Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Notes From Blind Pinots

Thanks to WetRock for again being our scribe. I have included a link to WineBerserkers for more thoughts.

The theme was Pinot from anywhere blind. We did all the reveals at the end. Not a lot to love on this day but there were some surprises from areas unknown to us for Pinot Noir. Humbodlt and Finger Lakes had the most notable wines on the day for me. I think the Finger Lakes wine was probably the consensus winner though we didn't really vote.

  • 2004 Varner Pinot Noir Spring Ridge Vineyard Hidden Block - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
    Served blind. Baked, cooked, stewed sweet fruits on the nose with some seaweed paper notes. Rich and juicy palate with strong length. An example of an overdone Cali Pinot.
  • 2008 Briceland Pinot Noir Phelps Vineyard - USA, California, North Coast, Humboldt County
    Served blind. Restrained earthy nose. Very tight and tannic palate with notes of earth and strong acidity. I thought this might be a young Burgundy. In need of some time but nicely structured. Another interesting Humboldt entry.
  • 2005 Black Ridge Pinot Noir - New Zealand, South Island, Otago, Central Otago
    Served blind. The nose is dominated by strong black pepper notes. Juicy and darkly fruited with biting acids. This really sticks to the mouth rather than lingering. I thought this might be a Rhone ringer with all that pepper and it didn't taste distinctly like Pinot either.
  • 1998 Nicolas Potel Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru Les Suchots - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru
    Served blind. Clearly an aged, older wine the nose also shows some heat. Showing some tea and leather type aged notes on the palate also but it is still very rich and VERY tannic. I thought it might be an aged Petit Sirah. This does get a couple ticks better with some sweet fruit coming out with air but it still wasn't very interesting.
  • 2007 Heart & Hands Wine Company Pinot Noir Barrel Reserve - USA, New York, Finger Lakes
    Served blind. Rusty snuck in a nice surprise. Sweet fruited pretty nose though there is a touch of heat. Clean and pretty with a juicy finish and some tannin. There is some bite to this and there isn't much concentration to speak of so I would say this is a drink today wine. I don't think I've had a Finger Lakes Pinot before and this was pretty good. It garnered plenty of comments from the group and was probably the wine of the tasting.
  • 2005 Rhys Alesia Pinot Noir Chileno Valley - USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast
    Served blind. Decanted about 3 hours prior to consumption. The nose and palate are full of stemmy notes. Sweet black cherry underneath that is clean tight and concentrated. When decanted this was more like a disjointed big RRV Pinot. By the time we got to the tasting it was much different.
    Tracked the last quarter of a bottle over two more days and the stems were even stronger but there is elegant fruit underneath. Will it ever integrate enough for the fruit to express itself?
  • 2003 Tandem Pinot Noir Sangiacomo Vineyard - USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast
    Served blind. Hot and juicy with some tannin. This is what gives Cali Pinot a bad name.
  • N.V. Lakeridge Reserve Cuvée Noir - USA, Florida
    Served blind. I snuck this in for laughs though there was something other than laughter when this came around the table. Weird overall with a soft round character. Big and juicy but not identifiable as anything nor very inviting. Bleh.
  • 2008 Briceland Pinot Noir Elk Prairie - USA, California, North Coast, Humboldt County
    Served blind. Reticent nose with some sweetness of fruit. The palate is also on the tight side but there is something pretty in it with some balance and tannin. Its a bit weak at the finish but there is some juicy fruit in here. I guessed a restrained style Cali Pinot. Another nice one from Humboldt.
  • 1998 Joseph Drouhin Aloxe-Corton - France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Aloxe-Corton
    Served blind. Showing plenty of aged and some stewed fruits. Not much character here with dried out fruits that are very aged and weak at this point. Plenty of tannin left though. Hard to identify as Pinot.
  • 2008 Eyrie Vineyards Pinot Noir Estate Grown - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
    Served blind. Stanky reduction aromas. Tight lean and juicy with strong length. There are some earthy notes and late tartness. I guessed Oregon. This needs some time but a nice basic Pinot is in here.
  • 2007 Lula Pinot Noir - USA, California, North Coast, Mendocino County
    Served blind. Big sweet nose with some chalk and heat. Soft black cherry palate that is very sweet and a bit hot.
    I guess the wine maker dropped by to give this one 100 in another note. lol!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Bagged Pinots w/ No Parameters

For our 4 year anniversary we'll go back to our roots and drink pinot. But this time it will be blind!

Theme: Pinot Noir - Blind - Any vintage any place

Bring wines bagged with capsules removed. I'll have extra bags if needed.

Location: The Command Center

Date: Friday December 10, 2010

Start Time: 11:30 PM Sharp

Food: The Hat

Mystery White:
The Hage, Anyone

The Folks: The Hage, Dr. VP, Wetrock, Frenchy, Melisa, G-Dawg, The Prince, Joe-D

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Larry From Tercero Wines Slums It With The VLG

Tercero Wines - Click Here

Theme: Tercero Wines and Something You Want To Try

Location: The Command Center

Date: Friday April 23

Start Time: 11:30 PM Sharp

Food: The Hat

Mystery White:
Frenchy, Anyone

The Folks: The Hage, Dr. VP, Wetrock, Frenchy, Crazy Larry, B-Rock, Samalamadingdong

Thursday, January 7, 2010

2003-2005 Pinot Noir - BLIND

Date: Friday February 19
Start Time: 12:30
Theme: 2003-2005 Pinot Noir - Any Region - Served Blind

Should be a fun battle of 3 very different vintages

The Hage, Dr/VP, Scottie,
WetRock, G-Dawg, DJ, B-Rock

The Scared:

The Pregnant: Mel-K


Monday, December 28, 2009

A FreeForAll The Vineyard Lunch Gang

Great time as always. Below are some notes taken by the scribe Wetrock as well as some additional thoughts by me. I have also included a link to Wine Berserkers.

