Comments on my notes

(142 comments on 140 notes)

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Red
2015 Sine Qua Non Syrah Trouver l'Arene Central Coast
2/16/2018 - ageverett Likes this wine:
98 points
Double decant and let breathe for 90 minutes. Drank over 3 hours.

This almost seems like it's from another planet. Just keep sticking your nose in for another whiff. Burning embers. Unlit cigar. Leather. Currant. White pepper. Super dark in color. Pretty heavy in weight on the palate, but it just explodes with waves of deep, dark flavors. Massive finish.

Plenty of spine here -this can go for a long time. As amazing as the first few sips were, after that, it was better with food. Almost needed the food given the grip on the back end.

Stunning wine.
  • MarkC commented:

    2/17/18, 2:20 PM - Agree with the food comment--this is totally enjoyable now, but with food, air, and time it will become even more awesome!

Red
2001 Sine Qua Non Midnight Oil Central Coast Syrah Blend, Syrah
11/29/2017 - bengti Likes this wine:
98 points
SQN Big Guns Night, Beefbar HK. SQN In Extremis.

This continues to be an unfailing warhorse of the SQN pantheon. It shows really well. Deep garnet red, opaque and dark. A heady perfumed nose of blackberries, dark fruits, ripe apricots, chocolate, soft leather.

A palette of plush, silky velvet. Superb integration and ideal acid levels make this a beguiling drink. Time in glass allowed the wine to unfurl further notes of candied toffee, straw, gravel, licorice, game. A long sophisticated finish of soft tannins. Overall, elegance understated strength and balance come to mind.

Left to stand in the glass, this as all Krankl Syrahs do gave off an aroma of sweet glazed cherries, cherry liquer, cherry chocolate. Mesmerising.

With its age of 16 years in bottle, it is cool and elegant with no hint of heat from its high alcohol levels. It’s performed this way for several years now, and shows no sign of moving past prime yet.
  • MarkC commented:

    12/1/17, 5:09 PM - Agree with your note--I think this is one of the more underrated SQN wines from the early 2000s. I've been fortunate enough to have it several times and it has always shown extremely well. Cheers!

Red
2012 Sine Qua Non Grenache Stein Central Coast
10/14/2017 - Zweder wrote:
97 points
Dave's 40th birthday. My most exclusive tasting ever!!! (@ Bottles; Sas van Gent, Netherlands): 75% Grenache, 15% Syrah and 10% Mourvedre in this wine. Enormously concentrated. Juicy dark berry fruits with good acidity, tannin and pleasant sweetness. Beautiful and complex wine.
  • MarkC commented:

    10/16/17, 7:10 PM - Wow--this is a comment on your overall event/posts for "Dave's 40th birthday"--what a great night of wine! I particularly appreciate that you seemed to score the wines on their own merits instead of against some sort of scale that is prejudiced against one style or another :-)

Red
2014 Saxum James Berry Vineyard Paso Robles Willow Creek District Red Rhone Blend
8/4/2017 - Mike Dildine Likes this wine:
98 points
15.8% abv. Dark ruby, plus + aromatics - intense and exotic. Boysenberry, cassis, floral notes and Asian spice on the palate. Extraordinary concentration, depth and length without being ponderous. Exceptional!
  • MarkC commented:

    8/4/17, 4:30 PM - Excellent birthday wine--happy b-day!

Red
2014 Saxum Broken Stones Paso Robles Red Rhone Blend
3/17/2017 - J @ y H @ c k Likes this wine:
97 points
It was a really bad day. We spent the whole day working to close a complicated, four party, four property, two loan deal and the seller of one of the properties decides to storm out of my conference room at the last minute in a hissy fit and refuses to listen to the other side, which is trying to concede all issues just to get the deal done. We stop $1,800,000 of incoming wires at the last minute so my client doesn't lose a weekend of fed funds sales on that part of the deal, you slump back in your chair and say F* it. You've got to do something as a futile gesture to Dionysus and besides it's not the borrower's fault that the seller was a jerk. He wants gin and tonis, all you have is 12 year old MacCallan. What's a person to do?

Ding Ding Ding! You've got a case of Saxum in your office, just delivered. It's a gamble, because Justin (violating the objectivity sanctions rule when you mention the winemaker by first name) says not to open in until a few months after delivery. But it's only one bottle. So you offer to open a bottle for your young associate and the borrower's team. His lawyer has to leave but tells him to stay and drink away. Besides, it's Saint Patrick's Day and he hasn't had a drop of fermented carbohydrates all day.

Pop, decant for a quick aeration and pour immediately into Costco Reidels.

