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Comments on my notes

(361 comments on 308 notes)

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Red
2014 McGuigan The Philosophy South Australia Cabernet-Shiraz Blend, Red Blend
This is on the cusp of faulty but it’s just overpriced plonk. We bought it on sale for CAD53 when at home it retailed for AUD150. That discounted price should have been a warning. I can’t believe this is flagship worthy. Getting past the obvious wasteful packaging of heavy bottle (imagine the “cost” of shipping these to the other side of the world - to its main markets of the USA and UK?) and it’s ridiculous waxed cap. When cork is revealed it is a stubby DIAM meant for ready to drink Malbecs not for a complex, cellar-worthy cab-shiraz. The nose and palate are dominated by sour blackberry and vegetal mint. Yes, it’s full-bodied but it is hot, anchored by oak and it’s fundamentally unpleasant. There is a massive gap between preconceived marketing and the product in the glass. Something went wrong here.
  • Canoehead commented:

    2/3/23, 8:49 PM - It was a bizarre wine. The cork came out clean and intact but it was an entry-level DIAM cork that is TCA free made of cork remnants. But it was not a DIAM 30 that would be more appropriate for a big age-worthy red.
    Come to the island some time for a big red tasting. We’ve got a Poplar Grove Legacy vertical this weekend and a Carmenere gig in three weeks.

Red
2018 Glen Carlou Grand Classique Paarl Red Bordeaux Blend
11/27/2022 - darrenv Likes this wine:
91 points
The nose on this is like the best La Frenz grand total or Poplar Grove Legacy that I've ever had. It's right up my alley. Black stuff, spicy stuff, smokable stuff. Nice full mouthfeel with spice and cherry. If this were a BC wine I'd be walking around town with a sandwich board on promoting it loudly. $32 all-in. Happy fella right here!
  • Canoehead commented:

    1/19/23, 11:59 PM - Always a good value. Gonna try a bottle at Boom & Batten this week. Where it’s CAD75!

Red
2013 Marcassin Pinot Noir Marcassin Vineyard Sonoma Coast
1/15/2023 - csimm1161 wrote:
As a standalone, this wine was initially a tad confusing to me. likely more due to my general stupidity (as usual) than the wine being some sort of enigma. Here's why - The texture was exceptionally glossy and polished, with a creamy mouthfeel that bordered on confection (again, texture-wise; not sweet-wise). The fruit was somewhat muted, with the varnish taking center stage throughout the execution. The flavors that did emerge were quite twiggy, with a forest floor component prominent on the nose and the palate. Did I catch this wine in transition? Is it trying to push out some tertiary flavors but hasn't quite reached the mushroom and cedar threshold yet? Or has the fruit and flavor faded by now that it will become meh in a few years? ...I'm sure some Rod Serling-type has the answers to traveling through this wine's other dimensions of sight, sound, and mind.

I had a hard time "grading" a paper that I didn't understand, but kept thinking the author who wrote it was much smarter than me. What was I missing...?

Well, what was missing was...food! Throw in a perfectly cooked pork tenderloin (thanks sous vide!) with a brilliant Asian peppercorn sauce and you have a pairing that made the orchestra of the Marcassin's delivery align in perfect harmony with the fare.

How to score? I dunno. It's a style thing. It's a pairing thing. It's a relative cult-to-price-comparison-and-access thing. It's a is-it-worth-the-hype thing. It's all the things that wine geeks can pontificate about and decide what's objectively right and wrong about a subjective experience with a particular bottle of wine. Psychology over science I suppose.

I know there will be some admiral of the Marcassin Militia here who, because I'm an outlier and not on the Eyes Wide Shut Marcassin allocation mailer, will find my drivel, well, drivel-some?,... but I always find certain wines fascinating in terms of where they seem to land in the cult marketing category in relation to the wine itself. Like, how would I call out this wine if I had it blind? It's polarizing in some ways. I guess I'll have to discuss this further with my wine therapist at our Tuesday session.

A very generous contribution to the evening that I was fortunate to examine and pick apart. Long...long...story short(ish), I liked it very much with food and thought it was a unique expression of the varietal on the domestic front, especially at a decade in age. Best advice from someone who might be seen as a Marcassin infidel: Drink with food. THAT is where this wine becomes exceptional.
  • Canoehead commented:

    1/16/23, 11:18 PM - The best wines are food wines. Period. How they react/evolve with what they’re paired with is the ultimate alchemy. Wine is not a cocktail it’s an accompaniment to food and occasion. No one’s decanting a first growth or grand cru in an alley somewhere. It’s meant to be paired with food. Let the Marcassin Admiral huff and puff and try to rally the troops in some form of dissent and disapproval. A wine’s true test is it’s match with protein, fat and the company around the table. The Marcassin’s enigmatic properties need food. Period.

Red
2015 Castello di Ama Chianti Classico Gran Selezione San Lorenzo Chianti Classico DOCG Sangiovese Blend, Sangiovese
1/15/2023 - ploher wrote:
Tart red cherries and herbs on the nose, but stays shy even after a serious decant (4+ hours). The palate is structured, sleeker in style than the more powerful, bigger Rancia 2013 I had yesterday, but less characterful and complex, at least at the moment. Huge, but polished tannins on the finish. Needs years. Hold. 16.5+/20 for the moment.
  • Canoehead commented:

    1/15/23, 4:16 PM - Appreciate the note. We have a double magnum of this. Maybe a decade more of cellar time? Cheers.

