Comments on my notes

(54 comments on 49 notes)

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Red
2009 Coudert Fleurie Clos de la Roilette Cuvée Tardive Gamay
My first taste of this since the time of release, and it hasn't aged much. It's not that it tastes the same but it still tastes like a wine that's fresh out of the gate, with that crunchy gamay fruit and juicy thirst-quenching factor, finishing with some crushed rock on the back end. Maybe it's a little more angular and a less silky than it was, as though it shed a little '09 flesh but the fruit at the core stayed in suspended animation. This has more of what I think of as a 2010 vintage profile than 2009.
  • Keith Levenberg commented:

    1/27/19, 8:17 AM - No, wait at least a few more years. Not developed nearly enough to justify opening now after all the time you've already invested in it.

White
2017 Carl Loewen Riesling 1896 Mosel Saar Ruwer
1/14/2019 - Keith Levenberg Likes this wine:
95 points
A slightly friendler and more generous rendition compared to the trocken version from this plot, also called '1896' but in a standard white label instead of this stylish black one. This is technically a feinherb (though it doesn't say so anywhere on the label), but it's on the mostly-dry end of feinherb that dials in that same Goldilocks zone as many of the Peter Lauer wines - to which it tastes somewhat similar as well. It features pale citrus fruit ranging from grapefruit to yuzu with a sparkling, shimmering freshness, but it's rich enough in body (perhaps helped along by that smidge of sweetness) that it feels weighty and ample on the palate. Not so weighty as to compromise its drinkability, though - this is a pretty hard one to put down.
  • Keith Levenberg commented:

    1/19/19, 7:36 PM - That's probably a factor, although it also probably reflects some of the vintage character and I gotta admit that when Schmitt-Wagner had these vines they never made anything all that powerful.

Red
2007 Château Rayas Châteauneuf-du-Pape Reserve Grenache
Noxious. Like Robitussin. Not only in the sense that it literally tastes like Robitussin, but the sensation is *just like* those kids medicines that taste so vile they have to add a ton of sweetness to make it possible to force even a tiny bit down the gullet, which instead of masking the grossness just makes it taste both gross and grossly sweet.
  • Keith Levenberg commented:

    1/5/19, 12:38 PM - Whether 2007 is "a top vintage" is a matter of some controversy

Red
1970 Château Mouton Rothschild Pauillac Red Bordeaux Blend
12/10/2018 - BradE wrote:
The bottle was in good shape, but the wine didn't do a lot for me. Fine, just not enticing.
  • Keith Levenberg commented:

    12/11/18, 8:13 AM - But the Chagall!

Red
2014 Château Ducru-Beaucaillou St. Julien Red Bordeaux Blend
10/27/2018 - Keith Levenberg Likes this wine:
98 points
This is a stunning Ducru right out of the gate and a must-have wine for any Bordeaux fan given its pricing relative to other top vintages - it's right up there with the '95 in delivering a first-growth quality experience with absolute masses of material and structure that should give it a functionally immortal life span. It opens up with piercing blueberry fruit laced with pencil fillings, gravel, and metal shavings so intense it's a liquid rock quarry. "Beaucaillou" means "beautiful stones" but these rocks aren't gunning for any beauty pageants, this is a rugged manly man of a wine with an intensity and raw muscle that almost suggests Taurasi though it still has those luxe claret manners at its core. I'm not sure whether this wine or the ravishing Pichon-Lalande is my pick at the moment for Wine of the Vintage, but that sums up the style difference - the PLL is the sleek feminine beauty and this is the high-torque powerhouse. It seems likely to close down hard soon, although given its structure it's kind of remarkable it hasn't closed down *yet*, as some other stars of the vintage (Montrose) have started to do. It finishes with an almost Latour-like walnuttiness, and like many St.-Juliens there's something very Pauillac about this with a twist of something else, in this case maybe just even more oomph.
  • Keith Levenberg commented:

    10/27/18, 8:47 AM - I don't think you'll regret cracking one... but it might make you go back for more. Enjoy.

  • Keith Levenberg commented:

    10/27/18, 8:55 AM - It won't make any difference. I imagine you could leave this in a decanter for days without much budging.

  • Keith Levenberg commented:

    10/27/18, 9:15 PM - Too soon for me to have had any 2017s from anywhere except some rieslings, but those may fit the bill - check out the latest Theise catalog? The '14 Cos is brilliant too.

Red
2014 Château Talbot St. Julien Red Bordeaux Blend
8/21/2018 - Keith Levenberg Likes this wine:
91 points
A true old-style Bordeaux in a strict, even austere fashion, not just on account of its brawny tannic muscle but also unafraid to show a bitter edge to the fruit - this reminds me very much of how the 1996s tasted on release. This appears to make zero concessions to accessibility at this stage in its life, but it's not hiding anything, it's all there behind the tight structure, and when you're drinking it with food those drying tannins actually relax enough to turn the wine into something you could almost describe as smooth. The fruit is in a deep pitch, all blackberry and black cherry on the acute edge of ripeness, no sign of the oak at all. At its best with a block of cheddar. I don't know if this has all the ingredients to reach the level of the great Talbots from decades ago, but I also suspect that most people tasting it now will underrate it on account of a style that's almost jarringly atypical in the current year but used to be pretty standard.
  • Keith Levenberg commented:

    8/31/18, 8:01 AM - In the past, however, both Talbot and Gruaud not only met but exceeded the quality level of their priciest peers. 1986 or 1990 are probably the last vintages where that's true. If you go even further back they are at a stellar quality level I don't think the wines today are reaching no matter how solid they are.

