Tasting Notes for TSBWine

(70 notes on 70 wines)

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Red
10/31/2014 - TSBWine Likes this wine:
93 points
92-93+ Points. Tasted serially over 2-3 hours at 60-65 degrees.

On the nose dried red fruits, roasted meat, incense and savory spices. On the palate, dried raspberry and red currants gave way to roasted meat, dried herbs, cedar wood, spice and a lengthy and resonant cigar wrapper finish.

Still seemed to be quite fresh although it seemed at a point where it might be in a graceful descent from its peak. Good overall acidity with nice density and steady structure. Moderate weight and texture on the palate but well delineated with nice clarity.
2 people found this helpful Comment
Red
9/26/2014 - TSBWine wrote:
88 points
88 Points. Served serially over 3 hours between 60-65F.

Black cherry, blackberry and oak spice on the nose. On the palate, blackberry coulis and boysenberry fruits followed by cedar, cocoa, oak spice and charred wood / creosote. Over time, ripe black currants and blueberries come and go. Where this wine really suffers is texturally - little to no structure, disjointed acidity, little density on the mid-palate and rather hollow. The alcohol shows quite significantly as well.

Overall, I'm pretty disappointed. I like the 2010 and 2011 vintages far more and this seems too primary, too blown out, too messy. There's a deliciousness factor here, but even for the style it seems to miss the mark. Maybe some more time will bring it together, but this is most definitely a near-term drinker.
1 person found this helpful Comment
White
9/16/2014 - TSBWine Likes this wine:
92 points
92+ Points. Tasted serially over two hours. Served at 58-62F.

On the nose, toasty lees and spice dominate. On the palate fresh white peach and candied citrus are followed by toast and warm spices. Texturally, there's tremendous mouthfeel here that's counterbalanced perfectly by solid acidity. The barrel fermentation and sur-lie are obvious on the wine, but complement the density, length and energy on the palate.

Right now there's not much delineation on the palate, but the palate intersects perfectly between richness and freshness. With some time in the cellar it's possible greater complexity might show, but this is primarily about the tremendous texture and energy. A stunning showing for a second label wine and an excellent value. I continue to be impressed by California's 2011 whites.
1 person found this helpful Comment
White
9/2/2014 - TSBWine Likes this wine:
90 points
90 Points. Serially tasted over 2 hours. Served between 58-62F.

Ripe mangoes and spice on the nose. On the palate, lemon curd, citrus peel, white flowers and spice with an impressive cut of minerality to clean the palate. Over time some white peach and green herbs show on the palate, although it remains driven by citrus notes.

Overall, there's good intensity and length on the palate although a bit more monochromatic than previous vintages. Texturally, this seems far less round than other Central Coast Viognier, but there's still plenty of weight and density here.
Red
6/27/2014 - TSBWine Likes this wine:
93 points
93+ Points. Tasted at "Taste of Howell Mountain" event. Aerated unknown period of time.

Dark fruits and grilled meat on the nose. On the palate, black plum and black currants are followed by chocolate, scorched earth, cedar and purple flowers. Expressive and generous, but firmly seated with plenty of structure and fine-grained tannin. The alcohol pokes through in the finish, but overall this is modern and largely scaled without being too loosely knit.
Red
6/14/2014 - TSBWine Likes this wine:
91 points
90-91+ Points. Tasted at "Taste of Howell Mountain" event. Aerated unknown period of time.

Restrained fresh blueberries, faint notes of dried herbs, violets and blue slate. This seemed relatively restrained and even a bit muted. There's good density here and plenty of freshness with an elegant mouthfeel. The mid-palate density and freshness suggests this may need additional aeration or more time in the cellar.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
6/14/2014 - TSBWine Likes this wine:
92 points
92+ Points. Tasted at "Taste of Howell Mountain" event. Aerated unknown period of time.

Brambly blackberries on the nose. On the palate, macerated red and black currants by a bounty of dried herbs, chalky candied violets and a very mineral blue-slate. At this point it's extremely mineral driven with resolved tannin and an elegant disposition.
Red
6/14/2014 - TSBWine Likes this wine:
92 points
92+ Points. Tasted at "Taste of Howell Mountain" event. Aerated unknown period of time.

Sweet spices and sappy raspberry fruit on the nose. On the palate, fresh boysenberries, blueberries followed by violets, cola spices and a chalky mineral finish. Vibrant acidity and grippy tannin brings a level of freshness and texture on the palate. Overall impressive balance of energy, richness and texture.
Red
6/14/2014 - TSBWine Likes this wine:
91 points
91 Points. Tasted at "Taste of Howell Mountain" event. Aerated unknown period of time. Served too warm.

