Tasting Notes on 5 Cabernet Sauvignons from our Wine Club Meeting 11/15/14


We met over this past weekend for our Fall wine club meeting. The theme was pretty simple: Cabernet Sauvignon. We do this meeting almost once a year and it is always a fun meeting. Had some delicious food including pizza, grilled New York Strip, grilled tuna steak, a nice assortment of cheeses that complimented the wines and some interesting deserts from Whole Foods.

  • 2007 Turnbull Cabernet Sauvignon Oakville – USA, California, Napa Valley, Oakville
    Tasted blind. Off putting aromas of earth, leather, chemical and shoe polish. Upon the first sip it seemed too cold to me. Very high acid, suspect VA. Very hot. Could be flawed. Upon retasting, improved slightly but still hot and out of balance. Could be flawed but not 100% sure. Very disappointed to find out this was the wine I brought. What a let down. (87 pts.)
  • 2011 Louis M. Martini Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley – USA, California, Napa Valley
    Tasted blind. This wine tasted much better. Nice aromas of blackberry, black cherry, earth, flowers and herb. This had a light body for a Cab but did have nice flavors of blackberry, green pepper and cherry. Not super complex but very nice for what it was. This actually was the wine of the night. (90 pts.)
  • 2012 Force of Nature Cabernet Sauvignon Mossfire Ranch – USA, California, Central Coast, Paso Robles
    Tasted blind. Bigger nose than the first two wines with aromas of game, plum, coffee, blackberry and herb. Very nice and really giving off a lot. The palate featured flavors of mulberry, blackberry, herb and ceder. Ended with a decent finish. Liked the nose a little more than the palate on this. This wine finished 3rd on the night. (89 pts.)
  • 2004 Chateau St. Jean Cabernet Sauvignon Cinq Cépages – USA, California, Sonoma County
    Tasted blind. Interesting aromas of black currant, cherry, herb and cigar box. Another wine with a very expressive nose. The palate revealed flavors of currant, blackberry, herb and cherry. Ended with a long finish, longer than any of the previous wines. I guessed Sonoma for this one and I was right. This was my wine of the night and finished second in the voting. (91 pts.)
  • 2010 The Hess Collection Cabernet Sauvignon Mt. Veeder – USA, California, Napa Valley, Mt. Veeder
    Tasted blind. A very strange bottle of wine. Upon initial tasting, this was my favorite bottle of the night. Aromas of black cherry, game, herb and mint. This wine was very big in the mouth with flavors of currant, blackberry, dusty berry and mocha on the long finish. I guessed Napa and I was right. Upon tasting this again, BOOM, corked. And not even trying to hide it since it was apparent on both the nose and on the palate. NR (flawed)

Notes on over 125 Wines from a Fall Trade Wine Tasting

As discussed in previous years, the Fall Wine Trade Tastings are upon us. This is our chance to taste the new vintage wines in preparation for the Holiday season. By tasting the wines, we get to evaluate if we went to bring them into the store for our customers, although we may test some wines we really like that are available for special order but not in stock at the store. If something interests you please give a call or shoot us an email. The following notes are from only a single tasting but give potential customers an idea of what the wine is like utilizing the traditional 100 point scale.

9/14 Tasting

Robert Craig – Consistent producer of high quality Napa Valley wines. The Affinity is an especially good deal in comparison to the other wines. There 2011’s seem to have come out very nicely.

2012 Chardonnay – 87

2011 Affinity – 92

2011 Mt Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon – 92

2011 Howell Mtn. Cabernet Sauvignon – 93

*In Stock Robert Craig 2010 Affinity $57.99

Round Pound – Decent Sauvignon Blanc but the Cab is the real star at this winery. High quality and won’t break the bank.

2012 Estate Sauvignon Blanc – 89

2011 Estate Kith & Kin Cabernat Sauvignon – 88

2010 Estate Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon – 92

Pahlmeyer – Premium producer of some of the best Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon in all of California. Your paying top tier prices but these wines are at the top of the food chain.

2010 Merlot – 94

2011 Proprietary Red – 94

2012 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay – 95

2011 Jayson Cabernet Sauvignon – 90

2011 Jayson Chardonnay – 89

2011 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir – 90

*In Stock Pahlmeyer 2009 Chardonnay Napa Valley $75.99

Chateau La Nerthe – Nice producer out of the Southern Rhone. Both the red and white are very nice.

2010 Rouge Chateauneuf du Pape – 92

2012 Blanc Chateauneuf du Pape – 92

Brandini 2009 Barolo – 90. Nice Barolo but ends with some drying tannins.

Villadoria 2009 Barolo – 88

Archery Summit – Decent producer of Oregon Pinot Noir but a tad overpriced.

2012 Premier Cuvee Pinot Noir – 88

2011 Red Hill Pinot Noir – 89

2011 Arcus Pinot Noir – 90

Domaine de Beaurenard

2011 Rasteau – 91

2011 Chateauneuf du Pape – 91

2011 Boisrenard Chateauneuf du Pape – 93

Chappellet – Consistent producer of high quality Cabernet using mountain fruit on Prichard Hill.

2012 Mountain Cuvee – 91

2012 Signature Cabernet Sauginvon – 93

2012 Chardonnay – 90

Clos du Val

2011 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa – 88

2010 Merlot – 87

Coho – Year in and year out the Headwaters is a very nice wine at an affordable price for a Napa red. The Pinot Noir I have never been impressed with but this years had distinctiveness and nice flavors.

2010 Headwater Red – 92

2011 Stanley Ranch Pinot Noir – 90

2011 Summitvine Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon – 91

Heitz – Legendary producer of some of the best, longest lived Cabs in Napa Valley. The Martha’s Vineyard is epic.

2009 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon – 90

2009 Trailside Vineyard Cabernet Saugvignon – 91

2004 Trailside Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon – 92

2009 Martha’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon – 94

2004 Martha’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon – 95

NV Ink Grade Port – 93

2010 Massolino Barolo Serralunga D’Alba – 92

2011 Perrin Chateauneuf du Pape Les Sinards – 91

Dr. Loosen – One of the best estates in Germany. Their entry level Dr. L is consistently excellent!

2010 Red Slate Riesling Dry – 88

2013 Blue Slate Riesling Kabinett – 89

*In Stock Dr. Loosen 2012 Dr. L Riesling $10.99

2013 Maximum Grunhaus Riesling – 90

2013 Robert Weil Riesling Tradition – 91

2012 Merry Edwards Sauvignon Blanc – 93

Venge – Great Napa estate with a history of very good Cabernet. Surprised how good the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir were though.

2011 Maldonado Vineyard Chardonnay Napa Valley – 92

2012 Bacigalupi Vinaeyard Pinot Noir RRV – 91

2012 Scout’s Honor Proprietary Red Napa Valley – 91

2012 Silencieux Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley – 94

2010 MaCauley Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley – 94

Shafer – Like Pahlmeyer, this is the best of the best. All the wines are good but the Hillside Select is just another level of excellence. The 2010 is one of the best wines you’ll ever try.

2012 Chardonnay Red Shoulder Ranch – 92

2012 Merlot Napa Valley – 90

2011 One Point Five Cabernet Sauvignon – 90

2011 Relentless Syrah/Petite Sirah – 91

2010 Hillside Select Cabernet Sauvignon – 97

*In Stock Shafer 2010 Chardonnay Red Shoulder Ranch $58.99


2010 Cedar Knoll Cabernet Sauvignon – 90

2010 Cabernet Sauvignon – 92

2001 El Coto de Imaz Gran Reserva – 90

Honig – Always a consistent and affordable producer of high quality Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc.

