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Tasting Notes for City Squirrel

(87 notes on 78 wines)

1 - 50 of 87 Sort order
Red
7/22/2021 - City Squirrel Likes this wine:
94 points
Still needs another 4-5 years to integrate further. Decanted for 3-5 hrs.
Red
7/22/2021 - City Squirrel wrote:
93 points
Came off surprisingly sweeter than I would have expected. Enjoyed the softness on the finish, but ultimately was too fruit forward - in that 'crowd pleasing' way (which I don't expect from a $200 cab) and felt it was missing structure and other verve. Love big Cali Cabs, but for the price and label, expected this to deliver more than it did tonight.
Red
7/1/2021 - City Squirrel Likes this wine:
97 points
97+. Blind tasted against a '17 MacDonald, '16 Vine Hill Ranch (VHR), '16 Cliff Lede Poetry, '14 Abreu Las Posadas, '13 Abreu Madrona Ranch. This and the Poetry had the best bouquet, ironically similar, but the Top 3 were for the majority of 6 drinkers was the VHR, Cliff Lede BTK and the Abreu Madrona. Hard to call a WOTN, but the VHR and Cliff Lede were both top contenders.
7 people found this helpful Comments (31)
Red
7/1/2021 - City Squirrel Likes this wine:
97 points
97+. Blind tasted against a '17 MacDonald, '16 Vine Hill Ranch (VHR), '16 Cliff Lede Poetry, '14 Abreu Las Posadas, '13 Abreu Madrona Ranch. This and the Poetry had the best bouquet, ironically similar, but the Top 3 were for the majority of 6 drinkers was the VHR, Cliff Lede BTK and the Abreu Madrona. Hard to call a WOTN, but the VHR and Cliff Lede were both top contenders.
4 people found this helpful Comments (3)
Red
1/15/2021 - City Squirrel Likes this wine:
97 points
97+ tonite. I first sampled this one week ago after I coravin’d 1/2 the bottle following a disappointing experience with a ‘13 Shafer 1.5, which this obliterated. However, I wasn’t experiencing what everyone else was raving about, although it improved over the course of a few hours. Tonite - I’m there...amazing and glad I took my full allocation of ‘19s. I find that sometimes the Coravin adds an extra slow slow ox that just gives a wine that perfect decant in the bottle. Gobs of dark blue and back fruit with that savory ness and an impeccable finish. Worth the tariff...especially at release pricing. Kudos to Mike.
3 people found this helpful Comments (2)
Red
11/30/2020 - City Squirrel Likes this wine:
97 points
One of the better bottles of cab I’ve had this year - excellent and worthy of a pt or two more in several years.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
11/21/2020 - City Squirrel wrote:
Pnp 1/2 bottle over an hour. This is an oak monster...can’t recall the last time I’ve had a bottle with this much upfront oak (..and I drink mostly Napa Cabs). Certainly well made and there are gobs of dark black fruits buried beneath the oak...and you can easily sense the purity & potential this has with 5-10 yrs of further integration, but the oak is just dominating. I did enjoy the texture and mouthfeel of this wine along with its chewy tannins, but for now, stuck the cork back in the bottle and will see how this evolves over the next several days. NR.
2 people found this helpful Comments (4)
Red
9/17/2020 - City Squirrel Likes this wine:
95 points
Probably not my favorite Schrader to date and would agree with the 94-95 professional scores. Still was WOTN for many against a ‘14 Boswell, ‘09 Abrea Cappella, ‘12 Debate and ‘14 Dalla Valle. Enjoyable on pnp, but really hit its stride after about an hour with just the cork out of the bottle. Drank over three hours with the fruit fleshing out toward the end of the drinking window - some preferred the tension earlier on. Great minerality and still plenty of acidity on this wine, so it certainly hasn’t reached its peak and probably has another 2-3 years for prime time.
2 people found this helpful Comment
Red
NR given how premature this tasting was for such a youthful wine that likely needs 5+ years. Not a lot of experience with the Full Draw site, but lots of chocolate and cherries on both the nose and palate...think ‘tootsie roll’ and ‘brach’s chocolate covered cherry cordials’. As you might expect, very disjointed and not a whole lot of integration at this point. Surprisingly tart and light. Left about a 1/8 in the bottle overnight to revisit and the integration and weight was much much better. Nothing like a Paso Robles Saxum GSM at this point, but I do think this will get better over time - at least 5+ yrs if you can wait.
