Tasting Notes for over 50 Wines from the Last Fall Tasting of the Season!

Sunday I was at the last big tasting of the Fall season here in Connecticut but it did not disappoint. Held at the Aqua Turf in Southington, the wines are good but the food is always fantastic.  Worth going for that alone. If anyone is looking for a place to have an event or a wedding I highly recommend it. That being said I had the chance to taste a lot of good wines today. The layout of the tasting room is a little funky so I’m going to list everything in the order of the book.  Again, I hope this helps customers with any buying decisions in the next few months. If I list something we don’t carry, we can always order it for you no problem. Drop us email or give us a call for details.  Onto the wines!

Folio Fine Wine Partners

The highlights here were the two Italian wines. The Luce is pictured above with the interesting bottle artwork.

2007 Oberon Cabernet Sauvignon – Very atypical Cabernet. Certainly pleasant but nothing overly exciting. 88

2006 Emblem Cabernet Savignon Oso Vineyard – More structure than the Oberon, this had some nice up front fruit that carried onto the finish, which lasted about 25 seconds. Pretty nice but a little pricey (over $50). 90

2007 Medusa Lover’s Lane Old Vine Zinfandel – A little disappointing. Decent wine but where’ the fruit? This is a Zinfandel after all. 87

2005 Luce Brunello di Montalcino Tuscany – Very big wine with aromas of flowers, herbs and spices. Full bodied with some chewy tannins, this had some great flavors of herb, licorice, and spices. Needs some more time in the bottle but a very impressive wine. 94

2006 Masi Costasera Amarone Veneto – I didn’t get a big nose on this wine but it made up for it on the palate. Some great flavors of cherry, licorice and herb. Very balanced and not too much alcohol. 92

Kermit Lynch Wine Merchants

Offered some decent value wines from France.

2009 Chateau Ducasse – Fresh and vibrant. Good for the money. Mainly Semillon. 90

2008 Domaine Regis Minet Pouilly-Fume Loire – Some nice fruit and minerality. Very crisp and had a decent finish. 90

2007 Domaine Champalou Vouvrau Sec – This was very nice with some big tropical fruit flavors on the nose and the palate. Most impressive 91

2008 Domaine de la Chanteleuserie Bourgueil Loire – Has some nice oak to go along with some plum and cherry fruit flavors. 88

2008 Clos la Coutale Cahors – Some nice upfront fruit with a nice touch of mocha of the finish. 80% Malbec. 89

2007 St. Martin de la Garrigue Bronzinelle – Very earthy with decent fruit but made in a very classic style. 88

2007 Chateau Bellevue Lussac St. Emillion – Again, very earthly wine with some herb and a little red fruit. Had a decent finish. 88

2007 Sang des Cailloux Vacqueyras Rhone – Nose had some barnyard on it but the palate had plenty of fruit and some earth. Not worth the money (over $50). 88

Ex Cellars

The Guigal wines were certainly impressive wines. I especially liked the Chateauneuf-du-Pape.

2009 Guigal Cotes-du-Rhone Blanc – Some nice upfront fruit but with some nice acidity as well to stand up to food.89

2006 Guigal Gigondas – Still a little tight but had some great fruit and coffee flavors and aromas. Not bad for the money. 90

2005 Guigal Chateauneuf-de-Pape – Lots of big fruit with blueberry and blackberry flavors. Very nice finish. 91

2001 Guigal Cote Rotie – This had a lighter body and an interesting nose that I really couldn’t figure out. Some decent fruit with a nice finish. 90

2006 Baumard Savennieres Loire – Still very fresh for a 2006 with a nice minerality. Citrus and melon fruit end with a decent finish. 90

2006 Baumard Quarts de Chaume Loire – Had a nice beeswax aroma that reveals flavors of honey, ripe melon and pear. Superb. 94


2007 Chappellet Mountain Cuvee – Has some big upfront fruit with sweet soft tannins. Super value for the price! 92

2004 Chappellet Merlot – Starts with a wonderful nose of blackberry and spice to go with flavors of plum, blackberry and mocha. Ends with a nice long finish. 91