2013 Sauvignon Blanc Napa – 88

2012 Sauvignon Blanc Rutherford – 90

2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley – 91

2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Bartolucci – 92

2007 Cabernet Sauvignon Bartolucci – 92

2012 Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc – 93

2004 Fattoria Felsina Vin Santo – 94

Far Niente

2012 Cabernet Sauvingon – 88

2011 Chardonnay – 88

Nickel and Nickel

2011 State Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon – 88

2011 Tench Cabernet Sauvignon – 87

Summer’s – Producer of some nice entry level Cabernet’s that are great values

2012 Adriannas Cuvee – 89

2010 Calistoga Cabernet Sauvignon – 90

2010 Knight’s Valley Cabernet Sauvignon – 90

2013 Filus Torrontes – 88

Ciacci Piccolomini

2009 Brunello di Montalcino – 90

2007 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva – 90

Dr. Konstantin Frank

2013 Rkatsiteli – 88

2013 Dry Riesling – 87

2013 Gewurztraminer – 89

2012 Semi Dry Riesling – 89

2011 Emeritus Pinot Noir – 91

St Supery

2012 Dollarhide Sauvignon Blanc – 90

2010 Cabernet Sauvignon – 89

2010 Elu – 92

2013 Sauvignon Blanc – 90

Robert Keenan – Napa producer whose Cabernet and Merlot is consistently delicious with fairly reasonable pricing by Napa standards.

2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa – 91

2012 Chardonnay Spring Mountain – 89

2010 Merlot Napa – 88

2010 Merlot Reserve – 92

*In Stock Keenan 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley $52.99

Bollinger – First time I remember having this Champagne and was blown away by the quality. The Special Cuvee was very nice an a great introduction to the style. The La Grande Anne was just a spectacular top flight Champange.

NV Special Cuvee – 90

2004 La Grande Annee – 93

2010 Anthonij Rupert Optima – 92

2011 Ca Marcanda Magari – 90

2011 M Chapoutier La Bernadine – 89

2009 Episode – 92

2008 Gaja Pieve Santa Restiuta Brunello di Montalcino – 90

Ferreira – Excellent Port house with pretty reasonable prices. The Dona Antonia Reserva is a great value.

2009 Ruby – 90

NV Dona Antonia Reserva – 92

10 yr Tawny – 92

20 yr Tawny – 93

Broadbent 10 Year Malmsey Madeira – 92

Franco Serra

2013 Gavi – 88

2010 Barbaresco – 88

2010 Barolo – 90

Trimbach – Maybe the most renown Riesling in the Alsace, producing a great range of wines at different price points.

2012 Muscat Reserve – 87

2011 Pinot Blanc – 87

2007 Riesling Cuvee Frederic Emile – 90

2011 Pinot Gris Reserve – 90

2008 Pinot Gris Reserve Personelle – 93

*In Stock Trimbach 2007 Riesling $16.99

* In Stock Trimbach 2005 Riesling Cuvee Frederic Emile $59.99

2007 Col d”Orcia Brunello di Montalcino – 90

2000 Faustino I – 92

Santa Rita

2010 Medella Real Cabernet Sauvignon – 90

2008 Triple C – 92

Hall/Walt – Hall has done big things in Napa to improve the quality of there wine and expand their portfolio. Their new Walt label seems interesting but they may need some time to get their bearings. Their Cabernet remains the star.

2011 Merlot Napa – 89

2013 Sauvignon Blanc Napa – 89

2011 Walt La Brisa Pinot Noir – 89

2011 Walt La Brisa Chardonnay – 88

2011 Walt Blur Jay Pinot Noir – 88

*In Stock Hall 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley $51.99

2008 Uccelliera Brunello di Montalcino – 88

2009 Renato Corino Barolo – 90

2008 Pira Luigi Barolo Margheria – 90

2008 Renato Corino Barolo Arborina – 92

2012 Zind Humbrecht Zind – 91

2012 Zind Humbrecht Gewurztraminer – 89

Paul Hobbs – Consistent producer of both high quality luxury wines and more affordable selections which he balances really well.

2013 Crossbarn Chardonnay – 88

2012 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir – 90

2012 Crossbarn Cabernet Sauvignon – 90

2011 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon – 91







Notes on 5 Burgundies from our Summer Wine Club Meeting

Meeting theme was Burgundy. Had some nice wines but even better food. Stuffed clams from Stowe’s in West Haven, homemade lobster mac and cheese, lamb chops, salmon and pizza from Roseland! Overall, the wines were all nice although nothing stood head and shoulders above the rest. 2012 William Fevre Fourchaume won wine of the night but all the wines were really close in the voting.

  • 2011 Antonin Rodet Rully 1er Cru Chateau de Rully – France, Burgundy, Côte Chalonnaise, Rully 1er Cru
    Tasted blind. Nose not jumping out of the glass on this one but its there with aromas of lemon, mineral and a touch of oak. This had a very nice acidity with flavors of lemon, mineral and slight tough of vanilla. Ended with a decent finish. Definitely not using new oak on this but enough to give it a presence. (88 pts.)
  • 2012 William Fèvre Chablis Champs Royaux – France, Burgundy, Chablis
    Tasted blind. Nose on this was completely shut down. Slight hint of something that I could not identify. On the palate this was a different story. Got some nice flavors of mineral, lime, slate and lemon. Ended with a nice finish, which was actually longer than the first wine but i docked this for a lack of a nose. I guessed a Chablis. (88 pts.)
  • 2009 Domaine / Maison Vincent Girardin Pommard Vieilles Vignes – France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Pommard
    Tasted blind. Nose of cranberry, cherry, cinnamon and earth. Much more expressive than the first two whites. On the palate this had some cherry, earth, matchstick and a touch of veggie. Not overpowering in any way. Elegant. Better nose than palate though. Enjoyable regardless. (90 pts.)
  • 2012 Domaine William Fèvre Chablis 1er Cru Fourchaume – France, Burgundy, Chablis, Chablis 1er Cru
    Tasted blind. This white was also slightly shut down but showed more than the other two whites with aromas of mineral, lemon and slate. Palate was a different story with a beautiful acidity and flavors of lemon, mineral and citrus. Very juicy. Tempted to upgrade this a point but left it as is. (90 pts.)
  • 2011 Domaine Jean Monnier & Fils Beaune 1er Cru Montrevenots – France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Beaune 1er Cru
    Interesting nose of smoke, earth and a touch of cherry. On the palate had some flavors of cherry, earth, herb and spice. Funny thing with this wine was when I had a re-pour the smoke was completely gone! Had a little of this left over so tried on day 2. Smoke came back with aromas of cherry and green tea, which continued on the palate with herb and some earth. Basically just as interesting on day 2 as day 1. (90 pts.)

Notes on 5 Wines from a Wine Club Meeting


This past weekend our wine club got together for our Spring meeting. There was no theme for this meeting so everyone could bring whatever they wanted.

