Comments on my notes

(66 comments on 45 notes)

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Red
2015 Bedrock Wine Co. Petite Sirah Drummond's Cuvee California
10/4/2019 - Slaz Does not like this wine:
90 points
A syrupy mess with weak notes of PS greatness. Disappointing overall, even if good grapes are evident.
  • Slaz commented:

    10/10/19, 8:58 PM - @ tc from santee: I'm tempted to argue that I've tasted more PS as well as Zinfandel-PS blends than you have over the last 20 years, but that would be as unconstructive as your comment. And no, Cabs are not among my most preferred reds. If you don't like a TN, move on and post your own.

Red
2015 Turley Zinfandel Rattlesnake Ridge Howell Mountain
8/9/2019 - Slaz Does not like this wine:
90 points
Overly ripe and unimpressive. Some tannic bite is still there too.
  • Slaz commented:

    8/10/19, 12:57 PM - Thanks, Mark1npt, that's good to know. I've had less bottle variation or maybe simply more consistent tasting experience with Carlisle and Bedrock Zins.

  • Slaz commented:

    8/15/19, 6:29 PM - Mark1npt, thanks much for sharing your tasting experience, that's the best part of CT community, in my opinion (getting the benefit of multiple reference points and TNs by others). My experience with Turley over the last five vintages has been a bit different from yours: some bottle variation (e.g., 2014 Turley Zinfandel Dragon Vineyard and 2014 Turley Zinfandel Estate), but perhaps most off-putting to me has been the overly fruity and alcoholic style of Turley Zins (are they ever below 15.6% alc? Not in my experience). As for Carlisle Papera, the 2016 might be simply too young: I scored 93 points consistently tasting multiple bottles of the 2014 and 2015 Carlisle Papera (in 2018 and very early 2019), excellent and top-notch juice, in my opinion.

  • Slaz commented:

    8/15/19, 9:49 PM - Good to know, thanks. For what it's worth I've tasted Mead, Ueberroth, Rattlesnake, and Hayne from Turley over the years, and I haven't been particularly impressed (my scores have clustered around 90-91 pts).

Red
2007 La Rioja Alta Rioja Gran Reserva 904 Tempranillo Blend, Tempranillo
7/7/2019 - m.lupus Likes this wine:
92 points
Not as good as the 2005 vintage (yet). Several people have claimed here that this wine will not improve further with age. I hope they are wrong and will open my next bottle in a year from now.
  • Slaz commented:

    7/8/19, 8:59 PM - Worth cellaring further for sure.

Red
2008 La Rioja Alta Rioja Viña Ardanza Reserva Tempranillo Blend, Tempranillo
Really not enjoying this wine at all.

The 'evolution' the company claims to be following seems to be towards a wine that the rest of the world tried and mostly discarded and that I'd hoped we were seeing the back of.

Very polished and glossy, it has badly integrated alcohol, and much darker (as opposed to red) fruit profile, and at this early stage of it's life doesn't really show off the oak regimen much (it is meant to be Rioja, and high quality stuff, after all).

We assumed the acidity might match food, specifically lamb, because Rioja was made for roast lamb. It didn't.

My earlier criticisms of this wine still stand. For the company to compare it to the 2001 is ludicrous in my opinion. It's been clear since the 2001 vintage that there has been a slow-evolution in style of Ardanza, but the earlier changes were liveable, and still added to the whole. If this represents the end destination of the process, then I can only agree with other fans of LRA such as Harley1199 and MacauJames that it isn't a wine I recognise (it is more reminiscent of full bodied Ribeiro del Duero), and that the Alberdi 2010 is significantly superior.

I lament having bought so many, and will be more circumspect with future Ardanza purchases, as its no longer a wine I recognise.
  • Slaz commented:

    5/17/19, 7:43 PM - This is an odd tasting note, quite frankly. What exactly are your reference points, especially at this price point (around $25, in my case)? This is surely not a Gran Reserva Rioja from LRA or other reputable producers (which cost meaningfully more), but after having tasted 11 bottles over the last 2-3 years, I find this one to be a pretty good value and my go-to workday Rioja (that requires some decanting and patience); pairs nicely with pizza and pasta dishes. Also, your references to "badly integrated alcohol, and much darker (as opposed to red) fruit" is close to the opposite of what I tasted over several hours of decanting with virtually every bottle I've tasted from this vintage so far, and I'm pretty sensitive to high alcohol and fruit bombs, more generally.

  • Slaz commented:

    5/19/19, 3:49 PM - Interesting. I had multiple bottles of the 2007 vintage back in 2017-2018 and I don’t find the 2008 to be materially worse than the 2007 bottling, the two are fairly comparable. But I don’t mean to discourage anyone from sharing their TNs, so thanks for posting your note.

