Comments on my notes

(47 comments on 41 notes)

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Red
2015 Antinori Tignanello Toscana IGT SuperTuscan Blend
10/13/2019 - Kjens wrote:
89 points
A bit harsh and lacking brightness. Drank side by side with a Cali cab, and significantly preferred the Cali cab (cliff lede 2014).
  • Justin S commented:

    10/13/19, 9:39 PM - Nothing wrong with liking what you like! That said, the 2015 Tignanello is not ready to drink for a while. I’m not opening any of mine until 2025.

Red
2016 Marcel Lapierre Morgon Gamay
8/9/2019 - Justin S Likes this wine:
92 points
Pnp at restaurant. Maybe the best bottle of this yet. Superior integration and fruit continues to settle down. The nose was flowing with earth, fruit, and flowers. Intoxicating. Totally fresh and no funk on the palate.
  • Justin S commented:

    8/11/19, 10:14 AM - Happy Sunday. If you like generous primary fruit, opening now is fine, but you won’t get the most out of it. Magnums develop more slowly so I might wait at least 1-2 years, as the wine out of 750mL is still improving and probably will not peak for several years. Never aged Beaujolais before personally, so just projecting.

Rosé
2018 Arnot-Roberts Rosé California Touriga Nacional
4/7/2019 - Justin S Likes this wine:
91 points
Similar in flavor profile to the 2017, but leaner, with less exuberant fruit, which led to more of a watermelon profile, rather than ripe peaches (like the 2017). Nice minerality on the finish. This 2018 is more food friendly than the 2017, so I might actually prefer this 2018, but my better half was correct that the 2017 is a bit more open and a bit more flavor. Delicious wine, just wish it was a touch less expensive than the $26 I paid.
  • Justin S commented:

    4/8/19, 4:47 PM - @John: Makes sense that it would fill out a bit more with time. I has last year's 2017 around July.

    @Vinomazing: It can go with a lot of different kind of foods to honest. Very versatile. Anything from salads / chicken to goat cheese / charcuterie to bold Chinese food (lobster, garlic noodles, stir-fried beef). Pretty much any kind of food that could benefit from something cleansing to sip on. I thought it was great with Chinese food, my better half thought that maybe some of the more subtle flavors were getting masked by the food.

White
2017 Arnot-Roberts Chardonnay Watson Ranch Napa Valley
3/22/2019 - chablis28 wrote:
93 points
This has become one of my 2 or 3 favorite CA Chards over the past few years. Strikes a truly unique balance of old world zip & minerality with a hint new world richness. Thankfully absent the too often overdone oak spice & vanilla. 12.4% alc is amazingly low, not only for CA, but even Burgundy. Must tie into the San Pablo Bay terroir? I can't say enough about the harmony, silky elegance and lift that defines a lovely layer of citrus and tropical fruit. This really is spectacular and oddly seems to escape wine media and wine board hype. Yea! If I'm one of the few smitten with it, all the better for my wallet. Love the 2017! 93pts+

Watson vineyard was planted in 1990 and dry farmed in marine deposits over limestone with a view of San Pablo Bay. Whole cluster pressed, fermented in stainless steel by native yeasts and aged in neutral French oak barrels. Full malolactic. Hands off winemaking that lets the site and fruit do the talking.
  • Justin S commented:

    3/23/19, 6:05 PM - Trout gulch or Watson Ranch? I took two of each this year, but have only tried the Watson in year’s past.

Red
2016 Marcel Lapierre Morgon Gamay
3/12/2019 - alexisonsmith Likes this wine:
91 points
This is a very soft and delicate Morgon, very floral, lots of violets on the nose, on the palate I found soft cherries, raspberries, liquorice, dried herbs along with very light dusty tannins. Drank from a 1.5l, this was very approachable now. I previously mentioned to hold off, however why wait, when it is drinking so beautifully now. I found this more savoury and lighter in structure vs. the 2017
  • Justin S commented:

    3/12/19, 6:16 PM - Do you still prefer the 2017 to the 2016? I didn't like the 2017 much, lacking a bit of structure compared to the 2016, but it could be a baby fat thing.

Red
2015 Domaine de la Côte Pinot Noir Bloom's Field Sta. Rita Hills
2/26/2019 - ducster72 wrote:
93 points
High score to hand a wine I say I'm neutral on. Objectively, it's a very good, well made wine. Aromatic, with well-balanced acidity. But there's a vegetal element (that I don't believe is underripeness) that I don't love that has been consistent across two bottles. Maybe a little like cooked rhubarb? Others may like it (and judging by a few critics, they really did), but it wasn't where I'd place my discretionary wine buying dollar.
  • Justin S commented:

    2/26/19, 7:10 PM - Maybe what you are tasting comes from the whole cluster wine making?

