Tasting Notes for cporter

(58 notes on 57 wines)

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White
2010 La Clarine Farm White Sierra Foothills White Rhone Blend (view label images)
6/25/2011 - cporter wrote:
Another distinctive drinking experience from La Clarine. The nose captures the lush stone fruit character of California Viognier, the baked pear/apple/roasted nut presence of Roussanne, and the edgy, spicy, mildly aldehydic nature of skin-fermented Marsanne. Like La Clarine's Home vineyard red, the most compelling aspect of this wine is its texture- mildly salty, almost reminiscent of the Jura; bitter in an exciting, succulent way (somewhat akin to Campari's balancing presence in a Negroni); and rich, with the Sierra Foothills warmth coming through. A beautifully balanced wine, superb accompaniment to food, and utterly exciting. Looking forward to seeing how this will age.
Red
N.V. Frank Cornelissen Contadino 7 Sicilia Nerello Blend, Nerello Mascalese (view label images)
6/19/2011 - cporter wrote:
After my experience with Dettori I was a bit nervous to try this. Thankfully it showed a much more promising beginning. Upon opening it showed a touch of VA, though it wasn't overwhelming; instead the nose was dominated by cranberry, black pepper, and some burnt orange peel. This was quite fizzy on the palate, with the resulting impression being somewhat akin to a really dry black cherry soda (Hansen's?). The finish possessed a touch of aldehydic character, with a strong walnut/almond note .

With air, however, after about an hour or so, this became ever more dominated by VA. By day two, when I tasted this again, it was overwhelmed by VA and aldehydes. Unlike the Dettori, which had no redeemable qualities, this was perhaps even more tragic because a glimpse of beautiful terroir could be seen, yet it was marred by the winemaking. Again, it's nice to see someone taking winemaking to the edge, though in this case pulling back a bit from the extreme would have made a more sound, more site-driven wine.
Red
6/3/2011 - cporter wrote:
First off, some facts: I had the VA on this wine tested in a lab and it came back as 2.08 g/l. To give that number some perspective, the legal limit in California (and I believe Europe as well) is 1.2 g/l. So, objectively speaking the VA on this is quite high and also illegal. But numbers aren't everything, and I tasted this before knowing the VA, so how was the wine?

To put it bluntly, this was the worst wine I've ever put in my mouth. The acetic burn of this wine was actually painful to swallow; I imagine this is what it would be like to drink nail polish. No fruit, no minerality, nothing but alcohol, VA, and pain. And I gave it plenty of chances: Tasted it over about 4 hours on day 1, then recorked and gave it a go on day 2; same horrible experience every time. I don't regret buying or drinking this, as there are lessons to be learned from wines this flawed. It does bother me however that this is passed off as being terroir driven- this is a complete obfuscation of site. There is no excuse for this but sloppy winemaking; call it hands off, call it natural, but the hand of man (or lack thereof) has obliterated any sense of place here. It is wines like this that give a bad name to the natural winemakers out there who are pushing the boundaries while still being meticulous about cleanliness and microbial health.
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Red
5/22/2011 - cporter wrote:
From magnum. Pretty nose comprised almost entirely of tertiary character- rust, sous bois, wonton, crispy duck skin, and a touch of macerated red fruits. Incredible sweetness of fruit remaining on the palate, almost shockingly so. Soft and supple tannin supporting sous bois, orange peel, and small red fruits. Medium length finish bringing out more tertiary notes. Very reminiscent of a 98 Mount Mary Pinot I had last year, albeit with a bit more sweet fruit and vibrancy. They both are reminiscent to me of the more old-school/elegant Santa Maria Pinots with age on them, like old ABC or Lane Tanner Bien Nacido bottlings. Really enjoyable wine that kept getting better as the night went on.
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White
5/21/2011 - cporter wrote:
Happy Canyon is a very young region still finding its voice and sense of place. What HAS become quickly apparent is that this is a very special place for Sauvignon Blanc. Of the tiny handful of producers crafting Happy Canyon Sauvignon Blanc, the most transparent and exciting expression for my palate is Adam Tolmach's.

