Tasting Notes for jpcairney

(36 notes on 31 wines)

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Red
2011 Château Plince Pomerol Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
11/10/2015 - jpcairney wrote:
76 points
I recently read an article that rates the 2011 Bordeaux vintage at this stage of its development as an adolescent; surly and uncommunicative. Despite this warning, I decided to try a bottle anyway and got the full force of teenage angst. A closed nose and palate, this wine gave nothing away. I can only hope that time will aid its development. In the meantime I think I'll start on the 2012s.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
11/15/2015 - jpcairney Likes this wine:
91 points
Decanted for 1.5 hours. Nose of sweet black cherries with a hint of spice and a prominent whiff of alcohol. The cherries follow through to the palate with a hint of liquorice. Smooth. An excellent wine.
Red
4/30/2015 - jpcairney Likes this wine:
91 points
Quite sublime, nuanced and satisfying. Nose: a dead-heat between red fruit and savoury spice. Palate: for me, spice and pepper yet my wife sensed more fruit with a touch of pepper. A real crowd pleaser. Decanted for 1.5 hours.
Red
4/24/2015 - jpcairney Likes this wine:
91 points
Decanted for 1.5 hours. Nose of cherries (ripe red). A hint of liquorice? Dark fruit on the palate with well integrated element of spice. Drinking well now if decanted beforehand. Excellent with beef.
Red
8/12/2014 - jpcairney wrote:
89 points
Decanted for 2 hours on the first night and the wine was still closed and unapproachable. After rebottling and recorking the wine I made a second attempt on the following night with another decant for 2 hours. The wine still seemed closed and reluctant although there were at least fruity hints of cherry and once the tannins integrate better this will have a smooth mouthfeel. My score is based on potential and I will leave this wine a year, if not two, before trying again.
White
4/21/2013 - jpcairney Likes this wine:
90 points
I found this wine to be utterly beguiling. A lovely medium gold colour yet, for me, a rather closed nose. On the palate I could sense citrus/lime but the was complimented with a slight honeyed flavour that perfectly balanced the mouth-watering acidity. (Note: this is a 'trocken'/dry wine, not off-dry.) A wine of some depth that continued to evolve in the glass. Drinking very well now.
Red
2006 Stony Brook Ghost Gum Franschhoek Valley Red Blend (view label images)
12/16/2012 - jpcairney wrote:
83 points
Having bought this wine at the cellar door in Jan 2010 I was really looking forward to trying it after almost 3 years in my wine fridge. Decanted for 1.5 hours the nose was of black fruits & tobacco. On the palate the fruit was too forward, too one-dimensional and it masked any secondary or tertiary flavours. The only other sensation was the huge waft of alcohol (15% abv), which has not integrated smoothly within the wine. Disappointing but fingers crossed for the second (and last) bottle I still have.
Red
2/18/2012 - jpcairney wrote:
89 points
I visited this vineyard in Oct 2009 during a visit to Mendoza. Looking back at my notes, I judged the wine to be one of the best that Carinae produce, the other being the Malbec Gran Reserva.

I took home two bottles of the Prestige and opened the first of them recently. My 2009 note: "lush, fulsome, pleasantly peppery. Will develop". And develop it has!

The wine has more poise and balance but still packs a punch, providing a long finish. The pepper has abated and the wine is much more fruit forward and the tannins are beautifully integrated. Lovely ruby colour with notes of raspberry on the nose. Drinking well now. Decanted for 1.5 hrs.
Red
2/7/2012 - jpcairney wrote:
89 points
This is a great wine - in the making. It was decanted for two hours (as per the wine seller's instructions) and whilst this helped release some of the red fruits on the nose, mouthfeel and long, languid finish it didn't mask what was, for me, it's flaw: over imposing tannin.

I'm sure with a few more years in the bottle the tannin will mature and bring more smoothness to the wine but, at this stage, it takes too much centre stage for my liking.

However, I still really enjoyed this wine but would suggest a longer time in the decanter or leaving for a couple of years.
White - Sparkling
2/7/2012 - jpcairney wrote:
90 points
I drink a lot of champagne. That's not a boast but here in the UK there seems to be a deal every other week on this French sparkling wine. All of it, I have to say, is non-vintage but I have hit upon some fabulous NV of both famous and relatively unknown champagne houses.

