Comments on my notes

(65 comments on 51 notes)

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Red
1990 Paul Jaboulet Aîné Hermitage La Chapelle Syrah
5/8/2021 - winedupe Likes this wine:
95 points
Just found 7 bottles of this buried deep behind other wines, probably intentionally to hide it so as not to drink it too early. I bought this as futures based on Parker's rave, and stored it my passively cooled New England cellar (58 Fahrenheit in winter and 68 in summer with slow change). Cork was moldy on the top.
As a complete aside, I'd like to mention that almost every old French wine that I open has mold on the cork, while practically every old California wine that I open does not. This makes me think that CA wineries do some sort of sterilization that the French do not. It is unlikely to be bleach, which can lead to "corked" (trichloroanisol), as my casual observation is that more old French wines than CA wines are reported on this forum to be corked. Dunn of course dips in molten wax, which inhibits mold, but their corks are awful. Don't get me started on that!
Anyway, back to the La Chapelle. The cork was nonetheless in good shape, and red only about bottom 1/3. Fill was 3/4 inch below cork, so looked good. No decant.
For another aside, a fellow smart and compassionate wine fellow and I did an experiment in 2017 with 1982 Ch. Leoville Poyferre (by the way a excellent wine). We decanted one bottle for three hours in an extremely clean Ehrlenmyer flask (sorry - no fancy decanter here, but lots of surface area in the flask), and then opened a second bottle and poured immediately. In comparison, we both agreed that we could not detect any difference between the two samples. As such, I am mystified by the voluminous discussion on this forum about decanting and how great and necessary it is. I would like to hear from anyone who has done a similar controlled EXPERIMENT!
Anyway, back to the La Chapelle. Absolutely no browning, which is highly unusual for a wine this old. Firm acidity (tannin still?). Everyone has their fruits that they taste, but I tasted strawberries. Also some burning wood smoke. Very high in estery flavors. Looooong finish.
Bottom line, this wine still tasted very young for 31 years old, suggesting that it might be even better in the future. I wish I had cases more of this wine to follow until I am no longer of sound mind. I noticed that it is available for about $600, while recent first growth Bordeaux are about $1200... But of course the risk of buying old wine is that you don't know where or how it has been all these years.
  • fclarity commented:

    9/17/21, 7:34 PM - Thank you for a fun wine note. I have done the PNP v. decanted experiment many times. Most of the time you will find a noteworthy difference with wines that are approaching maturity.

    In my opinion, the issue with the experiment here is that this wine is so young that it would take 8-12 hours to have the aeration process really make a difference. Bottom line is, I agree with you conclusion. This wine will be better in the future. The main question is, how long will it take? Enjoy!

Red
2001 Harlan Estate Napa Valley Red Bordeaux Blend
8/19/2019 - Peech Likes this wine:
93 points
decanted 3 hours prior to serving. Overall a bit more muted than expected. Perhaps over-decanted? Got nicer a little later with some fruit, maybe a hint of chocolate, and smoke. Still tannic
  • fclarity commented:

    8/21/21, 7:39 AM - My thought on a wine like this is that you either have to PNP or decant for a much longer time, say 10 hours. My guess is that the tannin will build over the first 2-4 hours and then become more balanced after 6-8 hours. I know it sounds risky but I have done it countless times with younger wines and oxygen resistant Piedmontese.

Red
1982 Château Gruaud Larose St. Julien Red Bordeaux Blend
3/7/2021 - UFGators Likes this wine:
95 points
I usually don't like to post multiple ratings of the same wine but I believed it was appropriate given the age of this wine to re examine. This was the 5th time tasting this wine and all have been fairly consistent. I picked this wine which was top shoulder fill. The cork came out perfectly with the aid of the durand and the cork was stained with wine 80 pecent of the way up. Poured into the glass and the nose at first was cedar and and barnyard funk. I thought at first brett but I wanted to see how the wine would progress and since I couldn't return it anyways wanted to go give it best chance of success. The Som at the restaurant suggested no decant but I went against his suggestion and I was very pleased with the results. The wine transformed from a basically super austere and basically dead wine to a elegant and complex wine with beautiful acidity and a beautiful fruit core. Cassis, tobacco, leather and cedar notes and the wine continued to gain intensity as the wine sat in the decanter and in the glass. Lesson learned- these 1982s have some incredible staying power. Don't be afraid to decant these wines to awake them from their 38 year slumber. I would drink these wines over the next ten years but that is just a guess.
  • fclarity commented:

    7/31/21, 6:53 AM - While I certainly agree that opening, tasing and making a decision makes sense, I don't agree with the concept of "dangerous decanting". My 40 years of intensive wine experience suggests that (as a general rule) the only time decanting is dangerous is when the wine is flawed from the start.

    If the wine is not flawed, it will almost always benefit from air, the only question is how much air. It is often more than one would expect. Many tasters will finish a wine while it is still evolving in the glass. Ever heard the phrase "the last taste was the best"? That is because they finished the wine before it finished evolving. They will never know how great it could have been.

    In another point of agreement, working Somm's don't have 2-10 hours to monitor a bottle to see how it is progressing. Moreover, when you are ordering a bottle in a restaurant, you don't have that much time either. Many times, I will work with a Somm to open a bottle many hours before I arrive for dinner. Trying to figure out how optimize aeration is part of the fun. Enjoy!

Red
1966 Château Latour Grand Vin Pauillac Red Bordeaux Blend
12/12/2020 - fclarity wrote:
95 points
This wine is really the poster child for aeration. In the first couple hours it showed cellar must, volatile acidity, and was relatively thin. I would maybe have given it 90 points.

Afterwards, it gradually developed lovely structure, a fine grained texture, and excellent length. The volatile acidity disappeared and the old world fruit came forward.

