Tasting Notes for djlevin

(282 notes on 274 wines)

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Red
10/12/2019 - djlevin Likes this wine:
94 points
The fruit is bright, fresh blackberry on the nose. Amazing for an aged Cali Syrah. A touch of menthol and alcohol follow through to the palate with a mid-palate and medium-long finish that includes tar and licorice. The oak is well integrated with a hint of vanilla still present. A well balanced wine on the palate - medium high acidity, medium tannin and a silky mouth-feel that presents a lighter Syrah profile. Alcohol is a bit heavy, but not overwhelming. This wine is singing and in its prime drinking window now. Thoroughly enjoyable on its own, but would pair well with red sauces, or red meat. I did not expect a Copain Syrah to weather the test of time so well! Don't understand the other notes calling this jammy... the fruit is not overwhelming!
Red
2/2/2019 - djlevin Likes this wine:
91 points
Like other tasting notes on CT, this wine also hit me as odd. To get the first question out of the way, it does not taste hot, even though the label lists 16.7% ABV. Shockingly, the alcohol is well integrated. Upon first pour, this is a high-acid fruit bomb. At 9 years of bottle age a surprise… decant and give it an hour before you drink and you will find the real wine underneath. At first, the nose is almost non-existent, but later reveals itself after a couple of hours. Once it develops, the nose is alcohol, plum, blackberry, black currant and menthol. With time open, this wine becomes well-integrated. The palate starts with blended red & black fruit (like boysenberry compote), but after time it settles down and morphs into the blackberry, plum & black currant you expect. The wine is dry, but the high alcohol content makes it seem somewhat sweet. The mouthfeel starts out soft, but thin and then the tannin shows and the texture begins to fill the mouth – high tannins and high acidity abound. The mid-palate shows immediately after the fruit and is all dark chocolate (without bitterness) that follows to a very long finish. This wine rewards patience. I agree with one of the other CT notes. Much like a Conn Valley Cab. As fruity and bold (perhaps more even), but the tannin is fine-grained and softer. I would be concerned about giving this more time in the bottle. The alcohol is so high, without the big fruit/acid/tannin behind it, the alcohol will likely begin to dominate. It seems to be drinking well now, but is definitely for those who enjoy fruitier, high-alcohol wines.
Red - Fortified
10/20/2018 - djlevin Likes this wine:
94 points
Blind Tasting of Aged Napa Cabs (Residence): This was exceptional! The fruit was still reasonably fresh for an aged vintage port. Not too sweet, tasting like a more recent vintage… but for a port, this wine was so balanced… integrated alcohol, good acidity, soft & full mouthfeel. All of us agreed, this was the outstanding wine of the evening. I wish I could hold on to ports this long. This one was worth the wait.
Red
1988 Château Lynch-Bages Pauillac Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
10/20/2018 - djlevin Likes this wine:
94 points
Blind Tasting of Aged Napa Cabs (Residence): This was smokey, with medium+ acidity and medium tannin. This was another example of an aged Bordeaux showng balance after extended aging. The flavor profile included an earthiness, that when you taste enough Cru Bordeaux, you come to recognize. Still with fresh fruit (blackberry) and stewed currants, the fruit was forward on the palate. I am not a huge fan of Pauillac wines. I prefer the St. Estephe and Margaux regions in Bordeaux, but this was drinking nicely at 30 years and was a strong representative of aged Left Bank Bordeaux. An easy tell within a blind tasting of Napa Cabs.
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Red
10/20/2018 - djlevin wrote:
88 points
Blind Tasting of Aged Napa Cabs (Residence): I described this one in my notes with the typical wine industry generic term, “food friendly”. The kiss of the death for uninteresting wine in a tasting note in the U.S. This was the most acidic of the bunch. Which was amazing, since this wine was 33 years old. It was a little vegetal with a touch of tomato, but no green bell pepper… both characteristics of under-ripe Cab Sauv. Hard to believe this wine was from a warm vintage. This could only happen in a Napa vintage before 1995. No self-respecting Napa producer would harvest Cab this early in a warm year today. I enjoyed this wine the least of the bunch. Poor balance and “interesting”, but not particularly pleasant flavor profile.
