Comments on my notes

(113 comments on 113 notes)

1 - 50 of 113 Sort order
White
2016 Domaine Labet Chardonnay Côtes du Jura Les Varrons
6/23/2020 - isaacjamesbaker wrote:
94 points
Good lord this was fantastic. Deep yellow color. Nose shows briny, green olive, natty goodness, but also it opens up to show complex floral, savory tones. Precise and intense on the palate, rushing and thrilling in a downhill rapids into the ocean kind of feel here. Lemon peel, orange peel, apricot fruit, with shaved ginger, oyster shell, minerals and olive brine. Beautiful stuff that I'd love to revisit in three or five years.
  • isaacjamesbaker commented:

    6/24/20, 10:50 AM - Rallerboy, I wouldn't call consuming this now infanticide, as it has a ton going on and is really exciting at this point. I'm curious about three years or so, but this would kick ass on any 2020 summer day.

Red
2017 Cliff Lede Cabernet Sauvignon Stags Leap District
6/9/2020 - isaacjamesbaker wrote:
91 points
Dark purple color. On the nose, I get dark currant, black cherries, with smoky earth, tar, charcoal, graphite, with notes of vanilla. On the palate, this is full-bodied, velvety but structured, fresh acidity provides a mouthwatering aspect throughout. Juicy black currants and blueberries with complex notes of graphite, mocha, anise, sweet coffee, black tea. Some earthy, savory undertones will come out more with age (3-5 would do nicely), but this is beautiful stuff. Aged 21 months in 65% new French oak.
  • isaacjamesbaker commented:

    6/12/20, 5:53 PM - 2015 for me, really knocked it out of the park with this wine, this vintage seems a notch or two below that. Accessible younger though, and the freshness is really nice so I'd love to see how it ages.

White
2018 MicroBio Wines Correcaminos Vino de la Tierra de Castilla y León Verdejo
10/25/2019 - Elycohn Likes this wine:
92 points
Middle school between 1995 and 2010? Then you know. This is Cool Ranch Doritos. So bizarre but so true and not at all derogatory. Sour cream, ranch, dill, white cheddar, and fermented pineapple. So much salt and though it can wear thin, this is too much fun.
  • isaacjamesbaker commented:

    3/17/20, 1:03 PM - I lol'd at this note. Great stuff.

Red
2018 Turley Zinfandel Dogtown Vineyard Lodi
2/27/2020 - isaacjamesbaker wrote:
93 points
Bright ruby color. Gorgeous nose of raspberries, strawberries and cherries, lovely freshness but a lot of deeper tones too, dusty earth, violets, warm mulling spices. On the palate, the acidity is super fresh, the tannins are fine and frame the wine well, lovely balance. Raspberry, strawberry and red apple fruit, mixing with delightful tones of clove rose petals, sage. So bright, elegant and precise, very easy to drink now but I’d love to see this in five or six years. From a vineyard planted in 1944, own-rooted, head-tread vines, this is a very special Zinfandel.
  • isaacjamesbaker commented:

    2/28/20, 5:20 AM - It was a sample for review. I wish I could get some for my cellar!

White
2014 Grgich Hills Chardonnay Napa Valley
1/20/2020 - isaacjamesbaker Likes this wine:
92 points
This is holding up really well. Lovely depth, creaminess, but also plenty of minerals, saline. Plush but integrated. Delicious with brunch at Cafe Boulud.
  • isaacjamesbaker commented:

    1/21/20, 8:43 AM - OOPS! Thanks!

Red
2018 Dirty and Rowdy Mourvèdre 'ESPECIAL' Rodnick Farm Chalone
10/11/2019 - MartyL wrote:
94 points
I’m not sure I should really be allowed to write notes on the D&R Especial. My enthusiasm for this wine is just beyond rational proportions at this point, so take this with a grain or three of salt.

Anyway, while my last bottle of this took some time to open up after opening, shining brightest on day 2, this one was singing from the outset. Immediately on popping the cork, you get effusive aromas of red fruit, mainly raspberry. Light red in the glass, and soft and light on the palate. Like my previous note, the phrase dangerously glou glou comes to mind. It’s just so juicy and joyful. I think Keith once called a previous vintage of this something like a “Happy Funball.” This bottle was very much in that mode.
  • isaacjamesbaker commented:

    12/1/19, 2:59 PM - Great notes. I'm totally with you.

