Tasting Notes for Blake Brown

(1,324 notes on 1,200 wines)

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Red - Fortified
1983 GOULD CAMPBELL VINTAGE PORT- 750 ml; the immediate hit on this wine was of intense alcohol, almost overbearing; I swirled repeatedly and waited and finally came back to approach this with a little less energy; now it brings on some fine cranberry/ black cherry fruit along with dark chocolate; its full bodied providing a mouthful of fortified fruit throughout.

A little about the winery: It was founded in 1797 by Garret Gould and was acquired by the Symington family in 1970 but is still run as a private family business today; its located in the Alto Douro area, where grapes produce Ports with great complexity and depth, Gould Campbell uses traditional methods and still tread their grapes by foot in the lagares.
Red
2000 Fontodi Chianti Classico Riserva Vigna del Sorbo Chianti Classico DOCG Sangiovese Blend, Sangiovese (view label images)
5/11/2018 - Blake Brown wrote:
flawed
2000 FONTODI VIGNA del SORBO CHIANTI CLASSICO RISERVA- Magnum; this was severely flawed with both Brett and VA character immediately apparent and table confirmed.
Red
2008 PLUMPJACK CABERNET SAUVIGNON RESERVE NAPA- Magnum; as far as I can remember, I’ve never had a PJ reserve cab and this was a good one to start with; young and vibrant, yet mellow and approachable, this had lovely fresh blackberry and black currant fruit with spice and milk chocolate accents; it was full bodied, had a silky smooth mouthfeel aided by the soft tannins and held on for a welcomed long finish.
Red
2013 CEDRIC PARPETTE MONTMAIN COTE-ROTIE- Magnum; Cedric Parpette is a younger vintner who took over duties from his father in law, Rene Fernandez, in the early 2000s. "Le Montmains" comes from old vines in the Côte Brune area; what I loved about the CdP was the pepper and spice accents which I rarely find to the extent in that region, but usually find and prefer in Cote-Rotie and Hermitage where more cool climate Syrah exists; this had what I wanted in spades; mucho pepper and spice to compliment the violets aromas and plum, blackberry and blueberry flavours with everything being in nice balance; another winner and my previously chosen WOTN just took another hit.
Red
1998 CHATEAU de BEAUCASTEL CHATEAUNEUF du PAPE- Magnum; well, I`m called the Donnhoff the WOTN and then comes 2 more that shine equally as brightly; this had my favourite taste profile for a N. Rhone, lots of pepper and spice, in fact so much so, I would not have got this to be CdP in a blind tasting; even the nose had more of a Syrah like aroma and this is a Grenache dominated wine which some of the spiciness [and a little of the pepper] could be attributed to; additionally, there’s some earthy red cherry/ berry fruit delivered in a silky soft texture which enhances the sensory experience; this wine is ready now seemingly fully matured which also may be due to the major portion of Grenache which, as I understand it, is prone to oxidation.
White
2014 FRANCOIS RAVENEAU PETIT CHABLIS- Magnum, which I believe was the only format used for this bottling; pale yellow green colour; the Donnhoff may have been overshadowed by this lovely wine; it was just the epitome of fine Chablis; I got nice mineral laden citrus notes with lemon most prominent from the nose through the tail; the mouthfeel was the bomb and overall, this just sang out a beautiful tune.
White
2011 DONNHOFF HERMANNSHOHLE GROSSES GEWAECHS RIESLING- Magnum; this was spectacular and maybe my WOTN, if not the magnum bottle shape of the night; someone made the comment, “top producer, top vineyard” and that pretty well sums it up; I got mild petrol, minerals and citrus in the nose followed by more distinct grapefruit notes that dominated gracefully to the back end; it had bright acidity and an oily texture to add to the sensory pleasures.