From two of the civilians, the inevitable, "Wow, this is one of the best wines I have ever had." I mention this only because I know you AFWEs have never heard such a thing when pouring from your own cellar, so I thought I would share the experience so you could enjoy it vicariously.

This is a great, perfectly balanced and extremely complex wine. Gobs of red fruit, meatyness, a smooth velvet mouth feel that caresses the tongue. I get mostly cherry and plum, but there's some of the raspberry that Saxum almost always shows to a greater or lesser degree. There's an earthy forest floor component that I am not used to in this wine, which is definitely there in the background without throwing the fruit out of balance. Perhaps from the Tempranillo. This is not an 8.5% Riesling, but the alcohol is not a primary taste component. I LOVE THIS WINE!
  • MarkC commented:

    3/18/17, 1:28 PM - Jay--sorry for the pain, but the resulting write-up, in particular the amusing comment at the "AFWEs", was very entertaining :-)

Red
1998 Sine Qua Non E-Raised Central Coast Syrah Blend, Syrah
Tried at Hedonism Wines in London. To be fair I was predisposed to think this was going to be my favorite of the tasting and I wasn't disappointed. It was just special - fig, strawberry, cigar, hints of spice. It's big, but somehow not overpowering and elegant in that way that Manfred makes something elegant (perhaps well balance and good acidity is what I mean). I loved it. Was opening in the glass and had more evolution to go but didn't let it get that far before we finished the taste.
  • MarkC commented:

    9/6/16, 6:50 PM - Very cool--this is one of my all-time favorite SQNs. I'm going to be in London in a couple of weeks--probably won't have this one available anymore which is a bummer for me!

White - Sweet/Dessert
2005 Sine Qua Non Roussanne Atlantis Fe2O3~3e California
6/20/2016 - acyso wrote:
95 points
The Other 7% of California (Chicago, IL): From half-bottle. This is golden raisins squeezed into juice. Layer upon layer of complexity, with lots of sweet fruit here. You keep looking for that botrytis spice (well, at least, I do, because those are the typical sweet wines I drink) but there is none here. It's as opulent and hedonistic as you can get. There's actually a nice zing of acidity on the back end to freshen things up too. Super concentrated and sweet, but this is actually quite well-balanced. Could it be that I've finally found a roussanne I like?
  • MarkC commented:

    6/21/16, 6:04 PM - Wanted to post on your "7%" tasting but couldn't see a way to do so. Anyway--fascinating experience, even if a lot of the wines reminded you why you drink what you normally do :-)

White
2009 Sine Qua Non On The Lam Santa Barbara County White Blend
PnP, served non-blind. Echoing sayward's TN, this will be drinking well past the 2014 (current) CT drinking window. Richly fruited, with ripe peach and melon in an off-dry, heavily layered style that seems to defy gravity thanks to unseen, almost magical acidic lift. Some pretty orange and orange pith notes cut through the folds of pure, rhone-styled fruit adding extra dimensions. A beauty, now and for the next 3-4 years, perhaps more.
  • MarkC commented:

    10/18/13, 5:13 PM - I used to love SQN whites when young, but I actually think they start to show their best around 7 years of age. My opinion is that this is just entering a sweet spot and that your window (3-4+) is quite accurate :-) Good stuff!

Red
1995 Joseph Phelps Insignia Napa Valley Red Bordeaux Blend
9/1/2013 - exonian Likes this wine:
95 points
The cork broke on opening, but was otherwise perfect. This wine is now a deep garnet , with a fading rim, and impressive legs. The nose is pronounced and amazingly complex, yet so fresh. There is cassis, blackberry jam ,cedar, menthol, bay/rosemary, anise, spice, liqourice, cherries, a hint of salty minerality, and the occasional waft of tea rose florality. The palate is chewy with flavours of cooked plummy fruits, blackberry jam, coffee, and chocolate. On first opening , the acidity was medium plus, but calmed down to medium after an hour or so. Tannins are well integrated , and the 13.5 per cent alcohol is lightly worn , on the silky mouthfeel. This wine seemed in a perfect place - elegant, complex, smooth, and refreshing , yet still exhibiting hints of youthfulness. Built for the long haul, in a classic Bordeaux style, this is California Cab at its best. I' m looking forward to tasting my remaining two bottles of this vintage over the next 5 - 8 years. Went perfectly with wild venison steaks, served with a port and blackberry sauce ( our own blackberry jam and wild blackberries from the garden)
  • MarkC commented:

    9/1/13, 4:34 PM - I've got one of these left--your note makes me want to go open it! (and you steaks sounded great, too :-)

