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Tasting Notes for Chris@77

(179 notes on 117 wines)

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White
Southern Wine Buff did a good job of describing the wine except I quibble with the flavor note prominance. It is dark golden, unlike most chardonnays, dark enough I thought it may be damaged. It does have adequate structure, adequate acidity, a finish. However, it exhibits qualities I don't care for: a fruity sweetness with indistinct tropical flavors without complexity, oak without purpose. (To explain this last comment I had been buying Kunde on the low end, oak with a purpose, subtly enhances the wine). The sweetness is a serious turn off although I know this is the treand favored with moderate priced wines, esp PN. Admittedly, my taste runs Euro - meursault and montrachets now out of the price range, even Chalonaise and Macon pricey for good Macon communes like la Roche. However, I also favor Chalone and Saintsbury among the affordable, higher price point than this Costco buy at $16.50. These won't be followed by siblings. I chose not to append a rating to not pollute the community trend.
Red
2015 Château La Dominique St. Émilion Grand Cru Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
1/7/2022 - Chris@77 Likes this wine:
92 points
Couldn't leave it alone, nagging doubt. Nothing has changed. This is Day 2 with Argon overnight. If anything, I am a little surprised at the tannin present after the pronounced aromas coming from the glass for 10 minutes. The finish is average. There will be some wine left after today (only about 150 ml last night) but not worth drinking. The reason I keep trying these is my memories of many bottles in early 80's, different time different styled wine.
Red
2015 Château La Dominique St. Émilion Grand Cru Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
12/15/2021 - Chris@77 Likes this wine:
92 points
Jeff Leve wrote this is ready to drink. This depends on preference but my take is ... it can be drunk. I'll wait on the many more bottles, nibbling next year. If you drink it now, decant an hour in advance (or more). I drank this in 2 parts with Argon between. Yesterday, the wine did not fully open until 2-3 hours. Today, the wine is open but tannin more evident. It has thrown sediment so careful in pouring. Years of ports were instructive, LED flashlight better than a candle!

This is very nice. I won't bother to write a real tasting note, previous ones are valid. I'm at a lifestyle/life state to drink these early, will try to remember to capture impressions however, they will be gone before fully mature. I'm keeping the Margaux and Beaucastel in my limited storage.

The rating is based on potential. For today I would not rate it as high, 2+ lower.
2 people found this helpful Comment
Red
9/15/2021 - Chris@77 Likes this wine:
92 points
The date is approximate. Bought 4 of these, first 3 good but not prompting a repeat. The 4th one was terrific, all the RR PN flavors, open, balanced, long finish with wonderful red fruit flavors I love. So in the last offering I picked up 8 more when more were left. I'm surprised it took many months for the wine to open but glad I didn't miss the chance!
1 person found this helpful Comments (2)
Red
2015 Château La Dominique St. Émilion Grand Cru Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
PNP note, day 1, to be updated day 2 & 3, 4-5 ounces. Dark ruby, medium body, vinous nose, no distinct scents. Cab/merlot flavors without notable scents/flavors. At this time, simple - nice flavor without complexity, modest tannin, balanced acidity. If I’d drunk this prior to buying many, may have been the last but enjoyable at the right price.

Day 2 after good Argon blanket and frig, 7-8 ounces. Unchanged, tannin apparent but not forbidding, not closed not fully open. Something new is a relatively short finish. Wine has been in the glass almost an hour, not fading, more tannic edge. Saving the last 8-10 ounces, want to see what happens. Chance I dump it.

Day 3, last 8+ ounces. More open, more flavorful, more enjoyable … without unfriendly tannins. What happened?. I’m impressed this wine keeps is better and better with more time in the glass, now 45 minutes on Day 3 after Argon in the frig. Longer finish, I am actually enjoying drinking it … when yesterday thought dump and drink a Rasputin Stout.

I'm impatient to drink 2015's with a case left of this one.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
9/2/2021 - Chris@77 wrote:
85 points
I've chosen not to start a new note because limited interest. This is the RUSSIAN RIVER bottling.

I've been drinking RR PN for 15+ years on the high end, buying from a couple of wineries direct. My choices: Swan, Dehlinger, Wm Selyem, Rochioli. This buy was searched for less $$.

This is more money than the regular bottling without much additional flavor. Missing are those from well made pinots of cola, 'forest floor' (haven't figured this label out but ... I've got it). This is OK for what I paid; I will not buy it again. It was more than the "Reserve Anderson Vy" which I liked about the same or less than the regular. For me this was only a little better than a dry hole. Subdued PN nose, indistinct fruit flavor, short finish. I would have preferred a Guigal CdR for less or a comparably priced zin. Suckling reviews every wine, apparently bottom of the scale is 90 or 91. I don't know how to score this except it's very ordinary on a night I was hoping for a pleasant bottle after spending the day in the hospital.
Red
2015 Château La Dominique St. Émilion Grand Cru Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
6/27/2021 - Chris@77 Likes this wine:
94 points
I read recent reviews on the wine, last night opened a bottle (one of many) 1+ hours early for dinner guests, shocked by tannin. What I thought was the wine may have needed more air and time, or the fruit may have receded behind tannin to open later, this the wrong time. Given this uncertainty and concerned it would not be less agreeable, I poured it back into the bottle, added Argon, and put in the frig, opted for a 2018 Dehlinger Renatus. A day later the wine is more open, tannin receding behind fruit (but still tannic). This is not the time drink these if you can hold.

