Comments on my notes

(40 comments on 38 notes)

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Red
2015 Forge Cellars Pinot Noir Les Allies Finger Lakes
7/12/2019 - melzar wrote:
90 points
Expressive pinot nose. Uncharacteristic for a Finger Lakes Pinot Noir, this wine is very tannic. Drinkable now, but the best years lie ahead. If you have this wine in your cellar, patience will be rewarded in spades. Burgundian in style, this is the first Finger Lakes Pinot Noir I've tasted that warrants cellaring. Great effort by this relatively new producer.
  • RGCM Gananda commented:

    7/12/19, 7:16 PM - If you enjoyed this wine, you should keep a lookout for the 2018 single vineyard pinot releases from Forge coming later this year. There will be two new vineyard sites to try this year. From what I have tasted so far of 2018 from Forge, they are worth seeking out.

White
2016 Heart & Hands Riesling Seneca East Vineyard Seneca Lake
6/15/2019 - RGCM Gananda Likes this wine:
91 points
Tasted at the winery. Previously tasted the winery seven months ago and my notes remain consistent. A mixture of white peach and citrus (especially lime) on the nose. Medium bodied with apple, pear and melon upfront and lots of white peach through the middle. The mid-body has the most density and the wine overall was the most expressive of the various vintages from the Seneca East site. Good acidity on the backside and balance seems to have improved slightly from my prior tasting. The contrast between the peach mid-body and the tart citrus backside and the way those notes blend together remain one of the highpoints of this wine. I plan to try my next from bottle in early July 2019 as part of a mini-vertical of Seneca East 2014, 2015 and 2016.
  • RGCM Gananda commented:

    7/3/19, 2:08 PM - No, I was there June 14-15. I will be back again November 22-23. Enjoy your time there this week. Hope you have time for a few wineries!

  • RGCM Gananda commented:

    7/3/19, 7:04 PM - Wow, 20 is quite a few, even for a full week! Certainly sounds great! I'm not on FB, so I wouldn't see any text. Happy to chat, let me know the best way to get in touch.

Red
2013 Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco Riserva Asili Nebbiolo
6/2/2019 - HowardNZ Likes this wine:
93 points
I suspected this, but didn't check my 2018 CT note before opening an orphan bottle I had in my wine fridge. The 2013 Asili is very primary, structured and tightly shut down. It was pretty much unapproachable on the first evening but better on each of the next two following evenings, opening up a bit. Deep dark red. Initially on bouquet lifted rose and violet aromatics, tar, wet river gravel, black tea, black cherries and other dark fruit. With time, a little earth, more tar and some new leather saddle emerged. On palate, very young, unresolved and dense. But it is almost drinkable now because it is so fine and well balanced. Ultra fine grained tannins and silky texture. Bright, persistent acidity. Serious fruit weight, power and volume. Quite dry with granite austerity at its core. Black tea, minerals, dark soil, tar and a real dark fruit character. Really not yet ready for opening. It needs an absolute minimum of 5-8+ more years in the cellar, but ideally 10-20 years to come into its peak drinking window. Excellent (94-95) potential.
  • RGCM Gananda commented:

    6/2/19, 7:12 PM - Thanks for the outstanding note, very useful. I was planning on holding mine until at least 2024 or 2025 and your notes confirm that strongly. I'm excited to see how well all of these 2013 Crus show at that time.

Red
2013 Chanin Pinot Noir Los Alamos Vineyard Santa Barbara County
6/2/2019 - bonedoc wrote:
Funk on the nose, then an hour later an empty palate. No fruit, tastes like bitter stems. I usually like the wines from this producer, but this was not good. ?85... not sure what one rates a wine that isn’t good.
  • RGCM Gananda commented:

    6/2/19, 7:10 PM - Possibly flawed? Based on no fruit, sounds at least possible. I'd agree that this wine seemed to show better in 2017 and 2018. I plan to try another bottle again soon and hopefully, will have a better result that you did. Thanks for the note, quite useful!

Red
2016 Antica Terra Pinot Noir Botanica Willamette Valley
10/27/2018 - RGCM Gananda Likes this wine:
93 points
Black cherry, floral notes and light spices on the nose. A bit above medium bodied (14% ABV) with black cherry and some raspberry notes upfront. Adds some plum, additional black raspberry and and some blackberry notes through the mid-body and into the finish. Picks up some tart red cherry notes along with spices on the backside. Solid tannins lead into the mineral driven finish. I opened this bottle two hours in advance and it wasn't nearly enough as the wine still showed as extremely tight and spice/acidity dominant at that point. Began to open up at the four hour mark and by five, it was showing beautifully. Mid-body in particular took on that expressive elegance that showcases the fruit, but framed with structural notes, leading to a more complete experience. Like the Ceras from two days ago, I had an opportunity to try a bottle and assess where this wine was so as to better judge what I'd purchased from the winery. Based on this, I would hold these bottle until at least mid-2020 to give this time to integrate as based on what this wine showed today, I would expect it will be noticeably improved in that time.
  • RGCM Gananda commented:

    1/17/19, 6:39 PM - Glad you found the note of use. Thanks for pointing out my typo. Clearly, I should proofread more closely!

