Rick's Wine Journal 2nd Half 2008
on Rick's McNees.org/winesite

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

Flight of '8 left bank Bordeaux

December 31, 2008 - Chateau Giscours Margaux 1998; Chateau Beyechevelle St Julien 1988; Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande Pauillac 1998; Chateau Montrose St Estephe 1998; Festive flight of left bank Bordeaux - perfectly paired to courses of cheese selection, bacon infused clam chowder, cheese fondue, lamb chops, tenderloin, chocolate fondue and creme brulee. Served by New Year's eve hosts Bill and Beth C. My BYOB St Julien fit perfectly in Bill's left bank flight selections. Holiday celebration kicked Bollinger Special Cuvee Brut label
off and concluded with Tattinger and Bollinger Special Cuvee Brut NV Champagne. Tasting notes coming.
Del Dotto Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1997 Label December 30, 2008 - Del Dotto Napa Valley Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon 1997 - RM 92 - More structure and more flavorful than the 1998 which we've been drinking. The 98 was drinking better earlier and the 97 is now coming of age. Moderately firm refined tannins. Currant and berry fruit flavors give way to integrated oak and hint of smoke. Tasted w/ L BYOB at Angeli's Restaurant, our favorite neighborhood bistro.
Oakville Ranch Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1996 label December 28, 2008 - Oakville Ranch Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1996 - RM 87 - Medium bodied, black cherry, a slight earthy funk setting in revealing age.
Earthquake Zinfandel label December 27, 2008 - Earthquake Zinfandel 2006 - RM 88 RP 89  - Dark, medium bodied, black cherry, raspberry fruits. Easy drinking zin for the holidays. Marquis Phillips Sarah's Blend 2006 - RM 87; Tasted at Bob & Gloria's holiday dinner party.  Marquis Phillips Sarah's Blend 2006 label
Chateau Lascombes Grand Cru Classe Marqaux 2004 label December 26, 2008 - Chateau Lascombes Grand Cru Classe Margaux 2004 - RP 93 ST 91 RM 92 - Intense dark full bodied and full flavored - dense black fruit, game, expresso coffee, hint of smoke and floral on the firm tannin finish. Tasted BYOB w/ L and Jacquie P at Retro Bistro in Des Plaines. 
Merryvale Profile 1998 label December 25, 2008 - Domaine Chandon NV Blanc de Blanc. RM 89; Merryvale Profile Napa Valley Red Wine (Meritage) 1998 - RM 89 - Showing a little age, needed a couple hours to open - floral and earthy leather bouquet - flavors of black cherry, black fruit, subtle cedar, bright floral violets on the moderate tannin finish. Robert Craig Napa Valley Chardonnay 1996 - RM88: Served w/family at festive Christmas surf & turf dinner - steak, lobster  & crablegs. Robert Craig Napa Valley Chardonnay 1996 label
December 24, 2008 - Razor's Edge Barossa Shiraz 2006 - RM 86;
Landmark Cellars Outlook Chardonnay 2001 -
RM 87 - Served in Munster for Holiday dinner with kids, Gr Evelyn and Keith.
Hazy Blur Adelaide Plaines Shiraz 2004 Label December 23, 2008 - Hazy Blur South Australia Adelaide Plains Shiraz 2004 - RM 89 - Fruit filled and forward - full flavored loganberry, cherry, graphite mineral core, then a subtle, full, rich raspberry. Tasted w/ L at home after she battled a winter storm for 7 hours returning from Indy.
Holiday dinner wine flight. December 20, 2008 - Lanson NV Brut Rose Reserve Champagne - Del Dotto Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1998 - Venge Family Reserve Oakville Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1998 - Matthews Cellars Yakima Valley Meritage Red Wine 1998 - Alois Kracher Chardonnay TBA (Trockenberren Auslese) Neusiedlersee Nouvelle Vague No.9 1998 - Beringer Special Select Late Harvest Riesling 1993 - Cavalchina Passito Veneto IGT 2004 - Mt Pleasant Missouri Augusta Vintage Port 1988; Tasted at festive  Holiday dinner desert wine flight
   holiday dinner party w/ L hosting Bill and Beth, John and Kathy McM, and Pete and Patty T.
Ridge Howell Mountain Zinfandel 1990 label December 18, 2008 - Ridge Howell Mountain Zinfandel 1990 - RM 88 - Tasted w/ L and Alec on his return from IU BYOB at Angeli's Restaurant, our favorite neighborhood bistro.
Tawse Winery Vintners Reserve Cabernet Franc 2006 label
Le Clos Jordanne Le Grand Close 2006 Label
December 15, 2008 - Tawse Winery Vinters Reserve Cabernet Franc 2006 - RM 87 - Dark, medium bodied, slightly earthy black fruit, smoke. Clos Jordanne Le Grand Clos Pinot Noir 2006 - RM 88 - Light bodied, floral aroma, soft subtle spice, leather, muted red and dark fruit. Delicate but nicely integrated and refined. Tasted from the magnificent cellar at elegant Langdon Hall & Country House w/ John S and BJB.
Thorne-Clark Terra Barossa Shiraz 2006 December 12, 2008 - Thorn Clark Terra Barossa Shiraz 2006 - RM88 - $12 - Firm spicy blackberry with a hint of graphite on the finish. RP 90 - RP Review - "The best of the reds is the value priced 2006 Shiraz “Terra Barossa”. Opaque purple, it has an enticing spicy perfume of blueberry and blackberry that jump from the glass. Plush and ripe, it tastes like Shiraz selling for three times the price. It has outstanding depth and length and, best of all, it can be enjoyed now."~(WA). Tasted w/ LBYOB at Angeli's Restaurant, our favorite neighborhood bistro.
Paloma Spring Mountain Merlot 2003 label December 10, 2008 - Paloma Spring Mountain Napa Valley Merlot 2003 - RM 95 WS 90 - $75 - Reduxx of the WS Wine of the Year for 2003 - the 2001 vintage. Impressive, smooth polished, complex harmonious symphony of finely integrated aromas and flavors - huge currant, red raspberry, milk chocolate, a hint of ripe plum, sweet oak and a bit of burnt sugar caramel on the long smooth polished finish. Tasted w/ L, and Marlene U on her Birthday dinner BYOB at Angeli's Restaurant, our favorite neighborhood bistro.
Niebaum Coppola Cask Cabernet Sauvignon 1998 label  December 7, 2008 - Rubicon Estate / Niebaum-Coppola 'Cask' Cabernet Sauvignon 1998 - RM 88 - In 1998 Niebaum-Coppola’s flagship red, Rubicon, was declassified and put into the 1998 Cask Cabernet. Medium bodied, inky dark color, black currents, pencil lead, hints of mint, bittersweet chocolate, dark Bing Cherries, and cedar, sophisticated, balanced with dusty tannins and a supple finish.
Valentin Bianchi Malbec San Rafael Famiglia 2004

December 4, 2008 - ValentÍn Bianchi Malbec San Rafael Famiglia 2004  - RM 88 - WS Review - WS 88 points, $18 - "Fleshy, fruit-driven version, with creamy layers of blackberry, fig and plum. Plenty of toast and cocoa here too, lending a slightly firm feel to the finish, but still lots of fruit." Tasted at Mikes American Grill In Springfield, VA w/ KG.

