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Cellar list for: sandujar

2006Andrew Murray McGinley VineyardSyrah D925.002   
2005Andrew Murray Roasted Slope VineyardSyrah I725.002   
2005Andrew Murray South Slope SyrahSyrah I3,I4,I530.006  NR
The South Slope Syrah hails from a couple of vineyard blocks planted on the south facing slopes. We have produced his wine only in years when it really shined brightly. The 2005 Vintage allowed thw wine to accumulate a near ridiculous amount of tastes of dark berries...from the tangy earthiness of huckleberries to the briary qualities of blackberries. he is, of course, just enouth oak an d spice and everything nice to make this sa Syrah that tastes fantastic now, but will benefit greatly from 3-5 years in bottle. 320 cases produced.
Tasted in the AM tasting room on 4/26/08. Best of all the 2005 Syrah wines.
2006Andrew Murray Stolpman VineyardSyrah I625.002   
2013Antinori TignanelloSangiovese CMFloor85.004  97
"This is amazing on the nose with blackberry, black truffle, dried cherry and hints of tobacco. So complex on the nose. Almost no need to taste it. Full body, soft and velvety tannins, and a persistent, fabulous finish. The mouthfeel is magic."
2004Araujo AltagraciaCabernet A0,A1,A295.002  90
The 2004 Altagrácia expresses the vibrancy of the younger Eisele Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon fruit, blended with estate Merlot, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. The second cabernet of the estate, it is a serious, compelling wine with opulent fruit and seamless tannins. It exhibits a rich bouquet of warm huckleberries and dried cherries, spiced with cinnamon, espresso, shaved pencil, dried bay leaf and sage. Notes winemaker Francoise Peschon: This blend produced mouth-filling wine of deep color and smooth, sweet tannins. Its intense berry flavors and intriguing slate and mineral notes provide density and complexity. It is ready to drink now, but will easily age for years. The second wine, which now is a cuvee of 800-1,200 or so cases, is called Altagracia, and the 2004 exhibits scorched earth, hints of charcoal, black currant, licorice, and some spicy oak with distinctive elegance and terroir character, medium body, and nice, long fruit in the finish. It is meant to be drunk earlier than the Eisele Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, but it shares some of the same characteristics. One of California’s and the world’s great wine estates, Araujo continues to exhibit remarkable consistency and impeccably high quality. Little seems to change other than some minor tweaking with respect to viticulture and winemaking. The team of Bart and Daphne Araujo, their talented longtime winemaker, Francoise Peschon, and the globe-trotting oenologist, Michel Rolland, are to be commended on the extraordinary elegance of these wines. Previously recommended: 2003 Altagracia (93), 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon Eisele Vineyard (98), 2003 Syrah Eisele Vineyard (94). Araujo’s second wine, Altagracia, is almost too good to be true. The 2004 Altagracia is a blend of 66% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot, 11% Petit Verdot, and the rest Cabernet Franc. Open-knit, rich, and succulent, it is a surprisingly fleshy effort boasting tremendous aromatic intensity, a beautiful sweetness, loads of black fruits, and notions of cedar, spice box, and wood. This sensually irresistible 2004 will no doubt provide immense pleasure over the next 10-15 years
(1) - 12/25/2008 - Bottle to Anthony Head for Christmas gift.
2005Araujo AltagraciaCabernet A3,A4,A5115.004  92
As for the 2005 Altagracia, which had been bottled several months before my visit, much like its sibling, it is 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, the rest Merlot and Petit Verdot. (The 2004 is 94% Cabernet Sauvignon.) A slightly bigger cuvee of nearly 1,200 cases, the wine has an almost French personality with its elegant, pure cedary and black currant fruit intermixed with hints of chocolate, oak, and earth. The tannins are supple, and the wine medium to full-bodied, very enjoyable already, yet capable of lasting 12-15 years. One of California’s and the world’s great wine estates, Araujo continues to exhibit remarkable consistency and impeccably high quality. Little seems to change other than some minor tweaking with respect to viticulture and winemaking. The team of Bart and Daphne Araujo, their talented longtime winemaker, Francoise Peschon, and the globe-trotting oenologist, Michel Rolland, are to be commended on the extraordinary elegance of these wines.
Drank a bottle with Jennifer and Chuck at Mastros on June 15, 2013. The wine is showing great maturity, perfect balance of fruit, tannin and earthy elements, doubtful it will get better. Drank second bottle at CM Christmas party. Excellent wine showing no sign of age. Big hit with other cab drinkers.
2006Araujo AltagraciaCabernet A6,A7,A895.005  92
Made from a completely different blend of 72% Cabernet Sauvignon and 28% Merlot, the 2006 Altagracia reveals sweet black cherry and black currant fruit intermixed with notions of charcoal and mocha. The wine is lush and full-bodied with sweet tannins, and no hard edges. It, too, should drink well for 10-15 years. Despite having over 40-plus acres of vineyards in the northeasterly sector of Napa just south of Calistoga, the production at Araujo remains relatively limited, with the flagship wine, the Cabernet Sauvignon Eisele Vineyard, producing between 1,600 and 2,200 cases of wine, and the second wine, the Altagracia, between 800 and 1,200 cases. Add to that another 1,000 cases of Sauvignon Blanc and 300-400 cases of Syrah, and there is just not a lot to go around given the greatness that can be achieved from this vineyard. Much of the credit has to go to proprietors Bart and Daphne Araujo and, of course, their top-notch winemaking team, which has always been led by Francoise Peschon. Araujo’s second wines are among the finest second wines consumers will find in northern California. For example, the Altagracia cuvees, which represent 25-35% of the production, have been outstanding examples of Cabernet Sauvignon. Araujo has done an excellent job with Syrah, which they typically co-ferment with 3-4% Viognier. Sadly, only 300-400 cases are produced.
Drank 1 bottle at Cellar Masters Saturday afternoon wine tasting 1/24/2015. Drank it with 100 Acre, Bond and Beckstoffer of the same vintages and this wine held its own. Great complexity, great fruit, in its prime.
2014Araujo AltagraciaCabernet Ordered126.003   
2006Araujo Cabernet Sauvignon Eisele VineyardCabernet *CM306.006  92
(2006 Cabernet Sauvignon Eisele Vineyard…Very ripe aromas of black raspberry, mocha, coffee and nutty oak, plus strong soil tones of spice, tobacco and iron. Wonderfully ripe and full but with a sappy menthol lift to the flavors of currant, minerals, mocha, tobacco and game. There’s something Graves-like to this compellingly sweet wine…A worthy successor to the superlative 2005…2006 Syrah Eisele Vineyard…Black cherry, blueberry, scorched earth, spices and meat on the nose. Densely packed and imploded, with complex but reticent flavors of roasted plum, currant and mocha. A rather suave syrah…Finishes classically dry, with substantial dusty tannins that call for a couple years of cellaring.” – Robert M. Parker, Jr., The Wine Advocate, December 2008.) (This wine shows rich aromas of ripe black cherries and currants lifted by mineral notes of graphite dust, floral tones of lavender and violets, and warm notes of brioche, leather, cocoa nib and tar. In the mouth, intense flavors of ripe fruit are structured by beautifully integrated but massive tannins tightly wound around a core of deep sweetness, displaying a brooding palate driven by earthiness. The persistent finish lingers with minerality and sweet tannins. Notes winemaker Françoise Peschon: The tiny berries characteristic of the vintage here gave us an intense wine of remarkable depth and intensity, with loads of full, round tannins and mouth-coating flavor, but with delicacy in the dusty potpourri nose and the long graphite finish. The wine is earth-driven, rich and vibrant.
2001Arcadian Sleepy Hollow VineyardPinot Noir WF30.001  87
The light ruby-colored 2001 Pinot Noir Sleepy Hollow Vineyard offers pleasant scents of currants, cherries, strawberries, and loamy soil. Medium-bodied, delicate, clean, and pure, it is made in a light, but well-made style that requires consumption over the next 2-3 years.
Gift from Ferdinand for Christmas 2010
2011Aston Estate Aston Estate Pinot NoirPinot Noir W4,W5,W665.003  94
Comments from Antonio Galloni, The Wine Advocate — Rated 94 "The 2011 Pinot Noir Aston Estate is gorgeous. Sweet red berries, hard candy, crushed flowers, spices and tobacco are some of the many notes that are woven into this attractive, floral Pinot. The 2011 offers an attractive combination of minerality and that distinctive expression of fruit that is so typical of the Sonoma coast. This is a gorgeous effort."
Purchased from Scott Sherr's allocation
2007Asylum Cellars - Jeff Stuart 3Syrah CMFloor30.0011  NR
Jeff Stuart's third vintage.
2009Aubert Ritchie VineyardChardonnay Garage80.002  95
The 2008 Chardonnay Ritchie Vineyard (30+ year old old Wente clones) exhibits a beautiful green-ish hue to its color in addition to a stunning bouquet of orange blossoms, creme brulee, lemon custard, and citrus oil. Additionally, it has terrific acidity, fabulous concentration, and a full-bodied mouthfeel with unbelievable freshness and length. It should drink well for a decade or more.
2005Beaucastel Chateau BeaucastelRhone CMFloor99.005  94
Intense aromas of ripe fruit, blackberry jam, spices and a hint of liquorice. The mouth is expressive and full bodied, well balanced between fruit and tannins. An impressive vintage, showing well with a promising future. Food matches: Squab, duck, hare, game, veal. The 2005 Beaucastel Chateauneuf du Pape is a wine that probably needs 7-10 years of bottle age. Possibly the most backward and closed Beaucastel made since the 1995, the wine has very high tannins, seems totally closed aromatically, but in the mouth is a weighty wine exhibiting a dense ruby/purple color and tight aromatics consisting of new saddle leather, porcini, meat juices, licorice, tar, and black fruits. The wine is full-bodied, powerful, very tannic, and structured in a dramatically masculine, ageworthy style. This is one for the younger generation or those with considerable patience. I can’t see it being close to drinkable before 2014 and lasting up to 30 or more years
Drank one bottle at the CM 2019 Christmas party. Fruit forward with a slight hint of rasin that disappeard after 3--45 min
2007Beaucastel Chateau BeaucastelRhone X180.006  96
“Beaucastel’s 2007 Chateauneuf du Pape has turned out even better out of bottle than I predicted. An inky/ruby/purple color is followed by a glorious nose of blue and black fruits, truffles, pen ink, licorice, and meat juices as well as glorious levels of acidity and sweet tannin, buttressing the fruit’s fabulous freshness and vibrancy. This full-bodied effort still displays considerable tannin, no doubt because of the relatively high Mourvedre content. It should resolve its tannins in 2-4 years, and last for 25 or more.”
2010Beaucastel Chateau BeaucastelRhone CMShelf175.001  95
Interestingly enough, even though many of the 2010 Perrin et Fils selections from the southern Rhone were scheduled to be bottled right after my visit, the 2010 Beaucastel had already been put in bottle. This is a gorgeous wine, a classic blend of 30% Grenache, 30% Mourvedre, 10% Syrah, 10% Counoise and the balance the other permitted varietals in the appellation. Deep purple, with loads of bouquet garni, beef blood, blackberry, kirsch, smoke and truffle, this wine is full-bodied, rich and showing even better than it did last year. I still think it needs 3-5 years of cellaring, and it should last for 25-30 years, as most of the top vintages of Beaucastel do.
2012Beaucastel Chateau BeaucastelRhone CMFloor65.0012  96
What I think might end up being the best Beaucastel since the 1990 or 2001, the 2012 Châteauneuf du Pape offers a full-bodied, decadent style to go with awesome black and blue fruits, garrigue, licorice, crushed flowers and violets. The purity here is truly something, and it has fabulous mid-palate concentration, building tannin and massive texture. Given all of the fruit and texture here, it will no doubt drink well in its youth, but it should still be alive and kicking after two decades as well.
1994Beaucastel Coudalet de BeaucastelRhone SH20.001  90
Coudoulet remains best known for its red wine. It possesses a striking similarity to Beaucastel. The 1994 Cotes du Rhone is outstanding. It offers up a sweet, fragrant nose of new saddle leather, black-cherries, smoke, olives, and herbs. Lush, ripe, and full-bodied, with outstanding concentration, this velvety fruit bomb should drink well for 10-12+ years. The 1994 and 1995 are two of the finest examples of Coudoulet since the great 1989 and 1985. This wine was tasted between June 1 and June 16, 1996. Coudoulet de Beaucastel has always been one of the finest Cotes du Rhone wines, and the estate's producers, Francois and Jean-Pierre Perrin, have continued to up-grade the quality. Importer: Vineyard Brands, Chester, VT; tel. (802) 875-2139
1995Beaucastel Coudalet de BeaucastelRhone SH20.006  92
Coudoulet remains best known for its red wine. It possesses a striking similarity to Beaucastel. The 1995 Coudoulet Cotes du Rhone is, as they say in the wine trade, "packed and stacked." The wine exhibits a dense ruby/purple color, and a superb nose of smoky herbs, barbecue spices, and sweet, rich black-cherry jam. Full-bodied, dense, and thick, with outstanding concentration, low acidity, and fine purity, this is a gorgeously rich Coudoulet that should drink well for a decade. The 1994 and 1995 are two of the finest examples of Coudoulet since the great 1989 and 1985. This wine was tasted between June 1 and June 16, 1996. Coudoulet de Beaucastel has always been one of the finest Cotes du Rhone wines, and the estate's producers, Francois and Jean-Pierre Perrin, have continued to up-grade the quality. Importer: Vineyard Brands, Chester, VT; tel. (802) 875-2139
2001Beaucastel Coudalet de BeaucastelRhone WF23.002  91
A fabulous year for the reds of both Coudoulet and Beaucastel, the deep ruby/purple-colored 2001 Cotes du Rhone Coudoulet (about 10,000 cases produced) offers a rich perfume of melted licorice, smoke, saddle leather, blackberries, cherries, and a suggestion of Asian spices. Medium to full-bodied and lusty, with superb concentration as well as purity, it can be drunk now and over the next 10-15 years. This beauty may be the finest Coudoulet produced in the last 10-12 years.The 2001 Cotes du Rhone Coudoulet is one of the great successes from this vineyard, which sits just across the road from the appellation of Chateauneuf du Pape. It exhibits a deep ruby/purple color along with a closed, but promising nose of melted licorice, camphor, saddle leather, black cherries, and blackberries. It reveals more tannin and substance than most vintages, and it will need 1-3 years of cellaring. This is a long, structured, classic Coudoulet meant for long-term aging. Anticipated maturity: 2006-2016
2003Beaucastel Coudalet de BeaucastelRhone WF25.006  89
The 2003 Beaucastel Cotes du Rhone Coudoulet rouge shows notes of tar, scorched earth, herbs, black cherries, more rugged tannins, and a slightly drier, austere finish than the 2004. It is a good 2003, but for the Perrins, the 2004 is one of their great vintagesThe deep ruby/purple-tinged 2003 Cotes du Rhone Coudoulet rouge (30% Mourvedre, 30% Grenache, 20% Cinsault, and 20% Syrah) offers sweet scents of licorice, pepper, black currants, and cherry jam. Spicy and medium-bodied, with a touch of dry tannin, it is not as huge a blockbuster as several previous vintages, but is a finely made red that should age nicely for 10-12 years.
2005Beaucastel Coudalet de BeaucastelRhone CMFloor27.0010  91
The 2005 Beaucastel Coudoulet Cotes du Rhone is another outstanding example of this Cotes du Rhone made essentially across the border from Chateauneuf du Pape. Notes of tapenade, licorice, smoked herbs, and meat juices interwoven with black cherry and darker fruits are followed by an expansive, broadly flavored, full-bodied wine with no hard edges, gorgeous fruit purity, and a long, spicy, heady finish. This is almost the bottled essence of Provence. Drink it over the next decade or more.
Pulled 1 bottle from the case to taste with rack of lamb. The bottle was slightly corked but showed very good promise. Bottle 2 drank on 9/5/11 with Rib Eye steak. The wine is really coming of age showing great fruit and acidity. I guess it it is at the peak of perfection. Compared to the 2007 slightly less fruit.
2005Beaucastel Coudalet de BeaucastelRhone WF27.002  92
2007Beaucastel Coudalet de BeaucastelRhone WF30.006  92
Drank 1 bottle. Very fruty, hits of cedar and tobacco, shows great aging potential
2010Beaucastel Coudalet de BeaucastelRhone CMFloor16.0012  90
The real steal, however, is the 2010 Cotes du Rhone Coudoulet red (an identical blend), which has really put on some weight and intensity since I tasted it last year. The wine displays oodles of licorice, black currant and black cherry liqueur with hints of damp forest floor and truffle. Sweet tannin, decent acidity and nice, attractive density make for an outstanding Cotes du Rhone to drink over the next 7-8 years.
Purchased at Trader Joes. Price was mismarked
1985Beaulieu Vineyards Georges de Latour "Private Reserve"Cabernet WF200.001  95
James Laube, Wine Spectator" rated this wine a 95. Ranks as one of California's finest...this vintage is remarkably deep, righ and concentrated with beautifully defined black cherry and currant flavors, elegant tannins. impeccable balance. a soft gentle aftertaste that lingers and should age for decades.
Our Community House of Hope auciton
2014Beausejour Duffau LagarrosseBordeaux JJBuckley72.002  92
The Château Beauséjour Duffau-Lagarrosse 2014 is a blend of 95% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc cropped at 39 hectoliters per hectare picked from 6 until 15 October. It represents 56% of the total production this year. Matured in 55% new oak, it actually has quite a laid-back, lighter bouquet than I was expecting, especially compared to the Pavie-Macquin '14. Giving it 5 minutes to open, it develops greater fruit intensity thanks to scents of macerated black cherries, dark plum and allspice. The palate is medium-bodied on the entry, bridled with marmalade and white pepper notes intermixed with the lush red fruit. There is impressive tension and weight here, an appetizing crescendo of flavors and a twist of bitter cherry on the finish. There is a feral element that keeps drawing you back to this complex Saint Emilion that may warrant a higher score after bottling.
2013Beckman Purisima Mountain VineyardGrenache SideRack40.001  NR
Vintage 2013 was the year Block Eight vines truly came into their prime. After being lightly filtered and aged for 14 months in neutral oak, the nose reveals hints of hibiscus with strong aromas of red berries andgrenadine. On the palate plush and chewy tannisns are surrounded by notes of cherry and pomegranite creating a super smooth silky texture.
2013Beckman Purisima Mountain Vineyard Syrah Clone #1Syrah SideRack44.001  NR
One of our most distinctive and impressive wines. Syrah Clone #1 is our flagship single clone bottling. Consistently displaying aromas of smoke and ripe black fruit the 2013 has concentrated layers of intense campfire, blackberry and sweet black currant aromatics. These elements continue on the palate where a pop of smoked pork belly develops into a maple laden bukleberry finish. 500 cases
2014Beckmen Purisima Mountain VineyardGrenache Siderack38.001   
Complex layers of nutmeg, baking spices and vanilla aromas coalesce with intense blueberry flavors on the palate creating and elegant opulent wine. Excellent structure enahnced by 1/3 stem inclusion allows this wine to age extremely well.
2014Beckmen Purisma Mountain Vineyard Clone #1Syrah Siderack42.001   
Rich and savory featuring espresso bean, dark chocolate and smoke aromas followed by concentrated blackberry and roasted meat flavors. This full bodied Syrah has a refined minerality, chewy tannin structure and a lasting finish.
1986Beringer Private ReserveCabernet WF200.001  96
The fully mature, open-knit 1986 Cabernet Sauvignon Private Reserve is totally delicious. The color is dark garnet with some amber at the edge. The big, sweet, licorice, earthy, jammy, black fruit-scented nose is followed by a full-bodied, sweet, expansive, chewy wine with no hard edges. The acidity and tannin are both well-integrated in this plump, sumptuous Cabernet Sauvignon that should drink well for 5-6 more years. The tasting notes for this section are from two single blind tastings, one conducted in May, 1996, in California, and the other in June, 1996, in Baltimore.
Our Community House of Hope auciton
2006Beringer Private ReserveCabernet WF100.001  93
Production: 9,066 cases; Alcohol: 14.6%; Blend: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon; Harvest Dates: September 29 to November 7. The 2006 was made from 32% Bancroft Ranch, 24% Steinhauer Ranch, 19% St. Helena Home Vineyard, with smaller amounts from Rancho del Oso, Chabot Vineyard, Marston Ranch and Lampyridae. A big heat wave in July was the salient weather factor in this vintage. The harvest began early and continued for five weeks. Abundant smoke, chocolate, espresso roast, cassis and mocha characteristics are found in this full-bodied, powerful, layered Cabernet. Although not quite as seamless as the nearly perfect 2005 Private Reserve, it is a big, dense beauty from a somewhat forgotten Napa Valley vintage. Give it 3-4 years of cellaring and drink it over the following two decades or more.
2012Beringer Private ReserveCabernet F7130.002  96 RP
Revealing the great blending skills of Beringer’s winemaking team, the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Private Reserve is a winner. Having purchased Private Reserves for many years, I can attest that they age incredibly well. The 1991, one of the great successes of that vintage, is still aging beautifully at nearly 25 years of age. The sensational 2012 (10,000 cases) boasts an opaque purple color along with abundant aromas of charcoal, burning embers, crme de cassis, chocolate, blackberries and licorice. The long, complex, compelling, full-bodied texture along with terrific purity and a savory, rich mouthfeel result in a classic, quintessential Napa Cabernet Sauvignon to drink now and over the next 20-25 years.
2003Blackbird Vineyards Merlot Napa ValleyMerlot WF70.000  93
Drank 1 at Leilas Drank 2 Christmas 2007
2001Blue Rock Alexander Valley CabernetCabernet WF45.001   
Typical of Blue Rock Cabernet, this new release is proving to be very aromatic and offers multi-dimensional notes of black currant, creme de cassis, black cherry, and subtle wood. The attention to detail is obvious in the wines' elegance and velvety texture. It has a very full body and silky, sweet ripe tannins, well-integrated oak, great balance and refinement. Ready to enjoy upon release, yet with the depth and structure to age and improve for the next 7 years, peaking in 2011 in our opinion. Owner Kenny Kahn is predicting this new vintage will be his most age-worthy to date. Enjoy!
2005Blue Rock Alexander Valley CabernetCabernet B11,B12,B1345.006  NR
2007Blue Rock Alexander Valley CabernetCabernet B6,B7,B8,B9,B10,B1140.0012  NR
2010Blue Rock Alexander Valley CabernetCabernet Garage37.402   
2010Blue Rock Alexander Valley Cabernet Best Barrels SelectCabernet Garage80.001  NR
2009Blue Rock Baby BlueCabernet B0,B5,B6,B7,B822.0010   
2010Blue Rock Best Barrels MalbecMalbec Garage65.002  NR
2012Bodegas Caro Caro Red BlendMalbec CMFloor55.006  98
“Incredible aromas of spice, cedar, walnut and dark berry. Floral too. Spectacular nose. Full body, ultra-fine tannins and a racy and refined finish. Fresh and succulent. Made from old vines of mablec in Compuertas and cabernet sauvignon from Altamira. Such finesse. Half the normal production. The best wine ever from the Domaine Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) and Nicolas Catena winery. Drink or hold.” – JS, June 2013
2011Brewer Clifton 3D ChardonnayChardonnay CMFloor65.002   
Lynne drank 1/14/2017. Buttery, dry, light fruit, balanced.