This is a lovely wine that is fully mature.
  • fclarity commented:

    12/13/20, 12:16 PM - Hi Mark,
    Thanks for your note. This last bottle was a high shoulder fill, so certainly not perfect. I think the key is color and smell. If your color looks strong (very deep red center with orange at the rim), I would risk even a longer decant. For example, with my recent bottle the acidity died down at first during the hour and the wine was left quite flat and boring. It did not taste bad, just not great. However, as time went along a magnificent structure developed after hour 3. This last bottle, and several other bottles I have had of this wine, were nice in the beginning but outstanding after 3 hours in a decanter.

    It does seem risky and, if you bottle has been oxidized, the wine won't come around. However, I think you will be able to tell this upon opening. If your color is good and the wine doesn't taste oxidized you might want to give it a try. I will say that if you don't give a wine like this at least 3 hours you won't see the heights it can reach. Good luck!

Red
1959 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti La Tâche La Tâche Grand Cru Pinot Noir
6/4/2017 - fclarity wrote:
97 points
Tasted blind, this wine had a red center and light orange rims. The medium+ intensity nose wasn't showing much. It seemed more like an ancient CDP rather than a Burgundy. What is counter intuitive about wines like this is that even though they seem like they might be over the hill, they really need air to bring them back to life and resuscitate their flavor profile.

After a few hours, the medium+ intensity nose offered up black cherries, anise, brown spices, and candle wax. As it aired, the wine developed classic Rhubarb notes.

Again, this wine was not particularly special in the mouth for the first hour or two and it slowly came out of its shell. Toward the end, it had light, rounded tannin, solid acidity, excellent balance, and fantastic length. It had a slight roasted quality that suggested a warm year.

This wine moved up from a 92 point wine to 97 over the course of 5 hours in a decanter. Open it early and try not to drink it before it can reveal itself!
  • fclarity commented:

    3/24/19, 7:55 AM - Thank you for your note. I definitely do. Please see my main CellarTracker page for more details. However, in brief, how long you let it air will depend on what you find after you open the bottle. Have fun!

  • fclarity commented:

    12/1/20, 9:26 AM - I gradually discovered the idea of extended decanting for older wines 15 years ago. As I went along I generally found that the longer I decanted wines the better they got. You see in tasting notes all the time that the last sip was the best. This made me wonder what am I missing after the last sip? It turns out, quite a bit.

    Even knowing all this, the counter-intuitive nature of extended decanting had me doubting this practice for years. Even after I had so many successes doing it, I still wondered will it really work for this wine? I have found it works the vast majority of times, including white wines.

    For robust wines like the '59 and '61 Bordeaux in great condition a 5 hour decant is a no-brainer. I can guarantee you that a '59 Mouton in great condition will be fantastic and needs a MINIMUM of 5 hours to show itself. It is possible in 2008 that you didn't give it enough air time or you had a bad bottle. As they say, there are no great wines only great bottles.

    I always give older Burgundies and even Bordeaux from the 20's a few hours as well. As I note in my profile. I usually taste them ever hour to see the progression and use a vacuum cork if I want to halt the aeration process for a while. Have fun!

  • fclarity commented:

    12/2/20, 9:38 AM - Older bottles come around from time to time. I like to find collections that are from estates or the consignor is selling a lot of older bottles at once. One has to be very careful but you can get some 100 year old bottles that are not rebouchee nor late release. Have fun!

Rosé - Sparkling
2002 Dom Pérignon Champagne Rosé Champagne Blend
8/31/2020 - fclarity wrote:
94 points
As an experiment, I slow Oxed this wine for 6 hours before I tasted it over 3 hours. It got better over the entire time frame and, surprisingly, the mousse remained active and attractive throughout.

After the slow ox, this wine showed a fruity core of raspberries with some mineral in the finish. As the bottle received additional air, it continued to firm up and show more minerals. It became attractively integrated and much longer.

This wine has some big scores from the critics and it is certainly very good. My experiment also confirmed that it is very young and will improve a lot with age. This is a nice wine that will get better but is it better than the alternatives at this price?
  • fclarity commented:

    8/31/20, 2:38 PM - I usually keep it chilled but I don’t think it matters. My thesis that it is the amount of oxygen exposure that matters not the temperature during the exposure. Of course, the temperature has to be correct when consuming. Please let me know if you have a different opinion.

Red
1990 Château Margaux Red Bordeaux Blend
4/18/2020 - sdr Likes this wine:
94 points
“Grapey” is usually a derogative term when applied to wine. But how else to describe a wine which plumbs the depth of the essence of perfectly ripe sweet blackberry and raspberries? The texture is almost too silky, the tannins subdued, the acid and oak well integrated, the alcohol almost invisible in the background. The feminine soft side of Château Margaux. I wish for a bit more grip though. At peak for sure and probably not for the very long term.
  • fclarity commented:

    5/28/20, 4:39 PM - Hi,
    How long was this bottle open?

  • fclarity commented:

    5/28/20, 5:57 PM - I definitely find that air tends to firm up bottles. Sometimes it takes a while. Thanks for the response!

  • fclarity commented:

    5/28/20, 6:07 PM - One more thought. I think the key for me would be color. Given your note, and if it had strong color, I would probably try decanting it for 4 hours before I started drinking to see if it firms up. Then I would drink it over a few hours. I agree with you that a nice bottle like this needs to have some spine. Otherwise, it is off to auction!

Red
1966 Château Latour Grand Vin Pauillac Red Bordeaux Blend
4/18/2020 - fclarity wrote:
94 points
From an otherwise nice looking bottle with a high shoulder fill, this wine had a dark red center and orange rims. The high- intensity nose featured blackberries, minerals, black spices, toasted nuts, and a hint of iodine.

In the mouth, this wine was rich with light rounded tannin and firm acidity. It was a touch lean in the mid-palate for the first couple hours. As the wine aired, it became more integrated and the finish became more detailed. It remained a bit less phenolicly ripe than some other bottles.

