Wine - Notes and Comments
June 30 - A special tasting with
at Binny's Glen
Ellyn. Gallo of Sonoma Northern Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon 1999 - RM
86 WS 79 $75 Not as bad as WS indicates but not quite a collectible - A
bit lean and austere berry fruit with leather and sage with a tight closed
Gallo of Sonoma
Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley Barrelli Creek Vineyard 2000 - WS 75
RM 87 $30 More berry
with spicy pepper scents ala a Rhone or Syrah or Zinandel. -
Gallo of Sonoma Cabernet
Sonoma County Reserve 2000
- WS 87 RM 87 $13 - Full
forward fruit dark cherry and berry with full tannin finish. Decent value
for everyday drinking now.
June 27 - Alion
Bodegas y Viñedos Ribera del Duero Crianza
(Spain) 1996 -
91 RM91 $37- Balanced and
intense, this generous red offers cassis, plum, chocolate and toast
flavors, with ripe tannins and a clean finish. It has enough concentration
to age and enough grace to be delicious now. Tasted a couple years ago and
this wine was tight and closed. It has now opened and exhibits rich fruit
with nice balance and polished finish.
June 24 -
(South Africa) Jaakals Fontein Shiraz 2002- RM 91 WS 92 $31 Rich tasty
full forward fruit,
blackberry, cherry and sweet apple and plum flavors - smooth, polished and
well balanced with an interesting hint of vanilla apple and anise flavors.
Recommended and provided by Jim and the good folks at K&L in Redwood City
from his recent trip over there.
June 20 -
Darioush Voigner 2002, Darioush Signature
Chardonnay 2002, Darioush Signature Cabernet Sauvignon 2001, Shapar Late
Harvest Riesling 2001 along with Domaine de Chevalier Rouge 2000 &
1990, and Domaine de Chevalier Blanc 1986 and 1996. Fabulous
private dinner hosted by Darioush & Shapar Kaledi of Darioush Winery and
Olivier Bernard of Domaine de Chevalier at Everest in Chicago.
Darioush Signature Cab 2001 - RM 94 - Wonderful complex nose with full
forward currant fruit complemented by luscious juicy berry fruit.
Incredibly smooth, balanced and polished with nicely integrated tannin
finish. Darioush Signature Chardonnay 2002 - RM 92 Delicious,
approachable, rich full bodied - soft approachable tasty layers of apple,
pear, melon, and fig. A hint of cinnamon spice and hazelnut round out the
elegant finish. Domaine de Chevalier Rouge 2000 & 1990 -
Distinctive earthy berry aromas give way to full bodied essence of dark
berry fruit, tobacco, mineral, herb and a hint of leather. 1990 - RM 92 WS
93, 2000 RM 90 but give it time. As Bernard said, its still a baby -
translated still in it infancy - much life ahead.
June 18 -
Château Lynch Bages Pauillac Bordeaux 1986 - WS 94 RM 92 $37
(release price) WS says it best - A
first-class wine with a powerful backbone. Displays inky color and smoky
cherry aromas; full-bodied and balanced with a long finish. Dark in color
with rich cedar, herb and black cherry aromas, followed by very intense,
concentrated fruit and layers of currant, cherry and tea, finishing with
intense and powerful tannins - will need a decade before reaching its peak.
Tasted from cell in magnum. Château Meyney
St. Estèphe Bordeaux 1986
RM 88 $19
WS review - Dense, concentrated and nearly
chocolatey in richness, with complex aromas of ripe plum, vanilla and herbs.
Tight and fully tannic, built for the cell ar, although its aromas are
tempting now. Tasted from cellar in DOUBLE MAGNUM.
Beringer Late Harvest
Special Select Johannisburg Riesling 1993 - WS 94 RM 94 - Essence of apricot with a touch of almond,
thick unctuous sweet syrup of smokey apricot flavors.
Warre Quinta da
Cavadinha Vintage Port 1995 - WS 92 Cellar Selection RM 92 $33
- Aromas of grapes, flowers
and minerals pave the way for a slowly building palate that finishes with a
burst of ripe, exotic fruit. Full-bodied, yet very tight and held back.
Clos Fontindoule Monbazillac 1990 (info)-
RM 89 $39 Tea coloured, smokey honey herbal almond and sweet apple/berry
taste. Reedy's hosted iTRACS
exec team dinner w/ spouses held at Hinsdale CC.
June 17 -
DEL DOTTO Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1998
- (RM92) $62 - Perfume of sweet oak & plum - flavor
packed currant, black berry, cherry and a sweet oak smooth vanilla finish
with soft tannins. The 15% Merlot and 5% Cab Franc add roundness and a hint
of spice and smoke. 27 months aging in a variety of oak barrels adds a
unique delicious sweet oak complexity Nils Venge is consulting winemaker.
Tasted at home w/ Pela's in from PHX and Singapore.
June 15 - Chateau St. Jean Sonoma Cabernet
2000 - WS 88 RM 88 - Pleasant aroma with flavorful
currant, leather, and cedar - smooth polished and well
balanced with nicely integrated tannins. Tasted with OEM Partners @ IIM
Summit dinner hosted by Molex at Algauers' in Lisle Hilton.