White
5/11/2018 - Blake Brown wrote:
flawed
2011 PIERRE-YVES COLIN-MOREY CORTON CHARLEMAGNE GRAND CRU- Magnum; this needed some time as the initial nose and sip was somewhat muted; later on, distinct, pleasant notes came forth including honeyed apple, pear, lemon, flint, honeysuckle and minerals; I expected it to be bigger and bolder, but it was medium bodied and expressed at best; I’m wondering if it was corked in the fashion of the bell curve analogy where the wet cardboard is not yet in play, but the wine is sapped of tis energy and the fruit is significantly less concentrated?
White
2013 Bonneau du Martray Corton-Charlemagne Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru Chardonnay (view label images)
2013 BONNEAU du MARTRAY CORTON-CHARLEMAGNE GRAND CRU- Magnum; from a severely reduced crop due to hail damage, this wine was made using their traditional 33% amount of new oak, but it was fairly well integrated and not evident on the palate; what was evident was a generous amount of matchstick flintiness, wet stone, lead pencil and minerals; it had a viscous texture which seemed to soften the steeliness just a bit.
2 people found this helpful Comment
White
2014 DOMAINE SAINT PREFERT CIUVEE SPECIALE VIEILLES CLAIRETTES CHATEAUNEUF du PAPE BLANC- Magnum; very rare, 1 of 600 magnums, the only format this was released in; 100% Clairette, 80-100-years-old vines, 15 hl/ha, fermented in one new demi-muid plus one new barrique and then aged for 24 months; it had a cloudy yellow gold; it seemed very advanced almost mindful of a cognac or sherry without evidence of high alcohol; it had honeyed grapefruit, mature peach and apricot notes with a bit of nuttiness.
1 person found this helpful Comment
White
2015 HARTFORD COURT FAR COAST VINEYARD SONOMA COAST CHARDONNAY- Magnum; tasted blind; the one who brought it purchased it for its recent high scoring Parker hype; this is very cool climate Chardonnay located on the coast; 14.7% abv; 100% French Oak with 37% new, aged for 16 months; it had a light yellow colour, fresh floral and citrus fruit aromas, lemon zest, pineapple and kiwi fruit with noticeable oak influence; later, I got some pine and vanilla notes as well.
1 person found this helpful Comments (4)
White - Sparkling
NV LAURENT-PERRIER BRUT- Magnum; this had clean, yellow colour as well as a clean, refreshing on the palate mouthfeel; it was slightly sweet with mostly citrus laden fruit, it had bright acidity and a nice degree of elegance; this was very easy to drink.
3 people found this helpful Comment
White - Sparkling
NV GONET-MEDEVILLE BLANC de NOIRS BRUT- Magnum; 1er Cru; 100% Pinot Noir fermented in stainless steel and small used barriques with the fruit coming from the 2011 vintage; pale salmon yellow colour; the first sip revealed a somewhat dry and tart bubbly with cherry and lemon curd most pronounced; in time, the profile changed to include spice and mineral infused orange and red raspberry along with a toasty element.
Rosé - Sparkling
NV FRANCK BONVILLE BRUT ROSE- Magnum; I`ve been a fan of this producer for many years, thanks to K&L`s Gary Westby who turned my on to them; I have particularly enjoyed the rose and in a magnum format, it is even a notch better; since they only grow Grand Cru Chardonnay, the Pinot Noir was sourced via a trade from Paul Dethune and blended into 92% Chardonnay; it had a light pink/red colour; the fruit profile is made up of red and black cherry and red raspberry along with a mild spicy component; its elegant, light and creamy on the palate, has nice acidity with all in perfect balance.
