See CellarTracker's 2021 Year in Review

Comments on my notes

(155 comments on 116 notes)

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Red
2019 Fait-Main Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer Missouri Hopper Oakville
1/11/2022 - Mark1npt Likes this wine:
96 points
2 hour+ slow ox at their tasting room. Readily accessible. I had my first '19 of this about 3 months ago and scored it similarly. Today I felt this was even softer, more velvety. The dense compote of fruit is a tad better even. I'd like to know what Benoit does in his winemaking process that allows his wines to be so dark and glass staining/coating. Remarkable! Stuffing to go for many years but so good now with a decant. Only lacks a little of the signature Hopper meaty-ness that you normally find, otherwise I'd score it even higher, but great qpr here. One of the best deals for Hopper in all of Napa. Very close to a 97 today.
  • Jimaronson commented:

    1/13/22, 7:59 PM - Hope all is well. Come back safe.

White - Sweet/Dessert
2016 Pott Wine Sémillon Bavarian Lion Vineyard Knights Valley
1/9/2022 - Jimaronson Likes this wine:
96 points
This bottle really has come into its own. Not clawing or heavy, but sweet and full bodied. Highly recommended. I am the primary holder of this wine in cellar tracker. I recommend purchasing it you get the chance.
  • Jimaronson commented:

    1/10/22, 5:15 PM - Burnt in blood orange attributes. Sweet marmalade. Somewhat syrupy but certainly enjoyable considering the amount of sugar. A very nice dessert wine and one that is full-bodied hand candy-like delicious.

Red
2019 Outpost Zinfandel Howell Mountain
1/5/2022 - Mark1npt Likes this wine:
93 points
Four bottle shipment arrived a few weeks ago from the winery with signs of seepage from all 4 foil caps. For all I'm hearing about how the more 'approachable now' '19 vintage is, it's still proving to me that this vintage needs a healthy decant too, in order to drink now.

I coravined a glass of this 2 nights in a row and then popped the cork tonight on the half bottle that was left, so Carol and I could each have a glass before dinner.

Results? First two nights this wine was thick, heavy, syrupy and over the top in need of a 2 hour decant at least to be drinkable. Rich, decadent zin fruit, heavy, cab-like profile as far as structure with more than a hint of smokey barrel char to it.

Open bottle tonight given a 1 hour decant after most probably slow ox'ing due to the coravin the past 2 nights....and it was singing. Carol still thought it drank like a cab, but she didn't get to taste it the first 2 nights or she would have flipped out. Tonight? Much reduced intensity, much more put together and balanced, but still with some smokey char to the ending. It was not enjoyable drinking it the first 2 nights. High quality, but I would have given it a 90 at best. Tonight? 93 pts. Don't think I'll let the other 3 bottles age more than a year, given the seepage from shipment that I observed.
  • Jimaronson commented:

    1/9/22, 7:13 PM - They should replace your bottles for free.

Red
2018 Pott Wine Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
Drank over 2 nights Day 1 it was a bit closed but still enjotable. Day 2 It had just great tension, balance between tannins, fruit and acidity. Saddle leather or maybe saddle soap and leather on the nose. What really nice about this wine is that is powerful without being over fruit forward and the fruit that is there is not primary even at this early age. Not as oak dominated as mant young Napa Cabs. The fruit profile is medium red and pretty tasty. I think this wine's best days are ahead but with a days air this is pretty good right now. 94 now maybe a point or two more with prpoer aging. HMC THX to Jimaronson for turning me onto this wine.
  • Jimaronson commented:

    1/7/22, 6:34 PM - Nice note and thanks for the honorable mention. Would prefer to share in person. Hopefully soon.

White
2019 Myriad Cellars Sémillon McGah Family Vineyard Rutherford
Boring. I feel like this why doesn’t know what it wants to be. Maybe some citrus? Maybe some acidity? Maybe stonefruit? I just don’t know. Not a bad wine and maybe this would be good for pleasing all palates, but just not something I would seek out again
  • Jimaronson commented:

    1/6/22, 8:10 PM - It’s a good cooking wine. Try it with pasta, shrimp, garlic, tomato, spinach, salt, pepper, and anything else you like.

Red
2018 Realm Cellars The Bard Napa Valley Red Bordeaux Blend
Thought I would try this given a couple nice scores recently. Since my experience with 2018s so far has been, too early, needs time, or needs air, I wanted to try this over many hours to see how it evolved. Took it to a lovely dinner at Mark1npt's after an initial 2.5 hour splash decant. As always, Mark had some other nice wines waiting which allowed us to sample this over the next 3 or so hours. First tastes were of a big blend red that was just a bit too tannic to be in balance. Nice nose, big fruit present. Over the next 3 hours I did see some improvement as it moved into a more drinkable phase. Still a little primary, shy but you could tell there was quality in there. In the end we only drank about 1/2 a bottle out of the decanter. I rebottlled and corked and gave it another day to see where it would go.

On day 3, I can report, to my amazement, little change, Still a bit primary and tannic, about where it finished on the night of day 1. I think the nose has muted but the fruit has deepened, its darker, lets say dark red verging on black. I notice the acid more but that could be that I have had no other wines today (its only 2:30 for goodness sake).

So on balance I think this is a very good wine with its best days ahead. I'd say 92-93 as it drinks now with at least 2 points improvement anticipated if gracefully aged.
  • Jimaronson commented:

    1/3/22, 2:13 PM - Thanks for the update. I have 6 and will continue to wait. I did open a 2018 B Cellars Dr. Crane cab franc that was quite good and seems to be showing better than the 18 Bard. I am not sure, but the Bard wines may have had their best bottles between 2012 to 2016. I have found the fruit has dulled out over the years. I guess time will tell if it sweetens up for me.

Red
2018 Myriad Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve Beckstoffer Dr. Crane Vineyard 'Elysian' Napa Valley
10/11/2021 - Mark1npt Likes this wine:
96 points
Decanted for 3 hours by HMC and enjoyed over another 2 or so. Initially a 94 but over time this grew into a solid 96. Loads of red and lighter black fruit, smooth and silky. This one seems pretty well integrated for an '18. Very classy in the mouth, very smooth with supple , sweet tannins. Not a heavyweight, silky and classy and just pretty damn good. Thanks for opening, Jimbo!
  • Jimaronson commented:

    10/12/21, 9:07 PM - Very nice.

Red
2016 Roy Piper Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
10/4/2021 - HowellMountainCru Likes this wine:
93 points
Napa Trip- Tasting with Roy in Yountville. Big Tannic wine with great future potential. At our tasting just a bit too tannic to shine but wonderful stuffing IMO. Give this a long decant or a few more years in bottle.

