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Comments on my notes

(90 comments on 77 notes)

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2001 Michel & Stéphane Ogier Côte-Rôtie Syrah
Mine. Decanted for about three hours in advance in which the following elements were unphased by oxygen: cloying jammy fruit, Vitamin B6 and tire shop aromas. Like Warren and his Jaboulet, I could cry over the years this loser took up space in my cellar waiting for its perfect moment. (Important fact: this is the first bad Ogier I've ever had.)
  • Fractalage commented:

    12/24/22, 6:06 PM - Ha!
    Yeah, those dumb wine bottles taking up space in our cellars!
    Good review.

2008 Accornero Centenario Monferrato Cabernet Sauvignon
Wonderful. This Monferrato Cabernet Sauvignon shows just a little age in its color; dark ruby core, watery edge. The nose (this was a PnP, with the first glass allowed to breathe for ~ 15 minutes prior to consumption) is wildly complex, and offers all the hallmark notes I look for in CS. A half glass left on the counter on day 2 showed virtually no oxidation and in fact was one of the rare times (completely uncovered) a wine actually showed even more impressively than on day one. Med/Med+ body, very fine tannins still offering good framing; red fruits take a modest backseat the crème de cassis, tobacco and rich plum notes. I'm very glad to have two more left; will consume before 2027. Consistently, and brilliantly opened up over the course of the ninety minutes that followed. Cork 1/4 soaked, great fill, and the 14,5% abv is more like 13,5%-14,5%. At this stage in its development, and if this bottle is representative, it's highly recommended
  • Fractalage commented:

    11/23/22, 10:14 PM - Excellent notes!
    These are the kinds of notes that are super helpful and appreciated.
    Such as, how was the cork, how well did it hold up the next day and the next, how much sediment was left in the bottle, how long before it opened up, what was the rest time, and notes all along the way.
    Thanks to you I realized that I needed to decant this wine now, for a good T-day enjoyment tomorrow.
    Thank you!

2019 Cullen Wines Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot Wilyabrup Margaret River Red Bordeaux Blend
Gorgeous wine!
I would never have chosen this wine except that today, when I was in K&L RWC with my daughter, I asked her to pick her top 5 wine labels and explain why they deserved her pick.
She pulled this one.
I don't normally go with Aussie wines, though they are fantastic, but this one sported what I eschew: Cabernet Sauvignon.

I bought it for $40, as my daughter chose its label.

Wow, what an excellent wine.
Come to find out that it's the ONLY biodynamic wine in the Wilyabrup area.

Nose: Flowers, black fruit, with a quality of density that astonished.
Palate: Lush black fruit, flowers, levity of natural acid, tasted like a white and red wine blend, length, soft, luxurious, couldn't put it down, kept wanting to taste and drink.

Excellent wine.

"In 1998 the change to total organic viticulture was made. Diana and Vanya went intuitively towards healing the soil by putting back what had been taken out. Organics is about soil health – drains were put in, cover crops, and composting resulted in A Grade Organic Certification in 2003 being gained by the Biological Farmers Association (BFA) of Australia."

Biodynamic wine making, natural wine is the future.
In my opinion, the future is genetically unique plants. No more clones off rootstock, but natural, from seed plants. That, in my opinion is the ultimate terroir of wine, as the seed will connect to the soil, to the electromagnetics of the local earth to become, literally, the plant of the root connected to place and time.
  • Fractalage commented:

    9/25/22, 10:35 PM - As far as I know, no one is planting from seed. Too risky. It's a money crop and no one wants to risk such unique flavor.

    BUT, in my opinion, it is the future of wine.
    I predict, here me now, believe me later, that the citizens of the world of 50-100 years from now will look back at this quote "modern" wine making with distain. Why? Because it's fake. It's not real.

    I predict, that in the future, people will want real, will want natural, will want unique. They will not want inoculated grapes to make their wine. They will want pure biodynamic.

    Please follow the work of Eben Sadie. He is resurrecting ancient manuals and texts of how to make the best wine, from before the industrial revolution.

    In my opinion there is a massive coming backlash against the chemical cabals of the 20th century. People will see that poison for what it is and never buy that crap again. Education will reign and the people will demand with their buying power only producers that honor the plant and the sacred honor of producing wine.

    It's coming.
    Hear me now believe me later.

    If you're a wine maker and you spray crap on your grapes and then inoculate that biome, and then pitch yeast. Your days are numbered.
    Repent and stop that deleterious practice. Go biodynamic. Get ahead of the trend and become prosperous.

1985 Paul Jaboulet Aîné Hermitage La Chapelle Syrah
7/2/2022 - Wine Canuck wrote:
95 points
An Epic Summer Wine Weekend; 7/1/2022-7/3/2022 (Muskoka, Ontario, Canada): This pours medium ruby with light bricking at the rim. The nose shows cassis, dried blueberry, animal fur, light pickle brine, smoked meat, animal fur, and sweet old cedar shavings. The palate is still youthful showing lovely dried blueberry turning to medium tannin and medium plus acid. The finish lingers nicely on dried blueberry and old sweet cedar.
  • Fractalage commented:

    7/2/22, 8:43 PM - Stop it!
    Not fair!
    Quit rubbing it into our faces!
    Keep your notes away from we paupers, who can't find or afford to find such awesomeness in vino!

    (all in jest.)
    (Thanks for sharing)

2002 Turley Petite Syrah Hayne Vineyard St. Helena Petite Sirah
7/2/2022 - Justinwine wrote:
97 points
Breathtaking. Wonderfully mature example of petite Syrah .
  • Fractalage commented:

    7/2/22, 8:05 PM - Yes it is!
    Might be the best wine USA produces.

2018 Tenuta Sant'Antonio Corvina Scaia Veneto IGT
1/31/2022 - Sid_Loves_Wine Likes this wine:
90 points
Very tough for me to rate- pretty much my first Corvina, but also because the notes available for it vary WILDLY- I found it pretty unusual and tough to fully parse, so not surprised there. I did like it- already wins points for feeling like an actual, real wine for the price and I did find it very "drinkable" and cute - but then again, "easy drinking" isn't really what I look for to determine if a wine is good or not. There were some really unusual and incongruous aspects to it that I didn't really enjoy, although there were also some moments of harmony and beauty.

Nose was pretty odd, maybe my least favorite part. On the pop and pour and most of the rest of the time, I got a really present bitter herbal thing - reminded me of a quite underripe Bordeaux blend from South Africa or something with lots of harsh green tones, super bitter dark cacao. However, even though it was super earthy, at times I got glimpses of what felt like CRAZY ripe fruit, baked cherry and nearly prune- when this showed up it actually worked pretty well with the bitter tones, but it was a strange combo. The previous commenter wrote "amaro", which genuinely makes a lot of sense to me, even if I didn't quite love it.

The palate was really different, and equally difficult to assess. The main theme here was softness, with very soft fruit, soft tannins, soft medium low acidity. This kind of softness is truly not my thing in most wines, but I still kept drinking it and enjoying it, at least for the $12 I paid. It coats the mouth with herbal tinged sour cherry. It was tasty, and I'm not really sure where to go from there.

