John N. Wine Reviews



 

 

2000 - St Andre Corbin St George  Bordeaux Blend

Worth the wait

May 12, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star 1 star
Time. time, time. Opened this bottle a year or two after trying the others. Much better. It is not a classified growth, but it is a very pleasant bottle. It seems that the flavors have knit (or are knitting) together. A real testimony to the strength of the vintage. I have 2 more -- one in a year from now, and the other in two years.
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2001 - Hospitalet de Gazin, L'  Bordeaux Blend

Good now, probably better in a few years

May 12, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star 1 star
A classic Bordeaux, albeit a second wine. Took a little while to open up (at least an hour). Tannins and fruit well-integrated, nose not particularly pronounced, but not absent either. Finish reasonable, although not overly long. This bottle really shined with roast beef or lamb (happened to have some of each on hand). I am not certain how much this bottle will change or develop over time. I have 5 left, and I will try one in 6 months or so. I suspect the tannins will soften a bit over a few years. After all, it is only 6 years old, which is not all that much for a decent claret.
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2003 - Greysac  Bordeaux Blend

Good now, perhaps better later?

May 12, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star 1 star
A very interesting wine. At first, the nose had a strong vanilla flavor (and I don't think I have a particularly sensitive nose), and the fruits and tannins were well balanced. Through the bottle the tannins emerged more strongly, although at the end they had subsided a bit. My sense is that the bottle could rest for another year or two or three. Regardless, I liked this bottle very much.
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1993 - Janasse, Domaine de la Chateauneuf du Pape Vieilles Vignes Proprietary Blend

Tough to know

May 12, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star
This bottle was a little disappointing. I did not expect it to be perfect -- it's a little too old for that -- but the tannins were a bit strong, particularly at first. They softened through the bottle, suggesting that decanting might help. Interestingly, the nose was very nice, making me somewhat optimistic about the other bottles I have. Nevertheless, I suspect this bottle was past its prime.
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1996 - Lanessan  Bordeaux Blend

May need to wait

May 12, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star 1 star
Clearly a left bank wine. Needs to breathe for at least 1 hour, possibly more. I might decant the next wine. Tannins present, but in check. Good balance, fruit not that pronounced. Better with food. The tannins seemed to become more pronounced over time instead of subsiding.
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1995 - d'Armailhac  Bordeaux Blend

A little disappointing

May 12, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star
This bottle was a bit of a disappointment. Reasonable Bordeaux tastes and a good nose; however the tannins dominated too much. In their review, the Wine Spectator mentioned "loads of fruit". There was very little fruit evident in this bottle. Perhaps another year or two may help; otherwise, it is a fairly uni-dimensional wine. Not bad, but not outstanding.
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2004 - Clos du Bois Chardonnay Chardonnay

Reasonable Cal. chard

May 12, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star
Thanksgiving at my brother's. Reasonable Cal. chardonnay. A little buttery -- as I like it. Good balance -- not a major, big bottle, but quite pleasant.
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1995 - Dauzac  Bordeaux Blend

Decent claret

May 12, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star 1 star
As suggested by "the Bob", this is a decent claret. By this time (Dec 07) the tannins seem to be resolved. The fruit is not all that apparent, but that is not a problem, at least for me. Very nicely balanced. Although I like this wine very much (and have 3 more bottles that I am looking forward to drinking), the nose is not that strong, nor is the finish. So what, you drink the wine :-). All in all, quite respectable. You can, and eventually will, do a lot worse. I will set 2 of the remaining 3 aside to see what they are like 2010 plus. My guess is a tad softer. I may very well buy more so that I can drink a few while waiting for others. By the way, as you might imagine, you have to give this wine at least 60 min to breathe. I have no idea why people "pop and pour" Bordeauxs. Seriously.
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2000 - Martinens  Bordeaux Blend

Might improve

May 12, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star
A reasonable claret. Nose was just fine. Tannins in check. Finish short. The wine impressed me as being a bit thin -- not very rich. Can't imagine that it will improve markedly with more time. Nevertheless, it is a 2000, so I will let a few bottles sit.
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2003 - Parker, Fess Syrah Syrah

