Tasting Notes for James B

(299 notes on 213 wines)

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Red
1/21/2018 - James B Likes this wine:
94 points
Color is medium intensity garnet. Medium-plus intensity on the nose. Aroma notes of blackcurrent and black cherry, spice box from the French oak, “Oakville dust,” truffle and forest floor. Palate matches the nose. Medium-plus body; low acidity; medium-plus tannins; medium-plus length. This is clearly a new-world wine. You’d never mistake it for a Bordeaux. It’s very solid, with great backbone and aging potential. It’s drinking fine now, but with plenty of years left, and will likely improve. Incidentally, I came back and edited my note after enjoying the wine over two hours. Plan a decant of 90 minutes or more. Time in the decanter improved this wine significantly.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
8/23/2015 - James B Likes this wine:
94 points
This was particularly good, so I felt compelled to leave a tasting note. Medium-plus intensity garnet color. Deep intensity aroma of black fruits, tobacco, spice box, well-integrated old-world oak. The palate matches the nose. Low acidity; soft, well-integrated tannins; medium-plus intensity on the palate; medium-plus length. This all comes together beautifully, and it's an outstanding representation of the varieties and region. It's also drinking perfectly now. We drank it with Morrocan lamb stew--a difficult pairing--and it could not have worked better.
Red
12/24/2014 - James B Likes this wine:
99 points
This was perfect tonight. After several bottles over several years, this has never been better. No decant was required. Medium intensity garnet color. Deep intensity on the nose; black current, tobacco, other black fruits, forest floor, Bordeaux barnyard aroma. Palate matches the aroma. Low acid; well-integrated, virtually nonexistent tannins. Exceptional length; 60-90 seconds. Tonight, this may have been the best wine I've ever had.
Red
2001 Pahlmeyer Proprietary Red Napa Valley Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
8/4/2014 - James B wrote:
Last of six bottles; drinking perfectly. Deep ruby color; pronounced notes of black current and other black red fruit; nutty hints of oak. Palate matches the nose perfectly. Low acid; tannins have softened with bottle age; full body. Medium-plus finish. This is a perfect example of a patient, well-made Napa red blend that is at the height of its drinkability. Highly recommended.
Red
3/23/2014 - James B wrote:
97 points
Beautiful wine; drinking very well now with a reasonable (thirty-minute-plus) decant; but still has great structure and decades to go. Clear appearance; medium-intensity ruby color. Medium-plus intensity on the nose, with aroma notes of blackcurrant and other black fruits, tobacco, spice box, cracked pepper, green pepper. Flavor notes match the nose. Medium body; medium-plus, well-integrated tannins; low acid; medium-plus length. This is less explosive and more refined than other vintages. I wouldn't exactly call it Bordeaux-like (not earthy enough), but you could definitely treat it as a Bordeaux for food-pairing purposes.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2001 Château Cos d'Estournel St. Estèphe Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
3/24/2013 - James B wrote:
92 points
This has terrific structure and potential, but its's drinking very young right now. Tannins are pronounced and obscure the fruit. I believe it needs at least two more years in the cellar. If you can't wait, be prepared to give it at least an hour or two in a decanter to open up.
4 people found this helpful Comment
Red
2/3/2013 - James B Likes this wine:
94 points
This wine is in its drinking window, but it has years to decades left to go. Deep ruby to garnet color. Pronounced intensity aroma of black currant, graphite, and spice. Palate matches the nose, but is a bit austere prior to 3+ hours of air, after which the flavor profile explodes, with the addition of leather and toasty notes from the oak. Medium-plus tannins; low acid; full body; medium-plus length. This is an outstanding example of a well-made Napa cab with the backbone to age for decades.
White
1/20/2013 - James B wrote:
92 points
Deep gold color. Pronounced nose with aromas of tropical fruit, quince, star fruit, and citrus rind. Full-bodied on the palate, with flavor characteristics that match the nose. Medium acidity, low tannins. Medium-plus length. This is a superb Rhone white.