Red
10/20/2018 - djlevin Likes this wine:
92 points
Blind Tasting of Aged Napa Cabs (Residence): At this blind tasting, I mistook this wine to be the Joseph Phelps. I have always had an odd relationship with BV as a producer. I have not really cared for their lower priced wines, having only a minimum of value (IMO), while their well-known Georges de Latour release every year is good, but over-priced. They also seem to develop complex flavors in their higher priced wine, some flavors of which I don’t care for. So, I may have gone into this tasting with preconceived notions… which is always an interesting aspect of blind tasting. I felt this wine had the most balanced profile of the wines tasted and having the most enjoyable mouthfeel. Frankly, I didn’t think a BV wine could be this balanced. (buzzer sound) Well, I blew that one! Chalk one up for having a closed mind. Beyond its best drinking window, but good nonetheless.
Red
10/20/2018 - djlevin Likes this wine:
91 points
Blind Tasting of Aged Napa Cabs (Residence): This was the fruitiest of the group tasted at this sitting and had the most obvious oak. This was the surprise of the evening (IMO). Recent vintages of Silver Oak Cab Sauv are not generally viewed as being able to stand up to extended aging, but this 80’s era vintage was balanced and still fruity. Perhaps, a product of original purchase provenance. A nice wine with tremendous character for 30+ years of age. In a blind tasting, had the most obvious oak on the nose and palate. This fit the Silver Oak tasting profile, making for a high probability of identifying accurately.
Red
10/20/2018 - djlevin Likes this wine:
92 points
Blind Tasting of Aged Napa Cabs (Residence): This wine still had strong tannins. It was a little watery with a very restrained nose and palate. Diamond Mountain AVA wines in the past have tasted big and tannic, with subdued fruit and without much nuance in my opinion (lack of mid-palate)… but with age, developed great mouthfeel. Exactly how this wine presented. At this blind tasting, an easy tell, with some tasting history to reference. This wine has a few years left, but is definitely in its prime drinking window now. If you are holding, drink now and enjoy.
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Red
10/20/2018 - djlevin wrote:
90 points
Blind Tasting of Aged Napa Cabs (Residence): Very balanced wine, but reached its limit. Still with medium acidity and medium-minus tannins, this drank reasonably well, but the oxidation had taken over the fruit and was a few years beyond its drinking window. The fruit had moved to more prune and raisin, rather than fresh fruit flavors. This would have drunk better at around 35 years, around 5-10 years ago. Drinking blind, the brownish color around the rim and stewed prune flavors gave this away, almost all of the group tasting identified this wine correctly.
White
1/3/2019 - djlevin Likes this wine:
90 points
One of our better white wine producers in AZ. Beautiful nose of honey and white flowers. Good job restraining the alcohol at 13.9%. Not easy with Viognier in a sunny/warm climate. Palate is full of sweet honeysuckle and lanolin, moving towards a bitter finish. Very high acidity. Full mouthfeel, adding nice texture. Keep in mind vintage variation with this wine. I have tasted several vintages and this was the best of the most recent. Worked well paired with young Manchego cheese.
Red
11/22/2018 - djlevin Likes this wine:
94 points
Beautiful red Rhone! This was drinking at the top of its game. Silky soft mouthfeel, still fruit-forward, medium+ acidity and medium- tannin. Fresh blackberry on the approach with a dark chocolate mid-palate and a little white pepper on the finish. This paired really well with a smoked turkey for thanksgiving and had enough acidity to cut through the gravy and cheesy green bean casserole. Yum!
Red
7/15/2018 - djlevin Likes this wine:
90 points
Alcohol and grape/blackberry on the nose. Very fruit forward with a heavy dose of blackberry jam on the palate. Straight forward wine without much complexity and no mid-palate. Medium plus tannins and high acidity with a long fruity finish. If you enjoy wines that focus on a fruit forward palate, this wine is for you. It is a great expression of this style with good structure, but a minimum of mouthfeel. Drank this with a coffee/chili rubbed prime rib steak... a little too fruity for a perfect pairing, but not bad. This is in its drinking window now. I would say 2017-2020.
