Comments on my notes

(105 comments on 92 notes)

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Red
2015 Realm Cellars Farella Vineyard Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
3/15/2020 - #1Winelover Likes this wine:
97 points
Hey now! After opening this last night and loving it -- and then re-reading my note from 2018, it clearly shows that I am not a wine critic. Maybe I will retire from writing notes on Cellar tracker!

This just needed more time and I couldn't figure that out. I do know that in general, the 2015s needed more time than the 2016s.

This wine is just like other vintages from Farella. Dark purple and black in the glass, with blackberry pie, blueberries and plum notes. Rich, well integrated tannins, lots of chocolate notes. Very well made!
  • markcic commented:

    3/15/20, 5:35 AM - Please do Not Retire from writing notes. As I have three bottles gracefully aging (hopefully) in storage I found your comments very helpful

Red
2000 Château Calon-Ségur St. Estèphe Red Bordeaux Blend
2/1/2020 - CashUSM16 Likes this wine:
92 points
I've been waiting to pop this one open but I've admittedly been very skeptical about the timing after reading all these reviews. I drank this tonight with some Green Egg grilled ribeyes and it was great. But. It's not ready and I'm not sure how much better it will get. I get the sense this wine has a short drink window for optimal show.

C: Ruby with slight tawny hues. The color alone tells you it's still got some time.

N: Underripe red and black fruit, pencil shavings, sweet tobacco and leather

P: Still has some fruity tones but it seems like underripened black fruit, graphite, sweet tobacco; medium plus acidity, medium alcohol.

F: Medium long finish of acidic black fruit and tobacco

I'm just a bit confused by this wine. It's either past its prime or it needs another 5 years or more. Something just seems out of balance and while it was enjoyable and paired well with the steaks, something was just.....off. It's like it's trying desperately to come together but just can't quite get there.

Great experience but won't seek out another bottle considering the gamble with the cost that this could still get better.
  • markcic commented:

    2/2/20, 6:55 AM - Really nice write up - I have two bottles and I will try one around Memorial day. Thanks.

Red
2014 Peter Michael Les Pavots Knights Valley Red Bordeaux Blend
1/18/2020 - smurfmacaw Likes this wine:
96 points
Decanted for 1 hour. Normally I'm a fan of Pinot Noir but this Cabernet blend is a very nice change. Nice burgundy color, not inky but fairly dark.
Nose is refined with an immediate hit of pencil shavings and some forest floor. Fruit is there but not obtrusive.
Flavor is extremely nice. Graphite/pencil shavings with a subdued fruit. Fruit is dark and very nicely integrated. Very complex flavors. Not jammy at all and very different from the Cali Pinot's I'm used to. Overall, an extremely nice wine and I'm glad I have more of it.
Consumed over dinner of rack of lamb and it was perfect. It's robust enough to take on game and steaks without being difficult to drink. I could drink this by itself with no problem. I'm beginning to be a fan of the cab blends and this is one of the best I've tried. I think this will age very well.
  • markcic commented:

    1/19/20, 6:43 AM - Good Morning - enjoyed reading your note. You have one slight error - Les Pavots is not a pinot noir - it is a bordeaux blend. I have a bunch in my cellar and based on your comments truly look forward to trying one.

Red
2013 Joseph Phelps Insignia Napa Valley Red Bordeaux Blend
10/6/2019 - LiteItOnFire Likes this wine:
93 points
PnP (not shaken, sorry couldn’t help myself) not decanted fully however drank over 2 hours. I enjoy 2013s, especially for those wines that were really crafted well... this wine was certainly well made but like many Insignia’s I have had it didn’t wow me. I am not against Insignia but at $200/bottle I honestly, for my palate, feel there are better wines out there for the price point.

Nose muted, palate blue, dark red fruit, some
Blackberries, grassy and some herbal notes. Due to the lack of fruit concentration and already dwindling tannins (surprising for 2013) I am not sure how this will age. Don’t get me wrong it’s not a must drink now or else. rather it may not overly improve like others on this category for this vintage. Will be curious how the Backus compares.
  • markcic commented:

    10/7/19, 5:54 AM - Good Morning Guys - I am going to chime as this year I made the decision to stop buying all these big name mass produced wines. With Insignia I find that time does make a difference as the 2010's are coming into their own now and I had a 2007 a while back which was amazing but I agree the wow factor is not there. I have migrated over to the syrah/grenache blends ie: Saxum, Sine Qua Non, Colgin but my wife is a big cabernet fan so I am caught in the middle. Ah the problems of being a dedicated wine drinker. Have a good day.

Red
2016 Realm Cellars The Bard Napa Valley Red Bordeaux Blend
9/3/2019 - Rockyii Likes this wine:
94 points
So I know this is still a youngster but the 2017 allocations are coming out and I wanted to give this a try. One hour decant in the glass thru a power aerator. Dense eggplant to red in color. Nose is sweet of cocoa, plum and black cherry with notes of oak. Taste is similar with some raspberry, full flavored but already with well integrated silky tannins and medium acidity. A little pepper spice notes on the finish. Full bodied. I'm impressed and will buy more. About 94-95 and likely to improve with age.
  • markcic commented:

    9/4/19, 7:29 AM - Thank both of you for your comments - they are very much appreciated and I will use them to guide my acquisitions.

  • markcic commented:

    9/5/19, 12:40 PM - If either of you Floridians happen to come North (like trying to escape a hurricane) to the great State of New Jersey - give me a ring and we can have a glass of wine together.