Red
1/20/2013 - James B wrote:
93 points
Beautifully balanced wine with outstanding structure. Deep intensity ruby color. Pronounced aroma of black fruit, including blackcurrant and stewed plums. Additional aroma notes include tobacco, spice, and clove. The palate is highly extracted and matches the nose. Medium, well-integrated tannins; low acidity; medium-plus length. This should continue drinking well for a decade or more.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
9/28/2012 - James B wrote:
96 points
This was a star tonight; best bottle we've had yet. Did not require a decant. Medium-plus intensity garnet color. Beautiful intense aroma of leather, black currant, nutmeg, and the signature Bordeaux barnyard. Perfect on the palate. Flavor characteristics match the nose perfectly. Medium intensity on the palate; extremely soft tannins; low acid. The bottle age and the muted tannins allow fascinating secondary and tertiary characteristics to shine through. Medium length. This was just beautiful. Probably has a few years left, but it won't get any better. Drink up.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2004 St. Supéry Élu Meritage Napa Valley Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
5/27/2012 - James B wrote:
91 points
Very nice Napa Bordeaux-style blend. Deep, ruby color. Aroma is medium-plus intensity; notes of black fruit (black cherry and black currant), anise, and nutty notes of new French oak. Palate matches the nose. Medium-plus body; low acid; medium tannins; medium length. Give it a good decant if you can. This is a good to very good representation of the meritage style.
Red
5/25/2012 - James B wrote:
93 points
Ruby red color of medium intensity. Clean nose of medium intensity; strong red fruit aroma notes, with nutty, spicy French oak notes, not much earth or vegetal aroma, bright red cherry predominates. The palate matches the nose. Medium body; strong red fruit; medium acid. Tannins are still evident. This is not as near the end of its drinking life as CellarTracker suggests. Medium-plus length. Overall, this a very good, varietally correct pinot. Loved it!
Red
5/1/2012 - James B wrote:
92 points
Remarkably fine merlot. Medium intensity, garnet color. Medium intensity nose. Aroma is Bordeaux-like, with earthy notes of forest floor and nutty, spicy French oak. Black fruits and some vegetal notes (green pepper and dill). On the palate, full body, low acid, soft and well-integrated tannins. Flavor characteristics match the nose perfectly. Medium-plus length. A delightful wine; drinking perfectly now.
Red
4/27/2012 - James B wrote:
95 points
This was outstanding; almost perfect. Maybe it was just the fact that it followed a horribly corked '99 Lalande, but this could not have been better. Deep ruby color; pronounced nose with notes of black currant, spice box, pencil lead. Full bodied on the palate, with flavor characteristics to match the nose. Rich black fruit. Most impressively, there is an incredible length of 60-90 seconds. Perhaps we just got a bottle in the sweet spot. I know my rating is better than average for this wine, but I could not have been more impressed.
Red
4/27/2012 - James B wrote:
flawed
Horribly corked and completely undrinkable. Two out of three bottles of this were corked. Bummer.
White
3/16/2012 - James B wrote:
96 points
This was the wine of the night, for sure. Deep, intense gold color. Clean nose with intense stone fruit notes (peach and apricot) and pronounced minerality, plus some petrol. On the palate, low acid, no tannins, medium body. Flavor characteristics match the nose--off-dry, strong stone fruit notes, profound minerality, long finish. This is a textbook off-dry Riesling in the heart of its drinking window. Enjoy!
Red
3/16/2012 - James B wrote:
92 points
This wine is in its sweet spot. Drink up now. Deep, garnet color. The best quality is the nose. Intense aroma of black currant, tobacco, plum, very subtle wood. Palate is dry, with low acidity and very soft tannins. Flavor characteristics match the nose, but with somewhat less depth and complexity. Medium-plus length. A very good Napa cab.
Red
2/3/2012 - James B wrote:
91 points
This is a big, voluptuous food wine. Deep, ruby-red color. Pronounced nose, with black fruit notes (esp. stewed plums), tobacco, spice box, French oak, and an "artist's studio" aroma I've occasionally noticed and deeply appreciate, but that is hard to describe. Pronounced palate matches the nose, with medium acidity, soft and well-integrated tannins, full body, medium length. I'm glad I have more of these to enjoy.
