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Comments on my notes

(20 comments on 16 notes)

1 - 16 of 16 Sort order
Red
2010 Paolo Bea Sagrantino di Montefalco Secco Pagliaro
Typical youngish Bea with high tannins, dark cherry fruit, and a huge medicinal and spicy nose. I know the prevailing wisdom is to drink Bea with a lot of age but I’m not so sure after having some older bottles that were a bit tired and oxidized - besides, how many people have actually tried a lot of really old Bea? I haven’t had enough to form a proper opinion but enough to be a bit leery of the variability that comes with age, and I’d love to hear from anyone with more experience. I really like them at this stage where the tannins have receded a bit but the fruit and primary herbal wallop are still there. This is a big and aggressive wine that will benefit from a big hunk of grilled or braised meat served alongside it to tame some of the muchness.
  • talbot61 commented:

    10/3/22, 7:33 PM - Nice note. My sense is that the Bea wines used to be much more variable in quality (though, to be fair, they were also quite a bit less expensive). So the problem that you encountered with the older Bea wines might not have been a problem of aging, but just a result of that underlying inconsistency. More recently, we have been drinking the 2007, 2009, and 2010 vintages, and we haven't haven't any bad bottles. They will probably be fine old wines too, but I don't think we'll ever find out, they're so good now.

White - Sparkling
N.V. Bérêche et Fils Champagne Brut Réserve Champagne Blend
6/16/2022 - talbot61 Likes this wine:
92 points
At Noreetuh, New York City: Persistent mousse, like the crema on an expresso. Medium body. High acidity, crisp, incisive, citric, with a foreground flavor of grapefruit and an intriguing background flavor of peppermint. Does it make sense to say that it tastes like champagne, but not like other champagnes?
  • talbot61 commented:

    7/9/22, 8:51 PM - Indeed. I love traditional German rieslings, so I found their selection quite amazing.

Red
2017 Ridge Geyserville Alexander Valley Zinfandel Blend, Zinfandel
6/6/2022 - talbot61 Likes this wine:
92 points
If a friendly space alien asked me to explain California wine, I might just hand over a bottle of Ridge Geyserville 2017. I know, I know, lots of dedicated and intelligent California winemakers are working to move away from this model of California wine. I know, I know, California is a huge state, with hundreds of grape varieties and blends, and hundreds of climates and styles. But still, there are gods and monuments, totem poles that loom over the landscape. This oaky smooth powerful beast, oh so drinkable, is the apotheosis of a traditional style of California wine, one of the monuments in a crowded landscape. No sediment, so no need to decant. Might gain some complexity with age, but really no need to wait. Open. Drink. Repeat.
  • talbot61 commented:

    6/6/22, 1:31 PM - Gee, thanks!

  • talbot61 commented:

    6/7/22, 7:50 PM - WetRock, I guess I'm as confounded by your comment as you were by my tasting note. I see that you have a lot more experience with Ridge wines than I do, so you certainly have a better grasp of where Geyserville sits in the Ridge spectrum. And I am guessing from your comment (and your inclination to drink lots of Ridge wines) that we are roughly in agreement about the quality of Ridge Geyserville, and we may be more in agreement than you suspect about what constitutes 'a traditional style of California wine.' But then we seem to differ about whether this wine is oaky -- setting aside the question of its 'bigness,' which is a bit harder to define and establish. I described the wine as oaky because the initial, very distinct flavors were mint and dill, which I take to be hallmarks of American oak. I recognize that I am drinking a young version of Geyserville, and that those oaky characteristics may become more integrated and less prominent with age, but for me, drinking this bottle this past weekend, they were inescapable. (I will note that I didn't object at all to the mint and dill.). And you suggest that nobody would describe the Ridge Geyserville as oaky, but a quick perusal of the many tasting notes on this specific vintage reassures me that I am not altogether alone in my reaction to the wine.

White
2018 Winery Stilianou Theon Dora Heraklion White Blend
5/7/2022 - talbot61 Likes this wine:
88 points
Extra-mineral: a dry, stony wine, with nice balance, moderate length, and a restraint that makes it a good food wine. It might not be good enough to lead me away from Muscadet, but it is an appealing and slightly exotic alternative.
  • talbot61 commented:

    5/7/22, 6:33 PM - Thanks for your note. I bought the wine from Astor in NYC, based on a mention in a NYT column on Greek wines, for about $20, and I'd happily drink more of it.

Red
2003 Château Talbot St. Julien Red Bordeaux Blend
1/7/2022 - talbot61 Likes this wine:
94 points
As good as it has ever been: Rich and plummy, with an intriguing aftertaste of sweet Indian spices -- black pepper, clove, cardamom.
  • talbot61 commented:

    1/7/22, 3:45 PM - Thanks. It is quite possible that the Talbot 03 is not yet as good as it will ever be.