White - Sweet/Dessert
2005 Château Guiraud Sauternes Sémillon-Sauvignon Blanc Blend
11/1/2019 - isaacjamesbaker wrote:
92 points
Delicious stuff, rich and honeyed and waxy, but showing moderate acidity as well. Complex ginger, clover, honey, candle wax, marmalade and floral tones. Could definitely use more time to develop, as it seems still quite dense.
  • isaacjamesbaker commented:

    11/6/19, 8:32 AM - Oregon - for my palate, I could use a jolt of more acidity in this wine. That's the one thing that keeps me skeptical about aging this for a really long time. Still, it took a lot of time and air to get the flavors going. I should've decanted this.

Red
2016 Château La Croix St Pierre Grande Réserve Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux Red Bordeaux Blend
7/26/2019 - isaacjamesbaker wrote:
89 points
Cotes de Bordeaux Trip; 7/23/2019-7/27/2019: A bit more concentrated on the nose but still all red fruit, with menthol, incense and floral potpourri notes. Medium tannins, plush texture, medium acidity. Red plums and juicy cherries with menthol, pepper, mint, earth. Pretty but complex. 2016 – I am loving this vintage so much, and this wine overdelivers for the price point. Merlot with 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Malbec.
  • isaacjamesbaker commented:

    10/11/19, 9:09 AM - Thanks for catching that, Mike!

White
2005 Edmond Vatan Sancerre Clos la Néore Sauvignon Blanc
9/14/2019 - amenenberg Likes this wine:
98 points
This is otherworldly. The nose wafts a crazy cornucopia of waxy golden raisin, Thai basil, honeycomb, kiwi, peach, crushed rock minerality, cantaloupe and spearmint. The palate is spry but delivers seriously hefty layers in a mind-blowing juxtaposition. The flavors are crazy cool, delivering serious star fruit, Sichuan spicy, honeyed mellon, poached pear, poached peach, grapefruit, Calvados, rose water, kiwi and spearmint. It’s entering a transecendal phase.
  • isaacjamesbaker commented:

    9/15/19, 4:21 AM - Killer note - killer wine.

Red - Fortified
1983 Dow Porto Vintage Port Blend
8/21/2019 - isaacjamesbaker wrote:
flawed
Soaked cork. Tired, oxidized. Damn.
  • isaacjamesbaker commented:

    8/22/19, 5:03 PM - Bad bottle. In proper condition, this should be rocking right now and holding for many more. Sadly my bottle was in bad shape.

White
2013 Knez Winery Chardonnay Demuth Vineyard Anderson Valley
7/17/2019 - isaacjamesbaker wrote:
94 points
Wow, I was not expecting this to be so damned good, but I was blown away. Medium gold color. Lovely, complex aromas of golden apples and apricots, along with sea salt, shaved ginger, honey and graham crackers. Pristine acidity on the palate and a lovely creamy texture, this is deep yet so alive and tingling. Lemon curd, apricot, apples, laced with ginger, hay, peanut brittle notes. There's an insane amount of underlying minerality here, with chalk dust and mountain stream elements. Killer stuff that was stored well since release.
  • isaacjamesbaker commented:

    7/17/19, 8:25 PM - Thays awesome. DC is a great place - Cheers! I wish I had some 2014s!

Red
2016 Henri Jouan Coteaux Bourguignons Cuvée Thomas Pinot Noir
3/11/2019 - isaacjamesbaker wrote:
89 points
Deep cherry colored. Nose shows impressive depth of fruit (lots of red and black cherries, raspberries) along with red licorice, rose petals and earth. Dusty/light tannins with zippy acidity. Crunchy, tart cherries, raspberries, pomegranate, red apple peel - there is a ton of fruit in here, but also some spicy tobacco and rhubarb notes underneath. Light and accessible but not simple, I'll hold off on opening another for a few years if I can, though, as even this level of wine from Jouan deserves some time to evolve.
  • isaacjamesbaker commented:

    4/24/19, 6:34 AM - I agree - and it's one o the things I love about these wines - that bright, red-fruited, crunchy kind of appeal. Cheers!

Red
2015 La Jota Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain
3/22/2019 - isaacjamesbaker wrote:
95 points
Bright purple color. Gorgeous aromatics that shift and evolve wonderfully: dark currants, black cherries, complex waves of graphite, smashed rocks, menthol, tobacco, espresso, violets. The palate is full but suave, and the tannins show grip but rounded edges, while the acidity is really bright and keeps me salivating. Pure black currant and tart blackberry fruit is laced with tobacco leaf, graphite, violets, mint, coffee, dark chocolate, espresso. Air does wonders to this wine, so I’d recommend a serious decant if opening in the next few years, otherwise feel free to properly cellar this and forget about it for a long time. Includes a combined 25% Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot. Aged 22 months in 65% new French oak.
  • isaacjamesbaker commented:

    3/24/19, 11:48 AM - It really is, Mark. This vintage is something else.