  • 2012 Smoking Loon Chardonnay Steelbird – USA, California
    Tasted blind. This had a very expressive nose of peach, tangerine and some citrus. Nice acidity to it and no oak presence, got some peach, grapefruit and tangerine on the palate as well. Thought for sure this was a Sauvignon Blanc but I have found the unoaked Chardonnay’s can be mistaken for Sauvignon Blanc’s. Was shocked when the bag came off of this. Never would have suspected Smoking Loon Steelbird. No denying it is a well made wine though. (88 pts.) In Stock $7.99!
  • 2013 19 Crimes Dry Red Wine – Australia, Victoria
    Tasted blind. This really didn’t have much going on in the nose. Bit of strawberry but that is it. The palate showed this to be a simple, fruity and sweet red wine with a ton of cherry fruit but really not much else. Lacking in complexity. For the price though it is not a bad wine for someone looking for something enjoyable to drink and not really think about it or the crowd that doesn’t like harsh red wine. (84 pts.) In Stock $10.99
  • 2012 Charles Smith Merlot The Velvet Devil – USA, Washington, Columbia Valley
    Tasted blind. Showing more on the nose than the previous wine, this had some nice cherry, earth and iron aromas. The palate was open for business with flavors of cherry, mocha, earth and iron. There were some tannins present but nothing overpowering or even in need of aging. 30 minutes in a decanter would do it. A very nice value wine. (89 pts.) In Stock $12.99
  • 2009 Kumeu River Chardonnay Coddington – New Zealand, North Island, Auckland, Kumeu
    Tasted Blind. The nose on this reminded me of the old Colonial Estate Chardonnay with aromas of marshmallow, lemon, beeswax and a hint of mineral. Almost got the impression there would be a lot of oak but quite the contrary. This had flavors of lime, mineral and lemon. Has a zippy acidity to it still. Ended with a nice finish as well. Enjoy these New Zealand Chardonnay’s. (91 pts.) Similar wine in stock Craggy Range 2011 Chardonnay Kidnapper’s Vineyard $19.99
  • 2013 Philipp Kuhn Laumersheimer vom Löss Grauburgunder Trocken – Germany, Pfalz
    Tasted blind. This wine, for me, was tough to pin down. Didn’t think it was from Germany since it was so dry. Got some nice aromas of peach, lime and a very flowery nose. The palate showed some nice flavors of mineral, peach and pear. It was a little spritzy in the mouth. Narrowed it down to either a Riesling from France or Austria or a Gruner Veltliner. Was surprised when it was revealed. Never had a Pinot Gris from Germany before. Very impressive. (91 pts.)

Dunn Vertical in Westport, CT

DUNN VERTICAL AT POST 154 – Post 154 Westport, CT (5/31/2014)

Got together with my usual wine group for a Dunn Vertical. Started off with a couple of whites but then kicked it over to the Dunn. One couple had an emergency and unfortunately could not make it. Said he was probably going to bring an 82 and 90. Feel bad that they could not make it. Still had an interesting vertical with what we had. Amazing the consistency and style of these wines throughout. One consistent thing throughout was that the wines all tasted young with long, long lives ahead.

  • 2006 François Raveneau Chablis 1er Cru Montée de Tonnerre – France, Burgundy, Chablis, Chablis 1er Cru
    What a way to kick off the tasting! This was very fresh with a beautiful acidity. Notes of stone, mineral and macadamia nut on the nose. Really expressive nose here and this was served at the perfect temperature. More mineral and lemon on the palate. Hard to believe this was 8 years old! (93 pts.)
  • Similar bottles in stock: Simonnet-Febure 2008 Chablis Premier Cru Montee de Tonnerre $29.99

  • 2005 Kistler Chardonnay Vine Hill Vineyard – USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley
    What a difference between this and the Chablis! Could not be anymore at the opposite ends of the spectrum. Tasted a little hot at first, which is pretty common for me when switching between old world and new world wines. A few people complained this wasn’t cold enough but I thought it was just right. After a couple of sips my palate adjusted and this was quite a nice wine! Lot of tropical fruits on this with both aromas and flavors of mango, papaya, banana and vanilla. Oak was nicely integrated. Ended with a very long finish. Glad I got a chance to try the old style Kistler before they changed it. Gotta admit I like this old style over the new one. (95 pts.)
  • Similar bottles in stock: Alpha Omega 2010 Chardonnay Napa Valley $65.99

  • 1986 Dunn Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain – USA, California, Napa Valley, Howell Mountain
    On to the Dunn’s! This was the surprise of the tasting to me, figuring the oldest wine would show the most mature notes but this tasted very young. More like a wine 8-10 years old than something 28 years old. The nose was jammy at first, with aromas of blackberry, raspberry, cassis and violets jumping out of the glass. As the night wore on these aromas calmed down a little bit but they were still nice throughout nonetheless. Got more raspberry, dried cherry, touch of earth and iron as well. Ended with a very long finish. The tannins on this were very smooth and this had no hard edges. What you hope a Dunn will taste like when you buy and cellar it. (95 pts.)

  • 1987 Dunn Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain – USA, California, Napa Valley, Howell Mountain
    This was more mature than the 86 and the most of any wine in the tasting. Amazing how different this and the 86 were but both retained a signature style. Leather, dried cherry, cassis and earth on the nose. Again, no hard edges on this with flavors of raspberry, dried cherry, earth and iron. Nose on the 86 was more expressive and fruit was a bit brighter on the palate. Had the 87 Napa Valley last week and honestly these two are neck and neck in terms of quality. (94 pts.)

  • 1989 Dunn Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain – USA, California, Napa Valley, Howell Mountain
    This started off with a touch of funk on the nose but it quickly blew off. Got a lot of fruit on the nose of this with dried cherry, cassis and blackberry. This tasted the youngest of the first 3 wines with some nice cherry, earth and raspberry flavors but it ended with some drying tannins. (92 pts.)

  • 1991 Dunn Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain – USA, California, Napa Valley, Howell Mountain
    Second time having the 91 and what a difference a few years make! Expressive nose had aromas of raspberry, balsamic, eucalyptus, dried cherry and a touch of iron. This tasted very young, with cherry, blackberry, iron and mineral on the palate. What really separated this from the other wines was the finish, which sailed on for over 40 seconds. Just when you thought it was over it kept coming. My wine of the night and a long life ahead of this one. (97 pts.)

  • 2003 Dunn Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain – USA, California, Napa Valley, Howell Mountain
    Had this before recently and didn’t benefit from a decant. Made sure it had a good 2-3 hours this time plus whatever it had waiting for it’s place in the tasting. Very young wine, literally I have had 2007’s that have tasted older than this. Got some matchstick on the nose with cherry and blackberry. Very expressive palate though with flavors of cherry, blackberry, plum and iron. A great bottle in an off vintage. (95 pts.)
  • In Stock $89.99
  • 2003 Dunn Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley – USA, California, Napa Valley
    Had to get my bearing at first with this one. It literally tasted like the same wine. After a couple of sips, some of the smaller nuances became clear to me although most people I would imagine would have a tough time telling them apart. Cherry, plum, blackberry, iron and roses on the nose of this went with flavors of cherry, blackberry and iron. The nose was a touch more complex than the Howell Mt. but the palate was more complex on the Howell as well as the finish. Still for the price you really can’t beat it. (94 pts.)

Notes on over #250 Wines from the Skurnik Tasting in NYC

On March 11th, Distributor Michael Skurnik Wines held their annual trade tasting in New York City. This is one of the best shows of the year that highlights their portfolio from high ends wines to some great value wines. Since the show services the Tri-State area, some of the wines I tasted may not be available in Connecticut or distributed by another company. If you are interested in something please contact us to confirm availability.

When I go to these events I try to taste through as many wines as possible in a  very short period of time. There is no way I can taste every wine there. Therefore, it is relatively difficult to write detailed tasting notes about each wine. What I try to do is write some comments on the producers that really stuck out and assign each wines a score. If I give it a score I can at least let you know how much I liked the wine. Onto the wines.

