Comments on my notes

(107 comments on 102 notes)

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Red
2013 Turley Zinfandel Old Vines California
5/21/2018 - e.Rock Likes this wine:
92 points
Firing on all cylinders. Very well balanced and ready to go now. Muled a bottle to Croatia to represent USA zinfandels against plavac mali. Split decision, but I think it was edged out by the more complex Stagnum.
  • tomherer commented:

    5/21/18, 8:12 PM - This literally made me do a double-take. Turley OV vs. Stagnum PM, on the latter's turf?? That's one of the coolest wine face-offs I've ever heard of. Cheers.

Red
2016 Carlisle Syrah Papa's Block Russian River Valley
4/1/2018 - Matt Scott Likes this wine:
99 points
Blueberry cobbler, braised duck, portabello mushroom, vanilla bean, blackberry capote and Chinese five spice. The palate is salient during the front, middle and back; the tannins are microfiber, and the ostensibly echoing finish continues for minutes. Typical of Russian River Valley Syrah, the acidity is evident, and in this case, at the perfect amount. Many levels of depth are within. This soon-to-be legendary bottling is even more enthralling than ‘14 and ‘11. Absolutely iconic and my favorite Carlisle yet. This is near perfection. 2016 might possibly end up being Carlisle’s best vintage ever. Drink 2019 - 2033.
  • tomherer commented:

    4/1/18, 4:30 PM - wrt thinking 2016 might be their best vintage, Mike recently told me that he shares that opinion, so you're in good company :)

Red
2014 Patz & Hall Pinot Noir Hyde Vineyard Carneros
3/1/2018 - Hammar Likes this wine:
93 points
As wine drinkers, quantifying a wine into a rating includes so much more than the wine itself. Where were you? Who were you with? Sometimes it's a meal at a restaurant, sometimes it's sitting on a couch in sweatpants watching TV. The trick is to sterilize the environment and focus on only the wine, however that is much easier said that done as wine drinking itself is an experience and affects the environment as much as the environment affects the wine.

This wine was enjoyed on the couch in sweatpants watching Netflix while my three small children slept quietly. It had an inviting nose of black fruit, which the subsequent tasting reinforced. A good amount of heat initially that dissipated with each sip that lead into a nicely balanced, long lasting finish.

I thoroughly enjoyed every sip of this wine. It has 5 good years left in it, so drink or hold.
  • tomherer commented:

    3/1/18, 3:27 PM - loved this TN :). great storytelling, and struck a chord w/me instantly. I'm home sick, working on my couch in pajama bottoms, and have a bottle of Carlisle keeping me company that is absoLUTEly affecting the environment more than the environment is affecting it. Literally spilling happiness into the room. Anyway, thanks again for the TN, and hope you contribute more of them in this format soon!

Red
2013 Booker Vineyard My Favorite Neighbor Paso Robles Red Blend
10/18/2017 - bonedoc wrote:
92 points
Well made, balanced, concentrated wine. But, 99 PT’s from Jeb is just silly - this wine is nowhere near 99 and reduces my confidence in his ratings.
  • tomherer commented:

    10/18/17, 5:28 PM - Side note, that review was under WA's jurisdiction, where I think you're contractually obligated to add at least five points to every score. Will be interesting to see if his scores come back to earth now that he's no longer shilling for them.

Red
2013 Bedrock Wine Co. Heritage Wine Papera Ranch Russian River Valley Zinfandel Blend, Zinfandel
7/15/2017 - tomherer Likes this wine:
93 points
Agree completely with Tomlee, per usual. This is nothing like Carlisle's version from the same vintage (haven't tried WS's), but the level of quality is about the same. A little more restrained, lean, and high-toned than the Carlisle. Beautifully fragrant and complex. Black cherry, raspberry, tar, earth, spiced tea, and some citrus on the finish. The fresh, lively profile and chalky tannins suggest many great years ahead.
  • tomherer commented:

    7/18/17, 11:14 AM - Hard to say, honestly -- last time I had the Carlisle, it was the differences that stood out more than the similarities. More bass notes and creaminess. It was also pretty unruly, so was going to wait a couple years to try again. Sorry :). That said, I am trying to line up a '14 horizontal between the two on the Carlisle Vineyard as well as the Limerick Lane vyd (maybe throw Biale in too if one can be found). Will be sure to post TNs when it happens!

White - Sweet/Dessert
2006 Château Guiraud Sauternes Sémillon-Sauvignon Blanc Blend
5/17/2017 - tomherer Likes this wine:
93 points
Not the finest Guiraud ever made, sure, but a CT average a hair over 90? No, this is much finer than that.

Super spicy, in a great way. Pears, the kind of french vanilla syrup you get a shot of in your coffee, toasted coconut, orange marmalade, underripe papaya. Still youthful after a decade+ -- unlikely to improve a ton from here, but could still reach classic (~95) levels before it's all over...
  • tomherer commented:

    6/7/17, 3:37 PM - Revisiting the remaining 1/3 of the 375ml about three weeks later, and it's more or less same, if not fleshed out a little bit more on the midpalate. 93-94 overall and thinking this will cellar quite nicely if just a few ounces were able to hang on so well in the fridge for that long..

Red
2014 R2 Wine Company Pinot Noir Black Pine California
12/13/2016 - cuffthis Likes this wine:
89 points
Dark crimson in color, this wine reveals fruitcake, clove and cherry cola on the nose. The mouth feel is medium bodied with subtle spices and vanilla elements. The finish brings bright acidity and more red fruits and spices. 13.8% abv.

