Tasting Notes for bretrooks

(1,089 notes on 810 wines)

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Red
10/23/2019 - bretrooks wrote:
Not decanted, one glass consumed over ~45 minutes at room temp. Dark-fruited (cherry more than berry) and ripe but dry, with a little bit of underbrush or wood and a whiff of something just slightly herbal/balsamic/metallic that came and went with air time. Good density, good acidity, not especially exuberant, but I could see this as developing a bit over the next handful of years.

Based on initial impressions, pricing doesn't seem out of whack in the mid teens - solid but unexciting. Will check in on the rest of the bottle in a day or two, and may look for the CdR to try.

Update from day two: not much movement overnight. Still a solid, understated bottle, not especially exciting right now but perhaps with some potential.
Red
2013 Geyser Peak Tectonic Alexander Valley Red Blend (view label images)
10/13/2019 - bretrooks wrote:
Not decanted, consumed over ~2 hours. Cabfrancophile's description from August hits this pretty well, although it sounds like our bottle was more open aromatically. A simple, correct, anonymous warm climate Bordeaux blend based on cab and petit verdot - nothing wrong with it per se, aside from lack of character. This even seems to have the balance to age for at least a couple more years, although I couldn't say I'd expect hidden depths to emerge. At $8, no objections. At $20+, I'd recommend looking elsewhere.
Red
10/11/2019 - bretrooks wrote:
Not decanted, one small glass consumed at cool (not cool enough) room temp followed by the rest about 2 1/2 hours later. On the nose, this was showing dark berry fruit, a meaty note, and some alcoholic fumes reminding me of menthol. The palate, particularly in the later glasses, reminded me of a See's "nuts & chews" candy - the one with dried fruit and nougat surrounded by dark chocolate. Low on structure and high on alcohol, heavy without much to brighten things up. For those with remaining bottles, I'd also suggest drinking these on the cool side to mitigate the ABV.
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Red
10/8/2019 - bretrooks wrote:
84 points
Not decanted, one glass consumed over ~45 minutes. This bottle showed riper and simpler than the one from our last note a year ago. Other bottles of this served to us in the interim have been nicer, so I suspect some bottle variation. Will plan to update when we finish the remainder.
Red
10/4/2019 - bretrooks wrote:
Not decanted, two small glasses consumed about two hours apart. Showing young, with fresh, moderately ripe red cherry/berry fruit and a hint of earth or herbs. Medium acid. Simple but decent enough for a weeknight glass of sangiovese - especially at $5/bottle.
Red
10/2/2019 - bretrooks wrote:
Not decanted, consumed over ~1 1/2 hours. Trying this a second time, I'm happy to report that it showed far less of the reduction and heat that we noticed in the bottle from two months ago. This was a solid red Rhone - still showing dark and maybe a little muted, but a much nicer drink. One I'd definitely go back for more of, especially at $5.
Red
9/29/2019 - bretrooks wrote:
Decanted ~1 hour, consumed over ~1 1/2 hours. The cork was half-soaked and split, despite use of an ah-so. At first pour, this was showing a bit of browning, giving off mild whiffs of slightly cooked, somewhat-sour red fruit plus a bit of VA. Some aggressive swirling plus air time helped the VA recede (if not quite disappear), and otherwise the palate largely reflected the nose. This bottle didn't reveal any particular complexity or richness, but it still turned out to be a decent pairing with our grilled beef.
Red
9/26/2019 - bretrooks wrote:
Not decanted, consumed over ~1 hour at room temp. Upon opening, this was disjointedly youthful - fresh (if nondescript) dark red fruit, a whiff of reduction, jagged acidity, a bit of spritzy CO2. After 30-45 minutes, though, the air had done this some good, and it had become a perfectly serviceable table red.