Roy was such a gentleman and sharing about all things Napa and wine. Like his wine, Roy is genuine. 93 now 95 future
  • Jimaronson commented:

    10/4/21, 8:47 PM - I guess it closed down somewhat from my taste in 2020. I have two bottles left and will wait until 2023 to try the next one. Based on my tasting you could open this up on a Monday for a Wednesday tasting. I am happy to hear that you were able to spend time with Roy. What a great guy. Plus, I’d like to see you in the next video.

  • Jimaronson commented:

    10/11/21, 11:46 AM - Cool!

Red
2012 Schrader Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon LPV Beckstoffer Las Piedras Vineyard Napa Valley
10/10/2021 - Red Sox Fan Likes this wine:
96 points
True to my handle, I have to tip my cap to the Red Sox who beat the Tampa Bay Rays in the 13th inning tonight. The Rays are great team with super smart analytics to back them up. Yet the Sox are up 2-1 in the playoff series. Could their secret advantage be the terroir of Fenway Park? Or the desire to meet and surpass the achievements of the past? Is their success based on the raw good fortune of nature or the skill to craft something great out of nature’s gifts? Or are wine and baseball poor metaphors for each other, and we should just sit back and enjoy a beer? To these questions I haven’t a clue, but the 2012 Schrader is extraordinary after 3 hours open to the air, with raspberry, apricot, honey, and pepper, great balance without any heaviness, and a long finish. Thanks to everyone in the vineyard, winery and clubhouse who contributed to a very enjoyable evening. Now what to drink tomorrow, when these teams meet again?
  • Jimaronson commented:

    10/11/21, 5:18 AM - You might consider Hillside Select, Howell Mountain, or Dr. Crane. One of these names will fit the evening. Adding to the prior evening these wines bring about another ground rule double to celebrate. Hillside select represents Fenway, Howell Mountain represents your excitement when they win, and Dr. Crane will be there with the shock paddles to keep you alive.

Red
2017 Roy Piper Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
10/9/2021 - atilathehun wrote:
91 points
Eh…well we know it’s a sh*t vintage
  • Jimaronson commented:

    10/10/21, 4:30 AM - You did not describe anything about the wine? Did you pnp? Did you save some for day 2? Any smoke taint? Vege as in picked too soon? Pethaps you may have waited to long to try it and it closed down.

Red
2014 Pott Wine Cabernet Sauvignon Kaliholmanok Spring Mountain District
9/17/2021 - Jimaronson Likes this wine:
96 points
Nice red and blackberry nose. I do sense a bit of alcohol. It is sort of an astringency. This wine is full body and unfortunately heat remains on the finish at pnp. There is ample fruit; red liquorish, chocolate and red raspberry in the middle. The finish is between one and two minutes. My real disappointment right now is the heat at pnp and there is no reason to rush. This is a beautiful wine that just needs time to begin to show some maturity. Read my comment too. Wine was much better three hours in and heat reduced. I increased score from 94 at pnp to 96 after three hours.
  • Jimaronson commented:

    9/17/21, 4:23 PM - After three hours the heat has dissipated. So, I would open this and decant for three hours. I should have said that most of the heat was on the opening.

Red
1990 Château Cheval Blanc St. Émilion Grand Cru Red Bordeaux Blend
9/1/2021 - TheDKALife Likes this wine:
99 points
Cotton candy bogquet
Old man/suit. Library.
Engine/video game tokens later on.
Base
Spicy after 1.5 hours. Green pepper. Long lasting heat lasting awhile.

Exceptional experience.
  • Jimaronson commented:

    9/11/21, 9:06 PM - Very nice review. Totally agree.

Red
2018 Fait-Main Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer Missouri Hopper Oakville
9/7/2021 - Mark1npt Likes this wine:
95 points
My first of my '18 FM stash.....pnp to a familiar MHopper nose, and garnet color, just glorious. The wine was tight and a bit tannic with elevated acidity. Red/black fruit initially. The nose trails off...over the course of enjoying the bottle the following 2-3 hours, the wine became smoother but devoid of any glycerin type of sense. The fruit darkened considerably to a dark blue/black with heavy tobacco, a bit of coffee grounds, and a bit of a tart ending by hour 3. Left a small glass in the decanter on the kitchen counter to sit overnight. Will check in on it tomorrow and see what another 24 hours does to it. It's a solid 93 now with upside of 2-3 points easily I would think going forward if, like most high level '18s, it really comes together over time.

Addendum: almost 23 hours later open to room temp in the decanter....a little darker garnet color, nose is pleasant with a hint of sweet rose petal but overall, only minimally indicative of its MH vineyard. The only time this wine had a nose highly indicative of MH was in the first hour it was open to air. Mouthfeel is creamier, slight chalky sense to it. The fruit is deep and rich and has stayed pretty dark, mostly black right now. This is pretty good stuff, maybe close to a 95 but I'd like to see and feel more of the MH that's in there.....maybe as it continues to age we'll get that? If not, it's still a pretty damn good wine with plenty of acidity to age nicely for many years and a wonderfully long finish has turned up today, nearly 24 hours later.......I'm upping my score (was 93 now 95) and I still think it has another 2 points in there.
  • Jimaronson commented:

    9/8/21, 8:16 PM - Interesting thoughts in comparing it to the Bard. However, the Bard grapes are a composite of many vineyards. I suppose on price it is comparable. In that case it would make sense to compare other $120 bottles and include some B Cellars wines. Seems like the wines are now priced in three tranches: $110 to $120, $175 to $200, and $225 to $250. Most of the $175 to $200 bottles have moved to $225 or will be moving after the 2020 tough year.

Red
2016 Carte Blanche Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
9/1/2021 - Mark1npt Likes this wine:
95 points
Popped 90 min before dinner and enjoyed over the next few hours. Best between hours 1 and 2, faded a bit and thinned out by hour 4. In that window, this drank exceptionally well. It was soft and smooth with good all around integration and great fruit.....quality winemaking on display here by Keplinger.
  • Jimaronson commented:

    9/5/21, 9:14 PM - I have a 2014 bottle and you should look up the cellartracker notes for Carte Blanche 2014. MJP Hou Tx gives the background of the vineyard, although I do not know if it changed from 2014 to 2016. Nick Allen owns the vineyard and his family owned Haut Brion and LaMission Haut Brion in France. He is very friendly with Helen Keplinger and TJ Warner. At one time his wines were made by Morley, but after his departure and after Helen left Bryant then she became the winemaker.

