Tasting Notes for Dulcie and Aylwin

(2,402 notes on 1,755 wines)

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Red
2009 Château Bellevue Peycharneau Bordeaux Supérieur Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
Rifling through a few older Bordeaux to try and cull the herd. Closely following on the heals of a Grand Cru St. Estephe, this little Bordeaux Superieur would hardly be expected to be in the same league; but it does a worthy job. Bright ruby in color, showing not a jot of aging. Velvety texture with earthy, woody, leathery notes. Oh and the price.
Red
The American antidote to the austere, lean, and refined Bordeaux opened about the same time. Pure jamminess. Fun for all that though and a sporting price.
White
2017 Zaca Mesa Z Blanc Santa Ynez Valley White Blend (view label images)
No 3 done. I am liking this wine. It is mainly Roussanne (or is that roussanne). Is this grape now my fourth favorite after chardonnay, riesling, and sauvignon blanc? That could be a good discussion.
White
2017 Zaca Mesa Z Blanc Santa Ynez Valley White Blend (view label images)
The Z is flying out of the fridge. Bottle no 2 already consumed and no 3 opened. Is COVID-19 making me drink more?
White
2017 Zaca Mesa Z Blanc Santa Ynez Valley White Blend (view label images)
In search of the house white - if we were so pretentious as to seek such a thing. I just think it would be something other than a chardonnay (even if that rules out burgundy but honestly that is not a realistic goal to have as your everyday wine). We have enjoyed the Z blanc in the past and a little COVID-induced shipping incentive caused me to push the buy button. It has a dry, earthy, Rhone-ish quality that I personally long for. So I am pleased, and it is a good price I think.
Red
2005 Château Haut-Marbuzet St. Estèphe Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
Do mine eyes deceive me? $9 I have written for what I paid. Should I have drunk it with such nonchalance given its now available price of $88? The cork proved to be recalcitrant and eventually came out in many small pieces, soft and crumbly, leaving a little cap of corky crumbs on the liquid. Unfortunately, Dulcie, unaware, proceeded to take a swig and pronounced the wine undrinkable. With appropriate filtering all was well.

This just reeks of Bordeaux, the unmistakable taught, lean structure with that cigar box tone. Quite masculine and muscular this, the color quite youthful really (heck only 15 years at this point), well balanced, tannins softened. Those who like fruit juice wines will probably not appreciate this.
White - Sparkling
Seemed apropos to broach this on the occasion of our 11th anniversaire, despite the upending of normal existence wrought by COVID-19, to remember the joyous times spent in Epernay at their property and the joyous times spent together. At this point, a note describing the actual wine is beside the point.
White
I will remember this wine as it was purchased on the last day of "normalcy" prior to Sheltering in Place ensuing. We had ventured to our local Jewel in search of any essentials that the panic buyers may have left on the shelves (notable that organic produce does not appear to be an essential for most people). There on a rack hidden away by the restrooms at the back of the store were heaped a few bottles at 50 % off. This La Crema was one of them. What's to lose I wondered. While Dulcie grabbed a brace of Cupcakes (?) I made off with this. I wouldn't disagree with Ben Christiansen's assessment, but it's a pretty nice chard for the money. I should remember to check out Jewel's remaindered shelves more often during a pandemic,
Red
A Mavens acquisition though I must admit I had forgot. The clove is strong with this one. Straight out the bottle I was struck by the high acidity, but over time the balance began to take shape: very strident clove, nutmeg, tart cherry and plum. It makes a statement; I am undecided to what extent I am actually on board.
Red
Another bottle purchased after a slightly libatious tasting of American wines at our local Binnys. Despite the diminution of my powers of discernment, I have been quite impressed by the consistency of our purchases that evening. A pale raspberry red color but one should not be fooled into thinking this is any kind of lightweight. Bracing moderate-high acidity with tart cherry and redcurrants, quite intense and palate-coating.
White
In this super depressing COVID-19 pandemic, and the prison of "social distancing" that it has visited upon us, the escape to a quiet evening of wine can be an escape. We had picked these up at a suitably Bacchanalian Mavens event (such a distant memory now) and enjoyed. I note the esteemed Ben Christiansen has posted many TNs on this. So I don't necessarily get as much smoke but I did enjoy the fulsome oaky orchard fruit/citrus lush combination. Maybe not my epochal style but a wine to be enjoyed alone or with appropriate accompanying food, which in this case was a Dulcie take on some Dijon mustard infused chicken number.
