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Comments on my notes

(28 comments on 26 notes)

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Red
2019 Bonny Doon Vineyard Le Cigare Volant California Red Rhone Blend
What has happened to this offering? Years ago it was an interesting weeknight wine made from well-sourced grapes. Today it tastes simple and diluted. Needs more Syrah to give it some grip and deeper notes on the palate. All that’s left in the bottle is raspberry juice. Pass.
  • jonahfactor commented:

    10/28/21, 5:16 PM - Thanks for the insights, srh. I knew Randall Grahm had sold his interest in Bonny Doon. But hadn’t realized the drop in quality. Regardless of the vintage, this should have been a stronger showing.

Red
2016 Turley Zinfandel Pesenti Vineyard Paso Robles
Always one of our favorite ponies in the Turley stable, the ‘16 Pesenti doesn’t disappoint. Vibrant on the palate with food-friendly acidity. Hillside herbs, apricot pit and ripe blackberry on the palate, picking up lavender in the finish. A lovely wine from this historic (by Paso Robles standards) vineyard. Drink now to 2028. Outstanding.
  • jonahfactor commented:

    12/28/20, 3:44 PM - I can’t figure out what happened with so many of Turley’s offerings in ‘16 either. But this bottle was remarkable.

Red
2013 Sanguis Misfit Central Coast Syrah Blend, Syrah
Striking in its power and its balance. Opens with garrigue, spice and crushed black fruits in the nose and then broadens on the palate to reveal plum pit, black cherry, camphor, cinnamon and nutmeg. A blast in the finish, but it never feels overblown. A beautiful rendition of the Misfit with many years still ahead of it. Drink now to 2030. Outstanding.
  • jonahfactor commented:

    12/14/20, 5:37 PM - THAT is a great review! Thanks for sharing!

White - Sweet/Dessert
1997 Navarro Vineyards Gewürztraminer Cluster Select Late Harvest Anderson Valley
(Raiding the Cellar With Friends) After reviewing my tasting ones on this wine from 2014, it’s as if it had been frozen in time. My notes from that year say, “Golden yellow . . . It's still drinking very well, although the window on this one is closing quickly. Antique-shop-tinged bouquet with generous creme-brulet and carmel flavors that are rescued by equally generous citrus notes, mostly grapefruit, lemon pith and lime zest. Finishes with a hint of Gewurtztraminer spice and almond dust. Delicious. But time to drink up.” Clearly this offering had greater longevity than I had anticipated. Still Outstanding.
  • jonahfactor commented:

    10/7/20, 8:14 PM - Exactly!

Red
2013 Tablas Creek Patelin de Tablas Paso Robles Red Rhone Blend
7/29/2020 - jonahfactor wrote:
Our last bottle of the ‘13 Patelin. A case buy and cellar stored since release. This offering has been a rewarding pour for many years and is past peak, in my opinion. Almost all tertiary with ripe plum, cinders, mulch and green tobacco with some weedy notes in the finish. Falls flat after an hour. Clearly in its drink-up phase. Pass as it sits in the glass today.
  • jonahfactor commented:

    9/1/20, 3:26 PM - We purchased a case from the winery and cellar stored it at a constant 60 degrees for most of its life. More recently I had kept it at 54 degrees in a new wine cellar. Cheers.

Red
2012 Tablas Creek En Gobelet Paso Robles Red Rhone Blend
8/25/2020 - jonahfactor wrote:
Has lost a lot of its complexity and fun in the bottle, indicating it’s either closed right now or heading over the hill. Cellar stored since release and splash decanted prior to serving. Notes of cola, blackberry and a bramble finish. Nice enough. But I’m neutral on this one.
  • jonahfactor commented:

    9/1/20, 3:21 PM - Thanks, Jason. And along those lines, I really appreciate the vintage chart you produce and update quarterly. It’s really helpful.

White
1995 August Kesseler Riesling Kabinett Rheingau
(Drinking through the cellar’s old bones.) Surprisingly fresh, considering its age, this offering is pretty near its end. Yet it’s another testimony to a humble Riesling’s ability to age gracefully. Peaches, ripe apricots and sweet pineapple with minerals and a whiff of petrol in the nose and finish. More a sipper than a mealworthy wine at this stage. And a novelty in that a $15 bottle from 1995 was still drinkworthy — make that enjoyable — 25 years later. Drink now.
  • jonahfactor commented:

    7/8/20, 9:19 PM - It was, indeed, my last bottle of the Kesseler. What a value. $15 for a 25-year wine. Incredible. Cheers

Rosé
2016 Sanguis Souplesse Central Coast Rosé Blend
Long and lusty, this begs for a Parisian farmers market-type roast chicken. Strawberry-hued. Plentiful pomegranate, wild strawberry and stewed rhubarb. A rich, ripe Bandol on steroids. Not for the faint of heart; for when you want a rose’ experience. Drink now to 2025. Worth Seeking Out.
  • jonahfactor commented:

    6/5/20, 7:37 PM - Just put to rest any ideas you have about what a rose’ should taste like. Cheers!