2011Brewer Clifton Gnesa ChardonnayChardonnay CMFloor65.002   
Drank one bottle with Christmas 2013 dinner. Had with appetizer of Coque San Jocques
2009Brewer-Clifton Santa Rita HillsPinot Noir CM145.001  92
The 2009 Pinot Noir is a highly expressive wine. Sweet red fruit, herbs, licorice, dried flowers and mint are some of the notes that emerge from this mid-weight Pinot. The 100% stems come through in the wine’s aromatic profile and high-toned finish. This is a terrific introduction to the house style and a fabulous effort at this level. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2020. No one has done more to carry the banner for the Santa Rita Hills than Greg Brewer and Steve Clifton. Both together at Brewer-Clifton and separately in their other projects, Brewer and Clifton consistently deliver delicious wines that are also deeply thought provoking with regards to the potential these vineyard sites hold. The Pinots in particular are compelling. The 2009 Pinots saw a seven day cold soak and fermentations that lasted a total of 35-40 days, with 100% stems. Tel. (805) 735-9184; Fax (805) 735-9185;
Purchased at Dine LA
2013Casanova di Neri Tenuta NuovaSangiovese CMFloor110.002  97
Casanova di Neri's 2013 Brunello di Montalcino Tenuta Nuova is celebrating its 20th anniversary (1993-2013), and a special gold-label edition of the wine was made to commemorate this important milestone. This is a bold and expressive Brunello that displays tightly knit aromas of Morello cherry, spice, leather and balsam herb that are the building blocks of the most beautiful Brunellos that come to mind. The Casanova di Neri house style implies a modern and sophisticated approach for sure. But the inner spirit and texture of Sangiovese is so fine and polished in its natural state that it hardly matters. The personality of the grape shines through with a loud and confident voice.
Purchased from Michael Schulman
2005Cascina Val del Prete CarolinaBarbera d'Alba WF37.991  88
The Barbera variety's origins are extremely ancient but the first documents in which it is cited date to only several centuries ago. In fact, the first formal citation of Barbera appears in a document of the 17th century that is nowpreserved in the city hall of Nizza Monferrato. And it was first officially mentioned in 1798 when Count Nuvolone, deputy director of the agrarian society of Turin, drew up the first ampelography of the varieties cultivated in the vineyards of Piedmont. "Il" or "la" Barbera, as it was traditionally called by Piedmontese farmers, whose brusk and unassuming character is precisely the same as that of this frank and robust red, is one of the wines best known and appreciated throughout Italy for its generosity and strength. A. Strucchi, a noted Italian enologist, observed at the end of the last century, that "when Barbera wine has attained five or six years of age, it is as suitable for consumption with roasted meats as Barolo and is often preferred by many to the more famous wine.''
Production: 6,500 btl. Toasty oak and berry fruit. Can age for years. Drink with roast lamb, game and dry cheeses.
2010Castelgiocondo CastelgiocondoSangiovese CMFloor45.002  94
The 2010 Brunello di Montalcino ushers forth a new stylistic chapter in the wines of Marchesi de' Frescobaldi. Gone are those overt oak notes of cinnamon, dark chocolate and moist chewing tobacco. Instead, this fresh and streamlined wine renews its effort to put Sangiovese in prime positioning. The bouquet shows dark cherry, ginger and grilled herb. Instead of immediacy, this wine is engineered for longevity and that comes as a surprise considering that Castelgiocondo has historically been one of the biggest advocates of what is now dubbed "international" Brunello. With the 2010 vintage, this estate goes back to its traditional roots. The wine is young now and needs about five more years to complete its cellar evolution.
Drank the first bottle on 12/27/2017. Beautiful fruit, tannin and still on the fruit forward young side. Excellent wine. Second bottle on May 9, 2021 with Italian sausage with fennel and rigatoni. Very balanced fruit and acid with some earth notes of ripe fruit and wood.
2012Caymus 40th AnniversaryCabernet WF100.001  96
They appear to be immune to some of winedom’s less than intelligent trends and fads that we see from time to time, and the result is a spectacular 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon 40th Anniversary offering. Its dense purple/black color is followed by copious quantities of crème de cassis and blackberry fruit, silky tannins, a voluptuous texture and stunning purity as well as length. This full-bodied effort is a fabulous example of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon as well as a tribute to this amazing family. It is so good now, why wait? However, I’m sure that like most vintages of Caymus, it will last for 20-25 years. Amazing!
Gift from Andre Merikyan
2004Cerbaiona BrunelloSangiovese X2150.006  97
The estate’s 2004 Brunello di Montalcino is simply extraordinary. Enticing layers of mint, violets, black cherries, menthol and minerals lead to an explosive core of fruit. The wine continues to grow in the glass, showing off its first-class pedigree. Amazingly pure, textured and rich, this vivid, chiseled Brunello dazzles from start to finish, where balsamic notes make a final appearance. If forced to drink only one wine from Montalcino, I might very well choose Diego Molinari’s sumptuous Brunello. This is an incredible wine! Anticipated maturity: 2012-2024. Diego Molinari’s Brunellos are among the finest wines of Montalcino, and Italy, for that matter. This small vineyard is one of the most privileged spots in all of Tuscany. The property has been rumored to be for sale for some time, and the new owners, whoever they ultimately are, will have a very tall order in trying to match the level of these wines. I can only hope they succeed, because a world without the Brunellos of this jewel of an estate would be tragic.
Purchased at The Wine House on Futures
1995Chalone ChaloneChardonnay SH27.002  89
The powerful 1995 Chardonnay can be drunk, but it is still dominated by its structure. The wine is full-bodied, with stony, mineral, citrusy fruit also displaying notions of honey, white flowers, and smoky oak. There is undoubtedly a terroir character, which is expressed in the wine's minerality. Give it another year of cellaring, and drink it over the following 7-8
2011Chapoutier Ermitage le MealSyrah T1165.001  98
2000Charles KrugMerlot CM80.001   
2003Chateau Coutet Barsac SauternesSauternes WF45.002  92
It is against my better judgment to taste the sweet wines of Barsac and Sauternes at such an early age, as I find they typically require at least 12 months to reveal the definition/delineation so essential in these creamy, creme brulee, and honeysuckle-flavored offerings. Nevertheless, because this vintage is so highly regarded, I tasted through most of the top estates. The 2003s appear to be somewhat in the style of the 1990s, with high levels of residual sugar (higher than 2001 for the most part) as well as botrytis, low acidity, and fat, full-bodied personalities. This region’s harvest began extremely early (early September), and was completely finished within three weeks. It does not appear that the nobleness and racy richness of the 2001 vintage will be found in the 2003s, but readers who like the big, flamboyant, over the top style of the 1990s will enjoy the 2003s even more than I did. Unlike most of my red wine tastings, this offering was only tasted once. Readers should keep in mind that this a very early, pre-bottling judgment from very unevolved wine that is not nearly as defined and easy to evaluate as the reds.
2010Chateau Lascombes LascombesBlend CMFloor90.004  96 RP
The wine hits all cylinders in 2010. The average alcohol for the bottled wine is 14%. It has a gorgeously sweet nose of creme de cassis, spring flowers, subtle barbecue smoke and charcoal followed by full body, beautiful intensity, great purity, stature and length. The influence of any oak is minimal, despite the fact that 90% new French oak was used. Needless to say, this is an example of modern-styled winemaking at its finest, and arguments that such wines will not age well, do not represent their terroir , and are soul-less, are totally groundless. Give it five or so years of cellaring and drink it over the following 25-30 years. This is one of the great Margaux wines of the vintage. Probably the greatest Lascombes made to date, the 2010 is a blend of 55% Merlot, 45% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest Petit Verdot. The production from this huge estate totals nearly 400,000 bottles.
55% Merlot 45% Cabernet. This was the 3rd highest rated wine from Margaux, with only Chateau Margaux (RP99 & $800) and Chateau Palmer (RP98+ & $330+) outscoring, and at $89/btl, this makes a great investment, whether for consumption or for the cellar.
1987Chateau Montelena Estate BottledCabernet WF230.001  98
Chateau Montelena has made so many sensational Cabernets that it seems almost impossible to believe that their 1987 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate could be even more profound than any of the exceptional wines made previously at this property. The black/purple color, the extraordinary bouquet of rich cassis, violets, and licorice, the massive extraction of flavors, sensational depth, super ripeness, and a length that must last over a minute, suggest to me that this is easily the most concentrated and potentially longest-lived Cabernet Sauvignon that Chateau Montelena has ever made. The extract level is incredible, yet the balance is there. Anticipated maturity: 1997-2025.
2014Chateau d'Yquem d'YquemSauternes JJBuckley130.002  98
The Château Yquem 2014 was picked over 9 weeks this year, with one-quarter of the grapes picked prior to 15 September. It delivers 134 grams per liter residual sugar and 7.3 grams per liter tartaric acid, with a pH 3.60. It has a captivating bouquet (I know...I know...what else were you expecting) But it entrances with its pure, wild honey notes mixed with almond and white chocolate scents, bestowed with beguiling delineation and focus. The palate is very poised with the acidity nigh on perfect. Occasionally an Yquem only reveals its components parts at this early juncture, necessitates conjecture. However the 2014 has a sense of harmony and completeness already, as if the élevage is merely there to usher it on to its finished state. There is undeniably great depth here, perhaps less conspicuous than other vintages because of that silver thread of acidity: notes of lemon sherbet, orange zest, shaved ginger and again, a few "flakes' of white chocolate. It is extremely long with tenderness rather than power on the finish. It's not quite up there in the rarefied heights of say, the 2001 or 2009, but it is what we call in the trade, "the business."
2015Château Latour Le Pauillac de Château LatourBlend CM85.004  91
The 2015 Le Pauillac de Chateau Latour is a blend of 54.2% Cabernet Sauvignon, 41.7% Merlot and 4.1% Petit Verdot. Deep garnet-purple colored, it sails out of the glass at a fantastic clip, delivering wonderfully fragrant notes of baked blackberries, blueberry compote and redcurrant jelly with hints of licorice, red roses and cigar box. Medium-bodied, generously fruited, open-knit and tantalizingly drinkable right now, the palate is chock-full of expressive red and black fruits, featuring approachable, ripe, soft tannins and seamless freshness, finishing with compelling purity. Very impressive showing!
Purchased from JJ Buckley
2004Colgin IX EstateSyrah CM325.001  96
Aubert demonstrates a superb know-how with Syrah. These wines are macerated for 35-45 days, and given frequent pump-overs as well as punch-downs. They are aged completely in French oak. The floral-filled 2004 IX Syrah Estate (486 cases) offers super-pure blue and blackberries intermixed with hints of new saddle leather and meat. High but sweet tannins, powerful flavors, and an overall sense of poise characterize this stunning effort.
2010Copain Kiser en HautPinot Noir J875.002  91
The 2010 Pinot Noir Kiser En Haut is more compact and dense than the Kiser En Bas that follows in this tasting. Here the tannins are firm and a bit imposing. The 2010 will require a few years for the fruit to really open up. Today, the wine is compact, tight and closed in on itself. It will be interesting to see how the wine develops in the coming year and years. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2020. The upper parcel of our flagship Kiser vineyard continues to yield some of our brightest and most feminine fruit, and the 2010 Kiser 'En Haut' is another gorgeous example with its grace, finesse, and consummate elegance. Soft, lovely, and nuanced, this is truly deserving of its reputation as one of our most seductive and sought-after Pinots.
2008Copain Wine Cellars Brosseau SyrahSyrah I9,I1045.003  93
The 2009 Syrah Brosseau is once again the biggest of the Copain Syrahs. Dark and inky through to the center, the wine shows notable intensity and richness in its pure dark fruit. Graphite, minerals, incense and spices are some of the many notes that develop as the wine builds on the big, dramatic finish. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2021.
2008Copain Wine Cellars HalconSyrah I8,I945.002  93
Aged completely in demi-muids, the 2008 Syrah Halcon is a tannic, young, promising effort that may merit an even higher score next year if it puts on the weight and flesh that the 2007s did in barrel. At present, it reveals abundant blue and black fruits intertwined with hints of forest flora and spice. While not as powerful as the 2007s, it exhibits lots of minerality and structure.
Drank one bottle on 2/16/2020 with rack of lamb. Green notes, won't get better with time. Best if it is consumed within 10 years or less
2006Copain Wine Cellars Harrison ClarkeSyrah I11,I1240.002  93
The 2006 Syrah Harrison Clark is a very small cuvee that shows exuberant fruit and surprising elegance. It is not the fruit bomb that the 2005 tends to be, but beautifully pure, medium to full-bodied, and capable of providing pleasure over the next 5-7 years. One of my favorite California wine producers, Wells Guthrie, like a champion truffle-hunting dog, seems to unearth top vineyards for his wines. The other 2006 Pinots I tasted, as well as the 2007s, all seem austere, rather attenuated in the finish, and essentially angular. While obviously less charming and fleshy in their youth, I doubt they will age any better since there is not a whole lot of flesh on them. Part of this can be explained by the vintage of 2006, but that wouldn’t explain the same stylistic orientation of the 2007s. Turning to the 2007s, I think these are overall superior wines because of the better vintage. The 2007 Syrahs range from excellent to outstanding, and this seems to be Wells Guthrie’s strongest suit, as it has been in previous vintages.
Drank a bottle of this with Thanksgiving dinner 2015. Still showing some resiliencey in age with plenty of fruit. Good for another couple of years. Drank a bottle on 12/30/2017 at a Cellar Master Syrah tasting.
2005Copain Wine Cellars ThompsonSyrah WF40.000  94
The 2005 Syrah Thompson Vineyard (made famous by Ojai’s Adam Tolmach) is seriously endowed, with notes of licorice, ground pepper, incense, Chinese black tea, roasted meats, and copious quantities of blackberry and cassis fruit. Admirable stuffing, full-bodied power, and dazzling delineation make for an impressive Syrah that should drink well for at least 10-12 years. One of my favorite Central Coast sites is the Santa Barbara vineyard in the Alisos Canyon known as the Thompson Vineyard and made famous by Ojai’s Adam Tolmach. The 2005 Syrahs are slightly more linear and European-styled than the 2004 in terms of weight and elegance. They reflect the cooler, higher acid, more restrained alcohol vintage, and are in complete contrast to the flamboyant, intense, heady 2004s. A blockbuster, but not as inky, rich, and powerful as the 2004, is the 2005 Syrah Thompson Vineyard. More structured, acidic, and tannic than its older sibling, it is a top-notch effort that will benefit from 2-3 years of bottle age, and should last for 10-15 years.
Drank the first bottle on the eve of Thanksgiving with flat bread pizza. Fantastic wine very balanced, nice complexity. Second bottle with Thanksgiving dinner. Third bottle with St. Patricks day dinner. Great combo with Corned Beef.
2008CorraCabernet CMFloor150.003  93
The 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon offers plum, cassis, camphor and forest floor notes in its dense purple color. Its elegant, medium to full-bodied flavors display ripe tannins, a good center core of sweet fruit, and a velvety, fleshy finish. Drink it over the next 10-15 years. The best wine I have yet tasted from Corra is their 2007 (rated 95 last year), and both of these vintages are not far off the mark of that beauty. Production is around 400 cases from this boutique operation, with the wine (which is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon) coming from three separate locations - Pritchard Hill, Rutherford, and Oakville.
2013CorraCabernet Q10,Q11150.002  95
Made by well-known and highly regarded consultant Celia Welch, the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon (100% Cabernet Sauvignon from three separate sectors of Napa Valley -- Pritchard Hill, Rutherford and Oakville) offers up notes of spice box, cedar wood, blackcurrant and blackberry as well as touches of charcoal and tobacco leaf. The wine displays great fruit on the attack as well as mid-palate, and finishes authoritatively, but with elegance, purity, depth and intensity. Drink it over the next 20+ years.
Purchased from Scott Sherr
2004Coya CoyaMalbec WF39.991   
2002Darioush ShirazShiraz I1,I260.004   
2012Darioush ShirazShiraz I0,I374.00    
Drank a bottle at Vogelbachs on Dec 23. Very balanced showing signs of good tannin, and fruit. Still a very big wine.
Purchased this while in Napa in October 2014 with Lynne, Kenny, Mary, Dan and Maria
2004Dashe Cellars Iron Oak Merlot Potter ValleyMerlot CMSR28.351   
2003Dashe Cellars Louvau Vineyard Old VinesZinfandel CMSR32.215   
We love this wine: its fruit, its structure, its elegance. The aromas are of beautiful raspberry and cherry liqueur, together with clove, chocolate, and vanilla. In the mouth, the flavors are of black raspberry fruit, chocolate, and more earthy complex flavors, all buoyed up by the firm acid that keeps the wine from being too thick or cloying. The wine is so satisfying in texture: it’s just like liquid velvet. The 2003 vintage was an ideal year to show off this special Dry Creek vineyard.
2002Dashe Cellars Merlot Potter ValleyMerlot CMSR28.351   
2003Dashe Cellars Merlot Potter ValleyMerlot CM28.351   
2004Dashe Cellars Todd Brothers Ranch Old VinesZinfandel CM32.276  94
This wine grows just north of Geyserville, on 48-year-old vines planted on a steep, rocky slope. It maintains a core of the old-vine fruit goes to velvet rather than jam. It's zesty, sappy and tense, the power of the woodland blackberry fruit making a lasting impression. The velvet nap makes it dressy enough for a holiday, whether a Fourth of July cookout or a Thanksgiving turkey with sausage and apple stuffing." - Joshua Greene
2003DeLille Cellars Chaleur EstateRed Wine C2,C374.002  95
mazing aromas of blueberries, black cherries, spices, sage, thyme, and violets emanate from the glass of the 2003 Chaleur Estate (red). Though this wine is densely packed with candied blackberries as well as cassis, it loses none of its elegance and charm. Extremely well-focused and detailed, it also reveals great length in its seamless finish. Drink it over the next 15 years.
Drank a bottle with a burger made from the Knapton Flannery custom ground beef. Amazing fruit and woody, spicy complexity.
2004DeLille Cellars Harrison HillRed Wine C1,C275.003  94
The 2004 Harrison Hill comes from a single Yakima Valley vineyard, the second oldest in the state. The wine is composed of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot,9% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Petit Verdot. Dark ruby-colored, it exhibits a fragrant perfume of minerals, leather, pepper, cedar, cassis, black cherry, and black currants which jumps from the glass. Richly textured, the wine is supple and sweet on the palate with layers of complex flavors, well-concealed tannins, and a long, smooth finish. Give this seamless effort 3-4 years of further bottle age and drink it through 2024. The winery offered the 1994 Harrison Hill to demonstrate the aging potential of this wine. Exhibiting complexity, elegance, and power, it has the stuffing to continue its evolution for another 5-7 years.
1995Domaine Jean Grivot Vosne RomaneeRed Wine SH30.006  89
The light-to-medium ruby-colored Vosne-Romanee reveals enticing aromas of violets and roses. It has a beautifully balanced, medium-bodied personality packed with black currants, blueberries and floral notes. Drink 2000-2007. The Domaine Jean Grivot is brilliantly run by Jean's son Etienne Grivot. As I mentioned in the introduction to my Cote de Nuits report (Issue #110), he is one of the young vignerons responsible for the higher quality of Burgundy's wines. His 1995s were among the best wines I tasted in the Cote d'Or, bringing together superb balance with thick, concentrated, elegant fruit.
2017Domaine Matrot Meursault-Blagny 1er CruChardonnay CMFloor65.004  90
The 2017 Meursault-Blagny 1er Cru unfurls in the glass with a vivid bouquet of crisp green apple, pear, Meyer lemon and oyster shell. On the palate, it's medium to full-bodied, fleshy but cool and controlled, with bright acids and a mineral finish. The high altitude site tempers the sun kissed charm of the vintage.
2003Domaine de la Charbonniere Les Hautes BrusquieresSyrah WF40.001  90
Decidedly earthy and again resiny and nearly obnoxiously spicy, the 2003 Chateauneuf du Pape Les Hautes Brusquieres Cuvee Speciale seems to be too driven by the spice component as opposed to the fruit aspects. Some gritty tannin in the finish also kept my eyebrows raised. This is a firm, big wine, but is showing some of the harsh tannins that sometimes plague the vintage. Give it 2-3 years of cellaring, and hope they become resolved. Anticipated maturity: 2008-2016.
2005Domaine du Clos des Fees Cotes du Rousillon Villages Vielle VignesRed Wine Garage16.990  91
The 2006 Cotes du Roussillon Villages Vieilles Vignes displays fresh blackberry and black raspberry fruit, along with crushed stone, scrubby herbal, and incense-like notes as well as a carnal, faintly gamey side that has not yet emerged in the younger Clos des Fees wines tasted on this same occasion. Vigorous and penetrating like its 2006 and 2007 counterparts, though a bit more powerful and less charming, this offers a savory meld of the meaty and mineral to accompany the intense black fruit in its long finish. It should merit following for another 3-4 years. Herve Bizeul practices a ruthlessly controlled viticultural regimen focused on some 130 parcels of selection massale vines in the dramatically rocky, yet clay-permeated limestone environment north of Vingrau, and his pursuit of concentration and purity continues with meticulous selectivity of plots and lots (much of the crop is sold off each year) as well as of clusters and berries. Add to this a fruit-pampering vinification, and the result is wines that have turned heads every bit as much as does the local scenery and brought Bizeul well-deserved recognition as a beacon of Roussillon quality. He is so convinced of the fit between traditional goblet training and the local climate, that he is even head-pruning his young vines of Cabernet Franc, whose profusely floral, chocolaty-rich, yet refined inaugural 2008 vintage will, rest assured, be unlike any other wine from this grape that you have ever tasted. Bizeul is another of those denizens of Roussillon and the Languedoc to have imagined and now perfected a uniquely delicious style of white wine.
Purchased at The Wine House
2001Duckhorn EstateCabernet WF150.001  89
The deep ruby/purple-tinged 2001 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate (2,642 cases) offers up scents of plums, blackberries, cassis, and subtle oak. Medium to full-bodied and rich, with impressive purity, texture, and length, this young but accessible 2001 should be at its finest between now and 2014
2001Duckhorn MerlotMerlot WF150.000  88
Drank this for Lynne's birthday at Saddle Peak lodge with Sophie and Kash.
