Tasting Notes for NPWolfe

(259 notes on 176 wines)

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White
9/22/2010 - NPWolfe wrote:
Wine Spectator Smart Buy recommendation. WS liked it more than I did. Very much a food wine. We had it because we just wanted a glass of white wine - at least for us, just not that kind of wine. Very pale color. Very mineral nose and taste. Lots of acid and minerals on the palate. Some lemon lime and a little bit of flowers and some green apple. Nice long finish. Would be just perfect with seafood or a mushroom cream soup. If we had tasted the wine with fish I would probably be talking about how a low end Chablis is just the perfect wine for a throw together fish dinner on Wednesday night.
Red
9/22/2010 - NPWolfe wrote:
This bottle was just a little off. Not off enough to be bad, but off enough so that the wow was not there.
Red
9/22/2010 - NPWolfe wrote:
One hour decant. Faintly hot when we started drinking, which was gone by the end of the meal. Rich, with herbs and leather. Probably was a fruit bomb 3 years ago, but now just rich and fat. Nice nose of leather and some black fruit. Hang around finish. Clearly Syrah, no way to mistake it for something else. VG to Excellent bottle of wine.
Red
8/24/2010 - NPWolfe wrote:
As Burgundian as I can imagine a California Pinot Noir every being. Very nice bottle of wine.
Red
8/24/2010 - NPWolfe wrote:
Bought on a whim.
Drunk on a lark.
Regretted on both accounts.
White
7/20/2010 - NPWolfe wrote:
In 1964 the Saturday Evening Post put Carolyn Hester on its cover. For those of you not nodding in recognition, Carolyn Hester was one of the preeminent folk singers of the early 1960s. So well respected was Hester that both Buddy Holly and Bob Dylan recorded with her. Then the British came, Dylan went electric at Newport in 1965, the world changed and very few people today recognize Hester’s name. I am sure that there are thousands of wineries world wide that have had a similar fate, in that they are not as well recognized today as they once were.

The Abbazia di Novacella, which is one of the oldest wineries in the world, surely must fall into that category. The abbey was started in 1142 by Augustinian Monks. The recent quality at the winery has improved dramatically and in 2009 the vintner, Celestino Lucin was named winemaker of the year by Gambero Rosso, an Italian food and wine magazine. The Kerner grape is a cross between Riesling and Trollinger (a red varietal grown almost exclusively in Germany). While the initial cross was made in 1929, it was not until 1969 that the grape received varietal protection and was released for general cultivation.

There were some really interesting features to the wine. Light nose with a citrus and light honeysuckle vine smell. Some very slight woody smells, more along the smell of grape vines then wooden barrels. Riesling features clearly dominate the flavor profile. Orange and citrus flavors, with some residual sugar. The wine could have used more acid as a counterpoint to the sugar. A distinct but not pronounced rose water taste. The finish had a strong orange flavors but also Pinot Noir cherry flavors. More body than a light Riesling. The wine fell into the pleasant category, as in enjoyable but not particularly notable. Certainly worth a try, both to taste a unique varietal as well as to see a different take on Italian whites.
White
7/17/2010 - NPWolfe wrote:
An outside on the porch or sit down with left overs kind of Chardonnay. A mix of stainless steel fermentation and oak barrel fermentation. Popped and poured. Light, crisp, green apple aroma. Medium bodied. No obvious faults. The best attribute of the wine is how well it is put together, nothing out of whack. Green apple and vanilla in the taste. Enough acid to be pleasant.
Red
7/17/2010 - NPWolfe wrote:
Fedric Koeppel, in his July 3rd entry on his Bigger Than Your Head blog, went all Alice-Feiring-nuclear on the “international style” of cabernet. To wit, “I’m so tired of this crapola. I just want to pour out these damned wines. I’m tired of interchangeable cabernet-based wines that could have been made in Napa or Sonoma, Tuscany or Peidmont, Barossa or Coonawara, Rapel or Mendoza or Walla Walla because they all look and smell and taste and feel the same. Lord, I’m so weary of carefull-calibrated, committe-made cabernets that the toe the line of all the popular, 95-point conventions and cliches.”

Cornerstone is pretty much one of “those” cabernets. Served just above cellar temperature. Slight bottle stink. Slight sour taste that disappeared with about 30 minutes of decanting. Fair amount of sediment. Blackish red color. Blackberry jam and vanilla nose. Thick on the palate with jammy flavors, vanilla, oak, and tannins. Soft finish. Worked well with steak and potatoes. Even though I share Koeppel’s sentiment, I did still find this to be an enjoyable bottle of wine.
White
7/17/2010 - NPWolfe wrote:
Really, hasn’t Burgundy answered the question of how much you should oak Chardonnay pretty conclusively over the last 100 years. Just because we are the New World do we have to have this debate again. Also, I just don’t care that the Wine Enthusiast scored this sucker 92. This wine was so over oaked that it was pretty much undrinkable. Better the second day, but that is not saying much. Going to retry in about 5 years. I am thinking it has enough oak that it will easily last a decade. Five years from today I think it might be okay.
White
7/1/2010 - NPWolfe wrote:
Despite the easy criticism of the publication, I really like the Wine Spectator and look forward to each issue. In the latest issue (July 31, 2009) and in what has to be the most ironic column of his entire career, Matt Kramer asks use to look beyond the hype that goes with marketing wine and instead to focus on wines of substance, to focus on wines without the hype. Hello, McFly, anybody home - Mr. Kramer apparently you overlooked the obvious, but the primary goal of the Spectator is to hype wine.

If you happen to be on the Shafer Vineyards mailing list, then you know how good they are at marketing. The yearly catalog is one very slick production that makes you feel privilege to be able to order their wines. Despite the hype, I really like their wines and the Red Shoulder Ranch Chardonnay is no exception. They seem year after year to turn out wines that are white-picket-fence perfect, nothing to blow you away, but nothing to disappoint you either.

Straw and gold color. Aromas showing a little age, but in pleasant way - floral, honey, a little tropical fruit. Butter, green apple, lemon, oak flavors with enough acid to give some structure. Worked really well with roasted chicken where rosemary was the primary spice. A very nice wine.
Red
6/28/2010 - NPWolfe wrote:
While not as absolute as the Third Law of Thermodynamics, it is certainly an axiom that child stars often end up badly. Take Lindsay Lohan for example, some time between The Parent Trap (1998) and Mean Girls (2004) she clearly “jumped the shark” and it has pretty much been downhill since then.

