Comments on my notes

(72 comments on 44 notes)

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Red
2009 Vieux Château Certan Pomerol Red Bordeaux Blend
2/20/2020 - sirpat007 wrote:
95 points
Tasted blind. Sweet tobacco and other aging aromas, ripe and intense fruit showing red and blue berries. First impression already incredibly sexy instantly reminding me of a Beckstoffer vineyard in Napa (hence 0 points for me here in the tasting). Great intensity, tension and balance – but with a surprisingly abrupt finish. This was paired against VCC 2015 and in this comparison the 2009 came across somewhat heavy-handed.
  • TXRDW commented:

    2/22/20, 9:29 AM - MJP - WS included the 2017 VCC in a WS article as a top 4 Bordeaux this vintage (98 score). Spoke to Michel today and he said a second article is coming out in days. He has a few cases available at $220, but he thinks it will be gone very soon. Given your note re. VCC and your cellar, I thought I’d pass on the info.

Red
2016 Vine Hill Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon VHR Oakville
1/1/2020 - MJP Hou TX Likes this wine:
100 points
Decided to take notes for a minimum of 6 days on the same bottle. Each tasting would conclude by returning the bottle to the cellar for storage at 54 degrees.

PNP The evening of Friday Dec 27th. Lovely floral nose with dark chocolate covered cherry's on the palate. Restrained with underling finesse. With air the wine opens up within the glass for the first few hours and is very enjoyable. Sat through Wednesday was a evolution of high quality fruit with acids that ever so slightly melt away with each day. The garnet color stayed consistent in purity. You cannot go wrong enjoying this wine now with a long decant but I think the best window is years away as this showed no sings of falling off even after 6 days.
  • TXRDW commented:

    1/22/20, 11:26 AM - Great notes! As a result, I placed a second order this morning for a few more bottles through Ryan’s connection. From what I hear it’s becoming more difficult to find at a decent price. I’ve yet to try any VHR vintage, so I’m taking you and Ryan’s recommendation on the wine... with complete confidence!

Red
2016 Corra Cabernet Sauvignon Melanson Napa Valley
12/29/2019 - TXRDW wrote:
96 points
This wine is surprisingly good. I’ve had several Corras, but never a Melanson. Very elegant, with a long, smooth finish. Chocolate, pencil shavings and dark, spicy fruit. Drank from a Coravin, so it might not have opened up completely. Definitely a unique tasting wine as it isn’t an overpowering fruit bomb, yet it is quite complex. I suspect in several years this wine will score in the 97-98 range. Glad I purchased a few bottles.
  • TXRDW commented:

    12/30/19, 9:46 AM - Thanks, MJP. I see that you’re from Houston, which is where I reside. I’ve also seen many of your comments and notes tied to Ryan (Liteitonfire), so I know that we have similar tastes in wines. I’m guessing you also use his importer, Michel? Very small world!

  • TXRDW commented:

    12/30/19, 4:07 PM - Not sure if you’re interested, but Celia said she has 6 bottles of the 2016 Melanson left. I ordered 3 today, so there are 3 more available if you want them.

Red
2016 Maybach Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Amoenus Napa Valley
12/26/2019 - JEP007 Likes this wine:
97 points
Shared among family at our annual Xmas eve dinner. Once again this wine delivered, taking WOTN in the lineup- 2013 Kathryn Hall, 2016 Memento Mori Dr. Crane and 2006 Caymus. Similar notes as stated below. In all honesty, my palate was totally fatigued this evening as all the wine and sugary foods over the last couple weeks had taken its toll. By Christmas evening, all I wanted was a beer.
  • TXRDW commented:

    12/26/19, 2:56 PM - Good info on the tasting, JEP007. I’m curious what you thought about the 2013 Kathryn Hall as I have a couple of bottles left and my thought has been to hold off for a few more years.

  • TXRDW commented:

    12/26/19, 4:50 PM - Thanks, and I agree regarding KH 2013 never becoming a ‘wow’ wine. Unfortunately I got sucked into the Hall marketing machine that touted the wine as a potential 100 pt bottle based on a barrel tasting review.

Red
2016 Château Smith Haut Lafitte Pessac-Léognan Red Bordeaux Blend
12/22/2019 - TXRDW wrote:
94 points
This was my first SHL ever, and one of the few French wines I’ve tried. I typically stick with the Napa fruit bombs, mainly because of familiarity. Notes of cassis, blackberry, red licorice, herbs and a touch of mint. Very well balanced with a substantially long finish. Decanted half the bottle on day one, slow ox day two. The wine mellowed quite a bit overnight as it initially was a little hot and overpowering. What impressed me the most was how smooth this wine became on day two, very balanced even though the tannins were quite dominating. Much more subtle than the Napa wines I’m used to, which is refreshing.
  • TXRDW commented:

    12/23/19, 6:17 AM - Thanks, Mark. You don’t know what you don’t know, but I’m learning much of what I don’t know about Bordeaux wines is pleasantly surprising.

Red
2013 Dunn Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain
11/17/2019 - TXRDW wrote:
95 points
This is truly a great wine, though a little overpowering at first due to the strong tannins. Lots of dark fruit and earth notes, but very smooth and well structured. Definitely needs several hours exposure to air prior to drinking, not a good candidate for a pop n pour. What surprised me the most was the balance of this wine. I expect this wine to continue to improve over time as the intense tannins start to soften.
  • TXRDW commented:

    11/18/19, 7:37 PM - Dunn is somewhat of an acquired taste compared to most Napa cabs due to its lower alcohol content. I liked the 2013 quite a bit more than the 2014, but the main thing is to open the bottle for several hours before drinking. I’ve been told the 2013 is years away from its optimal drinking window, but with lots of air time it is quite good now.

Red
2015 Château Malartic-Lagravière Pessac-Léognan Red Bordeaux Blend
8/17/2019 - TXRDW wrote:
91 points
Decent wine, but not great. Started off OK, but didn’t open up at all. Most likely way to early to try a bottle of this vintage.
  • TXRDW commented:

    8/17/19, 2:26 PM - Yes, I saw your notes. The strange thing is that I really liked the first half glass... then it seemed to shut down.

Red
2015 Carter Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Fortuna Vineyard Oakville
8/11/2019 - TXRDW wrote:
94 points
Seems to be in a good drinking window. PnP at a restaurant and the bottle was ready to go, but it did improve over the next hour. Fresh red fruit, balanced, but a little light on the tannins. Not sure how much the Fortuna will improve over time, if at all. Definitely a great QPR wine.
  • TXRDW commented:

    8/11/19, 11:10 AM - Point made, should have characterized the Fortuna as a decent QPR. :)

Red
2012 Sherwin Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Spring Mountain District
7/13/2019 - travelme wrote:
93 points
TXRDW nailed the notes though I had it scored one point lower than he did. A great bottle and sad to say it was my last of this vintage. Looking forward to trying the 2005 and 2010 I still have left before moving into more recent vintages
  • TXRDW commented:

    7/14/19, 7:03 AM - Thank you Travelme, I appreciate the compliment. I’ll be interested in your notes once you try the 2014, my favorite Sherwin vintage, followed closely by 2004 then 2008.

