Comments on my notes

(62 comments on 60 notes)

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Red
2012 Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco Nebbiolo
Sheesh. Was looking forward to what may have been my first taste of Barbaresco. Saved this bottle in the cellar for 5 years. Decanted it today for over 7 hours. On opening, the nose was full and promising, but that promise faded fairly quickly. By the time we tasted this there wasn't any aroma left to speak of, and any flavours were austere to say the least. Faintly medicinal would be the kindest comment I could make. 2 of the 3 of us didn't like it at all and didn't finish one glass, though the third found it to be fairly drinkable. I didn't think this was corked, but it may have been slightly off in some way. Or perhaps I'm just not a fan of Barbaresco.
I'll have to try another Barbaresco at some time - I'd hate to write it off completely after this one experience.
  • ex-sommelier commented:

    11/7/21, 12:24 AM - I wouldn't write off either Barbaresco or the producer quite yet, the trouble with nebbiolo is how fickle it can be as it ages (long decant? no decant? random 'grumpy' phase?). That makes one-off bottles you keep a real crap shoot unfortunately. 7 hours may have been too much, but that's a guess as its been a couple years since I opened a '12.

Red
2016 Fattoria di Fèlsina Berardenga Chianti Classico Riserva Chianti Classico DOCG Sangiovese
11/3/2021 - z_willus_d wrote:
88 points
Sampled across a three day period, this wine was best on the 3rd night. After consistent and incredible encounters with the standard (non-Riserva) bottling of the '16 Felsina Chianti, one might hope for more from this "big brother" bottling. I certainly prefer the lesser son at present for its freshness, vibrancy, more red fruited profile, and general verve. This bottle felt like it was closed down and muted on day-1 and only starting to show some promise on the 3rd night. Here or there I sensed oxidation, which isn't nice. I did generally enjoy the wine, so let's see how it evolves. I have a case and plenty of chances to check-in over the next decade or two.
  • ex-sommelier commented:

    11/3/21, 2:04 PM - It is hard to beat the little brother for price, thanks for checking in on this one!

Red
2016 Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco Riserva Montefico Nebbiolo
11/2/2021 - Motz wrote:
92 points
Drank over two days, which were the second and third days that I drank the same vintage PdB Asili. This bottle helped confirm my impressions of the Asili.

Marginally more open bouquet than the Asili, although disappointingly short of what one might expect for a highly praised Montefico, with a listed abv of 15 (big alcohol enhancing a bouquet's loudness). Also, more expansive and gritty than the Asili. However, the back and finish revealed a green bite, similar to the Asili, which was partially masked by Montefico's more overt tannic presence. Recorked about 15 oz and hoped for a fuller bouquet and less bitterness.

The bouquet changed little on the second day. Montefico's strong tannic structure, however, came forward in a big way on this day. The green bitterness, somewhat typical of excessive pressing (not extraction), but more commonly, phenolic ripeness issues, with stems and pips less ripe than the fruit, was more pronounced.

Overall, this is bigger and bolder than the Asili, typical of terroir differences between the two crus. Both wines offered light to moderate bouquets, particularly underwhelming for such a highly touted vintage. This wine, while bracing on the second day, still showed greenness at the back and throughout the finish.

Was this Montefico locked down? Absolutely! Do locked down and green share any direct correlation in Piedmont Nebbiolo? Nope!

Ripe Nebbiolo tannins are bracing, gritty, some might argue, soul-destroying, but they are not green. This wine, and the Asili more so, show intense greenness at the back and throughout the finish. One of my favorite domestic producers, Bill Steele, owner of Cowhorn, who chewed stems around harvest time to verify full phenolic ripeness, once told me as we discussed greenness wrongly interpreted as locked down tannins in young, bold reds: 'Green is green, and green never integrates.' I agree!

I do not expect the greenness in this wine, nor the more overt greenness in the Asili, to fade.

Also noteworthy: I am currently tasting a still completely locked down 2010 Damilano Cannubi. It features a massive tannin wall, but not the slightest hint of greenness.
  • ex-sommelier commented:

    11/3/21, 10:48 AM - I am, without sarcasm, sorry if (and surprised that) I have offended you on the issue of 'greeness' in a nebbiolo. I appreciate the time you put into your notes. I have also had years of experience, like you, tasting these wines, often in a restaurant setting when they are too young, and I have noted that if greenness is part of the profile, it will often appear unbalanced and unpleasant while in this shutdown phase.

    It is of course possible that Produttori has either s**t the bed in this vintage w/r/t stems or pressing, or radically changed their approach to chase higher scores on release, but I would find both less likely than the wine being at an awkward stage. In the same vein, do you not often notice a 'light bouquet' at this point in a nebbiolo's development? For someone with as much experience tasting as you do, I have to agree with SARED that you may be propelled by a contrarian impulse, I too get frustrated when vintage hype goes too far (especially with stateside prices!)

Red
2016 Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco Riserva Asili Nebbiolo
10/31/2021 - Motz wrote:
91 points
Tasted over three days.

