Rick's Wine Journal 1st Half 2010
on Rick's McNees.org/winesite

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    Robert Craig Affinity Label 2004 on Rick's Winesite on McNees.org/winesite May 20, 2010 - Robert Craig Napa Valley Affinity Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 - RM91- Deep purple color. Huge ripe berry fruit aromatics. Dark, full body, ripe berry fruit, accented by a undercurrent of caramel with a hint of anise, tobacco and firm full tannins on the long fruit filled finish. http://www.cellartracker.com//wine.asp?iWine=323482
    Turn 4 Four Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 May 17, 2010 - Turn Four Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 - RM91- Deep dark purple color. Medium bodied. Not highly complex but wow - tasty! Rich forward black and blue fruits - spicy clove, hint of cinnamon and vanilla and a touch of black pepper on the long flavorful finish. I bought this bottle while traveling in Colorado Springs. Good value at $20. Buy it if you can find it. http://www.cellartracker.com/wine.asp?iWine=767489

    Behrens & Hitchcock Mendocino Merlot 1998 Label

    May 16, 2010 - Behrens & Hitchcock Mendocino County Merlot 1998 - RM 84: Fruit has diminished - whiskey taste predominates followed by black licorice anise, leather and hint of black cherry the remaining remnant of fruit flavor. http://cellartracker.com/w?55615
    Ashland Park Spring Mountain Cabernet 2006 May 13, 2010 - Ashland Park Spring Mountain District Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 - RM 89 - Purplish ruby color - fragrances of mulberry, black cherries and blackberry with a hint of cloves; Rich and silky mouth feel with good structure and balance, chalk-like tannins; and fine acidity on the finish. Better after being open several hours. http://cellartracker.com/w?581361 . Tasted w/ L at Angeli's Restaurant w/ Alec serving.

    May 9, 2010 - Phillippe Melka 'CJ' Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2001 - RM 91: For Mother's Day dinner, a wine dedicated to the winemaker's kids!  Wow. Did we drink other bottles too soon? This bottle was better than one's tasted earlier. Is Phillippe Melka's Bordeaux heritage of longer lived wines coming through? This bottle exhibited more depth and breadth than before - spicy oak, red currant, and black raspberry fruits accented with hints of cedar, subtle eucalyptus and smoke, giving way to a hint of mocha and licorice on a smoky tannin finish. http://cellartracker.com/w?19571 Hanna Sonoma Valley Bismark Ranch Merlot 1999 - RM 88:  Medium bodied, subdued black berry fruit, leather and hint of spice. Overshadowed by bigger, fuller, more forward Melka CJ 2001 tasted along-side. http://cellartracker.com/w?90636 
    Rosemount Balmoral Mclaren Vale Valley Shiraz 1995 - RM 90 $39 - Dark full flavor, over ripe berry, raisin, notes of blueberry, plum fruit, with spice and anise. Showing age on opening but opened and softened with a long full complex finish. http://www.cellartracker.com/wine.asp?iWine=12022  Tasted at Angeli's Restaurant for Mother's Day dinner w/ L, Erin, Evelyn & Keith, Barb & Kevin, Sean, Will & Sarah, and Alec serving.
    Duckhorn Howell Mountain 1990 May 8, 2010 - Duckhorn Napa Valley Howell Mountain Merlot Blend 1990 - RM 89 - Surprising life left in this twenty year old Napa blend. Dark garnet color. Medium bodied, moderate tannins throughout with black currant and berry fruits offset by subtle vanilla and oak. Merlot 57%, Cabernet Sauvignon 30% Cabernet Franc 13% -  Tasted at hme w/ L and Alec returning home from IU. http://www.cellartracker.com/wine.asp?iWine=367310
    Seventy Five WIne Company 75 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon May 7, 2010 - Seventy Five Wine Company '75' North Coast cabernet Sauvignon 2007 - Needs time to shed a slight harsh edge ... Dark color, tangy spice, long lingering graphite finish predominate over blue and red fruits.
    Murphy Goode Fume California North Coast Sauvignon Blanc 2008 May 6, 2010 - Murphy-Goode Napa Valley Fume Blanc 2008 - RM 85 - Tasted at Cafe 29 in Huntsville.
    Guenoc California Petit Sirah 2007 May 4, 2010 - Guenoc California Petit Sirah 2007 - RM 79 - Aroma and predominant flavors of a slightly funky combination of wintergreen mint, sour cherry and musty damp grass with a lingering cedar mint finish offset by an essence from the barnyard. They spared Lily from adorning and gracing this non-estate bottling label. This would've been best left to someone elses' bottling/label. Tasted by the glass at Connor's Steak & Seafood in Huntsville.
    Flinders Run Shiraz 2005 Label on Rick's WineSite May 1, 2010 - Flinders Run, Southern Flinders Ranges, Baroota, Australia, Shiraz 2005 - RM 93 - Dark inky colour. Full bodied, elegant rich thick chewy symphony of flavors of sweet currant, ripe plum, red raspberry, blueberry, a hint of pepper, vanilla, and spice, and a lingering essence of creme brulee' burnt sugar and cedar on the soft finish. Taken to Eric and Cathy's for a tasting. http://www.cellartracker.com/wine.asp?iWine=421985
    Napa 2004 Cabernet tasting April 30, 2010 - Suhr Luchtel Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 - RM 91 $40/26 - Full-bodied, aromas of vanilla, cinnamon, mocha, tobacco and blackberry. Complex with flavors of cassis, black cherry, plum and raspberry accented with nicely integrated full tannins. The fruit is sourceed from hillside vineyards on Atlas Peak (70%)  a young vineyard up on Howell Mountain (28%), Oak Knoll (1), and Mt Veeder (1%).Small amounts of Merlot and Cabernet Franc (1% each) are added. This wine is the result of collaboration between two long time friends Don Surh and Gary Luchtel who make approximately 3000 cases a year of small batches of carefully crafted wines from purchased fruit. http://www.cellartracker.com/wine.asp?iWine=886069  
    Sequoia Grove Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 -
    RM89 - Overshadowed by the bigger, more polished, complex and flavorful Sur Luchtel. A challenge in a comparison tasting is that an otherwise pleasant drinking noteable wine is diminished. Medium bodied, dark berry, black cherry, hint of cedar and cassis on a moderate tannin finish. http://www.cellartracker.com/wine.asp?iWine=344026 Taken to Pat's for dinner & tasting.