I don't think I would buy it again, but I could see how it would have fans. I think I much prefer the greater energy of inexpensive Chianti or Langhe Rossos, let alone Côtes du Rhone options.
  • Fractalage commented:

    6/21/22, 4:22 PM - Great review amigo!
    Love that you put so much into it.

    Keep them up!

2016 Tenuta Caparzo Brunello di Montalcino Sangiovese
Excellent wine.
This will go down as the most Burgundy-esc Brunello I've had, to date.

If you get this bottle give it a minimum 6 hour decant before drinking, at this stage, as it only barely started to show with that much air.

If you love fine Burgundy, you'll get into this bottle as it was subtle in its flavors, elegant in its composure, but assuredly needed at least 5 more years in the cellar for those complexities to shine as intended.
I regret that I killed this baby.

At first decant it was very closed, but faint tart and earth poked through. Its initial palate was quality, with length but obviously needed air.

3 hours in it had some plums and raisins on the nose with musk and exotic spices.
In the mouth is had very dry, fine and elegant spices with bits of powdery silk that held roughness that needed to be aged out.

6 hours later it seemed very Burgundy-like in its complex subtlety. A very expensive, tight-knit French oak influence was detected. Licorice and other herbs started to show.
I had the impression of fine teas, hibiscus and light tobacco.

At heart, I’m a barbarian, harkening back to my Viking roots with my love of funk and real in my wine and beers. I like my mouth to grip onto something not as subtle as this, though it’s not lost on my palate, it’s just not what I normally enjoy or crave. It’s a great fine wine for sure, unique in what I’ve so far encountered in this DOCG, but will not buy again. I must give a huge, hearty congratulations to the winemaker though, for having made a fantastic wine for this price. Burgundy fans should snag this up for it will be enjoyed 10-20 years from now with critical acclaim for its finesse.
  • Fractalage commented:

    5/6/22, 6:46 PM - Thanks!
    Appreciate your comments and enjoyment of my "toil", which is really just my pleasure of the journey into vitus vinifera.

    If you're ever in the Bay Area, I've got some unique cuvees I'd share (Cappadokia, for example). San Mateo is where I paint with the stuff.

    Silicon Valley Open Studios is the next 3 weekends.
    I'll be pouring good bottles and painting portraits for free: DECAYEN style.

2018 Domaine des Ouleb Thaleb Syrah Syrocco Zenata
8/1/2021 - Derek Darth Taster wrote:
90 points
Middle East Wine Zoom Tasting. Drank in Gabriel Standart.
Appearance is clear, deep intensity, purplish ruby colour. Legs.
Nose is clean, medium+ intensity, with aromas of green + black olives, black berries, dark plums, fresh animal leathery meat with a hint of blood. Developing.
On the palate, dry, high acidity, medium alcohol (13.5%), initilly fine high tannins that get grainier with more air, medium+ body. Medium+ flavour intensity,with flavours of leathery meat with bit of bloodiness, dark green + black olives, blackberries, black cheries, dark plums, black pepper background. Long finish with graininess and bitter dark fruit lingering.
Very good quality. Really does feel like a Northern Rhone Crozes. Bravo. Can age over the next few years.
  • Fractalage commented:

    4/8/22, 9:43 PM - Excellent review.
    Spot on.

2018 Bodegas Emilio Moro Ribera del Duero Tempranillo
3/26/2022 - Zinslut Likes this wine:
95 points
A beautiful , intense, but elegant and round nose of blackberries, dried currants, blueberries , black licorice, dried ancho Chile, & crushed Vietnamese black pepper. Additional citrus notes, coco & coffee bean… I could just enjoy the aroma of this wine for hours and be satisfied but I have to force myself to go in for a taste. It is 100% Tempranillo, macerated for 23 days ( just like I would do) and you can smell all the phenomenal items above. Ok I must taste…more of the similar described flavors, a chalky mouthfeel from full extraction, more dominate citrus notes , just less intense or complex experience in the mouth with further time the taste comes close. Notes of tar and crush dark spices with above modest tannins. The leather mentioned in other reviews reveal itself beyond the 2 hour decanted and aeration point yet not as dominate as others described, but only adds to the complexity. This is where your nose and mouth need to be in unison for maximum sexuality. The length of the finish is a crescendo to a wonderfully made wine from a terrific 25 year old low yielding vineyard. I had no food available to pair but I can only see this as an enhancement rather than a distraction. At this price point, $28 , 2018 was an excellent vintage , if Covid didn’t make me workless, I might consider buying every bottle I could steal. Oh Ribera Del Duero, I will never cheat on you again with a Rioja. Enough said
  • Fractalage commented:

    4/3/22, 12:19 AM - "Oh Ribera Del Duero, I will never cheat on you again with a Rioja. Enough said"

    That's my quote of the week!

    Bierzo, man! Bierzo!

    This wine is the shiz and then some!
    Could not believe Costco here in Redwood City CA had this! for $20.
    Yep, for Tempranillo, it kills any Rioja.
    My love is Mencia.
    Old vine Mencia is just fabulous in the right hands, and some of these vintners, such as Raul Perez, are just killing it!

    Love your reviews!
    My art studio is in San Mateo. My door is always open for you.
    When you come over I'll go deep into the collection and decant something old and really good.

2019 Domaine Vincent Paris St. Joseph Les Cotes Syrah
7/21/2021 - Rani Likes this wine:
90 points
Dark inky purple. Animal fur, boysenberry and ink on the nose. Gripping, lots of acidity and black fruit. Nice finish. Rather kicking right now, would be better in a year or two.
  • Fractalage commented:

    2/2/22, 11:42 PM - Love that you put "Animal fur," which a great descriptor and prompts me to buy and try. I will see if you're correct. But thanks for that descriptive.

2018 Antinori Villa Antinori Toscana IGT SuperTuscan Blend
Skip it!
This might be the worst wine I've ever had from Italy.
Obvious manipulation.
Rough, but cheaply so. Paid $22. Obviously overpaid from the Utah State Liquor Store.

Don't buy.
Skip this.

There are PLENTY of incredible under $20 wines.
  • Fractalage commented:

    12/30/21, 8:27 PM - Ha!
    Yep, you're very right!
    The Socialist Republic of Morons.
    These guys are trying to legislate freedom in so many ways.
    Their law of consecration is for very small communist communities not the whole State.
    Most don't know that the profits from the State Liquor store go to subsidize public school lunches.
    In my opinion the Republic of the USA started off very badly by taxing whiskey. Our Republic's first war was well justified. Government, get out of my right to distill, brew and farm what ever I deem good for myself and family.
    Utah's taxes are almost on par with California's unless you're a big corporation.

2019 Sandlands Red Table Wine Lodi Red Blend
A real wine, authentic, approachable now, loaded with fruit and meats reminding me of the Rhone.