First day, sampling from a Bordeaux stem, my preference for Barolo and Barbaresco. Light perfume, particularly for a highly-praised Asili from any producer, along with a pronounced alcohol jolt. The attack and middle are quite juicy, yet strikingly lean. The back turns astringent, with an ascorbic acid-like element (not ripe gritty tannins), which transitions to a disappointingly bitter and notably clipped finish.

On the second day, tasting from a Burgundy stem tamed the intrusive alcohol to a limited extent. Otherwise, no change from the first day.

Back to a Bordeaux stem for the last glass on the third day. Met with the same let down as the previous two days.

Overall, I found three notable detractions. The 15 abv is intrusive. It might have elevated the bouquet while in barrel, or a year or two back, but it does not at all now. The wine weakens from attack to finish, and with great wines, the opposite is true. The astringent element at the back is not ripe tannin; its is greenness. This may be the result of excessive pressing, but more likely has a basis in phenolic ripeness, the stems and pips less ripe than the berries.

Is there a chance this was an off bottle? Sure, there is a chance, but it is not likely. Nothing suggested this was an off bottle.

Is there a chance that this was completely locked down? Again, this is possible, but highly unlikely. Closed down wines might show obtrusive alcohol, but they do not feature thinness and bitterness at the back and throughout the finish.

This wine is not the equal of the same producer's 'Normale' label. The finest example of exceptional 2016 Barbaresco and Barolo that I have crossed paths with is Vietti's 'Castiglione' label. This Asili is nowhere close to that level of quality. 90-91.
  • ex-sommelier commented:

    10/31/21, 12:46 PM - Thanks for the early look at this. Count me as a vote for just too young. While the 15abv is concerning, this does sound like a fairly standard note for a shutdown barolo/barbaresco, and no surprise at 5 years old. My recent normale 16 was in a similar place as you describe here. The lovely texture and perfume of earlier bottles turned lean and herbal. I would disagree that these are not features of a shutdown Nebbiolo. I was tempted to open one early though so I'm glad I saw this!

Red
2010 Giacomo Fenocchio Barolo Bussia Nebbiolo
A really pleasant, old-fashioned Bussia at this price. Tart, sappy red cherry, mineral, and medicinal herbs, a la cherry cough drop. Was quite potent over two days, though lacked a ton of support on the finish, which at times felt hollow. Young, but open enough today and good with food. Less complexity than you might expect from a cru Barolo, but good energy and potential.
  • ex-sommelier commented:

    10/25/21, 8:24 AM - I think that 'clean and pure' is right, tasted blind I might have guessed Barbaresco

Red
2010 Albatreti Brunello di Montalcino Sangiovese
Much better than my last bottle. This one is quite robust, with fresh raspberry fruit, leather, and spice. Judging by this bottle it's at the beginning of its drinking window. Rustic and needs food, but it was a great value. I know the last bottle was from garagiste and this one is from K&L so maybe storage issues were to blame.
  • ex-sommelier commented:

    10/25/21, 8:21 AM - Thank you Tim! Hope you are well

Red
2013 Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco Nebbiolo
10/9/2021 - Ulveström wrote:
88 points
Not a bad wine but was hoping for a bit more. Think this is in the tunnel, nose is shy, sour red cherries are there but perfume is hidden and solvent notes is dominating. Dont know if this vintage of PdB will age very well since body is medium and the energi do not seem to be there. What do you guys think?

Will leave my other 2 bottles for 3-4 years and hope that something nice will evolve.
  • ex-sommelier commented:

    10/9/21, 7:17 AM - So far this vintage hasn't wowed me yet either, but how long did you decant for? It could just need more time as it seems to be developing slower than '12 or '14.

Red
2016 Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco Nebbiolo
7/10/2021 - WineKnurd Likes this wine:
92 points
Decided to test drive a bottle even though all the other 200+ notes say to hold, wanted to see for myself. Not disappointed but also agree. I gave it a hefty aeration regimen, double decanted back in the bottle with the use of a wide mouth funnel, left the cork out at least an hour, then properly decanted for at least another hour before serving, though that really just got it primed. Noteworthy that it continued to open up as I worked my way through the decanter.

Has all the classic Barbaresco flavor profiles as described by the previous tasters' notes, so I will focus on the structure. I will say that the "anise" is more shaved fennel frond vs full on licorice but I don't want to come off as a pedantic snob, I just happen to have grown fennel in my garden this past spring. Exactly 1/3 of the palate is driven by the bright acidity and then the tannic toll gate comes down, taking control of the remaining 2/3 of the palate and on through the finish with more earth and less fruit. Tannin definitely provides the majority of the structure but the texture is leathery and on an even keel, drying yes, but never gets woodsy, bitter or astringent. Develops a deeper intensity and more development on the finish as I worked through the decanter; the acidity creeps back in at the very last second to add some nice black cherry skin notes as the leathery tannins finally fade out.

Of course this still very young and primary but you can sense the potential, reminds me of some 2013 Barolo I popped early on (but are safely sleeping now). A steal at $35 (Allendale Wine Shoppe). Liking this at an A- (92).
  • ex-sommelier commented:

    7/24/21, 12:34 PM - Did you sample it before the decanting regimen? Sometimes decanting these younger nebbiolos makes them close up. Haven't had the 2016 in over a year so just curious!