December 3, 2008 - Livingston Napa Valley Moffett Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 1995 - RM 88 - Dark, medium bodied, earthy, floral bouquet, violets and lavender mix with black cherry and blackberry flavors on a moderate finish. Flinders Run, Southern Flinders Ranges, Baroota, Australia, Shiraz 2005 - RM 93; RP 95; WS 91; IWC 92 - $36 - Dark inky colour. Full bodied, elegant rich symphony of flavors of sweet currant, pepper, vanilla, spice, red raspberry, blueberry and a lingering essence of creme brulee' and cedar on the soft finish. Tasted w/ L, Mark and Gail BYOB at Angeli's Restaurant, our favorite neighborhood bistro. Flinders Run Shiraz 2005 Label on Rick's WineSite
December 2, 2008 - Chateau La Louviere Grand Vin Pessac Leognan Bordeaux 1994 - RM 87 - Firm black fruits, creosote, earthy leather and a hint of smoke. Tasted at home w/ L.
Walter Clore Columbia Crest Red Wine 2000 label November 29, 2008 - Columbia Crest Walter Clore Private Reserve Columbia Red Wine 2000 - RM 89, WS 88 - $30 - Medium bodied, full flavored, complex spice, blackberry, tea, currant with hints of graphite and cedar on the finish. 
Acacia Pinot Noir 2006 label
Pine Ridge Clarksburg Sauvignon Blanc Viogner 2006 label
November 27, 2008 - Domaine St Michelle Cuvee Brut sparkling white wine NV; Acacia 'A' Pinot Noir 2006 - RM 89 - Spice, vanilla, a hint of white pepper with core of moderate black cherry. Pine Ridge Clarksburg Chenin Blanc Viognier 2006; Beringer Special Select Late Harvest Johannisburg Riesling 1993. Served w/ Thanksgiving Dinner w/ L, Erin & Johnny, Kevin & Barb, Alec & Megan, while Ryan & Michelle were delayed w. the Beemer. Beringer Late Harvest Riesling 1993 label
Orin Swift - "The Prisoner' 2007 label November 26, 2008 - Orin Swift Cellars "The Prisoner" Napa Red Blend 2007 - RM 87 - Big bold, forward, over-ripe fruit - too much for my taste but a ready accompaniment to the boldest food or cheese. Tasted w/ Johnny and Justin G. Comments from K&L in SF; "The Prisoner is Released! Yet another beautiful vintage of the prisoner from Orin Swift. This is not a wine to put in your cellar. Big, bright and all about immediate drinking. With vineyards sources such as Duarte, Toffanelli and David Fulton, there is no wonder why this wine is so beautiful and powerful. 50% Zinfandel, 24% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Syrah, 9% Petite Sirah, 2% Charbono and 1% Grenache."
Chateau Les Fiefs de Lagrange 1998 label  November 23, 2008 - Le Fiefs de La Grange St Julien Bordeaux 1998 - RM 89 - Huge floral and slight perfume essence coupled with earthy leathery black fruit that results in a classic left bank Bordeaux experience. Tasted with the remains of the Arrowood and Del Dotto below;  w/ L, Chip & Sue B, Dave and Marie P BYOB at Angeli's Restaurant, our favorite neighborhood bistro.
Arrowood Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon 1998 magnum label
Del Dotto Napa Valley Sangiovese 1998 label

November 21, 2008 -  Flinders Run, Southern Flinders Ranges, Baroota, Australia, Shiraz 2005 - RM 93; RP 95; WS 91; IWC 92 - $36 - Dark inky colour. Medium to full bodied, elegant rich symphony of flavors of sweet currant, pepper, vanilla, spice, red raspberry, blueberry and a lingering essence of creme brulee' and cedar on the soft finish. Arrowood Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon 1998 - RM 89 Earthy currant, berry and plum with a nice smooth refined but short finish. Tasted from magnum.  DEL DOTTO Napa Valley Sangiovese 1998 (RM89) $40 Del Dotto's first release of a 100% Sangiovese, grown on the mountains of Calistoga in Napa Valley. Super fruity nose with a smoky slightly earthy floral flavor - chunky fruity wine. This wine has developed more depth and breath with age. A favorite of Nils Venge, DDO winemaker.  Only a few hundred cases were produced of these early releases. Gabilan Estate Chalone Appellation Brosseau  Vineyard Pinot Noir 2006 - RM 88 - Medium bodied with moderate cherry, strawberry and loganberry  fruits with a hints of black pepper and mocha. Tasted w/ L, BJB & Kate, TS team, Larry C, Kate Y, & Jessie M. BYOB at Angeli's Restaurant, our favorite neighborhood bistro.   Beringer Late Harvest Riesling 1993. Flinders Run Shiraz 2005 Label on Rick's WineSite
Gabilan Cellars Brosseau Vineyard Pinot Noir 2004 Label
Paradigm Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 1994 Label November 18, 2008 - Paradigm Napa Valley Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon 1994 - RM 91, WS 92 - Dark inky color. Full forward fruit flavor of black cherry starting to show its age a bit with earth and leather emerging over the subtle currant, ripe plum, cedar and a hint of anise on a full firm finish. Visited this winery during our 1999 Napa Wine Experience. Tasted w/ L at home.
Rodney Strong Alexander Valley Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Label 2005 November 14, 2008 - Rodney Strong Sonoma County Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Reserve
2004 - RM 90 - Tasted w/ L, Erin and Pat at H's, family dinner enroute back from visiting ATM at IU.
November 13, 2008 - Rosemount Estates Balmoral McLaren Vale Syrah 1997 - RM 89 - ($37) Lead pencil purple, aroma of perfume and fruit - concentrated plum and blackberry fruit with a touch of vanilla and sweet cherry - initially tightly wound then opens to be smooth. Tinge of tight tannins and acid that opens into velvet finish starting to show its age. Tasted w/ L at Angeli's.
Chateau Mont Redon CDP 2003 label
November 12, 2008 - Chateau Mont Redon Chateauneuf du Pape 2003 - RM 88 - Medium bodied, black cherry, blackberry, tar, and smooth soft tannins on the finish. Visited Mont Redon during Rhone Valley Wine Experience. Tasted at Bastille in Alexandria with Bob McP.