2001Duckhorn Stout VineyardCabernet WF150.001  92
The 2001 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Stout Vineyard boasts a lovely saturated ruby/purple color in addition to a gorgeous perfume of acacia flowers, graphite, black currants, licorice, and smoke. The complex aromatics are followed by a medium to full-bodied red with considerable elegance, noteworthy power and richness, and a clean, moderately tannic finish. This impressive effort reveals a Bordeaux-like personality that includes the ripeness Napa provides. A beauty! Anticipated maturity: 2006-2016
2014Ducru Beaucaillou Ducru BeaucaillouBordeaux JJBuckley100.002  96
The Château Ducru-Beaucaillou 2014 is a blend of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Merlot that was picked between 25 September and 15 October and matured in 100% new oak as usual. The IPT is 81, the pH 3.81. Compared to recent vintages the nose is more backward, sultry and less explosive although there is still impressive concentration here. It's just "buttoned down" at present. (A second sample showed a little more sous-bois, more complexity than the first.) The palate is medium-bodied and masculine, a little chalky in the mouth with a firm backbone. Bruno Borie has overseen a more classic Ducru-Beaucaillou, one that I suspect will be less approachable than the last three vintages, boasting a Pauillac-like, graphite-infused finish that just needs to gain a little more persistence during its élevage. This is one wine that actually showed better on my second visit, demonstrating more élan and brio, but nuances notwithstanding, it is another magnificent Ducru-Beaucaillou to add to the roster.
2012Duemani DuemaniCabernet Franc CMFloor95.002  94 RP
The lovely 2012 Duemani is a wine that will show its potential further down the road. This warm vintage expression is muscular and compact at this initial stage in its evolution. It needs more years of bottle aging to unwind and soften. You certainly get a whiff of that profound potential on the horizon. Impenetrable fruit, blackberry, prune and cherry liqueur is trailed by oak spice, barbecue smoke and campfire ash. The oak element is very strong and not fully integrated yet. This is a masterful creation from one of Italy's most talented winemakers.
2005Dumol AidanPinot Noir CM74.000  91
The 2005 Pinot Noir Aidan is a pretty wine, with a deep ruby red color and pure raspberry and cherry notes intermixed with some underbrush and earth. The wine is long, medium-bodied, with loads of freshness and acidity giving it zip and zest. It should drink nicely for 5-7 years. Proprietor Kerry Murphy and his winemaker, Andy Smith, are doing sensational work in the cool-climate areas of the Russian River. This has become one of my favorite tastings of the year, and not only are their Chardonnays and Pinot world-class, but they have extended their brilliance to both Viognier and Syrah. This is a winery that is clearly on top of its game and pushing all the right buttons in terms of quality.
Drank at Thanksgiving 2013.
2005Dumol ChloeChardonnay WF150.000  95
The 2005 Chardonnay Chloe comes from the well-known Ritchie Vineyard, the source for some unbelievable Chardonnays in California, and it makes a nice contrast to the Isobel, which comes from the Heintz Vineyard, or the Clare, which comes from the Hyde Vineyard. This is a sensational Chardonnay with great minerality, a light greenish-hued gold color, and a stunning nose of orange blossoms, guava, nectarine, honeysuckle, and lemon oil. The wine displays white currant and floral notes, super full body, and superb structure due to the acidity levels. This is fabulous Chardonnay that should drink nicely over the next 5-6 years. Proprietor Kerry Murphy and his winemaker, Andy Smith, are doing sensational work in the cool-climate areas of the Russian River. This has become one of my favorite tastings of the year, and not only are their Chardonnays and Pinot world-class, but they have extended their brilliance to both Viognier and Syrah. This is a winery that is clearly on top of its game and pushing all the right buttons in terms of quality.
Drank this a monarch beach resort for 54th b-day celebration.
2005Dumol ChloeChardonnay CM60.002  95
The 2005 Chardonnay Chloe comes from the well-known Ritchie Vineyard, the source for some unbelievable Chardonnays in California, and it makes a nice contrast to the Isobel, which comes from the Heintz Vineyard, or the Clare, which comes from the Hyde Vineyard. This is a sensational Chardonnay with great minerality, a light greenish-hued gold color, and a stunning nose of orange blossoms, guava, nectarine, honeysuckle, and lemon oil. The wine displays white currant and floral notes, super full body, and superb structure due to the acidity levels. This is fabulous Chardonnay that should drink nicely over the next 5-6 years. Proprietor Kerry Murphy and his winemaker, Andy Smith, are doing sensational work in the cool-climate areas of the Russian River. This has become one of my favorite tastings of the year, and not only are their Chardonnays and Pinot world-class, but they have extended their brilliance to both Viognier and Syrah. This is a winery that is clearly on top of its game and pushing all the right buttons in terms of quality.
2006Dumol ChloeChardonnay WF60.001   
The 2006 Chardonnay Chloe, from the Ritchie Vineyard, has also taken on a little more of an earthy note, with hints of marmalade, peach, and nectarine, full body, and terrific fruit. This is a successful, serious Chardonnay that is probably best drunk in its first 2-3 years of life.
2006Dumol ClareChardonnay CM60.000  94
The 2006 Chardonnay Clare, which comes entirely from the Hyde Vineyard in Carneros, might be the most flamboyant of the three Chardonnays. Honeyed lemons, orange blossoms, a hint of pineapple and quince in addition to some crushed rock are all present in this full-bodied, deeply concentrated Chardonnay, which is even more impressive considering the vintage irregularities for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. This is a stunner that should drink nicely for 4-5 years.
Had a bottle at Hatfields with Lynne and Sim Choo. The wine was very dimensional and very extracted, plenty of lif left in it. Had the second bottle with Easter 2013 dinner. First sip was very concentrated and nectary. Flavors of pear, apricot, tangarine. Very viscous
2005Dumol Eddies PatchSyrah CM76.001  94
The 2005 Syrah Eddie’s Patch has really turned out beautifully since I tasted it a year ago. Huge color (opaque purple to the rim) with an extraordinary nose of frying bacon, roasted meats, licorice, tapenade, and blackberry, the wine is dense, full-bodied, broodingly backward, with super purity, and stunning length and richness. It is hard to know how this wine will age, but it is certainly a fabulous Syrah that should drink well for at least 5-8 years if not longer. Proprietor Kerry Murphy and his winemaker, Andy Smith, are doing sensational work in the cool-climate areas of the Russian River. This has become one of my favorite tastings of the year, and not only are their Chardonnays and Pinot world-class, but they have extended their brilliance to both Viognier and Syrah. This is a winery that is clearly on top of its game and pushing all the right buttons in terms of quality.
2005Dumol FinnPinot Noir CM80.002  94
As for the 2005 Pinot Noir Finn, this is another impeccably well-made wine, revealing a slightly darker ruby hue to it than its siblings. Displaying notes of sassafras, black fruit such as currant, and deep, very ripe raspberries, the wine is full-bodied and rich, with terrific acidity and a smoky meatiness on the palate. The wine should drink nicely for at least 7-10 years. Proprietor Kerry Murphy and his winemaker, Andy Smith, are doing sensational work in the cool-climate areas of the Russian River. This has become one of my favorite tastings of the year, and not only are their Chardonnays and Pinot world-class, but they have extended their brilliance to both Viognier and Syrah. This is a winery that is clearly on top of its game and pushing all the right buttons in terms of quality.
Drank 1/3 on 1/16/2016 and it was drinking perfectly, great fruit, good acidity, excellent Pinot.
2006Dumol FinnPinot Noir D680.000  92
For a 2006 Pinot Noir, the 2006 Pinot Noir Finn has turned out about as well as one could hope. It didn't hit the heights I predicted from barrel, but the wine has a dark plum/ruby color and a sweet nose of pomegranate, root beer, underbrush/forest floor, black tea, and sweet plums and cherries. This is a beauty - deep, full-bodied, and an undeniable success for the vintage. Drink it over the next 3-4 years. This is one of the superstar sources of tremendous Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, and increasingly, Syrah and a tiny bit of Viognier. Proprietor Kerry Murphy and his brilliant winemaker, Andy Smith, are huge fans of Burgundy and have searched out some of the coolest climate regions of the Russian River and Sonoma Coast to produce these wines, which all show impressive aging potential, although certainly the 2006s, now that they are in bottle, are decidedly less impressive wines overall than the lofty heights that were achieved in 2004, 2005, and of course, 2007. Tasting through the 2006 Chardonnays proves that DuMOL did as good a job as anyone in this vintage, but the wines seem to have lost some of their exuberance in going from barrel to bottle. The 2007s, products of a very cool growing year as well as some of the best fruit that winemaker Andy Smith has ever seen come into the winery, look terrific. About one-third of the entire Pinot Noir production from DuMOL was sold off in 2006 because of the difficulties of heat spikes and botrytis. The wines in bottle are somewhat more muted and decidedly less impressive than I had hoped they would be, and to me seem well behind the brilliant quality of the 2005s and 2004s, or the promising 2007s. When I asked the winemaker, Andy Smith, about percentages of oak and pH levels for the 2007s, he told me that most of the 2007 Pinot Noirs were in the 3.4-3.5 pH range, which is relatively low. The percentage of new oak for all the Pinots was around 40-50%. As for the Chardonnays, rarely did they exceed 60% new oak, and most of that is largely concealed by the richness of those wines.
Drank first bottle with Easter Dinner, grilled leg of lamb. Fantastic fruit, still has time left in the bottle. Drank the last bottle on 12/15/2017 The wine wasn't over the hill but lacked any distinct flavor profiles. These are best drunk in the first 5 years.
2005Dumol IsobelChardonnay CM60.001  96
The 2005 Chardonnay Isobel has that greenish hue to its yellow straw color. The wine smells fabulous, with notes of tropical fruits, honeyed citrus, a touch of roasted hazelnut, and a crushed rock flintiness. A wine of great intensity, full-bodied power, but extraordinary structure and length, this is a sensational Chardonnay that should drink well for 5-8 years. Proprietor Kerry Murphy and his winemaker, Andy Smith, are doing sensational work in the cool-climate areas of the Russian River. This has become one of my favorite tastings of the year, and not only are their Chardonnays and Pinot world-class, but they have extended their brilliance to both Viognier and Syrah. This is a winery that is clearly on top of its game and pushing all the right buttons in terms of quality.
2006Dumol IsobelChardonnay D1260.002  94
Even better is the 2006 Chardonnay Isobel, which comes from the Heintz Vineyard in Green Valley, a vineyard that has also produced some superb Chardonnays at nearby Williams-Selyem. Very exotic notes of tropical fruits, pineapple, and mango, in addition to honeysuckle, make for a vivid aromatic expression. This full-bodied wine displays excellent fruit purity, nicely layered mouthfeel, and a long finish. It is a wine to drink over the next 3-4 years.
2005Dumol Jack Roberts RunSyrah CM70.001  92
There are only 300 cases of the deep ruby/purple-tinged 2005 Syrah Jack Robert’s Run. With excellent acidity, loads of tannin, and a more elegant style than the 2004, it is more French/European in its medium-bodied weight, crisp acidity, and lower pH. It should age nicely for 7-8 years. As I said last year, DuMol is one of my favorite wineries, primarily because of the passion and commitment to quality of owner Kerry Murphy and his winemaker, Andy Smith
2005Dumol Pinot Noir Russian River ValleyPinot Noir CM58.002  92
The 2005 Pinot Noir Russian River (2,500 cases) had recently been moved to tank and was awaiting bottling when I tasted it. It is a medium-bodied effort displaying plenty of berry fruit, dried herbs, lavender, spicy oak, and roasted meat characteristics. Savory with good acidity, it is a strong Russian River cuvee to drink over the next decade.
2005Dumol Russian River ValleyChardonnay D1370.001   
The 2005 Chardonnay Russian River offers a terrific introduction to this estate’s Burgundian winemaking style. A 3,200-case blend of fruit from the Heintz, Ritchie, and Dutton vineyards, it boasts fabulous fruit along with hints of lemon oil, orange blossoms, tropical fruit, subtle smoky oak, and crushed rocks. This fresh, lively effort appears to be the finest Russian River Chardonnay DuMol has yet produced.
2006Dumol Russian River ValleyChardonnay D10,D1150.003  93
The 2006 Chardonnays follow suit, with the 2006 Chardonnay Russian River beautifully floral, with plenty of honeysuckle, citrus oil, mineral, and hazelnut. It is ripe, fleshy, and altogether a delicious example of this varietal that should drink nicely for 4-5 years.
2006Dumol Russian River ValleySyrah C0,C554.002  91
The 2006 Syrah Russian River is full-bodied, richly fruity, not terribly complex at the moment, but pure and nicely balanced.
2005Dumol SyrahSyrah CM54.002  93
Aromas of black fruits, tapenade, ground pepper, and spice box emerge from the 2005 Syrah Russian River (1,400 cases). There is some herbaceousness underneath the fruit, but the wine is full-bodied, rich, complex, and comes across like a Crozes-Hermitage on steroids. Drink it over the next 5-6 years.
2002Dunn Vineyards Dunn Cabernet SauvignonCabernet WF65.001  90
Sweet black currant, floral, blueberry, and cassis characteristics emerge from the 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa. With medium body, and not the power and depth apparent in other Napa bottlings, it is a more elegant, restrained effort that will be ready to drink in 3-5 years. It should last for 15+ years.
Purchased at the Cheese Shop in Santa Barbara
2007Dutchers Crossing Proprietor's ReserveCabernet D1,D230.005  90
2007 Proprietor's Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 Proprietor's Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon DOUBLE GOLD WINNER -- 2010 TASTERS GUILD INTERNATIONAL WINE COMPETITION AND WEST COAST WINE COMPETITION! As an addition to our acclaimed Proprietor's Reserve portfolio, this wine is ready to enjoy now. Elegant Cab framing Syrah's supple fruit flavors = fabulous
Recommended by John Stubbs
2014Eastside AubertChardonnay WF85.001  100
The 2014 Chardonnay Eastside may also flirt with perfection. This wine is fashioned in the same style, but incredibly may be even more concentrated, intense and full. It is remarkable what Mark Aubert is doing so brilliantly with his winemaking program, and if readers haven’t beaten a path to his door (or mailing list), it’s about time, as these are some of the most complex and satisfying wines on Planet Earth. It sounds like a broken record, but Mark Aubert is certainly one of a handful of California’s finest practitioners of Burgundy-styled, classic California Chardonnays. He’s at the top of the pyramid for these extraordinary wines, and he’s not that far behind when it comes to Burgundian-styled, rich, impressive Pinot Noirs as well. Of course, he has his own winery, and continues to acquire high-quality, cool-climate sites for his Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs, with Cix, Eastside, Lauren Estate and Sugar Shack Estate all now part of Aubert’s estate vineyards. Mark Aubert had an impressive resumé long before he became this famous, mentored by Helen Turley when he was at Peter Michael, and from there spending impressive tenures at Colgin and Tom Futo’s winery before he went off bound for glory. I am a big buyer of these wines every year, and often serve the wines to strangers at charity events. They are consistently the favorites that people taste. All of Aubert’s wines tend to push about 15% natural alcohol as he is not shy about ripeness, but they also have great acids. They are aged in 100% new oak that is virtually untraceable, given the quality of the fruit and his magical élevage, which produces wines that are pure and precise. His 2012s were probably his most ostentatious and dramatic wines to date, but the 2013s, after a somewhat sluggish tightness when they were first bottled, are now exploding with quality and intensity. His 2014s are among the great, great successes of the vintage. As he told me, 2014 was a tiny crop for him, and all of the wines are slightly bigger than even his 2013s and 2012s, meaning they are in excess of 15% alcohol, but they have intense acid profiles due to the drought and dry soils where his vineyards are planted.
Purchased from Scott Sherr
2005Ehlers EstateCabernet CM35.003  92
A beautiful effort, Ehlers Estate’s 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon 1886 is an homage to their founder, Bernard Ehlers, who first planted vines here in 1886. A blend of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Petit Verdot and 3% Merlot, it boasts a deep ruby/purple color along with a broad bouquet of black raspberries, black currants, cherries, spice and even a floral component. Medium to full-bodied with abundant fruit, purity and texture, it should drink well for at least a decade. .
2014Eisele Vineyard AltagraciaCabernet CMFloor110.003  90
The wines from the extremely hot drought year, 2014, were just bottled prior to my visit. The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Altagracia is suppressed in the aromatics, which is due to recent bottling, but exhibits a deep ruby/purple color, outstanding ripeness, elegance and loads of blackcurrant fruit intermixed with dusty/loamy soil scents and spice. Drink it over the next 12-15 years.
2015Eisele Vineyard AltagraciaCabernet CM Floor130.003  94
Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Altagracia has slightly muted black cherries, crushed black plums and cassis with hints of licorice, black soil and cracked pepper plus a waft of tapenade. Medium to full-bodied, rich and expressive in the mouth, it delivers a lot of layers and wonderfully fine tannins, finishing long and earthy.
2013Eisele Vineyard Cabernet SauvignonCabernet CMFloor350.003  100
The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Eisele Vineyard, which is also 100% of this varietal, behaves similarly to how the 2013 Altagracia did compared to its older sibling. Inky, bluish purple with a beautifully pure nose of blueberries, blackberries and cassis with background floral notes, this full-bodied wine (14.8% alcohol) tastes a lot younger and less evolved than its 2012 counterpart. I’d think this was a barrel sample, then again, it’s only been in bottle for three months. Beautiful layers of fruit, velvety more noticeable tannin, exquisite purity and an almost endless finish make for a remarkable effort that needs another 5-6 years of cellaring and should keep 30 to 40+ years, particularly in view of how Eiseles from the early 1970s have lasted. This famous estate tucked away in northeastern Napa Valley in the foothills of the Vaca Mountains is now fully controlled, in both a viticultural and winemaking standpoint, by Château Latour’s François Pinault and his general manager Frédéric Engerer. The new releases include their second wine, the Altagracia.
2015Eisele Vineyard Cabernet SauvignonCabernet CM450.003  100
Medium to deep garnet-purple in color, the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon charges from the gate with exuberant red and black cherries notes, black currants and mulberries with a beautiful roses and lavender perfume, plus hints of sandalwood and cinnamon stick. Full-bodied, concentrated and downright explosive in the mouth, it is still wearing loads of gorgeous puppy-fat fruit flavors, offering suggestions of the complex, multilayered blockbuster that it will emerge into. The structure deserves its own mention: wonderful, seamless freshness and oh-so-fine, pixelated tannins, with an extraordinary persistence of fruit and mineral nuances. Wow.
2016Eisele Vineyard Sauvignon BlancSauvignon Blanc CM Floor100.003  92
Bottled in June 2016, the 2016 Sauvignon Blanc gives up intense white peaches, grapefruit and lemon tart notes with hints of dried herbs, struck match, baker’s yeast and fresh hay. Medium-bodied, the palate lends a lovely satiny texture with a refreshing backbone lifting the vibrant citrus flavors, finishing long and steely. Drinking nicely now, it should cellar gracefully for 5-7+ years. 600 were cases made.
2016Eisele Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Cabernet SauvignonCabernet UpperLocker478.003  100
The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon has a deep garnet-purple color. Its nose begins a little reserved, slowly revealing a quiet intensity of freshly crushed blackberries, chocolate-covered cherries, cassis and aniseed with compelling nuances of black tea, cigar box, truffles and charcuterie, plus, with coaxing, gentle wafts of red roses and crushed rocks emerge. The medium to full-bodied palate is simply arresting, offering a a myriad floral and earth sparks amidst a black fruit core and with seamless, firm, very fine-grained tannins. Well-knit freshness brings forth layer after layer of delicate nuances on the very long, mineral-laced finish. The team at Eisele, led by Frédéric Engerer (of Chateau Latour) and beautifully orchestrated by winemaker Hélène Mingot, have knocked it out of the park this vintage with this singular expression that both embraces the site's heritage and reveals parts unknown.
2012Epoch AUTHENTICITYRed Wine XH8,XH965.002  94
Ordered on 2/24/15
2010Epoch Authenticity Proprietary RedRed Wine G465.002  96
Shifted slightly more towards the Syrah side in 2010, the Authenticity is 76% Syrah and 24% Mourvedre that’s fermented in a combination of concrete, stainless steel and new French oak before aging in primarily French oak barrels and puncheons. Fantastic on the nose, with smoky black fruits, graphite, chocolate and complex game and leather nuances, this serious Syrah deliver a full-bodied, powerful, yet elegant mouth feel, brilliant concentration and a chalky, mineral-driven and tannic finish. While a big wine, this has uncommon polish, freshness and poise. Give bottles 2-3 years in the cellar and then drink through 2025+. Drink 2015-2025.
2010Epoch Block BRed Wine C370.002  96
The 2010 Block B is a spectacular Syrah that shows exceptional aromas of licorice-infused black currants, graphite, dark chocolate, meat juice and serious minerality on the nose. Despite the overall size and intensity here, it remains incredibly fresh and delineated. Full-bodied and concentrated on the palate, this thrilling wine is textured, pure, perfectly balanced and gushes mineral and wet slate like qualities on the finish. Give bottles 2-4 years in the cellar and then drink over the following 15+ years. Drink 2015-2030.
2011Epoch Estate BlendRhone XG8,XG965.002   
2012Epoch INGENUITYRed Wine XG6,XG765.002  94
2010Epoch Ingenuity Proprietary RedRed Wine D1365.002  93
The 2010 Ingenuity is a knockout effort that checks in as a mix of 62% Syrah, 14% Mourvedre, 12% Grenache and 12% Petite Sirah that was aged in 61% new French oak. Gorgeous all around, with a lively, yet decadent bouquet of grilled beef, black fruits, licorice, mineral, violets and earth, it flows onto the palate with a full-bodied, rich texture, notable freshness and a clean, energetic finish. Already delicious and approachable, it nevertheless has the concentration, acidity and tannin to evolve gracefully through 2020. Drink now-2020.
2010Fattoria Dei Barbi Brunello Di MontalcinoSangiovese B245.002  96
Ordered from Wine House, picked up on July,1 2015
2010Fattoria le Pupille SaffrediMerlot & Cabernet Sauvignon CMFloor52.002  96 RP
The 2010 Saffredi (Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon) delivers gorgeous intensity and broad aromas of black berry, leather, crushed granite and lingering smoke. It’s a masterpiece on all happy fronts. The textural elegance is superb. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2025. There is always a single face that identifies a region: A sole producer with the charisma and communicative talents required to perform the ambassadorial duties that bring a relatively obscure wine area to the world stage. For the Maremma, that person is Elisabetta Geppetti. Her newest releases confirm the extreme quality that distinguishes Fattoria Le Pupille.
2012Fattoria le Pupille SaffrediMerlot & Cabernet Sauvignon CMFloor400.001  95
The excellent 2012 Saffredi is one of the best wines I have tasted from Fattoria le Pupille. This is an exuberant and expressive blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and a smaller part Petit Verdot from the gorgeous hills of Maremma near Grosseto, Tuscany. The wine is rich and penetrating with a stunning sense of balance and inner poise. Dark cherry, blackberry, spice, leather, tobacco and grilled herb flow freely from the bouquet. The wine is softly textured with full body appeal. This fabulous Saffredi should age forward ten years or more. The Cabernet component of the wine shows perfect ripeness.
