Rick's Wine Journal Archive 2001


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

Dec 18, 2001

Holiday party - wine flight selection - Dueling Rhone Rangers! 1998 Chateau De La Gardine Chateauneuf-du-Pape; 1995 Les Cailloux Chateauneuf-du-Pape; 1998 Caves des Papes Les Closiers Chateauneuf-du-Pape; 1997 Del Dotto Napa Valley Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon.

Dec 11

Holiday dinner party - wine flight selection - details on winelist -
Aperitif - 1990 Piper Heidseik Champagne;
1988 Heinz Merkel Pfalz, Venninger Doktor Kerner, Auslese; Vin blanc -  1994 Teruzzi & Puthod - Terre di Tufo; 1995 Mer Soleil Chardonnay, 1995 Beringer Private Reserve Chardonnay; Vin rouge - 1995 & 1998 E. Guigal Brune et Blonde Côte-Rôtie Rouge; 1988 & 1989 Chateau Ducru Beaucaillou, St Julien, Bordeaux; 1996 Del Dotto Estate Bottled Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon; 1993Chateau Grand vin de Leoville Las Cases  St Julien Bordeaux; 1997 Beaulieu Vineyards Tapestry Reserve; Aperitif - Beringer 1993 Special Select Late Harvest Johannisburg Riesling; Ficklin Maderia County Tinta Port; 1997 Rancho Zabaco Cabernet Sauvignon Port - Northern Sonoma; Yalumba Museum Release Old Reserve Muscat.
Dec 5 Long Island, New York winery/cellar visits - 1997 Beddell Cellards  Cabernet Sauvignon; RM 88 Dark ink colour; Dry smoky tannic, a bit grassy; currant cherry finish - tastes like an old 'end of life' bordeaux - like the 1970s in the late 80's! 1997 Merlot Cherry smoke, dark color lighter. Corey Creek 1998 Merlot (10% Cab Franc) Black Cherry Vanilla, spice smoke, a bit green, RM 89. 1999 Gewurztraminer - Smokey apricot essence - hint of apple and cognac RM 88. 2000 Late Harvest Riesling - apricot, honey, orange aroma, hint of smoke - subtle finish of peach pear and mango. RM89. Beddell Cellar Chardonnays 1999 - Crisp apple RM 88; 1999 Reserve - oaky, smoky RM 89. Lenz Cellars 1997 Merlot - RM 91. Raphael Vineyards.
Nov 22 Thanksgiving dinner - what do you server on this special day? Here's something really different! 2000 Wickham Estate Bottled Special Release Fume; 1997 Robert Craig Amador County Zinfandel.
Nov 3 1998 DEL DOTTO Napa Valley Sangiovese - (RM92) $40 (Label) (Website) (Review)
Oct 30 1983 Chateau Palmer Margaux Bordeaux WS RP 97 RM 91 Classic Bordeaux Cedar licorice plum leather and spice according to RP. who ranked it among best of the vintage. 1998 Paraduxx Napa (Magnum) RM 92 Duckhorn Vineyards known for merlot produces this delicious Howell Mt. Merlot based meritage, often accented with Zinfandel - Big fruit - oak, blackberry, raspberry and black cherry with a hint of licorice!  - find it if you can...1997 Northstar Merlot Yakima Valley Chateau St. Michelle RM 92 See review.  Full flavorful wine with mellow oak, blackberry, sweet cherry, and a soft raspberry finish. Also tasted perennial favorite 1997 Tapestry Reserve - enjoy it while its still in abundence. Find these wines at Morton's in Westchester. W/ TRR, RV, CC Eric M. et al.
Oct 27 1994 Elan Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Oct 19 1982 Chateau Gruaud Larose St Julien Bordeax RP 97 WS94 RM 88 Berry, grape with a mineral finish. 1998 Matthews Yakima Valley Meritage WS 88 RM 91 $45 Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Blackberry, currant, and that Yakima appellation 'cognac' tone.
Oct 17 1986 Chateau Pichon Longueville Baron St Julien Bordeax RP 88 WS 97 RM 89
Oct 15 1998 Hedges Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot Columbia Valley $14 (WS 87 RM 86) Red raspberry, strawberry, eucalyptus with a grassy tone and hint of a of mint finish.
Oct 7 1994 Beaulieu Vineyards Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon ($20) (WS RM 91) Rewards from the cellar - Flavorful cherry, berry, olive and oak. This was a great value upon release but dont expect to find it east of the rockies!