La Dominique was a favorite StEm along with Angelus and l’Arrosee in the 80’s before I exited Bordeaux for Burgundy (Canon more expensive and Pavie not at all complex and lacking richness … don’t understand how their terroir gained favor, and what happened to Figeac?!). Dominique is north adjacent to Cheval Blanc on the Pomerol border, western neighbor l’Evangile (nearby la Conseillante and Bon Pasteur), fine neighbors. It’s typically an under priced StEm, 2015 no exception (I succumbed and bought this and Margaux’s in 2015/16). The 2015 bottle is deep ruby, strong nose of currants and red fruits, rich tannic middle, good finish. In my view, it has a good future. Hope I’m around to benefit. I'm going to go out on a limb on a wine not ready to rate and call it a 94. I think it will benefit from increased complexity in flavors, and more importantly will enjoy strong finish when mature.

The 2018 Dehlinger was pleasant, a wine intended to be drunk young, recommend it. Only one more bottle, and no reason to keep it although it will be fine for years.
Red
6/20/2021 - Chris@77 wrote:
This wine is a couple years+ too young to drink and therefore hard to rate. It has good mouthfeel, still tannic, average finish (in contrast the 2012 Frei Road is ready to drink, somewhat short finish (6/28 bottle did not have a short finish), both bought last Fall). My suggestion is hold although there isn't anything in this wine that leads me to believe it will gain in complexity. It will gain in drinkability. I'll drink the second part of the bottle tomorrow, update if needed. (Just looked back at the offering; this is the Goldridge.)

2d day wine opened up more with more complexity. It did well overnight with Argon and frig, a good sign. Confession: Other than Swan syrahs I have almost no experience with New World syrahs, don't know what to expect, only experience is with Northern Rhones. Only reason I made this entry to was to offer "too soon".
White
6/20/2021 - Chris@77 Likes this wine:
91 points
This is a chardonnay that tests tastes. I read that Galloni rated it 94. My rating of 91 is reflective that I think it is overblown and lacks the complexity to rate higher, trying to be objective while pointing what I think is missing or 'too much'. I like it but not for the price. The wine is in balance albeit with significant oak and ripeness, butterscotch and tropical flavors. My ideal chardonnay emulates better white burgundies, Puligny Montrachet the favorite when I can afford it, Chasagne next. I could describe the difference but CT users are no doubt knowledgeable. I own the Ridge Estate 2018, will be curious with these because Ridge wines are made in "my style". I intend to hold them to gain age (fat chance given my poor record!).
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
5/25/2021 - Chris@77 Likes this wine:
91 points
Totally agree with ozziewine, intended to write something similar, don't write notes unless something to add but this is a confirmation. This is a pleasant wine to drink now and for years, doubt there is "more" with age, left the 91 for consistency. Pleased I bought it.

Jun 28 new bottle, less developed but much better finish. I would easily rate this one a 91.
White - Sparkling
4/28/2021 - Chris@77 wrote:
85 points
Bought at Costco where my experience is excellent that bottles have been stored well. I'm searching for the flavors in others' notes. Small bubbles, appears to be mostly PN from color. The nose is pleasant but non descript, flavors the same. It is underwhelming and I wish I'd picked up the domestic Mumm's. Having bought a stellar grower brut rose from Costco a few years ago, I tend to try new lesser labels. This one - for me and this bottle - is a loser. Sadly, I have another bottle. I'm not questioning those of you who thought more highly of it, probably a different year or batch. The best thing I can say is it's not too sweet. I doubt I'll keep the other half of the bottle.

I raised the score to 85+. No lagging flavors appearing but softer and easier to drink. I did dump the rest of the bottle, no point in keeping it since I have ales I could drink and an old Dehlinger syrah. I will dispose of the remaining bottle, ½ and ½ in the sink.

5/7 Drinking last bottle tonight with half in the drain. It is underwhelming and I should lower the score but won't. Hard to believe this is a Champagne for $36. I thought it was a good buy, hah!
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2010 Chateau Musar Bekaa Valley Red Blend (view label images)
Same as 3/12 except when drunk over 2 nights 2d night bordered on sink wine ... quite tannic with loss of aromatics. I wish I'd drunk all these young. If you are holding any, suggest drinking in a single night with a 1 hour decant. Each of us decides timing and holding but my new belief is tannins are dominant in this wine. What this means is the risk of holding increases in time, could turn out stellar in 5+ years or a flame out. I lack the patience, probably time, to wait. It's enjoyable now. I'm not going to post any more reviews because nothing is likely to change for some time.

5/5 Drank up remaining bottles given no expectation the CO2 spritziness would dissipate with time, or tannins would come into bound. The tannins issue is one I've encountered with 30 year old Bordeaux. In this case I admit it is a matter of judgment. Given the spritzy wine, I moved on.
2 people found this helpful Comments (2)
Red
2010 Chateau Musar Bekaa Valley Red Blend (view label images)
3/12/2021 - Chris@77 Likes this wine:
92 points
6 months since last bottle, and I will revise this note if tomorrow adds anything after overnight in Argon (concern it may be unusable).