      April 27, 2010 - Grand Cru Vineyards California  Merlot 2005 - RM 82 - Medium bodied, cedar, leather and mineral overshadow the black cherry and dark berry fruit on this respectable but rather simple and basic daily 'house' wine at Front Page in Arlington, Balston, VA ...

    Kalleske Greenock Barossa Valley Shiraz 2005 label

    April 24, 2010 - John Duval 'Entity' Barossa Valley Shiraz 2004 - RP 95 RM 93 WS 92 - $34 - Medium bodied, easy drinking sweet creme brulee' with that burnt sugar and vanilla taste intermixed with plum, red raspberry laced with camphor on the long smooth finish. http://cellartracker.com/w?184522
    Kalleske Greenock Barossa Valley Shiraz 2005 -
    RM 91 - Intense, full bodied, inky colour, thick chewy tongue-coating black cherry, plum, creme de cassis and a hint of black pepper.  http://cellartracker.com/w?275934
    Tasted w/ L - taken to Bob & Gloria's birthday dinner party.
    lbl_CA_rodney_strong_rrv_pinot_2006 April 22, 2010 - Rodney Strong Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2007 - RM 86 - Easy drinking, pleasant, good value - light bodied, opaque purple color - scent of strawberry, flavors black cherry, subtle spice, hint of smoke. Tasted at Carson's Bistro in Ann Arbor. http://www.cellartracker.com/wine.asp?iWine=570853 
    Hall Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 April 20, 2010 - Hall Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2005 - RM 87 points: Bright vivid red berry and black fruits give way to tar , smoke, a hint of mocha on a firm, slightly hard edged finish with a subtle whiskey or cognac tone. - http://cellartracker.com/w?489505 Tasted @ Flemming's Steak House in Beaver Creek.
    Keenan Spring Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon 2003 label on McNees.org/winesite April 19, 2010 - Keenan Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2003 - RM 91 - Deep bright dark garnet colour. Forward full bodied fruit with chewy plum, black raspberry and currant flavors. http://www.cellartracker.com/wine.asp?iWine=376910 : Arrowood Sonoma Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1998 - RM 87 - Leathery, earthy subdued currant, black cherry, berry and plum with a smooth refined but short finish. Tasted from magnum. http://www.cellartracker.com/wine.asp?iWine=12044 Taken BYOB to gala RG team dinner at Zsa Zsa's in St Charles.
    Reignac Bordeaux Superier 2003 April 18, 2010 - Reignac Bordeaux Superiere 2003 - RM 87 - Tobacco, subtle tar and leather predominate over the black fruit notes. http://cellartracker.com/w?62791  Tasted at home w/ L, Sean & Alec.
    Evergreen Vineyards Sprice Goose Pinot Noir
    R Stuart Big Fire Pinot Noir 2007
    April 17, 2010 - Evergreen Vineyards "Spruce Goose" Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley 2005 -RM 86 - Somewhat closed and tight with subdued fruit - black cherry, hint of strawberry and plum, dusty rose petal and moderate firm tannin finish. http://cellartracker.com/w?407676 ; R Stuart Big Fire Oregon Pinot Noir 2007 - RM 88 - Flavorful berry, cherry, red raspberry and plum fruit with moderate tannin finish. Great accompaniment to "Linda's Salad" and Bellavitano cheese. http://cellartracker.com/w?540948  Tasted w/ L at Salt Creek Wine Bar in Brookfield.

    Del Dotto Napa Valley Cave Blend
    April 16, 2010 - Chateau Ducru Beaucaillou St. Julien Bordeaux 1981 - RM89 - From earlier tastings - Medium bodied, classic left bank Bordeaux bouquet of floral and perfume with that elegant and well integrated classic earthy leather that gives way to berry, black cherry, a hint of anise, vanilla, plum  and a lengthy finish. Breaking out a 1981 Bordeaux, Erin's birth-year wine as we celebrate news and all being together. Still life left in this mature St Julien, Bordeaux, but need to be mindful of last two bottles and large format dbl magnum remaining. Other reviews - RP 88/100 (Ed 1998) "One of the Medoc's more successful wines, the 1981 has reached full maturity. It exhibits a dark ruby/purple color, and a moderately attractive nose of minerals and jammy cranberry fruit intermixed with black currants. In the mouth, this wine has lost its baby fat, revealing medium body, and an elegant, measured personality. Pure, with well-integrated tannin, this is a stylish, graceful Ducru-Beaucaillou. Wine Spectator: 89/100 (10-1994) A wonderful balance of rich fruit and silky tannins, with plum, vanilla and light tar character. Full-bodied and tannic yet so well integrated; excellent harmony. Drinkable now but better after 1998. - Frank Dubourdieu : 90/100 (Ed 09-2000). http://cellartracker.com/w?22740 DEL DOTTO Napa Valley Cave Blend 2000 - RM 90 - Big floral and perfume bouquet, huge full forward fruit accented by sweet currant - almost cognac flavor, dark ripe cherry, spice, a hint of anise and licorice on the long moderate tannin finish. Much bigger and brighter than earlier tastings. - 73% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Merlot, 8% Sangiovese http://www.cellartracker.com/wine.asp?iWine=460970  Tasted w/ L,  Erin & Johnnie, Sean, Will, and Sara G at Angeli's Restaurant Alec home for the weekend and serving.