Oct 6 Freemark Abbey Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1997 - WS 91 RM 89 Flavorful, full, smokey berry floral and mushrooms. Tasted at Chapmans.
Oct 1 1997 Lucente $30 (RM 90) Product from joint venture between Robert Mondavi and Marchesi De Frescobaldi reflects the blockbuster vintage - berry fruit, cedar, oak and  raisins. Enjoyed at Amores in Bloomingdale with Considines.
Sept 30 1985 Cos d' Estournel St. Estephe Bordeaux $85 (RC 93) Very refined and polished - a robust nose filled with ripe blackberry and current. This is a deep and complex wine that has a long and chewy aftertaste. Tasted by Rick C nd Wendy with Frank and Mary Elle.
Sept 25 1998 Caves des Papes Chateauneuf-du-Pape Les Closiers $24 (WS 91 RM 89) Ripe, medium bodied, spicy, peppery plum and berry fruit. 
Sept 23 1998 Punters Corner Cabernet Sauvignon Coonawarra $24 (RM 89 WS89) Dark, full bodied ripe, flavorful mouthful of berry, a hint of  plum and cedar - this should soften a bit more with time.
Sept14 1997 Liparita Merlot - (RM 93) (label and website) Firm, complex, full bodied with tightly wound tannins yet didn't hold back its blackberry and plum fruit with a lingering cherry, chocolate and cassis and cedar finish.
Sept 12 1988 Cos d' Estournel, St. Estephe, Bordeaux - (WS 95 RP 86 RM 88) Look at the disparity between the Parker and WS ratings. You decide! A bit austere, tannic, a hint of Bordeaux perfume, blackberry, spice, tar, moderate finish. From the cellar w/ Rick C.
Sept 11 1999 Beringer Napa Valley Private Reserve Chardonnay (WS 92 SS RM 90), 1999 Gallo of Sonoma Russian River Laguna Ranch Chardonnay (WS 88 RM 91) -  Beringer is always a safe bet for Chardonnay. It was smooth balanced, smoky, toasty, a touch of that buttery fruit, unspectacular (when compared to the blockbuster 95). It was outdone by the Gallo - more forward, fruity, citrus and huge delicious spice overtone. Tasted at Parker's in DG with PP, TR, DRH.
Sept 8 1997 Robert Craig Mt Veeder Cabernet CS (RM 94 WS 94) (WSCS); 1997 Robert Craig Howell Mountain Cabernet (RM 92 WS 92).  A tribute to Robert Craig at its best. A great duel of two fruit bombs from a spectacular vintage. Enjoy these while you can. Huge full berry flavor, full rich balanced yet soft on the finish cherry, berry, and spicy chocolate. The Howell is only slightly behind. Robert & Lynn Craig and Rudy Z, their associate winemaker were featured winemakers at our Napa Wine Experience 99 and Napa 98, RC website. They're both on the great winelist at Sullivan's here in Naperville; with Rick C, DRH, and S.
Aug 31 1998 DEL DOTTO Napa Valley Giovanni's Tuscan Reserve - (RM93) $48 (Label) (Website) This is DDO's flagship blend of Cabernet (83%) and Sangiovese (17%). The 1998 growing year reduced the crop by 30% from previous years giving the Cabernet a heartier body and longer aging ability than previous years. Revealing the Sangiovese's fruity nose with a strong intense floral flavor - add the Cab and you have a a big full bodied chunky fruity wine with dark cherry, berry, red licorice. Twelve hundred cases are available.  Del Dotto's were featured winemakers at our Napa Wine Experience 99.  Their website is done by your's truly! Tasted the DDO  opposite one of my other favorites Rosemount Balmoral Syrah 1998 and it stood up and held its won well. A great tasting!
Aug 25 1997 Chateau Calon Segur, St. Estephe Bordeaux $18 WS 83 RM 84 An off-year for Bordeaux means affordable wines for a change, (30% the price of the 95!) similar to the 1987 vintage, pick some up for tasting now but don't expect much. Light, unstructured, only a hint of that classic Bordeaux aroma, cherry and cedar and spicy finish. 97 is obviously the year for Napa Cabs and Super Italians! 
Aug 24 St. Francis Merlot 1994 Sonoma Valley $24 WS 89 RM 89 Rich full bodied and complex black cherry, mocha, coffee and cedar. Ready now! 
Aug 14 Pine Ridge 1998 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon $32 WS 88 RM 89 Tasty berry, spicy eucalyptus and a hint of cassis on the finish. 