Red
2000 Château Léoville Barton St. Julien Red Bordeaux Blend
5/21/2018 - tcosgriff wrote:
85 points
Deep purple color with no hint of brown on the edge. Decanted for 2 hours. At first, very definite leather notes with herbal hints, but with further airing, the wine became very closed with nothing but harsh tannins. Quite variable reactions to this wine.
I now have even more reason to believe that taste and smell vary greatly between individual wine drinkers. You have probably seen the famous dress on your iPhone. To some, it is clearly white and gold and to others, it is just as clearly blue and black. You may also have heard a girl saying "Laura," which to many sounds like "Yanny," but to others "Laura". Having said this, my wife and I seldom disagree a lot when tasting a wine. So if your friends and family are sophisticated wine drinkers (otherwise discount them because appreciating wine takes practice and experience), and their impressions are very much different from yours, don't just blow them off. To quote the Latin: "Degustibus no est disputandum (In matters of taste, there is no disputing)", but besides, there are legitimate differences in perception.
  • Keith Levenberg commented:

    5/22/18, 9:11 AM - Individual tastes do indeed vary greatly, but if your bottle of this had "definite leather notes" it was probably maderized.

Red
2015 Château La Dominique St. Émilion Grand Cru Red Bordeaux Blend
4/16/2018 - Keith Levenberg Likes this wine:
95 points
Terrific St.-Emilion from fancy environs near Cheval-Blanc and the Pomerol border. The property has had some big hits in the past (like the 1989) but doesn't seem to get a lot of buzz for some reason. This has enough power to be called a "tour de force" without any irony, but at the same time is giving me a legitimate petite madeleine moment recalling Bordeaux from the wayback machine. The aromas are hugely expressive with perfumed cedarwood, red fruits, and a richer layer of sweeter, more compoted blueberry fruit, but it doesn't carry over to any jamminess on the palate. The flavors are bold but all the coloring stays within the lines, and it manages to be both plush and well-defined.
  • Keith Levenberg commented:

    4/17/18, 6:09 PM - Tremendous value at that tab, don't think you'll regret it. K&L has it at $50 if you want to get more.

Red
2015 Jerome Galeyrand Côte de Nuits Villages Comblanchien "Les Retraits" Pinot Noir
12/26/2017 - Keith Levenberg Likes this wine:
93 points
Gorgeous bottle of red Burgundy here. From 80-90 year old vines in Comblanchien, just on the wrong side of getting a fancy appellation. This is still all primary fruit, but ooooooh what beautiful fruit. Like a summer essence sauce of the most perfectly ripe and flawless pinot noir berries you could find whose sweet scents could attract cartoon bears trying to steal your picnic basket. Lots of inner sève from those old vines too. And love that illuminated manuscript on the label.
  • Keith Levenberg commented:

    2/17/18, 7:33 PM - I paid $50 via Fass Selections but have been tempted to get more, so yes, it's worth the tab! Think of it as a secret NSG 1er cru.

White
2011 Willi Schaefer Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Großes Gewächs #12 Mosel Saar Ruwer
Very clean aromas, like aloe-scented bath soap. Palate is intensely sharp and bracing, as you would expect from a Mosel GG - pixelated in texture. There is enough fruit to keep it from being punishing, but I can't say it's as delicious as the predicate wines here.
  • Keith Levenberg commented:

    2/3/18, 11:52 AM - Wouldn't shock me

White
2008 Ravines Wine Cellars Riesling Dry Argetsinger Vineyard Finger Lakes
1/13/2018 - Keith Levenberg wrote:
flawed
Corked
  • Keith Levenberg commented:

    1/13/18, 7:11 PM - 2 left :( and a few 2009s.

Red
2011 Domaine Joël Champet Côte-Rôtie La Viallière Syrah
10/6/2016 - Keith Levenberg Likes this wine:
91 points
Same wild flavors as the 2012 but without quite the power and grip. This has red-fruited flavors starting to turn the corner into an autumnal winy stage along with expressive olive and herb brush aromatics from the stems. The texture here, though, is supple and streamlined and even the tannins seem mostly glossed over. I am really excited to have discovered this producer because the experience is a lot like drinking Jamet on the cheap.
  • Keith Levenberg commented:

    12/26/17, 6:54 AM - I think you'll be fine either way.

Red
2015 Bouchard Père et Fils Volnay 1er Cru Caillerets Ancienne Cuvée Carnot Pinot Noir
8/25/2017 - Keith Levenberg wrote:
85 points
Red fruited and refined in texture, but also heavily infused with wood. Maybe worth trying another in 6 months to see if this was still suffering post-bottling shock, but I'm skeptical. It's lighter in both stuffing and tone than the very successful 2009-2010 bottlings, so this may just be one '15 that's not up to par.
  • Keith Levenberg commented:

    12/22/17, 8:58 AM - They both know their stuff no doubt, but they need to do more drinking and less tasting for their reviews to be of much use and sadly that's not the MO. Bouchard is like a box of chocolates for me, you never know what you're going to get...

Red
2010 Bartolo Mascarello Barolo Nebbiolo
10/22/2017 - Robmcl920 wrote:
Consumed in a restaurant environment over a ~3 hour period (bottle was decanted). I'm lucky enough to have a decent number in the cellar which I don't want to touch for a long time, but wanted to try one now for fun.

I'm not sure what to make of our experience with this bottle. It was not flawed in any obvious way, but our experience was completely different than any review I've read here. We did not get much of anything aromatically out of the wine. About an hour in, we were getting some very dark, balsamic notes which suggested how powerful of a wine this is, but I can't say we got much else out of it, and also, these balsamic notes faded by the end of the bottle. There was no real development with air over the 3 hour period.

