Comments on my notes

(17 comments on 16 notes)

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Red
2013 La Poderina Brunello di Montalcino Sangiovese
9/30/2020 - theusualsuspect wrote:
90 points
It srikes me that as modern style Brunello is evolving, the men if you will are being separated from the boys, or if you will the women (and there are several of them producing first rate Brunellos) are being separated from the girls. This wine is good, but it is not keeping up.
  • theusualsuspect commented:

    10/1/20, 4:39 PM - Hi. Hope all is well. My overall view is that the wine writers are still groping with the issue of how long modern style wines will age. Older style brunellos were much more tannic - twenty years to come into top form was usually in the ballpark. Modern style, much less. Eight-ten years is a good starting point I'm guessing, and maybe longer or a lot longer for some.

Red
2013 G.D. Vajra Barolo Ravera Nebbiolo
8/13/2020 - theusualsuspect wrote:
96 points
As this is coming good, this is a profound wine, Richness, weight, balance on the palate with modern nebbiolo precision. A bit I would say on the red fruit side, While older Barolos carry that esteemed tar and roses quality, modern Barolos less and less, and just perhaps, they may be better for it. Really impressive. You like Bordeaux above thiis, fine. You like Monet above Renoir, fine.
  • theusualsuspect commented:

    8/16/20, 10:08 AM - Time will tell, but I have my doubts. Keep in mind that historically those notes were in Bzarolos pretty much from day one. It was never a question of waiting until full maturity to have those notes arrive.

Red
2013 M. Marengo Barolo Bricco delle Viole Nebbiolo
11/27/2019 - theusualsuspect wrote:
89 points
Fine rich nebbiolo flavor, but it is a bit on the fat side, lacking just that bit of acid that brings out the best in nebbiolo. A good wine for sure but seems to me more reflective of an off vintage in Barolo than a 2013.
Four hours in, the acid appears, bugt the wine still remains on the "dull" side suggesting they didn't quite get it right in 2013.
  • theusualsuspect commented:

    11/28/19, 7:35 AM - As often as not it seems what people think of as bottle variation is more likely a storage problem. Maybe the case here. The wine seemed more advanced than it should be. I'll try another bottle in a month or two. As great as 2010 Barolo is, I much prefer the 2013's. Have a great Thanksgiving.

White
2014 Domaine Henri Boillot Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Clos de la Mouchère Chardonnay
3/9/2019 - theusualsuspect wrote:
91 points
Nicely incisive. Remains a bit of citrus, and basically a first class bottle of white burgundy. My question is this. The header notes on this wine on Cellar Tracker say drink from 2020. That is your grandfather's white burgundy. Today's white burgundy is pretty much in full flower when it arrives. Somehow is it according to how this info comes into Cellar Tracker - no, it is really a waste if you really touch a bottle of this before 2020? A disconnect really. As far as I'm concerned, the drinking window on white burgundy today should be - as soon as they arrive and sit for a few months - and for the next 6-8 years. For a great wine from a great modern vintage maybe now plus twelve years.
  • theusualsuspect commented:

    11/27/19, 6:23 PM - Apologies. I come and go on Cellar Tracker. Sometimes it isn't clear on where someone stands on wines in terms of preference. When it comes to whites, I prefer bracing wines - clear acid backbone. Others will say these wines are too young and need time - their preference and they are certainly entitled to it. I'm sure you have a view on this, and like everyone else, you are entitled to it.

White
1981 P. Dubreuil-Fontaine Père & Fils Corton-Charlemagne Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru Chardonnay
8/1/2010 - theusualsuspect wrote:
96 points
This is not a great modern Corton Charlemagne, but it is an excellent old style Corton Charlemagne. A certain austerity - long since gone in white burgundy - coupled with a very long minerally, indeed somewhat dry, finish. Big fruit and wood are not what this wine is aboout. . Nearing pale gold in color. Nice toasty nose. A narrow, if you will, finish that just sits there for a good long time. No butter, no oak, just an intense sort of white flower note that really carries.
As they say, won't see the likes of this again. Where are the oysters? Add that since 1985 it has never seen a temperature above 53 degrees.
There was a time when Corton Charlemagne was a singular wine, and this wine really reflects that. Today, Corton Charlemagne is basically another modern style chardonnay with new oak in the lead.
Louis Latour and Coche Dury led that charge.
  • theusualsuspect commented:

    7/10/19, 6:25 AM - 1996 was the year of premox in white burgundy - almost omnipresent. The note I associate with premox is butterscotch (don't know accurate that is). Some people loved and praised that butterscotch quality of course. But I don't buy white burgundy to taste butterscotch. Since 1996, if it has been a problem, it is a rare one. It all boils down to the vintages - ripeness and balance. Traditional acidic vintages are rare and they are usually rated low and you really have to pick and choose. I thought the 08's would be such a vintage, but they somehow went off the boil. As to ripe, one man's perfect is another man's overripe, and I am that other man. When I read a review praising the tropical fruit, pineapple quality of a white burgundy, that is not a wine I'll buy and maybe not a vintage I will buy. So you are left with the less ripe if you will modern style white burgundy which, while not having the acid skewed balance of old, displays the clear terroir driven fruit quality that sets white burgundy apart - the minerality for example. Throw out the new wood overloaders, and you have the best you can expect from modern white burgundy. Recent vintages have been pretty good. I think the 2014's the best vintage of this century so far. The 15's are in my window, and it looks like the 17's may be as well.
    To put this in perspective, the historic role for Chablis was seafood, especially crustaceans - oysters and the lot. The reason was the strong acid backbone could carry through the fattiness if you will of the oyster. Not today's Chablis.
    God's gift to wine I am not, but if you drink the stuff for fifty years or so, you develop a perspective based on what you expect from a wine.

Red
2013 Azienda Agricola Elvio Cogno Barolo Cascina Nuova Nebbiolo
5/23/2019 - theusualsuspect wrote:
90 points
Impressive, almost compelling, Barolo fruit character in there. But for now, very tannic/asgtringent, and really not worth drinking at this point. That said, acquired upon release and stored in a 47 degree refrigerated cellar since. I think the 2013 Barolos the best vintage of this century, but if well stored, don't think remotely that they will come good in say 2022 or so.
  • theusualsuspect commented:

    5/24/19, 4:26 PM - Storage is always the big variable - mine is very cold. But I've bought some 2013's at retail recently and those are still way off as well. I'm thinking with good storage maybe 2025, although some may come around earlier. I'm drinking 2007-09 Produtorri Barbarescos now and they are right and beautifully in the window, and in terms of tannin, they never approach Barolos like these. With almost all red wines made for ageing from the great areas, it takes a few years in bottle to get a real handle on how tannic they are. I'm thinking these 2013's are more tannic than we originally thought they would be, and I think it will play out that way. Hope all is well.

Red
2009 Château Pape Clément Pessac-Léognan Red Bordeaux Blend
5/11/2019 - Collector1855 wrote:
89 points
Bordeaux 2009 Grand Cru / 10-years on / tasted blind: Outch! Oak, oak, oak, torrefaction and then some more oak. These parkerized, too late picked wines are all dead after a few years, had so many of them, Pavie & Co... A shame. There are no aromas in these wines. Where is the fresh fruit? Where great aromatic terroir of the site? Not to mention elegance and drinkability. Luckily many Bordeaux Chateaus dialled back after this thicker-is-better era (heard promising things about the 2016). Hope we will get wines like 00/01 again. They were beguiling at age 10.
  • theusualsuspect commented:

    5/12/19, 5:17 PM - Increasingly for the Bordelais it isn't really a choice given the relentlessly warming weather. The modern style fortuitously coincides with what consumers want. As to wood, its heavy use goes back well before 00/01.
    The vintages I remember particularly that meet your criteria of restraint include the 1982's, 1985's, and 1989's. It looks like, and I think the numbers will justify it, that harvests have been coming ever on average increasingly earlier in Bordeaux. Early harvests limit the vigneron's options. Early harvest means the vintage is upon you regardless. Better to have a great modern style wine if the option is a bad modern style wine. It hs been ever true that the grapes you harvest relect the weather. Bordeaux is no exception.

