Recent Wine Tasting Notes

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1998 Clos l'Église (Pomerol)  (Pomerol) 94

Drinking at close to its apogee, the full-bodied, richly textured wine is loaded with dark chocolate-covered plums, smoke, licorice, black cherry and earthy accents. Lush, hedonistic, full, long and opulent, 30-60 minutes in the decanter seems to be the right call. 94 Points

148 Views   Tasted
2015 Château Sociando-Mallet  (Haut-Médoc) 89

Medium-bodied, firm, bright, crisp, earthy and spicy, the bright red berries are accompanied by cedar, tobacco, herbs, espresso bean and earth with a touch of austerity in the finish. The wine is a blend of 50% Merlot, 45% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc. 89 Points

167 Views   Tasted
2016 Château Sociando-Mallet  (Haut-Médoc) 92

Medium-bodied, fresh, bright, crisp and clean, the red fruits shine on the nose and palate, leaving you with sensations of fresh red currants, strawberry, leafy herbs, espresso and tobacco leaf. Lay this down for at least another decade and it should be even better. 92 Points

326 Views   Tasted
2017 Château Sociando-Mallet  (Haut-Médoc) 89

Medium-bodied and reserved, holding on to its core of crunchy red fruits, crisp currants and cranberry top notes. Classically designed with its bright personality, lay this down for a decade, and it could soften and fill out as it adds additional nuances and character. 89 Points

105 Views   Tasted
2018 Château Sociando-Mallet  (Haut-Médoc) 93

Clearly, a contender for the best wine ever produced here. Even though it is an infant, it is hard not to enjoy the cornucopia of ripe, red berries, black plums and blackberries that come along with a judicious dose of new French oak, tobacco leaf, fresh herbs, cigar box and cedar. The wine has a solid depth of flavor and a long, chewy blast of ripe red fruits in the endnote. The wine is also bottled with a special, commemorative, one-time-only, black and gold label, celebrating 50 years of ownership by the Gautreau family. 93 Points

215 Views   Tasted
1962 Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon Monte Bello  (Santa Cruz Mountains) 90

Every now and then you come across a wine you thought you would never see, the debut vintage of what would be become Ridge Monte Bello is one of those true, unicorn wines. Medium-bodied, dusty and chalky in the mouth, the wine is loaded with bright, red currants, tobacco leaf, crushed stone, lead pencil and cedar, finishing with crunchy, red fruits. This is a dead ringer for an off-vintage Pauillac. 90 Points

48 Views   Tasted
1963 Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon Monte Bello  (Santa Cruz Mountains) 91

Predominantly tertiary in nature, with little effort you find hay, tobacco leaf, cedar, cinnamon, cigar wrapper, flowers and bright red cherries. Medium-bodied, crisp and fresh, this was still showing well. 91 Points

53 Views   Tasted
1964 Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon Monte Bello  (Santa Cruz Mountains) 90

Currants, red berries, bright, crunchy and crisp on the palate, the wine is medium-bodied with accents of lead pencil, tobacco wrapper and wet earth. Not profound, but quite the treat when you consider its age. 90 Points

78 Views   Tasted
1965 Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon Monte Bello  (Santa Cruz Mountains) 93

The fruit is still remarkably fresh, bright, sweet and pure. There is length, balance, freshness and all the red fruits you find on the nose, manage to remain with you on the palate and in the finish. This tasted 20 years younger than its true age. Good luck finding a bottle, but if you do, grab it as it shows California Cabernet history at its best. 93 Points

80 Views   Tasted
2020 Les Hauts de Lynch-Moussas  (Haut-Médoc) 88

Flowers and red currants with a touch of spice is on the nose. Medium-bodied, bright, fresh, crisp and crunchy with a sweet, creme de cassis character on the palate and in the finish makes this easy to enjoy while waiting for the Grand Vin to mature. 87-89 88 Points

53 Views   Tasted
2007 Domaine Grand Veneur Vieilles Vignes  (Châteauneuf-du-Pape) 96

Drinking in a perfect spot, this is a rich, lush, ripe, concentrated, hedonistic style of Chateauneuf loaded with layers of dark cherries, kirsch, black raspberry, herbs and peppery spices. The fruit is sweet, pure and mouth-filling, with a finish that holds on. No decanting needed. 96 Points

400 Views   Tasted
2003 Domaine du Pégau Cuvée Réservée  (Châteauneuf-du-Pape) 97

Clearly at the top of the pyramid for the vintage, as the wine manages to avoid the pitfalls from the excessive heat, here you find a concentrated, lusciously styled, earthy, garrigue-filled wine with an array of spices, an herb garden and waves of ripe, sweet, peppery, red fruits with green olive tints and a finish that does not want to quit. Popped and poured, this is really playing at the top of its game. 97 Points

