Rick's Wine Journal 2007 2nd Half

Date

Wine - Notes and Comments - ( See Key- See Rating Wines)


Gallo Sonoma Frei Ranch Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2005
December 31, 2007 - Rosemount Estates Balmoral McLaren Vale Syrah 1997; La Sirena Napa Valley Juliana Vineyard Sangiovese 1997; Gallo of Sonoma, Dry Creek Valley, Frei Ranch Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 1995; Hazy Blur South Australia Baroota Syrah 2004; Reignac Bordeaux Superiere Rosemount Estates Balmoral Syrah 1997 Brooks Tethys Willamette Valley Late Harvest Riesling Chateau Reignac 2006 label
2005;  Brooks Tethys Willamette Valley Late Harvest Riesling NV. Flight of eclectic and diverse reds in weight order covering the spectrum from medium to firm and full bodied to complement festive holiday rib dinner and selection of cheeses - including Rembrandt Aged Gouda, Aged Sharp Chedder, Brie, Aged Goat Cheddar. Tasted w/ L
and Bill & Beth C at home. Bill, L and I first tasted this same Hazy Blur May 18, 2006 at Emeril's at Universal Studios in Orlando.

Rosemount Estates Balmoral Syrah 1997

December 30, 2007 - Rosemount Estates Balmoral McLaren Vale Syrah 1997 - RM 92 - The '97 distinguishes itself and is one of my favorites from my vertical of this selection and it doesnt disappoint on its tenth anniversary. Deep lead pencil purple/red colour, and an intense aroma of perfume and fruit - deeply concentrated plum and blackberry fruit with a touch of vanilla and sweet cherry - initially tightly wound then opens to be smooth, with a long fruit-filled finish. Tinge of tight tannins and acid that opens into velvet finish shows long life ahead. Tasted w/ L, BYOB at Angeli's Restaurant, our favorite neighborhood bistro.
Chateau Pichon Lalande 1981 label - Rick McNees Winesite photo December 29, 2007 - Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande Pauillac, Bordeaux 1981 -  RM 92 - Incredible fruit left in this 26 year old Bordeaux - medium bodied, classic Bordeaux aroma and well balanced and finely integrated tastes of floral, earthy leather, cigar box, black cherry, black berry, anise, and silky smooth tannins. From the 1981 horizontal collection commemorating Erin's birth-year - broken out on  Erin and Johnny's first anniversary. Chateau Peyrequay Graves Bordeaux 2005 - RM 88. Tasted with L and Bob & Gloria at Bistro Monet in Glen Ellyn. The Pichon was incredible perfect complement to the foie gras and filet of beef with madeira risotto, it was even better than last year. 
Domaine du Vieux Lazaret Chateauneuf du Pape 2005 label December 28, 2007 - Domaine du Vieux Lazaret Chateauneuf-Du-Pape 2005 - RM 87 - $22 - Deep purple colour, medium bodied, intense smokey raisin, dark berry, spice, leather, tobacco and pepper. 
 

December 27, 2007 - Brancott Marlborough New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc 2005 - RM 88 - $10 - Great value in this light crisp fruit filled easy drinking wine - full flavorful apricot and gooseberry predominate.


Snowden Sauvignon Blanc 2006 label
December 25, 2007 - Snowden Vineyards Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2006 - RM 88; Snowden Vineyards Lost Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 - RM 88; Robert Craig Napa Valley Affinity Cabernet Sauvignon 1997 - RM 90 RP 91 - After an hour and a half, started to open up and reveal fruits and true character. Dark purple colour, scents and flavor of earthy, leather, casis, black cherry, licorice, black currant on a long tannin finish. RP review - "The opaque purple-colored 1997 Affinity (primarily Cabernet Sauvignon) possesses exceptional finesse and elegance in addition to authoritative flavors. Highly-extracted, medium to full-bodied, with layers of concentration, it offers notes of lead pencil, well-integrated, subtle, smoky oak, black currants, 
plums, licorice, and flowers. 91 Points.". (82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc), Great complement to Christmas surf and turf lobster and tenderloin beef dinner, w. L, Ryan, Erin & Johnny, Evelyn & Keith, & ATM.
Possums Vineyard McLaren Vale Shiraz December 22, 2007 - Possum Vineyards Barossa Valley Shiraz 2002 - RM 90; Hahn Vineyards Central Valley Meritage 2006- RM 90.
Mollydooker Scooter Merlot 2006 Label December 21, 2007 - Mollydooker 'Scooter' Merlot 2006 - RM 89 - $19 - Very interesting and unique taste that the winemaker aptly describes as that of 'toffee and oak'. Winemaker's notes - Named after Sparky's scooter racing years, this Merlot has a fragrant, lifted nose of roses, sweet plum and cherries. It has a delicious texture with hints of toffee and oak, lovely savory fruit cake flavors, and a smooth and elegant finish. -Sarah & Sparky Marquis
Gallo Family Laguna Vineyard Chardonnay 2004 label December 20, 2007 - Gallo Family Vineyards Laguna Vineyard Russian River Valley Chardonnay 2006 - RM 87 RP 90 - $19 - This wine has a bit of an 'edge' that detracted from its fruit and left it less approachable. Robert Parker notes - The 2004 Chardonnay Laguna is the 100% new French oak cuvee that plays the counterpart to the Two Rock. This wine shows orange marmalade, smoked nuts, and honeysuckle in a big, full-throttle, rich, ripe, classic California style.--Robert Parker  