2012Fattoria le Pupille SaffrediMerlot & Cabernet Sauvignon CMFloor90.003  95
The excellent 2012 Saffredi is one of the best wines I have tasted from Fattoria le Pupille. This is an exuberant and expressive blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and a smaller part Petit Verdot from the gorgeous hills of Maremma near Grosseto, Tuscany. The wine is rich and penetrating with a stunning sense of balance and inner poise. Dark cherry, blackberry, spice, leather, tobacco and grilled herb flow freely from the bouquet. The wine is softly textured with full body appeal. This fabulous Saffredi should age forward ten years or more. The Cabernet component of the wine shows perfect ripeness.
Drank first bottle at CM Italian Bordeaux varietal tasting. I scored the wine at 92. It was tight and young. Could have benefited from an hour or two of decanting.
2015Fattoria le Pupille SaffrediMerlot & Cabernet Sauvignon D670.002  96
The 2015 Saffredi is a sultry and velvety wine from the Tuscan Coast. The blend is 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 10% Petit Verdot that sees 18 months in new and neutral oak. The textural richness is of the highest caliber, and the bouquet produces a long succession of black fruit, exotic spice and savory tobacco flavors. There's a touch of mocha chocolate and toasted espresso bean as well. The wine delivers great length and power. It promises not only to age but to improve as it spends more years in the cellar. Some 30,000 bottles are made.
Received on August 25,2018
2007FaustCabernet CM42.005  NR
2010FaustCabernet Garage56.006   
2005Faust Cabernet Sauvignon Napa ValleyCabernet G1,G2,G352.506   
2008Favia QuarzoSyrah CM65.002  95
The fourth offering of our syrah, Quarzo, also comes from Ann Kraemer's Shake Ridge Ranch. Ann and her family have developed a stunningly beautiful vineyard in the Sierra Foothills, near the town of Sutter Creek, in Amador County, an area that was farmed by Italian immigrants in the 1870's. It is a rugged, hilly landscape, with soils rich in iron and volcanic rock, intermixed with quartz crystals. It is these unique quartz crystals, which inspired the name Quarzo, Italian for "quartz." Four distinctive clones of syrah marry to produce this blend. The result yields a rich texture that echoes our favorite local chocolatier, with layers of an elusive amaranthine berry— be it elderberry, buckberry or marionberry? FAVIA Syrah Amador County Quarzo 2008 95 points Wine Spectator, March 31, 2011 Rich, thick and polished, full-bodied and stylish, with a vivid, complex core of dried berry, roasted herb, mocha and espresso flavors that slowly and gracefully unfold and turn increasingly elegant on the long, sophisticated finish. An excellent Favia Amador Syrah. Drink now through 2020. 154 cases made. –JL
From Scott Sherr's allocation. Drank 1 bottle in Vail with Kenny, Shelly and Lynne. Very fruity forward with a jammy berry nectar. Still has plenty of life left
2008Favia RompecabezasRed Wine CM65.002  95
We are very excited about our fourth release of Rompecabezas, fondly referred to as Rompe. The inspiration for this lithe, intellectual spirit of a wine is southern Rhone in origin, but of course Californian by nature. The varietal composition—grenache, mourvedre, and syrah—hail from our favorite spot in Amador. Whole cluster grenache, with immediate notes of fresh currant, is co-fermented with mourvedre in small, open-top oak foudres. After a long, controlled maceration, the wine is blended with syrah and put into 600-liter concrete eggs for two years. The resulting wine—roughly one-third each varietal—is elegant, showing aromatic notes of dried rose petal and candied orange peel. Bright red raspberries coalesce with traces of lilac, thyme, chai, leaf lard and white ash—a subtle, cerebral blend that delights with every sip. The 2008 is composed of 28% grenache, 28% mourvedre and 44% syrah.
Purchased from Scott Sherr. Drank 1 bottle in Vail with Kenny Shelly and Lynne. A nice example of a Rhone style california wine. Drinking nicely now with plenty of life left.
2008Felino Cabernet SauvignonCabernet WF20.003  91
2008Felino MalbecMalbec P1,P2,P3,P4,P5,P6,P7,P8,P9,P10,P11,P1220.0012  91
2008Felino MerlotMerlot StairCellar20.004  91
1985Fonseca GuimaraensPort SH40.001  93
Fonseca Vintage Port 1985: This wine has a beautiful and vibrant colour, showing little sign of age unlike some of its peers here. The nose throws out a sequence of fleeting delights, moments of violets and flower petals which return intermittently, perfumed and crunchy black fruits, blackberries and raspberries. It has a chalky freshness, and a bright and fresh character. It has a fabulous confidence, and this is shown very nicely on the palate which has a defined structure, broad, rich, fleshy and sweet, but framed by excellent acidity. Firmly composed, and although a touch spirity at first this soon settles to leave a really good, maturing Port with a fine, savoury length. Still on the way up, for sure. From a 1985 Vintage Port tasting. 18.5+/20 (March 2009)
1991Fonseca GuimaraensPort SH35.001  93
Fonseca has scored in both the 1991 and 1992 vintages. The 1991 Guimaraens is the most impressive bottle I have tasted of this offering. The opaque purple color, and sweet, copious aromas of cassis, licorice, and flowers, are followed by a supple, rich, full-bodied, precocious tasting port that is already easy to drink. While it will be quick to develop, it still requires another 4-5 years of aging. It is extremely impressive because of its sumptuous texture and rich, pure fruit.
2007Freemark Abbey BootlegCabernet WF35.001  NR
2006Freemark Abbey Cabernet BoscheCabernet WF40.001  NR
2008Freemark Abbey JosephineRed Wine WF76.001   
Wine club
2001Freemark Abbey Winery Bosche'Cabernet B1,B254.334  94
Drank 1 bottle for Valentines day dinner 2/13/2011. Well balanced, nice fruit, probably won't get much better.
2002Freemark Abbey Winery Bosche'Cabernet B365.001  92
From the well-known Rutherford vineyard located on the alluvial fan on the west side of Rutherford, the 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon Bosche Vineyard is a blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Merlot aged 24 months in French oak. This mature 2002 exhibits plenty of creme de cassis, vanillin, cedarwood, licorice, underbrush and forest floor notes in a medium to full-bodied, richly fruity, seductive style. Although not the most concentrated wine of the vintage, it is beautifully round, elegant, and ideal for drinking now and over the next decade.
2002Freemark Abbey Winery JosephineRed Wine CM60.001   
2002Freemark Abbey Winery Merlot RutherfordMerlot B420.001   
2002Freemark Abbey Winery Napa Valley Cabernet SauvignonCabernet B445.001  91
The biggest production cuvee is the seductive 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa, a 14,000-case blend of 78.2% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12.1% Merlot and the rest Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc, and a tiny 2.8% Syrah. It was aged 24 months in French oak prior to bottling. Fully mature with an opaque plum/ruby/purple color, it offers up enveloping aromas of ripe black currant and black cherry fruit, cedarwood, licorice and dusty, earthy, red soil scents. With luscious fruit as well as an expansive, savory, broad palate with no hard edges, this beguiling, high class Cabernet Sauvignon will provide plenty of pleasure for another 5-7 years.
2003Giuseppe Mascarello Barolo MonprivatoNebbiolo WF90.001  94
The 2003 Barolo Monprivato is made in an atypically big, powerful style loaded with ripe fruit supported by plenty of structure. It boasts an enticing palate presence and a uniquely intense personality. The classic Monprivato notes of ripe cherries, roses, minerals, flowers and herbs are present, but they don’t have the clarity and precision of the finest vintages. In 2003 Mascarello was more severe than normal in his green harvesting of the vineyard as he wanted to lighten the load on his plants to reduce their stress. He was also helped considerably by the compact, moisture-retentive soils. Readers who prefer more classically-styled versions of Monprivato may want to revisit the 1999 and 2001 although Mascarello told me he prefers the 2003 to the 2001. Anticipated maturity: 2008-2023. Mauro Mascarello is one of the few producers who prefers his 2003 Barolos to his 2001s as he finds they have more power and intensity while also maintaining finesse and a sense of classicism. The wines certainly have more power, but I am not sure I would agree they have more finesse. In any event, his 2003 Barolos are among the best of the vintage, in particular the Santo Stefano di Perno and Monprivato. I also tasted the 2003 Ca’ d’ Morissio from barrel a few months ago, and it is shaping up to be a remarkably rich wine very much in keeping with the style of the vintage. Mascarello hasn’t decided when he will release the 2001 Ca’ d’ Morissio, but it, too, is promising, as is his entire range of 2004 Barolos.
Christmas gift from Kovac
2013Gramercy John Lewis Walla Walla ValleySyrah H1285.002  96
"Probably the flagship Syrah, the John Lewis release comes all from the Les Collines vineyard in Walla Walla, specifically a single block (block 46) that's located in mid-slope. It almost always sees 100% whole clusters during fermentation and spends 18 months in neutral puncheons. The 2013 Syrah John Lewis is a gorgeous example of this cuvee and gives lots of crushed violets, lavendar, olive, pepper and gaminess to go with a full-bodied, layered, yet lively and fresh profile on the palate. Still firm and tight, this will be one of the longer-term prospects from this estate. It should benefit from 4-5 years of cellaring and have upwards of two decades of overall longevity." (94-96 pts)
2012Gramercy Reserve Cab Sauv Columbia ValleyCabernet H1195.002  97
Even better than their other Cabernet Sauvignon is the tiny production 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve. Made from 100% Cabernet that spent 23 months in 53% new French Oak, this blockbuster effort offers stunning elegance and purity in its cassis and assorted black fruits, pencil shavings, toasted spice, tobacco leaf and graphite -driven bouquet. This flows to a full-bodied Cabernet that's impeccably balanced, has a full, layered mid-palate, building tannin and a monster finish. Bravo to the Gramercy team for this effort, and it will have three decades of longevity. Unfortunately, there were a scant 171 cases made."
2013Gramercy Cellars 'The Deuce' Walla Walla ValleySyrah CMFloor54.002   
2012Gramercy Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia ValleyCabernet CMFloor48.001   
Drank a bottle at Boar Dough for my 57 birthday. Very balanced and bordeaux like. Don't wait too long to drink this
2008Gramercy Cellars Columbia Valley Cabernet SauvignonCabernet E1,E2,E345.005   
Gramercy Cellars' 2008 Cabernet is a medium to full bodied wine driven by acid and earth. It's an Old World wine with its roots in the New World. The first smells are of French herbs - rosemary, thyme and sage. Earthy aromas of gravel, pencil lead, chocolate and mushroom round out the nose, complemented by fruits of red currant, raspberry and fig. We are blown away by the length and elegance of this wine.
Drank 1st bottle at the 2013 Cellar Masters holiday party. Medium bodied cab with a balanced blend of fruit, tannin and wood.
2010Gramercy Cellars Columbia Valley Cabernet SauvignonCabernet CMFloor48.003  92
The 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley (99% Cabernet Sauvignon and 1% Petit Verdot aged in 40% new French oak) offers up classic currant, lean pencil shavings, cedar and hints of leather to go with a great palate. Firm, chewy and very focused, with a medium to full-bodied texture that doesn’t yield a smidge with air, it needs 3-4 years of bottle age to round into form. Drink 2016-2025.
Drank first bottle at CM 10/22/2016. It was a more Bordeaux like cab that lacked depth and complexity. I don't believe this wine will improve with age and will likely be best young
2016Gramercy Cellars John LewisSyrah CMFloor85.003  95
Wow, from the first sniff of the 2016 Syrah John Lewis you know this is something special. Aromas of blackberry, black raspberry and dusty cherry skin burst from the glass with black peppercorn and red spice notes. On the palate, the wine is full-bodied, structured and lifted, with a touch of sweet red fruit, presumably from a semi-carbonic maceration, showing elegance and ease on the mid-palate that is firm and focused, with a mineral tension of wet rock. A long and thoughtful expression on the finish continues to evolve on the aftertaste well after the wine has left the palate. It's an impressive wine, and with only 322 cases made, this is a safe bet for any Syrah lover. It's devastatingly beautiful.
2016Gramercy Cellars Reserve Cabernet SauvignonCabernet CMFloor95.003  96
The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, a blend of 93% Cabernet Sauvignon and 7% Merlot, instantly commands the attention of the drinker. It is generous on the nose, showcasing a dense, chewy core of fruit, exuding bold yet elegant expressions of blackberries, blackcurrant, red cherry and dark, dusty plum. Medium to full-bodied, the palate sings with subtle baking spices—cinnamon and cardamom—and vanilla tones with a complexity that lifts the mid-palate. The focus and purity are captured effortlessly here, ending with a long, drawn-out finish that continues to evolve on the aftertaste well after the wine has left the palate. This bottling deserves to be on your dinner table or in your cellar. It's a stellar wine that delivers pleasure with the purity of expression. 200 cases produced.
2011Gramercy Cellars Southern Blend 'Lower East' Columbia ValleyGSM CMFloor32.002  NR
AND NOW, introducing our Lower East Southern Blend. You knew it was coming! We are excited to be expanding our Lower East program to include Rhone varieties as well. Initially, as some of you will recall, L’idiot du Village was supposed to be our declassified Rhone wine, but we have different plans for it starting in 2011. Ahem, Mourvedre! So we needed to change the plan a bit and birthed Lower East "Southern Blend." As I sit here drinking it now, I’m really impressed at how Cotes du Rhone-like the wine shows. If you like the Third Man, you will love this wine. The 2011 is a blend of 59% Grenache, 34% Syrah and 7% Cinsault.
2008Gramercy Cellars SyrahSyrah E445.002   
2011Gramercy Cellars Syrah Walla Walla ValleySyrah CMFloor50.003  94
All from the Les Collines vineyard and a 100% Syrah aged in a scant 18% new French oak, the 2011 Syrah is a perfumed, elegant effort that has loads of class and refinement. Lavender, olive, underbrush, pepper and plum and blackberry styled fruits all emerge from the glass and this medium to full-bodied Syrah has beautiful focus and precision on the palate. I don’t think it will make old bones, but it should gain additional complexity with a handful of years in the cellar and offer loads of pleasure over the following 5-7 years. Drink 2015-2021.
2008Gramercy Cellars The Third ManRhone E545.001  93
A blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre, a common ration in the Rhone.The wine exhibits stone, granite, mushroom and sweet red fruits. An aromatic array of underbrush, brier, balsamac, Asian spices, blueberry and black cherry330 cases produced.
2011Gramercy Cellars The Third Man GSMGSM CMFloor50.003  93
Looking at Greg’s 2011s, which were tasted out of barrel during a visit to the winery, the 2011 Third Man is a blend of 55% Grenache, 40% Syrah and 5% Mourvedre that saw 30% whole cluster during fermentation and roughly 13% new French puncheons and 225-Liter barrels. A beautiful GSM blend, it delivers classic southern Rhone-like aromas of spiced blackberries, underbrush, pepper and earthy nuances to go with a medium to full-bodied, balanced and beautifully textured palate. It should round into form with a year or two of bottle age and drink well for 8-10 years. Drink 2015-2021.
2012Gramercy Cellars Third Man GSMGSM CMFloor42.002   
2012Guigal Condrieu la DorianeViognier V3,X3100.002  97
Like with the classic Condrieu, I was able to retaste the 2012 Condrieu la Doriane. It’s absorbed any trace of the 100% new oak it was raised in and displays blockbuster notes of golden fruits, ripe peach, honeysuckle, toasted bread and caramelized citrus. Full-bodied, decadent and mouth filling, it stays remarkably well balanced, graceful and pure.
Purchased from Michael ?? personal wine collection at Cellar Masters. I favor drinking this wine on the yournger side it is very delicate.
2014Guigal Condrieu la DorianeViognier V0,V1,V2,Garage65.004  NR
2016Guigal Condrieu la DorianeViognier  80.002  94
Bottled in June 2017, the 2016 Condrieu la Doriane is entirely barrel-fermented in new oak. This vintage seems more restrained and less rich than some others, but it remains marked by smoky, grilled apricot aromas and flavors. It’s nicely balanced and not overly opulent, retaining a sense of elegance on the long, spicy finish.
2010Harlan MascotCabernet CMFloor85.006  98
The 2010 vintage was one of the coolest years in recent memory and one that provided a nurturing backdrop for these young rooted vines to express themselves. The growing season began late, with budbreak occurring in mid to late April. Extra diligence and care were required of the team at every stage during leafing, fruit thinning, and harvest. Nature was benevolent during the long, measured harvest, allowing our team to pick each lot as it ripened. Notes of graphite, cedar, and forest floor are ever-present on the nose. On entry the wine is brought into focus seamlessly through a fine lens of acidity, lending energy and freshness to power and structure. Soft yet supple tannins expand out horizontally on the palate, resolving into an extremely long finish.
Purchased this through Kovac. The grapes for Mascot are from the Harlan estate younger vines. Harlan scored a 98+ for the 2010 vintage
2012Hartwell Estate CabernetCabernet CMFloor63.0011  95
A beauty from Hartwell, this 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve exhibits blackberry and cassis, splendid concentration and purity, full-bodied texture and a stunning richness. This vineyard is from the Stags Leap AVA, and this is a relatively powerful and concentrated effort from that area. This is a real star. Drink it over the next 15+ years.
ordered from Mark Knapton
2010Haut Bailly Haut BaillyBordeaux CMFloor145.002  98
Deep plum/purple, Haut-Bailly’s 2010 required some coaxing to appreciate its subtle notes of barbecue smoke, lead pencil shavings and creme de cassis as well as its touches of pomegranate and forest floor. The oak is pushed far into the background and the tannins are extremely silky, but the intensity of the wine is profound and the finish lingers for close to 55 seconds. This wine is ripe yet delicate, powerful yet stylish, and essentially resembles a remarkable fashion design from a house of haute couture. This wine needs a good 7-8 years of bottle age and should keep for 40-50+ years. This quintessential example of pure finesse, elegance, harmony and delicacy is combined into a wine that lingers intensely with near-perfect poise and character. Haut-Bailly’s ethereal character is virtually unmatched in Bordeaux. Normally, general manager/winemaker Veronique Sanders fashions a blend that approximates 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37% Merlot and the rest Cabernet Franc. That was the exact blend of her 2009, and I doubt the 2010 deviates significantly from that.
2012Haut Brion La MissionBordeaux CMFloor215.001  97
As for the 2012 La Mission Haut Brion, this wine (41% of the total production) continues to perform as it has for nearly a century. At first-growth levels of quality, this is s stunning wine that is full-bodied and very concentrated with notes of graphite, subtle charcoal embers, crème de cassis, blackberry and underlying subtle earthiness. The wine is full and powerful, rich and concentrated. And sure enough, the alcohol level tips the scales at 15% from a blend 62% Merlot and 38% Cabernet Franc. This is a big, blockbuster La Mission Haut Brion that should age effortlessly for 30-40+ years. However, the tannins suggest that this wine should not be touched for another 5-6 years, as its one of the more backward of the 2012 Pessac-Léognans. Bravo! Tasted blind at the Southwold 2012 tasting, the 2012 La Mission Haut-Brion showed brilliantly. It has an intense, floral bouquet with rose petals and strawberry preserve, hints of sous-bois and tobacco gently unfolding in the glass, gaining more earthiness as it aerates in the glass. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin, broad and spicy with hints of bell pepper suggesting high quality Cabernet Franc. It fans out gloriously with a sustained tertiary finish that completes what is a wondrous La Mission Haut-Brion from Jean-Philippe Delmas and his team. Tasted January 2012.
1984Heitz Martha's VineyardCabernet WF240.001  92
With coaxing, a surprisingly tight bouquet offers up damp, woodsy aromas intermixed with scents of mint and ripe cassis. Full-bodied, firm, and admirably concentrated, with a wonderful layered palate, this impressively-endowed wine requires another 4-5 years of cellaring. The wine may be going through a closed stage of development as this bottle was less impressive than past tastings.
2007Hestan Napa ValleyCabernet D3100.002  94
The 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon and 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon are more similar than dissimilar, which is somewhat unusual for these two vintages. The fruit is slightly sweeter and riper in the 2007, with perhaps more volume, but both wines possess opaque purple colors as well as considerable levels of tannin, purity, depth, full-bodied power, and lots of blue and black fruits intermixed with licorice, and subtle smoky oak. Both are top-notch efforts that should evolve for 20-25 years. The 2007 gets a slight nod only because the tannins are riper. Hestan Vineyards, which is owned by Stanley and Helen Cheng, encompasses well over 100 acres, of which 42 are under vine.
2002Holdredge HoldredgePinot Noir  29.891   
2007Hug CellarsSyrah  150.001   
This is 1 of 6 magnums ever to be made
2005Hug Cellars SyrahSyrah CMSR20.005   
Gave 1 bottle to Scott Berry for a childrens charity event 1/24/15
2012HunnicuttChardonnay Garage45.002  NR
Ordered on trip to Hunnicutt Vineyard
2005Hunnicutt Cabernet SauvignonCabernet H1348.005  NR
Aromatically, this wine exhibits black cherry, vanilla, eucalyptus and mocha. The nose is complemented with dark fruit, toast, dried cherry, and blueberry on the palate. I would suggest decanting this wine for at least 30 minutes prior to drinking
Release Date October 1, 2008 Production 308 cases Appellation NAPA VALLEY: 20% Beckstoffer George III, Rutherford; 42% St. Helena; 38% Keenan Vineyard - Spring Mountain District Varietal Composition 100% Cabernet Sauvignon Winemaking Team Justin Hunnicutt Stephens, Proprietor Kirk P. Venge, Winemaker Alcohol 14.3% alcohol Cooperage Aged for 22 months in 100% French Oak - 60% new Cooperages: Nadalie, Demptos, Sylvain, St. Martin, Gamba
2007Hunnicutt Cabernet SauvignonCabernet M1,M2,M3,M4,M5,M648.0011  NR
Drank first bottle on 1/19/2015 with Turkey meatloaf. The wine was very big, fruit forward but balanced and still tannic, 10+ years left in it.
2006Il Poggione Brunello di MontalcinoSangiovese CMFloor35.006  94
The 2006 Brunello di Montalcino is another superb Brunello from Il Poggione. The ripeness of the vintage meets a classic sense of structure as this bold, full-bodied wine takes shape in the glass. The 2006 doesn’t have the elegance or finesse of the 2004, instead it offers a decidedly more virile, masculine expression of Sangiovese. Dark cherries, tobacco, smoke and underbrush wrap around a wall of tannin as the finish builds to a majestic close. Il Poggione’s Brunello remains one of the best values in fine, cellar-worthy wine. Anticipated maturity: 2016-2036. Il Poggione is Montalcino’s fourth largest estate, with an eye-popping 125 hectares of Brunello designated vineyards, behind Banfi, Castelgiocondo and Col d’Orcia. My annual tasting spanned every wine in barrel from 2006-2010. I continue to be deeply impressed by the average level of quality father and son team Fabrizio and Alessandro Bindocci coax from these sites. Frankly, it is hard to go wrong with any of the Brunelli Il Poggione has put into bottle over the last few years. The straight Brunello remains one of the most reasonably priced, cellar-worthy wines in the world. The 2006s are rich, bombastic wines that will require patience to drop their baby fat. The Brunelli are fermented with a submerged cap and pumpovers, an approach that is unusual in Montalcino but common in Piedmont. My visit ended with a taste of the 1955 Brunello, which is still in great shape, even after all these years.