This inaugural vintage of The Mad Hatter had something of a child star aspect to it, when the Wine Spectator included it the Recommended Wines section and the IWC gave it a nod. Decanted for one hour. Still has excellent color and a firm body, but aromas and flavors of over ripe and cooked fruit dominate – which is also a pretty good description of the current state of Lindsay Lohan.
Red
6/28/2010 - NPWolfe wrote:
Oliver Stone is out with a new movie, “South of the Border”, about Hugo Chavez. As with all of his movies, Stone takes factual events and manipulates them, oft times with small regard for the facts. That was and is fine for his other movies, which were clearly stories. However, “South of the Border” is suppose to be a documentary. A problem which lead Entertainment Weekly to call the film, “rose-colored agitprop”. While this is hardly an original thought, it occurs to me that wine should be a documentary of grape, place, season, and style. Once a vintner has started to mechanical manipulate the wine, then a point is reached where the wine ceases to be a statement and becomes rose-colored agitprop, with no more adherence to the truth than Stone’s film.

No micro-oxygenation or reverse osmosis for Laura Volkman. Just grapes from her 3.5 acre vineyard, fermentation tanks, oak barrels, and bottling. St. James Estate is the wine that does not make it into her two premier cuvees. Light brick red color. Effusive nose that many a more expensive Pinot would kill to have. Pleasant aromas of cherry cough syrup and a harder smokey undertone. Ready to drink from the bottle. Soft and supple with a pretty mouth feel. Light bodied. Same cherry and smokey flavors carry over to the taste. Light finish (which lingered longer the second day). Gold medal finalist in the category, “Honey, do we have a really good Pinot to drink that is not too expensive”.
Red
6/26/2010 - NPWolfe wrote:
Since I first drank this wine, two and half years ago, my taste in wine has changed and I have become less reticent to blast wines that I don't like. With that preamble, here is what I now think of this wine.

Wouldn’t it be hilarious if Jim Rome of Jim Rome is Burning did wine reviews. I can just hear it now. He would call Napa, N-Town. He would have regular comments about “Cabernet Guy”, “Wine Dork”, and “Pinot Mom”. Calling his fans “The Clones” is just perfect. He would call Robert Mondavi and Andre Tchelistcheff “Old School”. Hearing him rip some spoofilated, tricked-out, phenologically ripe, high alcohol, over oaked mess of a Zinfandel would probably cause me to blow Chardonnay out my nose if I were drinking while listening. So, since Rome does not do wine reviews I am going to ask you to read the following review as if Jim Rome were speaking.

We all know Zinfandel Dude. We went to college with Zinfandel Dude. He was that frat guy who drank Southern Comfort and Dr. Pepper because he thought it was sophisticated. Z-Dude got a job, got some money, and started drinking wine. Except the wine he drinks is still basically Southern Comfort and Dr. Pepper. Z-Dude thinks Havens Black and Blue is what Chateau Beaucastel aspires to be. Except Z-Dude has never tasted Chateau Beaucastel. In fact Z-Dude doesn’t even know that Chateau Beaucastel exists. Dude, syrup and alcohol is not wine even if it is made from grapes. Syrup and alcohol is nasty. It is also simple. It is worthless for food. Dude, have a take on wine that doesn’t suck. Don’t drink stuff like this because it makes vintners want to make more. You are not sophisticated when you drink syrup and alcohol.
White
6/21/2010 - NPWolfe wrote:
Not that anyone should have noticed - but I have taken an extended leave from writing wine reviews. (I will admit that a vanity on my part admits it would have been nice if someone had noticed, but that has no bearing on the actual absence.) I would like to say that there was some deep significance to my absence, that I was off on exploration of the anosognosic’s dilemma. But, the reality is far more mundane - circumstances just got in the way. Hopefully the desire has been rekindled to both keep track of the cellar (which is a mess) and to report on the wines I drink.

I find it ironic that the bottle I selected for my return review was flawed. Not horrible flawed, but just not what a Windy Oak Chardonnay should taste like. Just as with the last bottle I tried, the cork came out hard and dried. The wine was not undrinkable, it did have all the usual Windy Oak characteristics, it was just slightly oxidized and sour. I drank half the bottle anyway. A somewhat off bottle of Windy Oak is still a pretty nice bottle of wine.
Red
9/22/2009 - NPWolfe wrote:
88 points
“We all have opinions. We all have palates. It helps to have experience even though experience does not equate to universality of viewpoint. Dan Berger is a good case in point. I love the guy, but I would no more let him choose my wines than I would let Cellar Tracker. Cellar Tracker? Please." Charlie Olken (editor of Connoisseurs’ Guide to California Wine) in a reply to a blog entry on Tom Wark’s Fermentation Blog, August 7, 2009

It seems to me that commercial tasters who dismiss the utility of tasting notes both across palates and across time just have a case of, well sour grapes.

Popped and poured, decanted half the bottle into a glass stoppered bottle for tasting later. Wine took around 30+ minutes to open up. Pretty much the same comments as a year ago. Still a nice deep purple red color. Pleasant nose of cherry, with the addition of cedar/redwood. After about an hour the nose included a very strong vanilla smell. No longer a fruit bomb. Typical Sebastiani cherry flavors in the taste, but this bottle had more cedar/redwood than the last bottle, also plum and some coco. Soft and well rounded in the mouth with the acid and tannins very much in the background. Very soft but lingering finish. Sebastiani gets credit for making a wine that is both pleasant to drink and a nice bottle of wine.
White
9/15/2009 - NPWolfe wrote:
flawed
“Quantity has a quality all its own”
Joseph Stalin
One of the nice attributes of CellarTracker is that shear quantity of reviews allow a certain kind of inference about the quality of a particular winery. In this case I am not talking about the wisdom of crowds, but rather a kind of statistical inference. You don’t have to read many reviews before you come to the realization that bottle variation is more of a problem with some wineries than others. Currently there are 313 reviews of Windy Oaks wines on CellarTracker. Of those there is only one review where there is even a hint of a flawed bottled and the reviewer was not sure in that case. Maybe one out of 313 over seven vintages indicates to me that the Jim and Judy take a great deal of care with their wine.

Which is why I was surprised to end up with a flawed bottled. The cork came out hard, dry, and a somewhat shrunk. No surprise that the wine was oxidized. Bummer, because I love their wines.
Red
9/13/2009 - NPWolfe wrote:
84 points
The Sunday New York Times arrived today, in roughly 2 or so pounds of glory. Included in this weeks edition was the New York Times Style Magazine, a 100 pages dedicated to stylish and conspicuous consumption. If restraint is the new style, you would not know that by this edition. I know that there are those who really care about fashion, otherwise this insert would not exist. However, I am glad that in the wine world I have never run across someone who does not enjoy a glass of well crafted wine, regardless of cost or providence.

Still red to red purple in color despite being 6 years old. Nose of rhubarb, orange, black fruits, and some funk. Taste of orange and an old time soda fountain cherry vanilla cola phosphate. Still lots of fruit, but the acid was slightly more powerful. About mid way through drinking the bottle my sulfite allergy meter went off, so I know the bottle received a health dose. A lot of concentrated fruit at the front of the palate on the finish. A wine that was just parts and never really achieved a sum. My wife and I were trying to find a summation for the wine. She said perfect for a really good sangria and I agreed.
Red
9/10/2009 - NPWolfe wrote:
88 points
Three additional signs that the wine recession continues unabated. First, Wine Spectator reviewed a wine cube in the latest issue, don’t think they have ever done that before. Second, I was admitted to the Quilceda Creek mailing list after an absurdly short wait. Third, I received a “special” email offering of a well respected Napa Cab of a recent vintage at half off. Seems like cheaper prices will continue for awhile longer.