Purchased for $16US, this was my first tasting of the 2014 vintage. I'm liking is more than the 2013 vintage. Glad I bought six of these.
  • tomherer commented:

    12/15/16, 8:31 PM - Thanks for the great TN, couldn't agree more. Stopped into their new tasting room off the square in Sonoma last week and was amazed at how the entire lineup of ~$20 wines performed, and not just the Pinot, but the Rhone-based blends too. If you're ever in the area I think you'd get a kick out of trying the full lineup. Only took one of these home with me due to suitcase capacity, but Last Bottle ran it this afternoon during their marathon for $16 and probably will again over the next day or two. FYI in case you're looking to re-up.

Red
2012 Bedrock Wine Co. Heritage Wine Papera Ranch Russian River Valley Zinfandel Blend, Zinfandel
10/31/2016 - tomherer Likes this wine:
91 points
One glass Coravin access, let breathe 30 mins or so. Red fruited Zin nose, very expressive. Palate is mostly tart and shut down to begin with, but it's unfolding nicely after an hour. Raspberry, licorice, tart strawberry, plum, and a faint hint of coffee and cream towards the end. Acidity dominates the finish. Great wine, and should improve. Still too early to tell, and granted, the blends are a lot different, but the Carlisle from the same vineyard/vintage feels more complete, and would choose it over this one for even money at this stage of the game.
  • tomherer commented:

    11/2/16, 8:12 PM - Yah, great point -- they are two entirely different profiles, with the Carlisle being more hedonistic. IIRC, the Bedrock's brightness was a standout but the complexity was modest, but that's off one glass so who knows. Was coincidentally talking to a friend yesterday about these producers and sharing the fruit from their vineyards -- afaik at least five swap back and forth, Carlisle, Bedrock, Biale, Turley, Limerick. I don't think it's totally reciprocal, but I'm pretty sure that Carlisle <=> Bedrock is in most vintages. Since you've compared the two before, wondering if you've ever done a horizontal from the same vintage? We were thinking of putting a a vintage side-by-side to see how each worked with the other's fruit, e.g. four wines -- Carlisle estate and Bedrock vineyard, and vice versa. If you have any ideas how to structure that tasting better or can point to a vintage with interesting differences, would be all ears, cheers.

White
2008 Donelan Vénus Sonoma County White Rhone Blend
6/12/2015 - tomherer wrote:
flawed
Game over, I'm afraid. At least for this bottle. Was half off at AZ Wine Co and I just couldn't resist, even with the obvious risk on an older bottle. Figured it wasn't that old, and the pedigree meant a lot. Never occurs to me to ask "why do they want it out of their store so badly?" Someday I'll learn.

Anyway, you can more or less tell what was here a few years ago, but it's mashed up in oxidative and vegetal notes. Drinkable, maybe, but why? If you've got it, try it. If you're thinking of buying it, don't.
  • tomherer commented:

    9/26/16, 6:32 PM - Yes! That's awesome, really glad it helped. I was actually in there in July and almost bought the same bottle. Again. Great wine store overall, but that back shelf is a minefield -- just hasn't seemed to turn over much the past few years. Cheers!

White - Sweet/Dessert
2005 Domaine des Baumard Quarts de Chaume Chenin Blanc
7/23/2016 - tomherer Likes this wine:
94 points
Another 94 pointer at Cowboy Ciao Scottsdale. If you love wine and can get here, get here.

Opened a half bottle as an apertif and held the rest for their "Cereal, Killer" dessert, which was a crazy good pairing. The wine has its textbook musty smell at first, which becomes subtle with air. Liquid nectarine, pebbly, weightless, good lift and energy, subtle finish that lingers all night.
  • tomherer commented:

    7/24/16, 10:11 AM - Greetings fellow Mainiac! The dessert is basically an oatmeal cookie baked into a low creme brûlée dish, topped with frosted flake ice cream and brittle, with a caramel sauce around and under the cookie.

    On its own it's (almost painfully) sweet, but the wine added a bright airy dimension. Almost like a light, tart fruit sauce had been added to the dish. Together, you had all the dimensions -- earthiness from the oatmeal and the wine's minerality, cold and creamy, sweet, bright and fruity. And the contrast in temperature between the warm cookie/caramel and the cold wine (kept it in a bath throughout dinner) was wonderful.

    Am going to recreate this when I get back home either with the QdC or maybe a young/fresh Sauternes...

  • tomherer commented:

    8/8/16, 8:50 PM - Wow Kirk, does that ever bring back memories. Remember going to Miyake when they were on Spring St. and I had an apartment on State. One of the first times the wine bug set in for life was there, with a BYO bottle of Chapoutier Granits Blanc. The sea urchin was the surprise pairing winner. Like it was yesterday...

    As far as a tasting group, I haven't found one around here yet. Although with chasing after the kids and keeping up with work, it's prob. more for a lack of effort. A small group of us do get together at the Hundred Club in Portsmouth though -- nothing formal, just taking advantage of their corkage policy and deep reserves of wine, knowledge, stems, cheese, etc. It's a lot of fun -- if you're ever through seacoast NH let me know and we'll fill some glasses.

Red
2012 Josh Cellars Merlot California
9/6/2015 - gstuff wrote:
50 points
Good
  • tomherer commented:

    7/30/16, 8:56 PM - Da fuq!?

Red
2012 Roblar Pinot Noir Mission Ranch Vineyard Arroyo Seco
3/15/2016 - kietkopelli Likes this wine:
92 points
Unless there are some huge bottle variations I do not agree with the other reviewers. I think this is one of the best QPR PN that I've have in a long time at $10. My biggest complain about is that it has the backbone of a twig so drink now because time will not be kind to this wine. On to the tasting notes...

