Comments on my notes

(704 comments on 572 notes)

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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.

Red
2016 Château Pontet-Canet Pauillac Red Bordeaux Blend
8/9/2019 - Motz wrote:
94 points
Tasted over two days. The same bottle previously tasted from Coravin. The finest 2016 vintage Bordeaux I have tasted, with no close second. Pontet-Canet excels at making the best wine from what nature provides each vintage. Deftly extracted, showing effusive blackberry fruit, accentuated by bramble, blackcurrant, blueberry potpourri, and graphite notes. Medium to medium plus body, quality finish, great balance. Like so many 2016 Left Bank Bordeaux, by Pontet-Canet standards, middle and bass substance disappoint. It might improve over the next decade. 94-95.

Regardless of what many pros have written, with the exception of WS in several cases, whose lower than the pro average 2016 Bordeaux scores more accurately reflect vintage quality, this is not a top flight vintage. It cannot approach the 2010. It most reminded me of a somewhat prettier, though less rustic and structured 2006. Also, it showed similarly to a hypothetically equal parts blend of 2006 and 2014, with a splash of 2003.

I do not understand the hype with this vintage. I can speculate that the ripe blackberry element common to this vintage, which is certainly appealing, has played a role. This would be a similar to trend to the ridiculously over-hyped 2009 vintage, which tended to show high pitched red fruits and berries. The common thread between these vintages is unbalanced ripeness. Neither vintage expresses place well, especially on the Left Bank. In sum, unbalanced ripeness, the telltale sign of which in 2009 was phenolic ripeness, many of the wines showing bitterness at the back, and in 2016 is manifested by the absence of middle and bass substance.

Neither vintage was worth the tariff, and in both vintages, after early sampling, I quit buying.
  • Motz commented:

    8/12/19, 7:07 AM - Good morning thesternowl.

    Thank you for your note.

    The 2015 vintage is unique; I know of no other vintage with which it compares. The best wines feature exceptional class and charm, with some delivering Burgundy-like subtlety, which in my experience, some Bordeaux aficionados have found perplexing. I have had some disappointing 2015 wines, but so far, I have not preferred any 2016 vintage Left Bank Bordeaux over a 2015.

    I agree with your comparison of 2005 and 2010, whereas 2015 is the most unique vintage with which I am familiar, 2005 and 2010 are the purest and most traditional. I have found 1995, 1996, and 2000 to be very good, but generally overstated. I have no data points on 1990. For what it is worth, I have found 2001, 2004, 2006, and 2008 understated. Conversely, 2009 and 2016 are spectacularly overstated, more so than 2003.

    Yes, to good wine!

  • Motz commented:

    8/12/19, 12:05 PM - May I recommend:

    Domaine de Chevalier, Pontet-Canet, Brane-Cantenac, Giscours, Rauzan-Segla, Lagrange, and Cantemerle?

    Cheers!

  • Motz commented:

    8/16/19, 7:06 AM - Dave,

    I know nothing about the 2018 vintage other than what I have read. One word that I have read in several places that concerns me, given the hype with that vintage, is 'ripe' (ripeness). I think many pro reviewers score vintages based on ripeness rather than balance, place, and ageability.

  • Motz commented:

    9/4/19, 10:55 AM - PortlandSeth,

    I agree on the 2016 Rhones. I do not think that 2016 is as good as 2005 or 2010 there, but I would rate it 'Excellent' overall. Rhone varieties thrive in warm vintages (within reason (2003, and perhaps 2007 and 2009, were arguably too warm)), whereas Bordeaux varieties require balanced growing seasons. I think many pro reviewers now equate warm vintage to great vintage in Bordeaux. A mistake. And, to play devil's advocate, 1997 and 2007 very excellent or better vintages in the Rhone, and generally regarded as bad in Bordeaux.

    Cheers!

Red
2014 Château Pontet-Canet Pauillac Red Bordeaux Blend
6/30/2019 - PortlandSeth Likes this wine:
94 points
Out of the bottle this was almost undrinkable, so tart and green, but after breathing for 4 hours it started to sing. Blackberry, creme de cassis, cedar, vanilla and oregano. Good depth of fruit without being heavy, nice lift and very fine tannins. The oak is deftly ballanced and the finish is smooth. Should age very elegantly.
  • Motz commented:

    8/16/19, 2:35 PM - Hear, hear!

Red
2010 Château Trotanoy Pomerol Red Bordeaux Blend
6/29/2019 - Zweder wrote:
96 points
Occasional dinner group; Best bottles in white and red. (@ Bottles; Sas van Gent, Netherlands): Dark berries and beautiful oak in the bouquet. On the palate a juicy wine with good freshness, beautifully round, but firm tannin, oak and bitterness. Beautiful and juicy wine which is still in its infant stage. I have only one bottle which I plan to drink somewhere in the 2030’s. For now 95 – 97++
  • Motz commented:

    8/12/19, 8:06 AM - I too have only one bottle, which I plan on holding for a long while.

    Yes, to good wine!

Red
2003 Château Pontet-Canet Pauillac Red Bordeaux Blend
8/9/2019 - Purple Tooth wrote:
92 points
Meh....Just okay this time. Seemed a bit out of character and out of balance compared to the 2003 Poyferre...Bottle variation keeps me dreaming of the wine that was....or the wines that were. Chasing the Dragon! . Drink again soon....TBC
  • Motz commented:

    8/12/19, 8:03 AM - I would be happy to drink them with you!