Red
2012 Abreu Cappella Napa Valley Red Bordeaux Blend
7/11/2021 - Jimaronson wrote:
97 points
Had the wine along with 2012 Realm TOK and 2012 Abreu Capella. The Schrader was softer than the Realm. The Abreu was the most elegant of the three. The Schrader was fruit forward with more sweetness than Realm. It exhibited cigar box and black fruits. The Abreu wine was the best of all three with a 97 rating and just a beautiful wine. It was the most integrated and interesting. You could taste the winemaker expertise and how Abreu personalized the wine and made what he preferred rather than focusing on price and distribution. The Schrader was built for the masses and designed not to have any hard edges. The Realm was built bigger than the Schrader which made me believe that in three years the Realm will outshine the Schrader wine with a higher concentration of sweet fruit, but not the Abreu which remains two points above. These are all big wines and integrated due to age. There is was very little nose present in the Schrader and Abreu. The Realm wine had a terrific nose and the most upfront of all three bottles. I would recommend drinking the Abreu and Schrader now or in the next five years. The Realm could be opened now with a four hour decant and certainly enjoyed or even better the next day, but you could also wait two years if you prefer a two hour decant and more sweet fruit on day one in comparison to the Schrader and Abreu. Unless you had all three at the same time then you would be perfectly fine with the Realm alone and believe it had wonderful sweet fruit. I kept these wines for a week and they did get better and bigger. So, do not hesitate to open them and take your time finishing the bottles over a 7 day period.
  • Jimaronson commented:

    8/7/21, 4:23 PM - It is 8/7 and I had one glass left in the bottle. The wine showed no sign of too much oxegon. There is a big nose with black liquorish, cassis, graphite and black raspberry on the nose and pallet. The wine is more delicate now than when first opened and exhibits a lot of finesse. I believe the fruit has softened, but not faded. The tannins are soft and I believe you could easily keep this wine for another 10 years. It is still bright on the pallet unlike a more subtle French wine with secondary characteristics. It is one dimensional in the Napa way. This would be excellent with a ribeye, porterhouse, or filet. It is a 98.

Red
2012 Schrader Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon RBS Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard Oakville
7/11/2021 - Jimaronson wrote:
95 points
Had the wine along with 2012 Realm TOK and 2012 Abreu Capella. The Schrader was softer than the Realm. The Abreu was the most elegant of the three. The Schrader was fruit forward with more sweetness than Realm. It exhibited cigar box and black fruits. The Abreu wine was the best of all three with a 97 rating and just a beautiful wine. It was the most integrated and interesting. You could taste the winemaker expertise and how Abreu personalized the wine and made what he preferred rather than focusing on price and distribution. The Schrader was built for the masses and designed not to have any hard edges. The Realm was built bigger than the Schrader which made me believe that in three years the Realm will outshine the Schrader wine with a higher concentration of sweet fruit, but not the Abreu which remains two points above. These are all big wines and integrated due to age. There is was very little nose present in the Schrader and Abreu. The Realm wine had a terrific nose and the most upfront of all three bottles. I would recommend drinking the Abreu and Schrader now or in the next five years. The Realm could be opened now with a four hour decant and certainly enjoyed or even better the next day, but you could also wait two years if you prefer a two hour decant and more sweet fruit on day one in comparison to the Schrader and Abreu. Unless you had all three at the same time then you would be perfectly fine with the Realm alone and believe it had wonderful sweet fruit. I kept these wines for a week and they did get better and bigger. So, do not hesitate to open them and take your time finishing the bottles over a 7 day period.
  • Jimaronson commented:

    7/29/21, 3:38 AM - What I meant by fruit forward is that the wine had an up front concentration of fruit, not to be confused with a fruit bomb. The tannins were in the background. I usually refer to fruit forward with wines that have less up front alcohol and more fruit. Sorry if I was confusing.

  • Jimaronson commented:

    7/29/21, 9:10 AM - I would open it and let it sit for an hour in the bottle, and then decant it for an hour, but as I said it got better even on the second day. I always try the wine after the cork is pulled just to see where it stands. It has a soft feel in my opinion so it should be good to go after a minimum of an hour, but will get better as it sits.

Red
1990 Château Pichon-Longueville Baron Pauillac Red Bordeaux Blend
7/12/2021 - Jimaronson wrote:
97 points
The wine was slightly tight in the finish after a 1 hour decant. After a couple of hours it settled down and was a wonderful French Bordeaux. I kept the wine overnight and the second day the fruit had surprisingly increased. I think this wine could be held for another 5 years and enjoyed. I'll try my next bottle in a year.
  • Jimaronson commented:

    7/13/21, 6:49 AM - Thanks for the post. What would you suggest with 1990 Cheval Blanc? I would tend to drink it after a 3 hour decant. Would you open and wait a day?

  • Jimaronson commented:

    7/13/21, 12:20 PM - So, you would not open it and wait a day? I have a wine tasting group and have the opportunity of opening The bottle before they arrive or open it a day or two before the tasting. I know it's a tough call.

  • Jimaronson commented:

    7/13/21, 7:56 PM - I'll get back to you mid August with the tasting notes.
    Thanks
    Jim

Red
2016 Domaine de la Janasse Châteauneuf-du-Pape Vieilles Vignes Red Rhone Blend
7/7/2021 - csimm1161 wrote:
99 points
2016 Chateauneuf du Pape 99/100 point wine taste-off (and a couple of pirate Rhone wines): An outstanding effort and one of my favorite wines of the night. A complete and put-together 2016 CdP, outshining the Chaupin and even the XXL with its unmatched combination of balanced concentration and powerful but measured expansion of flavor, this VV showcased blackberry, licorice, black raspberry syrup, Christmas spice, and chewy bitter chocolate flavors on a silver platter of palate exquisiteness. Modern and ripe in style but with excellent tension and speed, the finish ramps up in a powerful cascade of black fruit and erotic spice notes. A mouthful of a wine that swiftly skirts heaviness and syrupiness.

The XXL came off even more “huge” by comparison, but slightly less judicious in flex than the more focused VV. This is splitting gnat hairs, but side-by-side the VV delivered a touch more sophistication and direction due to its ability to harness its authority. The VV drinks beautifully now with some air, but seems to have the fortitude to go some distance without collapsing on its ripe fruit. Again, the tensity keeps it all flowing down the proper lane without ever gutter-balling into overly viscous territory or slogging through its execution.
  • Jimaronson commented:

    7/8/21, 4:33 AM - Mark, I have this bottle in Naples.