The nose blossoms with the spicy, musky tropical fruit aromatics that are unique to this area- papaya, mango, and guava. There's also a distinctive note of ginger. The palate strikes a perfect balance between richness, minerality, and acid- if you could lightly fry a chunk of gravel and give it a squirt of lime, it wouldn't be too far off the mark texturally speaking. There is also a note of something animalistic that i have yet to find in sauvignon blancs from elsewhere; almost, dare i say, a sort of pheromone character, something very human and very appealing. Long finish that highlights the citrus and animale. Great wine as always, with just a little more of everything in its 2009 incarnation.
Red
2008 Château Toulouze Graves de Vayres Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
5/18/2011 - cporter wrote:
When I picture table wine from the right bank of Bordeaux, the profile I have in my mind is rarely found in the actual wine. This Toulouze is the first in a while to really conjure up my mental image of textbook Bordeaux. Its scents of fresh cedar, tobacco, small red fruits, freshly kicked-up dirt, and a hint of bell pepper are cool and precise. These flavors carry through to the palate along with a touch of mocha and dried herbs. The tannins are very fine and delicate; this is lean and pretty with a sense of grace. Nothing life changing, but excellent with food, classically proportioned, and a ridiculous value.
Red
5/1/2011 - cporter wrote:
What a lovely, unique wine. Nose of red fruit, earth, black pepper, mushroom, coffee, caramel, and something green in the most wonderful way. Continually evolved and changed with every smell and sip. The palate is lean and lithe yet maintains a chalky grip. The carbonic maceration has given its telltale sense of lift and brightness, but the terroir shines through with penetrating clarity. I have never had a wine quite like this, splitting the difference between Morgon, Volnay, and St. Joseph. Superb.
Red
4/26/2011 - cporter wrote:
This was my first experience with La Clarine.

DAY 1: The first hour was fairly tight and primary, showing a character reminiscent of the more balanced, intriguing versions of Malbec from Mendoza- think purple flowers, plums, and baking spice. It was the second hour in which this blossomed, revealing the full depth of its character. A nose of anise, rose petals, wet gravel, black fruit, exotic spices, and spearmint transitions into a palate that is driven by texture and subtlety rather than fruit and flamboyance. The palate, shaped in large part by the whole-cluster tannins, is one of the more overtly mineral wines I've experienced from California, and seems to draw a line connecting the dots between the mountain Nebbiolos of Piemonte with the rugged mountain wines of California. Beautiful.

DAY 2: The tannins from the first night have subsided somewhat, though their presence is still felt, providing counterpoint to the richer aspects of the fruit. There is more delicacy and delineation in the nose, emphasizing a bit more red fruit; you could almost call this feminine. The palate has turned into something more identifiably Californian, though not in the sense that it is fruity or lush; rather, it evokes the Californian wilderness in its flavors of wild sage and chapparal. This is one for the cellar, and I am fortunate to have 1 more bottle tucked away for the future.

In sum, if you are one of the lucky few to get your hands on a bottle of this, consider yourself blessed- if ever there was a wine for which the expression sui generis was appropriate, this is it.
Red
3/26/2011 - cporter wrote:
Drank this alongside the '08 Earth Smoke over the course of 4 hours, and the wines could not be more different. While the Earth Smoke is all feminine delicacy with red fruits, roses, and a weightless texture, the Angel Flower is much more brooding and backward. The aromatics are in the darker end of the red fruit spectrum, particularly black cherry, along with elements of sous bois and even a touch of Miso that became more prominent with air, as well as a gorgeous, crystalline evocation of Shiitake mushrooms. This has much more density on the palate, with a chalky, mineral texture that I associate with whole-cluster in Pinot Noir. Long finish as well that really evokes the savory, mushroomy, foresty character of this wine. I was shocked by the radical difference between this and the earth smoke; while the earth smoke is more unique in character and exciting at this point in time, the more obvious structure of the Angel Flower makes me think it could potentially have more longevity and nuance to deliver down the road. Either way, this is another stellar Pinot Noir from Pyramid Valley, and certainly illustrates that their vineyard demarcations by soil structure were spot-on.