Red
2012 G.D. Vajra Barolo Bricco delle Viole Nebbiolo
2/23/2019 - RyanJames Likes this wine:
93 points
Second bottle, and just as impressive as the first from two years ago with little to no noticeable progression. This has a top premier-cru or lesser grand cru level of Burgundy heft and complexity and mouthfeel coupled with distinct Barolo aromatics and flavor profile. Lots of red flowers and bright red fruits that are reminiscent of pinot noir, but the violet, menthol, and tar flavors coupled with the mouth puckering (though ripe and not harsh) tannins give this away as nebbiolo. This is as good as it gets for a "restaurant vintage" bottle of top-flight Barolo, and I'm glad I have stashed a bunch of these away as I suspect they will be a lot more $$ in years to come.
  • Justin S commented:

    2/23/19, 4:04 PM - I have 3. What kind of "schedule" would you suggest for opening this vintage? Maybe 1 this year, and then 5 and 10 years later for the last two?

  • Justin S commented:

    2/24/19, 6:01 PM - Thanks Ryan, that's helpful. I have bought some of all the vintages from 2010-2014 so far, so plenty of other bottles to hold onto for longer aging.

Red
2016 Yvon Métras Beaujolais Gamay
2/15/2019 - fred o. wrote:
flawed
Spritzy, then pronounced nutty note on the palate with time, and a foul rotten odor. Flawed, suspect mouse taint. Unfortunate
  • Justin S commented:

    2/16/19, 10:35 AM - Just opened a Metras last night as well, I think the flaw rate with these is very high, much higher than 'N' Lapierre.

Red
2016 Alex Foillard Côte de Brouilly Gamay
2/2/2019 - drwine2001 wrote:
Dull red. Carbonic aromas. Soft feel but disturbingly tart and out of balance.
  • Justin S commented:

    2/2/19, 4:06 PM - I wonder if this is natural wine variation. The bottle I had a few months back was tart but no disturbingly so. I did have it at a David Chang restaurant so maybe the food meshed with it!

Rosé - Sparkling
N.V. Savart Champagne Premier Cru Bulle de Rosé Brut Champagne Blend
tasted blind. pale pink color with faint bubbles. Nose stony, light yeast, rose petals. Palate tart green apple, lean. A bit too lean for my taste and not giving, however others preferred this to a big house champagne in a blind tasting. YMMV. 89-90 pts
  • Justin S commented:

    1/24/19, 8:48 AM - Hmm, I just took delivery of a recent disgorgement. The bottle of this cuvee I had last year from a different disgorgement was not too lean (in line with say L'Overture that we had together last May), but it definitely was not as rich as say Billecart-Salmon Rose. So wondering if this needs time or whether there is "vintage" variation in this cuvee. By comparison, I did find that my last bottle of L'Accomplie to be too lean at times with the food we were eating, so your description would not be out of wack with Savart at all.

Red
2006 Luciano Sandrone Barolo Le Vigne Nebbiolo
12/28/2018 - Woodway Mike wrote:
The cork was a little dry. I started with a regular corkscrew, then rescued it with a Durand. I was hit with a lot of red fruit as I pulled the last third of the cork. Then black cherries and a little tobacco and leather. Very little sediment. Looks young in the glass. Fruit on the attack. Nicely integrated tannins. Silky texture. Red fruit on the mid-palate, long finish where you really get more tart fruit. Double decanting now, back in the bottle to enjoy with friends in 10 hours.
  • Justin S commented:

    1/9/19, 11:54 AM - Any change in thoughts after the 10 hour slow ox and do you think this is ready to drink?

Red
2008 Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco Riserva Muncagota Nebbiolo
1/3/2019 - Eric Guido Likes this wine:
91 points
The nose was compact and still quite youthful, displaying mineral-infused raspberry and tart cherry fruit, along with dusty dried roses, hints of savory herbs and wood smoke. On the palate, I found soft textures, which were quickly firmed up by that textbook 2008 mix of spice, zesty acid and tannin, giving way to tart red fruits and inner rosy florals, drying from the structure of the wine, with a bitter twang of quinine. The finish was long and structured, with saturating fine tannin, mix of lingering spice and dried red fruits.
  • Justin S commented:

    1/3/19, 4:10 PM - Based on your palate, when would you be opening the '08 PdB Riservas? Based on CT notes, the Asili and Rabaja don't seem ready yet, but I have the same concern as you about fruit outlasting the structure.