Seavey Vineyards Caravina Napa Cab 2004 label
Raymond Reserve Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 label 
December 16, 2007 - Selection of recent release reds for gala Christmas family dinner party with ATM's friends' parents. Beringer Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2004, Raymond Reserve Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2004, Beaulieu Vineyard Napa Valley Tapestry Reserve 2004; Hahn Central Coast Meritage Red Wine 2006 & 2003; and a couple of library releases: Elan Vineyards Atlas Peak Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1996; Dominus Estate Napa Valley Red Wine 1986; Great wine selection to complement the beef tenderloin and Hahn central coast meritage 2006 label
ham dinner and selection of cheeses. See recent reviews below. The surprise of the evening was the Hahn Meritage which for the second time, rates a Rick's Pick as a tremendous value with its symphonic balance of well crafted berry fruit flavors result in a sophisticated style yet easy drinking wine. The Dominus now 20 years old continues to reveal its character through floral bouquet and flavors of violet and rose petals reminding me again that I drank most of this case way too young - year after year waiting for it to open and reveal itself.
December 15, 2007 - Seavey Vineyards Caravina Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 - RM 91 - $45 - Dark purple, medium bodied, full flavor of currant, cherry, black berry, a hint of red raspberry, mocha and cedar on the medium finish. Bordeaux style - 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Petit Verdot and 4% Cabernet Franc.    
December 14, 2007 - Raymond Reserve Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 - RM 88 - $24 - Winemaker notes - Aromas of cassis, cherry, earth, lilacs and cedar followed by ripe blueberry and blackberry flavors with black pepper and vanilla. A complex, full-bodied wine highlighted by lush fruit and a long, smooth finish. 91% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Cabernet Franc and 1% Merlot
Beringer Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 label December 13, 2007 - Beringer Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 - RM 91 W&S 90 RP88 - $24 - Huge bouquet and flavors of spicy currant, smoky black raspberry, ripe plum, violets, cinnamon and a hint of eucalyptus on the long full flavored finish. Great value in this affordable collectable that is also good for every day drinking.   