Rich red currants and bright cherries followed by cedar, lightly dried herbs and pronounced oak characteristics. Good overall mouthfeel and density with brightness and liveliness on the palate.
Red
6/13/2014 - TSBWine Likes this wine:
91 points
90-91 Points. Tasted at "Taste of Howell Mountain" event. Aerated unknown period of time.

Rich wild berry notes followed by spice and cedar notes. Possible stem inclusion with chalky tannin and textural grip. Overall this has good richness and spice with solid underlying structure.
Red
6/14/2014 - TSBWine Likes this wine:
92 points
92+ Points. Tasted at "Taste of Howell Mountain" event. Aerated for unknown period of time.

Ripe strawberries, black raspberries and kirsch followed by white pepper, herbs and sweet spices. This is pretty monolithic on the palate with tremendous density. Seems like there's some whole cluster inclusion here which would account for the herbaceous notes, grippy tannin and low acidity. This is a hugely scaled wine that's pretty fat on the palate with some heat showing. Definitely modern in style, but expressive and delicious in its own way.
Red
6/14/2014 - TSBWine Likes this wine:
91 points
90-91+ Points. Tasted at "Taste of Howell Mountain" event. Aerated for unknown period of time. Small pour.

Raspberry coulis on the nose. Raspberry coulis, red currant and ripe cranberry followed by spice and mint notes on the palate. There's moderate oak influences here. Good overall concentration with depth and interest.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
6/13/2014 - TSBWine Likes this wine:
91 points
91-92+(?) Points. Tasted at Cliff Lede. Aerated for an extended period of time in flat bottom decanter. Finished the dregs of the decanter.

Rich, concentrated dark cherry notes with earth and a dusting of cocoa. Excellent mid palate density and quite concentrated on the palate.
Red
6/13/2014 - TSBWine Likes this wine:
91 points
90-91+ Points. Tasted at Cliff Lede. Aerated for unknown period of time.

Dried, macerated cherries followed by dried herbs and cedar notes. The wine is clearly mature but is holding together well. There's very good clarity and focus here at this point, but is unlikely to improve. Recommend drinking soon with limited aeration.
Red
2010 Cliff Lede High Fidelity Napa Valley Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
6/13/2014 - TSBWine Likes this wine:
91 points
90-91+ Points. Tasted at Cliff Lede. Aerated unknown period of time.

Rich red fruits on the nose with notes of cedar and violets. Rich, ripe plum fruit followed by generous amounts of cocoa and sweet oak influences on the finish. Good overall structure with firm fine-grained tannins to bolster the wine. Developed quite a bit in the glass over time. This showed a good amount of oak influenced notes on the palate, but it may resolve over time.
Red
6/13/2014 - TSBWine Likes this wine:
92 points
92+(?) Points. Tasted at Cliff Lede. Aerated unknown period of time.

Cocoa, earth and green herbs on the nose. Rich plum, earth and a dusting of cocoa on the palate. Good density and weight on the palate with satin tannin. There's a generosity and fullness on the palate while maintaining some freshness. Plenty of interest, depth and texture here especially for the vintage.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
6/13/2014 - TSBWine Likes this wine:
94 points
94 Points. Tasted at Dana. Aerated in bottle for 2-4+ hours.

Pure, macerated plums, fresh blueberries followed by abundant spice and lilac notes with chalky tannins. This seemed to be the most expressive and pure of all the other vineyards while retaining a sense elegance and perfume. Excellent overall density and mouthfeel. As seems to be the style, these are relatively open-knit and accessible now.
Red
6/13/2014 - TSBWine Likes this wine:
92 points
92+ Points. Tasted at Dana. Aerated in bottle for 2-4+ hours.

Rich brambly fruit on the nose with brown sugar notes. On the palate, briar fruit, rich plum, fresh blueberries are followed by cedar and dry earth notes. There's a more dynamic fruit profile to the Lotus vineyard although it seems a bit more wild in character. There seemed to be a bit more alcohol showing on the finish here as well.
Red
6/13/2014 - TSBWine Likes this wine:
92 points
92 Points. Tasted at Dana. Aerated in bottle for 2-4+ hours.

Dark cherry and cedar on the nose. Rich, dense dark cherry notes on the palate followed by cedar and allspice on the palate. With greater aeration violets develop in the glass. There's a tremendous lush mouthfeel here with good overall density. A mineral edge cleans up the finish.
Red - Fortified
6/13/2014 - TSBWine wrote:
89 points
89-90 Points. Tasted at Kapcsandy.