    Anderson's Conn Valley Vineyards Napa Valley Eloge 2000
    Grand Wine Flight
    April 15, 2010 - Anderson's Conn Valley Vineyards Eloge 2000 - RM 91 - Very tasty - huge floral perfume - berry and currant fruits with a cedar tone and hint of mocha on the long soft tannin finish.  http://cellartracker.com/w?19544 : Chateau Gontey St Emilion Grand Cru Bordeaux 2004 - RM 87 - Firm tannins throughout with leather, slightly astringent earthy black cherry, blackberry and cedar on the firm tannin finish. http://cellartracker.com/w?877858 : William Fevre Chablis 1er Cru Fourchaume 2007 - RM 86   http://cellartracker.com/w?668857 : Served as Grand Flight wine tasting at Grand Cru Wine Store and Vineria  in Ballston, Arlington, VA. William Fevre Fourchaume Chablis Premier Cru 2007Chateau Gontey St Emilion Grand Cru 2004
    Hidden Ridge 55 Slope Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon 2005
    Sequoia Grove Napa Cabernet 2004
    April 12, 2010 - Hidden Ridge 551/2° Slope Sonoma Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 - RM 92 WE 95 - From the western side of Spring Mountain, just inside the Sonoma County line. Full bodied, nicely integrated firm tannins throughout with flavorful mouth-full of blue and red fruit flavors with tones of spice and chocolate accenting the rich fruit. What a find! This is a wine from one of our favorite winemakers Marco DiGuilio! Sequoia Grove Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 - RM 88 - Slight edge of earthy cedar, spice, pepper and graphite offset the blackberry and dark fruits with a subtle acid layer of moderate ripe fruit offset with firm nice tannin structure  to this nicely balanced, firm Napa cab. The Hidden Ridge is a great complement to filet of beef at Morton's Steak House Crystal City, Arlington. Tasted w/ DZ and AC.
    April 09, 2010 - Clark-Claudon Estate Grown Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1997 - RM 88 points: Somewhat closed and flabby, the fruit is muted. Like Dominus (86) and some top Bordeaux (89-90 Pichon Lalande) that I later learned I drank too early when they finally 'awoke' to reveal their true character and fruits years later? Initial black cherry fruit, subtle tone of cigar bar - after an hour it started to open to reveal subtle tones of mocha. Full bodied with well integrated tannins throughout. Still have two thirds of case left so will try again soon to see how it develops. Tasted w/ L at Angeli's Restaurant. Tom Clark & Laurie Claudon-Clark were featured producers during our Napa Wine Experience 1999.   http://www.cellartracker.com/wine.asp?iWine=436557.
    Erath Estate Pinot Noir 2007 April 08, 2010 - Erath Pinot Noir Estate 2008 - RM 84 - Light body - a little green - a bit awkward. Earthy cherry, plum, dusty spice, a subtle smokiness and soft tannins on the finish. Not really worthy of one would expect of the winelist at Morten's Steak House Crystal City, Arlington. Tasted w/ DZ and 'Gunny'. http://cellartracker.com/w?825011
    Torbreck Cuvee Juveniles 2008 April 6, 2010 - Torbreck Cuvee Juveniles Barossa Valley 2008 - RM 86 - Jammy full fruit - ripe plum almost subtle cotton candy, tinny mineral, spice, earth turns to green olive on a moderate finish. Blend of 60% Grenache, and equal parts of Shiraz and Mataro. Tasted by the glass at Tallulah wine bar in Arlington. http://cellartracker.com/w?637336
    Freeman Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2006 April 3, 2010 - Freeman Vineyard and Winery Sonoma County Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2006 - RM 88 - Medium-light bodied - subdued black cherry, cola flavors are overtaken by spice, pepper, earthy dusty rosehips. Tasted at home w/ L, Ryan and Michelle.  http://cellartracker.com/w?470519
    Lewis Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2000 April 2, 2010 - Lewis Cellars Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2000 - RM 93 - Delicious - symphony of black and red fruits accented by red currant turning to subtle vanilla and hint of milk chocolate at the end. Full bodied but smooth and polished with well integrated tannins on the long polished flavorful finish. A minor slight edge renders slightly less than flawless. Tasted at home with Linda with farm sourced beef steaks celebrating new start on Monday. http://www.cellartracker.com/wine.asp?iWine=17212
    Paradigm Oakville Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1995 375ml March 31, 2010 - Paradigm Napa Valley Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon 1995 - RM 89 - Fragrant, soft supple tannin, medium body, the layers of cherry and black currant fruit are being overtaken by earthy leather, licorice, and herbs, with under-currants of spice and cedar. http://www.cellartracker.com/wine.asp?iWine=5875
    March 30, 2010 - Chateau LaBastide Dauzac Margaux Bordeaux 2005; Chateau Mont Redon Chateauneuf Du Pape 2005 - Tasted w/ Don Z, Ryan Z, Rob & Jen H, and Scott E at Bastille Restaurant in Alexandria. http://www.cellartracker.com/wine.asp?iWine=43091
    Christian Moueix Pomerol 2005 March 29, 2010 - Christian Moueix Pomerol 2005 - RM 88 - I figured if world famous Christian Meouix put his name on the bottle it must be respectable and I was not disappointed. Great value in this simple fundamentally sound merlot with a highlight of 5% cabernet franc Bordeaux blend from a classic vintage. Nice well rounded smooth silky dark berry fruits with a moderate structure and slight leathery soft tannin finish. Great compliment to grilled steaks w/ Scott E at Ray's Steak in Arlington Clarendon. http://www.cellartracker.com/wine.asp?iWine=443092
    Merryvale Profile 1998 label March 28, 2010 - Merryvale Profile Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Blend - RM 89: Consistent with earlier tasting notes. Showing a little age, needed an hour to open to fully reveal its fruit - floral and earthy leather bouquet - flavors of black cherry, black fruit, subtle cedar, bright floral violets on the moderate tannin finish. Not as much structure or backbone, a bit lighter body than what one might expect and a bit short on the finish - perhaps the fruit is starting to fall off a bit... Not flawed but probably has peaked for this modest vintage. Served up the gold label w/ L for Bob and Gloria to celebrate their 'Golden' 24 on the 24th anniversary at Angeli's Restaurant.