Red
2015 Turley Zinfandel Pesenti Vineyard Paso Robles
We’re drinking through our 2015 Turleys as fast as we can. (Life is rough.) They have not held up well in the cellar, and the finish of wines from this vintage is consistently short, lean and acidic. The Pesenti (usually one of our favorites) is no exception. Fruit tones and spice in the bouquet following through on the palate somewhat. But falling apart in the finish. Drink up. Pass.
  • jonahfactor commented:

    3/15/20, 5:09 PM - Agree. I actually like the 2016s, although they seem a little leaner than normal. But I feel like the acid is in better balance with the ‘16s.

  • jonahfactor commented:

    3/16/20, 8:47 AM - Agree on ‘16. What a stellar vintage. Everywhere. The few Turley 17s I’ve had so far seem to show a return to their more robust style. We’ll see.

Rosé
2016 Sanguis Souplesse Central Coast Rosé Blend
(Tasted at the Sanguis Spring Pickup Party) Always one of our favorite rose’ producers. Rich salmon hued with a stunning necklace. Great texture, with peaches, tangerines, grapefruit zest and white flowers. Amazing, long finish. Beautiful. (������= Outstanding)
  • jonahfactor commented:

    2/16/20, 7:21 AM - Hi. Great question! I usually call them “legs.” They’re those beautiful streams that form on the side of a wine glass after you swirl. But sometimes they’re so viscous that they look like a pearl necklace dripping down, as was the case with this extraordinary wine. Necklace seemed more appropriate. Cheers!

Red
2016 Leviathan California Red Blend
That’s a big burst of flavor! Moving faster along the aging spectrum than first anticipated, this offering is absolutely delicious if you’re in the mood for something big and brash. Black currants, black plums, black raspberries and every kind of black fruit you can envision at the front end, with gentle, yet persistent, tannins at the back. Cassis, thyme and coal tar in the finish. This should continue to develop for the next five years and drink well for a decade — if you can keep your hands off of it. Outstanding, if you’re looking for a big wine to serve with slow-cooked Christmas rib roast.
  • jonahfactor commented:

    12/23/19, 6:31 AM - Thanks to both of you for your comments. I rarely do scores anymore. I’m finding it difficult to be that clinical. I’ve come to realize that my perception of a wine is greatly influenced not only by what’s in the glass but where I’m enjoying it and who I’m with. Cheers!

Red
2014 Sanguis French Books Santa Ynez Valley Cabernet Franc
Probably popped the cork too early on this one. Voluptuous and wonderfully balanced, but the tannins still grip the palate — even with a double decant and an hour in the decanter. Black pitted fruits on the palate. A still-closed bouquet. But a lusty licorice and tar-dabbed finish, even though the tannins come into play here. Delicious, though. Drink 2021-2030. Wow.
  • jonahfactor commented:

    12/7/19, 7:54 PM - Thanks! We’re on the same page. Wish I had another one in the cellar to try in a few years. ��

Red
2015 Turley Zinfandel Juvenile California
This has settled into a nice place. A bit wild and harsh when first released, this offers a dense ruby hue and lots of plums, spice and hillside brush on the palate with a relatively short finish — for a Turley, at least. Not one of the more remarkable Juveniles. But still a solid value and a great introduction to the prodigious Turley lineup. Worth Seeking Out.
  • jonahfactor commented:

    7/31/19, 8:10 PM - I did not decant. Actually, that might have improved the wine a bit. But it’s still a thinner zin by Turley standards.

Red
2017 Saint Cosme Côtes du Rhône Syrah
An addendum to my previous tasting notes from June .... This might be one of the best 2017 CdR’s we’ve had. Packs in more interest and flavor than its humble $14 price tag warrants. None of the funky Rhône elements often found in young CdR’s. And plenty of juicy, crushed blue and black fruits on the palate, with a long, satisfying finish. A case buy for us — all for under $180, including tax. Are you kidding me? A perfect weeknight sipper for cool Fall evenings. Drink now to 2021/22. Worth Seeking Out.
  • jonahfactor commented:

    7/6/19, 10:04 PM - 17

  • jonahfactor commented:

    7/6/19, 10:05 PM - Great catch, sonic. Just amended the notes.

