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Comments on my notes

(31 comments on 30 notes)

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Red
2016 Schrader Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon LPV Beckstoffer Las Piedras Vineyard Napa Valley
9/30/2021 - gharter wrote:
88 points
I have yet to be amazed by any Schrader wine from Las Piedras. This may be the best yet. Starts with earth, black cherry, blackberry and plum aromas. Similar flavors. Smooth finish. There are no flaws in this wine. Lots of flavor, but still lacks something compared to other Schrader wines. Still my least favorite of what they make.
  • gharter commented:

    1/30/23, 7:47 PM - Having had dozens of Schrader wines, this continually IMHO, is the weakest in the group , year to year. Is it bad, not at all. But doesn't hold up to the others.

Red
2015 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon The Montelena Estate Calistoga
12/11/2022 - domco wrote:
Last tried 2 years ago and still feels a little disjointed to me. Hope it comes together. We’ll try and forget the last bottle for a few more years.
  • gharter commented:

    12/11/22, 6:50 PM - thanks for the note. Generally, I open one when they arrive and then don't touch for about 10 years as they really need time to show well. Generally, after 10 years and a decant , they shine.

Red
2018 Pride Mountain Vineyards Reserve Claret Napa / Sonoma Red Bordeaux Blend
12/6/2022 - gharter Likes this wine:
92 points
PnP, very young and needs time. Aroams of plum, black cherries and blackberry, tobacco and spice. Medium body, with similar flavors. Long finish with smooth finish. good now, but should be much better in a few years. If you open now, decant at least an hour.
  • gharter commented:

    12/7/22, 7:10 PM - yes. i expect the score to improve in a few years, but needs time to come together.

White
2013 Rhys Chardonnay Horseshoe Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains
5/20/2022 - gharter wrote:
flawed
Purchased along with 3 other bottles direct at release. This cork was soaked. Wine was muted and clearly flawed compared to the other 2 previous bottles. Weird as all the bottles were shipped together and stored in temp and humidity controlled cellar.
  • gharter commented:

    7/7/22, 6:50 PM - Hoping your last bottle is better. When this wine is on, its really good.

Red
2015 Ridge Geyserville Alexander Valley Zinfandel Blend, Zinfandel
1/29/2022 - gharter Likes this wine:
92 points
Pnp, started out a little tight. The last bottle was ready to go on opening, this would have benefitted from a short decant. On the nose, cherry, blackberry, plums, herbs, anise and spice. Loaded with flavor with cherry, blackberry, spice, plum, leather, anise. Very soft tannins in the finish. Showing really well, but as with all Geyservilles, has years of life to go, if you can keep your hands off them.
  • gharter commented:

    1/31/22, 7:08 PM - Lasagna, went very well.

Red
2004 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon The Montelena Estate Calistoga
1/16/2022 - lovemycab Likes this wine:
93 points
Enjoyed over the course of a few hours. Deep purple in color with medium plus intensity. Both red and black fruits here. Secondary notes of oak and spice. Some earth and leather notes coming through. Even after a few hours, this still felt like it was holding back a bit. Would give it a much ox time or long decant. There is plenty left here and going strong.
  • gharter commented:

    1/19/22, 8:12 PM - Thanks for the note. I've found their Estate wines usually benefit from at least a 2 hour decant, and often longer. Agree years of life left.

Red
2007 Pride Mountain Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Napa / Sonoma
11/22/2021 - 55degrees wrote:
85 points
Cellared since release
Reasonable nose of red fruit and menthol
Medicinal taste that was trying to be fruit
But came off as camphor and cough drop
  • gharter commented:

    11/22/21, 8:32 PM - Wonder if you had an off bottle. I've gone through the better part of a case and never had a bottle like that.

Red
1993 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon The Montelena Estate Napa Valley
11/2/2021 - seijaro Likes this wine:
92 points
Another nice surprise: not dead yet and in fact rather nice. Sure, past its prime but still quite flavorful and fun to drink. A mature CA classic vineyard that has held for almost 30 years because it has been perfectly cellared since release.