Red
2014 Château Phélan Ségur St. Estèphe Red Bordeaux Blend
Mørk rød.
Mørk frukt på duft. Fortsatt lukket.
Fruktig anslag med mørke bær, lær og lakris, fin lengde.
Trenger lagring.
  • Canoehead commented:

    1/12/23, 6:17 PM - Agreed. Still needs cellar time.

Red
2019 Robert Craig Howell Mountain Cuvee Howell Mountain Red Bordeaux Blend
Born out of extra pandemic juice I am being told. Lots of chocolate and and mocha and oaked up.
  • Canoehead commented:

    1/11/23, 5:21 PM - Pandemic Juice? That’s a tertiary palate note for Howell Mtn Cab blends? ;-)
    Yes, this was oaked up at the top of the permissible range.

Red
2018 Stag's Leap Wine Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon S.L.V. Stags Leap District
Sampled at Oinoscent during service, courtesy of a customer
-/-
The wine shows density, thick fruit core, black fruit, cherries, elegant oak frame, cocoa notes, sweet spices, prunes, fruit in alcohol.
Palate very smooth, juicy tannins, nice sweet spices, a touch warm, medium to full body, firm long finish
A touch linear now (it was just opened). Left the glass for a bit and the wine kept expanding.
Outstanding finesse
  • Canoehead commented:

    12/26/22, 9:39 AM - That was a nice customer, indeed. Solid TN. I'm looking forward to opening our first 2017 SLV but I think it needs a little more time as well.

Red
2015 LaStella Fortissimo Okanagan Valley VQA SuperTuscan Blend
12/9/2022 - nanoose wrote:
I note the mixed reviews but after a bit of air i quite liked this wine. It has a lovey nose that betrays a slight greenness but soon a strong dark fruit note that is quite pleasant. The palate is balanced and shows some early tertiary characteristics and mild acidity that may not last but is excellent in balance at present. Finish is short. I have always approached this wine as a reliable weekday bottle and as such it doesn’t disappoint.
  • Canoehead commented:

    12/11/22, 3:45 PM - Bang on, Nanoose. Always a good weeknight stalwart. Typically good value. We may have to do a Fortissimo vertical with Vino Loco!

Red
2016 Canneto Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Sangiovese
8/25/2022 - Portland Seth Likes this wine:
93 points
It doesn't happen often, but every once in a while I'm by myself on the high end of the CT scores. I found this fantastic and truly the only blemish I can point to is the hot finish (14 5% abv). Black cherry, dusty, musty, saddle leather, violets, hint of burnt sugar on the finish. Excellent structure and the tannins have firm but supple grip. Just entering its drinking window. Everything I was looking for in a Sangiovese on a Thursday night.
  • Canoehead commented:

    12/7/22, 11:51 PM - Seth, I couldn’t disagree. This is fabulous wine at any price point. Great depth and complexity. I agree the alcohol is a tad out of balance but 45-60 minutes aerated and it seemed to dissipate. Best value of the year. My own TN is pending.

  • Canoehead commented:

    12/9/22, 5:26 PM - Yes, I just purchased another two six packs of the 16 out of store in Calgary. Looking forward to sharing it over the holidays.

Red
2015 Château Smith Haut Lafitte Pessac-Léognan Red Bordeaux Blend
12/5/2022 - csimm1161 wrote:
I still believe this wine is an over-performer, especially when compared to some other peers twice the price. This is coming into the beginning of a nice drinking window that doesn't require too much preparation to really show well. Some leather, subtle dusty spice, and plum notes barely peeking through, adding interest to the otherwise black fruit and dark mineral profile. Glides into a focused but giving attack, finishing perfectly dry.

Tap into this now if you're not just a dirt worshiper. Drinking window starts now for me and goes for the next 5-7+ years (Yes, I know it can go further than 7 years, but that's just for my palate. It'll push past 2030 with no issue. CT's 2043 seems like it's made for those who love sherry and orange peels in their reds).
  • Canoehead commented:

    12/7/22, 8:59 AM - Great TN. Sherry, orange peels…and don’t forget the barnyard floor. We hope to have a side by side in next couple of years of the ‘15 and the ‘16 from the cellar. Cheers!

  • Canoehead commented:

    12/7/22, 10:16 AM - We are staying at Les Sources du Caudalie on the grounds of SHL next September for a few days as part of a small group tour of the region. We’re looking forward to one of the vertical tastings with estate wines from the last decade. Should be interesting. Keep the TNs coming.

Red
2012 Concha y Toro Cabernet Sauvignon Don Melchor Puente Alto
12/4/2022 - RED AND BLACK wrote:
92 points
Day2. This is better tonight. There was more balance on palate. Still bordeaux style but not convinced by it. Can we say not too typical of Chile / trying hard to emulate French bordeaux? Maybe but any way a decent wine but not for its price, just go buy better bordeaux directly for less. QPR is bad
  • Canoehead commented:

    12/4/22, 2:34 PM - Thanks for the TN. We're planning on putting this in a 2012 Cab Sauv blind tasting next weekend and see how it does against price points above and below it. It has been improving as we've opened a few bottles so far but I agree it needs time open to the elements. Later vintages are even pricier and I don't have the stomach or wallet courage to purchase those.