White
2013 Suavia Trebbiano di Soave Massifitti Veronese IGT
Dinner at Antica Bottega del Vino in the backstreets of Verona. The first of two outstanding, yet reasonably priced, reds selected by our sommelier. Wonderful opening to another excellent dinner, this one at a restaurant whose wine list was delivered in a book the size of Webster's Dictionary. Light and enchanting, this Trebbiano went perfectly with the primi course while the second wine was opening in the pre-poured glasses. With hints of spice, blackberries and dark almost-ripe cherries, this could have passed as a light-bodied Zinfandel. (����= Worth Seeking Out)
  • jonahfactor commented:

    11/25/18, 1:23 PM - Great catch! I must have gotten something mixed up. Ascribe it to jet lag. : )

Red
2016 Tablas Creek Côtes de Tablas Paso Robles Adelaida District Red Rhone Blend
(Tasted at the winery) TC’s first non-sterile-filtered Cotes since 2008. Hope they do more of that with their wines. Tight but creamy and tending toward black and red fruits. Extremely primary right now. A more feminine rendition of this offering. But the gates on these usually start opening around year 2. Drink 2020-2025. ( ����= Worth Seeking Out)
  • jonahfactor commented:

    6/7/18, 8:31 AM - They didn’t address that specifically. But my sense is that this a continuing shift by TCV toward less and less intervention and letting the wines speak of the terroir/region. First organic . . . Then biodynamic . . . Then . . .

Red
N.V. Sanguis Work Santa Barbara County Grenache
(Tasted at the Winery) Lip-smacking. Ruby red, with a rich necklace. L picked up her favorite note -- black pepper. Crazy complex with a lot going on in the glass. Long, satisfying finish. So much so that you just want to shut up, put down your tasting notes and enjoy it . . . Which I did. (������ = Outstanding)
  • jonahfactor commented:

    6/12/17, 6:56 AM - I believe this is still sold only in a 3 bottle boxed set -- 2 750 ml bottles and one magnum. Probably still between $400-$500 for the set.

Red
2013 Honig Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
Suggestion: Don't decant; let her unfold in the glass over the course of two-hour dinner. Taut and quiet in the glass when first opened, this blossomed at the 30-minute mark, offering deep fruit and some secondary flavors that matched well with the grilled filet mignon. Cherries, cedar, blackberries and gentle spicy elements on the palate. But the action is in the finish, where those flavors are joined by cinders, charcoal, cassis and blacktop. Drinks like an $80 Cab at a fraction of the price. Still a baby, this promises at least a decade of enjoyment. (������= Outstanding)
  • jonahfactor commented:

    11/22/16, 7:09 AM - Thanks for the note. Agreed! I'm a value seeker in my fine wines, and this represents a great way to enjoy a 2013 Cab without paying the tariff too many Napa wineries are requiring for this vintage. Cheers!

Red
2012 Tablas Creek Patelin de Tablas Paso Robles Red Rhone Blend
Perhaps we've been drinking these TCW Patelins too young. In the past they've been tight out of the bottle when young, requiring generous aeration or time in the glass, regardless of vintage. However, as this bottle proves, cellar time rewards those who are patient.

This was in full bloom, perhaps at its peak. The Grenache (27%) steals the spotlight, with a juicy, red fruit, black cherry palate that follows through on the finish, where it's joined by a light sprinkling of Asian spices. The Mourvedre (18%) firms things up, and the Syrah (53%) has been tamed considerably since the last tasting, tending more toward tobacco leaf, rich earth and brambles. Not sure I detected the Counoise, but then again it's only 2% of the blend. At its $16 member price at the winery, this represents one of California's best red wine values.
  • jonahfactor commented:

    10/19/15, 7:05 AM - Thanks for the note, wilypod. We love these TCV wines. I think they're one of the few remaining bargains in Cali-wines. Also, I checked online with TCV, and their current vintage chart shows that the '13 Patelin red should be decanted if poured now. Good to know. Cheers!

Red
2013 Turley Zinfandel Rattlesnake Ridge Howell Mountain
Turley Pick-Up Party (At the Winery - Templeton, CA): "Black Pepper!" was the first descriptor everyone in the party came up with. And, yes, it's generously seasoned with it. A restrained nose, dark ruby red and great legs. Plums and cherries. Satisfying finish. One-dimensional at this stage of its life; will be interesting to see how this develops. Drink 2018-2020.
  • jonahfactor commented:

    9/13/15, 8:01 PM - Hi, depends on whether you like a lot of spice in your wine. I find that Turleys lose some of that zesty spiciness I love over time. But they gain a deeper complexity with some secondary characteristics that I love in wine -- more smoke, anise, tar, garrigue. So yes, if you like those qualities, I'd wait. That said, they're delicious at any age. Just store them properly. Hope that helps.