2010Il Poggione Brunello di MontalcinoSangiovese CMFloor68.006  98
Ordered from Wine House, picked up on July 1, 2015
2007JC Cellars Time CapsuleRed Wine N1,N250.006  91
A rich, extracted, expressive effort, with smoky-toasty oak, cola and beet root earthiness that picks up dried berry and espresso, gaining depth and traction on the finish. Syrah and Petite Sirah. Best from 2014 through 2024. 125 cases made
2014Jean Paul and Jean Luc Jamet Cote RotieSyrah Ordered110.002  96
95-96 pts, James Suckling "this is a very complex Côte Rôtie that has a wealth of darkly stony notes, coal smoke and dark chocolate. Just superb! Plenty of volume, great elegance and a lot of detail. A vintage when experienced makers could still shine, and the sorting in the vineyard was clearly a large part of this. Classy wine with so much on offer. Best from 2020 for a decade or more." 93-95 pts, Vinous Media “Brilliant violet. A heady, expansive bouquet evokes black raspberry and mulberry preserves, incense, potpourri and smoky minerals. Concentrated, palate-staining red and dark berry liqueur flavors are energized by vibrant mineral and spice qualities that gain strength with air. Delivers a striking combination of power and finesse, with no rough edges. Closes on a subtle tannic note, with outstanding focus and mineral cut, leaving a juicy red berry note behind. - Josh Raynolds
2007Joseph Phelps InsigniaCabernet W0225.001  99
Aged 24 months in new French oak, this infant 2007 exhibits an inky/purple color along with notes of graphite, spring flowers and smoky oak. This full-bodied, classic Insignia reveals fabulous depth, ripeness, texture, viscosity and richness. Still young and unformed, it should evolve for 25 or more years. Perhaps I should just go ahead and give this 2007 a three-digit score as it is a profoundly great Cabernet Sauvignon-based effort. The production was 13,500 cases of this 100% estate fruit blend of 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot and 4% Petit Verdot. The alcohol came in at 14.5%. The growing season was nearly ideal, with early bud break, generous flowering, a bountiful crop size, and summer weather that was warm and dry with no significant heat spikes. According to the Phelps winemaking team, the cluster grape weights in 2007 came in 23-45% lower than average, which surprised everyone. However, the fruit quality was one of the finest they had ever seen. The result is one of the top Insignias yet produced.
2006Justin JustificationRed Wine WF50.001   
Bottle from Justin at 4 seasons wine dinner
2005Kenneth Crawford Syrah "Purisima Mountain Vineyard"Syrah U4,U5,U6,U7,U8,U940.006  89
The 2005 Syrah Purisima Mountain Vineyard possesses less alcohol than its 2004 counterpart as well as a beautifully pure nose of black raspberries, cherries, loamy soil, and a hint of flowers in the background. With medium body, lovely fruit, soft tannin, and decent acidity, this excellent Syrah should drink nicely for 5-6 years.
3 Bottles for Carla
2006Kosta Browne Amber RidgePinot Noir J472.001  94
Combines rich, ripe plum and blackberry fruit with firm sage, mineral and cedar notes. Full- bodied and deeply concentrated, ending with mineral and anise. Drink now through 2014. 727 cases made.
Big beautiful Pinot with lots of fruit. Decanted the wine and it balanced out over a 1 hour period. Drank the 2nd bottle at the Cellar Masters 2012 Holiday party. Drank the 3rd bottle at a Cellar Masters Saturday tasting. It is drinking nicely. Don't think it will get any better with age.
2006Kosta Browne Kanzler VineyardPinot Noir Garage72.001  95
Not as dense as previous vintages, but this wins extra points for its balance and delicacy, with complex mineral, fresh earth, boysenberry, wild berry and raspberry fruit that gains depth and richness without gaining weight. Drink now through 2015. 803 cases made.
Drank 1 bottle on 10/20/2016 at the recommendation of David Masi who thought it was getting old. The wine still showed plenty of life although I don't think it will get any better. I give it high marks and Lynne really liked it.
2006Kosta Browne Keefer RanchPinot Noir J372.000  95
Beautifully crafted, smooth and fleshy, with tightly focused plum, black cherry and raspberry fruit that's pure and delicious. Full-bodied, long and persistend. Drink now through 2014. 698 cases made.
2009Kosta Browne Keefer RanchPinot Noir  72.002   
Beautifully crafted, smooth and fleshy, with tightly focused plum, black cherry and raspberry fruit that's pure and delicious. Full-bodied, long and persistend. Drink now through 2014. 698 cases made.
2007Kosta Browne Koplen VineyardPinot Noir CM72.002  96
"This has a wonderful purity of flavor, with rich, expansive layers of fruit, built around ripe plum, black cherry, wild berry, raspberry and blackberry, fanning out beautifully, with a long, lingering finish that keeps repeating the fruit themes. Drink now through 2014." (08/09) 93 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Saturated red. Deeply scented aromas of blackberry, boysenberry and violet, with a subtle smoky undertone. Deep, gently chewy dark berry preserve flavors are firmed by fine-grained tannins and pick up an exotic note of rose pastille with air. Open-knit, round and seductively sweet, with excellent finishing clarity and sappy persistence. This gained power in the glass while maintaining striking freshness and energy." (05/09)
2009Kosta Browne Koplen VineyardPinot Noir  72.002   
"This has a wonderful purity of flavor, with rich, expansive layers of fruit, built around ripe plum, black cherry, wild berry, raspberry and blackberry, fanning out beautifully, with a long, lingering finish that keeps repeating the fruit themes. Drink now through 2014." (08/09) 93 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Saturated red. Deeply scented aromas of blackberry, boysenberry and violet, with a subtle smoky undertone. Deep, gently chewy dark berry preserve flavors are firmed by fine-grained tannins and pick up an exotic note of rose pastille with air. Open-knit, round and seductively sweet, with excellent finishing clarity and sappy persistence. This gained power in the glass while maintaining striking freshness and energy." (05/09)
2006Kosta Browne Russian River ValleyPinot Noir J8, J148.003   
2008Kosta Browne Russian River ValleyPinot Noir N7,N852.004   
2009Kosta Browne Russian River ValleyPinot Noir M13, M1452.005  NR
2010Kosta Browne Russian River ValleyPinot Noir CM58.003  NR
2011Kosta Browne Russian River ValleyPinot Noir J758.002   
2011Kosta Browne Santa Lucia HighlandsPinot Noir J658.002   
2006Kosta Browne Sonoma CoastPinot Noir L4,L548.003   
2008Kosta Browne Sonoma CoastPinot Noir N9,N1052.004   
2009Kosta Browne Sonoma CoastPinot Noir T0,T1,T2,T3,T4,T5,52.006  NR
Shipping March 24/2011
2010Kosta Browne Sonoma CoastPinot Noir CM58.002  NR
Gave 1 bottle to Gene Scholl for 70th birthday gift
2010Kosta Browne Sonoma CoastPinot Noir J458.001  NR
2011Kosta Browne Sonoma CoastPinot Noir J558.002   
2006La Poderina Poggio Abate Brunello di Montalcino RiservaSangiovese Grosso CMFloor58.005  96
James Suckling - 96+ pts, Wine House - This is a wine with beautiful clarity of fruit with plum, blackberry and dark chocolate character. Full body, with velvety tannins and a long finish. So great now. But will improve with age. 92 Antonio Galloni RP - The 2006 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva Poggio Abate is endowed with serious depth in its dark berries, smoke, licorice and tobacco. It is a decidedly muscular wine gifted with serious concentration and firm, tight tannins. Savory herbs, licorice and tar wrap around the powerful finish. It will be interesting to see how the 2006 Riserva ages, but it is likely to always be somewhat of a brute. Anticipated maturity: 2016-2026.
Drank first bottle October 2013. The wine is still very young and tanic. Shows good promise.
2006Lafond Santa Rita HillsChardonnay CM22.004  NR
2007Lancaster EstateCabernet G365.002  90
The 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon (80% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest other Bordeaux varietals) possesses sweet black raspberry and black currant fruit intermixed with notions of damp earth, tar, and spring flowers. Rich and full-bodied with ripe, supple tannins, and a long finish, it should age easily for 15+ years.
2010Lancaster EstateCabernet V4,V5,V675.003  92
he 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon is much more polished than the 2009 tasted alongside it. Asphalt, smoke, tobacco, licorice and tar all flow as this sumptuous Cabernet shows off its sexy, undeniably appealing personality. Hints of mocha and espresso add a resonant warmth that is hugely attractive. The tannins are firm but seamlessly balanced. There is a lot to like in the 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, starting with the wine's sheer class. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2025.
Shipped to Cellar Masters on 11/16/2013
2006Leonetti CellarsMerlot C490.001  91
The 2006 Merlot has 13% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Carmenere, and 4% Petit Verdot in the blend. It was aged in a mix of new and used barrels for 15 months. It is dark ruby/purple-colored with aromas of cedar, earth notes, clove, cinnamon, red currants, and black currants. This leads to an elegant wine with ripe, savory flavors, good depth, and a lengthy, pure finish. It will evolve for 3-4 years and be at its best from 2012 to 2020.
First bottle with rack of Lamb on 1/2/2016.
2014Leoville-Las Cases Las CasesBordeaux JJBuckley120.002  96
The Château Léoville-Las-Cases 2014 is a blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Cabernet Franc and 10% Merlot cropped at 33 hectoliter per hectare matured in 85% new oak. There is 6.8% vin de presse this year. Picked between 30 September and 13 October over 12 days, it has an intense, graphite-scented bouquet, one of the most Pauillac-like that I have encountered, extremely precise and perhaps less flamboyant than recent vintages. This is very controlled. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannin, succinctly pitched acidity and an almost pixelated finish that lingers long and tenderly. I love the elegance here – this is an outstanding wine from Jean-Hubert Delon and his team and dare I say, equal to some of the First Growths.
2009Leoville-Poyferre Leoville-PoyferreBordeaux CMFloor230.002  100
One of the more flamboyant and sumptuous wines of the vintage, this inky/purple-colored St.-Julien reveals thrilling levels of opulence, richness and aromatic pleasures. A soaring bouquet of creme de cassis, charcoal, graphite and spring flowers is followed by a super-concentrated wine with silky tannins, stunning amounts of glycerin, a voluptuous, multilayered mouthfeel and nearly 14% natural alcohol. Displaying fabulous definition for such a big, plump, massive, concentrated effort, I suspect the tannin levels are high even though they are largely concealed by lavish amounts of fruit, glycerin and extract. Anticipated maturity: 2018-2040.
2010Leoville-Poyferre Leoville-PoyferreBordeaux CMFloor135.002  98
2005Les Chais De St-Hilaire D'ozilhanRhone V9,V10,V1133.003   
2012Linne Calodo OutsiderZinfandel N1160.002  93
2012Linne Calodo Rising TidesRhone O360.002  95
2010Lisini Brunello di MontalcinoSangiovese JJBuckley50.002  94
Lisini's 2010 Brunello di Montalcino opens to dark concentration and extraction. On first nose, it shows floral aromas of pressed rose and violet, but after a few minutes in the glass the wine begins to offer dark cherry, dried blackberry, Indian spice, teriyaki sauce, crushed mineral, licorice and cola. Its personality bridges aspects of both elegance and power. The 2010 vintage offers a very beautiful interpretation for Carlo Lisini Baldi. The mouthfeel is extremely soft and supple. It delivers pretty end notes of dusty mineral and clay earth. This delicious wine has nowhere to go but forward.
2005Lookout Ridge Marco DigiulioCabernet WF,E7,E8100.005  92
LOOKOUT RIDGE Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma Valley Marco Digiulio 2005 Score: 92 | $100 Offers a mix of ripe dried currant and black cherry with a touch of earth and leather. Full-bodied, intense and concentrated, with touches of spice and underbrush. Complex and distinctive. Drink now through 2015. 250 cases made. —J.L.
Purchased at the Computer Associates wine auction. Had a bottle for 2017 New Years at Michael Payne's house. Fruity, big and balanced still a lot of life. Good for another 10 + years
1999Luigi Pira Barolo MargheriaNebbiolo CM89.003  91
1999 Barolo Margheria—Medium ruby. The Margheria comes across as the most classic of these wines owing to its somewhat austere, clenched personality. It offers a lovely ethereal nose with suggestions of flowers, spices and white truffles that is followed by red fruit flavors on a deceptively medium-bodied, structured frame of great length. Patience is the key here, but this will still be a delicious Barolo at age 20. 91/drink after 2009
2005Malm Cellars Pinot Noir Sonoma CoastPinot Noir X430.006   
2010Materium MaybachCabernet W7190.001  97
The 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Materium is a beautiful example of a wine with extraordinary purity and delineation. It possesses copious quantities of charcoal, barbecue smoke, graphite, blackberries, blueberries and creme de cassis. Full-bodied power is clearly on display, but the wine has a purity and balance that are sensational to behold. This classic Cabernet is a superstar of the vintage.
Purchased from Scott Sherr's allocation
2009Melville Carrie'sPinot Noir CM180.001  91
The 2009 Pinot Noir Carrie’s is the most overt wine among these Pinots. It shows plenty of intensity, inner palate richness and body. It is also the only Pinot where the alcohol is just a bit noticeable. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2017.
Purchased at Dine LA
2013Memento Mori Memento MoriCabernet CMFloor200.003  97
Winemaker and proprietor Sam Kaplan is behind this absolutely brilliant 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, which is a composite blend from three famous Napa vineyards B Weitz, Las Piedras, and Dr. Crane, the last two owned by the ubiquitous and omnipresent Andy Beckstoffer. A wine of great intensity, voluptuous, full-bodied texture, tremendous blueberry and blackberry fruit, with white flowers, charcoal embers and spice, the wine has superb texture, a multi-dimensional mouthfeel, and a finish that goes on for close to 50 seconds. The tannins are creamy and ripe, and the wine irresistible already. Drink it over the next 30 years. This is brilliant!
2002Merryvale ProfileRed Wine CM99.003  87
Composed of two-thirds Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest Merlot and tiny dollops of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, the 2002 Profile appears to have reached full maturity (or else it is in a very austere stage of development). It exhibits a dark plum/purple color with some lightening at the edge as well as dusty, loamy soil notes intermixed with notions of roasted herbs, laurel, oak, earth, red cherries and black currants. The wine is medium-bodied and tails off quickly on the palate. Drink it over the next 5-7 years.
2005Miner BenedettoCabernet D1, D2100.002   
Drank 1 bottle on October 2015. Still a very young wine. Good for another 5 years or more but drinking nicely now
2006Miner SangioveseSangiovese Garage30.001   
2001Mocali Brunello di MontalcinoSangiovese Grosso WF50.000  91
Mocali’s 2001 Brunello di Montalcino is a refined, elegant effort with layers of vibrant, plump cherry fruit, tobacco, menthol, underbrush and minerals. Though medium in body it shows excellent concentration and juiciness on the palate, with notable length, fine tannins and a long finish. With some air it put on considerable weight and I preferred its overall balance to that of the single-vineyard Raunate. A few years of bottle age will help smooth the youthful tannins, but this Brunello is pretty tasty right now. Anticipated maturity: 2006-2019.
Drank 1 bottle on 3/15/2009 and was un impressed with the wine. Lacked a discernable nose, little fruit on the palate and a thin finish despite its favorable review from Parker. A bust in my opinion. Drank the 2nd and last bottle on 8/21/2011 and it had improved significantly. Still light fruit on the nose, strong flavors of cedar on first taste followed by light fruit and tannin. Nice wine in need of 10-15 years in the bottle.
2018Neal Napa Valley Cabernet SauvignoonCabernet CM67.006  NR
20th anniversary release
2006Neal Family VineyardsCabernet SH45.001   
Tasting Notes July 9, 2009 - New Year’s Day 2006 started the year off with vineyards and roads submerged on the valley floor as Northern California experienced torrential rainfall the last few days of 2005. Many valley floor vineyards along the Napa River required trellis system repair and debris removal. Seemingly destructive, flooded vines are dormant at the time and by early spring emerge from a winter of inactivity, ready to produce the next year’s crop. By mid-summer, heat spells that broke records had passed and the cooling influence of the Pacific Ocean moderated temperatures, allowing a gradual ripening and the chance to develop delightful flavors, aromas and intensity in our grapes. Harvest was interrupted briefly by some brief, light October rain which we love to see for our Cabernet. A little rain allows the vines to finish that last bit of maturation giving the fruit more flavor and a better texture in the tannins. This vintage has pronounced mountain fruit intensity. Complex aromas of dark fruit, spice and balanced oak notes were described in our production tasting as wonderfully mysterious. In addition to the classic Cabernet characters of black cherry, blackberry and cassis, we find black licorice, star anise, coriander and bay leaf spices. Starting with a ripe, bold mouth-feel, there is a complexity to this vintage that we love. Ripe fruit, cherry candy and floral characters linger as layers of fruit continue to reveal themselves. There is an earthy, mature tannin texture from the Rutherford Dust and mountain vineyards that contribute to create a bitter-sweet cocoa powder taste and feel. Also lingering in the background is a baked or caramelized sugar note that adds to the long finish. Another fine example of what 100% Napa Cabernet Sauvignon can produce: a delicious wine after the proper barrel and bottle aging and a great candidate for cellar aging.
2001Neal Family Vineyards Napa Valley Cabernet SauvignonCabernet WF45.002   
2002Neal Family Vineyards Napa Valley Cabernet SauvignonCabernet WF45.002   
(1) 12/30/2008 - Had with rack of Lamb. The wine is aging very well and still shows lots of aging potential. Should be good for another 5-10 years
2003Neal Family Vineyards Napa Valley Cabernet SauvignonCabernet G4,G5,G650.006   
2004Neal Family Vineyards Napa Valley Cabernet SauvignonCabernet G8,G9,G10,G11,G12,G1345.0011   
Drank first bottle 4/19/2015 at Mastro's with Sim, Gines and Lynne. The wine was dimensional and still on the young side with a bold fruit.
2007Neal Family Vineyards Napa Valley Cabernet SauvignonCabernet G0,H0,I745.006   
2012Neal Family Vineyards Napa Valley Cabernet SauvignonCabernet B5,B6,C650.006   
2010Neal Family Vineyards Neal Family Vineyards Sauvignon BlancSauvignon Blanc CMSR18.004  92
2013Neal Family Vineyards Neal Family Vineyards Sauvignon BlancSauvignon Blanc CMFloor16.006  90
2006Neal Family Vineyards Petite SyrahPetite Sirah SH35.000   
2008Neal Family Vineyards Sauvignon BlancSauvignon Blanc CM18.000   
2005Neal Family Vineyards Vineyard Designate Mixed SetCabernet CMFloor75.006  NR
2005 Howell Mountain Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, 2005 Fifteen-Forty Cabernet Sauvignon, 2005 Second Chance Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, 2005 One Lane Bridge Cabernet Sauvignon, 2005 Wykoff Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, 2005 Rutherford Dust Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon
2005Neal Family Vineyards Vineyard Designate Mixed SetCabernet CMFloor75.006  NR
2005 Howell Mountain Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, 2005 Fifteen-Forty Cabernet Sauvignon, 2005 Second Chance Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, 2005 One Lane Bridge Cabernet Sauvignon, 2005 Wykoff Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, 2005 Rutherford Dust Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon
2006Neal Family Vineyards Vineyard Designate Mixed SetCabernet CMFloor72.006  NR
2006 Howell Mountain Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, 2006 Fifteen-Forty Cabernet Sauvignon, 2006 Second Chance Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, 2006 One Lane Bridge Cabernet Sauvignon, 2006 Wykoff Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, 2006 Rutherford Dust Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon
Total Price $432.86,
2007Neal Family Vineyards Vineyard Designate Mixed SetCabernet CMFloor65.006  NR
2008Neal Family Vineyards ZinfandelZinfandel CM18.0012  NR
2005Ojai Bien NacidoSyrah CM30.006  93
Classic notes of graphite, tapenade, blackberries, and cassis dominate the deep ruby/purple-hued 2005 Syrah Bien Nacido Vineyard’s aromatics. Structured and muscular with abundant tannins as well as superb concentration, it will benefit from several years of cellaring, and should keep for 15+. It is by far the most northern Rhone Hermitage-like of these 2005s. Tasting through three vintages of Adam Tolmach’s Syrahs is an education in how different these three years were in Santa Ynez and Santa Barbara County. 2004 was a warm year, 2005 was a cool year with high yields and good acids, and 2006 was a challenging vintage that required substantial work in the vineyards as well as tremendous patience at the end when it appeared a freakish hot spell might ripen everything at once. 2005 is a very strong vintage at Ojai, and all of the single vineyard offerings were deeper and richer than their 2006 counterparts.
FedEx Ground 230500010020467
2006Ojai Bien NacidoSyrah CM40.006  94
The saturated purple-hued 2006 Syrah Bien Nacido Vineyard exhibits this site’s tell-tale graphite character along with blackberry and cassis fruit, a thick, juicy, full-bodied mouthfeel, and a heady, long finish. It should drink well for a decade or more. This is a special group of Syrahs from Adam Tolmach’s Ojai Vineyard. Moreover, prices have remained stable, so consumers should be standing in line to buy these wines. Vineyard manager Chris Hammell continues to work his magic here. Our section in block Z has always produced a wine of distinction, but Hammell's farming has turned this block into a showcase of how to produce the best syrah grapes. Organic growing, low yields, and painstaking attention to detail have taken these vines to a new level--and the wines show it. This 2006 syrah is a wonderful statement of how good Bien Nacido syrah can be: a wine with fascinatingly complex aromas and dense, woodsy, berry fruit and zippy exuberance. This is an intensely flavored but completely delicious wine to drink.
2007Ojai GrenacheGrenache Garage35.001   
Wine club shipment
2011Ojai John SebastianoSyrah P1,P265.002  93
Even more impressive, the 2011 Syrah John Sebastiano Vineyard Special Bottling is a dead-ringer for classy Cote Rotie. Loaded with raspberry, white pepper, game, flowers and olive tapenade-styled aromas and flavors, this beauty hits the palate with medium-bodied richness, integrated acidity and a seamless, classy feel that carries all the way through the finish. It’s not a blockbuster, but excels on its balance, purity and complexity. It will have a decade of overall longevity.
Picking up on 1/31/15 at tasting room
2008Ojai MelvilleSyrah CMFloor34.001  92
The 2008 Syrah Melville is loaded with character and personality. Dark plums, tapenade and spices are some of the many notes that are woven together in this intense, varietally expressive Syrah. At four years of age, the 2008 is still an infant. Anticipated maturity: 2013-2023.
2005Ojai Roll RanchSyrah L1,L2,L340.006  91
As always, the 2005 Syrah Roll Ranch offers the most easy-going accessibility along with a big, velvety, opulent texture, beautiful charcoal-infused blackberry and blueberry fruit, full body, and an attractive succulence. It will drink well for 7-8 years.