Red
2014 Tenuta di Nozzole Chianti Classico Riserva Chianti Classico DOCG Sangiovese Blend, Sangiovese (view label images)
7/14/2018 - djlevin wrote:
88 points
This is a New World style wine. The only part of this that resembles a Chianti is the high acidity. Your opinion of this wine will be primarily based on getting past the minimal resemblance to a traditional Chianti. If you can, this is just a simple fruit-forward wine with a soft mouthfeel. The high acidity will allow it to pair with foods. The nose is black cherry and alcohol. The palate has more black fruit. Tannins are medium plus. Medium length finish that adds brambly flavors. For $18/btl, a decent value as an every day drinking red good with food, but as a representation of Chianti Classico, far down the list.
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White
6/11/2018 - djlevin Likes this wine:
92 points
My first impression: WOW! Second time tasting Petit Manseng and this knocked me off my feet. This Arizona origin wine was so much better than the first bottle I tasted from Virginia. Kent Callaghan did a great job of producing a seriously good wine from a virtually unknown grape. Rich, floral nose of white flowers, honeysuckle and citrus. The palate was honey, creme brulee, red apple and lemon curd. The wine had crazy high acidity and high alcohol. This could have stood up to being over-oaked. So glad that was not the case. The mouth-feel was rich and smooth and the finish was very long with a touch of clove on the end. This varietal presents like a cross between Chardonnay and Viognier. As I understand it, this grape is used in making a well-known sweet late-harvest wine from the Jura in France/Spain. Hard to believe the primary parent grape is Traminer. I like this stuff. If you are a fan of high acid white wines, this will be right up your alley. Enjoy!
Red
6/10/2018 - djlevin Likes this wine:
93 points
Five Vintages of Jaboulet La Chapelle (Sonoita, AZ): So, here is the “sleeper”. I enjoyed this wine too, but this was less of a food wine than the La Chapelle vintages. Blackberry, mushroom and forest floor on the nose with sort of a grape hard candy component. The fruit on the palate became blackberry and grape jelly with a really interesting savory black/green olive tapenade that persisted, moving to dark chocolate on the mid-palate and finish. Good, rich intensity, but less tannin than I would prefer. The medium plus acidity added structure. This was most definitely made with a Northern Rhone profile in mind… tending towards a New World approach that brings more fruit and a softer feel. If structure is your thing (like me), this wine was reaching the end of its drinking window. I would say 2015 – 2020. Not enough tannin, or acidity to be more than a (better) fruity cocktail wine after 10 years. Keep in mind, a value comparison is in order too. This wine is a third of the price (or less) compared to recent vintages of the La Chapelle.
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Red
6/10/2018 - djlevin Likes this wine:
96 points
Five Vintages of Jaboulet La Chapelle (Sonoita, AZ): This wine was second on my list. Very fruity nose with noticeable alcohol. The flavors/aromas were more intense, as if moving back towards the 80’s vintages. This was the first wine with a touch of menthol on the palate. Nice dark chocolate component with a very long finish. The structure showed high tannins and high acidity, but had enough fruit to balance this approach to a bigger style wine. This wasn’t the same kind of wine as the 80’s vintages, but excellent in its own right. This is balanced enough to actually improve with more bottle age. Perhaps a drinking window of 2016 – 2026, with the best years to enjoy in the early 2020’s.
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Red
6/10/2018 - djlevin Likes this wine:
91 points
Five Vintages of Jaboulet La Chapelle (Sonoita, AZ): This wine was enjoyed the least by the group. Everything from the 1994 with even a weaker nose. Showed more fruit than the ’94 and more black pepper on the finish. The structure was up a notch to medium plus acidity and tannin. This wine was a touch disjointed and was missing the elegance of the previous wines completely.
Red
6/10/2018 - djlevin Likes this wine:
92 points
Five Vintages of Jaboulet La Chapelle (Sonoita, AZ): Alcohol was the most prominent characteristic on the nose. The nose was weaker and less complex. More fruit-forward than the others, with some black pepper on the palate at the finish. Much less balance and finesse. with medium tannin and medium acidity. This vintage was definitely not of the same caliber as the 80’s vintage wines previously tasted.