Red
2010 Tablas Creek Esprit de Beaucastel Paso Robles Red Rhone Blend
9/4/2015 - ntruder wrote:
88 points
This bottle was consistent with a disturbing trend I have been experiencing in all of the TC wines I have been drinking lately. After over ten years putting these wines in my collection I have decided to stop buying TC as they just are not living up to my previous experiences with them. Overall, this bottle just lacked character. Sure it was pleasant, integrated and there were for sure the expected hints of flavor, smooth tannin and balanced acid one would expect from a bottle of this stature, but it just did not leave me wanting another sip, let alone another bottle.
  • jonahfactor commented:

    9/6/15, 2:46 PM - Love this conversation. I'm still a big TCV fan. But I've found that you've got to closely follow the vintage tasting chart that they update on their website quarterly. I've been burned any time I've strayed from that chart, usually because I didn't realize the particular wine was in a dumb phase. TCV's chart also indicates when to decant. That said, these wines tend more toward the introspective -- as opposed to expressive -- end of the spectrum, unlike most of their brethren on the Central Coast. Since we drink a lot of wines from that region, I enjoy the change of pace. Cheers!

White
2013 Tablas Creek Grenache Blanc Paso Robles
Struts its Rhone breeding. Color of sun-bleached hay with a lush dripping necklace. Lemon pith, minerals and fermenting grapes in the nose -- smells just like the TCV tasting room near Paso Robles. Lemons and grapefruit with notions of roasted almonds on the palate. Light and lively and laden with minerals in the finish. From a seriously under-appreciated varietal. Everyone would be planting this grape if they knew how to make a wine like this. Let's call it what it is: lip-smacking. Perfect for summer.
  • jonahfactor commented:

    8/1/15, 7:44 AM - Thanks for the tip, wilypod! Will look that one up.

Red
2012 Turley Zinfandel Ueberroth Vineyard Paso Robles
11/9/2014 - jonahfactor Likes this wine:
95 points
(Tasted at the Turley Pickup Party and tied with the 2012 Pesenti as wine of the tasting) What the '12 Pesenti has in sheer juicy exuberance the Ueberroth has in elegance. A profound offering that invites you to lean back and reflect. Dark, dark red in the glass with wonderfully proportioned legs. A harmonious blend of blackberry, apricot, cedar, rosemary and lavender flavors that are not showy in the least. The enjoyment is in this wine's restraint. The longer you reflect on this beauty in the glass, the more she reveals of her charms. A great wine that enchants with her seamless quality. How do you get Zinfandel grapes to behave this well?
  • jonahfactor commented:

    12/5/14, 3:02 PM - Thanks for the comment. Right on!

Red
2012 Turley Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
11/9/2014 - jonahfactor Likes this wine:
88 points
(Tasted at the Turley Pickup Party) Dark red with nice legs. Bouquet is closed right now, but it hints at nice things to come with some bottle age. The nose reminded L of a barrel room. I picked up more herbs and spices, mostly nutmeg, sage and cinnamon. The fruit is hidden in both the mouth and the finish. But, again, it's still very young. Wait 3 years?
  • jonahfactor commented:

    11/20/14, 12:55 PM - This was, indeed, Turley's 2012 Cab (not The Label), which was tasted at the winery pre-release. Cheers!

White
2010 Brewer-Clifton Chardonnay Mount Carmel Sta. Rita Hills
8/23/2014 - mazik Likes this wine:
91 points
Lovely wine, my tasting note from March stands. But will somebody explain how to get that effing capsule off?
  • jonahfactor commented:

    8/23/14, 11:12 AM - The best way to get the capsule off these wines is to pretend the capsule is not there. Just drill the corkscrew straight through it and pull up the cork like you would normally do. It cracks the wax/plastic capsule and pulls the cork right out. You're left with a cool-looking bottle, and it pours like any other.

White
2010 Brewer-Clifton Chardonnay Mount Carmel Sta. Rita Hills
8/1/2014 - JimmyGillingham Likes this wine:
90 points
I really enjoyed this wine. The color was a little bit darker than I was expecting. I had brought it as a bottle to a BYOB and actually worried for a second whether there may have been oxidation issues. But, there were none. Just a little bit of a darker young wine.

Great nose of stone fruits. Some honeysuckle and a touch of oak. Not sure how much oak it sees. Although present, it is not distracting. On the palate you get some minerality and what I think of as salinity. The mineral notes are accompanied by citrus, stone fruits, and a touch of apple.

Really nice bottle at a good price when can find it on sale. Now, someone just needs to come up with a way to get the wax capsule off easier. I felt really bad for the waiter who fumbled with it at the table. Next time, I am definitely getting the wax off before leaving the house.
  • jonahfactor commented:

    8/1/14, 8:51 AM - Thanks for the note. Very helpful. In terms of those wax capsules . . . I agree they can be a hassle, although they sure look pretty when stacked in the cellar. The way I pop them (and recommend to the waiters) is to drill the corkscrew auger straight through the capsule, pretending the wax isn't even there, and then pulling the cork out like normal. It cracks the wax pretty cleanly, making it easy to pour.

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