Elan Vineyards Atlas Peak Cabernet Sauvignon 1996 label

December 9, 2007 - Elan Vineyards Atlas Peak Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1996 - RM 91 WS 92($35 (in 98))  - Floral bouquet, dark, medium-full bodied. firm leathery, black berry, black cherry, a hint of cedar and anise with a long tannin finish. From the Atlas Peak viticulture district  up in the south east corner above Napa Valley. From Patrick and Linda Elliott-Smith - participants in our 1998 Napa Wine Experience. Elan was also one of the "The Undiscovered Dozen" featured in Wine Spectator along with our friends at Del Dotto, Robert Craig, Snowden, and Clark~Claudon. Tasted BYOB at Angeli's Restaurant.w L and Marlene celebrating her birthday.
Chateau Clerc Milon 2003 label December 8, 2007 - Mouton Rothschild Clerc Milon 2003 - RM 88 - Floral bouquet, dark, full firm leathery, black berry, earthy bark, a hint of cedar and anise with a long tannin finish. Tasted at Bob & Gloria's holiday party.
Beaulieu Vineyards Tapestry Reserve 2004 label December 8, 2007 - Beaulieu Vineyard Napa Valley Tapestry Reserve 2004  - RM 90 - $40 - Winemaker notes - Weaves five classic varietals (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbecinto) into an elegant, beautifully balanced wine. The deep, expressive aromas and flavors are filled with black cherry, briary blackberry, cassis, dark cocoa and cedar character. Richly textured flavors with warm vanilla nuances. For even more complexity,  a tapestry of different oak barrels were used; over half were French, with the balance being  American, Hungarian and Russian.
Quady Essencia Orange Muscat 2005 
December 5, 2007 - Estancia Keyes Canyon Ranch Paso Robles Zinfandel 2005 - RM 89 - Medium bodied, easy drinking, aromas and flavors of ripe berry, black cherry, hints of mocha and spice. Great value wine at under $14.Quady Essencia Orange Muscat California Dessert Wine 2005 - RM 90 - Full bodied, thick, unctuous, full flavors of apricot, a hint of orange, honey, and smoke on a sweet syrupy finish.: Tasted w/ PC and Brett S at Clyde's in Georgetown.  Estancia Paso Robles Keyes Ranch Zinfandel
Boarding Pass South Australia Shiraz 2005 Label
December 2, 2007 - Grateful Palate Airwines 'Boarding Pass' South Australia Shiraz 2005 - RP 92 - RM 89 - Medium bodied, dark purple, flavorful dark berry, mineral and graphite taste. Winemaker notes - " Lively, dense, ruby red. Intensely perfumed fruit characters; brambly with ripe black cherry. Slight hints of cinnamon spiciness & light mocha. Juicy, fleshy palate finishes with a fruited tannin warmth." Boarding Pass South Australia Shiraz 2005 rear label
Clark Claudon Estate Cabernet 2000 label November 30, 2007 - Clark-Claudon Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2000 - RM 90, RP 90 - Dark, dense, intense firm tannins prevail through the long tannin finish. Medium to full bodied. Essence of tea and mint leaves, cedar, and a hint of eucalyptus and thyme. Here is what RP says, "A dense ruby/purple color is accompanied by sweet aromas of blueberries, blackberries, and hints of minerals, graphite, and spice box. Supple-textured and elegant with a rich, long, medium to full-bodied finish, it will drink effortlessly for 10-12 years." 90 points Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, December 2003." Early vintages tasted with Tom Clark and Laurie Clark-Claudon at our Napa Wine Experience back in 1999. Tasted w/ L, Pete & Patty T. at Napa Cafe in Memphis.
November 28, 2007 - Northstar Columbia Valley Merlot 2003 - RM 90; Inniskillan Riesling Ice Wine 2005 - RM 90 - Tasted w/ Larry & Kelly C at The Palm Restaurant in McLean, VA. Inniskillin Riesling Ice Wine 2004 Label
 
  November 27, 2007 - Elderton "Command" Barossa Shiraz 2003 - RM 93 - Tasted w/ David K at Huntley Taverne in Summit, NJ.

November 22, 2007 - Turley Old Vines Zinfandel 2004 - RM 91; Chateau Vieux Telgraph "La Crau" Chateauneuf du pape 1999 - RM 89;
Venge Penny Lane Vineyard Family Reserve 2000 Sangiovese label November 18, 2007 - Venge Family Reserve Penny Lane Vineyard Oakville Sangiovese 2000 - RM 88 - $40 - Medium bodied blackberry, charcoal and smoky cherry and a hint of anise on a long firm tannin finish. Tasted w/ L BYOB at Angeli's Restaurant.
Keenan Mailbox Merlot November 16, 2007 - Keenan Spring Mountain Merlot 2003, Keenan Carneros Merlot 2004, Keenan Spring Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon 2004, Keenan Spring Mountain Mailbox Vineyard Merlot 2003 - RM 91 RP 91 - Medium-full bodied, layers of well integrated focused tannins on the long finish. Keenan Zinfandel 2004, Keenan Chardonnay 2004. Tasted at the Winery during 2007 Napa Wine Experience.
Domaine Romanee-Conti La Tache 1993
November 15, 2007 - Benchmark tasting - calibrating Fantesca Estate Winery wines against some of the world's finest ... Araujo Eisele Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 1995, Lokoya Cabernet Sauvignon 1993, Fantesca Spring Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon 2003, 2004, 2005 (from barrel), Fantesca Spring Mountain Petit Verdot 2005 (from barrel), Plumpjack Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 1995, Chateau Marqaux 1983, Chateau Domaine Romanee Conti La Tache 1993.  Tasting conducted at the winery with Andy M,, Duane Hoff, Fantesca proprietor, and John, Fantesca associate winemaker during 2007 Napa Wine Experience. Chateau Margaux 1983Araujo Eisele Vineyard Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 1995
Robert Mondavi Oakville Cabernet 2004 Label November 10, 2007 - Robert Mondavi Oakville Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 - WS 93 RM 92 -Firm tannins prevail from beginning throughout the long finish - strong currant, berry and raspberry with cedar tones. 
Klinker Brick Winery Old Vine Zinfandel 2005 Label October 31, 2007 - Klinker Brick Winery Lodi Old Vine Zinfandel - RM 91 - $16 - Dark, full bodied, floral fruit - black and red berry, spice, cassis, a hint of red raspberry, black cherry fruit on the full round tannin finish. Great value - a lot of flavor for $16. Third generation producers harvesting vines planted by their grandparents. The winery is named for 'klink sound these heavy bricks found in their home and around historic town of Lodi make when 'klinked' together.

