Comments on my notes

(20 comments on 19 notes)

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Red
2012 Heitz Cellar Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
6/20/2016 - wmccone54 wrote:
92 points
Restaurant purchase for Fathers Day; decanted and throughly enjoyed with dinner. Much different from the 2011 which seemed more earthy and austere. By contrast this is much riper, fuller, and concentrated with bright black and red currant, lots of mocha, and nicely balanced with fruit, tannin and acid. Still primary, but I expect this will be a real jewel in another 2-3 years after it gains some complexity and settles a bit. Worked well with braised short ribs, pork carnitas, and a gourmet burger. Excellent and long finish.
  • wmccone54 commented:

    11/14/18, 8:45 AM - I love Heitz Cabs, but typically don't buy them, unless I see it discounted when retailers are trying to move inventory. If I see it on a restaurant wine list, I may purchase it, if it's a vintage which I haven't tried. Unfortunately, I haven't tried the 2013 or 2014 offerings yet, but look forward to trying soon!

Red
2012 Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon 40th Anniversary Napa Valley
I am literally speechless. I have been drinking Caymus and Napa Cabs since the 1974 Vintage. I met Chuck Sr at the wine ray many years ago. Caymus was one of the bright stars of the late 70's and 80's. How far they have fallen.

I'd honestly love to have a conversation with Chuck Jr to see what he was trying to do and what exactly went completely wrong. This wine is a hot mess. It honestly tastes like a sweet $15-$18 Syrah or Petite Syrah and I'm not sure if I would have identified it as Cabernet Sauvignon.

Wine is black/purple and is so sweet I literally had one glass and I was done. I can't even drink this. My remaining 3 bottles are going to some wine shop that I will trade for something else. We drank a 2013 Kobalt last night which was amazing that I gave 94 points to. This wine is not even in the same Universe. I would have never imaged a winery of this status could even release a wine like this. It's an udder embarrassment and if Parker gave this 96 he has sold out completely because this is garbage.
  • wmccone54 commented:

    10/2/17, 6:36 AM - Totally agree...a "hot mess" would be an understatement! How far Caymus has fallen the last few years.... Unfortunately, the 2013 wasn't a whole lot better! I've quit wasting my money on Caymus.

White
2006 Sans Permis Chardonnay La Chanson Argentee De Cuillere Santa Barbara County
I bought a couple of cases of this wine from Last Bottle a few years ago. Apparently, the winery went out of business and they sold the remaining stock to the online flash seller for a song. I ended up getting this purported $50 Chardonnay for $10. I ordered a case and tried it almost as soon as it landed (illegally) on my stoop. And it wasn’t bad. I am not sure if I would pay $50 for it, but $10? Heck yeah! So when it came up again, I bought another case. Well, we have reached the end of the road on this wine and I highly doubt there will be any more (in fact, I am sure of it). So why bother writing a note? Good question. I guess it is just what wine geeks do. Golden in the glass with lemon zest creamsicle and slight notes of oxidation on the nose. On the palate, this certainly falls into the “big, oaky, California Chardonnay" category, but I have room for that in my cellar and repertoire. And that is just fine with me. thedrunkencyclist.com
  • wmccone54 commented:

    9/7/17, 9:32 AM - Perfectly said!!!

Rosé
2014 La Bastide Blanche Bandol Rosé Rosé Blend
6/26/2016 - tcosgriff wrote:
flawed
Beautiful salmon color. The wine was corked and I have written a tasting note only because the cork taint was so overwhelming. It could be easily smelled and totally dominated the wine in a powerful way. A good reason to go for screw tops.
  • wmccone54 commented:

    4/15/17, 3:11 PM - Had a similar situation when I opened my first bottle in April 2016. I waited two months before even trying he second bottle. I'm finishing off bottle 3 of 3 today, but none of the corks have been very tight upon opening. I couldn't agree more on the screw cap comments for wines like this which should be enjoyed within the first few years after release.