Red
1989 Château Palmer Margaux Red Bordeaux Blend
6/19/2019 - paul195 wrote:
94 points
Brought this to a byob pot luck dinner. #3 of 12. Double decanted two hours ahead of time. Still a baby in my book, opaque core, tight nose even after the decant. Palate more evolved than the nose, it’s abundant fruit is still primary but the wines weight, structure, balance, elegance and persistence distinguishes this as an excellent young Palmer. Seems much younger than the 1983 which is only 6 years older. That being said it was consistent with my note last year. I will say that the younger palates at the table saw it as very in the prime drinking window, but it was also the oldest Palmer any of them had ever had. The two other equally seasoned winos agreed with my opinion that the next bottle needs 6+ hours in a decanter before it shows what it will become with 10 more years of patience.
  • markcic commented:

    6/22/19, 4:27 AM - Really nice notes - I have one bottle that I will sit on a few more years

Red
2011 Paul Hobbs Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer To-Kalon Vineyard Oakville
5/25/2015 - PGB Does not like this wine:
88 points
Giving all my Dr Crane and To Kalon 2011 away. Yes its an off-year but not good enough. Tor and Carter for example made much better 2011s.
  • markcic commented:

    6/18/19, 9:23 AM - Drank a bottle on Fathers Day - total disappointment

Red
1990 Cantine San Silvestro Barbaresco Riserva Nebbiolo
4/28/2019 - ddingley Likes this wine:
93 points
Outstanding--couldn't believe how fresh and vibrant this 29 year old wine was! Cork came out cleanly which was the first clue, some only very slight tinges of brown but rich and inky in color. Had that very distinctive Piedmont/Italy spice characteristic with smooth fruit but was not flabby at all through the 2 hours it was open.
  • markcic commented:

    6/7/19, 6:57 AM - I read your comment - it inspired me to open a bottle - OMG

Red
1964 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Richebourg Richebourg Grand Cru Pinot Noir
5/31/2019 - fcxj wrote:
96 points
CC. Bottle from Drouhin auction purchased for HK$160k. Guess provenance does matter. Crazy lift aromatically. Orange peel and coffee on fully resolved but so sweet and intense palate. Wow.
  • markcic commented:

    6/2/19, 6:02 AM - Nice note - I was really happy to read that as I have a magnum in my storage unit which I keep coming up with excuses not to open. I think the cork will get popped on Xmas eve. Did it open up right a away or was it musty as first and needed to decant for a while. I would be appreciative of any advice you can give me.

Red
2015 Switchback Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon Peterson Family Vineyard Napa Valley
5/26/2018 - Yack Man wrote:
87 points
Can appearances can be deceiving? After tasting this wine, the answer is absolute yes! From first appearances this Cab looked to be a winner, the color was a dazzling rich deep emerald purple color, really stunning and by all appearance I anticipated a wine that would be rich, robust and intense. On the palate, the story changed to being just a very ordinary red wine with really nothing noteworthy going on. The wine was mute, perhaps shut down for business, in a dead phase. Even after a couple of days there was nothing showing here. If you have this wine you really need to allow it enough time to come around. Pretty disappointing actually.
  • markcic commented:

    5/30/19, 6:04 PM - I think maybe you are drinking these way too young. I am still finishing up my 10's and starting on my 12's - they seem to take a lot of time to develop. I will pop a 375 over the weekend to try to understand what you are tasting. I have quite a lot of the 2015's so I would like to see what the future has in store for me. Feel free to look through my cellar as I leave it open.

Red
2009 Delas Frères Hermitage Domaine des Tourettes Syrah
3/21/2019 - Desmond Likes this wine:
95 points
At least 95, perhaps more. Hard to breakdown, but so good right now. Starting to enter a secondary phase but still youthful, fruity and the tannins are not harsh or bitter. My bet is peak in 2 years. But it is not a crime to drink it now. Going on the net now to find more!
  • markcic commented:

    3/23/19, 5:06 AM - Good Morning - I have a magnum sitting in my storage unit - would you suggest a 12 hour slow ox or let it sleep for another year or two. Thank you

Red
2010 Shafer Relentless Napa Valley Syrah Blend, Syrah
3/5/2019 - Jonathan T Likes this wine:
95 points
I opened this bottle in celebration of John Shafer, who passed away yesterday at the age of 94. He has to know how much his wines have participated in joy in this world. Shafer has always been my favorite winery to visit, and in no small part due to fact that more often than not, Mr Shafer is there to greet his guests. Always charming, humble, welcoming, and generous as if he's still surprised people love his wines. This Relentless is wonderful. The best Relentless I've had. I've never tasted the 2008 vintage which was named Wine Spectator WOTY, but I can't imagine that wine being better than this one. Every incarnation of Relentless needs a little bit of time in the bottle (one reviewer described a young Relentless as "pissed off" and "tortured" and that's about right without bottle age. This 2010 vintage is just starting to come together beautifully, so feel free to open a bottle but it will be great for another 10-20 years. I love the nose on this wine, very rustic and rhone-like with rosemary, dill, lemongrass, charcoal and a number of other herbs. On the palate it is deep and rich, perhaps a little more bordeaux-like with sweet black and blue berry fruits. Amazing on its own, or pair with rich foods. Delicious. Rest in peace, Mr Shafer.
  • markcic commented:

    3/5/19, 6:56 PM - A beautiful tribute -

Red
2009 Château Pontet-Canet Pauillac Red Bordeaux Blend
2/22/2019 - Francophile1 Likes this wine:
95 points
I pulled two glasses out of this bottle on 6/1/18 with my Coravin. Tonight, I popped the cork to check in on it. First off, the Coravin absolutely works as advertised. My advice is to not lay it back down, but keep it up right if using the Coravin. Now on to the wine, this is ultimately going to be a 98-100 pt wine. I enjoyed it more tonight than when I first tasted it. In 10-20 years, this will rival any Mouton since 1982. A seriously built wine for the ages. So glad I have three cases of it.
  • markcic commented:

    2/24/19, 6:15 AM - What difference did you detect by standing the wine up after using the coravin as opposed to laying it back down. Three cases wow - i am happy to have a few bottles and I will definitely save them for a while.

Red
2014 Realm Cellars Moonracer Realm Estate Stags Leap District Red Bordeaux Blend
2/5/2019 - csimm1161 wrote:
93 points
Plush and decidedly rich on the front end, but trailing off to a more superficial mid-palate and ultimately a round, somewhat simple finish, this inaugural rendition of Moonracer showed up to the party with some really nice black core fruit flavors, but also left the scene without much more than a simple “See ya” at the end of the night. It’s good. It’s fun. But it isn’t much for conversation and it certainly isn’t going to get another invite anytime soon so long as it keeps behaving like a bored dinner party guest with a “I wish I was just at home” attitude.

