Tasting Notes for M-driver

(58 notes on 57 wines)

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Red
Admittedly, I don't drink many wines like this anymore. But this bottle surpassed any expectations I may have had in advance of opening it. I've been a fan of Lewelling for a long time but this 01 Wight is probably the best bottle I've ever had from them. I'm shocked by how youthful the fruit is. Almost no bricking and minimal signs of aging on the nose. I wish all CA Cab of tasted this way. Brilliant effort!
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Red
2/19/2012 - M-driver wrote:
In a world - awful. I've had this wine a countless number of times and each time have loved it. This bottle was so riddled with brett it was ridiculous. Nose of raw sewage. Just terrible. Really hoping my remaining bottles show better than this.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
12/11/2010 - M-driver wrote:
There's something to be said for purchasing a wine with guaranteed provenance from a cold cellar. I picked up a few of these from a store yesterday that had purchased them on release, tucked them into a bin, and forgot about them. I'd seen the bottles in the shop before, but had refrained from buying until I saw a very positive TN on this wine recently.

So, picked up a few yesterday and opened one last night. I have to admit, I was hoping this would be good and it was. Awesome nose of tar, cassis, and mint. As the wine started to evolve, it began to take on more Bdx-like characteristics and the tar/earth components really began to emerge. Really nice 30+ second finish.

I overpaid slightly for the wine, but knowing the storage conditions of the bottle made it worth the minor premium. I really hope the remaining bottles are this good. Fully mature - drink now or hold.
Red
11/26/2010 - M-driver wrote:
Bought a taster of this based on the recent results of the EWS tasting where it finished 2nd amongst a strong lineup. Popped and poured that evening. Upon opening, this was a total mess - disjointed, awkward, and thin. However, after about an hour or so in the glass it really started to open up and got significantly better. Rich cassis and some hints of chocolate along with apparen, but in no way overbearing, fruit. No noticeable heat at any point - even in the beginning. Continued to improve for 3+ hours and then the tannins started to show and the last glass was beginning to shut down. I really had no expectations for this wine going in, but was truly impressed. I went back and grabbed a few more bottles.
Red
1996 Sine Qua Non Against the Wall Central Coast Syrah Blend, Syrah (view label images)
9/16/2010 - M-driver wrote:
I had never had a SQN this old before and was a slightly concerned that it might be headed downhill. Not decanted ahead of time and poured directly into the glass. Awesome complex nose of meat, BBQ, smoke, and very ample fruit. The nose was actually very reminsicent of a Cote Rotie. I've had several young SQNs before but this bottle seemed to have shed all of its baby fat and blue fruit and really evolved into a gorgeous, mature, serious wine. Again, having not had a SQN with this amount of age before I wasn't sure what to expect but this absolutely exceeded any expectations I had. Really happy to have another bottle in the cellar.
White - Sweet/Dessert
2001 Château Suduiraut Sauternes Sémillon-Sauvignon Blanc Blend (view label images)
2/18/2010 - M-driver wrote:
Awesome creme brulee and toasted caramel nose. Light on its feet, with perfect balance. Not too much of anything. I liked the finish on this the most of any in the flight. A real pleasure to drink. Amazing wine. My #2 wine of the flight.
Red
1/16/2010 - M-driver wrote:
Interesting comments that this was hot/undrinkable for some. The bottle I had last night was seamless and didn't exhibit any heat whatsoever, which is shocking given the 16.7% alc. Just a great bottle with notes of grilled meat and dark, ripe fruit.
Red
2005 Château Beaulieu Bordeaux Supérieur Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
1/10/2010 - M-driver wrote:
Just popped the cork on one of these and its progressing nicely - tannin starting to integrate. Nice dark fruit. Overall, not bad for ~$10. Happy to have several bottles left.
Red
11/21/2009 - M-driver wrote:
Pop and pour. This was absolutely primal. Raw meat, blood, dirt and some barnyard. Clearly in need of time, but very good right now. Classic CdP. Will finish the rest this afternoon. I may be looking for a few more.
Red
11/7/2009 - M-driver wrote:
I decided to open one of these due to what I've been reading lately about this wine not being shut down and in a good drinking window. Pop and pour, did not decant. Consumed over a two-day period. To me, this screamed rich Bdx. Certainly not "classic" style, but I sincerely doubt I would call this new world in a blind tasting. Coffee, tar, and dark fruit come through. Amazing underlying structure on this wine and I really can't wait to see how it evolves. However, for my palate, this wine is nowhere near ready. I don't feel like I wasted a bottle because it was reference point for me to use, but to say this wine is in a good drinking window currently seems a bit of a stretch.
Red
2000 Château Yon-Figeac St. Émilion Grand Cru Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
9/2/2009 - M-driver wrote:
As soon as I popped the cork, I knew this was going to be good. Really nice aromas of violet and cherries wafted my direction. A small pour in the glass revealed a truly impressive nose with some charcoal and smoke notes. Slightly woodsy, but not oak.

