Comments on my notes

(25 comments on 25 notes)

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Red
1999 Domaine Castagnier Charmes-Chambertin Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru Pinot Noir
6/22/2013 - fitzi wrote:
Opened in a state of alarm after reading Keith's note. This bottle was fresh, with zingy acidity, medium body, and fine, resolved tannins. High-pitched and fine; balanced substance, lightness, and very good intensity. A good bottle, giving much pleasure now.

I don't know that this wine would rank among the most distinguished of GCs, as I very rarely drink in this range, but it's certainly on a par with excellent CdN Premier Crus I've tasted.
  • ianinvirginia commented:

    6/22/13, 1:04 PM - I told the group the others in the lot were fine... no idea what happened with that one.

White
2001 Domaine William Fèvre Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos Chardonnay
10/28/2012 - ianinvirginia wrote:
flawed
Cooked auction bottle
  • ianinvirginia commented:

    12/31/12, 5:01 PM - Both Acker auction bottles cooked. :(

Red
2006 Chappellet Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
3/17/2012 - ianinvirginia wrote:
86 points
Overly round, overly sweet, overly oaked and even a bit hot. No evidence of any evolution. Might as well pay $20 if you feel this is permissible. This is a useful wine for adding those who feel this is 92+ to my ignored note authors.
  • ianinvirginia commented:

    3/18/12, 6:30 PM - Work that's well worth it, and at the risk of invoking a few clicks right now, the ignore taster function is one of the best ones this site offers.

    To me, a 92 point wine must be technically correct (no obvious imbalances or other flaws), offer secondary flavors and aromas at intensities that can be sensed along with the fruit, alcohol, and any oak treatment, and ideally, show hints of tertiaries too.

    If tasters are excited about 'black' fruit, chocolate and vanilla tones, they should consider $8 Malbecs instead of $40 bottles.

    But at least they are providing a window into their experiences. Most notes on this wine at 92 or above had little to say about its properties - flavors, aroma or body. Telling the community a wine is great or smooth or that you really enjoyed it gives us very little information, unless we know you or have seen enough of your notes to admire your palate.

    So then I look into a taster's other notes and bottles consumed as reported on this site. Most of those who rated this wine 92 or above have never recorded tasting a vintage before 1990, and many never have drunk a wine that was made before 2000. Who wants advice on Cali cabs from people who have never tasted mature California cabernet?

    Community data is only worthwhile if you trust the sources. I don't care whether 9 out of 10 dentists like this wine. I care about whether 9 out of 10 wine experts like it.

    I didn't ignore all of those who rated this highly, giving a couple the benefit of the doubt, but most of them won't be helpful to me, where my palate and preferences are. And, yeah, I know that none of them are losing any sleep over my subscription to their notes. But as unattractive as it may be of me to be finicky and maybe even a little arrogant, we're all critics here - and I think it's okay when it comes to what I put in my mouth.

Red
2006 Greenock Creek Grenache Cornerstone Barossa Valley
11/15/2010 - Faryan wrote:
81 points
Grenache with Dan P (Estadio, Washington DC): This wine is a failed approach at winemaking. While it has admirable qualities - very thick and viscous blueberry fruit, some rhum and rhubarb as well as port like flavors - it is inexcusable unbalanced and alcoholic. 18.5% abv? My god, who would eat food with this? The wine was basically scalding my mouth, even after having drank several other wines. It settled a bit and showed more and more oak with some time but went through a phase that was simply dumb and even less balanced. I cannot understand wines like this and I eschew buying them altogether. Approach with caution.
  • ianinvirginia commented:

    11/30/11, 5:06 PM - I award it no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

Red
1997 Robert Mondavi Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve To-Kalon Vineyard Oakville
2/25/2011 - ianinvirginia wrote:
93 points
Great wine opened too early - darn it! This bottle was listed incorrectly at auction and I didn't double-check, and entered it here as a 1997 Mondavi Napa, supposedly teetering on the edge of drinkability and thus opened on a whim. Started entering my notes in the appropriate place for that wine and was surprised at how much younger the wine I was tasting was compared with recent notes. And then it occurred to me. Below are the notes I just copied and pasted from that half-complete entry.

"Soy and pepper beef on the nose, no sign of decline, and in the mouth this is also still very much alive, with considerable tannin and meatiness actually begging the question of whether this should have been decanted."

At this point I said, wait a second. I looked at the label, saw the word "Kalon" and realized my error. This $25 ride-along auction bottle was a $125 bottle opened years too early. .. And it's been evolving in the glass for an hour since. Layers of blood and animale, really cool stuff, if a bit too much mocha sweetness. But hey, it's Cali, right?