Red
2019 Château Pichon-Longueville Baron Pauillac Red Bordeaux Blend
12/2/2022 - Wine G Likes this wine:
96 points
Certainly among the best bordeaux wines I have had, the deliciousness, depth and balance... but to be honest with myself, if I drank this blind next to a Leo Barton, and a Calon segur (for example), it might be really tough to tell which one is which.
Clearly a bordeaux of high pedigree.
  • Canoehead commented:

    12/4/22, 2:28 PM - 2019s! Were they all 2019s you sampled blind? How long were they decanted for?

White
2012 Leeuwin Estate Chardonnay Art Series Margaret River
10/1/2022 - Zweder wrote:
97 points
Really impressive and beautiful bouquet with some smoke and vanilla as well as yellow and white fruits. On the palate yellow and white fruits, minerals, enormously complex with beautifully fresh acidity and an enormous length. For me the WOTN up to now.
  • Canoehead commented:

    12/4/22, 2:16 PM - this producer's Chardonnay ages so well. thanks for the TN. What would you pair it with when it has this type of age on it?

Red
2005 Château Quinault L'Enclos St. Émilion Grand Cru Red Bordeaux Blend
12/4/2022 - maxima wrote:
92 points
Super beau claret encore une fois!
Souple et bien franc.
Des cerises, du chocolate, du cêdre et
du graphite avec des tannins fins
et une belle finale longue ou rien n'accroche.
Excellent.
  • Canoehead commented:

    12/4/22, 2:06 PM - You have the patience of a pirate's wife! I drank my '05s way too early! Sounds like it was coming into its drinking window now.

Red
2019 Clos du Soleil Pinot Noir Winemaker's Series La Côte Vineyard Similkameen Valley VQA
A disposable B-side - at best…& I’m not thinking of Ruby Tuesday with ‘Let’s Spend the Night Together’.

I’m talking the B-side of Cold Turkey ...you know? Yoko's 'Don’t Worry Kyoko'.

Yes, that is this.
  • Canoehead commented:

    12/3/22, 4:59 PM - Was this insipid & thin to warrant the 81?

Red
2015 Moon Curser Tannat Okanagan Valley VQA
11/12/2022 - KillerJones Likes this wine:
88 points
Just good drinking - start to finish. If you’re expecting a thwomp of tannins, you’ll be surprised; there is a Cali Zin smoothness & something of a fruit bomb to the enterprise.

Age has tempered the tannins, and although there are black fruit notes…they take a backseat to the chocolate, coffee and tobacco notes now.

To borrow from Foghorn Leghorn, it gets under your skin, like a tattoo.
  • Canoehead commented:

    12/3/22, 4:58 PM - KJ, just getting current on some friends TNs. Love the Foghorn reference.

Red
2016 Castiglion del Bosco Brunello di Montalcino Sangiovese
10/6/2022 - maxima wrote:
92 points
2016 en BdeM est splendide sur ce que j'ai gouté.
Belle matière et beau fruit.
Souple et complexe, on est sur des cerises et des prunes
avec un peu d'anis et une pointe de menthol.
Les tannins sont bien enrobés et la finale
est longue et savoureuse.
Excellent.
  • Canoehead commented:

    10/9/22, 10:47 AM - Exactement! Your review matches with our experience last night where two successive bottles were opened. Although very young the structure was impressive. Went well with classic Turkey dinner. Merci beaucoup!

Red
2015 Château Malescot St. Exupéry Margaux Red Bordeaux Blend
10/6/2022 - Jeff Leve wrote:
96 points
Elegance meshed with power is at the core of this gem. Full-bodied, with polished blackberries, black cherries, smoke, licorice, and flower notes are all over the place. Lush and refined, long and intense, with a sensuous endnote, this is a fabulous vintage for Malescot. Drink from 2022-2050.
  • Canoehead commented:

    10/6/22, 4:11 PM - Jeff, how long did you decant this beauty for? We have a magnum in the cellar and we’re thinking of opening this over the holidays.

Red
2016 Lariana Cellars Sixteen Okanagan Valley VQA Red Blend
9/24/2022 - vertex663 Likes this wine:
90 points
Another really nice wine from Lariana! Drank this one beside a couple of big Cali cabs and the Lariana held its own.

Dark berry, cassis and licorice on the nose. The carménère added some interesting flavors and mouth feel to this wine. Structured, softening tannins with light balanced acidity and medium finish.

Compared to the Cali cabs (2016 Freemark Abbey and 2018 Anakota) the Lariana was a touch less complex, but not really a fair comparison at 1/2 the price.

Another excellent wine from Lariana - I need to get some more...
  • Canoehead commented:

    9/25/22, 10:27 AM - Lariana’s flagship is great value. Let me know if you do find some more of the Sixteen. No bottles on the Island.

Red
2016 Black Hills Estate Nota Bene Okanagan Valley VQA Red Bordeaux Blend
9/23/2022 - Vino Loco wrote:
88 points
There is a greenness to this wine that is just not going away. It hasn’t come together the way I would imagine the winemaker would have likely hoped - either a fruit issue or a technical winemaking issue as the weather in 2016 should have resulted in a full and vibrant Nota Bene.
  • Canoehead commented:

    9/24/22, 6:34 AM - Well, at least it’s consistent, can’t blame bottle variation!

Red
2019 Château Bordieu Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux Red Bordeaux Blend
5/25/2022 - jesi1882@gmail.com wrote:
88 points
Fresh cherry and vanilla with some kirsch and a touch of acetone and alcohol, something reminiscent of paint or rubber cement...