Blackberry liqueur, licorice and cedar wood. A bit too sloppy and monochromatic for my tastes. There's plenty of richness but it comes across as a powerful simpleton.
Red
6/13/2014 - TSBWine Likes this wine:
91 points
90-91+(?) Points. Tasted at Kapcsandy.

Red Currants and cedar with a floral perfume that finishes with anise-seed and mint. There's good density on the mid-palate here with some interest. This one in particularly didn't really resonate with me, but given the concentration and density it seems more due to its youthful nature than quality.
Red
6/13/2014 - TSBWine Likes this wine:
93 points
92-94+ Points. Tasted at Kapcsandy.

Dark, deeply pitched black fruits on the nose. Rich dark currants on the palate followed by fresh blueberries, loamy earth, light cocoa, cedar and eucalyptus. Like other Kapcsandy 2011s this is showing plenty of savory qualities, but has more interest and concentration than the others along with an intriguing counter-balance of fruit characteristics. There's a great deal of richness and density here as well with a rigid backbone and excellent structure. Very good overall depth, balance and density for the vintage. This is pretty accessible now, but has the bones and depth to develop.
Red
6/13/2014 - TSBWine Likes this wine:
91 points
90-91+ Points. Tasted at Kapcsandy.

Sappy red fruits on the nose. On the palate, ripe raspberry and sappy cherries followed by cedar, dried herbs, fennel and eucalyptus on the mid-palate and finish. Seems to be in an awkward stage at this point and wasn't particularly expressive. Good density and mouthfeel on the mid-palate, but a bit closed down. Young and a bit wound up, this seemed less approachable than others in the line-up and might need a bit more time to unfurl. There's plenty of concentration here but it's not very giving at the moment.
Red
6/13/2014 - TSBWine Likes this wine:
92 points
92-93+ Points. Tasted at Kapcsandy.

Dark toned berry fruits on the nose. Ripe red and black currants on the palate followed by cedar, spice, licorice and considerable eucalyptus notes. Quite savory on the mid-palate. Good density and weight on the palate with a very structured frame. Still a bit wound up and young, but approachable now.
Red
6/13/2014 - TSBWine Likes this wine:
92 points
91-92+ Points. Tasted at Kapcsandy.

Black Cherry, plum and notes of eucalyptus on the nose. On the palate, ripe red and black plums followed by dried herbs, cocoa, graphite and allspice. Youthfully wound up with fine-grained tannins and good density on the mid-palate. There's some nice freshness here as well without excess weight on the palate. It evolved well in the glass over a short period of time and could have a good life ahead of it.
Rosé
6/13/2014 - TSBWine Does not like this wine:
87 points
87-88 Points. Tasted at Kapcsandy.

Unusual style that I don't personally care for, but some may. Oak influences of butterscotch and vanilla on the nose. There are some spice aromatics on the palate with additional oak notes. Texturally this is fat and rich - nearly ponderous on the palate. Ultimately the biggest indictment is this: I don't want to put it in my mouth. Rated on a curve for the style. It's rich, big and weighty but is the opposite of what I'm looking for in a rose.
2 people found this helpful Comment
Rosé
6/13/2014 - TSBWine Likes this wine:
89 points
89-90 Points. Tasted at Kapcsandy.

A rather restrained Rose dominated by floral, herbaceous and spice characteristics. There's some elements of fresh berry fruit hanging in the background, but this tends towards a more savory spectrum with dried herbs and sandalwood notes. Lively acidity gives it great energy.
White
6/13/2014 - TSBWine Likes this wine:
90 points
90+(?) Points. Tasted at Kapcsandy.

Fresh white peaches, white flowers and a cut of salinity on the palate. Great weight and mouthfeel for this level of freshness. Texturally rich with some detail.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
5/28/2014 - TSBWine Likes this wine:
89 points
89 Points. Served at 60-64F.

Off the initial pour the Syrah dominates with notes of dense black currants and cured black olives on the midpalate. Dark berry fruits and candied violets come and go on the nose. Over time red currants and bitter dark cherry pit show with greater aeration adding to the rather monochromatic entry. Cedar and toasted oak (warm spice, cocoa, charred wood) character show with time as well as the black olive notes recede.

Overall, there's a lot to like here as a value-driven wine in an excellent vintage. While there's not much clarity here there's more freshness than one would expect. There's good overall mid-palate density, texture and weight as well. The alcohol, while it shows at times, remains in check and the fine-grained tannins hold together the back end. I suspect this wine will hold for quite a while due to the vintage, but it remains unlikely to improve.
Red
5/7/2014 - TSBWine Likes this wine:
93 points
93(+?) Points. Coravined into glass from cellar temperatures and serially tasted over 30+ minutes. Served blind.