    Robert Mondavi Reserve Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1992 March 28, 2010 - Robert Mondavi Reserve Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1992 - RM 90 - Wow, I probably drank most of this case of this Reserve too young!, like I did too many of my 80's decade Bordeaux'. For a long time, this was rather closed and tight, only to now open up to truly reveal its complex, full bodied dark cherry, black berry fruits and long nicely integrated tannin finish. I gave several bottles to the charity auctions over the years - probably to be under-appreciated for not revealing their potential.  Slightly astringent on opening but softened over time. Needs decanting for aeration and to collect the sediment. Tasted at home with L, Johnny & Erin. http://www.cellartracker.com/wine.asp?iWine=187178
    Robert Craig Affinity Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 March 26, 2010 - Robert Craig Affinity Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Blend 2007 - RP 96 - RM 93 - Just received release shipment from the winery. Initially a bit tight and closed but after an hour opened up to show wonderful black and blue berry fruits, red currant and slight hint of mocha - complex, polished, velvety well integrated smooth silky tannins on a big long soft finish. Tasted w/ L and Mark D at Angeli's Restaurant.
    Conn Creek Napa Valley Limited Release Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 March 24, 2010 - Conn Creek Napa Valley Limited Release Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 - RM 87 - Great value in this easy drinking cab. Bright ripe dark cherry and blackberry, mocha, spice and subtle coffee on the dried fruit moderate finish. Blend: 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc, 5% Merlot, 4% Malbec, 2% Petit Verdot. Tasted w/ Don Z and Merk G at Kora Italian restaurant eatery and lounge in Crystal City, Arlington.
    Robert Craig Mount Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 label March 22, 2010 - Robert Craig Mt Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 - RM 91 - Slight edge and 'hot' streak to this initially ... gives way to full forward tasty black and red berry fruits, red currant and slight spice and hint of chocolate and sweet oak. Several days later opens further to release essence of floral perfume, smoke and anise on top of the fruits. 
    Silver Oak Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1983
    March 20, 2010 - Silver Oak Cellars Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1983 - RM 90 - Dark garnet, slightly brickish color emerging on the edges. Still holding up and showing dark berry and black cherry fruit, accented by subtle oak, smoky tar and cassis on a moderate long silky tannin finish. Gundlach Bundschu Sonoma Valley Rheinfarm Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 1983 - RM 87 - Super ripe fruit - taking on predominant forward raisiny, prune tones, accents of leather and black cherry with subtle tones of smoke, tar and  cassis. Two Michelle birth-year wines taken to Ryan & Michelle's family celebration dinner for Michelle's birthday and grad school graduation. Tasted w/ L, E&J, D family. Gundlach Bundschu Rheinfarm Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 1983 labels
    Cloud View Napa Valley Red Wine label March 19, 2010 - Cloud View Pritchard Hill Napa Valley Red Wine 2001 - RM 88 - Dark garnet color - subdued nose - full bodied, firm forward smoky, leathery dark berry fruit, charcoal, hints of anise, acidic, zesty spice on a long firm tannin finish. 57% merlot, 43%cabernet sauvignon; tasted at home w/ L with grilled tenderloin filets & artisanal cheeses.
    Kathryn Hall Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2006
    March 18, 2010 - Hall Cabernet Sauvignon Kathryn Hall Napa Valley 2006 - RM 93 - WS 96 - BIG cab - full bodied - forward big fruit filled, firm, silky smooth polished black berry, red raspberry, hint of cedar, with full well integrated tannins on a long vanilla finish. Frank Family Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 -  RM91 - WS 91 WE 91- Dark color, firm full bodied, black cherry, blackberry with spice, hint of vanilla and roasted nut on the long smooth tannin finish.  Blend of Cabernet Sauvignon 81% Merlot 13% Petit Verdot 4%  and Cabernet Franc 2%. Tasted w/ Jan & Bill @ home in HB. Frank Family Vneyards Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2006
    Napa Wine Flight - Cade Cuvee 2006 & Owen Roe Prisoner 2008 March 17, 2010 - Cade Napa Valley Cuvee Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 - RM 91 - Owen Roe The Prisoner 2008 - RM 90 - Tasted w/ DZ, Mike F, Ryan, Ted, Mark and Rob at Spaghettini's in Seal Beach.
    Rombauer Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 March 16, 2010 - Rombauer Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 - RM 88 - Dark garnet color - firm, a bit tight, moderately firm body - black berry and black raspberry fruit flavors give way to tar - creosote with a slightly hard firm finish. http://cellartracker.com/w?796777 - Tasted w/ DZ, Mike F, Ryan, Ted at Spaghettini's in Seal Beach.
