Comments on my notes

(168 comments on 135 notes)

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Red
2005 R. López de Heredia Rioja Reserva Viña Tondonia Tempranillo Blend, Tempranillo
10/17/2019 - WinoRick wrote:
92 points
With pork chops this wine sang. The Lopez de Heredia Riojas stand alone for their old style, released when ready and having the musty, dark fruit character that makes them unique.
I visited the winery five years ago. Probably the neatest visit I've done. No stainless steel, just wine making as it was a century ago. Lots of cobwebs!
  • Deux Chevaux commented:

    10/18/19, 8:31 AM - The winery visit was indeed the most interesting ever. We were given a 2.5 hour private tour, arranged in advance by email with the very accommodating staff. And lovely cobwebs indeed. (Mold, too!)

Red
2013 Rhys Pinot Noir Bearwallow Vineyard Anderson Valley
10/13/2019 - oldwines Likes this wine:
91 points
Decanted at 5pm and tasted through the evening. Light to medium ruby. Nose is fruity with red berries dominating a slightly reticent bouquet that shows a little florals as well. Palate is more raspberry and cranberry. Low tannin and medium acidity. Moderately long finish. This was much more fruit forward than the Santa Cruz Mtn bottling from the same vintage. While I like it and it is very pleasant it’s not what I would call impressive. On the margin, I was a bit disappointed and had hoped for more. I would suggest drinking before its 12th birthday...i.e. over the next 4-6 years.
  • Deux Chevaux commented:

    10/14/19, 7:52 AM - From the context of original note, I’m wondering if autocorrect is playing tricks and “not impressive” was meant to be “not excessive.”

  • Deux Chevaux commented:

    10/14/19, 1:34 PM - Hi oldwines, thanks for the additional thoughts and edits.

Red
2009 Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe Châteauneuf-du-Pape La Crau Red Rhone Blend
8/16/2019 - psi wrote:
87 points
This wine does not know where it wants to go. A lot of mushrooms, semi cooked fruit, tannic bite... Damn! Should it be given 5 more years or should it have been drunk 5 years ago? Not that pleasant!
  • Deux Chevaux commented:

    10/12/19, 1:17 PM - Unfortunately for us both, your experience and reaction matches ours.

Red
2011 Fattoria di Fèlsina Berardenga Fontalloro Toscana IGT Sangiovese
10/6/2019 - ohne_musik wrote:
92 points
Lovely old school Sangiovese that needs a couple hours to open. Sour cherry, darker fruit, anisette, a hint of dry earth, and more than a bit of alcohol on the nose. In the mouth, it’s got layers of dried cranberry/cherry, Rose-hip acidity, bittersweet chocolate, dirt road, and some river rock stoniness. Despite the formidable tannins, the elements already are coming together in harmony. Next bottle in a couple years, and I see this going at least another decade.
  • Deux Chevaux commented:

    10/7/19, 6:02 AM - Hi O_M, thanks for this perceptive-as-always note. We have one more, and will wait.

White
2017 Blaise Duboux Chasselas Grand Cru Haut de Pierre Dézaley
9/12/2019 - Deux Chevaux wrote:
Bright, persistent, and lively. Refreshing sense of lightness. (375, at Auberge du Vigneron, Epesses.)
  • Deux Chevaux commented:

    9/13/19, 10:18 PM - Two interesting things: first we went to his cellar, but it was closed. Then, a very short walk away at the restaurant terrace, when we ordered his wine and spoke with our waiter about it how we had enjoyed the “Plant Robez” the night before at a different restaurant, he introduced us to Blaise Duboux, who was sitting practically next to us. Seems like a nice fellow!

    Our experience with Chasselas is limited — but we had six bottles in the prior week. Within that range, we found this one refreshing and light — and very enjoyable!

  • Deux Chevaux commented:

    9/14/19, 1:28 PM - Thanks, I’ll look for that. Unfortunately, it may be while before we can find these wines again — but, someday ....

White
2012 Joseph Dorbon Arbois Vieilles Vignes "Cuvée des Moyne" Chardonnay Blend, Chardonnay
9/3/2019 - dsamuel wrote:
89 points
Dark gold/ amber in color
Medium aromas of fresh red apple/ applesauce
Nice palate of apples with oxidative qualities as expected
Palate rather simple and appears out of synch - medium/ medium plus acidity and medium length which does appear to drop off suddenly
Nicely made typical Jura - I have come to the conclusion again that, although enjoyable, I don't particularly have the attraction for Chardonnay made in this method and IMO the Savignin grape typically shows much more character. I keep buying these nonetheless but I think with rare exception I prefer the Savignin.
  • Deux Chevaux commented:

    9/4/19, 11:35 PM - Good observations, and I particularly agree with your last paragraph; we aren’t really buying the oxidative Chardonnays anymore. But the savignins (sous voile or topped up), lovely ....

White
2010 Domaine de Montbourgeau L'Etoile Vin Jaune Savagnin
8/16/2019 - JohnTheBastard Likes this wine:
97 points
I need more of this in my cellar. Showed great at the end of our Jura tasting, with lots of hazelnut, grapefruit, and salinity on top of the flor and oxidized Chardonnay. Explosive when paired with old Gouda. A completely foreign experience for most of the tasters, but embraced with enthusiasm.
  • Deux Chevaux commented:

    8/18/19, 11:14 AM - I can see it would be lovely with aged Gouda. But did you have it with aged Comte? (The classic pairing for us. Also, these fellows go beautifully with curried prawns.)

  • Deux Chevaux commented:

    8/19/19, 6:03 AM - Bonjour JohnTB, I just looked at your other Jura notes — nice selection, and very aptly described. Have you seen Wink Lorch’s excellent book, “Jura Wine”? (And she just recently published a worthy companion, “Wines of the French Alps.”)

    Re Comté, try to get some with the green (not brown) label, and aged 26 to 30+ months — making it more likely to have fantastic crackling crystals!