This bottle had a distinctive dark (cooler year) flavor profile. I would have scored it in the 92-93 range during the first few hours in the decanter. At the end it was very intense and at least 94 points and arguably 95 points. It is drinking well now with air but it is likely to last at this level for a decade or two.
  • fclarity commented:

    4/18/20, 6:18 PM - A couple months

Red
1961 Château Latour Grand Vin Pauillac Red Bordeaux Blend
9/7/2019 - fclarity wrote:
99 points
From a so-so looking bottle with a mid shoulder fill, this wine had a deep red/purple center and light red rims (I bought it because the color was great). The medium+ intensity nose displayed black cherries, plums, walnuts, anise, and minerals.

In the mouth, this wine was rich and ripe with huge fruit and substantial round tannin. It had crisp acidity and stunning length. Amazingly enough, this wine was still a touch closed even after 5+ hours in a decanter.

Fortunately, this bottle showed extremely well. It is hard to imagine a classier, more complete wine. It really needs another 10-20 years in the cellar or about 8 hours in a decanter. I have given it an extra point here for seemingly guaranteed potential.
  • fclarity commented:

    4/9/20, 6:50 AM - I assure you, it is not too good to be true. It is just expensive!

Red
1969 Robert Mondavi Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve Napa Valley
5/26/2017 - jsteach wrote:
99 points
The wine is, in a word, exceptional. cigar ash, funk, granite, red currants, violets, balsamic . very complex nose . The mouthfeel is exceptionally youthful given its age; there’s so much vibrancy here. The finish is full of earth, cloves, and currants, and goes on, and on, and on…
  • fclarity commented:

    12/30/19, 7:21 AM - Hi JS,
    My understanding is the first bottle of Reserve was in 1971. Was this possibly an "unfined" or "unfiltered" bottling? I would love to see a picture of the bottle. Thanks for you tasting note! I am just trying to clarify. Thank you.
    Fclarity

Red
1966 Château Latour Grand Vin Pauillac Red Bordeaux Blend
9/1/2018 - sdr Likes this wine:
90 points
Could the great ‘66 Latour be fading into the good night or is it just this bottle? From WineBid, it certainly looked excellent, sporting a top shoulder ullage and the cork was moist and firm, just as it should be. The color too was excellent. Vague unformed nose though, just barely detectable. Exceptionally soft in the mouth with no detectable tannins. The acidity was good but the finish was short. Not defective but not memorable.
  • fclarity commented:

    7/19/19, 9:22 AM - SDR, I enjoy your notes. My experience with this wine was that it was pretty powerful after several hours of air. This appears to be in stark contrast to your recent note. I was wondering how long this bottle was in a decanter before you started drinking? Thanks!

  • fclarity commented:

    7/20/19, 3:52 PM - My experience is that wines like this is that they start off uneven. However, I believe a 66 Latour (in good shape) will not show its best without a minimum of 2-3 hours in a decanter. I have done this thousands of times over many many years. Even having done it so many times I get a little leary about it but it works 98%+ of the time. I would highly recommend it, especially with Bordeaux.

White
1990 Louis Latour Corton-Charlemagne Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru Chardonnay
12/22/2016 - ATBridge wrote:
Wish I'd seen fclarity's note about the extended air time. This bottle had a golden honey color very correct nose of mature fruit. Lacked the grip of truly great Corton. Largely cnsumed at the beginning of the meal with a few sips left at the ends, and the last sips were indeed the best.
  • fclarity commented:

    7/6/19, 6:33 PM - Thanks for the thought. I just had this again and it evolved fantastically with air.

Red
1995 Domaine Armand Rousseau Père et Fils Chambertin Chambertin Grand Cru Pinot Noir
3/2/2018 - paul195 Likes this wine:
96 points
This was part of an unbelievable wine evening at the Grill Room. The theme was Champagne, Chevalier and Chambertin. The Chambertin line up included:

85 Trapet Latricieres Chambertin
91 Leroy Chambertin
93 Rousseau Clos de Beze
95 Rousseau Chambertin
96 Rousseau Clos de Beze
96 Trapet Chambertin
96 Leroy Chambertin
02 Chezeaux/Ponsot Chambertin
02 Faiveley Latricieres Chambertin
02 Rousseau Chambertin
02 Rousseau Clos de Beze

This was my contribution to the Chambertin lineup. As has been noted this wine has layers of bright red berry fruits, good minerality, excellent balance, fine tannins and lingering finish. In early maturity took some time for the nose to really open. Should improve over the next decade.

Among this stiff competition this was my #2, behind the 1993 Bèze.
  • fclarity commented:

    5/3/19, 11:40 AM - Paul, I would love to hear your thoughts on this wine!

White
2003 François Raveneau Chablis Grand Cru Valmur Chardonnay
4/25/2018 - VlgJeff wrote:
91 points
Decanted for one hour, with no further development during the meal. The nose revealed lemon notes and a touch of honey. On the palate, the apple notes were light, with strong lemon crème and some honey. The acidity was medium plus, but the weight was not up to other vintages. Should I have decanted for longer (as FCLARITY did), or is it just the vintage (as JERHARDT and RLOVE noted)??
  • fclarity commented:

    4/25/19, 3:27 PM - Please note that when I had this bottle open for a couple hours, I rated it about the same score as everyone else (2011). I probably had an extra point in my score as a bet on improvement too.

    Please let me know if you get a chance to open a bottle of this at breakfast in preparation for an evening meal!

White - Sweet/Dessert
2002 Joh. Jos. Prüm Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Eiswein Mosel Saar Ruwer
11/11/2017 - CamWheeler wrote:
94 points
Festival of Alex - Grand Birthday Dinner: Pineapple, lime, orange, mandarin, lemon and grapefruit on the nose. The palate has a real sense of delicacy and poise. Tangy acidity lifts the wine up with the sweetness siting in the background. Very good length, this is still very primary. I thought I'd be blown away by this, it didn't get there but was still excellent - perhaps more time will give it that extra interest to take it to the next level.
  • fclarity commented:

    4/11/19, 6:18 PM - Cam, Thanks for your note. I was curious how much decanter time you gave this wine. Thanks!

