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Comments on my notes

(170 comments on 135 notes)

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Red
2018 Château Calon-Ségur St. Estèphe Red Bordeaux Blend
1/29/2023 - MicklethePickle Likes this wine:
96 points
Opened this last night. Seemed a little out of joint then, not the wine I remembered. That has been largely remedied with airing out in the cellar overnight. Impressive appearance: Viscous black ruby with a red rim and huge tears on the bowl of the glass. Obviously this is very young, but it is already revealing very plush deep purple fruit aromas, so deep they seem infinite. High tannins, but they cannot hide the copious amount of blackberry fruit, umami and soy sauce at the core of this loaded wine. If you have enough of this you could enjoy this with a long decant and hearty meaty dishes, but it will undoubtedly be fabulous thirty or forty years from now. I lament the fact that at 64 years, I am unlikely to be able to enjoy that experience. Gorgeous wine. 5-14-18-9: 96/100.

Still later, more blue fruits coming to the fore.
  • Brentw1 commented:

    2/4/23, 12:35 PM - Excellent review and thank you. I’m a couple of years older than you and have a case of six. I shall make sure I finish them over the next few years as I would hate to have to leave them to the children!

Red
2010 Château Langoa Barton St. Julien Red Bordeaux Blend
11/23/2022 - MicklethePickle Likes this wine:
91 points
So as an hommage to my new friend who left a comment on my last note on this wine questioning my sanity for not decanting this wine on that occasion, I decided to decant this bottle for four hours before first partaking of it. Turns out, he was right; this is showing much better with a good decant. A good blood red color, this has a fine lead pencil shavings nose with good cedar notes in the background. Creme de menthe. Rather classic. Really quite excellent complexity. Pretty palate, too, with excellent if high-toned fruit, though it seems a bit hollow on the mid-palate. I'd say this is perfectly mature at the moment, and no doubt will hold here for a few years, but no need to defer pleasure or worry about drinking this too early so long as you air it out beforehand. Happy to say I have more bottles, as I think this is a pretty good value at about $100 for a 12-year-old Bordeaux from a great vintage. 5-13-15-8: 91/100.
  • Brentw1 commented:

    11/26/22, 4:56 AM - Good man! Really glad It showed better and on the strength of that, I may well pop one open over Christmas and the New Year and see what we have got.

Red
2010 Château Langoa Barton St. Julien Red Bordeaux Blend
9/6/2022 - jskuek wrote:
89 points
Should have decanted for at least an hour before serving, quite closed & muted, probably overshadowed by Chateau Canon 2012. Nose & palate didn't really improve much in the first 2 hours ... a little of gravel, wet stones, cigar, but was not really pronounce with mediocre finishing. Wait for another 3 years then try the next bottle ...
  • Brentw1 commented:

    11/23/22, 11:02 AM - Great note thanks. I have an unopened case of this which I will try a bottle from in a few years.

Red
2010 Château Langoa Barton St. Julien Red Bordeaux Blend
7/25/2022 - MicklethePickle Likes this wine:
92 points
This is on the rustic side, but other than that, it showing very well on PNP tonight. Very dark opaque red with red legs, showing no lightening at the rim. The nose is very floral, with violets and lilacs predominating. Very, very pretty and elegant. Nice round, glossy, satiny entry, turns a tad oaky and tannic on swallow but more than enough rich, brooding fruit to compensate. This has the bones to age well, but if you drink it now i would suggest meaty dishes to tame somewhat savage tannin. That said, I liked this enough to grab two more bottles. 5-14-15-8: 92/100.
  • Brentw1 commented:

    11/23/22, 10:58 AM - You popped and poured this? Well each to their own I suppose. I think I’ll leave my case for another five years or so and then I’ll give it a couple of hours in the decanter. Hopefully then I won’t have to deal with the savage tannins :-)

Red
2016 Gianni Brunelli Brunello di Montalcino Sangiovese
9/23/2022 - chablis28 wrote:
95 points
First of 6. Opened & slow-oxed 3-1/2hrs b4 dinner in Riedel Burgs & btl. A beautiful world class BdM only in need of more time for the tannins & the glories of its future aged self. Outside of some fairly acceptable tannins this has remarkable balance w/ exceptional sangiovese / Montalcino character & purity. Impressive for its intensity and length. Deliciously vivid fresh red fruit amplified by mineral, earth, licorice & underbrush. The fruit here is a notch up in purity from many producers. Nothing but pleasure and upside for at least a couple more decades. 14% alc went unnoticed. BdM still remains one of today's best values in food friendly red wine delivering a high level of varietal character & a terroir driven experience in the hands of classic producers like Gianni Brunelli. BTW, the youthful vintage driven tannins all but disappear w/ your first bite of pizza or pasta. Delited to have 5 more.
  • Brentw1 commented:

    10/9/22, 12:33 PM - Great review. I also have a case of six and fully intend to enjoy them over the next decade or so. Taking the first one to Chicago to drink with my son next week. Let see how it copes with a 4000 mile journey. Also delighted to have paid under £40 a bottle looking at the auction price!

  • Brentw1 commented:

    11/15/22, 3:16 PM - I can report that the bottle survived the journey…………..and was awesome! One down, five to go!

Red
2019 Château Brane-Cantenac Margaux Red Bordeaux Blend
10/9/2022 - cshouston Likes this wine:
95 points
Bought a case, plus one extra bottle to try right away. Brane has always been a sentimental favorite because it was the 2005 that opened my eyes to a world beyond restaurant bottles and supermarket fare. Each vintage keeps getting better and better!

