Tasting Notes for Wine Curmudgeon

(49 notes on 49 wines)

1 - 49 of 49 Sort order
White
This wine is an embarrassment to a once proud producer that used to make some of the world's great $10 wine. It has been tarted up with sugar, and it's mostly -- and depressingly -- white grape juice with a bit of citrus.
White
One of McPherson's better efforts -- a little more character and structure, and not quite as soft as previous vintages. It's also a less on vigonier varietal correctness -- balanced white stone fruit and some stoniness on the finish. Highly recommended. 13.8%
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White
How the mighty have fallen. This used to be one of the world's great cheap wines, combining chenin blanc's crispness with viognier's stone fruit. Now, it's just overpriced plonk, with acidity added to counterbalance all of that residual sugar. It's awkward, unbalanced, and oh so disappointing.
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White - Sparkling
One of the worst wines I've tasted in almost three decades of writing about wine. It was dirty, with seed tannins, almost bereft of fruit, and there were barely any bubbles. It was so badly made that even the producer, apparently Bronco (home of Two-buck Chuck) and not known for quality, should be embarrassed. And that a retailer like Aldi that pretends to sell quality should be even more embarrassed.
Red
12/16/2017 - Wine Curmudgeon wrote:
Tremendous California Rhone-style red that combines earthiness and New World fruit. Highly recommended.

And that it is still drinking well at this date speaks volumes about how foolish those are who say screwcap wines don't age correctly.
White
Lime and tropical fruit, a pleasant and almost Rhone-like oiliness. and with a crisp, clean finish that speaks to Texas terroir. A wine that is both food friendly and enjoyable on its own. Highly recommended. 13.3%
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White
Perhaps McPherson's best reserve roussanne, which is saying something since they have traditionally been among the finest wines in Texas. Impeccably made, with some lime fruit and just enough oak to balance the acidity. This is not a one-note wine, but one that is still very young and tight. It will age for at least three or four years, if not longer, and will open up and become more expressive with fruit and aroma. Highly recommended. 13.5%
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Red
This wine has nothing to do with France, Rhone varietals, or the Languedoc. It's a focus group wine, made to be smooth (whatever that means), with too ripe red fruit, no tannins to support the fruit, and even less acidity. There's even some residual sugar, which is inexcusable for a wine not labeled sweet. It's about as cynical as winemaking can be.
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Rosé - Sparkling
I have had two bottles of cava in 20-some odd years that weren't worth drinking. This was one of them. It's nothing but carbonation to produce a fancy head and a pleasant color. It has nothing of cava's vibrancy and freshness. It seems like cava made for Prosecco drinkers, and then it's still not especially sweet. And it's overpriced.
White
This is one of the great cheap wines of all time -- always varietally correct, always well-made, and always a value. Look for some minerality, soft citrus fruit, and even a little white pepper. It puts similar wines costing two or three times as much to shame.
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Red
2011 Bodegas Muga Rioja Reserva Tempranillo Blend, Tempranillo (view label images)
Very young and should only improve over next five years. Lots of cherry and vanilla, but balanced by wonderful Rioja acidity. and the first two should soften and make the wine more complex. This is a food wine. 14%.
White
White Rhone blend that shows what a talented winemaker can do with quality Texas fruit, showing that the world does not revolve around chardonnay. Look for bright white fruit thanks to the roussanne, as well as a depth and richness from the viognier. Highly recommended.
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Rosé
Randall Grahm takes rose where almost no one outside of a couple of producers in Provence dares. Look for very subtle cranberry and tart strawberry fruit and an intriguing mineral-driven finish. This rose will age, and get riper and fuller as it does.
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White
One of the great cheap wines of all time -- low alcohol (10.5%), clean, consistent, and fresh. This vintage has less white grapeiness and more citrus (very tart lemon?) and the white grapeiness has an almost tropcal note (pineapple). Every wine region in the world produces quality cheap wine like this, so why does California struggle so much to do it?
Red
The quintessential vin ordinare, a red Rhone-style blend wine that pairs with almost any kind of dish and that delivers varietal character at an absurdly low price. Look for soft red fruit, easy tannins, and just enough acidity to hold the whole thing together. Would that California's winemaking geniuses wanted to do wine like this instead of the overpriced, sweet fruit jumbles they favor. Sadly, this is a Texas wine unavailable in most of the country.
Red
2012 Downton Abbey Bordeaux Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
A Bordeaux blend with some blueberry fruit and a rough, gritty style that’s typical of cheap French red wine, the sort of thing I’ve been drinking most of my life. In other words, plonk, and hardly worth the $17 it costs. Maybe more like $8. And if this actually ages until 2017, I'll buy another bottle.