Red
3/26/2011 - cporter wrote:
Drank over the course of about 4 hours, and it continually evolved over that relatively brief timespan, emphasizing different elements of its component parts throughout the evening. The nose captures a broad range of aromatics ranging from small red fruits and sweet citrus fruits to wild herbs, underbrush, and face powders. The dominant characteristic however, which I also recall from the '06 version, is an exotic element of rose water (or perhaps Brazilian rosewood?) that is, in my experience, totally unique to this vineyard. Texturally this is lean, ethereal, almost like Pinot vapor, with bright balancing acids that provide lift and succulence while giving the wine some grounding. Ridiculously long finish teasing out more of the herbaceous and floral elements. There is no doubt in my mind that, along with Rhys, Pyramid Valley are crafting the most exciting, singular Pinot Noirs in the new world; I can't wait to see what this vineyard is doing when it reaches full maturity.
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Red
8/22/2010 - cporter wrote:
This was a wow wine from start to finish. The nose definitely speaks of its vintage, with ripe intensity, though it is far from being overblown; on the contrary, the notes of Bing cherry and violets have a great deal of lift and vivacity. On the palate, the tannins are just starting to soften, powerful yet weightless, with the heft of Gevrey and the delineated elegance of Lavaux St. Jacques. The intensity of cherry on this wine is perhaps more penetrating than any Pinot I've ever experienced, so pure and fresh. A touch of vanilla as well, though not in any way that comes across as confectionary or overtly oaky. Long, long finish that echoes more cherry and floral notes, as well as a hint of the autumnal character that is sure to come with some more bottle age. A wonderfully complex Burgundy that should age beautifully.
Red
8/14/2010 - cporter wrote:
Beautiful, exotic, cool-climate Syrah nose of Kalamata olive, dry herbs, iron, and fruits both red and black. Constantly shifting and changing in the glass, this was very much a living, breathing wine. Striking palate weight, lean and crunchy with a bit of savory tannin on the edges. The more wild and sanguine characteristics of the nose are drawn out on the palate. The finish possesses an almost saline, briny note that's very mouthwatering. This is what California Syrah should be but so rarely is. Drank over the course of a couple hours with friends and family, and this was gone all too soon. I'd love to see what this can do over the course of a few days. Kevin Kelley is pushing the boundaries of what California wine can be, and the results thus far are stunning.
Red
8/13/2010 - cporter wrote:
Tasted blind. Classic old-school Cali nose of mint, black fruit, wet soil, vanilla, cola, sandalwood, and cherry. There are also more exotic notes of spice cake and meat pie. Beautiful palate weight that strikes an ideal balance between iron-laced, rocky tannins and silky, round, bottle-aged pleasure. More tertiary character on the palate emphasizing the spice and game. Long, balanced finish without a trace of heat and plenty of soil-focused personality. Yet another incredible, singular release from Kalin.
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White
7/11/2010 - cporter wrote:
Wonderfully pure Chenin nose of fresh-cut green apple, honeysuckle, hay, orange blossom, stone fruits, and a touch of something vaguely wooly. The aromatics are echoed on the palate, emphasizing the more floral characteristics and striking a nice balance between sweetness and acidity. The texture is lean though very tactile, with a sort of pebbly grip and great cut. Long, succulent finish. I could drink this all day long.
Red
7/4/2010 - cporter wrote:
This was a shapeshifter in the best of ways, constantly evolving with ever more distinctive and compelling nuances. The nose begins with classic Thackrey eucalyptus as well as a touch of VA that manages to work with the wine, giving it a high-toned lift. In the first hour, the aromatics move more toward bright cherry with a touch of cola, really showing the Sangiovese. With another hour, this becomes much more meaty and spicy, giving enticing aromatics of cinnamon and cumin. On the palate, this has very rich red fruit as well as more of the spicy notes found in the nose, very much in the Indian spice realm. Texturally it's rich without being heavy, with relatively mild tannins. Long finish that brings out more baking spice, with a touch of raisin, though it presents itself in a way that is pleasing rather than overripe or heavy. My only complaint with this wine is the lack of acid, which would give just a bit more balance to the overall package. Other than that, this is totally singular, classic Thackrey, and for under $20, hard to beat as a unique drinking experience.
