Comments on my notes

(59 comments on 49 notes)

1 - 49 of 49 Sort order
Red
2015 Antoine Sanzay Saumur-Champigny Les Poyeux Cabernet Franc
1/13/2018 - bretrooks wrote:
Not decanted, consumed over ~2 hours. Lean, clean, dark-fruited, just a little meaty/smoky, maybe a bit of brush, very little pyrazine-type green (which I appreciate). This is showing somewhat taut and simple at the moment, but we liked the overall balance, and I suspect this has some life ahead. Seems fairly priced to me at ~$17.
  • bretrooks commented:

    9/26/19, 5:48 PM - It was the Poyeaux - Wine Exchange had this at $17 for a handful of months back in late 2017. Prices really have jumped quite a bit since then, haven't they... Looks like I made a mistake drinking my two as early as I did, since they were nice enough but really not showing much at the time. Ah well, live and learn.

Red
2015 Antoine Sanzay Saumur-Champigny Les Poyeux Cabernet Franc
5/29/2018 - bretrooks wrote:
Not decanted, consumed over ~1 1/2 hours at room temp. This is very much in line with the bottle from 1/13/2018. The balance is good and I like the overall feel of the wine, although there is a sense of simpleness and it seems closed. Hard to say whether this will open up with time or just coast for a few years, but it's nice enough right now, if a little lacking in personality.
  • bretrooks commented:

    5/30/18, 8:28 AM - Could be, Tim. Based on my very limited experience with aged Loire, it's hard for me to tell if it has enough character to be worth holding onto. My wife thought it was fine but wasn't really enthusiastic about it, so I probably won't be reloading to find out.

  • bretrooks commented:

    12/31/18, 8:36 AM - Wow, I see that now. Wine Exchange had this in stock at $17 for about a year but I only ever bought a couple. I liked them well enough...just didn't find them especially remarkable at the time. Bad timing, perhaps, or maybe just my limited Loire experience, since the most recent note makes it sound like this has transformed. Cheers (and happy new year)!

White
2016 L'Union Sacré Gewürztraminer Belle de Nuit Santa Barbara County
6/10/2017 - Ben Christiansen wrote:
98 points
Mineral and some earthy funk on the nose with the gewurtz perfume buried underneath. And some power on the back.
  • bretrooks commented:

    11/12/18, 3:42 PM - I know this is an old note, but I just ran across this wine and saw your 98-point score. Is that a typo, or is this something pretty special? I'd be curious to know, if you have a minute to comment. Cheers!

White
2015 Domaine de Bellivière Jasnières Les Rosiers Chenin Blanc
10/29/2018 - RajivAyyangar wrote:
84 points
MNB: Riesling vs. Chenin: (blind)

Pale gold.
Aromatics aren't super distinctive - maybe a hint of honey / botrytis. Notable oxidation - yellow and slightly bruised apple.
On the palate - 20g/L (actually 25g), slight frizzante, 13% alcohol (actually 12%), high acid. Very confused:

Riesling - Alsace Grand Cru (would be dry-er) or Spatlese (would have lower alcohol).
Vouvray Demi-Sec - makes sense.

Final call: 2013 Vouvray Demi-Sec.
Actual: 2015 Les Rosiers Jasnieres
Analysis: I was pretty close on this! Not bad - a bit premoxed, but otherwise correct.

Loire Chenin is often oxidative in style. This was more apple-driven than I’d consider typical. Especially at such a young age.
  • bretrooks commented:

    10/30/18, 4:14 PM - Thanks for the note! I think the oxidation is part of the style here, a little like what Joly does (well, based on reputation and the one bottle I've tried). I bought a bottle of this after enjoying a 2011 Bellivière Coteaux du Loir Vieilles Vignes Eparses at Passionfish this summer - definitely some oxidized musky apple notes going on, but it somehow brought out something delicious in every dish we had there. Go figure. Cheers...

Rosé
2016 Tercero Mourvedre Rosé Santa Barbara County
5/29/2018 - brigcampbell wrote:
Mourvedre based Rosé? The best. This stands with any rose on the planet. The good news it's made by a great guy and love supporting the cause. Complex aromas of earth and leather with ripe apricot and peach. Fresh cut peaches and a little grit for good measure.
  • bretrooks commented:

    5/29/18, 5:57 PM - 55 points with that note? Tough grader!

  • bretrooks commented:

    5/29/18, 6:12 PM - Figured as much - been there done that. Glad to hear it's still showing so well. Larry's holding some for me, and I need to get down there to pick them up.

Red
2004 R. López de Heredia Rioja Reserva Viña Bosconia Tempranillo Blend, Tempranillo
11/4/2016 - bretrooks wrote:
flawed
Decanted 2+ hours. Slightly slightly corked, just enough for me to notice it wasn't correct. I thought my palate might just have been off, but then I detected a subtle whiff of cardboard about halfway through the glass and couldn't shake the impression after that. Not corked enough to make it undrinkable for our guests (who are not inexperienced with wine), but still a little bit sad.
  • bretrooks commented:

    4/16/18, 11:55 AM - In the grand scheme of things, my percentage of corked bottles is pretty low...but still, it's not zero. While I admit an aesthetic affinity for natural cork, it's hard to argue with screwcaps.