2008 Chappellet Chardonnay – Has a nice touch of oak but lets the fruit shine with tropical fruit flavors and vanilla. 90


2005 La Fleur d’Or Bordeaux – Very nice Sautern although a little pricey. 91

Domaine du Pegau

2009 Plan Pegau Selection – Has some nice upfront fruit, mild tannin and made very early term consumption. A nice Chateauneuf for a reasonable price. 90

2007 Pegau Chateauneuf Cuvee Reserve – This is a very big wine that definitely needs some time in the bottle. Has some plum, currant and other dark fruits. Very complex. 93

2008 Chateau du Donjon Grande Tradition – A very nice value that has flavors of red berry, blackberry and herb. 90

Whitehall Lane

A big fan of their Merlot. Was hoping to try the 2007 but they only had the 2006 with them.

2009 Whitehall Lane Sauvignon Blanc – Big and fruity with some nice citrus flavors. 88

2006 Whitehall Lane Merlot  – Some big fruit with black cherry, mocha, and currant flavors. Ends with a decent finish. 89

2006 Whitehall Lane Cabernet Sauvignon – Has some nice dusty berry, dark fruit and mocha flavors. Nice wine but there are better values. 89

2006 Whitehall Lane Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve – Very similar to the regular Cab bottling but the flavors were more pronounced and the finish was a little more impressive. 90

Rodney Strong

Known for turning out moderately priced wines that give people some value for what they are getting.

2008 Rodney Strong Chardonnay Sonoma – Decent Chardonnay for the money. Had some pleasant flavors of peach, pear and vanilla. 89

2008 Rodney Strong Chardonnay Chalk Hill – This was big and creamy with flavors of pear, apple and well integrated oak. 91

2007 Rodney Strong Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley – Had some big upfront fruit with cherry and currant. Had a decent finish with a touch of spice. 90

2007 Rodney Strong Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley Reserve – Even better than the regular bottling, this had a much fuller body and coated the mouth. Fruit was more intense. 92

2009 Rodney Strong Pinot Noir Russian River valley – First 2009 Pinot I have had and this was very nice. Some great strawberry and raspberry flavors with a decent finish. 90


Their Chardonnays are right up there with the better producers our of California.

2008 Landmark Overlook Chardonnay – A top Cali Chardonnay for a reasonable price! Some great flavors of pear and nectarine to go along with nice balance. 90

2007 Landmark Chardonnay Damaris Reserve – Even better but of course it was more money. Has some nice melon and citrus flavors to go with a fuller body and flavor profile. 91

2008 Landmark Pinot Noir Grand Detour – Had some interesting dusty berry, strawberry and earth flavors but I found this a decent Pinot but better values exist for the money. (Over $40) 89

Robert Mondavi Winery

I don’t think I have ever tasted any Mondavi wine except the Cabernet so I was excited to try the other varietals. I decided to stick with the Cabernets after trying them though.

2008 Robert Mondavi Fume Blanc – I was expecting a little more from this. I love Sauvignon Blancs aged in oak but I couldn’t really detect any in here. Where’s the smoke? 87

2007 Robert Mondavi Chardonnay – I found this rather thin and disappointing. It did have some pleasant simple flavors but I was expecting more. 86

2008 Robert Mondavi Pinot Noir – Again I was expecting more from this wine. Had some decent fruit but lacked complexity I would expect from this world class winery. 87

2007 Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley – This is more like it. Made in a traditional style, this showed nice fruit, good balance and silky tannins. 90

2006 Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve – This had some tight tannins but had some great berry fruit, currant and sour cherry. Ended with a impressive 30 second finish. 94

2005 Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve – The 05 was more accessible with a bigger nose. Had some nice fruit as well but it faded early on the finish while the 06 kept going. 92

Vias Imports

2004 Damilano Barolo Lecinquevigne – Has some decent fruit but more earthiness. Tannins still need time to resolve although it had a pleasant finish. 89