Red
2004 La Rioja Alta Rioja Gran Reserva 904 Tempranillo Blend, Tempranillo
5/11/2019 - Slaz Likes this wine:
93 points
Relative to my prior tastings in 2017 and 2015, what used to be disjointed components has melded into much elegance and exceptional depth in the mid-palate. 1-2 hours of decanting helped the wine calm down and taste at its best (my wife was surprised to realize this was LRA's GR 904 from 2004. Earthy notes and notes of wet forest used to overwhelm, not any more. Drinks very well now. Should continue to go strong for a number of years (but no need to hold yourself back any more).
  • Slaz commented:

    5/13/19, 7:03 PM - @ Vinomazing: I'm glad if any of my tasting musings are of any help, that's precisely the aspect of CT that has always appealed to me, i.e., sharing our tasting experiences for the greater good!

Red
2007 La Serena Brunello di Montalcino Sangiovese
11/13/2018 - Slaz Likes this wine:
93 points
Best tasting relative to my prior tastings, in 2017 and 2015. Floral nose, with plenty of energy on the palate, even if a tad too modern in style. Terrific mid-palate that is fully developed and balanced. Moderate-to-long finish. Appears to be at its peak, unlikely to further improve, in my opinion. Brief decanting recommended.
  • Slaz commented:

    11/15/18, 7:12 PM - This one is excellent, worth buying more for sure in hindsight. I haven't tasted the 2007 as extensively as the 2010 vintage, but there are some real gems from that vintage, I agree; I've also tasted some real duds from 2007, with too much ripeness and little backbone though.

Red
2010 Fattoria La Lecciaia (Pacini) Brunello di Montalcino Riserva Vigna Manapetra Sangiovese
10/21/2018 - Slaz Likes this wine:
92 points
Drinks well and better than a year ago. Lots of juicy red cherries, with balanced ripeness and good acidity. The mid-palate has evolved and sufficiently filled out. Kept evolving with air, after 30 minutes of decanting.
  • Slaz commented:

    10/25/18, 1:03 PM - Glad my note is of help, thanks!

Red
2012 Ridge Geyserville Sonoma County Zinfandel Blend, Zinfandel
9/5/2018 - Slaz Likes this wine:
92 points
Nearly 20% Carignan makes this distinct and interestingly different from most other good Zin blends from Sonoma and Napa. Seems to be in a good place right now (relative to my prior tastings in '15 and '17) but with plenty of life and further evolution ahead.
  • Slaz commented:

    9/8/18, 1:41 PM - It certainly does; very good article, btw.

Red
2015 Turley Zinfandel Judge Bell Amador County
9/1/2018 - Slaz Likes this wine:
92 points
Fully consistent with my July 2018 TN. Tasted best at closer to 60F.
  • Slaz commented:

    9/3/18, 1:04 PM - Thanks, Mark1npt. Alcohol tends to overpower at room temp, at least to my taste, in wines that have 15+% alc. Turleys, in particular, tend to be around 15.5-16.0%. I typically decant at cellar temp for several hours prior to tasting in earnest; that way I get all the benefits of extra oxidation/breathing without having to bring the wine temp too high.

  • Slaz commented:

    9/3/18, 8:38 PM - @Mark1npt: ultimately, it's up to you to decide what you like best, obviously. I'd encourage you, however, to study a few of your favorite Zins at varying temps after having decanted for a fixed period of time (two hours or longer tends to hit a sweet spot for powerful young Zins, in my experience).

  • Slaz commented:

    9/4/18, 10:01 AM - Thanks, Mark1npt. I understand your point better now. I say you continue to enjoy Turleys the way you enjoy them the most. After all, there is no exact science behind our differences in tastes and preferences!

Red
2014 Mount Eden Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Domaine Eden Santa Cruz Mountains
2/15/2018 - chablis28 wrote:
93 points
Excited to finally get to this and I was not disappointed. Nor have I ever been with this cuvee. Pretty much love everything about this wine and I don't think of myself as a huge cab enthusiast with the majority of my cellar made up of PN and chardonnay mostly from Burgundy. That said, there's something old school, "Burgundian" about this distinctly old school CA Cab. On top of that the Santa Cruz Mt appellation seems to tame some of CA cabernet's worst inclinations toward high octane jammy fruit bombs. The Santa Cruz Mts also seem to impart its own sense of terroir to the wines that are quite different from the more showy Napa Valley. Thankfully, the appellation seems to run largely under the radar of hype driven critics and point chasers. PnP in Reidel BDXs and slow ox a few hours prior to dinner. Medium garnet red color. Smokey nose of red fruit, cigar box and herbs. Reserved red fruit, tobacco leaf, tea, mineral on a sturdy yet completely tolerable structure. Feels weightless and lifted with an underlying sense of complexity and depth. I'm really digging it and I'm grabbing more very soon. 14% alc on the label but taste and feels like 12-13%. Consistently the best value in cabernet blends bar none that I drink year in year out since tripping onto it. the 2014 might be the best yet. May Jeffrey Patterson stay at the helm well into his very old ages!
  • Slaz commented:

    9/3/18, 9:10 PM - Very well captured and summarized. A great TN that fully resonates with my thoughts from and experience of tasting this wine across multiple vintages.

