Tasting Notes for PNIELSEN

(227 notes on 159 wines)

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Red
5/19/2019 - PNIELSEN Likes this wine:
92 points
At the risk of opening too early, we decided to pop one of these last night. I found this far more expressive than the 2016 rendition at this stage. Beautiful, exotic aromatics of strawberries and earth, with a fair lashing of oak which I think only classes up the wine. It has some tongue-clenching tannin, of course. This may be my favorite version of this bottling over the past 3-4 years. Stellar stuff.

Update: I just became aware that this bottling does not have Syrah in it, which might partially explain why it's relatively more accessible at this point.
Rosé
4/26/2019 - PNIELSEN Likes this wine:
89 points
Beckmen has a sure hand with rose, and this vintage is no exception. It is lighter in color than prior versions I have had, a beautiful salmon hue. On the palate, it is also more delicate, with a whisper of flowers on the back palate. Lovely stuff, glad I ordered a case. Taking a few to the beach next week!
Red
4/13/2019 - PNIELSEN wrote:
Good as ever. Still needs time for the tannin to unclench a bit. Hope I can lay off my remaining bottles for a year or more.
Red
4/3/2019 - PNIELSEN Likes this wine:
84 points
I will split the difference and agree with TJIN on this one. Not a bad value at $10.99 at Trader Joe's in TN. I may buy again.
Red
3/30/2019 - PNIELSEN Likes this wine:
95 points
I wasn't a Jaffurs member when the epic vintages in the late 2000's were released, but I have to think this one would be right up there with them. Intense nose of blueberries, chaparral and brown sugar. On the palate, it has fabulous vibrancy, intensity and length. The finish goes on and on, with an appealing liqueur-like quality to it that reminds me of Chambord. It's drinking great now, but man...this will be even more special once it settles out a bit more. My score might be a tad low.
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Red
3/24/2019 - PNIELSEN Likes this wine:
91 points
This wine apparently is not wowing everybody, but count as me a fan. I find this to be a rich, balanced zin with a dark fruit emphasis. It's an earlier drinker than some Ridge zins, which is a good thing to have on hand while waiting for the more tannic wines to come around. I just reloaded on more for the second time.
Red
3/22/2019 - PNIELSEN wrote:
An odd showing for this wine last night. We enjoyed it, but it came across as somewhat angular, with acid more prominent than usual and a nose that was dominated by an acetone smell for the first hour or so. I'll refrain from scoring and chalk it up to bottle variation.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
3/15/2019 - PNIELSEN Likes this wine:
92 points
We thoroughly enjoyed this. It has an intense nose of cherry cola, roses and a certain pleasurable stemmyness that had me checking the technical notes on Foxen's website to see if a percentage of whole-cluster fermentation was at work. (I was surprised to find there is none.) Very suave and smooth on the palate, making for easy drinking now, but this will continue to drink great for a number of years. (92+)
Red
3/3/2019 - PNIELSEN Likes this wine:
90 points
Rich with deep blackberries and mulled spices. Some may find the oak obtrusive at this stage, but perhaps it will integrate with time. This is a fine zin, albeit with not quite the QPR as in the past given the price increase over the last couple of years.
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Red
No detailed notes taken. This strikes me as a worthy successor in the line of wonderful recent vintages for this bottling that I have tasted (2012, 2013 and 2014). There is adequate acid lurking beneath the blanket of rich, exotic fruit. It could definitely use a couple of years to settle in, but the problem is that it is so dangerously easy to drink now. I'll refrain from scoring, but viscerally I put this in the 93-94 range.
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Red
2/23/2019 - PNIELSEN Likes this wine:
92 points
A lovely pinot with aromas of cherry, rose petals and a whiff of graham cracker. Gorgeous texture, finishing with a perfect snap of acidity. This has more stuffing than many, so it can definitely age for a few years. My score (for what that's worth) may be a tad low.
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Red
2012 Ridge Geyserville Sonoma County Zinfandel Blend, Zinfandel (view label images)
2/15/2019 - PNIELSEN Likes this wine:
92 points
Our last bottle of this was right in the zone for my palate. It is rich and smooth, with just a whisper of tertiary nuances starting to emerge. I recommend allowing the bottle to sit upright for a day or so before decanting, as it does throw a good amount of sediment.