Consumed over three days.
Day one: PnP; some initial booziness that blows off quickly. Sweet, perfumed nose of violets, cherry compote, tobacco, and pencil shavings. Medium weight and silky, fine tannins. This bottle has excellent acidity and begs for food (paired this evening with veal ossobucco alla Milanese). Lots of luscious red fruit on the palate, and a fantastically lengthy finish. Wow! Definitely drinkable right now if one was so inclined, but the wine did shut down on us after a few hours.
Day two: The wine is giving me darker fruit and cinnamon aromas. It is very lean and silky, but the flavors are quite muted tonight.
Day three: My final glass still has a lot of ripe, dark fruit aroma, like stewed plums with a streak of sweetness tucked away for me to seek out. A hint of menthol presented itself as well. The oak is not well integrated at the moment and fairly dominant over other flavors, but the acid has mellowed and balanced out well. What really gets me is how supple and soft the mouthfeel is. This is truly a sexy wine. I believe this wine is a bargain at the asking price.

I cannot wait to revisit this one over the next twenty years.
  • Brentw1 commented:

    10/14/22, 1:25 PM - Really good tasting note thank you. I have a case of six of these so will leave for a couple of years before the first exploration.

Red
2017 Domaine Jean Chauvenet Nuits St. Georges Pinot Noir
10/1/2022 - rwpalmer wrote:
85 points
Chunky and lacking charm. I see that I had a similar impression to the 2012 and 2016 vintages. Part of a Wine Society mixed ep case.
  • Brentw1 commented:

    10/3/22, 9:37 AM - I’ve got three of these so will leave for a bit. 5 years is a bit young for a NSG in my experience so a very helpful review.

Red
2019 Château Batailley Pauillac Red Bordeaux Blend
6/30/2022 - Roger Patterson wrote:
88 points
Subdued stony, stemmy, some fruit, elevated tannins. At LA UGC
  • Brentw1 commented:

    7/3/22, 8:49 PM - Not very helpful and a bit of a pointless review frankly. The only reason for drinking this so early would be to give us all an indication of how this might develop and/or at what stage it is at the moment. Sorry if I’m being a bit blunt but is how I feel.

White
2017 Samuel Billaud Chablis 1er Cru Montée de Tonnerre Chardonnay
6/11/2022 - danchaq Likes this wine:
92 points
Nothing austere about this bottle. Bonus point for sheer pleasure. First bottle of six but the only on hand, might get one or two more out of storage.
  • Brentw1 commented:

    6/12/22, 11:58 AM - You will only drink them!

  • Brentw1 commented:

    6/13/22, 5:42 AM - To be honest I've not tried much as still working my way through my 2014's (awesome) and 2015's (average). I'm expecting it to be good however as although yields were down it seems to be generally well rated.

Red
2017 Penfolds Shiraz Bin 28 Kalimna South Australia
6/8/2022 - jaleung wrote:
92 points
I bought a case of these from Liquorland (AUS) as they were on special.
Quite dark, a deep inky crimson/purple colour. Dark fruits on the nose.
Subtle black pepper spices, light bitter chocolate notes on palatte.
Not as refined as the next level Penfolds (nor should it be) and I would describe it as a bit 'coarse' overall. Nevertheless there is a power there that is undeniable and would be great to try again over the next few years.
I did use a couple of glasses (I was short on red cooking wine) in a beef rib pressure cook recipe and the result was incredible!
  • Brentw1 commented:

    6/12/22, 12:06 PM - Bin 28 for cooking. Words fail me………..

Red
2018 Penfolds Bin 389 South Australia Cabernet-Shiraz Blend, Red Blend
6/1/2022 - jaleung Likes this wine:
95 points
Very inky and dark purple colour. I feel there is a bitterness in the early pour which went away after a couple of weeks (was on the Coravin). More rounded later with softened tannins and dark chocolate notes on the palatte. Subtle smoke, perhaps leather. Great length.
Can see how ageing in Grange barrels imparts a subtle Grange signature in the 389.
  • Brentw1 commented:

    6/12/22, 12:05 PM - I’ll leave mine for another 5 years at least and want to see what they are like in 15! This is Australia’s most cellared wine and there is a very good reason for that. Sorry but sounds like a waste.

Red
2018 Château Sociando-Mallet Haut-Médoc Red Bordeaux Blend
6/10/2022 - sboyle Likes this wine:
93 points
Color: Deep ruby

Nose: blackberry, cherry notes with vanilla oak

Palate: Black cherry, blackberry with notes of vanilla. Medium plus acidity. Medium plus fine tannin mostly from grape tannins with some grip. Medium plus body.

Overall: This wine is a baby and has the tannin and acidity to age well. I would wait another two, three years before it starts hitting its prime drinking window.
  • Brentw1 commented:

    6/12/22, 12:01 PM - If you really want to enjoy your SM, add a one before your recommendation! I go back quite a few years with Jean G bless him.

Red
1998 Chateau Musar Bekaa Valley Red Blend
6/7/2022 - Yagil wrote:
88 points
Premium Mature Bordeaux Blend (at my home): oxidized on 1st day
drinkable and pleasant after 24 hrs - though over the peak, no fruits, no tannins
  • Brentw1 commented:

    6/12/22, 12:01 PM - Shame. My 1998’s are great at the moment.

Rosé - Sparkling
N.V. Laurent-Perrier Champagne Cuvée Rosé Brut Pinot Noir
This is barely drinkable:
Overly acidic, no marrow whatsoever, nothing here.
The tiniest hint of "red berries".

I’d have been MUCH better off celebrating with a 10 quid Cava.
  • Brentw1 commented:

    5/17/22, 7:33 PM - Sounds like a faulty bottle tbh. I’ve had several dozen of these over the past twenty years and never had anything other than a great experience

White - Sparkling
2010 Dom Pérignon Champagne Champagne Blend
5/2/2022 - acyso wrote:
88 points
Pausing for the Cause 2022 (Chicago, IL): Probably the worst Dom since 2003, and possibly even farther back. This shouldn't have been made. Coming smack inbetween the 2008 and 2012, this is a very mediocre, white-grapey version without either the breadth of 2012 or the structure of 2008. To be fair, it's a passable champagne, but you really might as well leave this one to the nightclubs.
  • Brentw1 commented:

    5/3/22, 1:21 PM - We all have opinions but you rarely see a score of 18.5 from Jancis Robinson so I am curious as to why you are so disappointed with the 2010.