Don’t get me wrong...It’s pretty good in the same way Gwyneth Paltrow is pretty cute, but no one is Googling what movie she’ll be in next. And for $250 bucks admission?... It’s a tough sell.

By comparison, the 2016 Moonracer is much more compelling and memorable. Deeper, more powerful, and more complex, the 2016 Moonracer is thankfully saved by the hallmarks of the vintage. The 2014 is...well... a wine that just happens to be in my cellar for a reason I now can’t figure out why...

For those holding bottles, might as well pop the cork. I don’t figure this is going any place more interesting than it already is. It’s sorta like Arkansas... You know it’s a state, you don’t have any sort of beef with it necessarily, but you don’t know exactly where it is on a map, what if any purpose it serves, or what interests actually exist there...
  • markcic commented:

    2/12/19, 3:44 PM - Great review. You have me pondering whether to drink one or not.

  • markcic commented:

    2/12/19, 3:44 PM - Great review. You have me pondering whether to drink one or not.

Red
2012 Realm Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer To-Kalon Vineyard Oakville
2/2/2019 - gt3heretic Likes this wine:
99 points
Spectacular wine showcasing the well known Beckstoffer To Kalon taste. Well balanced wine. I felt like the wine was best after 2.5-3 hours of decant unlike many of the comments that suggest PnP.
  • markcic commented:

    2/3/19, 4:51 AM - Totally agree with you on no pnp. Any Realm wines I open I usually slow ox for about 6 hours. If you are into Saxum - I open those at breakfast and drink them at dinner.

Red
2015 Realm Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer Dr. Crane Vineyard St. Helena
2/2/2019 - Matt Scott Likes this wine:
100 points
This is absolutely empyrean and one of the most enthralling Cabernets that I have ever tasted. From one of the finest vineyards in Napa, this is without a doubt perfection in a bottle, with every aspect hitting the highest number possible. Créme de cassis, blackberry cobbler, Moroccan chicken spice, flower shop and granite. A finish that sails on beyond the sunset, with a very suave and savory exit. The front and middle are evidently complete, with a testament to all things Cabernet. This dances in a refined, yet exotic manner. Quite ready and cellar worthy as well. Nay a hard edge, and sincerely individualistic. Hedonistic, but in a very balanced manner. Drink now -.
  • markcic commented:

    2/3/19, 4:43 AM - very nice notes. an excellent write up.

Red
2013 Saxum Broken Stones Paso Robles Red Rhone Blend
1/27/2019 - OG-Wino wrote:
I'm with MOREWINEPLEASE! and CABERNET4ME2 on this one.

Based on the other notes, I cracked this open about 4 hours before dinner, and decanted into a wide-base decanter. I did sneak a taste right at the start, and I'd say that I enjoyed it more 5 minutes in than I did 3-4 hours later. While some of the heat had blown off after 4 hours, it seemed rather simple (much more so than at opening) and while I sensed a lot of potential, I wasn't as impressed as I was with the first bottle which I PnP'd back in 2016 or the first sip of the night.

In short, I'd definitely wait another year or so on this one... Even 4 hours decanted isn't enough...
  • markcic commented:

    1/29/19, 8:52 AM - Nice review and interesting about the 13's - i have not tried any yet and probably won't get to them for another year or two- still working my way through my 09's and 10's. My secret of success with all Saxums's is to open them at breakfast and drink them for dinner. The 8/9 hour window does wonders.

  • markcic commented:

    2/1/19, 5:35 AM - Good Morning City Squirrel - hope your city was warmer than ours was the last few days. I like to open all my Saxums early. With the older ones never less than 4 hours. I do the same for the "prestige cabernets". I try to limit my pnp'ing to pinot noirs except older french ones which do need decanting.I do like to decant or aerate other syrahs as i feel they need time to develop. The disclaimer is that I am an insurance executive and not a wine expert so these are all my opinions developed over the last 40 years of drinking wine. I do not block my cellar so feel free to browse. Have a great day.

Red - Fortified
1985 Dow Porto Vintage Port Blend
2/6/2017 - forceberry wrote:
94 points
Deep, dark and almost fully opaque figgy reddish color. The nose feels rather powerful and rather sweet with perfumed aromas of black cherries, floral violet tones, some blackcurrant marmalade, light fig jam tones, a little bit of sweet VA, a hint of blueberry jam and a touch of dried dates. The wine feels full-bodied, rich and rather hot on the palate with intense, sweet and somewhat developed flavors of very ripe plums, dried figs, some wizened black cherries, a little bit of raisiny fruit, light blueberry jam tones, a lifted hint of VA and a touch of peppery spice. The wine is impressively structured with its high acidity and still noticeably grippy tannins. The finish is warm, somewhat developed and quite grippy with sweet flavors of raisins, perfumed floral tones, a little bit of pruney dark fruit, light figgy tones, a hint of kirsch and a lifted touch of sweet volatile character.

Consistent with my previous tasting note (March 2015): the wine is showing some developed character, but overall it is still incredibly youthful for its age and could do with a lot more cellaring. The wine is still obviously going up and will continue to do so for a long time. Although quite sweet, the wine feels slightly drier and a bit more peppery than your typical VP - which seems to be typical of all Dow Port wines. All in all, a thoroughly excellent Vintage Port that will continue to please for decades more. Beautifully built and classically styled. Highly recommended.
  • markcic commented:

    1/23/19, 4:36 AM - Really well written review

Red
2011 Saxum Broken Stones Paso Robles Red Rhone Blend
1/20/2019 - markcic Likes this wine:
94 points
Well it is that time of year. As my friends know tomorrow I begin my 91 days of sobriety and a low carb diet. Time to cleanse the temple. So for my last bottle of wine before abstinence I chose the Broken Stones. It has been a year and a half since my last bottle and this wine still amazes me. Dark berries and chocolate on the nose. The palate is dark berries, plums, figs, tree bark and chocolate. The finish is never ending. We drank alongside of a 2011 Saxum James Berry and this was definitely the better wine. So to all my friends and my fellow wine enthusiasts I will not be posting for the next three months but I will be reading the posts every morning. So you all stay healthy and good drinking.
  • markcic commented:

    1/22/19, 4:04 AM - LOL - that would be very much appreciated

Red
2012 Paul Hobbs Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer Dr. Crane Vineyard St. Helena
12/23/2017 - markcic Likes this wine:
97 points
Absolutely Amazing bottle of wine, I opened this 5 hours before dinner and then poured through a vintorio. The nose is dark fruit and mocha, the palate was dark berries, plums, tobacco, cedar and the touch of mocha which came out in the long full finish. My friend Michael (Bockassoc who got me into wine collecting - thanks pal) said it could have been one of the best bottles of wine he ever drank. Considering he and I have shared the 1961 Mouton and the 1970 Petrus that says a lot. I have a bunch left so we shall see how they develop in the years to come.
  • markcic commented:

    1/18/19, 4:51 AM - Hi gteran76 - I will probably open another bottle around Fathers day. That magnum of yours can easily go many years - I would guess around 2022 you should start thinking about it. Definitely a special occasion wine which could include you inviting my wife and I down to Florida in the winter when it is cold in NJ to help you drink it. LOL - I sent you a friend request - feel free to browse my cellar

Red
2011 Saxum James Berry Vineyard Paso Robles Red Rhone Blend
1/17/2019 - guitarguy wrote:
87 points
I was disappointed by this wine given JB’s critical acclaim. It was boring, muted, didn’t give much at all. I’m thinking Saxum’s may be best in their infancy. Just had a decent Paderewski but again, maybe less a mouthful than I expected.
  • markcic commented:

    1/17/19, 6:04 PM - Perhaps an off bottle. I like you am a big Saxum fan, just bought my allotment yesterday. James Berry is my favorite Saxum wine. Am going to drink a 2011 Sunday as I start my self imposed 90 day sobriety. Well there is always the chance that I might do a last minute switch to a Broken Stones. Anyway I do like giving them some aging - I am now drinking my 09's, 10's and 11's have not even started on the 12's. I usually open them in the morning after breakfast and drink them for dinner. in my opinion -they do need a lot of air. I am friending you - please feel free to browse my cellar

Red
2009 Saxum James Berry Vineyard Paso Robles Red Rhone Blend
12/25/2018 - Seafoam Manor wrote:
94 points
Massive wine, with a lot of everything... the good and the bad. While this is mostly jammy and red fruit driven, there's an undulating complexity, showing deeper and more savory, olive-like, notes from the Syrah and Mourvedre. The grenache also provides a good dose of warm spices. So, in that sense, the blend is very successful and steers this away from being a one note fruit bomb. While far from an acid driven wine, there is enough to keep this from being too flabby and it gains further structure from the nicely integrated tannin. The alcohol is very hard to overlook. At nearly 16%, you get it on the nose and it pops up at various times through the mid-palate and the finish and this generally can be a little fatiguing. This is a bit of a caveat emptor wine, because it is exactly what it purports to be, and anyone who is not expecting a full bodied, high alcohol, big extraction and, generally, full-scale everything might need to practice reading labels a bit. Probably falls into the "successful within the style" category, because this will be way too big for some folks, although it is certainly a high quality wine. I don't think food has been created that is too big for this wine and it would probably just cruise on through a whole roasted buffalo and maybe make it all the way through dinosaur.
  • markcic commented:

    12/26/18, 7:06 PM - Love your descriptions - I may try a bottle with an oven roasted alligator in the near future (yes I do have an alligator roast in my freezer right next to the elk and venison) - I do agree with your description of the wine as I have consumed 5 bottles and have one or two left in my totally disorganized cellar.

Red
1998 Domaine de L'Arlot Beaune 1er Cru Grèves Pinot Noir
8/18/2009 - fredb wrote:
Translucent cherry red color with some smoky bricking at the rim. Aromas of smoke, cherry, black tea, and sous bois. On the palate, this is tart and lean, showing mild cherry and black tea elements. The dominant characteristic is a big hit of drying tannins on the finish, which leads me to believe that this is going to remain too tannic for my tastes until it is a leafy, dusty, old burg, which it may someday be. Some notes of violets emerge with time in the glass. On day two, this was much more open and had more strawberry and cherry fruit as well as a significant integration of the back-end tannin stucture. No overt oxidation had crept in, so this does bode well for further cellaring. Decant if drinking now.
  • markcic commented:

    12/23/18, 7:21 AM - Just was reading your note from 9 years ago. Opened a bottle last night and hard to believe its in its perfect drinking window at 20 years of age. Just writing up my post now.
    Happy Holidays and good drinking.

Red
2012 Realm Cellars The Bard Napa Valley Red Bordeaux Blend
12/14/2018 - msuwright wrote:
100 points
I love Napa Cabernet, and this is easily one of the best Napa Cabernets I’ve ever tasted. It is also, to me, the best wine I’ve ever tasted from Realm or Benoit Tocquette, with more polish and depth than even the 2013 Bard. It all seems to come together here: great vintage, great vineyards, great winemaker. The fruit is powerful and complex; the mouthfeel is creamy and silky; the taste, well, the taste is as good as it gets - explosive, refined, balanced, original, delicious. Whatever the adjective, this is an astounding wine.

Dark red, almost black in color and full in body, the wine offers enticing aromas of blackberry, plum, wine black cherry, cocoa powder, espresso, and fresh herbs. Tastes of blueberry, boysenberry, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and baking spices, with an integrated finish that manages to combine chocolate, acidity, and tannin in a complex mix that that goes on and on and on. Blend of 95% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Petit Verdot. 14.6% alcohol. Although it probably has a few more years within this peak drinking window, drink it now, and you won’t regret it.