60% cab, 30% syrah, 10% carménère. $5 at Grocery Outlet, and I'd try it again at that price...next time, with a decant.
Red
9/22/2019 - bretrooks wrote:
Not decanted, two small pours consumed over ~1/2 hour. An odd wine - fruitcake and a metallic note on the nose, matched with a tart, lean palate that shows underripe red fruit and something foxy or funky from the gamay. Not really pleasurable. More than half of the bottle is left, and unless it transforms with a little time on the counter, I'm not expecting that we'll want to finish it.
White - Sweet/Dessert
8/25/2019 - bretrooks wrote:
Half-bottle served at cool room temp. Baked apples and caramelized (slightly burnt) sugar. This was somewhat moderated in its sweetness, but there's little balancing acidity, so it comes across as flabby. Consistent across two bottles.
White
8/25/2019 - bretrooks wrote:
Consumed over ~2 hours at cool room temp. Ripe grapefruit is prominent, with maybe a hint of white peach. Good acidity and a sense of creaminess on the palate - seems like it could be barrel influence. Overall, pleasant and decently balanced but short on complexity. I think this has lost a step since we picked this up in January, so I'd recommend drinking soon.
Red
8/18/2019 - bretrooks wrote:
Opened a couple of hours before drinking, poured out early but not decanted, consumed over 2+ hours. This bottle, happily, was in a pretty good place - medium density, enough acidity to keep it from heaviness, a little tannin still hanging around.

Prominent notes were of reasonably restrained morello cherry/dark berry fruit (just slightly cooked), anise, garrigue, and a hint of something savory and spicy. Recent notes seem to be split on whether oak is evident...might be some bottle variation, as it didn't seem too prominent to me. I'm not especially oak-averse, though, so YMMV.

Personal historical footnote: this was the first bottle I ever purchased with the intent of aging it, way back in 2008.
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Red
8/10/2019 - bretrooks wrote:
Not decanted, two small pours consumed over ~1 1/2 hours. Tastes like inexpensive, slightly grapey, ripe Cab from CA, which it is. By Napa Wine Arts.
Red
8/9/2019 - bretrooks wrote:
Not decanted, consumed over ~2 hours. Medium plus body. Dark red fruit, although somewhat muted - syrah coming through more than grenache, perhaps. Our bottle also showed slightly reductive, and we picked up a little bit of alcoholic heat as well. Not bad overall (and it's hard to argue with the $5 closeout price), but this particular bottle didn't really hold our attention last night.
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Red
8/6/2019 - bretrooks wrote:
Just a quick impression from one undecanted glass. Dark red fruit and a hint of spice, fairly simple and maybe a bit dilute on the midpalate, but still satisfying enough for a little Rhone red. We'll see how the remainder has held up overnight, but my impression for now is that I'd be happy to rebuy this as a weeknight bottle ($7 at Grocery Outlet).

