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Comments on my notes

(30 comments on 27 notes)

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Red
2019 Scattered Peaks Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
11/19/2021 - The Drunken Cyclist Likes this wine:
91 points
Retail $40. Big. Ass. Bottle. Joel Aiken, winemaker. Right off the front, this is a ridiculous bottle--clearly the fine people at Purple Wines have no love for the planet as this bottle must weigh well over two pounds and more than twice what it needs to be. Either they think the consumers are complete idiots or, indeed, consumers *are* as dumb as rocks by using this bottle. I almost want to leave it there since this really ticks me off, but there is wine in the bottle and it is fairly good, punching above its price point (I almost said "weight class" but even I can't use that pun here). A load of red and dark fruit with a surprising amount of dark earth on the nose, it is quite enticing in the glass. On the palate, it is much the same with great balance and plenty of weight, stopping far short of being over the top. Excellent. If I had any integrity, I would give this 49 points because of the bottle, but I like Joel Aiken (and I am pretty sure the bottle choice was not his).

www.thedrunkencyclist.com
  • Joe the Critic commented:

    1/12/22, 4:54 PM - I just opened a bottle and was impressed as well — it has nice balance and restraint that is hard to find in Napa cabs at this price point.
    FYI this is on sale for $20 right now at my neighborhood Costco in AZ.

Red
2015 Bodegas Burgo Viejo Rioja Palacio de Primavera Reserva Tempranillo
11/7/2020 - EMark wrote:
Tart mixed red/dark berry fruit. Medium bodied--fairly lean mouthfeel. Some mid-palate herbalness suggesting mint. An OK everyday drinker, but not a compelling wine.
  • Joe the Critic commented:

    6/24/21, 3:36 PM - This is currently $11.99 at my neighborhood Costco FYI.

Red
2018 Oberon Cabernet Sauvignon Napa County
4/17/2020 - cclearningwine wrote:
89 points
89+ for balance and value. It has a beautiful garnet gem color. It's medium+ to full bodied with smooth tannins. The blend shows some dimension with lush dark fruit and some sweet oak and hints of coca and vanilla to balance. I would definitely buy this wine again for a weeknight plush cabernet. The blend
  • Joe the Critic commented:

    1/17/21, 6:03 PM - I wish more wines included an element of coca.

Red
2016 Château La Prade Francs Côtes de Bordeaux Red Bordeaux Blend
10/21/2019 - csimm1161 wrote:
91 points
So what's worth noting here is the QPR at $17 bucks. For what it delivers, it's stupid not to have a stash in hand for your friends that could give a crap about wine, but you don't want to suffer by either popping an expensive wine they could care less about, or droning through a gross cheap bottle just to save your wallet. Enter the Prade. A wine you can enjoy without getting hounded by a debt collector.

Will it blow your socks off.....errr....probably not. But it'll certainly fool you into believing you're knocking back a mid-level Bordeaux that delivers in both great berry flavor and enough structure and speed to keep the party going. Maybe the best QPR out there given what it delivers? It's not so old school that all you’re tasting is currant, white pepper, and dirt, this Prade has a solid core of black cherry, plum, red and black currant, and even bitter chocolate flavors. Add a slight earthy-floral note, and you have a decent bottle of juice here.

Give it a couple years to gain some weight, but otherwise, this is a fun little goober that makes for a readily accessible cheap date. 91++ points.
  • Joe the Critic commented:

    1/13/20, 1:34 PM - great note - most of my cellar is this type of wine. Just found some for 15 bucks at a Bay Area Costco, so can’t resist getting giving it a try.

Red
2016 Château Tour Saint-Christophe St. Émilion Grand Cru Red Bordeaux Blend
9/21/2019 - Jeff Leve wrote:
95 points
With layers of ripe, juicy fruits, crushed stone, truffle, licorice and smoke, this is showing just great. There is volume, depth and definition, with energy and length. Lay this down for 7 years and enjoy it over the next 15 years or even longer.
  • Joe the Critic commented:

    11/4/19, 2:11 PM - Today I was shocked to find this at my local Costco for $25.99! That's less than I paid two years ago en primeur. I have no room in my cellar, but I picked up a couple more bottles anyway.

  • Joe the Critic commented:

    11/5/19, 1:56 PM - Hi MSheridan, currently in the U.S. the lowest price from wine-searcher is $33 from Zachys in NYC, but shipping would be expensive for just a few bottles (and temperatures during shipping are a concern). My local wine store is offering it for $42, which seems a bit inflated.