Initially wound up on the nose, but over time offered up aromas of ripe blackberries and black currant preserves. On the palate, very generous profile of blackberries, cassis and dark stone fruits give way to loam earth and a wave of sweet chocolate.

There's excellent concentration and midpalate density with voluptuous mouthfeel and tremendous polish. Despite the ripeness there was virtually no alcohol showing. Just straight-up delicious and quite modern with no hard edges. Initially thought new world Syrah, but after some aeration the earth and chocolate were obvious markers for Napa Cabernet.

Hedonistic but in need of some more focus and detail. Perhaps some time in cellar might show some more nuance but definitely a very pleasurable wine that manages to stay "within the lines" even though it's pushing the boundaries.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
3/22/2014 - TSBWine Likes this wine:
93 points
93 Points. Served between 60-65 Fahrenheit.

Quite aromatic on the nose with warm baking spice elements of cinnamon and clove contrasted against a layer of red berry fruit. On the palate, raspberries and dried red currants are followed by cola spices. There's a remarkable earthy, Mexican basil element draped across the mid-palate as well that gives it a great deal of depth and interest. Overall, an impressive effort with bright acidity and great weight on the palate. May be at the peak of its maturity, but should hold for several more years.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
3/22/2014 - TSBWine Likes this wine:
91 points
91+ Points. Served around 60-65 degrees Fahrenheit.

On the nose, bright red berry fruit and pepper spice. On the palate, crunchy red fruits reminiscent of red currants followed by rhubarb, dried green herbs and pepper spices. Over time the wine gained some greater depth and took on some darker cherry elements. There's vibrant acidity here and firmness on the palate. Overall a fine Burgundy that's still quite fresh and youthful on the palate.
Red
3/7/2014 - TSBWine Likes this wine:
92 points
92+ Points. Tasted blind with little aeration. Served around 62-64F.

Explosive aromas of dark berry fruits and chocolate on the nose. On the palate, black raspberries, dark plums and macerated rich black currants followed by off the charts chocolate/cocoa on the mid-palate. With some aeration some red plums and damp earth qualities began to show as well. There's immense concentration here and richness on the mid-palate. While there's enough acidity to give it clarity it certainly has a decidedly ripe character with supple tannins and a suave mouthfeel.

In my mind it was either a ripe vintage modern Right Bank Bordeaux or mountain fruit from Napa Valley. I guessed Bordeaux but wasn't surprised when it was unveiled as Howell Mountain. This is offering a lot of pleasure now and is a bit bombastic, but it's certainly holding together very well and should continue to hold in the mid-term.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
3/7/2014 - TSBWine wrote:
90 points
90 (?) Points. Aerated 1-2 hours and tasted serially at 62-66F.

On the nose, dark red fruits and baking spice elements. On the palate, dark raspberries, dark cherries and pepper spice qualities. There's some nice roundness on the mid-palate and overall generosity, but it's only hitting a few notes. The alcohol shows a bit in places and it's lacking some grace with the acidity and heat showing awkwardly at times.

Overall, I'm pretty disappointed with how these Terry Hoages are aging. This certainly showed better than their library wines, but it feels like they're aging prematurely and are lacking freshness and detail for such a young wine. Would recommend consuming these in the near term as they may end up tired and hot if they lay down for another few years. Unfortunately I don't think these have the grace to hold together in the cellar.
Red
3/3/2014 - TSBWine Likes this wine:
96 points
95-96+ Points. Served around 62-66F from a previously coravined bottle with 8-10~ ounces remaining. Graciously shared by DarinC.

On the nose, rich dark fruits lurking underneath layers of roasted meats, white pepper and cinnamon spice. Over time the spice elements dominate the nose, reminiscent of an imported Asian camphor wood chest.

On the palate, black berry compote and rich dark currants give way to black olive tapenade and pepper spices. There's incredible density, purity and richness here on the mid-palate. Structurally the wine has remarkable finesse and detail due to solid acidity. There's enough tannin here as well that it provide some firmness and texture on the palate.

Despite it's expressiveness, it's clear that there's remarkable depth here and the wine is still quite young with more to offer. The fruit characteristics, while ripe, do not dominate but instead offer a beautiful entry into a gorgeous mid-palate. Plenty of pleasure now, but I feel like this wine has more to offer in the future. Hold for another 2-3 years and drink for the following 5+ years. Phenomenal.
Red
2/6/2014 - TSBWine Likes this wine:
90 points
90+ Points. Tasted serially over 2 hours. Served between 62-65 degrees.