    And re vin jaune, when it’s back in stock at K&L (pretty sure it’s depleted now, thanks in part to us) you might try the Dubois (Arbois) version — most recent vintage 2012. It’s lovely, yet, as a direct import, just over half the price of the fine Montbourgeau you had. (We love vin jaune, and have many in our cellar.) — Jake

Red
2016 Domaine de la Voute des Crozes Côte de Brouilly Gamay
8/15/2019 - Deux Chevaux wrote:
Three weeks later, and our fourth: As before, with deep vibrant dark fruit and a pleasant hint of barnyard. Highly enjoyable over three nights.
  • Deux Chevaux commented:

    8/16/19, 7:30 PM - This, and quite a few others (yet fewer recenty) are from Kermit Lynch, Berkeley. Most of the French, Spanish, German, etc. in our cellar is from K&L SF. Some are from about eight other smallish/ specialty merchants in the Bay Area and elsewhere in California. Drew, Rhys, Anthill and Navarro are from their lists. And in our suitcases, we’ve brought back many scores from France — shops and wineries.

White
2016 Rhys Chardonnay Horseshoe Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains
8/13/2019 - Deux Chevaux wrote:
Eight weeks after the prior: Again bright, deep, with lovely savory / mineral character. Highly enjoyable over three nights.
  • Deux Chevaux commented:

    8/15/19, 4:56 PM - Hi there MTC2, tho I’ve passed in prior years, I’ll admit I took some (of both) this time ....

  • Deux Chevaux commented:

    8/15/19, 5:33 PM - We’ve passed on Littorai for the past few years, having gone enthusiastically for all things Drew, Rhys, and to a lesser extent, Anthill, as our prime / favorite local producers. But as you might see from my notes, we’ve fallen lately for Rioja blanco, and German Riesling ....

  • Deux Chevaux commented:

    8/15/19, 6:30 PM - We loved 10 days in Spain last September. We were exclusively in the Basque and Rioja. For Rioja blanco, the top for us, and many agree, is Lopez de Heredia. They make three Fabulously distinctive and subtly oxidative whites, and four excellent reds — all employing a business model based on long-term barrel and bottle aging before release — something that very few other wineries can do. But the winery is 150 years old, has always done it this way, and with huge stocks of 12,000 barrels underground, it can afford to continue. If you go, make sure to email them in advance, and you may receive a fantastic, and free, private tour. (Otherwise, if you just show up, you pay for a much less interesting tour.) But beware, you may become hooked on these wines!

Red
2015 Drew Family Cellars Pinot Noir Fog Eater Anderson Valley
8/11/2019 - Deux Chevaux wrote:
21 months after the prior: similar, and now beautifully integrated. This is a fine example of cool coastal Pinot Noir.
  • Deux Chevaux commented:

    8/14/19, 5:02 PM - Ahhh, it’s lovely indeed — as are the VD bottlings from Drew. And I see from your notes that we have similar tastes ....

White - Sparkling
2017 Birichino Malvasia Bianca Pétulant Naturel Monterey
3/5/2019 - MTC2 Likes this wine:
91 points
Brought to a tasting and it put a smile on EVERYONE'S face. First the beer bottle cap closure. Next the cloudy, murky slightly effervescent color, reminiscent of (excuse the French) urine. Heady, fruit and flower nose, followed by the high acid, mineral, desiccated fruit and a dry, dry finish. The most surprising and pleasant wine I've had in months.
  • Deux Chevaux commented:

    8/14/19, 4:45 PM - Hi Chief

Red
2009 Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe Châteauneuf-du-Pape La Crau Red Rhone Blend
7/21/2019 - kfrench150 wrote:
88 points
Second and last bottle. Hopefully redeems from the last one. Black ruby red with a thinning and bricking at the rim. Sour cherry, tobacco, some funk and horsiness on the nose. Also noticeable alcohol. Medium full bodied. Cedar, tart dried red berries, cherry cough syrup, black tea tannins and some heat on the end. Tight acidity. Longish finish. Overall, this is big and hot but not enough fruit to balance the alcohol and it comes across as a bit dried out and clunky. Not that good.
  • Deux Chevaux commented:

    7/21/19, 9:58 PM - Your note nicely captures our repeated experience with this wine. (Unfortunately.)

White
1995 Caves São João Arinto Quinta do Poço do Lobo Vinho Regional Beiras
7/19/2019 - Pontifax Likes this wine:
93 points
Well!.....live and learn...a first for me after all these years.
On nose: roasted hazlenuts,nougat , sea salt and vanilla frosting(?).
On palate:NONE of the above flavours!
Tart lemon , tangerine , parsnip, tobacco , clean , lively minerals a faint undercurrent of demerara sugar...and as it warmed up a return to high salinity and hints of dry barley .....dried apricot and ginger notes made their prescence known as well as it warmed up into the second hour....a faint element of bone dry sherry of top quality was also noted.....a fine bottle , well cellared intact cork , and medium dark gold colour....

The consensus: notes of Lopez de Heredia blanco2001...Ch.Musar Blanc 1989.....and leafy characteristics and tangerine notes of Domaine de Chevalier 1995.....I will buy more.
  • Deux Chevaux commented:

    7/20/19, 3:37 PM - Lovely note about a lovely and distinctive wine.

Red
2006 R. López de Heredia Rioja Reserva Viña Tondonia Tempranillo Blend, Tempranillo
Decanted for an hour then consumed over three days. There certainly is wine to meet every taste, but this bottle is apparently in direct opposition to mine. To me, it was post-apocalyptic in style, a dry tannic terrain with listless fruit.
  • Deux Chevaux commented:

    7/18/19, 11:34 AM - I’m curious: What is meant by “post-apocalyptic” context?

  • Deux Chevaux commented:

    7/18/19, 5:02 PM - Yup, I inferred that much. And to each his (or her) own! But I can’t help but wonder if this was a bad bottle — as noted by others, LdeH is known for some variation. (PS, looking back, I meant to type, “in this context.” I’ll also venture to say we can probably all agree that we prefer to avoid apocalyptic experiences — figurative or real.)