Red
6/30/2010 - cporter wrote:
My second bottle of this, and shockingly different than the first. Where the smoke was a subtle background note the first go-round, this was overwhelmed by the smoke taint. There was actually something mildly pleasant about it that reminded me of South Africa, particularly the Pinot Noirs and Pinotages (a sort of over-the-top bacon fat meets smoke quality), but there was very little beyond smoke other than a subtle bit of red fruit. I don't know how smoke taint fares with age, but it would be my advice to drink these on the young side based on my experience here.
Red
6/17/2010 - cporter wrote:
Ripe, rich nose of red fruits (namely watermelon and cherry), baking spice, stem spice, oak vanillin, and background animal fur, with some heat. The midpalate texture is very rich and voluptuous, bordering on creamy (seems fairly high pH), with the red fruit dominating as well as a touch of baking spice. Drying tannins in the finish as well as quite a bit of heat. While certainly a very nice CA Pinot, coming from Rhys this is a bit of a disappointment. It lacks the textural allure of the Rhys estate wines, as well as the dynamics and subtlety found in the best examples of New World Pinot Noir. Again, better than 90% of CA Pinots, but the wines of Rhys typically don't require the "it's good- for Cali Pinot" qualifier.
White - Off-dry
6/16/2010 - cporter wrote:
Striking nose of stone fruit, baking spices, wet stones, and wild herbs, as well as a background note of fresh-cut jalapeno. Exquisite balance in the midpalate- succulent acidity offset by just enough sweetness; pebbly texture with a touch of creaminess; and tropical fruits joined to savory herbs. Chamomile tea also becomes prominent. Lengthy finish that highlights the primary fruit, with lots of lemon, lime, and green apple. A great example of New World Riesling.
Red
6/15/2010 - cporter wrote:
Rather subdued nose opens with an autumnal character of dried leaves and red apple skin, along with some light red fruit, particularly cranberry. Beautiful palate weight that marries the muscular tannin of Gevrey with the nervous energy of 2007. More cranberry, apple skin, and autumn leaves on the midpalate, along with anise and purple flowers. Very long finish where the red fruit and earth character fan out. This should drink well for quite a few years, and is a superb value.
White
6/4/2010 - cporter wrote:
Well-defined nose of sea salt, butter, stone fruit, lobster shell, citrus, and a touch of toast. Great balance between richness and austerity on the palate. The flavors are almost like honeyed butter on peaches, albeit joined to an oceanic savor. Lengthy finish, mouthwatering and bright. A very svelte example of Chablis.
White
6/4/2010 - cporter wrote:
Vibrant nose of stone fruit, lime, oyster shell, musk, and honeysuckle. With a couple hours of air, the nose transforms into Mosel riesling, with more musky spice, tropical fruit, and pronounced minerality. The texture is classic Chablis, lean and electric, with boatloads of acid balanced by just a touch of flesh. The citrus and oyster shell flavors are amplified, and the tropical fruit character adds a nice background note. Long finish, not a touch of heat, succulent and juicy. Austere overall, definitely meant for the cellar, though still quite pleasurable now.
Red
5/31/2010 - cporter wrote:
Popped and poured, then drank over about 3 hours. As far as smoke taint goes, the only thing that showed up to me was a background note of bacon fat/smoked meat that, while uncharacteristic of their typical AV Pinots, didn't particularly bother me. Beautiful nose of fresh earth and classic AV red apple skin. The palate is rather full and rich, though it still maintains a mineral, gripping texture. The red apple flavors really dominate here, along with strawberry, earth, and a touch of bacon. Long finish of red apple and more of the bacon/smoked meat character (the finish contains the most overt "smoky" character, though even here it's not overwhelming). On the whole, this is a wonderful appellation Pinot that speaks loudly of Anderson Valley. It also speaks clearly of the difficult '08 vintage, and how the talented guys behind Anthill Farms managed to craft a beautiful, transparent wine despite the obstacles it presented.