Red
2016 Carter Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Fortuna Vineyard Oakville
6/23/2019 - TXRDW wrote:
95 points
Decided to try the Fortuna after recently consuming the OG and the Verdad, the three Carter wines I bought in a mixed case. The Fortuna is absolutely stunning given the QPR. Fresh and concentrated, the lighter red fruit jumps out at you while showcasing an alluring mixture of raspberry, cherry, strawberry, plum and a hint of spice. While a bit lighter than its bigger brothers, I can’t remember a better wine under $100. The visceral reaction I get from the 2016 Fortuna is an overwhelming sense of freshness. Really a great wine irrespective of price point.
  • TXRDW commented:

    6/24/19, 12:56 PM - Thanks, Badmonkey. The upcoming 2017 will also be interesting at Carter, especially given the timing of their price increase. I suspect their wines will be fine nonetheless. In a strange way if they are willing to go up in price on a suspect vintage it gives me confidence that smoke taint isn’t going to be an issue.

Red
2016 Carter Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon The O.G. Beckstoffer To-Kalon Vineyard Oakville
4/20/2019 - TXRDW wrote:
99 points
Materium 2016 vs. Carter OG 2016 side-by-side.

Given CT scores consistently in the 97-100 range for these two great wines I wanted to use each bottle simultaneously as a benchmark for the other. I was trying to avoid finding one wine “a perfect 100” one week and then later liking the other wine better without showing a relative preference. Given the near religious experience one can find in great wines, I decided Easter weekend was appropriate in my quest for perfection. To assist me with my quest I enlisted the help of my daughter, taking a break from her CPA exams to help in my own audit.

Upon opening, both wines seemed tight. The OG was a brooding beast, though slightly acidic. The Materium was super smooth, but not as substantial as the OG. Decided to slow ox for a few hours, then decant. The extra time benefited the Materium far more than the OG, allowing the wine to really come to life and show off it’s impressive structure. Not to be outdone, the OG established itself as a truly transformational beauty of a wine.

Of particular note was how much better the Materium performed at the the 6-7 hour mark, while the OG was consistently great.

My sense is that the OG slightly outshines the Materium at this point in time, but the Materium seems to be more suited for time in the cellar. I would suggest that the OG is much closer now to its optimal drinking window than is the Materium, but I would not be at all surprised if 3-5 years from now the Materium develops into the better wine.

For now - Materium 97, OG 99
  • TXRDW commented:

    4/26/19, 10:03 PM - Thanks, Yack Man. The OG is absolutely one of my favorites and I’ve been wanting to try the Weitz. Interestingly, I ended up finishing the OG and Materium the day after I posted this note and the Materium actually improved a bit more relative to the OG. The OG still ended up on top, but my sense is that the Materium will age better. This was my first Maybach ever, after a little less than a two year wait to get on the mailing list. I’m not sure how long you’ve been waiting, but I sent a few emails inquiring about the wait and all of a sudden I received a response along with an allocation. I got the feeling that my multiple inquiries led to a direct response from Chris letting me in. You might try sending him a follow-up note next January around the time of the next release.

Red
2016 Maybach Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Materium Oakville
4/20/2019 - TXRDW wrote:
97 points
Materium 2016 vs. Carter OG 2016 side-by-side.

Given CT scores consistently in the 97-100 range for these two great wines I wanted to use each bottle simultaneously as a benchmark for the other. I was trying to avoid finding one wine “a perfect 100” one week and then later liking the other wine better without showing a relative preference. Given the near religious experience one can find in great wines, I decided Easter weekend was appropriate in my quest for perfection. To assist me with my quest I enlisted the help of my daughter, taking a break from her CPA exams to help in my own audit.

Upon opening, both wines seemed tight. The OG was a brooding beast, though slightly acidic. The Materium was super smooth, but not as substantial as the OG. Decided to slow ox for a few hours, then decant. The extra time benefited the Materium far more than the OG, allowing the wine to really come to life and show off it’s impressive structure. Not to be outdone, the OG established itself as a truly transformational beauty of a wine.

Of particular note was how much better the Materium performed at the the 6-7 hour mark, while the OG was consistently great.

My sense is that the OG slightly outshines the Materium at this point in time, but the Materium seems to be more suited for time in the cellar. I would suggest that the OG is much closer now to its optimal drinking window than is the Materium, but I would not be at all surprised if 3-5 years from now the Materium develops into the better wine.

For now - Materium 97, OG 99
  • TXRDW commented:

    4/21/19, 6:04 AM - We had tasted the two wines from initial opening through 7 hours. My daughter initially didn’t think that the Materium was in the same league as the OG, but by hour 7 she was genuinely surprised as to how much she started to like the Materium. I guess college students don’t slow ox $8.00 cabs with any luck.

Red
2015 Keplinger Cabernet Sauvignon Oakville Ranch
3/29/2019 - TXRDW wrote:
97 points
What an amazing wine! Decided to buy a few bottles on the recommendation of LITEITONFIRE and I wasn’t disappointed. Started with a few ounces upon opening and the wine was acidic and closed. Decided to decant for about two hours and the wine became a beast. Seductive bouquet of dark, black fruit complimented by a beautiful opaque color, I was soon to be hooked. After two hours of anticipation I found the wine to be at that plateau when the taste screams “I’m at that level where few wines reach”. Notes of bramble, fig, plum and a touch of cedar, this wine is definitely not a fruit bomb. More of an understated elegance that sneaks up on you. 97 for now and some upside with a bit of patience.
  • TXRDW commented:

    3/30/19, 11:40 AM - Your recommendation was much appreciated. I’m thinking the 2016 will be every bit as good, if not better. The 2015 seems primed to age well, which I suspect will take it to the next level.

Red
2016 Maybach Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Materium Oakville
3/29/2019 - Cristal2000 Likes this wine:
98 points
Side by side of the 15 & 16 Materium from 375mls. This was a shocking comparison, in that these two wines are so different. For my pallet at least, the 16 absolutely obliterates the 15. While the 15 seems slightly overripe and not quite as fresh as you would hope in a 100pt rated wine, the 16 is wonderfully pure and fresh, with amazing precision and a finish that goes on about 3x longer than the 15. One whiff of the aroma on these wines tells you all you need to know. It is one of the more stark contrasts I can remember from the same wine over two good vintages.

Amazing classic nose on this wine. Creme de cassis, black currant, violets, licorice and forest floor. Full bodied, ripe but not overdone, with really strong but fine grained tannins, good acid level, exceptionally precise and great concentrated fruit intensity. As this makes its way from mid pallet to the finish, it seems to literally explode with power. It finishes over min. Texture is perfect as always with this label, and this wine is definitely a candidate for perfection in the future. This vintage seems like it has excellent aging potential. 98++
  • TXRDW commented:

    3/30/19, 8:44 AM - Great feedback, Cristal. I’m curious if anyone has made the same comparison to the Amoenus? I just got on their mailing list and I received my first shipment without ever having tried the Materium or the Amoenus and I’m trying to time my first tasting of these two wines.