Red
2013 Il Bosco di Grazia Brunello di Montalcino Sangiovese
Benvenuto Brunello 2018, Montalcino centro; 2/16/2018-2/19/2018 (Montalcino): (Benvenuto Brunello, 2018, Montalcino) A new producer for me, and I can see why, it's a tiny production of ~ 3,000 bottles. After the initial fermentation in stainless steel, the wine is allowed to macerate for an additional 30 days. After, the wine is raised in large Slavonian casks for ~ 2 1/2 years, then some bottle refinement. Traditionally styled, with good purity showing through even if it's a bit timid today. Nonetheless, give this a few more years of rest, some prior aeration, and enjoy with a proper meal. Good>very good. 2021-2036+ recommended

https://www.ItalianWine.blog
  • bretrooks commented:

    4/13/18, 8:42 AM - Tim - I just saw that the 2015 Rosso from this producer is at K&L at an attractive price. Any experience with that one? I may pick up a couple, assuming that the traditional styling extends to that bottling as well.

  • bretrooks commented:

    4/13/18, 9:00 AM - Thanks for the input, Tim!

    I'd suggest putting your feet up and kicking back with a glass of wine to rest, but I'm not sure that's quite the thing after a string of long days of tasting... Hope you find all the hard work and time away to be rewarding.

Red
2015 Domaine Lafage Côtes du Roussillon Bastide Miraflors Syrah Blend, Syrah
3/10/2018 - bretrooks wrote:
Not decanted, consumed over ~1 1/2 hours. Seemed a little bit closed to me, but it opened a bit with some air. Simple but rich dark red fruit, a bloody note, some oak influence, something ever so slightly medicinal on the finish. Ok acidity, very subtle tannins, a touch of heat showing. Decent QPR for a cocktail-type wine. My grenache-loving wife liked this more than I did...I thought it was ok for the style, but probably not enough so to rebuy.
  • bretrooks commented:

    3/16/18, 1:39 PM - I suppose it could be a low-level flaw combined with the dense fruit. I do seem to be sensitive to certain types of sulphur faults. Cheers!

Red
2012 C.V.N.E. (Compañía Vinícola del Norte de España) Rioja Viña Real Reserva Tempranillo
2/17/2018 - Pjjt wrote:
50 points
Nice bouquet, deep red, woody taste
  • bretrooks commented:

    2/20/18, 4:00 PM - Hi, Pjjt, and welcome to CellarTracker! The 50-point score you list here is at the very bottom of the scoring scale and doesn't seem to be in line with your impression. Check out the community notes on wine scoring here: https://support.cellartracker.com/article/49-tasting-notes-and-ratings

    Hope that's helpful!

Rosé
2016 Tercero Mourvedre Rosé Santa Barbara County
1/14/2018 - bretrooks wrote:
Consumed over ~2 hours with & after grilled salmon, starting at cool room temp and slowly warming. This has developed a little bit in the months since our last note but remains seriously compelling - watermelon or red raspberry with something like peach/mango in the mix, good citrus acidity, medium plus weight, lovely nose. Top-notch CA rosé, drinking well now.
  • bretrooks commented:

    1/15/18, 1:32 PM - I picked up just a few bottles last year, and this was my last. I'm weighing January purchase options and am thinking I may have to grab a few more while he's running his futures deal. Happy new year, Tim!

Red
2005 Domaine Paul Autard Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée La Cote Ronde Red Rhone Blend
12/26/2017 - grafstrb wrote:
-- tasted non-blind on Days 1, 2, and 5 --

Very tannic, medium-big, and not terribly complex on Days 1 and 2. Day 5 rolled around and I figured I'd have a little taste before dumping the rest down the drain ... Yo! Hey now. This is what CdP is all about! Black tea, mineral, garrigue, tobacco, plum, still some light tannin hanging around. Medium bodied. This wine epitomizes the general rule that big-time CdP's fall asleep around the 10 year mark. Hands off for now. Patience will be rewarded here. I see this in the low to mid 90's further down the line. Excellent.
  • bretrooks commented:

    12/30/17, 9:55 AM - Thanks for the note, Brian. I was considering taking my lone bottle of this to a dinner next Friday, but I think I'll leave it alone and look elsewhere. Merry Christmas & happy new year!

Red
2013 Brancaia Tre Toscana IGT SuperTuscan Blend
10/27/2017 - Bin707LoversDetroit Likes this wine:
89 points
Very interesting. When a writer has a feeling about a wine, an amateur writer like us, it's so reaffirming when it's already laid out there by another...

On 8/17/2017 - BRETROOKS wrote... "...this one had a bit of burnt rubber to it which receded over time but never fully went away..." And before we saw BRETROOKS review, we kept thinking, it had a nose of freshly polished, boot leather...

This wine's flavor was way better than its nose! We'd say, an 89.5 but round down... A really high B+ just the olfactory away from an A-... It kept it from being a very well balanced wine for us.

We bought 4 or 5 bottles after a tasting in September. Not like us to only put a bottle down for a month, but we knew these were down there and we KNEW they were GOOD and already 4- nearly 5 years aged...

So we cracked it, with LOTS of yummy cheeses, our homemade sausages, grapes and crackers...

The bottle did not last the length of our Sideways DVD (again)... "Are you chewing GUM?!?!?" So Funny!!!

We will hold the next one of these for at least six months.

It's a really tasty wine! Body thin, nose off, but taste & flavor a winner!
  • bretrooks commented:

    10/28/17, 12:02 PM - Very glad yours showed well, and I hope your other bottles do the same! Ours seem to have been uneven, but who knows - I might just be hypersensitive to certain types of funkiness. We have one more, and I'll open it with boot polish in mind to see how that lines up with what we smell. Cheers!

Red
2012 Castellare di Castellina I Sodi di S. Niccolò Toscana IGT Sangiovese Blend, Sangiovese
Consistent with the taste of a few weeks ago, but this time I got to spend some hours with it, and have it with a meal. The main takeaway here, for my palate: wait, at least a few years. Yes, it's delicious now, but really, opening one today is to miss out on many good things to come. Thru 2025. highly recommended

https://www.ItalianWine.blog
  • bretrooks commented:

    10/3/17, 5:55 PM - Psst... This was just recently marked down to $29.99 a bottle at K&L, in case you need some. Based on your notes, I'm thinking about grabbing one or two when I make an order later this week.