On the nose it starts out floral and ends with a combination of earth and dark fruits. In the mouth it has tart cherries and burnt toast. Finishes a bit hot and hollow but way better than any $10-15 PN and no worse than most $20 PN you find at supermarkets.

Again complexity and structure is lacking but this a $10-15 PN with good balance of fruit and earth. Drop $13 on a bottle, I think you will be pleasantly surprised.
  • tomherer commented:

    3/15/16, 11:06 AM - Hot and hollow, lacking complexity and structure, 92 pts?

Red
2012 KITÁ Spe'y Camp 4 Vineyard Santa Ynez Valley Red Blend
12/4/2015 - tomherer Does not like this wine:
85 points
I love Grenache, even when it veers towards ripe and candied, but this is a chore to drink. Flabby plum, candied flowers, and some minerality as it gains air. A sticky, ponderous sweetness overwhelms and doesn't encourage another sip. Will labor through my remaining bottle and move on.
  • tomherer commented:

    12/21/15, 10:05 AM - Hard to imagine that it will -- there's just not much of a backbone to it, so my guess is that it'll slump further with age. Although, I'm starting to second-guess myself a little, especially with the last post that compared this to light pinot -- maybe the bottle I had wasn't representative? I'm going to reach out to the guy that I split the LB four pack with and see if he'll pop one of the corks and chime in.

Red
2012 Tikal Júbilo Mendoza Red Bordeaux Blend
4/11/2015 - Zinlady Likes this wine:
94 points
Loved this wine. Typical Merlot nose. Big - Nice finish - Went well with cheeese Filled your mouth.
  • tomherer commented:

    10/30/15, 6:12 PM - I didn't think there was a drop of Merlot in this blend?

White
2012 Treana White Central Coast White Rhone Blend
Clearly a polarizing wine, and I'm landing more on the hate end of the love/hate equation. Agree with every TN here on some level; there is some viognier typicity, complexity, finish, and aromatic appeal here. But it just suuuucks to drink. So sweet, rich, and overpowering that I wish the respectable finish would just stop.

Weird wine; can't score. Probably a great find for a fan of the style at the half-off NHLS closeout price, but I'm dumping the rest and moving on.
  • tomherer commented:

    2/15/15, 6:33 PM - You're absolutely right -- I believe it's a completely dry wine, and didn't mean to suggest that it's literally a sweet wine. Appreciate you pointing that out. Rather, meant that there's an unpleasant perceived sweetness due to a lack of balance. In my experience, great white Rhone varietal wines have a refreshing foil -- e.g. the bitter pit of a stone fruit in addition to its flesh. If memory serves, this wine doesn't, and the result is a wine that tilts hard to the ripe/flabby side. Hope that clarifies.

Red
2012 Belle Glos Pinot Noir Dairyman Russian River Valley
1/18/2015 - tomherer Does not like this wine:
85 points
Last bottle, and good riddance. Was hoping it would come around with a little more cellar time, but you can't polish a turd, as they say. Gloopy, saccharine, woody; just can't see how this resolves, ever. The core of pure fruit puts it a rung above apothic. I'm not exactly one of the pinot cognoscenti du jour that's turning their cellar over to 100% Rhys and keeps a pinup of Rajat Parr in my gym locker, either. Loves me a full-throttle RRV pinot, but this should never have been released for $45.
  • tomherer commented:

    1/19/15, 8:20 AM - Yah, that's a more than fair point, especially given how backwards the northern CA pinots are touted to be in 2012. But I thought about it a lot after each $2 sip and am really of the opinion that this is the biggest underperformer in the BG portfolio since probably 2007. The oak, thickness, and sweetness seem more like flaws than disintegrated components. Time will tell of course, and I agree that it should improve a bit with more cellar time, but see no hope of this ever becoming outstanding pinot, fwiw.

    That said, I shared it with my sister, a wine novice, who loved it and took the rest of the bottle home, so yah, your bottles still will prob go to good use regardless :)

Red
2009 Miura Pinot Noir Pisoni Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands
Whoa! Full disclosure, we drank two bottles of 1er cru white burgundy beforehand so not sure if the remaining drops left in the glass modified this or not (probably not) but Whoa! This really did have some of that Burgundy barrel influenced coffee, mossy, underbrush, black dirt aroma and flavors with intense bright red fruit on the palate. Great acid and definitely can last some years in the cellar. Either slight bottle variation, or a lesson in letting your bottles rest after shipping or I was just wanting so much to drink a grand cru burgundy tonight that I tasted what I imagined :)
  • tomherer commented:

    11/29/14, 6:47 PM - Yah, I got the same exact thing going on a few days ago, sans the Burgundy aperitif. I think this wine has serious depth if given the time to show it. Just ordered a couple more bottles and hope to lay them down for at least a few years to see what develops. Glad you're enjoying this too!

White
2011 Sanguis Incandescent Santa Barbara County White Rhone Blend
11/2/2014 - tomherer wrote:
89 points
Impulse purchase upon seeing the bottle (literally just seeing it; this stuff doesn't get anywhere close to Maine) at AZ wine co. Been picking at it for a few hours tonight; trying to hold it up to the cult expectations and high admission fee, but to no avail. There's no lightning in this bottle.

Varietal characteristics line up mostly with the roussane, and are nice. Peach/apricot, honey, almond, some bitterness. Starts sweet, and quickly swings over to raw in a way that's not at all integrated. Some spice on the medium finish.

It's a good wine, but feels like I'm drinking more of the label. Revisiting the second half of the bottle tmw in case a little air helps it along some.
  • tomherer commented:

    11/3/14, 7:21 PM - Checked in on the rest of this today; let it sit out a while to loosen up. No dice. It's just not great -- punches in a class at least half its weight.

