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Tasting Notes for djlevin

(293 notes on 284 wines)

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White
9/26/2021 - djlevin Likes this wine:
94 points
This is the highest rating I have given a white wine. The wine is dinking so well right now. The first bottle in 2017 showed so much promise and I feel like that promise has been realized. I am not sure I will ever drink a young Rhys chardonnay again. I hope all their vintages age like this! The nose is full of rich candied lemon and pineapple aromas. The palate is of candied lemon rind, pineapple and papaya leading to a lemon mousse finish that is very fruity. This a wonderful expression of New World Chardonnay that takes on just enough Old World character to make it fit in both categories. The acidity is still very high, so would be perfect for parings with seafood, or dishes with white sauces, but to pick-up the nuances, drink this wine on its own and find a new flavor with every sip. The mouth-feel is fully developed. The viscosity is like melted butter (where did that come from?), developing since the first bottle in 2017. This may mature well in the next couple years, but drinking now will not disappoint.
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Red
9/13/2021 - djlevin Likes this wine:
89 points
Nose is subdued, with a touch of red fruit. Nice low alcohol approach. Barely fruit forward, with an attack of very fresh under-ripe, tart red cherry. Very simple taste profile. High acidity and medium tannin. Very balanced food wine with a very fresh fruit appeal. Short finish. Fabulous QPR for a red at $15/btl.
Red
9/11/2021 - djlevin wrote:
89 points
Alcohol and blackberry with plum on the nose. Palate is very fruit forward with blackberry, black plum and some boysenberry compote. Med+ acidity and low tannin. Medium length fruity finish. Very simple flavor profile with lots of fruity character. The oak has not integrated well and there is a touch of residual sugar. Too much fruit to pair well with the home-made Pepperoni pizza we paired it with. A cocktail wine through and through. The good acidity saves the day here. Decent QPR for a Napa Chiles Valley Cab at the $20/btl paid for a half case from a flash site. Could be a better drinking experience in a year, or two more of bottle age.
Red
9/4/2021 - djlevin Likes this wine:
92 points
This wine continues to improve with bottle age. Alcohol dominates the nose with fresh blackberry and plum. The palate follows thru and adds black cherry. The fruit is very fresh and almost sweet, without residual sugar. The alcohol is well integrated on the palate. There is high acidity and medium tannins. The finish is medium+ in length and very fruity. The texture is uber smooth. A fairly balanced approach that could continue to improve with another 3-4 years in the bottle. The last five Justin vintages (or so) have done a decent job of threading the needle between a New World taste, with an Old World sensibility. Still more fruit forward than I would prefer and the fruit over-powers any attempt at complexity.
Red
9/4/2021 - djlevin wrote:
91 points
I am always so conflicted when judging these Napa cabs made to chase after that "cult" profile. Your impression of this wine will be very dependent on whether you have an Old World, or New World palate. This wine is drinking like a better Caymus, or Silver Oak Cab right now. A popular wine profile, but not my favorite. The 7&8 estate vineyard is located at the highest point on Spring Mtn., but it doesn't drink like wine from mountain fruit. The Pride Mountain vineyards are right next store, but this wine is nothing like Pride in style. If you enjoy this approach to winemaking, this bottle would probably merit a mid-90s score. The nose is full of alcohol, with little else. The freshness of the fruit is mostly gone and the new oak did not integrate well. This wine is still fruit forward after 14 years aging in the bottle, with black currant, blackberry and black plum on the palate. The profile is fairly simple tho. Only a touch of dark chocolate on the mid-palate adds complexity. The wine has medium+ acidity and medium- tannin. The tannin has mostly resolved at this point and the wine is very smooth. The finish is medium length and tapers off leaving alcohol as the last impression. There is no noticeable residual sugar. This style of wine is off balance for me, with a texture and richness that approaches a stewed fruit profile. I can acknowledge that many wine enthusiasts will enjoy this wine, but in Napa, I much prefer aged Pride, or O'Shaughnessy mountain cabs instead. This has enough acidity to pair well with rich foods, but tended to overwhelm the flavors from the steak we paired it with.
Red
8/20/2021 - djlevin Likes this wine:
92 points
I look at the earlier tasting notes on Cellartracker and can't help but wonder, what are they expecting? This is/was an Old World style Barolo. Needs 20 years in the bottle to shine. I look at the CT recommended drinking window... expecting a classic Barolo to drink well with less than 10 yrs. in the bottle is not fair. I popped my first one last night at 14 years and I enjoyed it very much, but for some, the tannin might still be too much. IMO, this wine is drinking really well right now, but another 3-5 yrs and this Barolo will be positively singing. Decanted for an hour. Nose is very closed for a Barolo. Just some alcohol, tar and red fruit. The palate is raspberry, black cherry and red plum, tar and a touch of wood. The fruit is really holding up nicely as the wine ages. Structure is superb: high acid with medium+ tannin. I enjoyed the mouthfeel. Tannin is integrated, but mouth-filling, rather than drying. It is missing the Barolo signature floral nose/palate and could use more complexity to add interest. The finish was lengthy with a touch of dark chocolate bitterness and tar to round it out.
Red
8/11/2021 - djlevin Likes this wine:
94 points
OK, we know Brunello IS Sangiovese, but wow, is it different than Chianti. Not the flavors, but the texture, mouthfeel, tannin and finish.