Red
1996 Roagna Barbaresco Nebbiolo
12/26/2018 - aagrawal wrote:
84 points
From a 375. Stood for a month and decanted off fine sediment. Light ruby with age appropriate bricking; moderate intensity aromatics, some floral and rose but more deeper tarry fruit; light bodied, seriously prominent drying tannins, still some fruit but in the background, high acid; drying medium length finish. At age 22+ from half bottle I expected this to be further along, but this is punishing. I don't know what to expect for the future, but this is my only bottle. 82
With food and 1 hour of air, the tannins definitely moderate. It still comes across as a bit monolithic, but it is more food friendly than anticipated. 84-85
  • Justin S commented:

    12/27/18, 11:06 AM - I was pretty disappointed with this as well. Not sure more time will help at all frankly, but Nebbiolo is a tricky grape sometimes. Maybe it needed a much longer decant than I was able to provide (90 minutes before tasting), but it didn't seem to be getting better as it sat in the glass during dinner either.

Red
2013 Alessandro e Gian Natale Fantino Barolo Bussia Cascina Dardi Nebbiolo
11/29/2018 - aagrawal wrote:
93 points
Paternity Leave (including Thanksgiving); 11/5/2018-12/8/2018: Coravin 11/29/18. Comparing Jancis Robinson's 1 glass with Zalto Burgundy. Light clear ruby; Zalto: High intensity aromatics, rose petal, red wild strawberries, JR: High intensity aromatics, red wild strawberries, rose petal, accentuates the fruit in a slightly sweeter way than the Zalto, and a bit more easily noticeable than the Zalto which required a bit of thought. With a bit of swirling, the Zalto gets to the same ease of aromatics, perhaps needs a bit more aeration to fill the larger headspace? On palate: JR: light bodied, prominent high tannins but smooth and approachable, plenty of red fruits throughout; medium-long finish. Zalto: no different.

Overall thought I was going to clearly love the Zalto Burgundy for Barolo, but I kept switching preferences throughout. JR was easier to appreciate on the nose immediately at first, but the Zalto picked up with some swirling and then matched and exceeded the Jancis Robinson. Edge to the Zalto, but respectable showing for the Jancis Robinson and I do think JR would make a reasonable all-in-one glass for almost all wines.

As for the wine, showy aromatics, approachable tannins, and plenty of juicy fruit makes for an irresistible wine, especially for its price ($40). Classic, balanced, showing well now and likely with a lot of evolution ahead. Even just based on tonight's experience, I'm happy I opened the bottle. 93++
  • Justin S commented:

    11/29/18, 8:39 PM - Sounds like this is good to drink now and later. If you only had one bottle, would you wait to try?

Rosé - Sparkling
N.V. Domaine Allimant-Laugner Crémant d'Alsace Rosé Pinot Noir
At tasting. Brief note. From magnum. Pours a vibrant salmon pink int he glass. Medium perlage and a frothy mousse. Nose and palate show vanilla laced black cherry, sour red cherry and chalky mineralité. Midpalate has a lovely creamy texture that gives good volume to the wine thanks to the mousse. Finish is pleasurable if not simple. Realizing that as tasty as these are young they are that much better with several years of age.
  • Justin S commented:

    11/11/18, 10:41 AM - Happened to buy some from silverlake wines and looked it up to see you endorse it. Great!

Red
2014 Jean Foillard Morgon Côte du Py Gamay
11/1/2018 - chablis28 wrote:
93 points
Same btl as R&Rler. I've drank one or two of these in the past on release and deemed them overpriced. Full on, eating my words tonight as this rocked! Perhaps a couple years plus from release makes a huge difference with this producer? Semi translucent red color with amber shades on the edges. This was remarkably mature at 4yrs out and drinking more like a 10yr old plus Burg. Red berries, sous bois and earth on the nose. An elegant, pure red fruited palate with layers of underbrush mushroom, and minerally earth notes. Truly "Burgundian" in personality and weightless finesse. Shit, I guess I have to stop passing up offers for this wine. One of the great things about our informal relaxing wine geek events is we always taste stuff in a way more relaxing and deeper dive then you'd ever get at a paid retailer tasting. I hate those tastings almost every time and avoid them like the plague but these nights with my local buddies is like jamming with a band you've played with for decades. Fun night! And with 7 large pizzas, we didn't go away hungry or buzzed. 93+
  • Justin S commented:

    11/3/18, 2:06 PM - Coincidentally I just had the '16 last night and found it pretty uninteresting / tight on PnP. It didn't even taste like beaujolais really, until the last glass of the bottle, then it started to show glimpses. I would not buy again based on the first glass.