White
2/3/2012 - James B wrote:
90 points
Clear, lemon gold color. Clean nose, with notes of stone fruit, floral (honeysuckle), crushed-stone minerality. On the palate, favor characteristics match the nose; medium body, medium acidity, medium length. Drink now. This is drinking just fine, but it's on the downward slope and will not improve. It's a great food wine, like an excellent dry Reisling.
White
2002 Louis Latour Corton-Charlemagne Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru Chardonnay (view label images)
10/2/2011 - James B wrote:
94 points
Last bottle, and it's never been better. Intense gold color. Medium-plus intensity nose, with stone fruit notes (primarily unripe apricot), crushed stone, and dried autumn leaves. Palate is medium-bodied, low acid, no tannin, and flavor characteristics that match the nose. Medium-plus length. Just an outstanding white Burg.
Red
9/30/2011 - James B wrote:
92 points
Drinking perfectly. On the downward slope, but a few years left; just what I like. Clear, garnet color, with medium-plus intensity. Subtle nose with black fruits, including black currant. Aroma also includes tobacco, nutmeg, and other baking spices; very little wood or earth otherwise. Clearly new world. Palate is medium-bodied, low acid, with soft and well-integrated tannins. Flavor characteristics match the aroma, plus cassis and black cherry. Medium-plus length. Drink up!
Red
2000 Château Pavie Macquin St. Émilion Grand Cru Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
9/11/2011 - James B wrote:
92 points
Lovely wine, but not a textbook example of the region. Deep ruby color. Aroma includes black currant, cassis, black plum, baking spices. Lacks the earthy notes and barnyard to signal a Bordeaux, or other old-world wine. Palate matches the nose. Medium-plus length. This wine is delicious, but I would almost certainly assess it incorrectly if tasting it blind. It comes across more as an ultra-high-end Napa cab or meritage than as a Bordeaux. But it's delicious, so I can't really knock it.
White
9/11/2011 - James B wrote:
91 points
Lovely Napa chard. Lemon gold color; medium-plus intensity. Pronounced aroma includes notes of tropical fruit, ripe stone fruit, and French oak. Flavor matches the nose. Medium-plus length. Very good example of the varietal and region.
Red
9/3/2011 - James B wrote:
93 points
Still drinking well, after all this time. Impression is consistent with prior notes. Very nice indeed.
White
9/3/2011 - James B wrote:
97 points
This was an amazing, singular, and noteworthy Southern Rhone white. I understand it's 100% Roussanne, so it's a great tutorial on the characteristics of the varietal. Deep intensity gold color; viscous with great legs; coats the glass. Very aromatic on the nose, with a first impression of floral, honeysuckle notes. Other aroma characteristics include ripe stone fruit, some pear, secondary notes of tropical fruits, and subtle minerality and crushed stone. On the palate, the wine is full-bodied, with low acid. Flavor characteristics match the nose. Most noticeably, the wine is a bit bitter on the back-palate, like sucking on a peach pit. Incredible length. Very good to outstanding expression of the varietal.
Red
8/19/2011 - James B wrote:
91 points
This is a very good cabernet in the new world style. Medium- to deep-intensity clear ruby color, beginning to show a bit of garnet on the rim. Clean nose, with pronounced intensity. Black fruit aromas--boysenberry, blackberry, black currant. Toasty oak notes, with nutmeg and other baking spices. Also subtle mint and eucalyptus. On the palate, medium body, low acid, soft, well-integrated tannins. The flavor characteristics match the aroma. Medium-plus length.
Red
7/5/2011 - James B wrote:
93 points
Big and delicious Shiraz. Masquerades a bit; could be a cab on the nose and palate. Paired surprisingly well with tamales and black beans. Clear, deep, garnet color. Clean, deep intensity nose. Aromas of blackcurrant, blackberry, cassis, smoke, stewed black fruits, cracked pepper. Full-bodied on the palate, with low acid and mild tannins that have softened with bottle age. Flavor notes are well-balanced and match the nose. Long finish. Drink this now. No reason to wait.
