2004 Domaine du Vissoux Pierre-Marie Chermette Cuvee Traditionnelle Beaujolais Vielles Vignes This was awesome on release but it sucked eggs bad. Still had body left but was flawed with head snapping VA. So, I didn't tell Maureen and told her to try it. I was laughing because her head snapped back just like mine had. Super vinegar concentrate. Loads of fruit but it was candied and just horrible. Down the sink! 2005 McPrice Myers L'Ange Rouge Santa Barbara Grenache I am fairly sure there is some syrah in this as well as Larner Grenache, so it was deep, dark, heavy and robust. Very ripe, almost too much so, but dang this was tasty. It had this unique chocolate marzipan character that is very intriguing. Fruit showed framboise liqueur, fig, prune and blackberry. Some herbal character. Liked it. 90/100 1997 Dow's Vintage Porto I used to complain about Ports all the time, feeling like they were never ready to drink, always too harsh and never resolved at all. Not sure if this was showing much development but it was tasty over a number of nights. Opened it to make some pork chops that had a reduction sauce made of blueberry, port, balsamic and caramelized onions. Liked it. 92/100 1998 Cuilleron Les Serines Saint-Joseph Syrah Awesome bottle. High acidity but really great northern rhone character, a little tight and angular but full of iodine, meat, mineral, blackberry, bacon, violets etc. Medium weight. Loved it! 94/100 1998 Michel Bernard Chateauneuf du Pape Some problems with this. The nose was very oxidized but the cork look very solid. ???? The palate was pretty solid, loads of CdP complexity, herbs du provence, merde, raspberry. Riper than my favorite but still reasonably balance 89/100 Wasn't even this good on day two. 1997 David Bruce Chalone Pinot Noir This is pretty darned tasty stuff. The nose is very nice, loads of floral character. It shows spicy raspberry fruit with forest floor, mushroomy earth and some cocoa powder like depth that seemed a little odd but very tasty. Very structured with solid tannic strength that stood out a bit. Slightly mouth drying. The cocoa came on strong at the finish and almost seemed to me like some other grape blended in. That seemed odd to me but I liked it. 91/100
2005 Red Car Shake Rattle Roll California Syrah 3% Grenache from Stolpman Vineyard. The syrah is from five other sites; 53% Watch Hill, 15% Vivio, 12% Laetitia, 9% Shadow Canyon and 7% Bien Nacido. Loads of high toned smoky oak, I'm guessing Francois Feres. Lots of tar, dark chocolate, licorice and coffee notes. Huge, ripe blackberry liqueur fruit, still has some decent acidity, 15.1% ABV. Showed amazingly well on day 1, but become a bit oxidized on day 2 with the ABV rearing it's head. Pretty danged good, better than I anticipated but still a little over the top. If this had just a bit lower ABV and slightly better balanced, then it would be exceptional. I don't think it is that complex, more direct and hedonistic but still very tasty.
N 8+ P 8+ C 8 S 8+ B 7+ = 91/100
2000 Lone Madrone York Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon Pretty tasty, black cherry and cassis fruit, cocoa, coffee, pencil lead, perhaps a hint of herbal character but to me this is still a young and primary wine. Not over the top in terms of ABV which is 14.7% or in ripe fruit character. The structure is fairly dominant with big tannins that have some mouth drying character that lessened on day two, some nice acidity on the finish. Balance is very good, I wasn't quite expecting that from a 2000 Cabernet from this region. A bit shut down on day 1 but really improved big time on day 2. Very nice. N 8 P 8+ S 8+ B 8+ C 8 = 91+/100
2004 Eric Kent Dry Stack Vineyard Bennett Valley Syrah Plum and blackberry fruit, loads of pencil lead with some tobacco leaf. White pepper, hints of tomato compote, iodine and espresso. Nicely structured with some mildly drying tannins and moderately crisp acidity. Tight around the edges but there is a narrow plush center that lends a creamy milk chocolate character to this wine. Slightly reticent on the nose but it opened up with time. Medium to full bodied. Nicely balanced. N 8 P 8+ S 9 C 8+ B 8+ = 92+/100