Red
2016 Château Malescasse Haut-Médoc Red Bordeaux Blend
The fruit, tannins, and acidity are all there, but I find this a bit rustic and hard to drink. I suspect it needs a few years to soften. If I were scoring it now, I might give it 88 points, but I hope it gets better.
  • Joe the Critic commented:

    8/24/19, 2:25 PM - thanks for the insight, Bob. good to know.

Red
2018 Château La Fleur Morange Mathilde St. Émilion Red Bordeaux Blend
4/19/2019 - Jeff Leve wrote:
91 points
Round, fresh, ripe and focused on its core of black cherry, smoke, licorice and mineral notes, this is going hit the tip with just a few years of age. 90-92 Pts
  • Joe the Critic commented:

    5/6/19, 12:52 PM - There's a JD tasting note provided by one wine store that claims that "the 2018 Château La Fleur Morange Mathilde is a blend of 75% Merlot and 35% [sic] Cabernet Franc"

    Ignoring the arithmetic (perhaps there was -10% Malbec?), can you please confirm whether this wine now includes Cab Franc? I hope not and assume not, because their Merlot is so outstanding on its own.

Red
2018 Château Laroque St. Émilion Grand Cru Red Bordeaux Blend
4/19/2019 - Jeff Leve wrote:
94 points
Inky in hue, the wine looks like a dark gemstone with purple around the edge. With just one swirl, you get black and blue fruits, flowers, incense, licorice, dark chocolate and smoke. Powerful, full-bodied, concentrated, and intense, this vintage is at an entirely new level for Laroque. The wine manages to remain balanced between its opulent nature, incredible level of density, silky palate feel and length. The wine was made with 97% Merlot and 3% Cabernet Franc, reaching 14.5 alcohol with a pH of 3.48. This is your hot tip of the day: Chateau Laroque is a diamond in the rough and the wine sells for a pittance despite the high level of quality. This will change as the wine gets discovered so buy it now if this reads like your style of wine. 93-95 Pts
  • Joe the Critic commented:

    4/26/19, 3:54 PM - thanks, Jeff - these early ratings are very helpful.
    I would trust you over JD any day of the week.

Red
2016 Château Sénéjac Haut-Médoc Red Bordeaux Blend
12/24/2018 - Motz wrote:
90 points
From a half. Very interesting, particularly compared to the rustically restrained 2015 vintage tasted recently. This features surprising forwardness and a distracting level of 'sweet' oak staves, even after several hours of air. There is substance to the wine, albeit more suave than powerful. The wine also imparts an impression of compact precision, which the oak overpowers at present. A 'different' style of Sénéjac to be sure.

In sum, not what I expected (given the hype surrounding the 2016 vintage), at least not yet. One might hope that the oak recedes over the next several months, as there is too much of it now. Also, while I do not know the assemblage of previous vintages, this struck me as showcasing Merlot, which lends the wine a certain softness.

The elements that made the 2010 vintage spectacular, brawny structure and deep, inflection changing, substance have gone on hiatus here, at least for now. It does need time, but I do not think it will ever command attention in the way that the 2010 vintage does. 90-91.
  • Joe the Critic commented:

    4/16/19, 9:08 PM - Just opened a bottle from the case I bought en primeur, and found it lovely -- a bit confected at present, but loads of sweet cassis, acidity in balance, and the gentlest of tannins. The wine was evolving in the glass from minute to minute, and the confected fruit became more pure with air. I never tasted the 2010, but this is head and shoulders better than their mediocre 2014.

Red
2015 Domaine Giraud Châteauneuf-du-Pape Premices Red Rhone Blend
10/21/2017 - srh Likes this wine:
Red Châteauneuf-du-Papes (Vintage Wines Ltd., San Diego, CA): 100% Grenache, destemmed, 2/3 aged in concrete tanks, 1/3 aged in barriques; 915 cs made

N: Closed; Berries, garrigue with notes of smoke

P: Med, poss LM, body; ALMOST swtish frt met by a bit of puckerish astringency which quite resolves by the LONG, slightly tangy, almost swtish finish. Certainly approachable now, though might improve into early Summer '18, then drink nicely through '20, poss longer. 92 pts ea WA & WS, 90-92 Vinous, and 15.5/20 Jancis Robinson. [IF still available, this vendor's $32.95 is $2 < the next lowest of wine-searcher's late June 2018 postings.]
  • Joe the Critic commented:

    4/9/19, 11:57 AM - and now offered for $20 on K&L. I've always wanted to try some CdP but was stopped by the price, until now.

    Thanks for the helpful note.