Red
6/26/2011 - James B wrote:
90 points
Very enjoyable wine. Hard to assess color in low light. Nice Pinot nose; medium intensity (a bit hot at first); strong red fruit, including cherry, raspberry, stewed strawberry. Medium body on the palate, with low-to medium-tannins, low acid, flavor notes that match the nose, and a longish finish. Very enjoyable, but a bit big for a Pinot. Excellent representation of the varietal. Paired perfectly with Muscovy duck.
White
6/26/2011 - James B wrote:
94 points
Exquisite Chardonnay. Intense gold color. Complex, medium-plus intensity nose, with notes of stone fruit, pineapple, kiwi, star fruit, and melon. Palate is dry, medium- to full-body, no tannin, relatively high acid, flavor notes that match the nose, medium-plus finish. Couldn't ask for more. This is an outstanding expression of the varietal and style.
Red
6/23/2011 - James B wrote:
94 points
Beautifully crafted wine. Hard to assess the color in a dark restaurant. Medium intensity nose; floral notes, with red fruit and old-world earthiness. Medium body on the palate; low acid; soft tannins; good fruit on the palate; medium length. Outstanding representation of the varietal and region. No need to wait on this wine; it's drinking perfectly now. We felt it was the WOTN.
Red
2001 Joseph Phelps Insignia Napa Valley Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
6/23/2011 - James B wrote:
94 points
Hard to assess the color; dark restaurant. Medium intensity nose; notes of black currant, baked black fruit, tobacco, spice box. On the palate, full bodied, low acid, medium-plus tannins, flavor notes that match the nose perfectly, very long finish. This wine is exquisite, perfectly balanced, and has outstanding structure. It will last another fifteen years easily. Drinking well now, but no hurry. I'm going to slow down my consumption--only four bottles left.
White
6/23/2011 - James B wrote:
91 points
Outstanding white burg. Clean but rich nose. Medium body on the palate, with very little oak or malolactic fermentation. Nose and palate exhibited stone fruit, melon, some citrus. Medium to high acid added a crisp and refreshing character. Medium-plus finish. Just great.
White - Off-dry
5/31/2011 - James B wrote:
94 points
Terrific Riesling pairs beautifully with sushi. Clear, medium intensity lemon color. Light nose, with notes of honey, pear, spice, pineapple. Lacks the usual petrol on the nose and palate. Palate is off-dry, medium body, medium to high acid, no tannins, flavor notes that match the nose, plus stone fruit. Medium-plus length. Very good to outstanding representation of the varietal, drinking perfectly now.
Red
5/25/2011 - James B wrote:
89 points
This is an interesting blend, in the style of a right-bank Bordeaux, that requires at least an hour in the decanter to exhibit its potential. Clear, deep intensity garnet color. Clean nose, with medium to pronounced intensity. Aroma of black current, black cherry, spice, glycerine. Palate is dry, medium body, noticeable acid and tannins. The flavor notes are a bit out of balance, particular prior to a healthy amount of time in the decanter. Ultimately, the fruit comes through, with a bit more tart cherry. Medium length. A good expression of the varietals and style, this would work well with a heavy meat dish, such as short ribs.
Red
5/16/2011 - James B wrote:
90 points
Clear, ruby color of medium intensity. Clean nose, of medium intensity. Aroma characteristics include black fruit, cherry, spice (nutmeg), tobacco, leather. On the palate: dry; medium to high acid; soft but noticeable tannins; medium body; a bit less fruit than on the nose, with flavor characeristics including spice and some wood, as well as a touch of sour cherry; medium length. This is a food wine for sure; great with pizza. It is a good repesentation of a Piedmont red with a bit of bottle age. Drinking well now.