7 people found this helpful Comment
Red
2/15/2019 - PNIELSEN Likes this wine:
91 points
My 5th bottle of this wine. On the palate, this has the purity, stuffing and intensity to be rated a bit higher, but the nose is somewhat subdued. It started off very closed at cellar temperature, but as it warmed in the glass, it began to give off the classic exotic strawberry fruit for which Grenache is known. This is still very young and needs time to settle in. I only have a couple bottles left. Hopefully I can keep my hands off them until this is truly ready, and I hope that more aromatics will be emerging by then. (91-93)
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Red
2/8/2019 - PNIELSEN Likes this wine:
88 points
My wife and I were really impressed with the lineup of wines tasted in the Dragonette tasting room during our recent visit to Los Olivos, and especially with this pinot. However, we might have been suffering from a bit of palate fatigue, as this is not quite as expressive as we remembered, aromatically and on the palate, and it comes across as lacking in acidity. It's a beautiful wine, but we came home with other Sta. Rita Hills pinots that I think are superior.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2013 Ridge Lytton Springs Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel Blend, Zinfandel (view label images)
2/3/2019 - PNIELSEN Likes this wine:
94 points
This has to be about as good as it gets for Lytton Springs. This vintage is easily the best I've tasted in my 30 years of being into wine.

There was a good amount of sediment left in the bottle upon decanting. Initially the nose was rather closed, but about 90 minutes in, it was showing gorgeous, complex aromatics. It isn't a crime to drink now, but it still has a fair amount of baby fat and I suspect will show even better in 2-5 years. I will probably pop our last bottle during the holiday season in 2020.

Major props to John Olney for this beauty. (94-95)
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Red
2/1/2019 - PNIELSEN Likes this wine:
92 points
No notes taken, but from memory: The wine has an intense aroma that can be smelled from a foot or more away. On the nose, there is black cherry, flower petals and a hint of pleasant stemmyness, which I assume is from some whole cluster integration. The wine is rich, long and savory, with a distinctly smooth texture that makes it just so inviting. Really a lovely example of Santa Maria Valley pinot noir.
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Red
1/20/2019 - PNIELSEN Likes this wine:
91 points
The bottle had a little over half-inch fill. The nose was somewhat muted, but it gave up notes of baked dark fruit and flowers. Texturally, the tannin has finally started to soften to point where it comes across as rather round and smooth on the palate into the second glass. The fruit is still plenty ripe but is starting to take on the piquant flavors of an aged wine. Moderate sediment was left in the bottle after decanting (I allowed the bottle to stand upright for a few days prior to opening). This was my last bottle, but I could see this providing pleasurable drinking for anywhere from 5-8 years, depending on what flavors you are looking for in your wine.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2013 Minassian-Young Black St. Peter Paso Robles Zinfandel Blend, Zinfandel (view label images)
If you have not tried this wine before, just be prepared for an ultra jammy, late harvest style of wine. Personally I think it would be best served to accompany chocolatey cookies after dinner. For drinking with a meal or even on its own, it's not my thing.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
12/18/2018 - PNIELSEN Likes this wine:
91 points
The nose on this wine reminds me of a holiday potpourri of clove (tons of that), orange peel and dried cherry, with some brown sugar in the mix. Great aromatics. The wine is a bit more elegant and not as much of a bruiser as most Jaffurs syrahs. It is medium-bodied, bright and rich. Unfortunately it was my only bottle, but I'll remember it fondly! (91-92, with time)
Red
2012 Ridge Lytton Springs Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel Blend, Zinfandel (view label images)
12/16/2018 - PNIELSEN Likes this wine:
92 points
For me, this wine has just entered its prime window of drinkability (so of course this was our last bottle). It still has some tannic grip, but some tertiary notes are starting to emerge in addition to the piquant bramble fruit and spice. The nose was not quite as expressive as on most other Ridge bottlings. As others have recently noted, this may be in a somewhat mute phase. Still very enjoyable, though. (92-93)
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Red
12/8/2018 - PNIELSEN wrote:
92 points
This was our last bottle. If I was sitting on more, I would try to hold off 2-3 years before opening. It is drinking nicely but is still rather tannic and needs to settle out a bit. Great aromatics though. (92-94)
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
12/5/2018 - PNIELSEN Likes this wine:
93 points
Gorgeous high-toned aromatics on this one. Enjoyable already but would benefit from a year or two in the bottle to soften the sinewy tannin somewhat.
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Red
11/28/2018 - PNIELSEN Likes this wine:
85 points
Well made in a lighter style. Not particularly deep or expressive. I think there have been better values at Costco where I purchased this (the Kirkland CdR Villages in particular).
Red
11/25/2018 - PNIELSEN Likes this wine:
92 points
Consistent with May 2018 tasting. This is a gorgeous grenache.
Red
I'm always a little startled as this wine comes out of the bottle, the color is just so dark. Typical of Jaffurs PS from Thompson, this is a formidable wine, but I find it rather monolithic at the moment. I would give it 2-3 years in the bottle (91-93 in time).
