Comments on my notes

(754 comments on 608 notes)

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Red
2015 Robert Keenan Winery Merlot Napa Valley
3/6/2020 - Motz wrote:
89 points
Oh...no thank you...please. Massively extracted fruit, heavy-handed oak treatment, no sense of place, other than New World, abrupt, wood splinter-laden finish. Essentially, soulless!
  • Motz commented:

    4/5/20, 5:31 PM - Yes. The 'modern' or 'international' style, which is associated with 'Parkerization', is not a style that I appreciate. Nevertheless, it is a recognized style, and as such, I score these wines by that standard.

Red
2016 Château Lagrange (St. Julien) Red Bordeaux Blend
3/27/2020 - Motz wrote:
93 points
Healthy Coravin pour, tasted double-blind. The bouquet featured the hallmarks of young Classed Growth Médoc, including noteworthy Cabernet Sauvignon markers (blackcurrant, pepper garden, graphite), oak, and aromatic, deep purple essences, typical of wines crafted with relatively high percentages of Petit Verdot (higher than three percent or so). The bouquet also featured the telltale marker of the (perplexingly over hyped) 2016 vintage, blackberry. The palate promptly confirmed all that the bouquet suggested, particularly regarding the vintage. Though bolder (perhaps more extracted, but more likely the result of six percent Petit Verdot) than others I have tasted, including a Second Growth or two, the wine lacks middle and deep substance. Put differently, this overstated vintage features effusive high tenor elements, but is all but devoid of baritone and bass. Great vintages require all three 'voices', if you will. Also noteworthy, the wine handles similarly to Pauillac, on account of its ruggedness.

All this noted, the wine struck me as one of the best offerings of the vintage, with the Petit Verdot delivering a reasonably good imitation of baritone substance. I guessed, if not Pontet-Canet, the best 2016 I have experienced, then 2016 Fourth Growth or higher, probably Pauillac, perhaps Saint-Julien. With age, this wine, like so many 2016s, will turn lean, on account of its medium plus acid, but will leave the imbiber wanting for range and depth. Drink by 2030. 92-93.
  • Motz commented:

    3/28/20, 8:11 AM - IMO, most 2016s will not last beyond 20 years, many 15 or less. For me, this vintage is similar to 2009, both grossly overstated by the pros.

    Regarding the 2015 vintage, while many of the wines feature a subtlety atypical of Bordeaux, they deliver excellent range, depth, and structure, all of which bode very well for extended aging.

    Cheers!

  • Motz commented:

    4/5/20, 9:37 AM - IMO, Parkerization (overrating fruit forward wines) has influenced many pro reviewers. The 2015 vintage, notable for its suavity, elegance, and precision, along with roundness, deceptive structure, and balance, is superior to 2016 in every important category. The 2016 is the new 2009 vintage, perplexingly overstated, if for slightly different reasons. Whereas the 2016s show high-pitched purple fruit, and lack middle and bass substance, the 2009s showed fairly high-pitched red fruits, with some middle substance and no bass, but also featured the telltale signs of phenolic imbalance, most readily identifiable by biting harshness at the back. Many 2009s are already peaking, and will be tired in five years. Most of the 2016s will turn lean and astringent over the next ten seven to ten years. After early sampling, I quit buying both vintages, in preference for 2008s, 2010s, 2014s, and 2015s.

Red
2016 Château Bourbon La Chapelle Médoc Red Bordeaux Blend
8/15/2019 - Rmcolin wrote:
87 points
Não vi muita graça. É agradável, mas sem complexidade.
  • Motz commented:

    4/5/20, 8:36 AM - Muito bem descrito!

Red
2016 Château Larose-Trintaudon Haut-Médoc Red Bordeaux Blend
3/15/2020 - Motz wrote:
88 points
Typical of the over-hyped vintage style, with high-pitched fresh blackberry notes, a touch of mint, and light roast coffee. Lean, lacking middle and bass substance.
  • Motz commented:

    3/16/20, 4:12 PM - Agree that it represents good QPR, although it drinks more like Loire Cabernet Franc than Haut-Médoc.

    As to the grossly overstated 2016 Bordeaux vintage...words fail me.

  • Motz commented:

    3/20/20, 8:39 AM - Interestingly enough, most of the renowned 2016 Rhone wines I have tasted have been excellent.

White
2016 Grgich Hills Chardonnay Napa Valley
3/6/2020 - Motz wrote:
92 points
Very much impressed with this. I expected an oak-driven fruit-bomb, but found a bold, Burgundy styled offering, graced by judicious oak treatment. Also noticed hints of smoke, perhaps barrel imparted, but interesting nonetheless. Excellent structure, balance, and depth. A few more years in bottle will serve it well. 91-92.
  • Motz commented:

    3/15/20, 9:36 AM - I tasted there many many moons ago, but did not remember the house style.

Red
2016 Cade Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Howell Mountain
3/6/2020 - Motz wrote:
91 points
This very nice, well made, HOWELL MOUNTAIN!!!, Cabernet Sauvignon has been excessively polished. Howell Mountain CS, in its raw form, rules! This offering, by comparison, has been drawn, and had its soul ripped out. This aside, I would happily accept a glass if offered. 91-92.
  • Motz commented:

    3/6/20, 8:50 AM - It is quite tasty...but gutted HM CS!? Why!? Just saw your TN. Our palates usually diverge on such wines.

  • Motz commented:

    3/6/20, 9:47 AM - Thanks. Should I cross paths with it, I will certainly partake.

Red
2016 Château Pontet-Canet Pauillac Red Bordeaux Blend
6/16/2019 - Motz wrote:
94 points
The 2016 Bordeaux vintage has proven underwhelming in my experience, and I have mostly found comparisons to the 2010 vintage befuddling. I have looked forward to tasting this wine, my favorite Left Bank offering, as a true measure of the vintage, and it was my privilege to enjoy it alongside the 2014 and 2015.