Off the initial pour the nose is quite expressive with wild raspberry, redcurrants, black currants and spice. On the palate it seemed wound up with bright red currant fruit and warm spice elements. Initially there's not a lot of pleasure here and it's rather ungiving despite the expressive nose.

However over time with aeration (and as it raised from cellar temp) it really blossomed beautifully in the glass and gained considerable depth. Fresh black currants, blueberries, slate and violets dominated while notes of earth, dried herbs and iron came and went. There was lovely weight on the palate as well and a generosity on the midpalate where fresh berry fruits and violets converged. Excellent acidity, minerality and some firm tannins brought plenty of structure and freshness as well.

Overall a rock solid value and a highly enjoyable Crozes. It's really showing well now and while it does not have the intensity and concentration to become a great wine, it delivers a lot of pleasure. I don't expect it to evolve or develop much over time so this is a candidate to drink soon. Recommend a decant of 45-60 minute and then enjoy it as it evolves in the glass.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
12/30/2013 - TSBWine Likes this wine:
92 points
91-93+ Points. Decanted 2+ Hours and tasted serially. Served at 64 degrees.

Initially very aromatic on the nose with notes of dark fruits, plum skin, earth spice and an herbaceous nuance. Over time the herbaceous element receded, revealing more of a potpourri and mixed floral note.

On the palate, fresh blackberry, black currants, hints of molasses licorice and some earth spice elements. Structurally I found it to have excellent acidity, but early on the wine seemed to lack weight and depth on the palate with a rather linear dimension to it. There was obvious quality here, but it seemed wound tight and rather reticent. With further decanting it fleshed out, gained more texture, firmed up on the back palate and showed more floral complexity.

Overall, I found this to be an elegant expression of Malbec but rather wound up and ungiving. This is a very well made wine with freshness, typicité and interest but it likely needs more time. Hold 2-3 years and drink over the following 5-10 years.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
12/8/2013 - TSBWine Likes this wine:
93 points
93+ Points. Overdue note here. Tasted at the winery with the winemaker Nick Elliott and fellow CT user "Redguy". Aerated for an unknown period of time.

Explosive aromas of sweet baking spices on the nose. There's a remarkable intensity here with uncommon expressiveness for such a young wine. You can sense red fruits and a floral nature underneath, but the baking spice elements were so profound it was hard to see past them.

On the palate pure, dense raspberries are followed by a lovely rosewater element and repeated baking spice notes. What's striking most of all is the lithe mouthfeel and textural beauty. Despite a decidedly primary nature where fruit carries effortlessly into the midpalate, I found myself entranced by the feminine floral and spice elements. There's enough structure and acidity to bring a level of composure and freshness as well; it never seemed hot or burdensome on the palate.

Overall a lovely, elegant expression of Grenache. Highly impressive and reminiscent of the 2009 Epoch Sensibility (better, really). I have no idea how this will age due to its softer character, but it's providing a lot of pleasure right now. Really gorgeous aromatics and a seriously pretty wine.
5 people found this helpful Comment
Red
12/20/2013 - TSBWine wrote:
88 points
87-88+ Points. Served 62-66 degrees. Serially tasted over 3 hours.

Off the nose, Rainier Cherries, Cranberries, Fresh Sweet Basil, Earth and Pepper Spice. Aromatically there's a great deal of complexity here and the nose is quite expressive and detailed.

On the palate, very bright, tart red and white cherries, cranberries and sweet basil. There's a wall of acidity here that was nearly overwhelming which demanded greater aeration. With time, the wine gained greater depth, more tamed acidity and notes of black cherries, smoked meats and cedar wood.

Texturally the overwhelming acidity dominated the midpalate leading to a mouthfeel that was far too angular, disjointed and difficult to approach. This wine begged to be paired with food, but was unfortunately an impromptu opening after dinner. The pretty and detailed nose was its only saving grace, but overall it's a poor value.
Red
8/31/2013 - TSBWine Likes this wine:
89 points
88-89 Pts. 2+ ounce pour in a group tasting format. Served at 58-64F. No prior aeration.

As would be expected with a wine this mature, the nose is highly aromatic with faint red fruit notes and dominated by a damp earth characteristic and a mixed vegetable quality. This shows on the palate as well initially, but with time the vegetal quality fades away, the wine gains depth and warm spice aromatics emerge along with more pronounced cherry fruit.