Sweet and smooth with some low acid and a somewhat flat mid palate, and very mild tannins

Second round:
very reductive egg fart aroma but decanted. Same cherry notes but this time tannins were very prominent.

Clearly I am off on one of these days lol. Will go back for another and see what round 3 brings
  • Canoehead commented:

    9/22/22, 6:13 PM - I will now expand my aromatics lexicon - reductive egg fart. Somebody open a window! Seriously, excellent TN. Wine Access is currently trying to unload >20 cases of this value-priced Blaye Cotes de Bordeaux at a case buy of $16/btl.

Red
2018 Lariana Cellars Eighteen Okanagan Valley VQA Red Blend
8/27/2022 - Vino Loco wrote:
88 points
Lariana "Thirteen" to "Eighteen" Vertical, and some BC Rosés: Had as part of a "Thirteen" to "Eighteen" vertical (I didn't have the foresight to keep any "Twelve").

Smelled and tasted like a Carmenere – dominated by green pepper - I want a DNA test! It's a tad sour still and needs at least another two to three years in the bottle. Potential was very tough to judge at this time.

10 tasters - ranked 6 of 6.
  • Canoehead commented:

    9/1/22, 5:00 AM - Love the DNA test request. Large percentage of Carm in this vintage mix. Hopefully it settles down and integrates. Very sad we missed such a lovely evening. Next time K & L!

Red
2017 Kettle Valley Syrah Stern Vineyard Okanagan Valley
8/25/2022 - Canoehead Likes this wine:
92 points
Wow, has this fleshed out over the past year. A bit reductive at opening but 30 mins plus and it is dark berries and cured meat. On the palate it’s medium plus in weight and great balance of maturing fruit, acid and alcohol are integrated with the fine tannins. Really well made.
  • Canoehead commented:

    8/27/22, 3:35 AM - KJ, Kettle Valley can be hit and miss for me but this Stern Syrah has been a standout. Sadly the 2017 is gone and I have yet to try the ‘18 vintage. Let me know if you do.

Red
2018 Château Fleur Cardinale St. Émilion Grand Cru Red Bordeaux Blend
8/22/2022 - PSanDiego Likes this wine:
94 points
Paid $48. Solid St Emilion 94. Very Nice.
  • Canoehead commented:

    8/23/22, 8:16 AM - Great price relative to what we pay up here in Canada. How long did you decant the wine for?

Red
2014 Château Cos d'Estournel St. Estèphe Red Bordeaux Blend
8/6/2022 - Triforwine Likes this wine:
94 points
First time trying this wine. Coravin pour then opened couple days later and allowed to slow ox part and decanted about half. This may be the most interesting left bank 2014 I’ve tried. On a mission to try the 14 vintage now for wines I have a few or lots Of. Deep dark purple core almost to rim. Opens beautifully but with air just keeps getting better. Lots of smoke, dark fruit and some spice. A bit tannic in the finish but very long and the tannin is not overbearing. Certainly this is a wine to hold but it’s going to be a classic st estephe and I don’t regret the decision to try one. 94+ potential 96 or more in 5-20 years. Will save other bottles. I’m just thinking if this is the quality of the 14, the 16 might just be exceptional.
  • Canoehead commented:

    8/12/22, 6:39 PM - I still find this a toddler with massive potential. 2024 is my next opening.

Red
2014 Château Gloria St. Julien Red Bordeaux Blend
8/9/2022 - Triforwine Likes this wine:
93 points
Outstanding QPR and definitely in a sweet spot if you like Gloria and I do. People who like a lot of fruit probably won't love Gloria but would be better off trying the 2015 and even then, they may have missed the window. This vintage was never a fruit forward one. That said, this is Another 2014 left bank wine that has really come along since the last one I tasted and may be more ready than many of the others I've tried recently. Pretty classic Gloria profile. Deep garnet with light purple rim. For me, I think I detect the Aroma of smoke,tobacco, and mushroom and wiff of dark fruit. Nice mouthfeel and minerality with some chocolate and mint in the palate as well as some mellow plum and cedar in the finish. Tannins still a bit puckering and the wine is still moderately dense. Starting to throw a good bit of sediment now compared to prior bottles. Should get better but really no reason to wait. Hard to assess longevity at this point as the slightly acidic tannins do compromise the finish just slightly. Drink now or hold a while if you have plenty of them. 93+
  • Canoehead commented:

    8/10/22, 3:47 PM - Agreed. Definitely requires food accompaniment. Charcuterie & cheeseboard provide enough fat and proteins to tame the tannin pucker.

Red
2002 Joseph Phelps Insignia Napa Valley Red Bordeaux Blend
7/26/2022 - Canoehead Likes this wine:
95 points
Side by side with 2001 Dominus @ Stone Peak Restaurant of the Overlander Lodge east of Jasper National Park. Picked off the
"Trophy Hunters" page of the wine list. Price was only C$410 and hard to resist. Decanted tableside by Michael. Twenty years on and the wine was ready to please out of the glass. Pronounced nose of steeped cassis and black cherry cobbler. Wisps of licorice, humidor and sweet mint. Medium plus body, good concentration. Great balance with seamless tannins and no alcohol heat. Medium plus finish. Paired with grilled pork chop and braised short ribs.
  • Canoehead commented:

    8/6/22, 6:27 PM - Hi KJ! The Dominus edged out the Insignia. It had a touch more staying power and seemed only in mid-life bd the Phelps probably starting to wane.
    Hey, any interest in coming to Island on Sat Aug 27th? Darren and I are looking at hosting a wine tasting for a few folks.

