Tasting Notes for cristian_m

(276 notes on 246 wines)

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Red
6/4/2021 - cristian_m wrote:
82 points
Sweet and cloying. Not unreasonable at a sub 20 $ price point, but notwithstanding the cost component, this is not a wine I would normally choose to drink over other even less costly options. Overall taste is of sweetness and crude tannins. This bottling has some cab franc to give it a little acidity but its a bit disjointed.
Red
5/15/2020 - cristian_m wrote:
Drinking this on a pleasant Friday night. This is a great dessert wine. Sweet. And what everybody else said too. But seriously, this is so sweet and so American palette that I have a hard time getting on board with it. Great floral notes but I would really only serve this to friends as a dessert pairing.
Red - Fortified
2/21/2020 - cristian_m wrote:
91 points
Transluscent cherry red, little bricking. Round plush ripe raisins, stewed red fruits, toasted nuts and loam. Well integrated and with good length. Doesn’t hold much vibrancy but the flavors transition nicely across the palette and the tannins coat the mouth nicely. Weight is on the light side and possesses a nice oiliness to it.
Red
11/8/2019 - cristian_m Does not like this wine:
75 points
Wickedly over oaked. This wine was gifted to us and the 75 score is a gracious reflection of that kindness.
Red
10/27/2019 - cristian_m Does not like this wine:
50 points
Foul. Over cooked and tainted with some kind of pine like eucalyptus. Don’t buy this.
Red
10/4/2019 - cristian_m Does not like this wine:
80 points
Just really not good. It’s stuff like this that gives US producers a bad reputation.
Short, flabby and gulp worthy. Decent enough for the box wine drinking crowd but that’s about all i’d give it.
Red
7/13/2019 - cristian_m wrote:
87 points
Great color and with a nose of strawberry cherry and a hint of cola. Otherwise on the pallet it’s thin and unbalanced. Dry tea, stemmy tannins and cigar box. Length is medium but the wine has little concentration. Fun in its own right but at its price point it’s a travesty.
2 people found this helpful Comment
Red
2003 Bodegas Muga Rioja Reserva Tempranillo Blend, Tempranillo (view label images)
12/24/2018 - cristian_m wrote:
90 points
Fantastic stuff and extra pleased that it held up so well knowing it came from what wasn't a very good year. Plenty of life and fruit in this one. The tannins were smooth and the feel was round and plush. Wish I still had more of this year in the cellar.
Red
12/5/2018 - cristian_m wrote:
90 points
Bulky and flavorful. True to the spec sheet in terms of tannins and acidity and how they play out. Great wine for cooler seasons, perhaps a bit clunky for summer time heat. Overall a very good wine that shows some really good flavors. Increased complexity on the pallet would be required for me to push the score higher.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
10/24/2018 - cristian_m wrote:
72 points
Three words. Burnt rubber tire. That about sums it up.
Red
10/21/2018 - cristian_m wrote:
92 points
Had this at a dinner party last night together with some beef pot roast and some roasted root vegetables. This wine was absolutely singing! Great copious nose and taste of earthy black raspberries. Tartness was very good and it did not present itself as a jammy fruit forward wine, but instead, presented and integrated and lively. very good stuff....
Red
11/27/2017 - cristian_m wrote:
89 points
Very nice barbaresco. Still very youthfull and primary, Tons of acidity and tannins. Nice lead in of cherry and dark cherry. Tobacco and leather on the mid pallette. Long dry finish. Not overly expressive but very pleasing.
Red
11/4/2017 - cristian_m wrote:
83 points
Mega purple. Baseline flavors for Cali cab. Pleasant enough and priced well.
Red
10/13/2017 - cristian_m Does not like this wine:
78 points
Not very good. Disjointed, bulky and hot, with out of balance oak and high residual sweetness. Color is some kind of highly tuned purple that is so dark as to be somewhat beyond reasonability. Body is a bit flabby and the finish is short and harsh. Overall, this does have some typical Napa flavors but I'd just as soon skip this wine and guzzle the boxed stuff for the price point.