I like this wine although I'm always looking for and not finding "more", seeking the quintessential experience that seems always hiding, tonight no different. The spritziness of past bottles was present in this one, wild fruit aromas jumping out of the bottle, color a bit darker than previous, significant sediment. This is a medium to full bodied wine but not one of middle palate richness, little heft in flavor, not surprising for age but without ethereal lasting flavors of bottle development. Fruit ... cranberry and cherry. Readers are better describers of the nose than I so I leave it to you. Average finish. It's still a keeper but my patience is being tried. I left a 92 score of 6 months ago although it is a bit less now and this bottle was well stored. Cheers.
Red
11/8/2020 - Chris@77 Likes this wine:
90 points
Read Movikk's review from May 6 captured it although now the wine is actually a little better, shockingly good the 2d day for the 2d 'half', much to my surprise after the tannins at the tail end of day 1. It's a very good buy.

I'm quick to add I like the flavor profile of grapes used which plays into preferences and scores (as it must). Though vinified in a Bordeaux style, this is not Bordeaux and shows ... more cranberry-ish (not as much as the flagship wine), not cedar, lead pencil blackcurrent of the left bank or even cab franc/merlot St Em that I love. We each must decide if we favor this.
Red
2010 Chateau Musar Bekaa Valley Red Blend (view label images)
After reading Forceberry's review I became concerned, finally opening a bottle. From initial impressions became much more concerned as in 'what the hell is going on?'. With time the wine opened up and displayed richness, this bottle missing the VA of previous ones. At this age it is quite enjoyable. However, the initial impression coupled with high acid (subdued now) mean it has more miles to go to reach its potential. I believe it is less of a stellar wine than I believed a couple years ago but I still like it very much, in line with a 92-93 point score although this is not the time. I'm still pleased I still own 10 bottles.
3 people found this helpful Comments (2)
Red
I'm not going to score this. I like it which shows after 13 bottles. I had intended to keep it, believing it would benefit but nibbled away continually mostly because of not having anything else interesting to drink in between bottles. It will benefit from 2 more years if you have patience but is quite enjoyable now ... a glass waits for me in the kitchen. I confess to have done this with other wines, purchased with intent to cellar and 'nibbled' only to see the bottles gone. Don't do this!
4 people found this helpful Comments (2)
Red
2016 Ridge Geyserville Alexander Valley Zinfandel Blend, Zinfandel (view label images)
7/28/2020 - Chris@77 Likes this wine:
94 points
I've wanted to drink more bottles of this have restrained myself until now. It was so inviting, complex, enjoyable. Also refrained in the covid era from picking up a few more at 20% more because of having to walk in. I waited too long. This is still enjoyable. I changed the rating only upon reflecting on the last bottle. The tannins are now evident, initial baby fat dissipating, nose more subdued. The wine more closely resembles the 2018 now although the blend difference is noticeable even if slight.

I'm going to drink it over 2-3 nights, will revise if useful. The previous notes on this page are relevant, unchanged. Beautiful wine. Suggest waiting a couple years. Window for drinking now is gone.
2 people found this helpful Comment
Red
2018 Ridge Geyserville Alexander Valley Zinfandel Blend, Zinfandel (view label images)
Seeing through the glass darkly ... 1st day - my view - this is a lesser of the 2016, better than the 2017, excellent except lacked laser flavors of the 2016 and less richness overall. 2d day, soft tannins in a much more subdued experience. worth drinking but minimal interest. My counsel, if you drink, decant and do the whole bottle. Comparisons: 2016 richer with complex flavors and long finish, 2017 richer however, strong tannin overprint evident on day 2 (I dumped it out after storing with Argon). If not the virus to go to the store, I would be tempted to pay more and buy 2016's I know about to add to my stash. Passed on 2017's and will drink the 2018's young (right stuff to improve although not the top, problem is a now 100 bottle storage and need to filter). If you can store hundreds, good wine to buy and hold.

7/12 No change to this review but since have drunk several since available. Gville is a wine to pursue and hold. For me the 2016 is the wine (I think the '05 was the last one, not sure). I am puzzled at reviews that place '17, '18 higher because I don't see it relative to my experience with serious red wines aging to being interesting. What is missing to me for a zin is "richness" in the middle and a longer finish, having not experienced any wine develop a long finish. No mistake, I like wine and am not done with it.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2017 Ridge Lytton Springs Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel Blend, Zinfandel (view label images)
6/1/2020 - Chris@77 wrote:
I know this wine has been out for a while, and I bought several bottles in 2019. I drank several bottles of the 2017 Geyserville but chose not to buy to store. The 2016 Gville was stellar in my view. I'm completely unimpressed with this wine. The balance is fine, the flavor palate completely uninteresting. Maybe it is going through an odd phase but I've never experience a zin go through a dumb phase. A dumb phase is completely normal for Bordeaux and Burgs. I've never had it happen with a CA PN either and for some wines drank a bottle per year over 10 years. Maybe I lack LS experience.
2 people found this helpful Comments (4)
Red
2/19/2020 - Chris@77 Likes this wine:
90 points
Responding to previous entries ... right now nice nose, attractive berryish flavor entry, well balanced, a wine to drink now although likely will improve with a couple years in the bottle. What's missing to be 'better' is complexity and richness in the mid palate and finish. The finish is unmemorable and on the short side with no definitive flavors. I like it because of style although not at this price point of $25 (high teens would work for me). I've been drinking the Cline Ancient Vines at $11, a style I don't like as well but the flavor interest is better even as it tends to prune notes and flavors. Depends on what you like. Swan's zinfandels are ones I long drunk, not easily available, Ridge my favorite. Zins can be serious wines, old can be good. Don't achieve the old bottle complexity of CA cabs but typically at considerably fewer dollars offer huge enjoyment. Having written of Ridge if anyone reading this has other suggestions (Seghasio OK but can be jammy), please offer. I'm open. I like the zin grape flavor and the tannins are more friendly than cabs when young. Thank you in advance for anyone who comments.