June 12 - Domaine de Chevalier
Pessac-Léognan Bordeaux 1996 - WS 86 RM 87 $39 - Big classic Bordeaux
aromas of pronounced earthy ripe berry. Flavors of slightly astringent
raspberry and full mineral with hints of smoke and earth that linger on the
finish. Medium-bodied, with firm, sleek tannins. Tight and closed. Tasting
in preparation for gala dinner with producer in Chicago next week in concert
with the team from Darioush at Everest Restaurant.
June 10 - von Strasser Napa Valley Diamond Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon
2000 - RM 88 WS 89 $45 -
Full bodied and concentrated - berry
aromas give way to earthy currant, herb, sage and anise. Balanced but a bit
tight and closed which should improve with some short-term cellaring to
9 - K Vintners
Milbrandt Wahluke Slope Columbia Valley Syrah 2001 -
WS 89 RM 87 - $25
- Berry nose with cherry, a hint of white pepper aromas and flavors of berry
and a touch of black olive & mineral.
Michelle-Dr. Loosen Eroica Columbia Valley Riesling 2001 - WS
90 Spectator Selection
RM 87 $20 WS says, "Bright and
tangy, with an uncanny balance that finds the right mix of peach, pear and
mineral flavors, juicy but nicely concealed acidity, and enough richness to
make it all sing through the long, elegant finish." I can accept all of that
except its got a slightly funky unctuous grape syrup finish that has a
slight mineral like taste that detracts from the rich fruit.
Tasted w/ whole family and Marlene U. at
June 6 -
Quivira Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel 1998 - WS 85 RM 86
$18 - Raspberry, black pepper and berry with firm backbone of
tannins and toasty oak.
June 3 - Clos du Bois Marlstone Alexander Valley
Cabernet Sauvignon 1994 WS 88 RM 86 $22 @ release. Earthy tar cassis and
dark cherry - starting to approach end of life - drink up.
June 1 -
Vintners Blend South East Australian Shiraz 2002 - RM 87 $14 - See
pre-release tasting notes from Mar 8 - this wine
initially showed huge rich ripe berry and sweet cherry fruit. A great value
at $14 which its selling at locally but its available on the producer
site for less than $11. Its a bit more earthy and less fruit than earlier
tasting but worth getting for everyday 'pizza' wine. Better the second day.
May 29 - La Rocas San Alejandro
Grenacia 2001 - RP 93 RM 87 Parker cites this as one of the greatest
wine values based on its $15 price. A bit too much mineral for me,
overshadowing the raisiny overripe fruit taste of an Amarone. As I often
say, 'not for the faint of heart!'. Parker cites predominant kirsche taste
accented by blackberry.
Monterey County Syrah 2000 - WS 87 RM 86 $18
Big full fragrant
aromas give way to peppery berry, leather, herb and tar. Day two the pepper
gave way to berry fruit and a more polished finish. I raise my rating to a
Both tasted @ home dinner w/ Bob & Gloria.
May 22 -
Kaesler Old Bastard Shiraz 2001 - $110 - Due to illness and diminished
senses I'll defer to other's tasting notes and reviews for this wine. My
rating 92 - Harvey Steinman, Wine Spectator, 96
Points, 05/2004 " A big but remarkably elegant wine, focusing it's pure
blueberry, blackberry and plum flavours on a laser beam of finely balanced
tannins and judicious acidity, persisting on the finish with glints of white
pepper, licorice and coffee. Serious stuff that begs for cellar time. Best
from 2010 through 2025." 96 points, Robert Parker Jr's The Wine Advocate,
08/2003 "racheting up the level of concentration, intensity and flamboyance
as well as structure is the 2001 Shiraz Old Bastard... it is produced from
110-year old vines, and represents one of the great classics from (the)
Barossa... The inky purple colour is accompanied by gorgeous aromas of
smoke, camphor, melted licorice, blackberries, cherries, and flowers. Dense,
rich and full-bodied with the wood well concealed beneath spectacular
concentration and extract, there is not a hard edge to be found in this old
vine Barossa shiraz. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2018".
Robert Mondavi Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 1992 - WS 91 Cellar Selection RM
89 $55 Due
to illness and greatly diminished senses, I defer to WS Review - "Dense and
compact, with a tightly wound, rich core of earthy currant, cedar, spice and
cherry flavors, finishing with chewy tannins. Great length, but will need to
age at least until 1998." -
Two blockbusters to celebrate my birthday (hence the Kaesler OB!) at home
May 20 - Byron
Santa Maria Valley Pinot
Noir 2001 - WS 90 RM 89 $25 -
WS review * says -
"Smooth, rich and concentrated, with a tasty core of plum, blackberry and
wild berry shaded by toasty, smoky oak. It all comes together on the finish,
where it turns complex and plush.
*(I was sick and don't want to trust my palate or tasting senses.) Tasted w/
team Siemon at Vasi's Restaurant, Watertown, CT.