White
2009 Sine Qua Non On The Lam Santa Barbara County White Blend
8/5/2013 - Rosengoo wrote:
91 points
Opened at home with (for the first time) the Coravin system. A clear gold coloured wine with a pronounced nose of oranges and some lemon. In the glass was a wine with tons of citrus and a slight hint of butter. The wine had a mid level of acidity but was slightly bitter.
  • MarkC commented:

    8/5/13, 7:29 PM - Cool to see mention of the Coravin. Don't have one myself, but look forward to seeing how they pan out and then perhaps taking the plunge. That aside, I'm finding that SQN whites are actually better with age. I used to think they were best in the first couple years, but I think they enter a sweet spot around 7 years of age and I've had a few older ones (2000, 2002) this year that have been truly awesome (although to be fair both of those were from magnum, so that has something to do with the aging curve).

Rosé
2010 Sine Qua Non That Type of... Rosay Central Coast Grenache Blend, Grenache
7/14/2013 - shadow wrote:
94 points
Almost the perfect, not to red, not typical, just like a soft fiss on a hot summer nighte
  • MarkC commented:

    7/14/13, 5:08 PM - I don't drink a lot of Rosé wines, so I don't have much perspective, but I've loved this wine each time I've had it!

Red
2010 Aubert Pinot Noir UV-SL Vineyard Sonoma Coast
12/1/2012 - Burgundy Al wrote:
88 points
Another Saturday at Knightsbridge - mostly blind (Northbrook, IL): Tasted double blind alongside the Kistler 2010 Pinot Noir Cuvée "Natalie Silver Belt." While I haven't had an Aubert Pinot Noir in several years, it was relatively easy to identify this wine based on prior experiences in earlier vintages. Fat and lush with lots of blackberry and plum. Lots of good spice, but clearly lots of new oak protruding as well. Certainly a well made wine in its style, it's just not my preferred style of Pinot Noir. Others liked this far more than I did today.
  • MarkC commented:

    4/22/13, 6:04 PM - Hi Al--thanks for the note. I appreciate your note, especially in light of the fact it's not made in your style. Definitely "fat and lush with lots of blackberry and plum" (I'm drinking it now :-). I like this style, but understand why it isn't for everybody. Cheers!

Red
2009 Sine Qua Non Syrah The Thrill of... Central Coast
Awful wine. No points for subtly. Confirmed everything that is wrong with this style of wine making. Tasted next to a 59 Calon Segur which offered everything you could want in a wine. A sad statement about trophy wines that offer no QPR yet seem to attract such strangely positive reviewed. I wonder if it were served blind whether anyone would rate this so highly.
  • MarkC commented:

    4/18/13, 5:23 PM - Interesting comparison with the '59 Calon Segur. 50-year age difference, different regions, different grapes. Almost like comparing Picasso to Rembrandt.

White
2010 Sine Qua Non The Monkey California White Rhone Blend
1/25/2013 - Loren Sonkin wrote:
88 points
TN: Syrahs, Chards, and Turkish food in NYC +; 1/25/2013-1/26/2013 (Sip Sak): I need to quit drinking the SQN wines young as I invariably like them better with age. The nose is very nice; waxy with honey and lemons. On the palate, the alcohol is prevalent. It drinks hot and a bit bitter. At the same time, there is a nice depth here. I went back toward the end of the evening and this was much better. I have no doubt that it would be even better today. The bottle was only half drained, so I suspect that others agreed. As I said though, I also think in 3 to 5 years or a lot longer, this will sort itself out and be a much better wine.
  • MarkC commented:

    1/25/13, 5:17 PM - Totally agree--I think they tend to show really well at 5-7 years of age. Had a Rien ne va Plus from magnum recently that was (still) spectacular.

White - Sweet/Dessert
2006 Sine Qua Non Chardonnay Mr. K The Noble Man Edna Valley
1/13/2013 - acyso wrote:
88 points
Light amber in colour. Aromas of peaches, honeysuckle, creamed corn, and almond, but the nose is quite reticent, though I'll chalk that up to this being served a little colder than it should be. On the other hand, the temperature helps keep this from becoming too cloying. The cantaloupe note on the palate is quite evocative of macvin de jura, which makes sense as it can be made from botrytised chardonnay as well. Even though this was a collaboration between the Krankls and Kracher, the Austrian hand seems to be missing here, as this wine has a tone of astringency that never shows up in Kracher's own Burgenland bottlings. All in all, an uninspiring Mr. K -- the sugar and texture is there, but there is nary a hint of acidity to help balance out the sad lack of concentration and extract.
  • MarkC commented:

    1/13/13, 9:42 PM - Bummer you didn't like this. I'd be happy to buy any you have left :-)

Red
2005 Sine Qua Non Syrah Atlantis Fe2O3~1a, b & c California
Amazing nose as always. Smokey BBQ sauce and deep dark fruits. The palate is thick and mouth coating with smokey beef, bacon and a petroleum note. Long and impressive. I love this wine. I usually find black pepper in this and it wasn't there this time.
  • MarkC commented:

    12/16/12, 7:43 PM - Interesting comment re: the black pepper. This is the only SQN that I have gotten noticeable black pepper from, but it would be interesting to taste it without that component. Didn't know that the pepper dissipates with age :-)

Red
2005 Williams Selyem Pinot Noir Allen Vineyard Russian River Valley
7/20/2012 - Steve Williams wrote:
94 points
Nice, bright cherry flavors. In a good place right now.
  • MarkC commented:

    11/26/12, 10:44 AM - Excellent--although mostly I just want to see if you receive a notification of my comment :-)

White - Sweet/Dessert
2003 Sine Qua Non Sémillon Mr. K The Straw Man Edna Valley
7/11/2010 - JDB Does not like this wine:
85 points
30 weight honey, holy crap is this stuff over the top, viscous, overpoweringly sweet, like drinking straight maple syrup. It has no botrytis to help cut the sweet, no acid to balance the sweet... it is just sweet. consumed over three days and time did not help any. Interesting flavors in the background but totally overwhelmed by a cloying, thick honey. I so wanted to like this... especially for $100.00
  • MarkC commented:

    10/12/11, 5:12 PM - Hi there! Saw your note and just wanted to point out that there shouldn't be any Botrytis in this wine--it's the vin de paille style. The Noble Man wines are the ones with Botrytis. All the best, Mark

Red
2003 Sine Qua Non Syrah Papa Central Coast
7/13/2011 - pkwoods wrote:
97 points
Opened, decanted, and followed over 3 hours. After hour 1 this wine starts to really open up. End of hour 2 it's filling out and showing much deeper, darker smells and flavors. It seems to gain in length over this time, too. By the end of hour 3 the wine can best be described as "yummy" and "gone".
  • MarkC commented:

    7/15/11, 5:25 PM - Love your last sentence!

Red
2008 Aubert Pinot Noir UV Vineyard Sonoma Coast
12/13/2010 - Uglypinga wrote:
Expectations are a funny thing. I expected this wine to be a mammoth a la Over and Out. Not so. The nose shows some dark cherries and baking spices. The palate is full but not overwhelming. The fruits are mostly cherries and strawberries and the spice I could smell wasnt there. A significant ammount of acid prevents this from feeling overripe. Medium finish. A fine wine, but I couldnt help but feel dissapointed.
  • MarkC commented:

    3/15/11, 8:22 PM - Funny--I feel like I could have written your note. While the words are somewhat different, I had the same experience. The only difference is that I wasn't disappointed. Well, perhaps I was, given that I think this wine can be so much more, but it was still a "fine wine" as you said!

White
2008 Maybach Family Vineyards Chardonnay Eterium Sonoma Coast
12/28/2010 - mrener wrote:
94 points
I never thought I could taste a California Chardonnay as good as this. Impressive.
Wait to drink it... I would leave the wine in the cellar for at least another 5 years.
  • MarkC commented:

    12/28/10, 3:57 PM - Definitely an impressive wine, and one that falls outside the typical "box" of California Chards. Agree that it has some real ageworthiness.

Red
2008 The Industrial Zinfandel Sonoma County
12/4/2010 - budman wrote:
93 points
Awesome!!! Brambly fruit. At first, there was a bit of heat, but 10 minutes in the fridge fixed it.
I loved it. Went very well with the Chipotle burrito.

I would love to be able to get some more of this!!!!
  • MarkC commented:

    12/4/10, 9:42 PM - Thanks for the note. Haven't had one yet, but am looking forward to the first one (especially since The Treat and The Central have been very tasty). Surprised it went with a burrito--makes it even more appealing!

  • MarkC commented:

    12/8/10, 9:52 PM - Funny. I saw that there was a comment and forgot it was mine. You are welcome to my remaining bottles otherwise I will use them for making braised short ribs.