Red
2013 Early Mountain Vineyards Eluvium Madison County Red Blend
Nose shows dusty earth, tobacco smoke and black pepper on top of tangy black currants and cherries. The palate shows refreshing acidity and push tannins, along with tangy red and black currants and cherries. I like the anise, ginger snap and herbal tea elements to this wine. I also get dusty earth, leather. Lively but structured, tangy but complex, this has a few more years of evolution ahead of it easily. A blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot.
  • isaacjamesbaker commented:

    1/22/19, 5:54 AM - I dont but may seek some out. It's a really beautifully balanced wine, three years or so would be a great place to check in.

Red
2014 Cameron Pinot Noir Ribbon Ridge
5/28/2018 - isaacjamesbaker wrote:
92 points
Medium ruby color. Aromas of smoky, dusty earth, violets, clove, and a cool salted pork note, on top of raspberries and red cherries. Plush yet structured tannins and crisp acidity and tangy raspberries and strawberries. Beef jerky, smoke, mushroom, earth, minerals, library dust, rose petals. Lovely stuff. Wish I had more to hold for three or four years.
  • isaacjamesbaker commented:

    1/9/19, 2:01 PM - Haha thanks!

Red
2000 Cayuse Syrah Coccinelle Vineyard Walla Walla Valley
1/5/2019 - amenenberg wrote:
95 points
Savory and sweet nose, it’s mesmerizing in its cornucopia of aromas. Hard to do it justice, but: sweet and lean compote of baking spice, olive topenade, stewed red and black berries, several varieties of plums, thick cut bacon, and lavender. The lingering scents are sherry and maraschino cherry. It’s full bodied, but also perfectly leaned by juicy acid. It’s by no means a structural wimp, but the tannins are elegant and refined. The palate is quite similar to the nose, but better as it adds a lovely spice that brings another level of complexity. Among the best wines I’ve had. And, by no means done.
  • isaacjamesbaker commented:

    1/6/19, 5:16 AM - Killer stuff and killer note!

White - Sparkling
N.V. Laurent-Perrier Champagne Harmony Demi-Sec Champagne Blend
£77/btl at a provincial hotel. This was lovely; I was nervous it would be too sweet but the sweetness actually imparted a lovely creaminess to the texture without ever becoming cloying or off putting. I feel like I learned a lesson on this.
  • isaacjamesbaker commented:

    12/13/18, 6:35 PM - Great comment - same thing, here! I wasn't expecting to like this at all, but it was lovely and creamy, still vibrant. Cheers!

White
2013 Franz Hirtzberger Riesling Smaragd Singerriedel Wachau
10/14/2018 - isaacjamesbaker wrote:
95 points
Bob n Caitlin's wedding: No detailed notes, but words would fail anyway. This slays.
  • isaacjamesbaker commented:

    10/24/18, 7:20 AM - Haha - thanks!

White
2017 François Chidaine Sauvignon Touraine
9/5/2018 - isaacjamesbaker wrote:
90 points
I'm a worshipper of Chidaine's Chenins, but this is my first attempt at this Sauv Blanc. For $15, this is so killer. Salty, lemons, white peaches, chalk dust, crushed rocks on the nose. Lovely depth of texture on the palate with pristine acidity. Lovely mineral depth and chalk dust along with white flowers and crushed rocks. All this on top of pretty white peach, lychee and lemon curd flavors. Balance is on point. Delicious.
  • isaacjamesbaker commented:

    9/7/18, 11:55 AM - Morris Miller Wines on Georgia Ave!

Red
2003 Domaine du Galet des Papes Châteauneuf-du-Pape Red Rhone Blend
11/21/2015 - isaacjamesbaker wrote:
90 points
Pale ruby color, and the capsule showed some evidence of light seepage, so I was a bit sketched out about this bottle. Pulled the cork, let the wine get some air for two hours, and I was shocked at how well it started showing. Nose of rich strawberry jam, roasted figs, smoke, sweet herbs. On the palate it's full-bodied and rich, of course, with a bold texture and medium-low acid. Rich fruit (baked figs, blackberry jam, sweet cranberry sauce), this is still lively and fruity, but I get lots in the non-fruit realm: roasted coffee, anise cookie, charcoal pit, sweet tobacco, smoke, pine tar. Actually drank this with some homemade Cincinnati chili. Crazy-ass pairing, but my wife and I enjoyed it. Impressive for an auction buy at $20. There's still a lot to like in some old 2003s.
  • isaacjamesbaker commented:

    8/7/18, 10:49 AM - Nice! Stoked it held up for you too. Cheers!