11/4 Another bottle, even nicer than the last: a solid 94. What a treat!
  • gharter commented:

    11/19/21, 7:51 PM - I have had the 93 multiple times and it is no where near past its prime. The 74, 78, 84, 86 and 87 are still drinking beautifully. Other than a weak year, they easily go 30-40 years before declining. Maybe you had an off bottle?

Red
2015 Kutch Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast
9/14/2021 - gharter wrote:
Started with funk that I haven't noticed in previous bottles. Some blew off, but still showing some Bret.
Tart cherry, cranberry, strawberry on the nose and palate. Good acidity, smooth slightly tart finish.
But not rated as mildly flawed with bret. Drinkable, but not what it should have been.
  • gharter commented:

    9/17/21, 9:59 AM - I haven't contacted him about it. Haven't had issues with his wines before.

Red
2015 Ridge Geyserville Alexander Valley Zinfandel Blend, Zinfandel
8/15/2021 - gharter Likes this wine:
92 points
PnP. Great aroma with cherry, blackberry, plums, herbs, anise and spice. Lots of flavor similar to the nose. Soft tannins in the finish. Showing really well, but as with all Geyservilles, has years of life to go.
  • gharter commented:

    8/22/21, 7:44 PM - thanks for the info

Red
1987 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon The Montelena Estate Napa Valley
8/8/2021 - anthozep Likes this wine:
97 points
Stunningly fresh. Deep to medium ruby with basically zero bricking. Cork was in fantastic shape and fill was slightly above base neck. High toned fruit on the nose with currants, crushed rock, earth, licorice, and leather. Blind I would have pinned this for at least a decade younger from the nose. On the palate, there is still tannin, but it is well integrated along with the acidity. Dark fruits, blackberry, violets, and a long finish, fantastically integrated, again, just stunning.
  • gharter commented:

    8/9/21, 5:23 AM - Thanks for the note. Still have a few left and always found this wine to be stunning. Sounds like its only gotten better with time.

Red
1997 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon The Montelena Estate Napa Valley
7/19/2021 - dkentaustin Likes this wine:
98 points
Flint, ash, deep raspberry flavors with blackberry, light earth and licorice. Lovely texture, perfect weight & balance and incredible structure. Can easily understand why this is considered a first growth of CA. Really drinking spot on after almost 25 years - extremely impressed.

p.s. pot roast
  • gharter commented:

    7/19/21, 8:23 PM - Thanks for the note. Haven't opened one for a few years but the last bottle shined. Sounds like yours was similar.

Red
2013 Schrader Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon CCS Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard Oakville
6/21/2021 - gharter Likes this wine:
99 points
Amazing wine. Benefitted from a 2 hour decant, but shined after that. Blackberry, blueberry, cassis, floral, pencil shavings on the nose. Loaded with smooth, silky, balanced fruit. Blackberry, cassis, spice, floral and pencil shavings. Long silky smooth finish. Incredible now with a decant, but should hold for years.
  • gharter commented:

    6/21/21, 10:45 PM - glad you found it helpful. Truly an amazing wine. I think opening now to 10 years will show an incredible wine. great now, but still may improve. Paired with a 2013 Maybach materium and it was a dead heat. Both incredible wines.

Red
2013 Maybach Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Materium Oakville
12/2/2020 - gharter Likes this wine:
98 points
Time has been very good to the wine. Still very young. Decanted 2 hours and it helped. A little tight when it was opened. Very aromatic with blackberry, plum, tar, tobacco, anise and mocha and chocolate. Layers of rich flavors showing more complexity. Blackberry, cassis, anise, mocha, tobacco, plum and chocolate flavors. Very well balanced. Long silky smooth finish. Not really showing much tertiary character, but really good.
  • gharter commented:

    6/20/21, 9:40 PM - My mistake, what I meant was tertiary character.
    In general, primary character is what comes from the vineyard, the fruit character. Secondary character is usually from the winemaker intervention, oak, malolactic, lees, toast, buttery. Tertiary is the character that develops as the wine ages. Generally, less fruit and more of a leather, truffle, cigar box, tobacco, cedar and mushroom type character.

