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Posts posted by Redwinger

  1. Ah those whacky liquor laws. Someone 'splain this to me. In Indiana, a

    liquor store can sell cold beer but can only sell warm soda pop. Grocery stores can sell cold soda pop but beer is restricted to warm only. I'm sure there is logic there someplace but it escapes me.

  2. TN: 2002 Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir, Knox Alexander

    I'm generally not a big fan of Cali-Pinot as I tend to find them a bit ripe and alcoholic for my taste. That said, this wine may make me a convert. I found it to be absolutely stunning after an hour or so of breathing. Certainly not sappy/syrupy/alcoholic. Nicely balanced with solid cherry fruit accented by hints of clove, cinnamon and cola. Acids and tannins support the rest of the package. The best part is saved for last..the finish goes on and on with layers of complexity. Boy, oh boy, I simply liked this wine a bunch. The after discount price was a tad under $40, which is definitely at the high end of my comfort level (actually over it), but I felt this wine was worth the tarrif. Did I mention I liked it?


  3. In no particular order:

    1991 Lyiane Saugere, La Colline D’Argent, Cote-Rotie

    Decanted off its’ sediment about 45 minutes prior to fist sip. Initially some muted syrah fruit framed by integrated tannins and nice acidity. I revisited this about 90 minutes later and it had turned into something atypical for a Cote-Rotie. Fruit went wherever faded fruit goes and the acidity was fighting with a dill driven oakiness for control. This has been a fairly reliable pour in the past but I’m glad this was my last bottle.

    1998 Didier Dagueneau, Pur Sang

    The slightly golden hue declares this is a Sauvignon Blanc with a few years under its’ belt. After popping the cork, and taking my first sip I was not terribly impressed. Nice, but nothing special. I revisited this a couple of hours later after tasting a number of “big” reds hoping for a bit of palate cleansing and this had morphed into something very nice. It had picked up weight, become quite plush, crisp minerality, along with refreshing tones of light citrus, pineapple and lemon peel. Quite nice, but I’m not sure it is worth the current tariff.

    2001 SQN Ventriloquist

    Big, dense, and tightly wound. First taste was interesting but no means profound. A bit over the top for my tastes and I quickly tired of this one. Others enjoyed it more than I did.

    1990 Dalla Valle, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa

    Through the generosity of others, I’ve had a number of Dalla Valles from the early 90’s and each one of them has been impressive. This was another example of a wonderful mature Cabernet. At peak, but should hold nicely for another couple of years I would suspect.

    2004 Dom. De la Pepiere, Muscadet

    In certain therapeutic circles on the internet this wine has developed an almost cultish following. Several lemming like months later I finally breakdown and see what all the fuss is about. Initial pour was way to cold and for the first hour or so the wine had an off-putting calcium/almost, but not quite sulphury thing going on. That will teach me for being a lemming!

    I put the glass aside and forgot about it until later in the evening when once again my palate needed a cleansing break from the big reds. Oh my, this is very nice. The calcium/sulphur stuff has blown off and this is clean and crisp. A mighty fine $10 bottle. Still tasty the morning after and has me hankering to have some shellfish for dinner.

    2004 Duo Grenache, Larner Vineyard, Santa Barbara

    This is an angry wine right now. Disjointed and awkward. I’ve never tasted a barrel sample, but this is what I would expect for one. The consensus was that this wine has potential, but needs some time to settle down. In addition to its’ obious youth, I later learned this bootle was only a couple of days off the UPS truck.

    2002 Domaine Olivier, Savigny-Les-Beaune, Les Peuillets

    Bright, refreshing, cherry/red fruit flavors, no noticeable oak and with a somewhat strange, but not unappealing aroma of orange/lemon peel (this blew off after an hour or so). Great acidity. I liked this more than some of the other attendees and I would not turn down another glass.

    2003 Terlato Syrah (Dry Creek or RRV?)

    I had this at an in-store tasting and cannot begin to explain how disappointing/awful this was. Little Syrah fruit character, with tannins and acids just plain AWOL. I wouldn’t pay $5 for this let alone the $35 asking price.


  4. 1995 Murphy Goode, Cabernet Sauvignon, Brenda Block

    This was the latest victim of my “Kill an Orphan Wine a Week” campaign.

    The color shows some fade and bricking. This is clearly a mature Cab with some cigar and leather to accompany muted black cherry fruit. The oak and tannins are completely resolved at this point and the finish clipped and on the drying side. Not completely without merit, but this bottle was past peak and should have been killed a couple of years ago. My suggestion: Drink up.