Still a nice ruby color, with just a faint hint of purple. While there were some blueberries on the nose I found the herbaceous aromas more prevalent – primarily ripe green olive. Pleasant mouth feel with flavors of cherries, redwood, and herbaceous green olive. Not a big wine, but tannins, acid, and fruit aplenty. A finish longer, fuller, and richer than any $25 cabernet should have. This wine is better than any score I can reasonably assign.
White
9/5/2009 - NPWolfe wrote:
75 points
Pretty crystal color. Grapefruit and lime trying to sneak out in the nose, but were overpowered by an industrial chemical factory smell. Good overall mouth feel and structure. Typical Albarino flavors that were covered by tastes from a dentist office. Mushy finish that was trying to be crisp. I read a professional review of the wine that went on for a thousand words about how this was a nice wine. Maybe he got a special bottle. The wine suffered from the same complaint that I have about many high volume wines. It smelled and tasted of an industrial manufacturing process.
Red
8/31/2009 - NPWolfe wrote:
84 points
It is hard to let the 40th anniversary of Woodstock pass without somehow working something from that period into a wine tasting note. One of minor figures of that period was Ivan Illich, who rose to his highest level of prominence with the publication in 1971 of “Deschooling Society”. His thesis was that the institutionalized education was ineffectual. His solution was the creation of “…educational webs which heighten the opportunity for each one to transform each moment of his living into one of learning, sharing, and caring.” With an amazing prescience, for 1971, he described the social networking of the Internet. “The operation of a peer-matching network would be simple. The user would identify himself by name and address and describe the activity for which he sought a peer. A computer would send him back the names and address of all those who had inserted the same description.” Were Illich alive today I think he would find CellarTracker an application of the ideas that he was proscribing.

This wine continues to be my least favorite of the 2005 wines from Le Cadeau. In terms of color, structure, balance, and finish the wine is comparable to the other 3 Le Cadeau wines of this vintage, but in terms of the intensity of the aromas and range of flavors the wine is lacking. The aroma was of cherry cobbler, a little sweet, a little pastry crust, a little spice. In order to smell these flavors you had to inhale strongly enough to be lacking in manners at the dinner table. The flavor on the palate was just that – the flavor on the palate, one of dusty cherry. That such a well put together wine, with such an appealing structure, should come undone by a dearth of flavors and a wispy nose was a disappointment.
White
8/25/2009 - NPWolfe wrote:
88 points
“This collection is a wonderful reminder that good writing is not about knowing words, grammar or Faulkner, but having that rare ability to tell the truth, an ability that education and sophistication often serve to conceal.”
Bentley, Toni. “Meet, Pay, Love” The New York Times Book Review, 23 August 2009: page 6

What I like about CT reviews is that often I find as much truth in the review that strays far from the professional format as I do in the review that hews to standard.

Wow, this bottle was substantially different from the prior bottle even though they were both pulled from the same case at the wine store. It was enlightening to see that dmlove18 had a similar problem with bottle variation, because after I saw a positive review by Richard Jennings I wondered if my palate was just off. Lots of different fruits aromas; orange, lemon, pineapple, nectarines and apricots. There was also a nutty and toasty oak background aroma. The oak aromas slowly dissipate. Acid at the front of the palate, full fruit and oak mid-palate, and short finish at the back of the palate. Fruit flavors of lemon-lime, pineapple with a nice oak vanilla touch. Would have been better if finish had not dropped off so suddenly. Flavors developed and opened up as we drank the wine, cream and butter flavors appeared in the nose and taste. A enjoyable and drinkable bottle that went well with lemon flavor pasta.
Red
1975 Château La Cabanne Pomerol Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
8/19/2009 - NPWolfe wrote:
Why is it that Vermeer is Vermeer, an artist know to almost everyone, and not (for an example) Dirk van Baburen, an artist know to only the art literati? In the 17th century the artists in the Netherlands produced some 5 million works. Vermeer’s total output was some 35 paintings and he was not very well known during his life. So, how is it that this painter of such few works arose to such prominence in a vast sea of millions of paintings? As in all such circumstances it is the combination of the influence of taste arbitrators, the power of vested economic interests, the taste in fashion of the current age, and real quality. Those four factors are at work today in the wine industry where the taste arbitrators (Parker, Wine Spectator, the 1855 Bordeaux Classification), the vested economic interests (wine importers, wine wholesalers, wine critics), taste fashions (the international style) and real quality (California actually makes good wine) all shape not only what we drink, but also shape what we think is good. In order to comprehend how disruptive CellarTracker will eventually become in regards to what is acknowledged as good wine, one only has to recognized that free access to tasting notes, the largest database of tasting notes, and the continuous series of notes about each individual wine over time, will ultimately result in the users of CellarTracker becoming the wine world’s primary taste arbitrators. I doubt Eric set out to start a revolution, but that is what he created.

My brother-in-laws new girlfriend showed up with this wine and after a quick glance I was not expecting much. It was 34 years old (albeit from a good vintage), from a Cru Bordeaux, and it had suffered indifferent storage (a wine rack sitting in an office). In addition the cork crumbled with the insertion of the corkscrew, which further lowered my expectation. (I assume that there is some nifty way to extract old corks which I am going to have to learn as the wines in my cellar age.) Surprisingly not only was the wine okay, it was much better than I had any right to expect. There was a fair amount of bricking in the overall color with a slight browning at the edge. The color was still dull red at the center. Somewhat musty nose with cedar/redwood and cherry-orange smells. My grandmother use to keep potpourri in a wooden cigar box and that is what the wine smelled like. There were no real off smells. While thin and light the wine had balance, with that soft tannin feel that only age can bring. Very simple flavors of cherry and orange zest with almost no direct fruit. It took a little over an hour to finish the bottle and the wine became acidic in the finish toward the end, but it never completely fell apart. A great wine drinking experience from an older bottle and one that I hope to repeat over the years as the wines in my cellar age.
White
8/11/2009 - NPWolfe wrote:
90 points
“When I say that beauty has been banished, I do not mean that beautiful things have themselves been banished … I mean something much more modest: that conversation about the beauty of these things has been banished … (we) speak about their beauty only in whispers.”
Scarry, Elaine. On Beauty and Being Just. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1999: P57

Elaine Scarry is a professor of American Literature at Harvard University. It may well be the case that in an academic setting conversations about beauty are déclassé. It seems to me that for the 80,000+ members of CellarTracker conversations about beauty are why we are here.