Red
10/13/2017 - cristian_m wrote:
86 points
A pretty decent wine. Fair nose with a whiff of cherry and other red fruits. on the bright side and not the ripe side. Body is med and comes across well built if a bit sharp and short. Finish is quite short and leans towards austere.
Red
10/13/2017 - cristian_m wrote:
91 points
Pleasant, body on the light side, classic structure. Plenty of tannins and right in the spot they would be expected for a wine this young. Good nose of red fruits, cinnamon, a touch of leather or tobacco. Nice finish on the long side of medium and a harmonious flavor progression. As far as Barolos go, this is a pretty qood pqr.
Red
2014 Domaine Tempier Bandol Mourvèdre Blend, Mourvèdre (view label images)
10/13/2017 - cristian_m wrote:
88 points
Good body and mouthfeel. Needs an hour plus of breathing to come around. Dark fruits and earthiness. Med finish.
Red
7/2/2017 - cristian_m Likes this wine:
90 points
This wine is excellent. In my humble opinion, some of the previous reviews have been a touch overly critical. As a varietal this wine transmits a wonderful sense of place and terroir. Dark, earthy, right extraction and weight, red fruits, leather and right in range for tannins for its varietal. Length was good. Had this at a dinner party and it just sang whenever it paired with our steak or similar fat heavy dish. As a stand alone sipper it's a bit unconventional for the American pallets. For sure it lacks some complexity one would expect from something like an Bordeaux blend or a Rhone blend etc. Overall though, this wine was the hit of the dinner party.
Red
12/16/2016 - cristian_m wrote:
91 points
A couple years ago, I gifted a bottle of this to my father. He found it in his cellar and brought it over this weekend and we cracked it open and tasted. What a delight. I guess I need to gift him wine more often. :-)
If only this thing wasn't so high in alcohol, I'd have loved it even more. Really nice balance and progression. Extremely inline with the american style, which is to say, plenty of fruit and residual sweetness but with just enough oak, tannins and acidity to make it a grown up drink. Really wish I had socked away more of these. And suffice to say that I am equally impressed that a Barbera like this has help up so well given the length of cellar time.
Red
10/20/2016 - cristian_m wrote:
87 points
It pains me to write this note, and to be fair, an 87 is still a very good score. I've been a fan of Lopez Heredia for a long long time. That said, this wine really fails to deliver anything great from what should be one of the best vintages in recent memory. Contrary to what others have mentioned on this wine, I don't see a lot of upside inside these bottles that time will do anything for.
The wine has a pleasing appearance and a fair nose of sour cherry with some oak vanilla. Less expressive nose than I'm accustomed to with Tondonia and a lot less of the funk. The first sip is largely devoid of fruit and the rest of the taste progression doesn't uncover much either. Sour. Weight tends towards very watery and the wine has a jolting taste of chemical or almost like some flaws I've seen from fermentations that have gone too hot. No idea if that actually happened here but when I compare this Tondonia to the other Riojas I've had from 2004 , it makes me sad. I daresay I might not see much difference between this vintage and the 2002.
However, it is still pleasing, has pretty good length, flavors of leather, burnt earth and tree bark are all things I can get on board with. This is still a better than average wine.
I should add, I'm writing this note after having tried two bottles, two weeks apart and tasting one across 2 fulls days of breathing and the other across 3 days of air.
10 people found this helpful Comments (1)
Red
9/30/2016 - cristian_m wrote:
87 points
Holy bell pepper! Seriously. That napa valley pepper tone is very pronounced with this one. Overall a fair bottle of wine but comes across a little brutish.
Red
8/18/2016 - cristian_m wrote:
88 points
A solid easy drinker. Benefits from 24 hours of air.
