Tasting Notes for Bender Bending Rodriguez

(111 notes on 90 wines)

1 - 50 of 111 Sort order
Red
I'm seeing old notes on here saying this is past its drinking window, but I've got to tell you, this bottle is spectacular right now. It's been immaculately cellared, so maybe that helps, but it's bright, vibrant, lively, just a hint of richness showing the age. I would never in a million years have blinded this as 2010 based on the color in the glass...it's still vibrant red with just a hint of bricking on the very rim. Seriously, don't give up hope if you have bottles of this in your cellar still -- this one was glorious for me. It's why I used to buy so much Arista.
Red
2/22/2021 - Bender Bending Rodriguez wrote:
91 points
Well, I found this hiding in my cellar, and the cork tried to disintegrate, so I wasn’t holding my breath. The color showed some signs of oxidation, again tempering my anticipation. But I’m really pleased with how fresh and vibrant the fruit is on the palate. Juicy strawberry and blackberry. I don’t tend to love massive, over the top Zin, so the balance and moderation (14.5 ABV labeled) of this one is welcome. Quite an enjoyable find in the nooks and crannies of the cellar.
Red
Bottles like this are why I bought a lot of Arista back in the day. Bright, vibrant red Cherry, beautiful acidity, very soft tannins. The label says 14.9, which is really hard to believe...it just doesn’t show that heat to me. At the $38 i paid, I’m thrilled with how this is showing now.
Red
Wow...still holding up great 8 years after my last note on this wine. I drank a 2013 Arista a few nights earlier that didn’t show nearly as well. Slight bricking the only real hint of age right off the bat. Fresh and lively on first pour — brimming with bright red fruit. My appetite for Cali pinot started in the RRV and has progressively headed toward the coast. This is another great example of all the good that comes from the Sonoma Coast sites like La Cruz. Yum.
Red
2010 Rasa Vineyards QED Walla Walla Valley Red Rhone Blend (view label images)
12/13/2020 - Bender Bending Rodriguez wrote:
88 points
Honestly a bit underwhelmed. Feels a bit past prime — soft and a bit unstructured, definitely beginning to verge on oxidized as far as flavors and aromas go. This has been impeccably cellared since purchase, but just hasn’t held up. I have another bottle left, so we will see if this was just some bottle variation.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
I have to say, I was worried I waited too long when I found this in the cellar. But as soon as I opened and poured, I knew I was fine. Fantastic color in the glass — would never have called this an ‘09 visually. A slight oxidative note on the nose hinted at the age, but it was still replete with RRV pinot character. Very enjoyable.
Red
A very smooth, pleasant, approachable take on Mourvèdre. Nose has some caramel and leathery notes, with smooth, pretty red and blue fruit on the palate with a slightly sweet character. Have enjoyed sipping on this bottle before, with, and after dinner over the past few days.
Red
8/18/2020 - Bender Bending Rodriguez wrote:
89 points
Ok, but not up to the standard I’ve come to expect from Gramercy. Probably singing 2 or 3 years ago. Definitely taste the Les Collines influence on this wine.
Red
8/18/2020 - Bender Bending Rodriguez wrote:
87 points
Probably a little past its prime. Flat and unremarkable.
Red
5/23/2019 - Bender Bending Rodriguez wrote:
93 points
This is drinking beautifully. Really vibrant blue and black fruit, nicely balanced. Acid is still lively. Drank with roasted leg of lamb and it was a beautiful as one might hope. Glad I have another bottle!
Red
7/24/2015 - Bender Bending Rodriguez wrote:
93 points
Still a lot of life in this. Every bit as good as my last tasting. Smooooooooooth.
Red
6/28/2014 - Bender Bending Rodriguez wrote:
80 points
In all fairness to this wine, I've given it another chance, and this bottle was actually OK. It's not magical, but at least it was drinkable, and we finished the bottle. I'm not sure if the first two bottles I had were really that significantly flawed or what, but I'll give the last 3 bottles in my cellar a chance as well.