Red
2003 Sine Qua Non Syrah Papa Central Coast
12/4/2010 - mtolerico wrote:
98 points
Wow, finally a Papa that wasnt corked! This is very good, perfect balance.
  • MarkC commented:

    12/4/10, 9:39 PM - It's hard to beat this wine :-)

White
2008 Sine Qua Non Kolibri Santa Barbara County White Rhone Blend
11/12/2010 - ronlite wrote:
90 points
Big California chardonnay feel; not my favorite SQN white
  • MarkC commented:

    11/30/10, 9:20 PM - Hi Ron,

    Wondering if your comment about the Chard feel is because of the oak (which is noticeable)? The fruit doesn't remind me of Chardonnay at all--definitely is a Rhone blend--so trying to understand your comment. I will agree with you that it's not my favorite SQN white :-)

White
2008 Sine Qua Non Kolibri Santa Barbara County White Rhone Blend
11/10/2010 - G Kapoor wrote:
89 points
Good wine with soaring aromas of honey, clove spice, and sweet citrus. Smooth and round on the palate with good weight. I prefer some acidity in my whites which this was lacking, however, I can see how this could be a highly rated wine for those who prefer this style.
  • MarkC commented:

    11/30/10, 9:19 PM - Hi G,

    Totally agree this seems to be lacking acidity. I think it needs a lot of air right now--will be interesting to see how it evolves over the next few years.

Red
2006 Sine Qua Non Syrah A Shot in the Dark California
11/4/2010 - thenapalist wrote:
100 points
Simply put, unbelievable! The 17th Nail is amazing and in my opinion....another perfect wine but this one takes it one step further. While the nose is somewhat muted at this stage, the palate is amazingly balanced at this early stage with perfect acidity, deep rich fruit and velvety tannins. The nose will certainly come around with 6-12 months so give this time but pop it now and you won't be disappointed. The best young SQN I have tasted to date.
  • MarkC commented:

    11/10/10, 8:32 PM - Yeah, it's pretty tough to beat this wine--great, great stuff!

Red
2006 Sine Qua Non Syrah Raven Series California
9/10/2010 - Screameagle wrote:
97 points
To previous tasters who said this wine was in it's prime they are absolutely right. It's definitely in it's prime and so good that it's hard to believe that it will improve with time but it might. One of the best SQNs I've ever had the opportunity to consume. A monumental effort.
  • MarkC commented:

    9/10/10, 6:31 PM - Couldn't agree more. Had this a week or so ago and it was just singing!

Red
2005 Pax Cuvée Moriah Sonoma County Red Rhone Blend
8/20/2010 - King Cab wrote:
85 points
Brownish-red in color. Nose of spring flowers, blackberries, bing cherries, leather and tar. The palate has a light to medium weight and is all grenache, all the time. There was some cour cherry, licorice, damp forest floor, rubbed leather and reddish plums, and a hint of grapefruit? It lacked backbone and structure and was somewhat flabby and easy-going. Tannin seemed almost fully resolved, and acidity a tad high. Balance was off-kilter. Certainly not flawed, just not present in its full glory.
What else could I say? Oh yeah, rather simple for what it is.
  • MarkC commented:

    8/20/10, 6:15 PM - This one always seems to underwhelm me, and my notes would be similar to yours...

White
2003 Sine Qua Non Sublime Isolation California White Rhone Blend
7/3/2010 - jdlee1232 wrote:
88 points
Clearly past its prime. Still complex and multi layered, but a little bitter on the finish -- maybe just a bit off.
  • MarkC commented:

    7/22/10, 8:05 PM - Perhaps you had an off bottle--this wine is showing better than ever, at least for my palate.

Red
2006 Saxum Bone Rock James Berry Vineyard Paso Robles Syrah Blend, Syrah
6/15/2010 - Uglypinga wrote:
Beautifully dark with purple hues. Nose is full of blueberries, a little chocolate and cinnamon. Some crushed red berries and oak in there as well. Some flowery smells on day two. The palate is full bodied (duh) with ripe blackberries and hints of baking spices. Great acid. A bit of alcohol and pretty solid tannins. Young but delicious.
  • MarkC commented:

    6/15/10, 8:00 PM - "palate is full bodied (duh)"--love that! Great note--makes me want to pop one right now :-)

Red
2006 Copain Pinot Noir Tous Ensemble Anderson Valley
6/10/2010 - Anonymous wrote:
91 points
This was a bottle that was off my radar screen. I had tucked a few away. It was a great pizza pinot. Brigt red center with a plum rim. Rasberry and cherry nose with a hint of truffles. Great mouthfeel. A bit light on the palate but the fruit burst at the back end. Cherries are a bit tart, but not Jolly Rancheresque.
  • MarkC commented:

    6/11/10, 4:22 AM - Hmm--I love Copain Syrahs (and the old Zins) but never been a fan of the Pinots. I have one of these, however, and your note makes me want to open it--perhaps I was drinking them too soon after release?