Red
2002 St. Supéry Élu Meritage Napa Valley Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
4/26/2011 - James B wrote:
90 points
Clear, garnet color; medium intensity. Clean nose, of moderate intensity, with black currant, plum, pepper, clove, and very subtle oak notes. Dry on the palate; medium body; low but detectable acid; tannins that have softened with age. Flavor characteristics include black fruit, especially black cherry, and spice. Moderate length. Good to very good example of a Napa meritage (Bordeaux-style blend).
Red
4/18/2011 - James B wrote:
91 points
Same as my 3/23/11 note. Very nice wine. I will observe that the short drinking window advised on the site may not do justice to the wine's longevity. I hurried through this, and am now finishing the last bottle, in part based on fear it was past its prime. There is certainly no reason to wait, but I believe it has a few years left before it expires.
Red
4/18/2011 - James B wrote:
93 points
Quintessential Oregon Pinot. Clear garnet color, with medium intensity. Clean, medium intensity on the nose. Red fruit aromas, with strawberry, red cherry cola, spice (cloves, nutmeg), chocolate, and faint mushroom. On the palate, medium body, medium acid, low tannins. Flavor characteristics match the nose, plus some toasted, nutty flavors likely attributable to French oak aging. Excellent length. This well-balanced wine is drinking perfectly, but likely does not have much time left. Very good to outstanding representation of the varietal.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
4/13/2011 - James B wrote:
90 points
This continues to show great promise, but requires time to settle down. Clear, ruby red color, with deep, almost opaque, intensity. Black fruit, oak, tobacco, chocolate, some menthol, and alcohol on the nose. (It's a bit hot at 15.2%.) Palate is dry, low acid, noticeable youthful drying tannins, full body. Flavor characteristics are in balance with the nose, plus a bit of dried fruit and an extracted quality. Good length. I have high hopes for this, but for now, give it plenty of air.
White
4/9/2011 - James B wrote:
90 points
Still drinking well after 14 years. I'm sad it's my last bottle. Clear gold color, with deep intensity. Clean, medium intensity on the nose. Aroma characteristics include crushed stone and minerality, like a flinty Chablis, plus stone fruit and yeasty notes. This must have been aged on the lees. On the palate, medium acid, little or no tannin, medium body. Flavor characteristics match the nose, but a bit astringent on the finish. Good length. Good example of a gracefully aged white Burg.
Red
4/9/2011 - James B wrote:
92 points
This particular bottle hit it out of the park. Clear, ruby color, medium intensity, with surprisingly little bricking. Clean, pronounced nose with notes of vanilla, black fruits, mint, tobacco, and leather. On the palate, low acid, soft tannins, medium to full body. Flavor characteristics match the nose, plus noticeable blackcurrant. Long finish. This has aged well and is showing as a very good to outstanding Cali cab.
White - Sweet/Dessert
4/2/2011 - James B wrote:
92 points
This is a unique wine. Due to oxidation, the color of this 100% riesling wine is almost exactly the same as a tawny port. Clear appearance with light intensity, tawny color. Clean, pronounced intensity on the nose. No botrytis that we could detect. Medium to high acid (helps to avoid cloying sweetness). No detectible tannins. On the palate, sweet, full-bodied, with notes of honey pear, apricot. Extremely viscous. Although my wife dismisses all dessert wines as cloying and at least questionable, I found this quite exquisite. Very good dessert wine.
Red
1982 Château Magdelaine St. Émilion Grand Cru Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
4/2/2011 - James B wrote:
flawed
Tragically, I believe this bottle was corked, but I'm writing a note anyway because the sommelier at my favorite restaurant (whose nose and palate I trust far beyond my own), is convinced the wine was not corked, but simply dead. To me the nose exhibited the wet newspaper characteristics of a classic corked wine, after I initially hoped I was detecting earth and mushroom notes. The palate was not as confrontational and offensive as a typical corked wine, thankfully. Our amazing somm states the wine is dead and gone, but not corked. That is not inconsistent with Parker's 2009 notes. Whether this was corked or not, if you have some, drink it now. It will not last long.