    The first bottle out of my case of six was magnificent.

    But only in my opinion of course!

Red
2016 Gianni Brunelli Brunello di Montalcino Sangiovese
6/25/2021 - RichardP wrote:
93 points
Drunk young for the sake of science, this showed classic Sangiovese cherry and earth on the nose. On the palate, cherry, red berries, and notes of orange peel, anise, and earth, with moderate tannins on the medium to long finish. Although this is beautiful wine, at $100+ it's only a fair to average value at this point in its evolution. It should improve over several years.
  • Brentw1 commented:

    4/20/22, 2:57 PM - Love that you opened this early and great to see a progress report!

    This all helps enormously in the decision to not open my case of six for a few years yet.

    Thanks R

Red
2018 Penfolds Bin 389 South Australia Cabernet-Shiraz Blend, Red Blend
Master of Wine Konstantin Baum featured a sampling of Penfolds wine in one of his YouTube videos: the 2017 Penfolds Bin 2 Shiraz Mataro. He gave it quite a good review, saying it would be perfect for a holiday dinner as everyone at the table would like it. He also added that, due to its high alcohol content, if you do not like your relatives it can help you get through the evening. Certainly a bonus! This intrigued me, so I sought out some Penfolds at the nearest Total Wine & More. Maybe I should save some for when the relatives come over?

This particular bottle advertises itself as a wine in which “the structure and definition of Cabernet Sauvignon coupled with the richness and depth of shiraz align, courted by the Prudent use of American oak.” Evidently it combines wines from several different regions to include Barossa, McLaren Vale and others. Regarding the 2018 vintage, it states: “Relatively dry conditions coupled with near long-term winter/spring temperatures indicated an early start to the growing season… Warm and sunny weather prevailed throughout spring providing optimal conditions for flowering and fruit-set…Late flowering and the delayed onset of veraison throughout the south-east slowed harvest by a few weeks. The warm, dry weather carried into autumn, setting up an Indian summer with favourable conditions for ripening grapes.” So overall, from the sound of it one can expect big, bold fruit dominating this wine.

Somewhere between a deep ruby and a deep purple in color, this wine is strikingly aromatic and can be smelled even when the glass is sitting on the table. Indeed, it presents a rich nose full of red and black fruits, under which lie an interesting combination of cedar, forest floor and whiskey barrel with a subtle touch of vanilla extract. Upon sipping, one is met with a full-bodied wine with a supple body, medium acidity and beefy yet velvety tannins. The attack offers ample blackberry and black cherry flavors, which are soon joined in the midpalate by quite a bit of black pepper, black plum, and tobacco. These in turn lie over a substrate of oaky vanilla and an earthy note that as difficult to pinpoint. The finish goes on for days! It starts off with ephemeral notes of cocoa, after which the blackberry and black raspberry linger for quite some time, fading gradually into nothingness. After a few sips, a vague menthol character builds up in the finish. Eucalyptus, anyone?

Unfortunately my wife wanted nothing to do with this bottle. I guess I'm enjoying it on my own...oh darn.

This is wonderfully complex! A solid choice and I can see this wine ageing very well; it certainly has the tannin structure to support it. It is, however, quite drinkable right now. But for now, this is a beefy wine that needs your time and attention. Recommend sitting down with it and some aged gouda (I find Old Amsterdam is a good choice). Enjoy!
  • Brentw1 commented:

    2/11/22, 9:02 PM - I second that comment. I try to never open a ‘Baby Grange’ until at least a decade has passed. 44 bottles in the cellar at the moment going back to 2011. I used to get a case of six every year but have stopped buying it now. Getting too long in the tooth to lay down something like that and the St Henri collection is larger and goes back to 2005. So I’d better get drinking!

  • Brentw1 commented:

    2/12/22, 5:49 AM - St Henri without a doubt. It’s made without an oak influence which is pretty unique for a Shiraz. All the bin collection Penfolds age well. Had a look at your cellar and there seems to be a thing going on with Pinot Noir! Can’t fault you btw and I have recently discovered some beautiful examples from Oregon (and Willamette Valley in particular). Any recommendations as I’m in Chicago at the moment visiting my son.

Red
2011 Chateau Musar Bekaa Valley Red Blend
2/6/2022 - Peter John wrote:
88 points
Underwhelming, sadly.
Big dark fruit but rather on the sour side. Texture Ok but not great.
Only have one more, hope it drinks better!
  • Brentw1 commented:

    2/11/22, 8:58 PM - A victim of a poor vintage I’m afraid. 2011 was awful.

Red
2014 Penfolds Cabernet Sauvignon Bin 407 South Australia
4/15/2017 - Collector1855 wrote:
87 points
During a business dinner. Typical aromas of a mass produced CabSav with lots of oak masking the plain vanilla cassis/dark fruit aromas. This is neither complex nor refined, let alone displays a sense of place. Typical commerical wine wine. Better stay away from stuff like this. Luckily the evening was rescued by 2 Magnums of Zyme Amarone Classico 2008 which I brought to the table. After they were gone, no one wanted to return to this wine, LOL!
  • Brentw1 commented:

    11/16/21, 11:23 AM - I have no problem with critical reviews. It’s the smug and conceited ‘I rescued the night with by massive magnums’ comment that made me cringe.

Red
2018 Château Sociando-Mallet Haut-Médoc Red Bordeaux Blend
10/6/2021 - corkscrews wrote:
87 points
A muted nose of some dark fruit an spice, garnet in color. A medium to full bodied Bordeaux blend, with blackberry, prune, tar and some spice, maybe drank too young, not impressed. www.winelx.com
  • Brentw1 commented:

    10/14/21, 10:51 AM - I am only just getting round to my 2009's so I'm not surprised you were not impressed. Jean makes his wines to age and most vintages need a decade (one exception being the 2011's which need drinking up as it was a poor vintage).