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Red
6/10/2018 - djlevin Likes this wine:
96 points
Five Vintages of Jaboulet La Chapelle (Sonoita, AZ): This wine was almost everyone’s favorite in the group. Not as intense as the 1986, with more fruit on the nose and palate. Even softer, with medium minus tannin and medium acidity. This wine was missing the bigger mouth-feel of the '86 vintage and did not have enough tannin left to provide a good sense of structure. Not quite as balanced and the finish was a bit shorter. Don’t get me wrong, this was a fabulous wine too and I would drink it every day if I had an unlimited supply, but in a world class sense, just a step under the 1986.
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Red
6/10/2018 - djlevin Likes this wine:
98 points
Five Vintages of Jaboulet La Chapelle (Sonoita, AZ): Amazing! There must have been a provenance problem with the other wines with tasting notes on CT. This bottle came from the original buyer when released. I guess that made the difference! Tasting note below:

This is not everyone’s kind of wine. In fact, I was the only one of the group that put this wine at the top of my list. The nose had a slightly musty, moldy odor that helped you to visualize an old wine cave in France. The complexity is what drew you in. There was blackberry, sweet browned butter, forest floor and black pepper on the nose. The palate was still fruit forward, but was equally matched by the savory flavors from the nose. The black pepper did not show through to the palate. There was a mid-palate of dark chocolate and a long finish. The structure was perfectly balanced. With medium tannin still present and medium plus acidity. The mouth-feel was soft on the attack, becoming fine grained tannin and then finished with a good grip. An amazing wine that showed everything in a world class wine. The rest of the group couldn’t get past the musty nose. For me, it added character. If this is a problem for your sensibility, knock off a couple of points and you will get a more representative score.
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Red
2/25/2018 - djlevin Likes this wine:
91 points
Nose of boysenberry, plum and blackberry with a slightly medicinal note. This has reached the end of its drinking window. Not an unexpected life for a Barbera. Still very fruit forward following the nose, but a broader mix of red, black and blue fruit on the palate. Still medium plus tannins, but only medium acidity. Nice full mouthfeel. A mild bitter chocolate mid-palate that carries through to the finish. The fruit is starting to develop a candied character and a medicinal note is entering the picture. Still, a beautiful wine, but drink now if you have inventory left!
White
2/25/2018 - djlevin Likes this wine:
90 points
Nose is rich with candied lemon rind, lemon mousse and chalky minerality. The mouthfeel of this five year old white wine is astonishing. The texture is like melted butter! The fruit is fresh and crisp on the attack with high acidity. The oak is noticeable, but not overpowering. The palate follows the nose closely, but adds more complexity with green apple, pear and floral elderberry. The lemon mousse on the palate is gorgeous! The attack moves on to a slightly bitter, chalky mid-palate of key lime and a fruity finish that lasts forever. The few years of bottle age significantly improved the mouthfeel of this wine.
Red
2014 Saxum James Berry Vineyard Paso Robles Willow Creek District Red Rhone Blend (view label images)
2/9/2018 - djlevin Likes this wine:
94 points
Wine Tasting with Wine Collector's Group (Tempe, AZ): Red and black fruit on the nose with a touch of alcohol. Fruit forward with blackberry from the Syrah and earthiness from the Mourvèdre. The touch of strawberry/raspberry from the Grenache does not present until the finish. This is a really gorgeous wine that was meant to drink in a 5-10 year window. High acidity and medium plus tannin. Long fruity finish. Solid fruit-forward structured wine. A Saxum drinking super well when young. Interesting to have such a silky mouthfeel without more age on it! Give it a few more years and it will continue to improve.
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Red
2/9/2018 - djlevin Likes this wine:
91 points
Wine Tasting with Wine Collector's Group (Tempe, AZ): Blackberry with heavy oak on the nose. Fruit forward blackberry palate. A nicely integrated high alcohol wine. Simpler flavor profile focused more on the velvety texture. Very much like Silver Oak, but not quite as fruity. Integrated and balanced wine with medium plus acidity and tannins.