No theme for the Vineyard Lunch Gang this time so we ended up with a wide variety of options. Several of these were served blind just for kicks. Several bottles were also brought opened from the night before but I'm leaving off notes for those for now. ;) Pastrami, loads of wine and good friends.....the holidays have been good!

  • 2008 Biohof Pratsch Grüner Veltliner - Austria, Niederösterreich
    Served blind. Flowery nose. Balanced, clean though simple. Very good value and comes in a 1 Liter.
  • 2007 J.M. Boillot Montagny 1er Cru - France, Burgundy, Côte Chalonnaise, Montagny 1er Cru
    Tight nose with a bit of sulfur. Clean and pretty. Good concentration. Would recommend a couple years in bottle at least or plenty of year. Excellent value @ ~$17.
  • 2007 St. Innocent Pinot Noir Winemaker's Cuvée Freedom Hill & Vitae Springs Blend - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley, Eola - Amity Hills
    Stemmy nose with potting soil notes. Tight palate. Shows good balance and tannins but not giving up much on the day. Apparently no stem inclusion though. The winemakers say the stemmy notes are part of the terroir of the region.
  • 2006 Thibault Liger-Belair Nuits St. Georges 1er Cru Les Saint Georges - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Nuits St. Georges 1er Cru
    Spicy nose showing a strong Worcester sauce or Hoisin sauce aromas. Astringent and very drying initially. The palate picks up sweetness later on. Would have liked to have tried this with more air.
  • 2006 Monte Xanic Cabernet Sauvignon - Mexico, Baja California, Valle de Guadalupe
    Served blind. Funky odd nose showing a salty fish note and cinnamon later on. Mouth stripping tannins initially it becomes somewhat flabby and rich.
  • 2007 Rhys Pinot Noir Skyline Vineyard - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
    Nose is dark and rich with a spicy character showing ripe fruits. Rich and dark palate with a juicy quality and more spices. The palate seemed a bit tight overall.
    The next night it seemed bigger and a bit more integrated becoming somewhat seamless. I would hold this for a couple years but seemed on the round side so I don't think it's a long termer.
  • 1996 Flora Springs Sangiovese - USA, California, Napa Valley
    Served blind. Strange nose that I couldn't place. Lean and acidic with strong fruit. My guess was Aglianico. At least I got the country right. Was good but maybe better a few years back though didn't show oxidation.
  • 1986 Kenwood Cabernet Sauvignon Jack London Vineyard - USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Valley
    Served Blind. Smelled like a real old Cab. Palate was done. Well past it's prime.
  • 2006 Mount Eden Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Bottled - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
    Rich nose showing a lot of chocolate. Rich palate with a lean finish. Not exactly what I expected from this producer. The chocolate could be the 22% Merlot standing up big today but came off like an oakier wine. Be interesting to follow over the years.

And from me:

I did add scores to wines I own and felt I had a good handle on. Feel free to disregard. My favorite wines were easily the Thibault Liger-Belair and Rhys.

  • 2008 Biohof Pratsch Grüner Veltliner - Austria, Niederösterreich
    Nicely balanced and zippy. I like the 1 litter bottle with a screw top. Makes it handy to keep for a few days.
  • 2007 St. Innocent Pinot Noir Winemaker's Cuvée Freedom Hill & Vitae Springs Blend - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley, Eola - Amity Hills
    Decanted for about 2 hours. I wanted to give this a try despite the Freedom Hill Vineyard leading me to believe it would be backwards at this stage. Glad to see Mark V. designating something his wine-makers cuvee. Hopefully it will be what he wants. As expected this was fairly un-giving at this stage. This is never going to be a fruity wine. The earth and herb based elements are no match for the tannin. Even on the second day this pretty tight. I enjoyed this a lot but it would be scary for the Cali Pinot crowd. This should be just fine in another 6-7 years but I suspect it will be a bit brooding. (90 pts.)
  • 2006 Thibault Liger-Belair Nuits St. Georges 1er Cru Les Saint Georges - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Nuits St. Georges 1er Cru
    As time went on I kept getting more and more purity. Very nice fruit flavors and starting to show nice complexity. This started to show like a real beauty but in need of 4-6 years.
  • 2006 Monte Xanic Cabernet Sauvignon - Mexico, Baja California, Valle de Guadalupe
    Well I seemed to like this more than the others at the table. Even brought some home for dinner. Showed some interesting elements although overall it seemed a bit dirty. Not sure what this costs but if it is sub $15 it would be fun to revisit.
  • 2007 Rhys Pinot Noir Skyline Vineyard - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
    This was a treat to taste so early on. Served blind and my initial thoughts when more toward Rhone. Something very young and fruity with a grenache base and very light tannin. Once I was told it was pinot I thought oh yeah, Anderson Valley. Well nope but it is my second favorite Cali Pinot area (probably a tie between the two). At this stage the pure fruit as it the front. I got hints of other elements but the primary fruit really lead the charge. I loved the purity. Not sure of how long this will go but it certainly needs 2-4 years. This is big cali pinot done right. Lots of sweet fruit that is not candied. (92 pts.)
  • 1996 Flora Springs Sangiovese - USA, California, Napa Valley
    I really thought this would be dead and buried. We actually drank a bunch of it back in 97-98 but I never really thought to age it. We'll it was long in the tooth but not dead and the secondary elements were quite interesting. It should also be noted that this was stored in a kitchen pantry (or something like that). Not temperature controlled by any stretch and generally far warmer than a wine fridge.
  • 2006 Mount Eden Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Bottled - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
    Okay this was a challenge for me. I enjoyed it but no where near as accessible as the 05 on release. This never came fully into balance. But the parts seem to be there. Given the producer I expect this to be just fine with proper aging but I would not touch right now. Plenty of tannin and acid I just don't know how the fruit will play out. Try again in 10-15 years.

