Tasting Notes for Frank Murray III

(6,066 notes on 3,619 wines)

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White - Sparkling
Another good bottle. This is the late disgorged (degorgement tardif), which I prefer over the regular L'Extra, as the additional bottle time and also zero dosage is more to my liking. 80% Pinot Meunier and 20% Pinot Noir, from tbe cuvee perpetuelle that dates back to 2003. This bottle was disgorged in the Winter 2019. Lively, easy to drink now with saline, apple, ginger, some white pepper and brioche.....finishing on the 3rd day, the wine has lost nothing, and in fact some grapefruit has emerged into the wine. For 40 bucks for this cuvee, it's always in my cellar.
2 people found this helpful Comment
White
This is my final bottle of the 2015. I last tasted this in Sept 2018 and I compared it then to a Muscadet, based on the tone and texture of the fruit. I then saw Alan Rath's recent TN and that got me inspired to open this bottle yesterday. We have about 2 glasses remaining from yesterday, so count that aeration as part of my interpretation of the wine, too. Bright gold in color, but not oxidized or browned--simply a brilliant gold hue. The texture on this has softened, yielding something more plump and substantial. Yes, there is still citrusy acids here but that isn't the main feature any longer. Instead, there is a salinity, and what Alan Rath smartly calls "umami". The latter is what shows up well in the wine now, something distinctive, savory, delineating the wine nicely. Yellow apple, pear, lemon oil and the cool savory note into the finish. This has evolved into a really unique, satisfying wine. Now, I am very curious to see how my final remaining bottle of the 2013 will taste. I suspect it remains racy, but wonder what the additional aging has rendered to it.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
This was excellent last night. Nothing to retaste today so let me just recall from memory. Like the previous bottles I have opened, this is on the elegant side. The color is a light rose in tone. The weight, just medium as it rolls across the palate. The fruit? Watermelon, cherry, with some rose petal and spice. And, 12% alcohol. All together, this is my kind of Pinot Noir. There is no black or blue fruit to be found, just a red-fruited wine that is balanced, lithe, delicious. Excellent Bohan.
1 person found this helpful Comment
White
A number of smart palates have written about this wine in the past few weeks. It got me curious and of the few Rhys Chards I have not tasted, this is one of them. 14 Alpine. I had a single bottle in the cellar, so what the hell, I pulled the cork tonight. This is the value of Wine Berserkers and Cellartracker, to leverage the community and share perspective. I gotta agree with the community here...the oak sticks out, the wine seems a bit dumb, plump and it lacks the energy and cut of true Alpine. Yes, it is Alpine Chard but it's a level below what I expect from this site. Pineapple, toasted oak, some yellow apple, tangerine but overall it's missing a gear. Some will like this as it does have an unctuous, more forward quality powered by some oak but this is not the attraction for how I see Rhys Chardonnay.
3 people found this helpful Comment
Red
So, Buek (aka Resislingfan) was the last guy to taste one of these, according to the sequence of notes below. I respect Buek's palate, he knows things. I decided based on his TN to open my final remaining bottle to serve with family. They wanted a 'dry red', and I guess I know what that means....??? !!!! Buek talks about pyrazine, and I can how he came up with that reference. The whole cluster is evident, and there is the bell pepper-like note, but I also get kind of a brewed coffee grounds note, as well as pepper. In total, I think we're saying the same thing and it's the expression of the stem inclusion, which in 2015 it isn't as well integrated as say 2014 or 2017. I do believe the aromatic is still doable, but you also have to enjoy this kind of stylistic way. Beyond the aromatic, there is a meaty, lightly gamy thing in this vintage, along with rose petal, dark plum and a finishing quality that I want to call strawberry jam. It's a concentrated, ripe red-fruited finish that does have a jammy expression. Overall, the weight here is Bohan in feel, kind of middle on the spectrum, so not heavy but not say as elegant as the 2017. It's similar to my March 2020 bottle in terms of weight, just brawnier than what I usually expect from the plot. In sum, this is my final bottle and the wine is fine, but it doesn't wow me so my advice is to take whatever benefit you want from Buek's note, from mine here too, and then give the 2015 a go, as I don't see this being a wine to age.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Rosé - Sparkling
Disgorged 02/2019, mainly 2015 base, from PN, PM and Chard, dosed at around 7 g/l. Same peach color as previous bottles. Bit of a spicy note in this, like a cinnamon. Joined by green apple, strawberry and a pungent cherry. Finishes with a spicy, pippin apple finish. Better with a chill, as when it is warmer it seems a little glossy to me.