Red
2008 Luminesce Syrah Santa Barbara County
5/29/2010 - cporter wrote:
Drank over the course of 4 hours. Sourced entirely from the hillsides of Bien Nacido, this is Bien Nacido in surround sound. Upon first opening, the whole-cluster (100%) is very prominent, with notes of anejo tequila and black pepper. With time, these characters expand and fan out, broadening to include roasted meat, teriyaki, black fruit, honeysuckle, anise, and violets. On the palate, this is massive yet incredibly balanced. The tannins are chalky and very tactile, yet they are also round and noble (perhaps from the barrel fermentation?), providing a gorgeous textural experience. The characteristics of the nose are repeated, along with notes of dark chocolate, lavender, and mocha. Long finish brings out notes of coffee and Indian spices. This is great now, but I can't see any reason why this couldn't lay down for another decade or more. In fact, the overall impression is somewhere between a ripe vintage of Clape Cornas and La Blaque's Pierrevert.
Red
5/28/2010 - cporter wrote:
Tasted blind. The nose suggests Burgundy- iron, wild herbs, hard spice, light red fruits, earth, and underbrush. On the palate, however, there is a fruit-sweetness and a roundness to the tannins that is unmistakably New World. The overall character reminded me a lot of some leaner Cali Pinots that are grown in sandy soils- lithe, feminine tannin; an herbal character running towards red veggies such as beet and tomato; a sauvage/animal fur note; and just-ripe red fruits such as cranberry and strawberry. The finish is quite long, emphasizing the earthy/mushroom character of the wine. Wonderful balance overall. This is drinking right in its window now, and would be killer with some Peking duck!
Red
5/28/2010 - cporter wrote:
Tasted blind. Drinking with way more primary fruit, tannin, and overall richness than one would expect from an 11-year-old Cali Pinot. Beautiful nose of white flowers, hard spice, dark red fruits (think raspberries and extremely ripe strawberries), and 5-spice. The whole-cluster character becomes more prominent with time in the glass, somewhere between pipe tobacco and rose petals. The tannins on this are still quite massive and chalky around the edges, typical of my experience with Selleck. These rather dry tannins are offset by massive fruit sweetness, providing a yin and yang between ripe-picked California intensity and Burgundian texture that is captivating. Long finish that brings more of the floral and spice character out, with the alcohol held in check. This will go at least another 10 years, and in fact NEEDS some additional bottle age to shed more of its baby fat. Yet another compelling example of singular New World Pinot Noir from Josh Jensen.
Rosé
5/13/2010 - cporter wrote:
This is going to be my go-to summer rose. Wonderfully pure, vibrant nose that is almost reminiscent of sparkling base wine- just-ripe strawberry, green apple, and pear. Plenty of zip on the palate, great acid, with more of the strawberry and apple coming out along with watermelon rind. Nice low alc. (13.1), lean, a superb food wine. One of the best domestic roses I've yet experienced!
Red
1993 Faiveley Latricières-Chambertin Latricières-Chambertin Grand Cru Pinot Noir (view label images)
4/28/2010 - cporter wrote:
Wow! This is drinking right in its wheelhouse. Subtle and pure nose of macerated cherries, sous bois, Porcini mushroom, and purple flowers. The tannins have integrated quite well on the midpalate, providing just enough structure to the fruit. Still very sweet fruit, ripe character, with the cherry and sous bois taking center stage. The finish contains a bit of heat, though nothing distracting, and fans out nicely, emphasizing the wine's tertiary character. I could see this lasting another 5-7 years, though I think this is right at its apex now.
Red
4/28/2010 - cporter wrote:
This begins with an absolutely explosive nose of boysenberry, tropical fruits (smells like it contains some Viognier, but apparently doesn't as far as I can gather), roasted meat, white pepper, violets, and macerated red fruits. The phenolics on the midpalate are incredible- silky and rich in the middle, chalky and taut around the edges, beautifully structured. The black fruit character really comes out, along with more of the meaty spice. Some baking spice and a bit of oak vanillin become prominent as well. The finish masks its heat admirably, drawing out more of the black fruit and spice. While this isn't necessarily the type of wine I typically find compelling (if we're looking solely at the finished numbers and the oak regime), there's no denying that this is a unique and incredible wine, one that shows the hand of Manfred Krankl without masking the site character of Eleven Confessions.