This was the first 2016 vintage wine that I found a basis for comparison to 2010, particularly on account of its massiveness. Indeed, the most tannic Pontet-Canet since that hallowed vintage. This noted, unlike the 2010, which packed a mind-bending amalgam of flavor and substance, this wine features more structure than flavor. Paucity of mid-palate flavor, other than purple and black berries, which this boasts in abundance, along with absence of underlying substance, have been my two main critiques of 2016 wines. This suffers from the first issue, though not at all from the second. By measure of tannin, it reminded me of the finest Sagrantino di Montefalco, gripping to the core, but lacking other necessary elements to make it complete. Those who remember the layered flavors in the 2010 may also find the 2016 somewhat disappointing.

There is flavor here, though it takes a decided back seat to structure, and this is by any measure a fine wine. It does not, however, merit the 97-98 average pro score it has received, nor did it move the needle regarding my viewpoint of the overstated vintage. Recommend holding for no less than a decade. I am at the threshold of closing the pocket book to 2016 Bordeaux, but would love to be proven wrong.
  • Motz commented:

    6/20/19, 1:44 PM - Thank you. Looking forward to 2017 and 2018, and have seen indications that some 2017 wines hold promise.

  • Motz commented:

    2/24/20, 2:15 PM - Glad you have lots of 2010s and 2015s, great vintages. I have not yet tasted 2018s, but I quit buying 2016s almost a year ago. Most are non-descript, New World look alikes, and soulless.

    Not quite on the far side of 50...but I can see it from where I stand.

    Cheers!

Red - Fortified
2011 Dow Porto Vintage Port Blend
12/4/2019 - Motz wrote:
98 points
I can think of no better way to conclude a spectacular tasting with great friends than opening a bottle of this transcendent potion, to my mind the benchmark of mainstream 2011 Vintage Port...alongside the same vintage 2011 Graham's The Stone Terraces, no less!

This wine had been decanted for about three hours when I poured it...not nearly long enough. The volume of layered substance it encapsulates bends the mind. Concentrated, seemingly naturally sweetened, blueberry, boysenberry, huckleberry, blackberry, and blackcurrant, lightly sweetened, very dark coco nibs, whole espresso beans, lightly sweetened black molasses, and a suspension Obsidian and Pāhoehoe lava envelope a core of dark chocolate ganache, granite, and mineral ores. Indescribably complex!

Poured blind to several experienced tasters, opinions were split as to whether this was the Dow's or the Graham's, which was the more rustic, and which was the prettiest. To me, this was the King, whereas the Graham's showed as a profoundly perfumed, ethereal 'other'. The Queen perhaps, though probably better described as an unequivocally stately, deeply beguiling consul from afar.

Both wines held form on the second day, with this revealing more of its bewildering depth and frame. Sheer delight! My time on earth will pass long before this fades. 98-99!
  • Motz commented:

    12/5/19, 7:12 AM - May it be long! Cheers!

  • Motz commented:

    2/24/20, 11:20 AM - I have not tasted the 2007 Dow. Broadly though, other 2007 vintage Ports I have tasted have shown some alcohol heat. This vintage does not.

Red
2014 Château Montrose St. Estèphe Red Bordeaux Blend
12/19/2017 - Motz wrote:
94 points
Tasted over three days, alongside the same vintage Grand-Puy-Lacoste. Striking freshness conveyed through blue and purple berries, atypical for Left Bank Bordeaux, along with high-acid red and purple fruits (pomegranate, blackcurrant, assorted purple plums), red and purple root vegetables, and currently restrained (though likely to show prominently in time), Crème de Cassis, wondrously accentuated by a Boysenberry Liqueur top note. The bouquet also featured graphite, pencil lead, and pepper garden. Reticent and powerful, featuring medium plus to high acid and medium, dusty tannins, the palate offers the same impression of freshness, with excellent lift. The wine opened ever-so-slightly during the late evening of the second day, and also on the third, suggesting tremendous promise. In particular, the wine offers a unique amalgam of dusty, satin and velvet textural weight and depth. It conveys exceptional expressions of terroir, varieties, and place. The wine is also noteworthy for the absence of pervasive oak, the principal reason why I preferred this over the GPL. If scoring for right now, 93 points, as it is yielding very little. A score of 94 points seems certain, and perhaps 95 points in time. I do not see the wine reaching the 97 point threshold, and even 96 points seems like quite a stretch. Recommend holding for now, or decanting for 10+ hours. Likely to be long-lived, it seems there is no risk in laying it down for two decades, even three decades seems safe.

As an aside, I also tasted this alongside two highly regarded 2010 vintage Bordeaux, which I believe set a helpful benchmark for scoring this wine.
  • Motz commented:

    1/19/20, 3:12 PM - I would open one now, to get a benchmark. Recommend a minimum 4 hour decant.

    Cheers!

  • Motz commented:

    2/15/20, 12:22 PM - Cheers to great wine!

Red
2016 K Vintners King Coal Washington Cabernet-Shiraz Blend, Red Blend
10/23/2019 - Motz wrote:
94 points
Only the most well made Cabernet - Syrah blends deliver true harmony, and this ranks among the finest examples I have encountered. The varietal interplay here delights the soul. Floral top notes grace the entire experience. Power, complexity, and suavity.
  • Motz commented:

    2/13/20, 8:51 PM - Tasted at K Vintners.

    Cheers!