Charles & Charles/Bieler Pere et Fils – Really nice value wines. Rose wines were certainly impressive and inexpensive.

2013 Rose – 90

2012 Chardonnay – 88

2012 Cabernet Sauvignon & Syrah Post No. 35 – 89

2013 Coteaux d’Aix en Provence Rose ‘Sabine’ – 90

Charles Fournier

2012 Chardonnay Gold Seal Vineyards – 87

2012 Riesling Gold Seal Vineyards – 90

2013 Rose Gold Seal Vineyards – 89

Onabay Vineyards – New York is starting to do some interesting things with Cab Franc. Not only in Long Island but the Hudson Valley and Finer Lakes.

2009 Blanc de Blanc – 87

2012 Chardonnay Yellow Crown – 88

2011 Cabernet Franc ‘Cot-Fermented’ – 88

2010 Cabernet Franc ‘Night Heron’ – 88

Silver Thread

2012 Dry Riesling – 88

2012 Chardonnay – 86

2013 Good Earth White – 88

2012 Semi-Dry Riesling – 88

Pinot Project

2012 Chardonnay – 88

Owens and Vaughn – Nice value wine.

2012 Cabernet Sauvignon California – 88

Alpha Estate – Greek estate showing a lot of promise. The 2008 Estate was particularly interesting with a blend of 60% Syrah, 20% Xinomavro and 20% Merlot.

2009 Xinomavro ‘Hedgehog Vineyard’ – 88

2009 Xinomavro (Old Vines) – 89

2008 Alpha Estate Red – 91

Bodegas Ladera Sagrada – Tasty Godello at a very reasonable price.

2012 Valdeorras Blanco (100% Godello) ‘Papa’ – 92

Quinta da Muradella

2009 Blanco ‘Muradella’ – 92

2008 Blanco ‘Gorvia’ – 92

Compania Vinicola del Norte de Espana (CVNE) – Impressive set of wines. White was very nice and the reds had nice structure. Made in more of an old world style.

2012 Rioja Blanco Monopole – 90

2010 Rioja Crianza – 90

2009 Rioja Crianza Vina Real – 90

2009 Rioja Reserva – 91

2007 Rioja Reserva Vina Real – 92

2007 Rioja Reserva Imperial – 93

2006 Rioja Gran Reserva Vina Real – 89

2007 Rioja Reserva Contino – 92

Bodegas Emilio Moro – Another set of Spanish gems. The two high end wines were quite nice but the Resalso is a great value.

2012 Ribera del Duero Finca Resalso – 90

2010 Ribera del Duero – 91

2009 Ribera del Duero ‘Malleolus’ – 90

2009 Ribera del Duero ‘Malleolus de Valderramiro’ – 94

2009 Ribera del Duero ‘Malleolus de Sanchomartin’ – 93

Bodegas Cepa 21 – Again, fine entry level wine and the Malabrigo was on another level.

2010 Ribera del Duero ‘Hito’ – 90

2009 Ribera del Duero ‘Cepa 21’ – 92

2010 Ribera del Duero ‘Malabrigo’ – 94

La Rioja Alta – Impressive showing. The 2001 and 1998 were both stellar. Benchmarks for aged Rioja.

2007 Rioja Reserva ‘Vina Alberdi’ – 90

2005 Rioja Reserva ‘Vina Arana’ – 93

2004 Rioja Reserva ‘Vina Ardanza’ – 92

2001 Rioja Gran Reserva ‘904’ – 94

1998 Rioja Gran Reserva ‘890’ – 95

Domaine Saint Prefert – Top Chateauneuf producer but for more reasonable prices.

2011 Chateauneuf-du-Pape ‘Reserve Augueste Favier’ – 93

Domaine Isabel Ferrando

2011 Chateauneuf-du-Pape ‘Columbis’ – 93

Domaine Rolet – Sparkling wine tasted like a fine champagne costing twice the price. Chardonnay comparable to a fine white Burgundy. Both are splendid and affordable.

2008 Crement du Jura  – 90

2009 Cotes du Jura Chardonnay – 91

2010 Arbois Chardonnay – 90

2007 Arbois Blanc ‘Tradition’ – 89

2011 Arbois Poulsard Vieilles Vignes – 88

2009 Arbois Rouge ‘Tradition’ – 87

Domaine Marc Roy – Year in and year out these wines are very consistent. Not to mention coming from one of the best vineyards in Burgundy and for very reasonable prices.

2012 Marsannay Blanc ‘Les Champs Perdrix” – 91

2012 Gevrey-Chambertin ‘Vieilles Vignes’ – 91

2012 Gevrey-Chambertin ‘La Justice’ – 92

2012 Gevrey-Chambertin ‘Clos Prieur’ – 92

2012 Gevrey-Chambertin ‘Cuvee Alexandrine’ – 92

Clos des Brusquieres

2011 Chateauneuf-du-Pape – 90

Le Vieunx Donjon

2012 Chateauneuf-du-Pape Blanc – 92

2011 Chateauneuf-du-Pape – 92

Clos des Papes – Both wines were excellent, the red probably being my favorite wine in the entire tasting. Estate is just on top of their game at the moment.

2012 Chateauneuf-du-Pape Blanc – 93

2011 Chateauneuf-du-Pape – 96

E Pira – Chiara Boschis – First in a line of excellent Barolos. Both 2009 and 2010 stood out here.

2010 Barolo ‘Cannubi’ – 94

2009 Barolo ‘Mosconi’ – 94

2010 Barolo ‘Mosconi’ – 93

2009 Barolo ‘Via Nuova’ – 94

2010 Barolo ‘Via Nuova’ – 93

Ciacci Piccolomini

2008 Brunello di Montalcino – 93

2008 Brunello di Montalcino ‘Pianrosso’ – 93

La Spinetta – I found these the most impressive from Piedmont. Both the Barbaresco and Barolo wines were breathtaking. Based on what I tasted here, 2010 is a great vintage.

2010 Barbaresco ‘Bordoni’ – 93

2010 Barbaresco ‘Gallina’ – 95

2010 Barbaresco ‘Starderi’ – 94

2010 Barbaresco ‘Valeirano’ – 94

2010 Barolo ‘Garretti’ – 95

2010 Barolo ‘Campe’ – 96

S & B Borgogno

2009 Barbaresco – 91

2009 Barolo – 92

2008 Barolo ‘Cannubi’ – 92

2006 Barolo Riserva ‘Cannubi’ – 93

Vallana – Excellent value wines that also age very well. Had a 64 Spanna last you that was one of the best older wines I have ever had.

2012 Barbara Piemonte – 89

2010 Campi Raudi VdT – 89

2012 Campi Raudi VdT – 89

2011 Colline Novaresi Spanna – 90

2010 Spanna ‘Cuvee Bernardo Vallana’ – 91

2007 Boca – 89

2005 Gattinara – 91

Domenico Clerico – Consistent producer of some of the regions best Nebbiolo based wines. Had a 99 Barolo Per Cristina last year that was just starting to enter it’s prime.