One of the best aspects of this wine is that if you handed a glass to any moderately knowledgeable Burgundy drinker they would have no problem immediately identifying it as Chablis. As Krugsters commented, “A classic textbook Chablis.” The nose showed strong lemon-lime aromas with minerals. Others at the table commented on apples but I did not get that aroma. We had the wine with scallops in butter and dill. The front to back of the palate acid was a great structure for the butter and flavor of the scallops. The aromas flowed over into the taste with the addition of some light oak flavors. The finish on this bottle was a little short, which may have been from the meal. Overall a delightful bottle of wine.
Red
8/9/2009 - NPWolfe wrote:
91 points
“How many times have you read a concert review in the newspaper and found you have no idea what the reviewer is saying? “Her sustained appogiatura was flawed by an inability to complete the roulade” Or, “I can’t believe they modulated to C-sharp minor! How ridiculous!” What we really want to know is whether the music was performed in a way that moved the audience.”
Levitin, Daniel J. This Is Your Brain on Music. New York: Penguin Group, 2006

I doubt that any of us drink wine to taste boysenberry. If we wanted to taste boysenberry we would just eat the fruit. Yet many of the reviews on CellarTracker (mine included) read like a contest to see who can identify the most flavors. Often there is no comment about how enjoyable the wine was to drink. Which, I believe, is what most of us want to know. So, I shall endeavor to make that comment in all my future reviews.

Though young and not fully ready to drink, this wine was an enjoyable compliment to a grilled pork tender as one could ask for. Glasses were drained quickly. The nose was not as big as I think it will become. Smells of boysenberry, bacon, herbs, loam, and strawberries. Great structure with plenty of fruit and tannin in equal balance. Solid mouth feel The finish dropped off a little quickly and had a some white pepper. I am glad I had a bottle now and will wait a number of years before I open the next one.
White
8/2/2009 - NPWolfe wrote:
83 points
Perestroika is one of those words that I thought I knew the meaning of; that being the reform and opening up of the Soviet economy and Soviet society. So, I was surprised to learn that from a Russian viewpoint perestroika means restructuring and in most cases wretched change. Given the number of emails that I am receiving from both wine retailers and wine producers about sales it looks like the wine industry is currently undergoing its own perestroika. I suppose that restructuring and wretched change has been part of the wine business for forever. But when you see email merchants letting good wines go for half price you know that times are hard.

Basically I don’t like over oaked Chardonnay, but Ridge at least made this one interesting. Serious yellow in color, enough so that the wine had an oxidized appearance. Tropical fruit cocktail nose (mainly banana and pineapple) with some of the same honey tones that are in sherry. Slight “smokiness” undertones in the nose. Soft and slightly “sweet” on the palate with the same tropical fruit flavors and that honey-sherry flavor. Very long “sweet” finish with some charcoal residue. Makes me thinks that the barrels that it was age in were heavily charred. Not much counterpoint between the fruit and acid which left the wine a little flat.
White
7/26/2009 - NPWolfe wrote:
79 points
Sometimes you see something, or hear something, or read something that just leaves you slack jawed in wonderment. That was exactly my feeling when I read a review of Edward Tufte’s book, Beautiful Evidence. Those two words, beautiful evidence, are the best description of wine as the physical embodiment of the vintners vision and the vintners skill as I have ever heard. This sentence from the book is one that I wish more vintners would take to heart. “Making an evidence presentation is a moral act as well as an intellectual activity.” Perhaps if vintners regarding wine making as a moral activity there would be a far greater number of interesting wines.

While the grapes may have been organically grown, there was definitely a slight industrial smell and taste to the wine, a smell of tanks and hoses. Pleasant fresh Chardonnay flavors. Not much in the way of oak. Clean and just a quarter step away from being crisp. The kind of Chardonnay that you would find in a domestic white wine flight at a mid-level wine bar.
Red
4/26/2009 - NPWolfe wrote:
87 points
Most biography veers either toward hagiography or hatchet job, but this is not the case with Carlo D’Este biography of George Patton. I am now about halfway through the book and I have yet to determine what D’Este personally thinks about Patton. His treatment of both Patton’s outstanding qualities and his monumental weaknesses is so even handed as to make it hard to determine where his judgement rests. This issue of being even handed is one that I have not personally answered in writing wine reviews. Should the reviews for Cellartracker be even handed biographies or is it more valuable to the community for them to be critiques. I am inclined to favor the critique approach as personal preference tends to be more reveling and more helpful.

I have not found a mid priced Pinot Noir that is any more consistent then those produced by Ponzi. Brick red burgundian color. Just like the last bottle, persistent nose of dried cherries and herb sachet. Medium bodied and the wine just feels good in the mouth. Flavors of dried cherries, very light citrus zest, rose water, with a dusty tannic background. White pepper finish has faded but there is still a spicy fruit component to the finish. We had three wines opened at an outdoor picnic dinner and this one was finished first. Great combination of flavor, fruit, balance, and finish that makes this wine wonderfully appealing.
White
4/13/2009 - NPWolfe wrote:
85 points
Recently I decided to straighten up the book shelves, which is the equivalent of a geological exploration of the bibliophilic eras of my life. If you love books and if you handle books then you are going to browse books, which means any attempt at order on the book shelves is a nostalgic and sometimes revelatory look in the past. As I flipped the pages of a book on Rene Descartes I came across this margin note that I had made a long time ago, “Fashion is an enemy of reason”. I don’t know if there is reason in wine, but I certainly know that there is fashion. I do know that wine fashions change over time and I hope that someday California winemakers choose not to over oak Chardonnay.

This was my first BC wine and what I say about it has to be taken with the knowledge that I find too much oak an anathema to good Chardonnay. Darker yellow in color. Nose with strong lime, citrus fruit, and vanilla aromas. Lime, citrus, and some apple flavors. Medium bodied. Enough acid to be zesty. No butter. As I was drinking the wine I kept thinking how much better it would be if either the time in the oak barrels had been cut down or a more neutral oak barrel had been used. The wine spent enough time in oak that it muted the fruit flavors and made them less distinct than I suspect they would have been. Oh yeah, and I hate those "plastic wax" closures.
Red
4/13/2009 - NPWolfe wrote:
89 points
There are plenty of bad reviews on CellarTracker; Lord knows I have written my share. There are an equal number of poor ratings and I am also equally guilty of poor scoring. Because of the way that Eric set up CellarTracker those bad reviews and poor ratings do not get flamed by the more knowledgeable reviewers. For that we should all be thankful because I am sure that flaming would happen and I am sure that it would reduce the frequency and breathed of reviews. I bring this up because on the CellarTracker Forum there is a thread that is (as of this writing) 14 pages long with over 400 posts that basically makes fun of selected reviews. Thank you Eric for designing CellarTracker as you did.