I am guilty of nostalgia about the good old days of the Bard, but - tasting this - I think the good old days were better than I imagined. The Cabernet comes from Crane, To Kalon, and Blair, and the Petit Verdot from Crane, with 500 cases produced (compared to 2,000 in 2015). This is the wine I would show someone asking what a modern Napa Cabernet can be with just enough age. Magic in a bottle, it's just glorious.
  • markcic commented:

    12/15/18, 5:46 AM - Really nice review

Red
2010 Saxum James Berry Vineyard Paso Robles Red Rhone Blend
12/14/2018 - Immigrator Likes this wine:
94 points
PnP of a bottle I brought to BLT Steak. Nice enough, but still tight after an hour decant. Needs time in bottle, and at least several hours if opening a bottle now (12/2018).
  • markcic commented:

    12/15/18, 5:44 AM - Good Morning - I am a big Saxum fan as if you take a moment to browse my cellar you can see.. My suggestion to everyone is that these wines need either 4 hour decants or 6-8 hour slow ox to shine. I have gotten the best results opening the wine at breakfast and drinking it at dinner. Happy Holidays

Red
2009 Agharta Wines Black Label North Coast Syrah
11/22/2018 - RPerro Likes this wine:
94 points
Decanted 4 hours. A massive Syrah. Gobs of plum and other black fruits, earth, black pepper, oak and dark chocolate. Continued to blossom through the night. This has the legs to be a 20 year wine IMO. Great stuff, and happy I have more. Drink now - 2029.
  • markcic commented:

    11/24/18, 5:53 AM - Agharta wines take a long time to really show their stuff and I agree with you they can easily last 20 years or so. I am first drinking my 04's and 05's and they are amazing.

Red
2007 Domaine Serene Pinot Noir Evenstad Reserve Willamette Valley
11/14/2018 - VinoAddict wrote:
Couldn't agree more with some of the recent reviews -- this wine is showing well for its age and is probably nearing its peak for those who like to enjoy some fresh fruit out of the bottle. There's still plenty of acidity on the body to hold the wine for some years to come. The '07 vintage was a challenging one and, for that, this is an excellent example of what some of the finer winemakers can do in a lighter year. Lovely, soft character from a house that normally does bigger/bolder wines. I'm glad to have quite a few more in the cellar to enjoy over the coming year+.
  • markcic commented:

    11/19/18, 5:00 AM - Very nice review

Red
2012 Joseph Phelps Insignia Napa Valley Red Bordeaux Blend
10/7/2018 - Somm David T Likes this wine:
94 points
The nose is a little shy. It reveals; blackberries, black raspberries, dark cherries, plum, touch of rhubarb & blueberries and strawberries. Vanilla, light cinnamon, clove and soft, dark spice, just slight whiff of green pepper, dark turned earth, limestone and red and dark flowers.

The 2012 vintage generally drank well right away. Now that this 12 has four years in the bottle, it’s very approachable. This said from someone who loves old(er) red wines. The tannins are round grainy. The body lighter than other Insignia’s. Blackberries, black raspberries, dark cherries, cherries, dry cranberries, plum, touch of rhubarb & blueberries and strawberries. Vanilla, light cinnamon, clove and soft, dark spice, suede leather, fresh tobacco leaf, steeped tea, dark turned earth, limestone, crushed dry rocks with red and dark flowers. The acidity is fresh and lively. The finish is good yet leaner than previous vintages at this stage. It’s fresh and lively. Balanced but, the fruit is bright and really shines. It still a ways to go to get to where I would open one of my bottles. But, somewhat tempting now to open a bottle.
  • markcic commented:

    10/12/18, 5:09 AM - Really nice notes on this wine. I am almost tempted to try a bottle.

  • markcic commented:

    11/17/18, 4:54 AM - I had posted back in October that based on David'd review I was tempted to open a bottle but I didn't. I also notice that David didn't either. Back in April when I visited Phelps I tasted the 2012 and in my notes from the time I said the wine was totally closed and to put it in the back of your cellar for 25 years and you will probably have perfection. (BTW - Truman was president when I was born so I am basically saying my grandson Liam will really enjoy this wine) Drink it now and you might be disappointed so yes opening a bottle at this stage I can see how it could taste like a $20 bottle. Hold on to them for as long as you can is my advice. Find some 2010's in the meantime they are really beginning to blossom.

Red
2006 Castelgiocondo (Marchesi de' Frescobaldi) Lamaione Toscana IGT Merlot
11/9/2018 - Pfleonard Likes this wine:
90 points
Okay so first sip was like my mother's Christmas turkey... sucked all the moisture out of my mouth. Tannic? Woah. Then after a while it changed, well maybe it was the pork. Couldn't quite place it but then I remembered chewing on pencils when I was a kid. HB to be precise, not 2H. So for those of you that never did that, think oak and graphite... maybe a little bit of rubber. This is 12 years old, never any fruit in it near as I can tell. Still a puppy. Did I really like it, well everyone else is giving it a 92 and I gave it a 90. So yes, but not as much.

Follow up, so next day I had exact same pork chop with maple/dijon glaze but with a Chardonnay. Didn't taste as good. Was it the wine?
  • markcic commented:

    11/10/18, 5:30 AM - Good Morning and thank you for the memory - there was nothing better than chewing on a good pencil while in school or at home doing your homework.(As an aside when i got caught chewing at home my mother cracked me one and when I got chewing in school the teacher whacked me- yes I came from the spare the rod, spoil the child era - oh well) As for the wine I drank a bottle last year and for some reason did not write a review which is not like me. Anyway I do have another bottle in my very disorganized wine cellar and will have to dig it out and drink it in the next few weeks. But again thank you for the memory it did make me laugh out loud.

White - Fortified
1946 Bodegas Toro Albala Don PX Convento Selección Montilla-Moriles Pedro Ximénez
This bottle comes with a little tasting vial, which has the quantity of a large sip, the type you would take when having port. A brilliant gimmick this vial if you ask me.
We opened the vial two weeks ago, but I did not take any notes, so I am not rating this.
The glass went around my father, my mum and my sister, before I got to try it. So I ended up with a nip. What are family for ey?!
All I can say is that this is a very dark blackish brown, a bit like iodine.
The nose and the palate were extraordinary. My family all love wine/port/sherry/etc. and we all agreed this was one of the most special and peculiar things we had ever tasted.
What stood out most perhaps was the finish. It just did not want to end. Kept going and going, for over 10 minutes I think.
I have been told by staff at Berry Bros & Rudd (one of the world’s oldest wine merchants) that you can keep an opened bottles for weeks on end. So there is no rush to drink up. Using a vacuum cork and putting it in the fridge will have this stay good for months on end. There is a review on CT that confirms that.
A pricy bottle, indeed, but if you fancy something very different and very special, I can really recommend this.
  • markcic commented:

    9/23/18, 5:24 PM - I opened a bottle for Father’s Day, June of 2017 and there is a little under a quarter bottle left in the fridge just using the original cork - had a glass on July 10th if this year and it was perfect. Next glass on November 12th for my daughters birthday. It is just a spectacular wine.