Red
2012 Terras d'Alter Sete Linhas Vinho Regional Alentejano Alicante Bouschet
3/3/2018 - Claw Dee Puss Likes this wine:
92 points
3 hour decant. 16%. Só Alicante Bouschet.
Deepest evil purple - classic Alicante in the nose - big and full in the mouth - little sign of the significant alcohol - hints of rough around the edges, but some serious chewy yum at the same time - decent finish - nice wine.
  • isaacjamesbaker commented:

    6/20/18, 10:42 AM - Deepest evil purple - yep! Cheers!

Red
2009 Copain Syrah Brosseau Vineyard Chalone
5/6/2018 - isaacjamesbaker wrote:
94 points
Copain Syrah Tasting (My Place - Washington, DC): My wine of the night – just a stunner. Dark purple color and lots of rich but tangy black and blue fruit on the nose, along with a deep sense of violets and scorched earth. Fleshy and plump on the palate but structured tannins and refreshing acidity. Blackberry and blueberry fruit, laced with smoke, violets, anise, black pepper, and a pervasive sense of minerals and iron. Gorgeous stuff that has years to go.
  • isaacjamesbaker commented:

    5/8/18, 12:19 PM - Thanks, Frank - man, I tell ya, Wells' stuff from Brosseau is simply gorgeous!!

White
2015 Bodegas del Marqués de Vargas Albariño Rías Baixas Pazo San Mauro
4/22/2017 - Martin Redmond Likes this wine:
89 points
Rias Baixas Albarino; Snooth VT: Pale yellow color with melon, pear, citrus and a bit of sea shell aromas. On the palate it's light-bodied, crisp with fresh lemony acidity and pear, apple, and lemon flavor with an appealing minerality. Medium finish 12.5% abv
  • isaacjamesbaker commented:

    5/5/17, 12:40 PM - Oooh, you cheated and tasted early! ;-)

Red
2012 Qupé Syrah Santa Barbara County
10/25/2015 - isaacjamesbaker wrote:
90 points
Deep-ruby color. Jammy black cherries on the nose along with a whole lot of black pepper, add in some smoke and beef broth. Medium-plus-bodied, dusty tannins, refreshing acid, adds up for a silky but fresh mouthfeel. Juicy yet tart fruit (black cherries, red and black currants). Lots of smoke, charcoal, graphite and black pepper. Mocha and cedar notes woven in well. Good to go, but I’d like to revisit this in three years to see more of these savory elements. Mostly Bien Nacido fruit with 25% from the Sawyer Lindquist Vineyard, the wine is aged 22 months in 25% new oak.
  • isaacjamesbaker commented:

    4/23/17, 3:52 AM - It is St-Joseph-esque. Glad to hear it's holding up. So good for the $$

White
2013 Smith-Madrone Chardonnay Spring Mountain District
9/17/2016 - btock wrote:
90 points
Californian fruit intensity with Austrian precision. High degree of focus and structure. Even more focus than more Chablis, albeit with deeper/darker fruit presentation. Lemony core, never gets into either the buttery or tropical ends where CA Chard can sometimes travel. Good food wine, especially good seafood wine. Plenty of time to enjoy this.
  • isaacjamesbaker commented:

    3/3/17, 1:38 PM - California fruit, Austrian precision - great way to describe this!

White
2014 Cameron Pinot Gris Rouge de Gris Dundee Hills
2/25/2017 - isaacjamesbaker wrote:
90 points
Dinner at Mandu w/ the old crew: Very cool wine. Classic Cameron stamp on this one, but it's bright and fresh despite some serious grip from the tannins. Juicy red cherries and red apples mixed with complex tobacco, pepper, herbs, incense smoke.
  • isaacjamesbaker commented:

    3/3/17, 11:23 AM - Thanks man. Just go to Add Tasting Event and then you can collect all notes from that date into one event. Cheers!

Red
2013 Anthill Farms Pinot Noir Campbell Ranch Vineyard Sonoma Coast
7/16/2016 - terroir junkie Likes this wine:
92 points
Unfiltered light ruby, with GORGEOUS aromatics. Silkier and drinking wonderfully right off the bat without the youthful grip of it’s sibling the ’13 Peters. Slightly prettier too, this is an elegant and understated beauty showing their signature flavors of wild strawberry and cherry, citrus blossom, cola, deep damp earth, baking spice, and savory tomato skin. But at 12.9%abv it’s almost as much about what’s NOT in this bottle than what is. Absolutely fantastic winemaking, and as always my hat goes off to the Anthill Farms team.
  • isaacjamesbaker commented:

    1/29/17, 11:42 AM - Great note. Such purity and freshness in this wine - you nailed it.