White
2019 Pound Cake Chardonnay Monterey
6/13/2021 - Mark1npt Does not like this wine:
50 points
I was perusing a local wine shop debating whether or not to spring for a nice Mouton behind the glass up on the higher rack, when out of the corner of my eye, I spied a case of this sitting there open for all to see. Being a fan of creamy, oaky Cali chard, better yet being in the same home with Carol, the Queen of creamy, oaky chards.....made me want to buy one for her.....the $10.99 price tag didn't scare me off, after all, I figured I just saved $689 on the Mouton. The write up on the label talking about all the ingredients in a home made pound cake, the butter, the cream, etc....really had my mouth watering. Chilled this in Carol's cooler for a day then decided to pop the cork sitting down to a nice chicken dinner......OMG...the paint fumes and insecticide eminating from the glass made for a not good experience......I couldn't tell if this was a flawed bottle, simply because, it was just so bad......the second day open to air, there was the faint smell of peaches which managed to only slightly overide the insecticide/chemicals.....down the drain it goes. I've never been afraid of a wine before, but I was just too afraid to taste this one. I gave it a 50, because it had a nice deep yellow color. Lol......
  • Jimaronson commented:

    6/18/21, 7:56 PM - Santorini makes great wines, plus the QPR is terrific. Buy one here before you go.

Red
2015 Hartford / Hartford Court Old Vine Zinfandel Fanucchi Wood Road Vineyard Russian River Valley
6/4/2021 - Mark1npt Likes this wine:
95 points
This IS a zin! Puts the Carlisle (lame a** Pagani Ranch) from earlier tonight, to shame. I hate to hate on Carlisle but I have had so many bad bottles, it's just not worth it to me to buy any more. So disappointing. Hartford has been a consistent performer with their zins. From the pnp, the nose is exquisitely zin.....dark, juicy briar fruit, underbrush and spicebox. This continues onto the palate and fills the mouth with a medium weighted, big fruited, spicy experience. Best in the first two hours, turns a bit darker and ever so slightly muddled after that. One of the better Hartford zin vineyards out there, year in and year out. Wish I had more.
  • Jimaronson commented:

    6/5/21, 9:18 AM - Hi Mark,
    I have some bottles for you. Call me at 4133488692 to get together.

    Jim

Red
2018 Myriad Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer Dr. Crane Vineyard St. Helena
5/31/2021 - HowellMountainCru Likes this wine:
95 points
Gave this about 3 hours prior to a Memorial Day grill with Mark and Carol. I thought it was smooth and well balanced with red and some darker berry notes. Nose was solid with fruit and berry influences. It felt good in the mouth but the glide was not outstanding at this point.

Altogether a fine wine drinking well though I wouldn't be surprised if it had some upside in the future. 95 now 97 future. HMC
  • Jimaronson commented:

    6/2/21, 1:27 AM - Mark, congratulations on making a new high.

  • Jimaronson commented:

    6/2/21, 1:30 AM - By the way, is it fair to say that the “great tension” may be just a slightly over structured wine in a slightly closed state?

Red
2013 Sine Qua Non Grenache ♀ Central Coast
5/23/2021 - Mark1npt Likes this wine:
92 points
Almost a year since my last bottle.....this one provided by Jen for our 2nd day of our event.

12 hour decant.......and still not enough for my full enjoyment? Dark fruited entry with a bit of a tart ending to it on the back palate. Noticeable alcohol in this bottle along with an herbaceous note, some here voted akin to thistle or nettle? I personally think maybe this one needs a few more years in bottle.....for my very llimited SQN experience the '07 and '12s from earlier today/tonight were more ready for consumption and in my wheel house.

Addendum to note from the other night.....had a small glass from the fridge the next evening.....immensely better so once again, Jen the DQ was right! Much smoother and approachable, no harsh tannic structure. I'd probably give it a 94+ at this stage.
  • Jimaronson commented:

    5/25/21, 7:51 PM - Has anyone tried Andremily wines and compared them to SQN?

  • Jimaronson commented:

    5/26/21, 5:37 AM - I’ve got some we can share.

  • Jimaronson commented:

    5/26/21, 8:07 AM - They are super intense wines. I have not had the Grenache, but the Syrah's and Mourvedre wines are full bodied and highly concentrated with violets, blackberry, cassis, and other strong black fruits. You could use it to put on pancakes with syrup (just kidding). Very interesting and Rachel & Jim Binns are super high quality winemakers. They describe their wines as a full bodied elixir that leaps from the glass. I agree. The wines are over $100 a bottle and are purchased in three packs.

  • Jimaronson commented:

    5/26/21, 10:53 AM - Hope you receive an offer. Stay in touch with me. I'll also bring a bottle to share with MarkPT1 sometime and let's see what he thinks.

  • Jimaronson commented:

    5/26/21, 7:56 PM - I am on SQN list too and waiting. Fortunately got on Andremily instead. My feeling is that when SNQ comes around I will be drinking my 2018 bordeaux.

    If I were you I would sign up for Helen Keplinger’s wines. QPR is terrific, her style of Grenache and Syrah is terrific, and you may have better success in the short term.

Red
1987 Arrowood Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma County
5/23/2021 - Mark1npt Likes this wine:
93 points
OMG.....I did not expect this, not at $66/bottle. I have been a big fan of Mr. Arrowood for near 20 years. Sad to have seen his retirement last year even though it was well deserved. This was but his 2nd vintage under his own label after leaving Chateau St. Jean. I don't know what this one scored in its early years and I don't know what its true lifespan was to be but this one is still performing well, even at this late date. Definitely brickish red in the glass......with a light orange watery rim. Sampled a few minutes after the pnp into a decanter and enjoyed over the next 3 hours!......pruney old nose starts to blow off within 5 minutes revealing a bright red cherry fruit with a graphite, burnt caramel/toffee sense to it. Suffice it to say that if you like truly classic, old Napa cabs, this one would be right up your alley. If you go back to CDunn's note here from 2010, that pretty much says it all....just a little older now. I am particularly impressed as this is the 'basic' cab not the 'Reserve Speciale' which is always a step above. What a great legacy Mr. Arrowood has left behind for us! Thanks you sir, it has been a pleasure to meet you and enjoy your wines for these many years!
  • Jimaronson commented:

    5/25/21, 7:48 PM - Sounds wonderful to me. Nothing like that old Napa made wine of the past. I remember Diamond Creek and Heitz with pleasure. I even had once a 30 year old Bogle that was just unbelievable.

Red
2003 Château Cos d'Estournel St. Estèphe Red Bordeaux Blend
5/23/2021 - Mark1npt Likes this wine:
96 points
Beats the Sociando Mallet by only a point or two in my book and only late down the stretch....I guess this is the 3rd days WOTN for me but only by a slim margin over the now well aired/decanted '11 SQN Patine Grenache.