Red
2009 Pavillon de Léoville Poyferré St. Julien Red Bordeaux Blend
2/1/2019 - rich_c wrote:
91 points
In conversation recently, a St Julien proprietor suggested to us that current 2nd wines are approaching or comparable to the standard of some older grand vins. This Pavillion compares really well against the '99 Poyferré at the same age. Quality claret drinking well now and yet with some mileage in it.
  • theusualsuspect commented:

    3/3/19, 4:39 PM - Depends on the vintage. If Mother Nature delivers some marginal grapes they go into the second wine, ultimately leaving those wines well behind the first wine In the context of value and quality, I've always felt, and somewhat surprising to me, that the best vintage since 2000 for second wines was 2003.
    It is the old rule. The more consistent problem free the vintage, the more the bottom end wines deliver. Problematic vintages, largely not the case.

Red
2013 Giovanni Rosso Barolo Serralunga d'Alba Nebbiolo
10/6/2018 - theusualsuspect wrote:
89 points
In no small part, reflects the quality of the vintage and quality Barolo. My basic thought here is that as pronounced as the difference is between old style Bordeaux and modern style Bordeaux, the difference between old style Barolo and modern style Barolo is even more pronounced. It seems to me that the balance point is different in good vintages. And it isn't about wood. Old style barolos never closed up like this, and I've been drinking them off the boat since the early 70's. Remains to be seen whether they will ultimately deliver the mouth filling tar and roses generosity of old style Barolo when they come out of this shell. Three hours in shows major heat. Another issue - whether modern style barolo can carry this heat.
  • theusualsuspect commented:

    10/8/18, 7:04 AM - I bought these 13 Barolos as soon as they arrived. My cellar is refrigerated at 47 degrees, so the wines evolve much more slowly than most. Tasted decanted and finished over five hours. Still not offering much. My concern, and hopefully that is all it is, is that modern style Barolo will be leaner than traditional Barolo. Less generous.

White
2014 Vincent Dancer Meursault Les Corbins Chardonnay
8/19/2018 - theusualsuspect wrote:
91 points
Wonderful Meursault aromatics. Still a bit of citrus on the creamy texture palate, but less than formerly. Beautifully smooth all of a piece. Lacks the complexity and weight of Dancer's higher end wines, but then again hard to beat at a $45 per bottle by the case at Binnys. Long gone. Wish I had bought more.

Four hours in the acid has come to the fore. This wine has a long future.
  • theusualsuspect commented:

    8/26/18, 7:45 AM - Thanks. I'll look into it. However, I'm always a bit leery of wine that has been sitting on a retail shelf those few extra years.

Red
1983 Domaine Clair-Daü Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Estournelles-St.-Jacques Pinot Noir
4/6/2016 - theusualsuspect wrote:
94 points
Easily the equal of a 1990 Hudelot Noellat Malconsorts consumed recently. Color showing its age, beautiful red fruit notes with great length. Perhaps a bit astringent yet, but not really a drawback in my view.

Not long after this vintage, the Clair Dau estate was sold to Louis Jadot. Would that Louis Jadot regularly made a Gevrey of this quality.
  • theusualsuspect commented:

    7/25/17, 6:25 AM - I find that Bruno Clair makes solid wines with an occasional gem or two. As to the rest of the Clair Dau estate, it became part of the Louis Jadot factory style to one extent or another.

Red
1990 Joseph Drouhin Griotte-Chambertin Griotte-Chambertin Grand Cru Pinot Noir
12/31/2012 - cfk49 Does not like this wine:
86 points
I've never been the big fan of 1990 than some are/were, and so I've never felt the big disappointment with the vintage that some have. Perhaps because I tasted almost all the wines before I purchased them. This was an exception -- a singleton from a favorite producer and a vineyard that I like very much, I figured that I couldn't go wrong. Well, after two decades of storage came the time to open the bottle. It was a big, ripe wine with little if any of the finesse I associate with Burgundy and with Drouhin in particular. It had the big, undeveloped fruitiness (red berry, and of course, especially cherries) and lack of edge that I associate with New World Pinot Noir, to the extent one could even see it as Pinot Noir. Not undrinkable, and not bad as a red wine; disappointing as Burgundy, and very, very disappointing as grand cru Burgundy. 13% stated alcohol.
  • theusualsuspect commented:

    1/27/17, 3:37 PM - The problem with 1990 red burgs is we basically had no idea how tannic - and tannins with a hard edge - they were. To my surprise many have gone through the same stewed taste window that the 1983's did and the 1976's did. I was more than a little concerned about this, but at this point many of t he wines have come good, and nicely so. But then again, some have not. I have magnums of this wine, and sit they will.