  • fclarity commented:

    4/12/19, 8:59 AM - OK, great intel! I am wondering if additional air might have allowed more complexity to develop. In my experience a bottle like this should be open at least 5 hours before you drink it. I guess I will just have to find one so I can give it a go. Thanks!

Red
1971 Domaine G. Roumier / Christophe Roumier Bonnes Mares Bonnes Mares Grand Cru Pinot Noir
6/23/2018 - KoalaHK wrote:
Drunk at Epure Hong Kong - From a bottle with extremely low ullage. Therefore, sadly oxidised to such a degree from which it couldn't recover. I couldn't help feeling there was a good wine in there somewhere.
  • fclarity commented:

    2/7/19, 2:24 PM - Do you mean a low fill as in 5-6 cm ullage?

Red
1991 Diamond Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Red Rock Terrace Diamond Mountain
2/3/2019 - fclarity wrote:
92 points
Tasted blind, this wine had a deep purple/red center with reddish rims. Clearly, this still looked rather young. The medium+ intensity nose showed black cherries, red dust, and some honey.

In the mouth, this wine was rich and ripe with rounded tannin, good acidity, and nice length.

I wonder how long this bottle was open and if it would have showed more if given more air. I tasted a wine that was very nice but not particularly special.
  • fclarity commented:

    2/3/19, 9:26 PM - I suspected that and, if I were opening the wine, I would have probably given it more time. Thanks for the confirmation!

Red
1978 Giacomo Conterno Barolo Riserva Monfortino Speciale Nebbiolo
5/28/2018 - fclarity wrote:
95 points
Tasted blind, This wine had a deep red center and orange rims. The medium+ intensity nose showed black cherries, cola, minerals, and brown spices.

In the mouth, this wine was medium bodied with light, rounded tannin, firm acidity, and very good length. It was sweet lucious, long, and gorgeously integrated.

This wine was more feminine in relation to the more masculine Giacosa. They were both great. I would guess this is at its peak but it will easily last 10-20 years at this level. Does it have sneaky upside?
  • fclarity commented:

    12/8/18, 7:08 PM - Great story!

Red
1959 Château Margaux Red Bordeaux Blend
3/13/2016 - fclarity wrote:
94 points
This lovely wine was tasted blind out of a magnum. It had a red/purple center and light red rims (i.e. shockingly young looking). The medium+ intensity nose showed black cherries, plum, clove, soil, and a touch of ethyl acetate. There was a slightly late harvest, roasted quality to the nose.

In the mouth, this wine was ripe and rich with light, ripe tannin and good acidity. It seemed Merlot oriented and had a refined style. However, it came of as a bit young and closed!

This is another bottle that shouldn't logically have any upside at this point but with its dark color and brooding manner, it might. However, it seems more likely that this is just the way the wine is. It had a great texture but didn't have the greatest level of complexity. This will last but will it get better?

I look forward to another data point!
  • fclarity commented:

    3/14/16, 8:36 AM - pclin, thanks for your note. I agree, if storage was poor and the bottle is oxidized, time will not help! What were the fills like? How was the wine's color?

  • fclarity commented:

    3/14/16, 10:35 PM - Thanks for the details. It sounds to me like you have nothing to lose by trying a different approach. I have had a number of older wines that tasted reduced and oxidized, especially in the first 30-40 minutes. Many times, but certainly not always, they will turn the corner at some point and start getting better. The darker the color is (for a white wine the opposite) the higher probability the wine will improve with extended aeration. Personally, I would suggest 4 hours of air in a decanter before you even start drinking it. Good luck and let me know what happens. It could be the whole batch was mistreated which would be a crying shame.

  • fclarity commented:

    6/29/18, 1:20 PM - Like they say, no great wines, just great bottles. Glad you hit a good one! thanks for the update.

White
1992 Domaine Leflaive Chevalier-Montrachet Chevalier-Montrachet Grand Cru Chardonnay
3/17/2018 - fclarity wrote:
96 points
From a pretty good looking bottle with a 3.5 cm fill, this wine had a deep yellow center and clear rims. The nose was tight at first and then showed a bit of SO2. After a few hours it emanated dried apricots, citrus, vanilla, white stone, and apples.

This wine was all acidity when first popped. Then, as it opened up, the super ripe fruit developed and it became quite ripe and rich. In fact, it was almost a bit over-ripe, even though you could taste the firm acidity in the background. Finally, after 4 hours of air, it all came into balance. The texture became super creamy. This wine was very classy and refined with an edge of decadent richness.

I have had better bottles in the past. Was this bottle a bit mistreated or was it bottle variation? This bottle was a bit past it’s peak but I know other bottles will last 10+ years. Substantial air is recommended to allow this wine to show its true majesty!
  • fclarity commented:

    3/18/18, 11:59 AM - Thanks for your comment DC.

    Yes, I love the 92 Leflaive’s! However, I will say that this bottle was not quite up to other bottles I have had. In fact, it was not quite as good as the 92 Batard I had last year. As you know, no great wines only great bottles!

White
1995 Vincent Dauvissat (René & Vincent) Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos Chardonnay
10/5/2015 - acyso wrote:
88 points
Senn-d off (part 2): Chablis at Nico Osteria (Chicago, IL): You know, at this point, I should just give up on Dauvissat. I just don't understand the wines. This is quite ripe, with a bit of yellow fruit. Awesome density and power, but there's a slight bit of funk that I just can't get over. There's acid here as well, but the bottle as a whole just doesn't seem to be that well-integrated. Lots of good raw material, but put together in a way that I just don't really get.
  • fclarity commented:

    1/13/18, 2:25 PM - ACYSO

    I agree with you when you taste these 1995s. They are not what they should be. Maybe other more recent vintages have issues as well. However, I think if you had a 1990 or earlier, you would be more positive. Have fun!

Red
1998 E. Guigal Côte-Rôtie La Mouline Syrah
10/1/2017 - fclarity wrote:
95 points
Tasted blind, this wine had a deep red center with light red rims. The high- intensity nose put forth rhubarb, sandalwood, black spices, black cherries, and soil.