2005 Argiano Solengo Tuscany – I had my doubts about this with a big whiff of leather and barnyard on the nose. The palate changed that with some nice dark fruits, licorice, herb and smoke. Needs time in the bottle but still drinking great. 92

2005 Argiano Brunello di Montalcino Tuscany – Lighter body than I was expecting but had some nice fruit with licorice and tobacco. Smooth tannins. 89

2006 Produttori del Barbaresco Piedmont – What a great nose of strawberries, earth and flowers. Some great dark fruit, licorice and fine tannins. Haven’t liked this in the past but this vintage seems enjoyable. 90

San Francisco Wine Exchange

2008 Justin Cabernet Sauvignon – Has some nice fruit and sweet tannin even if it does seem a little out of balance. Justin is usually hit or miss but this seems a little in between. 89

2007 Justin Isosceles – Better balance than the regular Cab bottling with nice red and black fruits, chocolate and some toasty oak.  This was tasty even if a tad expensive. 91

2008 David Bruce Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast – Very nice fruit and not bad for the money. 91

2006 David Bruce Pinot Noir Russian River Valley – This tasted very hot to me. I’m thinking it might have been flawed even though it didn’t dawn on me when tasting it initially. Flawed

2007 Mibrandt Traditions Merlot – Had some really nice fruit on the palate and a touch buttery. This is great for the money! 88

That’s it for the season! I look forward to this every year. Shoot me an email if you have any questions in regards to this or any of the other posts.

Tasting Notes on 8 Wines from over the Weekend

My birthday was this past weekend so I decided to open up some good wines to celebrate. My wife took me to Ralph and Rich’s on Saturday night, a nice Italian restaurant in Bridgeport.  If you are from the area, it’s worth checking out. Some nice Italian food, great atmosphere and corkage was $15. I decided to finally try the 2005 Ovid Proprietary Red. I decanted this about two hours before we went to the restaurant. When I poured it the nose was just unbelievable.  Just brimming with dark fruits although I must say that it wasn’t as powerful once we got to the restaurant and wine still had some tightness to it. This is a flashy wine with blackberry, current, mocha, and some well-integrated oak.  I had a good amount left and we needed to catch a movie so I figured I would let some friends try it the next day to see what they thought.

The party started at 1 but thank god most people were late because I had to finish cooking. I found a recipe in Food and Wine magazine for crisp gnocchi tater tots and it took me longer to cook than I had thought. I also made mahogany wings and marinated some flank steak.  My wife and a few other people pitched in some dishes as well. I started off the day with a glass of chardonnay.

2008 Melville Chardonnay Verna’s – I had just got this in the week before and decided to give it a try. I haven’t had instances of travel shock in white wine before but I think I might hold off from now on just in case. I haven’t tried this vintage before but something was a little unbalanced. Still it had some nice citrus aromas and no noticeable oak. Their website said they use neutral barrels. This had a zingy acidity with some peach, citrus and a nice minerality.

Call for availability

Next up, we moved to the WH Smith Pinot that I had decanted for an hour already.

2006 WH Smith Maritime Pinot Noir – This use to be one of my favorite Pinot Noir producers but after the 2005 vintage something changed in these wines.  There are a lot more earthy flavors to it with the smell of barnyard. It still does have some fruit in there with some cherry and plum flavors but I just don’t like the direction they have gone. Some people do like this still and a few mentioned they did like this wine.

Maritime not available but the 2006 Sonoma Coast is In Stock.

After the Pinot, I reopened the Ovid and let some people taste this including myself. This tasted pretty similar to me as it did the day before although the tannins had mellowed out. People did like this so I was happy they got to try some.  The next wine I opened was the Chateau Ste Michelle.

2008 Chateau Ste Michelle Cabernet Sauvignon Indian Wells – We had gotten this in a few weeks ago and I was excited to try this because Wine Spectator just gave it 90 points. This is an easy drinking Cab that has some fine tannins and does not hit you over the head with too much fruit or oak. Had a pleasing mint flavor in there that was really nice. Overall a really nice Cab for the money.