White
2014 Kutch Chardonnay Santa Cruz Mountains
12/18/2016 - isaacjamesbaker wrote:
95 points
Medium yellow color. What a crazy/awesome aromatic burst: lemon curd, lime peel, papaya, topped with crushed shells, chalk dusty, mountain stream, integrated notes of honeyed tea and toasted almond. Holy smokes. On the palate, this is medium/light bodied but not lacking in mouthfeel. So tangy and lively with its acidity, but balanced by richness of fruit (lemon curd, lime peel, tangerine). I get a complex host of sea salt, almond, floral perfume, chalk dust, mineral water, and kisses of cinnamon and green tea. Precise and nervy but so damned delicious, it tingles the palate for so long after the sip goes down. One of the most dynamic, thrilling and profound America Chardonnays I have tasted in a long time. A blend of two sites, Trout Gulch and Zayanta, this is barrel fermented (20% new oak) and aged 18 months.
  • isaacjamesbaker commented:

    1/4/17, 5:23 AM - Thanks, Matt. With a wine like this, just sit back and let it speak to you. Such good stuff! Cheers!

Red
2014 Domaine Christian Ducroux Exspectatia Vin de France Gamay
12/18/2015 - bevetroppo Likes this wine:
88 points
As documented in numerous notes regarding natural wines from the Loire, this is an exsercise (sic) in label solipsism, or viewed another way, like a vinous TS Eliot or Ezra Pound, the winemaker is basically saying if you don't want to do the homework, it's your problem, not mine.

Stupid spelling. Vin de France. No assistance of any kind on the label and in fact you have to put on your reading glasses and decode something that the Enigma Engine encrypted on the bottom of the back label just to figure out the vintage.

In fairness, my brother gave me this bottle, and I think he said it's from Beaujolais but I can't remember for sure why it's not entitled to an appellation, even after reading a typically servile, fawning, and revolting ly fanboyish blog post by Alice Feiring he showed me (OK, I was already half in the bag at the time).

Unfortunately for me I opened this bottle a week later before consulting the "When Wine" biodynamic app, which says "no," today is a leaf day. So since this is a super-natural product from the first whiff, I'm doing it or myself no favors by foolishly opening it at the wrong time.

If these are enough caveats, let's have at it. This screams raw unfinished wine like some of the aforementioned Loire's I've had, and since they grow gamay up there too, it has more in common to me with the Loire than Beaujolais. There's a raw red berry fruit impression, backed up with substantial notes of funky, herbal, slaty earth and white pepper in the nose. Intensely winy, light to medium body, fleeting tannins and sharp acids complete the picture. Changes rapidly as it slides around the palate, like it doesn't want to be pinned down. Just 11.5% labeled alcohol, which is why I'm able to write such a cogent note (?) after snarfing the whole bottle. It's possible it could add some weight and/or depth with a few years but I'm not good enough to project on the basis of this evidence.

I don't think I'm going out on a limb to say this isn't for everyone. Every aspect of Alice Feiring I'm aware of is polarizing, so welcome to the party.
  • isaacjamesbaker commented:

    12/5/16, 8:35 AM - Hilarious comment!

White - Sparkling
N.V. A. R. Lenoble Champagne Cuvée Intense Brut Champagne Blend
11/22/2016 - randyjc wrote:
88 points
Great price and passable wine. Soft tree fruits - pear and a tiny bit of apricot. Some citrus component but mostly a bread dough yeasty nose and palate. Reasonably good and the price was right. But what's a champagne doing with a silly name like "Intense?" Sounds like something out of California.
  • isaacjamesbaker commented:

    11/24/16, 4:24 AM - I had the same thought about "Intense." I once drank a Brazilian sparkler called Intenso but lameness in Champagne is far less tolerable.

Red
2014 Briceland Vineyards Pinot Noir Humboldt County
1/19/2016 - CMN Likes this wine:
91 points
I received this wine when I came home from work today and decided to crack it open. Pours a dark cherry red. Nose of red fruits, a little spice and a clean baking powder note.

Flavors of red cherries, rhubarb, orange rind and a green herbal note. The orange rind surprised me as I don't recall this in earlier vintages of the wine, but it was definitely present, becoming particularly noticeable on the finish. Medium bodied, balanced, with good acidity and concentration. I couldn't help thinking that this was Humboldt County's parallel to the Rivers Marie Sonoma Coast PN. 13.1%abv. Really good.
  • isaacjamesbaker commented:

    11/15/16, 7:18 AM - "Humboldt County's parallel to the Rivers Marie Sonoma Coast PN" - great insight. I had the same exact comparison in my head.