Red
2016 Château du Retout Haut-Médoc Red Bordeaux Blend
4/29/2019 - Motz wrote:
91 points
Tasted alongside a few other similarly priced 2016 Bordeax, and this showed best. Specifically, the fullest and best structured. 90-91.

I have tasted enough 2016 Bordeax at this point to form the early opinion that the vintage is over hyped. The wines in general are fleshy and grapey but lack underlying substance given the press the vintage has garnered.
  • Motz commented:

    2/9/20, 9:18 AM - Conversely, I have come to find serious appreciation for the so-called 'uneven' 2014 vintage. Most are notably traditional, with ample substance.

Red
2016 Château Malescasse Haut-Médoc Red Bordeaux Blend
1/29/2020 - wineotim Likes this wine:
91 points
Met my expectations. This wine is a nice balance between Bordeaux and California. Kind of gritty and rustic in a most desirable way. May be the best value I've found so far for the '16 Bordeaux vintage. A good candidate to buy by the case.
  • Motz commented:

    2/7/20, 5:09 PM - I will look for it.

Red
2016 Tasca D'Almerita Etna Contrada Piano Dario Etna DOC Red Blend
2/4/2020 - Motz wrote:
95 points
The most sophisticated of the three 'Contradas' tasted. The bouquet features Chamolle-Musigny-like perfume, before, as with the 'Sciaranuova', taking on a Barbaresco-like profile, underpinned by ash and volcanic elements. Seductive power, profound depth, range, and balance. A thinking wine lover's wine, and quite provocative. Improvement is quite likely. 95-96.
  • Motz commented:

    2/4/20, 4:24 PM - I tasted them at a luncheon put on by Dalla Terra.

    Cheers!

Red
2015 Château Labadie Médoc Red Bordeaux Blend
7/5/2019 - Motz wrote:
90 points
Notable purity, the winemaker stayed out of nature's way. Even the oak treatment shows deft touch. At 63 percent of the assemblage, Merlot features prominently, red fruited, lush, caressing. Fine balance, satisfying finish. For $12.99 at Costco, worth stocking up on.
  • Motz commented:

    2/3/20, 3:42 PM - Easy drinking and satisfying. Enjoyed my bottle with a charcoal grilled rib-eye!

Red
2014 Château Léoville Poyferré St. Julien Red Bordeaux Blend
12/24/2019 - Motz wrote:
91 points
From a split; tasted over two days. This sets a new standard for excessively oaked Left Bank Bordeaux in my experience. Indeed, irritating amounts of oak completely enshroud quality fruit and all sense of terroir. Wow! Why!? On the first day, I thought my wine senses had gone awry, assessing the oak as off-putting. The second day revealed no difference; offensive oak, and little else. And the kicker? The wine does not pack the substance to outlast the oak integration process. Its substance will likely begin to fade after 20 or so years from vintage date, while the oak will be going strong. Pass!
  • Motz commented:

    2/3/20, 3:40 PM - Bordeaux made in the terroir-destroying international style pains the soul.

Red
2010 La Dame de Montrose St. Estèphe Red Bordeaux Blend
1/31/2020 - Motz wrote:
95 points
Healthy Coravin pour, tasted alongside the same vintage La Lagune and Cos d'Estournel. The freshest, most fruity and lively of the three, and also showing exceptional tension. Pomegranate, lingonberry, and blackberry essences throughout, backed by stalwart graphite and minerality. In a few words: lifted, evocative, inspiring! Medium plus acid and medium powdery tannins provide and imposing frame. Delicious now, better in time. 94-95...96?
  • Motz commented:

    1/31/20, 5:16 PM - Freshness is, indeed, underrated.

    Cheers!

Red
2017 Frederic Esmonin Bourgogne Les Genevrières Pinot Noir
1/30/2020 - Motz wrote:
89 points
Lively, a touch lean, and quite earthy. Not the prettiest Burgundy, but it does not lack for charm or precision. Two to three years should bring out its best.
  • Motz commented:

    1/31/20, 7:44 AM - That's a deal!

Red
2017 Force Majeure Parabellum Alluvio Bordeaux Blend Red Mountain Red Bordeaux Blend
12/24/2019 - Motz wrote:
Massively extracted fruit and three, or four, oak forests. It features berries and coconut, with berry and coconut accents, followed by a 'flood' of berries and coconuts. In sum, it sets a new standard for over-the-top and in-your-face! Not quite abominable, but not too far off either. Yuck!
  • Motz commented:

    12/25/19, 3:49 PM - This was a sample pour. I do not buy wines like this.

    Cheers!

  • Motz commented:

    12/27/19, 11:27 PM - Redmtnman:

    You are certainly entitled to your opinion. I would point out though, that TCA smells similar to moldy wet cardboard, not truckloads of fruit and lumber, and would also humbly suggest that you review others of my 10,000+ tasting notes here, which include a number marked as flawed by TCA. I would add that a good friend of mine, a 20 year wine professional and sommelier tasted this with me and shared my assessment. I will leave it here.

    Cheers!

Red
2016 Klinker Brick Zinfandel Old Vine Lodi
12/11/2019 - Motz wrote:
85 points
Sure you can drink it...but why would you want to? Certainly rich, and perhaps a touch 'sweet'. If you must...pair it with heavily sauced BBQ ribs.
  • Motz commented:

    12/26/19, 12:16 PM - A bottled liquid headache just waiting to happen.

Red
2015 Domaine Serene Pinot Noir Jerusalem Hill Eola - Amity Hills
11/13/2018 - Motz wrote:
93 points
In the lush, leaning toward Syrah style, yet showing appealing precision and lift. Medium to medium plus acid bodes well for mid-term aging, twelve to fifteen years. Not my preferred style, but a wholly intriguing, rounded, and complete wine.
  • Motz commented:

    12/26/19, 12:08 AM - Agreed. Reviewing wines such as these is problematic. They are not a preference, but by international style standards, they are technically excellent.