Red
2015 Le Marquis de Calon Ségur St. Estèphe Red Bordeaux Blend
5/21/2018 - Jeff Leve wrote:
90 points
Medium bodied, with a sweet, earthy, leaf and cherry filled character, you can drink this young, while waiting for the Grand Vin to come around.
  • Joe the Critic commented:

    2/2/19, 12:22 PM - how young? would you drink this on release, or cellar it for a few years?

Red
2016 Château d'Aiguilhe Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux Red Bordeaux Blend
10/30/2018 - ESCO wrote:
91 points
This wine, in our opinion, is an absolute steal. A steal.

We have had several other vintages and loved them all ( 07, 10, 14) ....and is with some surprise therefore that we say this is a wine waiting to be discovered . Or if not discovered , then certainly more widely appreciated. It is so easy going, so willing to please.

Soft red fruit core with sour cherries and brambles to the fore, generous mid palate backed by some quite strong tannin , and a lengthy ,exquisite finish.Classy mouthful, and classy spice aftertaste mean this wine is so good that we think the owners could easily, easily sell their product for double the present price without disappointment. If you are watching your pennies, and want quality in the bargain department you really need look no further.....It is a complete Bordeaux no brainer......T
  • Joe the Critic commented:

    1/11/19, 3:47 PM - I agree this Chateau is a great value -- although usually above my price range -- I have a single bottle of their 2014 that I'm waiting to try in the next year or two.
    I think you would also enjoy Domaine De l'A, the other leading producer from this appellation.
    It seems that Cotes de Castillon and Cotes de Francs offer the most value in Bordeaux these days.

Red
2016 Château Puygueraud Francs Côtes de Bordeaux Red Bordeaux Blend
1/7/2019 - Joe the Critic Likes this wine:
92 points
I'm with Jeff Leve on this one -- a confected nose, tons of sweet cassis and red fruit flavors and a note of licorice on the palate, soft tannins, perfect balance, and a long finish make this at least as good as their 2009.

This is one of the top values in red wine under $20 from anywhere, imao.
  • Joe the Critic commented:

    1/9/19, 7:38 PM - I have two small wine cellars that can hold a combined five cases or so, and space is a problem when there’s a good vintage or two. So I buy a few expensive wines to age, and the rest is stored in a closet and drunk within a year or two.

    In this case, the fruit is lush and sweet while the tannins are round and soft, so it is drinking very well. One might still age this anyway to see what happens, or to load up on a value that may not be available in a few years.

    Bordeaux from good vintages is made to age, in that it has enough fruit to hold up well for years. I have other Right Bank (merlot / Cab Franc blends) from 2010 and 2012 that are holding up very well. (Based on what the wine writers say, it seems that good Merlot-based Bordeaux wines can often age for 8 or 9 years, while good Left Bank wines can go much longer. I’m referring to under $30 wines, not classified growths.)

Red
2014 Château Montlandrie Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux Red Bordeaux Blend
5/22/2018 - Joe the Critic wrote:
85 points
It seems like the Cote de Castillon is the sweet spot for well-priced wine in the Bay Area lately, as I have found a number of bargains including this one, on sale for less than $15.

This has good acidity, flavors of cassis and blackberry, and chalky tannins. I find the tannins a little raw and the fruit a bit short to be really enjoyable.
  • Joe the Critic commented:

    10/11/18, 5:44 PM - lol ManuKey -- you may have affordable healthcare, but I have inexpensive Bordeaux!

    I won't mention what I recently scored for just $8 US...

    https://www.cellartracker.com/wine.asp?iWine=2353601&searchId=9DFD1627%23selected%253DW2659670_1_K9b04a327da0937c044e6195db4adcf01

White
2008 Domaine William Fèvre Chablis 1er Cru Les Lys Chardonnay
10/10/2018 - jbaron wrote:
93 points
This one has that je me sais qua that’s so enchanting.
  • Joe the Critic commented:

    10/10/18, 8:07 PM - Its "je ne sais quoi" is also impressive.

Red
2014 Château Montlandrie Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux Red Bordeaux Blend
5/1/2015 - Jeff Leve wrote:
90 points
75% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon produced a wine with a deep color coupled with floral, boysenberry and cocoa sensations. Lush, fat and sweet, this is only the second vintage for Denis Durantou in the Cotes de Castillon, yet, it’ s easy to get what he’s aiming for, with its plush, rich textures and ripe, sweet fruits. 90-91
  • Joe the Critic commented:

    5/22/18, 5:34 PM - You meant to say 75% Merlot

Red
2015 Château Cap de Faugères Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux Red Bordeaux Blend
12/9/2017 - sleepyhaus wrote:
This wine approaches the precipice of modernity without falling into the pit. That is to say, it is a bit sweet and forward, but not over the top, and while the fruit is dense in 2015 it isn't roasted and the wine is not dominated by wood. In fact, there is a good amount of material here and it is drinking well already, with what should be a long life in front of it. Petite chateaux in top years represent, IMO, some of the best value wines available. This is like $14 from some retailers, and it is a lot of wine for that price. I will likely buy more. This is an easy wine to grab a case of and consume over the next five to ten years while the more structured wines develop.
  • Joe the Critic commented:

    5/9/18, 12:29 AM - I live in California, and love to visit our local wineries. But none of them are interested in serving the $15-20 segment for red wine, so instead I buy wines like this one.