White
2010 Château Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc Pessac-Léognan Sémillon-Sauvignon Blanc Blend
3/11/2018 - Slaz Likes this wine:
95 points
Exceptional combination of elegance and subtle, yet incredibly powerful, energy. How much you are going to like this depends on your reference points and preferences, but this is close to an opposite of opulence stylistically. Great structure. Price wise, however, this has become quite expensive, a far cry from low $20 I was able to buy it for 20 years or so ago.
  • Slaz commented:

    6/25/18, 8:01 PM - @Pontifax: it has become pretty expensive here in US too (I paid around $115 a bottle in January 2017 for this).

Red
2015 Carlisle Petite Sirah Sonoma County
2/19/2018 - Slaz Does not like this wine:
85 points
Carlisle wines, in my experience, tend to be very good, often exceptionally good, but not this one. Upon opening, it was a young, inky, tannic, and ripe PS. Decanting for an hour or so helped, but it remained thin on the mid-palate, without much structure, and with relatively low acidity. After several hours of decanting, it tasted only worse. A poor take on Petite Sirah, even if at a lower price than many of Carlisle's other PSs.
  • Slaz commented:

    2/23/18, 9:08 AM - I should clarify or rather supplement my TN. Yes, Petite Sirah generally starts to become approachable only with years of cellaring. This one, however, had neither any meaningful structure nor any signs of great promise.

Red
2012 Castellare di Castellina Chianti Classico Riserva Vigna Il Poggiale Chianti Classico DOCG Sangiovese Blend, Sangiovese
2/21/2018 - Slaz wrote:
88 points
My second bottle since March 2017. In contrast to the previous one, this had plenty of intense bright red (almost overly acidic) berries and very little else, including minimal secondary notes and short finish even after several hours of decanting. Either the bottle variation or it's just still plain young (but then go figure why a year ago this tasted notably more impressive).
  • Slaz commented:

    2/22/18, 9:35 AM - That's a possibility, of course. But the two 92-score CT reviews from Jan-Feb of this year seem to suggest that the bottle variation could be at play too.

Red
2012 Castellare di Castellina Chianti Classico Riserva Vigna Il Poggiale Chianti Classico DOCG Sangiovese Blend, Sangiovese
5/13/2017 - epiphany wrote:
88 points
Not anywhere near the quality of my first bottle. The nose is shy, the body is thin, the fruit is muted and the finish is clipped. I assume an off bottle based on my prior tasting and other's tastings.
  • Slaz commented:

    2/21/18, 9:58 PM - My second bottle tasted very similar to your note. I wonder if there is some significant bottle variation with this wine/vintage.

Red
2011 Clos du Mont-Olivet Châteauneuf-du-Pape Red Rhone Blend
2/18/2018 - Slaz Likes this wine:
90 points
More complexity since my purchase in 2013. Has developed nicely, with less overpowering strawberry and more secondary notes.
  • Slaz commented:

    2/19/18, 10:35 AM - @epiphany, it did not taste past its peak to me, so it should continue to develop for several years, I would think.

Red
2012 Clos des Papes Châteauneuf-du-Pape Red Rhone Blend
9/16/2017 - Slaz wrote:
91 points
Overly ripe and fruit-forward to my taste. Grenache is dominant, with notes of strawberries and red fruit, in this CDP. Well-made and in many ways elegant, especially after several hours of decanting, but this is admittedly poor value at nearly $100. Beaucastel CDPs offer so much more, in my opinion and tasting experience.
  • Slaz commented:

    9/19/17, 10:43 AM - I am hopeful that's the case, jdponfil, as I have three more bottles. I am generally capable of seeing (or rather tasting?) bright future for young yet promising wines, but I am sure I get it wrong at times. In any case, thank you for your comment!

  • Slaz commented:

    9/22/17, 11:18 AM - Waiting until maturity, even if it's well defined, is optimal for enjoyment but not for long-term planning and sampling of various styles.

  • Slaz commented:

    9/24/17, 5:36 PM - @ jdponfil, thanks for your comment. I am a big fan of doing what makes most sense given an individual's circumstances and preferences. What fits you is not what fits me here, at least in terms of drinking philosophy. I like to taste my wines at different stages and, as I previously stated, I am generally good at detecting great potential. With CDPs, I have a long history of tastings, including many well-aged ones, prior to my CT notes; CDPs used to be my favorite wines but not any more for a number of years.

Red
2013 Cameron Hughes Cabernet Sauvignon Lot 597 Stagecoach Vineyard Napa Valley
1/13/2017 - Slaz Likes this wine:
91 points
Despite my heavy skepticism toward the CH wines over the years (the bottle variation, for example), this particular lot delivers well, repeatedly. A relatively ripe cab, but it has the structure, acidity, and complexity. Improved significantly over several hours of decanting, exhibiting red currant, blackberry, and blue fruit notes on the palate. Better showing than the over-hyped 2013 Clos du Val Cab, of which I have had several bottles over the last 8-10 months.
  • Slaz commented:

    8/11/17, 6:47 PM - @ nocoretiree: Thanks. I am glad to hear there is some consistency in our collective tasting experiences!

