Recent Wine Tasting Notes, July/August 2011

I have drank through an embarrassing amount of wine of late, nothing hugely spectacular, but much of it somewhat high end.  A greater percentage then normal, for me, was new world wine, with just a few old world wine’s thrown in.  In any case, I figured it about time to catch up on sharing some tasting notes.

American Wines

2003 Scherrer Winery Pinot Noir Fort Ross Vineyard “High Slopes” (USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast):   Still many years left.  At $40, still my favorite ‘go to pinot’ from Sonoma, as good as many 2-3x the cost. This seems to be picking up some more weight, flavors seem like this was bottled a year ago, not 6 or 7. Blueberry, some damp earth, spice. Very nice.  I would give it a 93.

2007 Saxum Syrah Booker Vineyard (USA, California, Central Coast, Paso Robles):  This winery is on a roll, and is one of America’s premier ‘cult’ wineries.  Holy moly this is big…. People rip in Aussies then praise this? To my palate, too big to surpass this rating now, but for it’s size I loved it. Huge, blueberries, cassis, some black pepper, licorice and tar. Some heat on the finish. Tasty, could use being tamed a bit.  Wine Advocate gave this a 99, IWC a 95, Wine Spectator a 94.  I would go 92.  Was ~$80 on release, now ~$160.

2007 Martinelli Zinfandel Jackass Vineyard (USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley):   Still drinking well. Lots of fruit and spice, somehow working well within monstrous amounts of alcohol which remains largely hidden. I give it a 91, which is pretty damn good considering I normally do not like this style.  Both Wine Advocate and IWC gave this wine a 95. ~$70.

2007 L’Aventure Estate Cuvée (USA, California, Central Coast, Paso Robles):  Another bug bruiser of a wine. Lots of dark fruit, some herbs and spices and perhaps some licorice. A big wine, with a pretty balanced follow through. Enjoyable to sip on and watch evolve some over the night. Somewhat reticent, a few more years will probably do this some good.  Wine Advocate gave this a 95, IWC a 94, Wine Spectator a 93.  I would go 91+. ~ $70

2004 Roar Pinot Noir Pisoni Vineyard (USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Lucia Highlands):  Roar is one of my favorite U.S. pinot producers.  Unfortunately, I do not think this is evolving well, unless it is in a strange spot right now. Still lots of fruit (though a hint of bitterness on the finish), but it just seems slightly out of synch, the components do not seem perfectly married as I hoped they would be with a couple more years under its belt. Some good spices, nice texture, just a bit of heat. Enjoyable and good, just was expecting more.  Wine Advocate gave this a 96, Wine Spectator an 88.  I would go 90.  ~$50.

2005 Mount Eden Vineyards Chardonnay Estate Bottled Santa Cruz Mountains (USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains):  Not bad for a style that is not my favorite. Lots of oak and butter, but pretty good acidity balancing it out, along with some citrus and pie crust that kept it interesting. Years left.  Wine Advocate gave it a 96, Wine Spectator a 93 and IWC a 90.  I would go 90.  ~$45

2001 Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon (USA, Washington):  Normally one of my favorite U.S. Cabernet’s perennially one of America’s best wine’s and wineries.  Not showing a lot right now. A big wine, though very subdued. Right now that combination is not great as it emphasizes the ‘big’ aspects. Dark fruit, nice finish, almost modern California cab finish, with oaky, caramel hints. Tastes more alcoholic than it is. Yet, better than this note sounds… Will improve. Needs many years.  Wine Advocate gives it a 98, Wine Spectator a 94.  I would go 89+.  ~$145.

2004 Merry Edwards Pinot Noir Klopp Ranch (USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley):  Nice red fruit nose with some Asian spices. Fills the palate nicely, still surprisingly youthful. Lots if tart cherry and some earth, only a bit if bitterness on the finish stops it from being excellent.  Wine Spectator gave it a 92, i would go 89.  ~$50

2009 Kapcsandy Family Winery Rosé State Lane Vineyard (USA, California, Napa Valley, Yountville):  Lots of red fruit, still fresh, with some minerality. Decent stuff, but like most American Rose’s, just missing some vitality.  I would give it an 88. ~20

2007 ÀMaurice Cellars Chardonnay (USA, Washington, Columbia Valley):  Light gold, nose of butterscotch, some lemon and oak, which followed through to the palate. Well made, but too much toasty oak for my taste.  IWC gave it an 89.  I would give it an 87. ~$30

Australian Wines

2002 Glaetzer Shiraz Amon-Ra McLaren Vale (Australia, South Australia, Fleurieu, McLaren Vale):  I liked this, holding up reasonably well. Still lot of fruit, especially black fruit.  More restrained than the Barossa.  Yummy factor, not tons of complexity, though more so than the Barossa.  I would give it a 91. ~$90.