Rosé
2019 Thymiopoulos Rosé de Xinomavro Macedonia
12/4/2020 - Brentw1 Likes this wine:
94 points
This is a revelation. I've been introduced to Thymioloupos wines by The Wine Society community and absolutely love having discovered the Xinomavro grape. Described as the 'Bastard off-spring of pinot noir and cinsault' it seems to have the ability to age and develop like a decent Burgundy (but without the price tag). The Rose is a complex proper wine and if you can find a bottle please try it. It reminds me of Sylvain Pataille's age-worthy Rose from Marsannay. You will not be disappointed!
  • Brentw1 commented:

    3/31/21, 1:44 AM - Opps! And yes!

White - Sparkling
N.V. Louis Roederer Champagne Brut Premier Champagne Blend
3/3/2021 - Alex Brogan wrote:
92 points
Couldn’t tell you the base vintage but I bought this about 6-7 years ago. Everybody should age NV champagne, it produces such a satisfying feeling. Soft and rich and juicy. It can be drunk by the pint.
  • Brentw1 commented:

    3/3/21, 2:23 PM - I so agree with that comment. No downsides to aging NV Champagne in my opinion.

Red
2014 Ridge Monte Bello Santa Cruz Mountains Red Bordeaux Blend
1/1/2021 - gooner1221 wrote:
90 points
My first Monte Bello, and disappointed. Mouth-puckering acidity hiding the fruit. Tannins of course need more time. Quite long. Lacking complexity and balance. I guess everyone would say it needs a lot more time, but I’m not sure this will ever be a great, or even very good, wine.
  • Brentw1 commented:

    3/2/21, 11:51 AM - I’m really sorry but I don’t get it. Why would you open a bottle of MB even before the 23 year (conservative btw) drinking window? I’m not even sure why you gave it 90 points given your comments. Still, each to his own.

  • Brentw1 commented:

    3/2/21, 1:03 PM - That a good point. I think I've learned since then (hopefully!).

  • Brentw1 commented:

    3/2/21, 1:07 PM - Fabulous cellar btw, if a fraction biased towards a particular region maybe?

Red
2015 Montes Purple Angel Colchagua Valley Carménère
2/28/2021 - Alexander Smith Likes this wine:
95 points
Absolutely breathtaking. The Bevan of the south! The nose explodes with notes of dark plums, crushed blackberries, coffee, cacao, cedar, crushed peppercorns, and tobacco. The palate is big and rich with layers of dark plush fruit, mocha, a slightly spicy mid-palate along with velvety and silky tannins. The balance between the fruit and oak is just perfect. This, as previously mentioned is the best display of Carmenere I have ever experienced. The purity of fruit is just sublime, wow just wow. I have one bottle of 2015 left, but plan on stocking up on the 2018 vintage, which is meant to be the best since 2015.
  • Brentw1 commented:

    3/1/21, 12:21 PM - So as I have 8 of these left in the cellar, I'm guessing I should be a very happy bunny!

  • Brentw1 commented:

    3/1/21, 12:44 PM - Absolutely. I bought 6 initially as they were reduced to clear at my local Majestic (UK) in May 2019 and was so blown away that I went back and got another case. I’ve given one away and drunk another two since. The plan is to drink one every one to two years and see what happens. I agree totally with your view that this is a truly exceptional wine.

Red
2017 Penfolds Bin 389 South Australia Cabernet-Shiraz Blend, Red Blend
6/17/2020 - bryon m wrote:
90 points
Good color, clarity and body. This is a little on the young side - probably 6 to 12 more months of aging will help. Mouth feel at first is fine but tannins come in middle to end. There are strawberry, vanilla and other berry flavors that should be more distinct later. Hold and drink in 2021.
  • Brentw1 commented:

    3/1/21, 12:26 PM - I'm not trying to be funny (honestly) but this is the most cellared wine in Australia for a reason.

    This has a cellar tracker window of 2022 to 2032 and I will be giving my case 6 to 12 years, not 6 to 12 months!

Red
2006 Chateau Musar Bekaa Valley Red Blend
2/23/2021 - dsenni wrote:
My first ever bottle of Musar. VERY ripe red fruit dominates the nose and palate which also tastes slightly oxidative. Not sure I like it, but I want to try other vintages.
  • Brentw1 commented:

    2/24/21, 12:10 PM - Yes you certainly do! One of the things that I love about Musar is that every vintage is different in that some years you think you have a Bordeaux type wine, and then it leans towards the Rhone, and then you wonder if they haven't blended in some Burgundy (or was it Carmenere?).

    I love Musar for its sheer Bloody mindedness and mystique!

Red
2010 Penfolds Shiraz Bin 28 Kalimna South Australia
2/16/2021 - IlonaN wrote:
92 points
Classic Penfolds Shiraz. Dark, dense and loaded with flavors of cassis, blackberry preserves, warm spices and grippy underlying acidity. At a great drinking plateau, likely will be good for several more years.
  • Brentw1 commented:

    2/21/21, 1:38 PM - 92 is not a low score. I think the problem on CT is that many people tend to over score.

Red
2013 Château Sociando-Mallet Haut-Médoc Red Bordeaux Blend
2/12/2021 - drboehm wrote:
86 points
Decanted for 1,5h . Dark red colour . Nose is a little defensive at the moment , but uniform . Taste is ok , but also nice and uniform ( BDX , left bank , Sociando ?? ) . Smooth , cassis , low tannics ...
Sorry thats not my style ! All guys how like a "Susi-wine" could buy and drink it .
I prefer the old style from Sociando , which is more earthy , typical northern left bank , tannic and animalic tones ect.
Drink now or when you ever like , or buy a 10€ wine from everywhere , it will be the same .
86 Points / 15,5 Points .
  • Brentw1 commented:

    2/21/21, 1:37 PM - It was a terrible vintage for the left bank as a whole. That is reflected in this years offering from SM as well as plenty of other estates.