  • theusualsuspect commented:

    1/27/17, 9:30 PM - Stewed pruney fruit is how hard tannins manifest in the evolutioin of red burgundy. The most glorious off the boat burgundies in my experience were the 1976's. The concentrated extract was incredible. All really young wines, Bordeaux whatever, have glorious fruit and such on arrival, but soon enough if they are tannin loaded, and the 1976's were incredibly so, the hammer comes down. And it did indeed to my surprise in the 1990's. That said, it is remarkable to me how some of the much dismissed tannin loaded 1983 red burgundies have turned out, Don't write off the 1990's. Most of them will very much have their day.

Red
2004 Château Troplong Mondot St. Émilion Grand Cru Red Bordeaux Blend
6/11/2015 - theusualsuspect wrote:
88 points
Clove and black cherry on the nose. Very dense big time extract on the palate, so much so that it is more or less one dimensional. Modern style Bordeaux overdone.
  • theusualsuspect commented:

    6/13/15, 11:35 AM - I just find that some of these really highly extracted Bordeaux, Troplong, Larcis Ducasse and others really on the monolithic side. Time will tell if they flower into something more down the road.

Red
2012 Château Coufran Haut-Médoc Red Bordeaux Blend
4/23/2013 - Jeff Leve wrote:
85 points
With the highest percentage of Merlot planted in the Medoc, the estate was able to produce a medium bodied, coffee, cherry, herb and earthy wine that will be at its best on release. 84-86 Pts
  • theusualsuspect commented:

    1/28/15, 6:41 PM - Hi Jeff. I think the wine is better than that. Went to the UGC tasting in Chicago today and the vintage showed somewhat better than I thought it would. There were, however, plenty of wines with the green/green pepper problem which evidently reflects a problem with the cabernet sauvignon harvest in 2012- think St Julien and Pauillac of the wines on offer. In my view, if Coufran 2012 is an 85, then there are lots of 82 and 83 point wines of lesser 2012's - Haut Medocs, Listracs, whatever. However, the vintage really isn't that bad. I think the least spotty appelation is Margaux - again seemingly a sign that merlot was the strength of the vintage - also liked particularly the Clinet - merlot again. Hope all is well and enjoy your tasting notes.

Red
1990 Domaine Alain Michelot Nuits St. Georges 1er Cru Aux Champs Perdrix Pinot Noir
12/3/2014 - theusualsuspect wrote:
93 points
In the window. Very much in the rustic earthy style. Beefy red fruit. Quite mouth filling with good but not great length. In the middle of the pack in 1990 - not a bad thing.

Four hours after opening the wine very much improved with airing. Length improved dramatically. Moved it up a couple of points and if you are a fan of the rustic style it deserves to moved up a few more.

The wine has been really well stored since acquisition upon release - never seen a temp above 53 degrees. But that said, it still boggles the mind a bit that a 24 year old red burgundy actually needed four hours of airing to come good.
  • theusualsuspect commented:

    12/4/14, 8:14 AM - Hi Ron. Based on this bottle, no reason to wait. Can't see it getting better from here. That said, by no means on its last legs remotely.

White - Sparkling
1996 Henriot Champagne Brut Millésimé Champagne Blend
6/6/2013 - theusualsuspect wrote:
94 points
Citrusy chardonnay note on the nose. Toasty on the palate with an overlay of nuttiness with impressive richness. Bubbles quite subdued. I would not keep this champagne for more than another year or two. Won't get better, just might get worse. Reminds me more than a bit of a Dom Perignon.

The blend is about 50-50 - chardonnay, pinot noir. Ironically in my experience for a 1996 with a blend reflecting a solid percentage of both pinot and chardonnay, the chardonnay dominates. The vast majority of the time with 1996's, it is the pinot.
  • theusualsuspect commented:

    6/7/13, 8:45 AM - No butterscotch thank goodness. Just a touch of that toast and nuttiness that emerges in mature chardonnay dominant champagnes. I seem to recall that Henriot sources much of its chardonnay from Montagne de Rheims villages. Perhaps that accounts for this. But make no mistake. If your mag is in good shape, the champagne will be outstanding.

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