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Tasting Notes for talbot61

(345 notes on 319 wines)

1 - 50 of 345 Sort order
Red
Undrinkable. There is a strong aroma of band-aids (characteristic of brettanomyces), followed by a scorching acidity. There were points at which the bretty character seemed to be resolving, with a strong cherry aroma struggling to emerge, but the band-aid smell and the acidity never disappeared. Sometimes, this suggestion of brettiness (the band-aid smell) can be acceptable, like small doses of reduction or bitterness, but this was inescapably more than a suggestion.

Given that brettanomyces is nearly ubiquitous in wines and wineries, that any attempts by winemakers to eliminate the yeast may require a high degree of intervention with other deleterious effects, and that this yeast may be responsible for other characteristics that we associate favorably with Syrah -- the gaminess, the 'sauvage' character, some degree of barnyard aromas -- it is hard to say whether this specific wine is flawed or bad. It is also hard to say whether this undrinkable bottle has developed differently from others in the same batch, which would help to decide the flawed vs. bad question. (Typically, high levels of brett are a winery issue, unlike TCA, but there are also suggestions that wines can become brettier with a secondary fermentation after bottling.) I am inclined to guess that Scholium made two decisions that led to my current displeasure: first, not to insist on a high level of cleanliness in the winery, and, second, to emphasize the wild side of Syrah. I buy wines from Scholium because I am interested in winemakers taking risks. In this case, the risky behavior had a bad outcome.
Red
1/15/2022 - talbot61 Likes this wine:
93 points
Actual strawberry jam doesn't smell as intensely of strawberry jam. No sediment. After the blast of strawberry-jam aroma, there is an earthy flavor, and then coca-cola, and the aftertaste has a blend of stemminess, spiciness and a touch of bitterness. Moderate and well-integrated acidity. This was ready to drink from opening, and I didn't decant because I didn't want to lose any of the initial energy.
Red
1/13/2022 - talbot61 Likes this wine:
92 points
The best Beaujolais I have had in a long time: It has a wax seal, but not the problematic kind -- it removes easily with a foil cutter. Dark-colored, blueberry-scented, electric acidity and intensity, no sweetness. It will last for a while but it's a lot of fun to drink now. The bottle says 13%, but it feels like more than that.
Red
1/10/2022 - talbot61 Likes this wine:
93 points
Bingo! After a long, dull period, this has finally blossomed. It is not particularly Volnayish -- it is instead an old-fashioned Burgundy, with a plummy sweetness and a spiciness and no tart or shrill notes. It is deeply colored and has a lot more body than the appellation would suggest, or than the adolescent bottles I had previously consumed would have led me to expect. Worth the wait. Drink now.
White - Off-dry
The initial smell and taste was of heavy oxidation. The wine is dark, and my first thought was that it was way over the hill. But we persisted, and the oxidized character diminished, the acidity emerged, and we ended with a lightweight, spritely wine, tasting of peach and ginger.
Red
2003 Château Talbot St. Julien Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
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.
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Red
1/5/2022 - talbot61 wrote:
92 points
We decanted this several hours ahead of dinner, and then it was ready for drinking. Silky smooth, intense, beautifully balanced.
White - Sparkling
1/2/2022 - talbot61 Likes this wine:
90 points
Aromas of straw, lots of bubbles, full-bodied, moderate acidity, toasty flavors -- overall, a pleasure to drink.
Red
1990 Château Gruaud Larose St. Julien Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
1/1/2022 - talbot61 Likes this wine:
94 points
Is it enough to say that this tastes like old claret? My sense is that Gruaud-Larose can be very tough in its youth and that it takes a long time to come around. The 1990 has come around. Powerful aromas of leather and boysenberry, structure from acidity not tannins, intensity of flavor in a medium-bodied wine, and a slight aftertaste of menthol. Dry and very refined. On a par with the 1994 Cos d'Estournel we drank the previous week, and more pleasurable than bottles of 1995 Chateau Latour (too young) and 1990 Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou (too old).
2 people found this helpful Comment
White - Sparkling
An offbeat champagne: We had one glass before dinner and finished the bottle after dinner. It had evolved considerably (and favorably) while it was open, which suggests that it needs some aeration and/or more time in the cellar. Initially, it was dominated by green-apple acidity, with a fair degree of bitterness, very dry, with very fine bubbles. Later, the acidity had mellowed, there was a powerful aroma of rye bread, and an array of flavors, including bubblegum and gentian -- think Suze or Genepy. This is not a classic by any means, but will provide some geeky pleasure at a reasonable price.