Red
2007 Domaine de L'Arnesque Châteauneuf-du-Pape Capelane Grenache Blend, Grenache
It's got that classic 2007 vibrant plum color. Aromatically, I can smell this from a few feet away. Really extracted and saucy on the nose, with raspberry and cherry jam, also some leaves. On the palate this wine is all over the place. It doesn't have much as far as acid and tannins go, and it's really astringent. Lots of grape stems, dirty red fruit and bitter coffee flavors. There's a real bitterness to this wine, like sucking on a magic marker, similar to what I've found in some Eastern European cabernets. It's not particularly faulted, it's just not very good. Maybe 2007 vintage CdPs are in a strange spot these days? Or maybe this is just a poorly made wine. Or a combination of both. Whatever the case, this wasn't the most pleasant experience, and I ended up leaving the bottle at a neighbors' place.
  • isaacjamesbaker commented:

    10/4/16, 6:48 PM - Sven - what? "Acidity (tannin)" Not sure what you mean. I love a lot of 2007 CdPs, but these wines are strikingly low in acidity.

Red
2012 Kosta Browne Pinot Noir Russian River Valley
10/2/2016 - JR_Boston wrote:
92 points
Too much acid
  • isaacjamesbaker commented:

    10/3/16, 11:01 AM - Really? Never experienced or heard that from any KB, let alone 2012. It's all preference, of course, but they're not known for being high or even medium acid wines.

Red
2013 McCay Cellars Grenache Abba Vineyard Lodi
9/28/2016 - Martin Redmond Likes this wine:
91 points
Ruby color with perfumed red fruit, sweet spice (including an appealing kiss of cardomom), red licorice and lavender aromas. On the palate it's light-bodied, elegant, and concentrated with very good acidity and velvety tannins. It shows cherry, raspberry, cola and spice flavors with a bit of minerality showing up on a very giving finish.
  • isaacjamesbaker commented:

    9/29/16, 11:35 AM - Yeah man, this wine was really impressive. Great note. Wish I had another bottle for the cellar!

White
2014 La Lunotte Le Haut Plessis Vin de France Menu Pineau, Arbois
9/21/2016 - isaacjamesbaker wrote:
90 points
Light gold color, a bit cloudy but no worries. Unique nose of preserved lemon and quince, potpourri, nettle and briny ocean jetty. Medium-light-bodied with racy acidity. Bitter lemon meets quince and melon rind, and the fruit is laced with minerals and complex spicy/herbal notes. Precise and clean but also exotic and flashy. Tingling, mineral-heavy finish, this would verge on the austere if it wasn't so damned delicious. A very interesting wine made from Menu Pineau grown in Coufy, near Clos Roche Blanche.
  • isaacjamesbaker commented:

    9/27/16, 4:55 AM - Thanks, Charlie. It's wines like these that get me angry when people dismiss "natural" wines (however defined) as lazy, faulty, off bottles.

White
1997 Willi Schaefer Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Mosel Saar Ruwer
I think Isaac's note below is spot on, and I got a good dose of lychee/exotic fruit as well. But if I were to give this wine a number score, I'd definitely go higher than 87 (probably more like a 91). Wines like this make me regret not cellaring more Riesling. So good.
  • isaacjamesbaker commented:

    8/21/16, 4:43 PM - Yeah, I think I lowballed this one. Just popped another bottle and it was on point. Cheers!

Rosé
2015 Matthiasson Rosé Napa Valley Rosé Blend
5/1/2016 - chablis28 wrote:
92 points
I'd been dreading and shuffling around this btl since the day I bought it. I walked out of the wine shop and thought, "shit, I paid $22 for domestic rose', am I crazy?" Well, I finally opened it and must admit my fears of wasting $22 were completely unfounded. If rose' can be "ethereal", this is it. The color is somewhere between medium gold and pale salmon. The aromas are delicate strawberry and peach. The strawberry and peach carry over to the palate along with melon, bitter orange and other illusive orchard / citrus flavors. This rose' should be saved for a moment when you might spend sometime pondering its weightless, almost not there, complexity. Drink another rose' when you just want quaffable pink while you're thinking of anything else but the wine. Not a steal but fascinating and a very pleasant surprise. I still struggle with paying $20 plus for rose though :). 11.6% Alc.
  • isaacjamesbaker commented:

    7/19/16, 5:45 AM - Yeah, this note is spot on. I feel the same about this wine, but paying $25 for this is a no-brainer. It's a phenomenal wine that just happens to be a rose!