Check out Wine Berserkers for more

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Charlie Fu In The House!


Theme: Something You Want To Try/Share

Location: The Command Center

Start Time: 1 PM Sharp

Food: The Hat

Mystery White:
The Hage, Anyone


The Hage - 1998 Sean Thackrey Orion
Dr/VP - 1999 Mauro Sebaste Prapo
elisa - ?
ClayFu -
Billiot GC Reserve & a Blind Cab
WetRock - Muscadet & maybe a Beaujolais

Friday, February 27, 2009

Blind Cabs - Results!

Thank you to our Scribe WetRock for keeping notes. Please add your own notes/thoughts here or on wineberserkers.

Does anyone remember the final results ... for sure. If not I will get them at the office. I have added my notes in the comment field.

Cris says:

Another lunch time addition of blind wines at a place of work. Bagged Cabs, at least 75%, was the latest edition. All wines tasted blind in flights of two. All reveals came after the entire lineup was tasted and time given for revisits. Nothing stood out as awesome to me but I liked a lot of the wines. Wine #9 did stand a hair above the pack for several of us and ended up winning which surprised me. The Louis Martini was just a throw in since I wanted to check out the hype on the bottle. My 91 Ridge was supposed to blow the competition off the table and not my 'extra' wine. Gotta love blind tastings. 2nd place overall was the Slingshot and 3rd was the Von Strasser. I voted 9/8/1 preferring the balance and older world characters of the Leeuwin for 2nd place.

  • 2007 Biggio Hamina Cellars Melon de Bourgogne Deux Vert - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley, Yamhill-Carlton
    Honey and flowers on the nose. Lean austere palate similar to a tight chard with some straw notes. Not going to replace Muscadet any time soon but an interesting expression with the nose the clearest departure from the French version.
  • 1997 Von Strasser Cabernet Sauvignon Diamond Mountain - USA, California, Napa Valley, Diamond Mountain
    Nose like that of a Cab with some age on it. Thick, broad and a bit heavy but lingers on the palate giving a touch of green notes late and tons of tannin still. Guess it might have been a Bordeaux since I didn't notice and oakiness or overt ripeness. Nice wine.
  • 1991 Ridge Santa Cruz Mountains - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
    Aged traditional Cab nose with some minerals. Tinge of greenish notes. Balanced with still good acidity and plenty of tannin. The fruit wasn't as expressive as my last go around with this bottle. Decent but not memorable.
  • 2004 Grgich Hills Cellar Cabernet Sauvignon - USA, California, Napa Valley
    Ripe raisiny with a touch of VA which grew bigger with time. Bit hot with a weak midpalate, chunky with late acting tannin. I doubt Mike is still making these.
  • 2004 Cornerstone Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain - USA, California, Napa Valley, Howell Mountain
    Nose shows a lot of sweet oakiness in the way of vanilla and coconut. Thick soft palate with lots of char. Boysenberries pick through before some astringency. I guessed a Switchback.
  • 2005 Merryvale Cabernet Sauvignon Starmont - USA, California, Napa Valley
    Weird nose of salty fish and sweet cocoa. Chunky but light bodied with some sweetness. Finish seemed nice but somehow the oddness of this wine kinda worked. Wasn't wild about it but was surprised that I enjoyed it overall.
  • 2005 Frei Brothers Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve - USA, California, Sonoma County, Alexander Valley
    Ripe nose of cocoa sprinkled prunes. Juicy palate of dark chocolate with a weak finish.
  • 2002 Jones Family The Sisters - USA, California, Napa Valley
    Nose has some nice earth but is a bit hot. Has some sweetness but actually tastes like Cab which is always note worthy in its rare sitings from Napa. Well balanced but not particularly interesting. Weird I had never heard of this before last week and then had it twice in 7 days from the same vintage.
  • 2001 Leeuwin Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Art Series - Australia, Western Australia, South West Australia, Margaret River
    Never would have guessed Aussie. Herbaceous nose of tobacco and green notes. Lean with late acting tannins this showed bell pepper in a very Cab Franc sort of way. Drank most similarly to a Loire Cab Franc from a lighter vintage like 2004. I enjoyed it for that reason. Nicely balanced wine that would be a great meal companion.
  • 2006 Louis M. Martini Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma County - USA, California, Sonoma County
    Sweet vanilla and boysenberry nose. Broad balanced palate showing big bright boysenberry type fruits with some minerals. Modern styled but in check. Nothing stands out too much but nothing really lacks either. Nicely done and a terrific bargain at $11-12. Won our blind tasting of 10 Cabs as a surprise throw in let's try this out wine.
  • 2005 Slingshot Cabernet Sauvignon - USA, California, Napa Valley
    Ripe with some heat and minerals which is a note worthy combo. Note of oak that is complimentary rather than overt. Juicy and ripe. Overall this seemed like a very modern styled Cab but nicely made as it did show good balance. I liked it less on the revisit but this would be great for a non wine geek crowd.