White
12/30/2021 - talbot61 Likes this wine:
89 points
An intriguing wine: slightly oxidized, low acid, full-bodied, with a powerful honey aroma and a nutty flavor.
Red
12/30/2021 - talbot61 Likes this wine:
90 points
My wife, who is not a fan of pinot noir, said, "I don't like this style of wine, but I like this one." Perhaps because this wine doesn't have any of the confected strawberry flavors to which she usually objects -- it had, instead, intriguing herbal/medicinal flavors -- a mix of dill and tarragon with perhaps an overtone of saddle soap. It has a light body, a fair degree of acidity in the aftertaste, and some bitterness, and the flavor profile is all savory rather than sweet. It is eminently drinkable now, but will last and may improve for a while yet.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2000 Château Duhart-Milon Pauillac Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
12/30/2021 - talbot61 Likes this wine:
90 points
A pleasant surprise: Our previous bottle had faded; there wasn't much left to appreciate by the time we opened it. This one, by contrast, seemed like a bruiser, an adolescent, still clearly a claret, but a muscular one without much of the finesse or elegance that we usually expect from this chateau. We probably hadn't opened it far enough in advance, given that we were expecting the sad shadow of a once fine wine.
Red
Significant browning. Not much aroma, and starting thin, with a very acid aftertaste. By the end of the first glass, some sweetness was emerging, and the acidity diminished, so the wine tasted of raspberry jam (and provided a lot more pleasure). It would have been much better a few years ago. If you have any drink them up (but perhaps allow for an hour or so of aeration so you can move directly to the raspberry-jam phase).
White - Off-dry
12/28/2021 - talbot61 Likes this wine:
90 points
For a Prum wine, this was very full-bodied, with low acid, a more forward botrytized sweetness, and none of the ginger ale flavor that I usually associate with Prum wines.
Red
12/28/2021 - talbot61 Likes this wine:
90 points
We were drinking this blind and were unable to identify, or even really to come close to identifying. There was a tar flavor that suggested the north of Italy, though the wine is much more robust than Nebbiolo would be and lacks any of the floral elements. Definitely modern in style, mature but not superannuated, not cabernet or syrah -- we settled on Tuscan, but without confidence, and it turned out that our lack of confidence was justified.
Red
12/28/2021 - talbot61 Likes this wine:
90 points
This has held together much better than the 2007s we have had in the past year, though it has still lost a lot of the oomph that it had in its youth. Drink soon.
Red
2006 Château de Millery St. Émilion Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
12/28/2021 - talbot61 Likes this wine:
92 points
A small side hustle in Saint-Emilion for the owners of Chateau Figeac, with a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Rich and robust, initially quite tannic, but opening out to a lovely sweetness, with flavors of coffee, chocolate and herbs. Surprisingly youthful.
White - Sweet/Dessert
2001 Château Coutet Barsac Sémillon-Sauvignon Blanc Blend (view label images)
Somewhat oxidized. Dark golden color, low acid, some heaviness. Still a pleasure to drink, with a nutty sweetness, but lacking the acidic balance that would have elevated it (and would have made it a better match with the food).
2 people found this helpful Comment
Red
2007 Château Saint-Pierre St. Julien Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
12/26/2021 - talbot61 Likes this wine:
89 points
This tasted more like a California wine -- robust and oaky, a "stonker" (according to my mother-in-law).
Red
Past its prime but still drinkable. Dominated by a forest-floor funkiness, with a streak of dark-fruit acidity. Medium body.
Red
2010 Viader Napa Valley Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
12/24/2021 - talbot61 Likes this wine:
92 points
We drank this after a bottle of Chateau Latour, and this one attracted a lot more attention and comment. The tannins are still very marked and persisted throughout the evening. Moderate acidity. Starts out full-bodied but then is quite a bit lighter in the mid-palate. Strong aroma of crushed cherries. Powerful dill flavor -- from American oak, I presume -- which morphs into a coffee character. Aftertaste of mulberries. Drinkable now, but will probably improve with more time in the cellar.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Rosé - Sparkling
12/24/2021 - talbot61 Likes this wine:
92 points
A lovely champagne, easy to drink, with moderate acidity and medium body. Blind, you would have a hard time tasting the pinkness.
White
12/20/2021 - talbot61 Likes this wine:
93 points
Not the greatest Cotat wine, but still unimpeachably delicious. Aromas of grapefruit marmalade and lemon verbena, light body, with a restrained tropical character and some of the grapefruit-rind bitterness. Complex and elegant with a nicely concealed acidity. This bottle had none of the oxidative notes that I've found in some other Cotats of the same age.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
12/18/2021 - talbot61 Likes this wine:
94 points
My last bottle: I hadn't really expected it to have survived, but it turns out that waiting 26 years to drink it was the right move. Initial funk, no tannin but marked acidity, tending towards the ethereal, with an array of herbal flavors and a strong element of kirsch, and no off-notes.