Red
2008 La Rioja Alta Rioja Viña Ardanza Reserva Tempranillo Blend, Tempranillo
7/14/2018 - Justin S Likes this wine:
90 points
Very enjoyable as always. Consistent with prior notes. Nose showing some oak, Extremely youthful, red fruited, soft tannins. This time the oak in the palate seemed to poke through more than I remember, perhaps because I recently had the ‘05 from magnum. I will hold remaining bottles for 1-2 more years.
  • Justin S commented:

    7/29/18, 9:44 AM - This particular tasting was a pop and pour. I had this wine again last night at a friend’s house and it did open up a bit and better integrate after 1-2 hours. Though it still tasted quite youthful at that point.

Red
2005 R. López de Heredia Rioja Reserva Viña Bosconia Tempranillo Blend, Tempranillo
7/10/2018 - bconly Likes this wine:
91 points
Trouble understanding some of the notes. This was delicious on night 1, and I'm curious to see how it evolves over the next 24-48 hours.
  • Justin S commented:

    7/11/18, 4:51 AM - Thanks. Did you decant in advance and if so for how long?

Rosé
2017 Proprietà Sperino Lessona Rosa del Rosa Nebbiolo Blend, Nebbiolo
At Hollywood Bowl picnic. Brief note. Salmon color. Nose and palate are quite mineral with crisp watermelon, nectarine, red cherry and lemons all intertwined . Some prickly strawberry comes out with time. Midpalate was alive and kicking with very racy acids and streaky minerals keeping the crisp fruit very well focused. Medium (+) finish is quite dry and complex. I think with a little more time in bottle this will have me as excited as the 2016 bottlings.
  • Justin S commented:

    7/7/18, 11:57 AM - Hold till next summer?

Red
2008 Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco Riserva Asili Nebbiolo
6/17/2018 - drwine2001 wrote:
Light ruby. Tobacco scents. Medium weight, tight and tannic, not showing a terrible amount of fruit now. High acid and earthy. Pretty grumpy all around-not a great time to assess or drink.
  • Justin S commented:

    6/18/18, 1:29 PM - Pop and pour? Decanted first? Curious as to whether any of that made a difference.

Red
2009 La Rioja Alta Rioja Gran Reserva 904 Tempranillo Blend, Tempranillo
5/6/2018 - Torchy wrote:
90 points
New vintage out now. Maroon. Super-complex nose with vanilla, dark fruit, dill, eucalyptus, dairy products and hints of sawdust and perfume. Refreshing palate. Minty, after a while some dense fruit and red apples. Long. A somewhat flat structure, with the elements nicely integrated. Drinks well now, but will most likely improve over the next 5 to 10 years. Lovely on its own, better with bbq meat.
  • Justin S commented:

    5/30/18, 9:32 AM - As oaky as the 2007?

Red
2006 Heitz Cellar Cabernet Sauvignon Trailside Vineyard Rutherford
Slow oxed in the fridge during the day and then double decanted before dinner — slight sediment noted. Color dark violet/ruby. Nose dark fruited, some baking spice and cedar. Palate cassis, dark fruited, some tobacco/mint complexity, not bad acidity, light oak/vanilla and lightly grainy tannins on finish; obviously a great match for a grilled steak. Purchased at the tasting room in Oct 2017 after we had tasted a bottle that our server had generously re-opened; had been opened the day before and recorked, was absolutely singing then. Still a young wine to my taste, has great depth and potential, good balance, a wonderful classic Napa cab for when you’re in the mood. With the recent news of the Heitz sale, makes me wish I had bought all I could when I had the chance... highly recommended, 94 pts
  • Justin S commented:

    5/26/18, 10:52 AM - I tried a 2004 from K&L in December. It was drinking fine but the palate seemed a bit one dimensional still. Maybe I didn't decant it long enough or maybe it needed more time. Anyway, you could try it! They still have some.