Thanks again everybody!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

You Blinded Me .... With Cab! UPDATE


Wrap bottles in foil and remove any telling capsules.

Theme: Cabernet Sauvignon (at least 75%) served blind ... any vintage any region.

Location: The Command Center

Start Time: Sipping at 12:15 ... eating and drinking at 12:30

Food: The Hat

Mystery White: Whoever

Friday, December 12, 2008

Blind Zin Results

I guess I never stuck these up here. These are Cris's notes. For more CLICK HERE


The latest installment of tastings at Jason Hagen's office was blind Zinfandels. We had our usual blind white starter and enjoyed some pizza for lunch. The wines showed a decent amount of variety which was heartening to me as Zinfandel is so often lumped into a narrow category which I find unwarranted. All revels came after the tasting was finished.
I voted
1 - 2006 Sandler
2 - 2003 Fife
3 - 2003 Swan

Group Vote was pretty tight if I remember correctly with only a couple points separating the top 3 or 4.
1 - 2003 Fife
2 - 2005 Leonesse
3 - 2006 Sandler
4 - 2006 Saucelito

  • 2003 Joseph Swan Vineyards Zinfandel Mancini Ranch - USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley
    Very deeply colored this displayed huge yummy zinberry aromas. Bright palate with a good amount of tannins and big brightly fruited though somewhat straightforward giving some sweet boysenberry and licorice. Would have normally expected a big more complexity from a Swan and not quite a biggish in the fruit department.
  • 2005 St. Francis Zinfandel Old Vines Sonoma County - USA, California, Sonoma County
    Soft round nose with some heat and tart berry. Dark heavy fruit, somewhat soft and bland. Seemed to be have some oxidation or an aged quality in the background.
  • 2005 Leonesse Cellars Zinfandel - USA, California
    Very ripe juicy type of nose with plenty of heat and VA. Very juicy with a nice palate feel. Full and candy like. The type of Zin that gave it a bad name with wine geeks. VA got worse with air.
  • 2006 Sandler Wine Company Zinfandel Dry Creek Valley - USA, California, Sonoma County, Dry Creek Valley
    Very light color. Soft light berries on the nose. Soft elegant lean palate feel with very late acting tannins. Has potential to get better. My favorite on the tasting.
  • 2006 Saucelito Canyon Zinfandel - USA, California, Central Coast, Arroyo Grande Valley
    Tight nose showing plenty of heat and a touch of reduction. Big juicy full feeling palate, big sweet fruit showing signs of oak.
  • 2005 Chateau Montelena Zinfandel Estate - USA, California, Napa Valley
    Odd nose showing some brown sugar and caramel, bit tight. On the leaner side of palate feel with a dark fruited young character with some sweetness and violets. Odd for a Zin.
  • 2003 Fife Zinfandel Mendocino Uplands - USA, California, North Coast, Mendocino
    Straight forward zinberry nose that seems tart. Palate has nice tannic grip still with a juicy quality. Lots of berries and a bit of heat. Still pretty good and won our blind tasting on the day. A terrific bargain.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Bring Your Blind Zins! - Any Vintage


Let's just do this thing! It has been well over a year since we Zined as seen HERE. Just bring your blind zin and a cane.

Who's in?

Theme: Zinfandel served blind ... any vintage

Location: The Command Center

Start Time: Sipping at 11:15 ... eating and drinking at 11:30

Food: Pizza?

Mystery White: Karnopolis

Zinners: The Hage, Dr/VP, DJ, Mel-K, Karnopolis, C-Rock

Not Sure: G-Dawg, Scottie

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Southern Rhone - Notes! - Finally

Sorry, I forgot to add these here. Add any additional thoughts ... if you can remember.

Thanks to Cris for being the scribe.

I believe the Alary was voted tops which was a recent discovery for me at WineX for only $20. I voted #1-99 St Cosme, #2-05 Alary and #3-tie between the Walla Walla Syrah and the Crozes-Hermitage. Seems the outsiders always end up in the top. Jason will drop in with the overall voting hopefully.