Red
2012 Sherwin Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Spring Mountain District
3/12/2019 - TastesGoodToMe Likes this wine:
92 points
My first of the '12's. Did not have the oomph (is that wine tasting term?) of the 07', '08 and '09's which were among my favs to date. Still delicious though.
  • TXRDW commented:

    3/13/19, 4:42 AM - Hi TASTESGOODTOME. I’ve been a Sherwin fan going back to the 2003 vintage. If you liked the 07’s, 08,s and 09’s, I suspect you’ll be in for a treat when you try the 2014.

  • TXRDW commented:

    3/13/19, 9:15 PM - Yes, the 2004 and 2008 were my two favorites prior to trying the 2014. I’ll look forward to seeing your tasting note once you uncork the 2014. Enjoy!

Red
2012 Shafer Relentless Napa Valley Syrah Blend, Syrah
12/2/2017 - TXRDW wrote:
94 points
This wine has been a perennial favorite of mine, one of the rare times I stray from my Cabernet comfort zone. This vintage is entering a perfect drinking window, at least based on how it compares to a tasting 12 months ago. Black licorice, spice, boysenberry and plum, with unusually distinctive earth tones. The best descriptors that come to mind are viscous, velvety smooth and very balanced. The 2013 Relentless received lots of hype, but at this point in time I think the 2012 is ahead by a nose. Like many of the CT notes indicate, this wine needs lots of time to open, but time in the cellar going forward may not be as big of a factor.
  • TXRDW commented:

    3/9/19, 6:24 AM - I have never tried any of the Keplinger wines, but based on some of the CT notes I have been reading it sounds like something to check out. A hidden gem you might like is the 2014 Sherwin Family Estate Cab. Definitely an under the radar wine at one of the most picturesque locations on Spring Mountain.

  • TXRDW commented:

    3/9/19, 7:27 AM - Thanks Ryan, I’ll see if I can arrange a tasting during my next Napa trip. Scraps is a very good QPR but the Reserve isn’t worth the tariff in my opinion. I’ve been buying their wine since the 2003 vintage and the 2014 Estate cab is my favorite. Make sure you buy the 2014 as I think they are also selling the 2015.

    What is special about visiting Sherwin is that Steve Sherwin built a very expansive house with a massive deck overlooking a lake on the top of Spring Mountain, all built for visitors as it is not his residence. Typically I will pack a cooler of meats, cheeses, bread, etc. and essentially have a picnic on his deck. Definitely a unique experience if you get to Napa.

  • TXRDW commented:

    3/9/19, 8:00 AM - Thanks!

Red
2016 Melka Métisse Jumping Goat Napa Valley Red Bordeaux Blend
2/7/2019 - csimm1161 wrote:
93 points
Melka: Kicking out just as much energy as the 2012 sampled before it, but managing to counterbalance some of its speed with notable intensity and concentration, the 2016 Jumping Goat catapults notes of bright cassis, black and red cherry, rose pedals, granite, and a significant amount swirling booze. This is all about the vibrancy and zest at the moment. Riding high, acidic, and primary in its current state, but seemingly with enough stuffing to integrate the totality of its components into a more cohesive beast after a solid 3-5+ years in bottle, this 2016 is compelling, if not completely rowdy and wild currently.

93+ points, with upside after 2022/2023+.
  • TXRDW commented:

    2/18/19, 6:06 PM - Great notes CSIMM on the 2016 and 2012 Jumping Goat. I’m intrigued by this wine, but not in a rush to make the investment. Given the competition, $195 is a tough call.

  • TXRDW commented:

    2/21/19, 2:59 PM - I completely agree. I ended up hesitating yesterday on VHR at $225 and it sold out. I was on the fence given the price vs the 100 point Galloni rating. Lots of tough decisions in this hobby.

  • TXRDW commented:

    2/21/19, 4:35 PM - I feel much better knowing you passed on the VHR too. It sold out so quickly I thought I might have missed out on a epic wine given the score. I did go out on a bit of a limb on a new wine for me that I found intriguing - a Corra 2016 Melanson. Given the Pritchard Hill source I’m hoping I found a gem.

  • TXRDW commented:

    2/21/19, 7:13 PM - Corra is Celia Welche’s label. I’ve had her wines since 2012. I think you might find it an interesting wine to try. Very smooth and elegant. This is my first Melanson version, hoping it is good.

Red
2016 Vice Versa Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
2/3/2019 - Badmonkey wrote:
My parents returned from vacation and I decided to pop a bottle since they've never had a higher-end Vice Versa cab. Quite a difference from the last bottle a couple days ago and for the worse which was surprising. The fruit was tightly wound and somewhat closed. Dark ruby/purple fruit - blackberry, black currants, and dark cherry. Smooth mid-palate but the fruit came across lighter than the last bottle - medium body. Flavors of dark berries, some spice box, and a little mineral graphite component; however, the flavors came across a little closed/somewhat muted. Decent finish but not overly long nor deep. Decanted for one hour and drank over a couple more. Improved a little with time but never fully came around. Drank next to a 2015 Carter Beckstoffer La Verdad Las Piedras cab which destroyed the Vice Versa - bigger/fuller fruit, more expressive/flavorful, longer/deeper finish, etc.. There's always the possibility that this bottle was somewhat flawed but I don't believe that is the case. I'll refrain from rating it because it clearly needs some time but 92/93 if rating. I'm going to lay the other bottles down for at least a year but likely even longer. Once again, WA anticipated maturity 2021 to 2045 which makes sense.
  • TXRDW commented:

    2/3/19, 7:23 AM - Great note, Badmonkey. Like you I was very high on my first VV of the 2016 vintage. In fact, I had never tried VV before. I also love the Carter La Verdad. I’m curious about any thoughts you might have for the upcoming VV release given the inconsistency you’ve experienced and the fact that it will be the 2017 vintage. This appears to bring two variables into play.

  • TXRDW commented:

    2/4/19, 7:21 AM - Thanks Badmonkey. The referenced article was very helpful as were your your thoughts on the topic. I received a lengthy email response on this topic from a prominent female Napa winemaker suggesting that the key to the 2017 vintage was tasting the wines after release, then making the buying decision. Her thought was that if 2017 ends up being relatively ignored, the result might be some lower after-market pricing. She went on to point out that while some reviewers are pointing to a Labor Day heat spike in 2017, this should not be alarming in that Napa almost always has had a 3-4 day window in early September of high temperatures, which often is what “makes a vintage”, especially in a cooler AVA but even for Rutherford or Oakville.

    I think a sound strategy for the 2017 vintage will be to taste first, then make they decision whether or not to buy.

  • TXRDW commented:

    2/4/19, 5:59 PM - Again, thanks for the info. Since you are still looking at 2015s & 16’s, you might check out the 2015 Dunn Howell Mountain. 95 rating from Wine Spectator, highest for Dunn since 1987.

  • TXRDW commented:

    2/5/19, 9:13 AM - I really don’t know. Wine Spectator gives a window starting in 2022. I’ve already tried the 2013 and it was very good, but in need of a few more years. It’s just unusual to see Wine Spectator score the wine so high. The other wine I’m very high on for 2015 is the Shafer HSS. If you can find any once it is released I think it will end up with an unusually high score this vintage.