1 person found this helpful Comment
White
Beautiful night here, giving Champagne a break for a few days. Went to pull the 2013 Copain Brosseau but it was gone so grabbed my last 2015, actually my final Copain Brosseau Chard in my cellar. I've dug this plot since Wells made the first vintage starting in 2009. The 2015's acidity has pretty well softened and the wine is in a good place. Pineapple, yellow apples, oranges and a touch of citrus. The wine remains generous and balanced but I'd say it's ready to go and I'm catching my final bottle at a great time.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Rosé - Sparkling
First of two that I bought in 2019. To start, the weight of these bottles is kind of obscene, just heavy and wider glass. Not sure why this is needed....? Disgorged March 2018, 3 g/l of dosage, made up of roughly 2/3rds Pinot Noir, a little still red wine with it, and then rest Chardonnay. The color of this is a bronzy peach. Opened yesterday, a lot of the CO2 is gone so this is closer to still than bubbles. I believe some oak is used in making this wine, as the aromatics give off a bit of a woody note. What I enjoy about this cuvee is the texture. It fills up my palate, spreading completely across it. Blood orange comes through, grapefruit, some strawberry, too. The acidity here reminds me of nectarine, so think stone fruit acids that work inside the of the finish. This is good, more dense that I am used to drinking, yet with the fruit flavors, there is something appealing about this cuvee. I feel like this will be better in the short term, and absent a lot of structure, I will drink k my other one within the next year.
1 person found this helpful Comment
White - Sparkling
Disgorged June 2018. 100% Chard. composed of 5 of the CdB villages, mostly Cuis, Chouilly and Cramant. Dosage 5 g/l. We opened this yesterday, retasting today. It has softened, yet the acidity seems to be brighter. Beautiful aromatics of citrus and bread dough. Pear, lemon, apple, and a bitter kind of citrus rind thing in the finish, giving it a spicy and savory ending. I wonder whether the finishing notes on this will cause some people to not like the wine. I and fine with it, as I like sensory notes that reflect energy and presence.
1 person found this helpful Comment
White - Sparkling
Two years since the last bottle, from the same batch of bottles I bought back in 2014. The best way to describe this bottle is FRESH. The capital letters are intentional, as the wine has a freshness that made it really stand out. White flowers, lime, tangerine and green apple with honey on a stick. Finishes with a touch of red berry but mainly the taste of fresh cut green apples. The acidity remains bright and you could feel me that this wine has crossed 15 years old. To me, it shows no signs of age--not in color, aromatics or flavor. This is the freshness I am trying to convey. As to when I drink my remaining bottle, who the hell knows.
1 person found this helpful Comment
White - Sparkling
Disgorged October 2018. This wine is powerful. Compact, intense, with dried lime and a concentration that is really impressive. Balanced, flinty. First time with Selosse VO....very impressive.
1 person found this helpful Comment
White - Sparkling
Damn, this was the best bottle to date. Pulled this last minute, to go with a banana pudding. I had debated opening it earlier in the evening but thought we had enough wine. But then, with some friends around the table, this is THE time to open Cristal, especially the 2009. So, pulled the cork, off we went. Elegant lime that just flows across the palate, and what was most impressive about this bottle was the minerality. In the aromatic, and in the finish, it added a complexity that just made me pause and appreciate this wine yet again. Say what you want about 2008, and all the big scores.....who cares. What matters is.....what does the wine taste like to you, your palate. For me, time and time again, the 2009 is the winner and last night's bottle was simply extraordinary. Continues to be for me one of the greatest Champagnes I have ever tasted.
10 people found this helpful Comments (3)
Red
Served blind. With the red fruit and the more elegant nature of the wine, I had trouble placing this as Syrah and so I went Pinot Noir. Wrong. But, the telling conclusion was how beautifully the 2017 is aging. The balance was spot on. of all the many bottles we had on the table, one person said the wine was his surprise of the day. I'd agree, but I've known for a while how good this Syrah can be, but to see the 2017 showing as well as it did really made it that much better. Looking for the 2018 release that is coming up.
2 people found this helpful Comment
Red
Two different entries for this wine, but I'll go with this 'Sexton Road' reference since it was on the bottle. Twist off, this was good right from the first glass. Yes, a bigger style of Pinot Noir but hit was in balance. Blackberry, cola, kiwi and good acidity, along with a richness that all seemed to work. I enjoyed this.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
Tasted as part of the Kutch Zoom we did with Jamie this week. As part of the Zoom, I tasted all 4 wines (2018s--Trout Gulch Chard, Signal Ridge PN, Bohan Graveyard PN and McDougall PN). I treated all 4 wines the same way: opened day of the event at Noon, then tasted at 330PM...then again during the event a few hours later...and then finally, retested once more the following day at Noon. Three experiences, with the final tasting having the benefit of 24 hours of aeration. My notes will reflect this continuum, to help understand how this air affected each wine.