Red
2014 Newton Cabernet Sauvignon Unfiltered Napa Valley
4/1/2017 - Motz wrote:
91 points
Brawny and substantive, showing appealing varietal characteristics and hints of Napa Valley terroir. Young and taut at present; it should evolve over the next two to three years. 90-91.
  • Slaz commented:

    7/31/17, 5:47 PM - Motz, would you care to provide a few examples of Bordeaux and Barbaresco in this price range that you'd recommend? I am not at all questioning your suggestion, just curious to see if I can expand my choice set, etc. I agree on Bordeaux, but Barbarescos, in my experience, are a different beast in terms of taste profile and longer cellaring necessary for them to shine relative to many Napa cabs.

  • Slaz commented:

    7/31/17, 7:59 PM - Thanks, Motz! I very much enjoyed the Produttori del Barbaresco (2010 vintage) back in April this year. Do you generally source from a local retailer or a nationwide online retailer when it comes to wines from France/Italy? For me, being on the east coast, it's a mix of both, with the online purchasing dominating (e.g., B-21).

  • Slaz commented:

    7/31/17, 10:02 PM - Thanks again, Motz. I'll seek the other vintages you mentioned.

Red
2010 Anderson's Conn Valley Vineyards Éloge Napa Valley Red Bordeaux Blend
7/16/2017 - Slaz Likes this wine:
92 points
Consistent with my May 6 note.
  • Slaz commented:

    7/16/17, 8:51 PM - @ Franklin 10, hi there. I guess it's about who is more lazy, the OP or the readers. Either way, here is my original note that I referenced: "Drinks really well right now, especially after 30-60 minutes of decanting. Has plenty of fruit, in my opinion, but not in a typical Napa-like in-your-face style. Lots of clove and dark berries on the palate. A distinctly Napa's take on Bordeaux but well done and consistent with prior vintages. Glad I have five more bottles."

  • Slaz commented:

    7/16/17, 8:55 PM - As long as we are on the subject, I've just come back from a two-week visit to Napa and Sonoma. Among other things, I've visited the Anderson's Conn Valley winery and met the winemaker, Robert, in person. He was thoughtful and passionate about the wines he makes; worth keeping track of the winery and the wines, in my opinion, at least for several more vintages out.

  • Slaz commented:

    7/17/17, 5:12 PM - Thanks, Franklin 10. No insult was taken, no worries. I understand and respect your perspective on TNs, I am simply of a different opinion on that. There needs to be a balance between the time and effort spent by those who post the notes and those who read/consume them (most of us here wear both of these hats, obviously). Looking up a prior note that is referenced in the current note should generally not take more than a few seconds/clicks, which seems fair to me. Also, I wouldn't want to create an incentive for TN posters to only provide numeric scores without any notes or references to prior notes (which a policy of always including full notes would create).
    P.S. Glad to hear you enjoyed your winery visit few years ago!!

Red
2010 Tablas Creek Esprit de Beaucastel Paso Robles Red Rhone Blend
6/2/2017 - Slaz wrote:
Soft and unmemorable GSM even after several hours of decanting. My third bottle over the last few years; minimal improvement if any at all.
UPDATED: See the very first comment below regarding the shut-down phase.
  • Slaz commented:

    6/4/17, 2:41 PM - @ jasonchaas: This is interesting. I wish I learned of this vintage chart sooner, thanks for pointing that out! My point of reference was the 2010 Chateau de Beaucastel, which is still a baby but is already highly impressive. In any case, I've changed my rating to NR and updated my review with the reference to your link.

Red
2014 Ridge Lytton Springs Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel Blend, Zinfandel
3/12/2017 - Slaz wrote:
After studying this wine over 3+ hours, I am not convinced this is one of the best LS in recent years. There is a lot of promise in various components of the wine that will undoubtedly come together with several more years of cellaring, but only time will show how phenomenal this will be. Hold until 2019+.
  • Slaz commented:

    3/16/17, 8:47 AM - Lytton Springs wines very much reward patience, based on my experience of tasting 10+ vintages over the years. Cellaring for 4-6 years post-release seems to hit the sweet spot. But then there is always a temptation to taste the new vintage!

Red
2012 Castello di Monsanto Chianti Classico Riserva Chianti Classico DOCG Sangiovese Blend, Sangiovese
1/24/2017 - Slaz wrote:
89 points
Fairly simple and slightly tannic yet, but is probably still a bargain for $18. Definitely improved over an hour+ of decanting, even if not by that much.
  • Slaz commented:

    1/25/17, 8:40 AM - Thanks, sleepyhaus. Your experience is broadly consistent with mine. For example, many good 2010 chiantis are only now starting to become approachable, in my opinion. I was curious if this one is stylistically different, etc. So thanks for chiming in!

Red
2014 Turley Zinfandel Cedarman Howell Mountain
11/10/2016 - Gti2ton Likes this wine:
92 points
Tasted alongside the '14 Old Vine, and the '14 Cedarman. A different wine from the Cedarman, however, it was agreed that it was superior to the Old Vine at this time. This is the best Juvenile I've had in a few years. Harmonious and drinking beautifully now. Will hold a couple years, but there's no need.
  • Slaz commented:

    11/27/16, 10:24 PM - This note appears to be for the Juvenile, not the Cedarman.