White
2014 Bodegas Honorio Rubio Rioja Lias Finas Crianza Viura, Macabeo
6/24/2019 - ohne_musik wrote:
92 points
Smells a bit like almonds, American oak, and acetone. Palate is focused, impeccably balanced, vibrant acid, no acetone, distinct Longan / lychee, simultaneously light as a feather and richly textured, with lots of balance. What’s striking is that this has been open in the fridge (1 glass poured out) for a week.
  • Deux Chevaux commented:

    6/25/19, 6:15 AM - Hi o-m — we are happy, and not surprised, to see that you liked this. And indeed, it has staying power — we think improves upon opening, and for quite a few days. Have you had its older and even more complex sibling, the Anadas (solera)?

White
1995 Caves São João Arinto Quinta do Poço do Lobo Vinho Regional Beiras
6/21/2019 - logos Likes this wine:
77 points
Forceful slightly maderized bouquet of fino sherry, sea spray, and petrol, with a touch of caramel and a sharply acidic edge, later reveals a subtle pear-like undertone with a subtle, lilting florality that begins with a whisper but gradually increases in volume; eventually softening slightly, becoming more caressing. Slightly nutty flavor, a bit reminiscent of a light-bodied dry sherry, but fresher, livelier, more (extremely) acidic. Very penetrating acidic remains.
  • Deux Chevaux commented:

    6/22/19, 5:52 PM - Your numeric score is rather out of sync with others who assign numbers — but a quick look at a sampling of your other scores shows that you know that, and have your own system. Quite a part from the merits of that, thanks for the thoughtful description.

Red
2015 Rhys Pinot Noir Family Farm Vineyard San Mateo County
6/20/2019 - rlove wrote:
91 points
Reduction initially renders the 2015 Family Farm backward, necessitating air to coax out aromas of red fruit, cola, and potting soil. There's a deep minerality on the palate that yields a killer tactile quality that lifts the flavors of red fruit and spice. Drink starting 2020.
  • Deux Chevaux commented:

    6/20/19, 7:42 PM - Your description does not seem to correlate with the first digit of your score?

White - Sparkling
2012 Roederer Estate L'Ermitage Brut Anderson Valley Champagne Blend
6/15/2019 - Motz wrote:
95 points
Tasted over two days. There is an energy to this, at once expansive and piercing, conveyed through steely, bone-dry fruitiness. With air, it also showed diamond-hard precision. High acid, impeccable balance. The finest New World sparkling wine that I have crossed paths with. No hint of age, though no reason not to enjoy bottles now. Crazy delicious! 94-95.
  • Deux Chevaux commented:

    6/15/19, 4:53 PM - Very nicely done note. (We consistently find these to be our favorite New World sparkling wines.)

White
2015 E. Guigal Condrieu La Doriane Viognier
6/1/2019 - Cailles Likes this wine:
93 points
I see that this is a special wine, a special Viognier and that the high praises are deserved. But this full-bodied, low-acid and very perfumed style of Viogniers in general are just not my favorite. So don't get my 93 points wrong, this is definitely a brilliant Viognier. Viognier lovers might rate this much higher. I guess that this might pair well with Asian food.

TN: Walking through a field of fresh flowers or into a room with fresh washed laundry. Additionally some terroir aromas with a nice minerality providing somewhat of a lift. Very soft, highly intense, not enough acidity for my tast but in no way cloying. Overall quite harmonious and long.

Decanting: To my surprise, this needed time to open up. One hour in the decanter seems to be right.
  • Deux Chevaux commented:

    6/11/19, 11:30 AM - Excellent note.

Red
2005 R. López de Heredia Rioja Reserva Viña Tondonia Tempranillo Blend, Tempranillo
6/9/2019 - Praxis wrote:
92 points
Clear, dark yet translucent cochineal orange in color. The nose is deep, fresh, clean and amazingly complex with loads of matured boysenberries, blackberries, sour cherries with secondary notes of tobacco, herbs, flowers, gamey meat and spice. The palate is medium-bodied, old-world in style in the tradition of classical Rioja and ends with a long, fruity, savory finish. The flavor components of this wine feature a complex dry fruity core infused with subtle notes bitter herbs, fresh tobacco, fresh flower petals, camphor, dry clay soil, animal fur, old worn leather, garrigue and decomposing wood with a noticeable degree of oxidization which contributes to this in a good way. This is without a doubt a very sublime and complex Rioja Reserva with seamless and subtle transitions which makes it very challenging to delineate and describe. Surprisingly the oak and vanilla components were hardly noticeable given the fact that typical Rioja Reservas usually spends quite a considerable amount of time in American oak. I reckon that this young 14 year-old wine would benefit from another 5 years in the cellar.
  • Deux Chevaux commented:

    6/9/19, 1:53 PM - Very nice description. By the way, the winery, which makes its own barrels from American oak — one every day or so — goes out of its way to never expose its wines, red or white, to that new oak. Instead (and quite unlike many of its neighbors), each new barrel is seasoned with must, etc., so that the oak does not dominate the wine.

Rosé
2016 Clos Cibonne Tibouren Côtes de Provence Rosé Cuvée Spéciale des Vignettes
6/7/2019 - ZaphodB Likes this wine:
91 points
Pink with orange glints. Nose is fresh, fruity, with notes of wild strawberries, red currants, garrigue, roses and some nutty hints. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, fresh, with pungent acidity and notes of wild strawberries, red currants, blood oranges, garrigue, dried roses, a touch of hazel nuts and a minerality that leads to a long, fresh finish. A truly great and serious style of rosé, which will probably drink well for some 5-7 years more.

Aged for a year sous voile in 5000 liters foudres.
  • Deux Chevaux commented:

    6/8/19, 7:17 AM - Thanks for this note — didn’t realize it was raised sous voile. But that helps explain the wine’s character and texture — and why we so enjoy these fellows!

White
2004 R. López de Heredia Rioja Blanco Reserva Viña Tondonia White Blend
5/10/2019 - Cailles wrote:
93 points
My second encounter with this wine and it again delivered quite a convincing performance. The main highlight is the level of complexity you rarely find in a white wine, especially in a white wine which only costs 40 bucks. I can only imagine how good or let's say "intellectually appealing" (these wines doesn't necessarily bring you a lot of hedonistic pleasure!) the Gran Reservas or more aged examples would be. Definitely one to try. Best with food.