4 hour decant and enjoyed over an additional 2-3 hours. Seems to hit another gear of smoothness and class at about the 6-7 hour decant time. For the first few hours I felt the Sociando Mallet outplayed this Cos. Slight barnyard funk on the nose that blew off after about an hour. Darker, more masculine fruit to start with. Stronger, more moderate drying tannins in the mouth, coating everything if you swirl for a while then swallow. Black currant dominant. Strong St. Estephe muscle. Goes though a phase at 4+ hours of increased acidity and tannins and alcohol...then by hour 6-7 this evolves into a thing of beauty. More graphite, more dark inky fruit and mushroom. It picks up weight and layers to the fruit. An aged and finely integrated, yet still going strong BDX......what a pleasure! Based on this bottle I don't see any stopping this wine in the next 10 years. I hope my last one of these is built the same. I'm gonna wait quite a while to try it.
  • Jimaronson commented:

    5/24/21, 4:45 AM - Thanks for the update.

Red
2018 Pott Wine Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
4/21/2021 - Jimaronson wrote:
93 points
Pnp tonight with ribs. Perfect combination. Wine has settled down with sweet red and blue fruits. No bitterness and smooth middle and finish. Not very complex and a medium bodied cab with a good QPR. Nicely done.
  • Jimaronson commented:

    5/2/21, 12:36 AM - I agree that my experience was different than Lite’s. I found this bottle somewhat open. I doubted my thoughts too. I think you should wait for some additional tastings before opening a bottle. There is no harm in waiting on 2018’s. Many are slow to come around as it depends on how the producer made the wine. I think Aaron made this wine as an early drinker, but that’s a guess. So, maybe try one in the fall. There could be some bottle variation. I also live in Florida and remember that the shipping came during a Midwest storm so it took a few extra days to arrive.

Red
2017 Roy Piper Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
2/18/2021 - Jimaronson Likes this wine:
95 points
Nicely done and young. Had with duck and it did not disappoint. Wine is rich with red fruit. There is a chalkiness quality in the middle and the finish is dry. Tannins and cassis will keep this going for many years. PNP the bottle and enjoyed it over three hours. Noticed that it became more popular after two hours. 2017 was a tough year and there was not even a whisper of smoke taint. Also, it does not seem that the grapes were picked before their time. I am looking forward in trying the next bottle in a couple of years.
  • Jimaronson commented:

    2/26/21, 7:05 PM - I know - unbelievable and I do not even recognize myself anymore. You and Mark were so selective with 2017's that the few that I purchased I thought needed to be opened on the younger side. I did not want to risk the smoke taint creeping in over time. Roy Piper may not have had that problem, but I can't get over thinking the 2017's are not worthy of aging at all and that I should enjoy them while they are young and in good shape. Time has a way of creeping up on the best of us and you can't tell early on who will be the winners or losers.

  • Jimaronson commented:

    4/13/21, 9:26 PM - Finished the bottle today. The coravin worked great. It was very enjoyable having rested with the argon gas. The tannins were quite impressive and the wine balanced with rich blueberry fruit. Score is increased to 95

Red
2005 Château Malescot St. Exupéry Margaux Red Bordeaux Blend
4/3/2021 - dbkitc wrote:
90 points
A big boned Margaux for sure. But a delicious wine nonetheless. Deep garnet red color. Creamy dark fruited nose that leans modern (a good dose of oak) yet has good lift which it needs. Lush palate that is still a bit astringent with some bitterness on the finish. A good choice if you are looking for full throttle Bordeaux. It’s better than many in this style. But at the end of the day, not my cup of tea. Very Napa (which is not bad at all, it’s just not Margaux). Has a chance to be significantly better in five years if some of the structure integrates. (90)
  • Jimaronson commented:

    4/4/21, 7:20 PM - Mark, I have two bottles left. It is a big wine with dark fruits. Kind of rustic if I remember correctly. I have found that many of my 2005’s have not settled down yet with tertiary notes. They are drinking better than a few years ago, but need sometime. I am hoping they will settle down in the next 5 years.

Red
2017 Saxum James Berry Vineyard Paso Robles Red Rhone Blend
4/2/2021 - Sanlucar wrote:
90 points
Blueberry & black raspberry fruit bomb. Very high alcohol and surprisingly high acid. This wine will not live long - drink it now.
  • Jimaronson commented:

    4/3/21, 2:00 PM - I have found 2017 is a disappointing year. I am not surprised that the wine is disjointed at this time. It sounds like it will never mellow out. I have been drinking my 2017’s to burn through them. My feeling is to go ahead and open the 17’s and if you find a good one then you can wait. Otherwise, don’t waste your time and consume them now. There are a couple of 2017’s that I have found less than satisfying, but willing to wait a year to open the next bottle. For example, Roy Piper made a reasonable 2017, but it needs time and I am willing to wait. I like the Saxum wines no older than 5 years. I think the wine is all about intensity and it is not a wine that needs to be cellared 10 years for secondary characteristics. However, I admit that I have not had a 10 year old Saxum.

Red
2014 Realm Cellars Moonracer Stags Leap District Red Bordeaux Blend
3/22/2021 - Mark1npt Likes this wine:
96 points
So good, especially over time. Brought by James to the tasting....nice weight, depth and length. Lots of barrel char that lessens a tad over time. Excellent quality fruit. 95+ bordering on 96 for me. There is some dark fruit that rocks!
  • Jimaronson commented:

    3/23/21, 9:01 PM - I found this wine sweeter than the BC LPV, but not as deep. However, over the course of the evening the Moonracer grew and gained weight. It was kind of between Marks wine and the LPV. My guess is that this wine could use another year and it needs a 4 hour decant. I opened the bottle four hours before we met, but only decanted it for an hour. Seems that six overall hours might have been better. I enjoyed the wine for its finesse and thought it had more character and complexity than the LPV. I would score the wine a 97 and believe in three years it could be a 98.

  • Jimaronson commented:

    3/24/21, 6:21 PM - Sounds good, but I only have a 2015 Moonracer left. Maybe we will do it with this wine down the line.

Red
2014 Hundred Acre Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon "Deep Time" Kayli Morgan Napa Valley
3/21/2021 - beezer6 wrote:
94 points
Meetup at Eddie Ishaq's (Eddie's Crib): I really didn't want to like this wine mostly for reasons surrounding price increases and other less wine driven issues with HA.
But the wine really showed well. It was fresh and lively while being complex and layered.
Dark cola cherries and anise as well as pretty floral accents that were unique.
The palate was in perfect harmony even at this young stage.
Medium plus body while I still don't think this is worth $500+ it showed very well tonight and may only slightly change the way I see HA wines....but just the wines.
  • Jimaronson commented:

    3/23/21, 9:24 PM - Been reluctant to pop one due to the price. In that case, I probably should have passed on the wine, but deep time intrigued me. How do you feel it differs from the regular Kali Morgan wine? When do you think it is time to open the next bottle? How long was the decant? Did it grow in intensity over the evening or stay level or fade? Thanks for sharing.

