Tasting Notes for ex-sommelier

(484 notes on 415 wines)

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Red
11/22/2021 - ex-sommelier wrote:
This is a nicely structured Pinot, with a fairly simple profile to it that never quite moved beyond plain old red cherry. Delicate, and very well composed, I found myself being torn between its textural qualities/balance, and it's relatively simple red cherry fruit. Nothing wrong with this on the whole, but I did find myself expecting more complexity.
Red
11/18/2021 - ex-sommelier wrote:
This is a very savory and structured vintage. Green and brooding, the fruit tones are only just poking through this bottle, shows black pepper with air. I've had mixed experiences with this vintage, but if I had more I would keep for another couple years.
3 people found this helpful Comment
Red
11/11/2021 - ex-sommelier wrote:
This one still hasn't quite come together for me. Needed a ton of air, but even with lots of that it was never quite in great form. At its best point it showed cool climate notes of black pepper, violets, and just a touch of blackberry fruit. A lot of the right elements were there, just off balance with heat and bitterness on the finish. Tasted over two nights.
Rosé - Sparkling
Nothing not to like here, other notes put it well. Nice pale color, bright wild strawberry and peach notes, mineral, delicate and quite clean. As with the premiere cru brut, it has that lactic quality that looks strange in a tasting note but is quite appetizing (Greek yogurt?). I'm glad I pulled this instead of a red for a simple wagyu dish (rice, ginger, ponzu, sesame, vegetables).
2 people found this helpful Comment
White
Not my style. Some nice fruit and minerality underneath the somewhat overpowering oak spice and caramel apple tones. Gave it an oxidative feel (not flawed) that felt stale.
Red
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.
3 people found this helpful Comments (2)
Red
Lots of good stuff happening here. Distinctive red fruit, very floral, some tar and spice. Structure is tight over two days with some oak notes hemming it in. Fruit is dense and a bit muddied now, but given how nicely the '14 was drinking recently, and how balanced this is, I don't think it'll need more than a couple years to really shine. Good value and still my favorite CA Nebbiolo.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
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.
2 people found this helpful Comments (2)
Red
A bit rustic after a short decant, but on day two this had polished up, with red meat, dark fruit, iodine, tobacco, and black licorice notes. Beautiful personality, great with air and food, will likely hold for many years. This being Aglianico, I wouldn't wait for it to 'mellow' out (it won't), but enjoy it's rugged charm now with a hearty ragu, something with eggplant maybe.
4 people found this helpful Comments (1)
Red
10/7/2021 - ex-sommelier wrote:
Not a bad bottle, but not great. Fleshy fruit and oomph has faded, and the wine shows quite a bit of heat. Some peppery red fruit, and good freshness. I honestly can't tell if it wasn't meant to age or if it needs more time. Could be in a dumb phase. Followed over two days
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
10/4/2021 - ex-sommelier wrote:
A very solid classic profile of dense, red plummy fruit, rustic tannin, black licorice, and muddled cherry. Not showing much age over two nights. Good with food right now, more development ahead. A bit rustic around the edges. For the price I paid I'm very happy
Red
This is a fine place and ready to enjoy. A pleasant, modern style Brunello with creamy red berry fruit, spiced plum, brown sugar. A bit soft, though with air some tannin emerges. While it doesn't have the dried out fruit that a riserva would have, the oak is obvious with some caramelized fruit tones. I think this will hold for longer but unsure what it would bring.
Red
9/28/2021 - ex-sommelier wrote:
fresh red fruit, nice herbal finish, warm potting soil. Probably not a rebuy. I like the more casual style of Cab blend, but it can be had from a cru bourgeois for less.
Red
Pretty robust, with a gripping assortment of tart red currants, black cherry candy, black licorice, and smoke. Great mix of earth and fruit, but quite structured right now. Feels like this needs to age a few years at this point. As always, a Langhe Nebbiolo that is aiming for something more.
2 people found this helpful Comment
Red
This bottle was quite shut down compared to a year and half ago, more of an intellectual exercise than tasty, but the future is bright. First 30 minutes had a very pleasant rosewater and red cherry perfume but it went down hard. Herbal, mineral, super tart and grippy. I am looking forward to trying these in ~5 years or so. Powerful structure and brimming with energy.
EDIT: I should note that I followed over two days, without decanting. Nose opened somewhat but palate did not.
18 people found this helpful Comment
Red
Juicy and tangy Pinot, tons of sappy red fruit, black pepper. Tastes pretty fresh, not much tannin, but a very forward, structured Pinot at the present. Needs a few years to settle down as it's quite flamboyant today.
6 people found this helpful Comment
Red
2019 Bedrock Wine Co. Heritage Wine Evangelho Vineyard Contra Costa County Zinfandel Blend, Zinfandel (view label images)
Good vintage for Evangelho, quite a lot in there. Starts with dense fruit leather, a nice nose of bright blood orange and red plums, with a lovely savory, cacao powder undertone. Opened into some tarter fruit and fine grain tannin, feeling much more of the mataro element I think, which means this vintage may need more age than usual. Always a fan.
4 people found this helpful Comment
Red
2019 Bedrock Wine Co. Old Hill Ranch Heritage Sonoma Valley Zinfandel Blend, Zinfandel (view label images)
7/28/2021 - ex-sommelier wrote:
Dense and structured, with a nose of smoky, leathery fruit. Very little change over two days. I'm not sure why the 19 was mentioned as a more accessible vintage of Old Hill, its far too young. The base material is clearly awesome, and while this was my only 19 I can't wait to see how the 18s develop.
2 people found this helpful Comment
Red
Followed over a few hours, opened to a dark, smoky profile, with tart pluot and currant notes framed by vanilla and leather. Well judged acidity and unimposing tannin. This has definitely turned inward compared to when I tasted on release, and has traded the rich texture and fresher red fruit for more herbal, woody notes and darker fruit. More structure, less texture, definitely to wait on other bottles.
2 people found this helpful Comment
Red
Vibrant nose of blackberries and cherry fruit, quite dark but lifted, with amaro, incense (cedar?), and a cool tone herbal quality. Light body, but lots of energy; spicy and savory with a candied finish. While very young, it's not closed off and quite fun to drink. Long life ahead.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
After a short decant this was really punching out with strawberry and lingonberry, followed by nice medicinal undertones, and the whole rosebush, bramble and flower. Snappy to taste, really pretty and punchy at the same time. Wonderful. Like a Barbaresco in weight and energy but quite distinct.
Red
6/26/2021 - ex-sommelier wrote:
Deep color but with some clarity to it. Violets, pepper, and blue and black fruits on the nose. Nice mid weight texture with a clean linear structure. Palate was tasty, if simple, plum and cherry, a bit grapey. Felt like a few more years would unlock another layer here. A good contrast to the Bedrock/Pagani/Dolinsek crowd. Similar notes over two nights.
Red
6/21/2021 - ex-sommelier wrote:
Pleasant enough red fruit and soft texture right on the opening. A bit of cola sweetness on the tongue leads to a crisp, somewhat mineral finish. A bit too much confectionary on this tonight. My last bottle and probably for the best.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
Broad and dense Barbaresco, hitting the bass notes and delivering a surprisingly plush array of dark berry fruit with silky texture. Minimal decant, poured a rich maroon. Opened with notes of saucisson, fennel, smoke, and violets. There's elegance in the brawn, and quite accessible right now. No sign of this slowing down through the end of the decade, the structure is still there underneath.