Nice tannic backbone, but the wine is lush and complete - very drinkable now for my palate. Based on the nose, I'd say there is some upside here so I'll be holding my remaining bottles for several years.

According to CT, I paid $22 for this bottle. A tremendous QPR and a wine that has provided far more pleasure than some other wines 4 or 5 times the price.
Red
8/1/2009 - M-driver wrote:
Opened this to help celebrate my wife's birthday and the birth of my daughter. The nose was awesome with smoky charcoal and cassis. The palate was really smooth - fruit was apparent, but not overpowering, by design I'm sure. The really good bottles tend to go quickly and such was the case with this one. Made me wish I had a magnum!

That said, I think this wine it at is peak now and I don't see much upside. There is no danger in letting this sit for many years, but I certainly don't feel like I drank this too young. Really nice aged Cal cab. Wish they were all like this.
Red
2005 Futo OV Oakville Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
1/10/2009 - M-driver wrote:
This was a major disappointment. Decanted 2hrs prior to consumption. Nothing more than a cookie-cutter CA cab w too much oak and high alc. I'm not sure what I expected - perhaps a semblance of the vineyard pedigree from the early 90s but it just doesn't deliver on any front. It wasn't that it was bad, it was just boring. Can't say I'm sorry I missed the '06.
Red
11/7/2008 - M-driver wrote:
I was craving a CA Syrah last night, so decided to open one of these. Very unique nose of tar/road paving mixed with dark, dark fruit. Relatively integrated at this point, but a touch of heat on the finish. The palate on this wine really reminded me of the '05 Amon Ra, and that's not a bad thing for me.

As has been written above, I kept feeling like there was more to come with this wine and it just wasn't ready to give it up right now. Sadly, I didn't save any to do a day 2/3 check. Very glad to have more of this in the cellar and the remaining bottles will sleep for a while.
Red
10/26/2008 - M-driver wrote:
Sent the wife down to the cellar to pick the wine and she comes back with this - well, alright. OMFG did this rock. Rich nose of currant, spice, and raspberry. Palate was a bit more restrained than the nose indicates - some graphite, brown sugar, and dark fruit. I'd put this wine against the other best from the vintage any day. In fact, I'd put this wine against the best from most vintages. Drink now or hold for several years, although I don't see how this can get much better than it already is.
Red
9/26/2008 - M-driver wrote:
This was a major disappointment. Nothing from the nose and the palate was light and green. I'm not sure if this was a bad bottle or if this wine is just in a bad spot right now, but either way I'm not opening another for a few years.
Red
7/13/2008 - M-driver wrote:
Pop and pour - no decant. This was just insanely good. Rich, engaging nose of coffee and currant. Amazing structure on the palate - far better than past examples of this bottle. I last had this on New Year's eve and recall it being very good for an '00. This bottle was simply outstanding - not just for the vintage. Drink now or hold. Upside is doubtful, but plenty of life left.
Red
1997 Pahlmeyer Proprietary Red Napa Valley Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
5/9/2008 - M-driver wrote:
Outstanding...again. Continues to impress - cab from CA doesn't get much better. Very rich with notes of smoked brisket and soy. Extremely drinkable now, but will certainly hold for years to come.
Red
4/11/2008 - M-driver wrote:
Whoa. So this is what everyone is talking about w the '05 Burgs. I'll admit - I'm not much of Burg guy, but I picked these up based on the recommendation of someone who is. Really nice nose of violet and perfume. Very pleasant spice (clove?) and cherry on the palate. This was a very drinkable wine and this bottle was drained all too quickly. I'm happy to have more in the cellar, but unfortunately they're all leaking due to an error on my part when I was moving them last summer. So I'll be drinking the rest shortly.
Red
4/6/2008 - M-driver wrote:
I was really disappointed by this. Perhaps its shut down, but the nose wasn't giving up much save for some cocoa and smoke. Palate was more or less the same and, I felt, an unacceptable amount of heat. Maybe it will come together, maybe not. Either way, I'm not looking for any more.
Red
2005 Château Beaulieu Bordeaux Supérieur Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
3/7/2008 - M-driver wrote:
Immense tannic structure. Representative of the vintage, I suppose. Even these wines need a little time to strut their stuff. For $15, tough to beat the QPR.
Red
2/18/2008 - M-driver wrote:
There's nothing wrong with this wine. It's a cookie-cutter Napa cab...a $15 Napa cab. Its varietally correct and has all the aspects one would expect from a $15 bottle of Napa cab. Plain and simple. Again, not bad wine. Just worth nowhere close to what this is trading for.