Red
2006 Castello dei Rampolla Chianti Classico Chianti Classico DOCG Sangiovese Blend, Sangiovese (view label images)
4/4/2010 - cporter wrote:
Pure Sangiovese nose of cherry, leather, mushroom, and wild herbs. This is a beast on the palate, with boatloads of tannin and signature Sangiovese acid. The structure is incredible, and there's plenty of fruit and earth to support it, so this should age magnificently. Classic Chianti in its character, with a long finish bringing out more cherry and anise. One of the best Chianti Classicos out there for the price.
White
4/1/2010 - cporter wrote:
Beautiful burnished gold color leads to a complex nose of honeydew, apple, pear, tarragon, sage, and sea salt. This explodes on the palate with honey, hay, butter, green fruits, and fat, voluptuous texture. There's just enough cut to support the viscosity, keeping it from being cloying or flabby. Long finish brings out flavors of Daiginjo sake and herbal tea. I expect this, like most of Bob's Roussanne's, to age wonderfully.
White
3/17/2010 - cporter wrote:
This drank like a great Chablis from a ripe vintage with just a bit of California flair. The aromatics are dominated by mineral and herbal tones such as wet rock, sea shell and pine, along with a touch of apple and lemon in the background. On the palate the fruit comes more into the foreground, particularly Meyer lemon, though the mineral essence is still dominant. The texture is relatively lean with vivacious acid, though there is a bit of fat to balance the zing. Long, mouthwatering finish. This should age wonderfully, and is overall one of the best Californian examples of Chardonnay I've experienced.
Red
3/13/2010 - cporter wrote:
This was a very unique Syrah, not only within the realm of Syrah in general, but within context of Steve Edmunds' other Syrahs, including previous vintages of Bassetti. The nose is extremely dense, almost impenetrable, comprised of meat, baker's chocolate, black forest cake, toasted nuts, and black fruit. On the midpalate, the tannins are starting to soften, but are still very present, with an almost chalky consistency- this must have been a beast when it was first released! The flavors here are similar to the nose though more focused, with moist chocolate cake and succulent beef really gaining prominence. This reminded me of some Mayacamas late harvest Zinfandels from the '70s I tasted recently more than any Syrah I've ever had. And despite what some of these flavor descriptors may imply, this wine is not overripe by any means; on the contrary, it is quite dry with impeccable balance. While this wine has already developed a lot of tertiary character, it still has a youthful air about it, and Steve's estimation that this is a 15-year+ wine doesn't seem out of the question. A singular experience for sure.
Red
3/10/2010 - cporter wrote:
Cellar Rats do 2007 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir: Big, ripe nose of red fruit, Hi-C punch, and new oak spice/vanilla. Fat texture on the palate, with big red fruit, fruit punch, and baking spice. Hot finish, and warmth overall. Definitely could use more acid and less oak. My #5 and the group's #4
Red
3/10/2010 - cporter wrote:
Cellar Rats do 2007 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir: Really pretty and pure nose of red apple, light red fruits, and flowers. Beautiful texture that is reminiscent of a good village Chambolle-Musigny, with flavors that echo the nose and fan out across the palate. Long finish with just the slightest trace of heat, but great nonetheless. My #2, the group's #1.
Red
3/10/2010 - cporter wrote:
Cellar Rats do 2007 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir: The nose smells a lot like Santa Maria Valley Pinot, and is an outlier among the rest of these '07s. Nose of wet fur, nut shells, and tomato skin. The texture is rich, full of red fruit, tomato, and wild herbs, but it comes off as blowsy, without enough acid or tannin to balance the richness. Fairly warm finish. I don't know if some of the oddball clones Elke has such as "Stang" and their Oakville clone contributed to this being so dissimilar to the rest, but definitely did not taste anything like the rest of these Anderson Valley Pinots. My #4, the group's #5.
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Red
3/10/2010 - cporter wrote:
Cellar Rats do 2007 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir: Ripe, rich nose of red apple and flowers. The palate echoes the red apple along with hard spice, meat, and a texture that is rich though balanced by a savory edge. Long finish with no heat. The whole-cluster is noticeable in the tannins, which help to dry out the rich/ripe red fruit. My #3 as well as the group's.