White
4/2/2011 - James B wrote:
96 points
This was a remarkable experience. I regret I only have one bottle left, especially because Dider Dagueneau tragically died, and there will be no more of this wine. Clear, lemon green color. Clean, pronounced nose, with intense aroma characteristics of citrus zest (lime, primarily), crushed wet stone, kiwi, honeydew melon, eventually notes of grass and petrol. Dry on the palate, high (enormous) acid, no tannins. Surprisingly full body (at least medium-plus) for a sauvignon blanc. It's almost viscous. Flavor characteristics match the nose. Especially good length. This is an extraordinary expression of sauvignon blanc from the quintessential old-world region.
Red
3/28/2011 - James B wrote:
90 points
Clear appearance; red wine with medium intensity, garnet color. On the nose, clean, with medium to pronounced intensity. Aroma characteristics include black fruits (prominent blackcurrant, blackberry), spice (mostly black pepper, some licorice), subtle vegetal (green pepper). On the palate, dry, low but detectable acid. After an hour in the decanter, tannins have softened, but they are still noticeable. Medium-plus body. After time in the decanter, flavor characteristics largely match the nose (black fruits, pepper, some vegetal). Well-balanced. Medium length (could be longer). Good to very good Northern Rhone.
Red
3/23/2011 - James B wrote:
90 points
Clear, garnet color, with medium intensity. Clean nose, with medium intensity. Aroma characteristics include blackcurrant, plum, and other black fruits, green pepper, eucalyptus, oak. On the palate, dry, low acid, soft medium tannins, full body. Flavor characteristics match the nose, plus licorice and spice. Medium length. Good to very good merlot.
Red
3/19/2011 - James B wrote:
93 points
This is the last one; very sad. Clear red in appearance, with deep intensity, garnet color. Clean nose, with deep intensity. Initially, this displayed what seemed to to be signature Bordeaux aromas, with animal, leather, barnyard. This gave way over time to black fruits (plum and cherry), dried fruits (raisins, dates), cassis, and cedar. Dry on the palate; low acid; soft tannins (definitely have mellowed with bottle age); full body. Flavor characteristics match the aroma well, with the addition of some sticky, tacky notes in keeping with the dried fruit overtones. Good length. Very good to outstanding representation of an aged Napa cab.
Red
2002 Vérité La Muse Sonoma County Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
3/11/2011 - James B wrote:
94 points
Clear appearance; red wine; medium intensity garnet color. Clean, pronounced nose. Aroma characteristics include black fruits (plum, black cherry, black currant), spice (clove, licorice), and tobacco. Dry palate. Low acid; medium tannins that have softened with age; full body. Flavor characteristics match nose, plus light oak, game. Medium-plus length. Drinking perfectly now. Paired well with wood-grilled beef tenderloin.
1 person found this helpful Comment
White
3/11/2011 - James B wrote:
91 points
Clear appearance, white wine, lemon gold color, medium intensity. Clean, pronounced nose. Aroma characteristics include pear, melon, kiwi, honey. Reminiscent of white Rhone varietals. Palate is dry, medium acid, no detectable tannins. Medium body, with a rich, fleshy characteristic. Complex flavor profile matches the nose, plus some light oak. Medium-plus length. Very good expression of the varietal. Paired perfectly with grilled Maine lobster in lemon-infused drawn butter.
Red
3/10/2011 - James B wrote:
91 points
Clear appearance; deep intensity; ruby red. Clean nose; medium intensity. Aroma characteristics are signature Napa cabernet and include black fruits (plum, blackcurrant, blackberry), cherry, green pepper, some spice (licorice), and subtle toasty oak. On the palate, the wine is dry, with low acid, medium tannins, and medium body. The wine exhibits good balance, with flavor characteristics that match the aroma. On the palate, though, the oak notes suggest more vanilla and less toast. Length is medium-plus. Overall, this is good to very good Napa cabernet. It would pair well with beef, of course, but it is a little lighter than some and would go well with duck, lamb, or pasta. Drink now or hold for as long as 7-10 years.
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