Aug 2 1997 Robert Craig Paso Robles Syrah; $24 WS 89 RM 90 Rich, tasty, plum and berry, with a hint of oak and cedar and spice on the finish.1997 Robert Craig Chardonnay - $25 WS 93 RM 92 No doubt you dont think on Robert Craig and Chardonnay but perhaps you should If you can find this limited production release (200 cases), its a great bargain. WS says it this way... smooth and creamy, with a pretty toasty oak and vanilla-scented edge. The rich core of pear, fig, apple and melon is bright, rich and concentrated, turning enormously complex. I don't do enough whites be adept at verbalizing the experience. Find this if you can!
July 11 1997 Beaulieu Vineyards Tapestry Reserve; 1998 De la Gardine Chateauneuf du Pape; 1997 Joeseph Phelps Napa Valley Syrah -  The Tapestry continues to be a favorite - smooth, polished, balanced. 
July 10 1997 Pride Cabernet Sauvignon; 1997 Whitehall Lane Cabernet Sauvignon
July 9 1995 Liparita Merlot Napa; 1997 Fife Readhead Zinfandel; 1997 Gallo Sonoma Frei Ranch Cabernet 
July 6 1996 Bolgheri Ornellaia Tenuta dell'Ornellaia $74 WS 94 RM 90  Currant and blackberry and hints of mint.-  less structured than reviews promised. It needed an hour or so to open and reveal itself. Don't hurry.
June 25 Executive dinner - see wine list for details -
1995 Mer Soleil Chardonnay -
A special selection from Chuck Wagner – Caymus Vineyards;
1988 Chateau Palmer Margaux Bordeaux – Dry with violet, berry, and fruit character; 1988 Chateau Beychevelle St. Julien Bordeaux –  Full bodied with silky tannins, aromas of raspberry, mint, a hint of violet. Lead pencil and fruit on the long aftertaste; 1989 Cordier Chateau Gruaud Larose St. Julien Bordeaux –  Subtle aromas of raspberry and spices. Full bodied with full tannins, long silky textured berry finish. 1990 Chateau Cos d’Estournel St. Estephe Bordeaux –  Exotic aromas, vanilla, black fruits, roasted bouquet, finely balanced, concentrated, compact tannins; Beringer Johannisburg Riesling Late Harvest - 1993
June 22 Behrens & Hitchcock 1994 Staglin Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon -RM 92 $35 See earlier review.
June 15 Chateau Beychevelle, St. Julien, Bordeaux, 1983, 1997; Chateau Talbot, St. Julien, 1990; Chateau Palmer Margaux, 1988. The Beychevelle took best in show here. It had much more structure and fruit than the others which were a bit closed. Five years ago the Palmer would've won hands down with more fruit and bouquet.
June 13 Dow Vintage Port 1985; Dom Perignon 1990; Chateau De Pez, St. Estepehe, Bordeaux, 1990; Chateau Rayners Lane, Brokenwood Vineyard 1997 Shiraz; 
June 3 Chateau Figeac St. Emilion 1982 (RMP 93) $120-$295 One of our signature wines commemorating Ryan's graduation! (Read my WS interview for background) That classic Bordeaux perfume, dark cherry, mocha and cassis with a lasting finish. The 750's are due to drink - the large formats surely have life yet. (Label) (Bottle)
May 24 Chateau St. Michelle 1998 Syrah Reserve ($30) (RM87) (label) Tart cherry and plum with a raspberry  finish. A bit tart up front - softer on the finish. Picked this up at the chateau in Woodinville - worth a stop if in Seattle.
May 21 Chateau Leoville Las Cases St. Julien 1988 (Label) Classic perfume and floral scents - polished and balanced - dark cherry and soft oak. Too fancy a wine for a weeknight but I'm celebrating my appearance in Spectator on my birthday! 
May 19 Chateau de la Gardine 1997 Chateauneuf-du-Pape $30 (WS 88 RM 87) We'd preferred the 98 but that will have to wait. (I have a case waiting at RC's if he hasn't drunk it already!) This one's a bit lighter and more austere than the current release - still full of berry, soft tannins a touch of pepper, oak and vanilla. Tasted with Andrew Vadjinia of LV Aureole (see below) at a popular renouned Chicago restaurant to remain nameless. Great times comparing our respective trips to CDP - See Rhone Wine Experience! Thanks Andrew - next time it's on me! Cheers. His high tech surprise alluded to below was revealed by WINE SPECTATOR this week.