Red
2013 Chappellet Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
9/23/2016 - Slaz wrote:
91 points
Underwhelming, especially for the price, most likely because too young. I've had prior vintages and was expecting something good from the 2013 of this wine. After an hour of decanting, tannins were still too intrusive with pronounced bitterness. Acidity is too low, to my taste, almost nonexistent. Mid-palate is yet too weak but could put more flesh with age. Overall, unbalanced and disappointing even if an easy drinker. Rating 91 for potential, more like NR right now.
  • Slaz commented:

    9/25/16, 7:25 PM - @Yondan: Thanks for your comment. Many very good wines (e.g., Barolos, Brunellos, Bordeauxs) taste unimpressive in their youth. That's no basis for rating the wine poorly, however. I can see how this particular wine can come together with age, hence, the note and the details.

  • Slaz commented:

    9/26/16, 9:50 AM - @Yondan: We seem to fundamentally differ in our opinions on how the wine should be rated. If I were to apply your logic to barrel samples of good wines built for long-term cellaring, then nearly none would score 90+. Similarly, when you see reviews from professional reviewers (I am not one of them by any stretch, to be clear) with a drinking window of 2020+, do you really think the 90+ score reflects the wine at the time of tasting? Of course, not. As for scores, in general, they tend to be very noisy, in my experience, reflecting an individual's preference, breadth of tasting experience, etc.; individual tasting notes are much more informative, in my opinion. This is not to suggest how you, or anyone else, should consume CT information, just to provide more context for my rating.

Red
2010 Château Haut-Bailly Pessac-Léognan Red Bordeaux Blend
7/8/2016 - 22slams Likes this wine:
96 points
Drank this at a restaurant . Decanted for over one hour. Still very young and expects one should keep it for another 5 years to drink again. But then at this stage it is already very good . I recommend stock in and enjoy this for many years to come
  • Slaz commented:

    7/8/16, 7:01 PM - Higher score than from anyone else I have seen. I might follow wineotim's plan to pop one soon to satisfy my curiousity.

Red
2010 L'Ecole No. 41 Perigee Estate Seven Hills Vineyard Walla Walla Valley Red Bordeaux Blend
7/7/2016 - spicy1 Does not like this wine:
79 points
What a disappointment. I bought this bottle at the winery in Walla Walla, four years ago. Took decent care of it and decanted for three hours. Drank over two nights. Best thing I can say was that it was consistent from day one to two Didn't seem corked or flawed--just lacking in fruit or any other redeeming quality.
  • Slaz commented:

    7/7/16, 9:33 PM - Definitely a bad bottle.

Red
2013 Tenuta Sette Ponti Oreno Toscana IGT SuperTuscan Blend
Lots of acid upon opening. Overall, very young and ungiving. Even after 5+ hours of decanting, tasted disjointed with fleeting notes of greatness on the palate over the following few hours. Don't touch the rest until 2018-2020.
  • Slaz commented:

    6/26/16, 9:11 PM - Champagneinhand, I hear you and agree. I feel good about my remaining 7 bottles. Prior to opening, I was suspecting that the 2013 would be way too young but couldn't resist popping a bottle in light of glowing reviews from others.

Red
2005 La Rioja Alta Rioja Gran Reserva 904 Tempranillo Blend, Tempranillo
Not a fan. Wonderful nose, bitter taste, heavy tannins.
  • Slaz commented:

    6/4/16, 10:20 PM - It's just too young, give it time.

Red
2008 Casanova di Neri Brunello di Montalcino Tenuta Nuova Sangiovese
5/30/2016 - Anonymous wrote:
I agree with the over extracted comments. Candied sour cherry and balsamic on the nose and palate. Spicy in the mouth and lacking freshness. Tannins and acid worked well with a grilled porterhouse.

Something is amiss here. I've had the white label from this vintage and while modern in style it was nowhere near as extracted. In addition I see that Cathy Corison called the '08 Tenuta Nuova "beautiful" on the Delectable app and based off of the types of wines she makes, I could not see her calling the wine that I drank beautiful. Is there some strange bottle variation going on?
  • Slaz commented:

    5/31/16, 7:50 PM - I am a big fan of Corison's cabs and your note is not describing the wine I have had, of which I tasted several bottles over the last six months. Either you got a bad batch or you are not decanting the wine to let it open up (e.g., see one of the January 2016 notes here).

White
2012 Château Gazin Rocquencourt Blanc Pessac-Léognan Sémillon-Sauvignon Blanc Blend
5/25/2016 - Jeff Leve wrote:
91 points
With a distinctive floral note, fresh squeezed lemons, cara cara orange, grapefruit and honey on the nose, the wine is fresh, refreshing and leaves you with the sensation of crisp acidity in the lemony finish.
  • Slaz commented:

    5/26/16, 4:49 PM - Looks like a misplaced tasting note.

  • Slaz commented:

    5/27/16, 10:29 AM - That's more like it! Good note, consistent with my experience; thanks for sharing.