Red
2015 Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco Nebbiolo
7/6/2021 - Martin_G wrote:
89 points
I think this is shut down or just coming out. Gave very little besides cherries on 1st day - but lots of em. 2nd day some depth and dirt had developed, and it was more than just a red-fruited Langhe Nebbiolo. My first pdb base Barbaresco. Feels like a big step down from the Riservas. Hold.
  • ex-sommelier commented:

    7/6/21, 12:18 PM - I like '15, but as a warmer, more 'solar' vintage, it does lose some of its distinction. Try '14 or '16 if you can, the base Barbaresco from both is just stunning.

Red
2014 Castelli Vineyards Nebbiolo Estate Nebbiolo Green Valley of Russian River Valley
5/4/2021 - ohne_musik wrote:
92 points
No brett or VA issues with this bottle. Delicious, elegant domestic Nebbiolo that wouldn’t be out of place in a line up of high performing moderately priced Barbaresco. Very old world in feel, roses and tar, good acid, focused cherry/strawberry, and earthy mineral. A hint of mint on the medium finish. Not as structured or serious as a riserva Nebbiolo but no problem going the distance for another decade or more. For the price people should be screaming on their roofs about this wine.
  • ex-sommelier commented:

    5/4/21, 8:22 PM - Glad to hear it, the 2014 Fosco was my first experience with Castelli and quite the surprise, particularly given my disappointing experiences with other California Nebbiolo. Looking forward to opening this one soon.

Red
2008 Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco Riserva Montefico Nebbiolo
This is a well built Barbaresco, with dense teriyaki, fruit leather, and pine tar at first. No wilting flowers here, and while with 3 hours of air the palate really asserted itself, the nose didn't unwind for at least 5 hours. With a tense and nervy texture and fine sandy tannin, this is still holding a lot in, With further air there was a vein of red fruit that lurked underneath smoke and menthol. This bottle will only get better, there's just so much trying to get through right now.

Day 2 Edit: More detail, tannins better integrated and nose far more expressive. Still a generally wild and youthful wine. Dried red fruits, plum, cigar smoke, hazelnuts, meat, black licorice, shoe polish. Showing a lot of potential for the future.

*Sediment was very fine, should make sure you stand it up for a day or two and decant carefully.
  • ex-sommelier commented:

    1/15/21, 9:55 PM - Saved more than a little fortunately, it kept growing and changing all evening, lots to unpack! Mostly kicking myself for opening one of these when I should know better. Glad to hear you're are making it back west, good hear from you

Red
2014 Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco Riserva Pora Nebbiolo
12/27/2020 - Alexander Smith Likes this wine:
91 points
Pora is located closest to the Tarano river and was by the far the most underwhelming wine of the evening. This wine showed aromas of violets, roses, bright fruit of candied cherries, plums, and red peppercorns. The palate was bright and raw (love this descriptor) with tart red fruit and crushed florals, fine tannins but very high and somewhat aggressive acidity. The finish was subtle and easy. I was a little disappointed by the showing of this bottle and felt it did not live up to the 93-94 of the critics. Still a solid wine, but needs time, since it seems in a weird place right now. 91+
  • ex-sommelier commented:

    12/28/20, 9:13 AM - Have you tried the regular 2014 Barbaresco yet? The 2014 riservas are pretty darn young at the moment. I don't put much stock in critics scores, but Nebbiolo can have a nice open period for a year or two after release and then shutdown, which might explain the disconnect.

Red
2016 Château Lanessan Haut-Médoc Red Bordeaux Blend
11/12/2020 - ID wrote:
I've had two more half-bottles of this since my first one in June. These two were not as good as the first. Now it just seems like a plain wine that lacks a center. It's okay, but I would not re-buy.
  • ex-sommelier commented:

    11/12/20, 7:40 PM - I've had some inconsistency with this vintage, although to be fair, not much ought to change in a wine over a 6 month period. Just pulled another as its been over a year since my last.

White - Sparkling
N.V. Marc Hébrart Champagne Premier Cru Sélection Brut Champagne Blend
Disgorged 11/2019. Rich and generous on the nose, complex. Notes of rye, apple, plum, Greek yogurt, lemon curd, wildflower honey, almond, and a touch of ginger. Palate is similarly round and giving with a fairly delicate mousse and good vinous persistence. I love this.
  • ex-sommelier commented:

    9/3/20, 10:48 PM - Thank you Tim, this pandemic has taught me I don't try enough Champagne! Be well

Red
2014 Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco Riserva Ovello Nebbiolo
8/19/2020 - Vitisconcierge wrote:
80 points
Uni dimensional and awkward tannins. Am disappointed but it could be a storage problem along the way
  • ex-sommelier commented:

    8/19/20, 5:38 PM - Also brutally young... An '11 I had recently was super shut down, the riservas are pretty demanding on your patience.