Red
2012 Saxum Broken Stones Paso Robles Red Rhone Blend
8/14/2018 - csimm1161 wrote:
92 points
PnP was a bombastic booze blast of red and black raspberry liqueur, cassis, kirsch, cherry syrup, vanilla, and limestone. A massive attack, striking aggressively with big fruit and big alcohol. A couple of hours in the decanter helped deepen the mid-palate, but otherwise the hooch wouldn’t let up with its numbing pummeling that washed over the flavors and made for a bruising experience overall. Seemingly quality fruit, but its adolescence is really at the forefront currently.

Looks like Saxums are really needing at least 8-10 years from vintage to really become more agreeable. I’d hold this wine until at least 2021/2022. I’m confident it’ll chill out once it finishes puberty.
  • markcic commented:

    8/16/18, 6:50 PM - I always love your reviews - you have a way with words and you probably saved me as I was going to open bottle tomorrow night. Just switched it in the cellar for a 2009 Switchback Ridge Petit Sirah.

White - Fortified
1946 Bodegas Toro Albala Don PX Convento Selección Montilla-Moriles Pedro Ximénez
8/10/2018 - markcic Likes this wine:
99 points
After the last of the 70 guests at the rehearsal dinner left. i poured myself a glass from the bottle I opened in June of 2017 It is still spectacular even after being opened for more than a year. No degradation whatsoever. I would say that this is the perfect dessert wine but as I once said I cannot measure perfection. There is a little less than a quarter of a bottle left and I will drink another glass with my daughter on her birthday in November..
  • markcic commented:

    8/14/18, 6:51 PM - Bonjour - in all honesty. I put the cork back in and left it in the refrigerator tilted on an angle. It has been there since Fathers Day in June of 2017. I do expect to finish the bottle later this year.

White - Fortified
1946 Bodegas Toro Albala Don PX Convento Selección Montilla-Moriles Pedro Ximénez
12/23/2017 - markcic Likes this wine:
99 points
I still had a third of a bottle left over from Fathers day, so Michael and I decided to have a taste, our wives didn't want any so more for us. I had the same impression as I did on Fathers day. This wine is beyond words. Cannot rate it 100 because in all honesty after drinking wine for 50 years I do not know what 100 is supposed to be - I would imagine perfection whatever that is but this wine is as close to it as you can get. Honeyed figs, dates, orange rind, almonds, kumquats, sweet tea - this wine has them all in swirling flavors that just go on and on.
  • markcic commented:

    8/11/18, 7:35 AM - Good Morning Tim - I read your comment and it reminded me that in the back of the refrigerator was the remainder of the bottle. So here is the whole story. I opened the bottle on 6/18/17 for fathers day. We drank a little over half on it (99 rating) had some more on 12/23/17 with my good friend Michael (Our wives refused to partake and it was still a 99). So last night I had 70 people at my back yard for a rehearsal dinner (only served two bottles of wine a 6L of the 2001 Mondavi and a 6L of the 2007 Andersons Conn Creek) and when they all finally rolled out of here - thanks to your comment I remembered the bottle and went and had a glass - it is STILL magnificent, still a 99. I honestly think it can last forever. Have a great day.

  • markcic commented:

    8/12/18, 2:36 PM - Tim - try JJ Buckley, they are on your side of the country. The lady who helps me is Tracey Rose. Very knowledgeable.

Red
1970 Château Ducru-Beaucaillou St. Julien Red Bordeaux Blend
9/1/1989 - sdr Likes this wine:
89 points
From Burdine’s again. Deep red, no purple. Fresh very youthful nose of cedar and oak. Quite spicy. Plenty of tannin. Concentrated . Nicely balanced. A big Ducru with a long future.
  • markcic commented:

    7/23/18, 3:24 PM - Read all your reviews - Just out of curiosity how many bottles did you consume. Were they all 750's. I have a double magnum I have been saving stored in a cool environment - what would you say the chances of it still being good

Red
2012 Whitehall Lane Cabernet Sauvignon Leonardini Estate Napa Valley
7/15/2018 - markcic Likes this wine:
92 points
Opened three hours before dinner. Dark fruit on the nose. The palate was dark berries, plums, fig, cedar and a hint of spice. A long smooth finish.
  • markcic commented:

    7/21/18, 5:47 AM - Namesake - I totally agree with you. This was a most enjoyable bottle of wine. I had never had a bottle before. We were visiting relatives in California and my cousin (who turned me on to Cellartracker, Saxum and Switchback Ridge - gotta love him) brought a bottle to dinner one night. Going to seek out some more as my wife really loved it. BTW - gotta love those Turleys'

Red
2012 Turley Petite Syrah Rattlesnake Ridge Howell Mountain Petite Sirah
6/13/2018 - markcic Likes this wine:
91 points
We opened and let sit for an hour while we drank some chardonnay. There was dark fruit on the nose, the palate was dark berries, chocolate and hint of licorice and spice. The finish was long and full.
  • markcic commented:

    6/15/18, 4:59 AM - Hindsight being 20/20 - I would have decanted for two hours. The wine improved with each glass.

Red
2012 Realm Cellars Farella Vineyard Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
5/28/2018 - msuwright wrote:
95 points
This rich and savory Cabernet has integrated and improved since I tasted it last almost two years ago (6/16 - 94 points). Dark garnet in color, medium in body, warm nose of black cherry, plum, and mocha. Rich and integrated tastes of blueberry, cocoa powder, gravel, and cedar, with a lingering finish that has fully integrated its tannins. 14.6% alcohol. I’d drink this in the next year or two, since it seems to be reaching its peak.