  • 2007 Novy Family Wines Pinot Noir Blanc de Noir - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
    Served blind. Light nose of soft butter and a note of caramel with a touch of heat. Lean feeling palate with a very soft light richness in the middle with lemon and stony notes. Guessed Chardonnay that seemed something between the Cotes and Chablis. Cool surprise, a very unique wine and very good for the price. First time I tried this next to Adam and liked it them though not quite as much as I did on this occasion.
  • 2006 Italo Cescon Friuli Grave Pinot Grigio - Italy, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Friuli Grave
    Served blind. Soft nose of lemon chiffon and white flowers. Soft and light palate that is a bit inexpressive but no real flaws. Guessed Grenache Blanc or Pinot Blanc....close!
  • 1999 Château de Saint-Cosme Gigondas - France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Gigondas
    Rustic nose of roasted fruits, figs, bits of herb and 'garrigue' roasted slope. Very richly fruited and long, soft yet substantial. Finish seems abrupt yet lingers in the corners of my mouth. The nose really picked up sitting in my glass for over 20-30 minutes becoming more expansive and deep. Lots of fruit here. Drinking well now with a bit of air but seems like it has quite a few years ahead of it. Very nice and the fav on the day for me.
  • 2005 Château de Saint-Cosme Gigondas - France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Gigondas
    Nice to try this next to the '99 for comparison. Garrigue and roasted hillside dominate the nose. Rich and dark palate, very tannic with a light note of brett. Not showing much more than potential today. Throw this in the back of the cellar.
  • 2005 Domaine Santa Duc Gigondas - France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Gigondas
    Big sweaty sock/wet wool brett upon pouring that lingers for some time but does blow off with some time in glass. Nose is still primary with a touch of heat. Very tight palate with tons of tannin and young primary fruit without the roasted quality seen in most other wines from the region. This was more of the riper, brighter, sweeter styled fruits but I'm not going to touch the modern versus old world styles. Interesting contrast next to the 05 Cosme though.
  • 2005 Montirius Vacqueyras Garrigue - France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Vacqueyras
    Big dark and ripe with lots of garrigue. Full feeling yet soft palate with tannins that linger on the finish that is silky and long. Probably needs a few years for the fruit to express itself best but a very good wine now and would be a great dinner companion.
  • 2005 Domaine Daniel et Denis Alary Côtes du Rhône Villages Cairanne La Font d'Estévenas - France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Côtes du Rhône Villages Cairanne
    Slight brett greets with bright fruits, spices and some espresso. Complex dark palate with nice tannins and good acidity. The pieces are all very good right now yet probably need another year or two to really come together. Very good all around and I think this won the voting for the day.
    Took the remnants home and finished it 3 days later. Showed no signs of oxidation unrefrigerated and had actually picked up some palate weight. Will get more and leave them be for a couple more years. Still the bargain I tasted in store at WineX.
  • 2006 Sierra Vista Grenache El Dorado Estate Bottled - USA, California, Sierra Foothills, El Dorado
    Served blind. Odd nose that changes a lot with some herbs and heat. Very sweet palate that is soft and has some length. Thought maybe a ripe Pinot....way off.
  • 2005 Waters Syrah Pepper Bridge - USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Walla Walla Valley
    Back to the New World, I could have really taken this for a Cali Syrah. Light pepper on a big broad nose with a dose of vanilla. Big dense with decent acidity and some sweetness. Very modern styled though a good example of that kind of wine. Hadn't heard of this producer before but will keep my eye out. A Frank Murray wine I'm sure.
  • 2005 Alain Graillot Crozes-Hermitage - France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Crozes-Hermitage
    Very dark in color. Lots of pepper on the nose. Nice lean feel and kind tight and wrapped up. The nice Northern Rhone Syrah is in there but is still hiding a bit. I still liked this and would love to try it again in a few years.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Southern Rhone! ... but no Chateaux Neuf du Pape!

Friday July 25 (date change)

The wines of Southern Rhone - excluding CdP

Start Time
: 11:15 AM

The Hat

Location: The Command Center

Mystery White:
Dr. Dietz -VP

The Wines:

1999 Chateau de Saint Cosme "Gigondas" - Dr Dietz - VP

2005 Domain Santa Duc "Gigondas" - The Hage

2005 Chateau de Saint Cosme "Gigondas"
- Mel-K

2005 Montirius "Vacqueyras" Garrigues - DJ

2005 Domaine Daniel et Denis Alary "Cairanne" La Font d'Estevenas - C-Rock

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Robert Parker On California Pinot Noir

I honestly get the impression he is just stirring the pot on some points. The good news is that as someone who drank Cali Pinot in the early 90s ... I would agree that the region has made great progress. I can't really compare to other regions. It is sad that he makes silly comments like, "but most of them will eclipse almost any red Burgundy made today." The aromatic and flavor profiles are very different. Also, remember that Parker does not rate Burgundy nor like it. He likes California Pinot Noir because it is a different animal ... and his palate is completely blown ;-)


P.S. For more CLICK HERE Some interesting discussion ... but mostly just silly bickering :-)

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Virtual Offline Tasting May 5-9

I know this seems like a long way off but I am gone most of April and this gives me time to get the wine to the Houstonions ... and time for the wine to rest. You of course can drink the wine earlier ....JUST SAVE YOUR NOTES. We'll post notes on Saturday May 10.

2006 Belle Pente Dundee Hills
Pinot Noir

If you are wondering how to pronounce the name, it is Bell - Pont.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Another Oregon Trail

I must apologize. I totally spaced and did not got to my locker for the 2003 Brick House. I suspect, that despite the vintage, this would have been a very fine wine.

Beyond that, the 2002s were great. And I think we confirmed that all the hype about 2006 is ... well marketing bull. Well at least until the top wines are released.

  • 2006 Cristom Viognier Estate - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley, Eola - Amity Hills
    My first Oregon Viognier. A nice wine but far from inspiring. A bit of cream on the nose and some heat. The palate was more Roussanne like. Not much complexity on the palate. I enjoyed this and for the price was not disappointed but I was not wowed. Drink soon.

  • 2002 Belle Pente Pinot Noir Estate Reserve - USA, Oregon, Yamhill County
    Wow. This was great from the first taste to the last taste. All the way through the lunch I loved this. So smooth and seamless. I loved how it was getting comments about dark red fruit and bright red fruit. nice complexity. All about balance. Nice tannins on the finish. Should continue to improve. I really liked this.
    4 First place votes, 1 Second place vote and 1 Third place vote = 24 points - 1st PLACE WOTD

  • 2002 St. Innocent Pinot Noir Seven Springs - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
    This wine is exceptional. I would guess that in 5 years it would clean up in this tasting. At first pass I got a lot of oak and and empty mid-palate. Much darker than the Belle Pente and much stronger tannins. But despite being a bit vacant on the mid-palate the wine still showed complexity and nice structure. At the end of the lunch the wine really started to blossom. The oak seemed to creep into the background and the complexity of the palate filled out. I loved the 02 Belle Pente but part of me found this wine the most interesting. Hold! for at least 3 years. 2 First place vote, 3 Second place votes and 1 Third place vote = 23 Points - #2 Wine Of The Day (92 pts.)