1 person found this helpful Comment
White - Sparkling
NV FORNY GRANDE RESERVE BRUT- from Vertus, 1er Cru; 80% Chardonnay, 20% Pinot Noir; Blind: the nose had really nice spicy citrus which gave way to creamy, rich lemon, lime and kiwi fully expressed and modestly sweetened; the sweetness was more pronounced past mid palate; it was full bodied and highly energetic
White - Sparkling
NV J. LASSALLE CASHET d`OR BRUT- 1er Cru; light yellow colour; 1/3 Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier; 8 g/l dosage; Blind: this had nice inviting aromatics suggestive of elegance and class; balance, bright acidity and stone fruit notes are hallmarks of this fine, entry level bubbly
White - Sparkling
NV GOSSET BRUT EXCELLENCE- Blind: this full bodied bubbly makes a statement from the nose through the tail; there’s a toasty component that flavors the pear, apple and peach fruit with a touch of caramel and ginger coming in late; this is very rich and complex with an unexpected generous amount of energy; 45% Pinot Noir (all from Grand and Premier Cru vineyards), 36% Chardonnay and 19% Pinot Meunier, including 24% reserve wines from two vintages. I learned that they also use a small amount of Fromenteau (Pinot Gris) Petit Meslier and Arbanne in this reserve wine.
An interesting fact about this house, which is considered to be a Grande Marques, is its small size having 50,000 cases a year total production which is about as much as Krug. Also surprising is that they have been making wine there since 1584 which places them as the oldest currently operating wine producer in Champagne.
White - Sparkling
NV PIERRE GERBAIS CELLES-sur-OURCE EXTRA BRUT- light yellow colour; Blind: the nose was somewhat muted, but the flavors jumped out of the glass giving toasty brioche accented baked apple notes delivered in a creamy rich texture; full bodied and with layered depth, this had much to offer
White - Sparkling
NV PAUL BARA RESERVE BRUT- grand cru; light yellow colour; Blind: I got more a mild hit of stone fruit in the aromatics, then sweet, as in honey, spicy and yeasty apple, citrus and pear notes; it`s full bodied with depth and complexity as well as really tasty
Rosé - Sparkling
NV GOSSET GRANDE BRUT ROSE- founded in 1584, Gossett is the oldest wine house in Champagne; another old fav that even included saving the dimpled black coloured bottles for candle holders for awhile; the colour was a cloudy medium amber; Blind: the bouquet suggested some serious fruit which is exactly what the taste profile included with sweet red cherry, blood orange, strawberry and citrus notes accented with a bit of spice; it was full bodied, had layered complexity snd a mouthful of cherries at the back end
Rosé - Sparkling
NV J. LASSALLE BRUT ROSE- 1er Cru; Blind: one of my favorite roses over the years and our house rose back in the late 90s and early 00s, this had a salmon pink hue, some nice spicy red fruit in the nose and much more on the palate with red raspberry and red cherry most evident; this bottle was sweeter than I remember past bottles being, but not to its detriment
Rosé - Sparkling
NV PIERRE GERBAIS CELLES-sur-OURCE BRUT ROSE- Blind: medium red colour; loads of red fruit in the nose followed by slightly sweetened wild cherry/ berry on the palate; medium bodied at best; it had a long, fruit laden finish
Rosé - Sparkling
NV MICHEL MAILLIARD CUVEE ALEXIA BRUT ROSE- 1er Cru; Blind: an unusual estate-bottled blend of 90% Chardonnay and 10% Pinot Noir, all which is red wine; it is vinified and aged for 8 months in stainless steel with no ML, then aged 4 years en tirage and finished as a true Brut with a 7g/l dosage; I thought this was Geoffroy Rose made via the Saignee method with its deep salmon-pink color; it was fruity good with slightly sweetened red cherry most prominent; although the fruit seemed to dominate mid palate, before and afterwards everything was in nice balance
Rosé - Sparkling
NV WARIS-HUBERT BRUT ROSE- Blind: from Avize, this is a new producer to me, I found this sweet and refreshing with a fruit profile that was dominated by fresh and ripe red raspberry; it was light in weight and body and sort of on the thin side; it had a copper red colour
White - Sparkling
11/11/2018 - Blake Brown wrote:
NV HENRI GOUTORBE CUVEE PRESTIGE BRUT- 1er Cru; Blind: the color was a bit darker than the others in this flight; the nose was immediately evident of oxidative notes and I know some of the champagne producers intentionally allow their wines to be more expressive this way; I mentioned it and this house as being one of those recalling a visit to the winery and a weeks stay at the Goutorbe`s locally owned hotel in Ay, Hotel Castel Jeanson; the more pronounced flavors included peach, apricot, almonds, caramel and butterscotch; the blend is 70% Pinot Noir, 25% Chardonnay and 5% Meunier
White - Sparkling
NV ROEDERER BRUT PREMIER- Blind: over the years, this entry level bubbly has satisfied many a palate including mine; it is a blend typically of around 40% Pinot noir, 40% Chardonnay, and 20% Pinot Meunier mostly sourced from estate vineyards and in fact, this is the only Roederer release not 100% estate sourced; it is matured in oak tuns, aged for 3 years and left for a minimum of 6 months after disgorgement; this bottle faced some stiff competition and it would have fared much better on its own; it was tangy and refreshing and was more stone fruit laden although there was evidence of citrus and apple; it was nicely rich and full bodied
2 people found this helpful Comment
White - Sparkling
NV HEIDSIECK & CO. MONOPOLE CHAMPAGNE BLUE TOP BRUT- what a surprise to find this as my best in the flight as I`d had it before and found it to be just so so; this bottle had a light gold colour, a toasty brioche and mildly fruity nose and a taste profile that consisted of apple, pear and fresh citrus, all with that toasty note in the background; it was full bodied, creamy rich and flavourful and held on for a pleasing finish
White - Sparkling
NV TAITTINGER LA FRANCAISE BRUT- Blind: 40% Chardonnay, 35% Pinot Noir and 25% Pinot Meunier from vineyards in 35 villages; it was fermented in stainless steel and blended with 30% reserve wines; I pegged this as a Bollinger Special Cuvee and was surprised to discover the amount of Pinot Meunier which really stayed in the background even at 25% of the total; pale yellow colour; hints of citrus in the nose with tangy, lemon curd on the palate; it had a nice mousse providing an incredibly soft mouthfeel, enhancing the body and aiding in all the treasures going to the back end with more weight
White - Sparkling
NV LAURENT-PERRIER LA CUVEE BRUT- Blind: pale yellow colour; the nose had mild spicy lemon and vanilla notes followed by really nice citrus fruit on the palate with lemon zest especially discernible; the spicy component actually stood out on the finish; this was noticeably sweet, had nice acidity and was very tasty
White - Sweet/Dessert
2007 Château Doisy-Védrines Sauternes Sémillon-Sauvignon Blanc Blend (view label images)
2007 CHATEAU DOISY-VEDRINE SAUTERNES- 375 ml; yellow gold with a green rim; some of that green colour was also evident in the taste along with honeyed citrus and stone fruit served up in a syrupy, thick substance; this needs time to evolve.
White - Sweet/Dessert
2001 Château Doisy-Védrines Sauternes Sémillon-Sauvignon Blanc Blend (view label images)
2001 CHATEAU DOISY-VEDRINE SAUTERNES- 375 ml; yellow gold colour; spicy, honeyed lemon, orange and pineapple flavours were delivered in an almost honey like texture.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2000 Château Lascombes Margaux Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
2000 CHATEAU LASCOMBES MARGAUX- fortunately, in this case after having a flawed version, a friend brought a 750 of the same wine and it was really good as expected, in fact, Parker and others considered this to be a break though wine for the Chateau followed up by many other fine vintages; this bottle was hallmarked by its beautiful balance, great mouthfeel and wonderful taste profile; I got a bit of toasty, earthy and liquorice accented black currant, black cherry and blackberry fruit; for most vintages, the composition of the Grand vin is 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot and 5% Petit Verdot.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2000 Château Lascombes Margaux Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
3/5/2018 - Blake Brown wrote:
flawed
2000 CHATEAU LASCOMBES MARGAUX- 2- 375 ml.; many years ago, I joined my buddy, the late Frank Crandall of the local Renegade Wines in trying to select good, but reasonable Bordeaux futures; after comparing barrel samples, we concluded this may have a good chance to perform and I opted for a case of 375 mls, 24 bottles; I`ve not opened any to date and thought this might be the perfect time to do so; both bottles were inundated with 4-ethylphenol, the barnyard expression of Brettanomyces; anyone want 22 375s ?