  • TXRDW commented:

    2/5/19, 10:20 AM - HSS is by far the most expensive bottle I purchase, without a close second. The main attribute I like is the ability to lay down the wine. What has me so intrigued about the 2015 HSS is that historically the Shafer One Point Five tracks the HSS (plus 3 to 5 points) on WS scoring. James Laube of WS scored the 2015 OPF at 93, which is the highest OPF score ever since the OPF came out in 2004. As a comparison, JL only scored the 2014 OPF at a 90. My thought is that Shafer nailed both of their 2015 cabs. It will be very interesting to see the WS score when it comes out. I’ll be very surprised if the 2014 ends up better long term than the 2015, but then again that’s what makes this hobby fun.

Red
2015 Maybach Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Amoenus Napa Valley
11/9/2018 - csimm1161 wrote:
97 points
Exhibiting beautifully brooding and complex flavors of black, purple, and dark red core fruit, the 2015 Amoenus kicks out notes of deep, dark black cherry, wild blackberry, black soil, black olive, clove, and bitter chocolate.

Decanted for a total of two hours at around 50 degrees, this wine was far less sweet and backward than the 2015 Materium in its current state. The Amoenus has a nice dark streak shooting through it, which helped to maintain focus and provide lift to the gorgeously pure fruit. This is not atypical of Amoenus, as I find this wine versus the Materium to generally be the less bombastic ripe fruit-wise of the two (the cooler site is likely a contributing factor here).

For 2015, the Amoenus is the favored wine for me at the moment. The Materium just needs some extra time in bottle in my opinion. As for the Amoenus, it is drinking surprisingly well right out of the gate. Some decanted air at a cooler temperature helped elevate its display of complex, layered flavors; however, another year to truly settle into itself might do wonders. A great showing!
  • TXRDW commented:

    1/30/19, 7:55 AM - Another great note, CSIMM! I just found out yesterday, much to my surprise, that I finally got on the Maybach mailing list. I ordered my allocation of the Materium and I am now wondering if I should update my order with my allocation of the Amoenus. I’d appreciate your thoughts as I’m new to Maybach. Thanks.

  • TXRDW commented:

    1/30/19, 10:36 AM - Thanks, CSIMM for such detailed feedback. I just ordered 4 bottles Amoenus, bringing my total to 10 including the Materium. My wallet is definitely a little lighter, but I had been waiting a few years to get on their mailing list. I consider you my CT mentor of sorts as I am relatively new to this. I have taken your advice on Carter, Bevan, VV and now Maybach and your insight has been invaluable. I’m now up to about as many lists as I can handle at 12, so now the tough part is about to start as I’ll likely start dropping one for every new one added. Not sure how you handle this issue as it seems tough.

  • TXRDW commented:

    1/30/19, 9:05 PM - Thanks CSIMM, your top 10 list is very insightful. This is definitely an interesting hobby in that the decision making isn’t always linear. For instance in Houston at times I can get wines below the direct price, which is annoying. But on the other hand given the extreme heat in Texas and the uncertainty of how the wine was stored and transported, I’m willing to pay a premium for the provenance of a wine that I might not consume for many years. One of my pet peeves about this hobby is that many of these mailing lists require some sort of annual purchase in order to keep the allotment. My preference with some vineyards would be to make alternate year purchases so as to be able to support more vineyards. In any case I do appreciate the time you must have put in to answering some of my questions. I’ll continue to look forward to enjoying your notes and comments.

Red
2017 Vice Versa Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer To-Kalon Vineyard Oakville
11/29/2018 - csimm1161 wrote:
Barrel samples of the BTK, Crane, and LPV.

There is already much to love about these rousing wines-in-progress, as the purity of fruit and fresh, clean deliveries of flavor once again highlight the elevated attention to detail brought forward by this house.

As one might expect, these wines are primary and somewhat temperate in their overall executions at the moment. With time in the glass and some vigorous swirling, the dark fruit and spice flavors begin to open up and reveal a more deepened mid-palate drop; acidity shows medium in grip, with a constant but subtle tannic frame tempering the full distribution of flavor currently.

The purity and freshness of fruit here are so elevated that they shine as the primary accolades of these particular wines. The To Kalon and Crane wines showed especially pure and balanced. The LPV was a bit more demure this time around, with a back end that was showing more minerality and frame than leading with the core fruit. By comparison to the 2016s, these 2017s show less bombastic potency at the moment, but instead exhibit a balanced slow-burn that is surely alluring.

Consumers will have to get used to the notion that the 2017 vintage may not carry the same up-front and immediate concentration and depth as the last few drought vintages. Instead, 2017 might be better appreciated through the lens of finesse and virtuosity, if not a little lighter in highfalutin weight and mouthfeel. There's an elegance to these 2017 Vice Versa wines (and other 2017s I've sampled) that do not blow over the palate with the boom-intensity and salaciousness of 2016s, but instead impress for their panache and polish, showing even more of a classical flair (a la the 2010 vintage) that makes for an even more elevated experience in some respects.

Select top wineries who are extremely selective and meticulous in their step-by-step sculpting of their 2017s (to include dumping fruit that is either tainted or even remotely sub-standard) will indeed produce exceptional wines. Those who ultimately manage to successfully navigate through the tribulations of 2017 will have likely produced comparatively svelte wines to the 2016s, but will certainly still deliver in purity and freshness.

I initially don't want to like 2017 as a vintage, as it is easy to sling mud in the name of the heat spike and the following wildfires. But there are wines out there that just might have found a way to be truly successful in this trying vintage. Vice Versa is without a doubt one of them. Once these are bottled, they will surely need a few years to develop and find their places among their extremely competitive and overly animated 2016 siblings.

For me, the 2017 Beckstoffer wines from Vice Versa are classy and skillfully elevated beyond anything I’ve seen from this vintage yet. They will all eventually be high-mid to upper 90s wines without question, with building upside in the years to come.
  • TXRDW commented:

    1/27/19, 8:37 AM - Great note CSIMM! You seem to be a fan of Philippe Melka Wines, given many of your Vice Versa and Tusk notes. I’m curious if you have an opinion on Melka Vineyards, specifically Jumping Goat. I’ve had his entry level CJ and I was impressed. I’ve heard Philippe is very high on the 2016 vintage, supposedly referring to it surprisingly as “the vintage of the decade”. With that in mind I’m thinking on buying heavy on some of the Melka Vineyard offerings, specifically with Jumping Goat in mind, but there are very limited CT notes out there. I’m hoping you have some feedback.

  • TXRDW commented:

    1/27/19, 11:30 AM - Thanks CSIMM. Your perspective is quite interesting and most helpful. I found myself jumping down the Jumping Goat path indirectly because of you. I’m not sure if you remember, but about a year ago I asked you for suggestions on wine. One of your recommendations was Vice Versa. A few months ago I tried the 2016 and it was amazing. This led me to the Melka name (I’m still learning these things), which led me to his CJ on a wine list one evening, which was a very solid QPR. From there I found out Melka had his own label and from the very few CT reviews it seemed worth a try (the 2013 notes were exceptional)

    I’m trying to slowly build up my collection, and now that you’ve turned me on to Carter and Vice Versa, I’m branching out. Hopefully at some point I can gain access to Sine Qua Non and Tusk, but it looks like it would be easier for a guy in Texas to find a unicorn than either of these wines. My thought is that I might be better off getting on the front end of some of these up and coming vineyards rather than face a decade long wait to get on a mailing list.