The 13% alcohol was nice change, however. Seems like most Cal cabs are pushing 15% these days.
Red
2000 Château Milens St. Émilion Grand Cru Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
2/16/2008 - M-driver wrote:
This is great! Nice depth with notes of smoke and herb. Evidence of the overall quality of the vintage. For the price, it's tough to beat.
Red
2/14/2008 - M-driver wrote:
The moment I poured this into the decanter, I was afraid something was up. The color was a light brown with significant bricking. Not giving up too much on the nose, but certainly not corked. So, left in the decanter for about an hour or so. I tasted intermittently as I was preparing dinner to see how the wine evolved, as I've read some notes that indicated it needed some time to open.

Well, this never came around. Very thin and disinterensting on the palate and a total lack of fruit. Some tobacco/cedar, but really nothing like the wine I've read raves about. It stayed this way for about 2 hours or so, but I continued to drink it in hopes that it some miraculous would occur. It actually ended-up going downhill fast and the last sip I took I immediately had to spit because it was undrinkable at this point.

I suspect this wine may have been heat damaged at some point in its life. I picked up several bottles of this at auction and can only hope that the rest in the lot are not like this bottle. A very disappointing experience.
Red
1996 Pahlmeyer Proprietary Red Napa Valley Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
2/8/2008 - M-driver wrote:
Really outstanding cab. This bottle was even better than the one I had over the holidays. Fully mature, but should hold for quite some time. It's not the '97, but its pretty darn good.
Red
2/8/2008 - M-driver wrote:
Popped and poured at the restaurant. Off-putting cherry cola and metallic nose. Unbalanced and awkward. Showing way too much heat and a clipped finish. Very unpleasant.
Red
1/6/2008 - M-driver wrote:
Pop and poured. Whoa - now we're talking. I was hoping for a better bottle after the disappointing '94 Oakford that we just drank. Bdx like nose of cigar box, tar, and cassis. Rich, textured palate and beginning to develop some secondary characteristics (cinnamon?). Nice long finish. Brilliant effort and I'm quite pleased to have more of these. No rush to drink these, but certainly enjoyable at the moment.
Red
1/6/2008 - M-driver wrote:
I had high hopes for this bottle, given the winemaker at the time was Heidi Barrett and the '95 I had several months ago was firing on all cylinders. This was a very interesting cab experience for me. The wine exhibited a very strong menthol/mint on the nose. The palate offered more of the same (my wife kept saying "licorice") but the strong mint floavor overwhelmed the fruit, or any other flavor for that matter, and made this almost undrinkalbe for my palate. The tannic structure was very much present and I couldn't help but feel like there was a good wine lurking underneath the doublemint twins, but whether that wine ever emerges I can't say. By the last few sips, I thought the mint was starting to blow off but that may have just been wishful thinking.

If you have any of these, I'd recommened holding or a 1-2 hour decant.
Red
1/5/2008 - M-driver wrote:
Super light in color, to the extent that when I first poured I thought the wine was flawed. Kool-aid cherry like nose. Thin on the palate and a fair amount of heat on the finish. I poured the bottle into the decanter in hopes that this would put on some weight and it didn't change at all over a 2 hour period. This is not my style pinot.
Red
12/8/2007 - M-driver wrote:
Purchased from the list at a great price. As soon as the bartender popped the cork, the nose smacked me in the face (from about 5 feet away). I knew this was going to be good. Pop and pour - did not decant.

Gobs of dark chocolate, smoke, and dark fruit initially on the nose. The palate is incredibly silky yet oh so concentrated and precise. This has to be the most well blalanced young cabernet I've tasted in recent memory. Loads of chocolate and more smoke/characol on the palate. And the finish - oh so looooooong. Must have lingered for a good 90 seconds.

As the wine evolved, the nose transformed into a rich cassis and clove. More of the same on the palate and the chocolate was still oh so apparent. Consumed over the course of two hours or so and the last sip was the best.

This was brooding, rich and powerful. Clearly one of my top 5 wines of this year - however I do think I slightly prefer the 2001 version of this wine. It's not quite as rich and showy, but I think it may ultimately prevail after time in the cellar.
Red
11/9/2007 - M-driver wrote:
Popped the cork & started pouring into the decanter when a rich nose of blackberry pie smacked me in the face. I was excited and thought this was going to be really good.

Poured the first glass 45 mins or so later - nose had really dissipated. Palate delivered some dark (black) fruit and the wine had a nice silky texture. After some time, the nose developed a scotch tape characteristic which wasn't necessarily as unpleasant as it sounds. The thing that surprised me the most was that the finish was effectively non-existent. I kept waiting for this wine to evolve over the course of the 4-5 hours that I spent with it, but it didn't. I actually enjoyed the Broken Stones I had a few weeks ago (from the same vinatge) much more.
Red
11/4/2007 - M-driver wrote:
I picked-up this bottle at a local shop for a fairly decent price and decided to pop it tonight. Honestly, at this point, my expectations weren't that high. Boy, was I wrong. This wine is drinking extremely well at the moment. Great notes of raspberry, tobacco, smoke and earth. Extremely lush mouthfeel with excellent structure. Continued to get better in the glass as the evening wore on. I'll be looking for more.
Red
1996 Harlan Estate The Maiden Napa Valley Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
9/22/2007 - M-driver wrote:
flawed
Blech! This was horrible. My wife said she thought it was corked - I couldn't smell it, but on the palate it exhibited the one trait that most corked wines have (for my palate) which was a complete and utter lack of fruit. Not sure what was up.