Purchased off the recommendation of Eben Sadie. Great winemakers tend to hang together.
I had returned from Cappadokia with bottles and pics of the ancient vines in the white sandy soil, monasteries, recounting stories to Eben who then turned me onto Tegan and Olivia Passalacqua's project: What an excellent endeavor. Their goal struck me right through the heart with desire to support and taste of it.
About | Sandlands (
Look at those images of ancient vines in sandy soils of California: Real wine! These days the term real wine is dubbed raw wine, but I still like to say “real wine”, because the rest are just crafted beverages. Let’s debate sometime if you disagree. Essentially there is a God of wine. Most of today’s vintners offend that God. The book is to be soon published. I exhort those reading to quit imbibing poison.

Each sip of this excellent juice brings joy to my mouth and soul.
There’s energy, lift, balance of fruit to meats with perfect acid to palate reset of the best of meats. This is very excellent style. Mouthcoating is delicate and rich with lots going on. It will be interesting to see how this will lasts in 5. (My tasting started after a 4 hour decant. There was considerable sediment smoke at the bottom leaving a full two glasses in the bottle.)

I have not yet tasted any other Sandland’s cuvees, but anticipate taking the dive. While this is practically unobtainable due to very small productions, I will have to buy directly upon release.

After Reginald wrote this review, he sat back down to take a deep breath, another swig of the wine and smile in enjoyment. Large chunks of the roasted lamb leg remained on his plate and he cut into it to take of another bite. The wine’s goodness coursed through him and he began that journey again. His vision took him to a very bright world where fantastic light backlit every molecule to where the entire scene glowed: Deep blues of sky, white and creams of worlds in that sky, similar blues of water, cascades of white splashes, greens of lush grass, browns of bark branching up to more greens with flowers of reds, golds and violets. Then there were the robes: Groups of beings in ornately adorned clothes of flowing brilliance. Then they spoke.
“We are Tallus. We gave to you this wine. It has come to you through the ages to be born again to come to you in that glass. The winemaker was of our choosing, though he knows it not. You are here to receive of our knowledge of the whys. You are to assist us to awaken the world to the offence that is taking place in the production of what was brought from this world.” Their hands waved toward the expanse of vineyards growing up groves of unique trees. The leaves of the vines shimmered and revealed gold and silver creatures jumping from leaf to leaf continually.
“As you have surmised, they are the Leolon. They are also on your world and they too facilitate the same action, yet when the vines are dishonored, they are ruined and flee the vineyard. Tell those of your world, who will listen, to bring the Leolon back to their vines as they will flourish and bless the fruit thereof to the benefit of humanity.”

Reginald shook his head. He could not believe what had just transpired. He looked at the bottle and wondered who the winemaker was. He thought about how this juice could have been created and why he had been contacted in this way. He had had plenty of deep experiences to know that this was something unique. He felt in his heart that it was true, that he was chosen. He tasted of the wine again. This time the vision of that glorious world immediately came back to his vision. What was this? Was this juice magical or drugged to have provided this insane experience. His disbelief immediately closed the channel, and that magical feeling faded. After it had gone, he yearned for it to return. It didn’t.

Winetrip is coming.
  • Fractalage commented:

    12/23/21, 9:40 PM - Honored to receive of your words.

2017 d'Arenberg Shiraz The Footbolt McLaren Vale
10/16/2019 - forceberry wrote:
88 points
The grapes are transferred to open-top fermenters where the grapes are foot-trodden through 2/3 of the fermentation, after which the must is basked-pressed and racked to a mixture of new and old French oak barriques to carry out the rest of the fermentation. Aged on the lees in these same barrels for up to 18 months, until the final blending. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. 14,5% alcohol, 1,8 g/l residual sugar, 6,7 g/l acidity and pH 3,51.

Quite deep and moderately opaque blackish cherry color. Ripe, dark-toned and subtly sweet nose with rich, brooding aromas of black cherries, some blackberry jam, a little bit of plummy fruit, a hint of savory spice and a green, herbal touch of mint. The wine is ripe, dense and full-bodied on the palate with dry flavors of juicy blackberries, some tart red plums, a little bit of peppery spice, light savory wood tones, toasty hints of mocha oak and sweet smoke and a cool, green touch of minty herbs. The wine is wonderfully high in acidity for its size, whereas the medium tannins feel quite ripe and gentle, contributing more to the rich texture than to the firm structure. The finish is long, ripe and complex with some tannic grip and rich flavors of juicy blackberries, a little bit of dark plummy fruit, light notes of pipe tobacco, toasty hints of smoke and charred red meat and a touch of extracted woody bitterness.

A rich, nuanced and quite complex McLaren Vale Shiraz. Poised and sophisticated for an Australian Shiraz, but surprisingly easy, ripe and mellow for a d'Arenberg wine. Shows good freshness and depth of flavor, but to me this is a bit too oaky and sweet-toned (even jammy!) - and I've always loved d'Arenberg wines in that they normally don't feel too sweet nor show much (or any) wood. All in all, this is a solid, well-made Shiraz, but lacks the toughness, structure and aging potential I look for in d'Arenbergs. Perhaps some aging might make the wine drop some of the sweeter tones and integrate the wood better with the fruit?
  • Fractalage commented:

    10/11/21, 10:33 PM - Oh man, you deserve to try this now. You'll be very impressed.

    Hey, I love your reviews. They are very spot on and excellently written.

2015 Château Angélus St. Émilion Grand Cru Red Bordeaux Blend
2/10/2020 - Fractalage wrote:
Such high ratings.
Hmmmmm, I just don't agree.
It's nose was closed, tight, withholding what might be there later.
It was cool and minty, just so so, with big tannings.
Did not really like.

If you're stuck in Bordeaux, sure, I get it, but leave and find excellent quality in Northern Italy for fractions of the price.
  • Fractalage commented:

    9/13/21, 12:56 AM - The Po Valley is just amazing for wine and has been for millennia.

    What do you know about Theodoric?
    Just a tangent to follow. Very interesting story in history.

    But, wow, just start with the Langhe. You can go cheap or expensive. AG will never steer you wrongly.
    If you like big, then go east to the Corvina blends in the Valpolicella, or to the muscular Serralunga D'Alba of the Barolo Zone. There are many cool climates of much interest from Val D'Aosta and Valtellina, but you might like something more obscure from Bramaterra.

    If you're seeking something more Bordeaux like, then you'll love Tuscany's Brunello.

    No matter where you start, the price for buck of Italy is a good bet to take. Quality is almost always top notch.

  • Fractalage commented:

    9/15/21, 9:12 AM - I don't taste too much Haut-Médoc these days, but the history is sure fascinating. In that light I'm gonna pick up a bottle of Cuvée Jean Gautreau, in your honor. Hope the 1998 was a good year. Have you had any obscure Medoc? Anything crazy that we don't get in California? The most awesome thing about Bordeaux is that there is so much excellent wine for such a great price, but we don't see much of producers from the likes of Vertheuil and Avensan. This wine journey sure is enjoyable. The geology of the Médoc is interesting. I need to make another visit to taste more.