Red
2002 Spottswoode Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Spottswoode Estate Vineyard Napa Valley
5/14/2010 - *Vine* wrote:
95 points
Popped and poured. Medium-plus garnet hue. Pronounced aromas of fresh berries, black cherry, leather, fresh herbs, and a touch of smoke. With air, the aromas grow in complexity and depth. Medium-plus body. On the palate, the fruit is striking...ever present, pure, and focused but never forceful, with flavors of dark fruits, black currant, mocha, anise, minerals, and more fresh herbs (basil & mint?). Tannins are surprisingly somewhat chalky and a bit astringent but compliment the fruit perfectly on the lengthy finish. Truly a wine that is both mentally and hedonistically fulfilling, each successive sip more enjoyable than the last. Tannic structure certainly suggests further aging, perhaps 10+ years even...but really, this is in the perfect midlife spot right now.
Well-balanced, regal and classy - what more could one hope to find in Napa Cabernet? Not much!
  • MarkC commented:

    5/15/10, 8:56 AM - Love this wine--loved it on release, loved it a couple years later, and, based on your note, I will love the next bottle I open!

Red
2000 Le Vieux Donjon Châteauneuf-du-Pape Red Rhone Blend
5/8/2010 - gravelld wrote:
88 points
Ruby colour. Nose shows berries, pepper, herbs, menthol and a bit of pastry. A little too much alcoholic burn. Palate shows bright cherry, berry fruit, very elegant yet not particularly complex.
  • MarkC commented:

    5/9/10, 12:54 PM - I had this about 4 years ago and found it to be quite enjoyable (even for a guy with a huge slant towards New World/California wines). Curious if you prefer OW or New World and how your note matches up based on that preference (if, indeed, you have one!).

Red
2007 Carlisle Syrah Papa's Block Russian River Valley
5/8/2010 - winelovr2001 wrote:
96 points
A brilliant expression of syrah from Mike. Could be confused for a SQN syrah, awesome extraction while maintaining balance...
  • MarkC commented:

    5/9/10, 12:52 PM - I had this back in August and thought it was too young (and I like 'em young!), but I saw the potential and look forward to having another in a year or two!

White - Sweet/Dessert
2004 Sine Qua Non Sémillon Mr. K The Straw Man Edna Valley
5/9/2010 - dougdell wrote:
100 points
Amazing wine; the smell alone released lots of endorphins. Rich color, thick mouthfeel, lots of apricots and honey without being overly sweet. Our guests tasted pineapple and caramel; I tasted heaven. Superb vino.
  • MarkC commented:

    5/9/10, 12:51 PM - A man after my own heart--I think the Straw Man is one of the most amazing drinks I have ever had!

Red
2007 Sine Qua Non Syrah Labels Central Coast
5/9/2010 - KCProper wrote:
97 points
Really a nice bottle. Seemed smoky like the grenache, though not in a bacony sort of way... a lot of graphite and pencil shavings, long finish. Sweet tannins and wonderful fruit.
  • MarkC commented:

    5/9/10, 12:50 PM - Looks like you had a nice two-fer tonight! Labels AND Pictures--excellent!

Red
2007 Spottswoode Cabernet Sauvignon Estate St. Helena
5/8/2010 - Rob MacKay wrote:
99 points
Every once in a while you have an experience with a bottle of wine that just simply puts a smile on your face like a 6 year old on Christmas morning. The 2005 Spottswoode Cab did that for me last July and it stood out as probably one of the best wines I've had, until last night when this 07 took it up another notch. This wine is the absolute definition of balance. We're talking Cirque du Soleil crazy acrobat balance here. The mix of dark fruits, new leather, vanilla, texture, length, and the softest tannins combine in the glass to create a magical elixir of tastiness. It's not overweight and brooding but also not at all wimpy or understated. Unquestionably the best Napa Cabernet Sauvignon I've ever had.
  • MarkC commented:

    5/9/10, 12:49 PM - Rob--sounds spectacular! I'm envious of all these '07 Spotts notes I'm reading, and I look forward to trying one of these this summer!

White - Sweet/Dessert
2005 Sine Qua Non Chardonnay Mr. K The Noble Man Edna Valley
5/9/2010 - nvandyk wrote:
98 points
I haven't had a 40 year old d'Yquem, but this is the best dessert wine I've ever had.
  • MarkC commented:

    5/9/10, 12:47 PM - I think it's hard to beat Mr. K for dessert wines. I recommend searching out a Straw Man--totally incredible!