2012 Dolcetta Langhe ‘Visadi’ – 89

2010 Arte – 92

2009 Barolo ‘Pajana’ – 93

2008 Barolo ‘Pajana’ – 93

2009 Barolo ‘Ciabot Mentin Ginestra’ – 94

2008 Barolo ‘Ciabot Mentin Ginestra’ – 93

2008 Barolo ‘Aeroplan Servaj’ – 94

2005 Barolo ‘Per Cristina’ – 94


2010 Barbaresco DOCG – 92

2010 Barbaresco ‘Basarin’ – 93

2010 Barbaresco ‘Bric Balin’ – 94

2008 Barbaresco ‘Bric Balin’ – 91

2005 Barbaresco ‘Bric Balin’ – 93


2010 Lange Nebbiolo – 90

2010 Barolo – 92

2010 Barolo ‘Vigna Gattera’ – 93

2010 Barolo ‘Giachini’ – 93

2010 Barolo ‘Conca’ – 94

2010 Barolo ‘Rocche dell’Annunziata’ – 93

Gianni Brunelli

2008 Brunello di Montalcino – 93


2009 Brunello di Montalcino – 93

2008 Brunello di Montalcino – 92

2008 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva – 93


2009 Brunello di Montalcino – 92

2008 Brunello di Montalcino – 93


2009 Brunello di Montalcino – 92

2008 Brunello di Montalcino – 91

2009 Brunello di Montalcino ‘Vigna Raunate’ – 92

2007 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva – 93

Siro Pacenti

2009 Brunello di Montalcino ‘Pelagrilli’ – 92

2008 Brunello di Montalcino Pelagrilli’ – 93

2009 Brunello di Montalcino – 94

2008 Brunello di Montalcino – 93

Mud House – Producer of some great Sauvignon Blanc and impressive Pinot Noir from New Zealand. Prices are more than reasonable for the quality.

2012 Sauvignon Blanc Hay Maker – 89

2012 Sauvignon Blanc – 90

2012 Pinot Noir ‘Central Otago’ – 90

2011 Pinot Noir Estate ‘Golden Terrace Vineyard’ – 91

Altos Las Hormigas – Impressive value wines that over-deliver. A no brainer buy for the price conscious. Malbecs are top notch wines and simply delicious.

2013 Malbec – 90

2011 Malbec ‘Terroir’ – 91

2012 Malbec ‘Hormigas Reserva’ – 92

2009 Malbec ‘Appellation Vista Flores’ – 90

Dos Minas

2013 Torrontes – 89

2012 Malbec – 90


2010 Mendoza Blend – 89


2013 Malbec Lancatay – 90

2012 Torrontes Taymente – 88

2012 Pinot Noir Taymente – 89

2012 Malbec Taymente – 89

Tres Palacios – Another nice set of value wines headlined by the Carmenere wines that proved flavorful and interesting.

2012 Pinot Noir Reserva – 87

2011 Carmenere Reserva – 90

2010 Carmenere ‘Family Vintage’ – 91

2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva – 87

Kingston Family – Impressive showing, especially for the Pinot Noir which was very nice. Quality is definitely improving for Chilean Pinot Noirs, with the closest comparison being California.

2012 Sauvignon Blanc ‘Cariblanco’ – 90

2010 Pinot Noir ‘Tobiano’ – 90

2010 Pinot Noir ‘Alazan’ – 90

2010 Cabernet Sauvignon ‘Family Vintage’ – 89


2012 Cabernet Sauvignon ‘California’ – 88

Robin K Winery

2012 Chardonnay ‘Russian River’ – 88

2012 Pinot Noir ‘Sonoma Coast’ – 88

Joel Gott Wines – Great values. 2012 Cab was killer for the money. We have the 2011 in stock still but the 2012 should be coming soon.

2013 Sauvignon Blanc California – 89

2012 Chardonnay ‘Monterey’ – 88

2012 Cabernet Sauvignon ‘California’ – 90

2011 Zinfandel ‘California’ – 90

Anthill Farms – Have been impressed with their wines when I have had them this year and two years ago. Very elegant.

2012 Pinot Noir ‘Sonoma Coast’ – 93

2012 Pinot Noir ‘Campbell Ranch’ – 92

Knez Winery

2012 Chardonnay ‘Demuth Vineyard’ – 91

2012 Pinot Noir ‘Anderson Valley’ – 89

2011 Pinot Noir ‘Cerise Vineyard’ – 88

2011 Pinot Noir ‘Demuth Vineyard’ – 91

Sandlands – The line for this was crazy so by the time I came back there was only 1 wine left. Specializing in obscure grapes.

2012 Trousseau Noir ‘Sonoma Coast’ – 90

Sandhi – Interesting wines but some can be quite expensive. Really showcases what the Santa Barbara region can do.

2012 Chardonnay ‘Santa Barbara County’ – 88

2011 Chardonnay ‘Sanford & Benedict’ – 90

2011 Chardonnay ‘Rita’s Crown’ – 90

2011 Chardonnay ‘Bent Rock’  – 92

2011 Pinot Noir ‘Sanford & Benedict’ – 89

2011 Pinot Noir ‘Evening Land Vineyard Tempest’ – 92

2012 Pinot Noir ‘Santa Rita Hills’ – 91

2012 Pinot Noir ‘Wenzlau’ – 92

2012 Pinot Noir ‘Rinconada’ – 93

Domaine De La Cote – New venture by Rajat Parr and Sashi Moorman.

2011 Pinot Noir ‘Santa Rita Hills’ – 90

2011 Pinot Noir ‘Bloom’s Field’ – 88

2011 Alakai – 90

Joseph Swan – Very nice showing for this winery. Never knew they made a Ritchie Vineyard Chardonnay but represents a outstanding value compared to some other wineries that make one but charge double the price.

2011 Chardonnay ‘Ritchie Vineyard’ – 94

2011 Pinot Noir ‘Cuvee de Trois’ – 92

2010 Pinot Noir ‘Trenton Estate Vineyard’ – 93

2008 Zinfandel ‘Mancini Ranch’ – 90

2011 Pinot Noir ‘Trenton View’ – 92

Hirsch Vineyards

2012 Chardonnay – 88

2011 Pinot Noir ‘ Sonoma Coast – San Andreas’ – 89


2012 Chardonnay ‘Sonoma Coast’ – 91

2012 Chardonnay ‘Fort Ross-Seaview Estate’ – 91

2012 Chardonnay ‘Hudson Vineyard’ – 91

2012 Chardonnay ‘Haynes Vineyard’ – 89

2012 Pinot Noir ‘Sonoma Coast’ – 90

2012 Pinot Noir ‘Keefer Ranch’ – 92

2012 Pinot Noir ‘Savoy Vineyard’ – 93

Stony Hill

2009 Chardonnay ‘Napa Valley’ – 90

2010 Cabernet Sauvignon ‘Napa Valley’ – 89

O’Shaughnessy – First time trying their wines. Cab was very impressive, especially considering that 2011 is not a great vintage for Napa Cabs.

2012 Chardonnay ‘Oakville’ – 90

2011 Cabernet Sauvignon ‘Howell Mountain’ – 93

Kistler – Impressive set of wines this year. I got to try some of the Sonoma Coast Pinot hours after tasting it initially and it really blossomed. The score below reflects my initial thoughts but improved to a 93.

2012 Chardonnay ‘Les Noisetiers – Sonoma Coast’ – 92

2012 Chardonnay ‘Sonoma Mountain’ – 93

2012 Pinot Noir ‘Russian River’ – 90

2012 Pinot Noir ‘Sonoma Coast’ – 90


2009 Chardonnay ‘Bella Vigna’ – 90

2010 Chardonnay ‘Zio Tony’ – 91

2011 Pinot Noir ‘Bella Vigna’ – 90

2011 Pinot Noir ‘Moonshine Ranch’ – 92

2012 Pinot Noir ‘Bondi Home Ranch’ – 94

2011 Zinfandel ‘Vellutini Ranch’ – 89

2012 Zinfandel ‘Giuseppe & Luisa’ – 90

Siduri – Caught some flack from some critics for being too tannic but I really enjoyed the wines. Lot of bright fruit and complexity.