Red
2002 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon The Montelena Estate Napa Valley
6/3/2021 - La Cave d'Argent Likes this wine:
95 points
From a magnum purchased upon release and cellared under pristine conditions, this deep ruby wine was decanted off of its sediment and allowed six hours in decanter prior to funneling back into the cleansed bottle. It was then served at a dinner party, where it was sampled over a three-hour period. Since last being tasted approximately five years ago, it remains intensely aromatic, flaunting a bouquet of cassis, dark plums, fig, cedar, crushed rocks, licorice and bittersweet chocolate. Full-bodied, freshly acidic, judiciously oaked and with silky-textured tannins, it delivers flavors in line with the aromas and incorporates its 14.4% alcohol seamlessly. Dense on the mid-palate, layered and lengthy on the back end, this is fleshing out beautifully. Although it is drinking well now, those holding well-cellared magnums need not hurry. Drink now-2032.
  • gharter commented:

    6/3/21, 4:50 PM - Great note. My 750s were a little more advanced than your magnum (as expected). 4 left and no hurry to open. Great to hear about the magnum as I have 1 left.

Red
2010 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon The Montelena Estate Calistoga
4/7/2021 - gharter Likes this wine:
94 points
Just really starting to enter its drinking window. Still primary. Purchased at release, this was unusual as it threw NO sediment. No browning. NIce aromas of blackberry, plum, spice, anise, leather, pencil shavings, a hint of herbs and forest floor. Showing a lot of flavor mirroring the nose. Not showing any secondary character yet. I prefer them at 15+ years and this easily has 15-20 years ahead of it. Really good now, but the best is to come.
  • gharter commented:

    4/8/21, 11:09 AM - I thought the 2011 showed much better at release than the 2000 did. That was thin and acidic at release. Over time, it has come around. I expect to see the same with the 2011.

  • gharter commented:

    4/8/21, 11:40 AM - Yes, and fortunate to have tried them all back to 1973.

Red
2015 Marqués de Murrieta Rioja Reserva Finca Ygay Tempranillo Blend, Tempranillo
10/18/2020 - gharter Likes this wine:
88 points
Needs at least a 1 hour decant. Cedar, tobacco, cherry, spice, dusty tannins. The tannins are present in the finish. More of a food wine than a sipping wine. A blend , Tempranillo dominant.
  • gharter commented:

    10/19/20, 5:29 AM - 1 hour really wasn't enough.

White
2011 J. Rochioli Chardonnay Rachael's Vineyard Russian River Valley
5/26/2020 - gharter Likes this wine:
92 points
Showed better than the last bottle. Great aromatics on opening. Pear, green apple and minerals. the oak is well integrated. Medium body and finish. Great balance.
  • gharter commented:

    5/27/20, 6:18 PM - Don't we always hope that?

White
2012 Rhys Chardonnay Horseshoe Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains
5/16/2020 - gharter Likes this wine:
95 points
One of the best Chardonnays I've had in a while. Amazing aromas as soon as it was opened. Floral, minerality, lemon , citrus, and mint. Loaded with flavors. Lemon, citrus, mint, floral, minerality, a touch of oak. Medium bodied with a long smooth finish with minerals and some oak showing up.
  • gharter commented:

    5/17/20, 7:33 AM - These were purchased at release. Glad I still have 3 left. No hurry to open them, but as good as they are, hard not to.

Red
2014 Ridge Geyserville Alexander Valley Zinfandel Blend, Zinfandel
4/27/2020 - gharter Likes this wine:
91 points
Tasted blind with 2014 Ridge lytton Springs. This was the clear winner. Faster out of the gate. Black fruit, black cherry, pepper and tobacco. Smooth finish. Years ahead of it.
  • gharter commented:

    4/28/20, 9:06 PM - Not sure if its the Carignane. Its been interesting as some years I prefer the Lytton and some years the Geyserville.

