Recent Wine Tasting Notes

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Recent Wine Tasting Notes

2016Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe La Crau  (Châteauneuf-du-Pape)96

Quite floral in nature, from there you find thyme, garrigue and a plethora of fresh red fruits. Elegant, with ample weight and lift, the finish hits you with its mix of earth, herbs and kirsch with a hint of salty rocks in the endnote. Hang on this for 5-8 years and you'll have a beauty in your cellar.

5 Views   Tasted 96
2015Shafer Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select  (Stags Leap District)97

Inky dark in color, the wine is massive, intensely concentrated and palate staining. There is so much weight, volume, and extract, your teeth and gums are instantly coated. Balanced between fat and opulent in texture, the flamboyant nature of the wine lets you peek inside. But based on older vintages of HSS, you should let it rest for 10 -15 years or more to get the most out of the layers of black and blue fruit, smoke, vanilla, licorice and chocolate.

356 Views   Tasted 97
1999Michel & Stéphane Ogier  (Côte-Rôtie)93

A pop and pour was all this needed to come alive. Medium-bodied and focused on its smoked cherry, thyme, olive and herb nose, you also find cool notes of barbecue, mesquite and kirsch. Sweet, ripe, fresh and silky with a nice bite of smoked ripe red fruit in the finish sealed the deal. This has probably moved just past its peak days. So if you are sitting on any bottles, you should enjoy them over the next 3-5 years.

0 Views   Tasted 93
2015Spottswoode Cabernet Sauvignon Estate  (St. Helena)98

Inky in color, the lusciously textured, rich, deep, opulent, full-bodied wine coats your palate with waves of sweet, dark, juicy fruit without overwhelming it. The black cherries, chocolate, licorice, blackberry, boysenberry and vanilla in the finish really stay with you. If you dig ripe, exuberant, Napa fruit, you can easily drink it today. Else, age it for 5-7 years or more for further development. The wine was made from a blend of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot .

204 Views   Tasted 98
1982Château Montrose  (St. Estèphe)91

Fully mature, earthy with loads of tobacco, smoke, leaf and spice found among the bright red fruits. Medium-bodied, soft, charming and easy to drink with zero decanting, there is just enough red fruit, cigar box and cedar chest to keep everyone happy. However, there is no reason to hold this any longer.

158 Views   Tasted 91
1986Château Léoville Las Cases  (St. Julien)96

One of the wines of the vintage, the wine is ready for drinking. That being said, regardless of how long you decant the wine. there is no avoiding the stern, hard nature of the vintage. Full-bodied, concentrated and with soaring aromatics, the wine offers up a chewy, intense, rough and ready blast of ripe cassis.

259 Views   Tasted 96
1990Château Léoville Las Cases  (St. Julien)98

This is what great, classic Bordeaux is all about! Perfectly balanced between regal and stern, the tannins are refined, the fruit is ripe and pure. Full-bodied, intense, concentrated and complex, every sniff and sip is interesting, making you want to delve deeper to the glass to find out what else is in there. This is just starting to unfurl. Drink it now, and over the next 20-25 years if well-stored.

342 Views   Tasted 98
2016Aubert Chardonnay CIX Estate Vineyard  (Sonoma Coast)97

This compelling Chardonnay is big, rich, luscious, full-bodied and intense. It's young, so, yes it's also still oaky. But once past all that vanilla and smoke, you find layers of ripe, juicy, sweet, lemon peels, flowers, assorted citrus and apples galore with a mouth-filling finish that sticks with you.

396 Views   Tasted 97
1989Château Lynch-Bages  (Pauillac)97

The first thing you notice is the unmistakable aroma of an unsmoked Cuban cigar, with its hint of bitter chocolate, coupled with cedar, smoke, tobacco, mint, spice, herbs and roasted blackberries. Full-bodied, concentrated, intense and firm, there is a sweetness to the fruit, a hint of green pepper and a gorgeous display of blackberries and cassis in the long finish. This is not about finesse. Instead, it is all about the fabulous, big juicy gulp of mouth-filling cassis that really hits the spot! The wine is showing great today. If you have a bottle, do not hesitate to check it out.

738 Views   Tasted 97
2017Château La Tour-Martillac  (Pessac-Léognan)91

Fresh, juicy, ripe, crisp, medium-bodied, with soft-textured, smoky red fruits, earth and tobacco leaf with a forward approach.

236 Views   Tasted 91
2017Château La Tour-Martillac Blanc  (Pessac-Léognan)92

Bright, crisp, juicy, sweet yellow citrus with a nice mineral drive in the finish and just a touch of honeysuckle to sweeten things up.

248 Views   Tasted 92
1990Château La Tour Haut-Brion  (Pessac-Léognan)92

Concentrated, powerful, beefy and leaning slightly to the rustic side with its tannins, the nose is just great. It is all about the cigar box, tobacco, smoked meat, cedar and spicy side, with a jumble of red fruits. This is not a delicate wine. Instead, it is quite old-school. This is close to its peak level of maturity.