Day 2 was bit more 'complete', with a seamless texture and a new note of smokey black tea. To my taste this is at peak but won't go anywhere fast.
2 people found this helpful Comment
Red
Clammed up within the first 30 mins but a couple hours in the decanter brought out a weight and texture that was lacking in my last bottle two years ago, as well as a much more giving aroma. This has a ways to go but has started to shed the lean, nervous energy of youth and started to put on weight.

Elegant red apple skin and bright baked cherry notes, with plenty of savory brown spices, herbs, and menthol. The development over the course of the night confirmed a long future for this one.
Red
This was a clean and very pretty effort for 2017. Two other 2017 Nebbiolo I've sampled have been quite roasted and muddied in the flavor profile, but this had more cut and definition. Developed nicely over two days. Ready to drink for my taste, but should be worth following over the next 5+ years.
2 people found this helpful Comment
White
This was a pleasant CA chardonnay for a very reasonable price. Stylistically middle of the road, not too lean and not too rich, with distinct white peach and apple notes and nice minerally structure. Medium body. I don't normally enjoy California Chardonnay, especially in the low $20s price point.
2 people found this helpful Comment
Red
4/24/2021 - ex-sommelier wrote:
Muddied notes of roasted strawberries dominated this wine, needed air but never found much clarity or depth.
White - Sparkling
3/18/2021 - ex-sommelier wrote:
Smooth, notes of apple and caramel, biscuit and minerals. Good easy going Brut, nothing crazy just very pleasant. From a 375ml Disgd. 6/20.
White
I have gone through half a case and not left a note....I love this wine. Minerally, floral, pear, almond. Good marriage of texture, coastal perfume, and citrus. Will improve with age. Needs air still, and not too cold.
1 person found this helpful Comment
White
Nice blend of herbal and citrus notes. Texture is medium weight relative to other examples. Strong mineral component. Less green than some.
Red
3/14/2021 - ex-sommelier wrote:
Raspberry and cola, medium weight with good texture and slightly bitter finish.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
3/11/2021 - ex-sommelier wrote:
Needed a bit of air, about an hour, but showed good dark berry fruit, humus, and bay leaf. Palate was fairly soft and easygoing, plump juicy fruits and warm earth. Charming and easy Savigny les Beaune.
1 person found this helpful Comment
White
Nice composition of chalky, tart lemon meringue, apple and pear skins, and delicate spice tones. Hint of fresh cream and herbs with air, but overall quite tight, with a precise texture. This shows both complexity and delicacy, though at the expense of some mid-palate concentration. That could come with age, and this could use a few years..
Red
First pour revealed some overpowering bitter oak tones, honestly thought it was corked in some way. It did balance out a bit revealing soft red fruits and mellow structure, but oak remained aggressively unpleasant. Not structured enough to age long.
Red
3/2/2021 - ex-sommelier wrote:
Echoing other notes, well made for the style, but the style is intensely fruity, with some good herbal and cacao notes that do keep things interesting. Too ripe and forward for me, but it may settle down with a few more years.
2 people found this helpful Comment
Red
Very complex and intriguing nose that really nails the bass notes, with charcoal and cacao, mint & blood orange, and a predictably snappy, tart palate. Better to age this but its clearly got all the right material going on. Really nice composition of spice and herbs, with the dark berry fruit waiting in the wings a bit.