Lodi Vineyards Earthquake Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 - RM 86 - Bouquet and flavors of cherry, vanilla, violets and menthol that comes across as a bit of earthiness or a slight hint of wet grass. Tannins kick in by way of the finish. Tasted w/ Bob McP at Gaylord National near WDC.
Lodi Vineyards Earthquake Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 label

November 11, 2008 - Darioush Napa Valley Merlot 2005 - RM 91 - Dark, full bodied, almost sweet black currant, black cherry, spice and cedar. Marquis Phillips '9' McLaren Vale Shiraz 2005 - RM 91, RP 96 - Dark Dense full bodied - almost too much - over the top ripe black fruits, tobacco, on a big full finish. Beaulieu Vineyard Napa Valley Tapestry Reserve Blend 2004 - RM 90 WE 92 - More refined, subdued, Beaulieu Vineyards Tapestry Reserve 2004 labelDarioush Napa Valley Merlot 1999 Label
moderate bodied than the previous two wines -  black cherry, dark chocolate, a hint of black olive on the finish. Tasted w/ KD, LC and JK at Capital Grill in Tyson's Corner.
Rosenblum Kick Ranch Sonoma County Syrah Reserve 2005 November 10, 2008 - Rosenblum Cellars Kick Ranch Reserve Syrah 2005 - RM 92 WS 94- Dark, dense full bodied black fruit, ripe plum, black raspberry, black pepper and hints of spice and cedar. Tasted w/ KD, LC and JK at Idylwild Grill & WIne Bar in Falls Church.
Chateau Mazeris Canon-Fronsac Bordeaux 1989 label  
November 9, 2008 - Chateau Mazeris Canon-Fronsac Bordeaux 1989
Underground Wine Company Map Mt Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 label November 8, 2008 - Underground Wine Company Map Mt. Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 - RM 89 - $39 - Dark, full bodied, full forward black fruit, earth, leather, tar, pepper and hint of cedar.
Behrens & Hitchcock Napa Valley Oakville Merlot 1996 Label November 6, 2008 - Behrens & Hitchcock Napa Valley Oakville Merlot 1996 - RM 89 - Starting to show slight signs of age - very slight color deterioration and earthiness creeping in but still abundant fruit remains - currant, black berry, black cherry and hint of plum on a moderate tannin finish. Tasted w/ L BYOB at favorite neighborhood trattoria Angeli's.
Clos de Betz Washington Red 2005 label November 5, 2005 - Betz Family Vineyards Clos de Betz Red Wine 2005 - RM 90 RP 92 - From Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate from our tasting in July, 2007, four months after bottling:  “… opaque purple colored with bright aromas of pain grille, spice box, cranberry, clove, cassis, and black currant… a harmonious, layered wine with tons of flavor, well-concealed tannins, and outstanding length. 92 points” - Winemaker Notes - This is simply the best Clos de Betz we’ve made. Our fine tuning of vineyard sources and cellar techniques to focus on the core of the blend, Merlot’s richness and density, have yielded expected results. Filled with deep black cherry, roasted chocolate and spice, the flavor is succulent, balanced and long finished. Grapes from our blocks in the Horse Heavens, on Red Mountain and in Yakima Valley in nearly equal proportions make up the blend: 56% Merlot, 19% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Malbec, and 9% Cabernet Franc. Tasted at Luna in Champaign w/ BJB, DM and SE.
Veritas Monticello Cabernet Franc 2006 label
November 2, 2008 - Veritas Monticello 2006 Cabernet Franc; Le Volte Tenuta del Ornellaia Toscana 2006; Tasted w/ L at Tallula in Arlington, VA. Le Volte Tenuto del Ornellaia Toscana 2006 Label
Turley Old Vines Zinfandel 2006 label
Chateau Loudenne Medoc Bordeaux 2004 label
November 1, 2008 - Turley Old Vines Zinfandel 2006; Chateau Loudenne Medoc Bordeaux 2004; Henri Boillot Les Cras Meursault 1er Cru Burgundy 2004; Tasted w/ L at Bistro Bis in WDC. D'Arenberg Dead Arm McLaren Vale Shiraz 2006; Kunde Reserve Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon 2005; Tasted at Washington Golf and Country Club in Arlington at "FOJ - Friends of Jon" gala dinner party. Henri Boillot Les Cras 1er cru Meursault Burdundy 2004 Label
   
Bastille Restaurant Tasting Course Wine Pairing Flight October 31, 2008 - Saint Meyland Cave de Marsigny, Brut Rose, NV; Heimberger Pinot Gris 2005; Domaine de la Noblaie, Chinon, "Les Chiens Chiens" 2004; Domaine de Berane Cotes du Ventoux, "les Blaques" 2005; Kiona Vineyards, Washington, Late Harvest Riesling 2005; Domaine Coyeaux Muscat Beaume de Venise 2003 - Tasted w/ L at Bastille Restaurant in Alexandria Virginia - Michelle & Christophe Pric Fix Course Tasting and Wine Pairing.
Dominus Estate Proprietary Red Wine 2005 Magnum label

Kracher Chardonnay TBA #7 2001 label
October 30, 2008 - Dominus Estate Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 - RP 96 RM 95 From Magnum. Robert Parker review: The 2005 Dominus (a cuvee of 92% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest equal parts Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot) has come of age, and is one of the strongest efforts they’ve made. It is possibly the best Dominus since the 2001, and perhaps even the 1997 or 1991. A beautiful, sweet nose of roasted coffee interwoven with kirsch, black currant, cedar, and spice box emerges from this deep ruby/purple-colored wine. The wine has fabulous intensity, a layered,  opulent, full-bodied mouthfeel, well-integrated acidity, and a stunningly long finish. The layering of this wine as it builds incrementally on the palate is something to behold. An outstanding, sexy, ageworthy Dominus, it will benefit from 2-3 years of cellaring, and last for at least 25 or 30 years. When I am tasting at Dominus, they always present a wine opened the day before and decanted, and one just opened, and the extended aeration version always seems to be the better example of the wine, so plenty of decanting seems to be in order.; I was pleasantly surprised this wine was so approachable so young, and so delightful upon opening. BYOB didnt allow long decanting/ breathing time yet it was open, fruit filled, firm, long, and yes it did evolve over the evening to reveal layers of dark fruit and subtle hints of other exotic nuances. Kracher Trockenbeeren Auslese Chardonnay #7 2001 - RM 93 WS 95- $69. Tea colored, thick, unctuous, rich smoky honey flavored. Wine Spectator review - 95 points - 150 cases made ,There's a lot of botrytis in thie thick, ultrasweet nectar, which today covers the vibrant structure and mutes the orange marmalade, butterscotch and nutmeg notes.  It has balance and a beautiful texture, melting in the mouth on the long finish.; Tasted BYOB at the Tower Club in McLean w/ L, the K's and the C's.
Iron Horse Estate Pinot Noir Label October 28, 2008 - Stags Leap Napa Valley Chardonnay 2006 - RM 87; Iron Horse Estate Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2005 - RM 90 WE 93 - Dark, expressive black berry fruit, earthy spice, subtle tea flavor on the finish. Tasted w/ Pete C. at Fish Bones in Fairfax, VA. 
Clos du Val Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 label October 25, 2008 - Clos du Val Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 - RM 88 - RP 89 - RP Review - Rating: 89
This young wine will benefit from several years in the cellar, but if you drink it now, decant it for a few hours before serving. That will at least give the tannins some chance to breathe and soften, revealing the complex flavors of currants, blackberries, cassis, olive tapenade and sweet oak. Cabernet Sauvignon 85%, Cabernet Franc 10%, Merlot 3%, Petit Verdot 2% -  Tasted at Little Zagreb in Bloomington w/ Erin & Johnny, Alec, Shanik, Anne & Salome, Justin & Angela, and Daryn.