There's a nice mouthfeel here as well with fair weight on the palate despite the lighter complexion from its excellent acidity. At this point, this wine is totally resolved with little delineation. There's not much youthfulness left, but what's here is a highly mature wine that has a bit of life in it still. A drink now proposition.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
7/26/2013 - TSBWine Likes this wine:
91 points
91 Points. Served at 58-62 degrees and serially tasted over two and a half hours with no decanting prior.

At first pour, there are simple elements of dark red fruits and pepper spices on the nose. On the palate, ripe raspberries, black cherries followed by an expanse of spice characteristics that flood the palate: white and black pepper, exotic spice box and sandalwood. It doesn't have a very elegant or composed disposition early on and there's not much depth here on the mid-palate despite the ripe, well-formed fruit notes.

However, over time the wine gained a great deal of depth with air and it showed it's true composition. Candied violets blossomed on the nose and palate along with characteristics of chaparral/dry brush and wild sage. Notes of Black Raspberries came forward with greater concentration and carried the wine well into the mid-palate where tiers of spices laid set against a backdrop of chaparral. The back-palate began to gain some firmness as well with just a pinch of tannin that helped give the wine some greater form on the palate. There's plenty of acidity here to bring freshness to the fruit and a lively mid-palate that accentuates the complex spice character.

If it weren't for the chaparral and exotic wood spice notes that existed on the palate in lieu of garrigue it would have been a dead-ringer for Southern Rhone. I found the dry brush / sage element to be a bit beguiling and even a bit feminine, reminiscent of the California mountains after summer and autumn rains. There's a real sense of terroir here despite it invoking a place thousands of miles away.

Overall, I was really impressed (and surprised) by this wine. An excellent representation of Spanish Grenache and killer QPR as well. Recommended decant of 30-45 minutes and absolutely critical to serve this at the appropriate temperature. My belief is that this wine is at or near its peak. If stored properly it should hold there for 2-3+ years before it sets into a steady decline.
3 people found this helpful Comment
Red
6/21/2013 - TSBWine Likes this wine:
92 points
92+ Points. Decanted for about 30 minutes then serially tasted over 2 hours. Served around 60-65 degrees.

Immediately off the nose, bright blackberries and boysenberry fruit. There's some oak influence here as well with a bacon fat element too. On the palate there's huge, extracted ripe black fruits that are almost unwieldy in nature followed by gravel/asphalt, notes of black olive and dark chocolate covered espresso beans. The coffee/chocolate characteristics are awfully prominent in the back end and the mid-palate is wound up with nearly overwhelming fruit and tarry/smoke characteristics.

The wine proves to be almost too much early on but with greater aeration the almost glycerin, grapey fruit develops some clarity and greater depth as ripe blackcurrants begin to emerge along with nuances of cedar and charcoal. (with the chocolate, espresso bean character remaining). Wildberry fruit came and went as well, contrasting against the menacing currant, olive and gravelly asphalt notes. There's enough acid here to brings some delineation to the wine's character but texturally it's a real mouthful and the wine virtually dominates the palate at times.

Overall, the wine reminded me of some Languedoc wines but with a far more sinister edge. It certainly has a visceral appeal as it's quite hedonistic but I found it almost fatiguing at times. My estimation is that it's a pretty dramatic wine that needs additional time for the fruit to come into balance and the mid-palate to resolve (it's pretty wound up). It's a quality wine for sure with plenty of stuffing and density on the mid-palate, but isn't quite harmonious yet. Give it another 3-5 years and it may be a seriously pretty wine with far more focus and nuance.
2 people found this helpful Comment
Red
6/18/2013 - TSBWine Likes this wine:
91 points
91-92+ Pts. Way overdue on this note and I'm really writing from the memory banks here, but there are a number of characteristics that really stuck even after 4+ months. Tasted at a local monthly wine club with the Wrath winemaker Sabrine Rodems. Aerated for an unknown period of time.

Absolutely lovely and penetrating notes of pure, dense black currants and restrained blackberry notes that carry on to the mid-palate where a nearly impenetrable black olive tapenade characteristic rests. A cool climate Syrah with an Old World sentiment and a very brooding, serious demeanor. The purity of the currants and olive notes are striking and there's an elegant textural quality with considerable weight on the palate. Other characteristics of the wine are lost in my memory, but the rest remains clear as day.