Red
2014 Château Lanessan Haut-Médoc Red Bordeaux Blend
8/1/2020 - Jake Barnes wrote:
88 points
(8/1/20) This 375ml was much further along than the one I tasted six months ago, so bottle variation might explain the differences in my experiences. This was not well concentrated, as my last one was, and the tannins were quite resolved. There is no indication that there is any cab franc in this wine, but the bright red fruits that dominated the palate were accompanied by an amount of pyrazines I would have expected from a blend containing at least 20% cab franc. On the positive side, the soft nose and palate were both very open on PnP, which was not the case with my last bottle, and there was a very long finish; 13.5% abv. (***/15/88)
  • ex-sommelier commented:

    8/2/20, 10:24 AM - Cooler vintage Cab Sauv can definitely show some pyrazines, and 2014 was definitely a leaner, more old fashioned vintage for Lanessan. I imagine this will age well but isn't going to flesh out much.

Red
2016 William & Mary Proprietary Red Shifflett Ranch Oak Knoll District Red Bordeaux Blend
Finally got to open this with a friend. Nice comparison to the 17, and showed a consistent personality, though perhaps the personality of the varieties were a bit more intertwined in this vintage. Wild berry fruit, some soil tones, blood orange, iron, and chocolate were well knit together with a creamy mid weight texture. More time in the glass gave up spice plums, vanilla, violets, and more structure.

Individual notes aside this felt very well composed, deceptively simple but asks you to lean in. I like that there was a lot going on but no one element clamoring for space.
  • ex-sommelier commented:

    7/22/20, 10:13 PM - They both seemed equally open, even though I tried the 17 back in november. The 17 felt like it needed a touch more time to integrate some of the different elements (incl some oak spice), but I don't suspect either will shut down. I would wait till 2023 for both, but little harm in trying earlier.

Red
2016 Castello di Monsanto Chianti Classico Riserva Chianti Classico DOCG Sangiovese Blend, Sangiovese
Delightful Chianti. Rich red plums, black cherry, and rhubarb, with mint and assorted hedgerow coming with air. Earthy and delicious, better than a lot of $40 Brunello that's for sure. I missed the 2015s, but this has better concentration and balance than 2014 for sure. It should age well.
  • ex-sommelier commented:

    7/17/20, 7:00 PM - Thanks Tim, made it out of Italy I suspect? Out of the frying pan...

Red
2016 Bedrock Wine Co. The Bedrock Heritage Sonoma Valley Zinfandel Blend, Zinfandel
7/16/2020 - caroleandjay Likes this wine:
94 points
Part of vertical tasting of 14, 15 , 16.
Ah, this is it. This is the normal Bedrock Heritage I'm used to.
Powerful but refined.
Garnet, with hints of purple, with developing meniscus.
Raspberry, cherry and plum on the nose and the palate. (Carole had strawberry as well). Fresh and balanced, yet impactful. This could clearly go a few more years (but after tasting the 15 I was concerned). But no worries. Drinking well now with overtones of olive and light earth mixed in - but I think this will get better over the next 2-5 years.
  • ex-sommelier commented:

    7/16/20, 8:06 PM - Of the vintages I've tried, '12-'17, the 2016 has been my absolute favorite

White
2012 Bedrock Wine Co. Cuvée Karatas Sonoma County Sémillon-Sauvignon Blanc Blend
Dark golden color. Baked apple with cinnamon and nutmeg nose. A bit of tart, sour apple, lemon and touch of white pepper. More medium body. It’s unique. Never had a wine like it. I am not getting any of the white peach, honey, melon or similar notes as others mentioned. More sour, tart. Could be flawed, but not really a flavor profile I enjoy. Add one more stamp on my wine journey passport.

UPDATE day 2. The sourness is mostly gone. The wine is rounder. I still get a lot of apple, apple/cinnamon notes.
  • ex-sommelier commented:

    5/26/20, 4:22 PM - Unlikely, those notes sounds more like a mature white wine

Red
2014 Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco Nebbiolo
4/1/2020 - chewiness wrote:
nose dominated by cherry liquer, raw chocolate, coffee, cream. also faint savoury elements of soy / fish sauce. mouth-coating tannins grab the attention first, followed by rather high acidity. flavours of coffee and wood, but fruit barely identifiable at this stage. dry, bitter finish. disjointed and coarse. not sure whether there's any room for improvement...

two days later, the wine is in a much better shape. fruit is more present (blackberries), there's leather, tobacco, chocolate. the nose is more fragrant too, with pleasant florals and tar / earth. high acidity is still there but the tannins have been smoothed out quite a bit. still a bit coarse, but definitely more pleasant and approachable
  • ex-sommelier commented:

    4/1/20, 1:06 PM - Typically strong tannins and acid indicate a lot of room for improvement, they will soften/integrate over time and reveal other nuances.

White
2018 Goodfellow Family Cellars Riesling Whistling Ridge Vineyard Ribbon Ridge
Pale straw, nose of green apple skin and subtle citrus, green tea and something yeasty (not unusual for a young Riesling). Very delicate on the nose, and fresh and tart on the palate with wet rocks, lime, and honey as it breathes and warms up. Reticent, but one of the more energetic domestic dry Rieslings I've had. Really great for the price. Hope this keeps getting made as I'll buy again.
  • ex-sommelier commented:

    11/13/19, 8:37 AM - Oh I think this will age for another 10+ years no problem. It's still extremely young. But yes it does have a lot to offer right now. I'm going to try to wait a few years for the next.