  • bretrooks commented:

    10/4/17, 8:44 AM - Turnabout's fair play...you're the one whose note is making me buy some :p
    Hope things are well with you, Tim.

Rosé
2016 La Ferme Julien (Perrin & Fils) Rosé France Rosé Blend
7/28/2017 - bretrooks wrote:
Two small glasses consumed distractedly while warming from fridge temp to cool room temp. General impressions: medium-bodied, medium acid, dry, nondescript red fruits and some floral elements. Unmemorable, maybe, but satisfying enough at $7.
  • bretrooks commented:

    7/29/17, 3:43 PM - Hmm, W-S doesn't show much of the Bieler in CA, and I don't see it at any of the online stores I order from, but I'll keep an eye out for it. Hope all is well, Tim!

White - Fortified
N.V. Terrassous Rivesaltes Hors d'Age 6 Ans Grenache Blanc
6/6/2017 - CranBurgundy wrote:
86 points
The nose is very brandy-ish. It's more like a liqueur than wine, and the alcohol seems much higher than 16% shown on the bottle. Not quite as nut flavored as I was expecting either. There's some peach and apricot with honey hiding behind the alcohol.

Maybe it needs some air as other sweet wines do, so I'll evaluate over a few days before scoring.

It did get a little better over a couple nights, and a hint of nuts joined the mix while the alcohol burn settled down a bit. Overall, a decent bottle but nothing I'll go out of my way to stock.
  • bretrooks commented:

    6/8/17, 12:48 PM - Interesting to see your impression on this - was your bottle labeled "Réserve Privée" like the one I found? The version we had wasn't nutty either, but I didn't pick up a impression of heat or brandy-ness. Just curious to see if it's a different bottling or if there's just some bottle or palate variation. Cheers!

Red
2014 Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco Nebbiolo
Stunning. Tasted today during the Grandi Langhe event in Neive. In a room full of Barbaresco wines from dozens of producers, showing many vintages (to show a vertical context), this wine was in a category all its own. Electric was the word that kept repeating in my head, this is so fresh, so balanced. This may be my favorite new release classico in the past decade; likely even more than that. It's thrilling. Medium-bodied with great cut, the layers of red fruit come with plenty of citrus and pomegranate/strawberry aromas and flavors. If you're a fan of this house, I strongly suggest you consider multiple cases. May well end up being one of those wines that's always going to be on point; a life of 20+ years should be no problem at all. A masterpiece of freshness, structure and elegance. highly recommended+

https://ItalianWine.blog
  • bretrooks commented:

    4/3/17, 11:31 AM - Thanks for the note, Tim! Glad to get some advance notice on a promising affordable bottle of nebbiolo. Any other general comments or noteworthy bottles from non-washed-out areas (including Gattinara, Ghemme, etc.)?

Red
2014 Benanti Etna Rosso Etna DOC Nerello Blend, Nerello Mascalese
11/27/2016 - bretrooks wrote:
89 points
Opened, tasted, and then saved to consume with dinner the next day (not decanted). Light-to-medium-bodied with firm acidity, showing tart cherry/raspberry/cranberry fruit, a background layer of dried herbs/spice, and an earthy note like dust, humus, or mushroom. There's also definitely some of that ash/mineral/metallic element that I've gotten in Etna nerellos before. Quite nice for the price, and seems like it will be versatile with food for the next handful of years at least. 89ish for now with definite upside.
  • bretrooks commented:

    12/6/16, 9:46 PM - $17 at Wine Exchange last month - they still have some in stock.

White
2015 Freie Weingärtner Wachau / Domäne Wachau Grüner Veltliner Terrassen Federspiel
10/3/2016 - grafstrb wrote:
91 points
-- opened 1.5 hours before first taste --
-- tasted non-blind over a couple hours --

NOSE: medium+ expressiveness; strong mineral tone set against a backdrop of lemon/lime peels; not complex.

BODY: green-yellow color of medium-light depth; tiny bit of spritz; medium-light bodied.

TASTE: 12.5% alc. not noticeable; medium+ acidity; a bit zippy; strong mineral, especially on the finish, which is medium-long and of medium-strong intensity; tropical --- coconut/lime/gooseberry; better than usual for this bottling --- did Austria get some of Germany's 2015 magic?; very nice, and I will happily buy again for $17; drink in the near term, as this seems open and not complex.

50, 5, 12, 17, 7 = 91
  • bretrooks commented:

    10/14/16, 9:25 AM - This just showed up at Wine Exchange for $13...found your note while looking into it & thought I'd mention it. Hope all is well!

  • bretrooks commented:

    10/27/16, 2:58 PM - Not at this point...we haven't been going through many whites lately & I haven't actually made an online order in a while. 'Tis the season, though, and there's a case to be filled, so I might grab at least one.

Red
2012 CT Barrel Project Syrah Bacchus Syrah Bacchus Vineyard Columbia Valley
3/20/2016 - bretrooks wrote:
My first one of these. Decanted ~4 hours, consumed over ~2 hours. The nose was fairly expressive at first but gradually closed down for the evening, showing thin dark fruit with whiffs of baking spices and something metallic. On the palate, this was definitely "big syrah," weighty and dark with blackberry preserve/black cherry fruit, dark chocolate, and hints of oak and something like clove or anise coming through on the finish...not too much funk or meatiness in this bottle. Smooth tannins, modest acidity, a noticeable bit of burn from the alcohol, but maybe not as much as I expected from the listed 15.9%.