Red
6/22/2016 - cristian_m wrote:
88 points
A fair wine and for the price, a moderate if not decent value. Really hot. Nose and palette are hot with alcohol. Over everything on the nose there is a solid breeze of booze that impacts the floral and high notes that otherwise would have a chance to come out. The cherry and the cola and the wood and the oaky vanilla are all in there, but its just such a jarring sip with the high ABV punch and all, it kinda takes the polish off the thing. I can see how some folks love this one, and I can appreciate that it comes off as a hot climate pinot style form a not so hot growing region, but I find it a a little crude and not worthy of any aging. All that said with a grain of salt knowing that its their entry level pinot. :-(
3 people found this helpful Comment
White - Sparkling
5/20/2016 - cristian_m wrote:
80 points
Yellowish and quaffable. Non-descript nose. Sweetness. Flavors of apple and pear. Clean. Decent finish. Really short length. The bubbles are a miss with them being large and abrasive. Seems closer to soda pop than it does a sparking wine. I really reminds me of ginger ale actually. That said, the folks at Sokol Blosser aren't trying to pass this off as super high quality product. A fair wine to use in a sangria or to gulp on the porch during the midweek but easily surpassed by better cava and proseco offerings for less money. Put a few ice cubes and some strawberries in your glass with this and enjoy.
Red - Fortified
4/11/2016 - cristian_m wrote:
91 points
Very pleasant. Great nose with blue fruits, copious booze and some darker earthier notes wrapping a backdrop of violet. Tannins are in good shape and the mouthfeel is nice and oily as it coats the mouth and throat going down. Some spice, cedar, cigar box and nutmeg hints on the med + finish. Overall about where you'd expect it to be given its age box.
2 people found this helpful Comment
Red
2011 Bodegas Muga Rioja Reserva Tempranillo Blend, Tempranillo (view label images)
3/28/2016 - cristian_m wrote:
86 points
More modern in style than any previous Muga bottling for this offering I can recall. A wave of sadness overtook me as my wife described this wine as 'kinda like a cali cab!' We both agreed that this year's bottling seems to be a bigger departure from the classic style than we've seen from Muga. Fruit forward, color appears overly extracted purple, alcohol brings some heat that might fade with age, light tannins. Overall, this wine is still quite good with typical rioja fruit but has that bulky sloppy crudeness of new world 'bold reds' that I seldom see with rioja tempranillos. In short, thicker, heavier and punchier than in previous vintages.
We compared this to a 2003 vintage, which wasn't a special year. The two wines didn't even taste like they came from the same producer they were so different. The '03 had that light, acid driven elegance around an overripe cherry core that is typical of a classic rioja. Much better nose and much longer finish.
1 person found this helpful Comments (1)
Red
3/7/2016 - cristian_m wrote:
72 points
Surprisingly unoffensive but it does have some off flavors. Sipping this in conjunction with eating anything results in a miserable combination. I'm providing some wine education sessions for a sister in law, and used this as an example of what she normally brings to parties and gifts to friends. We stacked this up against 4 other more quality wines just to allow her to taste her normal stuff against better stuff. Doing that drill really helped her see the pros and cons of having something like this as your go-to product.
Flavor is pretty nondescript grape up front, mega-purple stains the teeth and lips, residual sugar is in check but certainly there. Completely hollow and the aftertaste on the finish is rather grating to the point where I wish the finish were shorter. Some kind of burnt chemical tinge in that finish too. But overall, its a wine that fairs a lot better than many other offerings in the $5 range.
Red
2/22/2016 - cristian_m wrote:
91 points
Consumed with friends at dinner. O:n the dark side for a pinot, good extraction and fantastic nose with cherry, blackberry, cola and sage. Good initial punch of fruit in the mouth with a fair bit of oak coming on rapidly. Heat really shows through and the alcohol creates a bit of a jarring mid-pallete. Finish is med+ and quite pleasant, tending toward the earthy and darker notes. Overall, a great wine. Weighty and pronounced and a wine that requires an appreciation for oak treatment and a fair bit of acidity. Has plenty of cellar life in it.
Red - Fortified
2/7/2016 - cristian_m wrote:
91 points
Drank from split. Decanting didn't do much for it in terms of getting any sediment out or getting some air into it. Overall this wine is very pleasing. Good concentration, nice and inky dark in the glass, plenty of heat on the nose and palette. Coats the mouth nicely and the texture is good if a bit grainy due to it being so young. Blue fruits in abundance, and in terms of vintage port its relatively soft, gentle and approachable now, though very much closed down and primary. The wine is too approachable really, the tannins are tight but moderate and the overall balance plays to the youthful side. Again, a really good wine and one to enjoy now and into the near/midterm. I'll look to other offerings from this vintage for the really long haul in the cellar.