Nose is full of alcohol, but you can make out the red/black cherry, leather and earth. Upon open, the alcohol is integrated and the palate is full of red and black cherry, this transitions to black plum as it continues to open. Mid-palate of leather and a bit of dark chocolate. A long finish that adds a herbal mint character. Tannins and acidity are high, even after 11 years in the bottle, but are somewhat muted and softening. Another 3-5 years and this wine will be exceptional. The tannin is finely textured and presenting a wonderful mouthfeel, not really silky… yet. The clarity and freshness of fruit is spectacular. This wine is clearly Old World Italian, a little lighter in weight and would be great either on its own, or accompanying a red meat/red sauce dish. This Brunello is aging really well. I am looking forward to popping the next bottle in three years…
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Red
6/13/2021 - djlevin Likes this wine:
90 points
The Grenache is very forward on the nose and palate with this CdP blend. Fruity nose with a palate of strawberry, rhubarb and boysenberry. There is a very jammy richness that becomes sour as it persists. A fresh black pepper flavor dominates the flavor profile, but is offset well by the fruit. High alcohol wine, but well integrated. Leave this in the cellar too long and the fruit will subside, allowing the black pepper to dominate. This is a drink now wine. Medium tannins and medium plus acidity. Nice balanced structure. Rather simple taste profile, without much complexity. A medium length bitter finish. Decent value in a rather simple, but pleasant CdP.
Red
6/28/2020 - djlevin Likes this wine:
92 points
My last of three bottles purchased at auction about five years ago. Ladera is one of our preferred Napa Valley producers. Popped and let it rest for around 30M. Opened up beautifully. Fruity nose of black and red fruits. For an 18 year old Napa Cab, this was drinking beautifully. Still very fruit forward, with blackberry, black cherry and raspberry notes. Med+ acidity and Med- tannin. Superb mouthfeel. Aged well, with great balance for a big wine. Crazy long finish. Can't imagine a better drinking window than this. Took a couple points off the rating, as this is a cocktail wine thru and thru. Since wine is really meant to be enjoyed paired with food, I fight with myself rating these Napa Cabs. If you have em, drink em up.
Red
4/13/2020 - djlevin wrote:
91 points
Pleasant nose of blackberry, boysenberry and black currant. Alcohol is noticeable, but not overwhelming. Simple wine profile with medium tannins and medium acidity. Palate is very fruit-forward with black currant, cassis, dark chocolate on the attack and a mid-palate adding a bit too much oak, browned butter and a touch of leather. A medium length finish highlighting the cassis and dark chocolate flavors. A touch of residual sugar enhanced by the slightly higher alcohol level. Enjoyable wine, built to be drunk now, or hold until 2024.
3 people found this helpful Comment
Red
2016 Château Monbousquet St. Émilion Grand Cru Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
4/4/2020 - djlevin Likes this wine:
92 points
Wound tight on opening, primarily alcohol on the nose and closed on the palate. Opens up after 2+ hours in the decanter. Mouth-filling wine showing good body and a plush, fine-grain tannin texture. Alcohol is noticeable, but not overwhelming with medium tannins and medium+ acidity. Aromatic nose of blackberry, black currant and flowers (violets?). Simple wine profile, fruit-forward with black currant, cassis and dark chocolate on the attack and a mid-palate adding leather and a touch of green bellpepper. A medium length finish highlighting the cassis and dark chocolate flavors. Enjoyable wine, built to be drunk earlier than typical Bordeaux. Not enough tannins and acidity to extend the drinking window past 2024.
2 people found this helpful Comment
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.
1 person found this helpful Comment
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.
1 person found this helpful Comment
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.
1 person found this helpful Comment
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.
1 person found this helpful Comment
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.
5 people found this helpful Comment
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.
2 people found this helpful Comment
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.
2 people found this helpful Comment
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.
1 person found this helpful Comment
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.
1 person found this helpful Comment
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.
3 people found this helpful Comment
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.
1 person found this helpful Comment
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.
1 person found this helpful Comment
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.
1 person found this helpful Comments (1)
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.
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  • Tasting Notes: 293 notes on 284 wines
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