May 13 1997 Lewis Napa Alec's Blend $45 (WS89 RM91) Great, fun wine for Mother's day, with the big Laverne like 'L' on the cap for  Linda (my wife), mother of our son Alec, this wine commemorates producer and former Indy racer Randy and Debbie Lewis's grandson, born on the day of harvest of these grapes, as I recall.  Unique blend of 65% Cab, 20% Syrah, and 15% Petit Verdot. Flavorful black cherry and blackberry, with touch of tobacco and long finish of anise,  tannins, and a touch of vanilla. Check out their reviews and their website Label.



Chateau Canon, St. Emilion 1986 - (RP91 RM90) $90 Fabulous perfume, floral bouquet, red raspberry, smoke and oak with light soft tannins. Tasted at magnificent Aureole at Mandalay Bay in Vegas. Andrew Vadjinia has created an extraordinary wine experience - 3300 labels from around the globe, the largest vertical of Grange in the US, classic   Bordeaux to the turn of  last century, super Italians, and an impressive array of favorite Napa boutique producers featured on this page: Robert Craig, Clark Claudon, La Sirena, Paradigm, Cornerstone, Liparita, on &on. Its my ultimate fantasy winelist - even Dead Arm! Lots of big bottles and halves too. The cellar is 4 stories tall encased in glass with a wrap around stairs and catwalk. Has to been seen to be believed. Andrew & staff were gracious and hospitable. Got a peak at his soon to be announced surprise. Watch for it!  A grand experience for wine buffs & techies alike. Well done!


Plumpjack 1998 Napa Cabernet Sauvignon $50 (WS89 RM91), 1997 Cornerstone Napa Cabernet Sauvignon $60 (WS94 RM90) Domaine des Espiers Gigondas $30 (RM 87) Dark cherry, pepper, smoke. Cornerstone was most complex and sophisticated but a bit closed and less approachable, than Plumjack; revealed more fruit -  berry, plum, tobacco, cedar.. Cornerstone was dark, berry, plum, currant. Mary Pisor of Plumpjack was a featured winemaker at our 1999 Napa Wine Experience. Foundation Room @ House of Blues, Las Vegas, iTRACS Bicsi team, Craig C & Craig R.
May 8 Robert Craig 1997 Paso Robles Syrah  $24 (WS 87 RM 92!) This is a new release from Robert.  Only 200 cases are available - its delicious and a good value. Hopefully, production will increase! Cherry, plum & hint of smoke with a smooth mocha finish. What fun! See earlier review & links. In Vegas w/ TR & PP
May 5 1995 Elan Atlas Peak Cabernet Sauvignon $39 (WS 89 RM 89) Cherry and plum with a hint of anise and mint. Patrick and Linda Elliott-Smith were featured winemakers at our 1998 Napa Wine Experience. Label. Website. There's a great story regarding their stylish label!
May 2 Rosemount 1997 Mudgee Mountain Blue Shiraz Cabernet  (75-25%) Aus $40 (WS90 RM91) Add a touch of that distinctive McLaren Vale blueberry taste to currant and plum with moderate tannins. I'd like to do a comparison tasting between this and the Silverado Merlot below - both delicious.  
Apr 30 Silverado Vineyards 1997 Merlot Napa Valley $28 (WS 87 RM 91) Full and tannic with burst of flavorful plum, pear and currant flavor. Soft, pleasant, and tasty.  Tasted opposite the 1998 M. Chapoutier Chateauneuf-du-Pape La Bernardine - what a contrast in style and taste. See review. Tasted w/ TR and KC at Bleu in Greenwich.
Apr 29 Behrens & Hitchcock 1994 Napa Staglin Vineyard $28 (WS 92 RM91) CL Tasting this at Tra Vigne we emptied the Cantina of their entire supply and clamored for more but only 100 cases were produced in their second year. Luckily for all, production is increasing. They were featured in the WS Undiscovered Dozen in Dec 97. Black cherry, raspberry and mocha pack a big long smooth finish. Read about & seek out B&H if you can find it. Your wine shop contacts will come in handy.
Apr 27 Liparita 1993 Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain $45 (WS 88 RM90) A bit slight and austere initially but a big berry aroma and flavor punch of  cherry a touch of pear and that Howell Mountain currant with a cedar cassis finish. Gove Celia, Liparita's winemaker was featured in our 1998 Napa Wine Experience.  Liparita is always well received and very popular when I serve at tastings.