2017 Porter Creek Old Vine Carignane Mendocino County
Oh man, Porter Creek is so legit.
Jonathan DeMichael sold to me all my purchases since 2010. Such a perfect manager, as he remembered me when I showed up this year and it had been at least 5 years since my last visit.
Porter Creek was my first real Russian River wine experience on Westside Road back in 2010.
Just love these guys. Alex knows his stuff. Biodynamic viticulture and wine making are a gem to find in USA. It’s rather obvious the quality when you taste any of their wines.

Porter Creek is a must visit winery when in Sonoma.
Do whatever you can to make it to the Westside Road wineries and stop here for sure. The area is gorgeous! The classic rolling hills and absolutely romantic: Wine tasting in Russian River is a dream!

This wine for me, when tasted shouted, yes, get a case.
This bottle was my first since purchasing in February of 2020.

Obviously unfiltered as there were copious amounts of sediment.
Just a great taste, very reminiscent of Languedoc-Roussillon. Took a full 2 hours to even start to show a nose, but then it had excellent mulberries and elderberry with dust and a core of herbs, that reminded me of soft garrigue.
Its texture was endearing, soft and robust with energy and grip. It paired very well with herbal salad and pan seared lamb chops.

This wine I could drink every night.
Such a value for the quality.
  • Fractalage commented:

    9/12/21, 12:39 AM - No idea.
    Such small amounts are produced.
    Wine from quality as this is always a momentary situation, as what's in front of us at the moment is what we can get.
    This is why we must buy what we can afford at the time it's in front of us.

2000 Château Margaux Red Bordeaux Blend
8/26/2021 - Invinoverytas wrote:
100 points
Simply amazing
  • Fractalage commented:

    8/26/21, 9:31 PM - Common, tell us why it is so.

  • Fractalage commented:

    8/27/21, 5:21 AM - Worth the money?
    Surely you've had just as good for much less $$.
    What bottles were those?

  • Fractalage commented:

    8/30/21, 5:46 AM - Now that's savvy wining it up.
    Well done!
    Drink excellence for free is the way to go!

2018 Louis Latour Marsannay Pinot Noir
24 Aug 21
2018 Marsannay, Louis Latour,
Costco $23
6:50pm decanted to very little smoke at the bottom.
Muted classic Pinot with more dry leaves, touches of honey, tart berry, good finish.
Touch of sweet confit, that comes around with essence of bay leaf, meyer rind, subtle, needs time.
More candy comes out: Hard Candied cherry and blackberry with a big floral component.
Palate has a delish fungal/earth length with some stars.
There’s a crunch that shows up after 3 naked sips.
Going to pair with pan seared lamb t-bone, so we’ll see how this changes.
Still naked palate. More grip and energy coming forward. Getting better and better.
Fresh pour: Still naked.
Nose of funk, which was shocking. I guess there’s more to reveal! Dry stones, cherry, wet barn with neighboring greenhouse with certain flowers in bloom, strawberry.
On the palate an astringency, dry stones, tart fungal strawberries with a dash of cherry, there’s that bay leaf essence with chalky dryness. Tasted of decomposed limestone.

Pairing with pan seared lamb t-bone:
It did change on the palate, but for the better. Yes, this did pair well and I loved this bottle with the lamb and salad of mix greens and butter leaf.
But I think I preferred it solo better.
  • Fractalage commented:

    8/30/21, 5:43 AM - Agreed! I kept 6oz in glass for the next day taste. Held up excellently for such a small amount in a warm room overnight. Great value! From my experience LL is always a hit for the price.

1982 Pio Cesare Barolo Nebbiolo
Had Vina Enoteca open this in 5 hours in advance of meal.
Perfect cork - ahso opened from Rocco.
Gorgeous clear red orange with a touch of brown
Nose of tart prunes with dusty cutrus. Smelled rich at first then went flabby. It should knit back together. There's a caramel note too.

Big energy on the palate. Perfect acidity with prunes and dried apricots and dusty cutrus with a caramel note on the finish.
Energy fades quickly tho. But amazing.

Coco dust, cigar and a spicey cake starts to show.

New pour
Opening fast!
Lots of caramel plums nose.
Palate is denser and more full and round. Great balance.

Bigger fuller nose slightly metallic, smoke, cigar, with a dried cherry dust and blackberry touches. There's orange rind and very subtle spices
Palate is full! Not flabby at all. Bigger dense. Balanced. Amazing juice.

Lots of flowers with spices and aromatics of elegant baking with a sharp crisp tannin that lingers and burns off the spices with a rather large herbal of baking herbs displayed.

What I really love about this is the dense rich spices. Just an amazing unique taste typical good Barolo.

There's some great anise lurking in there. But love that tart and the herbal finish

That herbal concentration keeps getting stronger.
I lament that I can't keep till tomorrow, as it's a restaurant pour. Vina Enoteca - best Italian on the Peninsula - let this bottle rest upright for 6 months. Thanks Rocco.
  • Fractalage commented:

    8/2/21, 4:04 PM - Hi, sure, I had this bottle upright, meaning not laid down on its side. This was to assure full settling of sediment.
    Make sense?
    Probably didn't need a full 6 months, but I won't know because I just let it sit in Vina Enoteca: I did not monitor it.

    Wines should never be opened when cloudy. Why bottle age if opened before sediment settles.
    This is somewhat of a pet peeve of mine, as at the wine stores the vendors love to man handle the bottles. I figure it's their only excitement of the day to twirl a bottle or two. But holy hell! Please don't do that with my bottle. Just a few days ago that happened at an place I won't mention, because I love them, but without saying a word I put that shaken bottle back and took the one that was behind it.

    The worst is at a fancy restaurant with no real somm and they don’t decant the bottle with a light.

    Anyone who has tasted side by side both a rested versus a shaken bottle will immediately recognize the difference.

    Always shine a powerful LED light through the bottle before opening. If it looks cloudy, don’t open it. Most bottles that have been transported need to rest at least a week before opening. The older the bottle the more time to rest upright needed. The LED will tell you when it’s ready.

    Always decant.
    Use that same powerful LED to shine through the bottle to let you know when the sediment starts to pour, then stop.
    I always drink the sediment, but separately. Most times that last glass can settle out overnight and give to me a slow ox idea of how that bottle will further age.

    Really young wines might not have much sediment, and those wines that were aged in tank or botti for extended time, such as Baroli, already had most of those larger molecules fall out, so they might be the clearest red wines you find. I’ve opened 25 year Barolo that barely had any sediment.
    Cheap wines are very well filtered so they may never have much sediment.

    Was this TMI?

2011 Cayuse Syrah En Cerise Vineyard Walla Walla Valley

GDMFB, I hate buying one bottle at auction to find this out.
Crud, just disappointing.

Christophe, let's get some cred for this, please.

Despite the crazy TCA smell and taste I can tell this was a fantastic bottle of dry, northern rhone style juice. Rocks, stones with delish earthen notes.