Red
2011 Le Vieux Pin Syrah Équinoxe Okanagan Valley VQA
7/25/2022 - Francois Le Mouel Likes this wine:
94 points
Amazing example of a cool vintage Okanagan Syrah. Even better than my last bottle. Long Long finish and perfectly balanced. Smooth tanins with a complex nose & palate (black & with pepper, leather, spices with floral notes...). Lovely and as good as the best Northern Rhone examples (more Côte Rôtie like than Hermitage). At its peak, but you can definitely wait another 3 years. I guess I should open my 2009 magnum soon.
  • Canoehead commented:

    7/29/22, 4:57 PM - Three years ago I thought these 11s needed a couple of more years to merge all the components together. I’ll try one this coming month. Thanks Francois.

Red
2015 Château Bellefont-Belcier St. Émilion Grand Cru Red Bordeaux Blend
7/22/2022 - Lcoppes Likes this wine:
94 points
I'm well and truly pleased with this wine, probably just entering it's phase of excellence. Fruit is abound with blackberry, cassis, dark cherry - it's not overly jammy but it's wonderfully dense. The other flavors are harmonizing and framing the fruitwith dark chocolate, anise, fennel, tobacco, leather. The acidity is still present, the tannins are fine and supple. There is a steely and balance mineral undertone that keeps it fresh. The body and finish are elegance defined. I'm really happy here!
  • Canoehead commented:

    7/23/22, 6:47 PM - Great TN, looking forward to opening one of ours this summer with good beef off the grill.

Red
2016 Château Joanin Bécot Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux Red Bordeaux Blend
5/6/2022 - KillerJones Likes this wine:
92 points
As Lawrence Welk might have put it – “wunneful”. Any smoother here & it’d be suede.

Earth, gravel & chocolate...yet not an ounce of tannic bitterness. Make this wine kinder and you’d be leading your blind nana across the street and tithing 15% of your income.

Very, very rewarding for a “lie down” & most certainly worth the half decade wait. My only issue? ..too much Cali @ 14.5%...

However, if you see this on a wine list - nab it.
  • Canoehead commented:

    7/23/22, 1:03 PM - KJ, couldn’t agree more. This was actually very good value.

Red
2019 Le Vieux Donjon Châteauneuf-du-Pape Red Rhone Blend
11/27/2021 - Rote Kappelle wrote:
95 points
I am going to throw a discordant note in here, possibly because I have been listening to Miles Davis' 'In A Silent Way' and also 'Bitches Brew'. I think it is good to blame the dead, as they can't strike back. So, if you don't like this, don't blame me, blame Miles; what a swine.

On any objective basis this is a fantastic wine with this proviso - 'if you like the style'. Now, that could be said of many, if not most wines, I admit. This is why I have scored this very high, because objectively, set against the criteria of Chateauneuf du Pape, this really hits the important notes. It is brooding, intense and long. It is complex, with blueberry and raspberry notes to offset the dark plum and there is some dark chocolate, a hint of lavender, charcuterie and something akin to sour cream. All good.

The next bits are negatives for me, but may well not be for others. You see I am afraid that, fundamentally, I am not mad on Grenache as a dominant presence. When it is ripe it usually throws up wines that smell and taste 'big' but that lack substance/middle palate. Along with the raspberry and game and other attractive qualities you get what is for me, a slightly sickly sweetness, distracting alcohol that the wine lacks body to absorb and something about all that turns my stomach slightly. I would love this wine if it the Grenache made up 10-20% less of the blend. But that would make it a very different wine.

My criticism can't detract from the obvious strengths of this wine as an expression of terroir and also as CdP. If you are fine with Grenache and love CdP this is not only really, really good as an expression of the place, but it is also very reasonably priced.

I love Clos des Papes and also Vieux Telegraphe, so this isn't about me not liking CdP. It is about my inner battle with Grenache. Sometimes the maker gets it right, in terms of my view on Grenache, as my love of Clos and Telegraphe shows. I probably should have been listening to Alestorm's 'Drink' or 'Fannybaws' (can one even publish that word without being sent immediately to hell?) and then my review might have been different.
  • Canoehead commented:

    12/2/21, 3:31 PM - Great TN - also goes well with Julie London smoky and sultry classics of the 50s and 60s.

  • Canoehead commented:

    7/12/22, 5:09 PM - Dear Rote, I believe sfwinelover1 was referring to Eric Asimov, the wine critic of the New York Times who expounds on vinification balance at the expense of a wine's evolution and ultimate potential. Although, on second thought, the sci-fi phenom Isaac Asimov and his infamous Three Laws of Robotics could be paraphrased/re-worked into Three Laws of Wine. 1) a wine may not injure a human (read: its gotta taste good and not distract with alcohol heat or green tannins or typical faults); 2) a wine must obey orders given to it by human beings (read: a wine is selected for occasion, food pairing or perceived readiness - in most cases, it probably "obeys" and delivers satisfaction); a wine must protect its own existence as long as it doesn't violate laws 1 & 2 (read: a wine is what is it composed of and how it is stored but ultimately the purchaser is responsible for the wine's condition). Would love to sit down some day with all the folks on this comment chain and share some fine CdP's on the table and in the glasses.