  • 2005 Coelho Pinot Noir Paciencia - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
    I must say I didn't write a single note on this wine. Nice but... wanting. Nothing to grab you but not a bad wine. It is even steven. I brought the wine home and had a small glass with dinner and it was quite pleasant. Nice acid and a fair amount of tannin. Although this wine showed very little complexity it did have a few qualities that may make it last. With that in mind I could foresee new elements developing. 0 votes.

  • 2005 Belle Pente Pinot Noir Murto - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley, Dundee Hills
    Okay, so this wine had some funk. Some hated it. It did not bother me in the least. This is why I love Pinot. A very nice wine and despite the funk, I thought the fruit was very clean. The finish was short and somewhat boring. But this wine, like the St Innocent, certainly improved and grew on people as the day went on. Tough to say much. This wine was very young. 2 First place votes, 1 Second place vote and 2 Third place votes = 15 Points - #3 Wine Of The Day.

On to the 2006 wines. The Scott Paul was the clear class of the field IMO.
  • 2006 Scott Paul Cellars Pinot Noir Cuvée Martha Pirrie - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
    A very tasty wine. Even though this is supposed to be the early drinker, I think this wine needs 6-12 months. Toasty oak. Simple and tasty. That seems like what the vintage has to offer. 1 Second place vote, 2 Third place votes = 5 Points #4 Wine Of The Day. (88 pts.)

  • 2006 Siduri Pinot Noir Beran Vineyard - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley, Chehalem Mountains
    Another wine I took no notes on. Out of place. So abrasive. Lots of stink and a very heavy mouth feel. More of a cocktail but while drinking multiple glasses of wine I could not handle this. Later the wine did mellow a bit. I would wait 12 months on this and plan on having the wine with some nice BBQ. 1 Second place vote = 3 Points

  • 2006 Erath Vineyards Pinot Noir - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
    The nose was "pretty". I am no fan of Erath but this smelled nice. The flavors were all over the place. Tart cherries, flowers, earth etc ... but it was completely disjointed. This was a case of tasting a wine and saying ... hmmm complex yet bothersome. Time my meld these flavors an take this wine from a solid B to a solid A. 1 Third place vote = 1 Point.

  • 2006 Auteur Pinot Noir Hyland Vineyard - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley, McMinnville
    Wow ... this was by FAR the biggest disappointment of the day. I have been waiting to taste an Auteur wine after all the praise ... well this wine missed it. Again no notes on this one but I did bring it home to try it again. Blah... that would be my tasting note. Blah oak and blah mouth feel. Granted this is too young to be judging an Oregon Pinot ... so I am hoping ... despite my disparaging comments, Jim will let me try this again in 3 or 4 years. My guess is the wine is too soft. 1 Third place vote = 1 Point

Another great tasting. I do love Oregon Pinot, it is a way back from Burgundy but for price and reliability .... hmmm I love it. I love Cali pinot too but it was nice to have a tasting with some very fruity wines but no cloying candied fruit. I am very glad I can drink Pinot most nights of the week and have nice variety.

1st Place - 2002 Belle Pente Estate Reserve - 24 Points
2nd Place - 2002 St Innocent 7 Springs - 23 Points
3rd Place - 2005 Belle Pente Murto - 15 Points

Thanks everyone for another great tasting!




Saturday, April 12, 2008

Interview w/ Scott Paul Wright

Very timely since we'll be tasting one of his wines on Friday. I think very highly of his wine and he is a great guy ... which always adds to the enjoyment. And I believe that is Martha Pirrie in the picture.



Friday, April 11, 2008

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Young Spanish Wine - Results

Cris's Notes
  • 2006 St. Innocent Chardonnay Anden - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
    Tight with slight butter, soft florals and lemon custard on the nose. Soft lemon and nice minerals on the palate. Notes of oak and some tartness, some heat. Served blind and I was way off. Nicely styled Chard.
  • 2004 Descendientes de José Palacios Bierzo Petalos - Spain, Castilla y León, Bierzo
    Deep dark primary, notes of earth and smoke, pepper and violets. Light palate feel with some grip, medium concentration and nice minerality. Nice wine for the money and has some years ahead of it.
  • 2002 Bodegas y Viñedos Castro Ventosa Bierzo El Castro de Valtuille - Spain, Castilla y León, Bierzo
    Old world styled nose with secondary characteristics ahead of the fruit including caramel, florals and dark sweetness. Concentrated palate with a bit of a bite and solid tannins. Nose more expressive than the palate. Has plenty of time ahead of it but drinking well now.
  • 2004 Condado de Haza Ribera del Duero - Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
    Tight yet concentrated nose. Showing some ripeness, depth, funk and notes of of American oak. Tight on the palate but very balanced feeling, lovely body, very even and pretty. This tightened up with air so recommend a decant if served now but leave alone for a few more years. A terrific wine that will reward some patience.
  • 2003 Bodegas Alejandro Fernandez Ribera del Duero Tinto Pesquera - Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
    Earthy nose with some Old World style funky old oak notes and some tobacco. Light and lean on the palate and not as expressive as I expected. Maybe a bit closed.
  • 2004 Pago de los Capellanes Ribera del Duero Crianza - Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
    Big young and chunky, deep and concentrated, pretty with chocolate notes and slight bret. Deep with long concentration on the palate. Sweet with bright violets. Similar to my last experience with this one. Very nice wine in there but very young. Another that will reward patience or at least plenty of air.
  • 2005 Melis Priorat Elix - Spain, Catalunya, Priorat
    Funky barnyard on a tight nose to start with a dark character and depth, smoke, herbs and slight greenness. Concentrated yet a bit tight still, nice mouthfeel. Good grip with plenty of violets. Another one that needs some time but plenty of potential here.
  • 2004 Heron Terra Alta Sexto - Spain, Catalunya, Tarragona, Terra Alta
    Bright, tart, juicy and light nose with pruney candied fruits. Bright juicy palate that is light bodied, acidic and sweet of raisins. Some heat. Nice daily drinker for the weeknights that will work with dinner.
Jason's Notes