Red
11/21/2018 - PNIELSEN Likes this wine:
91 points
My impressions were pretty much in line with GRAVEDEE's comments. This hearty wine is hard to resist already, but it is pretty primary. It should shed some baby fat and offer up greater complexity given 2-3 years in the cellar. If only I had more of it! (91-93)
White
11/18/2018 - PNIELSEN wrote:
This was rated 93 by Suckling, which is absurd. But it is a super tasty, pure expression of Chardonnay and a killer value. Buy by the case.
Red
11/9/2018 - PNIELSEN Likes this wine:
92 points
We opened this way too early and consumed it way too fast. No detailed notes taken, but this is drinking very well already. Given the price point, I think it would be wise to sit on this for a few years to let it develop additional complexity beyond the already gorgeous fruit and sweet herb/tobacco notes. (92+)
White
11/5/2018 - PNIELSEN Likes this wine:
90 points
A very nice chardonnay. I suggest serving it with only a moderate chill, as the aromatics and flavors don't really come forward until the wine has had a chance to warm up a bit.
Red
11/5/2018 - PNIELSEN Likes this wine:
89 points
This wine is beautiful to look at and has wonderful purity of fruit, but the nose remains very muted. It's puzzling because that hasn't been my experience with the 2016 PMV Grenache or 2016 PMV Grenache Whole Cluster (at least recently). I do hope it becomes more expressive with some age.
Red
11/3/2018 - PNIELSEN Likes this wine:
95 points
This was firing on all cylinders last night, with a kaleidoscopic nose of just about every scent syrah is capable of. I will try to keep my hands off my remaining bottles for a while to let it settle in a bit more, but it won't be easy. One of the finest wines in my cellar.
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Red
11/2/2018 - PNIELSEN Likes this wine:
92 points
My experience with this wine was different from some of the prior tasters. I am pretty high on this wine. The nose of overripe plums, coffee and mocha belies the vibrant palate of crunchy red fruits, overripe peaches and orange peel. There are floral and vanilla notes on the long, tantalizing finish. This is a rich, medium-full bodied zinfandel with great energy and verve, quite different in style from the 2014 version. I love it. (92+)
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Red
10/26/2018 - PNIELSEN Likes this wine:
91 points
I have been a Ridge ATP member (on and off) for decades, going way back to the days when they were sourcing grapes from Park-Muscatine, Alegria, et. Al. I'm always intrigued when they release a new wine that doesn't come from one of their own vineyard holdings because, every so often, one comes along that is right in my wheelhouse. The 2014 Boatman zin was one, and this is another. My favorite zins are those that have a somewhat darker profile and are lush while retaining good acidity. This has a beautiful nose and glass-staining glycerin. Very drinkable now, although another year or two in the bottle will help resolve the medium tannins. Kudos to John Olney for bringing forth another beauty. I will be ordering more.
3 people found this helpful Comment
Red
10/12/2018 - PNIELSEN Likes this wine:
93 points
Similar impressions as on 5/29/18. I love the gorgeous high-toned aromatics on this one. That said, I'm inclined to sit on my remaining bottle for a year or more to let the tannin unclench a bit. Another stunner from the Jaffurs team.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
10/8/2018 - PNIELSEN Likes this wine:
91 points
Similar impressions as my prior note, except that the wine is maybe a bit more open after 8 more months in the bottle. Great future ahead for this one.
Red
Right up there with my prior tastings. Glad I reloaded on a few more, but looking forward to getting the 2015 soon. (92)
Red
10/5/2018 - PNIELSEN wrote:
88 points
The CT reviews on this wine have been all over the board, so I was glad to finally have an opportunity to taste it. I agree with those who think this vintage is not as impressive as others. It is a fine example of Dry Creek Valley zin, just lacking some of the oomph and complexity of prior years. I would put this on the level of the Three Valley bottlings I've tasted over the years.

Update 10/19/18: Opened a second bottle of this and had the exact same impression as before. The wine is good but not particularly special, which is a first for East Bench in my experience.
1 person found this helpful Comments (1)
Red
Similar notes as my initial tasting on 12/24/17. Very easy drinking for a relatively young wine, which seems to be a hallmark of the 2014 syrah lineup from Jaffurs. (95+)
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
9/3/2018 - PNIELSEN Likes this wine:
91 points
It's been a little over 8 months since I first opened a bottle of this wine, which I found to be rather mute. Over that time, the wine has started to wake up and is now offering quintessential Grenache aromas along with a succulent palate and a long, lively finish. Gorgeous wine from a conscientious producer working with a great vintage. My score (for what that's worth) will probably prove to be low in the future. Glad to have several more bottles of this!