White
2016 Heart & Hands Riesling Seneca East Vineyard Seneca Lake
11/17/2018 - RGCM Gananda Likes this wine:
91 points
Tasted at the winery. Impressive nose, showing lime and grapefruit notes. Medium bodied (10.6% ABV) with pear, apple and melon upfront, gaining good depth, openness and roundness through the middle and bringing in more noticeably peach notes. Grapefruit, lime and lemon notes and the back, along with enough tart, acidity driven qualities to provide good contrast and structure to the richer mid-body. This contrast between the mid-body and the finish actually came off as a very clean, integrated transition, highlighting the best elements of both. Next from bottle for me will be Summer 2019.
  • RGCM Gananda commented:

    1/5/19, 6:09 AM - I have four more. Given the glass corks, it should last awhile. I hope to be able to restrict myself to one-a-year.

Red
2012 Chanin Pinot Noir Bien Nacido Vineyard Santa Maria Valley
9/29/2018 - PapaGreenz Likes this wine:
92 points
Agree with comments from last reviewer, really enjoyable pinot
  • RGCM Gananda commented:

    9/30/18, 6:22 AM - So if you enjoyed it, I was surprised by the rating which suggests a really poor wine?

Red
2017 Azienda Agricola Girardelli Bardolino Novello Corvina Blend, Corvina
5/10/2018 - RGCM Gananda wrote:
Tasted at the winery. Cherry and floral notes on the nose. Just light of medium bodied (12.5% ABV) with soft open red cherry upfront. Shows good integration through the middle between the redfruit notes and the moderate, structuring tannins behind. Generally speaking, this was a light-medium bodied red, fairly straight forward, with just enough structure to give the fruit backbone and should be enjoyable as an everyday red over the next two years.
  • RGCM Gananda commented:

    5/25/18, 5:50 AM - Ha! We were in the area to visit Paolo Bonomelli's Boutique Olive Farm and on a recommendation, we stopped in at Girardelli and tasted through their full lineup. Fun introduction to the Bardolino region. Lots to explore in the Veneto.

Red
2011 Guerrieri Rizzardi Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Calcarole Corvina Blend, Corvina
5/10/2018 - RGCM Gananda Likes this wine:
92 points
Red cherry, along with noticeably more earth, leather and spices on the nose than the immediately proceeding 2010 Tommasi Amarone Riserva Ca' Florian. Between medium and full bodied (16% ABV) and as this was from a just-opened bottle, it was noticeably tight at first, but started to open up quickly. Red cherry upfront with plum behind. Lots of depth in the mid-body, but it's not giving away too much yet. Strong tannins on the backside (again, not surprising; young wine, just opened bottle) and spices, floral and earth notes through the finish. Right now, this wine is only giving hints of where it will be in five years or so. Between the depth through the middle and the strongly structured backside, this is wine to hold as it has a lot of future potential. (Antica Bottega del Vino; Verona, Italy)
  • RGCM Gananda commented:

    5/18/18, 7:13 AM - Yes. We had dinner there twice (2000 Speri, 2011 Speri La Roggia and 2000 Nicolis Ambrosan in bottle) and went over late night four other times and tasted through their entire Amarone by-the-glass list. Quite an experience and quite the place.

White
2011 Barone di Villagrande Salina IGT Malvasia Bianca, Malvasia
4/27/2018 - RGCM Gananda Likes this wine:
89 points
Prior bottle was just over a year ago. Tonight, it was very much a two-faced story. In general, the wine was a mix of pretty tropical fruit and more honeyed, sauternes style. On the nose, very strong nutty, honeyed notes, paired with a much prettier orange/pineapple, mango mix. In between medium and full bodied and retains the strong tropical fruit notes upfront, but as opposed to last time (where the two half were better blended) there seemed to be a much sharper dividing line this time. The honey and nut notes, along with the tannins towards the back stood out a bit more than they did previously. The longer it was open however, the more this seemed to fade. This wine seems to have two potential futures: (i) the two main components could fall further and further apart, leading to a more disjointed, slowly fading wine or (ii) the tropical and the honey continue to come together as the structure helps it to integrate nicely as you end up with a wine of sweetness, depth and character. I'll try my next bottle in early 2019 and that should give me a good read.
  • RGCM Gananda commented:

    4/28/18, 4:55 AM - Sorry, I don't. I purchased it directly from the winery during a visit in April 2016. They do ship: http://www.villagrande.it/en/ . Alternatively, I can provide you my contact there if that helps.

