Comments on my notes

(50 comments on 48 notes)

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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 Sélection Brut Premier Cru 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 - bbell73271 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

Red
2013 Elena Fucci Aglianico del Vulture Titolo
7/26/2016 - Giggs wrote:
Good, but mindbendingly young and tannic. Drink 2602-2641
  • ex-sommelier commented:

    7/27/16, 9:56 PM - I've had this experience with middle-aged Mastroberardino Aglianico, you start to wonder if it will ever open up or soften. Hopefully these will!

Red
2010 Fattoria del Pino Brunello di Montalcino Sangiovese
7/16/2016 - RyanJames Likes this wine:
93 points
Garagiste is the most well written, articulate, and quality newsletter-based purveyor of wine in the US. I'm convinced. However, and no offense, JR, there are some major misses. I don't know if it's a P/L issue (offload mediocre stuff by telling good stories - hey can't blame him, I've worked on Wall St. and that's all we do...). I'm somewhere around a 80% hit rate with them, and this bottle of Brunello reinforces my belief that he has an eye (and nose and palate) for some great juice. This wine was singing. Elegance, finesse, balance, sneaky power, complexity, this has it all. Short of a great Cerbaiona, Soldera or Poggio Di Sotto (the undisputed greats IMO), this was very well done. Thanks JR, keep ones like this coming.
  • ex-sommelier commented:

    7/16/16, 6:41 PM - Oh good, my hit rate with him as been closer to 50% overall, and nearly 0 for the <20$ items. I am glad to hear this turned out well.

Red
2007 Paolo Bea Sagrantino di Montefalco Secco Pagliaro
4/28/2016 - SMHalps Likes this wine:
94 points
I have been dying to try this wine, ever since reading about in an article about Umbria in Saveur magazine. I was hoping this wasn't too young to try. On its own, without food, its a tannic nightmare, sucking all the saliva from your mouth. But with food, and I had this at a small (I counted only 17 seats) local Italian place and ordered a ribbon pasta alla bolognese, it was beautiful. A very long finish. It was almost California Zin-like (Martinelli Jackass?) in the nose, but it tastes nothing like a Zin.
  • ex-sommelier commented:

    4/29/16, 11:10 AM - If you can find an 06 pagliaro, that is much more accessible at 10yr old, otherwise the bea wines need soo much time in the cellar and decanter

Red
2014 G.D. Vajra Langhe Nebbiolo Claret J.C. Langhe DOC
3/24/2016 - Davetroup Likes this wine:
88 points
Pale violet hue and a somewhat hot nose. The flavor is pretty classic Nebbiolo but I was very surprised when I took my first sip and found the wine was slightly but unmistakably carbonated. Not sure if the bottle was corked or refermented in the bottle but this is not generally a desirable characteristic.

I did still enjoy the wine, surprisingly, and so I'm going to rate it rather than just marking it corked, but I will report again when I open another bottle if the experience is different. I imagine that without the added carbon dioxide this might rate more highly.
  • ex-sommelier commented:

    3/24/16, 11:00 PM - This wine is an experiment in the semi-frizzante style of nebbiolo popular pre-20th century so it is supposed to be lightly carbonated. I do remember reading it also was made lightly sweet back then too, but that GD Vajra had opted to make a dry fizzy version.

Red
2014 Ochota Barrels the green room McLaren Vale Grenache Blend, Grenache
11/3/2014 - Milliontown wrote:
65 points
When you hold the bottle up to the light, it looks very pale and rosé like. That's what made me buy it, thinking it would be a less extracted style. Turns out the glass is clear, which is unusual. The colour is actually deep and only a little transparent.
The wine itself has an overly sweet aroma. There's a hint of moscato fruit and something like passionfruit soda on the nose. Carbonic? Hmm. Well I'd like to know, but the producer's website doesn't tell me anything about the wines. But if you're curious to know what sort of Volkswagen they drove on a surf trip to California, the website will be very useful for you.

On the palate, oh boy... What a mess. Very sharp acidity with a candyish sweet core and a short, extremely bitter finish. The website says "a labyrinth of flavour, texture and emotion" - what a load of pretentious rubbish.
Extremely overrated and over-priced wine. I actually returned it and got my money back. And I was looking forward to this. A major dissapointment.
  • ex-sommelier commented:

    1/20/16, 10:20 PM - The bottle I have says Whole cluster, so I imagine it did have some carbonic notes. I'm a little confused how you had tasted a bottle from the 2014 vintage in 2014?