Parker has this dying in 2030, so it's not like I'm a scientist to notice the difference between it and the Napa, but this is an excellent wine - my advice is do not open it, and if you do, give it a serious decant. This is being squandered on a solo drinking night... or is it? :)
  • ianinvirginia commented:

    3/11/11, 7:31 PM - Yep, mislabeled by Acker (in a mixed lot, so $25 was my own estimate, fair for what I got the lot for) and not noticed by me until too late.

Red
2003 Barossa Valley Estate Shiraz E & E Black Pepper
10/12/2010 - beezer6 wrote:
91 points
Decanted 4 hours. Ripe dark purple fruit - plums, blue stoney fruit, black pepper spice. Kept getting better with each hour open. Masculine styling with less smoked meat aromas and more of that dark spice. Palate shows excellent balance. Dark spiced raspberry cider, more black pepper and anise lead to a surprisingly supple finish showcasing sweet well integrated tannins, only a touch of heat and moderate acidity. Can't believe Parker gave this an 82, but I don't quite go with the 94 of Spectator either.
  • ianinvirginia commented:

    10/15/10, 4:54 AM - Actually, WA gave it an 85, and it was Jay Miller

Red
2007 Château de Beaucastel Côtes du Rhône Coudoulet de Beaucastel Red Rhone Blend
9/2/2010 - Faryan wrote:
91 points
Popped and poured. Opens with beautiful nose of rasberry and kirsch with hints of bramble, berries and light garrigue. The mourvedre really sings on the nose. With some swirling, the wine really tenses up; there is serious structure behind this Coudoulet (more than the 05 or 01 at this juncture). Heavy pepper and some heat and tannic backbone on the finish, but refreshing amounts of acidity to boot. The wine fleshes out with more time in glass as the piercing nature of the nose really begins to round out. I can assure you that with age this wine will gain pitch and class in classic Beaucastelian style. This wine is very emblematic of the chateau's style and doesn't fall into some of the "over the top" tendencies that many 07 cdp often fell prey to. I recommend decanting for 2-3 hours and pouring at 59-61F*

*nb I usually prefer to slow-ox or "auodouze" my southern rhone young wines, but this wine isn't marred by the heat that many 07 cdp need to have blow off, but rather exhibits structure, acidity and latent heat that can integrate (rather than blow off) with decanting. Nevertheless, I highly recommend burying these wines. It is baby beaucastel in quality and can assuredly use age to round into form and gain pitch. Serious plus side.
  • ianinvirginia commented:

    9/3/10, 1:36 PM - Terrific note, as always, Faryan!

Red
1990 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape Red Rhone Blend
5/29/2010 - Johann Von Mastiff wrote:
90 points
From a split. Pretty much ready to drink. Not a ton happening. Popped and drunk. Flyers are beating the Blackhawks 3-2 in the 1st and Halliday has a not hitter gainst the Fish going into the 9th. All is good.
  • ianinvirginia commented:

    5/30/10, 3:39 AM - Your punishment for a lazy note "not a ton happening?!" on a gorgeous wine is that my Blackhawks came back and won 6-5

Red
2005 Sea Smoke Pinot Noir Southing Sta. Rita Hills
4/3/2010 - thebonnydooner wrote:
87 points
Don't get the points scored on this wine. Yes, it is a large scaled pinot with lots of fruit, but its also lacking in much complexity or many varietal nuances. Still picking up a little vanilla and wood on the nose along with the ripe cherry fruit and alcohol. Palate is similar, sweet and ripe, with loads of red and black cherry fruit, but with a little too much non-integrated wood on the finish. Decent length, but a little not. Overall, this was lacking in character to be rated 90+.
  • ianinvirginia commented:

    5/10/10, 12:32 PM - I had a very similar experience with this wine last night - very disappointing. Agreed on the non-integrated wood as well as the lack of secondary and tertiary notes. Also thought it had too much heat and acidity to be drunk right now. Needs another 5 years IMO.

White
2007 The Eyrie Vineyards Pinot Gris Dundee Hills
4/23/2010 - isaacjamesbaker wrote:
90 points
Wines on the Woodley Park Rooftop (Washington, D.C.): golden color, almost a tint of orange. the nose is really mineral-driven, gravelly almost with some nice orange rind. i totally would've guessed old world, maybe austria or something. it's got zesty acid but good body. still lots of minerals on the palate here. almost a bit of almond on the finish.
  • ianinvirginia commented:

    4/25/10, 12:22 PM - Agreed on the clay dust mineral nose, really interesting stuff.

Red
1986 Château Prieuré-Lichine Margaux Red Bordeaux Blend
4/23/2010 - isaacjamesbaker wrote:
87 points
Wines on the Woodley Park Rooftop (Washington, D.C.): the nose on this one was smoky, leathery, dried flowers, good aged bordeaux characteristics. the tannins have weakened and the acid is a bit too much. not totally spent, but a bit over the hill.
  • ianinvirginia commented:

    4/25/10, 12:21 PM - Agreed, this one was fading out but still could hear everything it had to say.