Red
2005 Meteor Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
10/2/2016 - fm1488 wrote:
I have not tried this wine but wanted to comment on the broader comments. It has come up offered in WTSO for 85 and based on Wine searcher, it isn't available for under 100 so seems good deal. I check out CT and first glance shows me all excellent ratings at 90 or better. However when I read the commentary, not one seems to describe an excellent wine. No power, over priced, approachable. I don't get it. Excellent wines should deserve a complimentary review and a I find it hard to believe that a NApa CAb that shows no real structure or power would be scored "Excellent". Not sure the process some folks are using to evaluate a wine and score it.
  • wmccone54 commented:

    12/17/16, 10:18 PM - Score 97: Whoa....this is really outstanding! Dark ruby color, cherry rim; still fresh and a youthful texture with absolutely no signs of bricking. Intoxicatingly aromatic nose with notes of blackberry liqueur, cherry kirsch, blueberry cobbler, vanilla extract, light tobacco, cedar wood, and some evolving earthiness. Rich, deep, and concentrated on the palate, but still tending toward primary flavors. Lots of tannic structure, acidity, and fruit to support many years of additional cellaring. Super long finish. Easily handled a char-grilled ribeye steak. Very, very impressive, absolutely stunning.

    Note to FM1488: if you see this at $85 per bottle, buy it! IMHO, easily as good as Venge, Shaffer HSS, ACVV, BV Georges Latour, Silver Oak, Beau Vigne, Dunn, Chappellet, and many other upper echelon Cabernet Sauvignons whose price tag is far greater.

White
2014 Rombauer Vineyards Chardonnay Carneros
4/11/2016 - wmccone54 wrote:
92 points
Enjoyed from a 375 bottle.. Medium golden color, lighter side of medium texture. Light years better than the Rodney Strong Chalk Hill 2014 enjoyed earlier. Classy, elegant and well balanced with aromas and flavors of spicy apple, creamy butter, poached pear, and a tinge of vanilla oak. Very nice finish. Great balance of oak, fruit and acidity. Should drink well for anther 3-5 years.
  • wmccone54 commented:

    6/10/16, 1:31 PM - Three bottles will definitely cellar through 2020. Good luck!

Red
2012 Evening Land Vineyards Pinot Noir Occidental Vineyard Sonoma Coast
5/6/2016 - Rick 4 Wine Likes this wine:
91 points
Nice drinkable OR Pinot that taste more like Sonoma Coast in terms of loam and garrique with plum pushed a little forward but not extracted or dense, guessing cooler evenings from sea air.

(Ex post: I now realize that I was confused about this wine; thinking it was an OR Pinot, when in fact I was wrong. On one hand, I feel like a knucklehead for making the mistake but I'm also psyched I placed the AVA correctly, even if I trusted my flawed purchase note on the wine over my palate. )
  • wmccone54 commented:

    6/3/16, 5:57 PM - Too funny, it's happens to all of us especially as we get older and drink more! Great job that you picked it out as a Sonoma Coast thinking it was from Oregon.... Wish my palate was that good! :-)

White
2014 Chateau Ste. Michelle Chardonnay Columbia Valley
12/22/2015 - wmccone54 wrote:
87 points
Nice easy drinking everyday drinker for under $10. Balanced and smooth flavors of pears, slight butter, and tropical fruit. Acidity of sets any oak. Nothing special other than the QPR
  • wmccone54 commented:

    3/6/16, 5:31 PM - I'd agree with you had that been the case but if you'll recheck, I had posted this as an "87" along with my analysis.

Red
2012 Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon 40th Anniversary Napa Valley
2/29/2016 - dstraub wrote:
80 points
I'm sorry to contradict so many other opinions on here, but this wine is total crap. It is so doctored up that you really can't tell whether or not its a port or a cab. I would really love to see an ingredient statement from the winemaker, as there are so many chemical and color additives to this wine that it makes it undrinkable with food. Most of our group thought it tasted like crap, except for one member who only likes sweet dessert wines. Unfortunately I have 5 more.
  • wmccone54 commented:

    2/29/16, 1:06 PM - I couldn't agree with your analysis more; unfortunately, Caymus has been known to over-extract which seems to be more of a "house style", but in 2012 they went well over the top and made "crap" as you described it! I'm shocked as I go through some of the glowing reviews on this...just goes to show how much the American palate differs from European palate. Everybody that I've had try this has commented on how sweet it is, but the positive reviews keep on coming...go figure!

Red
2011 Evening Land Vineyards Pinot Noir La Source Seven Springs Vineyard Eola - Amity Hills
11/21/2015 - DesMarteau wrote:
thin, acids, astringent, bitter, seawater..fruit is asleep....popped and poured...will not open again for 10 years as this is reminiscent of a young burgundy that will get magical in time.
  • wmccone54 commented:

    11/22/15, 10:52 AM - PnP is not a good idea wine this wine. A good long decant will definitely improve the enjoyment. The first bottle I tried back in August seemed like it was marginal, but it really come around after about two hours in the decanter. Cellaring is sure to help this, but short term a good decent will work. Good luck on the next bottle.