As for the McDougall, 13.5% ABV from 20+ year old vines. Yesterday, this wine showed as the most concentrated of the three Pinots. And beyond those two wines, it exhibited the typical concentration that I consistently find from this plot. Spicy (not herbal, even though it is 100% whole cluster), with dark raspberry, strawberry and plenty of grip. Just an intense wine with plenty of coil. And with air, when I tasted it again during the event, the intensity and coil even increased. As Jamie showed a picture of the McDougall soil during the Zoom, I commented to him that I could figuratively taste those rocks in the wine's finish. My final note yesterday was 'wow'. Upon retesting the wine today with 24 hours of air, the aromatics are beautiful, showing the floral, red fruited notes and a light stem signature. What stands out to me today is the texture, which is Bohan Graveyard in tone, but 2-3X the intensity. Powerful. The density and concentration is hard to miss. Red fruits abundant, even a creaminess hiding underneath it. The finish, much like yesterday, shows the same crushed rocks and minerality, which is what so often drives me to Champagne--it's here, as well. This wine wowed me yesterday, and again today. It's powerful stuff, something I have come to appreciate and love about McDougall and the way Jamie makes this wine vintage after vintage.
1 person found this helpful Comments (1)
Red
Tasted as part of the Kutch Zoom we did with Jamie this week. As part of the Zoom, I tasted all 4 wines (2018s--Trout Gulch Chard, Signal Ridge PN, Bohan Graveyard PN and McDougall PN). I treated all 4 wines the same way: opened day of the event at Noon, then tasted at 330PM...then again during the event a few hours later...and then finally, retested once more the following day at Noon. Three experiences, with the final tasting having the benefit of 24 hours of aeration. My notes will reflect this continuum, to help understand how this air affected each wine.

As for the Graveyard Block, 13.1% ABV from 30 year old vines and completely destemmed (making it the outlier in the Pinot range). Yesterday's during my two tastings, this showed a real saturated quality, and also the fruit tones darker than that of the Signal Ridge. And I can see why Jamie destems Graveyard, as there is still plenty of structure here. Black cherry, but mainly blueberry, with a real good intensity without it getting heavy. Upon retasting with 24 hours of air, this shows a wonderful core of blue-tinged fruit, with the wine acquiring a zesty quality, the acidity showing up to brighten the wine. This has the structure of Signal Ridge, but better balance than that wine. The fruit has a loamy quality coming through, sometimes what I get in Rhys Bearwallow. Along with enjoying the blueberry and dark raspberry fruit, what I enjoy even more is the juicy, mineral finish and I suspect this will age well.
Red
Tasted as part of the Kutch Zoom we did with Jamie this week. As part of the Zoom, I tasted all 4 wines (2018s--Trout Gulch Chard, Signal Ridge PN, Bohan Graveyard PN and McDougall PN). I treated all 4 wines the same way: opened day of the event at Noon, then tasted at 330PM...then again during the event a few hours later...and then finally, retested once more the following day at Noon. Three experiences, with the final tasting having the benefit of 24 hours of aeration. My notes will reflect this continuum, to help understand how this air affected each wine.

As for the Signal Ridge, 13.2% ABV from 20 year old vines. Yesterday I found the bottle to start out with a good deal of savory tones. There was a tarry thing in the wine, expectedly herbal give the 100% whole cluster, but going further to reflect a creosote note. I know, this sounds like I am tasting a Syrah. The fruit was cherry in tone, with the texture on the juicer side, with a spicy, sappy finish, even a little prickly with a closing note of licorice. Then, a few hours later during the Zoom, I tasted it again and that air really seemed to improve the wine overall, allowing the cherry to exhibit a more balanced, pure quality and the savory side receding. Today, the wine has picked up weight, and it's bigger shouldered, with the cherry showing a little more rustic, with some tannin wrapping around it. The herbal aspect of the wine from yesterday persists, too. I know this comes from a vineyard that is nearly 3,000 up in the Mendo range, and I would say that exposure above the fog really gives this wine a different expression than what perhaps some of us think of with Kutch Pinot. This is burly, heartier and to me, this tastes the best when the wine enjoys a light chill. Distinctive but being honest, I just don't see this as being on the same plane as McDougall or Falstaff.
White
Tasted as part of the Kutch Zoom we did with Jamie this week. As part of the Zoom, I tasted all 4 wines (2018s--Trout Gulch Chard, Signal Ridge PN, Bohan Graveyard PN and McDougall PN). I treated all 4 wines the same way: opened day of the event at Noon, then tasted at 330PM...then again during the event a few hours later...and then finally, retested once more the following day at Noon. Three experiences, with the final tasting having the benefit of 24 hours of aeration. My notes will reflect this continuum, to help understand how this air affected each wine.