Given the density and heat of the style, food pairing seems tricky, limiting its appeal for me. However, it's well-made in that style, works as a (big) cocktail wine, and I definitely know folks who will appreciate it when I open this for them. I may try a longer decant on the next one to see what that does for it.
  • bretrooks commented:

    3/22/16, 8:52 AM - I think this fares better on the tannins front than the acid front...there might not be enough for extended aging, but a bit more time in bottle definitely couldn't hurt. Still, this will never not be big. :)

Red
2011 Quinta de Foz de Arouce Vinho Regional Beiras Tinto Red Blend
1/10/2016 - bretrooks wrote:
89 points
Not decanted, consumed over 2 1/2 hours. Dark and rich but also poised and delicious, in its way. A welcome acidity lifts the palate, keeping notes of blackberry/black currant and baking chocolate from becoming too brooding. I like this and am glad I took a chance on it...might have to pick up some more. 89ish, and I don't have experience with the baga grape, but I expect this will drink well for at least the next 2-3 years.
  • bretrooks commented:

    1/11/16, 10:06 AM - I found it for $16.49 at my local Costco, of all places, and I was quite happy with it at that price. The more I think about it, the more I think at least a couple more will be coming home with me at some point. Happy new year, Tim!

Red
2011 Clos Saint Jean Châteauneuf-du-Pape Red Rhone Blend
12/14/2015 - Pknut wrote:
Not my style of CdP. This is big, syrupy and overly alcoholic. In fact, I really didn't enjoy drinking this. At Barbounia.
  • bretrooks commented:

    12/17/15, 4:45 PM - Agreed, not my style either, but I can definitely think of friends and family who would be happy if I opened my last one for them. The glass I had from our recent bottle showed big and ripe but not hot...sounds like your experience was different.

White
2013 Ruth Lewandowski Wines Grenache Gris Naomi Gibson Ranch Mendocino County
I picked a few of these up exactly one year ago, and I've been waiting for the right opportunity ever since. Well, tonight was that opportunity, as I wanted to enjoy it with friends as much for their reactions to the wine as my own. Having said that, this is a food wine, and as a further qualifier, a wine-geek's food wine. I found plenty to admire here, though it did require some careful inspection, my friends, less so. Either way, delicious starter wine; I will probably finish my remaining bottle within the next 12 months. A quality effort. For more detailed notes, see bretrooks's excellent reviews. 12,7% abv, recommended (for AFWE only).

Double decanted for one hour, served non-blind 3 hours later.
  • bretrooks commented:

    8/20/15, 3:27 PM - Haven't had time to browse through tasting notes this summer...just saw that you got around to opening this one. Glad you enjoyed it, although I'm not surprised to see it wasn't a crowd-pleaser, since it's far from being either fruit-driven or off-dry.

Red
2011 Kirkland Signature Chianti Classico Riserva Chianti Classico DOCG Sangiovese
6/6/2015 - bretrooks wrote:
87 points
Not decanted, opened 30 minutes before pouring out & consumed over ~2 hours. No great depth, perhaps, but this is a solid wine with everything in its proper place for a baseline CCR - not-too-ripe cherry fruit, a bit of woody/peppery spice, decent structure & balance to work with food and maybe last a few years. Made by Villa Cafaggio, this is an excellent weeknight/cellar defender option at <$9.

P.S. Consistent notes from bottle #2...still solid, although I'm a maybe a little less enthusiastic about it overall. Still worth picking up a little more, which we recently did.
  • bretrooks commented:

    6/9/15, 8:59 AM - Tony, you've got the right idea - "cellar defender" refers to an economical but satisfying wine to keep around for lesser occasions, staving off the temptation to drink more age-worthy or treasured bottles in your collection. I'm not sure where I first came across the phrase, but I'm pretty confident it was online.

Red
2012 CT Barrel Project Syrah Upland Syrah Upland Vineyard Yakima Valley Snipes Mountain
4/26/2015 - bretrooks wrote:
Decanted ~1 hour before consuming over 2-3 hours. This needed the air we gave it, as it started off relatively closed (especially on the nose) and was just waking up at the time the first pours went into glasses.

Medium-to-deep ruby/purple in the decanter. Slightly roasted dark berry fruit, peppery spice, and a distinct saline element were fairly constant, while notes of meat, dark chocolate, and black licorice came and went in intensity. Nice persistence, and there seems to be good potential for more depth to develop. Not as 'huge' as I expected from the high listed alcohol content, although there is just a touch of heat and a little unintegrated acidity as well. Tannins struck me as mild and smooth.

Time in bottle to integrate and develop should be beneficial, although this drinks well enough now with air given its youth and scale. Still, I suspect that I'll never find out the extent of the drinking window on this, since ours will be gone before we hit the far end of it.
  • bretrooks commented:

    4/28/15, 9:18 AM - Thanks, Tim...I'm sure a couple of bottles will make it into my (small, full) wine fridge for longer-term storage, but the others certainly won't make it a decade. Glad to know I can rely on the kindness of others!