In the mouth, this wine was ripe and round with refined tannins and excellent length. While this wine seemed approachable, there was an uneven intensity to the flavors that suggested this wine would benefit from more time in the cellar.

This wine can certainly be enjoyed now. However, I would argue for staying away from it for another 5-10. My guess is that it will pick up a point or two with time.
  • fclarity commented:

    10/1/17, 10:23 PM - Thanks for your note. As noted, I didn't open this bottle. However, I found out after the fact it was decanted for about 3 hours. I agree with you. This wine would probably benefit from 5-6 hours in a decanter.

Red
1990 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape Red Rhone Blend
9/2/2017 - fclarity wrote:
94 points
From a very nice looking bottle with a 2 cm fill, this wine had a deep red center with oranging rims. The medium intensity nose offered up cherries, oranges, rhubarb, and brown spices.

This wine was interesting but subtle and subdued for the first few hours. Afterward, it slowly firmed up and filled out. It had light tannin and firm acidity. There were moments where there was a touch of excess alcohol and moments where it seemed to be well balanced. It was borderline 93 points.

While this seemed to be entering the drinking zone, it needed 5+ hours in a decanter before it reached its potential. It will certainly last for 10 years. Will it get better? It seems to me there has been substantial bottle variation with this wine.
  • fclarity commented:

    9/4/17, 8:54 AM - Thanks John!

Red
1990 Roberto Voerzio Barolo Cerequio Nebbiolo
7/3/2017 - fclarity wrote:
94 points
From a pristine bottle purchased on release, this wine had a deep red center and orange rims. It had dropped quite a bit of sediment. After 4+ hours of air, the medium intensity nose put forth cherries, roses, tan spices, and candle wax.

This had some moments in the beginning where the wine was a bit tannic. However, after extended air it became more balanced and fruitier. It had rounded tannins, juicy fruit, and excellent length.

This wine was "new wave" enough that it might be tough to pick out in a blind tasting as a Barolo. However, I think it wouldn't be to hard to guess it was Italian. If given 6+ hours in a decanter before consumption starts, this wine will show its high quality wine making. I would go so far as to suggest opening this at breakfast so it will be ready for dinner. Very impressive and may still have a point or two of upside.
  • fclarity commented:

    7/4/17, 12:06 PM - Thanks!

Red
1962 Maison Leroy La Romanée La Romanée Grand Cru Pinot Noir
7/9/2011 - lepetitchateau wrote:
86 points
There were two late releases of this wine, which is why you see so many bottles owned by CellarTracker people.... the first was real, and a brilliant wine, while the second release has a different, well, "character" to it... far inferior, and one wonders how they could be from the same vineyard. This was from the second release and as such, it was not great.
  • fclarity commented:

    3/28/17, 4:27 PM - LPC - How can you differentiate between the two releases?

White - Sweet/Dessert
1986 Château d'Yquem Sauternes Sémillon-Sauvignon Blanc Blend
2/11/2017 - sdr wrote:
87 points
This is decent Sauternes but very disappointing for Yquem. Orange peel, peach and lemon are enjoyable but where is the botrytis? Modest length, good acidity. Maybe just an off (half) bottle.
  • fclarity commented:

    2/12/17, 6:39 PM - SDR - your report is a shocker! How long was the bottle open?

  • fclarity commented:

    2/14/17, 2:39 PM - Thanks for your response. It seems likely that it was just an off bottle as you suggest (obviously more research is required ;>). It would be interesting to see if the wine would open up if it is given 4+ hours in a decanter. However, I would have to say that, most of the time, Sauternes doesn't need much air to taste great. Bad bottles of expensive wine are a bummer!

Red
1970 Robert Mondavi Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
4/5/2014 - fclarity wrote:
94 points
From a great looking bottle with a VHS fill, this wine had a deep red center and light red rims. The medium+ intensity nose had a fair amount over Provencal herb in the beginning. After a couple of hours of air, the herbs receded and the result was: black cherries, blackberries, red soil, Provencal herbs, and a hint of cedar.

In the mouth, this wine was ripe and round and yet it felt streamlined and precise due to its light body and crisp acidity. The tannins were light and round and yet clearly present. The overall balance was very impressive. A refined wine with great complexity and mouthfeel.

This wine was best with 4+ hours of air and will clearly last for at least 10 more years. However, I don't see any reason to wait. Impressive!
  • fclarity commented:

    12/25/16, 5:09 PM - Awesome, thanks for your note!

Red
1989 Château La Conseillante Pomerol Red Bordeaux Blend
4/28/2016 - Comte Flaneur wrote:
92 points
The 1989 La Conseillante had a burning orange hue, a sign of its advanced evolution. On the day it did’t really sing and even appeared to be drying out a bit. It was most pleasant wine, with tobacco, truffles and spices but tasted a bit tired and as if its best days were behind it. Qualitatively this is a delicious mature Pomerol, but it did not live up to our high expectations. I have not had this for a couple of years so it is difficult to tell if this particular bottle was sub par or whether the 1989 La Conseillante more generally is in decline. I would be a little surprised if it was the latter, though this was already drinking beautifully in the mid-90s.
  • fclarity commented:

    4/29/16, 7:54 PM - Having just tasted this wine, I find your comments right on the money.

White
1993 Domaine des Comtes Lafon Montrachet Montrachet Grand Cru Chardonnay
It doesn't get any better than this. Mind expanding stuff. So intense and rich yet perfectly balanced and crisp. Starts with notes of red wine poached pear with clove and star anise. With time notes of butter appear with green and yellow fruits. Undulating waves of rich fruit and crisp acidity was over the palate. After hours in the glass, butterscotch notes show on the nose, but the palate is still so fresh. My second time with this wine. It is perfect.
  • fclarity commented:

    3/22/16, 8:21 AM - Bongos, I like your notes. I hope you will post more of them as you are drinking some good stuff!