Red
2012 Proprietà Sperino Lessona Nebbiolo
I brought this bottle to lunch with Fabio Alessandria in Santa Maria. I figured as a maestro of Nebbiolo, he'd appreciate this as much as anyone - we both did. But, and this is important, it wasn't until this was at proper temperature that either of us were interested, let alone impressed. It was a warm day, and despite trying to keep the bottle cool, it had moved to around 74F. Fabio asked for a bucket of ice, and in a few minutes, a quick taste and confirmed it was beginning to gain character, clarity; it took a further 8-9 minutes of cooling, with two separate tastes in between, before the wine was fully alive, and when it was, it sent shock waves through the senses. This is completely brilliant juice, and while it drives me mad with pleasure today, it's got enough material to see some additional nuance(s) with some bottle rest, too. 100% Nebbiolo, 26 days on skins and 18 months on the lees. Brilliant. 13,5% abv., thru 2029. highly recommended

PnP, served non-blind. This was a sample bottle that Luca had provided. Interestingly, Fabio commented he'd already tried it at ProWein (small taste), a few months earlier, when he and Luca had booths next to one another - but that he was very happy to have it with our lunch at Vignaiolo - and at the perfect serving temperature.

https://www.ItalianWine.blog
  • RGCM Gananda commented:

    4/20/18, 1:32 PM - Thanks for both of these extremely useful notes! This isn't a producer I was familiar with, but the wine was just privately offered to me locally. Suffice it to say, based on your notes, I bought a bit.

Red
2006 Agostina Pieri Brunello di Montalcino Sangiovese
Pours a med>med+ brick red, clear. Initial aromas are of damp and dusty soil, some vitamin B, plum, savory, blackberry, talc, and on the fringe, the prettiest blue and purple flowers, bright and fresh. The entry is medium-bodied, the palate is both broad and deep. There's a touch of warmth on the long finish (served this at 62F), but it's more a warm blanket than a stoked fire; it caresses. By the one hour open mark, some citrus and red apple skin, and lactic had emerged on the nose, with the palate continuing (still) to add depth, layers. Red>Black fruited, very good sense of place, with just enough acidity to keep the firm tannins and fruit in balance. This can go another decade+, but it's also really good right now; structured, balanced. Superb value, and a true beauty at the 2 hr mark; better with aeration (2-3 hours). Could be enjoyed on its own, but really(!) shines with food; as good or better on night two. 14,0% abv., thru 2029. recommended+

https://wp.me/p7fulH-23k
  • RGCM Gananda commented:

    1/13/18, 7:25 PM - Thanks for this note. This was really more of what I was expecting when I opened my bottle last month. Clearly, I just had some sort of negative bottle variation. Based on your note, I'll probably try another bottle later this year.

Red
2004 La Rioja Alta Rioja Viña Ardanza Reserva Tempranillo Blend, Tempranillo
7/25/2017 - RGCM Gananda Likes this wine:
91 points
Prior bottle was 10 months ago and while it has evolved slightly, my notes were generally consistent. Red cherry, with some hints of black cherry along with earth and oak notes on the nose. Medium bodied (13.5% ABV) and remains very round and open, without the power or depth that I associate with Rioja. Red cherry upfront has softened a bit (not quite as bright), followed by red berry and tart red cherry. Integrated, fine-grained tannins mark the finish along with vanilla, earth and leather. Overall, felt like the wine had softened and integrated a bit more, but was otherwise unchanged. Should drink well over the next few years, but additional time isn't going to result in major positive evolution.

Like many, I think I was expecting a bit more given the critics excitement over this wine. Sure, it shows good fruit-structure balance and is drinking quite well, but I didn't find anything to support the massive accolades it received from some. It didn't have the complexity or depth in my view to justify the high praise it received. But that's not to take anything away from an enjoyable, affordable wine of high quality, simply not the stellar quality we may have been lead to believe.
  • RGCM Gananda commented:

    12/1/17, 11:57 AM - Glad you find these notes of use! It was served with grilled Berkshire pork chops as the main dish; a good match as I recall.

White - Off-dry
2005 Markus Molitor Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese ** Mosel Saar Ruwer
7/27/2017 - RGCM Gananda Likes this wine:
94 points
Prior bottle was one year ago and tonight was yet another fantastic showing. Medium bodied (7.5% ABV) and opened at 47F, warming to 52F. Honey, clover/floral, peach and lemon on the nose, along with a background current of minerally acidity. Starts off with orchard fruit notes of golden apple, rich peach and soft pear then shifts to a brightening and deepening set of tropical notes (pineapple, guava, mango) and adds excellent finishing contrasts with lemon, tart orange and a wonderful mineral component. All this is set with a background of soft integrated honey and spices, fully in balance with the rest of the wine and excellent structural and contrasting acidity. My first bottle (July 2014) was clearly an aberration as the subsequent two (July 2016 and tonight) were truly something special. There's no need to wait as this wine is drinking quite well at present but given the fruit, acidity and overall balance, you should be able to hold this wine for many years to come.
  • RGCM Gananda commented:

    8/17/17, 11:08 AM - None. This was opened a couple hours after both dinner and dessert and served on its own. A wonderful capstone to a great day and a great group of wines.