TN: Oxidative, nutty, a bit sherry-like nose which I don't fine overly pleasant. But on the palate the picture is different. No sherry notes, just a wonderful, complex, low alcohol, fine and fresh wine with layers of different aromas. Along the oxidative notes, nuts, crushed rocks, chamomile, apricots, mirabelle and with time a lot of intriguing baking spices. Changed quite a lot in the two hours in the glass. Good precision, medium- weight and medium+ length.

Decanting: I would decant it for at least three hours as it got better but of course it was open right from the start.
  • Deux Chevaux commented:

    5/15/19, 6:16 AM - I agree — excellent note on a wonderfully distinctive wine.

Red
2014 Briceland Vineyards Pinot Noir Phelps Vineyard Humboldt County
5/13/2019 - z_willus_d wrote:
91 points
Upon pouring, this wine showed a notably pure, deep crimson hue, notwithstanding the partially ossified wine crystals and gunk along the bottom quarter of the cork. (And for some reason this bottle's cork was stained purple-red, though not from any apparent internal seepage.) But these are inconsequential to the point, which is this, my first tasting experience with a Briceland Vineyards wine, indeed a Humboldt county wine. I've enjoyed following the nose over the past 90-minutes sans sipping, watching as it evolved from simple sour red cherry to a deeper complexion of red fruits, violets, forest febreze, and subtle bakers spices (and from time to time cookie-dough ice-cream). Very lovely, smooth, and not quite what I was expecting. On the palate, this was concentrated with a double-dose of sour cherry/raspberry (red fruits) and a triple dose of bracing acidity. After a couple sips, fine tannins start to paint the teeth, a bit of mineral mixed in with that sensing. Several aspects of this wine remind me of the 2017 Drew Family Cellars Pinot Noir Mid-Elevation I recently enjoyed in Anderson Valley -- vibrant sour-cherries, a touch floral, good acidity -- though this wine seems more serious and amplified than the entry-level Drew. This also seems young, and I will be interested to follow this over the next couple days to see how the slight bottle aeration of the recorked bottle affects the wine stored at cellar temps. A second half-glass pour showed a less sour, more full (on the mid-palate) rendering of the preceding. There's a lot to follow here, and I'm very excited to sample the other Briceland wines that just arrived (let's hope bottle-shock is a myth).
  • Deux Chevaux commented:

    5/14/19, 9:20 AM - Hi ZWillusD, Nice note. We will open one of these soon. For now I will mention: We have noticed gunk similar to what you describe on and under the corks in at least two of the three Briceland pinot noirs that we have opened. We take it (as we assume you do) as a sign of a healthy and alive wine!

Red
2015 Briceland Vineyards Pinot Noir Ronda's Vineyard Humboldt County
4/11/2019 - Deux Chevaux wrote:
Medium ruby, with a touch of translucence at the edges. Yet, as with the recent and even more translucent Humboldt appellation bottling, there is a lot of stuffing here. Predominant impressions are hints of complex clove and balsamic strawberry, a touch of forrest & pine, and refreshing saline. Balanced (with fine acidity) and beautifully integrated.

This was extremely enjoyable over three nights — and we will try to get more. (Even tho we were not looking for another Nor Cal producer to put into our overstocked cellar — competing for bin space with Rhys, Drew, and Anthill Anderson Valley. But so far, the three Pinot Noirs we’ve had recently from Briceland put it, for us, in that league.)
  • Deux Chevaux commented:

    5/4/19, 6:33 PM - Hi zwillisd, thanks for your note. So far we’ve had (and I’ve written notes on) only three Briceland Pinot Noirs, and one very interesting white. We have in our cellar another Briceland Pinot to try (Phelps) and we will get to that within the month.

    Andrew seems like a nice fellow, and we are looking forward to visiting the winery a second time within a couple months. When I taste more, I will post more. In the meantime, here’s to our shared appreciation of North/cool coastal vineyards and wineries! — Jake

  • Deux Chevaux commented:

    5/5/19, 10:10 AM - Yes, in terms of the setting and structure — both physical and organizational — Rhys is in a different orbit. Briceland seems basically a lovely laid-back farm, nestled among pine other trees on the side of a hill. But note, it’s quite a slog, even from the beautiful Anderson Valley. (We stayed for the fifth or sixth time nearby in the recently renovated Benbow Inn, and greatly enjoyed it. That is how we discovered Briceland, having had two of its bottles at the Benbow restaurant’s lovely dining room. Take a look at online pictures. And also nearby are of course the fantastic redwoods in the Avenue of the Giants.)

    Drew, as a winery operation, is something in the middle (literally and figuratively) — but still it has very much a family run and honest and hard-working feel about it. If you ever get a chance to visit the home/winery itself, located four or 5 miles from the coast (as depicted on the label, which also shows Jason in the middle of the Vineyard!) it’s quite lovely. Yet, not generally open to the public.

    Thanks for the Oregon reference, I will take a look. But like I said in my original review, our cellar space is at a premium! — Jake

  • Deux Chevaux commented:

    5/5/19, 11:19 AM - Ahh, Renaissance — now I remember the story, and I get your “cult” reference as well. There have been some in-depth articles about it and its vineyards/wines lately, and I just now saw a couple more of them online. I also did a quick CT search, and found lots of positive notes, some from folks I trust. So yes, we should try some of those, and thanks for the mention. — Jake

Rosé
2015 Bodegas Honorio Rubio Rioja Lias Finas Rosado Garnacha, Grenache
5/2/2019 - ohne_musik wrote:
92 points
This rose is like no other. It reminds me of a non-sparkling Billecart-Salmon rose crossed with a extended aging Pepiere muscadet crossed with a volcanic Canary Island red. Intense, laser beam of acidity, loads of crushed rock, bright crunchy red fruit, and salinity. Nervy and razor sharp, but with a creamy texture, as DC notes. The only slight disappointment is in the finish, which is a bit hollow and short. As is, a wonderful, unique Rose.
  • Deux Chevaux commented:

    5/3/19, 6:00 AM - Hi OM, glad to hear it went well for you. Have you yet tried the same producer’s most recent bottling of Anadas?

  • Deux Chevaux commented:

    5/3/19, 7:44 AM - Indeed — and note, only 7 left at K & L. But I have a healthy supply ....