White
2005 Sans Permis Chardonnay La Chanson Argentee De Cuillere Santa Barbara County
10/2/2014 - afketter wrote:
86 points
Not bad for the price ($11), but certainly past it's prime. It's a shame because I can see how this would have been a great bottle 3 years ago
  • tomherer commented:

    10/4/14, 7:01 AM - Had the 05 wayfarer last week and can confirm it's on the decline. Still a solid core left, but apple cider and mustiness are taking over. Would open immediately.

  • tomherer commented:

    10/22/14, 6:07 PM - Drained the Chanson quickly based on these life expectancy concerns, and meant to post a note, but you know how it goes :). Between the two -- wayfarer and chanson -- I found this to be much better. Definitely on the decline, but you can still identify the wine it once was, whereas that was only barely the case with the wayfarer. Wouldn't buy more, but a fun, low-stakes experiment. On a related note, find it interesting that LB would market the wines being obviously past prime if not almost spoiled. Haven't found that to be their style thus far...

    Did you get a chance to try the wayfarer?

Red
2012 Belle Glos Pinot Noir Dairyman Russian River Valley
9/4/2014 - mfortunek wrote:
So here is the definitive note on this wine (arrogant, right? - just wait). If you have a refined palate and a cultivated nose for pinot noir, there is a strong chance you will be repulsed. However, if you are new to wine or more of a beer/liquor drinker, you will find some pleasantries here; and that's okay. The rub is that this bottle retails at $40. If you're not a wine drinker, that's too much to pay for a bottle of pinot (i.e. you aren't going to be drinking this), and if you do have a more refined palate you will instantly compare this wine to far, far better pinots at the same price point (and below) and become vituperative. This is a wine without a market; a man without a country. It's too expensive for the people who will actually enjoy it, and too basic/syrupy for the people who will pay $40 for a Caymus family wine.
  • tomherer commented:

    9/8/14, 6:55 PM - Appreciate what you're saying about the quality of the wine, but don't think you can call QED. The wine has a market; the Wagners in large part helped create it. There's a consumer somewhere between the deep-pocketed connoisseur and the novice that splurges on Coppola. Cakebread doesn't pump 25,000 cases of Chardonnay (mostly) through restaurants for $80-100 a pop every year because it's life-altering. It's because expense accounts embrace pleasure and consistency.

    I'm as incensed as you are about this misfire of a wine, and would like nothing more than a refund for my remaining bottles. But that has nothing to do with the fact that the market will absorb every. last. oneofthem.

White
2012 Michel Gassier Costières-de-Nîmes Nostre Païs Blanc White Rhone Blend
8/16/2014 - jonahfactor Likes this wine:
93 points
There's a lot going on in the glass, starting with an enchanting aroma that instantly transports you to a New World barrel room. Deep straw hued, luscious legs and a bouquet that moves from barrel room to fields of flowers. I would have gladly stopped there. But the palate is equally enthralling. Gobs of honeyed white plums, mandarin oranges and flecks of grapefruit zest and lemon pith, complemented by notes of brook-soaked pebbles and minerals. Air reveals some nutty butterscotch notes, all kept lively -- and food friendly -- by precise acidity. Full bodied. Great texture. A blend of four varietals, mostly Grenache Blanc and Roussanne. Such precision, freshness and flavor, all for only $13. I'm thinking this won't be a candidate for long-term cellaring, since it's so fresh, lively and complex right now. Plus, I won't be able to resist cracking open the remaining bottles. Try it with lobster or sand dabs. Delicious!
  • tomherer commented:

    8/16/14, 5:26 PM - Love your TNs, this one no exception. Every Gassier I've had from the past few vintages has been a home run -- will make sure not to skip this one per your endorsement. Cheers!

Rosé
2013 Charles & Charles Rosé Columbia Valley Rosé Blend
7/18/2014 - tomherer Likes this wine:
88 points
This is going to be a go-to all summer long. Strawberry, cherry, and very tart/bitter citrus are super refreshing. Plunk down $10, drain on patio, rinse, repeat. Nice lingering finish. Bone dry and I expect will stay vibrant for a couple years.
  • tomherer commented:

    7/19/14, 7:10 PM - Just had the 2012, just starting to show signs of slipping. Maybe 12-18 months is the right window for this.

Red
2004 Clarendon Hills Grenache Romas
7/16/2014 - rustyRudy Likes this wine:
97 points
Deep red. Dark fruit on the nose. This has developed nicely with elegant, but multilayered fruit, minerals,white pepper, and seems to have the fruit, acid and tannins in perfect harmony. Although these have had some bottle variation this one was right on target.
  • tomherer commented:

    7/16/14, 7:34 PM - Only have one of these to spare -- want to time it precisely if possible. What's your take on evolution/shelf life from here? Peak, or give it time? Any advice much appreciated.

Red
2010 Novy Family Wines Syrah Santa Lucia Highlands
1/17/2014 - Arch57 Likes this wine:
92 points
An absolutely gorgeous wine packed full of fresh dark fruit, smooth tannins, smoky notes and a long finish. Case worthy as a "power buy" in NH state stores. Great weekday wine and the screwtop makes it easy to handle after a long day at work.
  • tomherer commented:

    2/26/14, 5:42 PM - Read this note in the power buy section of the NH liquor store, of all places :). Really enjoyed it -- thanks for TN/reco.