  5. 2001 Georg Breuer, Berg Schlossberg, Rheingau, #1 02

    This is my first encounter with this producer and while I generally I'm not a huge fan of dry Riesling (actually not a lot of experience with them), I found this wine interesting, if not completely compelling. Hope this means I'm not becoming a convert to dry Riesling as they are difficult to find in these parts.

    Color is that of light straw. Quite dry, with some stone fruit and a refreshing minerality. This acid tolerant taster found the acids potent and gum tingling so acid-phobes beware.

    I suspect this wine is somewhat closed down at this point and will revisit it in three or four years when the acidity calms just a bit.


  6. 2001 Carlisle Zinfandel (Carlisle Vineyard)

    Nose full of quite ripe plum, briary stuff and raisins. The palate follows with plenty of jam and the plum gives way to a red fruit/strawberry profile. Seems to be some spiciness on the finish but the noticeable alcohol, which I am particularly sensitive to, seems to get in the way and I had some difficulty getting past this aspect of the wine. While not a quaff for the faint-hearted and a bit over-the-top for my tastes, I can see where this would be appealing to many palates. Heck, the lovely NJ enjoyed this a lot more than I did.


  7. A few from the last week or so:

    1996 Rosemont GSM

    Dark, almost purple color that does little to indicate this is a wine almost 10 years old. Black fruit and whiffs of meaty bacon on the nose. The promise on the nose unfortunately came up short on the palate. Medium bodied. Little of the bacon notes came through on the palate. Still plenty of black fruit, but the American oak was a distraction.

    1996 J L Chave Hermitage Rouge

    I really didn’t want to pull this into the queue, but while rummaging for orphans I noticed some stickiness on the capsule. Yup, a leaker, so I pulled the cork on what turned out to be very expensive vinegar. Bummer.

    1998 Mont Redon CdP

    Another bummer. Sum mo bitch was corked.

    2004 Saint M Riesling(Pfalz)#0105

    A collaborative effort between Loosen and Ch Ste. Michelle bottled by Villa Wolf. Sparkling straw/golden hue, medium bodied, apricot, peach, and honey on the palate. Listed at 11% alc., with enough RS to remind the taster this is not trocken afterall. Ample, if not bracing, acidity provides just enough lift to clean up the finish and keep things interesting. Not the most complex Riesling, but at $10 it is tasty as well as an excellent value. Screwcapped.


  8. The regular Phelps bottling was an automatic buy for me back in the early and mid-1990’s. That is until the price jumped from ~$23 for the 1997 vintage to closer to $50 for the shitty 1998 edition. It does give me a certain peaceful feeling of satisfaction as I glide past multiple vintages of unsold, dust covered inventory. Anyway, back to this particular bottle of 1994 Phelps CS:

    It was stunning!! Just the very slightest hint of a fade at the rim, with black fruit with softer red fruit underneath, tannins fully resolved/integrated and enough acidity to carry the entire package. This is not at all like the ubiquitous gobby, alcoholic, oak "enhanced", fruit bombs that seem to dominate the Napa market today and ultimately forced me to search for vinous pleasure elsewhere. In fact, I found it difficult to write adequate descriptors for the wine since all the pieces seemed to be in perfect harmony.

    I’m pretty sure I caught this bottle at its’ peak and while it certainly will hold for another year or two, I can’t envision it getting any better than it is today.

    The bottle rests on the kitchen counter this delightful, sunny, spring day in the heartland proudly displaying its’ original $19.48 price sticker.

  9. 2003 Chateau du Donjon, Grande Traditional (Minervois)

    I really enjoyed the 2001 Cuvee Prestige bottling from this producer that I posted on earlier this year, so when this arrived in town I figured it was worth a try to accompany a simple dish of grilled chicken.

    A blend of some sort that I’m guessing has a chunk of Grenache, some Syrah, and perhaps a few other varietals thrown into the mix.

    This wine was exactly what I would have expected from a hot vintage… ripe, very fruit forward, soft, low acid, and little in the way of tannic structure. It is not hateful, nor is it ill-conceived (actually an easy drinker, that people who are not obsessed with wine would enjoy as a quaffer), but it is not at all compelling to me. About $13

    Imported by Handpicked Selections

    2003 JJ Prum, Graacher Himmelreich, Auslese

    Store tasting.