Roll Ranch is a wine of many contradictions. Most warm climate syrah has a heavy, fruity sameness that can get tiresome, yet here we have a wine that is lively and has a unique personality. This is the direct result of two factors, site and farming. The vineyard, located in the Upper Ojai Valley, has an unusual climate for a protected southern Californian valley. At an elevation of about 1000 feet, it receives excesses of everything-heat during the day, cooling fog from the ocean at night, and some of the highest rainfall totals in the area. The soil, an alluvial decomposition of the local mountain of note, Topa Topa, is a red sandy loam that is extremely nutrient poor.
2012Ojai Santa BarbaraPinot Noir CMFloor30.001  87
The 2012 Pinot Noir Santa Barbara County is fresh and vibrant with pretty aromas of clove, forest floor, crushed violets and sweet cherries all emerging from the glass. This flows to a lightly textured, juicy Pinot Noir that has an up-front, charming feel, yet lacks any type of depth or length. Drink it over the coming 2-3 years.
2009Ojai Sauvignon Blanc McGinleySauvignon Blanc CMFloor20.002   
The 2009 Sauvignon Blanc McGinley emerges from the glass with varietal aromatics of tomato leaf, sage and mint in a bold if slightly unusual style. McGinley is a warmer microclimate on the eastern side of the Santa Ynez Valley, which comes through in the wine’s body and depth. The Sauvignon was aged in French oak and the malolactic fermentation was blocked. Anticipated maturity: 2011-2018.
Drank first bottle on 1/24/15, towards the end of its prime but drinking well. A very elegant and complex wine of diverse falvor. Drink by end of 2015
2008Ojai Solomon HIllsPinot Noir WF44.001  93
The 2008 Pinot Noir Solomon Hills presents a more balsamic profile. Menthol and sweet spices wrap around a core of black cherries in this muscular, broad-shouldered Pinot. This is a fairly intense style for Ojai in this vintage, and it works beautifully. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2020.
2007Ojai SyrahSyrah CM21.003   
2006Ojai ThompsonSyrah Garage35.001   
Wine club shipment
2005Ojai Thompson VineyardSyrah CM37.006  93
The 2005 Syrah Thompson Vineyard is a powerfully concentrated, full-bodied wine oozing with blackberry fruit intermixed with smoky, burning ember, tobacco leaf, charcoal, and spice box notes. It possesses fabulous fruit as well as intensity, and finishes with abundant glycerin and depth. Its 15.3% natural alcohol is well-concealed by a cascade of fruit and glycerin. Drink it over the next 10-15 years. Tasting through three vintages of Adam Tolmach’s Syrahs is an education in how different these three years were in Santa Ynez and Santa Barbara County. 2004 was a warm year, 2005 was a cool year with high yields and good acids, and 2006 was a challenging vintage that required substantial work in the vineyards as well as tremendous patience at the end when it appeared a freakish hot spell might ripen everything at once. 2005 is a very strong vintage at Ojai, and all of the single vineyard offerings were deeper and richer than their 2006 counterparts.
FedEx Ground 230500010020467
2005Ojai Verna's VineyardSyrah R6,R7,R8,R9.R10,R1138.006  93
The 2005 Syrah Verna’s is a dense ruby/purple color is followed by a bouquet of mocha, white chocolate, blackberries, blueberries, and a hint of flowers. This is a full-bodied, fruit-driven, supple-textured wine with loads of character and personality. It is another candidate for a decade or more of ageability.
A little more obscure than some of our other vineyard designated syrahs, the fruit for this wine came from Melville's Los Alamos, California estate. In 2005, the wine was made from two sites, one contributing acidity and intensity, the other richness and flamboyance. The combination made for a spectacular wine of great balance. Of the three syrahs offered in this newsletter, this one is certainly the crowd pleaser. It will be perfect with that holiday standing rib roast. Yum!
2005Ojai White HawkSyrah R0,R1,R2,R3,R4,R538.006  92
Another offering with exceptional intensity, purity, texture, and depth is the 2005 Syrah White Hawk Vineyard. It, too, possesses 15.3% natural alcohol. Sweet tannin along with blackberry, charcoal, blueberry, and crushed rock characteristics provide beautiful focus heightened by crisp underlying acidity. This beauty can be drunk now or cellared for 12-15 years.
White Hawk vineyard is a series of rolling hills of sand about 15 miles from the ocean. This ancient sea bed is so devoid of nutrients that the vines struggle to produce a crop. Every July, when things heat up the vines almost give up the ghost, but somehow they struggle through the summer and produce a meager crop of intensely flavored fruit. Being in a moderate climate, the wine usually has a bit of warm climate fruitiness and cool climate peppery-ness. This 2005 possesses a powerful aroma of exotic spices and ripe black olives that melds into more saline scents of seaweed and earth. White Hawk is always so wild! While full of fruit, it's not overtly fruity. The flavors are more complex than that-it's both spicy and earthy. This wine drinks well now, but has the stuffing for ten more good years.
2002Opolo Cabernet SauvignonCabernet StairCellar150.001   
Purchased at auction for John ??
2007Opus OneRed Wine WF150.000  95
A wine that may approach the prototypically perfect idea of what Opus One wants to be is the 2007. Production was down by at least 20%, and the result is a wine with extraordinary concentration of creme de cassis intermixed with licorice, cedarwood, and spice box. It reveals dazzling purity of fruit on the attack and mid-palate, builds to a full-bodied, sumptuous mouthfeel, and closes with a long, 50+ second finish. This 2007 has the potential to be the finest Opus One ever made since the first vintage in 1979.
Gift from Rob Patton in 2011. Drank with Christmas dinner 2013. Menu consisted of Coque San Jocque with Brewer Clifton Genesa, beef fillet with sliced baked potatoe in ramakin and green beans. The One was a beautiful fruity cab with an incredible siky mouth feel.
2013Orin Swift Mercury HeadCabernet G5120.002  98
The 100% Cabernet Sauvignon aged 18 months in 50% new French oak, is the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Mercury Head. Certainly one of the more intriguing labels, with a real Mercury-head dime embedded in the glass bottle, this 4,500-case cuvée comes from blocks in Taplin, Morisoli and Atlas Peak vineyards. The final blend is a selection of their best barrels, bottled and aged another six months prior to release. This is a killer Cabernet Sauvignon, full-bodied and multilayered, with stunning blueberry and blackberry fruit, floral acacia notes, a hint of brioche and subtle toasty oak followed by a massive, full-bodied wine with sweet tannin and beautifully integrated acidity, alcohol and wood. This profound Cabernet Sauvignon should drink well now and for 25+ years. Dave Phinney may well be 2015's winemaker of the year for this wine taster.
2012Outpost Estate Cabernet SauvignonCabernet CMFloor75.006  96
The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon is a 650-case, 100% Cabernet Sauvignon aged 20 months in 75% new French oak and 25% in older oak. True to the vintage, it is dramatic, ostentatious, savory and opulent. Its dense purple color is accompanied by sweet blackberry and blackcurrant fruit intermixed with notions of graphite, chocolate and vanillin. Lush, pure and voluptuously textured, it is an irresistible Cabernet to drink over the next 12-15+ years. This is a fabulous source of terrific wines from owners Kathy and Frank Dotzler and their multi-talented winemaker, Thomas Rivers Brown. Not only are the wines outstanding, but their pricing policy is among the less ego-driven in Napa Valley. That is to be applauded. The 2012s are sexy, outrageously fruity, gorgeous wines that are as sensual as you could want. For me, the two finest Grenaches being made in California come from Alban’s Edna Valley Vineyard, and Manfred and Elaine Krankl’s Sine Qua Non further south. However, I must say the Outpost Grenache from Howell Mountain (from the Alban Clone which reportedly was suitcased from cuttings at Châteauneuf du Pape’s Château Rayas) is spectacular.
Ordered direct from Outpost
2013Outpost Estate Cabernet SauvignonCabernet L11,L1275.004  95+
The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon (100% Cabernet Sauvignon aged 20 months in 75% new French oak prior to bottling) demonstrates the vintage’s great intensity, purity, structure and potential high ceiling. Opaque blue/purple with notes of graphite, blueberry and blackberry fruit, charcoal, incense and a full-bodied mouthfeel, the wine has noticeable, but sweet, well-integrated tannins, acidity and wood. This wine is young and promises to be even better in another 5-6 years and keep for 20-30 or more years. This small estate winery burst on the scene in 2005 and it’s never really looked back. Winemaker Thomas Rivers Brown has been in charge of winemaking for owners Kathy and Frank Dotzler. Their most acclaimed wines tend to be the Cabernets, but they do a terrific job with Petite Sirah, Zinfandel and Grenache. The Grenache is made from John Alban’s clone of Grenache, which I believe came via suitcase-cuttings from Château Rayas vineyards in Châteauneuf du Pape. Tel. (707) 965-1718;
2012Outpost ImmigrantRed Wine CMFloor95.003  95
The 2012 True Vineyard Immigrant, a blend of 39% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Cabernet Franc, and 28% Merlot aged 20 months in two-thirds new French oak, offers notes of forest floor, mulberries, black cherries, blackcurrants and unsmoked cigar tobacco. With sweet tannin, and a deep, broad, savory, medium to full-bodied style, this pure, sexy red can be enjoyed over the next 5-8 years. This is a fabulous source of terrific wines from owners Kathy and Frank Dotzler and their multi-talented winemaker, Thomas Rivers Brown. Not only are the wines outstanding, but their pricing policy is among the less ego-driven in Napa Valley. That is to be applauded. The 2012s are sexy, outrageously fruity, gorgeous wines that are as sensual as you could want. For me, the two finest Grenaches being made in California come from Alban’s Edna Valley Vineyard, and Manfred and Elaine Krankl’s Sine Qua Non further south. However, I must say the Outpost Grenache from Howell Mountain (from the Alban Clone which reportedly was suitcased from cuttings at Châteauneuf du Pape’s Château Rayas) is spectacular.
Ordered direct from Outpost
2012Outpost True Vineyard Cabernet SauvignonCabernet CMFloor125.003  96
There are 375 cases of the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon True Vineyard, which is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon aged in 90% new French oak. This cuvée ratchets up the levels of structure and tannin, but shares similar notes of blackberries, blueberries, floral, forest floor and spice. It is a broad-flavored, multidimensional wine built like a skyscraper. However, unlike the regular Cabernet Sauvignon, this offering requires patience because of some significant tannin. Forget it for 4-5 years and drink it over the next two decades. This is a fabulous source of terrific wines from owners Kathy and Frank Dotzler and their multi-talented winemaker, Thomas Rivers Brown. Not only are the wines outstanding, but their pricing policy is among the less ego-driven in Napa Valley. That is to be applauded. The 2012s are sexy, outrageously fruity, gorgeous wines that are as sensual as you could want. For me, the two finest Grenaches being made in California come from Alban’s Edna Valley Vineyard, and Manfred and Elaine Krankl’s Sine Qua Non further south. However, I must say the Outpost Grenache from Howell Mountain (from the Alban Clone which reportedly was suitcased from cuttings at Châteauneuf du Pape’s Château Rayas) is spectacular.
Ordered direct from Outpost
2014Outpost True Vineyard Cabernet SauvignonCabernet J2,J3,J4130.006  100
2013Outpost True Vineyard ImmigrantRed Wine H395.002  95
An intriguing blend, the 2013 True Vineyard Immigrant is composed of 38% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Cabernet Franc and 32% Merlot aged in 67% new French oak for 20 months. This is a great showing in a complex wine, with notes of white chocolate, forest floor, blueberry and black raspberry. It’s intense and full without being heavy, attributable to the Cabernet Franc component. This wine has great color, already burgeoning complexity, and gorgeous texture and length. Drink it over the next 10-15 years. This small estate winery burst on the scene in 2005 and it’s never really looked back. Winemaker Thomas Rivers Brown has been in charge of winemaking for owners Kathy and Frank Dotzler. Their most acclaimed wines tend to be the Cabernets, but they do a terrific job with Petite Sirah, Zinfandel and Grenache. The Grenache is made from John Alban’s clone of Grenache, which I believe came via suitcase-cuttings from Château Rayas vineyards in Châteauneuf du Pape. Tel. (707) 965-1718;
2005Outpost Winery "Napa Valley" Howell MountainZinfandel N12,N13,N1449.956  90
The 2006 Zinfandel is a classic mountain Zinfandel revealing plenty of minerality, spice, herb, and pepper notes along with copious quantities of black raspberry and kirsch fruit. Full-bodied with admirable grip and focus, and no hard edges, it can be drunk over the next 3-4 years.
2012PahlmeyerChardonnay U2, U370.002   
2008Pahlmeyer ChardonnayChardonnay CMFloor60.006  95
The 2008 Chardonnay is one of the finest Chardonnays of the vintage. Beautiful aromas of honeysuckle, brioche, white peaches, orange marmalade, and citrus blossoms soar from the glass of this light gold/green-hued wine. A terrific texture, full-bodied mouthfeel, and hints of hazelnuts as well as honey give this cuvee lots of flesh, depth, and richness. It should drink well for 5-8+ years. One of California’s super-star producers, Pahlmeyer’s wines have a fabulous track record of aging well. This estate was one of Helen Turley’s first clients, and since she departed one of her assistants, Erin Green, has continued to turn out sumptuous reds as well as exquisite Chardonnays. The 2007 reds appear to be the finest Pahlmeyer has produced in a decade ... and that includes some top-flight wines.
2012Pahlmeyer ChardonnayChardonnay CMFloor75.003  95
Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, Issue #209, October 2013 Pahlmeyer’s spectacular 2012 Chardonnay offers abundant aromas of hazelnuts, buttered citrus, tropical fruits and honeysuckle intermixed with a touch of tangerine oil. It cuts a full-bodied swath across the palate, and possesses good acidity, exuberant fruit and an undeniably sexy style. Enjoy this terrific All-American, All-Napa Valley Chardonnay over the next 4-5 years. Bravo!
2010Pahlmeyer JasonCabernet C8, D1060.002   
2010Pahlmeyer Jason RedRed Wine CMFloor45.004  90
"Pure, rich and persistent, with a vivid core of blackberry, espresso, vanilla bean and dried herb notes. Ends with an elegant aftertaste." – JL
2011Pahlmeyer JaysonCabernet CMFloor65.005  NR
This is the inaugural release of the Jayson Cabernet Sauvignon. 2011 was a difficult year in Napa so my expectations are low for this wine. I sampled a bottle on 10/26/2014 after a recent trip to Napa where the 2011 wines were largely off peak. This wine is very young with dark garnet color, a little alcohol coming off the nose followed by black fruit. It is rich in fruit flavor but nothing specifically discernable. I think this will turn out to be one of the better 2011 wines..
2003Pahlmeyer MerlotMerlot L590.002  92
The 2003 Merlot is one of the top three or four Merlots in California. A huge nose of melted chocolate, roasted coffee, black cherry, and charcoal jumps from the glass of this full-bodied, opulent, sexy Merlot. It is a delicious, savory, heady wine to drink over the next 7-8 years.
Drank first bottle for Thanksgiving 2012.
2005Pahlmeyer MerlotMerlot CMFloor90.006  94
The 2005 Merlot is looking sensational, and far better than I thought last year. There are 3,000 cases of this wine, which is aged in 85% new Taransaud barrels. Blended with 11% Cabernet Sauvignon, the wine reveals distinctive black cherry and berry notes intermixed with chocolate, mocha, caramel, and scorched earth. The wine is full-bodied, fleshy, but has underlying acidity and a long, layered finish. This wine can be drunk now or cellared for another 15+ years. The charismatic Jayson Pahlmeyer and his exuberant winemaker, Erin Green, who apprenticed for Helen Turley for many years, are turning out some fabulous wines. I terribly underestimated their 2005 reds. However, there’s always time to correct these things, and I intend to do it with the following notes.
2006Pahlmeyer MerlotMerlot CM100.0012  94
Pahlmeyer’s Merlot was the uncontested top California Merlot for many years, but significant competition has emerged from the upstart Kapcsandy Estate in Yountville. However, Pahlmeyer’s offering remains one of the classic examples of just how great Merlot can be in Napa. The 2006 Merlot (89% Merlot and 11% Cabernet Sauvignon) exhibits sweet chocolate, mocha, cola, black cherry, and plum aromas and flavors as well as full body, a sumptuous, dense texture, and no hard edges. The beautifully integrated acidity, tannin, and wood result in a hedonistic, mouthfilling, luscious Merlot to consume over the next 10-15 years.
Received 6/12/2009, 6 of these bottles are from Matt Harvey and are in the Garage
2007Pahlmeyer MerlotMerlot CM64.006  96
One of the finest Merlots being made in Napa is the 2007 Merlot (87% Merlot and 13% Cabernet Sauvignon). It has evolved gorgeously since tasted from barrel last year. This sumptuous wine offers beautiful melted chocolate, cocoa, and espresso notes intermixed with black cherry, plum, fig, and blackberry fruit. This opulent, full-bodied, sexy, prodigious California Merlot should give Kapcsandy’s Roberta’s Reserve a run for its money over the next 15-20 years.
2011Pahlmeyer MerlotMerlot CMFloor85.003  94
"One of the most beautiful wines of the year, the 2011 Merlot is endowed with tremendous energy, much of it because of the high percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon and a reliance of fruit from mountain sites rather than the valley floor, which simply proves just how great this overlooked vintage is in the right spots. Graphite, smoke, tar, licorice and plum notes meld into the finish. This is a knockout wine from Pahlmeyer. The 2011 will drink well early but it has more than enough depth to drink well for a number of years." Composition:85% Merlot 13% Cabernet Sauvignon 2% Malbec Vineyards:Waters Ranch Vineyard,Rancho Chimiles,Stagecoach
2004Pahlmeyer Napa Valley ChardonnayChardonnay StairCellar70.001  91
The 2004 Chardonnay Napa Valley comes from four separate vineyards, but again from primarily old Wente clone (which gets my nod as the best Chardonnay clone in California, especially when it’s low-yielding). The Napa Valley reveals a more golden color than the Sonoma Coast as well as a more evolved nose of lemon oil, tropical fruit, tangerines, and pineapple. The wine is riper, richer, but less complex and delineated compared to the Sonoma Coast. The 2004 Chardonnay Sonoma Coast is produced from the old Wente clone planted in the Ritchie Vineyard, which is certainly turning out to be a fabulous grand cru site whether the wine is made by Pahlmeyer, Marc Aubert, or others. Displaying plenty of orange rind, buttered pineapple, and leesy brioche notes, it is a seductive, sexy, full-bodied, heady wine with tremendous richness as well as good underlying acidity. Like so many Sonoma Coast Chardonnays, it reveals a greenish hue to the light gold/straw color, which usually signifies a potentially long life. This cuvee should keep for 4-6 years.
Drank the second bottle with Thanksgiving dinner 2010 with Salmon Mousse.
2002Pahlmeyer Proprietary RedRed Wine CMFloor110.005  94
The 2002 Proprietary Red (75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot, and 3% Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Malbec) reveals an inky/purple color as well as a sexy, hedonistic smorgasbord of smoked herbs, wood embers, melted chocolate, blackberries, cassis, camphor, and toast. This heady, full-bodied, voluptuously textured 2002 is a pedal-to-the-metal, classic Napa Valley red filled with richness, intensity, and purity. It is impossible to ignore or resist. A candidate for “Proprietary Wine of the Vintage,” this beauty should be drunk over the next 14-15 years.
Drank first bottle at Hatfields on May 19, 2012 with Sim Choo and Lynne. Very extracted with decades of life left in it.
2003Pahlmeyer Proprietary RedRed Wine CM110.006  94
The 2003 Proprietary Red (86.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Merlot, and the rest Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Malbec, aged in 100% new Taransaud barrels) is a killer. Deep ruby/purple-colored, with a big, smoky, fragrant nose of creme de cassis, smoked meats, plum, and licorice, it boasts great intensity, rich, full-bodied, powerful flavors, decent acidity, moderate tannin, and tremendous persistence. It has put on weight since I tasted it last year out of barrel, and should drink well for 15 or more years.
2004Pahlmeyer Proprietary RedRed Wine CM125.006  91
A blend of 79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot, and the rest Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Malbec, the outstanding 2004 Proprietary Red Wine possesses a deep ruby/purple color in addition to notes of vanilla, espresso roast, black currants, plums, and licorice. This rich, full-bodied, flamboyant, lush, heady red is best consumed over the next 12-15 years.
2005Pahlmeyer Proprietary RedRed Wine CMFloor150.008  96
The 2005 Proprietary Red is significantly better than what I tasted last year, although I certainly gave it a high score. This wine has fleshed out beautifully. The final blend (84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, and the rest Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Malbec) has a deep purple color, a beautifully sweet nose of blackberries and cassis intermixed with some meatiness, smoke, and a touch of pain grille as well as notes of espresso and licorice. Full-bodied, rich, with decent acidity, excellent delineation, and moderately high tannin, this is a beauty that should evolve for 25-30+ years It is no wimpish wine at 15.2% natural alcohol, but that is buried beneath a cascade of gorgeous fruit and glycerin. This wine should be cruising along brilliantly in 2030+. The charismatic Jayson Pahlmeyer and his exuberant winemaker, Erin Green, who apprenticed for Helen Turley for many years, are turning out some fabulous wines. I terribly underestimated their 2005 reds. However, there’s always time to correct these things, and I intend to do it with the following notes.
3 bottles in transit from Rue La La for $250 total cost
2007Pahlmeyer Proprietary RedRed Wine CM105.006  96
The sensational 2007 Proprietary Red Wine (a 7,000-case blend of 82% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Malbec) is slightly more restrained aromatically than the Merlot, but there is no doubting its extraordinary bouquet of subtle smoked meats, oak, mountain wild flowers, blueberries, blackberries, coffee, and cassis. Super-rich and full-bodied with noticeable, but stunningly sweet tannins, it possesses a rare minerality and definition, characteristics that seem to be found across the board in Napa’s 2007s. This dense, powerful red needs 3-5 years of cellaring, and should have 25 years of life ahead of it. One of California’s super-star producers, Pahlmeyer’s wines have a fabulous track record of aging well. This estate was one of Helen Turley’s first clients, and since she departed one of her assistants, Erin Green, has continued to turn out sumptuous reds as well as exquisite Chardonnays. The 2007 reds appear to be the finest Pahlmeyer has produced in a decade ... and that includes some top-flight wines.
2013Pape Clement Pape Clement BlancBordeaux JJBuckley120.002  96
trikingly concentrated, a la a grand cru white Burgundy, the 2013 Pape Clement exhibits notes of orange zest, white currants, flowers, exotic mango and melony fruit. This medium to full-bodied, compellingly deep, fresh white wine should drink well for 10-20 years. It is a candidate for the white wine of the vintage in Bordeaux.
2013Paul Hobbs Beckstoffer Dr. Crane VineyardCabernet E6265.002  100
The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer Dr. Crane Vineyard has a Mission Haut-Brion-on-steroids character, as it seems to be all gravel pit. Loads of wet pebbles, graphite, blueberry and blackberry fruit, a full-bodied opulence, and just a killer, skyscraper-like mouthfeel and stunning finish make for one of the most provocative and fabulous wines in this portfolio. Drink it over the next 25+ years. This is world-class and can stand up against anything made in 2013, as could the following wines as well.