  • Joe the Critic commented:

    5/9/18, 7:15 PM - In Bordeaux the desirable land sells for a fortune, and many of the best chateaux are corporate-owned. Of the ones who are family-owned, many have changed hands as some families expand and others cash out.
    Probably the big difference is that Bordeaux producers are making wine for export, and they have to compete with all the other wine producing regions in France and elsewhere. Small producers in California use tasting rooms to flog average Cabernet to uninformed wine tourists for $25-30 per bottle.

Red
2010 Tronquoy de Sainte-Anne St. Estèphe Red Bordeaux Blend
Quite sweet and fruity, but with a funky cooked aftertaste that makes me suspect this wine is past its prime. It is distinctly New World in character, with a candied, "twizzlers"-like quality like that doesn't resemble a typical left-bank Bordeaux.

It's not a bad value for $17, but there are many Crus Bourgeois in this price range that offer more balance and Bordeaux character.
  • Joe the Critic commented:

    3/28/18, 1:46 AM - It depends of course on what is available from your local sources. The 2015 and 2016 Bordeaux are reasonably priced as pre-arrivals, and the 2015s are just starting to arrive now.

    For specific Chateaux in this price range, I like Puygueraud, Cap de Faugeres, Lanessan, Senejac; and, for a little bit more, Joanin Becot, Sarget de Gruaud Larose, and La Chapelle de Calon.

Red
2014 Château Capbern St. Estèphe Red Bordeaux Blend
2/14/2017 - Joe the Critic Likes this wine:
88 points
Dry, medium-bodied, slightly astringent with dark fruit notes (perhaps plum skin?) This has nice balance and Left Bank typicity, but I don't feel it has enough fruit or character to make it a particularly good value for around $20. Still, one could do a lot worse at this price point.

The alcohol weighs in at a hefty 14.5%, suggesting that ripeness was not a problem. I suspect this could improve with another 2 or 3 years of age.
  • Joe the Critic commented:

    2/5/18, 7:16 PM - Right, I paid $20 for the 2014 on a prearrival basis from K&L Wines. (Around $22 with sales tax, which varies by state and even by county.) They don’t have the 2014 in stock, but they are selling the 2015 for $24 as of now.

    Prices in the U.S. vary widely — East Coast retailers seem to charge more for Bordeaux, sometimes a lot more. If you are interested in having wine shipped (not sure if that is possible across the border), I would check out K&L in the Bay Area and Wine Exchange in L.A.

Red
2014 Tapiz Cabernet Sauvignon Alta Collection Mendoza
11/22/2017 - Purple Tooth wrote:
90 points
Not going to be a wine snob here...This was a really nice Cabernet expression for 15 quid! Far better alternative to any napa cab I have drank in the last several years at this price point. Definitely green peppercorn from the cabernet fruit with crunch, perfect use of quality new oak, and sexy tannins. I especially like the balance in the sweetness...Its spot on and not over the top. Just bought six after trying a glass...Drink!

Im starting to think a particular critic out there is stoned while sampling wine...his rating is 96.
  • Joe the Critic commented:

    12/9/17, 2:28 AM - Interesting discussion of scoring. My understanding of the 100 point scale is that it is really a 15-point scale, with 85 anchoring the bottom range. I don’t remember ever seeing a RP or JS rating lower than 87 or maybe 86. So for me, a rating of 85-86 indicates jug wine quality: maybe acceptable for an office party or for someone’s everyday wine, but not a wine that one could really enjoy.

Red
2010 Domaine Charles Audoin Marsannay Les Favières Pinot Noir
I expected good things, and got more than I expected. A really good wine, balanced and complex with fantastic flinty stone underpinning and ripe fruit with good acidity. Wish I could still find this producer in the US. Super solid.
  • Joe the Critic commented:

    9/29/17, 8:49 PM - FYI my wife found the 2014 for sale at Costco in South San Francisco.