  • TXRDW commented:

    1/27/19, 12:26 PM - Then Jumping Goat it is. The other two Melka wines you mentioned, sourced from Pritchard Hill and Martinez, require joining their wine club where you commit to 4 bottles each of the 3 labels at a sticker price just south of 3K for 12 bottles. Unfortunately the only wine of the 3 you can buy without joining the club is the Jumping Goat.

Red
2016 Carter Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon La Verdad Beckstoffer Las Piedras Vineyard Napa Valley
12/24/2018 - Badmonkey wrote:
99 points
Early Christmas at my parents. Wow, what a big/brooding cab. Dark purple fruit - primarily blackberry and black currants with a little dark cherry and blueberry. Really smooth coupled with nice depth/concentration and a beautiful purity. Nice vibrant/full flavors of dark berries, some spice/licorice, and a mineral/graphite component. Long finish. Decanted for two hours and drank over a couple more. Improved a little with time but drinking quite well after the decant despite its youth. So good now but another year or two should be beneficial to let the fruit soften/open-up a little more. Probably the best wine that I’ve had - no surprise of the 100 rating from WA. WA anticipated maturity 2022 to 2054. In addition, the Winery recommends giving their 2016 Beckstoffer cabs around 5 years from the vintage date if drinking young so 2021 which makes sense.
  • TXRDW commented:

    12/24/18, 4:57 PM - Great note! Interesting that you scored the Las Piedras higher than the OG. CT seems to like the OG better, yet the winery suggested the Las Piedras might be better over time. I ordered several bottles of each but I’ve yet to try either wine. Your notes are really tempting me to try each of the two very soon. Looks like I can’t go wrong with either wine.

White
2016 Bevan Cellars Chardonnay Ritchie Vineyard Russian River Valley
11/23/2018 - seijaro Likes this wine:
92 points
Our 92 is an average of my 91-92 and my wife's 93-94, she obviously liked it more than I did. It's a very dark gold color and big, both in the nose and on the palate. Not the typical Chard flavors, maybe pineapple? Hard to pin down. We agree that it needs more time to integrate and calm down a little... at the moment it's odd.

6/26/19 Another bottle with lunch, a solid 93. It has calmed down a bit, now more subtle and Burgundy-like. Still delicious, just different from the previous bottle.
  • TXRDW commented:

    11/24/18, 8:54 AM - Great note Seijaro. I’m curious if you noticed any cloudiness in the wine? My bottle was extremely cloudy, and while not seemingly affecting the flavor certainly off putting. I’m really hoping the cloudiness is simply a function of not enough time in the bottle and will eventually clear up. Kind of reminded me of a scene from the movie Bottle Shock.

Red
2013 Pride Mountain Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Napa / Sonoma
9/28/2018 - TXRDW wrote:
93 points
On a whim I decided to open my last bottle of 2013 Pride after much disappointment from previous bottles (see last note). Much to my surprise this was a far better wine than in the past. Storage has been consistent, so the other main variables that come to mind are method of pouring, aging and consistency of vintage. I popped and poured with the first glass being very good and the wine tasted even better an hour later. My last (disappointing) bottle was recent, so aging wasn’t a factor. This leads me to suspect that the 2013 Pride was inconsistent for reasons unknown. In any case, my final bottle was quite good.
  • TXRDW commented:

    11/7/18, 7:34 PM - Thank you for your feedback, I’m glad I’m not the only one who has a love/hate relationship with this wine. When it is good it is very good... but when it is average it’s like the feeling you get when you miss a longtime friend. It was nice to see the good Pride show up for my last bottle, he had been missed.

  • TXRDW commented:

    11/8/18, 2:10 PM - My thought going forward is to stick with the Reserve... if you can get it.

Red
2016 Carter Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon La Verdad Beckstoffer Las Piedras Vineyard Napa Valley
10/28/2018 - #1Winelover Likes this wine:
98 points
This rich and luscious baby blew me away. I started with a Coravin pour, which was really good, but once I opened the bottle and gave it time in the decanter, it became an excellent wine. After 1 hour, it still needed a little more time to blow off some of the alcohol. After 2 hours, it was singing.

Dark purple with red and blue coloring and fruit smells, including blackberry, blueberry, plum, cassis, licorice. Well integrated velvety tannins, with a nice balance of acid. Very full-bodied but not too heavy. Nice earth and mineral notes.

I do think that this is too young and will become a 100 point wine with time. If you are lucky enough to have this, I would either decant it for some time, or, wait 6-12 months.

98-100 points.
#pittsburghstrong
#strongerthanhate
  • TXRDW commented:

    10/28/18, 8:03 AM - Great comment, #1winelover. I had heard that the La Verdad is more age-worthy than the O.G., but that might be splitting hairs. Your notes do confirm that a year or so should be the starting point to try this wine, though I’m not that patient. Hoping my shipment makes it to Texas soon.

Red
2015 Scarlett Wines Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve Rutherford
10/10/2018 - Mech-E Likes this wine:
95 points
Decanted 3 hours. Needed more time to hit its stride. Not as sweet as the non-reserve bottling, which is fine by me. Has more staying power and restrained dark fruit. Touch of oak here. 2nd glass better than the first in terms of mouthfeel. Got softer, obviously, as time went on. Would not say "plush" on this. Some barrel spice but not intrusive. Hold.
  • TXRDW commented:

    10/10/18, 7:12 AM - Great note Mech-E. I opened a bottle this past weekend and I would echo your notes. In fact I had 1/2 a bottle the next evening and it was substantially better as the complexity was much improved.

Red
2013 Pride Mountain Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Napa / Sonoma
6/30/2018 - TXRDW wrote:
90 points
I had this wine on the heels of a 2015 Pride Reserve. Big step down, even after considering the relative QPR. Decanted for 2 hours, strong notes of black cherry and spice, but with an almost bitter finish. I’m a huge Pride fan, but this particular bottle was a bit disappointing.
  • TXRDW commented:

    7/1/18, 5:42 AM - Interesting feedback, Mark1npt. My sense is that Pride wines in general need several years of aging and more so for 2013’s. As disappointed as I was with this bottle I was the exact opposite with the Pride Reserve, which was a truly great bottle.

  • TXRDW commented:

    9/19/18, 6:11 AM - The saving grace for Pride is that their wines are not the highly extracted Napa fruit bombs that are garnering most of the high scores lately, and Pride certainly is not a wine meant for short term consumption. With that being said, I doubt in the near future I will venture beyond the Pride Reserve because of the surprisingly steep drop off when compared to their lower-tier wines.