As such, drinking a vintage bubbly is always reserved for a special occasion. I have always been suspicious of any review that references such an event. For example, if you are a couple on honeymoon, don't even bother posting on Trip Advisor; you're too 'loved-up' to make any rational judgment on a hotel/restaurant & your review is therefore automatically null and void.

I say all this as an admission that this bottle was saved for a special occasion, which happened to be my birthday. It was an aperitif whilst waiting for my birthday meal and, immediately upon pouring, the light honey colour showed that this was a champagne with a little more depth than the usual NV.

It was smooth and subtle in the mouth, yet leaving a lingering tickle on the palate. This was an 'ah' type of wine, since each sip was followed by the aforementioned satisfied sigh.

I have always found champagne difficult to appraise since the bubbles and occasion seem to get in the way but this was a beautifully constructed and executed example of vintage champagne.
Red
9/9/2011 - jpcairney wrote:
80 points
Hmmm! I should have known better and I only have myself to blame. I have avoided wine from Oz for a long time since my senses could no longer distinguish between different producers of various grape varieties. It was as though there was a secret formula that all the wineries were working to and I experienced very little with regard to expression of terroir, the specific climate and soil of not just their country but each individual wine region.

I admit to approaching this wine with a little trepidation but I did have an open mind. The colour was deep and inky, the nose slightly closed with suppressed plum notes and the taste was, well, pleasant but with nothing jumping out to tickle the senses or provide any intrigue or complexity. Just rather straightforward and simple, which is generally no bad thing but when the label on the bottle expresses the flavour as a flamboyant mix of " blueberry, tobacco, nutmeg and cranberry, coriander, sage, vanilla pods and cinnamon" then I do expect more than what I got.
Red
2000 Domaine de Chevalier Pessac-Léognan Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
9/6/2011 - jpcairney wrote:
79 points
I bought this wine on the basis of the providence of the grapes, which are from Chevalier sources. Whatever has been used I don't think the structure of the wine is robust enough for long cellaring and, at 11 years old, this is an anaemic, lightweight version of what I can only assume it once was. Colour is classic Bordeaux, nose is restrained and rather underwhelming and whilst the taste still holds a decent level of berries and mashed fruit, there is also a ghost of the weight of fruit that must have once been there but this alluring insight into the past disappears with the short finish. This wine now goes into the 'quaffing' category; lowered expectations might make it more enjoyable!
White
9/5/2011 - jpcairney wrote:
flawed
The supplier of this wine advised (as the case was being delivered) that they had tried a few bottles of the vintage and there was high concentration of CO2. I was assured that this is quite natural and would naturally dissipate with time; not the best thing to be told for a wine I had bought to consume now. I had ordered a case after trying a bottle from my wife's Wine Club and thought it a full yet subtle representation of the Chenin Blanc grape; refreshing and beautifully balanced. A real find, hence the search for a full case.

I tasted the first bottle a few weeks after the case arrived and my private note at that time was: "CO2 still too high; tried each night for 4 days. Only on the final day did it seem drinkable, albeit still in shock. LEAVE UNTIL END SEP AT EARLIEST."

I didn't take my own advice. I tried a bottle 5 Sep and whilst CO2 levels are dropping it is still too prevalent in the wine, masking all of the wonderful flavours I experienced from the Wine Club bottle. The rest are back in the box until October at the earliest. I don't quite understand why the CO2 became a problem but also don't understand why any winery would allow what must be known as tainted bottles to be sent to suppliers.
White
9/4/2011 - jpcairney wrote:
85 points
Malvasia (Malvasija as it is spelled in Croatia where this wine comes from) might not be the sexiest white grape in the world but given the nauseating homogeny of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc I have been seeking out less popular white wine varietals and was glad to discover this wine during a recent holiday in Dubrovnik. The specific grape here is Malvasija Dubrovka (from vineyards near Dubrovnik) as opposed to Malvasija Istria, which is from further up the coast.

Pale golden colour, zesty aromas and an intense clean palate that has just the slightest touch of sweetness. Refreshing, pleasing, highly quaffable and a wonderful accompaniment to seafood. Even better when that seafood is being served overlooking the beautiful Adriatic Sea. Take a plunge. It is different and it might challenge the taste buds but at least it won't bore them to death by being just another generic Chardonnay or SauvBlanc.
Red
9/3/2011 - jpcairney wrote:
87 points
Croatian wine is not that well known outside of its own country and I have to admit to being clueless about any wines from this country before arriving in Dubrovnik on a short holiday. I was pleasantly surprised.