As for the Trout Gulch, 13.4% ABV from 40+ year old vines. Yesterday's notes reflect a toastiness in the aromatic (20% new wood is used), along with fresh cut green apple, pineapple and white flowers. Lemony middle-weight with great length of green apple and citrus that persists into the finish. There is freshness here, along with cut/intensity, much as have come to expect from the Kutch Chardonnay program. What I also noticed on the first day was a mango note in the finish, which was unique. Finally, with 24 hours of air, the wine has added some flesh, changing the wine from something that was more linear yesterday to a wine today that is showing power, intensity today. The mango shows up again today, but it's being complemented by a gingery spiciness, pineapple and light mineral. There is nothing heavy here, no glossy notes so if you're looking for a modern style, forget it. This is the Kutch style of acidity and intensity, the reason some of us think that Jamie's Chards equal the best of his Pinots.
1 person found this helpful Comments (1)
White - Sparkling
Opened this yesterday. This is my first experience with Benoit Lahaye, too. I own the Rose Maceration but have yet to open any of those but decided last night to get something perhaps more crisp and focused in my glass. This hits the spot. 90% Pinot, 10% Chard, I believe most of the fruit coming from Bouzy, plus Ambonnay. Also, there is no dosage, no sulfur, farmed biodynamic, too. Disgorged April 2019, don't have any idea of the vintages/base of the wine. This is stern when cold but it expands and fills in really well as it warms up. Lemon rind and salinity at the cooler temp, then some apple, plus a good dollop of cherry appears with the warmer temp. The salinity sticks around throughout the temperatures, giving the wine a refreshing finish. This is a cool wine, as if the cherry and saline is being pulled through the palate and into the finish, washed over some wet stone. Look, I know some people think these wines are trendy to be low dosage. So what. What about those of us who like this style, who find the energy to be a pleasure in the glass, the energy that comes through many of these wines. This is delicious, but please allow the wine to warm and just with the lightest off chill, enjoy it as I did.
2 people found this helpful Comment
Red
This will be bottle #8 that I have tasted since release. I opened the bottle yesterday, did a glass and then tossed it back in the fridge with the cork in place. This vintage of Falstaff continues to strongly impress me. As a reminder, 12.5% ABV and I believe neutral oak and pretty much a whole cluster approach. There is so much going on in this wine, it's a study in trying to put something coherent together. Pepper and florals in the aromatic. the whole cluster signature doing its thing. And much like the previous bottles, when the wine is cooler, there is the crunchy, cranberry note that cuts right through it. As it warms, the savory note starts to flow through it, alongside a boysen fruit quality, like a blue and purple fruit just mixing nicely together. And like past bottles, the plushness emerges when the wine has time to warm up, creating what I sometimes refer to as a 'saturating' quality, which is something I get in Rivers-Marie PNs. As the wine finishes, that cranberry note still persists to give the finish a really good lift, and it frames the wine providing energy and structure. Even after warming up, the mineral tone, maybe more of a flinty texture carries the finish. I tell you what, I'm gonna keep standing by my blast that this is one of the best Kutch Pinot Noirs that Jamie has made. I know Jamie geeks for his 2013 McDougall, and I tasted that wine in 2019 again, and it's damn good, but there is just something about this Falstaff that makes me pause. This is still a wine that is gonna improve and evolve, and with 3 more bottles, I'll enjoy every damn one of them one over the next several years.
3 people found this helpful Comment
White - Sparkling
Opened yesterday. This is first of two I bought in the summer of 2019. Disgorged January 2018, 100% Chardonnay, dosage between 2 and 4 grams. What strikes me about this cuvee is the energy: it's hard to miss it, as it hits my palate and stays there through the finish. There is also a generosity about the texture, as it fans out with lemon peel, green apple and tangerine. The finish is where the lemon peel really takes over, adding a cut and length that is very impressive. This has the intensity of Vilmart, the same core of acidity but in a leaner package. I really dig this stuff, a lot. It's the kind of wine I would drink with bubbles, but enjoy it as much when the wine its still.....finished the final glass on Day 3, with most of the bubbles gone, this is a beautiful rendition of BdB. I'm sticking this on my WOTY list for 2020. Awesome Chardonnay.
2 people found this helpful Comment
Red
Open for 2 full days now. Drinking at outside temp, about 72f. This is dark, with the oak (cinnamon and nutmeg spices) adding fragrance to the aromatics. The dark fruit is pretty intense here, with a brushing of olive and rosemary (presume from whole cluster?), alongside what is mainly blue fruit with a dash of black fruit mixing with it. The weight here is managed pretty well, and given the color I was thinking the wine might be pretty large in frame but it doesn't show that way. The wine finishes with some light tannin and an inky, charcoal note. The wine to me still feels young but in terms of balance and weight, I don't have any concern in drinking this now. It will come down to whether you want to have more aged character with time or instead enjoy some of the forward presence of the wine that it shows at this stage. I prefer the latter, as the youthfulness of the wine now really brings pleasure.