Red
8/18/2018 - PNIELSEN Likes this wine:
95 points
Celebrated a milestone birthday this past weekend, which seemed as good a reason as any to pop one of these. I had already tasted the 2014 Bien Nacido syrah (which I think is a knockout) and Thompson syrah (also gorgeous), which are the components of this bottling. I didn't take detailed notes, but I think this is at least on par with the BN bottling, with perhaps a longer, more vanilla-laced finish as well as added dimension overall. I definitely recommend a careful decant, as there is a good amount of solids in suspension. Fantastic wine that already drinks beautifully, but it has a long future. It's probably better than my rating suggests. (95+)
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2015 Ridge Geyserville Alexander Valley Zinfandel Blend, Zinfandel (view label images)
8/10/2018 - PNIELSEN Likes this wine:
93 points
Geyserville at its very best. This one will need a bit longer than usual to settle in (a good 2-3 years for my palate).
4 people found this helpful Comment
Red
7/30/2018 - PNIELSEN Likes this wine:
92 points
Whatever tannin that remained when I last had this wine has resolved, leaving gorgeous, succulent fruit that lingers on the palate. There are some haunting exotic notes from the whole cluster inclusion that are discernable on the nose. Unfortunately this was my last bottle, but I could see this providing delightful drinking for another 2-3 years (for my palate).
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
7/23/2018 - PNIELSEN Likes this wine:
93 points
Another great vintage for this bottling. Consumed over 2 nights. Medium-full body with medium coated tannins. Nose and palate of high-toned blackberries, white pepper and a passing hint of fennel. Good acidic lift. It seemed to lose a little oomph on night two (although I hadn't vacuum-sealed it). This leaves a bit of sediment, so a decant is recommended. I'll hold off until the holiday season to open another bottle.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2014 Ridge Geyserville Alexander Valley Zinfandel Blend, Zinfandel (view label images)
7/16/2018 - PNIELSEN Likes this wine:
92 points
This is an especially dark Geyserville in appearance and in fruit emphasis. Compared to the 2013 vintage (which I had just a couple of weeks ago), I find this very suave and ready to drink, although neither wine is showing any of the tertiary characteristics that are prized by many aficionados of Geyserville. This one will age for a good long time. (92-93)
7 people found this helpful Comment
Red
2013 Ridge Geyserville Alexander Valley Zinfandel Blend, Zinfandel (view label images)
6/22/2018 - PNIELSEN Likes this wine:
93 points
Simply a quintessential rendition of Geyserville. Still has some tannic grip that may take 2-3 years to resolve.
4 people found this helpful Comment
Red
6/15/2018 - PNIELSEN Likes this wine:
89 points
Saw this at the local Costco for around eight bucks. I thought it was worth a try given the quality of the vintage and the 90 point WA rating. This is a pretty savvy purchase by Costco. A blend of 80% Grenache and 20% Syrah, it comes across as a classic CdR, with a nose of smoky blackberries and a hint of garrigue. Good mid-palate density suggesting this can age a bit. Great QPR. Do yourself a favor and try a bottle. (89-90).
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
6/3/2018 - PNIELSEN Likes this wine:
92 points
I've been a member of the Beckmen wine club for only about 10 months, so I only have the 2015 version to compare this to. That said, this has to be a very successful vintage for this wine. Very dark and dense, with tears that cling to the glass long after swirling. The nose is moderately intense with warm blackberry, overripe plums (leaning toward prunes, but not in a bad way), evergreen and a slight whiff of sweet cigar smoke. The palate is rich with dark fruit and a long, mocha-laced finish. The Aussie origins of this clone are apparent. The wine is very distinctive and totally different from other syrahs from Ballard Canyon. It's very young and maybe a bit grapey at this point, but very accessible and enjoyable already.
Red
5/29/2018 - PNIELSEN Likes this wine:
93 points
Allowed to breathe about an hour in the glass. The nose is pungent with the Thompson signature of blackberry, clove, pepper and licorice. I find this perhaps a shade more elegant than recent Jaffurs syrahs I've tasted from this and other vineyard sites.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
5/20/2018 - PNIELSEN Likes this wine:
92 points
This is the most open and expressive of the 2016 Grenache bottlings I've had from Beckmen. Smooth and rich with a dense mid-palate that suggests this will age effortlessly for a number of years. Very easy drinking already. I'll be buying more. (92-93)
Red
5/18/2018 - PNIELSEN Likes this wine:
87 points
This rendition strikes me as a little softer and riper than is typical for this blend, lacking some of its usual grip. Still, a very solid, honest go-to red with a very good QPR.
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