Red
2009 Albatreti Brunello di Montalcino Sangiovese
12/16/2015 - joraesque wrote:
88 points
Medium-bodied, with medium tannins. The cork showed seepage half-through. Was great as a pop-and-pour, and best consumed within the first 30 minutes, after which it starts getting a bit funky (wet cardboard) and bitter (almost as if it were corked). Would pair nicely with a sausage pizza. 14.5% ABV.
87-88
  • ex-sommelier commented:

    1/17/16, 11:28 PM - 'Almost as if it were corked?' It sounds like it was corked...

Red
N.V. Sean Thackrey Pleiades XXIII Old Vines California Red Blend
2/10/2015 - Not647f wrote:
Drank this a while ago and just posting my notes now. Although one could detect aspects of different grapes, pinot, viognier, and sangiovese predominantly, the wine was a bit flat and simple. There was pinot and viognier in the nose, esp, with strong florality, and crunchy acids from sangio on the palate. The finish was short, and the different grapes seemed to cancel each other out, lending to a simple, grapey taste. I've bought this wine in each of the last few vintages, as I think it's an interesting experiment in "kitchen sink" wine. Since he doesn't bottle all these varieties separately, he's not just using leftovers but purchasing grapes for the blend. But this one fell short of the others. We'll see what happens with XXIV.
  • ex-sommelier commented:

    6/17/15, 12:20 AM - Agreed, XXIV is a wonderful step forward, much more distinctive.

Red
2013 Ridge Zinfandel Hooker Creek Dry Creek Valley
3/6/2015 - Mike Dildine Likes this wine:
92 points
14.7% abv. The label doesn't specify, but it's probably sourced from the Sonoma Valley's great historic Bedrock vineyard. The aromatics are somewhat muted at this point. The palate, however shows intensely focused blue-black fruit. Very deep and long. The track record for both the vineyard and the producer suggest that this will age well. A fascinating wine for me, glad I have a few more stashed away.
  • ex-sommelier commented:

    5/28/15, 7:46 PM - Bought some of these at the winery, they said they got this fruit from Bedrock.

Red
2006 Paolo Bea Sagrantino di Montefalco Secco Pagliaro
11/8/2014 - ex-sommelier Likes this wine:
95 points
Opened at cellar temp, poured down to the shoulder and sampled a couple times over 6 hours. Volatile on opening, but harmonized after a couple hours, and was beautiful with a charred bistecca, collards, and white beans.

Deep purple core with ruby reflection. Lighter than expected, not quite inky.
The nose is intensely balsamic, with aromas of hedgerow, bay laurel, dark stewed fruit and dried berries. As it opened more delicate herbal and graphite notes emerged.

With air, the tannins softened their grip but maintained a powerful structure. With the steak it took on some qualities of a fine bordeaux with graphite and cedarwood and left me breathless.
I am unsure if I detected the Brett elements that previous reviewers had, and did not care, or if their bottles were flawed. I detected a savory barnyard quality but the wine was balanced and well-tuned.

Given how many different facets emerged from this bottle over time, I would say another 3 years would be great, but if you give this wine some time and air it will be great today. Exceptional personality and complexity.
  • ex-sommelier commented:

    11/9/14, 6:45 PM - Agreed for the 07's for sure, not touching those or the Cerrete for a while.

    This 06 lost any hint of funk on day two and became much riper, with increased bitter chocolate and tobacco notes, full fruity mid-palate, and super velvety tannin.

Red
2005 Giacomo Conterno Barolo Cascina Francia Nebbiolo
4/24/2014 - Jack O'Brien wrote:
You can count me out on this wine… Boring, over-priced and one of the least exciting wines from Barolo, given its prestige. Taste anyone on this blind and they won't think it is so great, which is exactly what was done here with some of the industry's best a brightest somms, all of whom were left disappointed including me. The money wasted on this hype-bomb can buy you double the wines and double the effort from lesser known producers.
  • ex-sommelier commented:

    7/20/14, 11:49 AM - Most reviewers seem to think it is still quite closed down and young at this stage given that it is a classically styled barolo. Do you think its youth contributed to the general impression?

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