Red
2012 Gramercy Cellars Syrah John Lewis Reserve Walla Walla Valley
11/7/2019 - 3daywinereview.com wrote:
94 points
Day 1: Wow with black olives, crushed black pepper, blueberries, floral and minerals. Lengthy finish and multilayered. A real treat and this is just a baby. 94 points
Day 2: Still impressive and a lot of evidence this is a 20 year wine. Black olives, floral, black licorice, pepper and dark fruits. Fruits a bit more prominent on day 2. 94 points
Day 3: Still holding form and just a glorious wine. Love the Washington State Upper End Syrah's. 94 points
Recommendation: If you have one bottle hold this for 5 years. If you have a six pack try one every 2 years.
  • Motz commented:

    12/24/19, 8:46 AM - Tell it! And, Merry Christmas!

Red
2010 Domaine de la Janasse Châteauneuf-du-Pape Vieilles Vignes Red Rhone Blend
12/11/2019 - Zweder wrote:
96 points
Monthly Tasting Group HWS #144; Bordeaux - Pessac-Léognan (By me): Drank beside jugged hare and I did not make any notes. But both were delicious. 96+?
  • Motz commented:

    12/24/19, 6:54 AM - Zweder,

    What is jugged hare?

  • Motz commented:

    12/24/19, 8:05 AM - Well...that makes perfect sense. In American English it reads as 'rabbit in a jug'. The thing is, we primarily think of jugs as plastic containers. You learn something new everyday!

  • Motz commented:

    12/24/19, 8:09 AM - And to you.

Red
2009 Château Prieuré-Lichine Margaux Red Bordeaux Blend
11/10/2019 - Motz wrote:
93 points
Ten year CdP and Bordeaux retro tasting (with ringers). Hosted by Grinner.

Bordeaux Flight One - Wine One:

So interesting to taste a standout as the first of fifteen wines. The highly perfumed bouquet screamed Margaux. Only light secondary notes, along with not yet integrated oak (P-L does love its lumber), imparted the impression of a young wine, three to five years old. Concentrated, smooth, and rounded on the palate, and other than the somewhat obtrusive timber, quite well balanced. 92-93.

Of the classed growths, this showed best, with no close second. Medium to no higher than medium plus acid, and light to medium minus powdery tannins, suggest the wine will reach its peak within the next decade. Indeed, most of the other Bordeaux in this tasting offered strong testament to the early, flash-in-the-pan, sexy, flamboyance of this vintage, which has long since faded, and which many pro reviewers mistook for long-term greatness.
  • Motz commented:

    12/19/19, 12:36 PM - Your concerns are well justified IMO. The 2009 Bordeaux vintage was Californiaesque, showing high-pitched red berry perfume, most of which has since faded, and little else of substance. Also, many of the wines suffered phenolic ripeness issues, which manifests as a biting greenness at the back and on the finish. Many of the wines are squarely in early to middle drinking windows. Few will last beyond 2030.

Red
2011 Domaine Saint-Damien Gigondas La Louisiane Red Rhone Blend
12/3/2019 - CWilliam wrote:
93 points
Consistent with my note from 12/2018 - Actually liked a little more. Wine has aged gracefully and is in a great place now. For whatever reason, more often than not, I find I enjoy a Gigondas from St. Damien or St. Cosme more than many CDPs - maybe given they are cheaper? They are more rustic (this comment would not apply to old school CDP such as Rayas or Beaucastel).

"Medium red color with no sediment. Bing cherry, bright cherry, garrigue, raspberry & red licorice on the nose. Similar flavor profile on palate. Medium body, medium acidity, integrated tannins and a long finish."
93+/-
  • Motz commented:

    12/4/19, 8:59 AM - "More often than not, I find I enjoy a Gigondas from St. Damien or St. Cosme more than many CDPs". I agree, and think they, along with Saint-Cosme Gigondas wines, are technically-objectively better than most CdPs.

  • Motz commented:

    12/19/19, 12:24 PM - We do indeed benefit. For example, at a recent tasting of 10+ 2009 CdPs, the Château de Saint-Cosme Gigondas Les Claux ringer made one of the strongest showings.

Red
2016 Château Lanessan Haut-Médoc Red Bordeaux Blend
7/11/2019 - Motz wrote:
88 points
Consistent with previous note. Pretty fruit up front, the result of high extraction, which becomes all too obvious at the back, on account of the astringently gritty finish. Other than fruit, there is not much to it. The middle especially lacks substance and verve. 87-88.
  • Motz commented:

    7/11/19, 3:37 PM - Hello Parko82. No, I do not think it will fill out as there is nothing to it. Wines that improve with age must pack substance, however tightly wound. This wine is neither reticent, nor tannic, nor backwards, and thus stands little chance of improvement. Instead, it is all about extracted, high-pitched purple fruit.

  • Motz commented:

    7/12/19, 1:04 PM - I know nothing of 2018, other than the press it has received. Given the subjective press for 2016 though, I am somewhat skeptical.

  • Motz commented:

    12/19/19, 12:21 PM - macaujames,

    I have long regarded 2009 as the most over rated Bordeaux vintage of recent memory. And, I recently tasted twenty or so 2009 Bordeaux, and only two or three were holding form, indicating at least another decade of potential evolution. Most showed in early to mid drinking windows, and likely to be past peak in a decade. In sum, ten years since the vintage, these wines are open knit and ready to drink, particularly compared to many brooding and tannic 2010 examples.