Red
1998 Château Canon-la-Gaffelière St. Émilion Grand Cru Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
2/9/2018 - djlevin Likes this wine:
95 points
Wine Tasting with Wine Collector's Group (Tempe, AZ): Rich blackberry and plum on the nose with a touch of herbal mint. The palate is barely fruit forward with plum in front giving way to blackberry. Medium acidity and medium plus tannin. Earth, leather and tobacco on the mid-palate with a fresh, medium length blackberry finish. Very balanced wine in its drinking window. Soft mouthfeel with a slightly silky texture. Drink now.
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Red
2/9/2018 - djlevin wrote:
94 points
Wine Tasting with Wine Collector's Group (Tempe, AZ): Fruity nose of boysenberry, plum and blackberry. Blackberry and plum on the attack with a leather mid-palate. A slightly bitter, mildly fruity short finish. Medium plus acidity and tannin. Soft mouthfeel from resolved tannin. This wine is drinking great right now. Could be slightly past it’s optimum drinking window, but still a fantastic wine. Drink up!
Red
2/9/2018 - djlevin Likes this wine:
92 points
Wine Tasting with Wine Collector's Group (Tempe, AZ): Plum and blackberry on the nose. Fruit forward palate of red and black fruit with a bitter chocolate mid-palate that follows through to a medium length finish. High acidity and high tannins. Wonderful Margaux-like round, soft mouthfeel. Still young Brunello that probably needs another 5 years (or so) to enter its best drinking window. Enjoyable now, but still developing.
Red
2/9/2018 - djlevin Likes this wine:
92 points
Wine Tasting with Wine Collector's Group (Tempe, AZ): Fresh strawberry and raspberry on the nose. Fresh fruit on the attack that subsides to a light, medium length bitter chocolate finish. High tannins and medium plus acidity. Soft wine (in Barolo terms) without a lot of mouthfeel. Wishing for more complexity here... some floral or tar aspects would add interest, but is missing. Beautiful young Barolo, but missing the complexity that would rate this higher. Perhaps, more age will bring out more nuance.
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Red
2/9/2018 - djlevin Likes this wine:
97 points
Wine Tasting with Wine Collector's Group (Tempe, AZ): Beautiful nose of fresh strawberry. Barely fruit-forward with fresh sweet strawberry on the palate, an earthy mid-palate and a medium length sour strawberry finish. Medium acidity and low tannins. As a 1978 CdP this was special. Having a soft texture with a fair amount of acidity and tannins, this expressed the best of the region in an aged format. I could drink this wine all night. Finishing the bottle was a definite disappointment. Complex, fruit-forward, soft wine, still with enough structure... if every wine I aged in my cellar turned out like this, I would be laying everything down. This was a wine worth waiting for. Who knew CdPs could last 40 years!
Red
2/2/2018 - djlevin Likes this wine:
93 points
This was the last bottle of three, with an interesting personal history. Tasted this wine in the barrel prior to bottling back in 2005. Amazing wine in the barrel. The first two bottles drunk over the last five years were an awful mess. My first experience with a wine this out of balance significantly improving with time. The first two bottles had very noticeable alcohol, extreme acidity and fruit in the background. Apparently, this disjointed wine needed time to come together. Just popped the last bottle and it was beautiful! Fruit forward nose of blackberry, plum and mint. Palate is soft and inviting. Approach is just barely fruit forward following the nose. The alcohol has become integrated and the very high acidity has softened. The tannins have resolved leaving both structure and mouthfeel, without astringency. The fruit persists into a long finish. What was unpleasant before, has flipped a switch and reached its potential. First time I have experienced a mess of a wine coming together over time. It took 13 years of awful tasting wine for this to finally reach its drinking window. I have heard similar stories, but never experienced a radical transformation myself. If you are holding a bottle, this is your time. Let me know if you have had the same experience.
Red
2009 Booker Vineyard Alchemist Paso Robles Syrah Blend, Syrah (view label images)
1/27/2018 - djlevin wrote:
89 points
Inky dark purple in color. Rich blackberry on the nose with alcohol that persists. Very high acidity with tannins that have resolved to near medium with age. The structure is nothing like the earlier tasting notes. Extremely fruit forward palate of primarily blackberry and a heavy-handed approach to the oak. Silky texture with well integrated alcohol for a luxurious mouthfeel. Strange residual sugar component in a fresh fruit style like a Bandol, rather than a Port. Beautiful wine on the approach, then the heavy oak and excessive sugar kicks in, making it challenging to like this wine. The good acidity worked with a coffee-rubbed rib eye steak that also helped to mute the sweetness. I wonder if the balance is just off, from a wine that is past its drinking window?