Thanks for the notes Cris. I was really happy with this tasting. For me there wasn't even a questionable wine. I would gladly serve any of them. The Bierzos were both very nice and very different. I don't think I have yet found a Bierzo that blew me away ... but I haven't been disappointed either.

  • 2006 St. Innocent Chardonnay Anden - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
    Very nice. This needs a little time for the oak to integrate. Displays nice richness but miles away from buttery. Not fatiguing to the palate like many American chards.
  • 2003 Bodegas Alejandro Fernandez Ribera del Duero Tinto Pesquera - Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
    Very structured. I really liked this. A pretty serious Crianza. I took the remaining bit home but it had really closed up. Wait!
  • 2004 Condado de Haza Ribera del Duero - Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
    This started off smooth and with nice qualities from fruit to flowers. Coming back to it at the end of the lunch the tannins had really stepped up. This wine needs time. Less funky than some of the other Condados I have had. I think I just finished my last 96 that was just getting started.
  • 2004 Pago de los Capellanes Ribera del Duero Crianza - Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
    This plain rocked. Lots of sweet red fruit. Balanced acid. Earth and mineral elements. For me this was showing the most complexity. This had been splashed decanted and then left open for a few hours. But I was still surprised how well this was drinking. May be a slightly younger drinker than I originally thought. I took a bit home and it was still drinking beautifully.
  • 2004 Heron Terra Alta Sexto - Spain, Catalunya, Tarragona, Terra Alta
    A nice surprise here. Not something I had ever seen. As Cris said it was slightly candied but the wine really worked well with the food. Not cloying and not overly oaked.
  • 2005 Melis Priorat Elix - Spain, Catalunya, Priorat
    This seemed to be the darkest wine of the day. Slightly brooding. Lots of oak showing and a bit of a green streak. Where the other wines all worked well with the food this one was a bit out of place. A very nice wine that may improve with some time.

One of my favorite tastings as here we were eating Pastrami sandwiches, fries and chili ... and all the wines worked.

Here is how they finished. It should be noted that the SI Chardonnay got at least 2 First Place votes, but we decided to exclude it from the voting.

1st Place - 2004 Pago de los Capellanes - 17 Points
2nd Place (tie) - 2003 Tinto Pesquera & 2005 Melis Priorat Elix - 12 Points
3rd Place - 2002 Bodegas y Viñedos Castro Ventosa - 10 Points




Monday, March 3, 2008

VIVA ESPAÑA! Next Tasting Monday March 3

Theme: 2003 - 2005 Spanish Reds - Any Region


2002 Bodegas Castro Ventoso El Castro de Valtuille (Bierzo) - Ger

2003 Tinto Pesquera Crianza (RdD) - Dr. Dietz

2004 Pago de los Capellanes Crianza (RdD) - The Hage
2004 Condado de Haza Crianza (RdD) - DJ
2004 Descendientes de Jose Palacios Petalos (Bierzo) - C-Rock
2004 Heron Terra Alta Sexto (Catalunya, Terra Alta) - Mel-K

2005 Melis Estate Elix (Priorat) - Karnopolis

Start Time: 12:00 Sharp

Food: The Hat

Mystery White: Jason and/or anyone else

The Command Center

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Virtual Offline Tasting March 12-14

2005 Mas Que Vinos
"Ercavio Roble"


Sunday, December 16, 2007

Thursday, December 6, 2007

2004-2006 Aussie Shiraz Shootout - BLIND

Before I go on … 2006 d'Arenberg The Laughing Magpie kicks some serious booty!

Wow! For the first time we saw a unanimous decision with 7 first place votes. So here is how it went.

Wine # 1: Big oak on the nose. Enjoyable aromatics. Lots of boysenberry and sweet oak on the palate. Big fruit and big oak but nice balance. The finish originally showed hot but when we revisited about an hour later the wine had a big improvement. (0,5,1 = 16 points) Group # 2, my # 2 2005 Two Hands Shiraz “Sophie's Garden”

Wine # 2: Much subtler nose. Leather and a touch of menthol. Flavors showed more cherry. More red fruit. The finish was dried and hot. (0,0,2 = 2 points) Group # 5 2005 Razor's Edge Shiraz

Wine # 3: Okay, here is some complexity … novel idea. Aromatics showed minerals and flower elements along with the fruit. It was Bordeaux like to me. Showed much better acidity than the previous two. There was also a nice amount of tannins. Great balance. Needs a few years. (7,0,0 = 35 points) Group # 1, my # 1 2006 d'Arenberg “The Laughing Magpie” Shiraz-Viognier

Wine # 4: Again big oak on the nose. Showed dark fruit. Nice bright acid. A good amount of tannins. The finish did show heat and some bitterness but overall very nice. (0,1,2 = 5 points) Group # 3 – tie, My # 3 2005 Two Hands “Brave Faces”
** I took this one home and it showed very nicely with dinner.

