September 14, 2019 - Tusk vertical - 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 (Seven Hills restaurant, SF + Tusk party - with Cristal2000): “LEAVE ME ALONE!” shouted the stinging nettle Tusk as is pulled the sheets over its face, refusing to get up and go to school. Balled-up, Coiled-up, spikey, and with even more air, a bit bitter (especially on the finish), the 2013 has all the necessary components to be a stellar wine, but it ain’t showing nobody nuthin’ right now (Interesting how my 2013 Tusk voice somehow is from a toothless outhouse of a town somewhere in the middle of Arkansas – and I’m guessing the reason for the triple negatives and improper grammar has to do with its lack of formal education from refusing to attend school – so there’s that). Any hoo…..
Higher register than the other vintages, and certainly more standoff-ish. Hold this pulsating monster for another 3-5 years. Its core is solid, but its surface exterior distracts from the pleasure principles of this wine in its current state.
95-96 points on its best sips.
September 13, 2019 - Tusk Vertical 2011-2015 plus 2016 L'Orange - W/CSIMM1161; 9/13/2019-9/14/2019 (Seven Hills Restaurant, SF & Tusk Party): I was a bit surprised by the showing of the 13 next to the other vintages. I expected it to be at the top, but in the end it was just better than the 12. It was like a less expressive, leaner and more acidic version of the 15. It certainly was not giving up much. I've had some amazing experiences with this wine, and then others like this one where it didn't show nearly as well. Fickle animal.
Showing a nose of tobacco, herbs, blackberries, iron and graphite, this was super tight on the palate. The trademark silky texture was not present and there was some bitterness and biting tannins. The mostly dark fruit was still clearly first rate, but rough around the edges. Unsweetened chocolate and graphite abound. The finish is long but astringent. This was served at a bit higher temperature than ideal, so that could have been part of the story.
September 6, 2019 - Tasting among Napa giants consisting of 58 wines. No notes as spitting was frowned upon with my group... even punishable. Top wines 2018 Keplinger Oakville and Vine Hill Ranch Cabernet, Tusk, 2016 Colgin Tychson Hill, 2016 Vine Hill Ranch, Maxem Pinot and Chardonnay (tied for top QPR with La Pelle), La Pelle SB & Cabernet, 2012 Del Dotto Beast. Runner ups 2018 Memento Mori SVDs, 2018 Vice Versa, 2018 Keplinger Sumo and Lithic, 2016 Dana Hershey, 2016 Colgin Cariad and IX Estate.
This is killer juice. Tasked at Tusk and therefore do not have exact specifics but this wine came out swinging. Excellent wine that was open for busines our group could not get enough off. 97-98
November 15, 2018 - This a great wine that just needs more time. Enormous fruit, firm tannins long finish, Balanced and tastes like it could age 30+ years. impressive but still a baby.
March 19, 2018 - ...Killed the remainder of the bottle. About an hour+ of air prior to consumption served it well, balancing out the flavors nicely and enabling it to find a steadier glide across the palate (less of a “Bam-Zoom” slap yo mama type of experience). I hope to leave remaining bottles alone for another two+ years minimum.
March 14, 2018 - 2013 Tusk vs. 2015 Vice Versa Magnificant 7.
The initial pour of the Tusk was all about an intense “Holy Christ!” zoom of rocket fuel and flavor dominion. A sexy dominatrix slap of blackberry, black raspberry, black currant, black licorice, Baker’s chocolate, dark earth, and a speedy cassis zing that sprinted through the core fruit and added to the elevated intensity, especially on the back end.
The initial side-by-side with the Tusk and the M7 was a lesson in juxtaposition. The M7 showed a more reticent, classical sophistication that struck a perfect balance between modern mid-palate depth and concentration, and deft restraint. The Tusk stuck its high heels right in your thigh and demanded, “Now what?!” The Tusk’s attention-grabbing levy of flavor and intensity was certainly absorbing and magnetic. I wanted more, but I wasn’t sure what the hell that meant I was in for.
After about two hours of decanted air, the Tusk leveled out considerably and developed a more gorgeous and suave demeanor. It still had that, “Yep, that JUST happened!” attitude with every sip, but it carried it in a way that was more judicious and thoughtful. It morphed from a Mustang into a Ferrari.