Red
2014 Kaena Hapa Santa Ynez Valley Syrah Blend, Syrah (view label images)
12/15/2017 - djlevin Likes this wine:
91 points
Unusual red blend of syrah, malbec, cab sauv, grenache and petit verdot, but it works! Beautiful nose rich in plum, blackberry, boysenberry, strawberry, vanilla, brown butter and tobacco. Smooth, delicate lighter texture, medium plus acidity and medium minus tannins. Palate is fruit forward with blackberry, plum, raspberry, strawberry and vanilla. A long fruity finish. I really enjoyed this wine! Just enough structure, but not overly complex. A broad fruit profile, good acidity and an elegant mouth-feel. This is a drink-now wine. Drinking window would be 2017-2019.
White - Sweet/Dessert
11/19/2017 - djlevin Likes this wine:
91 points
Gorgeous deep golden color with a nose of peach, apple, honeysuckle, sweet honey, hazelnut and carmel. Sweet approach, with an almost dry finish. High acidity keeps it vibrant in the mouth. This wine has great mouthfeel with a mouth coating very long finish. This in an exceptional sweet white wine. Not as sweet as a Sauternes, or Tokaj, but unique and special in its own right.
Red
10/11/2017 - djlevin Likes this wine:
92 points
Rich, fruity blackberry, plum and spice on the nose. Fruit forward blackberry, plum and black currant on the palate, moving to a mid-palate and finish of copious amounts of dark chocolate. Spicy white pepper and cinnamon undertones. Medium-high acidity and medium tannin structure. Nice silky mouth-feel with an extra long finish. Super well-balanced wine. Drinking great right now... best window: 2016-2019. I wish this was more widely available than just in the restaurant in Chicago. I was gifted this bottle by Richard Funk the winemaker/owner at Saviah Cellars who took on the challenge of making this wine for Stephanie Izard - owner of Girl & the Goat. This wine is produced from his near perfect estate Petit Verdot vintage in Walla Walla during 2012. This is a superlative wine for drinking by itself and with food. I drank this with a coffee rubbed NY strip and it was a great match. 50% Petit Verdot, 25% Cab Sauv, 25% Cab Franc.
Red
10/6/2017 - djlevin wrote:
87 points
Wine Tasting Nightmare (Total Wine, Tempe, AZ): I am not sure I can even put this in the average Napa cab category. This is over-oaked and manipulated to add a soft, smooth texture at the expense of the freshness of the fruit. A young Napa cab should have fresh fruit, high acidity and tannins. This wine was short on all the character that makes a Napa cab special. For near the same price, try the Baldacci Four Brothers Cab Sauv and taste what a Napa cab should be at this price.
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Red
10/6/2017 - djlevin Does not like this wine:
87 points
Wine Tasting Nightmare (Total Wine, Tempe, AZ): We were told this wine was better than “The Prisoner” and once tasted, you will never go back. This “One Armed Man” tasted like it really needed the other arm. The wine tasted mostly like a cheap Paso or Lodi Zinfandel. The Prisoner blend doesn’t hit you in the face with the Zin and other varietals are added to bring tannins and acidity to the party. For a few dollars more, find The Prisoner on sale and enjoy.
Red
10/6/2017 - djlevin wrote:
88 points
Wine Tasting Nightmare (Total Wine, Tempe, AZ): The second of the two reasonable wines. This is a fair representation of a Chateauneuf du Pape and at this price point: a good effort. It misses the jammy fruit, tannins and acidic structure you would expect. On the other hand, it IS hard to find a good CDP for less than $40/btl.
Red
10/6/2017 - djlevin Does not like this wine:
79 points
Wine Tasting Nightmare (Total Wine, Tempe, AZ): Ugh, sweet medicinal cough syrup. ’nuff said.