Plavac Mali is probably the best indigenous grape variety and it is purported that it is the granddaddy to California's Zinfandel and on tasting the similarities assault the senses.

A beautiful ruby colour with wafts of plums and ripe red fruit this provides a lovely sunburst of flavours. High in alcohol but never any overbearing ethanol on the nose nor high tannins.

I love Zinfandel but I love this too. Dingac is one of the best producers, along with Grgic and if you get a chance to taste some Plavac Mali you won't be disappointed (although best of luck finding any outside Croatia - I've so far tried 4 of the wine merchants I use without success).
Red
7/24/2011 - jpcairney wrote:
89 points
Too soon! I knew before I opened the bottle, but did it anyway. Serves me right. The potential of this wine is evident in all aspects - nose, sight, taste - but time is needed for the tannins to smooth out and allow the flavours that are bubbling under to burst out. It's night, night for at least 2-3 years for my remaining bottle.
Red
1999 Château Léoville Barton St. Julien Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
4/16/2011 - jpcairney wrote:
87 points
Decanted for 1.5hrs-2hrs, which with hindsight was probably too long. The wine was left with a certain anaemic quality, although it still had a smoothness and a satisfying finish. A good, dependable wine that needs drinking sooner rather than later and will probably be better with less decanting time.
Red
1996 Château Gruaud Larose St. Julien Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
4/9/2011 - jpcairney wrote:
89 points
Excellent, dependable Bordeaux. Drinking well now; single decant, 1 hour.
Red
1999 Château Léoville Barton St. Julien Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
1/22/2011 - jpcairney wrote:
91 points
mark_m_owen's comment (12/31/2010) nails this wine perfectly, although my opinion does differ on two specific points:

1. I feel this wine is nearing its peak and I intend to drink my remaining five bottles sooner rather than later; and
2. A fine Bordeaux and curry! That's a food and wine matching that's new to me. :-)
Red
2000 Ridge Lytton Springs Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel Blend, Zinfandel (view label images)
2/28/2010 - jpcairney wrote:
88 points
Following on from my previous note (1/11/2009), this was the last bottle from my case and my previous claim that this vintage is nearing or past its peak has been proved correct. This is still a nice wine but where there was once a multitude of aromas and textures, it is now a standard fruity and simpler wine, albeit a smooth and very approachable one. Nice rather than outstanding; fine rather than glowing. All in all though, a great case of wine and a pleasure to have experienced.
Red
2/6/2010 - jpcairney wrote:
89 points
Bought at Galvin La Chapelle restauarant in London in celebration of my birthday. A beautiful nose of liqourice and plums, with a hint of sweetness. Wonderfull legs on the inside of the glass, fulsome mouthfeel and that sweetness on the nose coming through to the taste in the form of the slightest hint of ripe raspberry on the back end. Good drinking now, but will keep for a few more years.
Red
1/23/2010 - jpcairney wrote:
87 points
This is an completely acceptable iteration of Pinot Noir. The nose and taste won't make you ruminate, cogitate and hmmm and hahh over it but it's a great quaffer with some good home cooked food, Chicken Paprika in my case (my wife says it's her best yet!).
Red
12/25/2009 - jpcairney wrote:
92 points
Our main bottle for Xmas day and the first wine to be decanted into the Riedel decanter Santa had left under the tree for me. Three hours decanting was enough to smooth out this lovely bottle of wine (thanks for the tip 'gunpwdr'). I didn't get an overwhelming backdraft of aroma on the nose but what was there consisted of a cherry-chocolate-spice concoction that was lovely and made me smile every time I took a sniff. Smooth and refined on the palate; a real winter warmer, fulsome and every sip was worth savouring. This was the last bottle in Harrods in Knightsbridge, London (Dec 09) and it took an age to even find that bottle. The effort was worth it.
Red
12/5/2009 - jpcairney wrote:
90 points
I bought this bottle from the vineyard during a trip to Napa Valley in Oct 07 and it has been snugly cellared since then. The hugh alcohol content of some Californian wines is often a concern and at just under 16% ABV this is stonkingly big. That said, the nose didn't singe my nostrils as expected and, instead, it was aromas of slilghtly overripe, squished berries. On the palate, smooth and sincere and not tannic at all. With only two bottles from my California trip left in the cellar I'm a little saddened that I didn't choose this as the final bottle to drink as it would have been a fitting way to end the batch. Fingers crossed that the last two bottles can match this one.
Red
2000 Ridge Lytton Springs Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel Blend, Zinfandel (view label images)
1/11/2009 - jpcairney wrote:
90 points
I'm now more than halfway through my case of this wine and none of the bottles have disappointed. I still stand by my earlier review (8/2/2008) with the only additional comment that there is now the slightest hint that the wine may have passed its peak. As such, I've changed my 'drink by' date from 2012 to 2010 (although in all honesty it will be no hard slog to finish my remaining 5 bottles this year).
Red
11/1/2008 - jpcairney wrote:
93 points
I chose this very expensive bottle to accompany a gorgeous venison dish at Mulberry Restaurant, Langshott Manor (England), which it did beautifully. The bottle was poured into a decanter usually used for magnums, thereby providing more surface area for air to make contact and help the wine release its ample aromas and flavour.