    Upon opening there was a solid dose of sulphur which blew off quickly. Lots of typical “Prum spritz” in the stem. Pale yellow, with a body was particularly light, especially for an Auslese. Some citrus and apple notes, but the wine lacked acid, lacked intensity, lacked complexity and came across as generally uninteresting. Certainly nothing here that prompted me to open my wallet and dish out the $35 asking price. In fact, I immediately snatched up a few remaining bottles of 2001 L. Von Simmern Kabinette ($16) that were being shunned in a remote bin.

    I didn’t jot down the AP on this.

    After tasting 12-15 of the 2003 German Rieslings over the last few months, I can only echo the advice of others: This is a vintage to taste before you buy.


  10. 1999 Dashe Zinfandel, Todd Bros. Ranch, Alex Valley (15%)

    I’ve been rummaging about in the cellar trying to find/identify wines that need to be drank up. During that process I ran across this wine. Based upon my last tasting 3 years ago, I figured it would hold on for at least a few more years but NJ and I were in the mood for a Zin and this one was always a pleaser for us.

    Still a dark purple color with no fade. The nose is still black fruit, but the jammy aspect I recall has subsided. A nice soft cocoa/mocha/chocolate profile fills in the aroma. There is a bit of heat on the nose which is just slightly distracting, but NJ didn’t seem to notice, or be bothered by it. On the palate, the wine has shed most the sweetness of its’ youth, the tannins are approaching the point where they are nearly fully resolved and the briary features I noticed in previous bottles is not longer in the forefront. Solid pepper/spice follow. Fortunately, the heat on the nose did not carry forward to the palate. If you have any of these there’s no need to rush out and drink them up, but I am unsure that additional patience will yield greater rewards. About $24 IIRC.

    1994 Marques de Caceres, Rioja (12.5%)

    I found this orphan while rummaging around in the cellar and figured I better give it a go. I was expecting this cheapy Rioja to be well past its’ prime, so had a backup bottle just in case. The label mentions this is a “The Wine Spectator Critics’ Choice Award Winner” and I suspect that had something to do with my original purchase decision.

    Just a hint of fade on the rim. The forward fruit, tannins and earthy saddle leather exhibited during the first few years have pretty well integrated, although there is enough remaining funk to remind you that you are drinking Rioja afterall. Went well with a simple weeknight meal of grilled pork chops, tomato rice and homemade rolls. The wine was a very pleasant surprise, but I’d recommend drinking them if you got them.


  11. Sorry, Bill.  But that's what you get for pulling the cork about 15 years too early.  :raz:


    Well at least 10 years too early :raz: . Fortunately, this Spat was opened by a local shop at a Saturday tasting. Nevertheless, I have reservations about this evolving into something nice.

    In fact, after tasting the 2003 WS I ambled over to the racks and picked up a few more btls of the 2002 JJ Prum Graacher H. that were marked down a few $$.


  12. 2003 J J Prum, Wehlener Sonnenuhr, Spatlese (AP17 04)

    Oh my gawsh…what a disappointment. Clear light straw color, no hint of TCA, none of the sulphur/matchstick I usually get with younger Prums. The nose is full of promise with, citrus, melon and peach to suggest this is going to be tasty. Nope. There is just a tad of the “nose fruit” on the palate along with what I would describe as Spat level sweetness. That’s it folks! WTF are the acids? They are completely AWOL and without the acids to prop up the rest of the package and add excitement, the wine turns uninteresting/thin in a hurry. Geez, in general I like Prum’s wines, but this bottle was simply not very good. Others in the small group stood around, looked at each other and muttered WTF to no one in particular.

    On a slightly different note. I’ve only tried 6 or 7 of the 2003 Rieslings from different producers…all have been Spats or Kab. From this admittedly small sample, the 2003s seem to be acid deficient to varying degrees. Is this a hallmark of the vintage? Or, do the higher pradikats deliver better acidity that the Spats and Kabs?

    2003 Cimicky Trumps Shiraz

    Another clunker. All oak, all the time. I don’t consider myself to be particularly oak adverse, but this is ridiculous. There might be some decent fruit lurking under the planks, but I’ll never know. This was painful to drink and ultimately was fed to the dumpster. Sigh.

  13. George,

    Sounds like Michigan wines have come quite a ways since I last tried one some 20 years or so ago while traveling in the Paw Paw area. The owners seem pretty "proud" of the wines given the pricing North of $30...guess the tarrif surprises me a bit for a relatively unknown area trying to make a mark.