In Stock

Dinner wasn’t ready yet at this point so I decided to open another Cab and give it a quick decant. I already had the Bond decanted and was waiting for the main course.

2006 Beaulieu Vineyard Tapestry Reserve Proprietary Red Wine – I really like this wine but it does need the decant to really open it up. BV, which is owned by Diageo, has been revamping its wine program and brought in famous wine consultant Michel Rolland. His help has really made a difference. This had some nice aromas of cassis, earth and cedar. Some really nice black and blue fruits on the palate along with licorice and mocha.  A very nice Bordeaux blend from Napa Valley.

Call for availability

The BV was almost gone and it was time for the main course. Everyone got their plates full and I made sure they got some of the Bond. Saved this to go with the flank steak.

2003 Bond Matriarch Proprietary Red Wine – By the time we ate this it had probably been decanted between 3 and 4 hours. This is a big dense wine and a great purple color that just coats your glass. Some nice black cherry, mocha, herb and some nice toasty oak. Had a decent finish and the wine was very balanced. Went great with the steak!

After the dinner and Matriarch, decided to open a bottle my boss from work gave me. We actually have this in the store but it is the 2005 vintage.

2007 Chateau Douley – This was an easy drinking red with very little detectable tannins and some straight forward fruit flavors. Found this very pleasant and for the money it is definitely worth it.

2005 vintage is In Stock!

About this time we started to get dessert ready so it was time to break out the desert wine! I decided to pick up a few bottles of this Sauterne.

2007 Haut Charmes – This is rumored to be from the young vines of Chateau D’yquem.  I have never had D’yquem so I can’t compare it to it but I can tell you for the price this is a really nice bottle of desert wine. Had some nice pear and honey flavors with decent complexity and finish. Definitely worth picking up.

In Stock

Well, another year down. Hopefully the next year brings many more good bottles, fine food and great friends.

In Store Tasting 10/16: 2005 Chateau Malmaison

Today we are trying a great Bordeaux from the historic 2005 vintage. Chateau Malmaison is one of the great values of Bordeaux and owned by one of the owners of Chateau Lafite Rothschild. Some nice aromas of spice, berry and currant on the nose. Full bodied and silky with a slight tannic bite that will mellow with age or air, it has some pleasing flavors of berry, mineral and chocolate.  Will only get better as it ages.

In Stock: $24.99

Tasting Notes on over 50 Wines from a Fall Tasting!

Dave and I attended another Fall tasting this past Sunday from one of our distributors that had a very nice selection of wines. They had a ton of good stuff there and I actually missed a few things I didn’t have time for. Like the first tasting, I wrote down some very basic notes to share and again, I am listing this in the order the book goes, which is somewhat in order this time.  Trying to help our customers with purchasing decisions and uUsing the 100 point scale for the sake of simplicity.

A.P. Vin

Finally had the chance to try these wines and I must say I came away very impressed. They reminded me a great deal of the wines of Kosta Browne, which is one of the top Pinot Noirs out of California right now.

2008 A.P. Vin Pinot Noir Gary’s Vineyard – medium to full-bodied with tons of fruit up front. Very good structure. 92

2008 A.P. Vin Pinot Noir Rosella’s Vineyard – I liked this slightly more than the Gary’s but both were very close in terms of quality. Some very pleasing plum and dark berry fruit that had very nice depth. 93

2008 A.P. Vin Pinot Noir Keefer Ranch – More elegant than the first two wines, this had more spice and a tad more mineralility than the first two. 92

2008 A.P. Vin Pinot Noir Kanzler Vineyard – My favorite of the 4 wines and the most complex. Just a great display of ripe fruit flavors which may be too rich for some people but it’s right up my ally and a great display of California Pinot Noir. 95

Loring Wine Company

Had these wines last year and thought they were pretty decent but did not think as highly of them this year. Perhaps they needed time to open up?