Red
Ridge's version of high-scoring Wine Magazine zinfandel, with lots of oak and plenty of sweet black fruit. The difference, of course, is that since it's a Ridge wine, it has structure, body, and tannins. Look for some very nice herbal notes, too. Very nicely done, and especially since I usually don't like this style of wine.
White
Affordable Chablis doesn't get much better than this, and was especially impressive for such a young white Burgundy. Had steely acidity, a touch of lemon fruit, and some complexity, but wasn't too tart or too fruity. A bit thin in the back, but still highly recommended.
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White
Ready to drink now and an excellent example of aged white Burgundy. Not showy or splashy, and not as impressive as the 2002, but the oak is well integrated, hiding in the background, with proper amount of green apple fruit and an almost clove-like spiciness.
Red
This "vintage" seems completely different from previous bottles. The wine has more structure, including tannins, which I don't remember it having before. In addition, the fruit is darker and more Spanish in style (with more acidity), and not the soft cherry that was typical before and that made this kind of wine to recommend to people who didn't like red wine. I think there is more tempranillo in it than before, which would account for the differences.
White
New Zealand sauvignon blanc the way it should be, with more grassiness than citrus in the front (and lime instead of grapefruit); a soft, seductive tropical middle (passion fruit?); and a long, very subtle mineral finish. This is a complex wine, especially for the price, and not only well above the entry level wines on the market, but on par with many more expensive ones.
Red
12/25/2011 - Wine Curmudgeon wrote:
A surprisingly traditional style of Napa cabernet. Aromas of cedar and dark fruit. It's a long, long wine, with more dark fruit in front, a solid middle, some rich oak on the finish and and much welcome tannins to balance all. Not hot despite being 14.8 percent alcohol. Needs food -- lots of red meat -- to show its best, but does surprisingly well on its own (though it was open for an hour before drinking). Probably approaching its prime.
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White
This is a California chardonnay that reminds you what California chardonnay can be when great care is taken to make wine, and not to make points. A bit of butter on the nose, lots of green apple fruit (that isn't sweet) and a long, clean mineral finish. Fine now, and will only get better over the next five or six years.
Red
Classic, classic, classic. Everything Rioja is supposed to be, and for $10. No, it's not nuanced and subtle, but it's crianza and not gran reserva. Wonderfully funky Spanish nose followed by a touch of fresh sour cherry, lots of Spanish-style acid, and a long, though subdued, finish. Highly recommended.
White
Quite intriguing -- dry, with hardly any impression of sweetness, and no petroleum. In this, not Alsatian as I have come to expect it. Look for peaches and green apples, but not especially juicy.
Red
Very, very young, and will take three years or so to develop. But the structure is there -- tobacco on the nose, with black brambly fruit and a firm acidic backbone.
Red
What Napa wine can be, when the winemaker isn't focusing on scores and impressing his or her peers. In fact, one of the people who drank this with me was stunned to find out it was from Napa. Balanced and sophisticated, with red berry fruit that isn't overdone, surprisingly mild tannins, and only 14.1 percent alcohol. The finish is getting a bit soft.
Red
Not what it was in the old days, when it might have been the best $6 red wine in the world. The nose was interesting -- funky and earthy, but that was it. The wine was overly fruity in a New World, critter wine sort of way, and had nothing to do with where it was from. It's at best an $8 wine, and even then there are better values available.
White
Given Texas' difficulties in producing quality chardonnay (100 degrees and humidity), this is a nice effort. It's rich (from malo, since it saw no oak?) and has the requisite green apple/pear character. The finish is a little short, and there is some green bitterness in the back. The biggest problem is QPR, given that the Toad Hollow unoaked is the same price and delivers more.
Red
Classic Rioja from one of the best traditional producers. That means low alcohol, dusty tannins, long finish, and a successful, continuous juggling act between acid, oak and fruit. Do not expect New World style fruit or oak. This is a much more subtle wine that reflects an entirely different way of approaching winemaking.
White
One of the best New World chardonnays I have ever tasted -- rich and just enough oak to make it chardonnay, but not to get in the way of the green apple fruit. A steal at this price.
White
Another winner from Tormaresca, producers of the Neprica red blend. Not much oak and lots of green apple -- crisp and refreshing. A great value at the suggested retail price and a steal for less than $10.
White
Classic Oregon pinot gris, exactly what it is supposed to be (and a value at this price). Fresh and crisp, with pear/green apple fruit and a longish finish.
Red
Pencil lead, Bordeaux-style fruit, and long, pleasantly tannic finish. Very well done.