Red
1995 Judd's Hill Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
11/13/2005 - MeMyself&I wrote:
90 points
This wine is at it's peak right now. Beautifully balanced and paired with a herbal pork dish from the latest Jerry Traunfeld cookbook. Tannins are just about gone but the fruit is still showing. Gorgeous mouthfeel, it was disappearing from the bottle way to fast.
  • ianinvirginia commented:

    3/28/10, 4:59 AM - Five years later, still plenty of tannins left in well-preserved bottles.

Red
2005 Ridge Santa Cruz Mountains Estate Red Bordeaux Blend
12/26/2009 - vinole wrote:
90 points
Similar in style to their syrah, this wine has a high amount of extract. The fruit is in check though, tasting of reductive currants. I think this will soften with age as the tannins are still prevalent, even with lots of air. I got a few hints at how nice this could be, but then the extract/tannins came through again. Has 2-3 points of upside in the next 2-5 years.
  • ianinvirginia commented:

    3/24/10, 4:55 AM - Great notes - I didn't take formal notes but agree 100% with this - the tannins say this should be most interesting in 3-5 years.

Red
2005 Chappellet Mountain Cuvée Napa Valley Red Bordeaux Blend
3/11/2010 - RockinCabs wrote:
89 points
Opened this bottle and it was quite bretty. It needed about 35 minutes of air to reveal the fruit and earth tones it had. Nose: Blackberry, currants, toasty oak, nice pie spice flavors coming though. Palate: Sweet but not glycerine laden making it well extracted. Blueberry/blackberry on the midpalate and some greeness showing. Finish: Toasty oak, fruit and tobacco show, but the green notes persist and wine finishes a bit short.
  • ianinvirginia commented:

    3/24/10, 4:52 AM - I didn't get the brett nor take formal notes but blueberry pie and tobacco were also my highlights.

Red
2005 Bodegas Elías Mora Toro Crianza Tinta de Toro, Tempranillo
3/11/2010 - isaacjamesbaker wrote:
90 points
Thursday Night Tasting at Tooch's (Washington, DC): almost pitch colored. initially the nose was really tight, but i could tell there was some serious aromas just waiting to explode. after a while it got nice and dark on the nose, some smoke as well. this is a massive wine, but the structure and mouthfeel are wonderful. tannic as hell, the blackberry, toast, cocoa and almost tar-like flavors coat your palate. finish is impressive. if this goes the way i think it will, i could see scoring this higher in a few years.
  • ianinvirginia commented:

    3/14/10, 7:33 AM - Got the cocoa and tar, long long finish as you say - I think this is the one that to me had a sopressata nose.

Red
2002 Lagier Meredith Syrah Mt. Veeder
3/11/2010 - isaacjamesbaker wrote:
90 points
Thursday Night Tasting at Tooch's (Washington, DC): this is a young wine that would be better in three to five years. dark purple color. the nose opened up with time to show blueberries, earth and nice kick of pepper. on the palate, nice blackberry fruit with some meaty bloody notes, which added complexity. oak is well-integrated. very nice wine.
  • ianinvirginia commented:

    3/14/10, 7:30 AM - Totally agree - I think the full 5 years needed (I brought this one) - I liked the gamy nose and the dark fruit but it hasn't unfurled yet.

White - Sweet/Dessert
1990 Soulez Quarts de Chaume L'Amandier Chenin Blanc
3/11/2010 - isaacjamesbaker wrote:
94 points
Thursday Night Tasting at Tooch's (Washington, DC): wine of the night. and there were some good wines! opened chilled and we let it warm up a bit. the first glass was full of crystals. the color on this wine is eyepopping. it's neon yellow. not golden like a sauternes, like serious neon lights. the nose is explosive. it full of clover, honey, dried pineapple, dried pears, mango slices. wow. i smelled this wine for like five minutes before even taking a sip. delicious on the palate. just unctuous. it's not a full-on palate assault, it's more like a long, streak of deliciousness. the flavors are so complex and extensive, i won't even list them here. actually, i'll try: honey, honey, honey, chammomile tea with honey, pineapple, but there's this terrific underlying minerality that is intense. the finish is ridiculously long. a wonderful example of why i love the hell out of chenin blanc.tooch will tell ya, i was ranting about this wine like a homeless man ranting about government conspiracies
  • ianinvirginia commented:

    3/14/10, 7:26 AM - Agreed this was really special - and the neon yellow was like Mountain Dew or something. Honeyed quince all the way for me.