Red
2005 R. López de Heredia Rioja Reserva Viña Tondonia Tempranillo Blend, Tempranillo
5/12/2018 - chablis28 wrote:
92 points
Said to be 75%Tempranillo, 15% Garnacho , and the remaining 10% a mix of Graciano and Mazuela. 12.5% Alc. Decanted for an hour plus and back into the btl for another hour of slow ox. Semi translucent ruby red color with light bricking on edges. A wine uniquely from somewhere that caught the attention of my son in law on the first sip. Josh enjoys wine but rarely takes notice enough to comment. Classic Lopez with an earthy mix of raspberry, mineral, faint leather, mushroom and spice. Oak is well integrated and the wine both balanced, elegant and finessed. I'm digging both this and the Bosconia from '05. Bonus that my son in law took note too :). Paid $32, easily drinks like $60 plus. Exceptional value for a very unique and yet versatile, easy to love red. 92pts+
  • Justin S commented:

    5/15/18, 8:59 AM - Between the 2004 and 2005 Tondonia, which do you prefer and why? Thanks as always!

Red
2014 Pietradolce Etna Contrada Rampante Etna DOC Nerello Mascalese
6/3/2017 - Xavier Auerbach wrote:
92 points
A private lunch (Restaurant The Fat Duck ***, Bray-on-Thames, UK): This has that magical balance of produndity, transparence and elegance which only old vines are able to deliver. Spicy and autumnal, volcanic minerality, macerated red berries, hints of nuttiness and undergrowth, fresh and well-balanced, ripe but grippy and grainy phenolics, stemmy and floral notes (rose, violet), long and black tea-like finish. Very individualistic, energetic but there is a certain completeness to it. But it does feel much older than it is. Tasting blind, I could have easily mistaken this for a 2005 Gevrey Premier Cru - which is meant as a compliment.
  • Justin S commented:

    5/10/18, 11:33 AM - Nice note. Do you have a drinking window recommendation?

Red
2015 La Ca' Nova Barbaresco Vigna Bric Mentina Montefico Nebbiolo
4/21/2018 - NostraBacchus Likes this wine:
93 points
Tasted at the winery about 3 weeks ago, but no formal tasting note, that‘s why I wanted to retaste it. Medium ruby/garnet color. Youthful, but fascinating and super classic notes of sweet red and dark red cherries, some tar, also violets, some earthy minerality, pepper, graphite and also some tobacco. It‘s medium-full bodied, has medium-high tannin and medium-high acidity. Overall super balanced, even at this embryonic stage. Very good length. Of course this is still a few years away from prime-drinking but the potential is undeniable. This must be one of the most spectacular values I have ever had in Piedmont... (93+)
  • Justin S commented:

    4/21/18, 10:22 AM - Have you had the 2014's by chance?

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.
  • Justin S commented:

    4/14/18, 3:03 PM - Can you explain a bit more about how it is different than the 2013? Thanks!

Red
2013 Fontodi Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Vigna del Sorbo Chianti Classico DOCG Sangiovese Blend, Sangiovese
4/5/2018 - Keith Cooper Likes this wine:
94 points
Tasted at The Wine Society's Dolce Vita Italian dinner, Stevenage, UK. This was my favourite wine of the evening and I think many others present would agree. Colour is deep Burgundian red. The palate is earthy, good fruit showing and it's long and earthy. 90% sangiovese with some cabernet. A great match with the lamb chops. The only disappointment was that it was pricier than I had expected - £35/bottle.
  • Justin S commented:

    4/10/18, 10:38 AM - Nice note. Sounds like it wasn't too difficult to drink at this early stage. According to Vinous and Robert Parker, the first vintage that was 100% Sangiovese was 2012.

Red
2014 San Giusto a Rentennano Chianti Classico Riserva Le Baroncole Chianti Classico DOCG Sangiovese Blend, Sangiovese
{winery visit} Quite good, and makes a statement about what was possible in 2014, i.e. weather difficulties. Bettina tells me of the dry, and very hot (40C for ~ 2 weeks) conditions that marked 2014 - but(!) there came a very good respite for the grapes in the final weeks and the quality was quite high. I should be clear, she tells me these things after I've already decided to buy some for my cellar, and after there's a really big grin on my face. I wouldn't call it structured, but it's miles away from flabby or uninteresting. It's a med>full body, with good/very good acidity and a longer, wider finish than I was expecting as well. Truly worthy of Riserva status, though it's going to be an early drinker (thru 2026); I bought some for the cellar here, and will happily pick up more for the cellar in CO. 97% Sangiovese, 3% Canaiolo, with 20 months in (mostly used/older) Fr. oak (barrique/tonneau/botti). 14,5% abv is already fully resolved. There's a LOT of flavor here, a lot of enjoyment. They really nailed the pick date on this one. highly recommended+



https://www.ItalianWine.blog
  • Justin S commented:

    2/27/18, 11:54 AM - Tim, this is a very timely tasting note. Luca Martini Di Cigala was visiting my local wine store last night and I had an opportunity to try this wine, Percarlo 2012-2014, and Ricolma 2013-2014. This was was absolutely beautiful and the '14 Percarlo surprised me. Btw, I mentioned to Luca that I had originally heard about his wines from your website.