May 19 - Beringer Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
2000, WS 85 RM 87 $25 - Berry and cedar with a hint
of anise on the light finish. I have a rule that when in doubt select
Beringer or Chateau St Michelle that usually works. Here the choice reflects
the woeful winelist selection rather than indecision. Reasonable value for
this adequate enjoyable wine. Tasted w/ RG, EMc and Frank V @
Diorios Restaurant, Waterbury,
CT. The Gov was there and my sportcoat came up missing. Coincidence? Thanks
May 15, 2004 - Fairview Paarl (South Africa)
Beacon Block Shiraz 2002 - WS
93 RM 87 $30 -
Black fruit is overpowered by pepper and tar with a hint of cloves and
anise, moderate tannin and acid.
May 11, 2004- Rombauer Napa Valley Chardonnay 2002 -
RM 89 - Rombauer's notes on this wine -
"aromas of mango, pineapple,
apples and spice. On the palate are crisp flavors of tropical fruit,
integrated with rich vanilla from oak barrel aging. A memorable finish of
light oak nuances and a delicious buttery tone linger on the palate."
Perfect accompaniment to one of my favorite dishes in the universe -
Sand Dabs at Scott's in Palo Alto.
May 8, 2004 - Columbia Winery Columbia Valley Syrah
1999 - RM 87 - Dark inky color, earthy berry and currant taste with a
slight leather finish. Great value wine. Tasted at Cafe Elyse in Munster for
Mothers Day dinner.
Mar 7, 2004 -
Rosemount Estate Balmoral McLaren Vale Syrah
WS 93 RM 93 $53/$29 Delicious easy drinking wine that is a
great bargain at this sale price. Dark, inky, big nose, full bodied
forward frontal palate of pepper giving way to fruit of dark blackcurrant, cherry, cedar, smoke and huge long
smooth lingering plum finish revealing layers of smooth tight tannins.
May 4 - Conn Creek Napa Valley Estate Cabernet
Sauvignon 1980 - WS 86 (1984) RM 89 - Wow - Took a chance on this 24
year old Napa cab and what a surprise! This wine vastly exceeded my
expectations - dark ink colour, aroma of anise and blackberry, mouth full of
anise, tar and blackberry give way to cedar and later, blackcherry and mocha
a hint of mint held together by full firm long tannins. Amazing for its age
- credit to its provenance - from the cellar of Della
at the inner harbor of Baltimore. Tasted w. Mark M.
May 1 - Château de la Gardine
Châteauneuf-du-Pape Rhone 1998 - WS 94 Spectator Selection
RM 89 $34 Like the Pesquier last weekend (Apr 25 below) WS raves
about this wine, much more so than me, so I defer to their review. "A
wonderful, masterful wine. Both firm and opulent, it displays a nice dig
into the Rhône terroir as it brings out wet earth, mineral and an
interesting, chewy tannin structure. A high-voltage drinking experience,
with lots of fruit, spice and mocha." My notes - Pronounced white
pepper on the open that gives way to leathery black cherry and berry.
Apr 30 - Château Haut Bages Avérous Pauillac Bordeaux
1989 - WS 90 RM 87 $26
Dark purple coffee colour with full forward earthy tar, blackberry with a
big fruity black cherry finish full of tightly wound tannins. Second wine of
Lynch Bages from top vintage. Too much tar and too little fruit for top
rating. Starting to show its age.
Apr 25 - Domaine du Pesquier Gigondas
1999 - RM 88 WS 94 Spectator Selection $18
WS gave this a SS and a 94 so I'll defer to their review. "Rich and ripe, a
lovely and seductive Rhône red. Packed with wild herb, plum and blackberry
complexity, it caresses the palate with its rich fruit and silky tannins.
Full-bodied, with mineral, slight smoke, leather and game character on the
finish." I found it a bit too 'gamey' and peppery, for my preference. (My
review was consistent with mine from Dec 2002.) A rare divergence w/ WS.
Tasted at Bob & Gloria's for Helen's bday.
Apr 23 - Penfolds Shiraz Cabernet South Australia Koonunga
Hill 1996 - WS 88 RM 86 $10 Great value for everyday drinking. Tart
cherry, earthy currant, mocha and smoky oak finish.
Apr 21 - Kilikanoon Clare Valley 'Oracle' Shiraz
2001 - RM 92 - RP 94 - $42 - Sweet rich plum nose. Dark, full bodied and
flavourful. Sweet plum, black cherry and smoky oak fig and spicy berry
finish with firm tannins.
Apr 17 - Chateau La Galiane Margeaux 1996; Bighorn Ranch Napa Valley
Cabernet Sauvignon 1997 - RM 88 WS 88 $38
and black cherry with undercurrents of mocha and white pepper.; Erath Oregon Pinot Noir 2001; Stefano Farina Barolo
1998; Joel Gott Zinfandel 2002. David Arthur Napa Valley Meritaggio 1997;
Tasting at DG Wineshop. Notes coming.
Apr 16 -
Possum Vineyard McLaren Vale Shiraz 2001 - RM 91, RP 90
- $25. An inky/purple color is accompanied by sweet aromas
of blueberries, blackberries, and vanilla. Full-bodied, with full
finish. Dark black cherry, berry, vanilla, black pepper and raisiny fig
taste. Tasted with ENA in Greenfield.