Red
3/10/2010 - cporter wrote:
Cellar Rats do 2007 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir: Opened but not decanted an hour or so before serving. Drank over another hour. Continually evolved until the bottle was polished off. The beautiful nose has a lot of lift and brightness, filled with red apple and other red fruit, hard red candy, baking spices, and wild flowers. The midpalate has superb texture, with a lithe, stony, Volnay-esque character, along with flavors of iron, forest floor, and rich red fruit. Long finish with no heat. Needs time for sure, and I could see it going for another 7-10 years at least. My WOTN and a close second for the group.
Red
3/3/2010 - cporter wrote:
Tasted blind and it screamed Santa Maria. Thought it was a Lane Tanner Bien Nacido or Arcadian Dierberg with a little age on it. The reveal of Paul's Gold Coast made sense. Classic SMV nose of hard spice, particularly pepper, followed by wild herbs, wet fur, light red fruit (strawberry and raspberry), and Chanterelle mushroom. Gossamer texture at this stage in its evolution. The midpalate really highlights the more exotic, non-fruit character of this wine, as well as some of the tertiary character that has started to develop. Long finish with maybe a trace of warmth, but overall it carries its 13.8% alc. very well. This is drinking right in its window.
White
3/2/2010 - cporter wrote:
The nose opens with a lot of new oak character, particularly mocha and coffee, followed by green apple, butter, toasted nuts, and a piercing note of acetone. There's more intrigue on the palate, with stone fruit, citrus, sea salt, roasted almonds, and mushroom. Texturally, however, it never really comes together; the acetic acid/ethyl acetate character is not balanced by the fruit, and even with food it remained disjointed. The finish has more notes of mushroom, almonds and chocolate, along with alcoholic burn. While I appreciate this wine as an intellectual experience and as an education, from the standpoint of price and of pure enjoyment, this is a pass for me.
Red
2/27/2010 - cporter wrote:
Tight upon opening but developed really nicely over the course of about 4 hours. The nose is classic Bien Nacido- black and white pepper, smoked meat, wild herbs, black fruit, purple flowers, and beef stock. Smells like there's some whole cluster in there, though I don't know if Bob did any this vintage. The texture is lean and succulent, showing power without weight. There's some heat in the finish, but it is supported by fruit and flowers. This one is definitely structured for aging, and I think would benefit from at least another 3-5 years in bottle to fan out a bit more. As always, one of the best examples of Cali Syrah around, and possibly, along with Bob's block-designated bottlings, the purest expression of Bien Nacido Syrah.
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Red
2/12/2010 - cporter wrote:
This was awesome right out of the gate and only got better. The nose showed much of the same flavor profile as the regular Alpine- holiday spices that remind one of pumpkin pie, potpourri, gingerbread, and nutmeg; fruits both red and blue (strawberry, black cherry, blueberry); mushroomy underbrush/forest floor; rose petals; and smoke. The flavors carry over onto the palate, where the tannins are beautifully knit, striking a balance between rich silkiness and savory grip. The acid gives the wine electricity while remaining subtle and well-integrated. The long, long finish lasts for almost 2 minutes, showing no heat at all. This is my second time having the '06 Hillside, and while it is strikingly similar to the regular Alpine, it is most definitely an amplification of the site's characteristics, with perhaps a slightly darker profile and a bigger personality overall. A benchmark Pinot Noir by any standard.
Red
1/23/2010 - cporter wrote:
Truly an unbelievable value. This falls somewhere between a ripe-picked/modernist example from the Northern Rhone and a more clasically-styled, cool climate California Syrah- and it blows most of them away at a tiny fraction of the price. The nose opens with a vaguely carbonic nose (looks like previous vintages had CM, though don't know if the '08 did), very primary flavors. With about 15 minutes of air, it blossoms, showing black fruit, coffee grounds, beef jerky, and wild herbs. The palate is marked by overall density and a tightly wound core of flavors- dark fruit, anejo tequila, beef, pepper, tobacco- all knit together by chalky though not harsh tannins. The finish shows a bit of heat but nothing offensive, and highlights lingering impressions of purple flowers. This could use a couple years for the tannins to integrate a bit more, but it's still pretty awesome right now.