Red
2012 Peay Vineyards Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast
6/8/2017 - RGCM Gananda Likes this wine:
91 points
Prior bottle was just over seven months ago and this wine continues to improve. This was the last bottle of a mini-vertical of '09, '10, '11 and now 2012 which proved quite educational. Raspberry, cherry, vanilla and floral notes on the nose. Medium bodied and needed about an hour for the acidity to come into balance with the fruit. Shows bright, but nicely integrating red cherry and raspberry notes upfront. Followed by noticeably more tart notes of strawberry and cranberry. Finishes with minerals, earth, lite spices and integrating tannins. While this wine showed slightly more balance than my prior bottle, tasting this alongside the prior three vintages gave me insight into where this wine was going. Contrary to my prior thoughts, this wine isn't at peak and probably has at least a year, maybe two before it gets there. When this wine fully comes together, it should be as good as the 2010 as the fruit and structure are comparable, even if this bottle is much younger. If you're opening it now, give it at least an hour, but it's worth holding, as based on the prior vintages, your patience will be rewarded.
  • RGCM Gananda commented:

    6/12/17, 9:22 PM - Glad you found it of use. The general style characteristics showed quite clearly though the various vintages and ages of the bottles. 2010 was showing the best now, but all had points to recommend them. It was a fun experience and I may try something similar with the 2009-2013 Pomarium Vineyard, perhaps sometime in 2018.

Red
2006 Ciacci Piccolomini d'Aragona Brunello di Montalcino Sangiovese
6/12/2017 - 7smcb wrote:
flawed
A bottle with a worn and damaged label purchased from Liquor World in Franklin MA for a suspiciously low price. Suspicions were confirmed. Far too brown in colour for a ten year old wine. Notwithstanding a lengthy decant, wine had a brief but musty nose, and little on the palate save acid. Wine was, I fear, heat or cold tainted prior to purchase.
  • RGCM Gananda commented:

    6/12/17, 9:15 PM - That's exactly where my bottles came from and I remember exactly what you describe: labels were shredded and badly torn, some bottles showed seepage and overall conditions left a lot to be desired. I picked what seemed like the best bottles and so far the two I have tried have been (lucky for me) fine. Based on your note, I will certainly try my next bottle sooner than originally planned. Acceptable label or not, I suspect you are exactly right and there were some preexisting issues. Sorry your bottle turned out so poorly.

Red
2014 Rivers-Marie Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast
Have to admit this was kind of disappointing. Hoping it was just an off bottle because the others I have had are great like they usually are. Might be through a little phase maybe. Gonna give the others 6 months maybe....
  • RGCM Gananda commented:

    6/7/17, 9:31 PM - When you describe a spice dominant wine that tasted "flat" and showed minimal to no fruit, acidity or tannins, that strongly sounds like a corked bottle to me. At the very least, a bottle that was compromised in some fashion, especially given your prior experiences.

Red
2010 C.V.N.E. (Compañía Vinícola del Norte de España) Rioja Imperial Reserva Tempranillo
2/19/2017 - RGCM Gananda Likes this wine:
92 points
Blackberry, black cherry, leather and floral notes on the nose. Much more aromatic than the Gran Reserva. Medium bodied, perhaps a touch more (13.5% ABV) and opened three hours ahead of time, showed quite well. Blackberry and black cherry upfront with a mix of brightness, and deeper, softer fruit notes. Tannins come in on the back, but were surprisingly well integrated for a wine so young. Plum, licorice, leather notes and soft spices all come in on the backend and into and through the finish. At first, I thought this wine simply showed very good fruit as well as balance and integration. But after being open for six hours total, the wine showed additional upfront complexity, more nuance behind and better overall elegance, showing where this wine will be in a few years.
  • RGCM Gananda commented:

    4/27/17, 6:28 AM - Prior to initial tasting, I think 2-3 hours is sufficient. To my tastes, I thought the wine showed a noticeable jump in complexity and nuance around roughly the six hour mark. It's worth tasting at both points to really appreciate the difference. I think people who were less impressed with this wine got the accessible upfront fruit early on (which is pleasant, but not overly remarkable) and didn't experience the additional qualities the wine showed with the extra time open.

Red
2012 Wren Hop Pinot Noir Mortal Coil Phendler Sonoma Coast
4/18/2017 - yeti575rider wrote:
94 points
Coravin glass with Omaha Steaks dinner. Wow that was good. Sort of wishing opened up the whole bottle since now I have to worry that it will be as good next time around. Got even better as I drank this. I'm having trouble describing this which is why I think it was so great. Not really that big (Bevan 2014 pinots are crazy dark beasts) and it's dark fruited but again not that dark and not going towards syrah / cab. It's certainly not cherry or strawberry so what the heck is it. Almost has a full cluster type of nose with spices and pepper and some cedar all mixed in. Just a really fun wine. Wife seconded the opinion. Might be a 95 but let's wait for the rest.
  • RGCM Gananda commented:

    4/18/17, 6:47 PM - Thanks for the note. I was planning to open one of mine this coming weekend. Your note certainly helped to convince me it's the right choice!

Red
2012 Black Kite Pinot Noir Kite's Rest Anderson Valley
4/7/2017 - StraightnoChaser Likes this wine:
90 points
If not for the noticeably high alcohol this would have been a 91. Strong cherry nose with heat. Some stemminess. Medium weight body. Give it at least 2 hours decant
  • RGCM Gananda commented:

    4/7/17, 9:00 PM - I didn't have quite the stemminess or alcohol issues you did, but I drank it at cellar temperature, so probably a bit cool. Served to conceal those qualities. Seems like the 2012s from Black Kite need a bit more patience, but with a few more years, the single vineyard bottlings will hopefully be worth the wait.