In theory, the above isn't completely out of line with what I might expect from a 2010 Barolo meant for very long term aging, but the tasting notes read on here / elsewhere suggest an intensely aromatic wine even at this young stage, and that isn't what we got yesterday.

I give this no rating because I am sure that our experience only suggests (a) we received a bottle that, while not flawed, is not representative, and/or (b) this wine is simply far too young to evaluate.

I'm basically posting this here in hopes of feedback from others who have recently consumed this wine to know if my experience is truly abnormal.

UPDATE:
I got an opportunity to taste the 2010 again, in a restaurant at a price I couldn't pass up, in unfortunately an even shorter timeframe (~1.5-2 hours). While I did not spend as long with the wine as I'd like, it showed extremely differently than my note above, leading to me believe the first wine may have been flawed somehow / some kind of issue. This time, I'd describe it as surprisingly aromatic for a 2010 Barolo at this stage of life. It is a beautiful wine to smell right now, but it's not much joy to actually drink at this stage. Tasting at this point is an academic exercise, but I'm glad to have tried the wine again with a better outcome. Based on this experience, I would not taste the wine again for another 5+ years and will try to avoid opening any of my own bottles for at least a decade.
  • Keith Levenberg commented:

    10/24/17, 11:54 AM - I believe you. Lots of people out there trying to drink labels, or points.

  • Keith Levenberg commented:

    10/24/17, 7:23 PM - What's not to understand? These wines are undrinkable young, but there's a certain wine critic out there trying to sell the idea that you can open them young and have a 98-point-or-whatever-it-was experience. The usual result of that is a succession of CT notes eerily echoing the experience and point score of the critic, such as we see on the page for this wine, and the occasional note calling it like it is and pointing out that the wine is barely drinkable, which is promptly responded to with suggestions of "off-bottle?" -- such as we see here....

Red
2014 Domaine de Chevalier Pessac-Léognan Red Bordeaux Blend
8/22/2017 - Keith Levenberg Likes this wine:
95 points
Very successful vintage for Domaine de Chevalier. This is much more accessible and well put together than the 2012, for example. It's silky and finessed from the very first sip, and has a whole lot going on, running the spectrum from Graves-typical smoldering charcoal aromas to a stony minerality and botanical flavors that are almost Barolo-like. Deep and black-fruited while still having sharp focus. The structure flexes its muscle with time in the glass, eventually showing some fierce screeching tannin that wasn't even hinted at in that soft, supple first glass.
  • Keith Levenberg commented:

    8/22/17, 5:06 PM - Most of them are pretty fun to drink now, but they'll age just fine. Big fan of the vintage. Bordeaux is a value again for the first time in a decade.

Red
2014 Le Petit Mouton de Mouton Rothschild Pauillac Red Bordeaux Blend
5/12/2017 - Keith Levenberg Likes this wine:
93 points
The second wine you seldom see and nobody seems to talk about. But this was really impressive, showing genuine Mouton character and way more intrigue than the Clerc-Milon. (I guess it ought to, for the price.) Funky aroma with a bit of game alongside the typical Pauillac cedar and lead pencil scents. Same story on the palate, red fruited and cedary with some nuttiness too. Lots going on. Better than many of the grand vins today. Certainly more of an open book, which helps.
  • Keith Levenberg commented:

    7/6/17, 12:10 PM - It's hard to recommend buying since it is objectively overpriced. Still, a great bottle just the same.

White
2014 Daniel & Julien Barraud Pouilly-Fuissé Les Crays Chardonnay
5/16/2017 - Keith Levenberg Likes this wine:
94 points
This is easily the best Pouilly-Fuissé I've ever had. It manages to transcend Pouilly-Fuissé while still being very Pouilly-Fuissé in its own way. It's compelling right from the first sip in the way it combines vibrant, crystalline fruit with a rich creamy texture and even some guilty-pleasure buttery flavors. If the fruit weren't so bright and chiseled it wouldn't manage to pull off that balancing act, but it does. Anyway, it also gains focus with air and sheds the deeper notes to showcase the pure fruit and chalky, oceanic minerality. So over the space of a few hours it segues from a deep, brassy style of white Burgundy to something cooler and sleeker and more Chablis-like. But it's a winner at every stage.
  • Keith Levenberg commented:

    6/16/17, 9:36 PM - Just one of the other Pouilly-Fuisse (Verchere), but I liked the Crays better. Dunno anything about the producer - random buy from Fass Selections.

White - Off-dry
2015 Dönnhoff Niederhäuser Hermannshöhle Riesling Spätlese Nahe
5/1/2017 - Keith Levenberg Likes this wine:
94 points
Delicious wine and a classic Hermannshohle with its bold red-cherry flavor that always seems like a bit of a magic trick coming from a white wine. It's sweet and luscious, sweeter and less angular than many previous 'great' vintages have been at a young age, but not in a way that just makes it feel like fruit juice. There's a saline minerality to it and an impressive delicacy; it seems to blossom in the mouth in three dimensions with the edges soft as lace. This is not a wine I buy for the cellar any more but that doesn't matter, it's lovely right now.
  • Keith Levenberg commented:

    5/1/17, 8:01 PM - There's no reason you ever have to feel compelled to wait to open something from Donnhoff. They're always delicious on release. I haven't had the best experiences cellaring them long-term. The peak for me is maybe 5 to 7 years out.