White
A lovely Chard. I'm not a Chard drinker, but I consistently like what GF does with the grape. Absolutely gorgeous glowing straw yellow in the glass. The nose is full of crisp citrus and melon. On the palate, the texture is most striking -- it's silky smooth without being oily. The citrus notes are met with strong minerality, with a finish that almost has hint of ashes (not unpleasantly).
Red
This is a big and impressive RRV pinot. Though if you're looking for something Burgundian, move along. The dark color in the glass belies the extraction -- much deeper reds than most RRV pinots I've had. The nose is a mix of cherry, raspberry, and spice -- maybe some clove, maybe some cinnamon. On the palate, it's big and bold red fruit, but nicely balanced with some acidity and a silky smooth finish. I think this will get even better with age, so I'm glad to have more bottles, but thoroughly enjoyed this one.

Note: Definitely give it some air -- it was markedly better after an hour or so of being open.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
Mother's Day with a tagliatelle w/ spicy lamb ragu. Opened and decanted for about 3h. Starting to brick a little in color; nose is rich and full with red fruit and some floral notes. Smooth and strong on the palate, with earthy and smoky edges. A really nice wine.
Rosé
Mother's Day warm-up. Brilliant and crisp on the nose and palate. Tart fruits and minerality really nicely balanced. A beautiful wine to look at.
2 people found this helpful Comment
Red
Not sure this is past its prime, but it's definitely ready to drink. Beautiful deep, dark red with lovely brick notes becoming readily apparent. Muscular and deep dark fruits on the nose; I could ID this as a Kuleto cab immediately. Rich, succulent on the palate, with black berries dominant. Starting to lose just a little bit of structure on the finish, but the flavor sticks around beautifully.
Red
Beautiful violet color in the glass. Nose is plum and spice. Hauntingly dark on the palate, with abundant dark fruit balanced with beautiful acidity and great tannic structure. Simply a great wine from start to finish.
2 people found this helpful Comment
Red
A really nice zin. Beautiful clarity and color in the glass. Nose was an interesting combination of peppery spice, red fruits, and even a little floral hint. Bright on the palate, and yet chewy in the way a good Zin should be. Enjoyed with both homemade pizza (night 1) and some grilled chicken, interestingly enough (night 3).
Red
2009 Epiphany Révélation Santa Barbara County Red Rhone Blend (view label images)
With the generous helping of grenache, I'd expect more red fruit on the nose, but this guy is brooding dark fruit and smoke from the get go. Big, rich flavors on the palate, but not a jammy fruit bomb. It's a nice blend of dark fruits and more earthy notes, with great tannins and mouthfeel. Went down waaay too easy.
Red
A really nice pop-and-pour bottle. I don't think this has a ton of years in it, so glad we're drinking when we did. That being said, really nice, fruit-forward cab.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
Enjoyable bottle. Bright red fruits with subtle earthy notes on the nose. The palate surprises with a overall tone of darker fruit, with really nice tannin structure. Pretty bright and acidic on day 1; by day 3 it had mellowed to a very different character, earthy and smoky.
Red
2006 Stevens Yes Yakima Valley Red Blend
Not fair to give this a numerical rating, as it's definitely past its prime. My own fault; this got lost in the cellar. That being said, it was an enjoyable bottle for what it was. After Day 1, though, it was pretty much totally done.
Red
As usual, we enjoyed another Kuleto bottle. I'd say it's definitely time to drink up this particular wine -- it's probably just past peak. A very overwhelming tobacco note on the nose when opened, and it was very closed up on first taste. Decanted for a couple of hours, and it mellowed beautifully. It's held a deep crimson color quite markedly -- not a lot of bricking on this one. Tobacco and chocolate notes on the nose; a hint of dark fruit on the palate quickly gives way to earthier notes that you'd expect given the nose. Finish is long, but doesn't linger quite the way it did when this was a little younger. Overall a great bottle with grilled steaks on a lovely spring evening.
Red
A nice syrah; agree that the fruit is a little more restrained than most new world syrahs. On day one, a pretty pronounced brightness and acidity. By day 3, it had mellowed to a really lovely smoky earthiness. Definitely enjoyed this bottle.