    Bordeaux Flight - 82 Ducru Beaucaillou & Brane Cantenac - 84 Pichon Lalande March 14, 2010 - Chateau Ducru Beaucaillou St Julien Bordeaux 1982 - RM 93 - I was slightly concerned and skeptical upon opening with brackish colour and funky odor but it quickly opened to revealed classic Bordeaux black berry and black cherry fruits, earthy leather, tobacco and hints of cigar box. This was smooth, well balanced and polished and still has several years life left. http://www.cellartracker.com/wine.asp?iWine=1769; Chateau Brane-Cantenac Margaux Bordeaux 1982; RM 87 - Subdued slightly tart black fruits and subtle leather and cedar give way to floral highlights in the moderate finish. http://www.cellartracker.com/wine.asp?iWine=22706; Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande Pauillac Bordeaux 1984 - RM 88 - What a pleasant surprise - life left in this 25 year old from a modest vintage - I didn't expect the stable, only slightly tart balanced black cherry and black berry fruit accented by subtle cigar box, leather and a hint of anise with medium body and smooth moderate tannin finish. http://www.cellartracker.com/wine.asp?iWine=133427   Men's getaway retreat & celebration from bridal shower for Will C and Kate at C's with Will, Bill (Sr), Rusty and Drew. Great complement to artisanal cheeses, beef tenderloin, chocolates. 
    Napa Cab Flight - Darioush 2000 - Hall 2001 March 13, 2010 - Darioush Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2000 - RM 89 - Dark color - big forward firm intense dark fruit - black cherry, dark berry, tobacco, cigar box and touch of leather. Not for the feint of heart - good complement to the big bold zesty Italian food. http://cellartracker.com/w?457615; Hall T-Bar-T Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2001 - RM 90 - Dark color - medium bodied, smooth polished silky texture, berry, red currant fruits with tones of creme caramel. Better than when tasted and purchased at the winery almost a decade ago - (below). http://cellartracker.com/w?26835 ; Revisiting wines from E & J's Napa trip. Tasted w/ L, Alec, Erin & Johnnie, Sean and Megan D at Angeli's Restaurant. These bottles were tasted and purchased during our Napa Wine Experience 2003 - Darioush and Napa Valley Wine Experience 2003 - Hall Vineyards.  
    Napa Flight - Faust 2006 Rutherford cab - Ramey Napa cabernet 2005 March 10, 2010 - Ramey Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 - RM 90; Faust Napa valley cabernet sauvignon 2006 - RM 89; Caymus Napa Valley Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 - RM 93 - Incredibly smooth - soft silky finely integrated tannins - mocha laced with red currant and red raspberry, blueberry fruit with soft oak. Tasted at Ruth's Chris in Crystal City, Arlington.
    Flight Tiziano Chianti 2005 March 09, 2010 - Antinori Sangiovese Santa Cristina Toscana IGT 2008  Italy, Tuscany, Toscana IGT - RM 86 - Medium bodied, firm, dark black cherry fruit, leather, hint of anise on a  moderate  tannin finish. Tiziano Chianti Riserva 2005 Italy, Tuscany, Toscana IGT - RM 84 - Dark slightly metallic, black cherry fruit on a moderate short finish. Tasted at Ristoranti Murali, Pentagon Row.
    Bordeaux flight - La Croix Cardinal Grand Cru St Emilion 2005 - Reflets du Chateau Cissac Haut Medoc 2005 March 08, 2010 - Chateau La Croix Cardinal Grand Cru St Emilion 2005 - RM 88 Firm but approachable tannins predominate - dark, medium full bodied, dark fruits of black berry and black raspberry with dusty rose petals, leather and hint of anise.; http://cellartracker.com/w?564907 - Reflets du Chateau Cissac Haut Medoc 2005 -RM 86; Medium to light bodied - modest fruit - dark berry, hint of leather and anise.  http://cellartracker.com/w?549889 Tasted w/ DZ at Bastille Restaurant in Alexandria.
    Chateauneuf du Pape wine flight March 06, 2010 - Cloudy Bay New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc 2008 (http://www.cellartracker.com/wine.asp?iWine=591001) - RM 88 - Tropical fruits, citrus, nut and subtle herbs, flavorful with full, intense long mineral acid finish: Chateau Beaucastel Chateauneuf-du-pape 1996 (http://www.cellartracker.com/wine.asp?iWine=5098)  - RM 88 - Brackish dark color, subdued nose, medium body, complex layers of black cherry accented by subtle black pepper, spice and tobacco box giving way to slightly earthy leathery red fruits on a silky tannin finish. ; Chateau Mont-Redon Chateauneuf-du-pape 2006 (http://www.cellartracker.com/wine.asp?iWine=476442)  - RM 89 - Dark garnet purple color - bright lively core of black cherry, blackberry and raspberry fruits with moderate tannin finish. ; Chateau Fortia Chateauneuf-du-pape 2006 (http://www.cellartracker.com/wine.asp?iWine=608878) - RM 91 - Complex layers of dark fruits - black cherry, blackberry and raspberry fruits with finely integrated silky tannins. Tasted w/ L at Bill and Beth C's w/ shrimp, fruit, chocolates, artisanal cheeses, and delightful beef filets dinner with grilled asparagus and sweet potato. Visited Beaucastel and Mont-Redon during our Rhone Valley /Provence Wine Experience.
    Morgan Gary's Vineyard Santa Lucia Pinot Noir 2007 March 4, 2010 - Morgan Gary's Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir 2007 - RM 89 - Tasted at Main Street Wine Bar and Cellars - Huntington Beach, CA. Groth Vineyards Napa Valley Chardonnay 2007 - Tasted at Scott's Seafood, South Coast Center, Costa Mesa, CA.