Red
2009 Domaine Jean Royer Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Prestige Red Rhone Blend
12/8/2014 - wmccone54 wrote:
92 points
Made in a more modern, approachable, lighter style. Decanted and enjoyed with chicken mushroom casserole which paired well. Lots of upfront spicy, red cherry and juicy plums, red licorice with some herbs and garrigue in the mix. Very, very nice.
  • wmccone54 commented:

    4/14/15, 1:58 PM - It will definitely cellar well for another 5-6 years; personally, I think it's ready, but I would also highly recommend decanting before drinking. I decant most of my red wines, as I find them to be more approachable and enjoyable with some air along with the ability to "settle" for a while.

  • wmccone54 commented:

    4/18/15, 10:10 AM - Often I will put a young CA Chardonnay in a chilling carafe to allow it to aerate (and stay chilled) as they can often be big, muscular, and oaky. I typically don't chill their old world counterparts.

Red
2009 Bodega Septima Gran Reserva Agrelo Malbec Blend, Malbec
9/20/2014 - wmccone54 wrote:
89 points
Pretty good, but there is nothing about this that strikes me as exceptional or even notable. Seems to have enough structure for the long term, but after five plus years hasn't yet reached its potential. Last bottle, and my scores have been generous.
  • wmccone54 commented:

    12/5/14, 12:54 PM - Yep, you are correct in your assessment! I thought I was drinking the 2007 vintage....it could have been a long night when I wrote the note! :-)

Red
2012 Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon 40th Anniversary Napa Valley
10/23/2014 - MrBrege Does not like this wine:
85 points
Whenever I'm in the US I buy a few different bottles of Napa Cabernet that I get recommended, to see if I can find an alternative to Bordeaux. So far it has always been a slight disappointment to me, I think I'm just unlucky but I keep ending up with fruit bombs without any structure, but I'm pretty certain there must be really good Cabs in the 50-100$ range. This attempt was unusually unsuccessful, I ended up with a fruit syrup bomb instead of a wine. Pretty disgusting to be truthful, I kept refilling my water glass during dinner to get some balance back. Totally hopeless!
  • wmccone54 commented:

    10/24/14, 8:29 AM - I couldn't agree more; as I said in my previous note, this was a total waste of money. Based on previous experience the Caymus Napa blend always gravitates toward the "fruit bomb" style, although the more expensive "Special Select-Estate" bottling is better balanced. As others have pointed out, there are some very good Napa Cabernets, Anderson's Conn Valley Vineyards, Heitz, and Saddleback all come to mind as good representations of "older style" Napa Cabernets. Don't give up on Napa as there are some "world class" Cabs available!

White
2006 Sans Permis Chardonnay La Chanson Argentee De Cuillere Santa Barbara County
1/31/2014 - wmccone54 wrote:
Although there's been some bottle variation over the dozen or so bottles of this that I've drank since late 2012, this ended up being a great purchase from the Last Bottle. It's still hanging in there, although it has peaked and has slowly started to show signs of oxidation. I recommend drinking sooner rather than later and certainly before the end of 2014. Definitely a mature and rounded Chardonnay. I still have a few left from the 18 purchased but will drink over the next few months.
  • wmccone54 commented:

    2/8/14, 11:17 AM - Have you tried the Landmark Damaris ($25-30) Robert Young, Alexander Valley ($30-33) or the HdV Hyde Vineyard ($50-60)? I've found all three to be consistent in style from year to year and always excellent. I really like the Sans Permis as it was high quality at a price that was unbeatable! I'm more of a Cab or Bordeaux person, but I drink just enough Chardonnay to to keep my palate"tuned". :-)

Red
2009 Shafer Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select Stags Leap District
10/29/2013 - wmccone54 Likes this wine:
96 points
Enjoyed during the guided tasting at the winery. This is Shafer's flagship product and if Napa had a "classification system", this would arguably be considered a "first growth" Pricey at $250 per bottle, but unlike many of the "classed" Bordeaux's, this is probably approachable earlier.