2/20 I've raised the score a point. On the 2d half the wine is displaying more flavor interest, not quite as unidimensional.
Red
2/10/2020 - Chris@77 wrote:
89 points
Read 12/24 note so had to open another bottle. I disagree that it's fading. It's still young but softening faster than I would have thought last May. I agree with the 12/24 tasting note, although still score it lower. For me, it lacks richness in the middle and complexity. The complexity may come although the vintage dictates the 'stuffing'. As an example, the Calera Ryan bottling is a lighter wine but has the requisite richness so that it is very complex. (Wish I had some now!).
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
1/31/2020 - Chris@77 wrote:
86 points
On sale at one time in low 20's, now 19 and change at Costco I bought a couple. This is a subdued PN but not the problem. There is only faint definitive simple flavor, lacks richness in the middle, and has a short non-descript finish. It's pleasant but not worth my wine drinking allocation. To be fair I've scored it how I think others will see it, aside from those who either like sweet fruity PN or highly extracted ones (not a fan of either ... the former might score higher although not as fruity as they might like, the latter lower). I opened this to think about buying more. I'm now thinking about returning one bottle because it isn't worth drinking. There was nothing wrong with the wine, screw top (like this for immediate drinking) fine.
Red
1/28/2020 - Chris@77 wrote:
89 points
Picked this up at Costco for about $32+ after reading Suckling's rating of 93 and notes. He and I must be drinking a different wine. Although I agree it has a pleasant cab nose, nice mouthfeel, and average plus finish I am not experiencing the complexity nor loonnngggg finish he describes. Furthermore, the wine has significant tannin, soft but tannic. Also, the wine lacks richness in the middle. Maybe this is 'baby fat' fruit once but no longer there however, it makes drinking it now less pleasant than I anticipated after reading the note. As it has opened up more, the tannins are more pronounced on the finish and not pleasant. I'm wondering if the 2d half of the bottle will escape the drain tomorrow. I don't like it for the price based on its current state. It is reasonable to score it 89 which gives it some benefit.
Red
2010 Chateau Musar Bekaa Valley Red Blend (view label images)
12/30/2019 - Chris@77 Likes this wine:
94 points
I drank a couple bottles before buying, then returned and bought all in the store, ended up with 15 bottles. The initial bottles were from a special ordered case, remaining dribbled in. The initial note was from a good bottle, subsequent from bottles without best storage. I didn't know this. Last couple threw considerable sediment, corks in question although wine quite pleasurable. This bottle was from the initial 11. It is significantly more backward (and I will wait on the rest), terrific nose, dark(er), much more tannin in evidence, excellent balance. The cranberry notes are there but the fruit is a deeper red ... cherries. In my view this is a stunning wine. Just when I was a little disappointed, thinking of drinking more earlier, this surprise has caused a rethink. There is significant future potential, maybe better than 94 depending on how it develops further in the bottle.

1/1/20 drinking 2d half. Nothing to change above except to note I now understand there is a long way to go for full enjoyment. This is very nice but still younger than I thought.
4 people found this helpful Comment
Red
2016 Ridge Geyserville Alexander Valley Zinfandel Blend, Zinfandel (view label images)
12/28/2019 - Chris@77 Likes this wine:
93 points
Saturday ... I drank 2 bottles of this before buying 6, all I could get. Not having any interesting wines I wanted to drink and wondering of this one, purchased early 2019, I grabbed one. Initially the wine seemed tannic, significant soft tannins but the nose was huge for a wine of this age. Tannins softening after airing to a wine of huge flavors. Having been open a while the tannin is now more evident. Having targeted this for extinction with enjoyment I'm now questioning my decision. I note the ambiguity of those who offer it is above average and not exceptional maybe with too much oak, and those who label it as a singular wine. I'm in the latter camp (with my nose in the glass). I'm enjoying it a lot, a field blend that works for me unlike the jammy zins which don't. I prefer the restrained and balanced wines of Ridge. The not overly berryish notes and vanilla appeals to me. To me, this is very well made, one I should keep. Second half of the bottle on Monday (this is Saturday, dinner out tomorrow).

