Tasting Notes for TomH

(231 notes on 198 wines)

1 - 50 of 231 Sort order
Red
2015 Blason D'Issan Margaux Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
10/10/2021 - TomH wrote:
91 points
Score unchanged from 2/3/2019. The fruit profile was more more black current and dark cherry tonight, which is completely contrary to that tasting. A notable coffee nuance was present as well, which another taster called out.

Long short short, if Bordeaux is your bag and you have in this cellar - lucky you. It's good now, will be good for 5 to 10 years more, and will smoke nearly anything from California in a comparable price point.
Red
10/2/2020 - TomH Likes this wine:
93 points
Dark cherry, damp earth, cedar, green herbs, flowers on nose. Mellow and generous on palate, medium length. More of that cherry fruit that was promised on the nose, leathery and cedar notes. Extremely easy to drink. Slightly astringent tannins on finish. Healthy acidity. Really just quite lovely. No rush on this one but no harm to open now; I suspect those tannins will turn to satin in a few years.
2 people found this helpful Comment
Red - Sweet/Dessert
7/27/2020 - TomH wrote:
91 points
Surprise of the year for me. Someone gifted me a bottle of this ten or so years ago. I never kept it in my wine cellar -- just in the pantry laying down. I'll be honest, I thought it would be a crap wine. Absolutely horrific storage for a decade+. My wife was asking me to clean up some similar 'gift bottles' bottles in this location, and the moment I pulled the cork, I could clearly smell fruity aromas of a much younger wine and not the oxidized, sherry like notes I was expecting. Pouring it into a glass, it looked strikingly like a tawny port, but with far more vibrant and fresher aromas. Suggestions of wild strawberry and watermelon, the vaguest suggestion of oxidative toffee like flavors, but very pleasant toffee at that. Good length but a bit a simple on the palate - the complexity there does not match the aroma. I can only imagine what a well stored bottle tastes like!
Red
10/10/2019 - TomH wrote:
92 points
Liked more than first bottle a few months ago. Good translucent ruby color.
Ripe red fruits, tiny bit of earthiness. Juicy acid. Great texture and persistence.
White - Sweet/Dessert
2009 Château Guiraud Sauternes Sémillon-Sauvignon Blanc Blend (view label images)
8/25/2019 - TomH Likes this wine:
95 points
I'm pretty far past the other folks in regards to my rating here, but I think it's legit. My half bottle has been open for three days. While it was good on opening night, it's a wonder to behold right now. It's more integrated and harmonious as compared to the first night, everything is just meshing right now. On the palate, there's this bitter honey or orange rind quality with an ever so tropical fruit note, plus apricot and honey especially on the finish. On the nose, there's all those notes from the taste plus a very 'clean' lemon note and a whack of pure botrytis.

First night a 92, now after three days open it's a 95 and really quite extraordinary. This is a joy to drink.
12 people found this helpful Comments (2)
Red
8/25/2019 - TomH Likes this wine:
91 points
Lovely and classic Napa Cab. One hour decant and good to go.
Red
8/21/2019 - TomH Likes this wine:
91 points
Classic Anderson Valley Pinot, really good stuff. Lighter red color, red fruits (raspberry, strawberry), green herbs, and good acid. Glad I have more.
White - Off-dry
7/30/2019 - TomH Likes this wine:
92 points
Agree with the general sense of this wine here on CT. Cadomer's notes from June are pretty close to my experience - tropical, ripe rich fruit, but lower acidity is evident from the heat of the vintage. Atypical for this bottling.

I've had a lot of Prum WSA over the years, and I wish I had held onto this last bottle '03 for another ten or twenty years. There's a chance it will fall apart, but I'd bet there is an equal chance that we'll see this shed of the fat it's showing now and blossom into something more, something with a bit more spine. I say that because this wine was impossibly youthful. Little color change, barely any secondary notes and still possessing a remarkable core of fruit. If you have more than a few bottles, I'd suggest writing 'Hold till 2030' on the label of one of those bottles. Prum's long history has shown it's worth a gamble.
Red
6/16/2019 - TomH wrote:
90 points
Really hard to fathom at this price point; while it's not the last word in complexity or length, it has an absolutely cheery personality and totally pure fruit profile backed by a whisper of tannins and the perfect amount of acid to tie it together. Try to find another Merlot at this price point that isn't flabby, overtly sweet, lacking acid, or just generally poor. If I were a restaurateur, I'd purchase this by the pallet -- it's food friendly as hell and I'd have a hard time believing anyone who says they don't like it.
Red
2000 Château Canon de Brem Canon-Fronsac Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
5/11/2019 - TomH wrote:
87 points
Pleasantly evolved with a muted but still vibrant bouquet of cedar, tobacco, damp earth, incense, cassis and plum. There are mild hints of tertiary notes, like soy and mushroom, that I expect to only increase at this point as the fruit fades.