http://www.mcnees.org/winesite/labels/labels_australia/lbl_AU_dArenberg_03_remc.jpg

October 23, 2008 - d' Arenberg 'The Dead Arm' McLaren Vale Shiraz 2003 -  RP 95 RM 92 - $59 - RP Review - ‘One of this estate’s flagship wines, the 2003 The Dead Arm Shiraz appears to be better than the 2002. A deeper, richer, fuller-bodied offering that spent time in equal parts French and American oak, it possesses an opaque purple colour, great intensity, and a fabulously sweet nose of blackberries, cassis, asphalt, earth, and oak. Powerful, super-concentrated, and obviously fashioned from low yields and old vines, this is classic McLaren Vale old vine Shiraz that should age nicely for 15+ years.’ RP Rating 95. Reminiscent of the 94/95 Dead Arms reflecting a distinctive blueberry taste along with that sweet oak, blackberry and slight earthy smoke, but smooth and polished - more approachable than some of the overpowering over-ripe fruit bombs coming out of Australia recently. - RM - Dark full bodied, concentrated forward ripe black fruits, hint of cassis raisin, slight tar firm tannin finish.  
http://www.mcnees.org/winesite/labels/labels_australia/lbl_AU_Willows_barossa_shiraz_2002_remc.jpg October 21, 2008 - The Willows Vineyard Barossa Valley Shiraz 2002 - RM 90 - $49 - Dark, full bodied, thick chewy, fruit forward black raspberry, ripe plum, black cherry with a long full finish. Tasted w/ L BYOB at Angeli's.
Gaja Sugarille Pieve Santa Restituta Brunello di Montalcino 1996 label
October 19, 2008 - Leoville Las Cases St Julien Bordeaux 1993 -  RM 89 - Earthy leather, purfume of violets, black cherry, anise, sage and a moderate tannin long finish.
Gaja
Sugarille Pieve Santa Restituta Brunello di Montalcino 1996 - RM 90 - Black raspberry, black cherry fruits evolve with firm tannins on the long fruit filled finish. .
Tasted BYOB w/ L, Andy and Liat at Angelis.
Chateau Leoville Las Cases St Julien Bordeaux 1993 label
Flinders Run Shiraz 2005 Label on Rick's WineSite Flinders Run, Southern Flinders Ranges, Baroota, Australia, Shiraz 2005 - RM 93; RP 95; WS 91; IWC 92 - $36 - Dark inky colour. Medium to full bodied, elegant rich symphony of flavors of sweet currant, pepper, vanilla, spice, red raspberry, blueberry and a lingering essence of creme brulee' and cedar on the soft finish. Tasted at home w/ L, Andy and Liat.
Silver Oak Napa Valley Bonny's Vineyard 1982 label
Calera Ryan Vineyard Mount Harlan Pinot Noir 2004 label
October 18, 2008 - Silver Oak Bonny's Vineyard Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1982 - Calera Ryan Vineyard Pinot Noir 2004; Horizontal tasting from magnums of Diamond Creek Napa Valley Red Rock Terrace Cabernet Sauvignon 1989,  Diamond Creek Napa Valley Gravelly Meadow Cabernet Sauvignon 1989,  Diamond Creek Napa Valley Volcanic Hill Cabernet Sauvignon 1989 and 1983. Wines shared and tasted with family and friends at Ryan and Michelle's (nee Diamond) gala wedding reception. Diamond Creek Vineyard Horizontal of 1989 three vineyards magnums
Diamond Creek Volcanic Hill Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 1983 Label
October 17, 2008 - Silver Oak Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1982 - WS 90, RM 90 - Aromatic violets infused with cherry and soft oak with a hint of anise at the end. From 6 liter Imperial - Diamond Creek Volcanic Hill Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1983 - RM 91 - Essence of cognac with firm black fruits with a firm tannin finish. From Magnum. Birth year wines of Ryan and Michelle served BYOB at their wedding rehearsal gala dinner at Carlucci's.
azSilver Oak Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1982 6 ltr label 
Fantesca Estate & Winery Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 bottle
October 16, 2008 - Robert Craig Mt Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon 2001 - RM 89; Fantesca Spring Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon 2004; Silver Oak Bonny's Vineyard Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1982; Warm-up for the gala wedding weekend wine tasting (s). Stark contrast of three differing styles of Napa cabs - firm full almost hard Mt Veeder vs silky almost velvety, soft and elegant Spring Mtn cab vs earthy, leathery, licorice laced aged vintage Napa cab. Tasted at home with L, Ryan & Michelle, and Jan and Bill in a subset replay of our gala Napa Wine Weekend where we tasted the Robt Craig Mt Veeder and his as yet unreleased Spring Mountain cab from barrel. Robert Craig Mount Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon 2001 Label
Silver Oak Bonny's Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 1982 Label October 15, 2008 - Silver Oak Bonny's Vineyard Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1982 - RM 90 - Huge perfume and taste of violets, smooth soft oak, earthy cherry, black berry, cedar and floral oak on a long finish. Tasted w/. L and Ryan commemorating his birth year and preview of large format 6 liter imperial awaiting amd on the approach of his wedding weekend.
Del Dotto Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2001 label on McNees.org/winesite October 14, 2008 - Del Dotto Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2001 - RM 90 - Consistent w/ previous tasting notes. RM 91 WS 85 - $65 - Big floral berry scent - big mouthful of currant, plum and berry and a hint of cassis with a long full lingering finish accented by full but soft tannins.  Tasted w/ L and Ryan BYOB at Angelis Italian Restaurant.
Marquis Phillips Sarah's Blend 2006 label October 12, 2008 - Marquis Philips "Sarah's Blend" South Australia 2006 - RM 90 - RP 91 - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2006 Sarah’s Blend is composed of 60% Shiraz, 28% Cabernet Sauvignon, and the balance Merlot and Cabernet Franc. It was barrel-fermented and aged in seasoned French oak for 12 months. Deep crimson-colored, it yields a complex aromatic array of cedar, spice box, clove, pepper, cassis, and blueberry. Full-bodied, fruit-driven, and intensely flavored, this layered blend has a 45-second finish. Drink it over the next 8 years." (10/07
Dominus Napanook Napa Valley 2004 Label October 8, 2008 - Dominus Napanook Red Wine 2004.
Rosemount Balmoral Syrah 2002 Label October 7, 2008 - Rosemount Estates Balmoral McLaren Vale Syrah 2002.
Bordeaux Featured Wines at Binny's Midwest Wine Expo 2008 October 5, 2008 - Extensive tasting at Binny's Beverage Depot Midwest Wine Expo. Highlights and memorable selections included: Acacia Carneros Napa Valley Pinot Noir 2006; Grgich Hills Napa Valley Merlot 2003 and Grgich Hills Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2004; Clos du Val Napa Oakville Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2004; Nickel & Nickel Napa Valley Harris Vineyard Merlot 2005, Darien Vineyard Syrah 2005, and Ponzo Vineyard Russian River Valley Zinfandel 2005; La Crema Anderson Valley Pinot Noir 2005; Larkmead Firebelle Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2005; Joseph Carr Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2004; Layer Cake  Malbec 2007; Two Hands Gnarly Dudes Shiraz 2006; Terlato Vineyards Angels Peak Syrah 2003;
Atlas Peak Cabernet Sauvignon 2004; Rodney Strong, Reserve, Alexander Valley, Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon 2005;
With Erinn Benzinger of Benzinger Family Winery, Signaterra Sonoma County Russian River Valley Shone Farm Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2007, Signaterra Bela Luna Vineyard Pinot Noir 2006, Obsidian Point, Sonoma Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon 2005, Tribute Sonoma Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon 2005; Castello Banfi Brunello Montalcino 2003; From the Judgment of Paris French vs Californian tasting - Chateau Montelena Napa Valley Chardonnay 2006 vs. Mischief and Mayhem Puligny Montrachet Cote de Beaune 2005, Fiddlehead Cellars, FiddleStix, 728 Vineyard, Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir 2005 vs. Nicolas Potel Volnay Vieilles Vignes Cote de Beaune 2005, and Stags Leap Napa Valley Artemis Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 vs. Chateau St Pierre St Julien Bordeaux 2003; Sauternes Ch La Tour Blanche 2002,  Ch. Doisy Vedrines 2004; and a selection of Bordeaux's from St Emilion, St Estephe, St Julien, Pessac Leognan, Margaux and lesser appellations.
Cullen La Pallette Napa Valley Red Wine 2005 Label October 3, 2008 - Culler La Pallette Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 - RM 89 - Dark inky purple, fruit forward gooseberry, currant, red raspberry and silky firm tannins on the finish. Culler is wine maker for Ladera, recently visited during our Napa Valley Howell Mountain Wine Experience.  
Chateau Giscours Margaux 2004 label September 30, 2008 - Chateau Giscours Grand Cru Classe Margaux Bordeaux 2004; RM 88 - $35 -  Deep dark purple ink color, medium bodied, subtle floral bouquet and flavor, black fruit, slight tar and a hint of licorice becoming more open and revealing more fruit into the evening. Tasted w/ L, BYOB at Angeli's, our favorite neighborhood bistro. 
Chateau Brane Cantenac Margaux Bordeaux 1982 label September 27, 2008 - Chateau Brane Cantenac Grand Cru Classe Margaux Bordeaux 2004 and 1982; 04 - RM 90, RP 90 - Wow - what an interesting contrast of old and new world evolving styles!. The deep purple medium bodied 04  exhibited huge floral bouquet and flavor, accented by black fruit, currant, plum and a hint of licorice. '82 - RM 87 - The fruit was overtaken by classic 'old world' Bordeaux style earthy leather and wood bark before revealing subtle black fruit.  Chateau St Jean Sonoma County Cinq Cepages 2003 - RM 88, WE 94 - Medium bodied, subtle black raspberry and black cherry fruit, a hint of smoke on a firm tannin finish. ; Ladera Napa Valley Malbec 2006 - RM 89 - Dark, full bodied, thick mouth coating black fruit, black cherry, plum and firm tannins on a full long finish. BYOB, just received from the winery - tasted in Napa at our recent Napa Valley Howell Mountain Wine Experience. ; Marquis Phillips Shiraz 2000 - RM 87 - Amazing life in this eight year old that seemed to soften the somewhat metallic mineral taste into a more subtle and more approachable camphor that is more harmonious with the full bodied black raspberry and plum.; Tasted w/ L at Bill and Beth C's on a wonderfully delightful perfect autumn evening on the deck with tasty tenderloin sandwiches, veggies, assortment of delicious cheeses and fine chocolates.  
Gaja Dagromis Barolo 2003 September 24, 2008 - Gaja Dagromis Barolo 2003 - RM 90 WS 92 - $95 - True to the Gaja Piedmont Barbaresco style - full bodied - intense firm dark black berry, bark, a hint of tar, licorice, anise, and slight smoke on a moderate finish. A new label from Gaja from the Dagromis Family property in nearby Barolo near the village of Barbaresco. - 100% nebbiolo. Tasted at Ciba Wine Bar & Trattoria at DCA - Reagan National.