Red
2010 Casa Emma Chianti Classico Chianti Classico DOCG Sangiovese Blend, Sangiovese
While I find the wine to be approachable now, I can't say I find it too interesting. A serviceable table wine that showed much better (fuller, more aromatic complexity) on night #2. In addition, I've opened 3 bottles in the past week and have noticed a fair degree of bottle variation. Very traditional in style and composition, but not austere or bitter in any way; very much in the red-fruited vein. Notwithstanding all of that, I recommend letting these rest for a few more years. 13,5% abv., recommeded

https://italianwine.blog/
  • bretrooks commented:

    3/27/15, 11:13 AM - Y'know, this guy left a comment on my note from last year agreeing that these need a few years..."Five years, minimum" he said. Sounds like you're in agreement. ;)

Red
2005 Domaine Paul Autard Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée La Cote Ronde Red Rhone Blend
3/7/2015 - Tim Heaton wrote:
After the experience with the bottle I opened just 5 weeks ago, I really didn't see the point in taking up space unnecessarily with this final bottle. While it's my preference to put some age on wines in general, there are the exceptions - wines that show much better in their youth; this appears to be one of those exceptions. Held since release, this was charmless. Again. Well composed, technically, but absent the verve and nuance I'm always looking for. If you've got some, and you haven't checked (at all?) in a while, I recommend doing so. Medium-bodied, avg acidity, red fruited; no complexity. 14,5% abv (fully resolved). Drink now.
  • bretrooks commented:

    3/7/15, 10:09 AM - Sorry to hear that this disappointed. My one bottle of this was the first I ever intentionally bought for aging, and it sounds like its time has come...maybe even come and gone?

White
2013 Ruth Lewandowski Wines Grenache Gris Naomi Gibson Ranch Mendocino County
9/7/2014 - bretrooks wrote:
91 points
Consumed over 2+ hours. Pale peachy-pink in the glass, with an almost-imperceptible effervescence upon pouring, just a hint of secondary fermentation. The nose makes me think of a dry rosé, reserved and more floral or pithy than anything else. On the palate, this is medium in weight and shows some white Rhone waxiness alongside plenty of lemon/grapefruit zip and an intriguing background note of rhubarb or almost-ripe strawberry. Delightful and unusual stuff, and I'm glad to have another.
  • bretrooks commented:

    9/8/14, 5:56 PM - Tim, I'm curious to hear what you think after you open yours. It wasn't a good match for the cedar-planked salmon I made (it wanted something brighter and/or more savory than the spice preparation I used), but I enjoyed it quite a bit anyway.

  • bretrooks commented:

    9/8/14, 9:11 PM - That sounds promising to me. I had also been thinking that salty cured meat might be a good match for when we open our other bottle...not sure in what form, though.

  • bretrooks commented:

    11/2/14, 8:41 PM - Tim, based on the body and acidity, I do think this should last at least a few years, although I don't know what to expect as to how it might improve or decline. I have minimal experience with aging white rhones, and aside from one or two which were in a shut down phase, my impression is that I prefer them on the younger side.

    I do think that this is a great choice if you're looking for something to open for another inquisitive wine geek. Plus, BWO still has them in stock, so if you open this and like it, you can always grab another...I am thinking of adding at least one more since I'm in process of filling another case there.

White
2012 Tercero Roussanne Camp 4 Vineyard Santa Ynez Valley
10/13/2014 - Ridgerunner Likes this wine:
90 points
I really like this wine... but mis-matched it with dinner!
  • bretrooks commented:

    10/13/14, 10:07 PM - Do tell...what was the mis-match, and based on this experience what might you recommend as a better pairing?

Red
2006 Bodegas Palacio Rioja Glorioso Reserva Especial Tempranillo
6/22/2014 - bretrooks wrote:
88 points
Not decanted, consumed over 2+ hours. Tart black cherries and neutral oak influence, hints of dust and leather, a little tight and dilute overall at this stage. This could integrate and improve over the next couple of years, but at the moment it pretty much comes off as a straightforward example of old school-leaning reserva Rioja. I enjoyed this well enough, but I probably won't seek out more. 87-88.
  • bretrooks commented:

    6/24/14, 9:37 AM - I'll keep it on my radar...thanks for the tip!

Red - Fortified
1996 Quinta do Vesuvio Porto Vintage Port Blend
1/11/2014 - Tim Heaton wrote:
Slow-O 4 hours, served non-blind. Held since release, cork soaked nearly half. Fully mature medium ruby color, faded all the way to the rim. Initial aromas are a bit troubling (as is the color), with some VA, play-doh, bright raisin, prune, walnut, and hot stones. The 20% abv is there, but it's nicely folded into the background. First taste -- oh yeah, this is ready, fully (AndyV you were spot on). I'm thinking the acids are going to outlive the fruit here, but that works for me this evening as I'm really not in the mood for a fruity, in-your-face jam and etOh fest. I'm going to serve this at cellar temp (58F) and follow it from that point. I'll update this note if anything interesting develops. Drink now.
  • bretrooks commented:

    1/12/14, 7:01 PM - Thanks for the good note, Tim...seems like I should plan to drink our bottle of this sooner rather than later. Do let us know how it's doing by the end of the bottle (if it's not gone already).

Red
2010 Antonio Vallana e Figlio Spanna Cuvee Bernardo Vallana Piemonte DOC Nebbiolo
12/22/2013 - bretrooks wrote:
89 points
Not decanted due to lack of decanter, consumed over 1 1/2 hours. Should have given this more air - upon opening, this was fairly tart and structured, showing a bit of oaky, slightly smoky/herbal character but not a lot else. After an hour or so, some red fruit started (just started) to reveal itself, with the familiar tarry notes coming forward as well.

Given some air, this is nice enough now, but my main impression is one of future potential; I'll be sitting on my other one for a while, although I'd have to defer to others for guesses about long-term development. By the end of our meal last night, 89-90ish for this bottle, likely higher in a few years.
  • bretrooks commented:

    12/23/13, 9:17 AM - Thanks for the tip! Happy holidays...

  • bretrooks commented:

    1/3/14, 12:33 PM - I do and I did...thanks for flagging that, Tim!