Red
2010 Cavallotto Barolo Bricco Boschis Nebbiolo
4/23/2017 - bevetroppo Likes this wine:
91 points
Thoroughly modern Millie, but that's no reason not to like it. Nose full of cocoa, coffee, and ripe plummy fruit: almost like a Piedmontese merlot. Licorice, dark red fruits, tar, and good grippy tannins in the mouth. Very forward and inviting. If you enjoy this style of Barolo it's a great example. For me, I appreciate it but it's a little too eager to please, like an overanxious puppy. Good news is you can call it a puppy at age 7. There are plenty of dog years ahead.

Edit: please see the comment submitted by dbp. I am apparently dead wrong about this being a modern Barolo-the family follows very traditional practices. It clearly hit my palate in an intensely sweet and oak-inflected way that isn't explainable through what is said publicly about the way the wines are made, so I recommend you read other reviews for a more "balanced" perspective.
  • Keith Levenberg commented:

    4/25/17, 7:53 AM - See if you can track down this Matt Kramer article about Aldo Conterno's use of roto-fermenters from 1999. The only thing I was able to find online was this abstract. http://www.readabstracts.com/Food-and-beverage-industries/All-Noir-all-the-time-Accommodate-them-he-said.html But it's a good summary of the use of roto-fermenters to make modern Barolo. The idea was to get gentler, pinot noir-like tannins, apparently the idea being that if you slosh the wine and skins around for awhile you can speed up the fermentation before it leeches out the really tough hardcore tannins.

    That said, that doesn't describe how the roto fermenters are used at Cavallotto. I recall them mentioning that they do something like a quarter turn of the machine every 12 hours or something like that. That's about as gentle as you can get, not like Aldo Conterno's washing machine.

    Even so, I don't disagree with your original assessment that there is a modern aesthetic in the style at Cavallotto. I like the wines but they are unquestionably made in a way that leaves them with vibrant primary fruit and a polished, glossy texture. They are not at all like many of the ultratraditionalist Barolo with sandbags of tannin and pale red fruit teetering on the edge of browning. I don't know what they do in the cellar that accounts for that, but I think they've struck a good balance.

Red
2012 Domaine Joël Champet Côte-Rôtie La Viallière Syrah
6/16/2016 - Keith Levenberg Likes this wine:
97 points
Mind blown. How is it possible I've never even heard of this producer before? Thank you to Mannie Berk and Rare Wine Co. for putting Champet on the radar. This fully lives up to the sales pitch. It is about as ultra-classic a Cote-Rotie as I've ever had, almost like a cross between Levet and Jamet. Even the label design is hardcore retro. The material is red-fruited, savory, and succulent, with a pronounced stony/graphite streak. The stems are immediately evident giving the wine some spine and tension and a bit of a green snap. On some sips the tannic muscle is evident, on others it's fully absorbed into the wine and the texture is almost velvety. Thus, while the flavors have that meaty syrah succulence that you could sort of describe as rustic (more beefy than bacon here), the texture here is actually quite refined and civilized. No funk going on here either. It seems pretty close to straight soil-to-glass transfer Cote-Rotie.
  • Keith Levenberg commented:

    1/9/17, 9:26 AM - yeah, was not nearly as interesting as the 2012 or 2013, but maybe with a bit more time to get over bottling it will show better.

Red
2012 Domaine de Chevalier Pessac-Léognan Red Bordeaux Blend
This is one of the more backwards and challenging-to-drink 2012s I've had to date, a bit jarring since I've found this vintage very friendly in Pessac in general. But not so here. Structure is fierce and these could very well be 50-year tannins. The fruit is deep in tone while still being on the red side of the spectrum, and has a piercing intensity but not so bold as to overcome the structure at this point. Overall there is too much of a sense of being "under construction" to get much out of this wine - it certainly doesn't exhibit any signature personality traits of Pessac.
  • Keith Levenberg commented:

    12/22/16, 3:27 PM - I would wait much longer than 2021. It's likely to be closed down very hard then.

  • Keith Levenberg commented:

    12/22/16, 7:15 PM - Try the Haut Bailly, Pape Clement, or Malartic Lagraviere instead - those are all '12s that are fun to drink now. Not much fun in this bottle at this moment

White - Fortified
N.V. Bodegas Hidalgo Manzanilla La Gitana En Rama Manzanilla de Sanlúcar de Barrameda Palomino Fino
9/21/2012 - Keith Levenberg Likes this wine:
97 points
woah. Now I'm no sherry guy but this is easily the best one I've ever had. I wouldn't mind having a whole barrel of this in the kitchen on spigot. There's definitely a family resemblance to the normal La Gitana but there's so much more here. In fact the sheer amount of material packed in here is staggering. You take a sip and it's just huge and then somehow a second wave of mouthfilling flavor comes in as though there were some imaginary pastry filling bag filled with sherry that someone decided to squeeze into your mouth; where is all this extra stuffing coming from?? It lingers forever as you'd expect and segues from some orange-type citrusy fruit and an oceanic seabreeze and salty notes on the front end to contrails of tobacco smoke on the back. The only problem is, why are they acting like this has the shelf life of milk? Can that really be true?
  • Keith Levenberg commented:

    7/29/16, 12:20 PM - Glad to hear it. My bottles sadly deteriorated and I wish I'd drank them a few years ago.