Wine # 5: Plums on the nose. Not so oak dominated. A touch of black licorice. Somebody (Dietz?) nailed this with coriander. Coriander seed to be exact. Earth and mushroom too. Again, there were solid tannins. (0,1,2 = 5 points) Group # 3 –tie 2005 Yalumba “Y Series” Shiraz/Viognier

Wine # 6: Oak shake aromatics. Texture is like a blanket. Tastes like old crusty boysenberry syrup from IHOP! Sweet syrup… old syrup. Wow…people were not even willing to spit this. It just got poured straight into the bucket. Port like … just not as good as port. Dietz said it was like Ultimate Fighting Challenge. Thankfully, there was a nice hot alcoholic finish to go with it. (NO VOTES) 2006 Mollydooker Shiraz “Blue Eyed Boy”
** I did take this home. My wife needed a glass of wine. I pulled out the wine and she thought the label was so cool. She wanted a glass. After a few sips she gave it back … she was done. It must be noted that I have never seen her refuse to drink a red wine that was not flawed!

Wine # 7: Interesting aromatics. Most like number 3. I was sure this was not 100% Shiraz (of course it was). Scott nailed this as watermelon Jolly Rancher. It was Jolly Rancher but it wasn’t candied. A nice wine but didn’t get any votes. (NO VOTES) 2004 The Colonial Estate Shiraz “Explorateur”

Huge kudos to D'Arenberg!!! Great job and Great price!

I must say, I love the Marquis and was sorry to see them take a beating … but it happens. Although they don’t necessarily make “my style” of wine, I will continue to keep some in the cellar… because sometimes I need some Ultimate Fighting Challenge!



To See More - CLICK HERE

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Next Tasting: Tuesday December 4

Theme: 2004 - 2006 Big Aussie Shiraz! The wine needs to be at least 65% Shiraz.

Tasted: Blind (bring wrapped in foil) ScrewCaps okay...there are enough out there now.

Start Time: 12:00 Sharp

Food: The Hat

Mystery White: Jason and/or anyone else

The Command Center

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Virtual Offline Tasting November 14-16

2006 Castle Rock Pinot Noir Sonoma County

It maybe wise to try this over two nights since it is so young. We'll post the notes on Saturday November 17.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

The 2005 Blind New World Pinot Tasting

That was fun. Great job on the wines too. No stinkers. And way to go Darren ... the Belle Pente was awesome. Here is my brief write up. Let me know if you guys remember things differently.

Mystery White #1
Very pleasant wine. I thought it was slightly oxidized but everyone else disagreed. A clean pure wine with no off flavors. Guesses varied. Dietz landed on a Rhone…which is what I would have guessed … had I not brought it. A great example of what chardonnay can be. Can still hold for a few more years. 2000 Domaine Guy Amiot et Fils Chassagne-Montrachet

Pinot #1As the first wine tasted I liked this. Toasty oak on the nose but not over powering. Clean and smooth. Somewhat simple. NO VOTES 2005 St Innocent Anden Vineyard

Pinot #2
The bar goes up a little bit. This wine is showing much better. Good acid and a fair amount of structure. I think shows good potential for a number of years. (2, 2, 1 = 17) points 2005 Belle Pente Willamette Valley (my 1st)

Pinot #3
Nose is showing much more candied than the previous two wines. Caramel and bubble gum. Good purity through the middle but the finish seems to dry out. (0, 0, 2 = 2 points) 2005 Kenwood RRV

Pinot #4
Lots of hey on the nose. Not in a bad way…but a good way .. hey. Big red fruit and big juicy acidity. Things do not seem to be integrated to me. (2, 0, 2 = 12 points) 2005 Alma Rosa La Encantada SRH (my 3rd)

Wine #5
The aromatics imply some whole cluster. Nice although there was an element of stewed tomatoes that I wasn’t crazy about. On the front palate you get big fruit but it is completely overshadowed by the massive oak. The finish is vanilla ice cream. A very tasty wine but I do not think I could drink more than one glass at this time. If the oak integrates and becomes less sweet, this wine could be a blockbuster. At this stage monolithic. (2, 2, 0 = 16 points) 2005 Miner Rosella’s SLH. (my 2nd) I could not believe this was SLH … let alone Rosella’s

Mystery White #2
Flowery aromatics. Great. The wine showed very sweet fruit. Not really like RS but very sweet. A nice wine. I was sure it was Alsatian. Once I found out it was Cali Chard I was sure it was the Novy Rosella’ the foil was being removed I stood up and walked away in all my pompousness. I was right! … ha ha … I was wrong … It was the 2006 Novy Chardonnay Keefer. This wine was very well liked. This was the 06 right?...or was it the 05?

1st Place = Belle Pente

2nd Place = Miner

3rd Place = Alma Rosa

Post Script
Since I brought the Anden, I thought I should do some further tasting. I took it home along with the Alma Rosa. It did show better but very different from anything else we tasted. It showed a little more complexity but ultimately with St Innocent’s track record, I think it will need more time. The Alma Rosa on the other hand was no longer pleasant to me. It was bubble gum city. I could not take the sweetness after a day of trying 7 wines. My wife on the other hand liked the flavor explosion brought on by the acidity a loads of fruit. I stuck to the SI.

Post Post Script
The Cali Pinots showed a lot more sweetness than the 2 Oregonians.


For More Click Here

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Next Tasting: Tuesday November 6

Theme: 2005 Pinot Noir - New World

Tasted: Blind (bring wrapped in foil) ScrewCaps okay...there are enough out there now.

Start Time: 1:00 Sharp

Food: Sushi or Burgers

Mystery White: Jason and/or anyone else

The Command Center