Apr 12 - Canoe Ridge Columbia Valley Merlot 1997
- WS 88 RM 87 $21 - Black cherry accented by a hint of that distinctive
'cognac' taste, anise and a big finish of smoky tar and tight tannins.
Apr 10 - Cuvaison Napa Valley
Cabernet Sauvignon 1988 - RM 87 $40 ($19 in '88)
Still life in this vintage selection tucked away in the cellar. One left.
Predominant licorice and smoky leather, accent the cherry and berry fruit.
Cuvaison Napa Valley Merlot 2000 - WS 87
RM 86 $29 Earthy currant with herb
and coffee and slightly awkward tannins.
Kathryn Hall Rutherford Sacrashe Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 1998 - RM 86 $40/$16
Dark inky colour, nose of earthy berry and
cedar. Blackberry, tart cherry, mineral and cedar, with a firm tannic
finish. Tasted this wine at the winery during our
2003 Napa Wine
Experience. Tasted at Easter dinner with Bob & Gloria, Sarah & Pat,
Pat R & Gary.
Apr 8 - Phillip Melka CJ Napa Valley Cabernet
Sauvignon 2001 - RM 90 $35 - Subtle sweet berry scents quickly give way
to a mouthful of currant and mocha, dark cherry, tar, raisin and licorice with a
soft tight tannic finish and currant aftertaste that is a bit short and
light but flavorful. Young Frenchmen Philip is consulting winemaker at Quintessa, Seavey, Lail, 29 and other top producers. An up and comer in Napa
with his Bordeaux style flagship Matisse and this wine named for his two
Apr 6 - Rodney Strong Sonoma County Merlot 2000 - RM 89 Cherry-berry
fruit, bouquet of cherry, tastes of cherry, raspberry, licorice, cassis and
a hint of smoke. Tasted at the Peninsula Club in San Mateo at the Woodrow
Wilson Awards Dinner for John Chambers and William Perry.
Apr 4 - Olivier Leflaive Frères
Puligny-Montrachet Champ Gain 1999 - RM 87 $49 - Light - hints of lime
give way to smokey, flinty honey lemon and floral.
Apr 3 - Sonoma Cutrer Russian River Ranches Chardonnay 2002 - RM 87
-Crisp, lean, aromas of honey, pear and citrus, framed by toasty,
caramelized oak. Tasted at Duke's on Kapali Beach in Kaua'i.
Apr 2 - Torbreck Juveniles
Barossa Valley 2002 - WS 88 RM 88 $29 WS
review. Earthy blackberry and subtle anise tones. Nicely balanced with a
pleasant tannin finish. Interesting blend of Grenache, Mataro (Mourvèdre)
and Shiraz. Tasted at JJ's Broiler on Kapali Beach in Kaua'i.
Apr 1 - Miner Napa Valley Chardonnay 2000 - RM 90 WS
90 $30 - Rich, full bodied, complex, with mouthful of pear, nut and hints of
apricot and fig with a long, full finish.
Morgan Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir
2001 - RM 86 WS 87 $22 - Earthy spicy berry, coffee
and toasty oak. Tasted at Duke's Kauai - both offered by the glass(@$9.50) as
well as by the bottle.
28 - Susan de Balboa "Crio" Mendoza Meritage 2001 - RM 87 $26
Tremendous value in this Argentine. Plum and berry fruit, hint of anise and
tar. Tasted w/ L & Bob & Gloria @ JJ's Broiler on Kapali Beach in Kaua'i. I
was introduced to this producer by Andrew Bradbury of Aureola in Las
Vegas who has access to one of the most extensive winelists
Mar 27 - Gloria Ferrer Pinot Noir
Carneros 2001 - WS 86 RM 88 $26 Pleasant, approachable, soft featuring
accents of vanilla and brown suger givign way to plum and berry with a hint
of cedar and mocha. Niebaum Coppola Rosso 2001 - RM 85 -
Complex blend of 33% Zinfandel, 26% Syrah, 18% Cabernet
Sauvignon, 12% Petite Sirah, 11% Sangiovese - this wine was huge with
forward fruit of blackberry, spice, pepper, cedar and mocha - a bit awkward
and slightly rough around the edges. Tasted w/ Bob & Gloria at
Restaurant at the
Kaua'i Marriott Resort.
Mar 25 -
Raymond Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2000 - WS 87 RM 89 $40 black currant and black cherry accented with a hint of mocha and toasty oak with a pleasant finish
of soft tannins. Encore of the March 18 tasting - this time at Jan & Bills
in Huntington Beach.
Mar 23 -
Château de Beaucastel
Châteauneuf du Pape 1993
- WS 86 RM 86 $37 Earthy cherry and
anise with a hint of pepper. One of the wineries visited during our
Rhone Wine Experience
- see Feature.
Mar 21 - Beaulieu Vineyard Napa
Valley Tapestry Reserve 1994 - RM 90 WS 91 WS
Spectator Selection, $40/$20 - Napa grown Bordeaux-style blend, Tightly
integrated - earth and hint of tar on the front give way to currant, plum
and spicy cherry flavors with a big long earthy spice finish. Cabernet
Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec.