Red
2010 Domaine Thomas Morey Beaune 1er Cru Grèves Pinot Noir
6/25/2013 - Keith Levenberg Likes this wine:
94 points
This is one seriously top-notch Beaune, and more impressive than the 2009 version, although both are incredible values (especially at the sale price J.J. Buckley had them for). This needed no time to get in the zone (no CO2 to shake off this year) and just offered an expansive, satiny canvas of pure, voluptuously proportioned red pinot fruit with no hard edges and a polished, shiny veneer. It got grittier and more structured towards the end of the bottle but there was a long window when this was just flawlessly composed.
  • Keith Levenberg commented:

    6/20/16, 6:53 PM - $25

Red
2010 Jean et Gilles LaFouge Pommard 1er Cru Les Chanlins Pinot Noir
8/5/2013 - Keith Levenberg Likes this wine:
93 points
I usually focus on the Auxeys as the house specialty chez Lafouge but decided to try some of the Pommard in 2010. At first I wasn't convinced, as it comes across a bit light and juicy for the appellation and seemed maybe more Lafouge than Pommard, but by the end of the bottle I was convinced. It is definitely not the stereotypical Pommard of earth and muscle but it does offer a sophistication and refinement a level above the Auxeys here. It has the pure and vibrant fruit that's practically a trademark for Lafouge but the main appeal here is how astonishingly sleek and silky it is, with a slim, feminine figure and a laciness that I haven't seen nearly as often in the vintage as I would have hoped.
  • Keith Levenberg commented:

    5/20/16, 8:12 PM - yikes, did I miss the 2012s? I tend to see these at Chambers and Garnet for maybe a couple weeks every year before they get bought up, then gone. Never had one that wasn't super fun.

Red
2010 Georges Noellat Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru Les Petits Monts Pinot Noir
4/13/2016 - Keith Levenberg wrote:
83 points
Silky and harmonious, as Petits Monts should be. However, this tastes very advanced for its age, no primary fruit left whatsoever and instead it has a leathery character very reminiscent of tempranillo. If this were a 20-year-old Rioja I'd be a fan but it's not an encouraging profile for a Vosne-Romanee 2 or 3 years past release.
  • Keith Levenberg commented:

    4/14/16, 3:06 PM - No, I don't. I drink many Burgundies at this age and am very familiar with how they're supposed to show. Snark not appreciated.

  • Keith Levenberg commented:

    4/18/16, 9:01 AM - The wine wasn't closed. Take a stress pill.

White - Off-dry
2005 Zilliken (Forstmeister Geltz) Saarburger Rausch Riesling Spätlese Mosel Saar Ruwer
3/20/2016 - James Bornn wrote:
Still showing way too sweet, hopefully it's a dumb phase. Hold nervously
  • Keith Levenberg commented:

    4/14/16, 1:38 PM - Been way too sweet from day one for me - I gave up on mine.

Red
2009 Marcel Juge Cornas Syrah
1/8/2014 - Keith Levenberg Likes this wine:
96 points
This is such an old-style Cornas that it hardly even bears a resemblance to any Cornas in my memory, yet a Martian could probably recognize it as Cornas going just by the descriptions of Cornas in old books. It is rough, rustic, and wild, a wine for the Marlboro Man, with searing sandpaper-textured tannins of the type almost nobody has the guts to make (or drink) anymore. The body of the wine manages to stand up to all that muscle as it is just packed with grip and grit; you've got to scrape it off your tongue every couple of sips. It's concentrated and dense with something but not anything remotely fruit-like; it's full of savory, dry-aged flavors (but not really meaty, just the patina of dry aging) and a snap of something fresher and greener on account of the stems.
  • Keith Levenberg commented:

    2/1/16, 11:51 AM - They sell out much faster these days. You just missed the 2012 by a couple of weeks. Stay tuned around this time next year and you should be able to get the 2013s. They aren't hard to find, but you have to act fast.

Red
2012 Eminence Road Farm Winery Cabernet Franc Elizabeth's Vineyard Finger Lakes
11/22/2015 - Keith Levenberg wrote:
flawed
Fizzier than beer. Could not drink. :(
  • Keith Levenberg commented:

    11/29/15, 6:28 PM - I did indeed save it in the cellar for a few days, and the fizz did go away, but then it was super-poopy. :(

Red
2008 Château Gazin Pomerol Red Bordeaux Blend
10/12/2015 - Keith Levenberg Likes this wine:
91 points
Heard things were 'improving' at this property - never can tell if that's a good thing or a bad thing. But this seems built in a pretty classic way while seeming very stuffed. Old-style brawny tannin and cedary oak could almost make this pass for a left bank wine, but the plummy fruit flavors are pure merlot. Features a very gravelly minerality underneath which goes along well with that rugged texture. It's structured enough for brontosaurus steaks but the fruit material is still packed in so densely it has enough primary sweetness not to come across *too* drying on the palate.
  • Keith Levenberg commented:

    10/12/15, 1:28 PM - I think you'll have a few more years of nice youthful drinking before it shuts down and needs to be left alone for awhile.

White
2012 Paul et Marie Jacqueson Rully 1er Cru La Pucelle Blanc Chardonnay
9/29/2015 - Keith Levenberg Likes this wine:
94 points
This is one of the reasons I'm convinced it's almost never necessary to spend more than about $30 on a chardonnay, as this has pretty much everything I want out of the grape. Crystalline on day one, cut like a jewel with a chalky, dusty minerality that impacts the texture as much as the taste, all briny oysters on the finish, holds up well in the fridge for days putting on weight and getting deeper, more brassy tones while still featuring that chalky freshness.
  • Keith Levenberg commented:

    10/1/15, 8:47 AM - I got from Macarthur - worth checking whether they'll get any more, I'm sure they can.

White
2005 Domaine de la Pépière (Marc Ollivier) Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine Granite de Clisson Melon de Bourgogne
Terrific. This'll knock the socks off any white Burgundy from the same year in the freshness department - it's as bright and pure as a new release, super linear and precise with a gravelly, schisty minerality.
  • Keith Levenberg commented:

    8/29/15, 9:06 AM - I don't know about apples and oranges - maybe apples and pears. I find Muscadet a pretty good substitute for certain kinds of white Burgundies, when you are looking for something crisp, steely, mineral.