Red
2017 Tenuta di Renieri Chianti Classico Riserva Chianti Classico DOCG Sangiovese Blend, Sangiovese
1/30/2021 - talbot61 Likes this wine:
88 points
Perhaps I shouldn't be arguing with the bottle, but its label asserts that the wine is full-bodied, and I had the distinct impression that it is not. I would describe it, moreover, as surprisingly light-bodied (and very light colored, verging on pink). The irony is that the bottle itself is suggesting that 'full-bodied' is an indicator of quality, while I believe that the wine is much more interesting because it is not full-bodied. But who am I to argue with a bottle?

The aromas are of oak and leather, while the taste is dominated by blackberry, cherry flavors. The acidity is fairly high, and the aftertaste is dominated by the tannins. It is drinkable now, especially for those of us who have a higher tolerance for acidity, but it will probably improve with at least two more years of rest, and it will last a while longer than that.
  • talbot61 commented:

    11/8/21, 6:54 PM - Thanks.

Red
2014 Tenuta di Capraia Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Effe 55 Chianti Classico DOCG Sangiovese Blend, Sangiovese
5/26/2021 - talbot61 Does not like this wine:
78 points
The Italophile wife, expecting something robust and warm, found something lean and acidic, and did not like it one bit. I was also surprised, but more curious, and so tried it again the next day. Then I found that some dark fruitiness had emerged, but mostly concealed behind a wall of sourness. I confess I don't understand what the aim was, nor what the longer-term prospects might be, but I can report confidently that the experience of drinking this wine now will be pleasure-free.
  • talbot61 commented:

    8/19/21, 4:59 PM - Thanks for the comment (and for the invitation). Now that I see your note, and given the overlap in our palates, I am certainly open to the suggestion that our bottle was faulty, but it's the only one I had so I won't be able to test the hypothesis.

Red
2015 Scholium Project 1MN Bechtold Ranch Lodi Cinsault, Cinsaut
8/14/2021 - talbot61 Likes this wine:
87 points
Scholium wines should be sold only to informed consumers, or perhaps they should have a warning label: "This wine is an experiment. We promise that it will be interesting, but there is a chance that it will not be good."

I am generally happy to take the chance. Some of the wines are very exciting and stunning bargains -- the 2015 Naucratis Lost Slough, for instance -- and others have compelling stories and educational values, even if they don't in the end provide much pleasure. This wine is, unfortunately, in the latter category. It is 100% cinsault from a vineyard in Lodi, and it has a dominant aroma and flavor that I no longer have the sensory acuity to identify precisely -- at best, I can say that it tastes of some kind of herbal bubblegum. Behind that flavor, there is a light-bodied, cherry flavored wine of impressive intensity.
  • talbot61 commented:

    8/16/21, 9:07 AM - Thanks. (I've been following your reviews for a while, even though we never see BC wines in Massachusetts.) I probably shouldn't try to put a number on wines like this -- it presents some interesting conundrums, even if it is in the end an unsuccessful experiment, and I wouldn't encourage anybody else to spend precious dollars on it.

Red
2015 Château Puygueraud Francs Côtes de Bordeaux Red Bordeaux Blend
Too young. Not unpleasant to drink, but still predominantly wooden, with a foreground of dry tannins. The 2010 was fully mature a few months ago, so I would give this another four years in the cellar.
  • talbot61 commented:

    7/17/21, 12:16 PM - That's helpful. Thanks so much.

White
2019 Morgen Long Chardonnay Willamette Valley
This is really too young to assess properly -- intense and acidic, with a fair amount of bitterness, even on day two. But there are layers of flavor in here waiting to be revealed -- right now there is grapefruit rind on top of sage, with a strong slate undercurrent. Give it at least two years.
  • talbot61 commented:

    5/22/21, 1:59 PM - Thanks for the comment. I bought a mixed case from you and was impatient to try one, even though I really knew better. I can wait a couple of years for the others. Will you be able to make the full complement of wines for the 2020 vintage?

Red
2007 Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage Syrah
5/8/2021 - finediningnyc Likes this wine:
95 points
Knockout nose, depth, power and layered complexity. It has terrific structure, floral lift and a palate caressing texture. Fantastic length. In a really great place.
  • talbot61 commented:

    5/10/21, 8:33 AM - Funny, I think we were at the table next to yours at Jua. Our kids were impressed by the number of bottles on your table, and I was pleased to see the Chave, because we had his Saint Joseph the previous night -- not a profound wine, but totally delicious. (And we loved our Korean meal.)

Red
2012 Silenus Winery Merlot Napa Valley
3/8/2021 - talbot61 Does not like this wine:
72 points
This provides a helpful calibration of my numerical ratings. Most of my ratings are between 88 and 92, but I am now reassured that I am mostly drinking well-made wines that I like. This wine I do not like.

There is an overwhelming aroma of rubber. There is a strongly charred taste, carrying over some of the rubber notes, not altogether enhanced by the sweetness of the wine.