I'm trying to see if this blows off.
Day 2, nope.
  • Fractalage commented:

    3/14/21, 3:56 AM - Now that's service!
    I'm a dedicated fan for sure, and now, just amazing service like this!
    Blown away.
    Thank you!

1996 Ronchi di Cialla Schioppettino di Cialla Friuli Colli Orientali
Amazing wine!
Almost perfect.
Texture, aroma, notes, a symphony in my mouth.

12.5%, etheric and fleeting yet solid and congealing into fantastic herbal delicacy with anise, wild hot herbs, ephemeral texture, complex as the middle, not heaven, not hell, but right there in between with a juice that baffles my palate. I will have to revisit.

I feel as though I don't deserve this, as my Viking ancestral palate craves the rugged and funky. This is like an elegant thing for a refined individual, while I am a fat wide tire on a Hummer rolling across rocky terrain deserving of something far more wild, yet I enjoy this for its finesse. I can pretend that I am of this ilk. Yet it is only pretending.

When Rocco showed this to me for the price of $75 I couldn't say no!

it needs at least a 5 hour decant, and will obviously last many more years.
Low alcohol wines are a joy to find, especially of this quality.
  • Fractalage commented:

    3/4/21, 6:40 PM - Yep, but it will keep for 20 more.
    My 2nd bottle had steely nose that disappeared 24 hours later, so you might want to gage on drink time based on inital decant.
    Good wines always have bottle inconsistencies.


    Do you know about its ancient terroir?

  • Fractalage commented:

    3/9/21, 8:06 PM - Vina Enoteca, this Friday is doing a Ronchi di Cialla tasting and pairing, if you're in the Bay Area.

2018 Kirkland Signature Old Vine Zinfandel Sonoma County
3/5/2021 - CMN wrote:
70 points
Purple fruited some harsh wood notes and a lot of vanilla. The vanilla recedes substantially with air, but it’s still far too prominent on the palate. Rounded mouthfeel, low tannins and adequate acidity. 15%abv, but the alcohol is well-hidden.

There are rumors that this wine was made my Morgan Twain Peterson, which attracted me. Nonetheless, this is fairly anonymous with far too much vanilla and this would not be a re-buy for me, even at the Costco price of $9.99/bottle. Disappointing.
  • Fractalage commented:

    3/5/21, 7:42 PM - Great review!
    Yeah, this is why I'm very leary of those Kirkland branded wines.
    Good to know.

    I think however if it's Italian, it's better quality for sure.

2015 Château Cheval Blanc St. Émilion Grand Cru Red Bordeaux Blend
2/10/2020 - Fractalage wrote:
Prices here are crazy. Don't pay this, please. There are so many more better wines to be had for fractions of this.
It was indeed a smooth oak bomb with notes of plums, rich and unctuous with notes of cola and lots of easy tanins.

I only hope that one day someone will say this about my paintings.

If you like this wine and want to immortalize it in a painting, call me, please because I will paint a masterpiece with this just for you.
  • Fractalage commented:

    2/5/21, 11:48 PM - Not sure for what you're asking.
    Can you clarify?

  • Fractalage commented:

    2/14/21, 9:31 PM - That's the Great Question.

    To this answer I am questing.

    This journey is a fantastic one, ever evolving and playing into terroir ancient where I am stumbling onto genetically unique Vitus Vinifera and absolutely loving it far more than this crazily overprice Chat CB stuff.

    For example, I am vastly enjoying the wines of Raoul Perez and would absolutely rather drink any of his bottles over this Chat Cheval Blanc. But, of course, this is a matter of taste.

    Along with that taste is the philosophy of #oligarchfree. The only reason for these prices of Bordeaux to be so high is the trap of the oligarch taste, which over time has brought us to this insanity. I don’t know who you are, but can you really support the likes of Bernard Arnold and Albert Frere? If you can, then good luck in the afterlife, for assuredly there is one, and karma is truly a bitch.

    Shoot, if we are talking over $100 bottles better than this Chat CB, I would say, 2015 Clape Cornas, 2001 Bruno Giacosa Barolo, 2008 Bartolo Mascarello Barolo, but these are obvious picks. I'm sure each of us has a handful of better wines for much less. If we are staying in France, then may I suggest Paris, Balthazar or even Chateau Montus. I would rather almost anything from Italy, especially of Corvina grape or Sagrantino, but Georgia vastly over pleases to this overpriced juice. Aaron Sedrick Rawlins of Armenia L.2017-021 is far better for sure. But again, it’s a matter of taste.

    This 2015 is too young for sure to really tell, but for the price…

    If this particular one is your penultimate bottle, then you might be offended at the prospect that others may disagree, but thus the entertainment of debate. Would you be interested in a blind taste test of Bordeaux greats against whatever I chose? We can film it or do it live via Zoom or WebEx.

    Basically, what I’m saying is that wine should never be so expensive. I’m happy for free market supply and demand, but much too often it’s artificially controlled, and we assuredly see it here with this.

2015 Rosa dell'Olmo Barolo Nebbiolo
2/9/2020 - oakville72 wrote:
86 points
Tart and acidic. Some tannis and flavors of old oak puncheons. Hard to recognize as Barolo. Langhe Nebbiolo maybe. 2014 was better. Maybe it'll soften with time. $15 at Trader Joe's. Tasted over several days.
  • Fractalage commented:

    1/22/21, 9:16 PM - $15!
    Barolo for $15?

1997 Bartolo Mascarello Barolo Nebbiolo
12/2/2020 - Eric wrote:
M&PD Zoom Tasting: Burgundy & Barolo (Zoom): I was a little stumped on this one. Murky, muddy and cloudy, is this right? Tangerine elements throughout. Surprisingly soft and resolved. This has no obvious flaw, but it feels like it is not an ideal example, throwing tons of fine sediment.
  • Fractalage commented:

    1/7/21, 2:01 PM - Shoulda let it rest until clear, then decant off sediment.

  • Fractalage commented:

    1/8/21, 10:43 AM - Well, that's no good. Who was the Somm who poured that bottle?
    Sounds like they tried to get as much out of that bottle as they could. Such a shame.

    If it were my tasting I'd ask for my money back and complain big time.

    Compare your experience with the latest review from AG.

    At least you touched the sacred juice to your lips!
    That's something!
    There's a special club in heaven where only those who tasted a Bartolo Mascarello can enter.

1994 Faustino Rioja I Gran Reserva Tempranillo Blend, Tempranillo
1/4/2021 - jordanj Likes this wine:
91 points
Stinky in every way. Barnyard, soy sauce, leather, and Asian spices. I can’t get fruit to save my life. Fairly cloudy medium amber. Same as last few bottles. Puts on a little weight with air and it needs every bit as the palate is pretty weak - acidic. I love stinky but not at a total expense of the fruit and balance.
  • Fractalage commented:

    1/4/21, 10:52 PM - Throw me into that funk!
    Now that's the stuff!