946 Views   Tasted
2016 Domaine Saint Préfert Blanc  (Châteauneuf-du-Pape) 91

Fully developed, round, oily and focused on its sweet, pineapple, pear and citrus and honeysuckle profile, this is probably best consumed over the next few years. 91 Points

361 Views   Tasted
2001 Domaine Charvin  (Châteauneuf-du-Pape) 95

At the peak of maturity, this elegant, refined, silky, vibrant wine is packed with peppery, spicy, perfectly ripe, sweet, fresh strawberry, cherry and black raspberries with flowers, herbs and a touch of chocolate on the nose and palate. I love this style of wine. No decanting warranted. 95 Points

462 Views   Tasted
1995 Colgin Cabernet Sauvignon Herb Lamb  (Napa Valley) 93

Fully mature, soft textured, elegantly styled, with ripe, sweet, deep red fruits from start to finish. However, with time, the herbal character of the vineyard has become much more predominant in the nose and finish. 93 Points

373 Views   Tasted
2010 Stag's Leap Wine Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Cask 23  (Stags Leap District) 92

Medium-bodied, soft, ripe, elegant, round, soft, fruity and packed with sweet black cherries, blackberries, licorice, smoke, chocolate and vanilla tones, this is fully expressive today. 92 Points

355 Views   Tasted
1991 Dominus Estate Napanook Vineyard  (Napa Valley) 96

Fully mature, this is a treat from the moment it hits your glass. Silky, lush, polished and fresh, the wine is concentrated, complex and long. The cedar, tobacco leaf, red fruit, spice, earth, forest floor and cigar box notes on the nose carry through on the mid-palate and finish. No decanting needed. Just pop, pour and enjoy. At 30 years of age, this is at its apogee. 96 Points

656 Views   Tasted
2013 Schrader Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon RBS Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard  (Oakville) 97

Showing just great right out of the bottle, the wine is full-bodied, rich, opulent and lusciously textured. The perfectly ripe, black, red and blue fruits are vibrant, opulent, sweet and fresh, ending with black cherry liqueur, chocolate and licorice notes. While this is clearly on the ripe, powerful side, everything is in balance and harmony, making this quite easy to imbibe. 97 Points

968 Views   Tasted
2014 Schrader Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon T6 Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard  (Oakville) 97

Deeply colored, the wine is full-bodied, concentrated, opulent, sweet and rich. From the get-go, the layers of ripe, flamboyant, black, red and blue fruits deliver their essence along with copious amounts of licorice, chocolate, vanilla and spicy nuances on the nose and in the long, fruit-packed finish. 97 Points

501 Views   Tasted
2016 Shafer Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select  (Stags Leap District) 98

Almost opaque in color, the wine is massive, powerful, dense and intense. The layers of incredibly ripe, black and fruits coat every facet of your palate with non-stop layers of intensity. Hedonistic, showy and attention-seeking, this should age and evolve for 2-3 decades with ease. 98 Points

1,219 Views   Tasted
2009 Arietta Cabernet Sauvignon  (Napa Valley) 90

Full-mature, charming, soft, easy to like, medium-bodied, ripe, fresh, and open, the wine is focused on its sweet, spicy, leafy red fruits, earth, herbs and licorice, on the nose and in the elegantly textured finish. 90 Points

419 Views   Tasted
2005 Château Canon  (St. Émilion Grand Cru) 94

Interestingly, every time I have tasted this wine, the score keeps ratcheting up. Not quite mature, but close, here you find notes of flowers, licorice, crushed rocks, salt, and a melange of red fruits with a gentle touch of fennel in the perfume. Medium-bodied, elegant, vibrant, silky, and refined, the wine finishes with earthy ripe, sweet red fruits salty tannins, and soft textures. This is showing quite well now and it will be even better with a bit more time. 94 Points

699 Views   Tasted
2005 Château Canon-la-Gaffelière  (St. Émilion Grand Cru) 95

Ready to go, this opulent, lush, richly-textured wine shows off its hedonistic style with ease. The floral-centric nose is accompanied by licorice, wet earth, herbs, forest leaf, tobacco and sweet deep red fruits. Generous on the palate, the velvet-textured berries linger in the finish. 95 Points

810 Views   Tasted
2012 Château  (Margaux) 94

Medium-bodied, structured, almost round, close to soft, but the tannins and the wine remain firm, reserved, and reticent. There is a strong, green olive and herbal note in the finish that does not want to go away. Those looking for more classic-styled vintages will probably like this even more than I did. At the end of the day, and the bottle, this is a wine to like, not love. 94 Points

671 Views   Tasted
2012 Château Lafite Rothschild  (Pauillac) 93

Light in body, better on the nose with its tobacco, cedar, leaf and herbal profile than on its almost rustic, light palate, the wine ends with a strong, green olive and tobacco leaf finish. I am not sure time will bring this much more depth. 93 Points

588 Views   Tasted