October 28, 2007 - Freemark Abbey Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1994 - RM 88 WS 89 - Black cherry, blackberry, spice and leather with a moderate tannin finish. This 13 year old is starting to show its life. Could it be the inflection point in the age profile timeline? Nice complement to grilled tenderloin steak, surf & turf on the sunny deck on an unusually warm end of October afternoon w/ L, Erin, and Alec.
Columbia Crest Grand Estate Merlot 2003 Label October 27, 2007 - Columbia Crest Grand Estate Columbia Valley Merlot 2003 and 2004 - RM 90 WS 90 - Tasty, easy drinking, ripe black cherry, plum, currant and a hint of cocoa and spice with a long chewy velvety tannin finish. Designated a Best Value by WS. Tasted at Lyle & Terry F's gala retirement party where Lyle, a aficionado and fellow collector  took great care to select quality easy drinking great value wine selections.
Killikanoon Testament Shiraz 2004 Label on McNees WineSite on McNees.org  
October 24-25, 2007 - Kilikanoon 'Testament' Clare Valley Shiraz 2004 - RM - 91 - $36 - Dark inky purple color. Rich, chewy, intense forward blackberry, white pepper, mineral, (Parker calls it creosote), and what RP aptly describes as 'singed' leather, with a long firm tannin lasting finish. A bit harsh, needs time to soften. RP 95 - "From the Barossa sub-regions of Greenock and Vinevale, the fabulous 2004 Shiraz Testament exhibits this varietal’s more scorched earth/volcanic side with blackberry liqueur, creosote, pepper, espresso roast, and singed leather characteristics. Opulent, with sensational fruit, a thick, unctuous attack and mid-palate, and a long finish of over a minute, this stunning Shiraz should be at its best in 3-4 years, and age for two decades." - -Wine Advocate
W. H. Smith Sonom Pinot Noir 2006 Label October 21, 2007 - W. H. Smith Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2006 - RM 89 - $26 - Very light, delicate wine with interesting fruit flavors best characterized by the winemakers notes; "Sonoma Coat Pinot Noir fruit bursts forward with strawberry, cherry cola and pomegranate flavors that share elegance and spice with the richness of cinnamon and smoke. Still youthful, this Pinot Noir will age to a seamless balance of spice and cherry and violets"
Wildhurst Lake County Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 Label October 19, 2007 - Chappellet Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 - RM 89, WS 93 - Floral, currant, raspberry, loganberry. Wildhurst Vineyards Lake County Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 - RM 87 - Winemaker's notes: "Blackberry & Anise lead. A pleasant mineral tone. Heavily bodied with rich spice. Earthy with a burst of fleshy fruit and smokey oak finishing with powder dry tannins" - Project 3000 Syrah - 88 - Tasted w/ L at the Distinctive Cork, a new wine oriented restaurant & wine bar here in hometown Naperville.
Layer Cake Barossa Shiraz 2005 Label on Rick's Winesite on McNees.org/winesite October 13, 2007 - Pure Love Wines "Layer Cake" Barossa Valley Shiraz 2005 - RM 88 - $16 - Great value in this medium-full bodied, thick rich, dark  fruit forward shiraz. Black fruits are offset by an undercurrent of tinny mineral. Tasted w/ L, David and Lee W at NN homecoming. 
Tintara McLaren Vale Cabernet Sauvignon Label
October 10, 2007 - Hardy Wines, Tintara Winery McLaren Vale Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 - RM 88 Dark, medium full bodied, black fruit, black cherry, a hint of smoke from one of Australia's oldest wineries. Tasted w/ Doug M and Jim K at Idylwood Grill in Falls Church.