September 23, 2008 - Groth Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2006 - RM 87 - Light crisp sharp citrus essence; La Crema Sonoma County Chardonnay 2007 - Full bodied, slightly harsh, butter, oak and hint of wood. Tasted w/ POLA pursuit team - Betty P, John D et al at McCormick & Schmick in Tysons Corner.
Flinders Run Shiraz 2005 Label on Rick's WineSite September 19, 2008 - Flinders Run, Southern Flinders Ranges, Baroota, Australia, Shiraz 2005 - RM 93; RP 95; WS 91; IWC 92 - $36 - Dark inky colour. Medium to full bodied, elegant rich symphony of flavors of sweet currant, pepper, vanilla, spice, red raspberry, blueberry and a lingering essence of creme brulee' and cedar on the soft finish. Taken BYOB as hospitality thank you gift to Bev & Dennis' in Bloomington. 
September 18, 2008 - Chateau Meyney St Estephe Bordeaux 1986 - RM 88 - Medium bodied - black berry, anise, a hint of earthy tar with a black cherry finish. From our cellar BYOB, tasted w/ L at Angeli's Restaurant, our favorite neighborhood trattoria.
September 17, 2008 - Marquis Phillips Southeast Australia Shiraz 2006 - RM 87 - WA 92 $14 - A bit too much 'metallic' essence to my liking that overpowers the full bodied black fruit and black pepper and lingers on the long firm finish. WA Review - The 2006 Shiraz was barrel-fermented and aged in predominantly American oak for 12 months. It offers up fragrant aromas of cedar, smoke, tar, blueberry, and blackberry liqueur. Full-bodied, opulent, and structured, this intense, well-balanced Shiraz will evolve for 2-3 years and drink well through 2016. It is an excellent value. - Jay Miller Wine Advocate 92 Points
September 14, 2008 - Markham Vineyards Petit Syrah 2001 - RM 89 - Dark deep purple color. Fragrance and mouthful of forward fruit black berry, black raspberry, an undercurrent of cedar, subtle black pepper, anise on a firm finish.
Abbaye de Lerins - Vin de Pays des Alpes Maritimes 1998
September 11, 2008 - Chateau Lynch Bages Pauillac Bordeaux 2004 - RM 84 - Medium-light bodied, somewhat 'green' earthy, leathery black fruit.  Abbaye de Lerrins, Vendange des Moines”, Vin de Pays des Alpes Maritimes 1998 - RM 88 - Black fruits, black berry, black cherry, anise, and hints of smoke and leather on the moderate finish. Turley Old Vines Zinfandel 2006 - RM 91 - Dark purple, full bodied, thick unctuous ripe plum, black raspberry, black cherry, hint of black pepper on the moderate finish. Chapelle St Arnoux - Muscat de Beaumes de Venise 2005 - RM 87 - Pear color, soft essence of ripe peach, a hint of smoke. Tasted w/ CM, PC, Tim G. at Les Halles Brasserie on Penn Ave. in DC. Chateau Lynch Bages Pauillac Bordeaux 2004 label
Chapelle St Arnoux - Muscat de Beaumes de Venise 2005
Jordan Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon September 10, 2008 - Jordan Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 - RM 91 - Medium bodied, essence of plum and red raspberry, smoke and cola. Tasted w/ JK at Idylwild Grill in Falls Church. Winemaker notes - A combination of Merlot (18%), Cabernet Franc (2%), Petit Verdot (4%), and Cabernet Sauvignon (76%) creates well-integrated flavors, deep color, and balance. The bouquet offers distinct notes of cassis, black cherry, and cocoa. The aromatic qualities of the Petit Verdot marry well with the soft, alluring flavors of Merlot and complement the masculine tannins of the Cabernet Sauvignon. Jordan 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon has a rich texture and opulent flavors, complemented by a restrained framework of oak that leads to a lingering finish of violet, earth, smoke, and cola.
Chateau Lalande Meric Bordeaux Rose September 9, 2008 - Wine pairing w/ five course tasting menu at Bastille Restaurant in Alexandria. Saint Meyland Brut Rose, Cave de Marsigny, NV; Heimberger Pinot Gris Alsace 2005; Chateau Lalande Meric Bordeaux Rose 2006; Finca La Linda Argentine Malbec 2006; Couteaux du Layon, "Les 4 Villages", Domaine Jo Pithon, 2005; Gaillac Mousseaux, "Cuvee St Laurent".  More to come.
Les Pagodes des Cos St Estephe Bordeaux 2003 Label September 5, 2008 - Les Pagodas de Cos St Estephe Bordeaux 2003 - RP 88 RM 88 - Full floral violets and earthy black cherry and a hint of raspberry.
  September 4, 2008 -  Hall T-Bar-T Napa Valley Merlot 2004 - RM 89 - Dark medium bodied black berry, a hint of strawberry, and smoke. Tasted w/ BJB and Kurt G at Francesca's in St Charles.
Liparita Napa Valley Merlot 1997 Label September 1, 2008 - Liparita Vineyards Napa Valley Merlot 1997 - RM 88 - Black cherry, leather, licorice and plum and red raspberry on the finish.
Groth Vineyards Oakville Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1990 label August 28, 2008 - Groth Vineyards Napa Valley Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon 1990 - RM 87 - Earthy, leather, black cherry, hint of smoke, anise and licorice. ATM birth-year wine tasted BYOB at Angelis' w/ L commemorating ATM's departure to IU and our new empty-nest lifestyle!
Chateau St Michelle Indian Wells Merlot 2004 label
August 26, 2008 - Robert Craig Vineyards Affinity Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2003 - RM 89 - Black cherry, mocha and spices. Tasted w/ L at Jankos Little Zagreb steak house in Bloomington. Chateau St Michelle Columbia Valley Indian Wells Vineyard Merlot 2004 - RM 88 - Full bodied, ripe black cherry turning to anise on the soft round finish. Tasted w/ L and Rahejas at Scholars Inn in Bloomington.  Robert Craig Napa Valley Affinity 2005 Label
Elan Vineyards Atlas Peak Cabernet Sauvignon 1996 label August 25, 2008 - Elan Vineyards Atlas Peak Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1996 - RM 89 - Tasted w/ L and ATM on his last night at home before IU.
Reid Lockhart Napa Valley Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 Label August 23, 2008 - Reid Lockhart Howell Mountain Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 - RM88  