White
2014 Dragonette Cellars Chardonnay Duvarita Vineyard Santa Barbara County
7/11/2016 - isaacjamesbaker wrote:
92 points
Blind California Whites: Medium gold color. Aromas of lemon curd, oranges, caramel apple, along with a kick of minerals, chalk and shells — this is quite exciting to sniff. Medium-full-bodied, I love the mouthfeel: plump and creamy yet balanced by vibrant acidity. Lemon meringue meets baked apple and peach tart. I love the complexity of honey, bread crumbs, graham cracker, a lively mineral kick. Rich but elegant and harmonious, this scores high in the deliciousness ranking. This wine comes out slugging, but it’s precision is so impressive. Wow, folks. Aged 12 months in 12% new French oak. From a clearly fascinating site in sandy soils west of the Sta. Rita Hills appellation.
  • isaacjamesbaker commented:

    7/18/16, 12:01 PM - DBunk - I loved this juice! Glad I'm not the only one. Cheers!

White - Sparkling
N.V. Jacques Selosse Substance Champagne Grand Cru Chardonnay
Wonderful wine. Took the better part of an hour to show at its best (this was disgorged in February 2014) but when it did, it really sings. Intensity and focus, detailed nose and flavors that show exotic and gingery and lemon cream and all sort of other things that i cannot name because they are seamless and show so harmoniously that picking them out individually is an act of will and not something that presents itself naturally. Intense and memorable, best in class.
  • isaacjamesbaker commented:

    6/2/16, 4:35 AM - You nailed it with this wonderful summary: "all sort of other things that i cannot name because they are seamless and show so harmoniously that picking them out individually is an act of will and not something that presents itself naturally"

Red
2012 Mt. Brave Malbec Mt. Veeder
3/19/2016 - Purslane Likes this wine:
95 points
A serious contender for the finest Malbec made in North America. Pitch black in color. The flavors are powerful and concentrated, including a rich fruit core of boysenberry and blackberry. Drying tannin and bright acidity keep this wine from becoming jammy, sweet, cloying, or heavy. But what really elevates this Malbec into the top tier is a graceful and sweeping kinetic drive.
  • isaacjamesbaker commented:

    5/18/16, 7:30 AM - A bold statement, but I agree. This is a phenomenal Malbec.

White
2014 Kim Crawford Chardonnay Unoaked East Coast
5/29/2015 - isaacjamesbaker wrote:
86 points
Pale straw color. Bright, crisp aromatics: green apple, kiwi, nectarine, also some honeysuckle. Juicy, medium-bodied profile with clean acid. Juicy yellow and green apples, rich pears, mango, backed up by notes of honeysuckle and white tea. Clean, refreshing yet a plump and juicy personality. Food friendly, just not too deep or complex, but solid value for the price.
  • isaacjamesbaker commented:

    4/29/16, 9:03 AM - @travelsam4 - no need to read it if it's too long for ya.

Red
2011 Binomio Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Riserva
2/28/2016 - AndrewSGHall wrote:
This is a tough call. I might be perceptually reaching to say this is the extreme end of MdA, but still in the zone. OTOH, it strikes me that blinded I would call this some generic new world oriented modern wine. It is enjoyable, but is also baked fruits, lower acids and broad structures in a way that lacks the earthy and soulful core of great MdA (and isn't the lively zest and carefree of basic MdA.)
  • isaacjamesbaker commented:

    3/27/16, 7:15 PM - Yeah, you nailed it. I couldn't help but love this wine. However, to explore the realness and uniqueness of Montepulciano, the Spelt and Bellovedere are much more traditional interpretations, and the former quite a lot cheaper! Cheers!

White
2013 Domaine de la Pépière Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine Sur Lie Vieilles Vignes Clos des Briords Melon de Bourgogne
MAGNUM OF FLAVOR.
  • isaacjamesbaker commented:

    3/10/16, 6:26 AM - ha ha - nice. it sure is. cheers!

Red
2013 Radio-Coteau Syrah Timbervine Russian River Valley
3/7/2016 - Mike Dildine Likes this wine:
93 points
13.6% abv. Dark ruby with attractive, expressive aromatics. Red and blue fruit, a bit of leather, meat and a touch of white pepper. Pure, deep and long. A delicious Syrah that should age well.
  • isaacjamesbaker commented:

    3/8/16, 9:49 AM - Thanks for popping one for the team! Can't wait to taste this puppy with some age on it. Cheers!

Red - Fortified
1927 D'Oliveiras Madeira Bastardo
5/22/2015 - larsmello Likes this wine:
96 points
Bottled in 2014. Dark amber, brilliant and completely transparent. ethereal nose with dried fruits, nuts and spices. Perfect balance, very fine and intense. Exceptional.
  • isaacjamesbaker commented:

    2/10/16, 1:33 PM - ethereal is a great word to describe this beauty. I'm floored.