White
1992 Maison Leroy Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Folatières Chardonnay
2/15/2011 - rc@ughey Likes this wine:
92 points
Still kicking--and more! Like my last bottle a couple years ago, this starts out tired. It is aromatically restrained and the palate is a bit flat. But after some air--really, like 2 hours of airs--this opens up and becomes a delightful cocktail of lemon cream, oranges, nuts, and some exotic fruit elements. 20 years has given this loads of complexity, and it's still a pretty intense, assertive Puligny. The only gripe is that it comes off as a bit blousy from the lack of acidity, and there's no real minerality. Nevertheless, this is a very well made wine that drinks beautifully for its age. I wouldn't be surprised if it continued to improve and drinks well in another decade still.
  • fclarity commented:

    2/24/16, 4:52 PM - Q I enjoy your notes and your scores are nicely conservative.

    If you have a chance to try this wine again, give it 4 hours of air before you start drinking. As long as the color is young looking, you may well find it will open up further than you might think possible. Let me know what happens (if it happens)!

Red
1973 Heitz Cellar Cabernet Sauvignon Martha's Vineyard Oakville
8/12/2011 - fclarity wrote:
92 points
From an excellent looking bottle with a low neck fill, this wine had a red center with orange at the rim. The nose was classic with an early hint of mint followed by coffee, black cherries, and soli.

These flavors were reiterated in the mouth. It had nice rounded tannin and good length. The wine was a touch sour initially but in opened up nicely after 2 hours of decanter time. Overall, it was less dense & fruity than the '74 and more evolved than the '75.

This is a nice wine that is drinking well now. While this (typical of Martha's Vineyard) will continue to drink well for many, many years, I see no reason to defer gratification.
  • fclarity commented:

    7/9/15, 4:01 PM - Thanks for reaching out. A double decant is an exellent approach.

    I think it depends on how fast you think you will drink the wine. If you bottle is in good shape, I would not hesitate to give it 2-3 hours of air. Thus, if you aerate for 1 hour and then drink it during the next 20 minutes, it may not be quite enough time. However, if you will be sipping it over the next hour or two, 1 hour should be fine.

    I hope that helps. Either way, sounds like big fun. Congratulations!

Red
1982 Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste Pauillac Red Bordeaux Blend
7/13/2014 - englishman's claret wrote:
92 points
We had a great time opening this together with the 90, but despite long decants these were both very tight wines. Interestingly, the 82 was even tighter than the 90. In that regard, both wines are pretty tough to put a number on. But this was deep and serious; stern. Like the 90, but trade the spice for more chocolate ganache. One I'd like to re-visit eventually. I remember the 1996 tasted from half recently was also really tight.
  • fclarity commented:

    6/13/15, 2:33 PM - I like your notes. I am curious, when you say a long decant, how long is that?

  • fclarity commented:

    6/15/15, 8:32 AM - I agree that after 4 or 5 hours the wine should at least have shown that it was trending in the right direction. I will say I have had wines that improved over 4-5 hours that were even better in hours 6 and 7.

    Another possibility is that the bottle was just slightly corked. I have experienced this situation where there is just enough TCA to rob the bottle of its nose and flavor but not enough to make the wine obviously corked. Just a thought.

    I bought a case of this wine on release and I have had 10+ bottles. It is usually quite good and I would certainly recommend giving it another go.

Red
1982 Château Cos d'Estournel St. Estèphe Red Bordeaux Blend
6/2/2012 - cooberp wrote:
88 points
Very underwhelming. Sweet cassis, cedar, and must on the nose. In the mouth it's fruity but one-dimensional, tannic, and a bit rough. No recognizable flaws or reason to believe this was an off bottle.
  • fclarity commented:

    4/26/15, 7:16 AM - I like your notes. My guess is that you will enjoy this wine more in the future. How much air did this bottle get? If you can, I would suggest allowing the wine to get 3-4 hours of decanter time before you START serious consumption.

White
1989 Bonneau du Martray Corton-Charlemagne Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru Chardonnay
10/18/2014 - Jeff Leve wrote:
89 points
Fading, or already faded, depending on your point of view. Hints of citrus and green apple remain, the texture is soft, but you really need to look hard to find the last vestages of fruit. Drink up.
  • fclarity commented:

    4/16/15, 4:54 PM - Jeff, I am curious how much decanter time, if any, this bottle received?

  • fclarity commented:

    4/16/15, 8:09 PM - I have done a lot of experimentation over the years on this subject. As a result, it is very clear to me that even older white Burgs need extended decanting. I know this position is somewhat unusual/controversial.

    Please review some of my notes to get a sense of what I am talking about. With regard to BdM in particular, I have found that these wines are made to age an extremely long time. Thus, they still need extended decanting. Often, these white Burgs will taste OK but watery and lacking complexity for an hour or two in the decanter. All of a sudden they will start to blossom.

    I find that color is the key. If the color is a nice yellow (no gold in the center) the wine will usually respond well to air.

    Hopefully you won't find this lengthy response over the top. It just happens to be a topic I am passionate about because I feel many tasters are drinking these wines long before they show their true colors.

    I would enjoy hearing what you find if you choose to experiment.

  • fclarity commented:

    4/19/15, 7:45 PM - I enjoy reading your notes. If you ever get to Silicon Valley, please look me up. I would enjoy exploring this topic further.

White
1990 Louis Latour Corton-Charlemagne Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru Chardonnay
Better btl. Needed a day to develop in the glass.
  • fclarity commented:

    4/19/15, 7:41 PM - Isn't it amazing how much air a 25 year old white like this takes to show its true colors? Even very experienced tasters don't believe it is possible! The reality is great white Burgs are made to last.