Red
2005 Alban Vineyards Syrah Lorraine Edna Valley
5/5/2010 - Anonymous wrote:
95 points
My 2nd favorite of the night. Funky nose that blew off. Wish it hadn't. As one person said, "We should call John Alban with a message - Nirvana Dude!" Bloody neat with grapes, cherries, blue berries. A lsaughtered lamb in the forest with some sage and fresh mint. Finished with a side of Tiramisu. An 18 Wheeler hits you like a brick. I just shook my head the whole time....
  • MarkC commented:

    5/8/10, 12:54 PM - Thanks for the note. I think the Lorraine is arguably his best Syrah, at least based on the few vintages I've had. Really spectacular stuff!

Red
2004 Agharta Wines Black Label North Coast Syrah
5/5/2010 - pdemaio wrote:
95 points
Incredibly complex nose. Australian in style almost. Roast meat. New york cut steak. Brown sugar. Cloves and mint. A little heat in the nose.
The body has acids that go on for miles. Oak isn't overpowering, especially for 58 months in the barrel. Opening up as we speak. This 04 is amazinly young. I should have waited, but who knew. I'll save the rest for a bit.
  • MarkC commented:

    5/8/10, 12:52 PM - Every note I read makes me want to pop one of these!

Red
2005 Sine Qua Non Grenache The Naked Truth California
5/6/2010 - G Kapoor wrote:
Enjoyed at the Passion Fish restaurant in the Pacific Grove area. Color is plum purple with a sweet nose of berries, licorice and pepper. On palate it has amazing concentration of fruit with silky texture. This wine evolved in the glass all night with different nuances everytime. The "style" of wine is something I don't particularly seek out. With that said, it has to be one of the best wines I have ever had in that "style".
  • MarkC commented:

    5/8/10, 12:50 PM - Pretty great bottle to have at a restaurant for what I'm guessing was a good price :-) When these wines are young (and even when older, but to a lesser extent) they really do shift and change throughout the evening. Almost makes me think they need to have 20 years before they'll be consistent over an entire evening!

Red
1993 Freemark Abbey Cabernet Sauvignon Bosché Vineyard Rutherford
12/31/2009 - Whine-Oh Likes this wine:
91 points
Great old, well aged Napa Cab. From memory, no specifics, only that we all agreed that it was in a good place and enjoyable. Slight bricking, mellow dark fruits on nose and some fruit left on palate, with secondaries more upfront. nice velevty mouth feel. Good with country french fare.
  • MarkC commented:

    5/8/10, 12:46 PM - The '92 of this wine was one of my favorites, although this was a close second if I recall. Used to buy this every year, but I felt like they made some missteps in '97 and later and have never gone back.

Red
2007 Turley Charbono Tofanelli Vineyard Napa Valley
5/7/2010 - gesusser wrote:
89 points
first night = hi alcohol burn; 2nd night nicer; 3rd night finished up even better; will hold the other bottle for at least one year
  • MarkC commented:

    5/8/10, 12:45 PM - Interesting experience. I've yet to really "get" Charbono, although a couple of these have been interesting to me. I have never kept them more than one night, however--maybe I need to experiment and try it over multiple evenings!

Red
2007 Spottswoode Cabernet Sauvignon Estate St. Helena
5/7/2010 - Merzbow Likes this wine:
99 points
Some suggested that this would prove difficult to drink at this age, but the accessibility of the 2006 gave me hope. Indeed, I was correct. An hour in the decanter and...

This wine transcends any category I can pretend to put it in. Usually I can quickly pinhole a wine. Caymus is a bit slutty, Insignia is dark and brooding, Dominus is like a (non-slutty) movie starlet, etc. Think of a roomful of these other wines, then imagine that a magical wine-loving wizard walks in, lifts up his staff, and sucks out all of their best qualities and infuses them into a single bottle. That's what this wine is.

The nose has a beautiful dusty quality (I first though "Rutherford dust", but then read that these vineyards are in St. Helena; close enough?), an atomized mist of regal cherry liqueur, fresh blackberry tart, and new-car leather from the inside of a very, very nice Mercedes.

Drinking this is revelatory. It is the definition of balance - every single possible component is in harmony to at least the second decimal place. You are not blown away with concentration, or fruit, or sex appeal; instead, you are taken on a ride to the top of the world in a sedan powered by a hand-built V12 that costs more than your house.

Time? I don't see a need to go beyond ten years here. For my palate, I'm guessing that five will be optimal. There is no excess of tannin or fruit or acidity that demands appeasement. A few years will smooth out some of the sharp edges, but it's all there right now.