Red
2017 Saxum Gratias Paso Robles Red Blend (view label images)
4/27/2020 - City Squirrel Likes this wine:
93 points
Amazingly delicious for free (besides tax & shipping)! Gratias to Justin & the Saxum Crew. I personally know of no other winery who has been so gracious especially in light of stable pricing year over year.
2 people found this helpful Comments (1)
Red
2015 Quintessa Rutherford Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
4/19/2020 - City Squirrel wrote:
92 points
Pinot Noir lovers cab. Very neon purple on first pour - likely the carmenere influence. Shows lots of red fruits like stawberry purée and cranberry. Not overly complex, nor last finishing - just not memorable. Certainly well made, a bit more old world in terms of fruit, but I find the quality price ratio is just not there for me personally. YMMV.
Red
12/5/2019 - City Squirrel Likes this wine:
96 points
Drank beautifully over the course of a 4 hr holiday party. Excellent expression of LPV fruit and minerality and one of the best QPRs for LPV. Tasted against a ‘13 Bernard Magrez Dr. Crane and ‘16 Schrader RBS and thought this beat out both of those (at least for my palate) which were equally fantastic wines.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2013 Saxum James Berry Vineyard Paso Robles Willow Creek District Red Rhone Blend (view label images)
11/15/2019 - City Squirrel Likes this wine:
96 points
Amazing wine! On pnp, while good, it had some sorting out to do. By the 4 hr mark in a decanter, this was in its groove and much more balanced & flushed out. Like most Saxums, this will be amazing at the 10 yr mark. No rush - has lots of years ahead to even hit its prime. If drinking now, I would give this 2-4 hrs before approaching.
4 people found this helpful Comment
Red
11/8/2019 - City Squirrel Likes this wine:
94 points
Amazing wine. Easy to think this was old world in a blind. Excellent Pinot.
Red
11/7/2019 - City Squirrel Likes this wine:
95 points
Drinking wonderful right now on PnP. The best Becklyn yet and was WOTN for many. Just awesome bouquet and palate experience to match. Wish I had a case of this.
2 people found this helpful Comment
Red
10/30/2019 - City Squirrel Likes this wine:
93 points
No need to rush this, the acidity says it has plenty of years ahead. A little tightly wound upfront, but some forced aeration loosened it up quickly. Raspberry, cherry cola, orange peel, black tea and a little spice. Unfortunately, this is now selling on the secondary for around $70. 93+
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
7/27/2019 - City Squirrel Likes this wine:
94 points
Nicely made and balanced. Slight acidity and noticeable tannins with many years ahead. Red-fruit driven cabernet - if that's your jam. Not overly complex or note worthy finish.
Red
4/6/2019 - City Squirrel wrote:
95 points
First time with the Alpine. Very distinct spice notes as other have stated of cinnamon and cardamom, not something I would normally place with a Cali Pinot. Very good right out of the gate, but can tell this will age well. 95+
2 people found this helpful Comment
Red
2/14/2019 - City Squirrel wrote:
This wine did not want to be my Valentine this Vday...wound up tighter than a drum. Give it at least 3 yrs or a 4-5 hour decant. Holding off on rating for now.
3 people found this helpful Comment
Red
2/9/2019 - City Squirrel Likes this wine:
94 points
This is in a beautiful place right now on PnP. Lush & balanced between the acidity and dark brambly fruits....was the perfect companion to a grilled prime Ribeye and mushrooms. Even though the lunar calendar (leaf day) said “no good”, it was amazing...so can’t even imagine how well this could potentially taste on a fruit or flower day (lol). Agreed, Mike Smith did “kill it in 2015” and I also wish I bought a case of this.