Red
2012 Limerick Lane Zinfandel Russian River Valley
4/10/2016 - pkatz Does not like this wine:
75 points
Second of three bottles with oxidized flavors. Maybe I got a badly treated batch or this is the house style. Those who like tasting wine a day or two after it's opened might find this right in their wheelhouse, but me, not so much. Hope the last one is better.
  • Slaz commented:

    4/10/16, 6:57 PM - Must be a bad batch. I've tasted a few of these bottles over the last two years and I am yet to discover oxidized flavors.

  • Slaz commented:

    4/10/16, 8:45 PM - I've been a fan of the winery after sampling few of their 2012 wines. Regarding the 2013 Headpruned Syrah, I tried a bottle last November (upon receipt of the "club/allocation" shipment) and was a little underwhelmed; if you can, give it a year or two more before popping the cork (it's just too young at this point).

Red
2009 Fattoria La Lecciaia (Pacini) Brunello di Montalcino Riserva Sangiovese
Dissapointed. Not a deep wine. Drinks easy but lacks any bold tannins. We are visiting Tuscany in a month and trying a bunch of different Brunellos.
  • Slaz commented:

    4/9/16, 8:03 PM - "lacks any bold tannins" relative to other Brunellos or other varietals? Aged Brunellos are generally not known for bold tannins.

Red
2010 Château de Beaucastel Côtes du Rhône Coudoulet de Beaucastel Red Rhone Blend
9/22/2015 - Slaz Likes this wine:
91 points
A notable improvement since the last tasting in September 2014. The wine has gained more balance and shed extra sweetness. Upon opening, notes of graphite and minerality streaks on the palate. After an hour+ of decanting, tasted more balanced fruit on the palate. Not overly ripe on the palate, something I liked a lot. Moderate length. Overall, excellent value and quite universal in terms of possible food pairings. A nice "baby Beaucastel" that will continue to improve and drink well for several years, if not 5+.
  • Slaz commented:

    2/25/16, 1:15 PM - Most likely, it would drink well beyond 2021 even if it stops evolving. Of course, there is only one way to find out for sure, by tasting over time ;) Also, looking at the CT notes on the 2001 vintage it seems like it continues to drink fairly well through present.

White
2012 Mount Eden Vineyards Chardonnay Santa Cruz Mountains
11/27/2015 - Gene_Mo wrote:
87 points
Have had multiple vintages of this wine and previous bottles were stellar with great crispness and acidity. Maybe this was a bad bottle, but was really disappointing. Tannic to almost bitter. Served at Thanksgiving to the expectation of a #6 in WS top 100 wines. Did not deliver. Wont try another for at least a year.
  • Slaz commented:

    12/19/15, 4:01 PM - I had very similar impression upon opening about a month ago. Decanted for 40 minutes or so and the wine opened up considerably, becoming similar to 2011 but with less acidity. Just very young at this point.

Red
2013 Cameron Hughes Cabernet Sauvignon Lot 596 Monte Rosso Vineyard Sonoma Valley
10/23/2015 - Slaz wrote:
89 points
My overall impression is consistent with GALEWSKJ's note below. Gritty tannins dominate. Very young and disjointed on the palate, with fruit being too upfront. Not enough complexity and depth (yet?). Several hours of decanting improved the wine, adding more balance and smoothness.
  • Slaz commented:

    12/1/15, 7:20 PM - I appreciate the comment. While the bottle shock is a possibility, I don't think that's the reason, at least with my bottles. I tasted another bottle of Lot 596 the other day, tasting it at opening, after decanting for several hours, and the following day. Overall, I did not see sufficient promise and complexity. In my opinion, Lot 597 is much more promising at this age.

Red
2013 Limerick Lane Hail Mary Russian River Valley Syrah Blend, Syrah
11/28/2015 - Matt Scott Likes this wine:
96 points
Bacon fat, raw steak, lilac, chiseled rock, incense and French Onion soup. Distinct layers of microfiber tannins that seem endless, with the depth and richness of all things contemplative. So much terroir - the acreage is stunning and a clos of its own merit - literally yards away from the winery/tasting room . Drink 2016 - 2026.
  • Slaz commented:

    11/28/15, 6:49 PM - Love your descriptors! I am a recently converted fan of the winery (or rather many of its wines, to be precise), too.

  • Slaz commented:

    12/1/15, 7:12 PM - Thanks, Matt. Going by your description, it sounds like I'd very much enjoy visiting the winery, but being on the East coast puts me at a major comparative disadvantage. It is consistent, nonetheless, with what I've heard from others, that the change of ownership in 2011 has brought the winery back to life, and with gusto! Much care and hard work definitely shows in the wine. Plus, I was pleasantly surprised how responsive and helpful their staff were when I had some online glitches with their website during the annual allocations.

Red
2013 Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
11/28/2015 - Matt Scott Likes this wine:
95 points
A core of cassis and mocha, with elderberry, smoke, graphite and melted fudge. The middle palate is very endowed, with layer upon layer of silken tannins. Cocked and loaded with fruit, yet very distinguished and refined, with such a gorgeously long finish. There's a toasted patina that struts during every phase. Drink now - 2025.
  • Slaz commented:

    11/28/15, 5:16 PM - Am I correct in my read that your score for the 2013 is greater than for the 2012 vintage? If so, I'd give the 2013 a try.