Daniel Boone's wine -- not bad at all

May 12, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star 1 star
Another perfectly enjoyable bottle. Rich, full, with a nice balance of spice and vanilla and a host of other flavors. My rating would be higher if the wine did not seem to fade a bit toward the end of the bottle. Regardless, I have 5 more, and I will probably add to those. Simply enjoyable. If you like Syrah, you will love this wine.
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2005 - Ambullneo Vineyards Chardonnay Big Paw Chardonnay

Invest in the wine, not the bottle

May 12, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star
A perfectly decent Calif chard -- no more, no less. The bottle was a bit grandiose -- thick and cumbersome. They should have spent less money on the bottle and more on making the wine. Parker described it as "vastly superior" -- not for me.
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2004 - Latour, Domaine Louis Chassagne Montrachet Chardonnay

Too crisp for me

May 12, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star
A little disappointing considering the vintage and the wine. Crisp, perhaps a little too crisp for me. Bright, perhaps too bright for me. I prefer a bit more body, and dare I say, buttery flavor.
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1997 - Lagrange St Julien Bordeaux Blend

Good to go now

May 12, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star 1 star
From what I can gather, the '97 vintage of Bordeaux fell short of expectations. En primeur prices were high, and then fell. The vintage (apparently) did meet expectations (or live up to the hype -- you choose). Nevertheless, this '97 was just fine, really fine actually. Fruit present, tannins in check, all in all, very well balanced. It's primary shortcoming (which might be characteristic of the vintage) is that the wine was not that deep or rich. Very tasty, but it did not linger or coat the palate. I have another and I am very much looking forward to drinking it. I suspect that it will not improve meaningfully in the future, although another year or so will probably not hurt it either.

Day 2: The wine was clearly no better, and maybe a bit worse, suggesting, at least to me, that it is ready to go.
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1997 - Smith-Haut-Lafitte  Bordeaux Blend

Can't be beat

May 12, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star 1 star
Simply a damned good Bordeaux. If you like Bordeaux, you will like this wine. Give it some time to open up. Nicely balanced. I wish that this was the standard.
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2005 - Concha y Toro Chardonnay Marques de Casa Concha Chardonnay

Open and finish -- shold be no problem

May 12, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star 1 star
This is my type of chardonnay -- a bit more on the buttery rather than the lean side. It is not simply buttery however. There is good balance between acid and sweet. Very enjoyable.

An interesting side note, I did not finish the bottle on day 1, and found that on day 2, the buttery taste had gone almost completely. Still enjoyable, but not as much for me.
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1997 - Cos d'Estournel  Bordeaux Blend

Can't find a bad Cos, evenin '97

May 12, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star 1 star
I realize that there are a of doubts about '97 Bordeaux. So far, I have had no problems (this is second or third wine of the vintage I have had). The bottle is a classic Cos in many ways. The tannins are present, but very well-balanced and in check. The wine has taste and some depth, but it is not fruity by any stretch of the imagination. We let this sit for about 90 minutes before we drank it over the course of a prime rib dinner. It opened up (or evolved because it was fine at first) over the course of the meal. I will let the next one sit for 3 hours or so just to see the difference. Very pleasant.
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2005 - La Crema Pinot Noir Sonoma Pinot Noir

Simply underwhelming

May 12, 2008
1 star 1 star
Simply underwhelming. The fruit was simply grapey, and the wine was not rich nor flavorful. I make no claims about my palate particularly regarding California wines, but I have had much, much better wines that cost about the same as this did. I always have this nagging sense/fear that there is a lot of hype about California wines and not enough quality to match the hype, and this wine seems to realize those fears. I have seen other tasting notes describing this wine as "not interesting" and I agree. Boy, what a slam.
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1995 - Chateau Simard  Bordeaux Blend

Seems to be ready to go

May 12, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star 1 star
This is a decent Bordeaux that seems to be pretty much ready to go. I am not certain that a few more years will change the taste meaningfully, although I guess it could. Regardless, the wine needs to breathe for at least 1 hour to open up, perhaps even more. As a St. Emilion, it is more Merlot dominated than a left bank wine would be, and to me it is interesting to compare the two. The tannins in this wine are meaningfully less strong than they have been for some comparable (i.e., '95) left bank wines. This is not to say that they are absent or unpleasant. Quite the opposite -- the wine is nicely balanced, although I suspect it was not very that rich or full at any time. All in all, a decent bottle.
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2005 - Errazuriz Chardonnay Wild Ferment Chardonnay

Very nice

May 12, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star 1 star
One of the best chardonnays I have had in some time. Big and buttery (the way I like 'em), but with a nice balance of acid (and I guess minerality). I have a few others, and I will definitely let one stay around to see what happens. I may get some more so I can drink and experiment. Very nice.