White
2002 Domaine Marc Morey & Fils Bâtard-Montrachet Bâtard-Montrachet Grand Cru Chardonnay
9/30/2012 - Barry Rothof wrote:
11 th Burgundy tasting - Whites part I (@ Rotterdam, Netherlands): Non-blind, this wine received a solid six hours worth of air, akin to the wines before the blind intermezzo. The core is medium intense golden, with a clearing rim. The nose is decidedly unpleasant with its medium intense, over-ripe Époisses-like notes. A vague pebbly impression comes through with some swirling and is joined by reticent peach-like fruit. This wine is medium-plus bodied, doesn’t seem to possess more than medium acidity and despite seemingly good extraction levels, there is hardly any definition to the mid-palate flavours, which turn mealy on the quickly fraying finish. It is still somewhat potable and would score in the high seventies, but it seems like another early stage P’ox victim to me…Surprisingly enough, when I retasted it three hours on (near the end of the sitting) this wine had done a complete and utter 180 on our unsuspecting rear ends. The colour had brightened considerably, the nose had cleaned up to reveal typical orchard fruits & mineral expression and the acidity had perked up sufficiently to lend freshness and a balanced drinking experience, resulting in a 90-91 point wine. I was absolutely baffled and this experience will serve as a potent reminder. When an in hindsight badly reduced wine can so closely resemble a prematurely oxidized one, it may be wise to not draw conclusions too hastily ......................... TN Mike de Lange.
  • fclarity commented:

    12/14/14, 7:06 AM - Mike/Barry,

    Thanks for your detailed note on this wine. I particularly appreciate that you monitored the wine for so long. Most tasters would give it an hour or two tops.

    My question is, when you gave the wine its initial 6 hours, did you just pull the cork, reduce the level of the wine down to the low shoulder, or did you decant?

Red
1961 Château Gruaud Larose St. Julien Red Bordeaux Blend
4/27/2014 - Edclr Likes this wine:
87 points
Probably my least favorite wine of the tasting. And, the only bottle of 6 from which the cork came out whole. Somewhat tart, acidic, all earth and spice, no real fruit.
  • fclarity commented:

    8/16/14, 4:23 PM - My experience is that this wine is pretty unattractive for the first couple hours after it is opened. Did you "pop & pour"?

  • fclarity commented:

    8/17/14, 7:28 AM - Interesting. I think there is some pretty substantial bottle variation with this wine. Thanks for your update.

Red
1969 Heitz Cellar Cabernet Sauvignon Martha's Vineyard Oakville
2/19/2012 - Griffeyfan04 wrote:
94 points
This is the oldest Napa Cab I have ever had the chance to taste and I was pleasantly surprised. Garnet rim with still a nice amount of dark purple red to this. On the nose brown sugar and a Applewood smoked bacon that was mesmorizing and some pretty floral notes. the palate had great texture still with a great amount of acidity still in this beauty! Some great leather, and actually some red fruits in there as well still, great baking spice quality to it that was hard to ignore. This was decanted and drunk immediately. Amazingly we enjoyed this wine over almost 2 hours and it sang the whole time. What a treat and for $75 it was a steal.
  • fclarity commented:

    7/17/14, 2:02 PM - I don't know where you got it for $75 but that certainly was a steal!

White
1992 Etienne Sauzet Montrachet Montrachet Grand Cru Chardonnay
6/16/2013 - Dubie wrote:
90 points
I thought to myself I was in for a treat when I saw this bottle awaiting us! 1992 is a favourite white Burgundy vintage, and drinking a Monty, especially at 21y of age, is always an honour. But Sauzet rarely does it for me, and this was another such example unfortunately. I found the wine a little short and unexpressive relative to my expectations. One diner even poured into a large Bordeaux glass hoping to help it to open. To no avail. I simply think that is Sauzet's winemaking style. In that, the bottle was conform.
  • fclarity commented:

    5/2/14, 11:13 AM - Dubie - I am interested in your notes. How long was this wine decanted, if decanted, before consumption? Thanks

Red
1982 Château La Mission Haut-Brion Pessac-Léognan Red Bordeaux Blend
12/19/2013 - nortonnose wrote:
95 points
Welp, what mixed emotions. Let me list them for you! Friend's 750ml bottle, stood for days. I really regret that this wasn't opened sooner, especially for an hours-long decant. A huge mistake, in my opinion. Wine preparation is so critical, I feel we didn't do this bottle any favors, especially given it should have been the centerpiece of the evening. Basically decanted for 30+ minutes and served. The nose was absolutely magical: truly reflecting a kaleidoscope of fruit colors. Very dark purple color. The palate - while incredibly pleasant - was simply a bit tight and primary. Hold for years or, if opening, please do yourself the courtesy of a very long decant. You surely will be greatly rewarded. Scored a bit on a curve, if only because we seemed to knock this down a couple points in disservice.
  • fclarity commented:

    2/7/14, 2:45 PM - I agree with your comment on decanting 100%

Red
1989 Château Clinet Pomerol Red Bordeaux Blend
12/9/2013 - Jeff Leve wrote:
97 points
Tobacco, plum, chocolate, violets and cherry liqueur sensations are all over the place. 1989 Clinet has been variable, with many bottles showing well, but not at the same level of promise they displayed in their youth. Finally, a bottle that rocked the house with its ostentatious display of silky, exotic fruit and rich velvety textures. I wish every bottle of this wine was at this level. Sadly, there seem to be a lot of bottle variation that could be attributed to the wine, corks or storage.
  • fclarity commented:

    2/7/14, 2:33 PM - Thanks for your comment on variability. I will watch for this!

Red
1949 Château Latour Grand Vin Pauillac Red Bordeaux Blend
10/21/2012 - BradE wrote:
Absolutely and utterly fantastic, even though it was very late in the night when we popped this. In Memory of Elizabeth Reed was the soundtrack. Very impressive.
  • fclarity commented:

    11/25/13, 9:19 PM - A classic wine and a classic tune. Sounds like a great party!

White
2002 Domaine Roulot Meursault 1er Cru Charmes Chardonnay
1/22/2012 - magnusvinum wrote:
95 points
Still tight. Ripe white peach, hazelnut, honey, white flowers, minerals. Long, mouthwatering, deep set finish. Delicious but can easily develop another 10 years.
  • fclarity commented:

    10/7/13, 9:48 AM - I appreciate a taster who understands the longevity of great white Burgs. Please keep posting your notes!