Red
2012 Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco Nebbiolo
10/25/2019 - Larre wrote:
89 points
A bit disappointing. Fresh appearance, but a bit thin on the fruit components. Lacking depth and complexity. Expected more – odd bottle? 89?
  • ex-sommelier commented:

    10/27/19, 4:22 PM - My guess is it's a bit shut down, it's an awkward middle age for nebbiolo, if you have more, wait a couple years.

White - Sweet/Dessert
2015 Domaine Huet Vouvray Moelleux 1ère Trie Le Mont Chenin Blanc
8/7/2019 - englishman's claret wrote:
93 points
I expected to like this much more than I did and perhaps it was simply shut down, an odd bottle, or me on the particular day - but I found this a good but not compelling Le Mont 1ere. Given what's written about it and my general experience with Le Mont 1eres, I'd be surprised not to love this. It's very good - deep honeyed apricot - but usually Le Mont 1ere has plenty of depth and grandeur.
  • ex-sommelier commented:

    8/7/19, 6:26 PM - 15 is potentially quite a ripe year. Do they usually show better young, or do you feel this will improve with age?

Red
2011 Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco Riserva Rabajà Nebbiolo
7/18/2019 - BillBell73 wrote:
Comes off a bit subdued and underripe. Hopefully just in a closed phase...I only had one glass to be fair and wasn’t able to track it over the course of an evening.
  • ex-sommelier commented:

    7/18/19, 9:14 PM - I just had an 08 and it felt like it was just starting to get there, so I'd wager a few more years would do it.

Red
2016 Bedrock Wine Co. Heritage Wine Evangelho Vineyard Contra Costa County Zinfandel Blend, Zinfandel
7/4/2019 - JERB Likes this wine:
91 points
Bedrock Evangelho - 2015 & 2016: Decanted for 3+ hours.

The nose on this wine was darker than the 2015. It gave more blueberry/blackberry and plum than did the 2015. It also smelled less "perfumy" than the 2015 - more robust.

The taste mirrored the nose in those darker fruits. To my sense, it had decidedly more depth of flavors than the 2015 and a longer finish. I would suspect this wine will continue to evolve and improve over the next 3 to 5 years. I did not get as much of that sense from the 2015.

We (10 of us) tasted this 2016 Evangelho alongside the 2015 Evangelho from Bedrock. It was a very interesting experiment! 3 preferred the 2015; 6 preferred the 2016; 1 felt they were equal. I was among the 7 who preferred the 2016 - I felt it had more depth of flavors than the 2015. The fascinating aspect of this experiment was the fact that the only variable in the two wines was the vintage. We figured that essentially meant that the primary variable was the weather during the growing year. We assumed that there was not a marked change in the way the two years were vinified. Fun tasting experiment!

It is a privilege to be able to drink wine from grapes planted 100+ years ago! I am grateful for the emphasis that Morgan and Chris and the Bedrock team place on preserving this "heritage" vineyards!
  • ex-sommelier commented:

    7/5/19, 11:51 AM - Not just weather/vintage, but age! That extra year of age is another variable to consider.

Red
2012 Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco Nebbiolo
5/10/2019 - Bakka Likes this wine:
91 points
Beg to disagree with prior review. Found this to be accessible without decanting. Floral nose, roses and violets. Good fruit with integrating tannins. Some secondary notes appearing. All together very enjoyable. Not expecting the 2012 to get much better than this. Careful cellaring a 3-5 more years should be fine though.
  • ex-sommelier commented:

    5/10/19, 12:56 PM - Decanting a young Nebbiolo can cause it to shut down, while PNP can give a false sense of it being 'ready' and done developing. I find with this wine the tannins really come out with air and it will keep maturing for a good long while. Given the bottle I tried in 2018, I would wait a few years before going back to this one.

Red
2010 Château Cantemerle Haut-Médoc Red Bordeaux Blend
4/21/2019 - ex-sommelier wrote:
Decanted 4 hrs, definitely got fuller in texture with the air. Red currant, smoke, violets with great structure, but a bit simple. With it's elegance and acidity I'm confident it will last a long time, and the complexity will come with age. A good, typical Haut-Medoc style, thought at the current price I thought a bit steep.
  • ex-sommelier commented:

    4/22/19, 8:32 AM - Hi jenmermaidia, under 50 sounds more in line with the release price, and a great deal. I paid over sixty when I grabbed this bottle on saturday.

Red
2016 Bedrock Wine Co. Zinfandel Esola Vineyard Amador County
2/28/2019 - Rktekt3 wrote:
85 points
Are we certain this is primarily Zinfandel?
  • ex-sommelier commented:

    2/28/19, 8:45 PM - As far as I can tell it's entirely Zinfandel as they don't describe it as a field blend as they do their other heritage wines. I believe legally it must be 85% or more to be labeled as a mono-varietal in California. Definitely very very different from any other Zin

Red
2016 Bedrock Wine Co. The Bedrock Heritage Sonoma Valley Zinfandel Blend, Zinfandel
Sad that I never noted this wine until now, 10 days after consumption. This is a wonderful wine (90+) of such elegance and breadth as to encourage comparisons with fine mid-weight Burgundies. It was lifted and complex and the Zin at the core of it was weightless and perfectly ripe.