Red
2017 Penfolds Shiraz Bin 28 Kalimna South Australia
2/19/2021 - wine hoarder Likes this wine:
92 points
Needs heaps of air. Tasted better day 2
  • Brentw1 commented:

    2/21/21, 1:33 PM - I’m not surprised. Personally I would leave the 2017 for at least another 3 years before considering opening one. My 13’s and 14’s are great at the moment.

Red
2010 Château Sociando-Mallet Haut-Médoc Red Bordeaux Blend
2/1/2021 - willmark wrote:
91 points
1st Feb 2021
Last bottle in collection. Decanted in bottle for 20mins.
Colour is still strong and deep claret; not much legs. Nose has a hint of fruit. First mouthful delivered a balanced and well made wine. It is medium to slightly full-bodied and the finish drags to entice another mouthful. Patience paid off handsomely, we worry the cellar time.
  • Brentw1 commented:

    2/9/21, 9:36 AM - Last bottle, that’s a shame. Only just started drinking mine as this has the stuffing for another 10 years at least. 2010 is still a baby in my opinion. Most SM’s are built by Jean for the long haul.

  • Brentw1 commented:

    2/19/21, 1:28 AM - Whole-heartily agree folks! Drink it when YOU like it. Also (teaching you to suck eggs of course!), the vintage is particularly important with SM. I've actually got through half of my 2011's, not touched the 2012's and drunk/given away a few of the 2013's.

    My Coravin is a wonderful tool for seeing "How we are doing!"

Red
2003 Chateau Musar Bekaa Valley Red Blend
1/31/2021 - Lahontan Likes this wine:
94 points
Low neck fill. Opened it and only splash decanted a mistake but could not be avoided. Nose, lovely Musar personality, I suppose a little like Islay single malts of old: love it or hate it. I love it. Not sweet, not sour, just Musar. That smell eventually dissipated and for a few minutes the wine was quiet. But it opened up in the glass, jumped in class, and gained in flavour, concentration, and roundness. The big takeaway of this miserable little tasting note is that one should decant this beast for at least 3 hours. Or more.
  • Brentw1 commented:

    2/3/21, 2:02 PM - I opened one of these this weekend as well. Nice review. I gave mine a 5 hour decant and saved half the decanter in the cellar for the following day. Guess which was the better glass of wine! I’d score my bottle 93/94 and the best bit? Got a few left.

Red
2011 Chateau Musar Bekaa Valley Red Blend
1/25/2021 - 559Cheers wrote:
89 points
Very fruit forward, like a California or a Southern Rhone. From a warm area and the alcohol is as well. Great for Winter. Glad I tasted a Musar with some age.
*2nd night getting nicer also a sweet acetone element coming through.
*3rd night acetone boiling out and evaporating (going to the big sky), tannins a bit rough of course third night in the presence of O2.
  • Brentw1 commented:

    1/26/21, 1:33 PM - That’s a baby! I’m on the 1998’s and 99’s at the moment. Anyway, enjoy but give them at least 15 years IMO.

Red
2009 Château Sociando-Mallet Haut-Médoc Red Bordeaux Blend
12/26/2020 - winesteward wrote:
84 points
With yesterday's leftover roast beef and saffron risotto. Popped and poured. Very dark, inky and opaque purple. Pretty soft tannins. Quite a bit of acidity. Not much else going on. Drank half the bottle over the course of an hour but no change at all. Extremely tight. Not sure what to make of this. Probably needs another 10 years in the bottle or a decant of 12 hours or more. Put half the bottle into a 375 ml screwcap. Let's see if the pouring does something to it, but I'm not optimistic. The rating reflects what I think of its current state, not what I think it might become. No flaws detected.
  • Brentw1 commented:

    1/9/21, 3:54 PM - You popped and poured a Sociando Mallet? Well, I'm lost for words but each to his own of course. I would be giving that at least a 4 hour decant and enjoying the other half of the decanter after 24 hours. I really do hope your second go at it is a more pleasurable experience!

    I'm a few bottles into my case of 12 for that year and none of them have rated less than a 92 so far. SM is a bit of a unique Chateau and Jean has never made a vintage other than in the old school style for aging and airing. The 2010 is a lot more forward than the 2009 btw and I'm going to leave my remaining 2009's for another five years. I have been collecting SM for many years and it has never failed to deliver for me but does require patience in my experience.

White - Sparkling
2006 Dom Pérignon Champagne Champagne Blend
12/24/2020 - moods wrote:
88 points
Have to say, I was somewhat underwhelmed given the price tag and reputation. Lacked any real depth and its light body meant there wasn't much to balance the zesty acidity. Is that the Dom style? Maybe it needs time to procure some development, or maybe I need to reset my expectations for other DPs.
  • Brentw1 commented:

    12/29/20, 1:13 PM - Far to early for the 2006 at the moment IMO. I got one out of the cellar for Christmas, read some reviews and put it back, replacing it with a 2004. It would seem to be a particularly slow developer for that year.

Red
2015 Montes Purple Angel Colchagua Valley Carménère
12/28/2020 - Kellig Likes this wine:
92 points
Smooth tannins, dark fruiit. Good but might not justify price point.
  • Brentw1 commented:

    12/29/20, 1:09 PM - It depends on what you paid for it. I was really lucky and got two cases in a promotion. I’m really happy!