Red
2009 Marcel Lapierre Morgon Cuvée Marcel Lapierre Gamay
8/10/2015 - CLDWLL wrote:
Pretty bad showing showing. Hot!
  • Keith Levenberg commented:

    8/12/15, 8:29 AM - This was the only '09 that really worried me on release. I have no idea if it'll come out okay or a mess.

White - Off-dry
2001 Müller-Catoir Haardter Bürgergarten Riesling Spätlese Pfalz
7/31/2015 - Keith Levenberg Likes this wine:
90 points
Quite tasty, but in a very sweet and luscious fashion - very much outclassed today by the 2002 Prum, which made this seem a bit treacly and far, far more advanced in comparison; hard to believe they were only a year apart. I've had some bottles like this one and others that were more cutting. Anyway, it is delicious just the same. It's golden-hued in the glass and the fruit has taken on deep tones on the palate as well - not to the point where its lost its sense of freshness, just darker in complexion, with tropical fruits bringing to mind apricot confiture and the like.
  • Keith Levenberg commented:

    8/1/15, 9:33 PM - 2134

Red
2012 Rhys Pinot Noir Horseshoe Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains
3/23/2015 - Keith Levenberg wrote:
92 points
Drank together with the 2012 Skyline. A fascinating show of contrasts among two of my favorite Rhys vineyards. This one is brimming with sweet fruit, with heady aromas of summer raspberries as fresh as if the fruit were being foot stomped right in the glass. The fruit flavors are inky and saturating and the texture is open-knit, generous, and velvety.
  • Keith Levenberg commented:

    3/25/15, 10:56 AM - As a general rule I always try to give Rhys pinots a long decant. It makes a huge difference.

Red
2010 Paolo Scavino Barolo Bric dël Fiasc Nebbiolo
This is one extremely disappointing bottle of "Barolo." I don't feel good saying that because I really wanted to like this. The reports are that Scavino had pulled back on the oak and is just aiming for a pure style without harsh tannins, rather than an overtly moderniste style. That's something I can get on board with in theory, but the result here is a big bottle of nothin'. It had some rubbery aromas which I ordinarily figure is a sign of reduction, although they stuck around even through hours of decanting and in the leftovers days later (of which there was a lot - five of us couldn't muster enough interest to finish even half this bottle on day one). Beyond that it was just anonymous red fruit and soft fluffy tannins, so I guess they pulled off what they were shooting for from a structural perspective but this is a wine that could have come from anywhere. The only way a wine like this is worthwhile is if some character will emerge with the requisite time in the cellar, but given that the whole purpose of this style is to avoid the need for so much time in the cellar, I am not sure what purpose it serves.
  • Keith Levenberg commented:

    3/22/15, 9:58 AM - thiel045: This was tasted with 5 other 2010 Barolos all of which were enjoyable to drink and not in hiding. If you've had 10-15 year old Scavinos and enjoyed them then maybe you'll be happy with this one. I haven't enjoyed them at any age.

Red
1996 Jérôme Chezeaux Clos Vougeot Clos Vougeot Grand Cru Pinot Noir
12/27/2014 - Keith Levenberg Likes this wine:
94 points
Performance today was like an upside-down bell curve. Instantly impressive and packed with character from the pop of the cork, then curling up into a shy little ball, and finally reopening for the last couple of sips. But that first glass - woah. I keep having to remind myself to pay more attention to the Neal Rosenthal Burgundy producers that nobody talks about because they're too busy chasing Fourrier or something. This is kind of in a similar style, in that the first thing you notice about it is how gentle and refined it is - this is not one of those Clos Vougeots that's about sheer power and torque. But it is nevertheless very structured in a sneaky kind of way. There is still a great deal of tannin here but you don't notice it at first because it is so refined and cashmere-soft. In that period before the aromatics closed up, this also offered up very perfumed scents of Vosne-like brown spices and a bit of enticing barrel spice, along with deeper earthy scents hinting at more mature Burgundy barnyard. Then all of this stuff crawled into hiding and the wine didn't offer up much more besides light red fruits, though it was still very satisfying to drink on account of that ultra-refined texture that just blanketed the palate. At the end the tone deepened and some of the more interesting flavors reemerged, so all in all this was a nice window into a really beautiful Clos Vougeot that is probably about 5 years away from a very long and graceful drinking window. This is a great plot of the Clos too--top of the slope near the chateau.
  • Keith Levenberg commented:

    1/3/15, 5:03 PM - I think what we would have regarded as 1996 vintage characteristics a few years ago are very different now. I wouldn't say they're ready yet but that stale, fruitless, acidic profile is mostly a thing of the past.