Sadder still that a clerk at a solid wine shop had recommended this to me as I added to couple bottles to those I'd selected myself. I now see that it was priced at $24 (750ml). Based on how good it was, I searched again for it and have concluded that the retailer had likely flipped the "4" and the "2", handing me an unintended bargain!
  • ex-sommelier commented:

    11/12/18, 8:10 AM - I'm in LA and I know the store you're talking about! I got two bottles for that price a month or more ago. And now that's the WS #10 wine...ha!

Red
2011 Elena Fucci Aglianico del Vulture Titolo
9/8/2018 - wayfarer Likes this wine:
90 points
Dark red, black cherry, bit of aged red fruit, earth, vanilla in both nose and palate. Balanced, light sweetness in the fruit, moderate tannin showing up in finish, full body. Kept expecting it to evolve a bit but never did--that said quite enjoyable with brined/grilled pork chops from start to finish.
  • ex-sommelier commented:

    9/9/18, 10:29 AM - Yea these seem to age glacially. I had an '05 last year and it was showing only the slightest hint of development

Red
2016 Produttori del Barbaresco Langhe Nebbiolo Langhe DOC
8/12/2018 - ex-sommelier wrote:
I'm a bit split by this bottle right now. Aroma is very forward, with strong notes of red cherry and cherry pit and cinnamon. The palate is quite robust with very rough grained tannin, making me think this needs a few years to settle down. I love Produttori's Barbaresco's and Riservas, but a Langhe nebbiolo really shouldn't need to age. I was also surprised to detect oak in the profile. It showed better with a protein heavy meal, but really quite bound up right now.
  • ex-sommelier commented:

    8/13/18, 8:43 AM - Yea I've heard the Vacca interviews, I just don't think one should make a Langhe Nebbiolo that needs to age, I already buy the Barbaresco for not much more money and just lay those down for 8-10 years. This was perfectly good quality for 19$, but my expectations for a LN is to be ready to drink on release.

  • ex-sommelier commented:

    8/14/18, 11:13 AM - That's a terrific price, I can't find it for less than 19.95 here in SoCal, and since with coupons I can get the Barbaresco from Total wine for ~24 (lord knows that probably won't last), I usually just stock up on that, I find it light years better. I just need to find a cellar defender nebbiolo that doesn't need time!

  • ex-sommelier commented:

    8/15/18, 10:06 AM - Ughh, I've noticed, K&L has the 2015 on prearrival for something like 38 bucks, I'm just keeping my eye on my local total wine and hoping they get the next vintage in without noticing the price!!!

Red
2014 Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco Nebbiolo
8/8/2018 - Torchy wrote:
92 points
Read somewhere that this should be available for consumption already now, so I had to try an early bottle. Other vintages have been austere when drunk young. This vintage is absolutely approachable now. Complex nose with tobacco, cherry, marzipan and hints of raw potato and prunes. The palate has a lot of the same with the addition of some «heavy» fruits. Tight structure and good length. Ate it to salami pizza.
  • ex-sommelier commented:

    8/8/18, 1:12 PM - This was released september 2017, the 2015 is available to order now, but I think it's mostly pre-arrival.

Red
2015 Rivers-Marie Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
Hadn't actually opened one of these, so I decided to crack one young and see if I'll keep buying. Great fresh acidity, nice textured and enveloping tannin. Complex array of fruits from strawberries to blackberries with some green walnut and smoke rounding it out. The nose shut down a bit after opening and regained only a little ground with decant. so I'm guessing this will be a 6-8 year wine for my taste.
  • ex-sommelier commented:

    7/16/18, 7:17 PM - I will, the Napa Valley one at least (the single-vineyard bottles are out of our budget). Although my family and I aren't big Cab drinkers, and we tend to like more red-fruit in our wines (hard to find in Napa recently), nevertheless I thought it was a very well composed bottle and even though it was pretty young, its trajectory was clear.

Red
2014 Bedrock Wine Co. Syrah Weill a Way Vineyard Sonoma Valley
online price up to $159.00, cost on mailing list was $55.00. need to wait a few years before drinking
  • ex-sommelier commented:

    5/18/18, 3:15 PM - That listing at 159 is a single bottle listed as 2014 exposition one for some odd reason, which would appear to be inaccurate. But yea the one I tried definitely was way too young.

Red
2009 Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco Nebbiolo
4/23/2018 - WineAggregate Likes this wine:
90 points
Nice, as always, but perhaps a bit thin, metallic, and even a bit of sulfur that had to blow off. Great flavor, delicate floral and leather, iron and mineral, but needed a bit more concentration and richness.
  • ex-sommelier commented:

    5/2/18, 6:11 PM - I rarely think of this wine as ever being either concentrated or rich. Doesn't seem to be its MO

Red
2012 Elena Fucci Aglianico del Vulture Titolo
2/21/2018 - GlenviewGSW wrote:
88 points
I don’t know here. Definitely needs more time as I was met with a wall of tannins that overwhelmed the wine. Good nose and dark red in the glass and feels like to has the stuffing to be a solid wine and meet the ratings but the tannin structure requires time. Open next bottle in 2years.
  • ex-sommelier commented:

    2/21/18, 10:27 AM - Recommend 10years, good Aglianico has a bordeaux-like aging curve. I had an 05 recently that was just getting there.