Venge Family Reserve Penny Lane Sangiovese 1999

October 6, 2007 - Venge Penny Lane Vineyard Family Reserve Sangiovese 1999 - RM 88 -  Nils Venge, legendary winemaker for many notable Napa producers has championed Napa Valley Sangiovese under several labels including Del Dotto and here, his own. Full firm forward fruit, dark, flavors of black fruit and a hint of cedar and bark. Great complement to robust Italian dinner. Tasted BYOB w/ L, Mark D and Lisa at Angeli's Restaurant. Tasted with the Producer, Nils Venge, and sourced this wine from the Vineyard during Napa Wine Experience 2002.
October 1, 2007 - Marquis Phillips S2 Cabernet Sauvignon 2002 - RM 91 WS 90 RP 02 - Used to be $29 but newer releases are now selling for up to $45. - I defer to the producer's description which I find very apt except for the 'peppers' - "Characters of berry fruits, black & white pepper, cedar and cigar box, with a layer of dark chocolate adding to the complexity. As this wine ages the fresh raspberry characters will mature into darker boysenberry and blackberry characters with layers of brandy laced chocolate fondue flavours."
Wakefield Claire Valley Shiraz 2005 label September 26, 2007 - Wakefield Claire Valley Shiraz 2005 - RM 88 - Winemakers view of this wine - Full bodied, rich blackberry, spice, coffee, dark chocolate, vanilla and cedar - good balance and excellent length. I didnt find it as complex or as polished as these notes might suggest. Appropriately value priced at $16.99 - Tasted w/ JK at Idylwood Grill in Falls Church.
Label Franciscan Oakville Merlot 2005 September 25, 2007 - Franciscan Vineyards Oakville Napa Valley Merlot 2003 - RM 88 - Winemakers notes - Supple and ripe blackberry, black cherry and hints of toasted oak and vanilla.... long finish. Tasted w/ L, Erin and Johnny post game and J's birthday at Costa's in Oak Brook Terrace. 87% Merlot, 13% Cab Sauv
September 23, 2007 - Markham Napa Valley Petit Syrah 2001 - RM 91 - $24 - Dark purple - huge fragrance and mouthful of forward fruit currant, black raspberry, an undercurrent of cedar and black pepper with a long smooth subtle mocha finish.
Provenance Napa Merlot 2004 September 19, 2007 - Provenance Napa Valley Merlot 2004 - RM 90 - Good value. Medium bodied. Berry, cherry, tar, a hint of cedar, dusty tannins, takes on a hint of mocha as it softens and becomes more approachable over the course of the evening. Tasted w/ BJB, Jay S and Earl T at Gouldings in Champaign. 
Heitz Cellars Martha's Vineyard Cabernet 2001 label September 11, 2007 - Gala vintage release wine tasting at Navy Pier in Chicago with Doug J. - Featured, tasted wines: Chimney Rock Napa Valley Stags Leap District Elevage Red Wine 2003; Coppola Estate Cabernet Franc 2005, Rubicon Estate 2003, Cask 2004, RC Reserve Syrah; Heitz Cellars Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2002, Trailside Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2002, Martha's Vineyard 2002; Gaja Gromis 1999, Sito Moresco 2004; Grgich Napa Cab 2002; Jordan Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2003; Joseph Phelps Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2004; Hunneas Vineyards, Quintessa 2004, Roth Cabernet Sauvignon 2004; Swanson Alexis Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon 2003 & 2004; Northstar Columbia Valley Merlot 2003; Branson Coach House Greenock Rare Shiraz 2004; Terlato Devils Peak & Angels Peak 2003; Aramis 'Black Label' & 'Govenor' McLaren Vale Shiraz 2005;  Elderton 'Ode to Lorraine' & 'Command' Barossa Shiraz 2002; Two Hands Lilly's & Bella's Shiraz 2005; Jackson Trigg; Inniskillin Vidal & Vidal Gold 2005, and more...
Novelty Hill Columbia Valley Shiraz 2004 September 8, 2007 - Mollydooker 2 Left Feet Shiraz 2005 - RM 89 - Firm, forward dark berry, mineral, black cherry and a hint of tar. Novelty Hill Columbia Valley Shiraz 2005. RM 89, RP 90, WS 88 - Rich, dense, forward black fruit, plum, mineral and spice. Tasted at Blue Star restaurant and wine bar in Colorado Springs.
August 26, 2007 - Silver Oak Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1982 - Magnum - WS 96 Cellar Selection - Spectator Review: "Deep ruby colored, full-bodied and full of ripe, clean cassis and mint flavors, of great depth, elegance and finesse, this is one of the greatest Silver Oak wines we've ever tasted..." Their 1987 Review was more modest... WS 90. Mine - RM 88 - Cherry, berry, slight essence of cassis, hint of mint, dill, leathery earthiness giving way to the supple oakiness. Silver Oak Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1991 -  RM 90 - More fruit, smoother, softer, slightly more elegant than the 82. Grande Siecle Reim Champagne - RM 89 - Pol Roger Epernay Champagne - RM 90. Tasted w/ L. Ryan & Michelle, Erin & Johnny, and Dennis & Rosemary to celebrate R & M's engagement! Celebration dinner at Angeli's.
August 25, 2007 - Henry's Drive Barossa Shiraz 2004 - RM 92 - David Arthur Napa Valley Merittaggio 1997 - RM 92 - Kenwood Jack London Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1996 - RM 89. Tasted w/ L at Bill & Beth C's.
August 19, 2007 - Marquis Phillips '9' McLaren Vale Shiraz 2005 - RM 94 - RP 96-98 - - $40, RP review says "...a sexy effort... Its inky plum/purple color is followed by sumptuous aromas of creme de cassis, blackberry liqueur, smoked meats, and toasty American oak (from aging in 100% new American barrels). Opulent, viscous, and thick, this succulent Shiraz is meant to offer immediate appeal. It should last... becoming more civilized and measured with additional age."  The Wine Advocate; Heathcote II, Heathcote, Victoria, Australia Shiraz 2004 - RM 94 RP 94 - $40 - Inky/purple color. Huge full beautiful aromas of fruit that permeate the room upon opening. Full bodied, rich, structured, full forward flavors of graphite, blackberries, black raspberries, chewy currant, mocha and mineral. Much lighter and less structured than the '9' above... which is bigger than earlier vintages. H-II while tasty, was almost wimpy next to the '9' which is bigger than earlier vintages. Tasted w/ L at Dr Dan's.
Beaulieu Vineyard Tapestry Reserve 1998 August 17, 2007 - Beaulieu Vineyards Tapestry Reserve 2003 - 91 - $38 - One of our perennial favorites. Great value at retail on Branmore's wine list. Tasted w/ L at our anniversary dinner. Winemakers notes - Black-ruby in color, shows concentration from this late-ripening vintage. Aromas of black olive, dark cherry, vanilla-rosemary oak spice and dark cocoa with anise lead to rich, medium-full-bodied flavors of cedar, tobacco, dark currant and olives. The tannins are rich but not harsh.