Bricking at the edge and translucent ruby at the core; overall a pretty healthy color for a cheap wine at 19 years of age. Some tannic grip still evident on the palate, and the wine is in possession of a decent fruit based core, a pleasing richness, and it has a medium length finish. Worth noting that this was more alive after 20 minutes after the cork was pulled.

Based on the taste, this was at it's best 3 to 6 years ago, but this is on the gentle and gradual path that well-built Bordeaux travel down to join the choir invisible. I'd expect to find pleasure in this for a few more years.

Bit of a long note, but this is a sentimental wine for me; this was the last bottle of the very first case of Bordeaux I ever bought en primeur, paid 144/case. Consider that -- what other region in the world has produced (and continues to produce) wines for under 20 bucks with a decade+ of longevity and evolution to observe and enjoy? That's why Bordeaux is still my number one love.
Red
5/5/2019 - TomH wrote:
90 points
Not much change from my bottle half a year ago. This is a Syrah heavy, Northern Rhone styled CdR that evokes some of the flavors of either Cornas or even Cote Rotie (depending on the taster), if not the depth of those hallowed soils. Still, at 22, this is bargain.
Red
5/3/2019 - TomH wrote:
91 points
Well above the standard Cali Cab for 25 bucks. Cedar, ripe wild blackberries on the nose, cedary/sandlewood notes and more black fruit. Moderate alcohol by modern standards. A buy for sure.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2008 Château Léoville Barton St. Julien Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
4/5/2019 - TomH Likes this wine:
92 points
Just stupid good. I paid 43 on futures and there's _nothing_ from California that could begin to compete with this for that price. Even at current ask, it's a gorgeous textbook left bank bordeaux - black fruit, cedar wood, earth and leather. Tannins still present but mellowed, fruit elegant. Really just a beaut
10 people found this helpful Comment
Red
2015 Château Lanessan Haut-Médoc Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
3/20/2019 - TomH wrote:
89 points
Bottle 1 of 24. Paid 8.04 for half bottle on futures. Original intention was to wait 2 years or so based on past experience with Lanessan. Based on some disappointing notes here on CT, I decided to check in earlier than planned.
This is *exactly* what I was hoping for when I bought it; A Tuesday night claret. The kind of pleasantly enjoyable workaday red wine one can crack open without concern. Nose is red cherries, some pluminess, and cedar. Palate is grippy, red fruits and earth. Oak present but will be better integrated in a year or two. Good persistence. It's unmistakably left bank Bordeaux, and the kind of food friendly wine that is right in my wheelhouse. At current market price of 22 dollars, this is a no-brainer buy for long term Bordeaux drinkers who appreciate traditional wines. Wait 2 years and drink through out the decade.
8 people found this helpful Comment
Red
3/10/2019 - TomH wrote:
Really playing it close to the vest right now; this was served next to a 2013 Caparzo that was giving a lot more than this was. Both wines were double decanted in advance. I recommend holding for another few years if you have it.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2/6/2019 - TomH wrote:
89 points
I'm going high on scoring this wine vis-a-vis my CT peers. Mirroring so many of my experiences with Xavier, this wine was just 'meh' on day one. Primary, a touch too fruit driven, chunky, and even monolithic. Day 2 is different beast. Not enough complexity or length to merit a score in the 90's, but it's a silky textured Cotes du Rhone with plush red fruit and a pleasant hit of white pepper spice. Really quite lovely, and at 13.99 it makes a mockery of what California can produce at that price.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2015 Blason D'Issan Margaux Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
2/3/2019 - TomH wrote:
91 points
Young to my preferences, but absolutely drinkable. Red fruit, leather, and earth on the nose. Plush in the mouth, good length. At 40 dollars ask, this is a gorgeous value that I'd expect to shed it's primary character and develop some engaging secondary characteristics over the next 5 to 10 years.
3 people found this helpful Comment
Red
2/1/2019 - TomH wrote:
92 points
Youthful color, purple black. Has that interesting mix of savory (meat/smoke/leather) and fruit aromas that the Copain Syrahs from the same era had. Initially this was downright grapey; I was at a child's birthday party my first reaction was that it smelled like Fanta grape soda that was served. That thankfully passed, and grew into more adult (and interesting aromas) that one would expect from a medium aged Syrah from the North Coast - spice, purplish black fruit, and meaty aromas. Palate is surprisingly tannic, plenty of plum-y and even grape-y fruit, but good length. No sign of the prune aromas that others have reported, and this seems like it would be find for a few more years but unlikely to gain anything.
1 person found this helpful Comment
White
1/30/2019 - TomH Likes this wine:
92 points
Quite complex, lovely tipple. Not austere like some dry Chenin can be. Agree with earlier comment about serving temp — this was better at cellar temp than fridge temp
1 person found this helpful
Red
1/26/2019 - TomH wrote:
89 points
An absolute charmer. Not the last word in complexity but an absolute buy at the current ask. Strawberry and spice, ain't that nice.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2012 Château Fleur Cardinale St. Émilion Grand Cru Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
12/21/2018 - TomH wrote:
92 points
Really lovely, great value. 2012 Bordeaux are in their prime now
3 people found this helpful Comment
White - Sweet/Dessert
11/30/2018 - TomH Likes this wine:
95 points
Really just superb. Deeply aromatic with notions of apricot, honey, and almond paste. Noticeably viscous in the glass, almost oily in the mouth. Buttered peaches and more apricots and honey in palate. A real depth of fruit in the midpalate, and length is longer than i could wait for the next sip.