Red
2016 Château Sénéjac Haut-Médoc Red Bordeaux Blend
8/11/2019 - Purple Tooth wrote:
88 points
I would say that this is light bodied with Pinot Noir appearance and green flavors. I would never peg this to a Bordeaux if blind. Its rather elegant, but I don't think it has the structure to allow secondaries to develop while maintaining freshness and grip...Probably at best in 3 years and will drink well for another 5.....HOLD
  • Motz commented:

    8/12/19, 7:59 AM - Preach!

Red
2010 Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco Nebbiolo
8/3/2019 - Eric Becker Likes this wine:
91 points
This is a Barbaresco that better had to come of age and has done so.
I remember tasting this at the winery back in 2013 and it was rather harsh and its nose and taste somehow leaned to cat pee.
I was told that this vintage has lots of potential and now, several years later, this turns out to be true. The color is quite dark in nebbiolo terms with a very slight brown rim. In the nose there is nice confected cherry fruit, mixed with iron and balsamic notes. In the mouth the wines has put on weight and is quite on fire after one hour of breathing. While there is still a wealth of tannin, which lingers long on the finish, the wine is certainly accessible now and shows the rather more rustic side of a Barbaresco from the Produttori (I agree with fellow contributor Motz).
Equally worth drinking now as keeping for five years.
  • Motz commented:

    8/3/19, 4:14 PM - Well stated, and thanks for the nod.

Red
2014 Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste Pauillac Red Bordeaux Blend
12/18/2018 - Motz wrote:
93 points
Tasted over four days, alongside the same vintage Domaine de Chevalier. Intriguing terroir. Light by Pauillac standards, yet also distinctively Pauillac, while hinting at Saint-Julien, through a certain textural finesse. As previously noted, excessive oak treatment dulls elements that would otherwise show greater lift and precision. Such, however, is the house style.

Tight and restrained upon opening. Lingered over a few ounces for several hours, and noticed more expressiveness toward evening's end. Noticeably more robust on the second day, if somewhat muddled. The third day revealed the wine's full potential, suggesting that modest improvement is possible, depending upon the extent to which the oak treatment integrates. Compelling on the fourth day, although it had begun fading.

Overall impressions:
The wine imparts the impression of perfect blending, in that the winemaker fashioned nature's provision into an offering greater than the sum of its parts.
The winemaker subsequently detracted from this noteworthy acheivement by applying no less than 20 percent excessive oak, which blunts the liquid's finest qualities.
The wine features appealing textural nuance, but lacks the substance to achieve 95+ point scores.

In sum, a fine, and highly enjoyable wine, that might be best appreciated alongside a wine that is even oakier. It held its own alongside the purer, more energetic, rounded, and substantive Domaine de Chevalier, over all four days.

Another seven to ten years might reveal a 94 point wine. At under $60, fine QPR.
  • Motz commented:

    7/25/19, 5:45 AM - Hello Dave,

    First, let me wish you a long life.

    I would not hesitate to open one of your magnums whenever you would like to. The 2014s overall do not pack the tannin of the 2010 vintage, and are thus notably approachable. And, for this wine, oak neutralizes a portion of its tannic freshness, making it even more approachable. In sum, though a Pauillac, which probably has a twenty-year lifespan, it can be enjoyed in its youth.

    Cheers!

Red
2009 Gros Frère et Sœur Richebourg Richebourg Grand Cru Pinot Noir
10/26/2018 - Motz wrote:
97 points
Ridiculously appealing bouquet, showing early season red berries, assorted red plums, and acerola, mid-spring flowers, herbals essences, perfumed sous-bois, and a truly unique, utterly tantalizing, savoriness. The wine tastes as it smells, featuring ethereal, inflection-changing textures that glide over the palate. The perfumed sous-bois and savory interplay bends the mind, mine at least. Compelling ripeness, impeccable balance, powerfully structured, young and very like to improve. The wine speaks in terms that words cannot accurately convey. Phenomenal! Many thanks J & K! 96-98.
  • Motz commented:

    7/24/19, 8:07 AM - A friend bought this to a dinner at a restaurant. I think we decanted it, but cannot say for sure. I do remember that the bouquet spilled over from the bottle upon pulling the cork.

    Cheers!

White - Off-dry
2016 Domaine Huet Vouvray Demi-Sec Le Haut-Lieu Chenin Blanc
7/18/2019 - Motz wrote:
94 points
An extraordinary bottle and a top contender for WOTN during an evening in which French wine (and one Spanish) graced the table and meal shared by great friends. Pear, lychee, green apple, dry honeycomb, subtle citrus, lemongrass, wax, and mineral elements throughout. The wine touches every part of the palate, at once gritty and piercing. Time will serve it well. 94-95...96?
  • Motz commented:

    7/21/19, 8:01 AM - Thanks srh.

Red
2010 Château Pontet-Canet Pauillac Red Bordeaux Blend
7/4/2019 - sirpat007 wrote:
95 points
Ripe, red fruit, a bit of cedar wood and sweet spices. A slightly jammy character. Fine herbal aromatics, green and fresh. Surprisingly light on the palate and easily accessible. Young and sexy, but already harmonious. Add some more secondary and tertiary flavours with a few more years of bottle age and this will be great. Already seems to be outflanking the infamous 2009 (my scores: 97, 94, 94) with the gap between the two probably extending over time.
  • Motz commented:

    7/19/19, 10:39 AM - Seconded. I do not think the 2009 will last as long as the 2010 either.