2012 Pinot Noir ‘Russian River Valley’ – 90

2012 Pinot Noir ‘Santa Lucia Highlands’ – 92

2012 Pinot Noir ‘Gary’s Vineyard’ – 92

2012 Pinot Noir ‘Keefer Ranch’ – 93

2012 Pinot Noir ‘Hirsch Vineyard’ – 92

Soter Vineyards

2012 North Valley Chardonnay ‘Willamette Valley’ – 91

2011 North Valley Chardonnay ‘Reserve’ – 92

2012 Planet Oregon Pinot Noir ‘Oregon’ – 90

2012 North Valley Pinot Noir – 91

2011 North Valley Pinot Noir ‘Reserve’ – 92

2011 Soter Vineyards Pinot Noir ‘Mineral Springs Ranch’ – 91


2011 Pinot Noir ‘Mt. Jefferson Cuvee’ – 89

2010 Pinot Noir ‘Sommers Reserve’ – 88

2011 Pinot Noir ‘Eileen’ – 90

2011 Pinot Noir ‘Jessie’ – 89

2011 Pinot Noir ‘Louise’ – 91

2011 Pinot Noir ‘Marjorie’ – 91

Corison – I like the wines, made in more of an old world style, and the fact they hold back inventory to release in the future.

2010 Cabernet Sauvignon ‘Napa’ – 92

2004 Cabernet Sauvignon ‘Napa’ – 92

2010 Cabernet Sauvignon ‘Kronos’ – 92


2010 Cabernet Franc/Cabernet Sauvignon ‘Cerro Sur’ – 93

2010 Cabernet Sauvignon ‘Napa Valley’ – 94

2011 Syrah ‘Quarzo’ – 92

2011 Grenache/Syrah/Mourvedre ‘Rompecabezas’ – 92

Ramey Wine Cellars – Year in and year out, very consistent. Chardonnay are always excellent across the board.

2011 Chardonnay ‘Sonoma Coast’ – 90

2011 Chardonnay ‘Russian River’ – 91

2011 Chardonnay ‘Platt Vineyard’ – 91

2010 Chardonnay ‘Hyde Vineyard’ – 94

2010 Chardonnay ‘Ritchie Vineyard’ – 94

2012 Claret – 91

2011 Cabernet Sauvignon ‘Napa Valley’ – 91

Paul Hobbs – Again, good wines across the board. The 2012 Chardonnay’s and Pinot Noir’s were quite nice!

2012 Chardonnay ‘Russian River’ – 92

2012 Chardonnay ‘Ellen Lane Estate’ – 94

2012 Pinot Noir ‘Russian River Valley’ – 93

2012 Pinot Noir ‘Hyde Vineyard’ – 94

2011 Cabernet Sauvignon ‘Napa Valley’ – 91

Peter Michael – Another impressive set of wines from this winery. The ‘Ma Belle Fille’ Chardonnay was superb and the ‘Les Pavots’ was up to it’s usual standards in a not so great year. The real surprise was their new Cab ‘Au Paradis,’ which comes from Oakville and was right up there with the ‘Les Pavots.’

2012 Chardonnay ‘La Carriere’ – 90

2012 Chardonnay ‘Belle Cote’ – 92

2012 Chardonnay ‘Mon Plaisir’ – 90

2012 Chardonnay “Ma Belle Fille’ – 95

2011 Cabernet Sauvignon ‘Les Pavots’ – 94

2011 Cabernet Sauvignon ‘Au Paradis’ – 94

2011 Red Bordeaux Blend ‘L’Esprit des Pavots’ – 91

Charles Smith Wines – Producing some of the best value wines in the market right now. Kun Fu girl is consistently good year after year. The Merlot is top notch for $12.99 and the Cab is also good.

2013 Kung Fu Girl Riesling – 91

2012 The Velvet Devil Merlot – 90

2012 Chateau Smith Cabernet Sauvignon – 90

2012 K Vintners Viognier – 90

2012 K Vintners Sauvignon Blanc 89

2011 K Vintners Syrah ‘Milbrandt’ – 92

Turley – For Zinfandel producers, Turley is at the top of the food chain. The Juvenile is especially impressive in the 2012 vintage and is affordable.

2012 Zinfandel ‘Juvenile’ – 90

2012 Zinfandel ‘Kirschenmann’ – 90

2012 Zinfandel ‘Mead Ranch’ – 90

2012 Zinfandel ‘Rattlesnake Ridge’ – 90

Robert Biale

2011 Petite Sirah ‘Royal Punishers’ – 90

2012 Zinfandel ‘Black Chicken’ – 91

2012 Zinfandel ‘Moore Vineyard’ – 92

2012 Zinfandel ‘Rocky Ridge’ – 91

Von Winning/Dr. Deinhard

2012 Deidesheimer Paradiesgarten Riesling Trocken – 90

Eugen Muller

Forster Kirchenstuck Riesling Spatlese Trocken ‘Cyriakus’ – 91


2012 Bopparder Hamm Engelstein Riesling Kabinett Feinherb – 91


2012 Ayler Kupp Riesling Kabinett – 91


Notes on 5 wines from a Weekend Dinner

Opened up a few Cabs for our friends who came up from NJ who brought two bottles as well. Tried through all the wines blind first then we revealed what the wines were before sitting down for dinner. Made short ribs with pasta and a pancetta cream sauce. For desert my wife and I made a pecan pie from a recipe from the one and only pecan pie expert, Barbara Zanowiak!
  • 2012 The Great American Wine Company by Rosenblum Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon – USA, California Napa ValleyThrew this in as a ringer because I had it two weeks ago and it had a lot of jammy fruit in it so I thought it might fool my friend. This started off with aromas of cherry, menthol and raspberry. Got some flavors of cherry, raspberry with a touch of earth. As soon as I tasted this I knew what it was and to my friends credit so did he. Wine was lighter and softer than the other high octane wines. The finish was much shorter than the rest. But, for a 9.99 bottle, it certainly was a good bargain and spoke to the strength of the 2012 vintage. Probably rated this a point or two higher than I should have but this was my initial score and decided to leave it. (90 pts.) In Stock
  • 2009 Vine Hill Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon Vine Hill Ranch – USA, California, Napa ValleyThis started off with a big nose of cherry that went into some dusty berry, lavender and flowers. When I came back to it later I got a little hint of green pepper. The wine had silky tannins and a wonderful mouth feel with no hard edges. This was a very big wine with flavors of cherry, plum and raspberry. The raspberry portion really became prominent in the mid palate before coming back with another blast of fruit. Finish was approximately 45-50 seconds. Just a beautiful wine. I guessed it was the Shafer I opened. Decanted for 12 hours. Would be curious to see how this was when first opened. (98 pts.)

  • 2003 Shafer Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select – USA, California, Napa Valley, Stags Leap DistrictGot a lot of sweet red fruit on the nose of this with cherry, raspberry, plum and roses. I almost would have thought this would have been similar to the first wine but clearly it was different when tasted. This wine was darker in it’s flavor profile and had more tannins. Got some flavors of raspberry and blackberry but also some iron and earth notes. Finish wasn’t quite as long on this wine compared to the first wine but your probably looking at 40-45 seconds still. I guessed this was perhaps a Bond, VHR (never had this but assumed it was similar to Bond) or the Maiden. Decanted this for 4 hours before tasting. Little surprised when this was revealed. Still very young and I think it still has a long life ahead of it. (97 pts.)