Red
2012 Altesino Brunello di Montalcino Our 40th Harvest Sangiovese
6/26/2022 - Francophile1 Likes this wine:
91 points
So my last two tastings of this wine were big disappointments including my most recent note where I had to pour it down the sink. No doubt my last bottle was flawed now having it again tonight. Tonight’s tasting very much redeemed this wine. It was fresh, vibrant and had everything I love about Brunello in the glass. Wide variation in the bottles in my cellar. Nevertheless, tonight’s bottle was great!
  • Canoehead commented:

    6/27/22, 10:34 AM - You give me hope that our last few bottles are waiting to wow us. Good TN.

Red
2016 Le Vieux Donjon Châteauneuf-du-Pape Red Rhone Blend
6/1/2022 - chablis28 wrote:
93 points
I've mostly moved on from CDP over the past 10yrs. That said, since ‘01, I’ve accumulated 3-4 btls of Donjon anyhow. I appreciate its old school concrete fermentation & foudre aging leading to a more balanced, site & fruit transparent style. Donjon also responds well to extended aging. I slowed oxed this in 2 Burg glasses & btl for 4 hrs prior to dinner. Sniffing & sipping my first '16 I’m smitten with its sense of damp forest floor aromas & flavors. There's also classic garrigue notes and berries on the nose & palate both. Love the fruit purity & terrior inspired, mineral, earth, forest floor & spice that so enhances the depth & experience. We drink CdP on the cooler side rarely allowing it to warm past 60 degrees & to mute any Alc impact. Still some youthful structural grip standalone but very elegant & smooth with food after 4hrs+. No rush to open, but if you do, give it plenty of air for the best experience. Next btl for us will be 2026+. 14.5% alc. 93+ Great tonight w/ Nita's cast iron skillet burgers & hobo potatoes!
  • Canoehead commented:

    6/3/22, 9:45 PM - Great TN. Vieux Donjon is our favourite CdP QPR-wise. What are hobo potatoes?

Red
2019 Domaine Saint-Damien Gigondas Vieilles Vignes La Louisiane Red Rhone Blend
5/10/2022 - Portland Seth Likes this wine:
92 points
This hides its 15% abv much better than the VV. Flowers, cherry, blackberry, black pepper, sandalwood, meat, leather, bitter herbs, cinnamon and talc. A nicely balanced GSM blend with each playing a role in harmony. 93 pts. in two years.
  • Canoehead commented:

    5/11/22, 11:13 AM - I agree PS, it may be accessible now but it will improve 2-3 yrs out. Great structure to the wine.

Red
2019 Maverick Estate Winery Syrah Bush Vine Okanagan Valley VQA
2/27/2022 - Dover drunk wrote:
92 points
This is quite a nice one
Not deep earthy but a fruity forward nose
The taste is a full bodied deep merlot it drys in your mouth it’s kinda rich not sweet and leaves a very enjoyable finish
A good buy
  • Canoehead commented:

    5/4/22, 8:25 AM - DD, we can’t find the Bush Vine Syrah anywhere here on the island (Landmark doesn’t have a rep here). Would you say this is worth a case purchase?

  • Canoehead commented:

    5/4/22, 1:36 PM - Thank you! Good luck with the cellar completion.

Red
2018 Black Hills Estate Nota Bene Okanagan Valley VQA Red Bordeaux Blend
4/26/2022 - Canoehead Likes this wine:
90 points
Molto Bene Nota Bene! (Vino Loco & Lolo's Seaside Tasting Lodge): Part of an eight vertical tasting. Nice bouquet of mixed berries and dark plums. On the palate, the fruit is a little more restrained due to alcohol, acid and tannin masking the wine in a sour, harsh and hot tussle . This is an infant that's teething. You love it but you don't like it for what it is now. You assess it for its future potential (that's the "90"). Hopefully it matures and becomes a doctor or lawyer or professional athlete ...with a nice cellar that you can raid with parental privileges. Seriously, its got very good structure but it needs to settle down. Vino Loco's second night assessment was the infant has rapidly turned into your abrasive bully type "that punches you in the face and is unapologetic for it". Needs time... we think!
  • Canoehead commented:

    4/27/22, 5:39 PM - KJ, take a look at the whole tasting story. We had a blast @ Vino Loco by the Sea. We’ve gotta get you to the island for one of these CT events.

Red
2015 Château Smith Haut Lafitte Pessac-Léognan Red Bordeaux Blend
4/4/2022 - Everything Ahead wrote:
93 points
This bottle was decanted for 6 hours then followed over 3 nights.
Extremely tannic and primary on the first night, but 24 hrs later started to open up a bit with notes of chocolate, licorice, and dark fruits. Still quite tannic (oak tannins in particular I think). Best on day 3. Very modern in style; nice dark color and palate presence. It has the stuffing to really improve with age, but I find it a bit modern for my taste. Somewhat overoaked, but with time this should integrate. Not many secondary characteristics as of yet. If your palate tends toward Napa, you will really adore this wine, and should add a few points to my score. Note to self: try the next bottle in 10 years. (Graded on potential)
  • Canoehead commented:

    4/5/22, 4:02 PM - This is an excellent TN. I applaud the “graded on potential” clarification. I have 2024 & -25 marked on the shelf. Thank you.