Sunday ... I thought this would be Monday but home early. Today is much the same as yesterday, certainly toned down a little - vanillin notes from judicious oak (oak is in the nose of the drinker, for me too much acceptable in chardonnays and more tolerance (dissapative) in reds. What sets this wine apart relative to many zins (and the Lytton Springs) is the nose, balance (significant friendly, soft tannins), and long finish. In my view any great wine must have a long finish. To me this is an excellent wine. Wish I could have bought more. (I did this with the 2010 Chateau Musar, bought 15 bottles to enjoy over time.) To put the second day in perspective I drank a number of bottles of Lytton Springs over 2 days (a wine for me of lesser quality). The first day for each was enjoyable jammy, brambly fruit, well done in a balanced and restrained way. The second day was invariably fairly hard tannins and wine a lot less enjoyable. What's different? The 'soft' with Geyserville vs 'hard' for Lytton was not the only metric. There is also nose, palate, and finish. However, I suggest Geyserville has ample tannin, maybe comparable, but guarantees both long life and enjoyment within the entire lifeline envelope. You decide. For me, the dilemma on enjoyment near term or hold long.
3 people found this helpful Comments (2)
Red
2016 Ridge Lytton Springs Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel Blend, Zinfandel (view label images)
10/28/2019 - Chris@77 wrote:
I typically like the Geyserville more than Lytton because of the field blend flavor mix. 2016 is no exception. Had to open this, softened since over a year ago, subdued in aromas and flavors. It is a pleasant drink, not an exciting one, tannins in the background (for 30th when I drink the rest). I love the style of Ridge zins, not as thrilled with Lytton as when I bought the bottles (fewer than Gville). The Lytton is not particularly unfriendly but not giving up much. Finish is short. A rating would be unfair.

10/29 Decided to drink some of rest tonight. No new insights. Good news is not unfriendly, i.e. enjoyment in drinking now although obviously not what it could be.
Red
2010 Chateau Musar Bekaa Valley Red Blend (view label images)
Drank this over 2 nights, last bottle 1 year ago. Color is crimson, medium body. At pouring ½ the bottle to a decanter aromas seemed to jump out of the flow, powerful. The dominant berry aroma was very ripe cranberry. Acid level still fairly high, tannin in background, more evident on 2d half. I have many bottles. Stay tuned for October 2020. This wine still hold enormous promise although the palette of flavors is unlike any red of my experience. I continue to be intrigued and excited about future bottles. The bottles I own have been cellared at 55 and fills are high. Read the entry by Zhang of "dark fruit" and accompanying flavors. Also don't understand the "sweetness"; my bottles have not been "sweet". Frankly do not understand the difference between ZMAG’s note and what I drank in last years. All I can do is report. I did experience the same effervescence previously reported ... slightly 'spritzy' until opening. This was true at one time of Cuvaison chardonnays.
2 people found this helpful Comment
Red
2015 Château La Dominique St. Émilion Grand Cru Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
I began the Bordeaux journey in Graves and St Emilion 1973 and 1976 vintages, wines with Merlot. Always appreciated French wine merlot as opposed to flabby, fruit bombs from Cali. La Dominique, Larosee, and L'Angelus were wines I collected in early 80's so this was a blast from the past to 2015. In old times Canon and La Madeleine were too expensive wines I liked. Dominique is adjacent to Cheval Blanc, not far from Figeac. (Having a hard time to see how Figeac was left behind l'Angelus). The 2015 ... dark ruby, full bodied (more than a little sediment), wonderful nose, tannic, reasonable balancing acidity. To be sure this is young, needs years for the next one. I never would have opened had I not bought many bottles. This is a 92-95 point wine, all the elements, rich mid palate, good finish. Time will tell.

10/24 2d day. Impressive fruit, tannin evident and in your face ... but soft, acidity adequate. Not highly friendly but drinkable. For me all the pieces are present for a great wine in the future however, there is no point in drinking for the next few years. This was an excellent buy at $52.
3 people found this helpful Comment
Red
This is an interesting wine, not what I thought from reading ... drink 2018-2028 (for those who saw Robinson's 17.5 rating I suggest she was seeing its ultimate potential). I'd be curious how this stacks up with the Beaucastel Rouge (own 2015 but not available here for 2016).

The Coudoulet is medium body, exceptionally well balanced between fruit, tainnin, acid. Over 2 days, 1st day acid shielded the flavors somewhat, second day subdued. In comparison to the Grand Veneur Champauvins this is less open, much less overt fruit. It lacks the same degree of richness in the middle, undefined finish. I reserve judgment on providing a score. I do think it has a good future and will drink well for some time, not sure if so for me with limited 100 bottle temperature storage. In comparison to the overpowering fruit filled Champauvins this is positively tame. Maybe I should blend the 2 :-). For those who have larger storage or live in cooler spaces, best to wait a couple years or more for the next bottle. I have 5 more, will try one with extended decanting.
3 people found this helpful Comments (1)
White - Sparkling
10/10/2019 - Chris@77 Likes this wine:
90 points
This is a very nice wine, but not a complex one and lacks the spine to become more complex. The 2012 is sweet for a Brut. I haven’t bought and drunk the l’ Ermitage for some years however, this vintage lacks the balance I found alluring previously. The age of the wine shows, the yeasty character. Contrary to some reviewers I offer this is not a wine to keep. Buy it and enjoy it. At its price point it is a good value. But it pales before other wines in this price class of my past. It is too simple for me to rate higher than 90. On this scale the standard Anderson Estate is an 88, both for me the best from California … Chandon next. Having said this the previous vintages of l’Ermitage were on par with Brut Champagnes, better than most (and so is this one except the top NV cuvees). I'm going to drink the other slightly less than half tomorrow. There is zero chance it will improve.