Red
2006 Anwilka Stellenbosch Cabernet-Shiraz Blend, Red Blend
3/11/2010 - isaacjamesbaker wrote:
92 points
Thursday Night Tasting at Tooch's (Washington, DC): this bottle was even better than the last. decanted for several hours. everyone at the tasting agreed that this wine was the full package. dark and inky. the nose is full of currants and plums and smoke. there's this hint of, i want to say incense. very intoxicating nose. the palate is full. intense structure. the fruit and tannins coat your palate, but it's not offensive or overdone. even the smallest sip of this wine fills your palate with fruit, earth, toast and a velvety finish. i really want to have this with a high quality piece of marbled, grilled steak, but on it's own it's just so damn good. even though i'm raving about this wine, it would be better in a few years. it's still got more it's waiting to show you.
  • ianinvirginia commented:

    3/14/10, 7:24 AM - For me this was the most exciting red, because it caught me off guard in its quality and depth, and I'm fairly ignorant about SA wines. Really great at the price point.

Rosé
2008 Domaine Sainte-Eugénie Corbières Rosé Rosé Blend
6/16/2009 - drdebs wrote:
90 points
This wine really grows on you. Made from Cinsault and Syrah, it's pale hot pink in color with cranberry and strawberry aromatics. Flavors are a refreshing balance of mineral and fruit, and the fruit leans towards the currant-cranberry spectrum. Kept going back for more.
  • ianinvirginia commented:

    3/5/10, 9:25 PM - Totally agree - I was able to use what I'd imagined as a summer or picnic wine to help negotiate what I thought was a relatively tough pairing in a cioppino.

Red
2005 Ambullneo Vineyards Pinot Noir "Canis Major" California
12/30/2006 - rstark wrote:
94 points
Incredible complexity. Great dark fruit and nice acid on the finish. Very balanced, especially next to the Aubert UV.
  • ianinvirginia commented:

    3/3/10, 7:10 PM - My bottle, drunk 3 years later, actually seemed too primary and straightforward to go past 91. Interesting that you found a lot of complexity here.

Red
2005 Domaine Michel Gros Nuits St. Georges Pinot Noir
1/17/2009 - Alex H wrote:
76 points
Giron 2nd Tasting (NK's Home): Sweet candied cherries. Lively cherry fruits. Simple generic with some hints of dried herbs.
  • ianinvirginia commented:

    3/3/10, 6:59 PM - 76 is awful low of a score to not reference the shortcomings.

Red
2008 Cellers Can Blau Montsant Can Blau Red Blend
2/25/2010 - Berno wrote:
91 points
40% Carinena, 30% Each Garnacha and Syrah. 12 months in 100% new French oak. This was much better than the 2007 at this time last year. Big, dark berry flavors, vanilla and baking spice in the nose. Very drinkable, now, but more than likely, it's going to shut down. B+/A-
  • ianinvirginia commented:

    3/3/10, 6:38 PM - I'm reading directly from the bottle and it says Mazuelo (Carignan) 40%, Syrah 40%, Garnacha 20%

Red
2007 Michael Pozzan Winery Pinot Noir Annabella Special Selection Sonoma Coast
2/17/2010 - RobertDwyer wrote:
90 points
QPR Alert! I thought this was a fantastic wine irrespective of price and at $12.99 I think it's a steal. Classic CA Pinot Noir strawberries and spice on the nose along with some vanilla which I really enjoyed. Full of flavor on the palate with a silky smooth finish. Perhaps the best CA Pinot I've found under $15 ever.
  • ianinvirginia commented:

    2/28/10, 6:32 AM - I paid $12 for a glass of this last night! <sigh> Restaurant markup. But we did enjoy it!

White
2007 Firestone Vineyard Riesling Central Coast
11/26/2009 - RobertDwyer wrote:
90 points
I was a little concerned cracking this one out for a fancy holiday like Thanksgiving, but man- I really like this wine and it didn't disappoint. Might turn off people who are sensitive to residual sugar (but that's not me so 90 points it is).
  • ianinvirginia commented:

    2/27/10, 9:43 AM - This review prompted my purchase as a Thanksgiving wine - everyone liked the touch of sweetness after a heavy meal

Red
2004 Sea Smoke Pinot Noir Southing Sta. Rita Hills
9/25/2009 - RobertDwyer wrote:
95 points
The first Sea Smoke I've ever had, and it didn't disappoint. Really enjoyed the balance this wine presented. It's a big wine, don't get me wrong, but it balanced earth with fruit and tons of flavor without being jammy. Thoroughly enjoyed this wine and looking forward to a bottle of 2006 Sea Smoke Ten.
  • ianinvirginia commented:

    2/27/10, 9:22 AM - Since I was in on this particular bottle, I have to say it was truly exquisite.

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