White
My second "village" white burgundy from a significant producer, the other one being Domaine Leroy. Clearly not all villages are created equal in this category. I feel fairly confident that I massively overpaid, buying as I did from Evening Land, but money isn't everything. I agree with the previous TNs on the combination of citrus and apple, decent acidity but well balanced with a somewhat creamy texture. moderate oak, some vanilla, quite elegant, though not a heavyweight. If I could score this under $30 then I would be a repeat buyer.
Red
Fruit bomb indeed. I mean at first blush it seems pleasant enough, and generous with the forward fruit; but on later contemplation, it just seems a little cloying and uninteresting.
Red
Almost an exact year on from the drinking of the first bottle, I would repeat the words I used to describe that experience today. Full-bodied, meaty, dense and concentrated. You could put it up against many a more expensive Napa cab and it would not shrink from them.
White
Admittedly, a big chunk of this disappeared into a dish of Dulcie's creation, so my memory of it is somewhat limited. I was expecting a wine a little sweeter than what actually transpired, which I would characterize as just slightly off-dry. Pretty nice soft, fruity, light body, medium acidity.
Red
"This is really astringent" exclaimed Dulcie as she helped herself shortly after I had opened it. Indeed, I did not disagree on first sipping, but noted after about an hour a mellowing out. It is indeed quite a meaty wine, of an earthy rustic quality. We had purchased from an interesting English wine retailer who as a love of cabernet franc. For what that is worth. At the price it is very attractive and shone brightly when put beside some insipid fruity Californian concoction.
White
A Mavens offering: oft overlooked in the Willamette, the chardonnays there are making a name for themselves. Pale gold color, faintly floral oaky nose, medium body, nice balance of acidity and fruit - neither too tart nor too oaky. Enjoyable if not memorable.
Red
Gosh, time is moving on: some nine years on from the first of the two bottles. Got to say it was in pretty good nick. Dense color, inky dark purplish-red, sweet fruit, smooth and silky on the palate. Notable brambly fruits, blackberries and the like. I would extend the drinking window on this based on this experience.
Red
Methinks I have not been keeping track since I am pretty sure this is the last bottle but CT tells me I have three. If only that were true. Solid, dependable cab with pleasant concentration, forward fruit, softish tannins. It's easy drinking yet not unrewarding.
Rosé
The second bottle gone and I am quite sad. An excellent rose, drier, more complex than I would say the typical Provencal version. The color is almost orange in its pinkness. Dry and earthy, strawberry hues and an interesting complexity. Would buy again for sure at this price.
Rosé
I am honestly just guessing the consumption date here:
The color is almost orange in its pinkness. Quite dry and earthy almost, some somewhat muted strawberry but an interesting complexity that exceeds the norm for the typical rose genre. What I had written previously but I find it is quite accurate, given the trying circumstances of the earlier tasting.
White
Switching to all whites from Mavens now since we drink far more of these with meals than reds, which are far more numerous in the cellar. Pale gold color, pleasant floral oaky nose, medium body. moderate acidity, orchard fruit, some citrus, mouthfeel. All round very pleasant.
Red
2008 Château Montlisse St. Émilion Grand Cru Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
Second bottle in our star-crossed shipment from the little wine shop in St. Emilion. A fine presentation of the marque: verdant, earthy, dark berry fruit, some oak, firm structure. Not elegant but enjoyable.
Red
I do much like this wine. Sadly, the vendor from whence this came has bitten the dust. Will it now just be a memory? So much in common with Bordeaux, with wood and structure and leanness. There was much to discover, and all so reasonably priced.
Red
For once I am giving a less-than-effusive note on a White Rose wine - just so my critics cannot claim that I am biased or otherwise unduly influenced by the producer. In recent years it seems the pattern has been the even years show well initially but the odd years prevail long-term. This seems true here. While abundantly pleasant with copious cherry fruit, in all it was a little one-dimensional and perhaps indicating the best days were behind. Drink up people.
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White
2017 Clos des Lunes Lune d'Argent Bordeaux Sémillon-Sauvignon Blanc Blend (view label images)
Second bottle of this and again it delights completely: saline and mineral, dry yet with some citrus, moderate acidity. A great food-pairing wine but one that can be enjoyed tout seul as they say. Definitely one to buy again.