Red
1994 Château Cos d'Estournel St. Estèphe Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
12/18/2021 - talbot61 Likes this wine:
94 points
There's not much tannin or fruit remaining, but what's left is a very elegant, cedary wine, unmistakably Medoc. This was a light vintage, so the wine doesn't have the heft that one might otherwise expect, but it is quite delicious. Drink soon.
White - Sparkling
12/18/2021 - talbot61 Likes this wine:
92 points
A full-bodied sparkler with moderate acidity. Nicely structured, with a round fruitiness, almost sweet, on a acidic backbone, with a hint of bitterness. Very popular with our guests. I may prefer the incisiveness of the pinot noir version (Alder Springs 2016), but have no hesitation in recommending this one too. No need to wait to drink it.
2 people found this helpful Comment
Red
12/13/2021 - talbot61 Likes this wine:
91 points
At Grey Canary, Memphis: Full bodied, moderate tannins and acidity, flavors of chocolate and tobacco. This is a robust wine that went very well with grilled pork chops, and would be a real bargain at non-restaurant pricing.
Red
12/13/2021 - talbot61 Likes this wine:
89 points
At Grey Canary, Memphis: Medium body, high acid, intense smoke and mineral flavors. Similar profile to a Bierzo wine.
White
Too young, but still providing pleasure. Light-bodied, moderate to high acidity, no heaviness or creaminess, dominated by grapefruit-rind bitterness, with some slate and salinity. More Oregon than California in style. I would expect some more richness and complexity to emerge with another 2-3 years in the cellar.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
12/5/2021 - talbot61 wrote:
This has evolved considerably since our last bottle. It is still completely drinkable, but definitely for drinking sooner rather than later. It has a dark-fruited acidity and a dominant flavor of smoky tobacco. That flavor is so marked that one thinks the wine might best be used for blending, as one might add some Laphraoig to a cocktail for the smoky peatiness.
Sake
Very nice. Aromas of pear and apple, dry and smooth with a full-bodied creaminess.
Red
12/5/2021 - talbot61 Likes this wine:
94 points
This is an expensive wine, but so good -- good enough that you may wake up the next morning with a desperate urge to smash all your piggy-banks and buy more. It paired beautifully with a boneless duck stuffed with sausage, and our group of six diners ripped through two bottles. The wine will easily last for another decade or two, but it's fine for drinking now -- beautiful balance, more flowers than tar, and an appetizingly long finish.
Rosé - Sparkling
12/5/2021 - talbot61 Likes this wine:
90 points
This is a very credible sparkling wine -- coppery color, moderate acidity, medium bubbles, slightly to the sweet side of brut, with some creaminess.
Red
2018 Château Côte Montpezat Cuvée Compostelle Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
12/2/2021 - talbot61 Likes this wine:
87 points
This is still good value, but not as good as the 2016. There are lively cherry flavors in the foreground, and lots of woody tannins in the background. The fruit doesn't seem robust enough for the treatment it received in the winery, and while the woodiness may seem less intrusive after another two years of cellaring, I'm not convinced that the wine will ever be fully integrated. Note, though, that I am suggesting some quite high standards for a wine that costs well under $20, and that the imperfect wine still provides plenty of drinking pleasure.
Red
12/1/2021 - talbot61 Likes this wine:
88 points
An interesting, not altogether typical barbera, which rolls across the tongue with a clear sequence of sensations -- first, a herbal, slightly medicinal flavor, then a dollop of rounded sweetness, and then a fruitily acidic aftertaste. It's possible that the ripeness of the grapes was pushed a little. My general preference would be for a wine that traded some of the sweetness for structure, but this was an enjoyable and provocative drink.
Red
12/1/2021 - talbot61 Likes this wine:
92 points
Surprisingly ready to drink, from the first taste and more definitively after a two-hour decant. it still has a firm acidic structure, but with no shrillness, and then an elegant floral profile. Very popular with our guests.
Rosé - Sparkling
12/1/2021 - talbot61 Likes this wine:
92 points
My wife, a lover of Champagne, thought this was 'fantastic.' This is only slightly rose, with moderate to high acidity, high intensity, medium bubbles -- overall, a complex, incisive, mineral wine, fine for drinking now but likely to gain richness with a little more cellar time.