Red
10/6/2017 - djlevin wrote:
88 points
Wine Tasting Nightmare (Total Wine, Tempe, AZ): The first reasonable quality wine of the night. This offered a fairly average representation of a typical Carneros Pinot Noir. I am not a big fan of all that fresh red cherry in these wines, but at least this one was pretty typical. Try Schug, or Acacia Carneros Pinot Noir instead for something a little more interesting at about the same price.
White
10/6/2017 - djlevin Does not like this wine:
86 points
Wine Tasting Nightmare (Total Wine, Tempe, AZ): This is a totally manipulated Chardonnay, with too much oak. There was a strong bitter flavor that often comes from a malolactic fermentation that did not go as planned. This is rich and buttery, but the fruit is not fresh and it should have had more acidity. Way down on my list. For less money, try the Sonoma-Cutrer Sonoma Coast Chardonnay and experience a proper entry level oaked Chardonnay.
White - Sparkling
10/6/2017 - djlevin Does not like this wine:
84 points
Wine Tasting Nightmare (Total Wine, Tempe, AZ): I have never tasted a Mailly Champagne I liked. This producer threw the time-honored Champagne flavor profiles out the window to make what they must think us crazy Americans will buy! Champagne should be clean and crisp and the bubbles should dance on your tongue. This was their Demi-Sec (slightly sweet) variety. The wine was thick and rich and cloyingly sweet. It had a strong bitter aftertaste. The typical yeasty smell of some champagnes was on the nose, but on the palate it seemed to add a buttery character to the wine. Save your money and buy some Mumm Cuvee instead, or spend a little extra to buy a Piper-Heidsieck Cuvee.
White
10/6/2017 - djlevin Does not like this wine:
86 points
Wine Tasting Nightmare (Total Wine, Tempe, AZ): What happened to Albrecht Pinot Gris? My memory of their wines puts them in the same category as Trimbach for quality. Maybe it was this vintage? This was tasteless with no aroma. For a similar price, try a Trimbach PG instead.
Red
10/7/2017 - djlevin Likes this wine:
91 points
Fruity nose of blackberry, plum and black currant with hints of leather and pepper. After 11 years this is still a BIG wine. All the black fruit comes through on the palate with loads of white pepper that turns to black pepper on the finish. The earth shows as brambly fruit and leather, beginning on the mid-palate and getting stronger during a very long finish. This wine is still very tannic and the acidity is high. The fruit is still fresh, but starting to show age. Best drinking window: 2016-2022. This drinks very much like a young Gigondas Southern Rhone wine heavy on Syrah in the blend. Personally, I can enjoy strong tannins, when the wine is complex and balanced like this. If you don't know Rhone wines, the closest domestic comparison would be young, robust Napa Cabernet Sauvignon. Like Napa Cabs, this varietal tends to pair well with BBQ and red meat. Aglianico is always a good value, always ages well and is the best varietal of Southern Italy!
Red
9/30/2017 - djlevin Likes this wine:
92 points
Soft decant and drank over three hours with a friend after dinner. The typical pretty, elegant Margaux character is very evident. What started out with a beautiful silky texture, thinned a bit after two hours. The very funky strong forest floor aroma lasted about the same time frame, before it blew off to reveal an interesting highly complex nose that was definitely not fruit forward. The nose was full of earth, leather, tobacco and graphite with a little blackberry. The palate is simpler leading with earth and graphite, followed by blackberry and plum, mid-palate of dark chocolate following through with a short finish. Still a highly structured wine, even after its age, having medium-high acidity and tannins and noticeable alcohol (not overwhelming). All in all a very nice, somewhat typical Margaux with most of what you would expect.
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Red
2010 Chateau Margene Cielo Rosso (Red Heaven) Paso Robles Sangiovese Blend, Sangiovese (view label images)
9/16/2017 - djlevin Likes this wine:
90 points
Super Tuscan blend of Cabernet & Sangiovese coming from this Paso Robles, CA producer. Very fruity nose of plum and raspberry, with a touch of herbal mint. The palate is very fruit forward and quite plummy with raspberry tones that blend to become boysenberry. Medium high acidity, low tannins and a touch of residual sugar. A bit of texture in the mouth. There is a medium-long finish of dark chocolate. Presents like a very fruity Super Tuscan. We drank most of this bottle with a coffee rubbed prime rib. It was a beautiful pairing. The bitterness of the coffee subdued the fruit and sweetness and produced a solid match. The last glass of the bottle on its own, left the impression of a better quality Apothic (http://www.apothic.com/) style wine, without all the oak and having better acidity. Soft, reasonable structure for a 7 year old wine, but needed to be paired with the right food. Without the coffee rubbed steak, a serious miss and a rating of 87. Should have been under $30/btl., for an easy drinking food-friendly wine. Poor value for the $45+ price.