Red
2000 Château Pontet-Canet Pauillac Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
2000 PONTET CANET PAUILLAC- the colour was a dark, deep purple; the nose had mild, but enticing aromas followed by wild black and red fruit with some cedar, dried blackberry and plum notes; it was medium bodied at best, had a soft texture and nice, sustained, crescendoing finish; flash decanted.
3 people found this helpful Comment
Red
2000 Château Cos d'Estournel St. Estèphe Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
2000 CHATEAU COS d`ESTOURNEL SAINT-ESTEPHE- not decanted; it took a while for this bottle to open up and when it did, it gave up some nice treats; this is still very young and many years short of being fully mature; the initial earthy, mocha accented black currant moved out of the way and allowed for liquorice, smoke and cedar laced plum and blackberry to come in; it was full bodied, had plenty of depth and complexity and a long finish; nice Cos.
Red
2001 Château Ausone St. Émilion Grand Cru Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
2001 CHATEAU AUSONE SAINT-EMILION— in a word, awesome; this beautifully balanced wine promised good things just noticing its youthful and vibrant dark purple colour; the aromatics confirmed such and the taste took it a notch further; in the nose, I perceived pine, eucalyptus and slightly sweetened dark fruit which as packaged was so inviting; moving on, there was more of the same enhanced by its smooth and velvety texture which carried all of the treasures to the back end; I`m thinking WOTD at this point; decanted 3+ hours prior to serving.
Red
1990 Château Troplong Mondot St. Émilion Grand Cru Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
1990 CHATEAU TROPOLONG-MONDOT SAINT-EMILION- a fabulous wine from the nose through the tail; it had a deep, dark rich purple colour; in the nose and taste I got distinct plum, black currant and black cherry fruit along with liquorice, cedar and sandalwood.
White
2006 CHATEAU SUDUIRAUT S` de SUDUIRAUT BORDEAUX BLANC SEC- served blind, this had an interesting profile that turned out to be a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semilion made in an oxidative style which translated into nutty, butterscotch, peach, caramel and toffee delivered in a creamy, viscous texture.
Rosé - Sparkling
NV FALLET-DART BRUT ROSE- as expected from past indulgences, this nice rose had rich, tangy fresh red fruit flavours with a mouthful of red cherries most prominent; it was palate pleasing, refreshing and enjoyable.
Red
2013 FALL LINE WINERY ARTZ VINEYARD RED RED MOUNTAIN- love the name being a skier who ignored the fall line; a blend of 42% Cabernet Franc, 41% Merlot and 17% Cabernet Sauvignon; lovely wine with great mouthfeel with its silky smooth texture benefitting from the soft tannins; it had some talc infused black currant with a hint of leather; it was nicely balanced and quite elegant.
Red
5/3/2018 - Blake Brown wrote:
2016 TOIL OREGON [FIGGINS] PINOT NOIR WILLAMETTE VALLEY- When we attended a sibling to the bride`s college graduation last year at Whitman College in Walla Walla, WA, we visited Figgins Winery and tasted the 15` version of this wine as well as a few others; this is made by Chris Figgins, son of Gary who has done a masterful job crafting great wines under the Leonetti label; it`s made using 32% new French oak and 68% neutral French oak and aged 11 months in barrel; this bottle was extremely fruit forward with copious amounts of oak influence throughout; super ripe red cherry dominated the fruit profile with underlying wood and vanilla notes most evident.