Very, very young. Big nose of dark crushed berries, cassis, vanilla, and some evolving earhtiness in the background. Shows a big, fine grained, tannic structure which certainly provides the basis for ageability. Top notch, great flavor, silky mouthfeel from the fine grained tannins, and a long, long finish. Outstanding.
  • wmccone54 commented:

    11/9/13, 9:45 AM - I didn't ask during the tasting, but based on personal experience with Hillside Select, it should be ready to drink by 2016-2018 and will cellar t for at least 20 + years, i.e. 2029-2030. I drank a bottle of the 2004 in May 2012 after 8 almost years, and it was great, but I also decanted it. I recommend the One Point Five with a good decant over the next 3-6 year horizon; it has a pretty high percentage of the "second cut /declassified" Hillside select grapes, according to the winery.

Red
2005 Château Les Ormes de Pez St. Estèphe Red Bordeaux Blend
4/28/2013 - wmccone54 wrote:
83 points
Ended up drinking over two days. Medium weight, dark ruby color. Decanted, but the first glass smelled of Brett, wet leaves, and earth with some faint black fruit aromas below the surface. Very austere, tight, hard, tannic, and extremely rustic! After a glass, I poured it back into the bottle and vacuumed sealed it.

More approachable on day two, but still lean with the earth tones in the forefront and black fruits in the background. Seems a bit hollow at mid-palate, with a short finish. Needs much more time in the bottle or a really long decant over the intermediate term. Food will help this wine.
  • wmccone54 commented:

    4/30/13, 6:04 PM - One thing is for certain, I've had a number of wines from St. Estephe over the years, and I've found them to be either really good or barely drinkable, like the Les Ormes Pez and the Petit Bosq! When they are bad, they have a tendency to be austere, herbal, lean, and just not ready. Good advice on letting them age to maximize enjoyment, but 20+ years is lot. Both of the Lilian Ladouys from both 2003 and 2009 were both ready in 10 years or less.

White
2010 Jordan Vineyard & Winery Chardonnay Russian River Valley
7/30/2012 - wmccone54 wrote:
88 points
Nothing unique or special; at $19 per glass at Flemings, there are less expensive choices with far better QPRs
  • wmccone54 commented:

    1/30/13, 8:19 AM - I didn't pay, I went as part of a business dinner. Fleming's markup is pretty steep accross the board!

White - Sparkling
N.V. Gloria Ferrer Brut Sonoma County Champagne Blend
12/31/2012 - wmccone54 wrote:
80 points
Lemonade on steroids! Lemon and peach quaffer, fairly insipid and thin. Really disappointing. Not much to this...
  • wmccone54 commented:

    1/24/13, 9:03 AM - I've enjoyed Gloria Ferrer in the past and have been to the winery off Carneros Highway. After having had a number of excellent Champagnes over the holidays, I just found this to be really disappointing especially at $50 / bottle at Flemings. Just didn't show well versus recent experiences with either Champagnes or American sparklers such as Schramsberg or Domaine Carneros. Could have been a bad bottle, but IMHO it just lacked body and complexity given the restauran tariff.

Red
2007 Cakebread Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
7/21/2011 - The Lonz wrote:
92 points
This was my first "Big Time" napa cab. By that I mean a wine that costs over $60. Everyone that knows wine or is new to wine reads about Cakebread Cellars. I tried this wine and the first thing that hit me was that this was a complete package wine. between smell and taste everything seemed to mesh and it clicked that this was what a quality wine tastes like. A great experiene and also a great first bottle of exemplary Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Cheers
  • wmccone54 commented:

    2/21/12, 1:23 PM - Here's some others to try which IMHO are just as good, or better than the Cakebread and can be had with less cash outlay: 2005 Heitz Cabernet Napa, $37 can be bought at most retailers; 2006 Luna Cabernet Howell Mountain, $48 purchased from Wine Access; 2005 Saddleback Cabernet Napa, $35 purchased from Lot 18; 2006 Levendi Cabernet Stagecoach Vineyard, $43 purchased from Wine Access; 2005 Rutherford Grove Cabernet Napa, $43 purchased from Wine Access; 2007 Stag's Leap Cellars Artemis: $41 purchased from a local retailer; 2007 Robert Sinskey POV, $47 purchased from a local retailer. There are still a lot of "good buys" available for high quality Napa Cabs if you're willing to shop around. Always check wine-searcher.com to compare the market. There's nothing better with a grilled steak than a GOOD Napa Cab!

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