Red
2016 Vanessa Vineyard Syrah Similkameen Valley
3/13/2022 - dilbert64 Likes this wine:
91 points
I find this to be an excellent Syrah. On the nose, it's much more red fruit than black fruits with hints herbs. On the palate, the medium body is radiating bountiful of red cherries, redcurrant, and ripe strawberries with hints of Okanagan spice, in particular, Okanagan sage. The tannis is now fully integrated. The finish is medium long that is lively and refreshing. This is in its peak now, but can still be kept in top form for another two years or so.
  • Canoehead commented:

    3/15/22, 2:38 PM - Agreed! So good I don't want to share it!

Red
2018 Trefethen Cabernet Sauvignon Oak Knoll District
3/5/2022 - Addeatum Likes this wine:
91 points
A mea culpa. I have not drank many "top" end Napa cabs (and maybe this is not an example of same). Most Napa's I have drank are fruit forward, jammy and not really my style. I am more a left bank Bordeaux fan. Bought this because, for the second year in a row, it was awarded a best in show in the Decanter World Wine Awards. Clearly worth a go. Definitely not what I expected. While not austere that word came to mind. There was nothing lush about the wine. The wine was a dark magenta in the glass. The nose was muted but what there was brambles. The palette was mouth puckering. Some more bramble but a streak of iron and Oregon grape. Mouth watering acidity, substantial but not over powering tannins. It is clearly young. I have great anticipation for the development of this wine and am very glad I bought enough to try 3, 5 and more years out. 91 for now but believe that the next note will be more generous. I should try more Napa's, clearly they are not all fruit and flab.
  • Canoehead commented:

    3/11/22, 11:42 AM - G: Very good assessment. "Oregon grape" is a good tag, I think I'll use it when I come against those brambly foxy reds with acidic bite. I hope your later bottles develop into something more appealing!

Red
2019 Bachelder Gamay Noir L'Insouciant Niagara Peninsula VQA
3/10/2022 - maxima wrote:
88 points
Pour le prix, beau petit vin de patio.
Léger, frais et digeste.
Un beau glou glou pour ce printemps!
  • Canoehead commented:

    3/11/22, 11:35 AM - "Un beau glou glou pour ce printemps!" - C'est parfait! Love the "Glug Glug".

Red
2015 Le Vieux Pin Syrah Équinoxe Okanagan Valley VQA
3/4/2022 - Canoehead wrote:
88 points
Yeah, I’m not getting this premium Equinoxe Syrah product. This needed at least one hour decant to blow off the alcohol heat and stale reduction. There was a slight metallic element to the palate that persisted through a couple of glasses. The vintage rocked, the fruit had to be great quality, what happened in the winery? The ‘15 Cuvée Classique is head & shoulders above this. I may have had a bad batch of bottles.
  • Canoehead commented:

    3/5/22, 5:24 PM - You won’t get an argument out me on those underperformers. Phantom Creek is quickly assuming the crown of High Price/High Hype in the province. Coincidentally, I’ve opened for the first time the ‘18 Cab Merlot from One Faith. It was on the shelf @ Sidney’s Save-on Foods. It’s all oak and alcohol on first pass. I’ll write a TN later.

Red
2016 Serendipity Winery Devil's Advocate Okanagan Valley VQA Red Blend
3/3/2022 - Canoehead Likes this wine:
92 points
DV opened this the night before and wanted us to sample it tonight. Definitely some initial alcohol heat on the nose preventing any bouquet popping out. However, on the palate there is a core of fruit but it’s more savoury than sweet. Not sure if a little oxidation has muted the primary fruit. There is vanilla and spice from the oak treatment. Some zingy acidity but the tannins are fine and ripe. Good lingering finish. Once the alcohol heat has dissipated this has become an elegant, complex blend (unique Merlot/Syrah combo). There is a dk red / black fruit core with liquorice, coffee and iron. Can’t believe this is our first time trying this. Very well made.
  • Canoehead commented:

    3/4/22, 11:21 PM - KJ! Can’t comment on the ‘13, the ‘16 was the first I ever had of this. The vintage was ideal for both Merlot & Syrah, great long ripening conditions with cooler autumn nights. Gotta get you over to the island sooner than later. The cellar is bursting!

Red
2015 K Vintners Syrah The Beautiful Walla Walla Valley
2/24/2022 - Salute Likes this wine:
89 points
Bitter edges... will they recede after a couple more years?
Second night it had declined dramatically.
  • Canoehead commented:

    2/25/22, 1:26 PM - I believe you called it. This has had its peak period and just needs to be drunk up. Try it with a cheeseboard and cured meats. That’s what it needs now.

Red
2016 Andrew Will Sorella Champoux Vineyard Horse Heaven Hills Red Bordeaux Blend
2/20/2022 - darrenv Likes this wine:
94 points
Less than stellar notes, sorry. Canoehead will post a much more descriptive tasting note ;). I think he decanted this half the time I gave the Figgins and Sleight of Hand (four hours). It opened up as the tasting went on and I enjoyed this the most. Awesome nose, big, jammy dark berries and black fruits. It's up there among the best wines I've had.
  • Canoehead commented:

    2/25/22, 1:24 PM - Definitely needed the decant as it was still evolving at your table. Pleasure to share w you @ Doc Ross.