    The 2016 vintage is the new 2009 vintage in my opinion. Pro tasters are swooning over the many modernly styled, fruit forward, and heavily oaked offering in this vintage, while apparently overlooking the absence of middle and bass substance, the elements that make wines cellar worthy. I quit buying this vintage early on, just as I did with the 2009 offerings.

Red
2016 Château Montrose St. Estèphe Red Bordeaux Blend
5/25/2019 - Motz wrote:
91 points
Drank over four days...count'em, four. Massively overstated, and a noteworthy confirmation of the head-scratching overhype associated with this vintage. On the first day, this was all about oak, and extracted, somewhat pithy, notably purple berries. That was it. Neither tightly wound, nor reticent, nor tannic. Just high-pitched purple fruit, and an acute absence of substance.

After more of the same on the second day, and questioning whether my wine senses had gone on hiatus, I opened a 2010 La Dame de Montrose. NO CONTEST!!! The 2010 vintage second wine destroyed this over three days. Go figure!

On the third day, the wine put forward its best showing, indicating 92 point potential at best. It began falling apart on the fourth day.

Overall, I have found all other 2016 vintage Bordeaux prior to this tasting experience underwhelming compared to the press. My critiques of all of them have been twofold: No middle to speak of, and lacking substance. This wine suffered from the same issues.

Is there a remote chance that this was an 'off' bottle? Sure, but I do not think so.

Two or three more like tastings of highly regarded Bordeaux will seal this vintage for me, and I will cease to buy it thereafter. In particular, the 2016 Pontet-Canet will offer pivotal evaluation criteria.

I have found the 2016 vintage every bit as overrated as 2009, albeit for different reasons. That vintage was red-fruited, Californiaesque, and suffered phenolic ripeness issues. This vintage is purple fruited, high-pitched, gritty, and devoid of quality substance.

I would love to be proven wrong; though my instincts tell me that is unlikely.

Worthwhile to taste this vintage blind, alongside any another vintage, or the 2010 vintage second wine.
  • Motz commented:

    5/27/19, 12:44 PM - In my experience, shut down wines feature tautness, high reticence, and-or near unapproachable substance. This showed none of these qualities. Nor have any other 2016 vintage Bordeaux I have tasted.

  • Motz commented:

    12/19/19, 12:05 PM - Thank you, BillyB2.

Red
2017 Colene Clemens Pinot Noir Dopp Creek Chehalem Mountains
12/11/2019 - Motz wrote:
93 points
Knee-weakening gorgeousness! Enchanting perfume, even now I hear the sirens call to me, red fruits and berries, flower garden, and summer potpourri. Seductive textures, deftly balanced, pure in all regards. Let it evolve for several years, to achieve maximum effect. Crazy QPR!
  • Motz commented:

    12/11/19, 12:53 PM - You gotta call'em as you experience them!

Red
2012 Tormaresca Castel del Monte Trentangeli Nero di Troia, Uva di Troia
3/2/2018 - callmeacab22 Likes this wine:
93 points
Fantastic Italian red from Puglia (mainly Aglianico with Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah). Big, bold and deep but with finesse. You know there are tannins present, but they are soft enough to make it an enjoyable mouthful from beginning to end.
  • Motz commented:

    12/4/19, 10:47 AM - Indeed!

White - Sparkling
N.V. Gruet Winery Brut Blanc de Noirs New Mexico Champagne Blend
11/24/2019 - Motz wrote:
89 points
Delicious wine! Robust and fun! Persistent mousse, fine bubbles, lithe texture, very good acid, mouthwatering finish.
  • Motz commented:

    11/28/19, 8:14 PM - Bold wine! Crazy value!

Red
2013 La Jota Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain
4/8/2019 - wineotim Likes this wine:
93 points
I was concerned when I saw some recent reviews of this wine...calling it thin, so I opened mine. I would not characterize this as thin, I would instead call it intense. A wine doesn't have to be heavy or full to be better, this wine did not disappoint, it is light on its feet and provides big and intense dark fruit flavors. Don't look for richness here, expect tightly coiled fruit. The tannins are built for the long haul for sure, but this is Howell Mt. fruit so there you go. I give the scoring edge to the '14 vintage, it had a bit more depth. Two days to finish.
  • Motz commented:

    11/21/19, 5:11 PM - Just bought a Magnum of this at a good price. I know I should hold it, but Wow!...do I want to taste it!

White - Sparkling
N.V. Domaine St. Vincent (Gruet Winery) Brut New Mexico Champagne Blend
11/21/2019 - Motz wrote:
85 points
Compelling substance, acid, and balance for the price. Fine mousse and bubbles. Imminently quaffable. 85-86.
  • Motz commented:

    11/21/19, 4:33 PM - Yes. It seems that some tasters have overthought it here. It will not wine awards for complexity or range, but it is fun, and tasty.

Red
2015 Château Cantemerle Haut-Médoc Red Bordeaux Blend
11/21/2019 - vlzat Likes this wine:
93 points
Cabernet Sauvignon 59%, Merlot 27%, Cabernet Franc 6% and Petit Verdot 8%
Bought in Vinotheque de Bordeaux, Bordeaux city - highly recommend wine store, very wide specter of wines including last vintages, highly friendly staff and excellent service.

It is pity to drink this wine in such not mature age. Medium body, deep garnet color. Intense but delicate aroma of ripe black fruits, coffee, olives complements by cigar box and flowers. Black currant and plum palate with lingering spicy and juicy finish. Excellent wine. Rich and complex but elegant and harmonious, exceptionally balanced refreshing berries acidity, tannic now and need aeration. Food friendly, tasted with Tomme Montagne cheese. Serve 17º - 21º. Open four/six hours ahead. Drink in four years at least.
  • Motz commented:

    11/21/19, 2:54 PM - Cheers to trips to Bordeaux!