2005Paul Hobbs Cabernet SauvignonCabernet G6,H1099.004  92
The 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa offers beautiful black currant fruit interwoven with notions of licorice, cedar, and tobacco leaf. Full-bodied, opulent, and fleshy, it should drink nicely for 12-15+ years. Previously recommended: 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa (90), 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer To-Kalon Vineyard (95+), 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer Dr. Crane Vineyard (92+), 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon Hyde Vineyard (91), 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon Stagecoach Vineyard (94).
3 bottles for Carla, Drank a bottle on Dec 29, 2020 for my bday celebration. Fantastic wine with rich fruit and a lot of life left in it.
2005Paul Hobbs CrossBarnCabernet WF,M8,M950.005  92
Offers beautiful black currant fruit interwoven with notions of licorice, cedar, and tobacco leaf. Full-bodied, opulent, and fleshy, it should drink nicely for 12-15+ years.
2012Paul Hobbs Katherine Lindsay EstatePinot Noir N685.002  94
The sensational 2012 Pinot Noir Katherine Lindsay Estate was made primarily from the Calera clone of Pinot Noir, which appears to be the clonal material most favored by Paul Hobbs. A dense ruby/purple color is followed by notes of forest floor, black raspberries, black cherries and spice. Full-bodied, dense and rich with velvety tannins and enough acidity to provide delineation, there are 812 cases of this cuvée that should drink well for 8-12 years.
2012Paul Hobbs Kick RanchSyrah M650.002  94
Deeper, richer and more profound is the 2012 Syrah Kick Ranch. This barrel sample reveals terrific intensity along with a floral component interwoven with notes of blackberry liqueur, charcoal and a hint of espresso roast. Full-bodied and juicy with velvety tannins, this super-effort should drink nicely for a decade or more.
2013Paul Hobbs NapaCabernet M7120.002  93
Hobbs has hit the bull’s-eye with his selection of 2013 Cabernet Sauvignons. There are 5,800+ cases of the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa, which has some Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Merlot in the blend. About 40% of this comes from their estate vineyard in Coombsville. This is just beautiful, an earthy, graphite-laden, crème de cassis-scented wine with plenty of depth, a full-bodied mouthfeel, and a long, opulent finish. This wine hasn’t been priced yet, but this is a beauty, and really over-delivers for a generic Napa cuvée. Drink it over the next 10+ years.
2009Paul Jaboulet Domaine de ThalabertSyrah CMFloor40.005  95
The greatest Crozes-Hermitage Domaine de Thalabert since the magnificent 1990 is the 2009. Jaboulet has nearly 100 acres in this appellation, and the 2009, which is bursting with potential, represents a great buy for Syrah lovers. Its dense purple color is followed by an explosive bouquet of blackberries, sweet cherries, licorice, Provencal olives, graphite and subtle smoke. Full-bodied with silky tannins as well as a terrific mouthfeel and palate penetration, this gorgeous offering should drink well for 15 or more years.
Tasted first bottle 6/17/16 at Cm Saturday tasting. Excellent wine great fruit
1997Peter Michael Le Moulin RougePinot Noir CM120.000  87
Found in new locker. Drank at 2018 Cellar Masters holiday party
2001Piancornello Brunello di Montalcino RiservaSangiovese CM50.002  91
Piancornello’s 2001 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva is made in a very generous, accessible style. It offers terrific balance, with an attractive richness to its fruit, notable concentration.and a long, fresh finish. This vibrant Brunello should offer much pleasure over the next decade. Anticipated maturity: 2007-2017.
1999Poderi Aldo Conterno Barolo CicalaNebbiolo WF90.001  92
1999 Barolo Cicala—Medium ruby. Owing to its poor soils, Cicala always gives the firmest wines, and this 1999 is no exception. It offers attractive mineral, menthol, and tobacco aromas, along with plenty of sweet fruit on a deceptively medium bodied frame of great length. It should drink well to at least age 25.
Purchased at Woodland Hills Wine
2010Pontet-Canet Pontet-CanetBordeaux CMFloor220.002  100
An absolutely amazing wine, from grapes harvested between the end of September and October 17, this blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and the rest Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot has close to 15% natural alcohol. It comes from one of the few biodynamic vineyards in Bordeaux, but you are likely to see many more, given the success that Tesseron seems to be having at all levels, both in his vineyards and in his fermentation/winemaking. An astounding, compelling wine with the classic Pauillac nose more often associated with its cross-street neighbor, Mouton-Rothschild, creme de cassis, there are also some violets and other assorted floral notes. The wine has off-the-charts massiveness and intensity but never comes across as heavy, overbearing or astringent. The freshness, laser-like precision, and full-bodied, massive richness and extract are simply remarkable to behold and experience. It is very easy, to become jaded tasting such great wines from a great vintage, but it is really a privilege to taste something as amazing as this. Unfortunately, it needs a good decade of cellaring, and that’s assuming it doesn’t close down over the next few years. This is a 50- to 75-year wine from one of the half-dozen or so most compulsive and obsessive proprietors in all of Bordeaux. Is there anything that proprietor Alfred Tesseron is not doing right? Talk about an estate that is on top of its game! Pontet-Canet’s 2010 is a more structured, tannic and restrained version of their most recent perfect wine, the 2009. Kudos to Pontet-Canet!
2007Propieta Sperino LessonaNebbiolo J13,J1465.003  94
The 2007 Lessona is a big wine for this tiny appellation in northern Piedmont. Sweet dark cherries, minerals and mint are just some of the nuances that flow from this textured red. Silky tannins and fresh saline notes frame the fruit through to the finish. This is a stunning bottle from Proprieta Sperino. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2022.
Ordered from Wine House
2008Quilceda Creek Cabernet SauvignonCabernet F1,F2,F3145.004  97+
The flagship 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon contains 3% Merlot. This multi-dimensional offering surrenders an inviting bouquet of sandalwood, Asian spices, violets, truffle, black currant, and blackberry. Seamless on the palate with no hard edges, it is mouth-coating, powerful, and exceptionally light on its feet all at the same time. Impeccably balanced and with plenty of fine-grained tannin in the background, it should effortlessly achieve its 30th birthday. The entire portfolio is a tour de force! Quilceda Creek remains Washington’s benchmark for world-class Cabernet Sauvignon. The Golitzins were ecstatic about the fruit quality in 2007, a near-perfect vintage from their perspective. The only change is that a varietal Merlot is no longer being bottled.
5 at Cellar Masters 1 in Wine Fridge, drank first bottle at CM on 10/30...outstanding but very young.
2009Quilceda Creek Cabernet SauvignonCabernet H7,H8,H9135.006  100
The 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley might, in the long run, prove to be at an even higher level. This beautifully proportioned, fragrant Cabernet deftly combines elegance and power. Give it a minimum of 4-5 years of additional cellaring and drink it through 2034.
Drank 1 bottle with Chicken Scalopini. Fruity, sweet and extracted. Didn't have the complexity I would have expected. Lynne loved the wine.
2012Quilceda Creek Cabernet SauvignonCabernet CMFloor140.004  98
More approachable, but no less impressive, the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon (100% Cabernet Sauvignon) looks gorgeous, and is probably the most complete wine in the lineup. Layered and rich, yet ultra-pure and also elegant, it gives up classic crème de cassis, lead pencil shavings, licorice and liquid flower like qualities to go with full-bodied richness and depth on the palate. Relatively civilized, yet with building tannin and richness, it should benefit from short term cellaring and have two decades of longevity.
Wine Spectator #2 wine of 2015 with a 96 rating
2013Quilceda Creek Cabernet SauvignonCabernet C0,D0140.004  99
One of the most impressive barrels samples I was able to taste during my trip through the region, the Galitzin's 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon (100% Cabernet Sauvignon) has a classic, structured feel, as well as sensational purity of fruit. Giving up lots of cassis, currants, spicy oak and bouquet garni, with subtle violet qualities with air, it hits the palate with serious richness, a full, layered mid-palate and masses of sweet tannin. Like most of Paul's wines, I think they have the fruit and texture to offer plenty of pleasure in their youth, yet they don't hit their stride until at least 5-7 years after the vintage. This is another serious lineup by Paul and Alex Golitzin and I was able to taste their 2012s multiple times, once at my office in Colorado where I was able to follow the wines for multiple days, and then during a visit at the estate just north of Snohomish. In both cases they showed beautifully, with the ripe, exuberant style that's common in the vintage. When speaking about the '12s, Paul told me that it was an "easy growing season and that you had to be selective." In addition, they had more production from Champoux (which was hit hard by frost in 2011) due to their increased ownership in the vineyard after the retirement of Paul Champoux. Looking at their 2013s, these are more restrained and classic in style, yet have terrific concentration, and I actually preferred their slightly more focused, pure style. We'll see how these round out once in bottle, but they're certainly terrific wines and in line with the expected quality from this estate. Yields as a whole were down in 2013 compared to 2012, but I didn't get a feel for the percentage or effect on the case production of the cuvees.
Received UPS Shipping confirmation that wine has been delivered
2008Quilceda Creek Columbia Valley Red WineRed Wine F638.002  NR
The 2008 Quilceda Creek Columbia Valley Red Wine is a blend of declassified lots from an extraordinary vintage. The resulting medium-bodied wine displays black cherry fruit, vanilla extract, roasted herbs, lead pencil and smoke. Approachable now, this blend of 81% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 1% Malbec will best be enjoyed over the next 15 years.
Fine wine for the price. Order again
2012Quilceda Creek Galitzine VineyardCabernet C12115.002  97
Another classic Cabernet Sauvignon from the Golitzin's, the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Galitzine Vineyard comes from the dry, windswept Red Mountain AVA and is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. It's a big, structured effort that offers lots of minerality and dusty earth in its blackcurrants, black cherry liqueur, smoked earth, licorice and charred-meat-driven bouquet. Firm, focused and tight, this has closed down substantially since I tasted it from barrel, yet has serious concentration, lots of tannin and a great finish. It needs 4-5 years to integrate all its components, and should evolve gracefully through 2035.
2013Quilceda Creek Galitzine VineyardCabernet Ordered125.004  98
Always the most structured and tannic in the lineup (this is always presented after the Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon), the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Galitzine Vineyard has the same saturated purple color of all the '13s and yields sensational notes of blackcurrants, asphalt, graphite, ground herbs and dark chocolate. Full-bodied, big, concentrated and structured, it still stays beautifully balanced, has a supple texture, and while that's lots of tannin, they're sweet and polished. Give it 4-5 years in the cellar and enjoy bottles through 2033. An utterly prodigious effort that would most likely be the wine of the vintage if not for its big brother, the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Galitzine Vineyard comes all from Red Mountain and was raised in 100% new French oak. Revealing a healthy ruby/purple color and classic notes of sage brush, graphite, black cherries, currants and chocolate, it hits the palate with full-bodied richness; building, present, yet ripe and polished tannin; perfect integration of its fruit, alcohol and oak; and awesome length. This is a powerhouse Cabernet Sauvignon that still holds onto a sense of elegance and finesse. Forget it for 4-5 years and drink bottles over the following two decades.
2008Quilceda Creek Palengat VineyardCabernet F4,F585.003  NR
Drank one bottle on 11/4/2016 at Cellar Masters
2008Quilceda Creek Palengat VineyardCabernet F4,F585.004  NR
2012Quilceda Creek Palengat VineyardRed Wine C1395.002  94
A single-vineyard blend of 59% Merlot, 29% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot, the 2012 Palengat Vineyard offers a deep, decadent style to go with classic blackberry liqueur, blueberry, graphite, toasted spices and licorice. A big, beefy, layered and full-bodied effort, it has building tannin, a supple mid-palate and terrific length. It should evolve nicely for 2-4 years and hold for a decade or more after that.
2008Quintessa IlluminationSauvignon Blanc WF36.000  95
The 2008 vintage received 95 points in April’s Wine Enthusiast: "one of the best in memory. Shows intricate layers of Meyer lemons, kefir limes and white peaches, offset by crisp acidity and minerals but softened with butter cream and buttered toast. A vibrant, immaculate wine, one of the Sauvignon Blanc stars of the vintage.”
2007Ravenswood BarriciaZinfandel M1135.001   
2007Ravenswood BelloniZinfandel M1235.001   
2007Ravenswood Big RiverZinfandel M1135.001   
2007Ravenswood DickersonZinfandel M1235.001   
2007Ravenswood Old HillZinfandel M1035.001   
2007Ravenswood TeldeshiZinfandel M1035.001   
2013Revana Cabernet SauvignonCabernet F3,F440.004   
2006Ridge East BenchZinfandel O330.001   
2001Ridge GeyservilleZinfandel WF246  92
2005Ridge GeyservilleZinfandel O828.002   
2010Ridge GeyservilleZinfandel O5,O637.003  NR
Shipped to Cellar Masters 12/7/12
2004Ridge Lytton SpringsZinfandel O730.002   
2004Ridge Lytton SpringsZinfandel CM25.006   
2005Ridge Lytton SpringsZinfandel O1428.001   
2005Ridge Pagani RanchZinfandel O928.002   
2010Ridge Pagani RanchZinfandel O4,O535.003  93
Shipped to Cellar Masters 12/7/12
2004Ridge Paso RoblesZinfandel O1230.002   
2005Ridge Paso RoblesZinfandel O1128.001   
2004Ridge Ponzo VineyardZinfandel O1028.002   
2005Ridge Ponzo VineyardZinfandel O1330.002   
2006Ridge Ponzo VineyardZinfandel N528.001   
2005Ridge York CreekZinfandel O1128.001   
2010Rieussec SauternesSauternes CMFloor33.0012  96
Now in bottle it has become a contender for the finest Sauternes of the vintage. It is blessed with a pure and lifted bouquet ...This is a sophisticated Sauternes with superb mineralite and outstanding persistency. I will confess that I pinned this as "Yquem" and was both shocked and pleased when its identity was revealed. Go buy. "
Ordered from JJ Buckley. Being held for shipment
2005Robert Foley Vineyards ClaretRed Wine CM270.001  92
A gorgeous nose of creme de cassis, spring flowers, and sweet black cherries emerges from the full-bodied, opulent 2005 Claret. Revealing more concentration, sweeter tannins, and more nuances and complexity than the 2006, this elegant beauty can be enjoyed over the next 10-15 years. Now that the highly talented Robert Foley is no longer the full-time winemaker at Pride Mountain Vineyards, he appears to be focusing on his own label as well as consulting for other wineries.
1999Rocche Dei Manzoni Vigna d'la RoulNebbiolo WF50.000  89
The 1999 Barolo Vigna d’la Roul, a classic garnet, is sweet and fresh on the nose with kirsch and light vanilla notes. Medium bodied, but with good continuity and a certain finesse in its tannins, it will drink well from 2005 to 2016.
Drank with a Wagu NY Strip steak. Big tannic wine. As it opened up the wine balanced out, fruit came forward and the finish of ripe fruit lingered for nearly 30 seconds. Would purchase again.or
2007Ruston Cabernet SauvignonCabernet CM30.000   
2007Ruston MerlotMerlot CMFloor21.000  NR
2013Saxum Bone Rock James Berry VineyardSyrah CMFloor200.000  98
80% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre, 5% Grenache, 5% Roussanne (15.2% alc.) 450 cases produced A co-fermented blend of Syrah and a splash of Roussanne, the inky colored 2013 Syrah James Berry Vineyard Bone Rock reveals a heavenly bouquet of Hermitage-like dark fruits, violets, crushed rocks and seared meats. Big, rich and structured, it has phenomenal purity and elegance given its size and delivers a big dose of tannin on the huge finish. A wine that could flirt with perfection, it will demand short-term cellaring and keep for two decades. (98-100) Points from, #220, Aug 2015
Purchased from Mark Knapton. Drank on 4/22/22 with a rib eye steak dinner. Overrated and over priced is how I would describe it. Shows a great deal of forward fruit and tanning with a sharp, tart bite of sweetarts.
2013Saxum BookerSyrah C7100.002  98
From an east facing, two-acre block in Eric Jensen's estate Vineyard, the 2013 Booker Vineyard is another terrific red that has full throttle notes of blackberries and assorted dark fruits, ground herbs, gamy meat and crushed rock. Big, full-bodied, concentrated and with a stacked mid-palate and a blockbuster finish, it has the fruit and texture to impress on release, yet the balance and depth to evolve for 15 years or more. Note, this cuvee always incorporates a healthy dose of Mourvedre, which is a variety that Smith continues to think has more and more potential for the region.
Purchased from Mark Knapton
2018Saxum Broken StonesRed Wine CM98.002  95
The 2018 Broken Stones is composed of 49% Syrah, 21% Graciano, 13% Petite Sirah, 8% Grenache, 7% Mataro and 2% Viognier aged in around 60% new oak. Vibrant ruby-purple, it opens to char, bacon fat and violets over a dense core of jammy black and blue fruit with lifting minty accents. The palate is full-bodied and packed with ripe fruits, wrapped in a very firm but finely grained frame and with just enough freshness, finishing on a floral note.
2013Saxum Heart StoneSyrah CMFloor200.001  96
Checking in as a blend of 43% Syrah, 41% Grenache and 16% Mourvèdre, the 2013 Heart Stone Vineyard is the most fruit-loaded, forward and approachable of the '13s. Black raspberries, kirsch, spring flowers and pepper all emerge from this full-bodied beauty and it has the purity, prettiness and elegance of the vintage. It will drink nicely on release and have at least a decade of longevity. If you're looking to try one of the '13s right on release, this is the one.
Purchased from Mark Knapton
2009Scarecrow M. EtainCabernet CMFloor150.002  93
The 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon M. Etain is dark, rich, sumptuous and highly expressive. A totally voluptuous wine, the 2009 flows across the palate with layers of dark fruit. Stylistically, the M. Etain is very close to the Scarecrow Cabernet in this vintage, although it has less aromatic complexity and depth. Hints of smoke, tobacco, incense and licorice are layered into the juicy, mid-weight finish. Anticipated maturity: 2013-2021.
Purchsesed from Scott Sherr
2010Scarecrow M. EtainCabernet CMFloor150.002  94
A wine that captures the essence of the vintage, Scarecrow's 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon M. Etain literally bursts from the glass with vivid, beautifully articulated fruit. Black cherries, raspberry jam, plums, espresso, menthol and rosemary are just some of the many nuances that take shape in the glass. The 2010 is rich, full-bodied and beautifully layered from start to finish. Another year or two in bottle should help the firm 2010 tannins soften a touch. The 2010 includes 5% Petit Verdot in the final blend. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2024.
2012Scarecrow M. EtainCabernet CMFloor175.002  94
The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon M. Etain is in essence a second wine, but it sure doesn’t taste like one. Its deep purple color is followed by pure black raspberry and blackcurrant fruit, dusty, loamy soil notes, extraordinary depth of fruit, ripeness and good acidity. This opulent, round beauty is ideal for drinking over the next decade or more.
2013Scarecrow M. EtainCabernet CMFloor168.006  98
Received 11/18/2015
2012Scarecrow ScarecrowCabernet CMFloor321.002  98
The classic 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon included fruit from the 2-acre, old vine parcel that is nearly 70 years of age. It boasts an opaque purple color as well as copious notes of spring flowers, blackberries, black raspberries and wet rocks. The wine’s gravelly minerality and spectacular opulence and density make it an instant classic. This massive, full-bodied 2012 should drink beautifully for 15-20+ years. It showed incredibly well last year, and it still reveals the potential to possibly merit a 3-digit score – it’s that special.
Drank one bottle at the CM 2019 Christmas party. Excellent wine with many years of life.
2013Scarecrow ScarecrowCabernet CMFloor337.002  100
The prodigious 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, including fruit from some of the oldest Cabernet vines still in existence in Napa. This full-bodied classic displays notes of forest floor, earth, crème de cassis, blackberry liqueur, licorice and some pen ink. It is dense, full-bodied, prodigiously rich, massive in intensity, yet relatively light on its feet. This great ballerina of a wine has extraordinary ripeness but pulls back from the edge before going over the top. There are 1,000 cases of this classic, which should age effortlessly for 30+ years.
Gave 1 bottle to John Baughn for his 60th birthday.
2014Scarecrow ScarecrowCabernet Ordered370.002  100
The utterly perfect 2014 Scarecrow Cabernet Sauvignon (1,500 cases) has everything one could possibly want in a Cabernet. Inky purple-colored to the rim, with a glorious nose of white flowers, crème de cassis, hints of blackberry and boysenberry, some licorice and forest floor are followed by an enormously concentrated wine with fabulous purity, a skyscraper-like mid-palate and texture, a length of nearly a minute, and stunning flavors, with flawless integration of acidity, tannin, wood and alcohol. This is a great, great wine and certainly one of the Cabernet Sauvignons of this vintage. Drink it over the next 25-30 or more years.
Gave 1 bottle to Sakai-san as a retirement gift.
2015Scarecrow ScarecrowCabernet CM Floor392.003  99
Produced from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon leaps from the glass with gorgeous floral notes of red roses and lilacs over a core of black and red cherries, crushed black currants and baking spices plus hints of iron ore and dusty earth. The voluptuous, rounded, soft and sexy fruit slinks across the palate with incredible seamlessness and expression. Make no mistake, it is full-bodied and decadently powerful, but with a myriad of aromatic nuances, finishing long, layered and boldly perfumed.
2014Schrader Cellars Old SparkyCabernet ScottSherr500.001  98
The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Old Sparky, which is essentially made from clone 4 from two separate blocks, clone 6 and clone 337, is another perfect wine from the Schraders. I suppose it’s a little boring to say, and perhaps I can be accused of creating unrealistic expectations on the part of readers, but this is as great as Cabernet can be. Tasting like a first-growth Pauillac, the wine is opaque purple and has a fabulous nose of lead pencil, spring flowers, blueberry and blackberry and the telltale cassis. There is also some licorice and sweet oak, the tannins are ripe, and the wine full-bodied. Built like a skyscraper, with an incredible finish (like most of these wines) going on for 50 seconds to a minute, this amazing wine should still be drinking splendidly well at age 25 or 30.
2005Sea Smoke BotellaPinot Noir CM39.000  92
From a vineyard planted in clay/loam soils, the 2004 Pinot Noir Botella exhibits a dense ruby/purple hue along with black currant and black cherry aromas and a hint of flowers. Full body, sweet tannin, enough acidity to provide uplift and definition, and a textured, savory mouthfeel give this wine an early charm, but there is actually more concentration and length in this cuvee than in the impressive Southing. Drink it over the next decade.
Drank the last bottle for Thanksgiving 2017 and it still had several years live in it.
2006Sea Smoke BotellaPinot Noir L639.001  NR
2007Sea Smoke BotellaPinot Noir CM39.000   
3/31/13 - Had this bottle with Easter dinner. First sip fruit forward and extracted, hints of strawberry jam followed by a little tannin on the finish. Flavors are subtle and indistinguishable. I would rate this wine a 90.