Red
2012 Figgins Estate Red Wine Walla Walla Valley Red Bordeaux Blend
2/20/2022 - darrenv Likes this wine:
93 points
I was at a loss of how to describe this. I had my pen and post-it notes and couldn't really think about my senses. All I wrote was cassis and then still somewhat tannic, good acidity, needs another three or four years. It is really nice wine and obviously well made. It just seemed to not be as integrated and easy to love as the Andrew Will.
  • Canoehead commented:

    2/25/22, 1:22 PM - Yes, it had all the quality components but this youngster still didn’t have the maturity or wow factor yet.

Red
2012 Sleight of Hand Cabernet Sauvignon The Illusionist Columbia Valley
2/20/2022 - darrenv Likes this wine:
92 points
This had a four hour decant, which probably wasn't necessary. Had a beautiful nose that I got Christmas spice/gingerbread right away. Maybe a molasses and tobacco note. The mouthfeel was like velvet. So smooth. It was strange though, at about two hours into a Washington tasting (with Andrew Will Sorella and Figgins Estate) it seemed to drop off and made me think it's past it's prime, then a while later it perked up. I've never had quite this much of a change back and forth before. Bottom line, I'd drink this sooner than later and don't decant. Really nice wine especially for the price.
  • Canoehead commented:

    2/25/22, 1:21 PM - Good TN. Thanks for sharing. It was ready to drink.

Red
2015 LaStella Fortissimo Okanagan Valley VQA SuperTuscan Blend
2/18/2022 - Canoehead Likes this wine:
90 points
For the first 30-40 minutes I was leaning towards Francois’ recent experience with this same wine. It was backward, funky & with acetate wisps on the nose, acid in the front, fruit barely discernible. I thought my last four bottles would be for braising and deglazing! Yet, time in the decanter seemed to stitch this sleeper together. Because it became quite enjoyable. The fruit was evolving to a savoury core of steeped cassis and bing cherry. Acid was there but integrated with alcohol and tannin. Not a bad drop. I would drink up any remaining bottles now but initially decant for 30+ mins. Paired with eggplant parmigiana.
  • Canoehead commented:

    2/20/22, 3:03 PM - Francois, my wife reminded me that the one thing we did notice after removing the foil prior to opening was the cork was a bit depressed on one side at the top. This could indicate a less than ideal bottling run and the corking mechanism was not calibrated or the sometimes the line is not dialed to the correct bottle width and the bottles can move which can impact both the closure phase but also the vacuum phase when the small blast of nitrogen is applied post filling. Maybe some but not all bottles were affected. Bonne chance, mon ami!

Red
2015 Le Vieux Pin Merlot Équinoxe Okanagan Valley
2/19/2022 - ajbergren wrote:
95 points
Deep red with tinges of purple, very high optical density and low, dull specular reflectivity. Medium intensity of aromas, with tart cherry, cranberry, and plums mingling in a tantalizing array. Backing this up is leather, dusty forest floor, and smoked truffles. Nice depth on the nose.

On the palate, rich and full bodied with a polished texture showing integrated, but still present tannins. Medium acidity and very dry, but with a glossy glycerin surface. Flavours of rich mixed fruits on the attack (plum, blueberry, and raspberry), with good intensity. Strong entry with a medium amount of complexity. At midpalate, things develop toward vegetal notes and leather, with crushed tobacco leaf, where the attack gives way to the fruit for these tertiary notes. Finishes with some light smokey leather and baked fruit skins, with very nice length. Overall intensity is high, while complexity is medium plus or so.

This is a lovely bottle that is in a great place. Definitely showing age nicely, with enough complexity to appreciate. Mostly this takes the form of evolution of flavours down the middle, with some light touches to the sides (more stacked flowing layers than all simultaneous). Very easy to drink and appreciate more with thought, showing a balanced elegance. Definitely one of the nicer bottles of Merlot I've had the pleasure of drinking! This hits my biases nicely, so bonus points put this a few higher for the sheer fun factor of this one!
  • Canoehead commented:

    2/20/22, 2:43 PM - AJ, great TN. We just bought a few bottles of this alongside a member's purchase. Couldn't be more excite to try it. Love the "bonus points" element for "hitting my biases nicely"! I've had those types of bottle outcomes in the past but haven't been able to verbalize as well as you. 2015 Consensus comes to mind - definitely earned points for a bias bullseye! I'll write a TN when we open our first Equinoxe Merlot.

Red
2015 Tenuta di Arceno Il Fauno Di Arcanum Toscana IGT SuperTuscan Blend
Canned green beans.
  • Canoehead commented:

    2/18/22, 4:49 PM - The recommended food pairing? Or the vegetal mess in the bottle?

Red
2014 Black Hills Estate Nota Bene Okanagan Valley VQA Red Bordeaux Blend
2/13/2022 - Vino Loco Likes this wine:
90 points
Mid to dark colour, starting to show some age. Dried cherry, fermented strawberries, green pepper, maybe some licorice or something else savoury.

Very drinkable, but a short finish and lacks complexity. That said, so much better than earlier bottles - optimal drinking window?

I apparently have 11 bottles left, but I trust my inventory tracking as much as I would trust a salad from China.
  • Canoehead commented:

    2/14/22, 12:23 PM - Mmmmm, panda salad!

    The 2014 NB showed well this weekend for us.

  • Canoehead commented:

    2/14/22, 12:36 PM - VL - lets start planning that vertical! Things should get a bit more relaxed soon. I'll send you an email with further comment.

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