    Mount Veeder Winery Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 Label March 3, 2010 - Mount Veeder Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 - RM 90 - Deep garnet color. Layers of brambly dark berry, cassis and mocha, rich concentrated with flavors of blackberry, dark cherry, chocolate and cassis. Good structure and well-balanced, with fine-grained tannins and a long finish of cassis and sweet vanilla. Blend: 83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 5% Syrah, 2% Malbec and Petite Verdot. Tasted at The Butcher Shop across from Miramar NAS in San Diego with Don Z, Mike F, Ryan Z, and Chate.
    Belle Glos Meiomi Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2007 March 1, 2010 - Belle Glos Meiomi Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2007 - RM90 - Very aromatic and flavorful - black berries, raspberries, spice, herbs, subtle white pepper and black olive with a smooth polished velvety texture and long lingering tannin finish. Great value blend from several vineyards with different sub-climates in the true Sonoma Coast - pronounced May-OH-mee” which means “coast” in the language of the native Wappo tribe. From the Wagners of Caymus fame. Tasted at Flemings in Beavercreek.
    Kilikanoon Oracle Shiraz 1999 label February 27, 2010 - Kilikanoon Oracle Clare Valley Shiraz 1999 - RM 92 RP 94 - Medium bodied but packed full of flavor - intense oak permeates the flavorful blackberry, blueberry, plum, cedar and hints of creosote and mocha. The predominance of the oak and cedar detracts from and almost overpowers the fruit. Tasted at home with selection of artisan cheeses. Selected for OBTN - "Open that Bottle Night" based on our fondness for and experience with the 2004 and other vintages and this being our oldest bottle of this label in the cellar.
    February 25, 2010 - Whitehall Lane Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2002 - RM 89 - Compare to recent vintage tasting earlier this week - dark color - medium bodied - dark berry fruits, blackberry, black cherry, hint of subtle cedar, soft lingering tannins.
    French tasting flight February 25, 2010 - Smith Haut Lafite Grand Cru Classe de Graves Bordeaux 2005 - RM91 - Wow - Big mouthfull of bright floral and full black berry fruits - currant, plum, raspberry with a lingering smooth polished tannin finish: Chateau LaGrange St Julien Bordeaux 2005- RM 89 - Blown away by the Graves - simpler, narrower and les complex - dark fruits, black cherry, leather, subtle tar and a lingering tannin finish; Domaine Grand Nicolet Vielles Vignes Rhone 2007 - RM 88 - Blend of Grenache and Syrah - the firm structure and mineral of the grenache is nicely complimented by full dark berry fruits and hint of spice from the syrah - medium bodied, more narrow and simpler than the Bordeaux above but good value none-the-less. Tasted w/ Mike at Binny's DG.
    Spring Valley Vineyard Walla Walla Uriah Red Wine 2006 February 23, 2010 - Ladera Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 - RM 90; Spring Valley Uriah Walla Walla Red Wine 2006 - RM 90; Whitehall Lane Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 - RM 89; Tasted w/Oz, DZ, MG. Dane and Curt at Morton's Crystal City.

    February 22, 2010 - Don Miguel Gascón Malbec, Argentina 2008 - RM 86 - Tasted w/ DZ, MG at McCormick & Schmidts, Arlington, Crystal City.  A full bodied wine showing blackberry, dark cherry, a hint of mocha, subtle spice - firm texture and moderate tannins on the finish.

    Paradigm Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1995 Label February 20, 2010 - Paradigm Napa Valley Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon 1995 - Fragrant, soft supple tannin, medium body, the layers of cherry and black currant fruit are being overtaken by earthy leather, licorice, and herbs, with under-currants of spice and cedar. Mollydooker Violinist Verdehlo 2007 - RM88
    Silver Oak Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2002
    ../labels/labels_australiMollydooker Violinist Verdelho 2007
    February 13, 2010 - Silver Oak Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2002; (RM 88), Duckhorn Napa Valley Merlot 2006 (RM89), Matthews Yakima Valley Red Wine 1999 (RM 88); Flinders Ranges South Australia Shiraz 2005 (RM 93); Napa Creek Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 (RM87); Mollydooker Violinist Verdehlo 2007 (RM88): Bonomi Tenuta Castellino Franciacorta Brut 2006 - Tasted at formal dinner of rib-eye and NY strip steak, sea-bass, Wine tasting flight
      swordfish, ravioli, artisanal cheeses at  neighbors Mark & Shirley w/ Capt Al & Lee & Capt John & Marge. rib-eye and NY strip steak, sea-bass, swordfish, ravioli, artisanal cheeses at neighbors Mark & Shirley w/ Capt Al & Lee & Capt John & Marge.
    Chateau Larmande 2005
     Chateau Sociando Mallet 2005 label

    Chateau Larmande St Emilion 2005: RM 91- My favorite of this Bordeaux flight tasting. Plum fruit, subtle cherry-cranberry, nice texture and an appealing, moderately firm grip of tannin in the midpalate.  Chateau Quinault L'Enclos Saint Emilion 2006 - RP 92 RM90 - Aromas of dark cherry, mocha and tobacco, flavors of cherry, mineral and iron. Chateau De Beaulieu Comtes De Tastes Bordeaux Superieur 2006 - 60% merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. Good value. Concentrated, dark fruits, black cherry ,subtle mocha and mineral notes. Chateau Sociando-Mallet Haut-Médoc 2005: RM89 - Dark fruits, subtle leather, hint of earthy cassis, notes of toasty oak, well balanced, nice polish. Chateau Vieux Taillefer St Emilion 2006; Chateau Beaulieu 'Comtes de Tastes' Bordeaux Superieur 2006 - RM88 RP88 - Blend of 70% Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon - Dark ruby color, medium body black currant, black cherry, hints of spice box and cedar, sweet tannin. Extraordinary value. Tasted at Binny's Downers Grove.