Red
2009 Ca' du Rabajà Barbaresco Nebbiolo
2/3/2017 - RGCM Gananda Likes this wine:
89 points
Prior bottle was a bit over two and a half years ago and like many 2009's, my notes haven't changed all that much. Retains the nose of red cherry and leather. Slightly above medium bodied with lots of red cherry upfront, still with good brightness, followed by some raspberry for depth and tart red cherry towards the back for balance. Acidity isn't quite as pronounced as the prior bottle until you get to the backside, but the tannins are still quite evident. Still has a lot of tannin based structure into and through the finish. It has upside future potential as I still think it will balance out a bit more, but this vintage overall seems to be moving forward only slowly. Even if the fruit and tannin do eventually come into full balance, I don't expect a tremendous surge in complexity. This is a good bottle that will get a bit better, but I think will always fall just a bit short of outstanding.
  • RGCM Gananda commented:

    2/3/17, 7:17 PM - Interested to know your thoughts on the 2013's. I'll be in Piedmont in May and plan to taste as many as I can. So far, my impression has been that 2009's may come around eventually, but not sure it will be worth the time invested. 2010's on the other hand have been quite rewarding.

White - Sweet/Dessert
2009 Château Doisy-Daëne Sauternes Sémillon-Sauvignon Blanc Blend
5/21/2016 - RGCM Gananda Likes this wine:
93 points
From 375ml. Strong honey notes along with orange, clover and light spices on the nose. Between medium and full bodied with excellent richness but extremely well balanced throughout. No traces of heat or bitterness; this is all fruit, richness and sweetness. Honey upfront along with tart orange, then adding pineapple and a variety of more exotic tropical fruits through the middle, finishing with clover, honey and more orange. There's so much richness right now that this wine is only beginning to show its complexity through the middle. At its best as it started to warm which allowed the wine to show the contrast between the sweet and tart fruit and allow it to come off as richer, rather than just simply sweet. The nuances, evolution and complexity are what make this wine special. It has the fruit and structure to last many, many years. As it sheds the rich mid-palette baby fat, I expect it will show even more complexity in the years to come.
  • RGCM Gananda commented:

    12/23/16, 6:27 AM - For the money, I thought this wine was a phenomenal value for what it delivered. As far as food pairings, I tend to have sauternes by itself, after dessert. However, if you were looking to match it with a dessert course, you have a lot of options. You could try something fruit based (fruit tart?), crepes would also work well as would something like a pineapple upside down cake with drizzled honey, coconut cake and certain pies. Most things that have honey in them would work to emphasize the sweetness while anything tart (lemon in particular) would be a good contrast. Would also work well with mid-heavy weight cheeses. Cheers!

White
2015 Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough
12/15/2016 - RGCM Gananda Likes this wine:
89 points
Floral, tropical fruits and a crispness on the nose. Just to the light side of medium bodied, but it retained good depth (13% ABV). Tropical fruit notes upfront of passion fruit, guava and orange, backed with citrus qualities of lemon and tart orange. The contrast between the softer tropical notes and the more tart citrus notes leads to a wine of good depth and complexity. Acidity, mineral and herb notes on the finish. This has enough fruit to be enjoyable and enough acidity to be interesting. It's showing quite well at present and while it may improve slightly, this is a wine to be enjoyed now.
  • RGCM Gananda commented:

    12/23/16, 6:17 AM - It certainly will show quite well on its own before a meal. But if you wanted to pair it with food, I could see it working with salads, lighter cheeses (nothing too heavy, creamy or blue) and light to medium bodied seafood (shrimp, oysters, lighter white fish).

Red
2013 Wren Hop Pinot Noir Oracle's Whisper Russian River Valley
12/9/2016 - csimm1161 wrote:
93 points
I need to listen to my own advice... WAIT...

...until at least 2018++...

...As far as the specifics, some tight notes of black cherry, spicebox, vanilla, alcohol, and some mulch. The fruit seemed muted and a bit pushed to the background at the moment. The purity is notable and one can tell there is quality lurking in the shadows.

A total of four hours in the decanter initially brought out some deeper black cherry, black raspberry, and earth notes, but by the final sips, it had completely shut down. Once again, give this TIME. I'll cross my fingers for good things to come (and Wren Hop certainly delivers with a number of their out-worldly wines), but this little bugger needs a time out.

91-93+ points, with definite upside after at least 12-18 months in bottle (if not more).
  • RGCM Gananda commented:

    12/9/16, 6:37 PM - Thanks for being the guinea pig for the rest of us! The 2011s that I have been tasting still need more time so I'll certainly be waiting until 2018 to try these!