Red
2016 Château Saby Fronsac Merlot
This is not one of those Bordeaux for laying down and treasuring but a simple, well-rounded friendly wine for pleasant meals and evenings. Merlot-dominated. While fairly generous with fruit, it is still leaner and more balanced than the typical Californian alternatives, which I prefer. Sporting price.
White
Just recently collected from Hart Davis Hart in Chicago, I could not resist trying this "humble" bourgogne blanc from a storied producer. Here is proof that there is always more to know about a burgundy than just the name of the wine. Many are the bourgogne village wines that fail to sparkle and then there is this. You first notice it on the nose, which is quite effulgent - lovely floral, oaky notes. And then on the palate it is bracing and quite intense with tart citrus, minerality, great length. Oh I need more of this. Can I believe my good fortune that I paid a mere $41.65 for the pleasure?
White
Just recently collected from Hart Davis Hart in Chicago, I could not resist trying this "humble" bourgogne blanc from a storied producer. Here is proof that there is always more to know about a burgundy than just the name of the wine. Many are the bourgogne village wines that fail to sparkle and then there is this. You first notice it on the nose, which is quite effulgent - lovely floral, oaky notes. And then on the palate it is bracing and quite intense with tart citrus, minerality, great length. Oh I need more of this.
Red
Having sacrificed almost an entire Collusion on the altar of gastronomy, I was forced to open another. This was to hand and, to my surprise, was another Mavens acquisition from two years ago. I am not so familiar with the Santa Cruz mountains for pinot but, on this evidence, I should invest more time. Relatively pale clear ruby, medium body, medium-high acid; lots of tart red cherry, some leathery/smoky notes, good length. I enjoyed it.
Red
2016 Grounded Wine Co. Collusion Lewis-Clark Valley Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
Fully two thirds of this bottle went into a little beef number that Dulcie was creating, which meant that the wine cost of the dish far exceeded that of the very cheap cut of chuck that was used. Nonetheless, a very rich and thick sauce resulted. The remnants of the bottle proved to be lush, dense and satisfyingly chewy with ripe bramble fruit balanced with a spicy, meaty backbone. Perhaps another time I might be able to sample an entire bottle.
White
Just so happened that Dulcie had conjured up some little Asian number with all those spicy/sweet notes for which the Tzippy is well matched. I think I have said before that another producer near Hood River has a better alternative to this but I find it works quite well when coupled appropriately with food.
Red
At first I was a bit skeptical of this wine, my first from Irancy to my knowledge. In all likelihood the food was to blame, as it was completely antithetical to what was required. Later I was able to assess the true quality. Very pale ruby, fairly nondescript nose perhaps some earthy notes, moderate weight on the palate, notable acidity, strawberry and red cherry, lean. I was a convert and it would couple well with the right cuisine.
White
A Mavens offering: didn't recall trying this at the pickup party. Fine pale straw, mineral and ocean breeze on the nose, bright, saline, bracing acidity, refreshing. Quite nice
Red
A zinfandel one day a pinot noir the next as the drinking Porter Creek project continues. This is drinking very nicely right now. A pleasant clear ruby red, fairly muted on the nose, palate coating with ripe dark cherry fruit, mild acidity, minimal tannins, decent length.
Red
Having just returned from the Russian River, which included a visit to Porter Creek - always a pleasant experience, made a point to drink down the remaining bottles. This zinfandel is not a heavyweight by any means: deep purplish red moderate weight on the palate, some spicy smoky notes but mainly ripe brambly fruit and not overcooked at all. Pleasant if not memorable, which I think could go for many wines from this producer.
White
2016 AniChe Cellars Lizzy Columbia Valley White Blend (view label images)
Light Rhone-ish style, very dry, slightly nutty, mineral. A better food wine provided the latter is not overpowering or spicy. I think there are better options on the market in the similar style category; the Z-Blanc from Zaca Mesa comes immediately to mind.
Red
So this was the bottle from the vintage we did not try at the Binny's Italian tasting extravaganza. Deep ruby red: at first I had trouble determining why this had come into our possession as I was slightly underwhelmed by the experience. Methinks the 2015 was more impressive to have sparked our investment. Still, as the previous TN indicates, it's a decent food-friendly wine if of not great length.