White - Sparkling
NV NICOLAS FEUILATTE LIMITED EDITION BRUT RESERVE- I`ve long enjoyed this champagne and it served to be a credible start to our evening; this special edition was a holiday release and came in a beautiful, classy gold colour with a blue label inset; aged for 36 months, 21 beyond the normal minimum, it is comprised of a blend of a range of different crus; following the pale yellow colour came aromas of spicy pear, apple and kiwi which transmuted into delicious mildly spicy lemon, lime, green apple and pear on the palate; it was nicely balanced, had bright acidity and an element of elegance; it was the perfect champagne for this celebrative occasion.
White - Sweet/Dessert
HEINZ EIFEL BEERENAUSLESE [ba] LATE HARVEST- 375 ml; vintage unknown and not found on the label; honeyed pear, apple and citrus fruit is aided by butterscotch and spice accents; it had a chewy mouthfeel and a long, lingering finish
Red - Sweet/Dessert
1995 AVIGNONESI OCCHIO di PERNICE VIN SANTO di MONTIPULICANO- 375 ml; this was an amazing inky dark dessert wine that reminded me more of Smith Brothers Cough Drops flavoured with caramel and butterscotch; it was as thick as molasses and as sweet as one would ever desire; I did some research and found the cheapest price in a 375 ml format is $240 which is as astonishing as the wine.
Red
this was really good with generous amounts of fresh and ripe fruit and spicy accents to compliment; it`s full bodied, very complex and has amazing length; just in a few minutes in the glass, it kept changing and giving more and more; it had power and even in its youth, a noticeable degree of finesse; I got the requisite liquorice and leather notes, but it was the fresh and ripe red and black cherries that stood out; I heard this sells for around $50 and if that is so, it is a GREAT QPR.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
it was very young, but all of the redeeming attributes were there, but not yet in balance; it had massive aromatics and flavours including violets, rose petals, leather, spice, coffee and liquorice to compliment the red and black cherry fruit; the tannins are just easing up a bit although still a bit rough; it had so much energy, you could just sense it was hyperactive in the glass; this is a great wine and in 10 years, it will reach its apogee and all who venture in will be happy.
Red
1999 ROBERTO VOERZIO LA SERRA BAROLO- after a succession of outstanding reds, I`m thinking it can’t get any better than this and it just did here; following its deceivingly youthful pure dark purple colour came an onslaught of aromas and tastes that knocked it out of the park; it had leather, spice and coffee laden black fruit with a hint of tar, soft tannins, a rich and full body and layers upon layers unfolding providing considerable complexity; on top of all of that, it was in perfect balance
Red
2001 GAJA BARBARESCO- one of my favs of all Barbarescos, this was great as usual; youthful, exciting, highly energetic and soooo pleasing on the palate; first, there was a veggie, bell pepper note in the nose, but that was overwhelmed by amazing flavours of black cherry first and foremost and then a touch of plum, baking spices and liquorice came in to complete the deal; it was smooth and lush, full bodied and long; such a treat.
Red
2001 CONTERNO FANTINO SORI GINESTRA BAROLO bottle #2 of 2- it was interesting comparing the two bottles as this seemed much more ready in every way; the 3 hour decant evidently allowed this to evolve and expand to a point of readiness; equally fabulous, this was nicely balance, seemed more complex with layers of depth, had beautiful flavours and as with the first bottle, it obviously needs more time to mature and come together.
Red
2001 CONTERNO FANTINO SORI GINESTRA BAROLO bottle #1 of 2- I had many choices to pull out of the cellar, had my hands on anther bottle and decided this was the winner; about 1/3 into our dinner and before the reds were passed around, we discovered we had duplciate; I pulled the cork about 3 hours earlier whereas the other bottle was decanted about 3 hours earlier and there was some initial differences, but after time, they melded into the same fabulous wine and I realised it would have been far better for me to decant; I got a hit of toast in the nose followed by lots of black cherry which finished dry and initially a little hot; in time, it all mellowed out and showed beautifully albeit too young; give it 10 more years at least.
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