Apr 23 Bodegas y Vinedos Alion 1995 Ribera del Duero Reserva $32 (WS 92 RM 91) Not knowing  Spanish wines, this greatly exceeded my expectations with its body, polish and nice full fruit flavor of  berry and cherry with a soft plum tone. It fairly plentiful so it should be easy to find. 
Apr 20 Snowden Vineyards Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 1995 -  (WS 93 RM 93) ($45) Smooth tannins, depth and body with balanced currant and black cherry flavors with a subtle finish. This wine has a lot of life yet. Randy Snowden was a featured winemaker at our 1998 Napa Wine Experience. See review of their Lost Valley release.
Apr 14 Rosemount Balmoral Syrah 1998 ($40) (RM 93) They did it again! One of my favorite wines for the last several years. Deep colour, pleasant aroma and lots of intense fruit -  plum and blackberry blueberry, a touch of spice and soft tannins. Another winner in this vertical!  website.   Label.
Apr 13 Domaine Santa Duc 1998 Gigondas Prestige des Hautes Garrigues  ($45)(WS 94 RM 91) Big full wine with a layer of tannins accentuated by ripe plum and blackberry flavors. Not as big or as tannic as I expected based on reviews. We visited the quaint and rustic Gigondas during our Rhone Wine Experience 99 looking for Santa Duc without success. Too bad - they've produced some blockblusters the past few years. 
Apr 2 1993 Barone Ricasoli Toscana Casal Ferro  ( RM 84) $35. One of the Super Tuscans - huge rating in 97.... Closed and tight, musty earthiness overshadows the fruit - perhaps corked? 
Mar 21 1997 Lewis Sonoma Merlot; (See review below): 1997 Freemark Abbey Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (WS91 RM90); $28 Full balanced w/ currant, vanilla, leather and mocha. 1998 Duckhorn Napa Merlot (WS 85 RM 87) - A light earthy berry, cedar, and mocha.  Link Label  1998 M. Chapoutier Chateauneuf-du-Pape La Bernardine - See review. Sullivan's Chicago - iTRACS Board Mtg dinner
Mar19  1997 Robert Craig Mt Veeder CS (RM 92WS 94) (WSCS); 1997 Rosemount Balmoral Syrah; 1997 BV Tapestry -  (see my earlier reviews below of these - some of my favorite wines.)  - What a trio of great wines from T Cook's WS Award of Excellence wine list! The Craig was over-powered early by the dueling fruit bombs but opened up eventually to reveal full rich tight but soft on the finish cherry, berry, and spicy chocolate. Robert & Lynn Craig and Rudy Z, their associate winemaker were featured winemakers at our Napa Wine Experience 99 and Napa 98, RC website. T Cooks, Phoenix
Mar 11 1998 DEL DOTTO Napa Valley Sangiovese(RM92) $40 (Label) (Website) This is DDO's first release of a 100% Sangiovese, grown on the mountains of Calistoga in Napa Valley. Super fruity nose with a strong intense floral flavor - a big chunky fruity wine. A favorite of Nils Venge, DDO winemaker.  Only a few hundred cases are available.  Del Dotto's were featured winemakers at our Napa Wine Experience 99
Mar 3 1997 Joseph Phelps Napa Valley Syrah  $35 (WS 94 RM92) Polished smooth mouthful of plum, blackberry, and a nice smooth oak finish. Another 97 blockbuster value. 
Mar 2 1997 Silverado Vineyards Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon $30 (WS 90 RM 90) Smooth, soft flavors of  plums, black currants and mocha on the on the nice soft finish.  Rick w/ John R. Un Bacio's, Scottsdale
Feb 25 1997 St. Supery Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon  $22 (WS 91RM 90) WS SS Another great value from the fabulous 97 Cab's! Complex, full, flavorful with plum, blackberry and a smooth finish of soft tannins. 
Feb 17 1997 Robert Mondavi Oakville Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon $45 (WS 94 Rm 93) Big firm polished currant flavor with anise, touch of sage and tobacco with a smooth long finish. 