Random observation (which is worth exactly what you paid for it): over the past few years, I've had the 2012 Farella twice and the 2013 Farella twice, and I've been surprised to say I've preferred the 2013. It just seemed to have more density, ripeness, and polish, even though the general Napa vintage characteristics would suggest the opposite (i.e., 2012 is currently more welcoming than 2013). Maybe Coombsville is just different; maybe Benoit just nailed the 2013 vintage (or found his sea legs after taking over at Realm mid-way through 2011); or maybe this is all just sound and fury (or words and thoughts, at least). Regardless, both are impressive wines, and I'm hoping the vintages continue to improve with the 2014 and 2015...
  • markcic commented:

    5/29/18, 4:36 AM - I am a big East Coast Saxum fan and I really enjoyed your write up.

Red
2010 Heitz Cellar Cabernet Sauvignon Trailside Vineyard Rutherford
5/3/2018 - markcic Likes this wine:
92 points
Decanted for an hour while we drank some chardonnay. Fruit on the nose, the plate, was plum, dark cherry, tobacco, wood and dried thyme. The finish was long.
  • markcic commented:

    5/7/18, 1:21 PM - My opinion is that this wine has years of life left in it as well as some room for further development. I was really impressed with it.

Red
2009 Domaine du Pégau Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Réservée Red Rhone Blend
2/10/2018 - marcelk wrote:
flawed
Opened 3 bottles of this tonight, all of which were corked (and purchased at Premier Cru).
  • markcic commented:

    4/6/18, 8:05 PM - At least you got your wine - all i got was the right to participate in the bankruptcy proceedings - hope any other bottles you bought from them are better.

Red
2007 Anderson's Conn Valley Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Reserve Napa Valley
3/30/2018 - mflesh wrote:
If this one isn't given the proper time, you might chalk this one up to a strange combination of grandma's closet and bittersweet baking chocolate. Well, you'd be missing out on a lot! This wine took about 45 minutes to blow off some really funky characteristics. Not much fruit initally.....and THEN IT SHOWED UP! This wine is showing a tiny bit of youth on the palate, but still showing some rather youthful sweeter blackberry and herbal notes. A tiny bit of green pepper and mushroom on the middle of this wine, but as it sat and oxidized this one became extremely well rounded and verbose. Definitely showing a LOT of sides here. Really impressed with the complexity of this wine at 11 years of age, and has a good 10 years left to go, possibly 15.
  • markcic commented:

    3/31/18, 11:13 AM - Hi - I am assuming that you opened a 750. I am going to open a 6.0L for my nephews rehearsal dinner in a few months and am looking for some advise as to how much time should I give it etc. In all my years of drinking wine (started when LBJ was Prez) I have never opened a 6.0L and actually have never tasted the 07 Conn Valley and would be grateful for any advise that you or any of my fellow trackers reading this comment can give me.

Red
2012 Bevan Cellars Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyard Napa Valley Red Bordeaux Blend
3/20/2018 - csimm1161 wrote:
97 points
It’s been about a year since I last had this wine, which now shows noticeable smoothing-out and an elevated sophistication that was not fully resolved back in mid-2017. Though part of me misses the initial power and intensity this wine used to display, I more appreciate the more integrated flavor profile it currently flaunts; a darker and more brooding core, but partnered with a silky textural cloak that weaves the flavors seamlessly. No more liqueur-driven notes to take away from the totality of its overall performance on the initial attack through the finish. There is an elegance here that one has to pay attention to in order to fully appreciate what this wine is now bringing to the table.

Black cherry, black currant, blackberry, red and black licorice, dried cranberry, obsidian, asphalt, cigar box, and whole clove. Mid-palate was fairly full in the flavor category, enveloping the palate and rolling along through the back end; medium weight-wise overall.

This is drinking very well now. I suspect it will continue to develop in terms of texture and seamlessness; though for those who are drawn to Bevan’s use of all things sexy and intense in a wine, one might want to consume these sooner than later. It is not a horsepower wine at this juncture. I have multiple bottles and will hold for another few months on the next one, but I’m not seeing these lasting for a decade in my cellar - for my palate preference at least.

96-97 points.
  • markcic commented:

    3/22/18, 5:26 AM - Really well written observations - always enjoy reading your reviews

Red
2001 E. Guigal Hermitage Syrah
3/11/2018 - bobbylion Likes this wine:
92 points
Full bodied, chewy, smoke and kirsch. Long finish. In a very good place now. Seems to be going for another several years.
  • markcic commented:

    3/11/18, 11:47 AM - Did you PNP, Slow Ox or decant if you do no mind me asking.

Red
2012 The Debate Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer Dr. Crane Vineyard Napa Valley
2/8/2018 - csimm1161 wrote:
90 points
3-Day Napa Cab Taste-Off: Vice Versa, B Cellars, Memento Mori, Alpha Omega, Purlieu, Janzen, Realm, Myriad, MACDONALD, Maybach, and more...; 2/7/2018-2/9/2018 (Napa): Well damn, this all but sucked a big bag of dirty diapers...An unfortunate disappointment among other wines at the table. To be fair, it wasn't a "bad" wine necessarily, but given its pedigree, it was a shameful showing this time around. I found myself not even paying too much attention to it after a couple of sips. When compared to its competition, this Debate was thinner, shorter, and even a bit bitter. Angular and clipped. The "restraint" (if that's what you want to call it) was too far left, with a simple display of black and red core fruit, cedar, and hints of spice. The depth is where it really fell short. More exposure to air could have helped a bit...but only a bit.

I've posted a number of favorable notes on this wine. However, tonight was a lesson in comparative drop-off; when you go to the Olympics, it doesn't matter how many local awards you've won back in the states. This thing got creamed and didn't even make it to the finals. Besides, why waste brain cells on this wine when I was surrounded by so many other amazing examples of high quality juice.

PS: It's always a bummer when one of the wines you bring to dinner ends up being the one that shows like a one-eyed third grader in a wheelchair...
  • markcic commented:

    2/19/18, 6:46 PM - Really w ell written review - I think based on your notes I may sit on my 2012 Debates for a while.