  14. 2000 Olivier Cuilleras Visan VV

    This is very, very nice. I picked up a single bottle of this on a retailer's recommendation a few years ago and kinda lost track of it in the cellar until this week.

    The label simply mentions this is a Grenache/Syrah blend (I'm guessing this is at least 85% Grenache). The nose had very little of the Rhoney funk, so NJ enjoyed this wine as much as I did. Clear, bright cherry/red fruit with hints of anise and pepper. The cleansing/fresh acidity, a lingering follow and no discernable oak made this a perfect match to the hastily thrown together dinner of a tomato and basil based shrimp/pasta dish we enjoyed while the local plumber worked to replace our water heater which experienced a very premature death on Saturday. I think he ultimately earned enough to send his first born to an Ivy League school for a year.

    BTW, it threw a bit of sediment so careful pouring/decanting is recommended.

    This is my first Cuilleras, but I'll definitely be looking for more stuff from them in the future.

    A Robert Kacher Selection priced at ~$15 IIRC.

    1995 Heitz Bella Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon

    Appears dense and dark in the stem showing absolutely no signs of its' age. Full bodied, with plum and other black fruits, tending toward the slightly sweet side, dominating the nose and palate. Little, if any, secondary flavors except for a suggestion of cedar/cigar box. Tannins are still pretty firmly in control, which along with the primary foward fruit suggests there is no hurry to drink these up. OTOH, I wouldn't bet the ranch that it will improve with additional time either.

    Not a bad wine, just not a great wine. I think the asking price on this was ~$55. For that kind of money, I'd much rather have 4 bottles of the Cuilleras.


  15. Very interesting discussion of East Coast vs. West Coast palates. I can only presume that only those of us who reside in the middle of the country can have a tru appreciation of both styles and can enjoy good/great wines for what they are, rather than where they come from.



  16. I've tasted the 2000 Relentless and also the 1999 (?) and in both cases I found them to be massive and almost uncomfortable to drink. Perhaps they will evolve into something pleasureable with some bottle age, but I'm doubtful they will ever please my palate. Also, as I was tasting these wines, I kept asking myself what food I was would pair with it and couldn't answer that question.

    This is not intended as a criticism of the wine nor those who find it tasty...just not a style I enjoy these days.


  17. Hey Red...I agree with you on the Sequoia Grove. I thought it was nice also. I was shocked to see WS give it a 82 or something like that. I also liked the 02' Chard.    I got the cab in Connecticut for $22!!

    happy New Year!


    That's a great price on the '01 SG Cab!!

    I don't assign points to wines, but that 82 score seeems a tad low :rolleyes:



  18. I haven't really enjoyed any of the Sequoia Grove Cabs since the 1997 Vintage, which was decent in its' youth but lost some of its' verve after just a few years in the cellar.

    I had the opportunity to taste the 2001 a local shop today and was quite impressed with it. Deep rich, purplish-red color. No discernable oak on the nose, but lots of black cherry, mint and licorice filled the nose. Palate followed with some solid acidity and what I would call fine tannins to accompany the fruit. After a couple of hours the tannins did seem grainier and chewier.

    I bought a couple to have on hand when SWMBO screams: "I want a Cabernet Sauvignon"!!!"

    At $28 this is pushing the QPR window, but seems to be "worth it" to me.


  19. In midst of the holiday season, I'm sure many of you bring wine as a gift to dinner parties. I'm going over to my boyfriend's house for dinner for the first time next week and would like to bring a bottle of wine. The problem is, I have never purchased a bottle of wine in my life...

    I'm hoping for something versatile, relatively inexpensive and not neccesarily to be served at dinner (which will most likely be Korean food).  Also something I would be able to find at a local liquor store.

    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

    I can't recommend a specific wine. My suggestion is to go to a wine shop/liquor store with a knowledgeable staff and ask for their assistance. If you don't have a favorite local retailer, ask your friends to recommend a shoppe. Any store worth frequenting should be able to give you many suggestions. If they don't ask you questions about your price point, what kinds of wine your friend has liked in the past, what type of food does your friend like, etc., then go someplace else.


  20. Does anyone know what the timeline for this case is? If oral arguments start today, when can we expect a ruling?

    I believe most opinions are rendered within 2-4 months of the Oral Arguments which would mean a March/April timeframe. At the outside, the ruling must be made not later than June 2005 which is the end of the current term.


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