Red
2009 Dashe Cellars Zinfandel Old Vines Todd Brothers Ranch Alexander Valley
2/12/2014 - mazik Does not like this wine:
83 points
Popped and poured, strange bouquet, if you can call it that, of dust and forest floor, palate was hot, muted black fruit, good mouth feel, grippy tannins, medium finish. After a while I began to get candied cherry aromas, so I think the fruit is there, hiding out, will see if there is further improvement tomorrow. Later: Nope, fruit is just as muted on the following day. Gave it to my wife to poach figs in. Very disappointed--and I don't get the reviews by IWC and RJonWine.com: was our wine damaged, or were they drinking something else?
  • tomherer commented:

    2/14/14, 11:09 AM - Just cracked my first last night -- very much like you describe it. Was quite "dead" -- tasted as if it had been aged an extra decade or two. No high hopes for hiding fruit to emerge, but would love to hear if it does for you..

  • tomherer commented:

    2/14/14, 12:01 PM - Yah, was just mulling that with a colleague. It's not just IWC and RJ, but around 10 consecutive positive TNs before the Last Bottle shipment landed, including a couple from MartinD of Enofylz Wine Blog, who is the man. After the LB shipments went out, all the TNs turned negative, so I'm guessing LB either flipped a flawed lot, and/or that it's weather-related. Given the weather that tarheel17 has been having in SF lately, it's starting to look like the former, which would be really surprising/disappointing, as I've never had anything but great experiences with LB.

Red
2009 Dashe Cellars Zinfandel Old Vines Todd Brothers Ranch Alexander Valley
2/10/2014 - tarheel17 wrote:
nose: dust, dried fruit. not too exciting.

palate: most surprising (not having tasted the producer before) is the med-high/high acid. It has a straightforward palate that is neither heavy/plush nor light/dynamic - rather staid, really. The long finish brings mostly tart red fruit with just the faintest bit of spice. Low-ish alcohol for a zin, though it is not entirely minimized.

I don't know that I would peg this as zinfandel necessarily. I like the low-octane persona, but the wine is just kinda boring. Perhaps travel-shocked - received it in the mail 2 days ago. Will hold final judgement until it has "settled" (although I'm not entirely sure that travel shock exists in wine, I remain willing to be disproven).
  • tomherer commented:

    2/11/14, 7:42 PM - Just got mine in Maine from LB. Arrived around 2:00pm, opened the box and pulled them out now at 10:30pm, and they were still freezing cold to the touch. Thinking they may have actually been frozen solid for some time. Will be looking for travel shock, if not damage, but will thaw them out for a couple weeks and hope they show OK..

Red
2009 Jaffurs Syrah Santa Barbara County
Wow, I'm the outlier here. I wonder if I had a flawed bottle. This was fruit forward but very, very tart which overwhelmed everything else for me. Not rating and I will try another bottle and hope.
  • tomherer commented:

    1/28/14, 6:29 PM - Thx for giving it another chance -- pretty sure the bottle was the outlier and not you. Plowed through a good number of these over the past couple years, and none have shrieked; very balanced juice. Hope you enjoy the next one.

Red
2009 Joseph Swan Vineyards Pinot Noir Trenton View Russian River Valley
1/8/2014 - drrobvino wrote:
94 points
This is a truly beautiful bottle of restrained, elegant, delicious and perfectly ripened RRV Pinot.
Very light in color, med(-) ruby at the core, fading to an almost colorless rim.
Nose is very RRV, but in a perfect sense, showing off red cherry, tart plum skin, spice box and soil-inflected tones to keep the tart and savory components in balance, like a well-made perfume.
The palate is textbook PN perfection, repeating tart cherry and plum notes from the nose, adding tobacco, cola, orange zest, umami, gentle but persistent spiciness. It's all there, supported by med alcohol, med tannins that are now rounding and drinking beautifully, and a delightful med(+) acidity, higher than what is typical in PN, especially from Calif. The finish is med length and just hones in on the cherry and spice for 30 secs or so, leaving you wanting for another sip.
Drinking beautifully right now, and I would hesitate to say how long this wine will last since I haven't tried many Swan PN's as they get over 7 yrs of age. I've read that they seem to last quite awhile, and based on the gorgeous balance and plentiful fruit, with great acidity, I'd say this wine will further improve for another 3-4 years and drink well through 2020+. It is sooo delicious now, drink one if you have a few bottles and see how the other bottle ages…Nice.
  • tomherer commented:

    1/8/14, 5:25 PM - Love your TNs. This one practically puts the glass in your hand. Much appreciated.

White
2012 Claiborne and Churchill Edelzwicker Proprietors' Blend San Luis Obispo County White Blend
11/17/2013 - The Drunken Cyclist Likes this wine:
88 points
I should have tried these in the reverse order. I know that, particularly since I have had my fair share of Edelzwickers in my day. I studied in Strasbourg, France and had a limited budget, which usually meant that beer was the drink of choice (we would buy liters of Kronenbourg from the gas station for about 50 cents–trying to keep it classy).

When we opted for wine, the choice was Edelzwicker. It was relatively inexpensive, had some great acidity, and usually a hint of sweetness–the perfect gateway wine for Coca-Cola swilling Americans. The term comes from German, as you may have surmised: edel (noble) and zwicker (blend). Thus the wine was originally a blend of the noble Alsatian varieties: Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris, Muscat (but has since been deregulated and Pinot Blanc and Sylvaner can now be included)–kind of a kitchen sink approach (the C & C is a blend of Gewürz, Riesling, Pinot Gris, and Pinot Blanc).

Before I twisted open the Claiborne and Churchill Central Coast version, I was worried. I had never seen an Edelzwicker outside of Alsace (not even in Paris), let alone on these shores. I figured that the Pinot Noir was really good, though, so one out of two is not that bad at all, and I would suffer through the Edelzwicker.