3 people found this helpful Comment
Red
1/26/2019 - City Squirrel Likes this wine:
96 points
First experience with this wine. Decantor for 3 hours in a temp controlled cellar and then slow-ox’d in bottle for another hour and half. Very high quality fruit & expensive oak and extremely well made as you would expect from TRB. After a healthy decant, the wine was beautifully lush, nice finish, and impeccably balanced (nothing came across as disjointed). What surprised me the most and took center stage was just how “sweet” the fruit was (part Weitz and part youth). My wife, who doesn’t really like cabs, enjoyed this and commented immediately on its sweetness. Looking forward to seeing how this evolves over time. 96+ at this stage.
4 people found this helpful Comment
Red
1/21/2019 - City Squirrel Likes this wine:
94 points
It’s been about 16 months since my last go....moving in the right direction and it was quite enjoyable after 30 min of air time. Decent fruit and noticeable finish, although it bottomed out a little after a few hours of air. Not sure if I was a bit more influenced due to the bottle that proceeded it, which was so bad it was poured down the drain....but this is moving in a better direction. 94+
4 people found this helpful Comment
Red
11/17/2018 - City Squirrel Likes this wine:
94 points
Coravin’d a glass of this while looking for a ‘14 cab to drink assuming ‘14 would be most approachable of late. Haven’t had the Pott NV in a while, but I’ll say I was pleasantly surprised. I personally think this is drinking above a 92 pt for the price point. Dark red fruit dominate, not a ton of black fruits or long finish, but the balance, integrated tannins and smoothness / mouthfeel of this wine is on point for a NV blend. More of a finessed wine, along the lines of a Quintessa than a bold powerhouse. It’s a wine I kept wanting to come back to in the glass. Ready to go w/ a 30-45 min decant. Enjoy!
Red
10/26/2018 - City Squirrel Likes this wine:
93 points
Never disappoints for the price.
1 person found this helpful Comments (1)
Red
9/29/2018 - City Squirrel wrote:
93 points
Seems to have all the fixings, but Wow!, can't believe this is still so wound up for a 2012. Decanted for close to 5 hrs back n forth between decanter & bottle and it just started releasing closer to the 4-5 hr mark. My guess is this would be fantastic day 2 and maybe even day 4. Similar to my previous notes... no need to rush this, plenty of life ahead or decant, decant, decant!
3 people found this helpful Comments (2)
Red
9/1/2018 - City Squirrel Likes this wine:
94 points
Not your garden variety Pinot with red tart fruits and bright acidity; but much rounder and fruit forward with a touch of sweetness (more extracted). In line with Bevan style with a nice overall balance and the purity of fruit stands out and carries a lasting finish. Enjoyable on its own and nicely done within the context of its own style. Needs a 30-60 min decant.
Red
7/13/2018 - City Squirrel wrote:
93 points
First time with the Kenefick cab. Personally wasn’t my favorite out of the Quivet stable, so no regrets about passing on this in post offers, but could also be this particular vintage. Much more prominent dark red fruits than black and a bit tart (brought back childhood memories of Ludens wild cherry cough drops). Tannins are well integrated and the mouthfeel is plush and medium bodied. Nothing long or notable about the finish. Still enjoyable, but I personally prefer the LPV or NV for the price...YMMV.
White
6/7/2018 - City Squirrel Likes this wine:
95 points
Spectacular masterpiece by Benoit in taking this Toyon Farm fruit and giving it some old world style...a sheep in wolves clothing. Agree with the prior notes around flavor profile. This reminded me of a younger Corton-Charlemagne. Elegant color in the glass with a beautiful balance of weight and acidity. So good right out of the gate only to develop more complexity with some additional air time and warmer temp. This certainly doesn’t come across as buttery or oaky in the mouth, but there is a rich toffee after finish that comes on around 30 sec. after sipping it. We drink through a myriad of varietals that night and this was the WOTN. Needless to say, I ordered another 6-pack...bravo! 95+
3 people found this helpful Comments (1)
Red
5/17/2018 - City Squirrel Likes this wine:
94 points
Rate this a touch ahead of the ‘15 McGah Scarlett 94-95. Excellent QPR for NV.
Red
5/20/2018 - City Squirrel Likes this wine:
94 points
Solid 94 pts. Hard to beat for the QPR and great out of the gate.