White
2007 R. López de Heredia Rioja Blanco Viña Gravonia Viura, Macabeo
Brilliant gold. Intense nose of candied nuts, candied citrus, varnish, resinous herbs, toffee. Wonderfully full bodied with excellent acidity to balance the rich texture. Linear palate with long nutty finish. Outstanding wine, pairs great with fried foods.
  • Deux Chevaux commented:

    4/29/19, 5:53 PM - Excellent description.

Red
2015 Domaine Vacheron Sancerre Rouge Pinot Noir
4/25/2019 - 560 B&W wrote:
87 points
PnP from 375ml at Petit Crenn. I know this is 2015, but the Cali-candy-like flavors (from the Loire, of all places) are not to my liking. Mid body, mid+ acid, 12.5% (seems like more). Obnoxious triple retail+ pricing.
  • Deux Chevaux commented:

    4/25/19, 10:48 AM - Thanks for the note. (We don’t recall any such candy like flavors, which we’d also not want.) Your pricing comment makes me wonder, what did PC charge?

White
2016 Rhys Chardonnay Bearwallow Vineyard Anderson Valley
10/28/2018 - joraesque wrote:
89 points
The only wine they allowed me to taste at Pick-up. Cooked pineapple notes. Pretentious. Left a bad taste in my mouth. Or perhaps it was their customer service.
  • Deux Chevaux commented:

    4/21/19, 8:34 AM - Hmmm — This thread makes me mention that my customer relations experience with Rhys has been excellent. And I have always received emails back within hours. Most recently, when they accidentally sent me a duplicate order of eight bottles, I contacted them to explain the situation, and they said it was their mistake, just keep it, they can’t/won’t resell it after it has already been sent to me. (And I’m less than 100 miles away, and shipping weather was fine.) My impression from this and other experiences is — it’s overall a highly honorable operation. These days, we need more of that — in wine, and in the world.

White
2005 R. López de Heredia Rioja Blanco Reserva Viña Tondonia White Blend
Checking in again in six weeks after the prior: lovely, similar. This time we noticed a pronounced and pleasant saline aspect. Highly enjoyable over four nights, gaining in complexity over that time.
  • Deux Chevaux commented:

    4/10/19, 12:21 PM - Hi westopherguy, I'd love to experience the Rosado again, after my few sips last Sept. Re the Tondonia blanco -- we string most bottles we open out to three or more nights (corked, sometimes topped with inert gas, always refrigerated) -- this way, we have a sampling of 5-6 wines each night with dinner. And tho we love Tondonia blanco, it a bit difficult to pair with some foods. (Goes great with almonds, lime-infused dishes, and fire grilled Turbot -- but hard to fine the latter where we live.) What other foods do you fine that it pairs well with?

White
2008 Jacques Puffeney Arbois Vin Jaune Savagnin
4/6/2019 - Cailles wrote:
An Evening of Oddballs and Curiosities: Not my style... definitely not my style. On the nose this smells like a shot of some hard alcohol, like a sherry or cognac. Better on the palate, with some elegance to it but you definitely have to like that style. It didn’t come across as complex as other reviews here suggest but then again, I was probably not really open to embrace the wine and dive deep into all the nuances which might have been there. I would give it a rating below 80 but since it is no help to fellow wine drinkers who like the style I do not rate it.
  • Deux Chevaux commented:

    4/8/19, 6:12 AM - As lovers of vin jaune, we can understand your questioning and ambivalence. And we also appreciate the restraint you showed in preparing your helpful note and declining to score under the circumstances.

Red
2009 Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe Châteauneuf-du-Pape La Crau Red Rhone Blend
3/5/2019 - Not647f wrote:
I don't worry that this will become porty, but I don't think this is going to get a whole lot better. This didn't have the tannins it had a couple years ago, it's now settled into something like a raspberry coulis profile. It's not adding a whole lot in the way of secondary flavors. It is, after all, mostly grenache. CdP just doesn't do for me like it once did, partly as the idea of it is less exciting as well--the spectacle of the bottles and the gothic labels has gotten a little old for me. TBH, it's often not as aromatic as a good Gigondas, either. Not heartbroken this is my last VT.
  • Deux Chevaux commented:

    3/6/19, 6:37 PM - Thanks. (And your note well captures my assessment.)

White
1995 Caves São João Arinto Quinta do Poço do Lobo Vinho Regional Beiras
3/3/2019 - westopherguy Likes this wine:
95 points
Every time I drink this wine, I think more of it, which explains why there are 22 bottles of it in my cellar. Now that no more of this vintage are to be had, I’ll be rationing them a bit. (At this writing, the 1991 is available, and it’s great too, but the 1995 is still better.)

My previous tasting notes go into more detail on this wine. It’s worth noting that there is some variance bottle-to-bottle, sometimes quite a bit, and while the fundamentals are the same, it makes each one an adventure in and of itself.

It’s just so rare to see bottles like this released to market with this age and this incredible price point. For me, I’d readily pay 2x the price to have it.

NOTE: You’ll probably see dry mold on the top of the cork, testament to the long cellaring at the winery. Use an ah-so cork puller to get the thing out; very subject to breakage given that with most of my bottles, the cork is saturated fully halfway up (or higher). And even with an ah-so, getting it out in one piece is a challenge.
  • Deux Chevaux commented:

    3/3/19, 11:01 AM - Hi Westopherguy, we share your infatuation with this wine, although sadly, at this point, we don’t have as many as you! Of similar ilk, I assume you have had the (increasingly difficult to find) Lopez de Heredia blancos? And as a worthy substitute/comparison to those, in case you’ve not had it, you might also like the similarly distinctive Honorio Rubio blancos (and rosado) ....

  • Deux Chevaux commented:

    3/3/19, 4:14 PM - You are very lucky to have 1, let alone 3, of the LDH rosado. I have tried for the past 18 months, and failed. We did get a taste of the 2008 last September in Haro — it was excellent. Have you visited the winery? If you email them in advance, and express your interest, you get, as we received, a two hour private tour and tasting. By far the best winery tour we have ever experienced. Amazing cobwebs and mold! But even at the winery, only the reds were for sale. (Well, you were allowed to buy one bottle of the Rosado in a six pack, along with five Tondonia reds. We passed on that, mostly because we were driving around in a car for many days thereafter, and did not want to cook the wine.)