292 Views   Tasted 92
2016Domaine Durieu Cuvée Lucile Avril  (Châteauneuf-du-Pape)93

Floral, peppery, spicy and smoky accents ride on top of the fresh, ripe, red fruits in the nose and on the palate. Medium-bodied, elegant and forward, with a blast of ripe, spicy, sweet kirsch in the finish. The wine is a blend of 85% old-vine Grenache, 10% old vine Mourvedre and 5% Syrah.

332 Views   Tasted 93
1999Château Pavie  (St. Émilion Grand Cru)94

A very nice wine drinking in the sweet spot. Concentrated, lush, ripe, sweet and easy to enjoy due to its lavish fruit, licorice, dark cocoa, smoke and ripe plum character.

509 Views   Tasted 94
2003Château Pavie  (St. Émilion Grand Cru)95

Lush, ripe, rich, full-bodied, ripe, even very ripe, but not over-ripe, the wine is plummy and loaded with smoke, espresso, licorice, stone and dark, ripe plums. This is a good time to be drinking this.

802 Views   Tasted 95
2000Château Pavie  (St. Émilion Grand Cru)96

Concentrated, powerful, tannic, stony and a bit tight, there is a wealth of fruit here, coupled with intensive, stony minerality and tannins for further aging. Lurking below the surface, the ripe, fresh cherry and plums are there, accompanied by licorice, flowers, crushed rock, oak, smoke and spice nuances. This bottle seemed tighter than others. Based on this example, the wine needs at least 2 hours of decanting or another 5 years in the cellar.

818 Views   Tasted 96
1967Château Suduiraut  (Sauternes)87

From a 375, the color was deep gold with a bit of copper. Light in fruit and sweetness, most of the experience was focused on the secondary elements of caramel, butterscotch, orange rind, molasses and burnt sugar. Very bright and almost too fresh, as well as light in weight, this wine has slipped past its prime and requires drinking much sooner than later.

381 Views   Tasted 87
1978Château Lynch-Bages  (Pauillac)86

Clearly on the other side, as the wine is centered around its cedar, tobacco leaf, cigar box, wet forest, and smoke profile, leaving you with just a bit of bright red fruit and a strong herbal component to chew on. Medium-bodied, bright and crisp, this requires consumption.

481 Views   Tasted 86
1892Château d'Yquem  (Sauternes)82

Amber, if not mahogany in color, the wine is lean, with a focus on its caramel, creme brulee, butterscotch, burnt orange and light chocolate characteristics. Not much sweetness remains and just a bit of fruit still lingers, but the nose was fun and knowing you were drinking a bottle of d'Yquem that was close to 130 years old was a thrill. It was not the best old wine I have ever tasted, but it is one that I will always remember.

252 Views   Tasted 82
1970Château Trotanoy  (Pomerol)97

Bottled truffles are what this gem reminded me of. Flamboyant, sensuous, opulent and showy, the wine is rich, deep, concentrated and still delivers plenty of chocolate-covered cherries and plums on the nose and palate. Fully developed, this is not a wine I would hold. So, if you own this stunner in your cellar, find someone to share it with and enjoy the ride.

291 Views   Tasted 97
1964Château Trotanoy  (Pomerol)89

This was my first time with this vintage, so I am not certain if this bottle was representative, Fading, with some ripe, sweet and tart fruits, there was a stern character to the tannins and textures. The nose was majestic, but this classicly styled wine seems to have had better days. I have another bottle in my cellar, so perhaps it will be better.

264 Views   Tasted 89
1959Château d'Yquem  (Sauternes)97

This is the finest example of the 59 I have ever tasted. Deep gold in color, the wine explodes with caramel, burnt sugar, toffee, butterscotch, candied orange rind, pineapple and lemon curd nuances. Sweet and fresh, with silky textures and racy acidity, the yellow fruit, honey and caramel finish was endless. If you are young, and you have bottles of the better vintages for d'Yquem, try hanging on to a few for when you and the wine have aged into maturity. It will be worth the extreme wait.

287 Views   Tasted 97
2005Château Rayas Reserve  (Châteauneuf-du-Pape)97

Just starting to get interesting, the wine is full, supple, complex, deep and displays its purity of fruit, refinement and silky tannins with ease. If you own any, you can pop it now for its gorgeous, pure, sweet, fresh, red fruit, or wait another 5-10 years for more secondary development.

619 Views   Tasted 97
1989Château Rayas Reserve  (Châteauneuf-du-Pape)100

An incredible tasting experience, it is hard to know where to start. Do you focus on the elegance, refinement, and silky tannins? Or, is it the purity in the fruit, with its breathtaking array of sweet cherries and kirsch? Perhaps the perfume, with its floral, red berry, herb, earth or cornucopia of spices? Maybe, it is the finish that does not quit? As I said, I have no idea where to start. But with wines like this, it really doesn't matter, does it?

320 Views   Tasted 100
1990Château Rayas Reserve  (Châteauneuf-du-Pape)98

An incredible tasting experience. The wealth of sweet, ripe, silky, refined cherries and kirsch is almost beyond belief. Not quite as concentrated or fresh as it was just a few years ago, this stunner offers a uniqueness of character not found in other wines. The purity in the fruit is spell-binding. There is length, complexity and sensuality that grabs you and keeps your interest from start to finish. This is not a wine to hold for further development. While the decline will be slow, it's best to catch this at, or close to its peak and not on the way down.

293 Views   Tasted 98