Red
5/4/2018 - City Squirrel Likes this wine:
96 points
Most recent reviews are spot on, which encouraged me to go ahead with a Pnp. I’ll admit, I had some doubts...expecting this 14.8% alc beast to initially lash out with some heat followed by some teeth sucking tannins. My fears were completely unfounded..right out of the gate this was lush, velvety and round balanced by the gorgeous weight of the black Beckstoffer fruit. We made it a little more interesting and popped a 2015 NV Quivet next to it to see if the G3 was double the fun at double the price. While the Quivet is akin to putting a reigning junior lightweight against a top middleweight contender, in the end, I’d take one G3 vs two NVs...YMMV. The weight and quality of fruit on the G3 and lasting finish pulled ahead. Comparatively, the fruit on the NV is great, but the tannins showed more astringent / medicinal, which isn’t something I may have focused on if not side by side. Both excellent wines in their respective classes and I repeatedly love the Quivet NV for the solid QPR, but the G3 was stellar and was just amazed at how approachable this wine is right now. No need to wait folks - G3 is a knock out! 96+
2 people found this helpful Comment
Red
3/30/2018 - City Squirrel Likes this wine:
95 points
Excellent QPR and still drinking extremely well with several yrs of life ahead. No harsh edges, well rounded and a pleasure to drink. Will be looking to purchase some more this fall while in Willamette.
Red
2014 Saxum Broken Stones Paso Robles Red Rhone Blend (view label images)
3/11/2018 - City Squirrel Likes this wine:
95 points
Broken Stones is one of my favorite Saxums. Decanted a couple hours before dinner out with the Mrs. and was drinking beautifully. No formal notes due to the nature of the evening, but might have rated higher otherwise. 95+
2 people found this helpful Comment
Red
2/15/2018 - City Squirrel Likes this wine:
97 points
Gorgeous bottle of '14 Napa cabernet! Decanted for 3 hrs, plenty of grippy tannins, but this is a well orchestrated symphony from Rutherford that drinks above its league and has all the components to be even more spectacular in another couple years in bottle - although fantastic right now with a healthy decant. Just know that you're fortunate and will be very happy to have some of these sleeping beauties tucked away in your cellar.
Red
2/9/2018 - City Squirrel Likes this wine:
95 points
My first go with this vintage. Pnp was alright, but this became significantly better after 2-3 hours in the decanter and thereafter - especially if drinking without food. Lush dark quality fruits with highlights of plum, fig, vanilla, and dark cherry chocolate. I like that this isn't overly extracted and so nicely orchestrated by the balance of acidity, tannins & alcohol. Mouthfeel is velvety with a finish that lingers on. Best between 2-4 hrs..simply an awesome QPR if you can find it at release pricing! 95pts for me @ $65
3 people found this helpful Comment
Red
2/2/2018 - City Squirrel Likes this wine:
92 points
Tastes very similar to 2014 Swagger, so if you liked that....you're in for the same ride here. Pitch black in the glass with purple fringing. Dark fruits: blueberry, blackberry, currants, plum and hints of chocolate. Not surprisingly at this stage, tannins are teeth gripping, so if you are not drinking this with something that has some fat on it, give it 60-90 min. Like 2014, muted nose, not overly complex nor much oak and average finish. I think when this was $45 - it was an excellent QPR and solid every day drinker. At $60-65, I think there are better contenders at this price or a few $$ more.
Red
1/15/2018 - City Squirrel Likes this wine:
94 points
Still one of my favorite single vineyard pinots from Rivers. Never disappoints and does such a great job of balancing the three pillars of fruit, earthiness and spice in the realm of CA Pinot. For $50, its hard to find better QPRs in its class, which garners it an extra point or two. Always worth seeking out this vintage or earlier ones...just wish I was allocated more of this each year.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
1/15/2018 - City Squirrel Likes this wine:
94 points
Still needs a 90-120 min decant to unwind itself, but then drinking quite nicely. Great depth, structure, fruit and always the beautiful Saxum color. Still think this could use some time in bottle to show its full capability, as with many '13s. Sit tight or give this some decant time.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
1/6/2018 - City Squirrel Likes this wine:
97 points
Bought single bottle - 2nd hand. Pnp corvin'd with a friend. For those of you still sitting on this, have no fear....still has plenty of great years ahead of it! Was just a stellar example of a luxury Napa cabernet, not too much old world finesse, nor too much modern day power....runs down the middle, which I really enjoy in my Cabs. Plenty of tannins and structure, mixed with delicious dark black fruits and nice acidity. You will not be disappointed and if you have extra, I'd recommend trying now. Cheers!