  • Slaz commented:

    11/28/15, 6:42 PM - "the Las Vegas of Napa Cabernet", well said! And, thanks!

Red
2012 Ridge Lytton Springs Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel Blend, Zinfandel
So, I'm not familiar with any Sonoma Zin's, so my impressions of this are as a newb. This came in a Zin 4-pack from Ridge and is the 2nd one I've tasted from the Dry Creek Valley AVA. This is definitely my least favorite of the three. I started drinking it after about 15 minutes in the decanter. While not an overly focused tasting, it had decent aromatics, but on the palate it came across as thin, simple, a hollow mid-palate, a bit vegetal, acidic, not ripe, with a short finish. I was surprised it was a Cali Zin, so if you're looking for that...stay away from this creation. Maybe they were experimenting trying to make an Old World style Zin? I'm not sure of what the weather was like in '12 in Dry Creek, but this gave the impression of a cool year with less-ripe grapes. 14.4% ABV. Since the blending was only 70% Zin, maybe it was the influence of the other varietals impairing the Zin. I'll be curious to see if this improves with age, but my sense is that there is not enough going on right now for anything to develop. I have no idea how this has a CT rating of 90.5 as that implies excellent. Since it's from Ridge, of course it's well-made, but to add a little diversity to the tally I'm going to input a score of 78 at the high end of the Average category.
  • Slaz commented:

    8/9/15, 8:29 PM - I've been tracking/tasting Ridge's Lytton Spring since at least 2006 vintage. The wine is remarkable but not in its youth (and it's not your average Zinfandel). That's in large part due to the addition of Petite Sirah to the blend, in my opinion, plus the art of winemaking at Ridge. In my experience, the wine starts to shine after 3+ years post-release. Compare the following two of my notes for Ridge LS 2006, purchased in Dec. 2011: 1) "Tasted fairly closed up even after generous decanting. Lots of raspberry notes on the palate. The remaining fruit is muted. Likely to need much more cellaring. (Dec. 2011)"; 2) "What a wonderful example of how much better wine gets in three years. Delightful, with complex honey notes on the palate. Excellent balance and structure. Very good and can easily cellary for a few more years. Buy more if possible. (Dec. 2014)"

  • Slaz commented:

    8/11/15, 11:19 AM - Likewise, wine247365, thanks for your tasting note. I greatly appreciate the diversity of notes and perspectives here on CT. Regarding the East Bench, I haven't had a chance to try it, but it's definitely true in my experience that some of Ridge's Zin blends are more approachable than others (e.g., Three Valleys has consistently been more approachable than both Lytton Springs and Geyserville). As for CT's drink dates, I find them very rough and often misleading; I routinely update them myself (but individual updates don't seem to affect the CT's recommended "drink dates" much, as far as I can tell). Lastly, Lytton Springs can certainly be enjoyed sooner, in my opinion, it is simply that the wine becomes much more impressive and enjoyable after at least 5-6 years post-vintage.

  • Slaz commented:

    10/24/15, 8:35 PM - Opinions about heat damage to wine vary quite a bit. A couple of years ago I had the "fortune" of tasting a case of wine that got misplaced by UPS and traveled at random for several weeks in summer heat, before finally arriving at my home. The online merchant was kind enough to allow me to sample wines before accepting them back. Because a number of bottles in the case had wines that I had previously tasted, I was able to note the difference in taste. Many, but not all, bottles tasted significantly worse, with dull fruit and little going on. Of the damaged bottles, only two had any sign of seepage.
    Getting a couple more bottles of the same wine would give you an ultimate test of whether the bottle was damaged or not.

Red
2011 Ramey Syrah Sonoma Coast
9/11/2015 - Slaz wrote:
90 points
Promising, but with little development relative to the previous note from a year ago. More tannic than many 2012 Napa cabs. I should have checked my old notes (that are still in Excel) that advised on not opening another bottle within 3+ years. Nonetheless, after about 2 hours of decanting the wine was enjoyable even if restrained. An earthy Syrah that is not fruit-forward.
  • Slaz commented:

    9/13/15, 7:41 PM - I am glad if my note is of any help. The wine is definitely worth exercising more patience if you can.

Red
2012 Soter Pinot Noir Mineral Springs Ranch Yamhill-Carlton
7/24/2015 - RGCM Gananda Likes this wine:
94 points
Started off a little light, a little hot and not quite in balance. Be patient. After 90 minutes, this wine really came into its own. A mixture of redfruit and spice on the nose, but not quite as expressive yet as some Oregon pinots. Once it opens up, wow! A bit above medium bodied and wonderfully balanced and rich with excellent depth and a refined elegance throughout. Starts off as red cherry, shading to black and adds in plum, raspberry and blackberry into the finish. That's the exact point where it's at its best; right before the finish. The depth and the expressiveness of the fruit on one side (which have built to this highpoint) and then melding into the minerals, earth and acidity on the finish add up to a very impressive bottle. What I liked most about this wine was its balance. Beautiful fruit, but fully in the Oregon style. I can see it getting a little better over the next few years, but as long as you give it enough time open or decanted, it's very accessible now.
  • Slaz commented:

    8/29/15, 8:38 PM - Nicely described and very much consistent with my notes. Terrific balance is what impressed me the most, too.