White
Another standout wine from Vinum -- and, as this price, a steal. Look for viognier peaches on the nose, followed by a bit of viognier peach fruit and lots of chenin blanc stoniness and minerality that is clean and crisp. This is an excellent example of what talented winemakers who care can do with grapes that most people ignore.
Red
2006 Osborne Tempranillo Cabernet Sauvignon Solaz Vino de la Tierra de Castilla Tempranillo Blend, Tempranillo (view label images)
The final bottle, as Osborne is phasing out Solaz in favor of a wine that is not nearly as well-made or as interesting. The Solaz was everything that it had always been -- fruity, some Spanish acid, decent tannins, and a beginning, a middle, and an end. How often can one say that about a $7 wine? We will miss you, Solaz.
Red
Tasted like cherry cough syrup, and not particularly good cherry cough syrup. It wasn't pinot by any stretch of the imagination. Over-priced and over extracted -- no doubt it has the legally allowable 25 percent of another grape, probably syrah.
White
2008 King Estate Willamette Valley Pinot Gris (view label images)
Flabby, boring and uninteresting. Not enough acid to balance the fruit, which makes it seem as if it has some RS despite its 13 percent alcohol. I expect much better from King.
Red
12/28/2009 - Wine Curmudgeon wrote:
A surprisingly pleasant $12 pinot noir, given that so few of them at this price point taste like pinot noir. It had a bit of pinot earthiness, there was the requisite pinot fruit (berries?) and even a bit of pinot finish -- not much in the way of tannins, as it should be, and even a hint of more earthiness. It was not jammy or overly fruity, like so many southern France and other grocery store pinots.
White
Still young, and took about 30 minutes to open up. When it did, it was classic Chablis -- fresh green apple fruit and wonderfully balanced acid with a touch of oak (which is interesting, since most of their wines aren't supposed to have any oak). The 2006 vintage was an odd one for Chabli, and many of the wines I have tasted have not been very Chablis like. But this is, and $25 offers fine value.
White
Do this blind against a similarly priced California sauvingon blanc, and you'll be surprised at the results. The Haak is crisper, with more structure, and gooseberry fruit. It doens't have any of the soft tropical, banana aromas, either.
White
An inexpensive, dry wine with low alcohol -- plus lots of crisp green apple fruit and even some citrus. Hard to beat this for a quality sub-$10 wine.
Red - Sweet/Dessert
Strawberry instead of the typical ice wine citrus or apricot, and the sweetness was entirely different -- not as lush -- from the honey richness that most white ice wines have. And the acid was well below that in white ice wines. This is a well made, delightful dessert wine, but if one is used to riesling or vidal, they may find it too different to appreciate.
Red
Does this taste like a fine Australian shiraz? Nope. Does it remind one of an elegant northern Rhone? Nope. And I think there is quite a bit of something other than syrah in it. But is it worth $5? Yep -- it's dark, not exceptionally fruity (a little plummy), with an odd, almost salty finish. I've had much worse wine for much more money.
Red
1998 Bressan Cru Pignol Venezia Giulia IGT Pignolo (view label images)
One of the most interesting and unique wines I have ever tasted. How, at this age, it can still be almost too young to drink is amazing. I decanted it for an hour, and it still kept changing over the next 90 minutes as we drank it, getting darker and more Italian over time. It was a completely different wine when we finished it -- less fruity, more acidic and more earthy. Was it worth $80? Not if you're looking for something that you feel comfortable with. Because it doesn't in any way resemble a Super Tuscan (or a Bordeaux for that matter). But if you want to try something that doesn't taste like what you expect, that is old-fashioned Italian winemaking, then take the chance. And it does need food -- top-quality sausages and best hard cheese you can find and real European-style bread.
Red
2007 Clos de los Siete Valle de Uco Malbec Blend, Malbec (view label images)
All that you would expect -- over-ripe, over-extracted, aggressive and powerful. It was even bigger than a Monterrey cabernet blend that I tasted after it, and that's not easy to do. There's a reason the man has his reputation. Plus, it's fair value for the price. People who like this style of wine will write poems about. The rest of us will drink something else.
White
Not nearly ready -- needs another couple of years. It was very tight and the fruit barely showed. Some apple, but not much. The oak, as usual, was subdued, which is one reason why I enjoy this wine so much.
White
Nice enough wine, but not Chablis-like enough for my taste and the weak dollar isn't helping it much. Missing the acid that Chablis should have.
Rosé
OK, but nothing more. I think I've been spoiled by all the good rose this year. It did have a bit of tannin, unusual for a rose.
1 - 49 of 49
  • Tasting Notes: 49 notes on 49 wines
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