Two people at the table let out an audible 'wow' on the first sniff. This is the real deal. Perhaps not as elegant as a top estate from Sauternes, but a similar flavor profile and just a steal for the price.
1 person found this helpful Comment
White
11/24/2018 - TomH Likes this wine:
91 points
Best vintage I remember of this; there’s a surprising amount of weight and a real sense of extract in the mid palate. For the price, a no-brainer ‘buy’
1 person found this helpful Comment
White - Sweet/Dessert
2009 Château Guiraud Sauternes Sémillon-Sauvignon Blanc Blend (view label images)
11/23/2018 - TomH wrote:
Delicious but very primary and youthful. This needs more time, at least 5 more years
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
11/21/2018 - TomH wrote:
91 points
Markedly better 2nd night; very much a surprise. This didn’t feel like it was holding anything in reserve on opening but it clearly was. Supple textured with red fruit and good length. Decant or hold another few years.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
11/18/2018 - TomH wrote:
89 points
I prob should have waited; this shipped cross-country less than a week ago. This was delicate, perfumed -- pale translucent red. Piney, floral aromas. Medium assertive tannins. Power of the bouquet grows over time.

I'd expect this to settle down from shipping and loosen up a touch with age. Very pleased with this for 20 bucks.
White
11/15/2018 - TomH wrote:
90 points
Superb. A stony, mineral kaleidoscope of apple and pear. Buy!
White - Sparkling
11/10/2018 - TomH wrote:
90 points
Wildly divergent scores for this wine here on CellarTracker. My bottle tonight was a clear winner. Solid yeasty nose with a powerful nose of apples and pears. Rich creamy palate with suggestions of Gaia apple and hints of nuttiness on the back end. All supported by a solid backbone of acid age minerality. Recommend.

Based on the huge standard deviation of experiences, I suspect there’s a rotten batch of this going around — perhaps heat comprised or old bottles.
2 people found this helpful Comment
Red
11/9/2018 - TomH wrote:
89 points
Brilliant for ten minutes — peppery beef blood and black fruit aromas, dark color. After that, gradually got more and more disjointed. Waited too long
Red
11/9/2018 - TomH wrote:
89 points
Light color, aromatic, wild strawberries. Good value.
Red
2008 Château Haut-Bergey Pessac-Léognan Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
11/3/2018 - TomH Likes this wine:
88 points
Bought from the twatmongering thief John Fox at Premier Cru, 24.99

Darker than I expected, barely translucent ruby throughout and little fading at edges. Good secondary development, earthy cedar aromas and whiffs of plum and black current. Slightly astringent tannins that I believe will outlive the fruit. Medium length, good mix of fruit and earth in nose. The CT drinking window is way optimistic in my opinion — it would be best to drink this in next five years before all that’s left are tertiary flavors and an overabundance of tannin. That being said - at 24.99, zero regrets except where I bought it from. Also, more enjoyable than the 2006
2 people found this helpful Comment
Red
10/26/2018 - TomH wrote:
88 points
Good midweek sipper. Not especially complex, but it's a quaffable, delicious and pleasing wine. Drink now. Cool it down a bit before serving; was nice at cellar temp - not as much so at room temp.
Red
10/24/2018 - TomH Likes this wine:
90 points
Really quite a nice tipple, especially at 20 bucks per. Bought over a year ago, finally opened one up. Nearly opaque garnet. A touch subdued on the nose, but there's a depth of fruit on the palate that suggests this will develop quite a bit more. Dense, chewy. Tannins reach the gums. Classic, savory Bordeaux palate -- really *tastes* like right bank. What other red wine regions besides Bordeaux can offer such typicity at the lower end of their respective price bracket? Medium length finish.