Day 2 more blackberry and plum notes, bodes well for aging.
Red
2013 Bedrock Wine Co. The Bedrock Heritage Sonoma Valley Zinfandel Blend, Zinfandel (view label images)
Good final showing for this bottle. Soft red fruits, cough drop, leather, savory notes of saucisson and spice. For my palate this is fully mature.
1 person found this helpful Comment
White
Same as my last note, but with a really nice butterscotch note emerging as it warmed up. Nice mix of salinity, orchard fruit, citrus, and nuts. Lean but with excellent depth.
Red
2016 Isole e Olena Chianti Classico Chianti Classico DOCG Sangiovese Blend, Sangiovese (view label images)
Not sure if its me or the wine but this bottle is showing so much better than the one I had three months ago, a full 180 degree difference. This was supremely elegant, very pure cherry fruit, garden herbs, wild strawberry and forest floor. Delicious with at least a few years of upside. Really good balance for a base CC
2 people found this helpful Comment
Red
For the first few hours this was dominated by some barnyard funk and a hint of cherry, but a few hours in the decanter brought out cleaner notes of dark black cherry, earth, and leather with very fine texture and freshness once decanted. Day 2 it had shut down on the nose but showed very well (and very different) with food, unlocking notes of tobacco, mint, and plum.

Did best with food and lots of air, but just not terribly expressive aromatically. Day 1 it felt old and tired, but day 2 it was quite youthful seeming so I would hold this longer. Better than my last bottle a year ago that never could shake the funk off.
Red
This is pretty young and bound up, but lots of good stuff. Like most young bedrock zins, this has a very complex profile of primary fruit; boysenberry, pomegranate, pluot, melon rind even, with some good layers of coffee grounds and rhubarb showing with air. Great wine, probably best in '22, but plenty to enjoy now. I'll update with day 2.
Red
Color on this is a nice cut ruby. On the nose there's subtle red fruit, tobacco, potting soil, but framed by some thick timbered oak. Day two it has settled into spice and cedar territory with some bay leaf. Palate is quite nice, fresh red fruit and well judged tannin that promise another ~10 years. Hopefully the oak will integrate with more time.
Red
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.
2 people found this helpful Comments (2)
White
Complex and filigreed, with a very distinct and clear nose of almond skin, lemon verbena, and green herbs. Fruit is reticent on this one but the palate has a very delicate, cloudlike roundness to match the marine minerality. Air gave it more notes of almond paste, struck match. There's a lot going on in a deceptively delicate wine, but the pieces speak pretty clearly.
2 people found this helpful Comment
Red
1/3/2021 - ex-sommelier wrote:
A big unabashed Merlot, dark red and purple fruits, oak spice/clove, with a dense, structured palate. Good balance and brawny, though it may find more elegance with age. On day two it was a bit bound up by the oak, with a tomato leaf note on the nose. Definitely on the young side, give it 3 years or so.
2 people found this helpful Comment
Red
Decanted, took 2 hours to find itself, was pretty shut down before that point.
Once open for business, this was a a very full textured Syrah with an exotic array of orchard and berry fruits (peach, wild strawberry, cherry) with deep smoky undertones. Oak spice featured prominently but was part of the composition. Meaty and complex on the nose, the wine is more about the palate with its unctuous texture, spice tones, and length.

Hard to tell how exciting this wine will be in ten+ years. It has the structure for sure, but perhaps still better now and for the next few years? I won't rush on the other two, nor will I hoard them for 20 years.
3 people found this helpful Comment
Red
Second time with this wine, first since 2017. Still holding strong, red fruit, medium texture, lots of autumnal notes and spiced fruit. Not slowing down quite yet, though did not need a decant this time around.
White
Extremely good. A very mineral and citric nose, taking on layers of lemon verbena, toast, and tonic with a bit of air. On the palate this has much more weight than the 2017, with bright kiwi, mineral, and green apple flavors supported by sappy acidity.

Looking back over my notes for the 2017 earlier this year, this has many of the same notes (grapefruit, asian pear, stone) but another notch in texture/ripeness. The combination is excellent and well balanced.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
Not sure what inspired me to open such a young bottle, but it had been a few years since I had a Rafanelli Zin. Very strong showing, despite being too young. Pure and laser like red fruit, forest floor, spice. Clammed up a bit with air. Well balanced a full textured without being overdone.

In the past younger vintages showed a lot of oak that needed to integrate, this did not, it was just built like a tank. This needs a few years minimum. Stock up on this.
3 people found this helpful Comment
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