Update from day 2: this is still showing similarly to the day before, although with some astringency and a dark chocolate note I didn't detect previously. As for a rebuy...I think I'm a little less enthusiastic. Maybe, though, we'll see.
Red
7/28/2019 - bretrooks wrote:
Not decanted, two pours consumed over ~2 hours (with another wine poured in between). Lovely, red berry/currant fruit notes and undertones of tea/dried herbs/dust, fresh acidity, definitely good now but still coming together a little bit, I think. Air did this wine good in terms of settling some of the acidity, so I'd recommend a decant and/or giving this another year or more of age. I'll probably try to forget about my other bottles for a while.
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Rosé
7/27/2019 - bretrooks wrote:
Consumed over ~1 1/2 hours, warming from fridge temp to cool room temp. Simple watermelon/strawberry/peach fruit, mid-weight with ok acidity but a bit flat/mute in the midpalate. Serviceable, but unmemorable.
Red
7/25/2019 - bretrooks wrote:
Not decanted, consumed over ~2 hours. Dense, dark, and fairly opaque in the glass. Lots of ripe black cherry with maybe a little bramble and smoke, overlaid by a layer of noticeable oak. There's enough acid to get by, and some papery tannins add to the sense of gentle structure. I tend to prefer my syrah a bit leaner, and I get the sense that the oak overpowered some of what the fruit had to show. However, for those who like a riper CA style and don't mind some oak, you may want to give this a shot if you can find it at the <$20 Grocery Outlet price.
White
7/15/2019 - bretrooks wrote:
Pretty standard simple SB, grapefruit and just a little bit of hay or spice, not green or astringent, fairly soft. For my palate, I'd like this to be a bit crisper - it's better closer to fridge temp. Consistent over the two bottles we bought, although I recall one we tried a month ago being better. Ok at $7, although not compelling.
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Red
6/16/2019 - bretrooks wrote:
Decanted ~2 hours, consumed over ~2 hours alongside a grilled steak dinner. My experience seems to mirror that of most others over the last 18 months - this is full of dense tart black cherry and blackberry fruit, but otherwise I only got hints of savory and peppery notes. Good structure and firm acidity. A solid showing overall, even if this bottle did seem a bit wound up, and the material does seem to be there for future development. I'll plan to leave my others for at least a few more years.
Red
2016 Château de Sescas Bordeaux Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
6/14/2019 - bretrooks wrote:
Not decanted, one glass consumed over ~45 minutes. Blackberry/blackcurrant fruit, relatively high acidity, lowish tannin, fairly simple. We didn't find this especially satisfying at this point in time, and due to its simplicity, I'm not sure how much potential there is for future development.
Red
6/2/2019 - bretrooks wrote:
Not decanted, consumed over ~1 1/2 hours. Acidity was a little spiky at first, but this settled down into a solid little down-the-middle barbera. Restrained but ripe dark red fruits, hints of herbs and earth. Not bad now with some air, but I'd expect this to last and improve over at least the next few years.
Red - Fortified
6/1/2019 - bretrooks wrote:
92 points
Three small pours consumed over ~1 1/2 hours with biscotti, candied pecans, dried apricots, crackers with fig jam, and a few other after-dinner snacks. Per the back label, this was bottled in 2001 after 50 years in barrel.

Cloudy in the glass, root beer brown with some reddish orange hints. Lovely to smell after getting a little air. Nice, if a little less exciting on the palate - toffee, nutty oxidation, orange peel, some slightly woody notes, modest complexity for its age. Medium weight, slightly oily viscosity, good acidity cutting through. Good balance between the acidity, just-off-dry sweetness, alcohol (16%), and even a little remaining tannin.