Another surprise.

A great floral nose that really underlines the Gewürz–floral and fruity, with mango and papaya. Light on the palate, where the mango really comes through. The residual sugar nicely balances out the vibrant acidity. This is a very nice wine that would work well on the patio, with some grilled fish, and even on the Thanksgiving Day table. Very Good. thedrunkencyclist.com
  • tomherer commented:

    11/29/13, 4:22 PM - Really enjoyed the storyline AND the TN. Thx much.

Red
2009 Westerly Vineyards Pinot Noir Santa Barbara County
11/10/2012 - tomherer Likes this wine:
92 points
Really interesting stuff. So happy I took a flyer on closeout. Smells of cherry, orange peel, cinnamon, and cedar. Also displays these flavors, in addition to wild berry, pomegranate, mineral, and black pepper.

Fairly lightweight and nervy, with a long delicate finish dominated by the spice flavors. Did a PnP, but it didn't sing until about an hour in, so some air is recommended, and I wouldn't hesitate to lay this down for a few years.
  • tomherer commented:

    11/24/13, 5:22 AM - Thanks! If only they'd made more of it. Looking good, Billy Ray; feeling good, Louis!

Red
2011 Belle Glos Pinot Noir Dairyman Russian River Valley
Having been a long time fan of Belle Glos (Claark & Telephone Vineyard) I bought a bottle of their new release of Dairyman. It was awful. The cherry favor was over the top and tasted much like cherry cough syrup. I was so very disappointed. Where was the balanced fruit, the lovely aromatic tones, the delightful Pinot? And I live in the wine country with an abundance of great wines. For me, it was a waste of good monies and such a disappointment :((( back to the Clark & Telephone Vineyard which I understand is being ripped up and won't be available for years. Argh.
  • tomherer commented:

    11/22/13, 7:07 PM - Are you positive it was the 2011 and not the 2012? '11 wasn't the new release as of your TN date, and IMO is up to C&T standards..

White
2006 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc White Rhone Blend
11/20/2013 - Redguy wrote:
Dumb nose, marginally expressive palate, no acid pop.... no excitement to be found here. Closed phase. Hold
  • tomherer commented:

    11/21/13, 1:54 PM - I popped one about two years ago and experienced exactly the same thing. Heck of a long closed phase.

White
2008 Keller Estate Chardonnay La Cruz Vineyard Sonoma Coast
11/13/2013 - TPB Likes this wine:
91 points
Really nice balance of fruit and oak. Some butterscotch and tropical fruits in the nose, nice citrus, lemon and apples on the palate and a fresh finish with some toasty, spice notes.
  • tomherer commented:

    11/13/13, 10:56 AM - finally, someone else likes it!! :)

Red
2012 Belle Glos Pinot Noir Dairyman Russian River Valley
11/4/2013 - tomherer wrote:
Cautionary tale in not taking notes at a tasting event. Was at a trade event a couple months ago, had the Dairyman, loved it. Bought a few bottles of the 2012 -- convinced what I tasted was the 2011, cause this in no way compares. Worst bottle of BG I've had, and I've enjoyed quite a few.

The fruit is primary, sappy sweet, and homogeneous. Cherry? Plum? Who knows/cares. Then there's the only other discernible note -- oak. To call it overwhelming doesn't do it justice. Mouth-splintering oak, makes the wine completely uninviting. The weird thing is that the last grapes for this wine were harvested almost exactly a year ago; one would think imparting oak this heavy would take more time?

Anyway, no score for now -- not because I don't have (a low) one in mind, but because it's the youngest BG I've ever tried, and because I can envision the oak folding into the fruit a year or two from now. Not expecting great things from it regardless, but will revisit/score down the line.
  • tomherer commented:

    11/6/13, 11:21 AM - Sounds you fell into the same trap I did :). Meiomi is a good analogy -- this tastes sort of like an average vintage of that to me. Simple, oaky, off-balance.

Red
2010 Francis Ford Coppola Pinot Noir Votre Santé California
8/1/2013 - RobertDwyer Likes this wine:
86 points
86 doesn't seem like a big number, but for a CA Pinot without off notes and a creamy texture it's actually pretty good.

I enjoyed this wine at Ruth's Chris not too long ago and hadn't seen it around at retail in MA so I hopped on this opportunity to pick some up at $9.99. At $9.99 you have to temper your enthusiasm a bit -- I'd call this wine "very good" rather than "outstanding". Hard not to like it. And for $10? Please!
  • tomherer commented:

    9/7/13, 6:28 PM - Great note Robert -- 86 isn't a big number, but at the same time, never had a better $10 CA Pinot. Not by a long shot. Glad you liked it, thx for the perspective.

White
2010 Miner Family Marsanne La Diligence Stagecoach Vineyard Napa Valley
6/28/2013 - Nojomoschwa Likes this wine:
92 points
Very rich Marsanne, with butterscotch and oaky character and ripe stone fruit core. Quite a big wine, but it all sort of works together. On the finish, there is a sake-ness about the flavor and mouth sensations. I wish I had more than one bottle of this. At $20 from Last Bottle (vs. $30 on their site), it was a good buy, especially with free shipping only 3 bottles. I will look out for this producer again (although this was a collaboration between Miner and François Villard in the Rhône).
  • tomherer commented:

    6/29/13, 10:53 AM - definitely worth looking out for -- Dave and Francois also do a Syrah that's of the same caliber. Pretty special collaboration imo.