Red
2014 Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco Nebbiolo
1/16/2018 - Breaktheory Likes this wine:
88 points
I think I’m giving up on buying young barbaresco and barolos - not a bad wine but clearly needs another 5 years before beginning to show potential - leather plum menthol licorice and dark berries but all overwhelmed by tannins that need a few years to integrate - it opened up after about 3 hours to something more flavorful but not something I would buy again - I think a Nebbiolo younger than 10 years is just something I won’t be buying again
  • Justin S commented:

    1/19/18, 11:23 PM - If you want to drink young Nebbiolo, find a Langhe DOC level wine. Just had a 2014 Nebbiolo D'Alba, it's designed for drinking now, though will still keep. These kind of wines are less tannic and undergo less barrel aging. Less maceration. Of course less potential too.

White - Sparkling
2002 Billecart-Salmon Champagne Cuvée Nicolas-François Billecart Champagne Blend
1/12/2018 - chablis28 wrote:
95 points
Same btl as R&Rlers. Served immediately after and almost concurrent with my '04 Dom tonight. This wine totally crushed the Dom, IMO. I like Kevin's adjective "aggressive". I might seek bit more finesse but it completely compensates for that with gobs of lip smacking, intense, mouth coating, complex layers of citrus, minerality, toast and gusto. This came along and elbowed out almost all remnants of the more ethereal and feminine Dom. The Dom was dominated and nearly eliminated from memory with this wine. Loved it! Drinking fairly young too for an '02 with zero signs of premox.
  • Justin S commented:

    1/14/18, 11:49 AM - Totally loved this one too, the power reminded me of a baby Salon. It was my #2 behind the '06 Salon at a walkabout tasting that included '04 Churchill, '09 Cristal, '06 Tattinger CdC, '09 Dom, Krug 164, etc.
    Incredibly youthful for 2002. I recently bought a 2004 DP, so it's a bit disappointing if it's not as good as the NFB, but perhaps the DP just needs to be enjoyed on its own. It's sort of like how at Best Buy, the brightest TVs tend to look better next to dimmer sets, but once you watch the dimmer set in a dark movie room type setting, it shines.

White - Sparkling
N.V. Roederer Estate Brut Anderson Valley Champagne Blend
12/22/2017 - diggydan wrote:
79 points
Immediately after the brioche flavor there is a weird and offputting sourness that dominates the finish. Bad bottle? I don't know, but "yuck".
  • Justin S commented:

    12/22/17, 7:03 PM - My last bottle tastes similarly poor. It was a 375mL though. Had a few regular bottles that were good before that, so hopefully there wasn't a bad batch or one that got ruined in transport.

Red
2008 La Rioja Alta Rioja Viña Ardanza Reserva Tempranillo Blend, Tempranillo
Off the list at Joe's Seafood, Las Vegas. The first bottle was corked, this, the replacement, was a PnP. Clearly a well-grown wine, but comes across a bit tight and a little too polished just now, offering up its pretty fruits, but less of a sense of place just now. Fast forward five years (i.e. HOLD), and I think this will bring a full offering of fruit and place - the other elements are certainly there to see this evolve quite positively over the coming 5-8 years; likely to continue drinking beyond that if your cellar is cool enough. Med>full-bodied, good acid lift, fine tannins, and mostly red fruited with just a touch of black fruit and dried herbs/dust. If I had any, I'd aerate to decanter for 2-3 hours or more) to let this run a little, it's got a good fill of quality material for an under $30 bottle ($100 on the list, sigh). recommended
  • Justin S commented:

    12/21/17, 10:31 AM - Do you like this cuvee better than the current release 2007 Gran Reserva 904? The Gran Reserva sounds significantly more earthy than this. I enjoyed the Gran Reserva, but also has quite a bit more outright wood treatment to the point that it has a buttery mouthfeel, which may not appeal to many.