If the aromas do get a touch less monotone and come into parity with the outstanding richness of the palate, I'd bump this up a point or two. Drink now to 2025.
Red
2009 Château Panchille Bordeaux Supérieur Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
10/22/2018 - TomH Likes this wine:
91 points
Pepmi’s note is spot on; it’s challenging to find a wine, not just from Napa but anywhere, that offers this depth of flavor for this price. Took an hour to open up. Classic Bordeaux cedar and blackcurrent bouquet, positively voluminous in the mouth with a near chewy texture. Rich red fruit and leathery flavors on palate. Tannins still present but not obtrusive. The length and complexity isn’t at the level of a well-run classified growth, but it shows why Bordeaux is what it is. Nobody besides Bordeaux is doing cab/merlot blends at this level for this this price. Wish I had bought 3 cases instead of six bottles. Will drink well for at least five years, and probably ten.
White
10/18/2018 - TomH wrote:
87 points
Good weeknight quaffer. Bright citrus aromas, creamy palate. Kind of simple but very inoffensive and food friendly.
Red
2012 Casa Emma Chianti Classico Riserva Chianti Classico DOCG Sangiovese Blend, Sangiovese (view label images)
10/7/2018 - TomH wrote:
91 points
Eminently drinkable and enjoyable Chianti. Earth and red fruits on the nose, pleasant secondary notes of leather and truffle on the palate backed by notions of red raspberry. Feels timeless and classic. I got this as importer clearance at half retail but it’s readily worth full ask of USD 40. This is a buy.
Red
2000 La Dame de Montrose St. Estèphe Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
8/24/2018 - TomH wrote:
91 points
Decanted half an hour. Color was surprisingly dark and youthful. Nose was pure left bank Bordeaux - earth, dark fruit, leather. This feels like it's right in it's prime drinking spot. I've got one more bottle that I'll probably drink in the next three years.

The community drinking window here on CellarTracker is way conservative - 2007 to 2016. I would have said 2015 to 2023 based on last night's tasting.
White
8/21/2018 - TomH wrote:
Three nights open and zero decline. Honeyed stone fruits, lush texture, lengthly finish. Hard to imagine anyone not loving this. It pleases the crowds and the geeks.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
8/11/2018 - TomH wrote:
91 points
Deep black fruited Cotes-du-Rhone. Surprisingly tannic; so much so that it you feel it on the upper gums. First bottle as a year and a half ago was markedly spicier and more austere; not nearly as enjoyable a drink then as compared to now. Very Syrah nose with spicy,leather and black fruit. In the mouth it's all lush blackberry and good depth. Hits well above the base 'Cotes du Rhone' appellation. Recommended.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
6/6/2018 - TomH wrote:
89 points
Initial impression on the nose is reminiscent of a warm year Cote du Rhone, with that dusty smell and black/red fruit but the palate is more New World with a cherry vanilla richness. It's an interesting wine for sure, but it's a bit coarse and even a touch hot (the 14.2% listed seems low to me).

It's good, but profoundly hard to justify at 40 bucks a pop. This is a vin de plaisir, a rich burger wine on a Tuesday night. When I think about the regular wines in my 'rotation' that I purchase for 40 bucks a bottle - be it an Oregon Pinot, an excellent Cru Bourgeois Bordeaux, or even a lower end Brunello; this falls far short of any of those. Yes, those are indisputably far different wines, but I am only thinking of QPR. Wouldn't buy again.
Red
2006 Château Haut-Bergey Pessac-Léognan Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
6/1/2018 - TomH wrote:
83 points
On the downward slope past maturity. Fruit losing the battle to secondary and tertiary aromas. Zero fruit on opening. Ten minutes of air and aromas of black plums, cherries, and leathery mushroom aromas. Drink ASAP.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
5/25/2018 - TomH wrote:
90 points
I bought a case, and I forgot I even tasted a bottle last year. Turned out my experiences between this bottle and the last one were dead similar. Best to wait on this.