2004 Cadence Ciel du Cheval Vineyard Red Mountain Washington Bordeaux Blend 39% Cabernet Franc 32% Cabernet Sauvignon 21% Merlot 8% Petit Verdot Very aromatic with warm red fruits and brown spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, very soothing, medium body, decent structure, more tannic than acidic, nicely balanced, palate is very savory, with a good dose of tobacco leaf and herbs, red cherry, hints of licorice, cedary, very smooth, just a bit lean but aging nicely with some secondary development. Very nice birthday wine. Lots of respect for the producer here! Small production, super passionate guy. Wish him well. N 9+ P 8 C 8+ B 8+ S 8 = 92/100
2001 Alain Graillot Crozes Hermitage Syrah This is a delicious bottle of wine. Cherry and blackberry fruit, tarry, fennel rich herbs, green olive, gamey, meaty, hints of bacon, iodine, iron rich, medium weight but intensely flavored, very crisp with elevated acidity that still balances well with the weight and body of the wine, perhaps a bit austere, 13% ABV that seems less. Thoroughly enjoyed this bottle with dinner. N 9 P 8+ B 8- S 8 B 8 = 91/100
2005 Loring Ontiveros Vineyard Santa Maria Pinot Noir Killer nose that is very earthy and dusty, speaks of Santa Maria, intense raspberry and cherry plum fruit, cola, some forest floor, hints of mushroom, very rich, showing moderate age, seems low in acidity and fairly ripe for a Pinot but I still like it a lot. Pretty smooth. One of the better Lorings that I have had in quite some time. N 9+ P 8 S 8- B 8- C 8 = 90+/100
2004 Vieux Telegraphe Chateauneuf du Pape Red Rhone Blend Interesting blend of grapes that include Grenache (65%), Syrah (15%) , Mourvèdre (15%), Cinsaut, Grenache Blanc, Clairette, Roussanne and Bourboulenc. Yes they do have some white grapes in this blend but as I understand, all put together, they account for less than 5% of the whole. Herb du Provence, garrigue, pine needles, started as fennel but became more licorice with time, pepper, almonds, smoke, dark plum and cherry kirsch, nicely structured with some chewy lightly mouth drying tannins and a crisp citrus finish. Dark, ripe, rustic, earthy black soil, minerally. With air time, this wine became less rustic and started to show a creamy smooth texture that was very compelling. Very full bodied for a CdP, good length. Very aromatic. Terrific CdP, showing well now but should have at least 5 years to reach peak. N 9 P 8+ S 8+ B 8 C 9 = 93/100
1998 Galleron Morisoli Vineyard Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Opened this with dinner on a road trip to Laguna Beach. Paired with Lamb Rib-eye and lamb shank prepared with a fig reduction sauce. Maureen had a forest mushroom and summer truffle risotto. First off, this wine had problems. It was over ripe and oxidized. The nose was fairly bad but the body and palate of the wine was not as bad, which is strange. Something that I need to say is that I got this out to drink about a half year ago and never put it back in the cellar, it sat in our house, in a laid down position. We have a small wine rack near the kitchen that we keep things that we plan on drinking soon. I'm saying this as a possible excuse for how this wine showed but to be honest, I have had wines that sat in that rack for 3 years that never showed poorly. Our home is typically in the low 70's and I don't think you should see this much of a problem from so little provocation, but ....... perhaps. Anyways, this wine showed a ton of dark chocolate character along with strong rich cassis and black cherry fruit. It showed a big ripe character, though the label said it was only 13.5% ABV, I suspect a much higher level. It had lush tannins that seemed chewy and rich without being drying, the acidity was enough to carry the fruit but not distinguishable. I think this wine had tremendous potential but whatever happened to it that caused the oxidation, kept it from showing it's true colors. It was still nice enough and we drank most of it but my rating as it was could only be about 88/100.
1999 Weingut Reichsrat von Buhl Deidesheimer Maushohle Germany Spatlese halbtrocken Riesling 13% ABV. Awesome wine, shows a ton of diesel and wet stones with honey, apricot, white peach, brown spice, fairly thick, rich and oily. Edge of slightly sweet corn like character. Tons of umami character. We served this with a Thai yellow curried chicken dish and it was a big winner! N 9 P 8+ S 8 B 8+ C 9 =93/100