Red
2009 Turley Zinfandel Duarte Contra Costa County
6/17/2013 - Lord Rodney wrote:
88 points
I wasen't too happy with this wine. Not bad but it seemed pruny. Not plummy like Turley can be. In fact it seemed a little tired like an overripe Chateauneuf from 2003 or something like that. Still have 4 bottles! ups!
  • tomherer commented:

    6/17/13, 7:24 PM - this bottle is a tricky one for me -- find it to be absolutely exhilarating when just opened, but turning raisiny after just ~15 minutes of air. Recommend pounding it with a few friends :).

White
2009 McPrice Myers High On The Hog Paso Robles White Rhone Blend
6/15/2013 - beaunehead Likes this wine:
92 points
Gorgeous golden color, with aromas of rich, full and ripe peaches, figs, baked fruits, honeysuckle, butterscotch, caramel and more. Palate is fleshy fruits and white flowers, with some tart acidity and a round mouthfeel. Long finish echoes vanilla cream and butter with baked apple. Grenache Blanc, Marsanne, Roussanne.
  • tomherer commented:

    6/16/13, 11:28 AM - and a healthy dose of Viognier

Red
2009 Jaffurs Syrah Santa Barbara County
9/17/2012 - Loren Sonkin wrote:
92 points
Another feeble effort in not drinking these wines until 5 years from vintage. I tend to drink these as I wait on the single vineyards. This is so much better than it was on release. Still young and primary. Inky purple in color. The nose is black raspberries, grilled meats, some leather and its big. On the palate, lots of fruit. Slight heat but goes away with air. Great black raspberry fruit. This is a big wine and its delicious.
  • tomherer commented:

    9/17/12, 6:55 PM - Thx for the tip. Had this at the winery a little while ago and it was so young and closed I didn't know what to make of it. Will hold and enjoy per your reco.

  • tomherer commented:

    4/1/13, 9:10 PM - Looked back at this and laughed out loud. My efforts were also feeble, but think we're on the same page re: the results < five yrs in. Cheers.

Red
2005 Domaine Jessiaume Santenay 1er Cru Les Gravières Pinot Noir
3/24/2013 - Whinojb wrote:
flawed
Not sure if this is an off bottle or just a bad wine. I have a feeling it's a bad wine but will give it the benefit of the doubt and open another bottle before I past judgement.
  • tomherer commented:

    3/24/13, 3:39 PM - In the same boat -- opened a bottle a year ago and hated it. Celery, bubble gum, and locker room. Hideous. I admittedly don't totally "get" Burgundy yet, so held off on giving a scathing review/score. A year later, still mustering up the courage to open another bottle and compare. Will keep an eye out for your next review.

White - Off-dry
N.V. Rosenblum Cellars Stark Raving California White Blend
11/26/2012 - Mike Kopanski wrote:
84 points
Another "gotcha" white wine. Saw the respectable name of Rosemblum on the front label, and 13.5% alcohol on the back, so bought it. It got me. Too sweet to be considered serious wine. Have to admit they did a nice job balancing things out with some serious acid. Not flabby, just not dry. Bright golden color. The nose is moscato, which even smelling the screw cap told me I bought sweet wine again. The label does not tell us. When it crosses the lips, we get the big "Oh Oh" residual sugar warning. The Granny Smith apple acidity, gives some serious credibility to the sweet peach and papaya fruit. Once you get past the residual sugar and acidity, things just disappear.
  • tomherer commented:

    3/20/13, 8:24 AM - Man, you nailed it. Got into Scottsdale last night with the family around midnight and ran out for a cheap bottle to take the edge off. Only place open was Circle K, with an obviously limited selection.

    Imagine my pleasant surprise when I found something from Rosenblum with reasonable ABV... :)

    I agree with you re: that it could be worse, and actually has some likable traits. But it's over the top sweet to me -- if not for the RS, might revisit, oh well.

Red
2009 Turley Zinfandel Cedarman Howell Mountain
2/21/2013 - NickP Likes this wine:
90 points
I have always liked the Cedarman and this did not disappoint. Dark berry color with same fragrance on pouring. Big mouth feel. Tannins clearly in play, may soften a bit in a year or so, but not too drying. Alcohol obvious - perhaps a bit more than needed until it blows out of the glass. Big berry and earthy palate with the great spiciness that makes a zin a zin - for me. Medium to long finish. Glad I have 2 more to try over time.
  • tomherer commented:

    2/26/13, 5:38 PM - i think this is 93pt+ wine in a couple years -- so tightly wound right now, but so delicious and promising. would like to let my bottles rest until at least next year, but prob don't have the patience.

Red
2010 Orin Swift Abstract California Grenache Blend, Grenache
1/9/2013 - mflesh wrote:
85 points
OK, this wine was good, but it missed the mark tonight. The wine was uncorked to a rather light stain. It was bottle decanted about an hour and poured into glass. Dark, full bodied, almost a little inky purple. The wine on the initial palate was all about the dark blackberry and a hint of earth. The wine then turned more high octane, with a lot of earth starting to percolate in. The wine finished with some earth, some dark chocolate pudding, fig, but was a bit out of balance with the high amount of alcohol that was there. I waited another 20 min for alcohol to blow off - and it never really did even after 2hr. It also had a rather dry finish, which was actually quite welcome but never quite burned through the alchohol. I'd like to see how this one sits over the next 10 years, because I honestly think that it has the capacity to age a rather long time. Perhaps the best is yet to come. Either way, the best is NOT NOW!
  • tomherer commented:

    1/10/13, 12:07 PM - Yah, my biggest issue with this wine is the finish, which I found to be exactly how you described. Clipped and overwhelmed by the etoh. I'm going to let my other bottle rest awhile, but more out of curiosity than anything else. I've never seen a flaw like a weak finish iron itself out over time.