Red
2001 La Rioja Alta Rioja Gran Reserva 890 'Selección Especial' Tempranillo Blend, Tempranillo
8/7/2015 - Slaz Likes this wine:
94 points
You know you are in for something special when even the cork smells delightful and complex upon opening (only rarely do I note that). On the nose, notes of dark cherry, mushrooms, aged oak. Similar notes on the palate, plus some dirt/tar, wet stones, and evolving tertiary notes. Even after several hours of decanting tasted younger than 2004 La Rioja Alta Rioja Gran Reserva 904, with plenty of tannins, even though well integrated. Clearly, not anywhere close to its peak yet, can easily cellar for 10+, if not 20, more years. Excellent balance and complexity.
  • Slaz commented:

    8/9/15, 11:08 AM - Indeed, Harley1199. May we all have enough patience and stay in good health to enjoy wines like this 10+ years from now!

  • Slaz commented:

    8/11/15, 11:21 AM - I admire your determination, Harley1199, and will strive to follow your lead!

Red
2009 Château Roc Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux Red Bordeaux Blend
4/9/2015 - kbcadeponei wrote:
91 points
Honest and elegant, showing violets, incense, blueberry, mild blackberry, some figs, noticeable minerality, vegetal tones and leather. All in place, within a medium body, nicely framed and in perfect harmony, balance and intensity. Nice classy tobacco finish. What else could anyone expect on a bordeaux in this price range? 91
  • Slaz commented:

    6/17/15, 5:40 PM - Nicely summarized! Fully consistent with my notes from tasting close to a case of this wine over the last 16 months.

Red
2012 Two Hands Shiraz Bella's Garden Barossa Valley
5/22/2015 - Slaz wrote:
89 points
This wine reminds me why I cut back on Shiraz years ago. A 15.5% fruit bomb with alcohol getting in the way of enjoying the wine. In fairness, it is relatively balanced by good fruit, powerful tannins, and reasonable acidity. Still, there is nothing remarkable about this wine, even after several hours of breathing, that would merit the $45-$50 price tag, especially compared with Cabs and Bordeauxs in similar price range. Now, I need to figure out what to do with the remaining few bottles. Argh.
  • Slaz commented:

    5/23/15, 9:50 AM - @bugdoced, wineotim summed it up well. It is disappointing relative to the expectations set by the high WS score as well as the price. The wine is not bad (and might improve with more cellaring), hence 89 scores from me.
    @wineotim, sure thing, I'd be curious to learn how this vintage compares with the 2011, thanks.

  • Slaz commented:

    5/24/15, 7:27 PM - @ mrmikemtr: Your first comment made me smile (thanks for that!), I will be sure to report back with the next bottle (in a year or so). And, no, I have no reason to think the wine was cooked or corked (my storage is both temperature- and humidity-controlled); the wine was shipped to me during safe weather.
    @ jviz: I agree with your larger point about many good wines costing more than $50. To be more specific in my reference points, take for example Clarendon Hills that has a fairly broad portfolio of wines. Going by my tasting notes, 2005 Clarendon Hills Hickinbotham Syrah ($55), 2006 Clarendon Hills Moritz Syrah ($40), and 2008 Clarendon Hills Brookman Cabernet Sauvignon ($30) are all the wines I enjoyed some years ago more than this 2012 Two Hands.

  • Slaz commented:

    5/25/15, 11:17 AM - Thanks, jviz! Glad to hear my notes/comparisons are of relevance.
    P.S. How did you figure the Mollydooker part? ;)

Red
2012 Cameron Hughes Lot 448 Meritage Napa Valley Red Bordeaux Blend
4/22/2015 - Slaz Likes this wine:
88 points
Of the six Wine Club bottles, this one was the only one that was enjoyable. After some air, it tasted with candy-like fruit on the palate. Short finish though.
  • Slaz commented:

    5/17/15, 1:37 PM - Kingboo, from the last wine club batch, I was underwhelmed with lot 449, lot 442, lot 489, and lot 447. Lot 535 was OK but over-extracted to my palate. Btw, I've tried most of 2012 CH cabs and liked lot 432, lot 501, and lot 545 more than the rest.

Red
2008 Bodega Classica Rioja Hacienda López de Haro Crianza Tempranillo Blend, Tempranillo
2/26/2015 - Slaz Does not like this wine:
80 points
This is quite terrible. 5th bottle I am testing since purchasing in May, 2014. Becoming more approachable but still very little happening both on the nose and palate. Very mediocre if not just plain yuck. As always, it is possible my batch of bottles suffered from heat, etc, prior to the purchase.
  • Slaz commented:

    3/4/15, 3:27 PM - I don't have any reason to think that the wine is flawed other than the fact that my assessment seems to differ significantly from other reviews. (No damage to the corks and no leakage in the last 5 bottles I checked; no off-putting smells either.) I stand by my score.

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