Red
2009 Bartolo Mascarello Barolo Nebbiolo
Me: (texting a friend) Hey, have you had a Bartolo Mascarello before?
My friend: No, I haven't. I've always been curious
Me: well, I'm going to bring one tonight
My friend: SWEET!
(later that night, at a restaurant)
Me: just as I expected, like many 2009s, it's showing well as a PnP, and getting noticeably better with each glass, too.
My friend: agreed, love the earthy character, the elegance, and refined, subtle power
Me: well, I'm glad you finally got to try one
My friend: me too, I'm sitting on four bottles of these 09s and I've been close to opening them, but just wasn't sure it was ready.
Me: (with one bottle left in the cellar) Sigh

PnP, served non-blind. Still room to improve, but very good now,
too. Thru 2028. recommended

https://www.ItalianWine.blog
  • Justin S commented:

    12/14/17, 5:16 PM - Your friend ought to agree to open one of his bottles with you. :p

Red
2016 Edmunds St. John El Jaleo Shake Ridge Amador County Red Blend
12/13/2017 - Rieslingfan wrote:
This was my first taste of the successor to Rocks & Gravel, and it was a success on two levels. First off it was instantly recognizable as Shake Ridge. There was a familial relationship with the Dirty & Rowdy and Enfield wines I have had from the same vineyard. Second, it was clearly ESJ, with deft balance, moderate weight, and a long finish that echoed a richness/creaminess that I have found in both Les Côtes Sauvages and Rocks & Gravel. The wine was evocative, stimulating and perfectly satisfying. After finishing the bottle I realized I had zero flavor descriptors. It was just an integrated wine that made me happy to drink it.
  • Justin S commented:

    12/13/17, 9:04 PM - Thanks for the note. The prior note on this suggested this is not ready to drink. Sounds like you think it's ready to go?

Red
2013 G.D. Vajra Barolo Bricco delle Viole Nebbiolo
12/9/2017 - chablis28 wrote:
94 points
Small pour at Sunfish tasting caused me to buy 2 more tonight. This is stunning Barolo even at this youthful stage! So amazingly pure, deep, intense and complex. No problem being long on this vintage with 6 btls now :).
  • Justin S commented:

    12/10/17, 12:25 PM - Do you think this will ultimately be better than the '11 BdV? I'm sure the '11 is drinking better at this stage though and the future is hard to predict.

  • Justin S commented:

    12/12/17, 10:47 AM - Thanks. I started with four of each (plus three of the '12), but I seem to be consuming them too quickly, so I may buy more so that at least one can be tasted with some age on it. :) Because my cellar is < 100 bottles, this has to be balanced against trying a greater diversity of wines.

Red
2010 San Giusto a Rentennano Percarlo Toscana IGT Sangiovese
10/20/2016 - Philippe_C wrote:
93 points
Very light nose of red cold cherries, nice oriental spices, very compact and closed at this stage... Very very primary red fruit, super sappy taste, good lenght, but way way too young almost infanticide
  • Justin S commented:

    11/10/17, 11:02 AM - Based on your tasting from a year ago, when do you think this vintage will be ready to drink?

Red
2012 Conti Costanti Brunello di Montalcino Sangiovese
Absent the freshness and energy I was wanting. Still, it's a solid effort and about on par with most of the BdM in this less-than-ideal vintage. Perhaps some bottle rest will turn this around; I have to think there's more to this, and if I'm a betting man, I'll bet in 5-6 years this will be greatly improved. Good purity, balanced, just needs a jolt or two of energy. HOLD. recommended

https://www.ItalianWine.blog
  • Justin S commented:

    11/10/17, 9:17 AM - But but but Wine Enthusiast gave this 98 points and the #1 2017 cellar selection of the year designation! Just got an email blast about this wine from a retailer and coincidentally just read your article on wine crackers, so the two together made me chuckle.

White - Sparkling
N.V. Roederer Estate Brut Anderson Valley Champagne Blend
11/3/2017 - chablis28 wrote:
93 points
I can't overlook this btl purchased off the list with lunch at Auberge du Soleil in Napa Valley. Only way this lunch gets better is if we had been able to enjoy the deck. Unfortunately, this was also our only rainy day out of 4. That said this wine, which is probably my all round favorite CA sparkler was particularly great today and worth a special mention. I don't know if our Napa proximity to the winery was in play but if it had been up to me I would have doubled down on a 2nd btl :). This just exuded vibrant lush and yet taut citrus and stone fruit, brioche and minerality. This is always a 89-91pt experience but this one had another gear or simply better provenance. Of all the restaurant wines we had this one stuck out.
  • Justin S commented:

    11/8/17, 9:42 PM - Have you tried any of the vintage versions? Just picked up a 2006 and eager to try it against the NV version, which has now become a no brainer for me as well. I also keep half bottles around of the NV, so convenient.

