Comments on my notes

(2 comments on 2 notes)

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Red
2015 Realm Cellars The Falstaff Rutherford Red Bordeaux Blend
9/3/2020 - csimm1161 wrote:
I’ve been sitting on these bottles for over two years now and decided to check what’s under the hood in hopes that this 2015 would nudge me enough to coerce-out my plastic cash to invest in the current Realm release and 2018 iteration of the Falstaff. But let’s talk turkey before we even get into the juice… The price creep already gives me pause here as the Falstaff seemingly tries to catch up to some of the Realm SVD prices – which are already pushing the envelope (and who knows where the ceiling really is – as “deals” at this elevation are few and far between nowadays). Wineries are definitely paying attention to the secondary market and are adjusting pricing to ensure direct to consumer allocation sales funnel into the winery instead of the likes of auctions and second-hand passings. One can’t blame the industry necessarily for trying to directly profit as much as it can before the straggler non-DTC wines go out into the free world. But it does tend to water down the incentive to jump on or remain on a list if the aftermarket rewards similarly. This isn’t a Realm thing on its own (and much of their lineup can’t be had elsewhere for lesser costs except through the winery - generally), but it is a thing (just ask Scarecrow), and something any savvy buyer should always be evaluating. I know it’s grossly impolite to discuss cost before consumption, but I’m a buyer first and a “rater” second. I also know no one has a gun to my head to buy anything, but it’s “worth” mentioning both literally and figuratively that unless you have money to just burn or some company write-off that allows you to buy cases of this stuff for your clients, cost is a real thing that plays into the overall evaluation of a wine’s “worth.”

All that said, this 2015 Falstaff performed beautifully as expected. It took about three hours in the decanter (at cellar temperature) to fully deepen, as heat was fuming-out a little fire on the tail, stomping on the otherwise rich and hedonistic fruit core. Blackberry, black cherry, Indian spice, and an interesting herbal kick made for a spirited but also deeply pitched profile. The finish was notably dry, which I think counterbalanced the rich core perfectly. Had the back end kept at the same pace as the front and mid-palate, it would’ve made for a more cloying crescendo. So, decanting is a must if consuming currently. Otherwise, best to hold for a few more years.

It was recently mentioned to me that some of my notes had become too “factual” (AKA: boring; especially my recent notes on some of the Frenchie “turncoat” juice I’ve been drinking) and lacked some of the usual metaphorical nonsense I’m often prone to spitting out. My girl said my review of the Falstaff should describe something to the effect of, “Scott Baio playing the ukulele during a rerun of Golden Girls; dusty, spice, and so good it’s almost embarrassing.” Maybe I need to use her as a ghostwriter for me going forward? But really, what would Scott Baio be doing on the set of Golden Girls anyway? Is he the spice and the girls are the dusty? Certainly something to ponder.

….Aaaaaand I digress…yet again….

So, is 2018 Falstaff a buy based on this 2015’s performance? Sure. Why not?! Jeb bestowed the 2018 with a 99-point endowment just before the Realm release (nicely timed sir), so you have that in your pocket if it means anything to you. You have decent Cellar Tracker reviews over recent past vintages to compare (better so with the 2015 than the 2016 at this juncture, somewhat surprisingly). And you have the usual cult adoration for all things Realm and the, “Hey, the labels are super cool” giddiness that many a folk seem to have for this house’s branding. So with that, enjoy!
  • syork1 commented:

    9/3/20, 7:42 PM - nicely done---always appreciate your insight and review. entertaining and also helpful

Red
2016 Scarecrow Cabernet Sauvignon Rutherford
1/26/2020 - csimm1161 wrote:
94 points
Red and black raspberry, vanilla, red currant, and hints of scorched earth and espresso powder. A floral note briefly appears but then quickly dissipates. Smooth and fairly balanced on entry, but mostly one-note throughout consumption. Stays pedestrian throughout delivery, even after 4+ hours in the decanter. A rounded frame makes for only medium focus and a casual walk-in-the-park finish. (Not that walks in the park aren’t kinda nice and all, but that’s about all they are... kinda nice). In the 92-94 realm at best for me.

I’m sure the Exalted Highness of the Scarecrow loyalists will say it just needs time, I opened it too early, and how dare I evaluate a wine that is clearly meant for another decade+ of cellaring.... and you’d likely be (partially) right. Plus, I’d be (and kinda ‘am’) super bent too if I just spent a few grand on a handful of bottles and along came some jackalope who didn’t give the wine climactic thousand-point reviews. Well, best delete this note then my friends, because this dude was a tad disappointed in this wine’s showing. Youthfully primary is one thing; boring is another. Just sayin’.... (PS: I’ve learned if you say ‘just sayin’ at the end of any sentence, it makes it ok to say whatever you want and not be blamed for it - Hooooraaay for lack of personal accountability!)... And hey, if you drink this wine and it makes orgasmic butterflies launch from your nether-regions, good on ya. That just wasn’t the case with this little soldier.

Without the fancy hay-stuffed wood box, Illuminati aura, and Area 51 access, the juice itself could have been from any halfway decent Napa Cabernet. The flavors seemed pure and decently fresh, but any semblance of complexity was not even in the conversation (I guess this Scarecrow really does need a brain).

...This conjures up a whole bunch of internal rhetoric about the role of the Scarecrow in the stigmatization of Mid-West farmers’ intellect and how wine doesn’t (or at least, shouldn't) grow in Kansas anyway so why should one expect it to manifest itself successfully as a cult wine label in Napa... but that just seems.....unnecessary..... :)

For the optimist, hold remaining bottles for another 7++ years. To the pessimist, I say donate your stash to the King of Siam so he can fund his military for the next year or so....
  • syork1 commented:

    2/10/20, 1:19 PM - Can we start a club called WBS anonymous (Why Buy Scarecrow)? i admit i need help from this bad yellow brick road.

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