White - Fortified
1907 D'Oliveiras Madeira Malvazia
12/11/2015 - andrewdodd86 Likes this wine:
98 points
Bottled in 2013 – Smell is night and day different compared to the 1971. Surprisingly lively for 108 years old. More forest floor, autumn leaves, walnut, fig, maple syrup. More tertiary flavors and aromas than caramel/orange/plum you find in young Madeira. Brown in color with a decent amount of sediment. Still really enjoyable, liked it better than the last 1952 I had, an intellectual curiosity in terms of having a wine this old.

As with older bottles, it’s interesting to think what was going on in the world at the time. 1907 – The first air force was established, 1st Taxis in NYC, Plaza Hotel opens, Oklahoma becomes the 46th state. Katharine Hepburn and John Wayne born. The first powered flight had taken place just 4 years beforehand. The Ford Model T was still a year away. Amazing!
  • isaacjamesbaker commented:

    2/6/16, 9:42 AM - Lovely notes. Just tasted this and agree - what a stunner! And sipping Madeira like this is an intellectual and historical honor. Cheers!

White
2013 Barbusano Madeirense Verdelho
9/3/2015 - John Dunlap Likes this wine:
88 points
OK, this is a dry, white table wine that happens to be made with Verdelho grapes; it is not a Madeira dessert wine.

Never had a dry Verdelho table wine before, but it is pretty good. Color is youngish. Nose and flavor are similar to a Spanish northern white with just a touch of dry sherry-like flavors. A bit of sea-side salentiy, light pear, dry kiwi, and fresh grapefruit-like elements were noticeable. Also, a bit of older cellar wood flavors were noted; however, I can't say if the wine had any contact with wood. Overall, a nice medium complex wine one might say tastes a bit like Albariño, dry sherry, and Sauvignon Blanc; all in a good way. Very quaffable.

NB: (1) From Wikipedia: Since 1993 any Madeira wine labeled as Verdelho must contain at least 85 percent of the grape, which wasn't previously the case (Clarke, Oz (2001). Grapes and Wines. Little, Brown and Company. pp. 228–229).

NB: (2) From Wikipedia: Some producers are experimenting with making a table-style wine by allowing the grapes to ripen more prior to harvesting and blending with the grape Arnsburger to balance Verdelho's naturally high acidity (Oz Clarke Encyclopedia of Grapes pg 272 Harcourt Books 2001).
  • isaacjamesbaker commented:

    2/6/16, 6:43 AM - Did you taste this in Madeira? I recently enjoyed a lot of wines from this producer, but not much of total Madeirense wines make it off the island, so just curious. Cheers!

White
2013 Caveau de Bacchus Melon à Queue Rouge Aviet Arbois
New Jura Arrivals Tasting (Weygandt Wines): Melon a Queue Rouge is in fact its own varietal which is an ancient strain of Chardonnay grown by only three producers in Arbois. There was only one huge aspect that killed this wine for us. Too much minerality in the finish. Lots of peach, orange zest, honeysuckle and chamomile in the nose. Subtle smoky qualities and tea on the palate.
  • isaacjamesbaker commented:

    2/6/16, 5:41 AM - Too much minerality!? That's a thing? Just messing around though. This was a really cool tasting. Cheers!

Red
2012 Ladera Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
3/23/2015 - laxman wrote:
88 points
somewhat expressive, but not impressive. Comparing this to last night's Hess. This is certainly fuller bodied, but tannins are more prominent than fruit. Who needs to pay $30 for tannins? This could turn into something, but I'd rather pay up and try Ladera's Howell Mountain, which has been amazing in prior vintages, rather than buying this again.
  • isaacjamesbaker commented:

    1/20/16, 6:31 PM - The Howell Mountain is always a better buy, I'd rather have one Ladera HM than two of the Napa

Red
2012 Galerie Cabernet Sauvignon Latro Knights Valley
1/6/2016 - isaacjamesbaker wrote:
92 points
Galerie Wines: Deep purple color. Nose of tart blueberries and rich currants, the fruit is smooth and ripe but bright at the same time, and laced with sweet spice, pepper, loamy soil, coffee and cola. This is a young, bold wine with sturdy but velvety tannins, some moderate acid keeps if refreshing, though. Blackberries, blueberries, black currants, a rich wine maintains a slice of tartness. Mixed in with complex elements of graphite, mocha, loam, roasted chestnut, black licorice and charcoal. Complex, young, needs time but this is gorgeous even at this young age. Aged 19 months in 55% new French oak. Great stuff. One of the best Cali Cabs I can remember in this price range.
  • isaacjamesbaker commented:

    1/12/16, 12:52 PM - wineotim, yeah, this is legit stuff, outdoes a lot of Napa Cabs at this (and higher) price points. From Laura Diaz Munoz, who works on Cardinale, La Jota, so, yeah, she knows her Cab. Cheers!

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