    Ladera Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 label February 3, 2010 - Ladera Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 - RM 90 - winemaker notes - "Aromas of blackberry and raspberry fruit; rose petals, mint and white pepper with toasty and vanilla highlights. Dark plum and bramble berry flavors fill the mouth. The tannin structure is full and highly extracted, but soft and lush". Tasted at Morten's Steakhouse in Crystal City w/DZ and MG. Blend: 100% Napa Valley, 92% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Malbec, 5% Petite Verdot.
    Kenwood Sonoma Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2004 February 2, 2010 - Kenwood Sonoma County Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2006 - RM 89 Sensations of  black cherries and black raspberries followed by hints of black pepper, rose petals and spice; rich, medium full-bodied texture with a smooth, long finish. Tasted at McCormick & Schmick Arlington w/ DZ and MG.
    Del Dotto Connoisseur Series Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2001 January 30, 2010 - Gala dinner and tasting featured Del Dotto Connoisseur Series Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2001 -  Vintage wine aged in various oak barrels provides unique comparative tasting experience. Oak selections include Troncas French Oak, Allier French Oak, Marsannay French Oak, Colbert French Oak, Minnesota American Oak, and standard traditional Napa cab. Yes indeed, the oaks are distinguishably different from the more forward and full American, Marsannay to 
    Wine tasting flight of Ramey, Phelps Ovations chardonnays, Bernkasterl Doctor, Kracher #5 & 8 and Dow Vintage Port. more refined and polished and Troncas to a more delicate and slightly sweeter French Allier and Colbert. Great accompaniment to beef tenderloin dinner. Flourless chocolate cake accented by Dow's Vintage Port 1997. French Creme Brulee highlighted by Kracher Nouvelle Vague #5 Zweigelt TBA 1996 and Kracher Traminer #8 TBA 1998. Medley of artisanal cheeses and butter seared sea scallops in sherry tomoato and spinach sauce were accented by comparison flight of Chardonnays - Joseph Phelps Ovation Los Carneros 2004 and Ramey Hudson vineyard Carneros 2005, and Bernkasteler Doctor Mosel Ruer Sauer Kabinett Riesling 1999. Participants and cellar selection besides hosts L and me were Dr Dan and Linda, Bill & Beth C, and Lyle and Terry F.
    Marco Di Guilio Mt Veeder Progeny Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2001 January 16, 2010 - Marco Di Giulio Napa Valley Mount Veeder Progeny Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2001 - #wine http://cellartracker.com/w?137762 RM 92: Dark inky color. Big floral nose. Mouthful of black berry, cedar, spicy oak and finely integrated polished tannins on a long flavorful finish. Tasted w/ Dr Dan.
    Clark Claudon Cabernet Sauvignon 1999 January 8-9, 2010 - Clark Claudon Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1999 - RM 90-91.  I struggled to characterize this wine. I defer to the master who demonstrates his expertise with his discernment and articulation. My review and Robert Parker's. Rick's journal - Medium - full bodied. Aromas and tastes of cedar and perfume predominate with black fruits throughout the long finely integrated firm tannin finish. Robert Parker's Review - "Another brilliant effort from this up-and coming Napa estate, Clark-Claudon's 1999 Cabernet Sauvignon exhibits an opaque blue/purple color, and a sweet perfume of minerals, blue as well as black fruits. Medium to full-bodied, it possesses outstanding purity in addition to well-integrated tannin, acidity, and wood. Vintages to date have blended grace, power and subtlety, resulting in extremely impressive Cabernets. More over, they are built to last. Anticipated maturity: 2006-2022." 92+ points Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, August 2002 885 cases produced". Tom Clark and Laurie Clark-Claudon were a Featured Producer at our 1999 Napa Wine Experience. It was the blue fruits that threw me. I wouldnt use that to describe the 'other' fruits in there - I considered logan-berry and raspberry but its not that sweet and not that tart.. somewhere in-between.... You decide!
    Matthews Cellars Yakima Valley Red Wine 1998 label January 5, 2010 - Matthews Cellars Red Wine 1998 - RM 90: Dark, nicely integrated complex structure of dark berry, black cherry, berry flavor, hint of anise on a nicely balanced tannin finish. http://cellartracker.com/w?138961 Blend of 53% cabernet sauvignon, 28% Merlot and 19% cabernet franc. Tasted at Angeli's Restaurant with L and Alec serving.
    Dessilani Gattinaro Reserva 2000 December 31, 2009 - Hazyblur 2004 Shiraz horizontal medley - shiraz's from South Australia BarootaMclaren Vale, and Kangaroo Island; . Schramsberg 2006 Brut North Coast sparkling wines - Blanc de Blancs and Blanc de Noirs - Delightful and interesting comparison between chardonnay and pinot noir based methode champenoise sparkling wines. Blanc de Noir is 90% pinot noir, 10% chardonnay added for  'length' on the New Years Eve Dual Horizontal Wine Tasting
      palate. New Years eve dual horizontal tasting accompaniment to chocolate fondue and artisan cheeses hosted by Bill and Beth C.  Dessilani Gattinara Piedmont Reserva 2000 - RM 87 - Nebbiolo varietal. Dark medium-full bodied, dry. Initially closed, then opened to black berry, black cherry, rose and violet floral notes with dusty anise on a polished firm tannin finish. Drank with festive holiday dinner at Angeli's Restaurant with L and Bill & Beth C. Sourced from C's cellar. 