Well out of whack on opening. Alcohol was spiking through, fruit was apparently lacking for a warm year like 2015. I drank half a glass, decided I didn't want anymore and so I corked the bottle, and forgot about it in the fridge. Two days later, company came over unexpectedly (ones who didn't know wine), and so I pulled it out to offer a glass. I was very surprised by the transformation 48 hours after opening -- delicious, integrated alcohol, rich fruit. Primary but decadent. The wine was so different it was hard to believe it was the same wine from two days ago. Give it a year if you got it, patience is worth it.
2 people found this helpful Comment
Red
2015 Xavier Vignon Arcane XV Le Diable Vin de France Mourvèdre Blend, Mourvèdre (view label images)
5/11/2018 - TomH Likes this wine:
92 points
I'm going to post the highest CT note here so far, and I'm generally a conservative scorer.

The nose is still like a barrel sample. Fruity and ripe nose redolent with blueberry fruit and a faint whiff of peppery spice. The aromas are simple and not yet what I believe they will become. However, it's the palate is that sells me on the wine. There's a generosity of fruit, tannins that tickle the gums and dry the roof of my mouth, and a stacked mid-palate that suggest this has nowhere to go but up. The alcohol is in line with a ripe southern year Rhone but it doesn't approach the indulgences of other super-ripe to over-ripe wines that i can't handle and don't care for. Long lingering finish. Early days for this beast. I think it's academic to open this now. Happy to have five more. Won't touch another one for three years.
1 person found this helpful Comment
White - Sweet/Dessert
2014 Château Doisy-Védrines Sauternes Sémillon-Sauvignon Blanc Blend (view label images)
5/4/2018 - TomH wrote:
93 points
Zero harm in opening this now; incredibly fresh and bright, tropical fruit on the nose, most notably honeyed pineapple and hints of floral. Very bright on the palate, with plenty of acid wiping the sweetness from the mouth. Flavors of apricot-y botrytis and more tropical fruit.

Will be fun to see this evolve over the next two decades.
4 people found this helpful Comment
Red
5/3/2018 - TomH Likes this wine:
92 points
Bright red fruit and just the slightest complicating suggestion of earth and funk as well as floral notes here. Medium bodied on palate. Fruit is not overdone or overripe, eminently drinkable. Decent length finish. Quite nice and would buy again.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
1/18/2018 - TomH wrote:
90 points
Still very much alive. Found a forgotten bottle buried in the cellar during a move, opened with no food - just mindless TV.

Still an opaque ruby, some fading at the edges. A bit muted on opening, but came to life about an hour later (no decanting). Plenty of fruit left, though clear secondary notes of earth funk and leather coming through. Not much pepper spice for a St Joseph, but a minor complaint and shouldn't hurt the score. I wouldn't hold it any longer, but this is absolutely not on the decline. Pleasantly surprised.
Red
11/7/2017 - TomH wrote:
88 points
This lone forgotten bottle was discovered during a move. I had zero expectation that this was alive, even though it had been bought on release and stored at ideal conditions since then.

Color very youthful; not opaque like this must have ben at bottling, but a dark ruby with very little bricking near the edges. Nose was still mostly primary with jammy black fruit on the nose. Some secondary notes of leather, but overall impression is still more one of a primary, youthful wine.

Complexity and finish were average, but this was a very satisfying bottle with a winter lamb stew.

Was this worth cellaring for 15 years? Probably not. However, it was still quite the surprise, and was a good lesson in the aging power of quality Petite Sirah.
Red
10/4/2017 - TomH wrote:
90 points
On day 2 after opening, this is hitting well above it's price point. Tastes more like a warm year Vacqueyras than a Ventoux. It's all red fruit with complicating suggestions of leather and earth, backed with a satisfying finish. My first exposure to this wine was a case of this from the 2007 vintage, and based on my experiences with that bottling, I'll probably let it rest over the winter and drink it with earnest over 2018 and 2019. Very solid buy.
Red
8/15/2017 - TomH wrote:
91 points
Bought off of a restaurant list at Victor Cafe in South Philly. It was an early drinking Brunello, ideal for a restaurant list. I found it more complex than the Vinous review indicated, with plenty of high toned fruit, elegant red fruit in spades, earth and cedar, and a decent finish. It's not a Beast of a Brunello for sure; it's more of an early drinking Beauty and I think it's extremely fairly priced either at current restaurant or retail price. The table had it paired either with a Gorgonzola encrusted filet or veal saltimbocca, and the earthy elements in either (mushrooms or funky cheese) really played quite well with the earthy elements of the wine. Really quite nice.
2 people found this helpful Comment
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