Red
2016 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape Red Rhone Blend
11/7/2019 - Motz wrote:
97 points
Tasted over three days, alongside the same vintage Coudoulet, which proved a fascinating experience. This wine offers a concentrated bouquet of herbs, spices, and exotic oils, along with deep floral perfume, and the essences of all lovely things crimson and purple. In a word: Gorgeous! The bouquet hints at striking profundity, in the form of layered rock and mineral substance. The expansive palate gives ample testament to the depth suggested by the bouquet. Red and purple fruited, noteworthy grit and grip, complex finish of exceptional length. Framed by high acid and medium tannin, deftly balanced. It deserves a long rest. As it sits, 96 points, 97 in time.

Next to the Coudoulet, this featured a reticence in line with, and indicative of, its latent substance, which allows the Coudoulet show better now. That substance is comprised of, among too many other elements to list, lightly sweetened dark chocolate, iodine, hot desert rocks, and powdery metallic ores. This puts the mind to wondering how beautifully this wine will show after 2027-2028.

Unlike the stately, feminine, and ethereal 2015, which delivers seductive red fruited silk and velvet textures that glide across the palate, this vintage is the figurative equivalent of a mythical warrior goddess who has bedded many lovers and vanquished even more.
  • Motz commented:

    11/7/19, 1:25 PM - It was what came to my mind!

    Cheers!

  • Motz commented:

    11/16/19, 10:12 AM - It is a gorgeous wine!

Red - Fortified
2016 Smith Woodhouse Porto Vintage Port Blend
10/16/2019 - Motz wrote:
93 points
Tasted over three days...and I am glad I did...as the first and second days the wine featured excessive oak treatment, which overwhelmed all other elements. Had it at 91 points.

The third day revealed a very pretty wine. In no way tightly wound or reticent, but exceptionally enjoyable. Lacking the depth and structure to approach a score in the mid to high 90s. Will hold my other bottle for a while. 92-93.
  • Motz commented:

    11/8/19, 8:23 PM - Hello sm-sm,

    I read statements in your questions here. What exactly are you asking?

  • Motz commented:

    11/11/19, 6:01 AM - sm-sm,

    I will try to answer your question this way.

    This is the oakiest vintage Port that I recall tasting...ever.

    Oak, when used excessively, masks varietal correctness, and especially, sense of place, terroir.

    This vintage of SW does not feature the power of others, and many producers, the world over, do not adjust their oak regimens to vintage conditions.

    For example, Leoville-Barton offers one of the most elegant terroirs in Bordeaux, and yet the Chateau rarely adapts its oak treatment to the conditions that nature provided. Thus, in the bold vintages, the oak treatment tends to be just right, whereas in the more delicate or less vintages, overpowering.

    Conversely, Pontet-Canet adapts its oak regimen to vintage conditions, which allows the wine (varietal blend and terroir) to shine.

Red
2009 Château Lilian Ladouys St. Estèphe Red Bordeaux Blend
11/10/2019 - Motz wrote:
94 points
Ten year CdP and Bordeaux retro tasting (with ringers). Hosted by Grinner.

Bordeaux Flight Two - Wine Four:

Prototypical Left Bank Bordeaux and my hands down preference of the tasting. This wine delivered a level of energy and power that no other matched (with the exception of a ringer, the Anakota Helena Montana), including the Classed Growths. Knowing a Gruaud-Larose was in the mix, the only Second Growth in the tasting, that was my guess. It sports medium plus acid and medium tannins, which bodes well for another decade of cellaring. Off-the-chain QPR!
  • Motz commented:

    11/11/19, 5:41 AM - Indeed, I did PT! Indeed, I did.

Red
2009 Château Gruaud Larose St. Julien Red Bordeaux Blend
11/10/2019 - Motz wrote:
91 points
Ten year CdP and Bordeaux retro tasting (with ringers). Hosted by Grinner.

Bordeaux Flight Three - Wine Five:

The disappointment of the tasting. By proclamation, the highest classed wine, yet it finished well behind many other 'lesser' wines. Lacking freshness, pitch, and tension, and featuring charred oak and slightly cooked purple fruit, along with a pinched greenish finish. Would not hold beyond 2029.
  • Motz commented:

    11/10/19, 11:41 AM - Indeed! Our palates aligned on several bottles, though clearly not in this case.

Red
2015 Paul Jaboulet Aîné Crozes-Hermitage Domaine de Thalabert Syrah
11/7/2019 - Motz wrote:
94 points
Tasted over two days. This needs to breathe for several hours to show its best. Indeed, a 10 to 12 hour decant would do it no harm. Tasty and well rounded on the first day, yet generally closed. The half bottle we consumed on this day was essentially wasted, a fact established by the beauty it showed on the second.

On this day, the wine featured strong varietal typicity, including saturated blue, purple, and black berries, assorted meat roasting herbs, intense peppercorn, coal and mineral depth. Delightfully pretty. Medium plus to high acid and light yet effusive tannins provide firm structure and lift. The layers, range, and overarching harmony made for a spectacularly enjoyable experience.

Over the last fifteen months, the wine has turned somewhat reticent, shifting away from fruit forwardness. It now leans toward varietal expressiveness and the traditional elements of North Rhone Syrah. Delicious!
  • Motz commented:

    11/8/19, 4:37 PM - Thank you both. Chablis28, I would recommend opening one now, to get a baseline, and because I do not think this is a long haul wine. I think it will go to 2030...but afterwards seems questionable.

Red
2014 Château Pontet-Canet Pauillac Red Bordeaux Blend
11/7/2019 - Motz wrote:
95 points
Opened the bottle Coravined in April and June. Spectacular in all regards! The Pontet-Canet house style, which accentuates vintage characteristics better than any house not named Latour, along with its distinctive terroir, provide satisfying pleasure here. At once forward and restrained, time will serve it well. I should enter a middle drinking window by 2030-2032.