Elderton Command Single Vineyard Barossa Valley Shiraz 2001 Label

August 20, 2008 - Elderton Command Single Vineyard Barossa Valley Shiraz 2001 & 2003 - 2001 - RM 91 RP 95 - Robert Parker  review Drink 2005-2020. The 2001 Shiraz Command exhibits a slightly more roasted character than the 2002 as well as a hint of espresso in the nose, a touch more alcohol, and more elevated tannin. It also possesses tremendous concentration, intensity, and power, yet remains remarkably well-balanced and pure. This 3,000-case cuvee is one of South Australia’s great classics. It should drink well for 15 years. Elderton Command Single Vineyard Barossa Valley Shiraz 2003 - RM 94 RP 95 Robert Parker/Wine Advocate #167 Oct 2006. While the deep plum/ruby/garnet-tinged 2003 Shiraz Command is slightly less nuanced than the 2002, it is just as powerful and full-bodied, offering copious quantities of fruit, Elderton Command Single Vineyard Shiraz 2001, 2003 Labels
glycerin, tannin, and muscle. This chewy, rich offering appears to be on a faster evolutionary track than its 2002 counterpart. Give it another 2-3 years of bottle age, and consume it over the following 12-15. Tasted BYOB at Biaggi's in Champaign with RG exec team.

White Cottage Napa Valley Cabernet 1999 label on McNees.org/winesite

August 18, 2008 - White Cottage Vineyard Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon 1999 -