2007 Loring Pinot Noir Shea Vineyard – a touch earthly with some decent fruit. In line with most 07 Oregon wines I have had. 89

2007 Loring Pinot Noir Keefer Ranch – Seems out of balance and hot although the alcohol was only 14.2% if I remember correctly. 88

2007 Loring Pinot Noir Rosella’s Vineyard – Was the best out of the 3 wines. Had some good fruit and balance. More delicate than any of the A.P. Vin wines. 90

Caymus Wines

The Cab, year in and year out, is one of the most consistent wines in California but the other wines are slowly catching up in quality.

2008 Conundrum – Very consistent from year to year. Had some great fruit flavors with some very sweet fruit. Might go better as an aperitif than with food. 90

2008 Mer Soleil Chardonnay (oaked) – Typically I have liked this wine more in the past. Didn’t have the depth of years past or the creaminess although it was still tasty. 89

2007 Mer Soleil Silver Chardonnay (unoaked) – This had a snappy freshness too it. Not oaked but it exhibited flavors you would find in a partially oaked wine. Had some nice fruit but great minerality. Usually prefer the oaked bottling but not this time. 91

2008 Meiomi Pinot Noir – Some nice up front and well-balanced. 89

2008 Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon – Very similar to the 2006 I had a few weeks back. Needs a little time to settle down but a big time wine, bursting with layers of flavors. 93

Dalla Tera Imports

2005 Di Gresy Barbaresco Martinenga – Medium body and very dry. Lots of earthy flavors. 87

2005 Boroli Barolo – classic Barolo with a great nose and some sweet fruit. Smooth and silky. I suspect it was open for a while. 92

Diageo Chateau & Estates

2009 Provenance Sauvignon Blanc – Nice acidity with some mouth-watering flavors of kiwi, citrus and lemon grass. A good value for the money. 90

Duckhorn Wine Company

Was a bit disappointed with Duckhorn with the exception of the Pinot Noirs. The 2007 Napa Valley Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon were let downs considering the vintage. Decent wines but at $50 you should be getting something with more depth.

2007 Decoy Merlot – Nice easy drinking Merlot. Decent complexity but made to drink young. 89

2008 Decoy Cabernet Sauvignon – Not as impressive as the Merlot.  Little thin on the palate with not a lot of complexity. Better values out there. 88

2008 Migration Pinot Noir – Medium to full-bodied, I was pleasantly surprised by this. Had some nice cherry and berry fruit with a decent finish. 90

2007 Goldeneye Pinot Noir – This was the best wine of the lot. A full bodied Pinot packed with enough stuffing to last a while. Lots of red and dark berry fruit. 91

2007 Duckhorn Merlot – 89

2007 Duckhorn Cabernet Sauvignon – 89

Fine Estates from Spain

2007 Teso la Monja Victorino – First time having this and quite impressed. Had some pleasant coffee and tobacco flavors that turned a bit herbal and rustic on the finish. Needs some time. 91

2007 Teso la Monja Alabaster – This was my wine of the day. A huge wine with flavors just coating the palate. Felt like this was decanted for a while and incredibly smooth. Made from pre-phylloxera vines. One of the best Spanish wines I have ever tasted although it costs a pretty penny. 95

2007 Alto Moncayo – Get a big blast of fruit in this wine with some decent structure although I think I prefer the 2005 we have in stock. A definite party pleaser though. 92

2007 El Nido – I expected a better showing from this because it is always one of the highlights of this tasting. It did not have the fruit or structure to justify the price. An off bottle perhaps or in need of more air? 91

Fosters Wine Estates

2007 Penfolds Bin 128 Shiraz – Had some nice upfront fruit but it ends with a clipped finish and some grainy tannins. 88

Hess Collection

Was hoping to try the new vintage of Colome Malbec but they don’t have any in stock.