Mar 19 - David Arthur
Napa Valley Merritagio -
RM 87 $70
Interesting blend of 44% cab, 24% cab franc, 16% merlot, and 8% Sangiovese
and 8% Petit Verdot. A complex wine is conflicted between spicy
fruit and smokey raisin, figs, earthy leather and cherry.
Mar 18 - Raymond Napa Valley Cabernet
Sauvignon Reserve 2000 - WS 87 RM 89 $40 black currant and black cherry accented with a hint of mocha and toasty oak with a pleasant finish
of soft tannins. Beringer Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2000 - WS
85 RM 86 $26 Light austere berry flavor that falls off with minimal
backbone and finish.
Mar 17 - White Wine Flight at
Restaurant, Mystic, CT - King Estate Oregon Pinot Gris
2001- RM WS 86 Melon and peach - light and relatively non-descript.
Hogue Columbia Valley Fume Blanc 2002 - RM 88 - Floral nose leads
to big apricot flavor that gives way to subtle pleasant soft citrus.
Bonny Doon California Washington Pacific Rim Riesling 2001- RM 87 Easy
drinking sweet pear and subtle apple.
Stonington Vineyards Gewurztraminer 2002 - RM 83 - Tart sour apple with
a spicy and nutty finish. Cline Cellars Sonoma Valley Viognier 2000
- RM 86 Full firm rich fruit overpowered by smoky oak.
Mar 16 - Giacomo Conterno Barolo
Cascina Francia 1994 - RM 82 $37. Lean, austere, smoky tar overcomes the
cherry fruit and anise and raisin finish.
Mar 15 - Raimondi Valpolicella 2001- RM 83 A bit
funky with a musty wet earth nose and dirty mushroom taste that overshadows
the over-ripe raisin blackberry taste.
Mar 12, 2004 - Rosemount Estate Balmoral McLaren Vale Syrah
WS 93 RM 93 $53/$29 Delicious easy drinking wine that is a
great bargain at this sale price. Dark, inky, big nose, full bodied
forward fruit of dark blackcurrant, cherry, cedar, smoke and huge long
smooth lingering plum finish revealing layers of smooth tight tannins.
Mar 9 - An evening with Angelo
Gaja at the Peninsula Hotel, Chicago - See
Wines tasted: Alteni Brassica 2000, Gaia & Rey 2001, Sito Moresco
1999, Darmagi - 1999, Sperss 1998, Sori Tildin 1998, Gaja Barbaresco -
1978, 1989, 1999, 2000
Mar 8 - Mount Veeder Winery mini-tasting -
Mount Veeder Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2001 - RM 92 Full forward
fruit - rich with currant and chewy tannins. Mount Veeder Reserve 1999
- RM 91 - Opens with black cherry that tends to be slightly tart when
compared to he rich sweet currant of the '01 estate, which gives way to
smokey currant and chewy tannins. The Mount Veeder Reserve 2000 -
RM 89 resembles the 2000 but lacks its depth and body.
Blends - 2001 - Cabernet Sauvignon 75% Merlot 24% Petit Verdot 1%. 2000 -
Cabernet Sauvignon 52% Merlot 35% Cabernet Franc 7% Petit Verdot 2%Malbec
4%. 1999 - Cabernet Sauvignon 57% Merlot 40%, Cabernet Franc 1%, Petit
Verdot 1%, Malbec 1%.
Mar 8 - Quintessa - Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon 2001, 2000,
1999 - 01; RM 93-94, Mini-vertical tasting of Quintessa, the '01
stands out as more approachable and pleasant due to a stronger currant
flavor accented by blackberry vs. a more predominant black cherry flavor
which is a bit tart on the front in the others. The 1999 is next with a
hint of cedar, (WS91, RM 91) followed by the 2000 which has a tinge of
earthiness that detracts from the fruit. (WS 88, RM88). All are
polished, well balanced and smooth -
especially the 2001.
Mar 8 - Fransiscan Estates US 2004 Tour Roadshow Wine Tasting -
These wines were standouts of the fifty plus wines tasted. Ravenswood
Vintners Blend Australian Shiraz 2002 - RM 90 $15 - Not yet rated or
released - this wine showed huge rich ripe berry and sweet cherry fruit. A
great value at this release price - due to arrive in April.
Estancia Monterey County Pinot Noir 2002 and Estancia Monterey
County Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir Reserve 2002 - RM 88 -
I am not a huge Pinot fan but these were outright delicious - huge forward
currant fruit with firm but soft smooth tannic finish. I didn't
distinguish a noticeable difference between the two. Fransiscan Napa
Valley Oakville Estate Merlot 2001 - RM 89 - There is a consistent
thread emerging that the 2001 Napa Merlots are fabulous. This one has a
big rich currant opening with a long sweet mocha tannin finish. 95%
Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc, 2% Cabernet Sauvignon.
Mar 7 - Kathryn Hall Rutherford
Sacrashe Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 1998 - RM 86 $40/$16
Dark inky colour already starting to give way to hint of rust on the
miniscus looking like a thirty year old Bordeaux. Nose of earthy berry and
cedar. Blackberry, tart cherry, mineral and cedar, with a firm tannic
finish. Tasted this wine at the winery during our
2003 Napa Wine
Experience. Begged off buying this wine at $40 there but imagine my
surprise finding it at Sams for $16! A reasonable value at this price
given its lackluster fruit giving way to a slightly funky earthy mineral taste.