Red
2013 Dominus Estate Napa Valley Red Bordeaux Blend
3/31/2018 - Motz wrote:
93 points
Fourth in a blind flight of seven 'Bordeaux Variety' wines:

Tasted twice in a five hour span.

Please allow me a brief essay (rant) on tannins:
Fruit tannins are awesome! They are not bitter, and almost invariably integrate, adding textural nuance and depth to the wines they grace. I do not understand why some producers strip fruit tannins out of their wines.

Wood (oak) tannins are not awesome. They are bitter and prick the tongue. Only light wood tannins sometimes integrate, and the extent to which they add complexity is arguable. The same producers who strip fruit tannins out of their wines sometimes add wood tannins by excessive oak treatment.

Stems (green wood) can impart bitter tannins if excessively pressed.

Bouquet:
Powerful, if somewhat muddled, featuring blackberry, purple fruits (compote in particular), cacao (dark unsweetened chocolate), espresso, fresh herbs, raw tree nuts. Cabernet Sauvignon varietal markers, while certainly present, play second fiddle to the Petit Verdot.

Positives: It indicated judicious oak treatment.
Negatives: It lacked expression of place. In terms of (reverse) deductive reasoning: Almost certainly New World, perhaps California, minimal indication of 'Napa Valley', zero of Oakville.

Palate: Extracted, firm, significant power, and yet compact, bordering on monolithic. Fruit tannins dance across the palate, as if encased in a fine membrane, possibly alcohol. The wine tastes like it smells in all regards, with one exception. The back features an intense palate-scouring bitterness. Given the judicious oak treatment and absence of green markers on the bouquet or palate, it seems that this decidedly off-putting element is the result of excessively pressed stems, 'green' wood tannins if you will. Indeed, it felt like needle-fine liquid splinters had pierced the top of my tongue in a thousand places, and by evening's end this Bordeaux and Barolo, high-acid, and tannin-loving palate had been thoroughly hammered.

Perfectly aged bottles of great Bordeaux conjure magic. In my experience, however, only one in three or four bottles retains it soul after twenty years. For this reason, I prefer to drink bottles too early rather than too late. As such, I am accustomed to--indeed, I actually thoroughly enjoy--high-acid and soul-destroying tannins in wines I drink. I have tasted many young bottles of Bordeaux, Barolo, Cabernet Sauvignon, and other high tannin wines over the years, and on the basis of this experience, I contend that the green wood acerbic element in this vintage of Dominus (I have only tasted one other) represents a flaw. If intentional, then why?

Also, it seems appropriate to compare this to the 2010 Opus One, which features excellent expression of place, balanced oak, and no bitterness.

There are many positives to this wine. However, there are three significant issues with it:

1) The label lists 15 abv. The wine's substance wears it well enough. However, how well do non-fortified high alcohol wines actually age?
2) No expression of place other than New World. Terroir arguably conveys the greatest element of appeal in any wine. Without it, wines, no matter how well made, can be soulless.
3) The overpowering stem tannins here are truly awful. In the off chance that they integrate, I will be happy to be proven wrong.

The wine packs 96 point substance, though I am compelled to subtract one point each for these three issues.
  • Motz commented:

    8/25/18, 4:28 PM - Thanks. It seemed pertinent to express why this wine is over-hyped. If I recall correctly, it boasts quadruple one hundred point scores. Go figure.

  • Motz commented:

    7/18/19, 9:59 AM - Hello veni_vidi_bibi,

    You certainly make several bold assertions.

    As noted in my introductory 'rant' on tannins, however, ripe fruit tannins are not bitter, and I find them appealing.

    Green, however, is green. Greenness does not fade, and I have tasted more than a few green Cabernet Sauvignon - Bordeaux variety based blends from California over the years. I found the greenness in this wine surprising given its pedigree, which is why I pointed it out.

    We will also have to agree to disagree on whether Cabernet Sauvignon represents place well. I find the variety highly expressive of place, particularly with producers for whom place matters.

    As also noted, I taste a good deal of powerful red wines young, and appreciate ripe fruit (skin) tannins. Such wines are quite different from over-extracted wines, which incline towards greenness (harshness).

    Cheers!

  • Motz commented:

    7/19/19, 7:58 AM - Much of this exchange appears to center around the ongoing discussion between New and Old World leaning palates. Namely: what wine is, or what it should be.

    For my part, for example, 2011 Napa Bordeaux tribute wines appealed from the outset, in the same ways that the 2007, 2011, and 2013 Willamette Valley vintages have. The common thread? Cool vintages, which typically feature varietal character and earth (terroir), with fruit secondary or tertiary. To this palate, fruit enhances a wine only when in balance, meaning non-jammy, non-manipulated, and not monstrously alcoholic. Still, I could care less if the fruitiness in a wine lingers in the background. I drink wine for expressions of variety and place, vegetables not candy, if you will. When I crave fruit, I buy fruit juice.

    I have tasted a couple of California and a few handfuls of WV Pinot Noir, that put my mind to Burgundy. With few exceptions though, I prefer Burgundy, for no other reason than $20-$30 Burgundies usually out perform the $50+ CA and OR Pinot Noirs that are reminiscent of Burgundy.