2006 Hess Collection Cabernet Sauvignon – This was straight up classic Napa Cabernet with some current and dusty berry flavors. Great steak wine. 90

2006 Hess Collection 19 Block Cuvee – A blend of several different grapes, the fruit really pops in this compared to the Cab but there is less tannin to worry about with a slightly lighter body. 90

Huneeus Vintners

2008 Orin Swift Saldo Zinfandel – Pretty impressive with a black berry, licorice and cherry flavors. Reminds me a little of the Carlisle Zins although it did have its own personality. 92

Staglin Family Vineyards

This was the first time I have ever had Staglin and I must say I came away very impressed.  Both the Chardonnay and Cabernet were top-notch.

2007 Staglin Chardonnay Salus – This had some nice upfront fruit with a touch of oak that gave it some nice butterscotch and nutmeg flavors. 90

2007 Staglin Chardonnay Estate – My favorite Chardonnay of the tasting. You can tell they used a little more oak or newer oak barrels for this bottling. Had a delicious creaminess to it with nice apple and smoke flavors. 92

2006 Staglin Cabernet Sauvignon – The fruit in the 2006 was a touch darker than the 2007 but was close in quality. The tannins were a tad softer and it had a great nose. 93

2007 Staglin Cabernet Sauvignon – My favorite Cab of the day. The tannins were a little tight but you just get hit with wave after wave of flavors of coffee, chocolate, black cherry and spice. The finish sails on for almost a minute. The Napa 2007’s are no joke. 95

2009 Staglin Chardonnay Salus – Tasted almost identical to the 2007. 90

Steltzner Vineyards

I saw this was from the Stag’s Leap District and gave it a try.  Was more like Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars than Shafer. All the wines had minimal fruit and were all uninspiring.

2007 Steltzner Claret – 87

2006 Steltzner Cabernet Sauvignon – 88

2006 Steltzner Merlot – 87

Slocum Imports Italy & Argentina

2007 Cuvelier los Andes Coleccion – More approachable than the 2005 we have in stock. More upfront fruit than I remember. Very nice wine for the price and an unusual Bordeaux blend. 91

2007 Cuvelier los Andes Grand Vin – This was tight, like the 2005 we have in stock, but should blossom with a few years of bottle age. Has a long life ahead of it. 90

2005 Cuvelier los Andes Grand Malbec – A big chewy Malbec with some tight tannins but developing nicely with some nice black fruits. Very full bodied and the wine really coats your mouth. 94

Slocum Imports Germany

2008 Diehl Dornfelder – Dave liked this more than I did. A decent wine but not my style. 86

2009 Diehl Spatburgunder – Very Burgundian like with lots of earthly flavors. 87

2009 Dr. Thanisch Estate Riesling – Fresh, young snappy flavors with a nice underlying minerality. 92

2007 Dr. Thanisch Bernkastler Badstube Reisling Spatlese – Very nice depth and flavor to this Riesling with some great stone and apple flavor. Very impressive. 94

2009 Crusius Traiser Rotenfels Riesling Kabinett – Needs to put on weight but this had some nice fruit flavors but might not have the complexity to develop further. 89

Slocum Imports France

2008 Chateau Gulliver – Had some really nice up front. Not a ton of complexity but made for early term drinking and pleasure. 88

2005 Chateau Leoville Poyferre – Had some decent fruit but this is nowhere near ready to drink. Needed at least an 8 hour decant. Still nice showing but perhaps too expensive. 90

2006 Chateau La Croix – I found this a little uninspiring. Had some barnyard flavors and a bit musty. 87

2008 Cuvee des Colosses – This had some nice upfront fruit but was simple with not a lot of complexity. 88

Ultramar Wine Brokerage

2009 Bodegas Carrau Chardonnay Reserve – Some nice fruit to go along with some well-integrated oak. Reminded me of some of the Chardonnay’s on Long Island. 89

2009 Bodegas Carrau Sauvignon Blanc – Lots of citrus fruit, especially grapefruit. Leans more toward the New Zealand style Sauvignon Blancs. 88

That’s it for now. We have maybe one or two more coming up so I’ll be sure to post the notes.