Red
2009 Daou Vineyards Micho Paso Robles Red Blend
1/2/2014 - fingers wrote:
86 points
Notes after 12 hours of slow-O. Very dark ruby/purple color, about 90% opaque with big heavy legs. Light sediment. High octane nose of cherry and strawberry jam, paint, licorice, and forest floor. Big body, soft but plentiful tannins and the right amount of acidity for near-term drinking. Bold and hot (15%) with extra umami and pork fat. Dominated by the red fruit flavors. No holds barred on this very typical example of Paso ripeness. Really reminds me of Tobin James style. No restraint or elegance, so if you're into big fruit bombs, have at it. 4+10+15+7 = 86
  • bretrooks commented:

    1/2/14, 10:22 AM - Sorry to hear about this showing, as I have a bottle of this that was gifted to me a couple years ago. I seem to remember it being enjoyable the one time I had it in the tasting room...maybe I should have opened it back then. Ah well, if nothing else, at least I have a good idea of which friends/family might enjoy it now.

    Happy new year!

Red
2001 Tolo Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Paso Robles
12/11/2013 - kenhoeve wrote:
95 points
Pop and pour into decanter. Freaking delicious. No signs of age in color or on the palate, this bottle is immortal. Fresh berries, stem and forest floor, bubblegum, perfume/florals, black currant, cedar, exotic spices. Round and full, with good proportion and excellent line. Medium long finish of perfume, berries, and tannic grip. This will make old bones, the tannins and the acid are still there, and the bottle still is not throwing much if any sediment. Hands down, classic cab for the princely sum of $35. More notes to come...
  • bretrooks commented:

    12/12/13, 8:45 AM - Glad to hear this was firing on all cylinders for you...and glad also that I was able to finagle a trade with Josh for one last bottle earlier this year! Hope all is well.

Red
2010 Bodegas Volver Tempranillo La Mancha Single Vineyard
11/17/2013 - bretrooks wrote:
85 points
Not decanted, consumed over ~2 hours. Dark, dense, and extracted, with notes of cooked cherries, oak, anise, and smoke. Decent acid and mouth-coating, slightly drying tannins which make for a longish but chewy finish. Reminded me of several wines we've had from Paso Robles.

It overpowered our dinner and seemed over the top to us, but if you're a fan of dense, oaky reds, it might be a good QPR for you...feel free to mentally adjust the score accordingly.
  • bretrooks commented:

    11/18/13, 12:19 PM - :)

    I usually give a wine a few points for being competently made in its style even when it's not to my preference. <80 for me usually flags a wine as undrinkable or close to it, and we did make our way through this with some level of (oak-mitigated) enjoyment.

    Yeah, maybe 85 is a couple/few points high for reflecting my personal enjoyment, but my wife liked it a bit more than I did, and I know people I'd recommend it to who will think this is fantastic, so that's the extremely non-analytic number I felt like throwing at it this morning.

  • bretrooks commented:

    11/18/13, 1:54 PM - Tim, I got it and was smiling while typing my comment too, despite the dry writing. Looking forward to hoisting another glass or three together someday...

Red
2008 Passopisciaro Sicilia Passopisciaro Nerello Mascalese
11/2/2013 - bretrooks wrote:
90 points
Not decanted, consumed over 2+ hours, mostly with a lamb dinner which in retrospect probably called for a heftier wine. Also, this was our first Sicilian wine (but not our last, I expect).

This was a pretty wine, drinking smoothly from the get-go, showing primarily high-toned red berry/currant fruit alongside pleasant hints of spice and something saline or medicinal. There was a little mineral astringency as well which, in conjunction with the papery tannins, makes me think this might be the "ashiness" some refer to in Etna wines. Refreshing but not obtrusive acidity.

While enjoyable, this did seem to be holding something back on both nose and palate, and overall, it came off as a little simpler than my note probably makes it sound. I expect that this will be drinking better a few years down the road once its potential is more fully realized, but curiosity get the best of us this time. C'est la vie.
  • bretrooks commented:

    11/7/13, 9:24 AM - Terre Nere, duly noted. Looks like it's mostly available on the east coast...I wish more wines like that made it out to the west coast (especially at $15).

White
2011 Novy Family Wines Sauvignon Blanc Russian River Valley
10/17/2013 - bretrooks wrote:
87 points
Intense straw yellow color. Medium weight, with slightly spicy green pepper notes most prominent and a lesser amount of lemon/grapefruit. Friendly and well-enough made, just a bit green for my taste and on the simple side.
  • bretrooks commented:

    10/18/13, 10:03 AM - In SB, I like a citrus/steely character and even a bit of grassiness, but I'm sensitive to overt green pepper notes, so this one just isn't for me. If you don't mind that type of greenness as much, I'd say it's fairly priced in the $10-15 range, probably not higher.

White
2007 Kumeu River Chardonnay Estate
9/15/2013 - Tim Heaton wrote:
SnP, served non-blind. Not something I would care to drink on its own, but my new world, butter and malo loving friends couldn't get enough. Just too rich for me (oh how my palate has changed in the past 10, 20 years), but as it was served with some nice, thick tuna steaks straight off the grill, it worked. Be sure to serve this cooler than warmer, lest the 13,5% abv sneaks in on you. The first of 5 bottles, all of which I will serve to friends and guests that prefer this type of drink.
  • bretrooks commented:

    10/1/13, 5:59 PM - Just ran across this note while checking up on a few wines I've bookmarked over time...I also prefer my oak/malo reined in, so I will take this as a warning.

Red
2010 Bodegas Nekeas Garnacha El Chaparral de Vega Sindoa Navarra
9/27/2013 - bretrooks wrote:
89 points
Not decanted, consumed over 2 hours. This has come along a little bit since my 5/28/2013 note. A bit on the darker side of grenache, especially in its price range - dense red berry/cherry fruit with a nice spiciness and plenty of acid integrating well. Maybe no special complexity to the fruit, but this is shaping up to be everything you could hope for from a grenache of this style in this price range. 89-90, and ready to drink now or over the next few (several?) years.
  • bretrooks commented:

    9/30/13, 9:51 AM - Tim, the Tanzer review caught my eye on this one, and I'm glad it did. I'm not ordering anything for a while, but if K&L still has some around once I'm ready again, I'll probably grab a few more.