Viader "V" Napa Valley Red Table Wine 2004 Label

August 16, 2008 - Viader Cabernet Sauvignon Blend 2004 - Viader Cabernet Sauvignon Blend 2001 - Viader Dare Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 - Viader Dare Cabernet Franc 2004 - Viader 'V' Blend - Viader Syrah 2006 - Viader Tempranillo 2004 - Tasted at the winery on Howell Mountain, Napa Valley. See Napa Howell Mountain Wine Experience 2008 - Viader4
Ladera Napa Valley Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 label August 16, 2008 - Ladera Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 - Ladera Mt Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 - Ladera Napa Valley Malbec 2006 -Ladera Pillow Road Vineyard Russian River Valley Sonoma County Pinot Noir 2006 - Tasted at the winery on Howell Mountain, Napa Valley. See Napa Howell Mountain Wine Experience 2008 - Ladera.
The Standish Barossa Valley Single Vineyard Shiraz 2002 Label August 16, 2008 - Paradigm Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 - The Standish Barossa Shiraz 2002 - Tasted w/ L, Jan & Bill, Andy and friend at our favorite Tra Vigne in St Helena.
  August 16, 2008 - Saddleback Napa Valley Pinot Grigio 2006 - Tasted at Auberge Mer Soleil in Napa Valley.
Spence Howell Mountain Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 Label August 15, 2008 - Spence Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 - Tasted at Hurley's Restaurant in Yountville, Napa Valley. More to come.
Dunn Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 Label August 15, 2008 - Dunn Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 - Dunn Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon 2003 - Dunn Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon 2002 - Dunn Howell Mountain Trailer Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 (from barrel) - Dunn Howell Mountain JK Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 (from barrel) - Tasted at the Dunn Vineyards winery on Howell Mountain, Napa Valley. See Napa Howell Mountain Wine Experience 2008  - Dunn.
Robert Craig Napa Valley Affinity 2005 Label August 15, 2008 - Robert Craig Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 - Robert Craig Mt Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 - Robert Craig Affinity Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 - Robert Craig Spring Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 (from barrell) - Robert Craig Howell Mountain Zinfandel 2005 - Robert Craig Howell Mountain Zinfandel 2006 (from barrell) - Robert Craig Chardonnay 2006 - Tasted at the winery on Howell Mountain, Napa Valley. See Napa Howell Mountain Wine Experience 2008 - Robert Craig.
Lamborn Family Vineyards Howell Moutain Cab 2005 and Zin 2006 Labels August 15, 2008 - Lamborn Family Vineyards Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 - Lamborn Family Vineyards 'Serendipity' Howell Mountain Zinfandel 2006 - Tasted at the Lamborn Family Vineyard on Howell Mountain, Napa Valley. See Napa Howell Mountain Wine Experience 2008 - Lamborn.
NorthStar Columbia Valley Merlot 2000 label
August 14, 2008 - NorthStar Columbia Valley Merlot 2000 - Stags Leap District Artemis Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 - Tasted w/ Jan & Bill, Andy and L at the Walnut Creek Marriott. More to come. Stags Leap Cellars Artemis Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 2003 Label on Rick's WineSite
Silver Oak Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2003 label August 13, 2008 - Silver Oak Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2003 - Tasted at Jan & Bill's in Huntington Beach.  More to come.
Girard Artistry 2005 Napa Valley Red Wine label August 13, 2008 - Girard 'Artistry' Napa Valley Red Wine 2005 - Tasted w/ L at 'Ten' on Balboa Island, Newport Beach. More to come.
Outpost Napa Valley Howell Mountain Zinfandel 2005 Label
August 10, 2008 - Outpost Vineyards Howell Mountain Zinfandel 2006 - RM 88 - Chateau Montelena Napa Valley Chardonnay 2006. Chateau Montelena Napa Chardonnay 2006 Label
Dunn Vineyards Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1989 Label August 8, 2008 - Dunn Vineyards Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1989 - RM 89
August 6, 2008 - Freemark Abbey Bosche Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 1992 - RM 91- Owen Roe Stagecoach Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 - RM 88 - Tasted at Sola Restaurant in Chicago - dinner preview to Premiere opening of Bottle Shock, The Movie. Tasted w/ L, Carla M, Bill and Beth C. Owen Roe Sharecroppers cabernet 2006 label
Robert Craig Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon 1997 Label August 4, 2008 - Robert Craig Napa Valley Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 - RM 93 WE94 - Distinctive Howell Mountain terrior taste - rich, firm, concentrated black currant, black berry, raspberry, spice, a hint of mineral and firm silky tannins on the long finish. Tasted w. Joel N and Rob R at Sullivan's in Naperville.
Hartford Family Winery - Lands Edge Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2005  
August 3, 2008 - Hartford Family Wines Sonoma Coast Land's End Vineyard Pinot Noir 2005 - RM 90 - $45 - Complex aromas of ripe cherries, violets and cedar are followed by flavors of perfectly ripe, firm black cherries, mixed red and black berries. Allspice and coffee notes complement a long, multi-faceted finish in this exciting, new Hartford Court Pinot Noir.

The Standish Barossa Valley Single Vineyard Shiraz 2002 Label

August 2, 2008 - The Standish 'Single Vineyard Shiraz' Barossa Valley Shiraz 2002 - RM 93, WS 94, RP 98 - $80 - From a heavy thick bottle - rich, thick, full bodied, dark ink color - blackberry, black raspberry, hints of blueberry and spicy currant, turn to cassis and a hint of glycerin on the full finish. Other Reviews - Wine Advocate - The sensational 2002 Shiraz (from 89-year-old vines) offers up scents of roasted meats, beef broth, blackberries, and cassis liqueur. Its texture, sumptuous depth, and incredible richness and purity blew me away. Despite its huge size, it possesses tremendous equilibrium and definition. Drink this classic South Australian Shiraz over the next 10-15 years. If you love the wines of Torbreck, you’ll also find this wine totally compelling. Score range: 95-98. Score: 98. —Robert Parker, October 2005. Wine Spectator - Impressive in so many ways, not least in how it packs layers and layers of flavor into a lithe package that never loses its refinement. The blueberry and currant flavors submerge themselves in a racy frame, enlivened by acidity but marked by gentle generosity on the long finish. Best from 2009 through 2017. 520 cases made. Score: 94. —Harvey Steiman, February 28, 2007.  Tasted at home with L, Bill and Beth C. with a 'vertical' tasting of Sweet Water Valley Farmstead aged Tennessee cheddar cheeses from 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2005.

Cabernet Sauvignon

July 30, 2008 - St. Clement Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 - RM 90 - Winemaker notes - Rich, ruby red in color, aromatics of red cherry, boysenberry, cassis and vanilla spice on the nose, as flavors of strawberry jam, cherry cola and black licorice intertwine with clove and hints of cocoa powder on the palate. Integrated, supple tannins create the refined structure that carries this well-balanced Cabernet to a lengthy and flavorful finish. Review - Aromas of blueberry, black cherry, coffee and toffee are the introduction to this elegant Cabernet Sauvignon. A full-bodied entry of blackberry and wild cherry hit the palate as flavors of cola, chocolate, coffee and leather commingle to create a complex and multifaceted wine. The velvety tannins carry notes of blueberry through to the long, supple finish that lingers with hints of smoke from the 100 percent French oak...96% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Cabernet Franc. Tasted w/ JK and DF at Idylwood Grill in Falls Church. 
Howell Mountain Vineyards Old Viness Zinfandel 2004 label July 29, 2008 - Howell Mountain Vineyards Old Vines Zinfandel 2004 - RM 91 - Full bodied but easy drinking, sweet flavors of ripe cherry, red raspberry and blueberry quickly give way to a predominate white pepper, with hints of anise and coffee. It has a nice silky mouth feel and a soft and lasting finish. Tasted at gala dinner with Ambassador SMM, Congressman CW, and delegation at Taiwanese Twin Oaks Estates mansion in DC.
Dominus Estate Napa Valley 2003 label July 28, 2008 - Dominus Estate Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2003 - RM 90 - Full bodied, firm, eucalyptus, cedar, black fruit, black cherry, leather, anise and smoke, with polished tannin finish. Tasted w/ Ambassador SMM & KD at Capitol Grill in DC.