Red
11/27/2021 - talbot61 Likes this wine:
91 points
I tasted when I first opened it -- initial blast of black pepper, then leathery tannins and elevated acidity with some blueberry fruit. Very savory. After two hours in the decanter, the acidity remained and the pepper had disappeared. It was better without food than with, and I think it will continue to improve with at least another two years in the cellar. I am very happy that I have another five bottles.
2 people found this helpful Comment
Red
11/23/2021 - talbot61 Likes this wine:
90 points
If you are expecting this to be a typical high-acid, low tannin barbera, you will be as surprised as I was. This is a glossy, full-bodied, easy drinking wine, with relatively low acidity and a fair degree of richness. The 2015 version is starting to seem a little over the hill, so I would recommend drinking this within the next two years.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
11/22/2021 - talbot61 Likes this wine:
92 points
I follow with interest the wine writing of Eric Asimov, in the New York Times, but I am consistently struck by how relentlessly ideological he has become -- by how much he insists that the wines he likes are not just to his taste but are objectively superior. For instance, to every question about pairing wine with food, he responds with a reiteration of his belief that only high-acid wines go well with food. That might be a useful general guideline, but it's silly to continue to deny that some richer, heavier wines are also perfectly good with food.

Case in point: This wine, though not devoid of acidity, is in some ways an old-fashioned Californian pleasure bomb -- 14.5% alcohol, unctuously full-bodied, dark and dark-fruited, ready to roll from the moment the cork comes out. And, just delicious with an assortment of Indian vegetable curries, with varying degrees of spice and heat. Often, even wine-drinkers resort to beer with Indian food because the wine pairing seems too challenging, but it turns out that a sumptuous Californian red might be just the ticket.
8 people found this helpful Comment
Red
11/21/2021 - talbot61 Likes this wine:
93 points
This is a very good wine in its prime. The acidity is more pronounced at the outset, with a dominant leathery aroma and strong elements of cherry and clove. It gained richness with air, and the acidity moved to the background, though the wine never loses its structure. There is no sign of senescence, but, if you have these in your cellar, I would encourage you to enjoy them now.
White - Sparkling
11/21/2021 - talbot61 Likes this wine:
88 points
I recently bought a mixed case of inexpensive Cava and Prosecco, as part of my continuing search for the perfect cheap bubbly. This is the first of the case, and though it satisfies the basic requirements -- less than $20, easy to drink -- it's not going on the repurchase list (unless I find that the other 11 bottles are even milder and relatively characterless).
White
11/18/2021 - talbot61 Likes this wine:
89 points
A low-key pear-scented Chardonnay, with some hazelnut and a tinge of bitterness that may fade in a year or two. Aged in stainless steel, so far from the archetype of California chardonnay, but the low acidity and mellow fruitiness mean it doesn't much resemble French chardonnays either.
White
11/13/2021 - talbot61 Likes this wine:
89 points
Reminiscent of a Fichet Meursault. Moderate acidity, a slight note of oxidation, restrained fruit -- pear and a hint of lemon, more pronounced mineral flavors, and a matchsticky quality. Fully ready to drink, but not attracting any attention from my dinner companions.
Red
11/11/2021 - talbot61 wrote:
88 points
Full body, low acid, low tannin -- ready to drink now, and offering a fair degree of satisfaction if you are looking for something rich and warm. The flavors are still primary, so it may develop more complexity if you leave it for another year or two, but it is not a long keeper.
White - Sparkling
11/7/2021 - talbot61 Likes this wine:
91 points
An incisive, chiseled Champagne, with more mineral than fruit. Fine bubbles, no yeastiness, medium acidity. Very popular with our guests, who powered through two bottles in very few minutes. It might soften a bit with another year or two in the cellar, but there is no need to wait.
Red
11/1/2021 - talbot61 Likes this wine:
88 points
The best Rhone Syrahs have a certain wildness. This one, by contrast, seems like their earnest American cousin -- well-behaved, perhaps a little boring. Low tannin, and initially low acid, so it started a little flat. The acidity emerged with air and provided a little more structure.
Red
10/31/2021 - talbot61 Likes this wine:
89 points
Clumsy and disjointed at first, it came together with about an hour of aeration, and then it was a rich, meaty wine, not at all cloying or heavy even though it was low in acidity. Minimal sediment. Ready to drink if you give a little time in the decanter.
White - Sparkling
10/30/2021 - talbot61 wrote:
93 points
The second bottle from a case purchased at auction: This is a rich, full-bodied champagne, with relatively low acidity, aggressive bubbles, and a compelling array of flavors, including honey, ginger, and, eventually, grapefruit.
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