    Back to the concept of wines that express place. I just tasted the 2010 Chateau d'Armailhac, and have enjoyed several vintages of it over the years, including 1996 and 1982. That wine expresses place with the best of them. While no one ever accused that terroir of 'prettiness', distinctive it certainly is.

    Cheers to all!

Red
2014 Château Meyney St. Estèphe Red Bordeaux Blend
2/22/2018 - Motz wrote:
92 points
Tasted over four days. Pulled the cork, inhaled the deep purple and sweet oak perfume, tasted a half ounce, and let the wine sit for a few hours. (Intending to enjoy the bottle over a few days, did not decant.) Poured a couple of ounces and enjoyed with tri-tip. Four elements stood out: deep purple in color with blue hues, unintegrated high quality oak, a fleshy, viscous mouthfeel, and tannic grip. Overall, as reticent as many 2014 Classed Growths I have tasted. The wine made its mark on the second and third days, as the oak receded, allowing the wine to strut its brawny substance. There is a sense of extraction to this, which imparts the chewy viscosity. Lesser quality, over extracted wines tend to throw heavy sediment by the fifth to seventh year from vintage, after which they turn pedestrian. I expect this will throw sediment by then too. The amount, the less sediment a young wine throws the better, may be the real test of its quality.

The bouquet and profile feature blue, purple, and black fruits, lavendar, olives, light-roast fresh ground coffee beans, cacao, herbs, and essential oils. Very pretty and decidedly modern. Juicy 'sweet' attack, expansive and bracing middle, gripping back, gritty and smooth finish. On the fourth day it returned to reticence, similar to the first day, a likely indicator of its youth and quality. The wine is very well balaced, wearing its alcohol well, and stalwartly framed. The Meyney style appears to have changed, and the house style that it most put mind to is Pontet-Canet. The wine rides a line between flamboyant modernity and gripping rusticity. Its hallmark after this experience, a two word phrase by which I will remember it: Purple-Blue. The wine would hold its own, and hoodwink experienced tasters, in a blind flight of Fifth to Third Growths. If enjoying now, decant for several hours. Worth revisiting in three years; its true quality will most likely be revealed by then. A delightful kick in the pants right now! 92-93.
  • Motz commented:

    2/22/18, 2:23 PM - I agree PurpleTooth. If it holds its form through 2021, moving past extracted fruit, and evolves, it could be even better. I would give it a 6/10 chance of medium+ term cellaring potential, say through 2035.

  • Motz commented:

    4/2/18, 7:03 AM - The Meyney is certainly interesting. Your total cost is not bad either, probably right at my total cost, purchased and shipped from CA.

  • Motz commented:

    7/11/19, 7:39 AM - Cheers to one and all!

    My two cents regarding the 2016 vintage: the most over-hyped since 2009. Whereas the 2009 vintage was Californiaesque (Is that a word?), and suffered from phenolic ripeness issues characterized by astringency at the back and finish, most of the 2016 vintage wines I have tasted are placeless, showing copious purple fruits, but lacking anything more than average substance and structure. Put differently, most show flat mid palates, and no more than medium acid. Pontet-Canet is a noteworthy exception.

  • Motz commented:

    7/11/19, 1:05 PM - Thanks for the kind words vintage1949. To answer your question:

    Bordeaux did nothing to me personally in 2016. My problem is with what many producers did to all of us, creating wines that are strikingly fruit-forward and oaky, thus placeless, and generally devoid of the substance that yields long-term cellar worthy bottles. So many of the 2016s are open and straightforward, and show little reticence or tannic structure.

    While many wines are technically 'excellent', the pros inexplicably declared 2016 the latest 'vintage of the century' on incomprehensible grounds. For example, the Rauzan-Segla, which is a placeless yet well made wine merits 92 points. The pros, however, accorded it an average score above 98 points. Go figure.

  • Motz commented:

    7/11/19, 2:19 PM - I found the 2016 Montrose ridiculously overstated. I have not tasted the Cos.

  • Motz commented:

    7/18/19, 10:04 AM - Hello to all. Given our recent exchange here, I thought veni_vidi_bibi's recent comment on my 2013 Dominus tasting note relevant, should anyone care to check it out.

Red
2010 Château de Saint-Cosme Gigondas Valbelle Red Rhone Blend
I recently discovered that I have three of these instead of the two I expected to own, so I decided to take one for the team. HOLD!!!

2-1/2 hour decant. Deep opaque red. Nose of berries, tar, pencil shavings and violets. Medium-bodied with an amount of acidity that works for my palate. However, there is a wall of tannin still locking down the good stuff underneath. Crushed berries, dried herbs and espresso are the flavors trying to peek through. I think this will be fantastic when ready, but I’m guessing it’s still at least 4 years out.
  • Motz commented:

    7/14/19, 9:25 AM - Your public service, "taking one for the team" is much appreciated. I am doing my college best to hold my bottle.

    Cheers!

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.

Red
2016 Carlisle Zinfandel Papera Ranch Russian River Valley
1/20/2019 - Motz wrote:
92 points
Here we go, with a couple of caveats first.