Red
2015 Penfolds Shiraz St. Henri South Australia
3/31/2020 - ieatprawnsss wrote:
92 points
Primary but very well balanced. Blackberries, dark cherries, fresh acidity and spices. Not complex, but thankfully the oak is well controlled. Reliable ol' aussie shiraz. Will be better in 5 years.
  • Brentw1 commented:

    12/13/20, 10:04 AM - 'Thankfully the oak is well controlled". I think you had better read how they make it. Extract from the Penfolds website below :-)

    THE PENFOLDS COLLECTION
    St Henri Shiraz 2017
    St Henri is a time-honoured and alternative expression of shiraz, and an intriguing counterpoint to Grange. It is unusual amongst high quality Australian red wines as it does not rely on any new oak. Released for the first time by Penfolds in the early 1950s (first commercial vintage 1957), it gained a new lease of life in the 1990s as its quality and distinctive style became better understood. Proudly, a wine style that hasn’t succumbed to the dictates of fashion or commerce.

    St Henri is rich and plush when young, gaining soft, earthy, mocha-like characters with age. It is matured in an assortment of old large vats that allow the wine to develop, imparting minimal, if any oak character. Although a small proportion of cabernet may sneak into the blend, the focal point for St Henri remains shiraz.

  • Brentw1 commented:

    12/15/20, 1:43 PM - No problem, it's an easy assumption to make. I have seen people complaining that the oak is overdone in St Henri! The only other suggestion that I have is that although the CT window is 2019 to 2035, this one is a baby and the complexity comes with patience with most of Penfolds's top end Reds. I'm drinking some of my 2005's and 2007's at the moment and they are gorgeous. 407 and RWT are long-termers as well. Anyway, hope that helps. Kind regards Brent

  • Brentw1 commented:

    12/17/20, 2:51 AM - That's a good question for a Thursday morning and requires more than one cup of coffee!

    A couple of general comments and then I'll give you my take on 389, St Henri and 407, then I'll give my perception of RWT as I only have three bottles and haven't tried it yet. It is all of course only in my opinion and I'm sure that others will have different takes (but is that not the fascination of wine!).

    I think you need to be partial to the traditional, 'in your face' style of block-buster Australian wines that these represent in my opinion. I love them, particularly with a nice piece of steak with a home-made black pepper sauce, but they are not everyone's cup of tea. If you are looking for subtlety, then you may be better with a Burgundy (unless you are prepared to wait a few years). My palate has changed since I first started to collect Penfolds, and I view them as old friends now and for when I am in the mood.

    They all require time to reach their full potential. I made quite a big decision last year that I would not buy anymore Penfolds reds. My last En Primeur purchases were 6 x 2017 St Henri's and 6 x 2018 Bin 389's. These both have Penfolds drinking windows up to 2050 and beyond, and it's a sobering thought that I might run out of time. I am 63 and not planning on leaving it all for my children if I can help it! Anyway, personal thoughts on the individual wines.

    St Henri first attracted me because of that almost unique minimal oak treatment. It's mostly Shiraz (2017 was 93% but there has been the odd 100% vintage) with literally a splash of CS. Opened early, I think it is just a concentrated fruit bomb personally and its with age that it gets more complex, earthy and dark chocolate, spicy peppery notes typical of Shiraz but it develops even more red and dark berry fruit than it shows when it is younger. I absolutely love giving it a long decant and having it over two nights, as it develops even more after 24 hours open. One of my cases, the 2005, was bought to fill a hole in my flight a couple of years ago. It's previous owner was a gentleman called Sir Richard Dearlove (printed on the bonded warehouse barcode label). I was curious and went for a Google. An interesting character who I could imagine in a previous job saying "Tea in half an hour please Moneypenny".

    Bin 389 is known as 'Lasagne' wine in our house. Quite a few years ago, I came home to find my daughter cooking a meal. She said "I hope you don't mind, but I've opened one of those Shiraz/Cabernet wines that we had last week to make the sauce". The wine from the previous week (hangs head in shame) a Koonunga Hill. Open on the kitchen worktop was a 'Baby Grange'. I did the only thing that a father can do in those circumstances, got a glass! Bin 389 has been made for 60 years so they have had a lot of practice at blending the two grapes and the oak. It's made in the previous years Grange barrels (which are 100% new) so it's not overtly oak dominated. Whilst I find St Henri fruit-driven, 389 has a lot more going on in terms of more meaty, sometimes nutty and vanilla notes. There is also of course the cassis notes which are totally absent from St Henri.

    407 is pure Cab Sav from a variety of different regions and vineyards. Compared to St Henri and 389, it is more medium bodied but that is a relative term when compared to other varietal versions from other parts of the New World. It's all about the cassis, the plum and the dark berries and needs time for the oak to integrate. It has big brother 707 which I have only tried a glassful of a couple of times. That is a much more full-bodied number and occasionally not made when the grapes are not considered concentrated or ripe enough (2011 and more recently 2017). When this happens, the 707 grapes are diverted to 407 and I do remember the wine being noticeably more muscular in 2011 when I shared someone else's bottle. I've not opened one of my 2017's but I've made myself curious (might Coravin a glass and compare it with another year a little down the road. Cling film and 24 hours btw). Another Penfolds that needs time! They use about a third new oak and it can be a bit grippy when young.

    RWT is probably best described as St Henri with Oak! I only have the three bottles of 2014 as I found them at one of my regular merchants (The Wine Society in the UK) for a bargain basement £75 a bottle (gulp). I must admit that I'm not sad from a financial view point that my Penfolds purchases are at an end! Some of my earlier St Henri's were in the region of £40 a bottle and have crept up to the £65 mark. So, all I have to go on is other people's experiences and it's really interesting looking at the 9 or so notes on CT! You folks that scored it in 2016ish, looks like wine infanticide was committed! The latest review scored it a 95. I'll open my first one in a couple of years I think and I rest my case for aging the lot! Hope that helps and if you can find and buy a properly stored case (of any of them) with a few years already on the clock, welcome to what the winemaker intended!

Red
2017 Thymiopoulos Terra Petra Rapsani Red Blend
An absolute belter of a wine.
  • Brentw1 commented:

    12/14/20, 7:37 AM - It is best kept a secret Stargull. Did you notice the Diam 10 cork as well. Tells me that he expects some of it to be aged so I've tucked one of my two cases. away

    We don't want everyone else finding out about Terra Petra Rapsani! Apostolos does not make enough for us to share it with the rest of the world! Try his young vines pure Ximomavro if you haven't yet. Not quite in the same league but it is half the price.