Red
2010 Edmond Cornu & Fils Ladoix 1er Cru La Corvée Pinot Noir
2/19/2014 - Keith Levenberg Likes this wine:
94 points
Gorgeous bottle of Ladoix, and very reminiscent of a Corton; it has all of the personality and most of the power. The fruit is rich and sappy, with a real sense of sève and palate grip. It has a lot of density, too, but it's solid--rich and fleshy without being flabby, a muscular concentration of fruit. A stony mineral element under the surface certainly enhances that sense of solidity--I just love the bold mix of stony earth and sappy, grippy fruit. And it's exceptionally easy to drink.
  • Keith Levenberg commented:

    2/20/14, 7:57 PM - I got it from Jeremy around ~$50 in a mixed case - yeah, that's definitely pushing it as far as a "value" Burg goes but I think it's worth it and glad I have a few more. Winex has the '09 for $40 which I haven't tried yet. Rosenthal seems to suggest this bottling is the sweet spot for Cornu. http://madrose.com/index.php/france/burgundy/cote-de-beaune/domaine-edmond-cornu-et-fils#ladoix-1er-cru-“la-corvée

Red
2009 Domaine Fontaine-Gagnard Volnay 1er Cru Clos des Chênes Pinot Noir
12/2/2013 - Keith Levenberg Likes this wine:
92 points
Really pretty Volnay, and a steal if you bought it through the Premier Cru sale. This has the best features of the 2009 vintage, with its plush, fleshy, open-knit presence without any hard edges. It has cashmere-soft tannins running through it, making the texture more soft than slick - this is already past its primary gloss, and the flavors are in a very perfumed, floral place moreso than any juicy fruit, although it does have a nice blue berry tinge. This is super easy to drink and perfectly put-together.
  • Keith Levenberg commented:

    12/3/13, 8:05 AM - I'm cellaring 3 more, no worries here.

Red
2005 Domaine Ponsot Morey St. Denis 1er Cru Cuvée des Alouettes Pinot Noir
2005 Burgundy Nite (Dino): Spritzy, and it needed a Mollydooker shake. After that it was pure fruit, with a burst of sweet berry flavor as if it were a pinot noir reduction sauce except it didn't come across thick in weight or verge over the line into being candied.
  • Keith Levenberg commented:

    9/21/13, 2:54 PM - You pour out a taste, then put your thumb over the bottle and shake the devil out of it. Repeat as necessary. It usually gets rid of the co2.

Red
1998 Domaine Michel Lafarge Volnay 1er Cru Clos des Chênes Pinot Noir
8/7/2013 - Keith Levenberg Likes this wine:
90 points
Hey, it's a ready-to-drink Lafarge! Tannins are almost completely resolved and the aromas are advanced and old-winey but with a touch of sweet cocoa powder lurking in there too. This tastes very lean in its physical presence, practically a wisp of a wine, but the flavors are deep and dark, more black-and-blue fruits than red. The issue as with many '98s is that it doesn't have much freshness left to it, so I'm not sure which way this goes from here.
  • Keith Levenberg commented:

    8/7/13, 7:35 PM - oui!
    I bought a bunch from that consignment. Bottles have all been in great shape.

Red
2004 Rhys Pinot Noir Home Vineyard San Francisco Bay
5/18/2013 - etherscreen wrote:
i've gone through just over a half a case of this, and sadly this was my last bottle. this particular bottle is a bit past its prime and some of the complexity has dissipated. it's still a delight to drink.
  • Keith Levenberg commented:

    5/19/13, 5:51 PM - Are you sure you have the right wine here? They only sold 200 bottles @ 2 per person - would've taken a lot of hunting to end up with over half a case.

Red
2010 Mollydooker Two Left Feet South Australia Shiraz Blend, Syrah
This is of course really, really terrible, but the main thing that continues to mystify me is how people call this kind of thing a crowd-pleaser. I poured it for a crowd and almost nobody liked it. It smells like blueberry Smuckers jam and tastes so sweet and grapey one wonders if they even bothered to ferment it; this resembles the Kedem grape juice that my 3-year-old drinks more than wine, albeit with an admittedly higher Fruit Weight™ index and the completely gratuitous addition of an obscene amount of oak that tastes of such raw, pure wood (not even toast or chocolate or spice or any of those things) that it almost seems like they figured out some way to crush and ferment a truckload of tongue depressors, which I guess is ironic considering the totally unfermented flavor of the grapes. There was actual jawdropping around the room when I pointed to the explanation on the Mollydooker web site that the producers consider this a 65-70% on their Fruit Weight™ scale and that they make other wines that go all the way up to 100, considering that we are already well into Spinal Tap territory here. On the "other" point scale I am scoring this a 55 rather than a flat 50 only because the 16% alcohol actually didn't stick out so bad, but this really does taste like a wine made by somebody who has never actually drank wine. I get that the idea here is to take all the characteristics that impress the critics so much and use those trademarked techniques and the Aussie sun to crank them up to 11 (and beyond), but if this is an attempt to emulate any style of actual wine it's akin to having Stevie Wonder try to copy a painting.
  • Keith Levenberg commented:

    5/18/13, 11:50 AM - Marcellevi might want to do some thinking about the concept of selection bias. Most people who buy wines like this (or any other known type) do so expecting to like them. People who do not like that sort of thing don't tend to buy them or have occasion to drink them. That's why community tasting notes skew towards the positive, and that kind of selection bias makes it virtually impossible to figure out who is really in the "minority."

    Personally, I rather enjoy having the occasional excuse to taste a wine I hate. It is certainly more entertaining (in a Mystery Science Theater 3000 kind of way) than drinking a wine which is "just okay." Obviously, this wine was not something that I purchased expecting to enjoy it, although I didn't expect it to be quite as bad as it was. I chose it as part of a tasting I was presenting to non-wine folks in my office in which I was trying to show style contrasts. Mollydooker is of course one of the most extreme examples of its style out there. (Sine Qua Non is another, but outside our budget.) Served after a traditional Rioja, I think it made the point very effectively. Out of about 20 people, one person said they liked it, a few were indifferent, and most absolutely recoiled. Marcellevi's "guess" about the crowd I poured it for was thus a pretty bad guess. And I am not sure why he thinks I would care what score the Rhone Report gave it.