Feb 14 1997 Antinori Toscana Solaia Tuscany (WS 98 RM 95) CS $115 Label This was the WS #1 wine for 2000. Their review- Dark ruby in color, with extremely ripe raisin and spice aromas. Full-bodied and very chewy, with loads of polished tannins and a long, long finish that's big and fruity. A solid, muscular red from Tuscany, this is the greatest Solaia ever made. RM - The flavor was a slight bit 'green' to my liking - however it is very distinctive. 75% Sangio 20% CS 5% Franc. Antinori Toscana Tignanello 1997 - Tuscany (WS 95 RM 94) $75 CS Label Another of the fabulous 97 Super Tuscans, Intense ripe blackberry fruit, perfectly balanced - soft tannins and a long smooth finish. This is the opposite of the Solaia with 75% CS 20% Sangio 5% Franc WWW Antinori Tasted @ Tomaso's in Tempe w/ Tom R, Craig C., & Bob V. 
Feb 7 Gruaud Larose, St Julien Bordeaux 1985 - (WS87 RP 90 RM88) (LBL) (CL) Fragrant bouquet - earthy, blackberry highlights with tones of truffle and mushroom with a long big floral finish. Commemorating Sean's birth-year vintage on his 16th. See other vintage notes.
Feb 6 1998 DEL DOTTO Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon - (RM92) $62 (Label) (Website) Perfume of sweet oak & plum - flavor packed currant, black berry, cherry and a sweet oak smooth vanilla finish with soft tannins.  The 15% Merlot and 5% Cab Franc add roundness and a hint of spice and smoke.  27 months aging  in a variety of oak barrels adds a unique delicious sweet oak complexity  Del Dotto's were featured winemakers at our Napa Wine Experience 99. Nils Venge is consulting winemaker. See '97 review.
Jan 27 1997 Beringer Cabernet Sauvignon Knights Valley - $25 (WS88-RM90)  Tasty currant, black cherry, mocha and slight vanilla  flavors. (web)
Jan 25 1998 Raymond Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Reserve $23 (WS90 RM91) (Web) SS. Great wine at a reasonable price - outstanding value. Big mouth full of flavor; sweet oak accented by black cherry, currant, sweet cherry -.complex long smooth finish. Like the Northstar below for $1/2!
Jan 20 Tasting at the magnificent Chateau St. Michelle in Woodinville, WA - despite the dreary weather the hospitality was warm and welcoming. 1993 Cold Creek Cabernet  (RM87).($30) Blackberry, cassis and leather with soft tannins. 1997 Columbia Valley Syrah Reserve (RM90) ($30) Distinctive Columbia Valley sweet 'cognac' taste accented with blackberry and supple smooth smoky finish. 1997 Col Solare (web)(RM90)($70) - Bold black currant and blackberry  with mocha and leather - 84% cabernet sauvignon, 13% merlot, 3% syrah From the partnership between Chateau Ste. Michelle and Italy's Marchesi Antinori.1995 Northstar 77% Merlot 23% Cab. (RM92) ($47) Crafted by winemakers Gordy Hill & Jed Steele with fruit from Wahluke Slope, Yakima basin and Columbia Valley, produced a big full flavorful wine with mellow oak, blackberry, sweet cherry, and a soft raspberry finish. Leader of the pack!
Jan 17 1998 M. Chapoutier Chateauneuf-du-Pape La Bernardine $31 (WS92 RM 91) Medium-bodied, tight with lots of blackberry, pepper, and a touch of plum and tannins on the long finish. Recognizable by the unique brail label. (label).
Jan 12 1990 Freemark Abbey Napa Sycamore Vineyard (WS88, RM89) - Tightly wound, dark cherry, currant, spice with a mocha finish. 1994 Grgich Napa Cabernet Sauvignon (WS 88 RM87) Austere, light, blackberry, cassis , tannic. 1998 Chateau La Nerthe Chateneauf du Pape (RM 92) We visited this magnificent Chateau during our 1999 Rhone Wine Experience. The 98 CDP vintage is fabulous... this has big fruit, blackberry, cassis,  pepper, spice, well rounded and polished. Happy 50th Bill! Feature.
Jan 8 1998 Peter Lehman Shiraz Barossa -  (WS92 - RM91)$16 (website - labels.) Flavorful, packed with   blackberry, , a hint of vanilla & spicy cinnamon and a smooth peppery finish. Another winner even better than the earlier vintages that I recommended wholeheartedly; and another great value. Should be available - gotta try this.. almost too good for 'everyday' wine!
Jan 1, 2001 1997 Del Dotto Napa Valley Cabernet Franc -  (WS91- RM91)$48 (Label) (Website) Flavorful pepper-spice, vanilla,  cedar,  black cherry. Del Dotto's were featured winemakers at our Napa Wine Experience 99. Nils Venge is consulting winemaker.
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