Also, still quite good on Day 2
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2004 - Andezon, Domaine d' Cotes du Rhone Proprietary Blend

Straightforward CDR

May 12, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star
Very enjoyable CDR. Peppery and spicy. Does not need too much time to breathe, and was not noticeably better on Day 2. No big deal, but a decent wine.
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1996 - Soudars  Bordeaux Blend

Good drinking now, maybe better later?

May 12, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star
Perfectly decent. Opened up considerably after 60-90 minutes. I left some for tomorrow to see what that will be like. There is some fruit in there (kind of sour cherry, and I am not a big "taste likes such and such person"), and I am curious as to whether it is coming out or disappearing in terms of the life cycle of this wine. I have 2 left, and I am certainly going to let one, if not both of them rest for a while.
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1993 - Janasse, Domaine de la Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Chaupin Grenache

Eat some meat

May 12, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star
Still a decent bottle. The flavors are not that pronounced, but are still there and enjoyable. Pretty straightforward CDP. If you have any left, drink them soon. Not much time left for this one.

Stop the presses.

When you have this wine with food (even something as simple as a pot roast), it changes dramatically. I know that many wines are meant to be consumed with food. Well this wine is certainly one of them. 88 changed easily to 90. I will not open another bottle of this without some meat present -- for some reason, I don't think a salad would cut it.
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2004 - Altesino Rosso di Altesino Sangiovese

No big deal for me

May 12, 2008
1 star 1 star
Not all that impressive. I am not certain where some of the high scores from professional reviewers 90 points came from. A decent wine, good balance, although the overall impression was a little dry and dusty for me. There is some fruit in there, but it is not at all prominent. Perhaps it's a matter of taste/preference, and this wine does not match mine.

Regardless, it certainly benefited from some "air time". I would let it breathe for at least 1 hour, maybe more. Might be worth decanting.
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2006 - Foxglove Foxglove Chardonnay

Decent simple, tasty chard

May 12, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star
I like this wine. If you have a bottle in the frig, you really need to let it warm up. There are a lot of pleasant tastes in this wine that will be masked (or buried) if it is served too cold. Spice, a little acid. Excellent balance.
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2002 - Prats & Symington Chryseia Proprietary Blend

Let it breathe

May 12, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star
At first, this wine was a bit harsh, but after breathing for a few hours it opened up reasonably well. The next day, the flavors showed through even more, in fact, I raised the rating a bit. There is some fruit in there and the tannins are not overdone. Reasonable bottle. I have another, and I am not certain how long to leave it. 
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2005 - Concha y Toro Carmenere Casillero del Diablo Reserve Carmenere

Distinctive and tasty

May 12, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star 1 star
I like this wine. Wonderful tastes -- smokey, chocolate, not spicey like a cdr. Reading tastng notes here and there,  I suspect people had some bad bottles, possibly not that uncommon for an inexpensive wine. So far, each bottle I have had has been very enjoyable.
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2004 - Cartlidge and Browne Cabernet Sauvignon Cabernet Sauvignon

Decent Cali cab

May 12, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star
Perfectly reasonable entry level cab. A little too fruity for my taste, although the bottle came together a bit toward the end. Might try some of the '05s and let them stay down a while.
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2001 - Beaulieu Comtes de Tastes  Bordeaux Blend

Nothing fancy, but enjoyable

May 12, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star
Perfectly pleasant Bord Sup. Seemed to be as good as it will get. I don't think a few more years will help or hurt. Tannins well in check, fruit there, but not fruity.
Certainly not a big wine, but perfect to open for a small dinner party with people with varying palates. I will probably buy a few more.
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1995 - Chateau Gloria St. Julien Bordeaux Blend