The more I drink 2014 Bordeaux, the more I find the vintage label 'uneven' puzzling. Instead, I prefer the term, 'ripe tradition', as the vintage offers expansiveness of fruit and depth of terroir, both which, in my experience, Pontet-Canet conveys best.
  • Motz commented:

    11/8/19, 6:45 AM - Indeed, I am! The best 2014 Left Bank Bordeaux I have encountered.

Red
2010 La Dame de Montrose St. Estèphe Red Bordeaux Blend
10/14/2019 - vegasoenophile Likes this wine:
96 points
Upon early nosing, bay leaf, black currant leaf, slight menthol, bitter cocoa, dark black fruit and tar. Riper vintage character on the palate. Black plum, black currant and notes of a lifting red fruit. After an hour or so in the decanter, it relaxes and opens some. Iron emerges on the nose. More fruit character as well. Leafy and new leather nuances lead into licorice tinged fruit. Some candied fruit. Bold structure and promises a nice 15+ years ahead. I can see why the first wine received 100 pts.
  • Motz commented:

    10/16/19, 9:24 AM - Preach!

Red
2015 Château Léoville Barton St. Julien Red Bordeaux Blend
10/14/2019 - Motz wrote:
94 points
Found this bottle in Montlouis-sur-Loire and enjoyed it with great friends over a meal of lamb and vegetables near Avignon.

Not as tight as the first bottle tasted in January this year, but it still ranks among the most reticent 2015 Bordeaux that I have crossed paths with. It is also among the most oaky, which lends it a certain New World character. (In my experience, LB does not adapt its oak regimen from vintage to vintage. Indeed, per the producer's website, it appears that 60 percent new oak treatment is standard.) This noted, the wine packs the substance to age for 15 to 20 years+ from today, which should allow the oak to integrate. Also noteworthy, per the producer's website, the assemblage is a 86-14 Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot, a high percentage of the former variety by Left Bank Classed Growth standards overall, and especially by vintage standards.

Dark in the glass, and aside from the (to my mind) excessive oak treatment, quite brooding. The exceptional fruit quality is evident from the outset. Along with traditional markers, blackcurrant, pepper garden, and graphite, the wine features a dry blueberry element and menthol (wintergreen). Undeniable, and I might add, highly appealing suavity and balance, accentuated by medium plus to high acid, and deceptively light (for the present) tannins. (I would not be surprised if the tannins come forward in a big way after three to five years.) Medium plus finish, if somewhat muddled by oak. It paired splendidly with the roasted lamb and vegetable medley. Léoville Barton terroir captivates!

The delimma: The wine, as noted, will likely age for 20 years, most of which will be needed for the oak to integrate. If it continues evolving beyond 20 years, greatness awaits. (Less is more!) In sum, this vintage called for no more than 40 percent new oak. I find the practice of masking high-quality terroir with oak bewildering...and, no...I do not accept the argument that oak is part and parcel of terroir. 94-95...96?

P.S. A plea. Dear Léoville Barton. Your estate offers some of the finest terroir known to humankind. Please showcase it, not oak.
  • Motz commented:

    10/15/19, 5:51 AM - Hello fifl.

    I have had several vintages during recent years, the '94, '04, '08, '12, and '14.

Red
2015 Château Pontet-Canet Pauillac Red Bordeaux Blend
6/16/2019 - Motz wrote:
97 points
Pontet-Canet '14 - '16 vertical.

Pontet-Canet consistently expresses vintage as well or better than other Chateaux. Want to understand how the ripeness of 2003 affected the Left Bank? Look no further! Curious about the marked rusticity of 2006? Here you go! Questioning the notably understated quality of 2008? This (along with Leoville-Barton) is the grail!

The same holds true for 2015, which ranks among the most misunderstood Bordeaux vintages of my (wine) lifetime, a Burgundy aficionado's year. There are exceptions of course, notably Giscours and Rauzan-Segla, yet Pontet-Canet, along with Domaine de Chevalier, captured the elegance that this vintage offered.

An ethereal elixir, deceptively powerful, featuring high acid and powdery tannins. It will age forever...and then some. Worth tasting now, and better in time. 97-98.
  • Motz commented:

    6/16/19, 3:57 PM - Thank you both.

  • Motz commented:

    10/13/19, 6:06 AM - Thanks jviz. Pontet-Canet has long been my Left Bank quality benchmark, particularly in the best and worst vintages. In the by all accounts 'awful' 2013 vintage, for example, the Chateau made the finest 92 point wine imaginable.

Rosé - Sparkling
N.V. Billecart-Salmon Champagne Brut Rosé Champagne Blend
10/8/2019 - Motz wrote:
94 points
Magnum bottle, which had been cellared for a while, perhaps to perfect form. (Did not look for a disgorgement date.) Lovely color in the glass. Minimal, if any, oxidation, rather strikingly fresh and lifted. Enthralling nuance and depth, inflection-changing textures, sublime weight, precise frame, exquisite finish. It was my pleasure to enjoy the last few ounces after the bottle had been open for a few hours. A memorable experience indeed.
  • Motz commented:

    10/9/19, 7:23 PM - No doubt! Shared with great friends near Avignon to boot.

Red
2016 Château Lanessan Haut-Médoc Red Bordeaux Blend
6/26/2019 - Motz wrote:
87 points
Another 2016 Left Bank Bordeaux plagued by the absence of mid palate substance and power. Certainly fruity, generally placeless, and showing out of balance alcohol.
  • Motz commented:

    10/7/19, 4:06 AM - I have quit buying 2016s.