Sight: An almost inky, port-like colour in the middle with russet edges. Nose: Kerosene upfront but this quickly dispersed in favour of parma violets and liquorice. Taste: This is a wine that won't let go; every sip provides an explosion of fruit, particularly plum and blackcurrant, and it lasts and lingers for a long time. Tannins provide a heavy dry mouth but the flavours intensify the longer the bottle is open. Very satisfying.
Red
10/18/2008 - jpcairney wrote:
77 points
This wine should be drinking well now through 2010 and yet the four bottles I have tried over the last few months have been somewhat closed and uncommunicative. It still carries a harshness/bitterness that needs to soften before this will become a really enjoyable wine. At the moment, it is at best a bruiser but has the potential to develop and mature into something more refined. I intend to hold off trying any more bottles until 2009 - I really hope it is worth the wait.
Red
10/13/2008 - jpcairney wrote:
89 points
Third bottle from my cellar (see previous tastings 6/20 and 7/26) and this is getting better and better. Unlike the last two bottles, the drinking experience this time was straightforward; a nose of raspberry sauce that was so vivid I couldn't get the image of ice cream sundaes out of my mind and a smooth, fruity finish that provided sufficient length and lip-smacking satisfaction.
White - Sweet/Dessert
10/4/2008 - jpcairney wrote:
92 points
A smooth, smooth wine. Powerful richness on the nose and palate, yet this wine isn't cloying or teeth rotting as some stickies can be. Royal Tokaji has always enthralled me and never seems to fail in delivering a balanced, clean sweetness. A must-buy for anyone who loves dessert wine.
Red
9/29/2008 - jpcairney wrote:
93 points
Double decanted and left for about an hour but, surprisingly, there was not much nose coming from the decanter. On the eye, deep, dark hues of black and red but with a golden tinge on the edge as proof of its age.

Thankfully, the nose did eventually open, initially with notes of kerosene but with every mouthful and sniff (I don't think I have ever sniffed a wine before every single sip) cherries came to the fore, then menthol and, eventually, it produced an almost port like quality on the nose or was it the aroma of a good, peaty, smoky malt whisky?

This is a mature wine for a mature palate and is not for easy, free-loving gratification. Commitment is required but the payback is sublime and it keeps on giving with every mouthful; ever giving, ever fruitful. Commitment, steadfastness, loyalty; like a good marriage, worth every inch of effort.

(ps, Drank in celebration of wedding anniversary so forgive the matrimonial imagery!)
White
8/23/2008 - jpcairney wrote:
79 points
A restaurant purchase and, with hindsight, a wine that is too immature to be in any restaurant's wine list. The nose had nothing - absolutely nothing. No hint of alcohol, or fruit, or oak (of which this wine should have a touch) or anything. Whilst I had asked the sommelier for a classic chablis (one that demonstrated that steeliness and minerality that is being overlooked by many producers) I still expected a zing and a smack of grapefruit and lemon and a munch of straw and grass. NOTHING!

As well as its youthfulness, the wine was also served well-chilled, which in my opinion is a mistake on the sommelier's part. As the wine breathed and moved from ice-chilled to nearer room temperature it started to demonstrate hints of the zing I expected, but too little too late. A real disappointment and I can't even blame the wine per se and, instead, feel that this is a case of a wine being pushed into the limelight too soon and served at the wrong temperature. At £60 (US$110) per bottle I expected much better and feel happier blaming the sommelier than the wine itself. So, if you do have a bottle of this wine, leave it for a couple of years and be sure to get the serving temperature right. Best of luck!
Red
8/22/2008 - jpcairney wrote:
84 points
Here in the UK we do not get to see much Washington State wine so when I saw this bottle on a wine list of a very nice hotel restaurant I jumped at the chance to try - even although it had a big ticket price of £60 (US$110). The sommelier was helpful in explaining the wine and compared its blend to a Right Bank Bordeaux, given that it is 48% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and 7% Petit Verdot. What the sommelier failed to mention, however, is the stonking ABV of 14.8%! I know alcohol levels are rising as producers push for that big, bold fruitiness much beloved by the Parker acolytes but, I ask you, 14.8%?