Red
1995 P. Dubreuil-Fontaine Père & Fils Corton-Bressandes Corton Grand Cru Pinot Noir
4/1/2013 - Keith Levenberg Likes this wine:
95 points
Really nice Corton. Opens with stony aromas and a touch of stony austerity to match, but by the time we get to drinking it, it actually becomes astonishingly silky and pliant - can't remember the last time I had a Corton so feminine. It has the savory, earthy notes that probably put it at the very beginning of a zone of mature drinking, and just gets better and better as it airs out.
  • Keith Levenberg commented:

    4/27/13, 7:31 PM - 2-3 hours, maybe more.

Red
2009 Fattoria Selvapiana Chianti Rùfina Riserva Bucerchiale Sangiovese Blend, Sangiovese
3/16/2013 - Keith Levenberg Likes this wine:
90 points
This was very structured and seems a good candidate to close up pretty hard soon. For now, though, despite there being a lot of tannin, the grain is powdered enough that it doesn't seem harsh, and the material has this sheer, slender presence that takes all that muscle and puts it in a feminine package. The result is very, very drinkable. Nevertheless it was one of those wines where most of the aromatic expression takes place in the first two minutes, when it offered an interesting scent of stony earth on top of the fruit, and then it got much more shy.
  • Keith Levenberg commented:

    4/25/13, 8:59 AM - Mostly because of all that tannin, and because prior vintages have already closed up. I can't say how long that is likely to last - most people who pretend to predict that stuff are BS'ing it.

Red
2004 Emmanuel Houillon (Maison Pierre Overnoy) Poulsard Arbois Pupillin
10/19/2012 - Keith Levenberg wrote:
98 points
Wonderful wine. And a great argument for aging your Overnoys, if you're lucky enough to have any. This is why you age wine, to get the depth and all the wild things and the seamless integration and the total metamorphosis. The aroma alone was packed with character, just a quick whiff of the neck of the bottle told you you were in for a treat. It was vaguely reminiscent of old Burgundy with a little whiff of the barnyard but there were all sorts of other things going on too. Structurally, almost everything is resolved. There's no noticeable tannin left at all, although there is still a quiet high note of acidity that maybe helps hold it all together. The result is just ridiculously seamless and comfortable, it doesn't just glide across the palate, it gives the palate a cuddle and a back massage. It's totally past its fruit and into pure savory stuff and if you tried to catalog it all in the traditional tasting note lingua franca you could go on forever. Mushroom broth, pine needles, oatmeal cookies. That's just for starters.
  • Keith Levenberg commented:

    2/20/13, 9:22 AM - Not an easy find anymore unfortunately. The hipsters snap them all up. I hear it's also big in Japan.

Red
2009 Louis Jadot Beaune 1er Cru Celebration Pinot Noir
Poured blind. I guessed California pinot on account of the sweet Jolly Rancher taste. Not a fan.
  • Keith Levenberg commented:

    1/29/13, 3:23 PM - Actually, I haven't found the 2009 vintage too heavy on the fruit, not in general nor at Jadot specifically other than this particular wine. I like the vintage very much--and Jadot aced the Clos des Ursules. I believe the way this wine shows reflects specific stylistic decisions that were made for it that aren't reflective of the rest of the stable here. If I were making cellaring bets I'd sooner put my chips on Ursules or the other Beaune 1er crus.

Red
2000 Château Léoville Barton St. Julien Red Bordeaux Blend
1/22/2013 - Keith Levenberg Likes this wine:
97 points
Wow, remember when this wine was a blockbuster? Now it's practically a ballerina. There is so much that is impressive about this already but one of the most remarkable things is how svelte its figure is, with the tannins commensurately fine-grained and lacey. I never would have guessed this could turn into something so feminine and elegant. That's the impression in turns of mouthfeel and shape, anyway, but the actual flavors are serious and deep. You get a twist of blue and black fruits tinged with cedar and iron; at times the minerality seems almost more prominent than the fruit, but both are probably less emphatic than they otherwise might be because the tannins are still wrapped around it all, as elegant as they are. They certainly do not compromise the drinkability in any way. This wine keeps you coming back to it so compulsively I was almost tempted to open a second.
  • Keith Levenberg commented:

    1/23/13, 4:18 PM - I don't think I would want to open this now if I only had one, unless you're mulling over buying more. It is certainly a good buy relative to more recent vintages (and to any number of other Bordeaux that cost a lot more and aren't as good).

White - Fortified
N.V. Valdespino Jerez-Xérès-Sherry Palo Cortado Viejo C.P. Palomino Fino
I don't think I've managed to grok Palo Cortado yet as a general category, but I've had others I've liked more than this. This is very brown and while it has some crispness and a saltwater taffee thing going on, I just don't find this dark, muddled style as appealing as a fino; admittedly this doesn't have an oxidative taste but the oxidative *effect* seems to have muted or muddled a lot of what I like to see without bringing out anything else to show for it except the browning. It also feels somewhat stiff which makes it a slow sipper.
  • Keith Levenberg commented:

    12/18/12, 9:35 AM - About a week now. I think it's just not my thing.

White - Off-dry
2005 Carl Schmitt-Wagner Longuicher Maximiner Herrenberg Riesling Spätlese Mosel Saar Ruwer
2/11/2012 - salil wrote:
87 points
Not quite on the level of the other bottles I've had recently; the sweetness is more pronounced this time and it comes across a little thick without the acidity and cut I'd like to balance it. Still quite pleasant, and works well at the table with some mildly spiced Indian food.
  • Keith Levenberg commented:

    2/11/12, 7:02 AM - MILDLY spiced? You're slipping.

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