11/3 Drinking a 2d bottle, this one less enjoyable, would rate 1-2 points lower. Although I'm not a fan of sweet wines, this one being too sweet, my assessment does not take this into account. This bottle is less complex, a simple pinot dominated cuvee of older wines of limited interest. This isn't any better than the Costco $24 cheaper label of Casanova, maybe less good. Not a value at $42.
4 people found this helpful Comment
Red
2013 Castello di Monsanto Chianti Classico Riserva Chianti Classico DOCG Sangiovese Blend, Sangiovese (view label images)
10/7/2019 - Chris@77 Likes this wine:
90 points
Wanted to enter a quick note, over 10 months since last one. My bottles have been at 55, don't know storage at store. The wine has opened and softened now (at least this bottle), hugely enjoyable. Wish I'd bought more, will do so tomorrow or soon if they still have it. Another wine drinking well, non traditional style with (I think) more oak is 2015 Renieri Classico. I think the Monsanto is the better wine, perhaps in a lesser vintage because the Renieri is a little richer. Back to Monsanto ... nice nose, good in middle, good finish. It is not hugely complex, just very nice. It may improve.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
8/9/2019 - Chris@77 Likes this wine:
92 points
Cellared at 55. Just opened and decanted half, drinking after 15 minutes, other half in frig w/Argon. This is a shockingly enjoyable wine for its age, with a relatively strong red-black nose - for me more cherry than prune but yup prune. It has good richness in the middle and a nice cherryish finish. If something changes, I'll note it, alsol make an entry on Sunday for 2d half (Provence tomorrow night). Very pleasant surprise for this 1st bottle.

8/11 Forgot to offer note on 2 days later. Same as above with less freshness. Still enjoyable. Tannin has not overshadowed fruit with still reasonable acidity.
Red
8/4/2019 - Chris@77 wrote:
89 points
After buying a number of bottles of the very good 2010, I went ahead with many of the 2013. This is a medium body tannic wine with excellent balancing acidity. It has a nice nose, and overall good finish. What is lacking relative to the 2010 is complexity and richness in the middle palate. There is just not enough material in evidence and this is not something that can be expected to develop. It limits the wine's ultimate potential and appeal. I did not see or buy the 2012 nevertheless did make direct comparisons of a few wines from both vintages. To me 2012 is a superior Brunello vintage, is not as tannic and forbidding and offers more complexity and richness. I was persuaded on the 2013 Fiorita by the high 95 point Spectator rating. Personally, I can't see evidence for this and should have paid more attention to Kerin O'Keefe's notes and rating of 89. To be clear this is a good wine however, not one to cellar unless there is no premium on temperature controlled space. It isn't pleasant to drink now except for the first day with air (several bottles were sampled each over 3 days with Argon in between). The 3d day it was undrinkable, 2d day OK but not particularly pleasant. Hoperfully, remaining bottles will be enjoyable at some point before the typical 10 year mark to start. My bet is old brunello can be ethereal like old Bordeaux and Burgundy (I've only had one like this, a reserva). This is not one of those wines.
2 people found this helpful Comment
Red
I read all the notes before I opened a bottle, have nothing relevant to add for tastings. I drank this bottle over 3 nights (early sipping today on last 100ml to check on it on 3d day). Day 1: wine somewhat closed after decanting into a 1 liter flask (Ehlenmeyers make good decanters in 1 and 2 liter sizes). It may be a sign of closing up. Day 1 medium body and color (call it light ruby) with excellent balance. Day 2: more open, good mid palate and finish. Day 3 (first sips): tannin quite apparent (likely dump after sipping), intense red fruit flavors without being "fruity", some mineral, good finish. Promising wine. This is not an overripe wine (I think I saw this comment, baffled on it after 3 days of careful sampling).

My suggestion ... this is the end of drinking for now. How many years before the next bottle? I have no idea. A couple of years ago I drank 2 perfectly stored 2d growths over 25 years old, '86 and '89, Cos and Las Cases ... 2 too young. In 2015 same with a 1990 La Chapelle. I hope one of you out there will tell me when next, until then resting at 55F.
5 people found this helpful Comment
Red
6/24/2019 - Chris@77 Likes this wine:
92 points
Drank this over 4 days with Argon in between. I agree with many comments so I'll write only about why I disagree with the low scores, not tasting notes. For me this a balanced wine, with acidity completely in balance to all the other elements which makes it an enjoyable drink. Second, the wine has a long finish. Last, this is not an overly fruity pinot noir, typical near this price point, with excellent earthy and pinot flavors. It competes with my RR Dehlinger PN at a considerably higher price point.. You decide. Maybe I drank the one superlative bottle. I could even score it higher if it evolved in time but doubt this for any CA PN. It's a 92+ and I hope to still find more in the store.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
5/23/2019 - Chris@77 wrote:
Drunk over 2 nights with Ar in between. Very dark ruby, full bodied (much darker than a St Cosme), surprisingly highly tannic. Thought tannins were soft until 2d night when they were unfriendly, didn't finish the bottle. Flavors grenache, somewhat short finish. Will hesitate before buying another Halos. I'm not opposed to tannins but this was forbidding. Favorite Gigondas is la Bouissiere Tonin.
Red
5/19/2019 - Chris@77 Likes this wine:
90 points
Wasn't going to open but wanted something. My input is consistent with "tannicbeast" except this isn't drinking well without time in the glass and air. It is medium body, ruby, significant aromatic nose. There is definitely considerable tannin although I agree, not as much (or as massive a wine) as the 2012. Compared to the 2012 this has a notably shorter finish. I'll agree to 91 as fair although it is difficult to assess at this point. Given short finish my lean is 90. I have many 2012, only a couple of these so this is likely my last word. Second half of the bottle tomorrow after night in Ar.
Red
2017 Ridge Geyserville Alexander Valley Zinfandel Blend, Zinfandel (view label images)
Agree with previous tasting notes so I'll just add what feels different for me. This was drunk over 2 days, sealed with Ar in between and refrigerated (in Winter would leave on the counter).