2008Sea Smoke BotellaPinot Noir CM40.002   
Pickup 6/12/2010
2009Sea Smoke BotellaPinot Noir CMFloor40.002  NR
Shipping October 31, 2011
2010Sea Smoke BotellaPinot Noir L942.001  NR
Scheduled ship date 11/7/2012
2012Sea Smoke BotellaPinot Noir CMFloor42.001   
2013Sea Smoke BotellaPinot Noir CMFloor42.002   
2006Sea Smoke ChardonnayChardonnay CM100.001  93
White currant, honeyed citrus, creme brulee, brioche, and poached pear jump from the glass of the medium to full-bodied, light straw-colored 2006 Chardonnay Sea Smoke. Full-bodied and deep, this is a stunning Chardonnay to drink over the next 7-8 years.
2009Sea Smoke ChardonnayChardonnay U1,U252.002  NR
Shipping October 31, 2011
2012Sea Smoke Sea Spray Blanc de Noirs Sparkling WinePinot Noir L585.001   
Drank a bottle on January 2 with Lynne and a melange of appetizers. Very nice and dry. Probably best consumed within the first three years.
2005Sea Smoke SouthingPinot Noir CM49.004   
2006Sea Smoke SouthingPinot Noir L749.001  NR
Drank 1 bottle on Christmas eve 2011
2007Sea Smoke SouthingPinot Noir CM49.006   
On hold for pickup in June
2008Sea Smoke SouthingPinot Noir CM52.005   
Pickup 6/12/2010
Drank on 1/14/2017. Drink now the wine will not get any better.
2009Sea Smoke SouthingPinot Noir CMFloor52.004  NR
Shipping October 31, 2011
2010Sea Smoke SouthingPinot Noir L859.992  NR
Scheduled ship date 11/7/2012
2011Sea Smoke SouthingPinot Noir CMFloor60.006  NR
Shipping on 11/12/13
2012Sea Smoke SouthingPinot Noir CMFloor60.002   
2013Sea Smoke SouthingPinot Noir CMFloor60.0012   
2018Sea Smoke SouthingPinot Noir CM80.002  NR
2012Sea Smoke StreamsideChardonnay CMFloor60.004   
2005Sea Smoke TenPinot Noir CM70.001   
2006Sea Smoke TenPinot Noir L779.001  91
The medium ruby-colored 2006 Pinot Noir Ten (which signifies the 10 different clones from which it is produced) reveals a sumptuous perfume of raspberries, black cherries, strawberries, underbrush, and spice. Volnay-like in the mouth with loads of red fruits, medium to full body, sweet tannins, and good acidity, this complex, evolved Pinot should be consumed over the next 3-4 years.
2007Sea Smoke TenPinot Noir K8,K979.004   
On hold for pickup in June
Orderd 2 more bottles on July 22, 2009 scheduled for delivery to CM on 11/30/09. Gave one to Milan on 10/10/2011.
2008Sea Smoke TenPinot Noir CM80.004   
Pickup 6/12/2010
2009Sea Smoke TenPinot Noir K10,K1180.004  89
One of the Sea Smoke flagships, the 2009 Pinot Noir Ten impresses for its depth and sheer power. Layers of flavor flow through to the huge, dramatic finish in a full-bodied, intense Pinot. Once the intensity of the fruit fades, there is not much development in the glass, which results in an overall impression of one-dimensionality. The Ten is made from all ten Pinot clones planted on the property. While a solid effort, I expected more from this offering, which also happens to be the wine through which I discovered Sea Smoke years ago. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2017.
2010Sea Smoke TenPinot Noir L9,L1082.003  NR
Scheduled ship date 11/7/2012
2011Sea Smoke TenPinot Noir CMFloor82.004  NR
Shipping on 11/12/13
2012Sea Smoke TenPinot Noir CMFloor82.005  95 RP
2012Sea Smoke TenPinot Noir Shelf165.001  95 RP
2013Sea Smoke TenPinot Noir CMFloor82.0010   
2004Silver Oak Alexander ValleyCabernet WF65.001  89
2004Silver Oak Silver OakCabernet WF89.991   
2004Silver Stone Orchid Hill Paso RoblesSyrah CM28.996   
2004Siro Pacenti BrunelloSangiovese CMFloor90.005  97
The 2004 Brunello di Montalcino is a huge, dense wine that explodes from the glass with tar, smoke, earthiness black cherries and minerals. The wine possesses dazzling concentration and tons of richness, as waves of fruit coat the palate in stunning style. This big, dramatic Brunello needs time in bottle, but it is nothing short of magnificent today. The balance, and the integration of the French oak in particular, is brilliant. For those who are curious to try a bottle now, the wine should be opened a few hours in advance as the tannins are imposing at this stage. This is a rare Brunello of superb pedigree and complexity. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2029. Giancarlo Pacenti farms 20 hectares of Sangiovese vineyards, the vast majority of which are Brunello-designated. Pacenti is one of the few producers who believes in bottling a single Brunello made from plots across various zones within Montalcino, which he believes leads to wines of greater complexity and balance. In 2004, Pacenti’s Brunello is composed roughly of 60% fruit from the southern part of Montalcino, while 40% of the fruit comes from vineyards planted in the northern part of the region, closer to the winery itself. Pacenti employs a Bordeaux-like model where only the best lots are bottled into the Brunello, which he considers his ‘Grand Vin,’ while the secondary lots are bottled as Rosso di Montalcino. That said, 2004 also brings with it a twist, as it is the first time Pacenti has produced a separate bottling from a small old-vine plot near the estate. These are wines of the very highest level, and I can’t recommend them highly enough.
Purchased at The Wine House on Futures. Drank first bottle on 3/26/16 at Cellar Masters Brunello tasting. This wine was the favorite Brunello of the group.
2006Siro Pacenti Brunello di MontalcinoSangiovese Grosso X580.006  96
The 2006 Brunello di Montalcino saturates the palate with deep layers of dark red fruit, violets, new leather and spices. The aromas and flavors grow beautifully with air, showing remarkable intensity all the way through to the expansive, textured finish. This is a brilliant effort from Giancarlo Pacenti. The Brunello saw 18-20 days on the skins, followed by malolactic fermentation and aging in French oak barrels, of which roughly 80% were new. The vineyard sources are approximately 4.5 hectares in Sant’Angelo and Piancornello (in the south of Montalcino) and 5 hectares in Pelagrilli (in the north). Anticipated maturity: 2016-2026. Giancarlo Pacenti continues to make some of the most brilliant, textured wines in Montalcino. His 2006s are superb. The harvest started on September 25th and ended at the beginning of October. This year Pacenti has a new Brunello, Pelagrilli, made from younger vines than he uses for his top bottlings. The Pelagrilli is another step away from Pacenti’s long held preference for making a single Brunello from his holdings across multiple vineyards in Montalcino. According to Pacenti, the younger vines in Pelagrilli are now old enough to be bottled separately, while the older vines are used for the top of the line PS when the quality of the vintage is high. So, in 2006 readers will find three Pacenti Brunelli; the entry-level Pelagrilli, the straight Brunello and the PS, which will be released next year. Pacenti uses vines under 20 years old for the Rosso, from ages 20-30 for the new Pelagrilli, and older than 30 for the Brunello and PS.
Ordered from Wine House Feb 2011
2010Siro Pacenti PelagrilliSangiovese CMFloor50.006  96
Ordered from Wine House. Picked up on July 1, 2015
2005Snowden Cabernet Sauvignon ReserveCabernet H1,H264.994  94
The real stunner is the 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve. There are 1,600 cases of this prodigious wine. Dense ruby/purple to the rim with a smoky, roasted herb, creme de cassis, melted licorice, and espresso-scented nose with subtle pain grille in the background, it is full-bodied, fleshy, with a terrific multi-dimensional mouthfeel, well-integrated acidity, and ripe, silky tannin. This is great stuff, and a fabulous Cabernet Sauvignon that may well turn out to be the best wine yet made at Snowden unless it is eclipsed by the very promising 2006 Reserve, which, of course, is not yet in bottle.
3 Bottles for Carla. Drank one on 1/11/14 with rib eye. Complex flavors of cedar, fruit, terroir, smoke with a rhone like animal finish but burgundy in style. Thin on the palate due to low viscosity. Drank second bottle on 1/30/2016-very fruit forward with at least another decade left in it.
2004Spottswoode Estate Cabernet SauvignonCabernet CM110.004  96
Elegant and stylish, with pure, rich, vibrant and focused black cherry and blackberry fruit that’s supple and polished. The aromas capture the ripe berry fruit, adding a pretty floral array, and the tannins are firm yet fine-grained. Long and persistent on the finish. One of the best from Spottswoode in recent memory. Best from 2008 through 2016.—J.L.
Drank first bottle on 1/26/15. Still showing a lot of life, fruit forward, silky smooth. Drank second bottle on 1/21/2017. Excellent wine with another decade + of live in it. Balanced fruit with hints of sweet curry. Had it with spice crusted lamb chops.
2005Spottswoode Estate Cabernet SauvignonCabernet H4,H5,H6124.004  98+
Production more than doubled with the 2005 vintage, given the normal flowering and weather conditions. Moreover, it was a relatively cool year and an abundant one at that, with just short of 3,900 cases produced. The blend was 95% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc. This was the last vintage during the era of Rosemary Cakebread, who left Spottswoode to pursue building her own portfolio of wine. This is a reserved, but classic Spottswoode. An inky bluish purple color, notes of vanillin, white flowers, blackcurrants and blueberries are all present in this dense, rich, full-bodied wine that seems to go from strength to strength. This was a vintage across the board that I underrated, but I have seen how the wines have seemingly put on weight, complexity and density as they have evolved in bottle. This is a beauty and certainly one of the great recent Spottswoodes. It will continue to drink well for 20-30 more years. The prodigious 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate may be Spottswoode’s strongest effort since their superb 2002 and 2001. A deep ruby/purple color is accompanied by a classic bouquet of violets, graphite, blueberries, and creme de cassis with hints of licorice and cedar. Stunningly pure and elegant as well as substantial and authoritatively flavored, this is a long, rich, concentrated wine with the grace of a ballerina. Give it 2-3 years of bottle age and consume it over the following 20-25+ years.
Drank a bottle with the Saturday golf group at Brian Doherty's house with Dominic's pasta lunch. Fantastic! Gave a bottle to Bob Percival in Vail.
2012Stag's Leap Cask 23Cabernet E5205.002  99
The spectacular 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Cask 23 appears to be the finest Cask 23 since the glory years of the mid-eighties. It boasts a dense purple color, complex notes of spice box, Christmas fruitcake, blackcurrant jam, mulberries and spring flowers, as well as a full-bodied, opulent personality. It is a profound example of this iconic wine that went through a period of mediocrity in the mid- to late-1990s prior to being sold. Drink now-2038.
2004Stolpman Vineyards AngeliSyrah WF50.001  95
While the Angeli cuvee is usually a blend of Rhone Ranger grapes, the 2004 is 100% Syrah. It is a large-scaled, deep ruby/purple-tinged red offering intense notes of creme de cassis, smoke, minerals, and spice box, fabulous intensity, tremendous purity of character, and a seamless integration of acidity, tannin, and wood. Drink this beautiful Syrah over the next 7-8 years.
Purchased at John Larocca auction
2004Stolpman Vineyards Hilltops SyrahSyrah WF50.001  95
The 2004 Syrah Hilltops Estate is an 800-case cuvee fashioned from the winery’s finest parcels. Thirty percent of this wine is aged on the lees of Roussanne for eight months to give it a more floral character, resulting in a complex, exotic, full-bodied, dense purple-colored Syrah offering beautiful notes of blackberries, blueberries, cassis, licorice, and pepper. It exhibits a seamless palate, a full-bodied opulence, and wonderful purity as well as length. Enjoy it over the next 7-8 years.
Purchased at John Larocca auction
2004Stolpman Vineyards Syrah Estate GrownSyrah WF50.001  93
The 2004 Syrah Estate, which includes a dollop of Viognier, exhibits a dark ruby/purple color as well as beautifully uplifting aromas of black fruits, flowers, and a hint of smoky barrique. Rich, full-bodied, opulent, luscious, and intense, it should drink well for 5-6 years.
Purchased at John Larocca auction
2012Tablas Creek EngobeletRed Wine O128.001   
2012Tablas Creek Esprit de TablasRed Wine S1, S240.002   
2012Tablas Creek GrenacheGrenache O228.001   
2010Tablas Creek PanoplieRhone Shelf175.001  95
Showing slightly more focus and structure than the straight Esprit de Beaucastel, the 2010 Esprit de Beaucastel Panoplie (60% Mourvedre, 30% Grenache and 10% Syrah) offers up a thrillingly rich and polished profile of blackberry, licorice, roasted herbs, spice box and assorted cured meat-like qualities on the nose. This is followed by a full-bodied wine that has layers of fruit and texture, building richness and a blockbuster finish where the quality of the wine really shows. While approachable now due to its fruit and texture, it should ideally be given 3-4 years of bottle age. It will drink well through 2030. Drink 2016-2030.
2011Tablas Creek PanoplieRhone W395.001  96
Just bottled at the time of this tasting, the 2011 Esprit de Tablas Panoplie might end up being the wine of the vintage from Paso Robles. Primarily Mourvedre, it offers up knockout black and red fruits, crushed flowers, roasted meat, licorice and spice to go with a full-bodied, balanced and textured palate that builds in richness and depth as it sat in the glass. As with the straight Esprit de Tablas, it is a savory effort that has superb complexity and big structure. Give it another 2-3 years and enjoy over the following decade. Drink 2015-2025.
2012Tablas Creek PanoplieRhone W495.001  94
The top cuvee of the estate, the 2012 Panoplie checks in as a foudre-aged blend of 70% Mourvedre, 20% Grenache and 10% Syrah. While lighterweight than past vintages, it’s still a gorgeous looking wine that has ample dark berries, crushed violets, spiced meats, road tar and licorice in its full-bodied, seamless and stylish personality. Showing up-front structure as well as good, not great concentration, it should benefit from a year or two in the cellar and drink nicely through 2024. This was an enjoyable tasting with Jason Haas and winemaker Neal Collins. Looking at the 2012s, this was an above-average crop, and it shows in the wines, with most possessing lighter colors and more mid-weight depth and textures. While there’s plenty to like here, it is not my favorite vintage from this estate and I hope it’s a result of the vintage and not a stylistic change. The 2013s are better, but still lack the depth and richness of a top year. Looking at the 2012 reds, these come across as lighter weight, streamlined and forward efforts that lack depth and richness. Given the quality that’s present in the vintage as a whole, these are a disappointment. Starting off the 2013s, all of which were tasted out of barrel, these appear to be a step up from the ‘12s, yet still show mostly mid-weight depth and richness.
1991Taylor Fladgate Quinta de VargellasPort SH40.001  95
Taylor Fladgate's 1991 Quinta de Vargellas is the finest Vargellas I have tasted. The opaque purple color is followed by aromatics that are more closed than most 1991s. In the mouth, it is a wine of extraordinary richness and brilliantly delineated components. This exceptionally rich, backward port possesses layer upon layer of fruit, a thick, chewy, unctuous texture, firm structure and tannin, and a finish that lasts for more than a minute. It is an exquisite port that will age for 25-30 years.
2012Tenuta San Guido Bolgheri SassicaiaRed Wine CMFloor156.002  93
Tenuta San Guido's newest release is the 2012 Bolgheri Sassicaia. This was a warm vintage, especially during summer months that saw hot winds and little rain. Thankfully, winter months delivered ample precipitation. Vines had good access to moisture underground. Production of the lower-tier wines was reduced: Le Difese was cut by 40% and Guidalberto by 30%. But Sassicaia’s production numbers remained stable at 200,000 bottles because all the estate’s best fruit was directed toward this product. Fruit was harvested a bit early to avoid problems with over ripeness. The wine presents a soft, velvety mouthfeel with plump cherry, fruity berry, blue flower and spice. Perhaps it shows more simplicity overall, but it does so with an impressive sense of harmony and confidence. This is not one of the great vintages of Sassicaia, but the wine flaunts its considerable pedigree nonetheless. It should age gracefully for twenty years or more.
2006The Prisoner Wine Company The PrisonerRed Wine T10, T1132.002   
The 2006 blends the lush berry flavors of Zinfandel(51%), the power and concentration of Cabernet Sauvignon (23%), the dark black fruit of Syrah (12%), the intensity and structure of Petit Sirah (6%), the flesh of Charbono (6%) and a hint of Grenache (2%) - all combined for a decadent wine with great complexity.
In box with Andrew Murry South Slope
2008The Prisoner Wine Company The PrisonerRed Wine Garage35.001  90
I love what he’s done with his 2008 The Prisoner, a blend of 46% Zinfandel, 26% Cabernet Sauvignon, and the balance Syrah, Petite Sirah, Charbono, and Grenache. With over 15% alcohol, this is a big, sexy, fruit bomb boasting abundant amounts of black, blue, and red fruits along with pepper, spice box, earth, and herbs. It tastes like the unmanipulated essence of the fruit of a Mediterranean vineyard. Soft tannins, medium to full body, and a heady mouthfeel make this a seductive wine to enjoy over the next 2-3 years.
2009The Prisoner Wine Company The PrisonerRed Wine Garage35.001  90
2010The Prisoner Wine Company The PrisonerRed Wine Garage35.001  90
2012The Prisoner Wine Company The PrisonerRed Wine Garage35.001  90
he 2013 Proprietary Red The Prisoner, which represents 70,000 cases of a blend of Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, Syrah and, of all things, Charbono, is just loaded with fruit and could well be called a black cherry and black currant fruit bomb, with some charcoal, pepper, underbrush and forest notes also making an appearance. It is medium to full-bodied, deep, dense ruby in color, and very satisfying and hedonistic. Drink it over the next 3-4 years.
2013The Prisoner Wine Company The PrisonerRed Wine Garage40.002  89
The 2013 Proprietary Red The Prisoner, which represents 70,000 cases of a blend of Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, Syrah and, of all things, Charbono, is just loaded with fruit and could well be called a black cherry and black currant fruit bomb, with some charcoal, pepper, underbrush and forest notes also making an appearance. It is medium to full-bodied, deep, dense ruby in color, and very satisfying and hedonistic. Drink it over the next 3-4 years.
2014The Prisoner Wine Company The PrisonerRed Wine Garage45.007  90
Half case from Jim Halsey
2001Tom EddyCabernet CM78.003  85
This hard, dry, astringently tannic wine seems to be built for the long haul, but it lacks the charm, finesse and sweetness of fruit needed to balance out the wine’s structural components. No matter how much coaxing I gave it, this wine remained angular and austere.
2006Torbreck Les AmisGrenache CM170.001  94
The 2006 Les Amis is 100% Grenache aged in new oak for 18 months. Purple-colored, it exhibits an enthralling nose of smoky oak, roses, garrigue, lavender, black cherry, and black raspberry. It conceals enough ripe tannin to support 5-7 years of additional cellaring. This layered, lengthy effort should be at its best from 2012 to 2024.
2005Torbreck Run RigShiraz CM210.001  98
Torbreck’s flagship is the 2005 Run Rig, a 97% Shiraz cuvee sourced from 120- to 160-year-old vines with 3% finished Viognier added before bottling. It spent 30 months in 60% new French oak. Opaque purple/black in color, it has a kinky, exotic bouquet of fresh road tar, smoke, lavender, black pepper, game, blueberry, and black raspberry. Full-bodied and opulent on the palate, the wine is dense, packed, and unevolved. It will continue to open up over the next 10-12 years and drink well through 2040 in the style of a Chapoutier Hermitage. If it develops as I think it will, it will be a candidate for perfection down the road. Torbreck, under the leadership of owner/winemaker David Powell, remains a Barossa Valley benchmark as well as one of the world’s leading wine estates. The only cloud on the horizon concerns the winery’s ramped up production during a period of economic hard times.
2012Torbreck StruieShiraz WF60.001  92
The deep garnet-purple colored 2011 The Struie is a Shiraz blend from the Barossa and Eden Valleys. It has an indulgent nose of blackcurrants, black plums and mulberries embellished with an undercurrent of black pepper, loam and Chinese Five Spice plus a whiff of Provencal herbs. Packed with taut, blackberry flavors in the full-bodied mouth, it has a firm level of chewy tannins and crisp acid to support the long and slightly herbal finish. Drink it now to 2022+.
Gift from Dean Jensen
2005Torbreck The FactorShiraz CM140.001  97
The 2005 The Factor is 100% Shiraz sourced from dry grown vines from six sub-regions of Barossa. It spent 24 months in 30% new French oak. Opaque purple-colored, it delivers an expressive bouquet of pepper, smoke, espresso roast, blackberry, blueberry, and licorice. Full-bodied and voluptuous on the palate, nuances of saddle leather and mineral emerge to complement the layers of spicy blue and black fruits. The wine is beautifully integrated with enough well-concealed tannin to keep this wine evolving for a decade. The pure finish lingers for 60+ seconds to complete the experience of a totally hedonistic turn-on.
Pour chased at Dine LA with Jack and Lucienne
2006Toscana Tassinaia Castello del TerriccioRed Wine X633.005  93
The 2006 Tassinaia flows from the glass with beautifully delineated layers of dark fruit, mocha, espresso, licorice, leather and spices. This is an unusually ripe, expansive Tassinaia with enough richness and sheer pedigree to challenge some of the estate’s more expensive bottlings. Sweet grilled herbs and spices add a final flourish on the powerful close, with notes of brightness from the Sangiovese that act as a foil to some of the darker nuances in the wine. In 2006 Tassinaia is nothing short of magnificent. Tassinaia is Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
Drank first bottle on 5/19/2019. Still drinking well despite the 2018 drink date
2014Valbuena Vega Sicilia Tempranillo CMFloor134.002  96
The 2014 Valbuena, mostly Tempranillo with some 5% Merlot fermented by plot, making a selection from their 210 hectares of vineyards, and then matured in a combination of barriques and larger 20,000-liter oak vats. 2014 is a spectacular vintage of Valbuena, and it reminds me of the 2010, perhaps a tad more elegant and less powerful. It's expressive and has floral notes on the nose along with wild berries, herbs and a spicy and smoky touch that's nicely integrated. It has good complexity and nuance, and the palate is medium to full-bodied and intense, with pungent flavors and great length and persistence. Truly spectacular! 184,684 bottles, 5,578 magnums and some large formats produced. It was bottled in June 2016.
2000Villa Fiorita Il GiorgioneBarbera d'Alba WF36.991   
This wine is a superior quality Asti Barbera, aged 12 months in small French oak barrels and refined 12 months in bottle. Wine obtained from Barbera grapes growing in Villa Fiorita estate on southwest exposed areas where the soil is rich in limestone and clay. The harmony, class and structure of this wine are the outcome of hard and patient work in the vineyards, careful grape selection, and controlled temperature fermentation. The result of a generous harvest, this wine has been refined in new Troncais and Nevers French oak barrels. This elegant wine can be served now or stored for 10+ years.

Cellar contains 1187 bottles, 387 wines, 409 entries

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