Red
2009 Rocca dell'Olmo Barbaresco Nebbiolo
12/14/2012 - bretrooks wrote:
87 points
Not decanted, consumed over 2 hours. Hints of cherry skins on the palate, but really more floral and woody notes, with the wood being noticeable at first but mostly disappearing after a little bit of time in the glass. Enough acid, mild dusty tannins, and correct (if somewhat dilute) nebbiolo character.

While this doesn't seem to have the fruit to last and might not live up to high expectations because it's labeled Barbaresco, you'll have a hard time finding a better $10 nebbiolo for near-term drinking. (If you know of one, I'm all ears.)
  • bretrooks commented:

    12/15/12, 3:20 PM - Trader Joe's, actually. There's a barbera and barolo as well, but the wine guy at ours steered me towards this one as his favorite of the three...at $10 I had to give it a whirl. It's not spectacular, but it hit the spot last night with dinner, so there you go...

  • bretrooks commented:

    5/18/13, 2:04 PM - Red fruits and noticeable acids...sounds like a good fit for a cookout, especially at the price. Hope you enjoy the other two bottles too. Ours showed a little variation, but we ended up liking them, especially with a little air.

White - Sweet/Dessert
2009 Château Doisy-Daëne Sauternes Sémillon-Sauvignon Blanc Blend
4/18/2013 - Redguy Likes this wine:
94 points
I know it's early but thought I'd check in... glad I did. This amazing effort from Double D really caught me off guard. Started off as a pnp, then sampled over the next 4+ hours. Upon opening, this showed an extremely fine texture, a delicately composed disposition, great concentration, and electric sweetness resulting in an effortless and classy appeal. No baked apricots here. After a few hours air and as it warmed, fatness, richness, depth, and power came forth. Much more purposeful, but still with that extremely fine texture and near weightless impression...the least sticky sticky. After airing and warming this exploded with opulence and immense sweetness, butterscotchy candied citrus fruits, pear juice, and a bit of graham cracker. So purposefull yet effortless as it excites each taste bud intensely. There is plenty of acidity here, it's just so well integrated within the massive sweetness it's easy to miss. Great structure as well. From start to finish this danced across the palate: with ballet like movement when chilled and more like salsa when aired and warmed to 55+. Nothing short of fabulous in the mouth, this rolls around like liquid quicksilver coating every measure with luxurious golden ripeness. Sexy!

Somewhere between the refinement and class when chilled and the power and richenss as it warms is the sweet spot for this beauty. That somewhere should appear with another 10 years in the cellar and continue for decades. Had an '02 d'Yquem recently... this was every bit as good. Great wine, great Barsac, great QPR. 94+
  • bretrooks commented:

    4/19/13, 2:30 PM - Thanks for the great note! Glad I have one...wish I had more.

White
2011 Matetic Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc EQ Coastal Casablanca Valley
4/9/2013 - bretrooks wrote:
80 points
Served at cool room temperature, consumed over 1 hour. My experience seems different than most of the other notes here - our bottle had strong vegetal notes of green chile peppers and just a background hint of honeydew melon. Decent acidity and doesn't seem badly made, per se, but I couldn't get past the greenness here.
  • bretrooks commented:

    4/11/13, 7:57 AM - Thanks for the tip. I'm fairly sensitive to that pepper type of greenness you find in some SB, and I rarely buy it blind for that reason, but next time I run across it I'll try chilling it down and see what that does. Glad you're enjoying yours...cheers!

    P.S. Margerum's 2011 Sybarite is the best SB I've had in a while. It's just a tad more expensive, but it's worth checking out.

Red
2001 Nannetti Brunello di Montalcino i Verbi Sangiovese
4/7/2013 - bretrooks wrote:
90 points
Not decanted, consumed over ~3 hours...best from ~2 hours on. Colorwise, this is dark blood red transforming into rusty brown, but the palate doesn't seem as tertiary as might be expected. Dark plummy fruit with funky notes of anise and smoke, maybe just a hint of gamy meat or barnyard. Good acid and integrated but slightly drying tannins.

This seems to be drinking near its peak to me, although it does seem like it could go a few more years if you're looking for an especially funky experience.
  • bretrooks commented:

    4/10/13, 8:17 AM - Thanks for the tip...I have two more, so I'll try to plan farther ahead next time! And yeah, it's time to open another De La Terre soon.

Red
2007 Tolo Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Paso Robles
I did not like this bottle. It did not have any flavor. it was like drinking colored water. I've had other bottles from this maker and this was a big drop off. I was disappointed. I had one glass and dumped that bottle. It was not a good experience IMHO.
  • bretrooks commented:

    3/12/13, 2:56 PM - Bummer. This isn't anything like my experience with the one bottle I opened, so maybe it's got some sort of unusual flaw? I'm sure the winemaker would like to know - if you have the time, you should give Josh a call.

    Hope your next bottle is better, whatever it may be...

Red
2001 R. López de Heredia Rioja Reserva Viña Tondonia Tempranillo Blend, Tempranillo
12/7/2012 - VTCellarDweller Likes this wine:
92 points
This was the first bottle opened from two cases acquired over the last 18 months. It was decanted for two hours with minimal sediment. It was consumed several days ago with dinner but I did not take notes at that time. The descriptions proved in earlier notes by Flamengo and several others are consistent with my recollection so I will restrict comment to my overall impression.
It was beautifully balanced, elegant, and nuanced hitting all the high notes I look for. The last bottle to give this much enjoyment was a 1999 Musar. That said, it clearly hinted at even more potential. It will be a challenge to keep my hands off this for another 5+ years. Patience presumed, I can then look forward to another 15+ years of extraordinary drinking pleasure. I eagerly await release of the 2001 Gran Reserva.
  • bretrooks commented:

    12/7/12, 12:29 PM - We opened one of these at my tasting group's Secret Santa party last weekend, and when the gift bottles came out, it ended up being the one I got to bring home, much to my delight. Beautiful stuff.