  • Brentw1 commented:

    12/15/20, 1:53 PM - Had a look at your cellar out of interest and we seem to share a few wines. I'm guessing you are a Wine Society Fan! I post on their community a lot with the same user name as here. It's worth searching out if you are not aware of it.

Rosé - Sparkling
N.V. Laurent-Perrier Champagne Cuvée Rosé Brut Pinot Noir
12/12/2020 - Pknut wrote:
I was happy to buy a few bottles for $52 on a recent sale, and looked forward to tasting a bottle. Salmon color darkened with notes of raspberry. The palate is soft, round, very pretty, with berry notes and a bit of cream. However, I like Champagnes with more cut. Pretty, but didn't really move me beyond that.
  • Brentw1 commented:

    12/14/20, 7:41 AM - It's one that needs some extra bottle age in my experience. I try to give mine about five years before opening but I'm lucky enough to have a proper cellar so the storage is not an issue. (and saves me a fortune in charges).

Red
1999 Chateau Musar Bekaa Valley Red Blend
12/13/2020 - Margroot Likes this wine:
95 points
Some years ago the people at the chateau told me that they believe that old wines definitely should be decanted and aired for many hours. (They told the analogy about leaving your house for a week, a year or many years and how long do you open the windows then)
I was alway a bit cautious but nevertheless took some 4/6 hours with a bottle.
This one I followed their advice and gave it a 24! hours decant.
So this 9.5 is for all the people that made this wine! You have silk and silk! A nice acid kick even at the end. Fruit and cinnamon! This is Musar next level.
  • Brentw1 commented:

    12/14/20, 7:30 AM - It always amazes me that (with the number of comments that the wine was much better the following day) more people do not cotton on to this.

    Not every wine would benefit in my opinion but Musar, big Rhones and some Bordeaux definitely do. I even gave a Penfolds Bin 311 a decant over this weekend and kept half overnight. It was sublime! (Penfolds actually recommend decanting their top end Chardonnay anyway).

    Looking forward to my remaining 1999's now.

White - Sparkling
N.V. Alfred Gratien Champagne The Wine Society's Private Cuvée Brut Champagne Blend
12/12/2020 - JayP Likes this wine:
89 points
Very underrated. Delicious - esp with bit more bottle age and an hour in the glass
  • Brentw1 commented:

    12/13/20, 10:18 AM - Absolutely agree! I try to give mine 2 to 3 years and it transforms it. I reckon, when on offer (every year just before Christmas and sometimes New Year, this is the best QPR Champagne in the UK (and I have over 200 bottles of bubbles in my cellar). Made by Gratien for The Wine Society for over 100 years! That's some partnership.

  • Brentw1 commented:

    12/13/20, 12:47 PM - Not yet. Keep looking at it but I do have a bit of the Vintage.

White - Sparkling
N.V. Bollinger Champagne Special Cuvée Brut Champagne Blend
12% alcohol. PN 60%, C 25%, PM 15% according to the website. Dosage 8-9 g/L. No info on disgorgement date (although this might be inferred from the lot number if you have the patience), but this bottle has been in my cellar for a couple of years at least. Pale golden colour.
The fizz is fine and quite abundant initially, but that does not last very long; indeed this bottle goes flat much faster than most. The nose is rich and mature with yellow fruit in evidence. Certainly very comfortable in the mouth, partly due to the generous dosage, but not in any way clumsy. Yellow plum, and with just a hint of an oxidative sensation contributing to the richness (in a good way).
A reliable NV Champagne, very consensual and certainly well made. A repeat purchase so long as the price remains reasonable (ie well short of 40€).
PS: after two days in the fridge (closed with an ordinary cork), the wine has not lost any of its qualities, and the fizz level is more than creditable.
  • Brentw1 commented:

    12/12/20, 12:08 PM - Just for anyone interested.

    Disgorgement dates are not stamped on non-vintage bottles (they are on the vintage wines). Labelling occurs shortly after disgorgement, so the labelling date provides a good indication. The first two digits of the labelling code on the neck of Special Cuvée and Rosé are the year and the next three digits are the number of the day of that year, so L1405002 means the 50th day of 2014. The letter on the cork is the month of disgorgement and the number is the year, so 4A is January 2014.

Red
2017 Domaine Sylvain Pataille Marsannay Pinot Noir
Much lauded producer. Red fruits and clove. Wine opened up with time. I enjoyed it but would probably not buy again. Keen to try the clos du roy. Decent for the money relative to the cost of burgundy these days.
  • Brentw1 commented:

    12/10/20, 12:45 PM - Do try the CdR as it is excellent but don’t drink a young one. Even Pataille’s entry level wines need time as he is a fan of whole bunch fermentation. They all become beautiful with patience.

White - Sparkling
2006 Pierre Paillard Champagne Grand Cru La Grande Récolte Champagne Blend
12/9/2020 - americanstorm Likes this wine:
94 points
This was outstanding. Licorice, citrus, almonds, chalk and some spice. Lots of toast. Fine bubbles and great finish. My first experience with this producer and I wish I had bought more. We really enjoyed this and it is aging very well. Should be good for many more years.
  • Brentw1 commented:

    12/10/20, 12:43 PM - Great review thank you. I’ve not popped one yet out of my case as suspected this had the stuffing to develop. Might give it a go off the back of your review over Christmas.

Red
2014 Château Sociando-Mallet Haut-Médoc Red Bordeaux Blend
12/8/2020 - Sean Tay wrote:
92 points
Pronounced nose intensity, high tannin, and acidity. Black fruits, black plums, spices, vanilla. Long finish and pronounced flavour intensity.
  • Brentw1 commented:

    12/8/20, 1:44 PM - Thanks for the review Sean. I think I'll leave mine for a few more years but bodes well.