Red
2014 Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco Nebbiolo
1/16/2018 - Breaktheory Likes this wine:
88 points
I think I’m giving up on buying young barbaresco and barolos - not a bad wine but clearly needs another 5 years before beginning to show potential - leather plum menthol licorice and dark berries but all overwhelmed by tannins that need a few years to integrate - it opened up after about 3 hours to something more flavorful but not something I would buy again - I think a Nebbiolo younger than 10 years is just something I won’t be buying again
  • ex-sommelier commented:

    1/16/18, 9:27 AM - Hard to find reasonably priced aged nebbiolo out there, honestly its one of the reasons I started collecting wine, just so eventually I'd have a good stock of stuff like this

Red
2015 Goodfellow Family Cellars Pinot Noir Willamette Valley
10/18/2017 - ex-sommelier wrote:
Very solid Pinot, great price for it too. Shows everything I want from both a Pinot and an OR one at that: medium Burgundy color, earthy nose with candied black cherry, wild strawberries, herbs, and dried flowers, and a lively fresh palate with med+acid and overall just great tension. Got a bit of funk on it too. Very good for an entry level WV pinot, I will get more.
  • ex-sommelier commented:

    10/25/17, 4:14 PM - Good to know! I need to try more of their wines, since only the WV Chard and Pinot have made it through my hands so far.

Red
2010 Capanna Brunello di Montalcino Sangiovese
10/3/2017 - MyWine2009 wrote:
88 points
Now I understand BdM better. DRY! Very tannic. Unripe fruit. Better with food. Would be interesting to taste high-end producer, then perhaps give it another go. If you love dry reds, this is a nice choice. The wine seems well-crafted. I would probably choose this over a Cali Cab for a pasta pairing or something that required a tannic, structured dry red. I must admit I'm very limited on Italian varietals.
  • ex-sommelier commented:

    10/3/17, 7:35 PM - 2010 is a notoriously structured vintage, and Capanna at only 7yrs old is going to be undrinkable right out of the gate, I would never open a 2010 Brunello from a respectable producer so young, and if I did, 6hr decant...shame you thought so little of such a great wine. The higher end producers of Brunello will likely require the same treatment.

Red
2012 Elena Fucci Aglianico del Vulture Titolo
Opera Wine 2017 - 100 Great Producers (Verona, Italy): { OperaWine2017, Verona } Fresh and full-bodied, this shows a good balance of a modern touch while maintaining the character of the grape (100% Aglianico) and the place (Vulture). I was just here a few months ago, satisfying a decades old curiosity; the region's more diverse than it looks, and the soil is indeed unique and conducive to this variety. This has a fair amount going on, and it's obvious by how often it's changing in my glass that this has more to say. In other words, give this 2-3 hours of air in decanter if serving anytime soon, or better, wait another 2-3 years for the (barrique) wood to have a better integration. recommended

https://www.ItalianWine.blog
  • ex-sommelier commented:

    7/5/17, 2:32 PM - One of my favorites, last one I had was an 05 and still felt relatively young

Red
2013 Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco Nebbiolo
6/21/2017 - rmalloy Likes this wine:
86 points
I have drunk this wine twice in restaurants and have been taken aback by the lightness of the body and the balsamic acidity that reminds me of traditional Rioja. This wine has a soft, pretty nose of roses, pipe tobacco, and tart cherries. Not a hint of the "tar" in the "tar and roses" combo. And restaurants are right to put it on their wines by the glass menus; it is ready to drink now and definitely a food wine. But I don't score wines based on reputations. This is too tart for my tastes.
  • ex-sommelier commented:

    7/4/17, 2:33 PM - Allowing a wine like this to age, even 5 or so more years would soften the tartness and give it some complexity, though the tar might not come in this wine (I smell it more often in Barolo). Regardless, the only reason this was on a restaurant wine list is 2013 was likely cheaper than other vintages and thus suitable for BTG.

Red
2010 Feudi di San Gregorio Taurasi Piano di Montevergine Taurasi DOCG Aglianico
6/27/2017 - SMHalps wrote:
89 points
Popped 'n poured at a restaurant. My 3rd bottle and the least impressive of the 3. I'm just not seeing WA's 95 point score. The Fattoria Galardi Terra di Lavoro , that I had alongside this, blew it away. That all being said, it did improve with extended breathing time. So maybe another bottle in 6 months or so, and next time, give it either a splash decant, or open it up hours before serving.
  • ex-sommelier commented:

    6/28/17, 10:32 AM - Yea I would guess this bottle would perform very poorly in a restaurant setting without extended bottle age.