(I just went ahead and ordered another half-case of this. My credit card is not happy. But what the hell can I do? This is the best wine I've ever had in my life. Sorry Burgundy, you've got work ahead of you...)
  • MarkC commented:

    5/8/10, 12:44 PM - Think I commented on this on one of the BBs already, but this is such a great note I thought I'd comment again. Glad I have a few of these, and am looking forward to opening one as soon as I get back to San Diego!

Red
2007 Sine Qua Non Grenache Pictures California
5/8/2010 - Christoffer78 Likes this wine:
97 points
If seamless is a proper way of describing the sensation of perfect balance - the 2007 SQN Grenache Pictures is a seamless wine. How strange is it when there are absolutely no edges, nothing "rough or rugged" to really touch and annoy your palate? The pure fruit, silky tannins, 60 sec+ finish, nose and deep deep color all seem to be perfectly harmonious. Like Mr Kirsch, Mrs Pepper and baby Spice all went down the road holding each others hands singing. Lovely.
  • MarkC commented:

    5/8/10, 12:42 PM - Love your note--especially the "Mr Kirsch, Mrs Pepper, and baby Spice" part!

Red
2001 Harlan Estate The Maiden Napa Valley Red Bordeaux Blend
California Cult Wines tasting - eye openers and disapointments (WineWatch tasting and dinner, Fort Lauderdale): Very concentrated, and young, but drinking well nevertheless. Black currants, density, lots of balance and need some time to round alcohol on the finish.
  • MarkC commented:

    5/8/10, 12:27 PM - I don't have a lot of experience with Harlan, but I have preferred the Maiden generally speaking. Thanks for the note.

Red
2007 Pride Mountain Vineyards Reserve Claret Napa / Sonoma Red Bordeaux Blend
Pizza and "wines that don't suck" with Leslie Fisher (Seattle, WA, USA): Served double-blind. I guessed it was a Washington Bordeaux blend that was Cab dominated. JasonD responded that I was as effective as the Seattle Mariner's offense, ouch! In a word, this was pretty freaking great, and I cozied up to this bottle for a lot of the rest of the night. In the past I have tended to find the Claret to be too sweet, but this one was quite serious and really showed impeccable balance and fruit profile. The usual candied oak tones of Pride were easily kept in check. Fantastic wine, thanks Jason!
  • MarkC commented:

    5/5/10, 6:44 AM - Sounds great--look forward to trying one of these soon...

Red
2002 Sine Qua Non Syrah Just For the Love of It California
Pizza and "wines that don't suck" with Leslie Fisher (Seattle, WA, USA): Wow, wow, wow! I first had a taste of this in 2004 courtesy of Jeff Nowak, and that bottle blew me away. This bottle was every bit its equal and left me wondering if it is possible to find a better domestic Syrah? The nose is intoxicating and insanely complex, oozing blood and rock and flower and tar. The palate at first, after 2+ hours of decanting, was a bit of a letdown. Just so monolithic and not really living up to the nose. However over the next two hours it kept opening and unfolding to show incredible layers of complexity, grace and nuance. Yes I said grace. This is shockingly well balanced with enough acidity to make it all work. A really special wine.
  • MarkC commented:

    5/5/10, 6:36 AM - I think I've posted before that the nose on this wine is phenomenal--truly amazing stuff. I think the palate seems to fall short at first (it did for me, too) in part because of the nose, but after some time it comes around nonetheless.

Red
2005 Colgin Syrah IX Estate Napa Valley
5/1/2010 - psmith wrote:
Dark, rich, meaty syrah fruits. Blackberry, graphite, floral, and a deep profile that tends more to earthy notes than most Cali syrah. Great purity. Raw, somewhat grainy tannins. Very nice.
  • MarkC commented:

    5/5/10, 6:34 AM - I think these are arguably the best Syrahs coming out of Napa!

Red
2006 Rudius Syrah Emerald Pool Alder Springs Vineyard Mendocino County
5/3/2010 - Jody Smith wrote:
Dense, sultry liquor of blackberry juice and black olives. Super compact, but giving up beautiful aromas of fresh African Violets and road tar. Slightly sweet, and no heat. Mouthcoating, yet remarkably clean and pure, with refreshingly tense acidity. Finishes long, with notes of blue granite, or your liquid minerality of choice. There's a lot going on here, and I'm sad to see my last bottle go.
  • MarkC commented:

    5/4/10, 2:10 PM - Dude--show some restraint! These could go 10+ years and you've already decimated your stash?!? If you make it to San Diego I'll be happy to share one with you! Great note, by the way...

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