Red
2013 Chateau Potelle Jean Noel Fourmeaux Mt. Veeder Red Bordeaux Blend
3/22/2021 - Mark1npt Likes this wine:
97 points
In hours 1-4....intense rose petals and blueberries on the nose. The palate has intense blueberry as well. Later in the evening some iron ore on the palate. This is a beautiful wine that walks that tightrope between modern Napa cab and classic French cabernet. Very spicy wood component at 2-3 hours that fades over time.....yet the rose petals and blueberries remain. Some sweet tobacco as well. Really a big bottle of beautiful.
  • Jimaronson commented:

    3/23/21, 9:21 PM - I agree with your comment on the decant. Actually, I would have preferred the bottle opened, not decanted, and served 30 minutes after popping the cork. I found the wine fading over the evening. You are correct that the wine has finesse. It is silky and medium bodied with some very slight secondary characteristics. After an hour I noticed some spice. In a blind tasting I would have guessed it was a medium bodied California Pinot. I will have to taste this wine a few more times to figure it out. My score is 95 at this time because I believe it needs more interest and could use some weight. Not the kind of weight as compared to the other two wines, but something greater than the weight found in a French medium bodied burgundy. This is my take on how I would recognize it as a high end California cab. I agree with you that the wine is well made and I am looking forward to trying another glass. Thanks for bringing it to the tasting. We certainly had a great line up.

Red
2016 B Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer Las Piedras Vineyard St. Helena
3/22/2021 - Mark1npt Likes this wine:
98 points
Similar to my note from 2 months ago.....drinking exceptionally well at 98 points...thanks to HMC for bringing this to the table this evening, but please give it 4 hours of air+...it takes that long for the course tannins to dissolve....and all components of the wine to come together. It is deep, dark and sensual.....just a wonderful wine! WOTN to everyone here......97+ but I'm giving it a 98! Thanks, Jimbo!
  • Jimaronson commented:

    3/23/21, 8:52 PM - Thanks HMC for bringing the BC LPV. It was terrific. Over the 2 1/2 hours it grew more dense. I wonder what it would have been like at 11pm. The body was strong with black fruit. Yet, it was balanced and smooth even as it grew bigger. In fact, I think as it became more powerful it also was more balanced. I give it a 97+ to 98- just to split the score between you and Mark.

Red
2018 Di Costanzo Cabernet Sauvignon Montecillo Vineyard Moon Mountain District
3/12/2021 - HowellMountainCru Likes this wine:
92 points
Brought this to a tasting of fellow CTs Jim and Mark based on the enticing note written by MSUwine. I also have been looking for something a little different in Napa Cabs and enjoy Erin and Massimo's take on the varietal and the cooler Coombsville and Carneros grapes they use.

The wine was given air for about 3 hours and consumed over the next 2. It was noticeably lighter and had more herbal notes than the other wines which were highlighted by an excellent 2014 Schrader RBS. I thought the wine still too young at this point but pleasantly different than other primary monolithic 2018s I had so far this year. And the wine did gain a little weight and interest as the night went on but it never really approached a what I hoped it would be. The consensus of the group was a low 90s score. 92 sounds about right to me. HMC
  • Jimaronson commented:

    3/14/21, 5:32 AM - I would give it a 91. I thought the wine was smooth and best at the start of the evening and then after an hour exhibited for the first time vege qualities. I would hope over time in the bottle that the turn would go away and as the wine thickens up it would exhibit some sweetness. Perhaps it could rise in two years to a 93, up 2 points and even out.

    MSUwine had the bottle in February and your bottle might have been drinking due to a variation in bottling or that the 2018’s can change month to month. It also might be just too young and MSUwine has more experience with how early drinking bottles turn out down the line.

    Thanks for sharing the wine as I have never had this one. What a fun evening and it was great to see you and Mark again.

Red
2015 Accendo Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
3/11/2021 - Mark1npt Likes this wine:
95 points
Decanted 2.5 hours and it was not near enough. This wine needs all of 5-6 hours to get where it needs to go........nice red fruit, a little briar, a deep, deep cedar component. If you don't give it enough time there's a light green vegetal component but at hour 3+ this disappears and really grows on you. I am planning on keeping my other bottles a good number of years before opening. This has a lot of potential.
  • Jimaronson commented:

    3/12/21, 8:56 PM - Thanks for bringing the wine. I agree with you that it was better as the night progressed. Would be a good wine to open and even have the next day too. There is a lot of potential here and I give it a 90 at first and ending the evening as a very nice 93. It could rise to a 95 max in two years.

Red
2018 Di Costanzo Cabernet Sauvignon Montecillo Vineyard Moon Mountain District
3/11/2021 - Mark1npt Likes this wine:
92 points
92 now....maybe 95 in the future? I liked the density of this wine. The herbal component of these Di Constanzo's are so very nice.....just because they are different than all the other fruit bombs coming out of Napa these days. I really liked this wine and feel it will reward you down the road....thanks, Jimbo for bringing to the table.
  • Jimaronson commented:

    3/12/21, 8:47 PM - Thanks Jim for bringing the wine. The 18’s are tough and this one continued to close as the evening progressed. It seems as though one should consume this wine in the first hour. It would be great to try a 14, 15, or 16 sometime to see where this wine might end up. I think it is a 90 right now with the potential of rising to a 93 down the road.

Red
2014 Schrader Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon RBS Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard Oakville
3/11/2021 - Mark1npt Likes this wine:
97 points
Brought by good CT friend Jim Aronson to the table and it was easily the WOTN. Strong fruit, integrated tannins and acidity and a restrained yet beautiful oak component in the back ground. The most 'complete' wine of the night by far......thanks James!
  • Jimaronson commented:

    3/11/21, 8:26 PM - Stood upright out of the cellar the night before. Took out the cork at 2:30. Let it sit in the bottle until 3:30 and then decanted and served at 5:30. Served slightly cooler than room temperature. Wine was ready to go at 5:30 and increased in weight during the evening until we ended at 9. I thought the wine was terrific at 5:30 and slightly better as the evening progressed. I give it a 97. Great evening with HMC and Markpt1. Lots of laughs and a memorable time.

Red
2016 Pott Wine Cabernet Sauvignon Kaliholmanok Kicu'me Spring Mountain District
3/6/2021 - 1964vintage wrote:
91 points
Consumed over 3 days. First night as PnP was the best of the three. PnP had very good fruit, richness, and depth. The wine lost those characteristics on days 2 & 3.
  • Jimaronson commented:

    3/6/21, 9:03 PM - Many of the 2016’s are disjointed. Follow cellar tracker for those that are drinking well and wait for the rest to open up in a few years.