  • Motz commented:

    10/7/19, 4:38 AM - I do not think so. In sum, too much blackberry, oak, and alcohol, against too little substance, and even less sense of place.

Red
2014 Château Pontet-Canet Pauillac Red Bordeaux Blend
6/16/2019 - Motz wrote:
95 points
Pontet-Canet '14 - '16 vertical.

The most forward and open-knit of the three. Strong Cabernet Sauvignon markers, notably pyrazines, blackcurrant, and graphite, deftly rounded by plush Merlot. Also featuring a somewhat delicate expression of Pauillac terroir. The wine sports medium plus acid and medium, velvety tannins. Certainly approachable now, and highly likely to improve. It should reach full stride by 2035+. Pontet-Canet captures the essence of the 2014 vintage. Bravo!
  • Motz commented:

    6/26/19, 3:39 PM - Tasted the '15 and '16 Lanessan together instead.

  • Motz commented:

    7/4/19, 8:32 AM - Lanessan is one several early release vintage indicators, along with Senejac, Retout, Chateau de France, Fourcas Dupre, etc.

  • Motz commented:

    7/18/19, 7:56 AM - Hello Poppacork,

    Pyrazine notes are a telltale marker for Cabernet Sauvignon. This is a balanced wine, which features ripe pyrazine notes.

    Cheers!

  • Motz commented:

    10/1/19, 7:30 AM - Here's to hoping our palates are similar!

    Cheers!

Red - Fortified
2011 Sandeman Porto Vintage Port Blend
9/13/2019 - Motz wrote:
96 points
Bouquet of blueberry and boysenberry liqueurs, thick petaled flowers, potpourri, dark chocolate, exotic spice, and many other wondrous essences. Spectacularly balanced and structured, and built for the long haul. The challenge lies in keeping one's hands off bottles for two to three decades.
  • Motz commented:

    9/13/19, 1:09 PM - All the 2011 Vintage Ports I have tasted are a cut, or three, above. Worth seeking out.

White - Off-dry
2012 Joh. Jos. Prüm Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Auslese Mosel Saar Ruwer
9/11/2019 - Motz wrote:
92 points
Tasted over three days. Bouquet of tropical and stone fruit essences, along with honeysuckle, sweet herbs, and hints of citrus. Inviting, caressing, lovely. Lower than expected acid left me craving freshness though, and places the wine near the cloying threshold. For this reason, holding on to it for more than a few years is not recommended. A fine wine to be sure, albeit wanting for higher acid. Drink by 2022. 91-92.
  • Motz commented:

    9/12/19, 7:08 AM - Interesting. Of the recent community reviews, my experience was similar to Andrew Hall's, acid, or the relative lack thereof, being a core element of finish. I recently tasted a Max Ferd. Richter Kabinett that delivered much higher acid than this.

  • Motz commented:

    9/12/19, 1:29 PM - dhp.: One of many great things about wine is that we can all enjoy it, even though disagreeing about it.

    Cheers!

Red
2015 Montes Purple Angel Colchagua Valley Carménère
6/16/2019 - wineotim Likes this wine:
94 points
Super heavy bottle, anyone else notice this? The wine needs a few hours to start to shine and then it is glorious. Big, bold, vibrant, fresh, muscular! Would have scored this higher but the length seemed a bit short. In other words I wouldn't describe this as rich. But I'll still buy more.
  • Motz commented:

    9/12/19, 12:21 PM - Impressive score from you WT. Worth seeking out it seems.

Red
2010 Château Sociando-Mallet Haut-Médoc Red Bordeaux Blend
9/4/2019 - Motz wrote:
93 points
Tasted over three days. Minimal bricking. Notably fresh and lifted, exceedingly so, and yet the wine has softened over the past 20 months. Tannins are better integrated too. I much appreciated the modest oak treatment. No round edges or harshness, rather impressive substance, which requires time. The wine borders on greatness now, a status which (in my view begins at 94 points) I expect it will achieve in time. A beautiful wine of an exceptional vintage. In a flight of four comparably priced, 2010 vintage mostly Bordeaux variety offerings, this stood out as the fullest and most complete. Enjoyable now after a 4+ hour decant, but why not wait a few more years? High QPR! 93-94...95?
  • Motz commented:

    9/6/19, 8:00 AM - Agreed on the the wine's overall quality. Green pepper notes are part and parcel of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, in the same way that cat urine is typical of Loire Sauvignon Blanc. After sense of place (terroir), I very much appreciate varietal correctness. This noted, Left Bank Bordeaux that offer creme de cassis notes weaken my knees. Cheers to great wine!

White
2016 Joh. Jos. Prüm Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Kabinett Mosel Saar Ruwer
8/16/2019 - Motz wrote:
93 points
Gooseberry, white currant, honeydew melon rind, white peach, white flowers, etc. Striking sense of variety and place with this, Graacher Himmelreich all the way, with that impression of mineral and metallic ores suspended in the liquid. Buzzsaw acid! This will be longer lived than the pretty yet overly ripe 2015 vintage. Just gorgeous! 93-94.
  • Motz commented:

    9/4/19, 11:01 AM - Agreed. A winner, even in 'off' vintages.

Red
2012 Prunotto Monferrato Rosso Mompertone Red Blend
8/2/2019 - Motz wrote:
90 points
Surprised by the reviews here. Found this concentrated, showing effusive pomegranate, blackberry, and boysenberry perfume and flavors. Expansive, delightfully gritty and bracing, medium to medium plus acid. A versatile food wine.
  • Motz commented:

    9/4/19, 11:01 AM - Hello tward.

    My intention was to point out that I found the wine to be 'excellent', and did not find any of the issues that other reviewers noted.

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