    Not quite in the same league, but the Honorio Rubio rosado is similarly distinctive. That and one of the two HR blancos — an assemblage of vintages at least 11 years old — is available at K & L right now. Very good stuff.

  • Deux Chevaux commented:

    3/3/19, 8:41 PM - In San Francisco and for that matter all along the West Coast, the same thing happened with the LDH Rosado — it went to a few lucky customers, and the rest (most?) went to wine store employees/ insiders.

    Re Honorio Rubio — K & L is the direct importer. It may be the most promising/effective to purchase directly through it — assuming that shipping is legal to Colorado. There is a good supply right now. — Jake

  • Deux Chevaux commented:

    3/4/19, 5:49 PM - Yikes, sorry to hear that. I was going to also recommend Dugois 2011 Arbois vin jaune, which will be available at K & L in the next few weeks — it seems a wine in your wheelhouse, and it’s another direct import/ quite well priced. Maybe you *should* employ the Cheyenne option!?! (These old puritanical shipping laws, vestiges of Prohibition, are very frustrating.)

White
2016 Navarro Vineyards Chardonnay Première Réserve Anderson Valley
6/29/2018 - Deux Chevaux wrote:
Disappointing — dull and lacking in vibrancy. Very unusual showing for this fine winery. Perhaps the bottle was off. Gave up after three nights.
  • Deux Chevaux commented:

    2/28/19, 8:49 PM - Hi PWL — You are probably right — and as I suspected, it probably was off/ corked. This is a very fine operation — and yet, bad individual bottles happen. It reminds us that wine is alive!

White
2004 R. López de Heredia Rioja Blanco Reserva Viña Tondonia White Blend
2/19/2019 - DavilaDC Likes this wine:
92 points
Ordered at a Michelin Star restaurant in Bilbao and the sommelier "warned us" against it saying it's not your typical white wine. Having ordered it anyway, the chef came out to see the bottle and tweak a few things we ordered. For example, he replaced the lemon that accompanied the oysters with lime and did that set off this wine!

Almost amber in color and a body to match the hue. The nose was full of almonds, herbs and honey but with a fresh acidity.

If it wasn't for the food, I could understand the reviews here that are not so positive when this bottle is asked to stand alone. But, when paired correctly this wine is like nothing else.
  • Deux Chevaux commented:

    2/19/19, 7:36 PM - Thanks very much for mentioning the lime versus lemon match. We love this and similar stuff — and we will keep that match in mind.

  • Deux Chevaux commented:

    2/19/19, 8:24 PM - Good luck finding the 1996 gran reserva — I do see two on wine searcher in the US right now. But whether it’s actually in stock, who knows. We are lucky enough to have had it twice, and it is worth the search.

White
2008 R. López de Heredia Rioja Blanco Viña Gravonia Viura, Macabeo
2/8/2019 - Caruso Likes this wine:
95 points
Golden with a slight amber hue. This is first a bit reduced on the nose, but delivers within minutes, especially on the palate it shows great complexity and intensity that is worldclass in my opinion. However made in a oxidative style these wines seem to have some image problems. The 2008 Gravonia Crianca got 94 from Gutiérrez, which is quite conservative from my point of view. However this shows good yellow fruit components intermingled with nutty flavors, chamomile, vanilla, saffron, flowers and petrol as well as a salty, mineral driven finish with great poise and balance of fruit and acidity. There is really nothing like this else in the world. 5/12/19/9, -2030+ if perfectly stored since release, but of course it is ready to drink without decant. For less than 18 € an unbelievable bargain as well.
  • Deux Chevaux commented:

    2/8/19, 7:49 AM - Yes, these — and the sibling Tondonia blanco bottlings — are indeed special creatures. You are very lucky to have access at only around 18 euros — these are more difficult to find, and much more costly, for those of us who are farther from the source!

Red
2015 Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
2/3/2019 - Francophile1 Likes this wine:
90 points
Caymus has become the “gateway wine of red wines”. Said another way, for those who don’t enjoy red wine, this is a good place for them to start learning to like it. For my palate, it is too over the top syrupy-sweet with residual sugar and vanilla extract. However, for someone just starting to venture into the world of red wine, it could be the very thing to get them hooked on it. I do miss the older wine making style of Caymus, however. It has lost its sense of class and style at some point in the last 10 years.
  • Deux Chevaux commented:

    2/4/19, 11:15 AM - Quite agree!

White
2015 Bergström Chardonnay Sigrid Willamette Valley
Medium golden. And that’s the best thing we can say. This was downright unpleasant, and we finished it only because having paid so much, we were unwilling to give up on it. But by the fourth day (and tasting each day in between) the tar/smoke/rubber/aspects had become only more, and not less, pronounced. “Struck match” — for sure. Hint of sulphur, too. We have one more more, and yikes, I see 560+ bottles in CT inventory. Does anyone hold out realistic hope for this?
  • Deux Chevaux commented:

    12/16/18, 9:54 AM - Hi Bandreas, I truly wish you better luck. This experience with the 2015 was likely influenced by our similar experience with the 2014. As my CT notes for that show, we had a lovely tasting of the 2014 at the winery in June 2017, and it was fantastic at that time. We bought two bottles, and opened one a few months later, in November 2017. My CT note on that is a slightly stepped down version of my recent 2015 review. This leads me to believe that our experience was not attributed to bottle variation, but to being dramatically out of sync with the style of this wine. If others like it — lovely. The world is vast!

Red
2015 Alain Graillot Crozes-Hermitage Syrah
12/7/2018 - ohne_musik wrote:
91 points
Upon opening, a seductive perfume of sour cherries, dark flowers and iron. Palate starts off quite ferrous, tannic and hard as nails - just a hint of black fruit. Stoppered and let rest for 5 hours, after which it’s transformed quite a bit. Still tannic and mineral, but with blooming dark fruit, garrigue, roses, black cherry and iron on the finish for miles. On the spectrum of wild to civilized, it leans wild. This is a winner, just needs a few years of rest to really come into its own.
  • Deux Chevaux commented:

    12/8/18, 7:54 PM - Excellent note, as usual. And you encourage me to leave mine alone!