2018 Raul Pérez Bierzo Ultreia St. Jacques Mencía
12/17/2020 - kosmik Likes this wine:
90 points
Revoir sur 5 ans.
Besoin de beaucoup d’aération pour se déployer.
  • Fractalage commented:

    1/3/21, 6:32 PM - C'est vrai.
    Mais, il lui faut plus que 5 ans. Je pense 10, au moins.
    Au jour d'hui 30 heurs plus tard, cette bouteille est magnifique! Oui, celle-ci est pour la cave. Achet autant que tu peut, et laisser reste une decennie.

2018 Raul Pérez Bierzo Ultreia St. Jacques Mencía
1/2/2021 - TVG wrote:
I want to like this wine but I can't get past the nose and taste of blood sausage.
  • Fractalage commented:

    1/3/21, 6:27 PM - Ha, that's an excellent review! Yes, lots of blood sausage!
    Please buy no more, but leave the rest to me.

2015 No Girls Tempranillo Walla Walla Valley
12/30/2020 - pgm wrote:
94 points
My last of the three bottles, and the first one I thought was really special. The funk on the nose is nicely delineated into tobacco and farmyard alfalfa and a bit of new leather, but good fruit too, dominated by fresh blackberry and huckleberry. Quite complex and delicious in the mouth, where the leather and black fruit and dusty baking spices show the Tempranillo varietal character really nicely. Sweet fruit and spice on the finish.

Opened this to see if I wanted to buy another allocation, pretty sure that I wouldn’t, but I think this bottle might’ve convinced me I wanted more.
  • Fractalage commented:

    12/30/20, 9:15 PM - Great notes! I never knew this wine sported such interesting stuff. I missed out on purchasing opportunities for sure, but I'll buy the next one I find. Baron might be thet best in the USA.

2011 Pierre Gonon St. Joseph Syrah
9/15/2020 - slanum wrote:
Viewed as the $40 wine that it was on release: a solid and indeed typical Saint-Joseph displaying the traditional side of Northern Rhône Syrahs. Nice fruit that isn't over ripe, some leather and olive, no overt oak, but I don't find it the most interesting vintage of this particular wine that I've had. I'm inclined to put that down to the vintage, not the Gonons. At the current going rate, which seems to have approached Cornas-like levels, this wine is not there in terms of depth or complexity.
  • Fractalage commented:

    12/10/20, 8:14 PM - I bought all of my bottles at the $50 price point, then BAM, overnight they jumped to $100. That doesn't make sense to me. But they sold at that price range, so I guess it was a good ploy.

    I really think that there are Spanish wines that will do the same thing over the next 20 years: Valdeorras for sure and some old vine Mencia from Bierzo.

2012 Alain Voge Cornas Cuvée Vieilles Fontaines Syrah
Yet Another Wine Group: Cote Rotie & Cornas: Masses of sweet vanilla on the nose. Christmas cake aromas with caramel, white pepper. Many new oak characteristics on the palate also. The Cornas characteristic is there but masked by the makeup of the oak. This seemed completely out of place in this lineup and while the quality is evident I don't like this at all. I felt annoyed drinking this.
  • Fractalage commented:

    12/10/20, 8:54 AM - Yes! Review spot on!
    All these reviewers must love the modern oaky wines to give such great reviews. This wine was just UG for me. Gotta sell all my bottles at auction. Bought 8 a few years ago.

2001 Kongsgaard Syrah Hudson Vineyard Napa Valley
8/20/2020 - jlgnml wrote:
88 points
Muddy color, not the best representation of Syrah. Past it’s drinking time.
  • Fractalage commented:

    11/24/20, 10:26 PM - For how long did you let it rest upright?
    Muddy means sediment needed to settle. Too bad.

  • Fractalage commented:

    11/30/20, 4:37 PM - Yeah, this old guy needed probably a month of rest. Take a strong LED to shine though the bottle. If cloudy don't open. Some of my older bottles I let rest a year, just to make sure.
    Because of the caked sediment that sometimes sticks to the bottle's sides it might be difficult to find a section to get a good glimpse at the juice. Shining light through that caking renders the juice to look cloudy even though it’s rested well enough.
    Never open until it's clear.

2007 Bartolo Mascarello Barolo Nebbiolo
9/20/2020 - Robmcl920 Likes this wine:
94 points
The '07 Bartolo comes across as a dark, exotic, hedonistic wine from the first whiff. On the nose, I found black cherry and plum fruit, licorice, sweet baking spices, a hint of dark chocolate, balsamic, and earth. The palate remains largely primary, with dark cherry and plum fruit and sweet spices, but stands out primarily for the lush texture and richness. The fruit is dense and glides across the palate like velvet. There is minimal tannin, with a small amount of slightly grainy tannin appearing on the finish, which is long with plenty of spicy, dark fruit. I didn't find the '07 Bartolo to be in any way actually sweet on the palate, as some reviews indicated, but it does show a dark, rich, hedonistic expression of Nebbiolo, certainly very different than most vintages of Bartolo Mascarello. It's enjoyable today, but should improve a bit as the final bit of tannin fully integrates and some more tertiary complexity opens up. It is a very good vintage of Bartolo, standing out for its richness, even if it lacks the complexity of the surrounding '06 and '08 vintages.
  • Fractalage commented:

    11/24/20, 10:13 PM - Curious, because I've got a case of the '07 and need to decide when to open the first bottle.
    Did you decant? What type of decanter?
    How long did it breathe?
    How was it stored?
    Were you the only owner of the bottle?
    How much sediment if any?

  • Fractalage commented:

    11/25/20, 9:45 PM - Thanks for the info!
    Just opened my first of the case. More notes to follow on my post, but I would say, so far, way over priced for the taste, as I would not put at that price range yet, I've still a few more hours air to go. So far only one hour. We'll see how it goes.
    It stood upright for a full year. Thick sediment on the bottom of the bottle.
    I will note its evolution over the next 1-2 days.

    Thanks for the info!

2012 Domaine Vincent Paris Cornas Granit 30 Syrah
9/30/2019 - Judith wish wrote:
This wine smelled of sulfur and tasted even worse. It clearly was bad. We washed it down the drain. Too bad. I have not had many really undrinkable wines from Garagiste, but this was one of them.
  • Fractalage commented:

    11/22/20, 12:28 AM - Oh no!
    You didn't let it blow off with a few hour decant?
    Oh God, such a shame.

2012 Domaine Vincent Paris Cornas Granit 30 Syrah
10/3/2020 - wayfarer Likes this wine:
92 points
Opened for 45 minutes, no decant. Definitely grew richer and more expressive over course of dinner. Deep purple in glass. Dark red/purple fruit, black cherry, blueberry, stone, hint of spice, herb & earth. Integrated tannin with a bit of acid zip, nice moderate full body and length, polished but with good backbone. Not especially expressive nose, but present and complementary with palate. Pleasure to sip and savor, outstanding with brined/grilled pork chops, baked herb/parmesan acorn squash, wild rice. Enjoyable style.
  • Fractalage commented:

    11/22/20, 12:25 AM - Great review. One by one these fabulous bottles get knocked off. Isn't it great to be human.
    If we are still here for 2045 vintange, this guy will be the legend of Cornas. Your review is imortalized for all time.
    (Well, barring some sort of destructive comet or solar flare.)