I see that half the tasters posting here like this wine, so I don't know if I'm genetically aversive to rubber smells, the way some people are to cilantro or broccoli, or if there is some bottle variation, and others are drinking non-rubbery versions, or if the rubberiness has emerged as the wine ages. So I will abstain from ranting about the cynicism of a wine production and distribution system that allowed the creation and sale of this wine.
  • talbot61 commented:

    4/14/21, 10:46 AM - Thanks for the comment. Yes, keep me posted about Bordeaux bargains. I post notes on everything I drink, so if you see anything there that you want to know more about, just let me know, and I can let you know where I bought, how much I paid, etc. If you find yourself with some idle time in Cambridge/Somerville, the Wine and Cheese Cask has a small but reliable selection of bargain Bordeaux.

  • talbot61 commented:

    4/15/21, 5:40 AM - Wine Cask doesn't really have inefficiencies, they just have good taste and reasonable prices. I used to stock up at their quarterly wine sale, but I think that sale is another victim of the pandemic. Formaggio has an interesting selection -- perhaps leaning a bit too pet-nat for my taste -- but the prices are high. I used to rely on Blanchard, Marty's, and Brookline Liquor Mart for the inefficiencies, but the pickings have gotten slimmer.

  • talbot61 commented:

    4/15/21, 10:41 AM - And, by the way, my wife (who hates cabernet franc) would call the men in the white coats to come with straitjackets if I told her that I was driving to Allston to buy an aged cabernet franc from Connecticut, because my new on-line friend told me it is a bargain.

White - Sparkling
N.V. Benoît Lahaye Champagne Blanc de Noirs Pinot Noir
4/10/2021 - talbot61 wrote:
My first time trying this, so I couldn't tell if the oxidative notes were a quality of the wine or evidence of a slight taint. I have one more bottle, so will enter a more complete assessment based on that one. In the meantime, this was a very toasty wine, underpowered, not fully integrated.
  • talbot61 commented:

    4/10/21, 2:48 PM - Thanks for chiming in. I don't see a date on either of the labels. The bottle was imported by MISE in Newton, Mass., and I bought it about 6 months ago (from a store with a pretty consistent turnover).

  • talbot61 commented:

    4/11/21, 9:19 AM - Most of my other champagnes have disgorgement dates on the importer's label. There are several importer's of the Lahaye champagnes, and for whatever reason, this one (Massachusetts only) doesn't put the dates on the label. Irritating.

White
2015 Domaine Pascal Cotat Sancerre La Grande Côte Sauvignon Blanc
3/7/2021 - Rabaja Likes this wine:
94 points
This is the best Sancerre experiences I've had. It's a bit more advanced in its aging process than I would have imagined. The tart, crips notes have completely resolved but the subtle acidity keeps the structure in tact. The palate is savory, perhaps even a touch saline, but the orchard fruit remains long and it strikes a poignant pose on the finish. It gorgeous in the mouth, generous orchard fruit (apple/pear) and it's clearly from a warm vintage. There are still high quality oak tones but most of the aromas are of ripe pear, baked apple, pie dough, lemon meringue, and a touch of lime. This wine seems to have entered its maturity window. Perhaps it's in its middle-years as I believe this will last another five years but it's beautifully resolved now. Why wait?
  • talbot61 commented:

    3/8/21, 5:29 AM - Thanks for the comment. This is very much in line with my own experience of the Cotat Sancerres, which I would rank among my favorite white wines period.

Red
2016 Clos Floridene Graves Red Bordeaux Blend
2/8/2021 - talbot61 Likes this wine:
90 points
Too young, of course, but still showing itself as a greyhound of a wine: sleek, streamlined, elegant. It has a well-integrated acidity and strong dark cherry flavors. Despite some chewy tannins, it is still a pleasure to drink -- I would happily buy more to cellar for five years or so.
  • talbot61 commented:

    2/10/21, 6:15 PM - Thanks for your comment. I bought this recently for $27, and it is a good value at that price.

Red
2010 Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco Nebbiolo
12/18/2020 - talbot61 Likes this wine:
90 points
When first opened, fiercely tannic and wincingly acidic. Not much sediment. Consistent, translucent blood color. Medium to light body. The acidity mellowed with two hours in a decanter, but while the tannins softened a bit, they were present all the way to the end. Strong flavors of leather and tar, and the last glass smelled distinctly and appetizingly of plum pudding.

We bought this for less than $30, maybe 5 years ago, and for the price it offers a lot of complexity and intrigue. That said, it is somewhat rustic and limited next to cru Barbarescos, though those will cost at least $20 more. Also, I would expect this to continue to improve, possibly for another 5-10 years.
  • talbot61 commented:

    12/18/20, 10:20 AM - Last weekend, we drank a completely satisfying Barbaresco -- Albino Rocca Ronchi 2008 -- and so I wanted to try this one for comparison. I'm glad we did, even though this bottle might have improved with a few more years in the cellar. The Rocca wine costs $51 per bottle, and I would probably opt for 3 of those rather than 5 of these.

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