If the Santa Lucia Highlands can continue to make Syrah like this then it has a very bright future ahead of it. I was far more impressed by this wine than any of the Pinot Noirs served and I hope that the producers in the SLH AVA find the energy and effort to try and develop wines of this character. I made a point of telling Sabrine how impressed I was with this wine and I hope that it was well received. Pretty remarkable.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
6/18/2013 - TSBWine Likes this wine:
90 points
90 Pts. Purchased for dinner at restaurant and placed in a bucket of ice to bring down the temperature from the mid-70's F range to a more appropriate serving temperature. Two bottles for our group with consistent notes and was a really nice surprise.

Ripe, fresh red fruits on the nose along with a lovely floral element and a touch of pepper spice on top of faint grilled meat notes. On the palate, black cherry fruit and porto bello mushroom notes provide a solid canvas upon which notes of crushed whole violets and wildflowers are painted. As expected, there's an enormous amount of tannin here that provide plenty of grip texturally. Only some pepper shows through the tea-like tannins that are awash in the finish. Over time some red plum lurked in the background but never came to the forefront in an obvious manner.

There's a lot of form and density here that I didn't really expect for the price. Great acidity but very much under control unlike some other Italian wines around this price range. The fruit is ripe enough to add some weight and roundness which created a solid balance of character. Overall, simple in its composition but excellent in its execution. A great value with some mid-term cellaring potential. There's plenty of acid and copious amount of tannin here, but I bet the fruit characteristics will hold up for 3-5 more years as well, leaving a nicely balanced value wine with some aged character.
Red
6/17/2013 - TSBWine wrote:
90 points
89-90(?) Pts. Decanted for over an hour and served around 65 degrees.

On the nose, a melange of ripe red fruits, some oak influences and a bit of a maple smoked bacon element. On the palate, layers of very expressive red fruits. Very ripe red plums, black cherries and red currants nearly overwhelm and finish with some caramelized, toasted oak notes. Powerful, concentrated and carries a lot of heft on the palate.

Very supple texturally and feels like it might nearly fall apart, but there's just enough acid to get it by. If served any warmer it might come across as overly alcoholic and a bit messy. Overall, simple and uncomplicated. Tasty but a bit too candied and honestly, a bit boring. A pretty indulgent wine that has a deliciousness factor but my palate checked out after a few sips. Perhaps the most clear, obvious maple bacon notes on the nose which provided a good frame of reference as a palate note but not exactly something I would be chasing after.
2 people found this helpful Comment
Red
2010 Denner Syrah Paso Robles Willow Creek District (view label images)
6/17/2013 - TSBWine Likes this wine:
93 points
93+ Pts. About 30-45 minutes aeration and served around 60-65 degrees.

Dark fruits and a serious bonfire mesquite smoke off the nose with some pepper notes. On the palate, dense, ripe blueberry and rich cassis notes that drive effortlessly into the mid-palate. A soy sauce element contrasts beautifully against the fruit notes and sets the stage for notes of charred wood, cedar and beautiful baking spices (found often in Paso Robles Rhone varietals).

Ample acid and a mineral edge give this wine incredible poise. There's an abundance of fruit qualities here but it feels totally fresh and contained. Texturally, the density is almost reminiscent of the berries themselves as it shows a sense of tamed power and concentration. Firm tannins and a fine structure hold the wine together and at no point does it feel burdened by the richness.

Just a remarkable wine altogether. There's a lot of visceral pleasure here with plenty of other characteristics that give it some real depth and interest. Wonderful now, but might show some deeper character and prove to be a bit more intellectual when it sheds some fruit with age (5-10 years). Highly recommended.
2 people found this helpful Comment
Red
6/12/2013 - TSBWine wrote:
89 points
88-91 Pts. Decanted about 45 minutes before serving. Served outside on a very warm evening. Proved to be a bit unruly at times with aeration and as the wine warmed in the glass.

Aromatically the wine offered up mostly muted dark fruits and some oak spice characteristics. Over time the wine hinted at eucalyptus notes as well. On the palate, the wine was dominated by black currant notes and followed by loamy earth, tea-like notes, wet stone and an oak influence. With aeration additional notes of subdued red plum, cedar and even an herbaceous quality began to emerge (which quite honestly reminded me of garrigue - a bit perplexing really but undoubtedly positive).

Texturally the wine is solidly built and it holds a real presence on the palate with it's grippy tannin and structure. There's plenty of acidity here which leads me to believe that a fair amount of grapes were sourced from fairly cool sub-AVAs. In a sense, it was refreshingly restrained and focused for the price point without lacking character.

Unfortunately, at some point in the evening it completely fell apart. At one moment, with Cellar Tracker in mind, I was telling myself that it was on its way towards meriting a 91 Point score (a serious triumph for the price point). However the wine simply became overwhelmed by tannin and oak to the degree that it was too reminiscent of other over-oaked Cabernets from the region.