White - Sweet/Dessert
2007 Château de Myrat Sauternes Sémillon-Sauvignon Blanc Blend
7/6/2012 - grafstrb wrote:
87 points
-- popped and poured --
-- tasted non-blind over a couple hours –
-- 375 mL bottle --

NOSE: very intense, and expressive; lots of botrytis; toasty; botrytis-laden marmalade; not complex; what’s happening to this wine???

BODY: intense orange-golden yellow color; full bodied; looks dark for its age (which has always been true of this wine).

TASTE: sweet; smoky – matchsticks; candied pineapple; dried apricot; moderate oak; 13.5% alc. not noticeable; less apparent acidity than previous bottles; this bottle worries me as to how fast this wine may be aging. Might have to change course and drink my stash of this wine quicker than previously predicted. Massive reduction in score from previous bottles. Eeek!!

B: 50, 4, 11, 15, 7 = 87
  • bretrooks commented:

    7/16/12, 6:01 PM - Eeek indeed. I picked up a few 750s of these based on all the solid reviews...guess we'll have to have some friends over and open one soon to check it out. Let's hope it was just an off bottle.

Red
2008 J.M. Boillot Volnay Pinot Noir
2/1/2012 - bretrooks wrote:
1/2 consumed over 1 1/2 hours on night 1, some left for another evening. The cork was seeping on this one, but there didn't seem to be any ill effect to the wine. Youthful but closed, with a reserved nose of floral notes and black licorice. On the palate, the main impression is of tart cranberries with background notes of earth and soft wood or mushrooms. Tannins are gentle but present.

I'm not very experienced with burgundy, but I'd guess that this needs at least another year or two before it comes out of its shell.
  • bretrooks commented:

    2/15/12, 11:28 AM - Oy, I'll be glad when comment notification is set up and working...

    For various reasons, I didn't get back to this until day 4, at which point it wasn't undrinkable, but it had definitely oxidized a bit and gone downhill. Not too much else to say except that we ended up using the last glass for cooking.

Red
2005 Tolo Cellars Syrah Reserve Paso Robles
7/7/2011 - kenhoeve wrote:
89 points
Popped and poured, notes taken at 2 hours open. Very dark burgundy. Black licorice and red cherry on the nose, high toned, with some time there is a hint of smoke to hint you toward syrah. The house style dominates on the front with massive fruit of red cherry and licorice with a slight candied quality, but that is not a bad thing if you wait around for the midpalate where things unfold. The midpalate is where this style shines as the fruit gains in depth and layers of very well integrated exotic spices become lengthy upon a stong acid spine. There is red and black cherry, a deep plumminess, with complicating notes of allspice and cardamom. The structure is overwhelmed by the concentration so the finish is obscured. Doesn't matter all that much because the flavors continue to linger. At this young stage the wine shows well with fatty meats and dark chocolate. Overall the alcohol is fairly well held in check and while it delivers some great flavor it will become more structured and subdued to reveal hidden layers over time. An excellent effort.
  • bretrooks commented:

    7/8/11, 11:11 AM - Thanks for checking in on this. I had been itching to open one recently and see what's happened over the last year and a half, but this strengthens my resolve to wait a while longer...

Red
2001 Tolo Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Paso Robles
11/5/2010 - kenhoeve wrote:
95 points
Consumed over two days. Opaque at the center, a soft dark crimson on the rim. Day One pnp- A nose of asian spice, oak, and dark berry you could smell from the garage. The cork smelled so strongly of cinnamon, clove, and oak that I could have rubbed it on my neck for a night out. On the palate the flavors repeat the nose along with strong oak treatment, a little sweetness, and still some tannin on the finish. Very good but lacking depth as the oak and sweetness are a touch cloying. Full bodied, full flavored, good balance. First day 91. Wine was sealed, no vac, and stored at room temp. Day two- stunning change. Blaring nose of dried herbs, cedar, leather, milder spice, all covering a cup of cherry balsamic reduction. Again, everything on the nose gets on the palate and it is smooth. In fact, what is so shocking about this wine is that it carries itself in a fairly delicate manner at 15.3%abv(after a day open!). The body remains, the tannins are there but round and resolved, and the balance is perfect. The tannins remain on the finish and slowly build grip for what seems like forever. This is ultra high dollar Oakville Cab from... San Luis Obispo. Like the previous guy, I have never rated a wine this high on CT. But I've had enough cabs to know that this IS classic. And I have three more bottles. Josh my man, send me the next Opus!
  • bretrooks commented:

    11/10/10, 10:19 AM - Alas, I drank my only one of these a few years ago. I'm trying to be better about waiting to drink Josh's wines since they benefit so much from cellar time, but it's not always easy.

White
N.V. Tolo Cellars Chardonnay Paso Robles
6/1/2010 - rcdyer wrote:
87 points
More of a full-bodied Chardonnay, with oak and butter and a golden hue.
  • bretrooks commented:

    6/4/10, 1:23 PM - I go back and forth on how much I like his slightly-oxidized style, but I have enjoyed this in the past.

    Is this the NV Chardonnay that's been out for a while, or the current "Chardonnay II" release? (I had to create a new entry for the new NV "Leros II," and I'm not sure if anyone else is noticing the distinction...)

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