1 person found this helpful Comment
White - Sparkling
From memory, drank yesterday. Chard and Pinot solera, no dose, farmed organic. Lots of acid alongside plenty of fleshy texture. Another good glass of bubbly.
1 person found this helpful Comment
White - Sparkling
Second of two, same specs as previous bottle--March 2018 disgorgement, 100% Chard, no dosage. This bottle seems more ready, as if time moved it along faster than the other bottle. The bubbles were less intense, the texture more softened. There is an apple sauce quality to the fruit. It's not mushy or bland like an apple sauce but the flavor signature reminds me of apple sauce. The aromatics are leesy, a little toasty with citrus. The palate still maintains a stony quality, a wet stone note that mixes with the lemony, apple. There is enough remaining energy in the wine that I am not concerned about further aging so don't be discouraged by my note. I just find that this bottle drinks more complete, a bit more resolved than the one from this past February. I have a remaining mag and 2 750s, that I will drink over the next couple years.
1 person found this helpful Comment
White - Sparkling
N.V. Larmandier-Bernier Longitude Champagne Premier Cru Chardonnay (view label images)
his bottle was the second of two I sourced this year, both are the 2013 base (perhaps some reserve wines in here, too) with the June 2017 disgorgement. 100% Chard, I believe 3 g/l dosage, farmed biodynamic. I paid $45 US for the wine, and it's just a smashing value. I opened the bottle yesterday and stoppered up the remaining 1/2 of it for today. This bottle seems to reflect some of the elevage from the barrels, showing a toasty/woodsy aroma, reminding me of Vilmart aromatics. Flavors of lemon peel, lime, apple and mineral. The wine overall has good complexity but what pulls me in for a wine like this is how all the parts play well together. It's just got a generosity about it, mixing with all the flavors and that kind of 'wow' in the glass that makes we want to keep drinking it, and of course buying it. This is my last 2013 disgorgement but I do think I can source some more, to go along with the 2015 and 2016 disgorgements that I also have in the cellar. Excellent.
3 people found this helpful Comment
Rosé - Sparkling
My last of three. Bit of a science experiment here as I want to keep tasting across the 2014 Marguet range. Disgorged September 2017, 67% Chard and 33% Pinot Noir. No dosage and no sulfur, farmed biodynamic. Like the 2018 bottle I tasted at Marguet during our visit, this has the same peach color. Blood orange/tangerine, lime, golden apple, with a closing salinity that refreshes it. In thinking about this wine in contrast to the other Marguet 2014s (which are typically single cepage), this is more accessible and a bit softer/creamier. $40 US for this wine, I just really love this stuff.
2 people found this helpful Comment
White - Sparkling
N.V. Rhys Ultra Brut Bearwallow Vineyard Anderson Valley Chardonnay
A blend of Chardonnay (62%) and Pinot Noir (36%), with two-thirds of the fruit from the 2017 vintage, the remainder from 2016. About 20 months on the lees, with 2g/L dosage. Disgorged April 2020. Citrusy, with some light notes of jasmine and pounded rock. Pink grapefruit, honeyed yellow apple and a good dollop of orange really underpins the palate. It also reminds me of jasmine, as the floral note gets infused into the wine, along with even a little spicy bergamot. The acidity here is bright and long throughout the wine, ending with a lemon rind impression and the same cool orange fruit note. Knowing there is Pinot Noir here, and perhaps biased by the intent to 'find it', I was careful to not try and push that grape into my note here but as I retaste the wine this morning, with most of the CO2 gone and at a room temp of 71f, there is a strawberry note here but in total, the Chardonnay does speak in the wine at this stage, and it drinks with a purity, a successful balance and the acidity really helping it all come together.
Red
I finished my last bottle of this in the Fall of 2019, so I was thrilled to see it appear again from Brig's cellar to be enjoyed. This is petite for sure, inky with blueberry goodness, along with stone fruit pit, fresh leather and a touch of heat. Finishes with a charcoal note and a push of concentrated blue fruit. Have another glass left for tonight so we'll give it another go with a clean palate and a full day of air that has seen.....retasting without food, from the bottle that is sitting out on the counter from last night simply closed with cork, at 71f. Remains inky in color, a maroon/black. This amount of air it has seen has softened it up substantially, rendering the wine ready to drink--smooth, flushes my palate with dark fruit. The fruit seems a bit blacker too, more blackberry than the blue tones from yesterday. The charcoal remains in the finish, with an addition of dark chocolate. Overall, this is very good, dark and intense enough to be petite but not so much that it's overpowering as petite can be. Terrific.