This seems to be the little Pinot that could. Last January I stated that it was “time to drink up”. It wasn’t. This wine continues to surprise and there was no need for me to hurry up and drink over the last two years. Now I regret being down to my last bottle. Wine is wonderful right out of the bottle. There are several variations on cherries in the aroma. “Pinot Candy” cherry, dusty cherry, and some cherry fruit jam that all faded into a general berries and herbs. Soft and comfortable on the palate. Dusty cherry, some coffee and chocolate, and red berries in the taste. Not much acid or tannin but enough for a soft but pleasant finish.
White
3/27/2009 - NPWolfe wrote:
91 points
I am not particularly enamored with the books of Malcolm Gladwell. Both Blink and The Tipping Point strike me as books that would have been better as articles in the New Yorker. Outliers, his most recent book, covers the topic of success and is certainly worthy of a full length book. But, his glib anecdotal style and inferred conclusions at times strain credulity. His basic premise is that to be extremely successful a person needs to have certain suite of characteristics. Which are; to be born into a propitious time period, to be born into a propitious set of personal circumstances, to be born into a complementary social culture, to have talent, to embrace opportunity, and to spend about 10,000 hours practicing. As soon as I read about how many hours of practice are required it made me wonder how many bottles of wine need to be consumed before someone is an exceptional wine taster. Clearly it is more than 100 and probably it is more than 1,000. I don’t know what the answer is, but I have a cellar and I have CellarTracker and I am happy to go on a personal quest for a more definitive answer.

One of the great pleasures in my life is to have discovered Aubert and to have the funds to be able to drink a bottle now and then. Cloudy light yellow in color. Nose on this bottle was much lighter than the last bottle but with the same Myer Lemon, sour lemon, and citrus aromas that stayed very distinct as we drank the bottle. Lemon zest, pear, and a nutty oak flavors. Flavors and finish filled the entire palate. Acid that was distinct without being distracting. Lovely bottle of wine but the lack of a more effusive nose has me scoring it lower than last time.
White
3/19/2009 - NPWolfe wrote:
90 points
Every year when I fill out my NCAA bracket I call a friend of mine who is a Wall Street Quant by profession and as a hobby a basketball sabermatrician. The conversation generally goes on a lot longer than I want with discussions of regression analysis, Sagarin, kenpom, bell curve fat tails, match ups, etc. Since he always wins which ever basketball pool he enters, I endure the discussions with grace while slowly getting his picks. One of the statistics that he follows is what he calls the Big Boy Comparison. It is a lot like the Sagarin version of how a team plays against the top 50. His premise is that a true judgment of a team can only be made against quality competition. That strikes me as true for wine also and is the best arguement I can think of for drinking quality wines. Until you have drunk a great expression of grape and place it is very hard to establish the quality and artistic continuum to judge other wines. At least that is the excuse I am making to myself to justify the better wines I have been drinking since joining CellarTracker.

This is one of the few times where I have had a white wine that I thought I drank way too soon. This wine seems to have all the stuff and the right balance to get better with time. Lemon aromas and the clotted cream nose that I always associate with fine Burgundies. After about an hour the nose shifted to a very strong cinnamon toast with butter smell that had me inhaling deeply. Lemon marmalade and spice flavors both sweet and sour. Other flavors of pie crust, apricots, and figs. Somehow the wine pulls off being big and delicate at the same time. Crisp acidic finish that turned soft and lingering with a lemon glow. After two hours of drinking over a lingering dinner the wine was still just as enjoyable as when it was opened.
Red
2006 Cadence Coda Columbia Valley Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
3/17/2009 - NPWolfe wrote:
88 points
A good friend of mine is the kind of guy who actually builds all of those projects in the back of Popular Mechanics and Popular Electronics, so I was not surprised to find that he was engaged in a project with his son when I dropped by. I was surprise to find out that the project was inserting a fluorescing gene from a jellyfish into a bacterium. When I expressed admiration at his ability he dismissed it with the comment that this was the kind of project that some high schools teach their students. A quick check of the Internet showed he was correct. Gosh, if a guy in rural Central Texas is doing gene splicing in his workshop how long is it going to be before individuals with far more skill are inserting flavor genes into grapes. It cannot be too much harder to pull a flavor gene or multiple flavor genes from other fruits and put them into grapes. Will I care or will I applaud the more nuanced flavors in the wine. I don’t know; but I am sure I am going to have to make that decision before too long.

Coda is the lower end blend from Cadence winery, with lower end being relative as this is a nice bottle of wine for the dinner table. Wine was opened an hour before serving. Nose had some unique raspberry, maybe boysenberry aromas which I am inclined to attribute to the large percentage (32%) of Petit Verdot in the blend. There was also some kind of Thanksgiving spice like mace or cloves or nutmeg which I could not pinpoint precisely. Aromas were persistent over the two hours we drank the wine. Medium bodied with juicy blueberry and boysenberry flavors and that same Thanksgiving spice. Both tannins and acid were muted. Other reviewers noted some alcohol heat which has now dropped out. Really full mouth feel.
Red
3/15/2009 - NPWolfe wrote:
88 points
In the fall of 2008, Horace Engdahl the permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy, which is the group that awards the Nobel Prize in Literature, disparaged American writing, saying that our fiction was “too isolated, too insular, too ignorant” and “too sensitive to trends” in our own culture to be important to the rest of the world. Had I read that some French wine critic had made the same comments about American wine it would have elicited no surprise. It has always struck me that not being rooted in an ancient culture and being free from the constraints of historical definition is one of the strengths of America. This certainly applies to our wine making.

Peloton is not a wine that could only have been made in American, but it is a wine that is decidedly American. The stated objected of this blend is to win "the first empty glass contest". I can hardly imagine a vintner in France saying something like screw the region, lets blend something interesting. This is the basic premise behind Peloton, to make a blend that is drain-the-glass-enjoyable. And they succeeded. Just a slight bit of bottle stink that blew off right away. No real breathing time required, it was ready to go from the first glass and it stayed that way for the next 2 hours. Plums and prunes on the nose with Smuckers Plum Jam, vanilla, Texas Mountain Laurel, and a little cigar humidor tossed in. Light on the palate, the chardonnay lightens the wine in a very pleasant way. Cherry twizzlers, plums, prunes, sweet Pinot Noir, as well as some earth flavors. The alcohol heat that I tasted two years ago is gone. Both the acid and the tannin have dropped out making the wine soft on the palate. However, the finish hung around. Numerical scores do not do this wine justice. If you were sitting in a French cafe and the proprietor pulled this out from under the counter you would spend all night asking why California wines don't taste this way.
White
3/12/2009 - NPWolfe wrote:
84 points
Several reviews ago I mention a column in Wine Spectator that Matt Kramer had written. In that column he presented the thesis that making wine is not art, it is high craft. He was not submitting that there is not judgement in wine making, rather his point was that the very best that you can do with Chardonnay grapes is to make a very good Chardonnay. As he put it, “Art is creation, wine is amplification”. While I agreed with the thesis I have had trouble with this view because I clearly see that there is an artistry in wine making. Finally I hit upon what I think is the right word for vintners. While vintners may not be artists, they are aesthetes - individuals with a high sensitivity to beauty. They apply this sensitivity to beauty in the decisions that form the wine. What we appreciate are the aesthetic judgements that they make.