Kathryn Hall Rutherford Sacrashe Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2000 - WS
86 RM 88 $50 - WS Review - Appealing for its supple
texture and delicate structure. Notes of blackberry, pencil lead and
cedar, with a finish that is muted by firm tannins.
Feb 29 - Chateau
Clerc Milon Pauillac Bordeaux 1999 - WS 86 RM 86 $45 Suppressed fruit
flavor of currant and a slight earthiness yielding to a slightly tart
cherry finish. Second wine of Mouton Rothschild.
|Selection of wines
DG Wineshop Big Cab night - Altamura
'99, Caymus '99, Chalk Hill '99, Pepper
Bridge '00, Shafer '00, Showket '99,
Silver Oak '99, Staglin '99, Stuhlmuller
Cabernet '00, Trefethen Halo '98, Tenuta
dell 'Ornellaia '98 -
Feb 27 - Venge Napa Valley
Oakville Penny Lane Family Reserve Sangiovese 1997 $30 RM 89 WS 86
Predominant cedar aroma and taste gives way to plum and spicy cherry with
a touch of anise.
Robert Pecota Monterey County Syrah 2000 - RM 90 $18 Pleasant full
nose opens to full mouth of plum, blueberry and a hint of mocha. I have
trouble describing this wine. We tasted it at
at Yorktown with L, Erin & Chris. It calls for another tasting. It is very
good and a great value. Try it.
Matanzas Creek Sonoma Valley Merlot 2001 - RM 88
Dark full rich black cherry and currant flavor with a hint of mocha and
Saddleback Napa Valley Old Vines Zinfandel 1997
- RM 91 $33 Forward fruit - tar, raspberry prunes currant and a hint of
licorice and spice with a incredibly long mouthful puckering plum finish.
Great complement to rib dinner.
Featured wine - producer.
Paloma Napa Valley Merlot 2000 - WS 91 RM 95 -
It's clear to see why WS picked this wine from the 2001 vintage as the #1
Wine of the Year! Wonderful nose of loganberry and currant reveals the
mouthful of flavors accented with a hint of mineral. A delicious wine that
is smooth and polished, wound together in graceful tannins that add depth
Shafer Red Shoulder Ranch Carneros Chardonnay 2001 - WS 90 RM 91 My
palate for whites isn't sufficient to describe this wine. Here's what WS
says n their Ju;y 31, 2003 review, "Exotic
smoky orange and vibrant citrus flavors lead to a spicy core of
tangerine-infused pear and nectarine flavors. Picks up and finishes with a
delicate touch of smoky, toasty oak, while keeping the citrus flavors at
the forefront. Drink now through 2006. Tasted twice, with consistent
notes. 6,500 cases made. (JL)" I certainly echo the pear and smoky
toasty oak. The infusion of tangerine is a softnote.
Label. Dow Vintage Port 1985 - RM 91. Smith
Woodhouse Vintage Port 1990 - RM 88. Bonny Doon Vin de
Glacier 2001 - RM 92. Tasted at magnificent
Tru in Chicago,
with Dr Dan and L celebrating friendship and L's birthday.
Feb 17 - Pride Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1997 - RM 89 WS 94
$36 Dark, firm and full bodied with forward currant,
black cherry, and a hint of cedar. Big wine that needs more time to
settle. First tasted and purchased at the winery during
Napa Wine Experience 1999.
Chateau Moncontour Vouvray 1997. RM 85. $15. Tasted at home with Erin and Chris'
special seafood dinner.
Noteable wines from the
Wines of the World Tasting at DG
De Traffords Cabernet Sauvignon 2000 Stellenbosch, South Africa -
RM 88 WS 91$30 - Deep, dark, red colour, Intense fruit flavours, cassis, plum
and cedar nose, shows, complexity and subtlety.
Apaltagua Envero Carmenere/Cabernet
Colchagua Valley - Chile $15 RM 89
WS 89, W&S 91 WE 91RM - Spicy eucalpytus nose, black cherry tar and pepper
with a pronounced but short finish. Great value in a quality
wine at a reasonable price.
Francois Chidaine Chenin Blanc 2002 - Loire Valley, France $18 RM 87
Pleasing and easy drinking, pronounced apple and quince with light
citrus acidity. Label.
Robert Pecota Moscato d' Andrea 2001 - Napa Valley - RM 89 $17 (375)
Rich unctuous apricot and peach nectarine.
Label. Andrew Murray Vineyards Central
Coast Syrah 2002 - RM 85 $19 - Forward nose and flavor of mint
and eucalyptus almost overpower the berry and currant fruit.
Cape Barren Old Vines Shiraz 2001 - WS 82 RM 91
Tasty berry plum and strawberry with a touch of tar
and a lingering long oak finish. Label.