Red
1978 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon The Montelena Estate Napa Valley
2/8/2020 - Vinnut Likes this wine:
96 points
Deep, dark ruby red in color with ever-so-slight bricking & clearing at the edges. Full, forward & wonderfully expansive nose of ripe fruit aromas of cherries, blackberries & plums with multi-layered overtones of earthy/dusty notes, aged tobacco, mint, graphite, anise, leather, mushrooms, spices/herbs, minerals & a hint of cedar in the background. Full bodied with a very good concentration of well balanced & smooth textured, well developed, ripe fruit flavors of dark cherries, blackberries & plums with spices, herbs, minerals, cocoa & cedar notes. Long lingering smooth finish. Drinks quite well at present but it is most likely at its pinnacle of development at 42 years of age & while I did not detect it heading towards decline, I doubt any further development would occur. I doubt many modern Napa Cabernets can match this wine's power, elegance & age ability. [Cork was fully intact; fill was in the lower portion of the neck.]
  • gharter commented:

    2/8/20, 10:45 PM - One of my all time favorite wines. Takes about 2 hours to really come around, but worth the wait. Glad I still have one left.
    Have you tried the Sonoma? Nearly as good.

Red
2013 Hobel Wine Works Cabernet Sauvignon Engelhard Vineyard Napa Valley
1/7/2020 - gharter Likes this wine:
90 points
PnP. Enjoyed over the next 4 hours. Red fruit, spice, cedar and chocolate. Then the tannins hit. Just not sure the fruit will outlive the tannins. I am holding off on the last few bottles hoping the fruit out lives the tannins, but not sure that will happen.
  • gharter commented:

    1/25/20, 5:43 AM - i think it really depends on your preference. I have found very few Napa cabs that will deliver a Bordeaux-like experience with age. They change, the tannins soften and the fruit is not as forward. If you like more fruit driven wines, I would drink it in the next year or 2. If you enjoy wines with more age, I wouldn't have any concerns waiting a few more years. However , I don't think this is one of those wines that will develop a lot of tertiary character with age.

Red
2009 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon The Montelena Estate Calistoga
9/21/2019 - gharter Likes this wine:
90 points
Decanted 2 hours and not enough, would benefit from longer. Just starting to enter a good drinking window. Enjoyed over 5 hours. Very dark. Big aroma of blackberry, cassis, leather, earth,tobacco, vanilla, spice and a hint of green bell pepper. Similar flavors with the blackberry, spice, leather and earth dominating. Full bodied with a long finish. The tannins are just starting to soften. Most Montelenas will go 30+ years and this is no exception. No hurry to open the rest, but no worry opening one, just decant it.
  • gharter commented:

    11/7/19, 2:02 PM - I would do t least 4 hours.
    I've double decanted some and its worked well. Open it in the morning, splash decant it and put it back in the bottle. With or without the cork didn't seem to matter.

Red
2013 Becklyn Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
12/28/2015 - gharter wrote:
85 points
Popped and poured. A hot mess. Thick, rich, over extracted with a hot alcoholic burn to it. Very fruit forward with a lot of tannin. Got better with time. I wasn't sure with the 2012, but I think the 2013 clearly shows this is not my style.
  • gharter commented:

    10/11/19, 10:06 PM - tried a recent bottle and my comments stand. It is still a disjointed mess. Maybe enven worse. I quit buying and i am glad as this is clearly not my style of wine that I enjoy. For the person that I dropped off the list and they got on and enjoy the wine - congrats. Better that than trying to flip the wine unsuccessfully.

Red
2006 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon The Montelena Estate Calistoga
8/3/2019 - gharter wrote:
flawed
A clearly off bottle, the 7th of a case purchased at release. When it was decanted, there was no sediment (i've never seen a 13 year old Montelena with NO sediment. while it improved with the 2 hour decant, it just never got to the fruit, full body that an older Montelena does. Lacking the complexity that previous bottles showed. Stayed on the acidic side. Not sure what the flaw was as it ws not Bret, didn't seem corked, but just not right. No hurry to open the other 5.
  • gharter commented:

    8/4/19, 1:48 PM - I would have thought that, except this was totally different from the other bottles I've opened in the last few years. I agree about them needing time. I love the 1978 estate and it needs at least 3 to hours or more to really show well. I'm glad I have a few bottles left as it is still one of the greatest wines I've had.