I wish I could get as excited about this wine as I was about finding the right noun for describing the artistry of vintners. The second time around this wine just struck me as boring. Pleasant enough but with too much oak for the floral qualities. Wet stones, flowers, and melon in the nose and flavors. Rick Longoria really seems to like to oak the hell out of his wines and on the more delicate varietals it takes away from their charm.
White
3/12/2009 - NPWolfe wrote:
90 points
The French have an insane chauvinism in regards to their language. The ban words from other languages (particularly English) and invent French words in their place. I have always appreciated that American English is cavalier in regards to its purity and is always ready to adopt words from other languages. Especially when those words are more expressive than the English equivalent. The French language always seem to have a word that is ripe for adoption in both its pleasing sound and nuanced meaning. In reading about the recent Tour of California bicycle race I came across a word ready made to adopt into English usage in regards to wine. A bicycle team has only a few members who can actually win the race. The other riders who support the team leaders are called domestiques, or in English domestics or servants. The ironic issue here is that bicycle domestiques are elite level athletes and calling them servants belies their world class abilities. We all drink a lot of wine that is really good, but is not quite fabulous and the word domestiques seems to me to be a perfect description for these wines.

Domestique is a perfect description for this wine. Not good enough to be world class, but good enough to be part of the pelethon. As I remarked in my last review of this wine, there is hardly a Chardonnay regardless of region that I like better. I prefer the wine just a little warmer than I drink other white wines. Bottled without filtration and the wine shows with a slight cloudiness. Flaky lemon tart pastry crust nose backed up by Sonic Lemon Slush. A range of lemon flavors and a little bit of pineapple. RoundersRob nails it when he says “It exhibits an excellent balance of acidity, fruit, and oak from start to finish”. First time I have had the problem of keeping my hands off the bottles in the cellar.
Red
3/12/2009 - NPWolfe wrote:
90 points
For those of you who like Eric Asimov (the New York Times wine critic) and his weekly column “The Pour” I encourage you to go online and read his March 11, 2009 article about California Pinot Noir. Asimov has clearly chosen sides in the WCW (wine culture wars) and while his position is not as extreme as Alice Feiring’s he is clearly sitting on the same side of the table and drinking from the same decanter. In this article he both praises and defends lighter, more balanced, and more elegant Pinot Noirs. This is a position I agree with and I fail to see the basis for the presumption by most California vintners that over extraction of fruit and over oaking is by default a virtue. Fore me, there is no implicit argument to be made that more is always better.

Le Cadeau is an interesting producer in that while they grow their own grapes they contract out the wine making to four different vintners. They have either chosen those vintners carefully or else have a hand in the wine making because each wine is not dramatically different but a variation on a similar theme. The common elements in Le Cadeau wines have been a focus on elegance, a feminine character, and a consistent balance between parts. This wine is no different. Translucent dark ruby color. Nose not as effusive as I would have liked. Cherry, pomegranate, clove, and some orange zest in the aromas. Wine is immediately accessible, which adds to its pleasure. Very round and feminine on the palate. The first taste would make you think that there is little tannin or acid but as you savor the wine realization sets in that there is just enough of each. The flavors were not as layered as other Le Cadeau wines that I have had and the finish was not as lingering either. Well put together and put together in such a way that the wine is much better than a recounting of its individual parts.
White - Sparkling
2/24/2009 - NPWolfe wrote:
87 points
Wow, I just had one of those shake-you-head-in-disbelief moments from the Internet after discovering the wine blog Chateau Petrogasm. Chateau Petrogasm does wine reviews with pictures; no words, just pictures. For instance, for a review of an Aubert Chardonnay they had a picture of an angel. Now the left brained side of me thinks that this is one dumb idea. However, the right brain side of me is thinking that this is an original way to tap into the gestalt of the wine experience. If I was going to post a picture as a review of this Moscato it would be of a very small ballerina leaping across the stage throwing flower petals and candied fruit from a wicker platter.

PARTAY. This wine is fun. Somewhat more bubbly than petillant and somewhat less bubbly than effervescent. Flower petals and peaches in the nose. Peach, apricot, almond paste, and pink bubble gum in the taste. Sweet and slightly lacking in acid but so light on the palate that it is not sticky or cloying. Not an ounce of savor in this wine, but there is a pound of delight.
White
2/22/2009 - NPWolfe wrote:
90 points
Tag lines are a way of branding a product to create a memorial phrase. Hopefully the phrase will have enough resonance that it will either sell the product or define the product. Books have tag lines. Movies have tag lines. Newspapers have tag lines. Even trucks have tag lines. But internet sites, either not so much or not at all. So, as a public service (with tongue firmly in cheek) I offer the following tag lines for Cellartracker. Appreciation and applause may be registered by posting more reviews.

Tracking the world of wine, one bottle at a time. Or. Keeping track, keeping score.

Numerical scores do not do this wine justice for it is far prettier than its score would indicate. The wine has a slight cloudiness and a quick check of the winery web site confirms it is bottled without filtration or fining. The wine is barrel fermented but the oak expression is keep in check. Thankfully the winery has eschewed the concept that over oaking a Chardonnay is a virtue to be pursued. Fresh and clean nose, no sign of any off flavors. Lemon drop candy smell mixed with the smell of a Sonic Lemon Slush. Flavors of lemon drop candy, lemons, sour lemon candy, and candied pineapple. Fruit nicely positioned with the acid. The finish sits on top of the tongue and very slowly dissipates. One of my favorite Chardonnays for food regardless of region.
Red
2/18/2009 - NPWolfe wrote:
86 points
H. L. Mencken was certainly prolific enough that I should have read something by him and well respected enough that I could have read one of the many books about him. However, I know Mencken only by reputation and the liberal use of quotes from his works. In a recent edition of the New York Times the following quote was used to illustrate a point, “criticism is prejudice made plausible”. This pithy perspective is used enough that a Google search turns up dozens of entries. As with Mencken himself, this quote has more than one interpretation. First, it could mean we are all bigots and criticism no matter persuasively stated still stands as bigotry. Given Mencken’s role as a critic I doubt he would define his work so narrowly. A broader interpretation would be that if your criticism is not accurate in content, moral in nature, and logical in interpretation then you have just fallen back on unexamined prejudice. Since I would prefer to think of myself as a wine reviewer rather than a wine bigot, I am going to use the latter interpretation.