Feb 10 - Possum Vineyard McLaren Vale Shiraz 2002 - RM 91, RP 92-94 - RP
Says' "The spectacular 2002 Shiraz is a fully blended barrel sample
scheduled to be bottled in October. It was produced from one-third of the
2001's yields, which is reflected in its extraordinary concentration and
intensity. An inky/purple color is accompanied by gorgeously sweet aromas
of blueberries, blackberries, and vanilla. Full-bodied, with thrilling
texture, tremendous levels of glycerin, and a viscous, seamless, lush
finish, it will provide sumptuous drinking during its first 7-10 years of
life. The 15% alcohol is cunningly concealed beneath a wealth of extract
Chateau Leoville Las Cases St Julien Bordeaux 1981 -
Chateau Montrose St Estephe Bordeaux 1985 - WS 90 RM 87 - Shallow color that
initially had a slight tinge of a rust edge that went away a few hours
after decanting; big floral and earthy aromas, the cherry and plum fruit
are overshadowed by earthy tar and cigar flavors. WS says, "It's tightly
wound but everything's in place for greatness". This wine exceeded my
expectations with more fruit, longer floral finish and more life than I
expected. Rosemount Estates Balmoral
McLaren Vale Syrah 2000 - WS 93 RM 93 Dark, inky, big nose, full
bodied forward fruit of dark blackcurrant, cherry, cedar, smoke and huge
long smooth lingering plum finish revealing layers of smooth tight
Feature. Groom Sauvignon Blanc Adelaine Hills 2002 -
WS 90 RM 89 - Feature. Great
compliment to lobster side entree with the Montrose holding up the
tenderloin and the Balmoral fruit opening with salad and closing with the
chocolate birthday cake for Sean, Christa and Josh. Celebrated at home
with Erin & Chris, Pat & Sara, and WIll & Jessie.
|Robert Craig Mount Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon 2000 WS 89 RM 90
$40 Tasty supple but slightly austere cherry fruit with hints of
currant and subtle plum and mocha on the finish. Central Coast Syrah
2000 RM 88 - Dark colour, berry and spice with a light easy drinking
well balanced long finish. Tasted at special Robert Craig tribute
tasting at One North Kitchen and Bar on the edge of the financial
district in Chicago, sponsored by Silicon Valley Bank. It was delightful
as always, to see the Craigs, this time on our home turf braving our
single digit weather. Welcome to Chicago! Well done SVB for a
tasteful (no pun intended) and successful evening of wine and networking
of tech clients and Chicago industry execs. It was great to meet some key
contacts and renew previous acquaintances. Thanks and kudos!
Jan 31 - Groom
Barossa Valley Shiraz 2001- RM 91 $29. These Aussie Shiraz' have it!
This is the signature wine of Daryl Groom, former winemaker for Penfolds
of the classic Grange, who's now in California making wine for Geyser
Peak. This is his personal wine from the Kalimna area of Barossa from
vineyards adjacent to Grange. Dark inky, and big nose. Big forward
fruit of raisin, fig and blackberry, smokey cassis/currant with a long
finish. Not as big or as much fruit as the awesome 2002 but a mouthfull
none-the-less. Found this at Sam's in Chicago. See
DineSite WIne Experience - Maisonette, the five star restaurant in
Cincinnati offers a price fixe seven course dinner complete with wine
with each course. What a great treat for the weary traveler or
adventurous diner to sit back and luxuriate in the fabulous setting with
thoughtful attentive service, delicious food, and creative pairings with
fine wine! See Featured
DineSite. Wines - Chappellet Chenin Blanc 2001 RM 87
Crisp and fruity citrus, hazel and honey with lingering mineral and
caramelized apple with just a hint of oak.
Producer. Debouf Pouilly Fusse; Santa Barbara Winery ZCS
2001RM 86 Interesting blend of Zinfandel, Carignan and Sangiovese
(55/28/17%). The rich berry fruit of the Zin shows through but gives way
to a slightly tart cherry. Label
Penfolds Bin 28 Kalimna Shiraz RM 88 Berry, cherry and anise.
Known as the poor man's Grange as this vineyard sits next to that from
where the classic Penfold's standard bearer originates. Label
Reserve Tawny 1987 Web,
Far Niente Dolce.
Jan 27 - Hartford
Russian River Zinfandel 2002 - RM 92; Ridge Dry Creek Lytton
Springs Zinfandel RM 88 - Only those of you that have traveled with
me would appreciate this as a typical 'McNees experience'..... A
delightful ending to an arduous and torturous day that began at 230 am
when my burglar alarm sounded, a 430 am limo pickup which ended up
crashing into a guardrail in the snow-storm enroute to the airport, and
three airplanes and two rental cars and 270 miles driving through ice
and snowstorms later... Retiring to my first meal of the long day at
9:00 pm in Zebo's Bistro at the Marriott Riverfront center, gracious,
patient and attentive service by Emily, great food, and delicious wines
and great sympathetic and attentive company with Clay M, Asst Food and
Bev Mgr, and Michelle B. of the local wine distributor, still working
late in the day pitching these two blockbuster Zin's and 1/2 bottles to
Clay and staff... Great fun tasting and sharing wine stories and trivia.