Red
2015 Austin Hope Cabernet Sauvignon Paso Robles
4/21/2018 - Badmonkey wrote:
Some friends over and I decided to pop a bottle to see what they thought. Similar thoughts as the last bottle - thankfully I only bought two. Once again, awfully rich, sweet, and over-extracted. If tasted blind I would never guess it was a cabernet. Drank next to a 2015 Becklyn cab and 2012 Lewelling cab. Both of those wines were considerably better in my opinion. I'll refrain from rating this bottle because it's just not my style, however, I believe the 97 rating from WE is really generous. Once again, I believe it's closer to the 89 rating from WA - although that's also a little generous in my opinion.
  • TXRDW commented:

    7/15/18, 10:01 AM - Badmonkey, I wish I would have scrolled further down CT to read your reviews. Unfortunately I did not and I ended up purchasing a bottle at Costco to try. I can see why some like this style for the same reason many do not - the wine is very sweet. I tried about 1/3 of the bottle last night. Not sure I will have the desire to even finish the bottle. It reminds me of when I’ve had too much of a very rich dessert and I can’t have another bite. Luckily my purchase was limited to one bottle.

Red
2016 Bevan Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Wildfoote Vineyard, Vixen Block Stags Leap District
6/22/2018 - csimm1161 wrote:
98 points
Bevan: A massively powerful and intense wine, packed with black core fruit. Burnt embers, scorched earth, black soil, river rock, pulverized granite, black pen ink, and some dark cassis. The front end is an onslaught of flavors and drive, with just enough texture to keep it from crossing the line into being a bruiser. This is the most powerful Wildfoote Bevan has ever crafted. Massive weight, but so much energy, it was never heavy or burdensome. The finish went on and on.

This still needs time in the bottle to better integrate and develop a more seamless glide, however, it is a mega bottle of bad-assness that demands attention. 97-98+ points. Hold until after 2020.
  • TXRDW commented:

    7/4/18, 10:05 AM - Great note CSIMM. I’m thinking about buying a few bottles of Bevan. Other than a Chardonnay at a restaurant I’ve never tasted their wine. I’ve ordered quite a bit of the 2016 Carter and I’m curious how the Bevan compares... and I’d like your opinion on the top 2 or 3 Bevan wines to try.

  • TXRDW commented:

    7/4/18, 11:08 AM - Thanks CSIMM! The three selections make sense. Your comment regarding 2013 was also interesting as I recently tried a Pride 2013 and it was very disappointing compared to other vintages. It will be fascinating long term to see how 2013 ends up given the critical acclaim. Trying to decide what money to allocate towards various choices each year is tough, but it is also what makes this hobby so much fun. A good example is the Shafer HSS, which now has their “buying window” open. I ask myself “Am I better off with one extra bottle of HSS or three bottles of Ontogeny?”. I know there is no right answer, but getting feedback adds to the fun of the selections.

  • TXRDW commented:

    7/4/18, 12:02 PM - Good advice. I’m heading off to a family 4th of July event with my 2012 Sherwin Family cab bottle etched with the American flag. If you haven’t seen this you should do a search for “Sherwin Family Etched Flag Bottle”. It is the only vineyard with government approval to etch an American flag on the bottle, and their estate cab is very good. You might check it out if you haven’t seen it. In fact there is a great tasting note on CT for the 2014 current release.

Red
2016 Carter Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon La Verdad Beckstoffer Las Piedras Vineyard Napa Valley
5/25/2018 - Yack Man Likes this wine:
98 points
This is a solid beauty, a not too distant second best next to the O.G. Beautiful extracted dark black and blueberry fruit, cassis, dark berry liqueur and beautiful depth. A fruit forward wine that has everything going for it. Minus some rough edges, this could be a perfect wine once it settles down with bottle time. This is simply stunning, absolutely beautiful. 98-99 points
  • TXRDW commented:

    6/21/18, 7:34 AM - I think your comparison to the OG is very helpful. I had heard from someone (at Carter) that these two wines match up pretty evenly now, but the Verdad might be the better wine with age. I placed my initial Carter order for just the Verdad and the OG, mainly because of availability, but I do plan on placing a second order once I get some feedback on the other recent offerings. I’m curious if you’ve tried any of the other Carter 2016’s?

Red
2015 Scarlett Wines Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve Rutherford
6/2/2018 - csimm1161 wrote:
99 points
Napa Cabernets + SQN + others (Home): All of my previous notes on this wine apply. I’ve written on and on about my adoration for the 2015 Scarlett Reserve. The best Scarlett ever. The best McGah ever. One of the best Mike Smith wines ever. And with a relatively awesome QPR when compared to any other wine in its league, this thing is just a great bottle of juice that I could drink every night. This showed best after about an hour of being in the glass and getting some much needed air. The initial PnP pull was a little fat and boozy, but that tapered off, leaving some extraordinarily complex dark fruit, rock, and spice flavors. Great energy and intensity. Ideally, I’d still hold for another year.
  • TXRDW commented:

    6/10/18, 1:03 PM - CSIMM- Great note as always. I find Mike Smith’s wines very good, but also quite similar in style. I’m debating on how much to spend proportionately on 2016 Fortuna (Carter) vs. 2016 Scarlett Reserve. Your thoughts would be much appreciated as these are two of my favorite QPR wines from 2015. Any insight into the 2016 vintage for these wines would also be valued.

  • TXRDW commented:

    6/10/18, 1:54 PM - Thanks CSIMM. Just curious... do you have any feedback on Spottswoode? I’m thinking on making a purchase, but it is a 6 bottle minimum and a little pricey.

  • TXRDW commented:

    6/12/18, 7:24 AM - Thanks CSIMM, sounds like Dunn at double the price. Great info.

Red
2013 Hall Cabernet Sauvignon Eighteen Seventy-Three Napa Valley
5/28/2018 - TXRDW wrote:
96 points
Last bottle... best bottle. Finally lived up to the WS Top 100 hype. I was really down on this wine till this tasting. Well integrated, smooth. I’m really amazed at how improved this wine is since my last bottle. Make sure to decant and you will be rewarded.
  • TXRDW commented:

    5/28/18, 8:17 PM - 2 hours. This wine is in its prime. Enjoy.

  • TXRDW commented:

    5/29/18, 4:19 PM - You bring up an interesting topic when you compare a Bordeaux to a Napa Cab. While they are the same grape, the growing climate, ripeness and alchohol levels are quite different, all affecting secondary development. I would suggest many Napa cabs are produced to be much more approachable early on compared to classic Bordeaux. In the case of this particular wine my opinion is that it now is entering its prime drinking window, and I’m basing my opinion on previous bottles and notes.