My palate leans heavily to varietally correct, terroir-driven, layered and balanced wines, regardless of provenance. See, for example, my note on the 2016 Bedrock Wine Co. Bedrock Heritage, and the note that proceeds this one, on the 2014 Birichino Grenache Old Vines Besson Vineyard, which I tasted alongside this wine over two days and found more satisfying.

Perfect ripeness, however desirable, can lead to wines that lack depth and structure, as ripeness can take a toll on acid levels. See, for example, my notes on the heady, yet overhyped 2015 Joh. Jos. Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr and Graacher Himmelreich Kabinetts.

Tasted over two days.

The appealing: Heady bouquet of all things ripe berry, blue, purple, and black. Ultra juicy berries, absence of lumber, and medium to medium plus acid.

The less appealing: Other than saturated berriness (Is that a word?), there is very little to this. One might find wafting hints of sarsparilla, sweet pipe tobacco, fruit-flavored milk-chocolate, and spice, but that is about it. Specifically, there is little sense of variety. One might surmise, based upon the juicy fruit, that Zinfandel is present, yet the peppery, sappy, sometimes meaty and smoky pithiness that characterize Zinfandel are all but absent. There is no sense of place, other than New World, and probably California, based upon the crowd-pleasing style. And, other than the aforementioned acid level, Zinfandel usually offers a certain level of powdery tannins, which are not present with this.

The unappealing: The wine features an strong sense of manufacture, or chemical manipulation. One might be able to make something that tastes similar with two parts concord grape juice, one part blueberry juice, one part blackberry juice, articial berry flavors, and grape spirits to equal 15 percent abv.

All this aside, the wine must be judged on its merits: intoxicating perfume, very good structure, shut-the-wine-brain-off tastiness, and for these reasons I cannot score it less than 92 points, however grudgingly. Drink over the near term, as it lacks the substance to improve.

Who knows what the pros were thinking. Perhaps they were seduced by the sirens.
  • Motz commented:

    1/23/19, 6:38 AM - Wilypod and Mr.Overhill: Thank you both for reading and understanding the core of my note.

    Wilypod: I appreciate the comparison to great French and Italian wines. It may be helpful to explain that I take a traditional (root word) view of terroir: place. The wines you listed feature variety(s) in place (earth) as they evolve, over decades. For this reason, fruit, however aromatically or texturally appealing, especially fruit that conveys hints of manufacture, which in my view is the alpha and omega of this wine, I find difficulty describing as conveying 'sense of place.' If it lasts beyond 2026-2028 I would be surprised. Thank you again for grasping my argument.

    Mr.Overhill: The wine boasts scores of 98, 96, 94-97, and 94, all from major publications. I have do doubt that it will be enjoyable over the next several years, perhaps up to ten. In my view, wines that should be drunk within ten to twelve years of the vintage date are short-term agers. One of the great things about wine is that we never quit learning about it. If my assessment of this wine is wrong, I will be happy and thankful for the learning experience. I hope my response answers your questions. Thanks again for your comments.

  • Motz commented:

    7/4/19, 8:42 AM - This is a fine example of wines in this style, or perhaps better described, wine-like adult beverages. It tastes good and there is some structure. Otherwise, not much else to it.

Red
2015 Château Lanessan Haut-Médoc Red Bordeaux Blend
6/26/2019 - Motz wrote:
91 points
Tasted alongside the 2016 vintage. This showed better across the board, and it was not close. Powerful expression of place; a wine of the rocky, mineral-driven earth! Rustic and precise, stalwartly framed, and deftly balanced.

It should continue evolving for the next five to seven years. Improvement seems likely. Recommend a serious decant if enjoying in the near term. 91-92.

Drinking this next to the 2016 offering made evident the flaws with that grossly overstated vintage: lack of substance and dull mid palates. The 2016 Left Bank Bordeaux vintage contends with 2009 for the most underwhelming vintages in recent decades.

P.S. 10,000th tasting note. The 14th community member to reach that milestone.
  • Motz commented:

    7/4/19, 8:30 AM - My pleasure. Cheers!

Red
2015 Turley Zinfandel Fredericks Vineyard Sonoma Valley
6/27/2019 - Motz wrote:
91 points
Effusive fig, date, prune, and raisin notes, all in balance, along with sappiness, baking spices, sarsaparilla, cola, pepper, and incense. Somewhat jammy, but even this is balanced by excellent structure and precision, which also holds the listed 15.9 abv in check. Likely to hold form for another three to five years.
  • Motz commented:

    6/27/19, 3:36 PM - The winemakers does indeed integrate the typically astronomical alcohol levels well.

Red
2015 Bear Flag Wine Zinfandel Sonoma County
6/26/2019 - wineotim wrote:
88 points
Medium bodied bramble like fruit, nice balance, high alcohol. A pretty good example of Sonoma Zin for the price paid. Three days to finish this bottle.
  • Motz commented:

    6/26/19, 8:16 PM - Spot on.

Red
2016 Château Labégorce Margaux Red Bordeaux Blend
6/26/2019 - Motz wrote:
91 points
There is substance here, although much of it results from rather heavy extraction, which shows prominently (astringency) at the back and finish. Modernly styled, generally interesting, reasonable expression of place. Otherwise, somewhat heavy and monolithic.
  • Motz commented:

    6/26/19, 2:55 PM - Hello Vinomazing.