Red
2013 Antica Terra Pinot Noir Ceras Willamette Valley
11/24/2016 - bjamesclark wrote:
95 points
An absolutely breathtaking Pinot Noir.
Intense aromas after the cork is pulled are only enhanced with a slight decant. Absolutely spot on varietal characteristics and terroir transparency are impressive.
High complexity on the nose, but once you start to unravel, the scents of black tea, loam and white pepper start the show. Cherry, wild blackberry and brambly raspberry follow after the swirl with scents of bitter greens, salty minerality, crushed florals finishing with hints of blood orange and wild herbs.
On the palate, bright, persistent and open. Impeccably well balanced with flavors that are an exact duplicate of the nose; cherry, blackberry, pomegranate and wild raspberry that blend seamlessly with black tea, white pepper, loamy earth, fluer de sel and minerals, wild herbs, mustard greens, bramble, crushed flowers and blood orange notes that linger through the long finish.
949 Cases produced

This wine provides an experience that rivals most Burgundies at double its price point. Sexy and pure!
  • RGCM Gananda commented:

    11/24/16, 2:44 PM - Thanks for the outstanding and comprehensive note! I'm looking forward to trying my first bottle soon and based on this note, I'm probably going to have to find and purchase some more fast!

White
2013 Chanin Chardonnay Bien Nacido Vineyard Santa Maria Valley
11/20/2016 - RGCM Gananda Likes this wine:
93 points
Beautifully soft orchard fruit and floral notes on the nose, along with background richness. Medium bodied, 13.02% ABV and showed its best just on the chilled side and got more expressive and richer as it warmed. A mix of orchard fruit and brighter, more vibrant tropical fruit define the mid-body complexity. The wine adds depth and richness towards the back end and into the finish. Strong mineral streak throughout, but it really shows on the backside along with the crisply balancing acidity and more citrus-based tart notes. Oak/vanilla notes are present on the finish, but they're so well blended into the body of the wine, it comes off as richness and I well understand how some reviewers perceived it as unoaked. Complexity and balance are the highpoints here and this wine should continue to improve over the next couple of years.
  • RGCM Gananda commented:

    11/22/16, 11:22 AM - Back in July, I actually managed to track down and purchase a bottle of the 2008 myself, based on your review of that wine - thanks! I have loved all of Gavin Chanin's pinots at both Chanin and Lutum, but I don't generally buy a lot of chardonnay. I suspect that will now change, at least as far as I can find chardonnays from these two wineries.

Red
2006 Argiano Brunello di Montalcino Sangiovese
10/30/2016 - RGCM Gananda Likes this wine:
92 points
My last bottle was 21 months ago (Jan 2015) and while in many ways, this wine has evolved as I'd hoped, the overall presentation is quite similar to that first bottle. Very classic nose of red cherry, leather and tobacco that got more and more aromatic and adding floral notes the longer the wine was open. A bit above medium bodied and when it fully opened up, it was much more resolved, integrated and balanced than my prior bottle. However, it again took almost four hours to get to that point. When first opened, this bottle was just as light and seemingly lacking complexity as my prior bottle and I was honestly worried if it had faded prematurely. It added depth around the two hours mark and showed its best (by far) between 3-4 hours open. Red cherry upfront, backed by plum and deeper blackfruit. Transitions well into the finish where I pick up tobacco, leather and mineral notes as well as integrated spices. Overall, after a few hours open, this wine shows quite well but looks to still have room for modest additional improvement. Don't judge this wine by what you get when you first pop the cork, give it 2-3 hours and it'll be worth the wait. Next bottle for me by mid-2017.
  • RGCM Gananda commented:

    11/2/16, 6:16 AM - I left it in the bottle. I've had mixed experiences decanting brunello. First impressions were based on a tasting amount upon opening. First glass at one hour showed improvement, next at two hours recaptured my impressions from my first bottle. The difference between the wine upon opening and the wine at 2-3 hours was marked. I don't think this will ever be a PnP, even a few years from now. If you have a case, it may be worth trying a bottle now to form your own impressions. I was quite pleased with how well the wine showed once given the time open.

Red
2006 Tenute Loacker Brunello di Montalcino Corte Pavone Sangiovese
10/14/2016 - thesternowl Likes this wine:
92 points
Cellared since release. Significant sediment at this point. Popped and poured. Deep, dark garnet with the tell-tale brownish rim consistent with the style. Wonderful aromas of fresh, black cherries, blackberries and baking spices just a touch of funk. Charming, really. No trace of the petrol describes in a previous TN. Tart cherries, blackberries, black tea. Tannins are still firm at this stage. Quite a masculine version of Sangiovese Grosso, IMHO. This bottle paired well with our Icelandic lamb and asparagus. I still think the best is yet to come for this wine despite the 15% ABV. The structure seems to the be there; plenty of nice acid too. DRINK with patience and food or HOLD.
  • RGCM Gananda commented:

    10/15/16, 5:08 AM - Outstanding note, very helpful. Perfectly captures how I remember this wine from a year and a half ago. Based on this, I'll certainly be opening another bottle soon. Cheers!