  • TXRDW commented:

    5/30/18, 9:10 AM - I think this brings up two issues: 1) Is Napa winemaking generally different than winemaking in the Bordeaux region and, 2) Do all Napa vineyards have similar philosophies on how to produce cab. In the case of Hall I would suggest their wine is produced to be approachable early on. I’m attaching a link to what I consider a very informative article on this topic that I hope you will find interesting: https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.sfgate.com/wine/thirst/amp/Randy-Dunn-s-Cabernet-crusade-3813953.php

    If you can’t pull up the link the article shows up on a Google search of: Randy Dunn’s Cabernet Crusade

Red
2014 Dunn Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain
3/10/2018 - TXRDW wrote:
92 points
Acidic, tart and full of dark mountain fruit. Slow ox for five hours followed by a long decant. The thing that initially struck me was how much different this vintage was compared to the earthy and strong tannins of the 2013 vintage. Dunn is a most unique wine compared to its neighboring Napa fruit bombs, the obvious result of a refreshingly low alcohol content. Well structured with a very long and lingering finish, this wine will be several points higher with a few years behind it. Too young now to show its stuff, but with patience and time... lots of time, the 2014 Dunn will likely compete with the the top tiered wines of this vintage.
  • TXRDW commented:

    4/14/18, 6:39 PM - Hi Justin S. I found the 2013 (compared to the 2014) Dunn HM to be substantially more tannic, with heavy notes of earth, mineral and graphite. To me the 2014 had more dark fruit notes, was very approachable but not nearly as complex. About a month ago I contacted the vineyard to see if I could purchase a few more of the 2013 HM. I very nice lady by the name of Erin accommodated my request, but she mentioned that the winery had been recommending to customers to consider drinking the 2014 before the 2013. Hope this helps.

Red
2015 Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley
3/30/2018 - nzinkgraf wrote:
15.2% ABV. Wood burnished black fruit aromas. Powerful, but balanced aromas. Soft and generous, but loaded with underlying structure. Rather accessible relative to some previous experience with this wine.
  • TXRDW commented:

    3/30/18, 2:51 PM - Nice note, you have a talent for descriptive writing. I just received my first four bottles of QC, having never tasted this wine before. I’m excited to open my first bottle and trying to figure out the timing.

Red
N.V. Sherwin Family Vineyards Cellar Scraps #11 Spring Mountain District Red Blend
3/24/2018 - mflesh wrote:
Not a bad little wine at all. Super dense and concentrated but just seemed to be a bit 'all over the place.' For a Spring Mountain wine, this one has a lot of dense, chalky fruit. Tastes very young. Still a bit gritty. I would have liked to have come back to this one after letting a full glass sit for about an hour and warmed to room temp. Black and blue fruit, a hint of baking spice. Getting some lavender in the note. Going to have to look for this one! Not sure of aging potential, as to me it seemed to lack a TINY bit of structure. But I betcha this one will hold for a few more years.
  • TXRDW commented:

    3/26/18, 8:41 PM - Nice note Mflesh. This is one of my all time favorite QPR wines. Haven’t had the Scraps 11, but have had 7 through 10 and they have all been great. Typically very similar to the estate cab, in fact sometimes I’ve wondered if the Scraps at times isn’t leftover Estate cab at a lower price point. Usually even better after an hour or two decant.

Red
2013 Shafer Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select Stags Leap District
2/7/2018 - csimm1161 wrote:
94 points
3-Day Napa Cab Taste-Off: Vice Versa, B Cellars, Memento Mori, Alpha Omega, Purlieu, Janzen, Realm, Myriad, MACDONALD, Maybach, and more...; 2/7/2018-2/9/2018 (Napa): Classic meets modern. Tight and coiled-up, like a snake ready to strike. Pretty massive overall, but also displaying an intriguing sophistication that draws one back for another sip. Needs air! Lots and lots of air! Specific notes of black and red currant, black cherry, black (and some red Kauai) rock, tobacco leaf, and asphalt.

Currently, this wine is painfully backward, needing 7-10 years before it is even worth having the conversation. Clearly this is the flagship wine of the house, but this pissed-off bear needs to hibernate for a while before it should come back out into the world. 94+ points for now, with the stuffing to make a convincing argument for some upside after 2025.
  • TXRDW commented:

    2/17/18, 5:03 PM - Great note CSIMM. It’s been my experience that HSS needs to be put down for a while, even more so for this vintage. I’m glad you took one for the team, so now I’m not quite as tempted to open one of my three bottles that have been like sirens calling out my name.

Red
2013 Hall Cabernet Sauvignon Kathryn Hall Napa Valley
2/7/2018 - mflesh wrote:
94 points
This has to be one of the worst QPR wines I've ever had. But, I am rating the WINE here. Poured from Coravin and let sit for about an hour. I will tell you that I was excited initially, as the nose of this wine overpowered the grass fed beef burgers that were just cooked about 2 feet away from where the wine was being poured. DENSE blackberry and vanilla rolling out of the glass. The entry of this wine is silky, but also has that gritty Napa youthfulness. POWER. Fruit forward monster, ripe blackberry, graphite, mineral and spice rich middle with cherry blossom and finish with a very deep, dark core of blackberry, black pepper spice. The finish is where chocolate covered blackberries and minty notes come out, but the wine was still rather tannic. I blind tasted my wife on this one who guessed that it was a '13 William Harrison cab (vineyard is only 2 miles away as the crow flies, although Hall's is elevated 750 feet).
  • TXRDW commented:

    2/9/18, 2:44 PM - Great comment mflesh on the KH QPR. I made a similar obsevation last August. My issue was how effective Hall was at hyping their wines, in this case based on heavily marketing a 98-100 RP barrel tasting score compared to the final product. Had the wine matched the hype, $140 would have been a great QPR. I also agree that this wine is a solid 95, just not the QPR it would have been had it ended up a 98-100 pt wine.

Red
2017 Scarlett Wines Cabernet Sauvignon Rutherford
12/15/2017 - csimm1161 wrote:
Barrel samples (Cabernet Sauvignon):

2017 Myriad Empyrean GIII
2017 Myriad Three Twins
2017 Myriad Round Pond
2017 Scarlett

Huge noses on all of them, especially the Scarlett and GIII. All wines were obviously teeming with wild, energetic flavors. Lots of fruit; deep, opaque crimson purple colors in the glass; excellent viscosity; huge mouthfeel.

Clearly a lot to sort out, but well on their ways to their respective successes in the coming years. And most importantly, absolutely no detectable smoke taint whatsoever on the lots picked during/post wildfires.
  • TXRDW commented:

    12/25/17, 6:49 AM - Great note, especially on the issue of smoke taint. I suspect the smart winemakers will go out of their way to promote barrel tastings for their 2017’s, or at least the winemakers who have confidence regarding this issue. I certainly will be looking at CT, and notes like yours, prior to most of my 2017 purchases.

  • TXRDW commented:

    12/25/17, 9:09 AM - I agree that the wineries should be transparent. I suspect that the decision makers follow CT closely and they know it would be devastating for any vineyard to put out a tainted wine (even unwittingly) and then not have a liberal refund policy. CT comments and reviews would be unforgiving and goodwill (which sustains price points) would be harmed. In any case, the 2017 vintage still makes me nervous.