Given the quality and composition of the wine early on, I'm willing to attribute this to the influence of heat and a wine simply being served too warm. I'd love to try another bottle in a better tasting environment and track how it develops in the glass. There's always the possibility that there's too much oak influence here - but it based on the price I think it deserves another shot and a first try by anyone who comes across it.
Red
2007 Shafer Relentless Napa Valley Syrah Blend, Syrah (view label images)
6/11/2013 - TSBWine Likes this wine:
93 points
93+ Points. About a 2.5 hour decant at room temp. then cooled to serving temperature before pouring. As a note, I'm a big fan of Syrah and believe that it has a real sense of place (terroir) wherever it's grown. From Rhone to Napa, Central Coast, Australia or South Africa it shows a great variety of character. The Shafer Relentless is no exception.

On the nose there are generous portions of dark fruits and very obvious freshly-cut cedar with a menthol edge. On the palate, the wine shows rich, pure, macerated blackberries followed by ripe black currants and a mid-palate loaded with cacao and cedar before it finishes with cracked pepper and oak spices. With more aeration in the glass the wine developed herbaceous notes reminiscent of wild sage but never seemed to gather itself to express it in a profound way. (unlike some cooler climate Syrah). The alcohol absolutely pokes through at points but the rigid structure and acidity of the wine holds the ship together well enough to express plenty of character without falling apart.

An elegant wine it is not, but there's a lot of visceral pleasure here with enough interest and delineation to hold your attention. A bit of a burly wine and rough around the edges but it has enough focus to express some really lovely character. I would argue that despite it's ripe nature and higher alcohol levels that it still expresses a number of pure characteristics (particularly the blackberry) with excellent focus which speaks to its high quality. It's excellent now but could prove to develop in the bottle for another 4-6 years before plateauing.
Red
6/5/2013 - TSBWine Likes this wine:
90 points
90 Pts. Opened then resealed and left about 24 hours in the fridge. Served at around 55-60F degrees after some time on the counter.

On the nose, bright ripe red fruits, floral notes and pepper spice. Aromatically there's some really pleasant ripe berry fruit. Over time it drifts from notes of crushed raspberry fruit to freshly picked ripe strawberries. (This changes with temperature in the glass as well).

On the palate it shows a variety of red berry fruit that's reminiscent of a medley of fruit (Dark Cherries, Raspberries, Red Currants and Strawberries) which I've come to expect from some well-made Gamay. There's plenty of acid and minerality here, including some orange peel early on, that adds a lot of freshness (but not tartness which added greatly to it's approachability). There's a wet-stone element that adds some firmness and buttresses the wine in mouthfeel while the whole cluster inclusion gives some contrasting pepper spice on the finish. In addition, a layer of perfume-like rose and violets (shifted with temperature) notes drifts throughout the palate which adds a lot of character and interest.

As one would expect with most Beaujolais the wine isn't going to challenge other varietals in terms of length and depth on the palate. However it did a number of things really well and reminded me of Central Coast Pinot Noirs in terms of character and composition (Bright red fruits, spice and orange peel notes).

Overall, I personally like Gamay a great deal and believe that when the high acidity is allowed some time to resolve that it can show a lot of Pinot like character and doesn't need to be relegated to being the "simple" drink that it's often considered to be (Like many rosés - but that's another subject!). I may be grading on a curve but I found this wine to be an excellent value and deserving to be rated among other solid wines. It represents Gamay well, had plenty of character and only needs the right context to shine.
Red
6/4/2013 - TSBWine wrote:
Tasted at a local monthly wine club tasting. Tasted twice from different bottles to try and get an accurate assessment. I was looking forward to tasting a Washington wine from a new AVA (Wahluke Slope) and I came away disappointed.

On the nose you can immediately tell there's a very aggressive oaking approach to the wine. Not much is offered up here for me besides aromas of smoke and muted fruits. On the palate there are fairly lean notes of plum followed by ample notes of coffee and burnt rubber. The wine lacks much if any real weight and tastes rather thinned out (lacking in the midpalate) and overoaked.

Overall there's just not much here in terms of character. It's quite possible that there's a wine flaw with reduction due to the burnt rubber taste (Mercaptans?) but I can't say with any certainty that it was the reason the wine fell so flat. Given the format some additional aeration might have helped (or dropping a penny in the glass - which I didn't think of at the time). Score withheld and I would recommend that anyone considering purchasing the wine buy one bottle first to decide for themselves before buying multiple. It's always possible that the wine simply isn't very good.
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