2 people found this helpful Comment
Red
12/28/2015 - cristian_m wrote:
84 points
Translucent red core with a brickish rim. Hot on the nose. Light bodied. Some kind of nondescript red fruit on the onset which fades to a medium length tannin based tail. A fair wine but unimpressive. For the price its a bust.
White
11/27/2015 - cristian_m wrote:
88 points
As always, a very pleasant riesling. This vintage tastes sharper and more off - off dry than previous vintages. Not sure if that is a function of my tapping into it with such little time in the bottle to settle down or not. At any rate, this was shared at thanksgiving dinner with family and was a crowd favorite. Plenty of pear and melon notes, great acidity, nose was a bit closed and there is copious alcohol heat in this vintage, which ramps up as it warms. Signature notes of black tea seem to be missing from this one.
Body is light and finish is med. Initial acid punch fades to a round mid and decently mineraly finish.
2 people found this helpful Comment
Red
11/27/2015 - cristian_m wrote:
89 points
Nice wine. Has the right amount of age on it to resolve some of the lackluster characteristics I found when I last tried this vintage, some 7 years ago. Which is one of the reasons I'm so intrigued with wine...that I can lay a bottle down and come back to it after many years and behold the evolution of the chemistry contained in a bottle of liquid. Sometimes it doesn't work out for the better but in this case it has....Oh what fun.
So yes, the wine has rounded out well and has a pleasant if understated bouquet of red fruits. Just a hint of blackberry, but mostly spice and wood notes. Medium body and medium length. Breathed off a bit of petrol funk in the first 30 minutes and then continued to improve over a 6 hr decant when it finally got finished off.
Overall I think that the offering is still a bit below par for where I would like to see a CdP, especially from a not so bad vintage.
Additional age might still clean this wine up a bit and help reveal some of its finer notes. Its resolved now and the acid tannin balance is quite good, but my sense is that another 4-5 years wouldn't be a bad thing for this one.
Red
11/27/2015 - cristian_m wrote:
91 points
Peaked and fully integrated. Stewed plum, stewed prune, dark red overripe fruit and lengthy tones of tobacco and barrel oak. Length is Med +. Tannins are very pleasant with roundness and defined but soft edges. Took a few hours in the decanter for the alcohol heat to blow off, but once that had tamed down, the wine really comes together. Overall the palette shows the right amount of age. The high notes have almost completely disappeared, leaving the wine with a substantial weightiness. I anticipate that the wine will not improve further with additional cellaring, but I suspect that remaining bottles are capable of holding onto their current excellent flavors for many years.
Red
10/31/2015 - cristian_m wrote:
88 points
Well crafted and pleasant but ultimately unmemorable.
Red
10/31/2015 - cristian_m wrote:
89 points
Upon opening, overwhelming mushroom and turpentine. Almost swore it was flawed. Undrinkable.
Left it for 24 hours and came back to it. Mushroom and turpentine flavors were gone. Some fruit came forward and the wine was like a completely different beast altogether. Still very tannic and very earthy/musty, but rather delicious in its own right. Length was med and the finish had notes of leather, cigar box, tobacco and loamy earth. Overall the wine seemed very bulky and lacked a ton of sophistication.
Very atypical for a cdp in my experience.
After 48 hours of breath time, this thing came together like a champ! Fruit arrives from who knows where and the back end settled down into a classy tour of leather tobacco and earthy savoriness. Seldom have I seen a wine take 2+ days of breathing and actually improve the whole time.
Day 3, and the wine is totally put together and a pleasure to drink. Crazy stuff.
Red
10/19/2015 - cristian_m wrote:
88 points
Drinking really poorly this weekend and yet the wine has a complexity that is something to admire, even if the flavors making up that complexity are not as good as they should be.