Classic Bordeaux -- ready to go

May 12, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star 1 star
Just another really good bottle. Classic Bordeaux mix of flavors, Decanted for about an hour, drank very well through the better part of the bottle. Seemed to fade a bit toward the end. Love this wine. I have 9 more, and I look forward to each. My guess is that they should be consumed sooner rather than later.
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1997 - Clerc Milon  Bordeaux Blend

Under-rated vintage

May 12, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star 1 star
A perfect claret. Admittedly, the flavors are not robust as they would (might) be from a stronger vintage, but I would be happy to drink this day and night.
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2001 - Cambon la Pelouse  Bordeaux Blend

Excellent simple Bordeaux

May 12, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star 1 star
Very nice Bordeaux. Excellent nose. Wine opened up a little after an hour or so. Classic Bordeaux palate. Might improve a bit with some more age, but perfectly pleasant now.
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1995 - Bourgneuf-Vayron  Bordeaux Blend

May need more time

May 12, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star
Decanted this bottle and that seemed to help. Full bodied, although the tannins were not that strong. Pretty traditional set of Bordeaux tastes, although I did not catch much fruit. I am curious to see what a few more years will do.
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2005 - Finca Luzon Luzon Proprietary Blend

surprise, surprise

May 12, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star
Found a bottle of this in my cellar, and I was pleasantly surprised. I thought I had sold or traded my remaining stock. Was much less fruity that I recall, in fact it was a bit more "dusty". Perfectly pleasant. If I find some others, I will keep them.
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2001 - Dei Vallarino, Tenuta Barbera d'Asti Bricco Asinari Barbera

truly excellent

May 12, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star 1 star
An excellent wine -- smooth, rich, very nice. One critic mentioned chocolate, and it was certainly there. Seemed to be pretty good to go, although I have a few more and I will see what another year or so does.

Day 2. The wine lost something meaningful overnight. I do not do anything fancy with partial bottles (I put the cork back in), but often, red wines are better the next day, suggesting they ned to age a bit more (at least to me). This wine did not suggest that
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1998 - Vieux-Chateau-Gachet  Bordeaux Blend

Sad to see it gone

May 12, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star 1 star
Two reviews

Drank one of these in 2005, seemed smooth and pleasant. I had two this fall (2006), same story. Not a lot of depth, but pleasant drinking. My sense is that LaLande de Pomerols tend to be a bit lighter than Pomerols, although this may be generalizing too much from a single case.

The last of an old friend.
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2000 - Marjosse  Bordeaux Blend

Excellent entry level Bordeaux

May 12, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star 1 star
Excellent entry level Bordeaux. All in balance and in check. Might get better (but I doubt it) with a another year or so in the bottle. I have one more and I will let it lie for a while just to see. I would/will buy more if a reasonable offer appears.
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2004 - Yalumba Shiraz Viognier Y Series Proprietary Blend

Decent, but not great

May 12, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star
Two separate notes:

Tasting notes not too detailed on this one -- part of a larger dinner. Nevertheless, this wine was rich and very smooth. I suspect the Viognier mellowed out the Shiraz a bit. Spicy, but mild at the same time. I have two more bottles, and I am very much looking forward to drinking them.

For whatever reasons, not as pleasing as the previous bottle. Still decent. Reasonable spice and so forth, but the body was not quite there. Seemed to open through the bottle. I have one more that I will let breathe for at least an hour. Nevertheless, a decent (if not excellent) QPR

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1999 - Tour Figeac, La  Bordeaux Blend

Drink and be happy

May 12, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star 1 star
Now, we are talking. Excellent nose (pop it and smell it -- luscious), very, very, well balanced. As you go through the bottle it becomes sweeter and sweeter. This is an excellent mid-range Bordeaux. No, it is not a first growth, but it is very enjoyable. If you do not like this bottle, you do not like Bordeaux.
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1996 - Beau-Soleil  Bordeaux Blend

Not that impressive

May 12, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star
Day 1, a bit of a disappointment, even after letting it breathe for a while. Nose not very strong, fruit pretty much absent. Dry and too dusty for me. I will see what it is like day 2.
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1998 - Grand-Corbin-Despagne  Bordeaux Blend

Not great, but reasonable

May 12, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star
A solid wine, nothing spectacular. Nose reasonable, not particularly pronounced. Tannins present, but not too strong. Some fruit there. The question is: Will it improve after a few years or so? I am not certain. Regardless, not a bad wine.
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1998 - Tour Martillac, La  Bordeaux Blend

Drink up when ready

May 12, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star 1 star
Very nice bottle. Nose not that pronounced, but tannins in check. After a bit of air time, the fruit came out nice and sweetly. Don't know if more time will change anything. Even if it doesn't, it's still worth it.