A special and enjoyable bottle to share with family on the occasion of my dad's retirement.
Red
5/19/2019 - bretrooks wrote:
Not decanted, two small pours consumed over ~1 hour alongside a pork tenderloin dinner. This was drinking very well, showing so much of what I love about the Etna reds I've had: earthy red berry fruit, an underlying note of root vegetables, subtle spiciness, nice acidity. Heft and elegance at the same time, and remarkably food-friendly. The bottle was labeled at 15.5% ABV, but I didn't find the alcohol to detract.
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Red
5/17/2019 - bretrooks wrote:
Not decanted, consumed over ~2 hours. Dried cherry, a little soy sauce, hints of spice, a bit of oak, just slightly musty. Still, not a bad little bottle for $7. Bottled for Kirkland by Vina Eguia.
Red
5/13/2019 - bretrooks wrote:
Not decanted, consumed over ~2 hours. Strawberry/cranberry, a whiff of smoked meat, just slightly spicy. Tangy and red-fruited, a natural match with barbecued baby back ribs.
Red
4/21/2019 - bretrooks wrote:
Not decanted, two small glasses consumed over ~2 hours. This was quite tart and showed a bit of VA upon opening, and (as with our 11/22/2018 bottle) it released some CO2 when shaken. Eventually, though, this did settle into a decent, if still high-toned bottle - cranberry predominant with hints of tea and spice. Hard to recommend this with the bottle variation we've found, but this one turned out okay.
Red
4/19/2019 - bretrooks wrote:
Not decanted, consumed over ~2 hours. This had some dark inky fruit at the core, but I didn't find it particularly fruit-driven. This seemed a little bit closed to me, and what character showed was more about its non-fruit notes and structure: some oak showing, a bit of espresso/smoke, a whiff of violet, moderate extraction, papery tannins, firm acid, a slight astringency. A nice syrah overall, if not an effusive one (at least this bottle).
Red
4/13/2019 - bretrooks wrote:
Not decanted, consumed over ~2 hours. Taut, tart red cherry/berry fruit, a little spice/bramble, moderate alcohol, prominent acidity. I really liked this, and there's structure for this to last a while, although I'm not sure what its evolution will look like.
Red
4/6/2019 - bretrooks wrote:
Not decanted, consumed over ~2 hours. A touch grapey, this still strikes me as dry, giving moderately concentrated black cherry/blackberry notes, a little spice, and hints of licorice and brush. Reasonable structure, labeled at 13.9%, benefits from a little air. Not a ton of complexity and only modest varietal character, but we found this a decent nondescript red - I've certainly paid more for wines I've enjoyed less. $5 at Grocery Outlet.
Red
3/31/2019 - bretrooks wrote:
Not decanted, consumed over ~2 hours. A pretty, translucent red with tart cherry and floral notes predominant. Good acidity, papery tannins, light in body but flavorful and satisfying. Good stuff for its level.
Red
3/30/2019 - bretrooks wrote:
Decanted ~2 hours, consumed over ~1 1/2 hours. Rich berry notes on the nose with a bit of lift and maybe a little fuminess hinting at the 15% abv. Whatever warmth is there, however, this carries off with style - on the palate, the berry/black currant fruit is complemented by background notes of cocoa, black licorice, and something savory or perhaps smoky. Good acidity, mouth-coating tannin, very nice balance in a hefty-but-lively red.
White
3/29/2019 - bretrooks wrote:
Two small pours consumed over ~1 hour. For the price, this is a great crisp white, simple but satisfying and with nice acidic lift. Light stone fruit or pear with hints of tropical notes and citrus, a little minerality.
Red
2016 Lamotte Ducas Graves Red Bordeaux Blend
3/24/2019 - bretrooks wrote:
Not decanted, consumed over 1 1/2 hours. Fits the general profile of a merlot-based bordeaux, somewhat plummy and maybe on the high-pitched end of the acid spectrum. Overall, my impression was that this was fairly thin and simple, a bit disappointing even at the $7 price point. Drinkable in a pinch, but forgettable.
Red
2010 Château Petit Gravet Ainé St. Émilion Grand Cru Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
3/17/2019 - bretrooks wrote:
Decanted ~1 hour, consumed over 2 hours. Cassis, blackberry, dried cherry, a little green pepper, something like carob (mild torrefaction?), decent acidity, plenty of fine tannin & extract, 15% but hides it fairly well. The extraction makes this more new worldish than most bordeaux I've had, but I expected it going in - we both enjoyed this alongside grilled tri-tip.
Red
3/15/2019 - bretrooks wrote:
Not decanted, one glass consumed on each of two consecutive evenings. Earthy red fruit, a bit of oak, dust, all the basic hallmarks of Rioja, although in a somewhat dilute form. Okay, not as good as the 2011.
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Red
3/8/2019 - bretrooks wrote:
Not decanted, two small pours consumed over ~1 hour. Somehow, this bottle was showing more primary than the other two I've tried in previous months - a sense of red-fruited ripeness, maybe even a little RS peeking through. There's perhaps a little bit of something like brush in the mix, but this bottle was mostly rich, simple, red fruit.
White
2/24/2019 - bretrooks wrote:
One glass consumed at cool room temp while making dinner. Medium weight, with apple notes (slightly bruised), a hint of stone fruit or melon, a welcome lack of buttery or oaky notes, and decent acidity. Nothing particularly complex or outstanding, but a solid chard I'd happily drink again. This did seem just a little bit tired, so I would probably seek to drink younger vintages moving forward.
Red
2/22/2019 - bretrooks wrote:
Not decanted, consumed over ~1 1/2 hours. Pale to medium ruby in the glass, with a core of cherry juice and wild strawberry complemented by just a touch of brush or herbs on the palate. The fruit was more subdued on the nose, giving a sense of wet stone, and I got fleeting whiffs of something gently herbal or floral (fennel? jasmine, maybe?).
Red
2/18/2019 - bretrooks wrote:
Not decanted, consumed over ~1 1/2 hours. Simple, red cherry-fruited (just a little grapey), unexpectedly low on tannin, a decent amount of acidity. A bit plonkish...not a rebuy, even at $5.
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White
2/16/2019 - bretrooks wrote:
Consumed over ~1 1/2 hours while warming from fridge temp to room temp. Cabfrancophile's note describes this pretty well for my palate as well: medium-plus weight but dry and with enough acid for balance, mild stone fruit and tropical notes, a little bit of a sense of minerality. Simple but food-friendly and satisfying. We don't go through whites very regularly, but I still went back for a handful more...maybe not enough, though.
Red
2/7/2019 - bretrooks wrote:
Not decanted, consumed over ~1 1/2 hours. Blackberry/tart cherry fruit, a touch of dried herbs or ash, zesty acidity. Straightforward, but well made and satisfying. Should have bought more of this.
Red
1/19/2019 - bretrooks wrote:
Not decanted, consumed over ~ 1 1/2 hours. Somewhat translucent red with a rusty tinge in the glass. Young and a little grapey (slightly off-dry?), gently cooked red fruits, decent acid. labeled at a very reasonable 13.9%. A little idiosyncratic, speaking more of Paso than of Malbec to me, but an interesting and enjoyable bottle nonetheless. This would probably benefit from a little time sideways to take see if its youthful edge settles down.
Red
1/15/2019 - bretrooks wrote:
Not decanted, two glasses consumed over ~1 1/2 hours. Red fruit with a pleasant subtle tartness, leathery/white peppery barrel notes and subtle tannins. Light-to-medum body, well-integrated and true to the expected style, very nice drinking for the near term. Wish I had picked up more of this on closeout.
White
1/5/2019 - bretrooks wrote:
Two small pours consumed while warming from fridge temp to room temp. This is a decent little white for the $10 price at TJ's, showing pineapple and restrained melon, particularly closer to cool room temp. Enough acid to get by. Made by Barrel 27 in Paso.
Red
1/6/2019 - bretrooks wrote:
Not decanted, but first glasses poured out ~30 minutes before consuming. Garnet with some moderate bricking. Lovely mature notes of tobacco, mild dried cherry, roast meat, and something vaguely floral. Mellow structure but still a bit of acidity. Drinking very nicely now for my palate, and it may have a few years ahead yet, assuming decent storage.
White
1/4/2019 - bretrooks wrote:
Two glasses consumed over ~1 1/2 hours with a salmon and mushroom risotto dinner. An initial small pour was lightly coppery in the glass and gave off a nose of apple cider vinegar, shifting towards bruised apple with air. (My wife and I both also detected something sulfurous, but I've read that this bottling gets minimal sulfur, so perhaps there was a low-level fault?) There was also a decent amount of trapped CO2, which I reduced by shaking the bottle with my thumb over the top. On the palate, this was in line with the few other oxidative chenins we've had, just slightly off-dry with high acidity (sticking out a bit, at least with this meal) and notes of oxidized apple and dried orange.

The nose was a bit off-putting, especially at first, but the palate was more pleasant than it might seem from the note. This was more unusual and less compelling than the 2011 Vieilles Vignes Eparses we had this summer, but it still worked well enough. Already well down the road to oxidation, I wonder if some cellar time might help the acidity integrate and bring harmony here...can't say for sure.
White - Off-dry
12/27/2018 - bretrooks wrote:
flawed
Bad cork - golden and unpleasantly (although not extremely) oxidized.
Red
12/21/2018 - bretrooks wrote:
Decanted due to detected trapped CO2 and minor, vaguely sulfury funkiness. Two small pours consumed over 45 minutes, and the funk and spritz subsided but never totally went away. It seemed this could be a nice peppery Rhone red, but to find out, it was going to need more air time than I could give it on the evening.
Red
2015 Château Lilian Ladouys St. Estèphe Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
12/14/2018 - bretrooks wrote:
Not decanted, two half-glass pours consumed over ~45 minutes. Showing somewhat lean right now, as other CT reviews have mentioned, but not as tight as I expected. Dark red fruit, a bit of cocoa/oak, hints of dried leaves or tobacco. Medium structure, unobtrusive but present. I don't have deep knowledge of Bordeaux, but I like the style here - good wine at a fair price.
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