For me, one of the best attributes of Cellartracker is the multiple reviews of each wine. What it has allowed me to realize is how much bottle variation exists. I don’t think this bottle was quit as good as the others reviewed and I don’t think that it is because I am a harsher reviewer. The bottle just seemed different. Opened for one hour before serving. Served slightly warmer than I prefer; room temperature was about 70 degrees and I had no way to keep the bottle cooler. At this temperature the wine was slightly alcoholic on the nose. The wine was not as visually extracted with color as I expected. Mainly red without the purple hues other reviews mentioned. Blackberry, clove, and vanilla in the nose. Tasty but simple flavors of blackberry, clove, and oak. Medium bodied. Flavor, acid, and tannin well positioned. Finish concentrated solely in the front of the palate with drying astringency. Finished disappeared in the back of the palate. Enjoyable, but not what I was expecting.
Red
2/14/2009 - NPWolfe wrote:
90 points
In 1980 John Anderson split from the Republican Party and ran as a moderate independent candidate for President under the banner of the National Unity Party. He ultimately received 7% of the popular vote in the election. One of the media knocks against Anderson was that he was too sophisticated for the American public and he was part of the “Volvo, white wine, and cheese” crowd. Recently while cleaning out a closet I came across an invitation to a John Anderson “wine and cheese” fund raiser where they had the wine that they were serving listed. That wine (which at the time was too sophisticated for America) was Sebastiani Mountain Chablis, which if I remember correctly was a mixture of Chenin Blanc and Thompson Seedless. Sometimes, we forget how far we have come.

My judgement about wine is skewed by price. I expect (unrealistically I know) that every bottle of wine priced above $50 should be exceptional. When that is not the case then I am inclined to be overly critical, and that is the situation with this bottle of Cherryblock. That said, this is a really nice bottle of wine. One of the characteristics that I prize most in wine is the harmonious transition between aroma, flavor, and finish. This is the most appealing feature of Cherryblock as it slides and glides between these three components as gracefully as any chanteuse singing Cole Porter. Light nose, whiff of vanilla, cherry, maybe some raspberry. Aromas slip over into the taste with the addition of a chocolate cherry cordial flavor. Good overall mouth feel with complete structure. Flavors drift into finish with the tannin adding the lingering component. So, what’s the problem? Everything was there, it was just not there enough or distinctively enough. No real wow to the wine; that’s the problem.
White
2/9/2009 - NPWolfe wrote:
89 points
Cellartracker is annoying my spouse. Not Cellartracker per se, but the change in my behavior as the result of using Cellertracker. I now smell everything and I ask her to smell it also. We were in the grocery store not long ago and there side by side were Chilean blueberries and Argentinian blueberries. So, I asked her, “Hey do these blueberries smell different”? That’s when the fight started, and gee I though it was a pretty good question. This weekend we removed an oak tree that was in the way of a remodeling project. We split some of the tree for firewood. I smelled the oak and notice a distinctly bitter aroma in the split wood. I licked a piece and no doubt about it, the wood had a bitter astringency.

I have reviewed this Chardonnay several times and in each review I have noted some bitterness. Previously I described the bitterness as tasting like licorice or bitter pecan. But now, after smelling and licking that piece of oak I know that the bitter flavor in the wine has to come from the oak barrels. Still the same wine, but it is nice to nail the origin of a flavor. Light citrus nose with a whiff of ginger and spice. Still the same flavors as before, pear, apple tart, and oak. Still the same bitter pecan finish, that fades out to pear flavors. A very pretty Chardonnay.
Red
2005 Drytown Cellars Barbera Lyman Vineyard California Shenandoah Valley
2/7/2009 - NPWolfe wrote:
86 points
Most places in the country don’t have good pit barbeque. Most people in the country eat stuff-that-is-called-barbeque and as a result have a low (though misguide) opinion of the genera. Fortunately I live in the epicenter (right outside Austin, Texas) of good pit barbeque. Central Texas barbeque is mostly brisket, with ribs and chicken not far behind and to a lesser extent pork and turkey. The qualitative difference between good pit barbeque and stuff-that-is-called-barbeque is as vast as the difference between McDonalds and Chez Panisse. Oh, and Central Texas pitmen were using all natural local products 100 years before Alice Waters was born. Really good pit barbeque is aromatic (yep, meat can be aromatic), succulent, flavorful, and fall apart tender. The traditional beverage to drink with barbeque is beer. Finding a wine that works and works well with barbeque took a long time (not that I had any problem with the search).

This wine has a Hemingway style and charm and I could imagine him drinking it in the mountains with Spanish partisans. It is rustic, with direct flavors, sharp features, and is meant to be gulped rather than savored. The aroma is cherry vanilla cola that was stored in oak barrels. The structure is acidic and tannic enough to be sharp and distinct without being unpleasant. Big flavors of cherry, red liquorice, plum, and raspberry. The flavors had the directness of the flavors in Hansen’s All Natural Soda. Acidic finish with cherry chaser. I have found the wine at its best when served 5 to 10 degrees cooler than cellar temperature, think just above white wine temperature. At this temperature it is perfect with barbeque.
Red
2/6/2009 - NPWolfe wrote:
89 points
This academic year I sent my oldest daughter off to a small liberal arts college. On a recent trip home we got into a discussion about sophistication. I defined sophistication as the ability to make finer and finer distinctions and the taste to know which distinctions were worth making. She did not like my definition. Not really a big surprise as, I suspect, the whole purpose of the conversation was to make the point that her father was a cultural Philistine. As I sat down to write this wine review I was still mulling that definition and decided that it was a good one for an afficionado’s approach to wine. Wouldn’t we all like both the knowledge and the taste to make finer and finer distinctions.

This wine is built on themes that are easy to understand and easy to like; straight forward flavors, nothing out of balance, no glaring juxtapositions, and smooth segues between the components. While no part is extraordinary, it is a testament to the wine makers art that all parts are equally complementary. Plum, prune, and herb/oak nose. Not effusive aromas but enough for a smile. Medium bodied and as other reviewers have noted, elegant. Berry, cherry, plum, herbs in the taste supported by what are now soft tannins. Finish sticks around, and like the whole wine is a compliment of fruit, acid, and tannins. Perfect in its own way of not trying to be more than it is.
Red
2/5/2009 - NPWolfe wrote:
75 points
What passes between spouses in offhanded comments is often illuminating into how they think about each other. My spouse is an obituary reader, I am not. The other day I asked her to hand me a section of the paper and she passed me the obituaries. I complained that she knew that I didn’t read the obituaries, to which she responded. “Oh yes you do, you read wine reviews”. A laugh on my part and the tension passed. In some ways it is an apt metaphor. We kill the wine and write up the death. I never thought I would become the vinolic combination of Charles Henri-Sanson and Robert McG. Thomas.

Based upon other Eric Kent wines I have consumed and the reviews on Cellartracker I was expecting a wine as fleshy as Elly May Clampett, but what I got was a wine as thin as Daisy May “Granny” Moses. Damn that bottle variation. The kind of brick red color at the edges that makes your first thought about the wine “uh oh”. In contrast to the other reviews a very light nose with a single aroma of cedar. Thin and light with lots of acid. Cedar and a little bit of cherry in the taste. Also kind of a chamomile and slippery elm bark tea with a squeeze of lemon thing, yeah clearly an herbal tea and lemon flavor going on. No flavor in the finish, but lots of acid. No lingering pot roast taste survived a swallow. This bottle was clearly off but not bad enough to label completely flawed.