5 people found this helpful Comment
Red
Dried cherry, dark raspberry (same impressions as I wrote about on the previous bottle from July 2019). Lots of intensity and freshness, too. Neither big nor extracted, the best way I can frame this is to call the wine 'generous', as well as fruit driven. Finishes with a juicy, dark plum and a touch of brown sugar. My remark to the group after a few pours of this was that I thought this was one of the better Estate bottlings made in the last many years. It has some juicy, crunchy elements yet retains the pleasure of what Pisoni Estate can be, and this is a very strong vintage for it. We crushed the bottle so nothing to retest from last night.
3 people found this helpful Comment
Red
This showed excellent, seeing about 4 hours of air. This bottle has the same pinot funk aroma that the July 2019 bottle showed, too. The wine fans out across the palate, with a tangy, herby note, followed by cranberry, strawberry jam and asian 5-spice. I found this to be 'pure', that sense of purity that the bottle from last year showed, too.....retasting 24 hours later without food and at room temp of 71f. Aromatic now holds the 5-spice, along with a touch of evergreen. The intensity on the wine dials up more today, along with the juicy red fruit notes--cranberry, cherry and strawberry. And the palate weight impression today is clear, showing a true medium weight. I mention this because of my reference to strawberry 'jam' from yesterday's impressions. There is nothing heavy here. What I do predict can happen with this wine is for the brown spice notes (from the 30% new oak) to fold in better, which would soften some of the spiciness. Overall, this is a strong, deeply flavored version of Alpine, with a mix of savory, crunchy and juicy components.
2 people found this helpful Comment
White
Served blind. I guessed something along the lines of Viognier or Marsanne, as the texture through me off. It had a glossier note and was floral too. I was wrong, it was Chardonnay. This wine seems overshadowed my oak, giving it tones of butterscotch and marshmallow. Pear and green apple are the main fruit components.
1 person found this helpful Comment
White - Sparkling
First of two. Disgorged July 2018, no dosage, with an equal blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. This is bright and citrusy, reminding me a lot of the flavors that come inside a can of mandarin orange segments. In the US, you can find the can at Trader Joe's, and the flavors of the juice and fruit inside that can is very close to the fruit impression in this wine. Interestingly, I also found some blackberry, which I rarely use for Champagne impressions but for me, it was in there. Peaches and sliced green apple, too. Finishes with a light touch of honeyed green apple and mineral. This was very good.
1 person found this helpful Comment
White - Sparkling
People keep sharing bottles of this wine with me, which is super as I have yet to open any of mine. The back label info rubbed off when I touched it so I can't offer any. This had an apple sauce note, along with lime skin, a spicy finish and a lick of wood. Lively and balanced.
2 people found this helpful Comment
Rosé - Sparkling
Second of two. The first bottle I opened last month, with the result of 'flawed' for my note. The experience seemed odd for a Marie Courtin wine, the bottle showing advanced. So, to decide if this was a style issue or simply a one-off bottle, I figured I would open the second of two and see. Same details as the first bottle....disgorged December 2018, no dosage, no sulfur, 100% Pinot Noir. This wine is copper colored, quite unique in that aspect as I can't recall a Rose colored this way. When cold, this bottle shows a white pepper aromatic, turning more smoky, more chene-like. There is plenty of texture in this bottle, even a bit glossy as it warms. Strawberry, mandarin orange, bitter grapefruit, watermelon and licorice. The hallmark of this wine is the acidity, woven throughout and most present into the finish where the citrus pith is prominent. Overall, there is a distinct difference in comparing this bottle to the one last month. And, the acidity and energy in this wine, the unique mix of fruit, citrus and wood will probably make some folks pause, perhaps not care for it. I do like it, but to be candid, the Efflorescence cuvee beats this cuvee to me, for sure.
2 people found this helpful Comment
Rosé - Sparkling
Same specs as the July 2019 bottle I wrote up. Virtually all Pinot Meunier, dosage of 6 g/l and disgorged October 2019. Opened the bottle yesterday. Color on this is a salmony/dark pink. This bottle has a good measure of blood orange, which is what drives the acidity. There is a juicy, strawberry component that sits within a concentrated, denser type of texture. Peach, some licorice and lime, too. Finishes with blood orange and pomelo note. This is not elegant or lithe, but more powerful and rich in tone. Delicious.