    Unfortunately, I hold little hope for most 2016 Left Bank vintage wines, finding them devoid of the requisite substance to make them age worthy and without mid palate depth. Also, with few exceptions, the wines lack expression of place. Rauzan-Segla and Montrose typify this soullessness.

Red
2017 Mollydooker Shiraz Blue Eyed Boy South Australia
5/4/2019 - Motz wrote:
87 points
Sweeter blue fruits and a stronger sense of chemical manipulation than other iterations. Lacking the structure to support the massive extraction, and the back features oak imparted bitterness. More power to all who enjoy such...well...wine-like beverages. The most unbalanced in a flight of modern wines tasted on this occasion.
  • Motz commented:

    5/30/19, 8:08 AM - Hello srh: In my lexicon, wine-like beverages encompasses offerings that feature unmistakable chemical manipulation, usually to add fruit-like flavors.

    I do my level best to avoid purchasing such 'beverages', as well as those 'abominations' that you list, which feature massively extracted, over-the-top fruit and offensive oak treatment.

    Cheers!

  • Motz commented:

    6/20/19, 1:50 PM - Hello Kentw. I only tasted this wine; it is not something I would buy. Wines like this do not have sufficient structure to improve in the traditional-technical sense, but I know that they can become more syrupy with age.

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.

Red
2015 Domaine Diochon Moulin-à-Vent Vieilles Vignes Gamay
6/8/2019 - Motz wrote:
93 points
Lovely juice! Fresh, lifted, and wholly compelling! Bouquet of pomegranate, lingonberry, hibiscus, and spring flowers. Piercing minerality, in the form of red and purple precious stones. Sturdy frame, deft balance, high quality finish.
  • Motz commented:

    6/8/19, 6:46 AM - I failed, as that was my last one.

Red
2014 Crios de Susana Balbo Cabernet Sauvignon Mendoza
1/15/2016 - Motz wrote:
88 points
Big wine, on the fruity side though still showing pleasing varietal elements. Not a complex wine but the weight, texture, structure, and balance are very good. 87-88.
  • Motz commented:

    5/30/19, 8:14 AM - I do not remember this, which is one of many reasons why CT is awesome!

Red
2008 Cayuse Syrah Armada Vineyard Walla Walla Valley
1/20/2019 - Motz wrote:
95 points
What to write about this!? For the first few hours the bouquet and taste profile showed white pepper, garrigue sap, dried blood, ash, kelp, and feral notes, but featured zoo yard, barnyard on steroids if you will. In all seriousness, the wine smelled of the large mammal section of a zoo, specifically freshly released wiz and laid poo. Yeah! After several hours the wiz and poo integrated with all the other elements, which made for a fuller, more appealing, and deeply satisfying experience.

If drinking now, recommend a long decant. Otherwise, it seemed that this can last for another seven to ten years+.
  • Motz commented:

    5/30/19, 8:12 AM - No doubt!

Red
2015 Tenuta Sette Ponti Oreno Toscana IGT SuperTuscan Blend
4/17/2018 - Motz wrote:
94 points
Hands down the prettiest Oreno bouquet I have encountered. Ripe blackberry and boysenberry 'sweetness', muddled flower petals, raspberry and hibiscus teas, live herbs, and assorted berry liqueurs. Utterly enthralling! Unsurprisingly ripe, a striking theme of the 2015 vintage throughout Europe to date, lush and layered textures, seamless mouthfeel, and an impression of weightless saturation. An oxymoronic term to be sure, but other descriptors fail me. The middle and back do not lack for power and the wine finishes long.

Along with the drop-dead gorgeous bouquet, this is also the most forward Oreno I have tasted, with no close second. Like so many 2015 vintage wines, the lingering question is: Does this merit anything beyond ten years in the cellar from today? My guess: probably not. Whatever the case, the pleasure factor is certainly worth the relatively modest tariff. 94-95.
  • Motz commented:

    5/30/19, 8:02 AM - Preach!

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 high-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.

Red
2016 Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe Châteauneuf-du-Pape La Crau Red Rhone Blend
2/28/2019 - Motz wrote:
95 points
Tart and tangy red fruits, acerola, and under ripe persimmon upon opening, the wine blossomed after several hours of air, delivering a tour de force in supple power. It offered red and spring flowers, sweet and tangy berries, pomegranate, mint, herbs, clay, and minerals on the bouquet and palate. Notably clean, fruit forward, and wholly appealing. More of the same on the second day, albeit more fully integrated. Of CdP wines in this style, I prefer Beaucastel...but who's complaining. Delicious, rounded, balanced, and likely to improve over the next seven to ten years. It should last through 2035+. 95-96.
  • Motz commented:

    5/24/19, 4:55 PM - Hello Dhulman,

    Unlike other vintages, this wine shows notably less richness, and features compact precision and high acid, which bodes well for extended again.

Red - Fortified
2011 Dow Porto Vintage Port Blend
5/22/2019 - Motz wrote:
98 points
Decanted for a few hours.

By all measurable standards, a pure and beautiful wine. Truly seamless; at once taut, precise, and expansive. It pairs with many foods, including dark chocolate, which zeros out the sweetness, allowing it to show like a world class dry wine.

More composed, as opposed to massive, than in March 2015, although not a hint of bricking. It will last forever, and then some.
  • Motz commented:

    5/24/19, 5:13 AM - Worth seeking out. Even at current pricing.