The huge jammy Hartford over-powered and blew away the Ridge with
its elegant and pleasant nose revealing the full forward tempting berry,
plum, sweet raspberry and caramel with a long lasting balanced finish. Web,
Label. The Ridge
with its more delicate and balanced berry and cherry didn't stand a
chance. Try the Hartford with Bar-B-Que ,steak au poivre or spicy pasta
dishes, or just enjoy with chocolate and/or cheese. Great fun, delicious
wine - let's do it again!! Web.
Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1992 WS 90 RM 87 Perhaps past its
prime as an earthy leathery nose and taste has come on which might be
indicative of age, or a ever so slightly corked bottle. Having only one
its impossible to tell. There are remnants of dark cherry and currant
that give way to the earthy tones not unlike an older Bordeaux. Label.
Robert Craig Affinity Napa Valley 1996 WS 92 RM 92 $40 Cellar
Selection Beautiful deep purple color, delicious smooth polished taste of
sweet currant, strawberry pear and sweet apple berry with a nice balance.
A Bordeaux style blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc.
Robert Craig is one of our favorite producers with three fabulous
offerings in his flagship Affinity blend and his Howell Mountain and Mount
Veeder cabernets. Robert, his wife Lynn, and associate winemaker Rudy Z
were featured quests at our Napa Wine Experience 1998 and 1999.
Jan 21 - Tedeschi
Amarone della Valpolicella 1993 WS
82 RM 83 $32/58 The Amarone exploration continues - this one austere and
lacking much fruit. Slight hint of raisin overtaken by a lean tart
cherry. Tasted w. TRR, PP, & TSR @ Johnny D's in LaGrange.
Jan 17 - Bolla Valpolicella
della Amarone 1998 RM 87 $59 Dark over-ripe raisin and earthy leather
- reasonable complement to the spicy italian food at Angelin's for Erin's
Jan 14 -
Chappellet Signature Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2000 WS 88 RM 89
Blackberry accented by a earthy currant and smokey raisin, dill and cedar.
Tasted at Signature Room Grille with L, Erin & Ryan & Michelle, and Alec
celebrating Ryan departure tomorrow for U of I.
Jan 10 - Chateau Cos d'
Estournel St Estephe Bordeaux 1993, Beaulieau Vineyards Tapestry Reserve
Napa Valley 2000, Caymus Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1999, Flora
Springs Trilogy Napa Valley 2000. Wine Reviews coming - See
DineSite Review of the Hickory Smokehouse Restaurant at Gaylord Palms
Seavey Napa Valley
Cabernet Sauvignon 1995 WS 92 RP 91RM 91 $42 Dark full bodied ripe
black cherry, currant, anise and chocolate plum finish.
Fisher Napa Valley RCF Vineyard Merlot 2000 WS 90 RM 90 $45 Medium
firm chewy blackberry and a touch of plum and smokey cedar on the finish.
Single vineyard bottling from property along Silverado Trail of named for
Fisher's son from this family oriented producer. A nice discovery from the
producers of favorite Coach Insignia Cabernet blend.
Jan 2, 2004 -
Raimondi Villa Monteleone Campo San Paolo Amarone della Valpolicella
Classico DOC 1995 RM 92 $59 (Sam's) $82.50 (Winelist) Huge nose and
flavor of rich super ripe raisiny currant and mineral with a long full
finish that is full of mineral with hints of eucalyptus. Full rich fruit
reflects vinification process of aging and drying the fruit for full
ripeness. Tasted at the Vivere dining room in Chicago's Italian Village. We then found this
wine at Sam's Wine Warehouse. Enjoyed with Linda, Erin & Chris after
visiting Manet and the Sea exhibit at Art Institute of Chicago.
Dec 31, 2003
|Mitolo G.A.M McLaren Vale
Shiraz 2002 RP 95-97 RM 91 $49 Intense forward powerfully
ripe blackberry and spicy smoky pepper that lingers on and on. My
take on it reflects RP's review of the '01 moreso than the '02 except I
agree with his comment on the camphor and graphite (?). Remarkably, very
late on the finish, there is a hint of that McLaren Vale Blueberry (see
Dead Arm) but earlier it is overshadowed by the pepper.
Heinz Merkel Pfalz Maikammerer Heiligenberg Riesling Auslese 1990 RM
88 $12 Who says these wines aren't ageworthy? Fun wine to try.
This one exceeded expectations which matched the occasion - NY's eve
tenderloin and lobster dinner at home. Pulled out this 1990 to try -
Alec's vintage year - partly to celebrate his outstanding achievements
this past year. Rich unctuous wine - almost syrupy - subtle apricot, sweet
apple and lemony citrus with a touch of smoke. See the story behind this
bottle in Feature.
Campbells Tokay Rutherglen NV WS 91 RM 87 $17 WS says "Sweet,
syrupy and spicy, with a strong current of brown sugar, coffee, tobacco
and nutmeg running through the raisin and earth flavors." Campbell says,
"Toffee and tealeaf characters predominate on the front of the palate with
a cleansing hint of spirit and old oak on the finish." Notable absence of
fruit with too much tea and earth, hence my rating... See
Feature. Holiday dinner
with L, Alec, Erin, Chris & sister Jamie, and dear friend Marlene.