  • 2009 Pahlmeyer Proprietary Red – USA, California, Napa ValleyWhat struck me first about this wine was the nose was completely different from the other wines tasted. This had aromas of vanilla, creme de cassis and blackberry on the nose. It had a few similar qualities to the Kapcsandy Grand Vin but I have never had found this on any other vintage from Pahlmeyer. On the palate, I again got vanilla, raspberry, cherry and another strong element that I wanted to say was brown sugar but it really wasn’t that. Ended with another long finish of about 45-50 seconds. This to me, was even more different than the second wine when compared to the first wine. You could tell it was California but it had a certain Bordeaux like quality to it. I guessed a Dominus. Was very surprised when it was a Pahlmeyer since I have had several vintages of this and it was always straight up Napa Cab. Decanted 12 hours. (98 pts.) Available

  • 2007 Blankiet Estate Proprietary Red Wine Paradise Hills Vineyard – USA, California, Napa ValleyThe last wine of the night had the biggest nose to me. It really just jumped out of the glass with a lot of sweet red fruits of cherry, currant, blackberry, espresso and a hint of earth. The wine was really rich with flavors of cherry, raspberry, blackberry, and was very juicy. Tannin was present but integrating nicely. Probably could have used a longer decant than the 4 hours I gave it. The finish on this was the longest of the night to me, almost reaching a minute. I recognized this as soon as I drank it as the Blankiet since I have had it twice before, finally getting at least one right. This was really a great showing for the Blankiet. (99 pts.)

Tasting Notes on 4 Wines from our Wine Club Meeting

This past weekend our wine club met for a Winter meeting. The theme being Rhone varietals, which provided some interesting drinking. The food went quite well with the wine. We had an assortment of cheeses and bread, the brie went especially well with the Roussanne, duck confit, lamb chops and pasta in a pancetta cream sauce. The heavier dishes went really well with the fuller bodied Rhone varietals.

  • 2009 Chapelle-St-Arnoux Châteauneuf-du-Pape Vieilles Vignes 90 Points

    France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape

    This first wine threw me for a little bit because I initially thought it might have been older than it was. Got a lot of raspberry, bacon fat, smoke, pepper and a lot of earth. To me it screamed Syrah or at least a blend with predominantly Syrah. I could not find an exact blend on line but what I did find said it was predominantly Grenache and Syrah in the blend. This had flavors of cherry, raspberry, leather, smoke and earth. Ended with a decent finish. Enjoyed the smokiness.

  • 2008 Anne Pichon Vin de Pays de Vaucluse Blanc 91 Points

    France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Vin de Pays de Vaucluse

    Interesting wine, especially given its age. Got some beeswax, flowers, mineral and stone on the nose. More beeswax, slate peach and a flintiness on the palate. Very nice acidity. Went very well with the brie cheese. Tasted very fresh for a 2008. I really didn’t think it was that old when tasting it blind.

  • 2005 Famille Perrin / Perrin & Fils Châteauneuf-du-Pape Les Sinards 92 Points

    France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape

    This had a very pleasant nose of plum, violets and cherry. Had a little age on it in the color but thought this was probably younger than the previous Chateauneuf we had. Got some nice flavors of plum, blackberry, cherry and ended with an iron note on the long finish. It was amazing how different the two Chateauneuf’s were. I thought this might have been more Grenache based and turns out I was right. Unfortunately missed the country. Really enjoyed this wine.

  • 2007 Carlisle Syrah Papa’s Block 94 Points

    USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley

    This wine was probably the heaviest of the night. Aromas of cherry, raspberry, bacon fat, violets and other flowers came from the glass. Very interesting nose and actually resembled a SQN I had back in the Fall, although it was not quite at that level. Got some nice cherry, plum, iron, blackberry and mineral. You could tell this had a higher alcohol content but was not out of balance at all. Ended with a very long finish on this impressive wine from Carlisle. This won Wine of the Night.

All in all, a very pleasurable meeting.

Notes on 10 Excellent Wines from a Dinner in Westport

I have gotten friendly with a group of guys from the wine boards and a couple times a year we get together for dinner and wine. Being that these are all people just as obsessed with wine as I am, the dinners usually feature some of the best wine out there. This one was no different, featuring some of the best Cabs I have ever had, not to mention a fabulous Chardonnay and Champagne. A nice exercise when you work with wine to see what the top of the food chain has to offer. Also lets you appreciate those special value finds, some of which you’ll find in the shop.

Wine 1

  • 2005 Kongsgaard Chardonnay The Judge – USA, California, Napa Valley
    Super excited to try this for the first time and it did not disappoint. Awesome nose of ripe peach, orange marmalade, tropical fruit, stone and mineral. The wine was a full bodied Chardonnay but not too heavy or over-extracted in any way. This delivered flavors of butterscotch, marshmallow, tropical fruits with a touch of mineral on the long finish. Great acidity. One of the best Chardonnay’s I have ever had. (97 pts.)

Wine 2

  • NV Jacques Selosse Champagne Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut V.O. – France, Champagne
    My first time trying this wine as well. Totally blew me away. Unbelievable Champagne! Aroma of toast, lemon, slate and mineral. Nose was really just awesome with a depth I have not seen in many Champagnes. The palate revealed flavors of toast, cream, and mineral that was just extremely complex and ended with a long finish. All I have to say is wow and one of the best, if not the best Champagne I have ever had. Liked this better than the Krug NV. (95 pts.)

Wine 3

  • 2000 Bryant Family Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Proprietor Grown – USA, California, Napa Valley
    My first time trying Bryant Family. Basically a pop and pour. I was a little worried when I first smelled this because I got the smell of cork and funk but it blew off with some swirling. The nose revealed dried cherry, currant and blackberry along with some earth that remained after the swirling. The palate revealed a full bodied wine with some more dried cherry, smoke, black currant and blackberry. The one was so full and rick that I figured it must have been over 15% alcohol but the label said it was 14.5%. A glorified success for the vintage and fantastic wine. (95 pts.)

Wine 4

  • 1997 Shafer Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select – USA, California, Napa Valley, Stags Leap District
    Was very excited to try this and it did not disappoint. Aromas of dried cherry, dusty berry, clove and blackberry on the nose. As the wine sat in the glass the nose continued to evolve. The palate revealed flavors of blackberry, red currant, dried cherry, touch of pepper, earth and mineral. Did not taste like a 17 year old wine because it was still very fresh and must have been impeccably stored. This wine had no hard edges, was incredibly balanced and had a finish that approached a minute. Simply an unbelievable wine. (100 pts.)

Wine 5

  • 2006 Ghost Horse Cabernet Sauvignon Shadow – USA, California, Napa Valley
    Probably the most confusing wine of the night. Wine was decanted 30-45 minutes before serving. The nose on this was very sweet, candied even, with aromas of cherry, licorice and rose. For all the nose had to offer, it was like the complete opposite on the palate. Got some sour cherry, plum, rhubarb and blackberry. The wine was very balanced though with was the perplexing thing. The nose led you to believe it might have been a fruit bomb but it wasn’t. Nevertheless, a very enjoyable wine. (94 pts.)