As mentioned in my M7 note, overall the Tusk’s extravagance was more conspicuous and flashy, projecting a more authoritative faculty. The M7 spoke from a stately perspective of majesty and less about overt horsepower. Rolls Royce versus Ferrari Berlinetta. Sean Connery versus Daniel Craig. Seared foie gras versus short rib pappardelle. Like ‘em both for different reasons.
I’d say it was a good ‘ol fashioned tie between the two of them at the end of it all. The M7 has room to ramp up. The Tusk has room to chill out (especially given that it is from the powerful 2013 vintage).
Like the M7, the Tusk is also operating in that 97-99 point arena for me at the moment. Again, I loved them both for different reasons. Hold the Tusk until 2021.
November 23, 2017 - An excellent showing this go-around. Previous notes apply. This needed about 2 hours before it really started to find its glide. There was some decent grip and tension swirling around the deeper core fruit that took some time to settle down. By hours 3 and 4, it really developed a beautiful, seamless delivery of deep, dark, flavors. Super sophisticated and silky, with a perfect mid-palate that coats the mouth perfectly.
This was tied for WOTN with a '15 Scarlett Reserve. Different wines that were both enjoyable for different reasons. The power and fun-filled flavor profile of the Scarlett really held interest for hours and hours of consumption. The Tusk was the more "expensive" tasting (figuratively and literally!), with a layered complexity that was absolutely gorgeous.
98-99 points. I hope to hold remaining bottles for another year or two.
November 11, 2017 - Blind wine tasting of 2014 Realm Absurd, 2015 Carter GTO, 2015 Scarlett Reserve, 2013 Tusk and 2015 Vice Versa Magnificent Seven. Eight total raters. Wine decanted for approximately 8 hours prior to consumption.
This was the group #4 and my last place wine. Not at all what I was expecting, especially since it had won a previous tasting and I had rated it 100pts. In fairness to the Tusk, it was the only wine mostly from Prichard Hill, and had a very different profile than the valley floor wines represented by all the others in the tasting. It could also be in a "dumb phase", if there is such a thing.
Nose has lots of mineral driven flavors, to go along with raisins and prunes, which honestly was a bit off putting for me. Strikingly powerful, rich with some bitter chocolate to go along with licorice and a lot of earthy notes. Very long on the finish.
July 16, 2017 - Similar flavor profile to my notes on this wine back in April. Really rich, dark/black core fruit (a very dark side of To Kalon-esque ripeness), black licorice, dark loam, and some faint grey slate/clay notes on the back end.
I scored the Tusk 99-100 points three months ago. This go-around it was more in the 97-98+ point realm. I realize that's not much of a "downgrade," but it was just a little less seamless (especially initially) than I remember last time. PnP had a bit of rocket fuel that rushed up on the front end, causing the black fruit to exhibit a brief raisin flavor (like it was a tad over ripe) when directly juxtaposed with the alcohol pushing through. Luckily it settled down after an hour or so and smoothed out into that signature Melka glide and silkiness. The fruit deepened with some time and the alcohol rush dissipated for the most part. The black fruit, black licorice, and mineral notes found more of a harmony toward the final sips (over the course of three hours).
It is a 2013 and certainly has some power behind it. I'll leave the next bottle alone for another year at least I'm thinking. Maybe I caught it in the middle of some sort of "transitioning" (if that's even a thing). 97-98+ points for now.
April 28, 2017 - Previous notes apply, but I am bumping it to being a "perfect" wine for me at least. Had this with CSIMM alongside a 2013 Realm BTK, 2013 Schrader RBS and a 2014 Maybach Materium. As we were tasting them side by side, it was immediately evident that not only was the Tusk easily the best wine on the table, but it also really highlighted the flaws in the other wines (which are great in their own right). The Tusk is texturally perfect, just like silk. Has impeccable balance with great depth of flavor and concentration. It pulls off being accessible now with structure to last. Just really remarkable and is one of those white unicorn wines that actually lives up to the hype. I'll leave it at that since I'm sure CSIMM will give it a great detailed rundown on here. For being a 2013, this is really drinking well right now, but could use perhaps another year or so.