Red
1/18/2010 - cporter wrote:
While still a bit closed, this wine wowed me. With some coaxing, the nose opens to show classic herbal Cab notes of bell pepper and tomato leaf, along with bittersweet dark chocolate and black licorice. The palate shows more voluptuous black fruit, along with fresh herbs, earth, baking chocolate, and pencil lead. There are also discernible though not overt oak characteristics, namely mocha and vanilla. The texture is this wine's strongest attribute right now- dusty, chalky, and dense, yet still round and well-knit. The finish is long and balanced, bringing out more intriguing notes of black tea and sage. This is beautiful now with some air time, though it really needs some cellaring to hit its peak. I'd guess at least 10 if not 20 years.
White
12/29/2009 - cporter wrote:
This starts with an intriguing nose of tarragon, chamomile, hay, and honey. These herbal notes are echoed on the palate, along with hints of sugar snap peas, stone fruit, and lime. Boatloads of acid, great minerality, dry as a bone. The finish shows decent length as well as notes of almonds. Nothing mindblowing, but great with food, varietally correct, and at around $10, hard to beat.
Red
12/29/2009 - cporter wrote:
Very pretty and varietally correct nose of grilled meat, smoke, violets, pepper, and coffee grounds that comes off as quite ripe and voluptuous. On the palate, however, it is bone dry and vaguely austere, with bright acid, lithe texture, and high-toned red fruit that complements the more meaty, non-fruit character quite well. Textbook Crozes-Hermitage and a superb value. While harmonious now, I think this will find its ideal balance with another year or two of bottle age.
White
12/15/2009 - cporter wrote:
My first "Prince," this is one of the more immediately likable orange wines I've experienced. First off, it's a completely different beast from the '08 "La Severita." Where that wine has a searing-in-a-good-way acidic spine, this is the polar opposite, unctuous and filled with dry extract, texturally reminiscent of a great Bordeaux blanc (Ygrec comes to mind). The nose and palate are more about non-fruit character, with notes of toasted almonds and baking spices. Where this does find common ground with the "La Severita" is in its hyper-florality- it almost comes across more like a Muscat or Viognier, and it continues to envelop the room as the wine opens. It's hard to say how this will age- it's beautifully balanced and exquisite now, but I don't see why this couldn't go another 5-7 years wagering conservatively. A beautiful expression of not only the Farina Vineyard, but the mind of Abe Schoener.
Red
12/2/2009 - cporter wrote:
Talk about backward. This wine is all potential right now- but what potential! The nose will not allow itself to be pinned down- the whole cluster spice wafts in and out, the brooding black fruit will not let its specifics be parsed out, the floral character is kept at arms length. On the palate, this is almost entirely structure and texture- there's beautiful whole-cluster grip, round tannins, and just enough juicy fruit to hint at the future. No heat, beautiful sense of balance between tannin/acid/fruit/spice- it's just not ready yet. I would say check back around 2012 at the earliest.
Red
12/2/2009 - cporter wrote:
So, so pretty. With a light orange color reminiscent of old-school Barolo, from the outset you know this is going to be a delicate beauty. The nose, which continued evolving over the course of 2 hours, contains a wealth of subtle and gorgeous aromatics- apricot, peach, white pepper, strawberry, wild flowers, and fresh earth. On the palate there's not much tannic structure to speak of, though the amount of acid, and the depth of its balancing fruit, suggests this could hold up well in the cellar. Texturally it's beguiling, soft and silky though not lacking soul. Good though not particularly long finish brings back the stone fruit character. I suppose this could be considered an "intellectual" wine, though most wines of that genre are not this easy to guzzle.
Red
11/11/2009 - cporter wrote:
The nose is very pretty, dominated mostly by non-fruit character- autumn herbs, rose petals, hard spices, nut shells- as well as some subtle red fruit and citrus. On the palate, this is ethereal- the texture is quite silky, very lithe and feminine, with beautiful acid. The spice character is quite prominent. Interestingly, it's very reminiscent of old-school Santa Maria Valley Pinot (perhaps attributable to their use of Martini clone?). Long finish of sweet red fruit, no heat at all. Over the course of a few hours, the balance of acid/fruit/spice becomes ever more harmonious, not so much evolving as finding equilibrium. A beautiful Cali Pinot, and a ridiculous steal at their current price point.
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  • Tasting Notes: 58 notes on 57 wines
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