Red
2015 Pott Wine Cabernet Sauvignon Actaeon Quixote Vineyard Stags Leap District
12/24/2017 - TXRDW wrote:
93 points
Very interesting wine. PnP about 2 ounces to get a quick taste. Mild bouquet, very acidic with strong, tart cherry dominating the notes. Set aside the bottle and left uncorked for 5 hours to do some last minute Christmas shopping. Came back and poured a full glass and was rewarded for my Christmas spirit. The Actaeon evolved into a much more complex wine, softening, balanced with a hint of sweet plum. Very long finish. Almost a completely different wine, which leads me to believe that the Actaeon needs to be left in the cellar a few more years... or at the very least a several hour decanting.
  • TXRDW commented:

    12/24/17, 8:10 PM - Must not have been RP doing the rating at WA. I bought only 2 bottles and gave 1 as a gift, so I’m out of luck as far as trying my next bottle in a few years. You’re wise to lay your Actaeon down for quite a while.

Red
2015 Carter Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon La Verdad Beckstoffer Las Piedras Vineyard Napa Valley
12/19/2017 - TXRDW wrote:
98 points
Amazing wine. Very rich and concentrated, complimented by an almost unending finish. Drank alongside a 2012 Shafer Hillside Select, which was one of the more interesting wines for the Carter La Verdad to go up against. From the start three of the four people tasting, without hesitation, had the Carter wine as their WOTN. But by the end of the evening the Hillside won out with all but one person. What was really interesting was that the La Verdad started off strong and stayed strong, but it did not show any better over time (the exact opposite of the Hillside). In hindsight I wonder if I should have allowed the wine more time to settle in after a brief 90 minute slow ox. Luckily I have one other bottle and I suspect over time it will hit the 99-100 range.
  • TXRDW commented:

    12/20/17, 7:13 AM - HSS is a great wine, but if your cellar is considering going the Shafer route you might also consider their Relentless. In fact, a few weeks ago I posted a note on this wine and it (the wine) was very good.... although not quite in the class of HSS.

  • TXRDW commented:

    12/22/17, 7:18 AM - CSIMM and CRISTAL: thanks for your comments, looks like we have similar wine preferences. I’m new to CT and curious if either of you have a few vineyard recommendations for me to look into. Thinking maybe Bevan, Realm or maybe Myriad?

  • TXRDW commented:

    12/22/17, 8:41 AM - Thanks guys! I really appreciate your input as I try to build my wine collection. I’m especially excited about Scarlett, which seems like an unbelievable QPR. The tough thing about wine selection is the old adage “you don’t know what you don’t know”. With wine reaching such high price points, good information is the key. From my very limited experience I’ve found Sherwin Family wines to be noteworthy, and probably the best “tasting tour” I’ve yet to experience. Next time I make it to Napa (from Texas), I will definitely try and line up tastings outside my normal go-to vineyards.

Red
2013 Hall Cabernet Sauvignon Eighteen Seventy-Three Napa Valley
11/25/2017 - csimm1161 wrote:
91 points
This score is based on Day 2. The first day it was a hot, alcohol-ridden, acidic mess. Day 2 it finally came around...a bit. Still, the booze was apparent; it never fully quit, on the back end especially. Some depth came about on the final, final sips.

I'll go with 89-91++ points for now. Wait until 2019+ in hopes the alcohol subsides and allows the fruit to actually come to fruition (see what I did there? Fruit..fruition?...ok I won't quit my day job...).
  • TXRDW commented:

    11/27/17, 7:25 AM - Your note is spot on. Not sure how this wine made WS Top 100.

Red
2015 Carter Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Weitz Vineyard Napa Valley
11/19/2017 - Yack Man Likes this wine:
97 points
The wine of the night. Much like before but I did notice some acidity beginning to show, however the wine got better and better as the evening progressed. Smooth red and black berry fruits, cream de cassis on the palate that continued to expand with time. Real nice depth and flavors with ample tannins. 97 Points tonight and my mind is made up, I grab a few more while there's some available. I think that there are better days ahead for this wine.
  • TXRDW commented:

    11/21/17, 7:10 AM - Nice note, as were your notes on Fortuna. Being new to Carter wines and thinking about ordering a few more bottles, would you recommend Weitz or Fortuna?

Red
2015 Carter Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon The O.G. Beckstoffer To-Kalon Vineyard Oakville
11/12/2017 - TXRDW wrote:
99 points
After trying a very impressive Fortuna to start the weekend, on a whim I decided to take it up a notch and try my first ever O.G. two evenings later. The O.G. is such a massive tasting wine it is difficult to describe the experience with justice. The wine has so many complex and nuanced flavors I would be doing the wine a disservice in limiting the description to tastes I could discern. Concentrated and rich comes to mind as does a finish that is so long and balanced that the different notes that show up are almost unending. I decanted for 2 hours and my sense is that the O.G. will get even better with time, though the wine is showing so well right now I did not have even the slightest remorse for opening one of the only four bottles I was able to get my hands on. My next Carter milestone will be my first ever Las Piedras, although there will be no opening on a whim with what appears to be the holy grail of the 2015 Napa vintage.
  • TXRDW commented:

    11/13/17, 2:11 PM - Thanks #1Winelover for your comment, it’s nice to know I’m not the only one who is impatient with the recent Carter shipment. I’ll probably try the Las Piedras pretty soon as I am quite curious after reading so many superlative reviews. The problem is that they only let me purchase 2 bottles.

  • TXRDW commented:

    11/15/17, 1:09 PM - Thanks CSIMM. I decided to put the Verdad up against a 2012 Hillside Select at a friend’s birthday party in a few weeks. I’m betting on the Verdad.

Red
2014 Corra Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
8/4/2017 - TXRDW Likes this wine:
96 points
Slow ox for about 3 hours, then consumed over 90 minutes at dinner. Very approachable this early, much more so than a 2012 Corra from about 6 months ago. Soft tannins, balanced, long finish especially towards the final glass. Ripe fruit, earth notes and complex aromas. What really stood out was the softness of the wine and a most unique mouth feel. I will be looking forward to Celia's February release of her 2015 cab.
  • TXRDW commented:

    11/14/17, 6:23 AM - Thanks. The Parker score does surprise me, which is one of the reasons I place more validity on CT scores. I do think the few Corra wines I’ve tasted benefit from substantial air time. I’m really looking forward to her 2015 release.

Red
2015 Carter Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Fortuna Vineyard Oakville
11/11/2017 - TXRDW wrote:
94 points
After reading many glowing reviews on CT regarding Carter wines, I decided to purchase a mixed case. After waiting with anxious anticipation for the wine to arrive I opened a bottle of Fortuna and it more than lived up to what I had been hoping I would experience. Complex, layered and concentrated, the Fortuna can best be described as a hedonistic example of what a good Napa Cabernet has to offer. I noticed hints of dark plum, jam and blackberry, with lots of fruit and a touch of sweetness. Very smooth with a nice finish. Not as powerful as some of the really high end Napa cabs, but certaainly at under $100 per bottle as good of a wine as I have had in quite a while. Since I was so anxious to try my first Carter wine I popped and poured. I’m curious if the wine would have been even better with more patience. I will try decanting for a few hours on my next bottle, but probably not for many more months as I suspect the Fortuna will show even better when I allow time to pass vs. drinking it right off the UPS truck.
  • TXRDW commented:

    11/12/17, 10:43 AM - Thank you Seijoro for your feedback as I have heard about the importance of allowing wine to settle after transit, but you are the first to offer a specific example. I will heed your advice in the future.

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