Red
2018 Pott Wine Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
2/25/2021 - LiteItOnFire Likes this wine:
90 points
So this is a continuation from the bottle opened two days ago (so now day 3). Saved 8 ounces in a jelly/mason jar in the regular fridge.

Wow really improved to the point that this is now a more balanced wine AND still has good fruit! Bitterness nearly gone as well. Things are looking up- yay.

Hold for 2 years.
  • Jimaronson commented:

    2/25/21, 8:58 PM - Thanks for hanging in there and sharing day three results. HMC will be pleased to know the wine turned better with time. Looks like we’ll just have to wait a couple of years for 18’s to come around or open on Wednesday and drink on Saturday.

Red
2018 Pott Wine Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
2/23/2021 - LiteItOnFire wrote:
89 points
PnP (Umm no) and then tasted throughout the night. Still TBD on the 2018 vintage (I believe the stuffing is in the vintage but have not had a wine I would highly rate for my scale, although it is still early in the lineup.

First taste was locked up tight and almost no attack. Almost like it forgot to let anyone know there was something there to taste. Left well enough alone. NR

First hour in, more to taste but not showing anything of real value plus there is still astringent and heat from earlier on. Blackberry, black cherries and rock. Improvement but... 88

Three hours in, nose is nearly all alcohol to the point it’s covering everything else (for the most part). Front starting to show an opening but subdued, blackberry a bit sweeter than before, rocks and then immediately bitter. Now better on the front end but worse elsewhere. Ugh 87/88

Four hours in, and for me this is a lot more work than I expected to do on a Tuesday night with a wine like this. Nose still closed, front still disappointing but the tannins started to resolve into a more plush mouth feel which helped improve the overall impression. Blackberry, black currants most dominant, sour cherry and now the Acid is much more pronounced showing better overall structure.

Summary- for Aaron’s entry level wine this has a lot of stuffing but IMO is nowhere near ready for prime time. If you have wine ADHD and have to open now, decant early and vigorously and enjoy with fatty rich foods OR which I will do, not open for at least two years and see where it is then. 89

I have half a bottle left to play with...
  • Jimaronson commented:

    2/24/21, 4:48 PM - It's like the stock market. I am trusting Aaron to come through through like he always has. He had an excellent track record, a reputation to up hold, and it is as you say early in the game.

Red
2014 Maybach Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Materium Oakville
4/25/2020 - Jimaronson Likes this wine:
98 points
Silky smooth with no heat. Drank over a 3 hour window. Violets and floral characteristics and full body. One plus minute smooth finish. Still Ruby red throughout. This is a typical wonderful Maybach. I believe this is the right time to try the wine especially if you do not like heat.
It reminds me of a high end merlot. Lots of Bordeaux quality character. This wine could develop other attributes, but I think one would have to wait until 2023+ to see if that occurs.

Day 2. Maybach is richer today, but the fruit is slightly hiding behind the alcohol. In addition to the descriptors in day one the wine now adds some eucalyptus, cigar box, and red liquorish. Just a delightful wine and I am increasing the rating to a 97. I stand by 2023 as the next time I will try the 2014 to give it a chance on day 2 to let the sweet fruit shine a bit more. In comparison to 2014 Realm Farella, I would say the the Realm is bolder and more masculine. The Maybach knows it is beautiful.
  • Jimaronson commented:

    4/26/20, 3:58 PM - Added a day 2 note.

  • Jimaronson commented:

    12/27/20, 6:16 AM - Using the coravin tonight the wine was perfect with the rack of lamb. It now gets a 98 and still climbing. Rich, silky smooth and creamy concentrated grape with one plus minute finish. I can’t add any additional descriptors because other reviewers have them all covered. The wine is still passionately fruit forward and very soft. The grape reminds me of a soft style Hundred Acre, but profiling more sweetness in the mid pallet and finish.

    This would be a terrific bottle to try 30 years out. I have had some enjoyable old Napa wine that were French in style with secondary characteristics. The Maybach can turn into one of those stylistic wines so you may want to try one now and then hold and forget about a few bottles. Maybe, bring one out every three to five years.

    I believe over time the grape will continue to evolve and gather more body and exude greater flavors. I am not suggesting that you wait 30 years, although I would find it interesting to behold for many reasons in addition to trying the wine.

Red
2016 Keplinger Caldera El Dorado County Mourvèdre Blend, Mourvèdre
10/21/2020 - Jack Cranley Likes this wine:
93 points
Dark, opaque, and inky.

Upon first pouring, the nose is rather reserved and not particularly fruity. Very much driven by its mineral, earth, savory, and meaty characteristics.

Smells a bit like a big fat bloody peppered steak.

Lots of swirling and I can begin to coax some floral notes out of it. Violets, geranium, and lilacs with plum and mulberry. A little boozy too.

Ok, drinking this is pretty damn delightful. It is decidedly bombastic, but not overwrought, flabby or verging on cooked. Intense concentration of flavor, a very pleasing gripping mouth feel that really hugs the palate and delivers waves of dark savory peppery meaty flavors.

This wine is a beast but, kind of like a hibernating beast that you could snuggle up with.

The structure is flawlessly integrated and balanced. At this point it is 100% drinkable and I honestly don't know if I would want to flirt with the possibility of this wine going down the raisin/plum path to say that it should be aged any longer. I recommend drinking now, or giving it a year or two at the most. But I could be wrong about that. All I know for sure is that you certainly wouldn't be upset about popping it today.
  • Jimaronson commented:

    10/23/20, 4:51 AM - Caldera wine is open upon release and an early drinker according to Helen’s release notes. I have never kept one long enough to find out if it ages. I agree that it is ready now and not to age too long.

Red
2018 B Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Bridgeline Vineyard Napa Valley
10/16/2020 - Jimaronson Likes this wine:
96 points
Open, balanced, soft, and full bodied. The black fruits are sweet and tannins are mild. This is not a fruit forward Cali cab like other young wines where I feel the fruit and tannins are overwhelming. The wine is more sophisticated and takes a leisurely path towards enjoyment. It exhibits the softness of a Hundred Acre or French merlot. I usually do not open wines this young, but happy to have done this here. I am sure it will age well and would like to try another in three years as long as it has not shut down.
  • Jimaronson commented:

    10/16/20, 3:40 PM - We really thought the wine was older than 2018 as it was so smooth and open. I think I will also look at adding to the list this fall. Hope to see you soon.

Red
2007 Hundred Acre Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon The Ark Vineyard Napa Valley
9/18/2020 - Jimaronson Likes this wine:
95 points
Very smooth medium bodied wine. The fruit is a little on the thin side so you have to be patient. Lovely nose with the fruit exhibiting an unusually fresh scent. The palate is sophisticated with secondary characteristics. I find a combination of cherry candy, red raspberry, and blue fruits. At 15.5% alcohol one would think the wine might be hot, but the hundred acre Ark is smooth and resolved like a fine French pomerol. This is a wine that you do not want to rush. It is best to sip without dinner and ponder just on its own.
  • Jimaronson commented:

    9/19/20, 3:59 PM - Second day more of the same, but more concentrated. Character profile is typical Hundred Acre. Medium plus bodied, smooth, silky, and soft. Would like more fruit and perhaps another year would be better.