White
2006 M. Chapoutier St. Joseph Blanc Les Granits Marsanne
1/9/2013 - EhrlichDY wrote:
Not sure what other folks are seeing here. This wine is crisp and mouth filling with a slightly sweet finish that lingers. It's in a great spot right now - a real pleasure to drink.
  • tomherer commented:

    1/9/13, 7:13 PM - Definitely one of the most memorable whites I've had in my life. Very delicate and subtle, but so so much there. Was in a great spot when I had my first (of two) bottle in 2010. Glad to hear it still is. Saving the other one for a very special occasion.

Red
2005 Clarendon Hills Grenache Blewitt Springs
Inky purple color with thick translucent rim. Drinks like highly concentrated grape Kool-Aid. Strange menthol/mint finish. My first Aussie Grenache and my last.

See more detail at
http://maximumsatisfaction.tumblr.com/post/38031153393
  • tomherer commented:

    1/9/13, 7:05 PM - Let me get this straight. You're going to rule out an entire continent's expression of a varietal? After trying a single wine from one of the southern hemisphere's most celebrated winemakers?

    More for me, I guess. If you're looking for a less-concentrated wine from down under, allow me to recommend yellow tail.

White
2009 Miner Family Marsanne La Diligence Stagecoach Vineyard Napa Valley
12/31/2012 - studleytrey wrote:
91 points
This was a really interesting wine. Light golden color with an almost light brown tint. Nutty, bready, vanilla and stone fruit nose, and a touch of alcohol. Full bodied, oily, and viscous on the palate, with nut oil, marshmellow, and a bit of an herbal note. Alcohol is definitely spiking on the finish as well. Low to moderate acid and long finish, but the alcohol is carrying it on the back end. I'm really torn on this wine; on the one hand I want to give it 92-94 for its interesting qualities, texture and finish, but on the other the heat detracts and I'd love to trade some of it for some acid instead. This is a big boy, hedonistic white that I think will be polarizing. Wish I had more to age a bit and see what happens.
  • tomherer commented:

    1/1/13, 9:38 PM - Couldn't have -- and didn't :) -- said it better myself. Great TN. Agree that it doesn't deserve a classic rating, but damned if I've had anything quite like it before. Glad you enjoyed its uniqueness.

White
2004 M. Chapoutier Hermitage Blanc Chante-Alouette Marsanne
12/26/2012 - pilot360 Likes this wine:
93 points
light golden in color, getting almonds overripe peaches and pears, durian fruit. Palate much less intense - light citrus, lemon curd, putty and supporting acidity. Mouth is oily, viscous. Has a faint hydrogen peroxide lingering aftertaste. Total pleasure to drink this bottle. One of the most expressive wines I have found in this price range. Sadly, I think it is my last.
Cooled from home cellar by burying in the snow for about 30 minutes to get the temp down.
  • tomherer commented:

    12/29/12, 7:19 PM - Great TN. Sounds like you're as fond of this bottle as I am. One bottle left; procrastinating. Don't want it to be all gone.

Red
2008 Robert Biale Syrah Kiger Family Vineyard Sonoma County
12/29/2012 - joraesque Likes this wine:
93 points
What a well-tamed monster of a wine! Grown on the Sonoma side of the Mayacamas Mountains, this shows firm mountain tannins with notes of licorice and sage, and silky elegance. Right upon opening this could have easily been mistaken for a Cabernet Sauvignon-based blend. Between 30-60 minutes after opening it was at its most extroverted, with more plush, delicious tannins [90]. Four hours later in the decanter, it started developing notes of blackberry liquor and strong licorice, resembling a Parker-style Rhone-blend (the 2009 Puech-Haut Cuvée Prestige comes to mind) [92]. The next day it became more streamlined, with violets and blackberry jam on the nose, blackberry and olallieberries on the palate, no bitterness, and excellent concentration [93]. 14.9% ABV, but little discernible heat throughout. 92-93
  • tomherer commented:

    12/29/12, 5:48 PM - Outstanding TN -- much obliged. Buying limited-prod wines like these can be a shot in the dark, which is why just one TN of this quality can make all the difference. Cheers.

Red
2006 Clarendon Hills Syrah Liandra
12/29/2012 - DTWOB Likes this wine:
96 points
With over 1,000 notes, this is only my third 96 rating. Popped, double vinaerated and left to breathe for four hours. Deep, dense, dark eggplant color with a dark garnet rim, using the fresh snow and sun as a backdrop for the color analysis. Wonderful fragrance of dark fruit. WOW, WOW, WOW - what a powerful, focused fruit forward taste, medium/heavy body, best integration of tannis ever, nice balance of fruit and acidy with a finish that is dark berry driven for well over 10 minutes. - really!! Numerous hidden gems over, under and around this wine that makes the experience even more enjoyable. Consumed during and after an English beef pot roast dinner 4 hours total. Great for sipping.
  • tomherer commented:

    12/29/12, 5:41 PM - Thanks for the great TN -- very helpful. Been wondering when to start opening this -- by your account, sounds like tmw night would work just fine.

White
2006 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc White Rhone Blend
12/22/2012 - gmbdds wrote:
flawed
Oxidized. Apple cider color upon pouring was the first bad sign and the taste was just not right. Too bad.
  • tomherer commented:

    12/23/12, 5:28 PM - Thanks both. I have one left (of two), and the first one showed badly about a year ago. Cider, cooked, etc. I'll leave the other bottle alone for a while in case it really is in a dumb phase.

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