1st day wine was delightful, easy to drink, tannin obscured by fruit. It is very Ridge in style in that it is a zin that is not jammy (something I dislike, nor do I like overextracted zins). Nothing not to like, seemed as if ready soon (similar to professional reviews).

2d day excellent nose, same fruit with now very evident tannin, more tannin than I identified.

Overall, good balance. My take, not ready as soon as what the professionals offer depending on how you like your wines. I drank a few bottles of 2016, retained 6. It isn't obvious to me this will be ready sooner but I'm far from an expert.
2 people found this helpful Comment
Red
5/12/2019 - Chris@77 wrote:
92 points
I'm glad I opened one but it is quite young, zero bottle developed flavors. If I didn't know better with a top aged riserva I might think this may be it. Can't quibble with the notes of flavors or description. I can quibble with whether this is ready to drink ... it is not, needs more years ... how many, at least 2 (and hoped this would not be the case). No rating. Right now, it drinks like no different than a very best Classico Riserva. The 2012 Renieri was much more forward, lush, even more complex ... same for 2012 Donatella. Looking foward to this in the future.

5/13 I drank the 2d half tonight. Although there are no bottle flavors the wine opened up and was extremely enjoyable with primary flavors. There is nothing about this wine I don't like, pleased I bought it and hold many 2013's (update: changed my views of 2013). It was wonderful (I drink earlier in the day and bed early, an age thing!). Loved it.

8/28 Drinking 2d half of another one. First half consistent with above notes, 2d half indicates it should be ready in about a year. It is a rich, flavorful rendition of sangiovese. I raised the score a point. Because I may not hold the rest, please wait a year and look for notes from others. "Holding" is about value order ranking within the limited temp controlled space with unforeseen 2015/16 Bordeaux capturing.
2 people found this helpful Comment
Red
5/10/2019 - Chris@77 wrote:
89 points
Medium body and color, appealing pinot nose although clearly not a riper wine, good balance. First to say, it is quite early to be drinking this wine. My bottle(s) stored at 55 have good acid balance, tannin left but not prominant. The flavor notes recorded thus far are on target, average finish. What is missing is richness and complexity of flavor. I saw this right after I bought the wine years ago and it is still missing. I don't see this ever being close to a top wine however, holding it longer should reward with bottle flavors. Those are not present now. Aside from vintage differences, the Porrets is a very different wine than Gouges' le St Georges and Vaucrains. I still remember those stunning wines, St Georges very rich and complete (should be a Grand Cru in my view ... Chevillon produces its complement), Vaucrains structured for the long haul. The Porrets is very much the simpler wine. I marked the form "neutral" because I'm ambivalent about holding it in my now limited storage of 100 bottles, much different than years ago with many hundreds. You decide. I lack the expertise to offer more than this.

Allen Meadows from 2013. I agree this with reservation that the wine is not progressing to an encouraging place relative to complexity. I didn't read this before opening or would have noted the timeframe. Meadows and Robinson are the people I most trust (not myself!). Meadows palate is beyond sophisticated based on my decade of comparisons.
".... intensely earthy and beautifully complex nose of both red and blue pinot fruit, earth, violet and plum scents. ... supple mid-palate though the firm core of tannins apparent on the moderately austere and impressively long finish. 90-92 /2021+"
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
3/2/2019 - Chris@77 Likes this wine:
91 points
With no ready drinkable bottles - a failure with purchasing - sacrificed this one. Consistent but less friendly - not unfriendly - than the previous. These two bottles have caused me to challenge whether this is the better wine than the 2012 Altamont. It's not that it isn't more open, rather that the mid palate is less rich and finish is average.
Red
2/25/2019 - Chris@77 Likes this wine:
91 points
Quick note, drunk over 2 nights, 2d bottle tasted, all purchased at release and cellared at 55. Previous notes are all relevant in my view. This is more austere, mineral driven than typical Dehlinger (similar to other High Plains). When first opened the wine was very inviting however, its charms faded. From then on it was enjoyable but the lesser, 2d day same with Ar blanket (forgot to lower by 1 pt, done). I think this wine will change in time, become friendlier (not unfriendly at all now if you want to drink it) but not obvious it will "improve", depending on what you seek in pinot. I like old pinots (do like old burgundies better basis their development) but lack the patience for very old (10 years is as old as I've held any). You decide. (I think the 2013 is the better wine)
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
1/24/2019 - Chris@77 Likes this wine:
92 points
Lush pinot from a ripe vintage. In drinking last night I went and looked at the alcohol levels for my 3 bottlings of HP: 14.9, 15.2, 14.9 (2014). This wine is similar to the 2014 Altamont, although I like it less have kept the points the same. It is not tannic, lacks the structure of the 2013. For me no reason not to drink it up but it isn't going south for many years so there is no need for haste. 15% pinots does cause me to wonder if I should have abandoned LBV ports because of alcohol. This is an enjoyable nice bottle among many, not special but expensive for the benefit. $ aside, well worth drinking.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
1/18/2019 - Chris@77 Likes this wine:
92 points
Good wine but a bit disappointing. This bottle lacks complexity, fully ready to drink, smooth, good balance, tannin gone, above average finish. Maybe me but compared to the recent 2013 this is the much lesser wine (this bottle), much different than the November 2012 bottle (doesn't seem like the same wine). There is nothing wrong with the bottle, stored at 55 since receipt from the winery at issue. I'll correct the score and make a note if a change.