  • Justin S commented:

    11/9/17, 4:38 PM - Yes, the L'Ermitage. Though neither are terribly expensive, I'd be just fine preferring the standard bottling at less than half the cost! That's why I'm a bit nervous to invest in higher end bottlings like Krug, etc., but gotta try it at least once in life I suppose.

Red
2013 Fontodi Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Vigna del Sorbo Chianti Classico DOCG Sangiovese Blend, Sangiovese
10/15/2016 - NostraBacchus Likes this wine:
97 points
Just took delivery of my 2013 Vigna del Sorbo a few days ago and I thought it might be the last chance to get a preview before it's going into hibernation for a few years.
PnP. Darker garnet color with a touch of purple. Youthful and already a little closed but fascinating notes of plum, blackberries, lots of graphite, also some flowery notes in the back, sweet spices, menthol, some dark chocolate, leather and also some cigar and cedar wood. It's pretty full-bodied and dense but has this amazing weightlessness at the same time, with very high but excellent tannin and high acidity cutting through the richness. Fantastic finish with some mineral notes again. An incredibly impressive Vigna del Sorbo and probably one of the best young wines I have ever tasted at Fontodi (and I have been a big fan for many years). I am very glad I tasted one of my bottles, but I will try to keep the rest for at least 5-7 years before approaching them again. Once again probably one of the best wines of Tuscany. This will need some time though... (96-98)

Still very young on day 2, but didn't shut down completely. Impressive texture and richness but without any heaviness.
  • Justin S commented:

    11/7/17, 11:50 AM - Very helpful. I am just starting to collect wine, so cannot buy everything. Was thinking to go with the 2010 vintage of this wine as I may get to try it sooner. Does the '13 have better potential? Also, how does this differ stylistically to the Flaccianello?

  • Justin S commented:

    11/7/17, 2:04 PM - Thanks so much, this helps a lot.

  • Justin S commented:

    11/9/17, 11:44 AM - Totally forgot that I also picked up the '10 and '13 vintages of Percarlo. How does this compare stylistically to the VdS and Flaccianello? Thanks for answering my questions!

Red
2016 Edmunds St. John El Jaleo Shake Ridge Amador County Red Blend
11/2/2017 - lolo66 wrote:
Small taste. Intriguing blend. An Iberian blend. Needs more time to integrate. Materials are there. I will seek out.
  • Justin S commented:

    11/2/17, 4:37 PM - Best guess on when it would be ready to drink?

Red
2011 G.D. Vajra Barolo Bricco delle Viole Nebbiolo
12/30/2016 - chablis28 wrote:
95 points
One of the rare wines I wish I owned a case of. I like having a diverse cellar so I rarely buy more than three of anything but the 2011 Vajra is killer! My September note still applies. Happy to still have three more though. PnP tonight at the restaurant. ......9/24/2016 rated 95 points: Wow, wow, wow! This is remarkable even by Vajra's usual excellent standards. This producer continues to happily cruise along under the radar even as Vajra's purity, complexity and depth rival Giacosa and the other heralded top tier producers in Piedmont. This is really a $120 plus wine that is readily found for sub $70. PnP in a burg glass at 55 degrees / cellar temp and the nose immediately blew me away with its rose petals, spice and berry aromas. I took a quick sip to capture one of those fleeting exceptional cork pulling moments. The palate sparkled with; pristine and expansive dark fruit, licorice, a hint of tar and minerality. Inviting and lush yet focused and lifted. Just a brilliant wine. Very smooth for the first hour or so and with food. Showed a little youthful grip after diner on its own. Never had or understood Barolo? Start here! Alc 14.5% but felt like 12%. Aged in large Slavonian oak casks for 42-48 months. Just beautiful! May be very difficult to not open another btl soon. I only grabbed 3 on release, need to get me some more! No need to decant based on this btl.
  • Justin S commented:

    10/17/17, 2:23 PM - It does seem like this wine has entered its prime drinking window! I know these things are hard to predict, but do you think the wine will plateau for a few more years? Given my 3 bottles remaining, I'm trying to figure out how quickly/slowly to consume, as I am a new collector. Likely all of mine will be gone in 2018, so perhaps a moot point for me.

  • Justin S commented:

    10/17/17, 10:23 PM - Thanks! This explains why this wine is so accessible now, yet not overly done. Sounds like nothing to worry about in terms of taking my time. I did pick up the 2013 vintage as well. Will probably skip 2012, but 2010 is tempting. Have some bottles of Nebbiolo from Lessona and will be in no rush to open those.

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