4 people found this helpful Comment
Red
Opened 90 mins ago. Tasting outside with no chill, call it 68f. After tasting the 2017 BB Old Corral PN last week, I much prefer this Alfaro. This has the purity, the depth that reminds me of Jamie Kutch's wines. Terrific balance with flavors of watermelon, cherry, red apple that all get showcased around a creamy texture. The concentration in this wine is money, just beautiful. The fruit intensity carries through the finish, with just a touch of tang. Whereas the Old Corral was uber tangy and more rustic, this is red fruited delicious. Bravo, Bradley.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
Wines Done Blind: I opened this at the end of the tasting, without the same air the other wines had enjoyed, and it was poured blind. Of note, this was my oldest stored bottle in my cellar. I have to think maybe 15 years? There was a definite sediment layer on the side of the bottle as it had been laying down for so long. Drank over two days and this wine shows no signs of fading. It does though have a contrast as the aromatics do smell of an 'old' wine, with the cigar box note and tinge of brown. The color of the wine is nearly opaque, which is not surprising given it is mainly petite sirah that is woven through some other field blend varietals, planted in 1929. It is a little pruny, which I picked up on the second day, along with roasted coffee. Powerful, the fruit is very much alive, showing no signs of leaning up or getting thin. So, you have the aromas of something older, married with fruit that is crushing right along. An interesting stroll with a wine that has always been kind of iconic for me, with previous great memories of past bottles.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
Wines Done Blind: This saw about 4 hours of air before we poured it. I was kind of surprised with this wine, as I poured it blind for the group and I heard guesses like Petite Sirah or Syrah. For Cabernet, I would argue that would be guesses I would not be seeking as a winery with my craft. And I think the table felt some shock when I pulled off the bag and they saw what it was. This is full of dark red fruit, dense and concentrated, very modern. I enjoyed it but I am not sure how I distinguish this bottle from another high-end Napa Cab, especially from a winery like DC that has such a rich history and reputation. Maybe it was the vintage, maybe it was the style being sought, maybe both?
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
Wines Done Blind: I had this open for about 36 hours so it got good breathing time. When we tasted it on the first day, a few at the table (it was poured blind, although not to me) thought it was an older wine. Interesting remark, but as I think about it when tasting it on the second day being open, I can understand that sensory comment. There is a cigar leaf, tobacco note in the aromatic, perhaps from the stem inclusion or perhaps in part or attributable to the vineyard--not sure. A solid depth of spicy fruit with a tangy, herby dark cherry that carries with it some power (FYI...this is labeled just over 13%). A unique wine for me, with the tangy, kind of rustic charm.
1 person found this helpful Comment
White
Wines Done Blind: The last time I had this wine was this past Summer at the winery, when I was extremely impressed with how it showed then. So, I had some expectation again as to whether it would deliver the same experience. Tasted over two days. On Day 1, this showed pineapple, lime, wet stone and an elegant, middle weight. For Day 2, this has really come together nicely. There is a light whiff of oak on the aroma, but nothing like the Rhys Chards of many vintages ago, when I found the wines too oaky. Now, I would say the winery has the oak checked and it's doing a wonderful job of seasoning the wine lightly and beautifully. Back to Day 2....flavors of pear, banana, pineapple, fennel followed by a citrusy finish with a light touch of vanilla. The acid, fruit, weight and oak are all in harmony, with the wine finishing with a light minerality. Wonderful Rhys Chard, for sure.
1 person found this helpful Comment
White
Wines Done Blind: I poured this blind, next to the Rhys 2017 Horseshoe Chard. The contrast was stark, as the Rhys seemed to receive the most positive praise, head and shoulders above. For my POV on the Marcassin, I simply found it too oaky. So much so that I am not sure how this wine can be enjoyed. The color is a bit golden, with a lot of toast both in the aroma and palate. It's just off-putting. As I think about the palate, this is so much better and satisfying, with yellow apple and good tension, with some additional lemon. I wonder then what this wine would be like if the oak was far less and the fruit was allowed to shine through. As a postscript, I tasted another bottle back in 2015 and my note says essentially the same thing so if we think that 5 years could even tame the oak from that point to now, I just don't see the oak changing nor going away.
1 person found this helpful Comment
White - Sparkling
Wines Done Blind: Disgorged March 2019, a blend of 2014 and 2015. Wow, this is the real deal. The best Chardonnay bubbly I have had so far in 2020, and a wine headed for my WOTY list. Tasted over two days. On Day 1, this is intense, concentrated with flinty lemon curd and a long intense finish. The citrusy lemon has an opulent quality, not racy. Even a touch of caramel came through. On Day 2, it now adds some grapefruit, glossy yellow apple, peach and a gorgeous concentration of a long, lemony finish. This is just an amazing bottle of Champagne, one that left me very impressed. If this is the quality of wines made by Collin, I am thrilled. I still have Maillons to open, and I will be adding more of the range to my cellar over the coming year.