White
8/14/2017 - djlevin Likes this wine:
89 points
I have to wonder, am I drinking a different wine than the others leaving notes on CellarTracker? Take note: you definitely have to be more of a White Burgundy fan, than a Cali Chard fan to enjoy this wine. Conflicting thoughts on this one... This wine is wound very tight, like a Crus Chablis might, without enough cellaring. On the pop, the nose is all bitter key lime, grapefruit and brine. Let the wine rest for 15 minutes and nose begins to blossom a bit. Definite honeysuckle and green apple comes to play in addition to the other aromas. Now, the alcohol comes forward - another Cali producer over-doing a white with 14% alcohol. The palate is complex. After 30 minutes sweet honeysuckle moves to the front and lime, grapefruit and brine moves to a well-defined mid-palate. The oak is not subtle here, but it adds interest by exaggerating the mouth-feel coming from the lees. The wine almost feels like heavy cream in the mouth. The acid level is high. This could easily age another five years. How would you feel about a 15 year aged Cali Chardonnay? The finish is very, very long with a lightly sweet-sour flavor that persists. This is like a better White Burgundy, missing the finesse. This should be drunk with specific foods to tame its wildness. The acidity would hold up well to the most buttery white cream sauce I can think of, in fact, linguini in a buttery rich white clam sauce is coming to mind! Drinking window easily until 2022.
White
8/13/2017 - djlevin Likes this wine:
91 points
The nose is complex with citrus and tropical fruits... candied lemon, bright fresh lemon, banana and pineapple. There is a tinge of alcohol and a kiss of minerality too. The palate is more straight-forward. Fresh lemon, bitter lemon rind leading to a lemon curd finish that has a touch of sweetness. The main impression here is of an understated wine, the nuances of which will not be experienced with food. I think the mouth-feel is still developing, so with very high acidity, I would let this rest a few more years to achieve the best tasting experience. This drinks very well now as a quality Cali Chard, but if you are willing to wait, I think this will mature to add another point or two to the rating.
2 people found this helpful Comment
White
8/13/2017 - djlevin Likes this wine:
91 points
At first pop, nice fruity candied meyer lemon on the nose that blows off after a few minutes. Nose settles down to a typical Cali Chard - lots of citrus, with some alcohol and a touch of concrete minerality. Very high acidity and well integrated alcohol. The palate is all citrus up front, with a mid-palate of bitter lemon rind and medium-long finish with a hint of vanilla. This wine is elevated by the mouth-feel. It has a delicate, silky texture that significantly enhances the drinking experience without food. With food, could be an excellent pairing with a citrus marinated pork loin. This is big enough to handle a few more years in the cellar, but is definitely in its drinking window now. Enjoy!
Red
7/23/2017 - djlevin Likes this wine:
91 points
Aglianico - as usual drinks well past its price point. Fruity nose of plum, blackberry and boysenberry with bramble and dirt to add complexity. Good structure after 8 years in the bottle... medium tannins and high acidity. After 20 mins. to breathe, develops a slightly silky mouth-feel. Mid-palate has bramble and dark chocolate with stewed plums on the finish. Enough tannins to enjoy with the steak I have grilling. I enjoy wines with at least medium tannins, so this wine is near the end of its drinking window. Drink up!
Red
6/7/2017 - djlevin Likes this wine:
90 points
Red and black cherry on the nose with a slightly funky forest floor note. More complex and slightly bigger than usual for a nero d'avola. Fruit forward with black cherry and a touch of black plum on the palate. A straight forward fruity approach, with medium acidity and low tannins. The interesting aspect here is the soft, round texture. Mouth-filling for a lighter wine. Drinks like a good Oregon pinot noir on steroids!
2 people found this helpful Comment
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