  • Motz commented:

    5/24/19, 4:49 PM - Dude! I have one left as well, and based on this experience, I am going to hold it as long as I can.

Red
2015 Le Petit Lion du Marquis de Las Cases St. Julien Red Bordeaux Blend
4/27/2019 - Motz wrote:
flawed
Corked!
  • Motz commented:

    5/23/19, 6:19 PM - No doubt!

Red
2016 Bear Flag Wine Zinfandel Sonoma County
5/23/2019 - Motz wrote:
88 points
Somewhat taut and compact, as opposed to expansive. Stylistically different than the 2015, which could be a function of vintage. There is a greenish bite to it at the back. Very good.
  • Motz commented:

    5/23/19, 6:12 PM - Yes. There is a bite to it, which is a bit distracting. I just added that to the note.

Red
2015 Bear Flag Wine Zinfandel Sonoma County
5/4/2019 - Motz wrote:
88 points
Well, as modernly styled New World fruit bombs go, this is not too bad. It actually shows some structure and balance, and is not over oaked. Alcy is certainly perceptible, though not offensively so. Kind of tasty, sort of.
  • Motz commented:

    5/23/19, 5:10 AM - Best enjoyed by shutting off the wine brain, and alongside a marbled cut of beef grilled. 😁

Red
2015 Château Pontet-Canet Pauillac Red Bordeaux Blend
11/25/2018 - Motz wrote:
97 points
Tasted on back-to-back days from Coravin, alongside several high quality Bordeaux and Burgundy. This stood out!

Unlike the same vintage Domaine de Chevalier, and a few other wines, it showed beautifully from the outset, the Coravin did not detract from its aromatics. The wine features a suave regality, leaning more toward Queen than King, especially by Pauillac standards. In this way, it evokes memories of Latour.

Captivating amalgam of red and purple berries, fresh, light, and deceptively powerful. In particular, the medium plus to high acid and intriguing loess-like tannins at once frame the wine beautifully and attest to its longevity, probably three decades or more. The wine also features enthralling, inflection changing textures, that put the mind to Burgundy.

My second favorite vintage of Pontet-Canet, after the 2010, and yet, I think this wine is prettier. Learning to enjoy Burgundy, courtesy of my good friend ES, makes me appreciate this wine all the more. Get Some! 96-98.
  • Motz commented:

    5/22/19, 9:22 PM - So far, with a small data sample, I have found the 2016 wines overstated. Some remarkably so.

Red
2015 Domaine de Chevalier Pessac-Léognan Red Bordeaux Blend
5/5/2019 - Willy2782 Likes this wine:
94 points
Just ordered another 12 bottles, this is amazing wine.
  • Motz commented:

    5/11/19, 7:52 AM - If I may offer an opinion here: The 2015 vintage wines feature an atypical lightness, with some, such as this one, showing Burgundian-like elements. Also, the tannin profile in this vintage is light and powdery, while acid levels are notably high. Taken together, these elements make the wines approachable in youth, and should allow the better wines to age for three or more decades. In sum, this wine is delicious now, and it will last through 2045+.

  • Motz commented:

    5/11/19, 9:41 AM - My preference is Left Bank...and I can recommend this wine and Pontet-Canet as fine examples of my earlier comment. This noted, the examples you listed are mostly Right Bank, and if those were tightly wound, then you may find the Left Bank wines even more dense.

  • Motz commented:

    5/11/19, 9:49 AM - Yes to good wine!

  • Motz commented:

    5/22/19, 9:20 PM - I have not tasted the d'Issan, but along with the Giscours, the L-B is one of the more rustic wines of this vintage.

Red
1990 Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande Pauillac Red Bordeaux Blend
5/14/2019 - rocknroller wrote:
96 points
Day of the Goat: A Pichon Lalande Fractured Vertical (Leo & Cheryl's Place, Mpls, MN): Very dark red color. Splash decanted for 15 minutes. Drank a glass over 2hours plus. Spellbinding and seamless, this is wonderful. Nearly perfectly integrated this has the depth and finesse of a hypothetical blend of the 83 and 85. Silky and caressing on the palate with a glorious perfume of potpourri, cassis, wild raspberry, leather, damp earth, pencil, and fine cigar. This is beatifully balanced and supremely elegant and long. Great fuit, structure and polish. One of my all time favorite Pichons.
  • Motz commented:

    5/18/19, 2:43 PM - Man...you drink well!

    Cheers!

Red
2008 Château Pontet-Canet Pauillac Red Bordeaux Blend
4/24/2019 - Motz wrote:
96 points
Wine four of nine, all 2008 Bordeaux varieties (also tasted the following evening):

One of two standouts, noteworthy for its mesmeric profile and serene purity. While compact and decidedly feminine in style, especially for Pauillac, the wine packs seemingly countless layers of scents and flavors. Charming to its core, yet is does not lack for power. The wine tantalizes with inflection-changing nuance. Moreover, the apogee of great Bordeaux for this palate, crème de cassis, spills over from the glass in torrents!

It improved by the second day, offering greater range, depth, and finesse. On this day, it paired exquisitely with high-heat-seared, charcoal-grilled, bone-in Ribeye. Indeed, the pairing will remain with me for many moons to come.