Consequently, as someone not used to such high levels of ABV, petroleum and kerosene overpowered any other aroma. In fact, the last time I had such an experience was when, suffering from a bad bout of 'man flu', I put a towel over my head and inhaled the steam emanating from a bowl of "albas oil" infused boiling water. It wasn't helped by the fact that the wine was only decanted 5 minutes before we sat down for dinner and didn't have time to sigh, let alone breathe.

My wife and I sipped slowly, hoping the wine would soften and release something other than alcohol and, to be fair, it did open enough to give us a hint of the exceptional wine I am sure lurks somewhere behind the cloak of ethanol. When it did let down its guard, it showed smoothness and a cocktail of blackberries, cherries and a hint of mint.

This is a lesson learned for my part; wines as big as this need patience before they will perform at their sparkling best and restaurants do not allow the time for this to happen. That said, 14.8%!? Wow!
Red
2000 Ridge Lytton Springs Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel Blend, Zinfandel (view label images)
8/2/2008 - jpcairney wrote:
90 points
I love this wine. I fully appreciate comments from other esteemed reviewers on this site that it can seem too big and over-extracted, but compared to some of the preposterously huge Cabernet Sauvignons I’ve tried in my time, this Zinfandel at least keeps its balance and manages to restrain the fruit from drowning all other flavours and scents.

The nose is wildly aromatic; a summer season in one sniff. The mouth feel is silky smooth, although a certain jammy texture arises in the mouth if one aerates it by slurping in some air through the lips and teeth. The dark berry fruits are accented by a hint of smokiness and the finish is satisfyingly tannic, enough to smack the lips without leaving the type of desert aridness in the mouth that overly tannic wines can produce. This is drinking wonderfully now and I’m looking forward to the rest of the case.

In view that we don’t get too many great examples of Zinfandel in the UK, perhaps my frame of reference is not as wide as other reviewers but this wine makes me want to explore more wines like it and the few bottles I have in my cellar from a trip to California will certainly be cherished and only drunk on special occasions.
Red
7/26/2008 - jpcairney wrote:
85 points
This wine has been on my mind since I tried the first bottle a month or so ago. Back then, I thought lack of decanting time had something to do with its ‘teasing’ nature; it hints at lushness and fruit but doesn’t follow through and ‘go all the way’. This time I decanted for 2 hours, but even then the wine still wouldn’t let its metaphorical hair down and strut its stuff.

That said, I certainly didn’t dislike it. On the nose: kerosene and fruit, although, again, the latter was elusive and needed patience and concentration to capture. In the mouth it is smooth, with a faint crackling of pepper on the back end and the merest hint of cassis. No real follow through and the flavour doesn’t linger for long.

With hindsight, perhaps this wine needs to be approached with a different attitude: rather than view it as a big, bold powerhouse (much like the stock and trade of Australia, California, Italy, Spain and Bordeaux) is this perhaps a more old-fashioned wine, of an age when subtlety and finesse was more important that the need to assault one’s senses with truckloads of fruit, alcohol and tannin?

I still feel the wine is engrained with an innate quality and a sense of intrigue. If nothing else, it has made me ponder and think long after the bottle was finished.
Red
6/20/2008 - jpcairney wrote:
82 points
Dark, lush and heavily tannic. Decanted 30 mins before. But could have done with more. Full fruit on the nose but less restrained on the taste; alcoholic with a peppery aftertaste. Perhaps a touch green and will age well.
Red
3/2/2008 - jpcairney wrote:
74 points
My own fault; I opened this wine way too early. Even after decanting and leaving for 2 hours, the wine was still closed & slightly astringent. Despite sipping slowly, it never fully opened by the time the bottle was finished. The wine hinted at underlying berry fruits (although I couldn't distinguish which particular berry or berries) and whatever hidden depths this wine may have it will take quite a few years yet before its flavours decide to come out and play. Disappointing.
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  • Tasting Notes: 36 notes on 31 wines
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