White - Sparkling
2008 Dom Pérignon Champagne Champagne Blend
12/5/2020 - paul195 wrote:
94 points
1 of 24. This has calmed down quite a bit since I last had it in May. Still has an energetic mousse, lovely tension, packed with white fruits, minerals and floral notes. After two hours some of the DP creaminess started to show. A very pleasing young DP with the stuffing to bring years of drinking pleasure
  • Brentw1 commented:

    12/7/20, 1:29 PM - Quite a lot of your reviews are simply how many bottles you have and something along the lines of “note to come”. Then I’m sorry but I can’t find said note. I’m not sure how this helps the community?

  • Brentw1 commented:

    12/7/20, 2:29 PM - That's fair enough if all you are doing is using CT for your own purposes. There is an option to keep your notes private I think?

    However, I (and I'm sure many others) use the comments and reports of others to help me decide when to open longer window wines, particularly when I don't have many bottles of something. It would be a shame if I could not have access to your knowledge and experience.

    Anyway, thank you for replying and I hope all your bottles are good ones!

  • Brentw1 commented:

    12/8/20, 6:40 AM - Very much appreciated. I’m going to tuck my modest 5 bottle collection away for a while but may make an exception if my son can come home for a visit to Nottinghamshire from his home in Chicago. We have not seen him for nearly two years due to Covid.

  • Brentw1 commented:

    12/8/20, 8:10 AM - I already have! It was a case of six and we had one when he left for the US. It was just as you described. Getting into Oregon Pinot Noir btw. He tipped me off!

Red
2017 Penfolds Bin 389 South Australia Cabernet-Shiraz Blend, Red Blend
12/5/2020 - cfoy wrote:
89 points
Agree that this is a major fruit bomb - if you like big gigantic fruit smacking you in the face! This is the wine for you! Hopeful it will calm down in the years to come
  • Brentw1 commented:

    12/7/20, 1:34 PM - It should do with a bit of luck. I’ll be opening mine 2027 at the earliest.

Red
2010 Château Sociando-Mallet Haut-Médoc Red Bordeaux Blend
12/2/2020 - Stefan75 wrote:
90 points
Same notes as previous obe few weeks ago. Again cork quality issue!
  • Brentw1 commented:

    12/2/20, 2:15 PM - I've been drinking Musar for years and the 'cork issue' is part of the charm! I've had a refund on a bottle with a weeping crumbly cork and fill level at half shoulder as I couldn't believe that the wine would be ok. On my way to pour it down the sink, I had a sneaky taste and it was fantastic!

    Chill my friend and go with the unique experience that is Musar.

  • Brentw1 commented:

    12/3/20, 12:04 PM - Opps! What was I doing? Don’t tell my wife, she has got me down as a senile old goat already! That’s worrying on the SM. I’ve got 10 years of that in a flight and I’ve not had a problem so far.

White - Sparkling
N.V. Bollinger Champagne Special Cuvée Brut Champagne Blend
11/25/2020 - The Drunken Cyclist Likes this wine:
91 points
Retail $60. Another young bottle, but this time, when I went to pull it from my cellar, I noticed that a bottle was missing. While this was far from the first time this has happened, in fact, it happens quite more often than I care to admit, this was a Bolly that I was missing. A Bolly. So I asked (accused?) my wife if she happened to know what may have happened to the missing bottle. She expressed (feigned?) ignorance. Hmmmm. J'accuse! Any who, similar notes, a fantastic bottle of bubbles... thedrunkencyclist.com
  • Brentw1 commented:

    11/26/20, 10:13 AM - This is all very suspicious and I also have suffered from 'missing bottle' syndrome.

    My wife has pointed out that there may be a correlation between this and 'missing hours' syndrome, usually associated with dinner parties that extend into a late night session with good friends.

    I can't see it myself but then again, I can't remember :-)

Red
2017 Penfolds Shiraz St. Henri South Australia
11/23/2020 - Andre Brattland wrote:
93 points
Rich and really down under with a great feeling of red alcoholic berries, plums, leather, vanilla powder and licorice. Good full-bodied and rich wine with very good freshness in the mouthfeel despite the alcohol level. Great fruit of plums, redder juicy berries, leather, licorice, vanilla and great spice tones that lie behind and give joy. Nice acidity and tannin structure. Very pretty St.Henri this. 93 points.
  • Brentw1 commented:

    11/25/20, 1:07 PM - Well it’s nice to see a review this early but I think I’ll wait another 8 to 10 years on my case as really enjoying the 2005 at the moment. Sorry, but rather a shame to open now IMO and I really hope it was a tasting or someone else’s bottle (which judging by your other reviews of the same date it was).

  • Brentw1 commented:

    11/26/20, 12:04 AM - Phew! :-)

Red
2017 Domaine Sylvain Pataille Marsannay Pinot Noir
11/21/2020 - AJPHopson Likes this wine:
93 points
Really good.... on the second night. The first night it was a bit discombobulated. The acidity was too prominent and the flavour too short. The second night it came together, with a nice smooth texture. This was a trial, I’ll be buying more of this, but I’d give it another year before opening a bottle.
  • Brentw1 commented:

    11/21/20, 12:32 PM - I'm a real big fan of Sylvain but his wines do need cellaring IMO. I'd happily leave the Marsannay for at least another two years and when you get to Clos du Roy, I'm enjoying the 2012's at the moment.

  • Brentw1 commented:

    11/22/20, 11:31 PM - Hi there. It’s a bit of a how long is a piece of string question as you know but as a very rough ballpark, 3 to 7 year window on the Marsannay and 5 to 10 year s on the Clos du Roy. The specific vintage needs to be considered as well to a degree and this is why I love the reviews on CT as well as my own experiences. My Christmas present this year will be a Coravin which is going to open up a while new angle!

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