2002 Glaetzer Shiraz Amon-Ra Barossa Valley (Australia, South Australia, Barossa, Barossa Valley) Amazingly similar to 2 years ago… More exuberant that the McClaren vale. All about fruit, not complex but decent and fun to drink.  Actually reasonably balanced for a big wine, deep, dark purple. Nose somewhat muted, but some pepper and dark fruit. Oak is in the background, just could use more complexity.  Wine Advocate gave it a 95.  I would give it an 88+.    ~$90-110

1999 Elderton Shiraz Single Vineyard Command (Australia, South Australia, Barossa):  Decent minerality, various fruit welcomely subdued to being a component, not overwhelming. Problem is heat on the finish and just a bit bitter…. But overall pretty good.  Wine Advocate and Wine Spectator gave a 94.  I would go 88+.   ~$60

2001 Torbreck Run Rig (Australia, South Australia, Barossa, Barossa Valley): Run Rig isusually my favorite Aussie wine.  Corked/TCA. ~$150. (Wine Advocate gave it a 99, Wine Spectator a 98)

2001 Mitolo Shiraz G.A.M. (Australia, South Australia, Fleurieu, McLaren Vale)Usually one of my favorite mid price bottles of Aussie wine.  Corked/TCA. ~$40. (94 Wine Advocate)

French Wines

2009 Domaine des Cognettes Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine Selection des Cognettes (France, Loire Valley, Pays Nantais, Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine):  Very Nice wine and a great value at $10. Lots of lemon, minerality and sea zest. Crisp. Nice.

2007 Domaine Vrignaud Chablis 1er Cru Fourchaume (France, Burgundy, Chablis, Chablis 1er Cru):  Nice, easy drinking. Good light gold color, lots of mineralogy (too much!), crisp, white fruit with some floral notes. Just a bit simple. I give it an 87.  At $20, not a bad example of Premier Cru white Burgundy.

2007 Château Simian Côtes du Rhône Vieilles Vignes  (France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Côtes du Rhône):  Ho-hum, ho-hum…..nothing bad to say about this at all, except for I have nothing great to say about it either. Nothing wrong, just boring. Some decent minerality I could claim, but outside of that drinking it is like watching grass grow.  I would give it an 84.  ~$17

Italian Wines

2001 Tenuta Sette Ponti Oreno Toscana IGT (Italy, Tuscany, Toscana IGT): Another year in and year out favorite of mine.  Wow, much better than a year ago. Beautiful violet purple, nice nose of dark fruits, leather and some tobacco leaves. Nice on the palate, not too heavy, nice finish. Good subtle tannins, plenty of life left. Wine Advocate and Wine Spectator gave this a 95, i would go 93+.  ~$55

2006 Travignoli Chianti Rùfina Riserva (Italy, Tuscany, Chianti, Chianti Rùfina): Very young, but nice nose with lots of minerality, flowers, menthol and blue fruits. Falls off a bit on the palate, but good acidity, nice structure, would be great with lots of foods. Nice, good QPR at $16.  I would give it an 88+.

Spanish Wines

2009 Txomin Etxaniz Getariako Txakolina (Spain, País Vasco, Getariako Txakolina): Do not ask me to pronounce!  Fun, lots of acidity, fizzy, apples, quenching. Interesting, light and worth trying again.  I would  give it an 88. ~$20

2009 Bodegas La Cana Rías Baixas (Spain, Galicia, Rías Baixas):  Green apples, pears, good acidity… A bit plain. Not bad on a hot summer day. Enjoyable to sip on. I would go 87.  ~$15.

German Wines

2004 Fritz Haag Brauneberger Juffer Riesling Kabinett (Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer)Refreshing, though could use a bit more acidity; actually a bit flabby and sweet. None the less, quenching and easy/fun to drink.  Wine Advocate gave it a 92, Wine Spectator an 87.  I would give it an 87.  ~$20.

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