Entering its earliest drinking window, likely to reach full stride by 2028-2030, and it should last through 2038-2040. Insanely good! 96...97?
  • Motz commented:

    4/29/19, 7:47 PM - Hey WT! Did you see my note on the 2014 vintage? I described why Pontet-Canet consistently overachieves. I do not know that I would pay the tariff for the 2009 when I could get the 2010 for even less though.

Red
2008 Tenuta Sette Ponti Oreno Toscana IGT SuperTuscan Blend
4/26/2019 - Motz wrote:
96 points
Wine six of nine, all 2008 Bordeaux varieties (also tasted the following evening):

Along with the Pontet-Canet, the standout of the evening. While fruitier and more robust than the Pontet-Canet, the wine featured tremendous balance of fruit, oak, terroir, and structure (medium plus to high acid and medium plus tannin), along with exceptional poise and verve. It has evolved beautifully since 2014, integrating oak, and what were once gum-numbing tannins. The wine's complexity and range top the charts. It calls for food, the richer the better.

Ever more seductive on the second day, and again it ran neck and neck with the Pontet-Canet. My preference ran toward the restrained earthiness and technical precision of the Bordeaux, and yet the Oreno proved exceptionally difficult to come away from. I probably missed it more once both bottles were empty.

Still evolving, and likely to do so for another decade. It should last through 2035, give or take a year or two. Recommend holding for three to five years. 96...97?
  • Motz commented:

    4/26/19, 2:31 PM - Outstanding! I plan to hold my remaining bottle for as long as I can. Salute!

Red
2012 Bedrock Wine Co. Syrah T 'n' S Blocks Hudson Vineyard South Carneros
6/6/2018 - Motz wrote:
96 points
Tasted over three days, alongside a 2013 Gramercy Forgotten Hills Syrah and a 2015 Saint-Damien Gigondas Les Souteyrades. Minimal bricking.

A few American producers craft Rhone (and environs: Languedoc-Roussillon, Bandol, etc.) variety wines that convey notable umami elements. Gramercy, Turley, Cowhorn, Reynvaan, Thackrey, Cayuse, and, of course, Bedrock come to mind here. Very few American producers craft wines that offer savory essences. Indeed, savoriness might be the consistently rarest element found in American wines, and in New World wines overall. This wine features both: umami and savory! As such, it ranks among the finest, most complete, and profoundly satisfying New World Rhone variety wines I have crossed paths with, perhaps the best. The bouquet and profile offer pepper, (dialed back and not too 'sweet') sarsaparilla, coal, smoke, sun baked black stones, lavender, industrial rubber mat, cured meats, fennel (anise), hoisin, soy, Medjool date, dried fig, Turkish apricot, and unsweetened guava paste, along with the ethereal umami and savory notes. The sarsaparilla element so common to Bedrock offerings is toned down here, and thus plays harmoniously with the savoriness, creating a mind-bending sweet-savory effect that even few French wines convey. Impeccably balanced! Generous, expansive, and spectacularly long. It separated itself from the other two wines by a noteworthy margin, and showed best on the third day, the last ounces making the strongest impression. This can age for quite a while longer, and I intend to hold a bottle for as long as I can manage. Utterly compelling. Let it breathe. 95-96.
  • Motz commented:

    4/24/19, 1:11 PM - Jonathan T: Thanks for the kind words. Apologies for the late reply.

    WGDM: Thanks for the tip on this wine. I will keep an eye open. One Crosses paths with savory New World wines only occasionally.

    Cheers!

Red
2016 Agricola San Felice Chianti Classico Chianti Classico DOCG Sangiovese Blend, Sangiovese
1/2/2019 - Motz wrote:
92 points
Another excellent showing. Excellent quality fruit and deft winemaking skill on display here. Exceptional balance of ripe fruit, oak, alcohol, and terroir, particularly at the price point. Time will serve this well, and it may improve.
  • Motz commented:

    4/20/19, 8:30 AM - A great wine indeed! Thanks MJ.

Red
2016 Château Sénéjac Haut-Médoc Red Bordeaux Blend
12/24/2018 - Motz wrote:
90 points
From a half. Very interesting, particularly compared to the rustically restrained 2015 vintage tasted recently. This features surprising forwardness and a distracting level of 'sweet' oak staves, even after several hours of air. There is substance to the wine, albeit more suave than powerful. The wine also imparts an impression of compact precision, which the oak overpowers at present. A 'different' style of Sénéjac to be sure.

In sum, not what I expected (given the hype surrounding the 2016 vintage), at least not yet. One might hope that the oak recedes over the next several months, as there is too much of it now. Also, while I do not know the assemblage of previous vintages, this struck me as showcasing Merlot, which lends the wine a certain softness.

The elements that made the 2010 vintage spectacular, brawny structure and deep, inflection changing, substance have gone on hiatus here, at least for now. It does need time, but I do not think it will ever command attention in the way that the 2010 vintage does. 90-91.
  • Motz commented:

    1/16/19, 8:03 PM - Time will tell I suppose. I did find several bottles of the 2010 vintage recently.

  • Motz commented:

    4/19/19, 10:41 AM - Hi Joe. The 2010 vintage ranks among the best Bordeaux values that I have come across...rustic to its core. In this way, that vintage was the proverbial apple, which once tasted remains forever etched in one's (wine) psyche. I agree that this vintage is marginally better than the 2014,...although not as good as the 2015. It is quite modern, excessively oaky and polished, especially compared to the 2010.

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