Follow Up: The winery reads Cellar Tracker and read this review. Noting that I had a bottle that was off they included a free bottle in my next order. Kudos to the winery - that kind of attention to detail is really amazing. Also it shows just how important CellarTracker is becoming to producers.
Red
1/27/2009 - NPWolfe wrote:
93 points
In 1814 the British burned Washington and that included the Library of Congress with its 3,000 volumes. In 1815 Thomas Jefferson sold his personal book collection of 6,487 books to Congress to help restart the Library of Congress. Wags of the time told the story that he needed money and he chose to part with his books rather than part with his extensive wine cellar. Good choice Mr. President. Jefferson was inordinately fond of Burgundy and were he alive today I am sure that he would, with typical American parochialism, be fond of Oregon Pinot Noir. I know that I am.

The color is translucent but turning to almost black at the center. Due to the color alone I can almost see Ricardo Montalban holding up a glass and saying, “Rich Pinot Noir”. Many wines have persistent aromas, but the nose on this never quit. After 3 hours it was still as effusive when first opened. Pitch perfect on the multiple cherry notes in the aroma. First there was the dusty cherry smell, then the chocolate and cherry smell, then a very slight “Pinot Candy” cherry smell. The cherry notes rested on top of a loam and oak layer. Very pretty and feminine in the mouth. I was struck by the roundness of the mouth feel. A finish like a long wedding dress train that goes by in waves, it was there and there and there.
White
1/18/2009 - NPWolfe wrote:
82 points
Some of my friends know that I have a wine cellar and suffer some intimidation when their paths, wine and my presence cross. I don’t know why this should be so as I never talk wine to those who are not committed afficionados. Really I am not a wine snob. You would never catch me saying something like, “This reminds me of the 2001 Kongsgaard Chardonnay, except brighter”, even if I thought it. One of the worst afflicted by my approval of the wine served at their house came up with a practical if flawed solution, serve what I serve. Which is how I ended up drinking Evolution 12th Edition, a wine that I had panned earlier after serving it at an impromptu potluck.

My earlier comments stand. In trying to make a wine pleasant, they ended up making a wine bland. This wine is one where the whole is less than the sum of its parts. Pleasant and sweet nose that has Riesling and Gewurztraminer flavors, but pleasant and sweet in the same way as some car fresheners. Light bodied and the Riesling flavors are lost in the taste. Some residual sugar and not enough acid to provide a distinctive counterpoint. Once again this is not a bad wine. Most everyone enjoyed a glass. Evolution just strikes me as the wine equivalent of Muzak.
White
1/16/2009 - NPWolfe wrote:
93 points
I recently read a book review where the reviewer chided the writer for confusing Aristarchus of Alexandria with Aristarchus of Samos. I suppose that in some circles this would be as obvious as confusing Obama with Osama, however I have never met anyone who moved in those circles. I have also never met a wine palate with a comparable level of sophistication. So, what does it say about the majority of us who could, in a blind tasting, easily confuse a Super Tuscan for a California Cabernet. Are the reviews we post suspect because, figuratively speaking, we don’t know our Greeks. Or, is wine tasting and then posting on CellarTracker more akin to Larry the Cable Guys tag line, “I don’t care who you are, that’s funny right there”. I believe it is the latter rather than the former, which is why I continue with somewhat meager knowledge and a sometimes wooden palate to continue to post reviews. Such a long preamble would have been ridiculous as the lead in to a review for an average wine, but when you are drinking Aubert anything seems reasonable.

This wine makes the most seamless transition between aromas, flavors, and finish. Gauzy filaments of aroma of Myer Lemon, citrus, pears, nuts that stayed distinct as we finished the bottle. Exquisitely delicate and exquisitely potent at the same time. No sledgehammer of flavor on the tongue, but no absently missing the flavor either. The lemon was more distinct in the taste. Deft use of oak to enhance the flavors rather than to be a flavor. A round finish that echos the nose and taste.
White - Sweet/Dessert
1/16/2009 - NPWolfe wrote:
92 points
One of the hallmarks of a great character actor is the ability to so transform themself that the viewer sees the character and not the actor. Perhaps no modern character actor does this better than Philip Hoffman. I was so completely taken in by his portrayal of Gus (the CIA Agent) in Charlie Wilson’s War that I did not realize until sometime later that this was the same actor who played the priest in Doubt. No matter how profound a character actor may be they all seem to perform in a kind of obscurity or second class status. This same attitude seems to extend toward sweet wines, which for most wine drinkers exist at the far periphery of their wine drinking experience. Some of the greatest portrayals of place and grape are expressed in sweet wines and not having them as part of a wine drinking experience is a shame.

This seriously good wine is a miraculous amalgam of flavor, fruit, sweetness, and structure. Wine looks viscous and it is. In the nose flavors of apricots, pear, honey, and honeysuckle. Luscious, appealing and as seductive as any raised eyebrow on a first date. Not quit crisp but enough acid so as not to be cloying. Flavors of pear, apricots, lychee, with some honeyed orange in the background. The rich carrying power of the taste spills over, no pours over into the finish which lasts, and lasts, and lasts. We found the wine better with a fruit plate then by itself.
Red
1/13/2009 - NPWolfe wrote:
85 points
A source of much comedy is incongruity. The placing of a particular item in the wrong place or the wrong item in a particular place is the setup to provide laughs. As recently as forty years ago the idea that Argentina could produce good wine would have been laughable. For those of us old enough, we can imagine a Monty Python skit on the subject. Fortunately wine bigotry related to geography has largely faded as the quality of wine worldwide has improved. Many recent wine drinkers take this change for granted, but I still frequently marvel at the abundance of quality wines from all parts of the globe.

Deep purple garnet color. Brambly fruit and leather nose. Nice mouth feel and good balance between fruit and tannins. Full bodied with dark fruits in the taste. Full finish. Nothing overdone, nothing disjointed. An excellent example of an honest wine for the dinner table.
White
1/9/2009 - NPWolfe wrote:
90 points
Of the editorial writers for the Wine Spectator the one the I like the best is Matt Kramer. His perspective is the one I most appreciate. In the October 15, 2008 issue he penned a column where presented the thesis that making wine is not art, it is high craft. He was not submitting that there is not judgment in wine making. Rather his point was that the very best that you can do with Chardonnay grapes is to make a very good Chardonnay. As he put it, “Art is creation, wine is amplification”.

Everything I have tasted from Windy Oaks makes me think that they perceive wine making as a craft and not as art. Their One Acre Chardonnay is no exception. Very pretty light golden oak color with slight cloudiness, which I assume is due to minimal filtration. Fragrant nose that just leapt out of the glass with custard, pineapple, and warm oak. California wine makers often struggle with achieving a reasonable balance between oak and fruit, but with this wine there is a very polished presentation. In the taste custard, minerals, with just a slight touch of buttered popcorn in the background. Slightly light on the acid, as the wine tended to disappear when matched against a dinner of leftovers. Lime, custard and oak finish. An excellent example of wine as a beverage for the dinner table.
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