Red
2009 Retour Pinot Noir Willamette Valley
6/10/2016 - Bellissimo wrote:
Dropped into a decanter for an impromptu get together. Best glass was the last glass at 3+ hours of sitting in decanter. Cherry, loam, vanilla, green tea, hint of cola or mocha on the finish. Nice but not wowed. Paid $35 on the secondary market which was much more agreeable than the original $65.
  • RGCM Gananda commented:

    6/10/16, 10:12 PM - Fully agree with this review. Nice, but not wowed. Interesting to see it still required a log time open before showing its best. For a highly regarded producer in a good vintage, I was somewhat surprised with the 14.1% and the overall style. I'm certainly willing to be patient and even try a different vintage, but also very glad I only paid $40 a bottle, rather than the $65 list.

Red
2011 Castello di Gabbiano Chianti Classico Riserva Chianti Classico DOCG Sangiovese Blend, Sangiovese
12/5/2015 - RGCM Gananda wrote:
87 points
Pretty nose with a nice amount of red fruit, leather and spices. Medium bodied, showing mostly red cherry through the middle and overall a bit softer and more open than I was expecting for a 2011. Tightens up a bit towards the finish with lots of oak, leather and tobacco. An acceptable everyday chianti with no major flaws, but no major positives either. There are so many exceptional quality and value chianti's out there, this one just doesn't do anything to distinguish itself.
  • RGCM Gananda commented:

    6/1/16, 1:24 PM - Sure. A few producers/types that I would recommend include Mazzei' s Fonterutoli, Fontodi, Monsanto, Frescobaldi's Nipozzano, San Felice and Ruffino's Ducale.

White
2014 Sheldrake Point Riesling Finger Lakes
4/28/2016 - Champagneinhand Likes this wine:
85 points
Strange Finger Lake Riesling that my wife brought home from a farmers market. Low acid is apparent from the first sip but this is deceiving as it holds through well past 30 seconds after the swallow. Huge white flowers on the nose. A pale straw color in the glass that has some interesting flavors coming off the palate. Yellow and green pear with a touch of stone fruit but a grapefruit pith acidity lingers like it ran over slate, as does the pith feel as other flavors show but leave just as quickly.

Maybe this could get interesting in 4-5 years down the road but my cellar is jammed and I can buy plenty of other cellar worthy finger lane Riesling. Cayuga wineries can be hit and miss in each vintage.

Interesting for sure. Served with roasted Italian sausage ring with onions, roasted garlic, mixed Greek olives and skinless red pepper in a wine/beer based sauce. Yummy with TuscanGarlic peasant bread.
  • RGCM Gananda commented:

    4/28/16, 9:18 PM - Was the most recent picture from your bottle? If so, you may have the wrong wine. Picture #2 is the correct label for the Kemmeter wine. #1 and #3 are incorrect. I'll post a picture of the 2014 vintage soon.

  • RGCM Gananda commented:

    4/29/16, 8:07 AM - Totally agree about the errors in the database on Finger Lakes wines. It can be a real hassle. Hopefully, you'll get a chance to try the actual Kemmeter Sheldrake Point and some of their other rieslings. Johannes Reinhardt is making some impressive wines!

Red
2004 Poggio il Castellare Brunello di Montalcino Sangiovese
1/10/2016 - COWineLover wrote:
88 points
First bottle of this wine. Opened this to serve with manicotti and Italian sausage in marinara sauce. This was not decanted, and while offering dried herbs, a little sous bois, and leather, this was not bursting with aromatics. Compared to a 2004 La Togata BdM tasted in the last six months, this was nowhere close to the aromatics of that bottle. On the palate, this started with some sour/tart cherry and bay leaf. The tannins are modesty dry, and the acidity on this was not what I expected. I found the wine flabby overall. The finish was also somewhat flat and really did not have anything unique or special.

I am shocked this was rated 96 by WS (probably Suckling). Perhaps this needs more air time, but the first glass did not give a good representation of 2004.
  • RGCM Gananda commented:

    1/10/16, 6:17 PM - Any possibility you had a off bottle? The lack of aromatics and fruit are surprising. I had this wine only a few weeks ago and it's one of the most fruit-dominant 2004 BdM's I have tried. Fully agree that WS overrated it a bit, but it sounds like my bottle turned out considerably better than yours.

White
2009 Ravines Wine Cellars Riesling Dry Argetsinger Vineyard Finger Lakes
11/20/2015 - RGCM Gananda Likes this wine:
91 points
Considerably improved from the prior bottle; I think I finally got the serving temperature correct at chilled and not cold. More expressive on the nose than I recalled from prior bottles and while still showcasing the flinty and stony notes, there were more orchard fruits and citrus notes than prior bottles. Still very much medium bodied and dry, but the mid-body has improved, with the acidity coming much more into balance with the fruit. Lemon, lime and other citrus flavors upfront, backed with soft orchard fruit undertones of apple and peach which lend body and richness. Still has very good acidity and length on the finish even if it isn't the piercing, bone-dry style it was in years past. I actually think this is more balanced and elegant expression, whereby the acidity complements the fruit rather than overshadows it. Even at 6 years old, I think this wine still has further improvement in store. I'm considering getting more.
  • RGCM Gananda commented:

    12/21/15, 6:16 PM - I agree that the 2009 has a long life ahead of it. It has certainly gotten better and better over the past two years that I have had it. I thought the 2010 was nearly as good, but is more accessible now and won't be quite as long lived. I haven't tried the 2012 yet, but I believe it will be more like the 2009. Great examples of this style of riesling.