Wine 6

  • 2006 Schrader Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon RBS Beckstoffer To-Kalon Vineyard – USA, California, Napa Valley, Oakville
    My first time having a Schrader. Decanted 3 hours before drinking. Tasted a little out of the decanter and I was a little worried. Tasted a tad harsh to me. It smoothed out with some time though. Big nose of black currant, blackberry, pepper, vanilla and black cherry. Very big full bodied wine with flavors of vanilla, blackberry, currant and smoke. Got better as the night went on. Finish just sailed on and on for at least 50 seconds. Simply excellent. (98 pts.)

Wine 7

  • 2008 Kapcsandy Family Winery Cabernet Sauvignon (Grand Vin) State Lane Vineyard – USA, California, Napa Valley, Yountville
    From what I remember, for close in style to the 2007, which was a monumental wine! Got that similar nose of creme de cassis, vanilla, blackberry and cherry. Nose really just jumps out of the glass. The palate revealed silky tannins with flavors of blackberry, cherry, currant, iron and mineral. Finish sails on for at least a minute. Tasted this side by side with the 2009 and it was splitting hairs choosing a favorite. This winery is really just at the top of their game. (100 pts.)

Wine 8

  • 2009 Kapcsandy Family Winery Cabernet Sauvignon (Grand Vin) State Lane Vineyard – USA, California, Napa Valley, Yountville
    Tasted this side by side with the 2008 and really it might just be a preference in style. Got a very similar nose on both but I would say this one had French vanilla, cherry and blackberry. The palate revealed some dark berry flavors, vanilla, blackberry and a touch of earth. For everything the 2008 was, I felt this was just a little behind, with the greater nose on the 2008 and a slightly longer finish. The table was pretty divided between the two wines which tells you how close it was. (98 pts.)

Wine 9

  • 1963 Warre Porto Vintage – Portugal, Douro, Porto
    Was really looking forward to this because the oldest Port I have had to this point was a 1970. Really enjoyed this with a big nose of dried cherry, nut, fig and raisin. Got a lot of heat on the nose, which is understandable since it is fortified but it just stood out to me. The palate revealed flavors of fig, candied cherry, raspberry and a hint of mocha. This tasted very young and fresh with a long life ahead of it. Excellent! (95 pts.)

Wine 10

  • 1990 Dominus Estate – USA, California, Napa Valley
    This was the last wine tasted on the night so my palate was getting pretty fatigued by that point. This was just a dead ringer for a Bordeaux. Big nose of leather, earth, mineral and mushroom. Palate revealed more of the same. A very mature wine that to be honest probably would have fit in better before the Bryant and Shafer not after a bunch of high end, supercharged California Cabs. Wish I could have had a little more of this to see how it evolved. (92 pts.)


Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines of 2013 at Oxford Liquor Shoppe

At the end of every year, Wine Spectator comes out with their Top 100 Wines of the Year. Once the wines are announced, there typically is a mad dash to obtain these wines. The Wine of the Year instantly becomes very hard to find and increases in value. Some people say it might be a little over-hyped and there are plenty of good wines not on the list but one thing that can’t be denied is the wines on the list are all high quality wines.  Oxford Liquor Shoppe has done a good job over the years bringing in these wines, most of the time we have these in stock before the list is announced.  For the last few years we have been posting what wines we have in stock from the current years list as well as wines we may have from a previous years list.

Top 100 Wines of 2013

#51 2012 Charles Smith Kung Fu Girl Riesling Score 90 Price $12.99

“Lovely, expressive, bright and vibrant, with apple, lime and citrus blossom flavors, persisting enticingly as the off-dry finish lingers against natural acidity. Drink now through 2015. 70,600 cases made”

#68 2012 Chateau Ste. Michelle Sauvignon Blanc Horse Heaven Vineyard Score 90 Price $17.99

“Bright, vibrant, expressive and juicy, with quince, pear, floral and spice flavors that dance through the long finish. Drink now. 53,000 cases made.”

#83 2010 Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon Special Selection Score 96 Price $156.99

“A seductive style that’s openly fruity, showing supple plum and black cherry notes, with floral scents and spices, turning creamy and gaining a mocha-espresso-vanilla scent that’s enticing. Finishes with a smooth texture, fine-grained tannins and then another burst of fruit. Drink now through 2025. 9,600 cases made.”

Past Glories Still Available

Top 100 Wines of 2012

#38 M. Chapoutier 2010 Côtes du Roussillon- Villages Les Vignes de Bila-Haut Score 90 points Price 13.99

“This lithe, powerful red offers concentrated cherry, plum tart and blackberry flavors that feature plenty of spicy notes. A dark chocolate accent lingers on the firm, moderately tannic finish. Best from 2014 through 2018. 35,000 cases made.”

#57 Descendientes de J. Palacios 2010 Bierzo Petalos Score 91 points Price $19.99

“This plush red delivers black cherry, licorice, mineral and smoke flavors. Harmonious and focused, supported by well-integrated tannins and firm acidity. Not a showy wine, but has complexity and depth. Drink now through 2018. 50,000 cases made.”

#95 Veremonte 2009 Primus Red The Blend Score 90 points Price $19.99

“Dark crushed cherries, cassis and graphite notes are supported by a full-bodied frame of fine tannins and fresh acidity, as the compact finish unwinds with hints of cured olive, grilled herb and spice. Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Carmenère and Merlot. Drink now through 2017. 16,000 cases made.”

Top 100 of 2011

#43 Gruet NV Blanc de Noirs New Mexico Score 90 points Price 15.99

“Elegant and focused, with creamy vanilla and apple aromas and rich yet crisp flavors of baked pear and cinnamon bread. Drink now through 2014. 20,000 cases made.”

#36 Terrabianca 2007 Campaccio Toscana Score 93 Points Price $29.99

“Very silky and floral, this red reminds me of Burgundy with its bilberry, violet and raspberry aromas and flavors. The grainy tannins show the other side to this wine, which needs time for the two components to balance. Ends with a long, intense, fruit-filled finish. Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon. Best from 2014 through 2027. 12,500 cases made.”

Top 100 of 2009

#55 Trimbach 2007 Riesling Alcase Score 91 Points Price $16.99

“This subtle Riesling offers a finely woven mix of white peach and crushed pine needle flavors, with hints of brine and smoke. There’s racy acidity, but it’s well-meshed, and a mineral note lingers on the delicate finish. Drink now through 2015. 12,000 cases imported.

Top 100 Wines of 2008

#65 Bodegas Muga 2004 Rioja Reserva Score 91 Points Price $39.99

“Focused and balanced, this vivacious red delivers black cherry, mineral, mint and citrus peel flavors, with firm but well-integrated tannins and a fresh, floral finish. Drink now through 2012. 4,000 cases imported.”

Top 100 Wines of 2007

#7 Robert Mondavi 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Reserve Score 95 Points Price $102.99

“Weaves together a complex array of ripe, rich currant, anise, smoky oak and black cherry. Dense, concentrated and persistent, with great depth and focus. Ends with an amazingly long, richly flavored finish. Best from 2008 through 2018.”

Top 100 Wines of 2002

#37 Rosemont 1999 Syrah McLaren Vale Balmoral Score 93 Points Price $32.99

“A bit more aristocratic than most Aussie Shirazes, this one strikes a beautiful chord of rich blackberry and currant fruit, hinting at anise and pepper. Has a fleshy frame, with sweet spicy notes darting in and out through the long, harmonious finish. Drink now through 2010. 10,000 cases made.”