2003 Harrison Clark Syrah

2003 Harrison Clark Santa Ynez Valley Syrah This has improved a lot since release.  Killer nose with a ton of roasted blackberry, espresso, tar, licorice, cocoa, full bodied but not over the top. Great structure, solid tannins with some slightly elevated acidity. One slightly strange thing going on, there seems to be a very small amount of residual sugar.  Absolutely no secondary fermentation going on in the bottle and the sugar was pretty much imperceptible on day two.  ??  Makes me wonder if they had some problems during production?? N 9 P 8+ C 8 S 8+ B 8- = 91+

2001 Belle Pente Estate Reserve Pinot Noir

2001 Belle Pente Estate Reserve Willamette Valley Oregon Pinot Noir Lightly colored with deep bricking around the edges.  Very aromatic, pretty and pleasing, sweet red cherries and raspberry, forest floor with pine resins and hints of earthy mushrooms, medium weight, 14.3% ABV, I can remember thinking this was a bit ripe in youth but I pick up no sense of that now, seems very nicely balanced.  Some mild tannins and slightly elevated acidity that makes the fruit seemed fresh and juicy.  Overall a very enjoyable Pinot in a good place but it should still have a few years to go. N 9 P 8+ C 8 B 8+ S 8+ = 92+/100

2010 Paul Lato Santa Barbara Syrah

2010 Paul Lato Matinee Santa Barbara County Syrah Very smoky nose with hints of lees and French oak, tar and smoke throughout, nuttiness as well, fruit shows plum and blackberry, brown spice, moderate intensity, seems like a higher yield than his vineyard designates, not terribly complex but very well balanced.  Needs time, perhaps still a bit backwards, fairly savory.  Moderately structured. Smooth. N 8 P 8 C 8 B 8+ S 8+ = 91/100

2010 Paul Lato Hilliard Bruce Vineyard Chardonnay

2010 Paul Lato Hilliard Bruce Vineyard Belle de jour Santa Rita Hills Chardonnay Very tropical with a ton of pineapple, along with pear and apple, some brown spice, butterscotch and prevalent ginger spice.  Mild to moderate tannins and fairly crisp acidity.  Intensely flavored, nicely balanced and good length. Fruit is fairly forward but not over ripe.  Perhaps just a small bit of residual sugar.  Very nice wine.  N 9 P 8 B 9 S  8+ C 8 = 92+

2000 Venica Prime Note Colio Italian White

2000 Venica Prime Note Colio Italy Not sure on the blend. It has Chardonnay, Tocai friullano and Sauvignon blanc from what I remember. Maybe some other obscure Italian grape that I can't pronounce. ??? Anyhow, I liked this a fair amount. Very savory, not much fruit left, a little guava, a little pear but full of a nutty diesel character with citrus zest and minerals. Medium full bodied with impressive balance. Those who are inclined to think wines are over the hill would undoubtedly say this wine was done, but I would scoff at them and drink their portion. It was even better on day two. N 8+ P 8+ B 9 S 8 C 9 = 93/100

2000 Chateau La Louviere Pessac-Leognan Graves

2000 Chateau La Louviere Pessac-Leognan Graves Red Bordeaux Blend 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot. This is solid. Nose took awhile to show itself, compared to the Pride. Fair amount of cigar box, violets, black cherry, blackberry, currants, loamy earth, white pepper, medium to full body, deeply colored garnet, solidly structured with slightly drying tannins and moderate acidity. N 8+ P 8+ C 8 S 8+ B 8+ = 92/100

1998 Pride Mountain Vineyards Napa Valley

1998 Pride Mountain Vineyards Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Best bottle of Pride I have ever consumed. Tannins are mostly resolved, acidity is still sticking out a bit but very nicely balanced, complex and smooooooth!! Tons of cigar box and cedar, black cherry, blackberry, currants, cocoa, some sage and thyme rich herbs, a little tar. Super aromatics. Served this with our rack of pork. N 9 P 8+ C 8+ B 9 S 8+ = 93/100

2000 Lagier Meredith Mount Veeder Syrah

2000 Lagier Meredith Syrah: I have always noted that these can be a bit of a chameleon in youth, where they can appear very primary and perhaps more typical of many California Syrahs, but give these some age, (or get lucky), and they start to show a lot of complexity along with their outstanding balance.  This is a wine that even Parker said would basically last 10 years and then start going downhill. Well here it is 12 years later and this thing is still on the front side of it's life.  My guess is peak will be around a decade from now, perhaps half that but this would surprise me.  We had this with the Insignia and this was the unanimous star of the show! Hitting on all cylinders. Rich, balanced, complex, full bodied. I have had and enjoyed this a few times but this was the best I remember, which is saying a lot. Tons of blackberry fruit, some licorice rich herbal notes, cocoa. 95/100

1995 Phelps Insignia

1995 Phelps Insignia: Great nose, great finish, mediocre attack in the front of the palate. Starts a bit weak and seemed to have a hint of almost candied fruit. Bit of a hole up front that started to go away with air time but never completely went away. I have had much better bottle of Insignia so I had fairly high expectations that were not met. Still this had tons of cigar box character with a very rich palate dominated by the chocolate from the Merlot component. 92/100

2001 Eric Texier Cote Rotie Syrah

2001 Texier Cote Rotie: I liked this but it was perhaps a slight bit under ripe. A bit lean and astringent in the front end of the palate. Lots of iodine, bloody, meaty character. Fruit was pomegranate and currants. Not real richness. Fairly structured. Not a great showing but still a good bottle of wine. 89/100