Venge Family Reserve Sangiovese 1997 Label

July 27, 2008 - Venge Napa Valley Oakville Penny Lane Family Reserve Sangiovese 1997 - RM 88 - Consistent with earlier, but not last tasting - predominant cedar aroma and taste gives way to plum and spicy cherry with a touch of anise. Chateau St Jean Sonoma County Cinq Cepages Cabernet Sauvignon 1994 - RM 88 - Slightly earthy, leathery, anise, black fruit, and black cherry. Tasted w/ L, Erin & Johnny, Barb & Kevin - early birthday celebration for Johnny - presented him with new set of clubs. Tasted at Angelis' w/ Alec serving.  

Seavey Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1996 Label

July 25, 2008 - Seavey Vineyards Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1996 - RM 91 - Full firm black fruits, anise, leather, and firm tannins on the long finish. Warre's Quinta da Cavadinha Vintage Porto 1995 - 91 - Full bodied, thick, firm black fruit, licorice and anise. Tasted at home at backyard grilled flank steak dinner w/ Mark D, & Johnny while L & ELM are in ATL. Joined by Mark Z & Shirley for French Silk and Warre's. Warres Quinta da Cavadinha Vintage Port 1995
Chateau La Louviere Pessac Leognan Graves 1994 Label July 22, 2008 - Chateau La Louviere Grand Vin Pessac Leognan Graves Bordeaux 1994 - RM 89 - Full bodied, firm black fruits, creosote, earthy leather and a hint of smoke. Perfect complement to the Porcini Mushroom pasta in brown sauce at Angeli's, local Italian bistro where Alec was serving. 
Cornerstone Cellars Napa Valley Howell Mountain Beatty Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon 1997 label July 19, 2008 - Cornerstone Cellars Napa Valley Howell Mountain Beatty Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon 1997 - RM 90 RP 94 WS 96 - Perhaps this wine was 'closed' at this time. I found it a bit uninspiring relative to or not up to the hype and hyperbole of the pundits ratings. Too early? Let's hope so as I have several more bottles so time will tell. (This seemed to be the case with some other recent tastings of 1997 Napa Cabs - 97 BV Tapestry below). It was good never-the-less -  balanced, medium bodied, black cherry, black berry, anise and leather with moderate firm tannin and a hint of oak. Tasted w/ L, Ryan & Michelle with beef tenderloin on the deck.
Robert Craig Napa Valley Affinity 2003 Label July 18, 2008 - Robert Craig Napa Valley Affinity Cabernet Sauvignon 2003 - RM 91 - A perennial favorite wines from a featured winemaker from our Napa Wine Experiences. Nice balance of fruit and pronounced oak - black cherry, black berry, subtle well integrated tannins. Tasted w/ ENA and Kathy - tasty complement to grilled steak at their place. 
Jip Jip Rock Limestone Coast Australian Cabernet Shiraz 2005 July 17, 2008 - Jip Jip Rocks Limestone Coast Australia Syrah - Cabernet 2005 - RM 89 - RP 91 - The Wine Advocate Dec 2006 Issue # 168 - Jip Jip Rocks� 2005 Shiraz Limestone Coast exhibits a deep ruby/purple color as well as attractive blueberry, black raspberry, and creosote characteristics, wonderful intensity, supple tannin, and a long finish.
Trevor Jones Barossa Valley Cabernet Merlot 1995 Label July 16, 2008 - Trevor Jones Barossa Valley Cabernet Merlot 1995 - Moet Chandon NV White Star Champagne - Tasted w/ L, Mark & Shirley at Angeli's.
Anderson's Conn Valley Vineyards Prologue Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 July 13, 2008 - Anderson's Conn Valley Vineyards Prologue Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 - Tasted w/ L and Bob L at Angeli's.

July 12, 2008 - Silver Oak Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1991 - RM 91, WS 91, RP 92 - Robert Parker: "The 1991 boasts a dark ruby color, a rich, ostentatious, sweet vanillin, herb, and blackcurrant-scented nose, and gobs of rich, herb-tinged, juicy fruit, the opulent texture that Silver Oak routinely obtains. There is plenty of fat, glycerin, and alcohol in the long finish. Both wines are already delicious, and will age gracefully for 12-15 years." WS 91 - Wine Spectator  Review: "Lavishly oaked, with an herb and dill edge to the currant and berry fruit. It is a rich and harmonious style, with layers of flavor. Firmly tannic, it can stand cellaring into 1998 to 2000 and still be massive." 
Owen Roe Debrul Vineyard Merlot 2006 Label July 11, 2008 - Owen Roe Yakima Valley Debrul Vineyard Merlot 2006
Venge Napa Valley Scout's Honor Zinfandel Blend 2005 July 9, 2008 - Venge Scout's Honor Napa Valley Zinfandel Blend 2005 - RM 89 CG 91 - Fruit forward full bodied black fruit, spice, tar, anise and a touch of 'heat' that detracts slightly from this wine's approachability and enjoyment. eucalyptus. 68% Zinfandel; 17% Charbono; 15% Petite Sirah. Tasted w/ BJB at Tallula in Arlington.
Fantesca Estate & Winery Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 bottle July 5, 2008 - Fantesca Estate and Winery Napa Valley Spring Mountain District Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 - RM 92 $65 - First tasted at the winery from the barrel a few weeks before bottlling during our 2007 Napa Wine Experience. Smooth and polished with cherry, black fruit, hint of currant, dark chocolate, cassis and spice with a refined tannin finish. Tasted at home w/ L in a delightful evening on the deck with fine cheeses, chocolate and fruit. We first met the producer when he came to visit on his launch tour -  An Evening with Duane Hoff of Fantesca Estate Winery, That 2003 release is eclipsed by the elegant and more refined 2004.
Plumpjack Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon July 3, 2008 - Plumpjack Napa Valley Oakville Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 1996 - RM 90 WS 90 $45 Currant and berry with a hint dark of dark chocolate, cedar and tar on the smooth tannin finish. Tasted (BYOB) w/ L, Ryan & Michelle, Erin & Johnnie at the wonderfully unique North Pond Restaurant in Chicago.

Freemark Abbey Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1994 label

July 2, 2008 - Freemark Abbey Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1994 - Freemark Abbey Napa Valley Bosche Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 1992 - RM 89. Tasted BYOB w/ John & Karen, just relocated  from PHX and sister visiting from Scotland at Angelis - served by Alec.  
Del Dotto Vineyards Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1998 label July 1, 2008 - Del Dotto Vineyards Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1998 - RM 90; Dunham Vineyards Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2000 - RM 89 - Amazing similarity in these wines - full firm, black fruits, black cherry, cigar box, tea and moderate tannins. Tasted with Analysts team Ted H, Skip F, and Tim G BYOB at Angelis - served by Alec.
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