2012 Domaine Vincent Paris Cornas Granit 30 Syrah
9/28/2020 - PMJak11 Likes this wine:
93 points
45+ minute decant and could have benefited from more. Mix of red and purple colors. Amazing nose! Floral, earth, cow shit, and smoke. Resembled some very high end Bordeaux’s. Wine gets interesting from there. Lots of spice, minimal fruit, and a smooth texture. Short finish. Pretty good value and I want to try again.
  • Fractalage commented:

    11/22/20, 12:25 AM - You pegged it.
    Cow shit and smoke.

2012 Domaine Vincent Paris Cornas Granit 30 Syrah
10/10/2020 - John McCabe wrote:
Had a couple of months ago but forgot to record the tasting note.
  • Fractalage commented:

    11/22/20, 12:21 AM - That's alright. You partook! That's worth the documenting.

2003 Bodegas Pintia Toro Pintia Tinta de Toro, Tempranillo
8/28/2016 - lolo66 wrote:
very dark. i get mocha, coffee, stewed fruit. some tannic structure. on the ripe side and a bit modern. not poorly made. just not my style anymore.

Lo and behold on the 2nd day this somehow has become integrated, with bright cherries, spices, touches of oak, and somehow vibrant. Granted I am drinking this below 60 degrees F but this just goes to show you Rioja needs a shit load of air to truly understand and appreciate what it holds.
  • Fractalage commented:

    9/30/20, 12:07 PM - Thanks for letting this sit for the extra knowledge!
    The really good stuff gets better like that.
    Good to know!

2018 Banshee Cabernet Sauvignon Paso Robles
Horrible wine.
Was definately ripped off by Whole Foods for $25 for this kakashka. I should have checked, because when a wine is priced higher than Vivino here to the right, then it's really overpriced, and by 20%. Whole Foods is a racket. I will forever avoid that store.

Banshee, take your name off this obviously manipulated wine. It tastes crafted to American palates. Too much added acid left my mouth burning: The classic imposter of a long finish.
The overuse of oak, probably some sort of extract or wood chips added left me wondering why, but knowing that only in America can we find such crap.

I don't hate Banshee, as most I've tasted was worth writing about, even buying as I've purchased their Syrah direct from their Healsburg tasting room, but this a is neighbor give away bottle, which I did give to my neighbor who can't taste what this really is. Maybe I will serve some karmic time in hell for that, but at least someone can drink it instead of dumping. But maybe it really deserved to be dumped.

I'm quite pissed because there were easily 3 other wines in the same price range that would have been delish, but of course, all from Italy.

Maybe I owe Banshee some thanks, because once again I realize that quality to value is never in America, at least for wine.

If you're American and like this sort of obvious manipulation, then this is the junk for you.

(This is not even worthy to pour into a sauce creation.)
  • Fractalage commented:

    9/15/20, 12:27 PM - So sad, right. Could be so much better. I've been to Paso 5 times and each time it's been pretty disappointing.

  • Fractalage commented:

    9/22/20, 12:11 PM - What score does it deserve?
    Why do you ask?
    It's 50 cuz it's wet. But I think I would score it less if I could. No one should be drinking this, unless you SuperSize all of your meals, then this would be a step down from Coke.

  • Fractalage commented:

    9/23/20, 2:21 PM - If those are in line with the quality of Adam Tolmach, then I would probably like them.
    It's just hard for me to spend any money on anything American when there is much better to be found in Italy for much less.

1967 Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco Riserva Speciale Martinenga Nebbiolo
Some wines at Thierry's place (June 2019): Served non-blind. Cloudy, looking a little like an amber, natural wine. Not a very appealing bouquet. Maderised with dry sherry, toffee, orange peel and some dried cherry and fig aromas. If you don't look at or smell it too much, in the mouth, it's surprisingly alive! It still has some lively fruit, with old Barolo or Barbaresco flavours of Campari and blood orange, with earth and sottobosco elements. Savoury and umami. Quite poignant. Drinking very well for a 52 year old! The WoTN.
  • Fractalage commented:

    9/11/20, 5:48 PM - Should not have been cloudy. It was not allowed to rest long enough. It must be clear before opened. If it gets cloudy it might take a month or more to rest properly.
    It's really too bad, because tasting when in that state was a disservice to the wine.

1997 Rocca di Montegrossi Chianti Classico Riserva San Marcellino Chianti Classico DOCG Sangiovese Blend, Sangiovese
3/13/2020 - VINNICK wrote:
93 points
So good! This is stellar and even more so when adjusted for the price. Beautiful wine and a true representation of a Chianti riserva. Amazing but this could easily go another 10 years or more! Perfect balance and still youthful.
  • Fractalage commented:

    9/7/20, 2:18 PM - Now why would you mention that, unless they are your bottles up for sale. Very sly.

1999 Stefano Accordini Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Acinatico Corvina Blend, Corvina
12/23/2019 - Chef B wrote:
92 points
Decanted. Cloudy with mud left in bottle. Smells of RC cola, sour cherries, and crushed fresh herb, maybe menthol. Slight sweetness and building intensity on palate. Medium finish.
  • Fractalage commented:

    9/4/20, 10:56 AM - For how long did you let it rest?

2017 Tenuta San Guido Guidalberto Toscana IGT Red Bordeaux Blend
Now this is a very good wine.
I don't agree with these reviews saying that it needs 10 years, but 10 years won't ruin it. It was very enjoyable after several hours of decant. It's quality, with a capital Q.
The texture was luxurious, reminiscent of those finest of Napa and Bordeaux, but for fraction of the cost. This is that $150 bottle for $45.

Double decant 5 hours before serving blind to wine lovers to get them to guess what this is. Betcha no one will even come close.

This is case worthy at this price.

I really enjoyed this, and might just buy a few more bottles, which I rarely do because my money always goes to exploration of new juice.
  • Fractalage commented:

    7/28/20, 7:44 AM - You're right. It's not needed.
    My suggestion was to double decant for a somm stump, as the advance time for pulling off sediment, taking the bottle to the event would be perfect, in my opinion, for presenting.

2012 Thomas George Estates Pinot Noir Dexter's Block Baker Ridge Russian River Valley
Deep color and nice blackberry nose. Black cherry palate but finish is too short as the fruit disappears. Almost a "dumb phase" sensation. Simply doesn't cut it for a $90 pinot, and I even own Dexter's clingy, long-sleeve t-shirt.
  • Fractalage commented:

    7/3/20, 9:24 PM - Ha! You bought that shirt too!?
    I'm sure we've met at one of those events.

2014 Thomas George Estates Pinot Noir Dexter's Block Baker Ridge Russian River Valley
Like the 2015, just not a lot going on in this wine. Dilute and totally devoid of fruit. Should not have been released under the TGE label.