  • markcic commented:

    2/20/18, 9:00 AM - Hi CSIMN - would it be impolite to ask what other wines were consumed that evening?

  • markcic commented:

    2/20/18, 12:41 PM - Wow - amazing lineup. Somehow I must have misplaced my invitation. I would have brought a 2012 Paul Hobbs Crane. Oh well. BTW - I read the Realm write-up as well (excellent write up I might add) and will move those to the back of the cellar for a few years.

Red - Fortified
1985 Fonseca Porto Vintage Port Blend
2/6/2018 - JWG wrote:
95 points
This baby is continuing to do outstandingly. Big nose -- dark cherries, dark chocolate. Palate has dark fruit, more dark chocolate, tobacco, some spice and an unctuousness that is great. Balance is great, with mellow integration across the nose and tastes. A bit of heat at the end that adds a tingle. There are advantages to getting old - because I've got piles of stuff like this in my cellar, because I bought it decades ago, and now it is really bearing "fruit"!
  • markcic commented:

    2/7/18, 7:06 AM - Enjoyed reading your review and appreciate the getting old comment - I'm sitting on some old vintages as well.

Red
2011 Saxum Broken Stones Paso Robles Red Rhone Blend
1/15/2018 - markcic Likes this wine:
94 points
Well as all my friends are aware, I take 90+ days off of drinking (and ice cream) starting in the middle of January. We all need to cleanse the temple. So for my final bottle prior to my self-imposed sobriety I chose the Saxum which I slow ox'd for 12 hours. Dark fruit with hints of chocolate on the nose, the palate was dark berries, dark cherry, some cigar box, bacon and chocolate. The finish goes on and on and on.

I will be reading the posts everyday but I will not be posting again until late April.

Good drinking everyone.
  • markcic commented:

    1/23/18, 4:36 AM - I didn't mention that I also give up bread, pasta and all processed carbs. I do this every year to try and get back in some sort of shape ( I know that round is a shape but not a preferable one)

Red
2011 Saxum Broken Stones Paso Robles Red Rhone Blend
12/25/2017 - MDRwinos wrote:
89 points
Big, lush wine. Needed :30 open to calm down. A bit of cherry syrup on open. Then settled in to a quality drinking experience. Will hold other bottle for 6-8 months. Interesting to see if that makes a material difference.
  • markcic commented:

    12/26/17, 8:22 PM - I drink a lot of Saxums and my experience has been to obtain the perfect balance is to let them slow ox for most of the day. I usually open them in the morning when I leave the house and drink them in the evening, especially with the 2011 vintage.

Red
2013 Anderson's Conn Valley Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Reserve Napa Valley
12/6/2017 - markcic wrote:
88 points
This bottle did not do it for me. I slow ox'd for 8 hours. The nose was dark fruit and mocha. The palate, blueberry, plum and mocha. It was the finish that bothered me. There wasn't any. Once the wine left the palate it was over. Hopefully just an off bottle. Had there been any kind of a decent finish I could easily see a 91 or 92.
  • markcic commented:

    12/9/17, 6:26 AM - Bought it from Last Bottle. I have never had a problem with them.

  • markcic commented:

    12/9/17, 12:35 PM - I use Winebid a lot as well and have always gotten excellent wines from them.

Red
2000 Switchback Ridge Merlot Peterson Family Vineyard Napa Valley
7/18/2017 - markcic Likes this wine:
91 points
A really good bottle of merlot especially considering it is 17 years old. The nose was dark berry and chocolate. The palate was interesting as besides from the obvious berry, chocolate combo it had underlying flavors of tree bark and fall foliage (OK - what i imagine tree bark would taste like and being one of the youngest kids growing up in my neighborhood I had plenty of dried leaves shoved down my throat so I can attest to the taste of fall foliage) The finish was long and full. Overall i really enjoyed this wine. I have one bottle of 2000 left and I think I will hold it until Thanksgiving as I can see this drinking great with a roasted turkey and all the trimmings.
  • markcic commented:

    12/9/17, 6:23 AM - No LOL it did not make the Thanksgiving dinner. We opted for a magnum of 2006 Mondavi Oakville, and a bottle each of the 2005 McClean Vineyards Syrah and a 2007 Mauritson CS. It is still resting in the cellar.

Red
2013 Anderson's Conn Valley Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Reserve Napa Valley
12/8/2017 - Esteve63 wrote:
88 points
this is very weak compared to the bottle we had earlier in the year. I bought a bottle off WTSO in April '17 and it was really good where I agree with the 92/93 ratings, but purchased same wine from Winebid last month and it is very average (very average cab...for the pedigree) a very notable and distinct difference. Suspicious....89 points. Could bottlings be that different? My advice is buyer beware. The fruit and depth is gone. strange. it almost feels counterfeit.
  • markcic commented:

    12/9/17, 6:16 AM - I had the same experience last week and I was really disappointed.

White
2012 Sine Qua Non In the Abstract Central Coast White Rhone Blend
9/1/2017 - csimm1161 wrote:
96 points
After about 2 hours of being open and with the opportunity to warm up above refrigerator temperature (actually, it was in an ice bucket), this white displayed absolutely beautiful notes of yellow and white citrus, ripe lemon, pear, honeysuckle, lamp oil, limestone, and citrus flowers. This had the slightest bit of reduction, but was almost instantly lifted by subtle white stone and pumice notes. It also had a honey/grilled pineapple kiss akin to the 2014 SQN Lightmotif (which I also thought was a phenomenal white wine from Krankl).

Though this had a great balance between verve/tension and voluptuousness, I would hold this 2012 for another year or two to round out the back end just a little more. The Chardonnay helped to soften any bitterness on the finish, but I think this has the ability to deliver even more seamlessness after 2019. 95-96+ points with upside in a year or so.
  • markcic commented:

    9/23/17, 5:35 AM - Took your advice and pulled it out of the ice bucket. You are so right, the closer to room temperature the more beautiful the wine became. It was my first Sine Qua Non and I am now totally addicted to this vineyard.

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