Red
Gave this one another try, and dumped the bottle out after a few sips. Really disappointing. Will probably chuck the last 4 bottles to make room for worthier juice.
Red
I think I sat on this one a little long -- decent flavors, but felt flabby structurally -- below my usual standard for McCrea.
Red
Almost syrah-colored in the glass. Woody & earthy nose; some red fruit on the palate. Nicely balanced, a lovely sipper.
Red
Decanted before serving, but still a very hotly acidic wine. It was significantly better on day 2, where red fruits and some herbal notes were more present.
Red
Drank with a New Year's Eve steak. Holy cow -- after decanting, I stuck my nose in the decanter and nearly fell over from the sheer pleasure. Dark, brooding aromas flooded the glass -- dark, dripping cassis with some floral hints around the edges. The taste is initially a surprise, as a bright, acidic opening surprises a bit based on that dark nose -- but it's ludicrously balanced with dark fruits and luscious tannis leading into a finish more in line with the nose. Absolutely a stellar wine -- one of the best we've had in 2012 (and how apropos for New Year's!)
Red
A solid pinot. Fresh on the heels of an Arista was hardly fair, but we just needed a little more wine to finish off the salmon. A little fruity and light on the acid, but a pleasant drinker.
Red
As always, a stellar wine from Arista. Any of the compromises inherent in a single-vineyard wine are wiped clean away with this baby. Red fruit, baking spices, and some wood on the nose and palate, and a silken smooth finish.
Red
11/23/2012 - Bender Bending Rodriguez wrote:
96 points
A highly refined Sonoma pinot. I've had a lot of Gary Farrell Winery wines post-GF, but this is my first Alysian. Yum, yum, yum. A truly beautiful wine. Red fruit and strong earthy notes on the nose. Red fruit with strong but balanced acidity dominates the palate. Wish I could drink a wine like this every day...
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
11/23/2012 - Bender Bending Rodriguez wrote:
95 points
Second year in a row we've opened this wine with Thanksgiving dinner. It's a lovely pinot -- a little bigger fruit and darker, a little less acid than, say, a RRV pinot. Silky smooth tannins.
Red
11/21/2012 - Bender Bending Rodriguez wrote:
90 points
Opened 3 hours before drinking, and that wasn't enough time. Was really closed and almost a little bitter at first pour. After about an hour, it opened up beautifully. Very mellow, loads of dark fruit with very smooth tannins. Agree this could fool for a cab.
Red
11/17/2012 - Bender Bending Rodriguez wrote:
90 points
See previous notes. Give this an hour of time, and definitely serve it at the right temperature. Popped & poured, and was a little disappointed -- but gave it 20 minutes of chill and some time to breathe, and it really stepped up.
Red
11/4/2012 - Bender Bending Rodriguez wrote:
90 points
Beautiful in the glass -- glittering dark ruby color, crystal clear. Brilliant fruit on the nose -- strawberry, cherry, plum -- with just the teeniest hint of a sweet floral note. The fruit is somewhat more subdued on the palate, with a strong earthy, chocolatey note. A little bit skinny on the midpalate, but a smooth and long, lingering earthy finish somewhat makes up for that. A really nice wine.
Red
11/4/2012 - Bender Bending Rodriguez wrote:
91 points
Still an amazing value at the price. Drank over 4 days as a casual companion to a number of dishes -- chili, pizza -- yummy.
Red
11/4/2012 - Bender Bending Rodriguez wrote:
88 points
I do love my Arista -- this was good, and different from many of Arista's other pinots, but not as striking as I'm accustomed to. Relatively cloudy in the glass -- lots of turbidity. Never really settled out. Dark fruit dominates the nose, as well as the initial taste. Tannins felt a little muddled and soft. A good pinot, but not a knockout.