Day 2 -- fruit pretty much gone. Still a decent bottle, but I will drink the next one completely -- oh well, the responsibilities one must endure.
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2006 - Argiolas Costamolino Vermentino

interesting and pleasant

May 12, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star
This is lighter wine with a very interesting (almost unique in my experience) palate of tastes. Not sweet by any means, but also not that sharp. Rich and smooth. I am not certain that it is as good as the '05 (which I thought was truly excellent), but it is a very good bottle, and at around $10, an excellent QPR. I have one left and may look for more. Went very well with scalllops.
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1972 - Barton & Guestier Sauternes Sauternes Blend

still going strong

May 12, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star 1 star
I know that this is not an estate-bottled, fancy, cru. Nevertheless, after 35 years or so, it was delicious. There was enough sugar so that the wine still had a hint of sweetness, and as one might imagine, all the other flavors were resolved. Perfect balance. I am partial to Sauternes, but this was a beauty that I bought on a lark last fall. Amazing.
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1998 - Larose-Trintaudon  Bordeaux Blend

old faithful

May 12, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star 1 star
I think I have taken this wine for granted. The '98s are drinking very well. I have '00s that I am interested in trying. Next bottle: The last of these. Perfectly pleasant entry level Bdx. I did regret drinking it, but a man has to do what a man has to do. Moreover, it was my sense that the bottle was not going to get better. Tannins fully resolved. Some fruit. Nicely balanced.
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2002 - Clos de l'Oratoire  Bordeaux Blend

Try one, even if it's early

May 12, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star 1 star
Apparently, '02 was not a banner year for Bordeaux (if you follow the critics), but this wine may be one of the exceptions that prove the rule. Good nose, reasonable fruit without being too much. Tannins in pretty good check. I have a few more of these, and I will be curious to see how they evolve. It might get a little smoother over time. Second day, not as pleasant -- still good.
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2002 - Chateau Valrose Cuvee Alienor  Bordeaux Blend

A liitle young

May 12, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star
For me, this wine was a bit young. I know that '02 is an "earlier" vintage for Bordeaux, and I have had some '02s that were just fine. For this wine, I felt that the tannins were not yet resolved -- just a bit too "bitey". There was some fruit there, but I felt that it was overwhelmed by other factors. I am optimistic about the future for this wine (I have 3 more), but I will wait at least 2 years before I try the next one.
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2001 - Monbousquet  Bordeaux Blend

Classy classic

May 12, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star 1 star
Had this out at a dinner in Richmond, Va. Opened for probably an hour before we starting drinking. Excellent nose, very nice at first and in the mid palate. Finish not real long (for me), but this is clearly a class act. Classic Bordeaux.
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2005 - Eskadale Vineyards The Winner's Tank Syrah

Decent, but not great, Aussie Syrah

May 12, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star
Very, very much a California-Aussie style Syrah/Shiraz. Black fruits, a little spice, and to me, very meaty, sort of heavy. Seems a bit unidimensional, although that dimension is not all that unpleasant to me. I would not rush to buy more, although I am curious to see what the other bottle I have will taste like down the road.
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2000 - Petit Bocq  Bordeaux Blend

Classic claret

May 12, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star 1 star
90 easily. Simply delicious. Classic left-bank tastes. Fruit present, tannins in check. Many of the other TNs were from some time ago, so I guess I can understand the shortcomings they perceived. I am not certain that this wine is absolutely 100% ready to go, but I have 3, and I was curious what it would be like now. It was just fine. Order it in a restaurant, give it a little air time (at least 30 min, and you will be a happy camper. The attention to '05 (perhaps well-deserved) has sort of overshadowed '00. I have a whole bunch, and I am eager to sample them.
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