2 people found this helpful Comments (2)
White - Sparkling
Wines Done Blind: Disgorged October 2018, 2 g/l dosage and 100% Chardonnay. Tasted over two days (and I actually have enough for a third day, to be finished tonight). Aromas of lees and lemon verbena with fresh cut apple. Lemony, clean and balanced and when warmer gets creamier, reminding me of a well-built, pure still Chardonnay. We poured this next to the Ulysse Collin Pierrieres, and I found the Leroy to be juicier and more racy than that wine, too...... of note, I continue to taste this wine even on day 3 as the bottle stopper has done a nice job of keeping the bubbles fresh and the wine's fruit and presence continues to really shine. There is a rainwater quality that exists in the finish, alongside the beautiful lemon fruit that this wine is built around. It's just a really lovely bottle of Chardonnay.
2 people found this helpful Comments (4)
White - Sparkling
Wines Done Blind: Just cannot find any label info to report, which seems odd to me. Smoky, excellent palate weight, expansive and pure. Finishes creamy and tangy. I realize these are broad references, without any real flavor markers, but as a testament to the wine, it was drained at the table and I had nothing to retest the following day.
1 person found this helpful Comment
White - Sparkling
Wines Done Blind: Disgorged February 2019, 100% Pinot Noir, no dosage. Some debate about this wine at the table. Some called it lean, and while I do find it structured and powerful, I don't think of it as lean. Some berry notes (some did not get these but I did, especially as the wine warms up) of black cherry and raspberry, crips apple and a lot of salinity in this bottle. With Marguet, you're not going to find big textures or expansive palate impressions. For me, and this wine is no different for Benoit's style, I find the wine more linear, more racy--I enjoy this style. Of note, the 2014 range is just a more wound up vintage for Marguet, and I have found this to be true in mostly the entire range. My advice on this vintage is to let the wines breathe in the glass, and also to not serve them too cold. The beauty of these is then allowed to come through.
2 people found this helpful Comment
White - Sparkling
Wines Done Blind: Had a brief taste of this, about 3 ounces. We poured it at a temp of about 68f, too. Lime skin, citrus, rainwater quality with a honeyed tone around the fruit with some mineralogy in the finish. Reminds me of the 2009 with the opulence arrayed with the minerality.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
Opened yesterday. 12.5% ABV, 100% whole cluster, neutral oak. I believe this is the declassed barrels of 'Staff, 'Dougie and Bohan, similar to the Rhys approach for Alesia appellation blends. If a winery can make the economics work, in theory it's a great strategy. The single vineyard wines get the best barrels, and the appellation blend gets what is arguably great fruit blended for a much cheaper price. This bottle was $39, drinks excellent, too. Incense and flowers in the aromatic. Fleshy strawberry, mint, bit of cranberry (when cooler) with tannin that creates a good tension for the palate. This also has some of the 'saturated' quality that I sometimes find in Jamie's wines, as well as Rhys. This is especially true as it warms up, shedding the chill and seeing the saturating fruit fill in. Really gorgeous wine, another dart throw at the target for a guy in Jamie who keeps kicking out great wines, stuff that is doing quality at a real high level, at pricing that is very fair.
3 people found this helpful Comments (1)
White
My final 2016. Opened yesterday, drinking today with a cool chill on it. This bottle is similar to the one six months ago, showing melon, a rounder texture, bitter apple, tart lemon curd and some of the marine/briny notes in the finish. $20 for this stuff....still seems like a crime is being done when I buy these.
2 people found this helpful Comments (1)
Red
Opened yesterday, working through more of the bottle today. Without food, just lightly chilled from a Burg stem. This is reminiscent of the July 2019 bottle I had at the winery, dominated by cherry. Juicy, broad on the palate, with some spicy cinnamon, dark plum and lots of savory cherry. And if I let the wine sit with me and sense it a bit more, there is some red apple here and then a cedary note into the finish. This bottle seems more powerful and concentrated, and given the air this saw since yesterday, this portends a good aging curve. I will say too that this bottle has the same 'pure' feel that I found in the July 2019 bottle. Overall, this vintage of Bear will need some more time but the guts and power is here.
2 people found this helpful Comments (2)
White - Sparkling
I've tasted through nearly all of the 2014 Marguet range and my conclusion continues to be a vintage that is structured and powerful. This bottle of Ay was in that same vein, although I did find it to be more approachable than some of the other Ambonnay lieux-dits, for example. Disgorged February 2019, roughly 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chard, no dosage. Raspberry, plum, apple and the same powerful, lasered textured that has been a feature of the vintage. We crushed through this in just over an hour so I have nothing more to add based on any beneficial overnight oxidation.
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