Red
2011 Domaine Maume Gevrey-Chambertin En Pallud Pinot Noir
11/28/2018 - JM_MadTown Does not like this wine:
79 points
Since the last bottle was not so good, this time I decanted the bottle an hour in advance of tasting it. While the decanting did help somewhat, this wine continues to be a major disappointment. It has a pale orange color and a weak nose of unripe strawberries. On the palate, the taste resembles the nose with thin strawberry fruit. All I can say it that I am glad I only have one more bottle to endure. I hope the 2010 vintage will be better when I open those bottles.
  • Deux Chevaux commented:

    11/29/18, 8:12 AM - This was our experience as well. And like you, we have one more to endure — and hope the 10 will meet expectations.

Red
1993 Eberle Cabernet Sauvignon Paso Robles
11/22/2018 - blaine Likes this wine:
91 points
Very impressive showing. This was from magnum, cellared by me since new. Opened about 30 mins before serving, not decanted, then drank over about 2 hours with 40% of the bottle left at the end. 13.8%. Amazing color, almost no bricking, showing translucent around the edges. Big nose, lots of oak. On the palate, big dose of oak that never blew off. American oak? Finish was tight. All that okiness aside, I really enjoyed this. Lot of life left, but this was a big bottle, if you have one left I’d drink up.
  • Deux Chevaux commented:

    11/23/18, 8:41 AM - Hi Blaine, as my subsequent note mentions, your description seems apt to us. And thanks for sharing. I’ve added a picture. — Jake

White
2011 Jean Bourdy Savagnin Côtes du Jura
As a lover of distinctive oxidative / sous voile savagnin it pains me to write this note, but that makes us even, because for most of its 14 days with us it was a pain to drink. This fellow was downright nasty for 13 days: bitter, with a dirty smell and taste of old tires. Toyo, I think. Funk — which generally we find enjoyable and contributes to complexity in moderation — here fails to overcome the negatives. Multiple days left corked in the fridge mellowed it only marginally. On the 14th and final day it was more enjoyable, but at that point we were worn down and looking for something good to say about it. PS: If I recall, our last bottle of the 2007 version of this same wine has similar, but thankfully for us, subdued negative characteristics. I’m glad to see other recent positive reviews. Maybe, or at least hopefully (for those with more), this particular 2011 bottle was off.
  • Deux Chevaux commented:

    11/11/18, 8:29 PM - Salut jkissane, thanks for your comment. We would love to have enjoyed this wine as much as we have others of its ilk. I’m very glad it was good for you. I hope the same for others. But looking back at my note, I see we gave it a full and rather astonishing 14 days, during which we checked in on it periodically — as I recall, daily for the first five or so, and then every other day or so for the duration. Wouldn’t that be enough time to shed reductive problems? — Jake

Red
2015 Rhys Pinot Noir Anderson Valley
11/3/2018 - blaine Likes this wine:
92 points
Cork was saturated halfway up. I’m now officially troubled by occasional Rhys cork problems, now identified in two different vintages by me (13 is other), unexpected given commitment to quality from this producer. As for this wine, very good! More open for business than I expected, possibly due to evolution from cork, though others note this is drinking well right now. Light on its feet for a 15, medium bodied, juicy acidity, balanced fruit. Nice finish. Great bottle, but I won’t wait too long on my other given another taster mentioned a corked bottle. Bad timing as I got the fall offer this week, but we love Rhys and will probably go long again.
  • Deux Chevaux commented:

    11/3/18, 11:44 AM - Thanks for this note. I too have noticed and commented on problems with the 13s — so far just the whites. And also, so far, the wine inside the bottle has been fine.

  • Deux Chevaux commented:

    11/5/18, 7:23 AM - Hi wadesh, yes, and I’m aware of that WB thread and the impressive responses from Rhys; but I was not aware that the problem with 13 whites also shows up with regard to 15 reds.

White
2015 Didier Dagueneau Pouilly-Fumé Silex Sauvignon Blanc
10/27/2018 - Deux Chevaux wrote:
Drwine’s note below is unfortunately apt for us. Great minerality and hints of shale. Excellent, and nearly bracing acidity. But for us, and especially for the tariff, it lacked depth and anticipated complexity.
  • Deux Chevaux commented:

    10/31/18, 8:41 AM - Well, there’s also one in my cellar (the bottle I recently tasted was at a restaurant, Madcap) — so let’s plan on opening it in six years!

White
2006 R. López de Heredia Rioja Blanco Viña Gravonia Viura, Macabeo
9/12/2018 - forceberry wrote:
94 points
100% Viura from Viña Zaconia vineyard located in the commune of Zaco. The wine gets its name because it is a Spanish emulation of the classic whites of the Graves region. After the spontaneous fermentation, the wine is aged for 4 years in predominantly old American oak barrels and bottled unfiltered in 2011. 12,5% alcohol. Tasted blind.

Quite concentrated and moderately deep honey-yellow color suggesting some age. Rich, sweet and obviously oxidative (but not oxidized) nose with captivating aromas of caramel, lemon marmalade, bruised apple, some resinous character, a little bit of sweet smoke, light beeswax tones, a hint of nuanced nuttiness and a subtle touch of vanilla. The wine offers layers upon layers of aromas and the nose seems to be somewhat different by every sniff. The wine is medium-to-moderately full-bodied and somewhat oily on the palate, but also bright and crunchy at the same time, thanks to the high acidity that keep the wine incredibly fresh and structured despite the quite concentrated, substantial and somewhat aged character of the wine. There are complex, layered flavors of lemony citrus fruits, oxidative spice and apple core character, some caramel, a little bit of chopped nuts, light smoky tones, a hint of toffee and a subtle, understated touch of vanilla. The finish is rich, complex and extremely long with dry and somewhat oxidative flavors of roasted nuts, creamy richness, some bruised apple, a little bit of caramel, a hint of tangy lemony citrus fruit character and a nuanced touch of spicy vanilla pod.