Red
2005 Château Prieuré-Lichine Margaux Red Bordeaux Blend
6/29/2020 - Slaithwaite Palace wrote:
92 points
Not sure it is at its peak but certainly has entered its drinking window. Wonderful rich nose, leather and cassis predominant in the mouth with smoky earth and graphite, tannins well integrated finish a little lacking but a wonderful wine nonetheless and if you bought it back in the day quite the bargain
  • Jimaronson commented:

    6/29/20, 6:37 PM - Nice write up. I tried a 2005 Alter Ego right after this wine. The Palmer second growth was smoother and I gave it a 94. It's was open too. The 2005's are better this year. I think your 92 is a good number.

Red
2005 Château Prieuré-Lichine Margaux Red Bordeaux Blend
6/27/2020 - Roelof Ligtmans wrote:
89 points
The overtly oaky character has receded somewhat. The (red) fruit is open and inviting on the nose and the attack. I care less for the finish, I find it a bit soupy, a touch of heat, lacks definition.
  • Jimaronson commented:

    6/27/20, 2:55 PM - My recent bottle was quite nice. Had with a pasta dish with red pepper and clams. Sorry your bottle did not meet your standards. Did you purchase it as a future?

Red
2012 Groth Cabernet Sauvignon Oakville
5/25/2020 - Mark1npt Likes this wine:
88 points
Wholly unimpressive. Had this at the winery back in '14 and bought this bottle then. Whatever I gave this back then, that was its peak. This has gone down hill big time.......unimpressive fruit, unimpressive depth and length, too. I guess it could just be shutdown, but I probably would give this away to some unsuspecting neighbor if I had any left........
  • Jimaronson commented:

    5/27/20, 8:12 PM - Never been a fan of Groth. Always thought it was too commercialized. Sorry it did not come back. I opened a Michael Michel 2012 last week and it was terrific. So, it was probably not the year. Maybe you also had a bad bottle. Sometimes that happens.

Red
2016 Arkenstone Estate Howell Mountain Red Bordeaux Blend
4/23/2020 - Mark1npt Likes this wine:
96 points
Coravined by HMC before dinner tonight.....it easily beats the other wines from tonight....a tad darker than previous bottles, maybe will be shutting down over the next few months? Nevertheless, it is a classy effort, a silky rendition. A $20,000 claimer running against $5,000 and $10,000 claimers tonight.
  • Jimaronson commented:

    4/23/20, 8:20 PM - Thanks for picking one up for me. Would have preferred $20,000, but since you did not offer the cash then I am pleased to have the bottle. You guys are having way too much fun.

Red
2015 Maybach Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Materium Oakville
9/14/2019 - msuwine wrote:
97 points
This 2015 has more than held its own in the 19 months since I reviewed it last (2/18 - 96 points), with the same polished, rich, and round profile, along with perhaps a bit more integrated and settled flavors. I know that many people preferred the 2016 vintage, but this wine reminds me why I've enjoyed the 2015s more, at least to date: the fruit is exuberant but a bit more precise, with a tension and liveliness - characteristics the Materium has maintained in admirable fashion.

Dark purple in color and full in body, the wine displayed more nuanced aromas of black cherry and mocha (as before) but also adding notes of charcoal, cocoa powder, and baking spices. Tastes of boysenberry, black licorice, graphite, and mulberry, with a more integrated finish that still carries dusty tannins but less obvious oak influence (i.e., the cedar and vanilla notes are more subtle now). 14.8% alcohol. This is a remarkable wine that I look forward to following as the years go by - but it's in a great place if you want to open now. 96-97 for the moment, with upside in 2021 or later.
  • Jimaronson commented:

    9/15/19, 5:41 PM - Great note. Maybach is one of my favorites.

  • Jimaronson commented:

    4/18/20, 8:44 PM - I have been reading your commentary. Very interesting. In you honor had a 2014 Realm Farella this evening along with a 2018 Alban Voigner.

Red
1990 Château Cheval Blanc St. Émilion Grand Cru Red Bordeaux Blend
4/11/2020 - JJYoyo Likes this wine:
96 points
Decanted 90 minutes. Initial aromas were heavy on raspberry, leather, clove, raw roast beef, tobacco leaf. A slight touch of VA that blew off. About an hour later (ie 2.5 hours in the decanter) everything merged together beautifully. Fruit mellowed into cherry/raspberry/cassis on the nose, with a lovely rose scent, along with a touch of peat and cigar box. Taste was a mix of cassis, allspice, vanilla, very powerful but well resolved tannins. Fantastic and very noticeable length and finish. Weighty but very silky feel on the palate.
This seems at full maturity. I would not try to keep this for another decade, because it may be on the decline by then. However, it is going to be a slow decline. But if you have this you probably should consume within the next few years to see it at its peak.
Score: 96. Relative to expectations: + (when you command grand vin prices, expectations are high and you get graded with the big boys)
  • Jimaronson commented:

    4/12/20, 7:53 PM - Excellent report. I have 6 bottles and will consume them over the next 3 years.

White
2019 Realm Cellars Sauvignon Blanc Fidelio Napa Valley
4/5/2020 - ozziewine Likes this wine:
98 points
First Fidelio I've had since the inaugural 2016 vintage which, at that time, was our favorite Ca SB ever (didn't drink it until after the 17-18 vintages had been released so didn't buy them...doh!). I realize that's subjective, but now after having the 2019 vintage we realize the Fidelio is just special for both me and my wife.
When poured from the bottle it looks almost as clear as water! That was shocking. In the glass it shows more color than water, but it is still one of the lightest colored white wines we've seen. It was surprising, then, when tasting how dense and complex it was relevant to its' color.
It is bursting with floral bright fruit, a tad savory, unusual, spicey, peach, lime tart. Saw one review mention tangerine and voila! that's the flavor descriptor I was looking for.
Serve this slightly chilled. Dee-lish now and I'm sure for the next couple of years. Classic Sauvignon Blanc.
  • Jimaronson commented:

    4/7/20, 4:40 AM - I found your description right on. The fruit is bright and I would tend to emphasize lime tart and grapefruit. Some describe it as cat pee which is prevelent in well made SB. It is really interesting to see the clear pour and then taste a dense and complex wine. Overall, the wine looks and tastes somewhat like Fresca soda without the bubbles.

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