Red
10/26/2012 - Bender Bending Rodriguez wrote:
92 points
Really delicious. Been drinking a lot of big cabs lately, so this was a lovely change of pace. A lighter, easy drinking wine. The most striking note to me is still the long, earthy finish after the bright red fruit on the early palate. The perfect wine to sit drinking by the fireplace tonight.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
10/23/2012 - Bender Bending Rodriguez wrote:
93 points
Gorgeous color on the pour -- not sure how something can be so clear and brilliant red, yet so inky dark at the same time, but this wine accomplishes that. Nose mixes explosive fruit with a healthy dose of minerality and just a hint of rubbing alcohol (not unpleasant, though). Intense dark fruit on the palate -- plum, blackberry, cassis. Lingers absolutely forever....just a gloriously long finish. Enjoying it thoroughly after about 3 hours of air...will probably let the bit sit in the bottle overnight to test again tomorrow.
Red
2008 Deep Sea Red Central Coast Red Rhone Blend (view label images)
10/16/2012 - Bender Bending Rodriguez wrote:
87 points
Nice wine, very fruity and easy drinking. Enjoyed with some nice homemade chili. Not as impressed as my March tasting...I'm skeptical of the 2017 drinking window on here -- there's very little tannin to be detected, and I think it's probably already on the decline. But still a nice bottle at the price.
Red
10/14/2012 - Bender Bending Rodriguez wrote:
92 points
Love this wine. Nothing subtle about it -- the nose opened nicely with a blend of woody/earthy notes and black fruit. Great, great mouthfeel, and strong mixed berry on the palate. Yummy.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
10/10/2012 - Bender Bending Rodriguez wrote:
89 points
Enjoyed this bottle, though perhaps a bit overpriced. Cellared at 55deg since purchase; popped and poured. The nose has lots of interesting earthy and woodsy notes, with hints of clearly Oregonian fruit. On the palate, the initial hit is totally Oregon, bright red fruit, but quickly other notes take over -- some Burgundian grass/herbs, and more than a little acid. The finish is very sharp, but not unpleasant. It was definitely a nice change of pace from the RRV Pinots we've been drinking a lot of late.
Red
9/14/2012 - Bender Bending Rodriguez wrote:
92 points
Really nice bottle. Inky dark color; glowing scarlet at the edge. Deep, brooding nose, with some very slight vegetal (green pepper?) hints. Silky smooth on the palate, balanced dark fruits and a lovely acidity. Had with a nicely marbled steak, and the acid with meat was just perfect. Two of us polished off the bottle without issue. Yum.
Red
8/26/2012 - Bender Bending Rodriguez wrote:
89 points
As with all GFs, a visually striking wine. Sparkling clarity and classic pinot color. Relatively subdued nose with tart fruit notes. Palate is somewhat atypical for new world -- less fruit and more acidity, a little more delicate.
Red
8/23/2012 - Bender Bending Rodriguez wrote:
95 points
Holy cow, a sterling reminder of why I drink so much Arista. After a stretch of $10-15 pinots, I decided to splurge a bit tonight since I cooked a nice meal for my lovely bride. This bottle was full of fireworks, and plenty of youthful exuberance. Scarlet with very subtle purple notes on the pour, and just a hint of cloudiness in the glass. Explosive currant and raspberry on the nose, which after an hour or two of air gave way to some slightly spicy notes. Silky smooth on the palate, but with very pronounced acid on the finish. Absolutely scrumptious. 2 of us killed the bottle in near-record time. Anxious to see how this one develops -- it's hard to imagine that it could get even better!!
Red
8/23/2012 - Bender Bending Rodriguez wrote:
89 points
Perhaps a very slight bit beyond its peak. but still a really nice wine. Nice balance of fruit and acid -- paired perfectly with pasta.
Red
8/4/2012 - Bender Bending Rodriguez wrote:
87 points
Tasted alongside a 2002 burgundy, which is hardly fair, but still a really enjoyable bottle of wine.
Red
2002 Pierre Bourée Fils Charmes-Chambertin Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru Pinot Noir (view label images)
8/4/2012 - Bender Bending Rodriguez wrote:
94 points
Really lovely Burgundy -- tasted alongside an Oregon Pinot, which made for nice counterpoint. This screamed France, with a great acidity balancing relatively subdued fruit and lots of vegetal notes. Yum.
1 person found this helpful Comment
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