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2014 Outpost Immigrant True Vineyard Howell Mountain Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
1/4/2018 - City Squirrel Likes this wine:
95 points
Needed to pull a bottle with no time to decant, so I was a bit nervous following my last experience allowing for a 3 hr decant and other CT comments....but WOW...this is obviously in a much better place now and was very drinkable right out of the gate. Awesome burst of huge dark fruits on the nose and this just has ALL the fixings in beautiful harmony. Standout finish and lush mouthfeel. Drank 1/2 bottle, put the cork back in and placed back in the cellar. Didn't get back to it until two days later and became more velvety, but lost nothing in terms of fruit. Plenty of life still ahead with this one. Maybe just more geared toward my palate, YMMV, but I really LOVE this blend. 95-96+ pts for QPR.
2 people found this helpful Comment
Red
12/15/2017 - City Squirrel Likes this wine:
96 points
Signature Mike Smith cabernet style. 3+ hr decant in cellar. Just a baby that needs a good 5-6 years to shed some youth and evolve further, but surprisingly quite harmonious already. Awesome bouquet with prominent notes of rich butter, vanilla and violets. Still carrying some noticeable heat, but fantastic finish with lots of future promise. Plan to revisit in a year or two, but fun to try now if you can spare a bottle - otherwise; patience will be rewarded.
2 people found this helpful Comment
Red
2014 Ridge Geyserville Alexander Valley Zinfandel Blend, Zinfandel (view label images)
12/11/2017 - City Squirrel wrote:
90 points
Just an ok Zin. Nothing special or notably impressive.
2 people found this helpful Comments (2)
Red
11/22/2017 - City Squirrel Likes this wine:
92 points
Drinking very well right now. Not overly complex, but great nose, dark fruits, very soft & lush with a nice balance of acidity...finish falls off quickly, but still great fruit and a great bottle of wine and QPR. This would be a crowd pleaser. Enjoy!
2 people found this helpful Comment
Red
10/21/2017 - City Squirrel Likes this wine:
94 points
Needed at least 3 hrs to get this youngster settled down and into a good drinking spot. Once it was there, was wishing I had a ribeye and some rich au gratin potatoes to enjoy it with. Certainly think this has higher score potential in a year or two, although my palet may have been a bit skewed as we drank this next to a vertical of Auteur Pinot Noirs, various domestic and non-domestic whites and red italians, so needless to say, an obvious outlayer amongst the mixed company.
Red
9/23/2017 - City Squirrel Likes this wine:
93 points
Always a crowd pleaser. Similar notes to my prior review - 93.5
3 people found this helpful Comment
Red
9/24/2017 - City Squirrel Likes this wine:
93 points
Agree with other reviews on the 93-94 score. Certainly an enjoyable wine, but for the price, I was left wanting something a bit more from this, especially for the vintage.
2 people found this helpful Comment
Red
2013 Saxum Broken Stones Paso Robles Red Rhone Blend (view label images)
8/17/2017 - City Squirrel Likes this wine:
96 points
Another spectacular Rhone blend from the Saxum stables. Agree with RPs 96 pt rating here and think it has potential to add another point or two with time. Juicy magenta colored fruit and such a beautiful weight / mouthfeel to this wine. Hard to set down the glass once you get started with it. I found it to be wound up quite a bit with just a pnp. My recommendation would be to let this breathe for a couple of hours and your patience will be greatly rewarded. Yum!
2 people found this helpful Comment
Red
8/24/2017 - City Squirrel Likes this wine:
95 points
Similar to my last note / experience...so nicely done at this price point. Hard pressed to find a better QPR IMO. Decanted for 2 hrs before consuming...but this went to a really great place about 3 1/2 hrs in. Luscious dark and red high quality fruit perfectly balanced out with the appropriate level of alcohol and acidity to keep it in check. Best part about this affordable Napa cab is the spicy zin like finish that goes on and on. Kudos to Mike & Leah!
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