The first thing I wrote about this wine was RLdH - this style is just so obvious. I was pondering for a while between Tondonia Reserva and Gravonia, ultimately deciding on the latter - this wine shows more freshness and intensity than the often weightier and more concentrated Tondonia Reserva. A stunning wine and the more I taste this vintage the more I start to think that this is not only one of the greatest vintages of 2000's Gravonia, but also perhaps better than most Tondonia Reservas out there. A stunning combination of freshness, intensity, concentration and developed oxidative character. A wine that drinks beautifully now and will continue to do so for at least a decade more. Quoting myself from an earlier tasting note: "At only 15€ I lack words to describe the ridiculous value of this unique wine. Very highly recommended."
  • Deux Chevaux commented:

    10/15/18, 2:12 PM - Excellent note, beautifully written. These are indeed stunning wines.

    (One month ago today, we were standing in the Gravonia vineyard, before driving over to and briefly walking in Tondonia. All of this after an incredible two-plus hour private tour of the cellars, arranged months in advance with the winery. Note, they have no blancos — of any of the three they make — available for purchase in the tasting room. Although these fellows are an acquired taste, it seems, unfortunately, that quite a few others have acquired it! — Jake)

White
2001 R. López de Heredia Rioja Blanco Reserva Viña Tondonia White Blend
9/11/2018 - Deux Chevaux wrote:
Golden. Rich, vibrant. Waxy, caramel, curry, savory. Salty, with bracing acidity. Beautifully distinctive. Smoother than the 2004s we’ve recently had. Super wine. (At Kaia Kaipe.)
  • Deux Chevaux commented:

    9/13/18, 7:07 AM - Indeed, and we look forward to returning. Not only is it beautiful, relaxed, and professionally run — the food was super (fresh anchovies, followed by peppers, then charcoal grilled turbot for two ...) and the wine list prices are very reasonable.

White
2013 Rhys Chardonnay Alpine Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains
8/25/2018 - Deux Chevaux wrote:
We opened this, our last, a bit earlier than we would have, because like the Horseshoe 2013, the capsule was noticeably bulging. On removal of the capsule, we saw that the cork was only slightly protruding — albeit quite wet. And it was a real squeaker as the screw went down. The removed cork was softer than normal. Yet like the 2013 Horseshoe, the wine seemed just fine over the course of three days, and not substantially different from our note in February 2016. Dramatic, brilliant, and again with fantastic acidity. Still, after two in a row now — from different bottlings — I’d be concerned about cork issues with these white 2013s .... (And it makes me think about checking the red 2013s, which we’ve left sleeping ....)
  • Deux Chevaux commented:

    9/3/18, 2:24 PM - Hi Blaine, I looked at some of my 13 reds, and so far have seen no cork bulges. With these two Chardonnays, aside from the cork problems, we did not notice any degradation in the wine. May it be the same for you. Still, it does make one suspect about these 13s.

White - Off-dry
2016 Domaine Huet Vouvray Demi-Sec Le Haut-Lieu Chenin Blanc
7/31/2018 - Deux Chevaux wrote:
Medium golden. Bright, viscous, vibrant. The acid is in lovely balance with the sweet and slightly savory yellow fruit. Beautifully complex. A hit with blue cheese. Highly enjoyable meted out in small pours over five nights.
  • Deux Chevaux commented:

    9/3/18, 11:29 AM - Hi CO/ Kely -- Nice to hear from you. Good luck with it. We've recently discovered we like these fellows with not only blue cheese, but even -- surprisingly -- artichokes! -- Jake

White
1995 Caves São João Arinto Quinta do Poço do Lobo Vinho Regional Beiras
7/31/2018 - Baron Slick wrote:
93 points
To the extent that the Arinto grape has a reputation for aging well, this 23 year old wine actually is a current release from the producer. There’s so much material here that there is a lot left to unwrap. It’s ripe, mature, and complex, and smells like a well aged, caramelly, vintage champagne. There’s an umami and marine like aspect to the nutty, lemony, and orchard fruit notes, and it tastes like an old wine but with the drive, focus, delineation, and lip smacking acidity of a younger release. It builds and builds with no sign of letting up, with a streak of salinity surging through the long and endearing finish. This really is as special as it is unique.
  • Deux Chevaux commented:

    8/28/18, 7:20 AM - Super description of this fascinating wine.

White
2013 Rhys Chardonnay Horseshoe Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains
8/13/2018 - Jbird73 Likes this wine:
94 points
Very nervous after pulling cork and having seepage about 75% of the cork...initial worry with a sniff inside the bottle and then poured a glass. The glass is fantastic. Hoping that I don't have to update in another 30-60 minutes that it changed rapidly. Have a handful of these and hoping it is a one-off. The cork was flush so not protruding like the other review. I look forward to these bottles from Rhys and this one hits it all right now, beautiful light gold in color, intoxicating nose, great acidity, just great stuff.
  • Deux Chevaux commented:

    8/18/18, 8:03 AM - Thanks for the note, and the other immediately below it. We checked and noticed similarly on our sole remaining bottle: the foil was clearly bubbled up at top, protruding at least 1/16 of an inch. We cut it, and found the cork was damp and gistening, yet not protruding. On pulling we noticed it was quite wet all the way up the side and it was very squeeky when the screw was inserted —generally a sign of dampness in the cork. But at least so far, after pouring two small tastes last night, this fellow seems just about on par with our liveky and lovely bottle from earlier this year. Tonight we will try again, and dig deeper. — Jake

  • Deux Chevaux commented:

    8/18/18, 8:34 AM - Thanks. And yes, it’s a First World problem indeed.

White
2014 Bodegas Honorio Rubio Rioja Lias Finas Crianza Viura, Macabeo
7/29/2018 - Justin S Likes this wine:
91 points
Light golden color. Not much on the nose upon initial pour, perhaps a touch of oak. Palate is very fresh, showing citrusy flavors of meyer lemon and grapefruit. Acidity is strong, very mild oxidation (next to none), and the finish is long and sweet. Very interesting wine. Almost like a baby LdH Tondonia, which we had in the same flight. 91-92.
  • Deux Chevaux commented:

    7/29/18, 3:46 PM - We agree that these lovely wines (we also have enjoyed the 12) are akin to baby LdH Tondonia.

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