2004 Thorn-Clarke

August 15, 2007 - Thorne Clark Shotfire Ridge Barossa Shiraz 2005 - $16
Oakville Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon 2003 label on Rick's WineSite August 10, 2007 - Oakville Ranch Napa Valley cabernet sauvignon 2003 - RM 91 - $49 - Medium bodied, blackberry, sweet oak, currant, and undercurrent of cherry and cassis with a well rounded finish. Winemaker notes - Wrapped around a fruit-friendly core of integrated but subtle oak are flavors of black fruits—cherry, cassis, blackberry. A hint of dried herbs and dark spice buoys the nose from the glass. Certainly cellar worthy.
Killikanoon Killerman's Run Shiraz 2005 Label August 5, 2007 - Killikanoon South Australia Killerman's Run Shiraz 2005 - RM 88 - Flavorful full forward mineral, dark cherry, blackberry, hint of cedar, licorice and tar and full tannin finish. Good value at $16.
Henry's Drive Padthaway Cabernet Sauvignon 2002 Label on McNees.org/winesite July 30, 2007 - Henry's Drive Cabernet Sauvignon 2002
http://www.mcnees.org/winesite/labels/labels_australia/lbl_AU_Mitolo_Reiver_shiraz_2004_remc.jpg July 28, 2007 -Mitolo Reiver Barossa Valley Shiraz 2004 - RM 91 $49 - Thick and rich, ripe, concentrated, dense black fruits, black currant, slightly sweet, a bit of mineral and cedar, integrated oak, and soft tannins. Tasted w/ L, BYOB at Angeli's in Naperville. Standard typical 'usual' regular entree selections -  eggplant parmigiana for L and the Veal picata for me with the special apple walnut blue cheese salad - all obvious choices and superb unbeatable selections.Service was outstanding and exceptional as usual.
Kilikanoon Parable Shiraz 2004 Label on Rick's WineSite on McNees.org July 22, 2007 - Kilikanoon Parable Barossa Valley Shiraz 2004 - RM 93 RP 96 - Rich, full flavored fruit forward - ripe plum, red raspberry, currant, and blueberry with a hint of sweet oak and vanilla on the full finish.  
Mitolo Jester McLaren Vale Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 July 17, 2007 - Mitolo Jester McLaren Vale Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 - Big, forward fruit - slightly tart cherry, smoky black berry, ripe loganberry, a hint of camphor and charcoal on the finish. Avalon Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 - Soft, light-medium bodied, plum, currant, , vanilla and bark. Tasted at Tallula in Arlington, VA.
Chappellet Mountain Cuvee 2004 Label July 16, 2007 - Chappellett Napa Valley Mountain Cuvee 2004 - RM 90; WE 90 - $26 - Full flavored fruit of black berry, ripe black cherry, a hint of soft vanilla, sweet oak, tea modest tannins on the finish. Bordeaux style blend - Cabernet Sauvignon (60%), Merlot (34%), Cabernet Franc (4%), Petit Verdot (2%).