Day 2: Softer and showing slight dark berry notes, but still lacking terribly any appreciable fruit or finish... POOR DEXTER!
  • Fractalage commented:

    7/3/20, 9:16 PM - Too hot a year. They had to harvest very early. These Pinots need to rest on the vine until October for the best complexity.
    But never to fear, Maundar's minimum is here.
    While all of the alarmists are touting global warming, the sun has entered into a cooling period, which will be good for Pinot Noir lovers, but maybe not so good for Napa.

    Hey, just curious, why so much TGE?
    I love that estate and swing by there every chance I get. You've got 3L! Wow! Maybe we've met during one of their events of years past. I loved staying on their property.

    2020, if this weather keeps up, will be the best for Russian River in a long time. Very cool nights, but hot days. If this persists it will be a wowsers of a Pinot Noir year.

    Yeah, Sean was awesome! So was his wife.
    I think these guys have the best Chardonnay of the area that's aged in steele, oak and concrete.
    Their concrete only pinot noir is amazing.
    I've still got some magnums of their Syrah. Lot's of new oak though, so don't think I will like it.

    I was there in February. I brought 3 bottles of 2012 to open and drink there. '12 was a fabulous year.

2001 Giuseppe Rinaldi Barolo Cannubi San Lorenzo Ravera Nebbiolo
Wow. This wine was majestic. Decanted for about 30 minutes. Was showing some slight funk for thew first 45 minutes. I was worried it might not have been the freshest bottle. It blossomed right in gront of us and changed with every glass. Indeex, the last glass was the best glass, which for me is the sign of a truly great wine. Dark, sweet black cherries, smoked and spiced. Almost like brandied manhattan cherries. Sichuan peppercorn, anise, dried mint, lavender, peat, and charcoal. This was a big monstrous wine, seeming to be just entering its drinking window... but it could probably go for another 50 without losing any freshness whatsoever.
  • Fractalage commented:

    7/1/20, 12:53 PM - Great review!

1990 Domaine Michelas-St. Jemms Cornas Les Murettes Syrah
A wine drunk at its peak! So complex and integrated. Little known, old school producer whose wines are equally majestic and age worthy as the bigger names.
  • Fractalage commented:

    7/1/20, 12:51 PM - I've got 2 bottles. Will be opening up this week to use to paint my next painting, if your intersted. Come over to the studio.

    Glad to hear it was drinking well 5 years ago!

2012 Ridge Lytton Springs Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel Blend, Zinfandel
5/14/2020 - Geoffy Likes this wine:
92 points
This is apple and blackberry crumble on a stick, but with the right level of acidity to make it a proper wine rather than alcoholic fruit juice. Complex brambly fruits and a little spice on the nose and the initial taste, and then a long slightly caramelised finish. Lovely. Shame Ridge wines have become so expensive in the UK.
  • Fractalage commented:

    6/5/20, 10:18 AM - I buy these for under $30.
    How much are they in UK?

2015 Ampeleia Ampeleia Costa Toscana Cabernet Franc
10/22/2019 - Rabaja Likes this wine:
91 points
Very tight upon opening as the tannin and acidity are strong. Over many hours in the glass it begins to show its stuff. Rosemary, cherry cough syrup, gummy fig, blood orange. The palate (eventually) is all dark, ripe, wild strawberry. The tannin relaxes with aeration but the acidity remains making this quite fresh. Should age for many years. Decant for two or more hours if possible. But it's still fun as a pop and pour, just very intense.
  • Fractalage commented:

    4/5/20, 2:41 PM - Good review!

2015 Artevani Saperavi Kakheti
6/20/2017 - Red Don Likes this wine:
89 points
Restaurant purchase @ BLT Prime Restaurant by David Burke, Washington, DC (I won't mention the (outrageous) price, but avg retail is $24). Sommelier suggested this wine to accompany an entree of Porterhouse Steak.

Served @ room temperature, wine is Deep (Royal) Purple in glass; actually imbues the stemware with color. Thick legs, Nose is of Plums & dark red fruit, with alcoholic overtone (14.0% abv). Very Hearty and Full-bodied; more than Hearty enough to stand up any strongly-flavored meat or game, such as Wild Boar or Venison.

Palate of Dark fruits; Plums, Black cherries and earthy spice. Wine features prominent tannin's, but not harsh, although I did notice some fuzziness on the tooth.

Bold, complex structure yet smooth and well-balanced acid. Lingering tart, rather pleasant finish.

Good choice for any strongly-flavored dish, meats, or wild game. Rather like a Blaufränkisch, on steroids (please may I have just one more sip!).

The (glass) bottle seems double thick, and twice the weight of most 750 ml bottles. I've heard some wine producers use heavier bottles just to enhance the illusion of quality, but I think this instance is only because of it's region of origin. This wine may also be available in a ceramic container.

Drinking this wine reminds me of the Grape Crushing scene in 1996's beautifully-photographed, academy award-nominated, Best Foreign Language Film from the Georgian Republic, "A Chef in Love" ('Shekvarebuli kulinaris ataserti retsepti' original title) with Pierre Richard, Micheline Presley & Nino Kirtadze. See it and you'll know what I'm talking about. (Lovers of Georgia should see it.)

EDIT: Some research reveals that Georgia is one of the oldest, if not the oldest, wine producing regions in the world. I acquired some more to see if this young wine benefits from cellaring.
  • Fractalage commented:

    12/23/19, 10:23 PM - Great review!

2004 Faustino Rioja I Gran Reserva Tempranillo Blend, Tempranillo
11/7/2017 - Fractalage Likes this wine:
93 points
Let stand for a month before opening.
Initial pour had color of translucent blood. Slight brown edges.
It's bouquet had big fruit of plum and musty grassy leaves soaked in an old wooden barrel.
On the palate I was expecting big fruit but to my pleasure had no sweetness: It was bone dry, salty savory. As it opened up and the rare ribeye consumed the flavor of tobacco and tar emerged. Crushed rocks and asphalt were a joy to imbibe. The finish was spicey with a carribean type bite of island heat. I counted 40 seconds of interesting evolution of finish taking a dry mineral spice into a touch of banana peel end.
Excellent real wine.
With wines like this to be imported at such a low price, why ever try a Cali wine and roll the dice on manipulated tastes? I swear, almost EVERY time I buy Cali I'm disappointed and feel ill at imbibing deleterious chemicals. (I'm talking about the supposedly good $50+ wholesale types, such as Mondavi) Wine should NEVER make you feel sick or give hangover!
Real wine will uplift and give vitality. The next day make you feel refreshed and energized. Real wine is medicine: good for your health!
USA - clean up your act! Quit poisoning your consumers!
  • Fractalage commented:

    12/15/19, 9:00 PM - Ha, yes, California wine industry IS poisoning us!
    Wake up.
    Tin foil hat? That won't protect you from Glyphosate.
    What, you don't know that this chemical is in every American wine tested? And that it causes cancer?
    Look it up.
    Maybe Oregon is cleaner and more true to source, but not California. Manipulation is the norm. There are, however many exceptions, but they comprise less than .1% of the CA wine produced.

    Facts are facts.
    Your ignorance of the facts doesn't eliminate the fact that the vast majority of CA wine is poison.

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