOCG of similar vintage that had been forgotten in the back of the cellar, I wouldn't have been surprised. Don't get me wrong, I do like this wine, I just expected to find more stuffing and substance here. Start drinking these up now, if you got 'em.
Red
12/13/2013 - Arinbraghe Does not like this wine:
72 points
Kinda icky. This accomplishes the dubious two-step that's often been the knock on this freaky year in Burgundy, displaying both treacly, prunish fruit combined with tannins that aren't green and under-ripe, strictly-speaking, but that are... weird and somehow ill-matched. Like they're from a much racier wine, to which a spoonful of sauteed grape paste was added as a thickener. Fortunately it smells about as unappetizing as it tastes, so this didn't spend long in the glass before it hit the dump bucket. A pretty poor showing from a really tough vintage.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
12/13/2013 - Arinbraghe wrote:
This is a public service announcement: if you or your family own or plan to purchase this wine, please be aware that it is NOT ready to drink at this point. Pretty much dumb as a post for over an hour after opening, some beguiling oolong tea, sandalwood, and black raspberry aromas start to unwind at about the 90-minute mark. And I mean, just barely unwind! Keep these sideways for another 3+ years at least; opening them now is simply throwing (considerable) money away.
White
12/13/2013 - Arinbraghe Likes this wine:
89 points
15% alcohol on the label? Oh my god, Philippe Cambie's come to the Loire! Get the torches and pitchforks!
Well, hardly, but 15% makes for a pretty stiff drink in Sancerre, and 2009 certainly produced some unusually ripe wines from even traditionally low-octane producers. When you pop this bottle you're greeted with green tropical fruit and aloe aromas, and when you taste it a little thwack of alcohol comes in right at the end to let you know they weren't lying about the ABV. Still in all, a very nice wine, although the spiritous quality does diminish the elegance here. Works best perhaps as a cocktail, since the green botanicals, minerality, and boozy finish do a pretty fair approximation of a really classy gin and tonic.
Red
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.
2 people found this helpful Comments (2)
Red
12/8/2013 - Arinbraghe Likes this wine:
87 points
From a 375 ml bottle. For me this is one of those "I love you but I'm not in love with you" Burgundies. Starts out with a muted little nose of soil and red fruits, but mostly smells of... not much in particular. In the mouth there's evidence right away of the producer's high style and consummate balance, but you're forced to look too hard for something rave-worthy. Very Beaune, with more red fruits juxtaposed (and initially losing ground) to a lean, gravelly-textured rigidity that keeps the wine from being simple and one-dimensional, but hardly makes it lovable. With air time, it fleshes out and shows a bit more personality, red fruits fattening (they could hardly become more svelte!) and balancing out the marble-mouth minerality. But there's a distinct bitterness to the finish, almost rude at first and then more subtle as the wine grows with air. It would be easier to overlook if it weren't so prominent from the start, but you detect it straightaway and keep looking for it (and finding it) over the course of the bottle. Problem with 375's is, you don't get much wine to work with - even with modest pours the bottle's gone in under an hour. Not sure where we caught this in its life-cycle but I don't believe there's a swan hiding here that will come out with more age, at least not in this bottle format.
Red
2011 Altovinum Evodia Calatayud Garnacha, Grenache (view label images)
Bad, bad wine - and probably no longer widely available in this vintage since I tasted it about a year ago, but I can't imagine the current version is much better since brands like this are made to ablate vintage character as much as possible. Anyway, about this wine, and others like it -- sure it's cheap, but it tastes worse than cheap -- it just tastes gross. Cheap can and probably should be simple, one-dimensional, maybe a bit off-balance, and still maintain its pride; but this is syrupy, over-ripe, nasty, alcoholic boysenberry jam seasoned with brutal, blackened, burnt oak-char. Actually the boysenberry bit doesn't really deserve much mention because what you notice most about this when you pay attention is the domineering, toxic flavor of scorched wood. You can just picture a bunch of blackened oak chips floating in the grapey swill that makes up the liquid part of this stuff, leaching god-knows-what chemicals into the nascent wine, and the thought will spring to mind: "yes, of course, THAT'S why this tastes like it's bad for me. It IS bad for me!" Buy a 6-pack of Pabst instead, if you need to drink this cheaply.
1 person found this helpful Comments (1)
Red
11/27/2013 - Arinbraghe Likes this wine:
92 points
If you happen to own any of this, bully for you. The bottle I drank was brought from Japan and had Japanese import labels. Popped and poured, this was daisy-fresh and delicious. Mature yet not so advanced as to have lost its Cote de Beaune cherry/earth calling cards and settled into generic "good old wine" territory yet. Needed almost no coaxing aromatically either -- this was a delight to the sniffer from the moment the cork came out of the bottle. Ready to be loved right now -- and to love you back. This should stay in a very good place for another couple years at least. 25-year-old Auxey Duresses punching well above its weight class.
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