White - Sparkling
Champagne vs The World (Maple and Ash Chicago, Illinois): Turns out I had this wine some nine years earlier. To wrap up the evening with the dessert was this somewhat off-dry champagne. Sweet sparklers can be pretty yucky but this has a lot more balance with a honeyed sweetness balanced with good acidity. I wouldn't start an evening with it but I can certainly finish it.
Rosé - Sparkling
Champagne vs The World (Maple and Ash Chicago, Illinois): Put up against a fine Leclerc-Briant rose champagne, this actually showed pretty well, though I am darned if I could provide any kind of objective description at this point. Pale pink, quite dry, moderate acidity.
Rosé - Sparkling
Champagne vs The World (Maple and Ash Chicago, Illinois): Third course brings on the rose champagnes and sparklers; at this point I am paying even less attention. A very pretty pale salmon pink, relatively dry, orchard fruit, moderate acidity. I don't recall a defining characteristic but it was good.
White - Sparkling
2017 Raventós i Blanc Blanc de Blancs Spain Macabeo-Xarello-Parellada Blend (view label images)
Champagne vs The World (Maple and Ash Chicago, Illinois): I cannot say that I lavished particular attention on this wine at that point of the evening when battling with Alaskan king crab legs was a higher priority - plus it paled in comparison with a 1er cru champagne. No shame in that I think.
White - Sparkling
Champagne vs The World (Maple and Ash Chicago, Illinois): The evening progresses as we encounter the Collet Blanc de Blancs. Always partial to the chardonnay-based champagnes I tend to be biased. It was perhaps my wine of the evening and it obliterated the non-champagne comparison that was cava.
White - Sparkling
N.V. Digby Fine English Non Vintage Brut England Chardonnay Blend, Chardonnay (view label images)
Champagne vs The World (Maple and Ash Chicago, Illinois): My second high-end English sparkler in a matter of weeks. I had heard of this Digby previously and was keen to sample it. A seriously good wine: we drank alongside a 2008 Veuve Brut and it compared very favorably. I thought maybe even a little more nuance: some fine earthy notes along with bright acidity.
White - Sparkling
Champagne vs The World (Maple and Ash Chicago, Illinois): While I may like to knock the major houses like Veuve because of all the marketing and branding, it is hard to fault the wines. A blend (I think with pinot noir predominant?) well balanced, orchard fruit, toast, elegance.
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White - Sparkling
Champagne vs The World (Maple and Ash Chicago, Illinois): Kicking off the evening at the Mavens Champagne v The World dinner to lubricate the guests before the formalities began. I had been under the impression that it was mean to be a Cremant d'Alsace and I really thought it was a good imitation of when I learned the truth. Fairly dry, some nutty minerality, decent acidity.
White
This wine again. I had recently opened it and Dulcie wanted some white, and I duly poured a glass. She gave me that look and asked, "Is this one of those natural wines?" The word "natural" being almost spat out in sheer disdain. I somewhat hesitatingly responded "yes" although technically unsure what qualifies as "natural." While it isn't exactly orange, it does have a deep burnt straw color. A slightly muddled aroma. Actually I was warming to the taste: very dry and earthy. If you are into Butterkissed by Cupcake you will not like this at all - but I could be persuaded.
Red
Pinot from the South African perspective: somewhat pale clear ruby red; high acidity and medium body, raspberry and cherry, a bit of greenness, overall a fair representation.
Red
Slightly annoying aspect of White Rose is the constant change of themes from one year to the next; it is hard to establish a clear line of comparison with successive vintages. Regardless, the wine is generally fine whatever the labels are chosen. 2013 was about clones. A sparklingly clear ruby, perfume quite pungent with baking spice. On the palate there is a hint of Nuit St. Georges - masculinity, though in this case somewhat restrained: grip and tannins with full body,
White - Sparkling
Dulcie's birthday and a humble little alliterating meal involving Popeye's and Pommery: what better combo: fried chicken and champagne? The Pommery was sourced from Mavens earlier this year. I know we overpaid but...we had fun. With so many champagnes to choose from among - as is so evident when one navigates a large tasting - this Pommery presents with full body, some brioche and yeasty quality, generous bead.
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