1/20/19 2 days later after Ar in frig, wine considerably better. Fruitiness is somewhat faded with better balance and more noticeable acidity (good). Finish is average. Up 1 point.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
12/28/2018 - Chris@77 Likes this wine:
94 points
Omigosh! I wish I hadn't given the last bottle as a gift. Without decanting the nose and flavors of this wine are incredibly delicious. This is obviously the wine I expected when I drank the 1st of 9. Alas, all gone. It's fully ready to go, will keep for a long time. Long finish. The only wine I've drunk from Dehlinger that in my view would have eclipsed it is the Octagon (not the old vines Goldridge, although close). I look forward to the High Plains in the cabinet. I'm not into high ratings. This is very high for me. In 1981 when Parker began the 100 point cult, I recall being willing drink any 84 point wine, seeking 86. As wine ratings are compressed to a few points, and some writers award 90 to anything in the bottle ... this is a real 94 point wine.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
Needed to drink this long before anticipated (+10 years), partly because it was a 1.5. Wine is medium-full bodied with impecable balance, 14.2%. It reminds me more of a 2005 burgunday premier cru without the earthiness or mineral notes. It is missing the overt fruitiness of the standard bottlings but is not as austere as High Plains. This is a highly complex wine which is a testament to the age of the vines. I love this bottling, have chosen not to rate it, but will offer an opinion ... the Octagon bottlings have more potential than any Dehlinger pinots I've drunk (still have 10 High Plains bottles so we'll see). The wine was a hit for me and non-pinot drinker others liked it a lot at a dinner with close friends and their family. If you own a bottle, look forward to a highly enjoyable experience in the future.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2013 Castello di Monsanto Chianti Classico Riserva Chianti Classico DOCG Sangiovese Blend, Sangiovese (view label images)
11/19/2018 - Chris@77 Likes this wine:
90 points
I think it is important to understand what this wine is and what it is not, esp relative to value. It's $20 for me (was $17 at Costco) and I've drunk many bottles. It is evolving, will improve. Without describing the aromas and flavors - others do this better - it is highly enjoyable. I still have 3 bottles, may buy more. The wine isn't going south and Monsanto is a class act. What's not to like?
4 people found this helpful Comment
Red
11/14/2018 - Chris@77 Likes this wine:
94 points
Terrific. Entering a long plateau of huge enjoyment although only 4 months since last bottle. This was 1 of only 2 bottles left out of 6. I'd intended to serve the last one to friends for dinner ... but the Argon works well, may find something else for them :-)
3 people found this helpful Comment
Red
11/4/2018 - Chris@77 Likes this wine:
92 points
PLEASE READ TO BOTTOM - LEFT THE ORIGINAL NOTE

Drank this over 2 nights with Argon in between. Used same Argon system a couple hundred times, keeps my Dehlinger pinots for up to 4 days little no discernible change.

1st night wine took time to open, gained body and color, then nice young Brunello nose and flavors, average finish. There was nothing singular about the wine, simply a very good drink of a young wine, surprisingly open.

2d night was disappointing. (I've found the 2d night to be very telling of improvement with age, in 80's used drink Bordeaux over 2 nights using a half bottle and forcing all the air out. Only downside was first "half" was smaller :-( The 2d night wine had lost richness and balance, tannic and clumsy. The nose was greatly subdued, finish weak. This moved me from the buying more bottles mood from the 1st night to no more bottles, maybe drinking up the several left young during one setting. From what I've read it never was obvious this would be a wine to gain significant bottle bouquet and flavors. I'm undecided and may free up some temperature controlled space.

Bottom line, integration of "ratings" between nights 1 & 2 = 90. At $45 with a 10% discount, certainly not more bottles. If you can buy it for 10 less, good. I've drunk the 2011 and 2013 at our favorite restaurant. The 11 was pleasant although simple, the 13 more complex, structured and tannic (than this wine). Did not write a note.

CHRISTMAS 2018 UPDATE: Decanted the wine for only 30 minutes (previous bottles similar) and for whatever reason this bottle is very good - open, redolent, good finish. Who knows about tomorrow but for one sitting, VG. To be fair I've adjusted my rating from 90. (No, this isn't a Santa thing, just changing my mind based on new data!).
3 people found this helpful Comment
White
10/26/2018 - Chris@77 Likes this wine:
90 points
I agree with Bevetroppo's tasting description ... when the wine was issued aside that it lacks the minerality of the 2015. Having bought a case of this on the basis of a rating on a pinot website, I was disappointed because it is less complex than expected. Since first bottles, the wine has softened considerably to the point that it is a Cali style buttery chard without the acidity found in white burgs, even lesser ones from Macon and Chalonnaise, much less Meursault or P/Ch Montrachet. It isn't lacking in flavor or aroma. At $25-30 I would be very pleased. At $45 (case purchase from winery), not so much. I've drunk many California chardonnays that were superior and a 2014 Bouchine was quite a bit more complex and interesting, with good acidity (albeit at higher alcohol that I don't like) for about $25. I'm drinking my 10th bottle so plenty of experience.
3 people found this helpful Comment
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