I left some in the glass for 30 mins, but it just got progressively less drinkable. Poured the bottle down the drain. Worst wine in recent memory.
Red
2001 Château La Mission Haut-Brion Pessac-Léognan Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
9/26/2007 - M-driver wrote:
Pop and pour - this came out of the bottle singing. Nice notes of tar, spice, leather. Good tannic structure and not extremely acidic. This wine was a pleasant surprise. After more than 2 hours in the glass, starting to shut down. While I don't think this has the stuffing for extended agining, I'd expect it to integrate over the next couple years and drink well for several more.
Red
8/10/2007 - M-driver wrote:
Outstanding! I was at amazed by how youthful this wine was. Happy to have another bottle. My best KL to date.
Red
8/10/2007 - M-driver wrote:
Very interesting port nose. Severely in decline on the palate, however. Worth the $40 just for the nose. Should have drank this one 10 years ago.
Red
6/7/2007 - M-driver wrote:
Very primary at this point. Sweet cherry on the palate. Some rubber on the finish that I don't particuarly care for. Holding my remaining bottles for a while in the hopes that this comes together.
Red
5/10/2007 - M-driver wrote:
Came out of the bottle with a plesant, aged nose. Fully mature and somewhat in decline but still showing fruit. First glass or two were this way - but then it went downhill pretty quick. Reminded me of what happened with the '66 La Mission I had several years ago.

Ended up dumping the last half of the bottle.
Red
5/5/2007 - M-driver wrote:
Unbelievably bright fruit on the nose. Cedar, tobacco, and graphite/pencil lead on the palate. This is fully mature, but I don't think there's any need to rush to drink these. Should hold for several more years. Excellent bottle.
White - Sparkling
5/6/2007 - M-driver wrote:
Stunning nose of toast and apricot. Very well balanced on the palate with ample acidity to ensure this one is going to be around for many years to come. Continued to improve and gain complexity throughout the course of the night. If you've got this in the cellar, be very happy.
Red
4/29/2007 - M-driver wrote:
Is this what $70 buys? Lacking complexity and finish. For the money, I'd much rather have a Tua Rita. Very disappointing.
White
4/28/2007 - M-driver wrote:
Popped this to quaff while preparing dinner. Not a fan of this wine whatsoever. There was a smokiness about it that I did not enjoy. No particular complexity to speak of. The Hudson was much better.

Opened an '04 Corsin St. Veran instead.
Red
4/27/2007 - M-driver wrote:
Decanted 4 hrs prior to consumption. Really nice nose showing chocolate and fruit. Tannins are thick, as has been my experience with the '02 and '03 version as well. These just need time in the bottle. Very good and a marked improvement over the '03. Continued to improve over the course of the evening.
Red
4/14/2007 - M-driver wrote:
Very solid wine. Drunk alongside a '97 Pahlmeyer which, although shrouded by oak, was clearly a better wine. But, for today's consumption, give me the Oakford. Drink or hold.
Red
4/14/2007 - M-driver wrote:
Very fruit forward Burg. Not at all what I expected. Enjoyable, but almost California in style.
Red
4/11/2007 - M-driver wrote:
Popped and decanted to enjoy with dinner Wednesday. Just wasn't doing anything for me, so I vacu-vined the remainder and stuck it in the fridge. Pulled it back out tonight (Friday) and WOW - nose was billowing out of the glass with potporrui (sp?) and cedar. Nice fruit but just a bit thin on the palate. Overall one of the better Italian wines I've had in recent memory.
Red
4/8/2007 - M-driver wrote:
flawed
DOA!
Red
1991 Ridge Monte Bello Santa Cruz Mountains Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
3/24/2007 - M-driver wrote:
Popped my first one of these last night. Nose reminded us of the '82 Mouton we had in Aug of '05, which is the only "perfect wine" reference point I have. Mature, but with lots of life left. Absolutely incredible juice.

This is the best California wine I have ever tasted.
Red
3/9/2007 - M-driver wrote:
No expectations from this bottle when i bought it. I had a Varner Chard this past Jan which I somewhat enjoyed. This pinot just didn't do it for me. Nice nose, but the palate didn't deliver. Just an overall simple pinot with some fruit and not much else going on. Might be better with food.
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