    Haan Barossa Valley Shiraz Prestige 2003 label December 30, 2009 - Haan Barossa Valley Shiraz Prestige 2003- RM 89 - Spicy, earthy leathery super ripe black berry fruit, menthol, hint of vanilla on a long spice finish. Tasted at home w/ L and Pat.  http://cellartracker.com/w?174207
    Rudd Sauvignon Blanc 2005 label
    Kilikanoon Oracle Shiraz 2004
    December 28, 2009 - Rudd Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2005 - RM 89 - Tasted w/ L and Dr Pat - a great compliment to the sherry infused seared scallops. Kilikanoon Oracle Shiraz 2004 - RM 94, RP 97, WS 92 - Dark inky purple, intense, rich, thick, full bodied, forward fruit of blueberry, ripe plum and blackberry, violet floral, and a hint of anise on the finish. Parker review - 'The dense purple-colored 2004 Shiraz Oracle ratchets up the fruit and glycerin levels, yet remains pure, elegant, and well-balanced. Full-bodied, powerful, cleanly textured, long, and heady..' Int'l Wine Cellar:93 - 'Explosive, wild aromas of blackberry liqueur, cassis, licorice root and espresso. Boasts impressive weight and power on the palate, the dark berry flavors wonderfully sweet but also focused and firmed by solid tannins. Spectator:92 - 'A vivid mouthful of violet-scented blueberry, blackberry and plum...'; Tasted w/ L and Pat at home.
    Beaulieu Vineyard Tapestry Reserve 1998 December 25, 2009 - Beaulieu Vineyard Tapestry Reserve 1997 -RM 90: Subtle berry, dark cherry, slight earthy leather, licorice on the moderate tannin finish. #wine http://cellartracker.com/w?192928 and 1998  - RM 91 points: Dark full bodied - elegant fruit forward dark berry fruit predominates with silky smooth tannins, anise, cedar and a long oaky tannin finish.- #wine http://cellartracker.com/w?20631.
    Marco Di Guilio Mt Veeder Progeny Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2001 December 24, 2009 - Marco Di Giulio Napa Valley Mount Veeder Progeny Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2001 - #wine http://cellartracker.com/w?137762 RM 92: Dark inky color. Big floral nose. Mouthful of black berry, cedar, spicy oak and finely integrated polished tannins on a long flavorful finish.
    December 21, 2009 - Markham Napa Valley Petit Syrah 2001 - RM 91 - Having bought more than a case of this I've had a chance to try this wine numerous times and it just keeps getting better! Dark inky purple color, black berry, black cherry, currant and rose petals with anise and nicely polished integrated silky tannins on the finish.
    Chalone Monterey County Pinot Noir 2005 label
    Hahn Meritage 2007 label
    December 19, 2009 - Chalone Vineyards County Pinot Noir 2005 - RM 87 - Aromas and flavors of tart black cherries, black raspberry and cola with hints of spicy clove and nutmeg. A hard to find great value in a presentable pinot noir. Hahn Monterey County Meritage Red Wine 2007 - RM 87 - Black cherry, black berry, spice and cedar. Remarkably sophisticated and complex yet nicely polished for this price point. Another great value respectable presentable red wine under $18. Two great party wines. 
    Paul Hobbs Russian River Chardonnay 2005 label December 17, 2009 - Paul Hobbs Russian River Valley Chardonnay 2005
    Robert Craig Affinity Label 2004 on Rick's Winesite on McNees.org/winesite December 16, 2009 - Robert Craig Affinity Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 - RM 89 - Huge ripe berry fruit aromatics. Dark, full body, ripe berry fruit, accented by tobacco and hint of caramel with firm full tannins on the long finish.
    Robert Craig Affinity Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2000 label December 09, 2009 - Robert Craig Affinity Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2000 - RM 88 - Earlier review - Dark purple, black fruit and slight earthy tobacco on the nose, black cherry and blackberry fruit with tea and herbs on the moderate finish. This wine is not quite as polished nor bearing as much fruit as near vintages. The earthy leather is taking over the fruit... need to drink up. Tasted at home with E&J, R&M, & L at home.
    Domaine Serene 2001 label on McNees.org/winesite December 8, 2009 - Domain Serene Evenstad Reserve Willamette Valley Oregon Pinot Noir 2001 - RM90 -  Flavorful zesty spicy black cherry, smoke and soft oak on a long tangy spicy lingering finish.
    Nickel & Nickel Branding Iron Vineyard Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 Label December 05, 2009 - Nickel & Nickel Napa Valley Branding Iron Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 - RM91: Dark purple, full bodied, polished complex layers of berry, currant, spice and oak with a hint of cedar on the long silky tannin finish. Tasted at home w/  L with selection of artisan cheeses.
    Straccali Chianti Classico Toscana Italy

    December 4, 2009 - Straccali Chianti Classico, Toscana, Italy - RM 85 WS 85 - Dark, medium bodied, black berry, black cherry, mineral and undertones of charcoal and graphite; Columbia Crest Two Vines Merlot, Washington - RM 86 WS 86 - Dark garnet color, subtle black fruits, hints of mocha and spice with a modest tannin finish. Tasted w/ L, Jim & Christie with Marlene celebrating her b-day at Buca di Peppo at Yorktown.

    Australian 2004 Shiraz Wine Flight  December 2, 2009 - Branson Coach House Barossa Greenock Block Single Vineyard Syrah 2004 - RP 90 - RM 91 - Dark, full bodied, full flavors of black fruits, a hint of raspberry and blueberry, graphite & mineral on a smooth polished moderate tannin finish. HazyBlur South Australia Adelaide Plains Shiraz 2004 - RM 91 - Bigger and more forward but not as complex, smooth or polished as the BCH. Dense and spicy, with a rich core of blueberry, plum and cherry fruit that rises through a layer of fine tannins to take over the finish. Tasted w/ L, Gayle & Mark B at Angeli's Restaurant.
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