The nose is tremendous and fantastic. Taking a whiff, you get copious and complex hints of cola, strawberry, cherry, a touch of vanilla and a tinge of earthiness. I wish I would have left things there.... The first sip reveals a wine that is totally disjointed from that initial nasal sample. A millisecond of brief fruit is overtaken by a strong punch of green stem heavy tannins. Completely out of wack. Way beyond anything I've ever had even from some Bordeaux and Traditional Barolos. The mouth is almost completely lacking in fruit, instead its sour, bitter and grating, but its not flawed. I'm speculating that the tannins are evolving out very slowly and that the wine may not have the fruit core to be able to balance it. No idea if the whole cluster treatment maybe took this one a little over the edge or not.... At any rate, the length is indeed something to marvel at, but alas, the flavors in that finish are not pleasing. Dry dry earth, barkiness, mineralitiy, petrol. Several of my guests who tasted the wine as the first offering of the night chose not to finish their glasses, it was that jarring of a flavor profile. Tried the wine paired with a variety of cheeses and sausages and while a heavy fat accompaniment helped tame the tannins, the wine was left devoid of any fruit and came across very muted. I'm going with a score of 88 based mostly on the fantastic nose and the complexity and length. Had this wine maintained the fruit core it had when I sample and bought these, I'd be willing to score it higher as I did at that time.

At this point, I'm going to relegate my remaining bottles to the back corner of the cellar and hold them for a min of 10 more years before bothering to see where this vintage goes. Huge disappointment for me.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
10/9/2015 - cristian_m wrote:
88 points
Fair enough wine. Musty indeed, which is not atypical for a rioja. Fruit centered but with a spent quality to it. Lacking in any vibrancy or life. I much prefer a number of other reservas from Rioja for less cost and with better flavors and sophistication. All that said, it still comes across as a very pleasant wine and one that is constructed pretty well.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
9/22/2015 - cristian_m wrote:
88 points
Good solid cab. Age has taken the sharp corners off this one. Its drifting towards becoming a bit flabby but the remaining fruit core still has enough punch to keep it together. Not sure how much longer this one has left in the tank.
Red
8/20/2015 - cristian_m wrote:
90 points
Very good stuff. Clean and refined flavors based on a decent amount of fruit forwardness on the onset with earth, mineral and bramble leaving a long finish. Copious sediment but easy enough to decant out.
Red
8/17/2015 - cristian_m wrote:
88 points
A solid Oregon Pinot. A bit thin when it comes to body but the flavors are all there. Strawberry, cherry and just a wiff of cola, followed by a med finish of minerals, earth and darker notes.
White
8/17/2015 - cristian_m wrote:
91 points
Really flavorful and delicious. Creamy and well structured. The malo is maybe a touch over the top but its certainly not a flaw. Black tea notes, rich fruit and a very solid length.
Red
8/16/2015 - cristian_m wrote:
86 points
Guzzler. Hulky and clumsy but flavorful. Quite sweet and a bit off balance. Finish of petrol. Length is med +. Break this out when your relatives who don't normally drink wine come over for dinner, ...they'd love this boozy jam pot!
2 people found this helpful Comment
Red
2004 Château le Meynieu Haut-Médoc Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
8/16/2015 - cristian_m wrote:
88 points
Great nose that packs a punch of red fruit. Bell pepper weaves through on the initial sip. Tons of rough tannins. Pencil shavings and earth on the finish. Somewhat nondescript in the mouth compared to the bouquet.
Red
8/16/2015 - cristian_m wrote:
90 points
Old school for sure. Tannins a plenty and very much young. Amazing how much mellowing this bottle still asked for even after all the years its put on. That said, the fruit core was missing making me wonder what would be left in 20 years, which is probably what this bottle needs for the tannins to finally integrate? Still a fantastic pleasure to taste. Hot on the nose, shoe leather, tight structure even after an 8 hour decant. LOOOOOONNNNNG finish. Sour cherry, cigar box.
Red
1994 Château Montrose St. Estèphe Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
8/16/2015 - cristian_m wrote:
92 points
Dry with plenty of tannin. Still not wholly integrated but getting rather close I think. Cedar and cigar box, graphite, steminess, cloudy.
Med - finish. The length on this one is really the only thing that disappoints. Overall a very good wine.
White
8/8/2015 - cristian_m wrote:
88 points
Peaking and on the edge of a downward slide. Still rather acidic and austere as I would expect and like but it is coming off as a bit thin and the fruit is beginning to dampen.
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