Red
2010 G.D. Vajra Barolo Albe Nebbiolo
6/17/2017 - spicy1 Likes this wine:
87 points
I have read about the "Barolo wars" and this, I think, is a perfect example of the winners of that war. Reduced maceration and reduced time in the oak has softened the tannins almost to the point of elimination. Gobs of soft, sweet red fruit but I can't find anything else. This is the opposite of Terroir. If I drank this blind I couldn't come close to the grape or even Country. But looking at over 100 reviews the CT reviewers almost universally loved it.
  • ex-sommelier commented:

    6/17/17, 10:33 AM - It seems like no matter the wine there are a horde of people who equate tannin with 'bad' so any wine with soft or non-existent tannin must be good.

Red
2002 Arcadian Pinot Noir Francesca's Cuvée Santa Lucia Highlands
4/4/2017 - GoBlue2002 Likes this wine:
89 points
My first Arcadian. Recently purchased during BD VIII. This had a cork which just did not smell right. The wine also opened up a bit off but seemed to improve with time. I don't think it's corked, but it just seemed a bit old and musty.
Firm acidity and fairly full bodied for a pinot -- interesting.
Old world in style, and not enough fruit for our palate. Well went with food though - easy drinking.
An interesting wine, but I didn't find it worth the price of admission. Hopefully the 2008 is more to my liking.
  • ex-sommelier commented:

    4/4/17, 6:22 PM - I have this (same source) but haven't tried either pinot. The Max Syrah (2004?) was pretty darn good and drinking really well, hopefully that's more to your liking.

White - Fortified
1934 Bodegas Toro Albala Don PX Convento L. Opimio Montilla-Moriles Pedro Ximénez
8/23/2016 - wgmccallum Likes this wine:
94 points
Same bottle as my previous tasting note. Opaque brown. Coffee, chocolate, figs on the nose. Fig tart on the palate, sweet and dense but not cloying, a lightening of acid, long reverberating finish. Still lovely, maybe not quite what it was when opened two months ago. 50 + 18 + 17 + 9.
  • ex-sommelier commented:

    2/12/17, 12:22 PM - The shelf life once open is my biggest concern about when to open this bottle. Did you notice it continuing to fade quickly?

Red
2012 Isole e Olena Chianti Classico Chianti Classico DOCG Sangiovese Blend, Sangiovese
4/17/2015 - ex-sommelier wrote:
A plush, aromatic Chianti. I would say, un-critically, that it reminds me of cheaper Chiantis of ages past. Some searching revealed it is blended with Cannaiolo, which I imagine is the source of those softer, plumier qualities. Warm, ripe fruit, soft but persistent tannin, balanced acid. Some oak influence.

I still prefer the pure (or close to pure) sangiovese tuscan wines, but this is still a very decent wine for the price point. Short to mid-term drinking.
  • ex-sommelier commented:

    2/3/17, 9:46 AM - Ah, now a side by side comparison of Sangiovese blends would be revealing

Red
2013 Bedrock Wine Co. Syrah Exposition Three Weill Vineyard Sonoma Valley
12/14/2016 - mtolerico Likes this wine:
96 points
Second bottle of this amazing wine, the Viognier is extremely noticeable, but that's not a bad thing, it's extracted, pure, and brings a lot of complexity to the table. Beef, cherry, lychee, blackberry, dirt, great texture with fine gritty tannins and a shot of gin in the finish. The latter should get better with age. Truly a great wine and I wish I had more!
  • ex-sommelier commented:

    12/14/16, 9:38 PM - I am kicking myself for not getting family members on their list and ordering a three pack each!

Red
2005 Giacomo Conterno Barolo Cascina Francia Nebbiolo
11/22/2016 - m_arcon wrote:
93 points
Meiningers Finest 100: International Wine Summit (Saalbau, Neustadt an der Weinstraße): I had this vintage of Francia some years ago and I wasn't satisfied with the wine. Now it slowly opens up, showing more fresh fruit aromas, tar and some floral notes. Lively acidity, nice fruit and polished tannins on the palate. Give it one more decade and this Francia will turn into a real beauty.
  • ex-sommelier commented:

    12/1/16, 10:46 AM - Based on some recent reviews, it seems like this one is just now coming out of its dormant phase. I'm optimistic!

Red
2013 Bedrock Wine Co. Syrah Exposition Two Weill Vineyard Sonoma Valley
Opened last night, enjoyed most of it. A little less open tonight. This wine is a behemoth. A little lighter in color than I expected. A grand aroma of a dark fruits, meat and herbs. Very earthy and old world in nature. Young and bright. It's very viscous on the palate almost like there is fruit pulp in the bottle. I want to say that it reminds me of a very young Chapoutier single vineyard hermitage. The density is remarkable and the acids carry the awesome dark berry and wood smoked grilled rare meat flavors on a long finish that lasts almost a minute. Not your typical Bedrock Syrah. I realize it's an experiment in "vinology". But I wish Morgan would continue producing this unique bottling as I find it extremely pleasurable. Selfish as that may sound.
  • ex-sommelier commented:

    10/29/16, 9:57 PM - Alas I believe syrah decline hit the Vineyard they said. Maybe they'll find another source to try this again

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