Red
1985 Heitz Cellar Cabernet Sauvignon Martha's Vineyard Oakville
1/20/2013 - llink wrote:
The nose shows some cardboard along with the eucalyptus notes that seem to dominate older Heitz cabs. Great palate, silky and weightless with everything in balance, dry tannins and dried fruit notes to complement the earthy components.
  • fclarity commented:

    7/11/13, 3:34 PM - LL,

    How much air was this given before tasting?

Red
1994 Château Rayas Châteauneuf-du-Pape Reserve Grenache
11/1/2012 - dcwino wrote:
96 points
The 03 Bordeaux dinner at RIS in DC (RIS Restaurant, Washington DC): Although expressive, slightly metallic that clips the finish. Smoked, earth, cherry liquor, garrigue and earth. Medium concentration, silky and excellent overall balance. Almost four hours in a decanter, it opens up and no hint of metal which results in long finish and also the nose becomes explosive. Started as 93 point wine but more like 96 at the end. If the wine is correct upon opening, I highly recommend minimum two hours of decanting.
  • fclarity commented:

    7/4/13, 2:42 PM - I couldn't agree with you more. While it is hard to plan far enough ahead to give wines 3 or 4 hours of air, it often pays substantial dividends if you do. Too many times wines are consumed and judged long before they have absorbed enough oxygen to blossom!

Red
1988 Albert Morot Beaune 1er Cru Teurons Pinot Noir
11/19/2011 - tooch wrote:
90 points
Dinner at Maureen's (Washington, DC): Started off a bit reductive on the nose, but with air it opened up more. It wasn't until a couple hours in did this really begin to express itself. It took on lovely dried red floral tones, subtle brown sugar notes and a brambly-ness. The palate was dominated by silky red fruit, warm spices and spicy cranberry. In a cruel turn of events, I think my favorite glass of this was my final glass...so I'm wondering if decanting would augment its enjoyment?
  • fclarity commented:

    6/25/13, 2:02 PM - Your experience suggests that decanting would help.

White
1992 Louis Latour Montrachet Montrachet Grand Cru Chardonnay
10/20/2012 - Burgundy Al wrote:
90 points
50th Birthday Celebration Dinner with Wine (Chez Schmidt - Chicago IL): Very fresh for its age. Ripe. apple, good spice on both nose and palate. Moderate length and intensity. Slightly short.
  • fclarity commented:

    6/6/13, 9:10 AM - Al,

    Love your notes. How long was this wine open before it was consumed?

  • fclarity commented:

    6/6/13, 9:39 AM - Thanks for your response. Over the years I have found that that it is usually best to give a high quality white like this, where the bottle has been well stored, 3+ hours of decanter time. And that is before I start serving which can last another hour or two. I taste the wine every hour to see how it is progressing. I will pump the air out of it if I think it is time to stop the aeration.

    This is sometimes surprising to other tasters and me (at first). But the reality is that well stored white Burg's can last a very long time. You can be pretty much guaranteed they need this kind of air time if they are light colored and notably less if they are getting that deep gold color.

    Just my opinion. I would love to hear your thoughts!

Red
1990 Hubert Lignier Clos de la Roche Clos de la Roche Grand Cru Pinot Noir
2/15/2013 - solana wrote:
98 points
Open 2 Hours.
Expansive deep aromas of plums, Oriental spices, minerals, earth, anis, and bacon fat. A kaleidoscope of rich and creamy flavors. Layers of black cherries, plums, minerals, earth, game, Oriental spices, anis, and bacon fat. From the fore palate to the endless finish they swirl and expand, filling the palate. There is a bottomless quality to this wine and a rich weightiness made expansive by perfectly framing acidity. Grows more minerally and spicy as the finish goes on ( and on ). I am sure it can be measured in minutes, but am too busy enjoying the wine to time it.
A Note Of Caution: Upon opening the wine was delicious, but simple and fragile feeling. I was concerned that it was either fading or a quick maturing bottle. It just needed a lot of time to fully emerge from its shell. It really began to shine after 90 minutes, but hit its peak about 15 minutes later. If in a hurry do decant.
  • fclarity commented:

    6/3/13, 4:15 PM - You write nice notes. You should post more often! Personally, I would decant a wine like this for 3 hours before consumption.

White
1985 Château Haut-Brion Blanc Pessac-Léognan Sémillon-Sauvignon Blanc Blend
8/19/2007 - dcwino wrote:
The wine was served a bit too cold. Upon opening, butter scotch and beeswax dominate the nose. As it warms up, it start to show slight hint of lemon, honey suckle, lime stone and sweet almond paste.

Now it gets interesting, for 30 minutes also, the palate gives the impression that the wine is slightly oxidized showing hollow mid palate and worries me. It resembles Chapoutier Ermitage l'Oree at the 5 to 7 years stage. About 45 minutes into opening, it gains a bit more texture and weight and no longer show sign of oxidation. From this point on the wine gets better and better, gains weight, becomes denser and silkier, a complete wine, all the components working as whole.

About three hours later at home, the wine gets even better. It resembles Coche Dury Les Perriers, very mineral, precise, delineated, almost steely yet the palate is very broad and opulent. It is very fresh and clean, stunning transformation, it gets gradually more youthful.

This will continue to improve for those who love old graves.

P.S. the wine requires decanting or minimum two hours of bottle breathing.
  • fclarity commented:

    4/30/13, 6:29 PM - Great write-up. I enjoyed how you chronicle the development over time.

Red
1990 Domaine Jean Gros Richebourg Richebourg Grand Cru Pinot Noir
6/25/2010 - theusualsuspect wrote:
95 points
Impeccably well stored. Acquired on release, and hasn't seen a temperature above 53 since. Wonderfully perfumy nose, touch of meat on the palate with a rich core of elegant red fruit. Plenty of acid yet. If really well stored could turn out to be a thirty year burgundy and beyond.
  • fclarity commented:

    4/26/13, 4:11 PM - Agreed

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