Red
2012 Rivers-Marie Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast
11/20/2015 - prasm Likes this wine:
92 points
Pop and pour, consumed over 4 hours. Nose: Medium-plus expressiveness, complex aromas of black cherry, pomegranate, cinnamon, Asian spice, shoe leather and cola - very interesting. Palate: Medium bodied, great balance and mouth-feel, dark red fruit and subtle Asian spice attack, nice mid-palate spice lift, very clean and laser focused through the back-end transition, no rough edges here. Finish: Lengthy sense of perfectly ripe black cherry and pomegranate with subtle hints of cinnamon and cola. My 3rd of four bottles, last consumed a year ago (Nov 2014), and this is the best yet. Seems to be integrated nicely at the moment, definitely in it's drinking window now but will likely last several more years.
  • RGCM Gananda commented:

    11/20/15, 8:12 PM - Exceptional note; really appreciate the details. Nice to see how well this wine is evolving. Looking forward to my next bottle. Thanks again!

Red
2004 Poggio il Castellare Brunello di Montalcino Sangiovese
11/18/2015 - Thorgal wrote:
90 points
To be honest, this is my fourth bottle, because when I opened my first bottle a year after release, it allready showed an orange hue, which lead me to be believe it was already reaching maturaty which certainly is strange given that even for a modern made Brunello you need at least 6-7 years. It was pretty closed up however and so after the third bottle I just left it to hopefully develop further. Wind the clock now four year later and.... Upon opening it showed a lot, in terms of red fruit, some leather, tar/licqorice, but this quickly subsided. It's a cherry red, no orange in sight, medium bodied , kinda feminine Brunello. Tannins are soft, but they already were.Two hours in I get subdued fruit, something like wet paper.
I think its a good bottle of wine, but a bit elusive and very subdued. I tend to agree with the others that it won't change much more. Upon release I think Suckling gave it 96 or 98 points...a bit on the high side as far as I am concerned.
  • RGCM Gananda commented:

    11/18/15, 12:33 PM - Wet paper and subdued fruit, sounds like this bottle might have been mildly corked?

Red
2012 Big Table Farm Pinot Noir Sunnyside Vineyard Willamette Valley
9/12/2015 - RGCM Gananda Likes this wine:
93 points
My first bottle of Big Table Farms pinot - a new Oregon producer for me. I expected it to be impressive, but it far exceeded my expectations. Red cherry, floral and earth notes on the nose. Medium bodied, smooth almost to the point of being silky and outstanding fruit complexity. Red cherry, blended with black cherry adding in some tart red fruit notes on the lengthy and acidity driven finish. Balance is key with this pinot; balance between the fruit and the structure both through the middle and into the finish. There's plenty of acidity here so I expect another couple of years of improvement. The fruit and acidity balance sing of Oregon. A little more richness and complexity and I might have thought Burgundy. Considering how impressive this wine was and the fact that the Cattrall and Resonance bottlings from Big Table Farms are supposed to be even better, this looks to be a producer to watch.
  • RGCM Gananda commented:

    9/15/15, 8:21 PM - Thanks for your comment and especially for the information about the Resonance vineyard. I managed to pick up Resonance, Cattrall and Wirtz in addition to Sunnyside for 2012. Now looking at the 2013s and with alcohol levels for all the Big Table Farm 2013s around 11.5%, I'm very interested to see what they turned out.

Red
2011 Heart & Hands Pinot Noir Cayuga Lake
11/27/2014 - Basicallyjones wrote:
86 points
May have been a little rough on the initial pass ... Decent cranberry on the backend; lingers a little longer without food (paired with spatchcocked turkey), but for all the excitement and prestige around this winery, forge and hermann j are making better pinots for the buck.
  • RGCM Gananda commented:

    12/19/14, 6:31 PM - I wasn't overly impressed with the 2011 version of the basic pinot either. However, if its available in your area, you should try the 2012 version. I thought it was noticeably better and an excellent value for the price point.

Red
2006 Pietranera Brunello di Montalcino Sangiovese
9/14/2014 - bullmrkt wrote:
92 points
Effusive nose, bright red juicy fruit, a bit of leather and dusty tannins, medium finish. Very well balanced and just delicious. This is bottle might earn my QPR of the year award. I'm surprised to not see more positive notes, its a winner.
  • RGCM Gananda commented:

    9/24/14, 8:23 PM - Thanks for the note on this wine; very helpful. I suspect you don't see as many positive notes as this wine merits as people opened it too soon. The original notes I saw on this wine recommended holding until at least 2014 as it was supposed to be pretty closed, but with great potential. I purchased a half case a few years back and was waiting for some reviews showing it was accessible before I opened one. Based on your note I plan to try one soon!

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