  • Joe the Critic commented:

    9/30/17, 10:30 AM - Yes, it's Martine's

White
2014 Meulenhof Erdener Treppchen Riesling Kabinett Mosel Saar Ruwer
5/20/2016 - eoin harkins wrote:
flawed
not sure what to think, only that it was a screw cap I would have thought this was corked ...
  • Joe the Critic commented:

    11/9/16, 8:27 PM - Have you ever tried many German Rieslings before? From your comment, it appears not -- screw caps have been the default for several years for this region.

Red
2009 Château de Birot Premières Côtes de Bordeaux Red Bordeaux Blend
1/3/2015 - Vinimus wrote:
76 points
K&L Wines have been selling these bottles like hot cakes over the holidays from the combination of the word Bordeaux (never mind the Cotes) and 2009, a good year for Bordeaux. The price makes it feel like a bargain. It isn't. K&L Wines is very good at correctly pricing (or overpricing) its wines for the quality.

If in Europe, at best, a below average bistro or trattoria where people don't order by label might carry this as the house wine served in carafes to drown below-average pizza or sandwich with. I suspect K&L Wines got boatloads of this when very few bistros in France or UK wanted it.

It is ridiculously thin. A bit fruity like new world wines than an old-world Bordeaux which might appeal to the New World millenials with very little exposure to Old World wines.

No finish whatsoever - who needs a finish when you are gulfing down pizza or a hamburger along with it? Berry aromas tinged with too much alcohol and just enough tannins to not make it just a cooking wine. It will stay on your rack for another few months if necessary because of the Tannin content but won't get any better.

The best thing that can be said is that it is easy to drink for anybody and not overly alcoholic to get buzzed with a few sips.

This is the kind of wine that gives Cotes de Bordeaux a bad name with its very uneven output (even in a good year) but can be easily sold in the US based on the price and the Bordeaux word on the label.
  • Joe the Critic commented:

    6/17/15, 1:41 PM - So true! K&L is great at over-selling low end Bordeaux. None of their offerings in this price range are particularly good values.

Red
2010 Château Caronne Ste. Gemme Haut-Médoc Red Bordeaux Blend
1/30/2014 - MilesMonkMingus wrote:
85 points
After enjoying previous vintages of this wine, the 2010 was rather a disappointment. A missed opportunity to excel in this amazing vintage. Bummer. Could be bottle variation, or perhaps I caught it in an awkward drinking window, etc. Usually a strong performer and worthy of case purchases.
  • Joe the Critic commented:

    5/22/14, 8:12 PM - I agree completely. The 2009 was a much better wine. Maybe this will come around, but Caronne Ste. Gemme is not considered a wine to cellar.

Red
2010 Château Puy-Blanquet St. Émilion Grand Cru Red Bordeaux Blend
10/19/2013 - theguy wrote:
82 points
Uh....a Grand Cru? Not for me. Thin. Very little nose. Funny finish. I would not buy again.
  • Joe the Critic commented:

    5/9/14, 11:37 AM - The Grand Cru designation in St. Emilion is comparable to a Cru Bourgeois classification for an Haut Medoc. It is the lowest level of classification for the region and doesn't imply much.

Red
2008 Château Gloria St. Julien Red Bordeaux Blend
10/7/2013 - Joe the Critic Likes this wine:
89 points
I've been disappointed by this wine in the past, so I didn't expect much last night when I opened one of my last bottles. This bottle still had some fruit, and didn't taste of stewed prunes or overcooked broccoli. Instead, this was a delicate wine with subdued notes of cassis or black cherry that rolled off the tongue and down the throat like a gentle spring rain. There was not much length or complexity, but it was thoroughly enjoyable.

I would drink this up now if I still had any in my cellar.
  • Joe the Critic commented:

    10/24/13, 2:46 PM - In reply to Ibetian, I'm not qualified to say whether this wine could age for a few more years, since 2008 is the first Bordeaux vintage that I've collected. My comment to "drink this up now" was just a guess, based on two out of my three bottles that seemed to have passed their peak.

Red
2010 Château La Fleur Morange Mathilde St. Émilion Red Bordeaux Blend
5/3/2013 - Jeff Leve wrote:
91 points
I keep posting tasting notes on the wines from Jean Francois Julien , La Fleur Morange so people can find out about the best value from St. Emilion today. From 50 year old vines, this concentrated, deep wine is filled with licorice, blackberries and earth. This is the most powerful vintage from the estate yet. Give it 2-3 years to let the wine soften and develop. This is a purchase by the case wine.
  • Joe the Critic commented:

    5/16/13, 12:51 PM - Totally agree -- this is a delicious wine that I could happily drink every day. Last year I bought a few bottles and regretted not getting more before it sold out. Today I noticed it back in stock and just picked up a case.

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