Heathcote II Shiraz 2004 Label on Rick's Winesite on McNees.org
July 10, 2007 - Keenan Napa Valley Spring Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon 2003 - RM 92 W&S 92 - Deep bright garnet colour. Forward full bodied fruit with chewy plum, raspberry and currant flavors. Winemaker notes - The Estate grown Cabernet imparts amazing concentration and remarkable structure, while the portion of Cabernet harvested from the Pope Valley region of Napa has added complex aromas and a balanced mid-palate. Merlot from the Napa Carneros district imparted ripe berry nuances and plenty of forward fruit.  Keenan Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2003 Label on Rick's Winesite on McNees.org 
Flora Springs Trilogy Napa Valley 2003 - RM 91 WE 91 CS - Bordeaux style blend that resembles the earthy black berry and black cherry fruit, depth, breadth and elegance of a left bank claret. Heathcote II, Heathcote, Victoria, Australia Shiraz 2004 - RM 94 RP 94 - $40 - Inky/purple color. Huge full beautiful aromas of fruit that permeate the room upon opening. Full bodied, rich, structured, full forward flavors of graphite, blackberries, black raspberries, chewy currant, mocha and mineral. Tasted BYOB at Francesca's for RG Ad Board Dinner.
July 7, 2007 - Heathcote II, Heathcote, Victoria, Australia Shiraz 2004 - RM 94 RP 94 - $40 - Inky/purple color. Huge full beautiful aromas of fruit that permeate the room upon opening. Full bodied, rich, structured, full forward flavors of graphite, blackberries, black raspberries, chewy currant, mocha and mineral.
July 4, 2007 - Marquis Phillips Shiraz 2005 - RM 88 RP 91 - Big full bodied - essence of mocha, raisins, pepper and spicy, earthy licorice. Great value at under $15.

July 2, 2007 - Steele Stymie Lake County Founder's Reserve Merlot 2002 - RM 92 - $30 - Rich, full flavored forward fruit, red raspberry, plum, currant and a hint of leather and mocha. Very flavorful and pleasant on the mid-palate. Steele Stymie Pinot Noir 2004 - RM 89 - Light-medium bodied, earthy blackberry, black cherry and a hint of smoke. Tasted w/ CM, L & K C, & Jim K at Idylwood Cafe and Wine Bar in Falls Church
Laetitia Pinot Noir 2005 Label July 1, 2007 - Laetitia Limite Pinot Noir 2005 - RM  90 - Dark, black cherry and plum, balanced and complex, layers of blackberry, mushroom and dusty earth. Heller Estate Central Valley Meritage 2003 - RM 90 Black currant, ripe black cherry, plum and cassis fruit with a structured finish of soft tannins and oak. Leaping Lizard Napa Valley Merlot 2003 - RM 88. Flavors f blueberry and blackberry with a hint of mocha tinged chocolate, vanilla and oak. Tasted w/  L and Erin at the outdoor Garden Cafe at the Art Institute of Chicago.
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