White
2010 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay Napa Valley
3/9/2019 - gharter Likes this wine:
90 points
PnP. Lemon yellow, not showing any of its age. Very aromatic with lemon, lime, pineapple, a hint of oak, green apple and minerals. Similar flavors. The oak is barely noticable. Bright acidity gives a good backbone to the wine, beautifully balanced. Smooth finish.
Blind, would never guess this is 9 years old. Very good now, no worries about any impending decline.
  • gharter commented:

    3/10/19, 12:36 PM - Decanting may have helped. It was enjoyed over 5 hours.
    I have some 2011 left, Unfortunately that was the last 2010. Still very young, and I would have no worries holding at least another 5+ years, probably longer.

Red
2013 Bedrock Wine Co. Cabernet Sauvignon Kamen Vineyard Moon Mountain District
1/17/2019 - gharter Likes this wine:
89 points
Needs time to open. Starts out very thin.
Initially, tobacco and cedar overwhelm the fruit. Same on the palate.
Over the next hour, it started to open. Tobacco, cigar box and cedar still dominate, but the black fruits start to show up. A lot of tobacco/cigar box and cedar still dominate the flavor, but the black fruit starts to show through. Will the fruit overtake the oak and tobacco? Not sure.
  • gharter commented:

    1/18/19, 8:14 AM - I just don't have enough history with their wines to know if they will come around with time. Other producers, I know if the wines need time and how they evolve.
    In general, when the oak is overwhelming the fruit, that usually doesn't improve with age. Maybe this really will improve with 10 years in the bottle.

Red
2015 Schrader Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon LPV Beckstoffer Las Piedras Vineyard Napa Valley
5/12/2018 - csimm1161 wrote:
94 points
Mike Smith Tasting and Wine Dinner PART #2: Better than the 2014 Schrader LPV and 2014 Colesworthy, but it couldn’t catch up to the 2015 Colesworthy (likely by design). However, the conversation amongst the Schraders became somewhat irrelevant, as they were all left in the dust by the two Carter LPVs (2014 and 2015 Verdad). The 2015 Schrader LPV had a thinner mid-palate (though less “watery” than the 2014 Schrader LPV), with a finish that ran a bit too short given what this wine is supposed to be. The overall delivery was good (as in “94-ish points” good), but there was certainly nothing iconic about this wine.

Knock off about $100 a bottle on this wine and maybe there’s a better conversation to be had. But at $225+? Rough…
  • gharter commented:

    1/2/19, 9:05 PM - Agree with your note. As much as I really enjoy the Schrader wines, I have yet to have an LPV wine that has wowed me. Not even the Colesworthy (not close to the Old Sparky).

Red
2009 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon The Montelena Estate Calistoga
5/13/2017 - Grinner wrote:
93 points
J & K Anniversary Wine Night (Lyon Again): Also better than our last in 2/14, this was double decanted 4hrs before tasting. Open nose of Calistoga fruit including signature eucalyptus, cassis, cigar box, and wet stone. Tannins still hangin' in there. Laube is wrong. In 2014 I said, "wait a year"; if you only had a couple, I'd still wait a year, 2018-2029.
  • gharter commented:

    5/14/17, 9:23 PM - Glad to see a note on this wine as I haven't tried one since release. In general, I will open one when I get my purchase to see where it is at. Then leave them for at least 10 years before revisiting. They do require a lot of air and the old ones need at least 3-4 hour decant to show well.

Red
2000 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
11/1/2014 - oldwines Likes this wine:
90 points
I didn't expect much but this was a nice surprise from a corner of my cellar. Medium garnet color, nice floral cab nose with some herbal elements. Pleasant mouthfeel and decent fruit of the red variety with some licorice and a touch of mushroom. Fairly short aftertaste.
  • gharter commented:

    1/19/15, 7:11 AM - Saw your note about the 2000. I was very worried about this at release. Thin and acidic. Its slowly coming around, gaining weight and complexity. It will never be an amazing wine, but has greatly improved. we'll see what the next decade brings.

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