Gerhard B. Wine Reviews



 

 

2006 - Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc Sauvignon Blanc

Good everyday white

May 27, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star
Archetypical New Zealand sauvignon with aromas of grapefruit, grass and a slight whiff of cat urine. Decent acidity profile and nice long finish elevate this wine beyond the ordinary NZ sauvignon blanc and make it a good candidate for an everyday house wine.
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2005 - Bonny Doon Le Cigare Blanc Proprietary Blend

Intensely dry white

May 27, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star

Muted notes of citrus and apricot, with a minerally quality. The finish is intensely acidic. Too dry for me as a cocktail wine, better suited with spicy food that can counteract the acidity. Blend of roussanne and grenache blanc.

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2006 - Gobelsburg, Schloss Gruner Veltliner Gobelsburger Gruner Veltliner

Refreshing summer quaffer

May 27, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star 1 star
Rich golden color in the glass. Aromas of citrus, grapefruit and peach. A veritable fruit salad on the palate. Finishes smoothly and rather long. This is a wonderful summer quaffer, either by itself or with food. A great alternative to New Zealand sauvignon blanc.
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2006 - Pepperwood Grove Viognier Viognier

Simple viognier, OK introduction to grape

May 27, 2008
1 star 1 star
Typical notes of stone fruit (esp. apricot) and honey on the nose. Initial impresson on the palate is fruit-driven but it falls off quickly and ends rather short. Sharp alcoholic finish, almost like rubbing alcohol. Not a wine to recommend per se but it offers tantalizing hints of what a good viognier can taste like.
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2005 - Saintsbury Pinot Noir Garnet Pinot Noir

Rather simple pinot noir

May 27, 2008
1 star 1 star
Not a very complex pinot noir, but perfectly decent with food (in this case pork tenderloin). Not much acidity for a pinot noir, so I don't think this will cellar well. A pleasant enough wine for now but there are better bargains to be had. 
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2004 - Chapel Hill The Vicar (Shiraz / Cabernet Sauvignon) Proprietary Blend

Wonderful McLaren Vale shiraz

May 27, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star 1 star
I didn't know what to expect from this wine, and it just blew me away. Rich red fruit with well-balanced tannins and judicious use of oak. Spicy finish, no noticeable heat. I would drink this again--by the case!
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2006 - Mollydooker The Boxer Syrah

Aussie fruit bomb that almost (but not quite) goes over the top

May 27, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star
The fruit is rich and sweet without being cloying. Very pleasant mouthfeel and relatively long finish. Heat is less apparent that expected based on other tasting notes. I would not pair this wine with food, but it's a great wine for sipping by the fireplace. Not for the faint-of-heart and died-in-the-wool Old World drinkers, but a hedonistic pleasure for New World fans. Downside: I find it it a bit too oaky. With less oak, this would have gone up a star.
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2005 - Klinker Brick Winery Zinfandel Old Vine Zinfandel

Big, burly, jammy, rich zinfandel

May 27, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star 1 star 1 star
Intriguing nose of charred wood. Positively explosive in the mouth. Raspberries and cherries. Wild and untamed. I recently had the Klinker Brick Old Ghost, which costs twice as much as this wine, and this blows the Old Ghost away. I love this wine. Best Lodi zin I've ever had.
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2005 - Rosenblum Cellars Petite Sirah Heritage Clones Petite Sirah

Fruit forward with round tannins

May 27, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star
Incredibly dark color. Beautiful perfumed nose. Rich fruity flavor profile that I enjoyed a lot. The one thing bothering me was a note of acetone on the midpalate/finish. If it hadn't been for that, this would have ranked 4 stars. I look forward to trying my other bottles.
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2005 - Niebaum-Coppola Coppola Presents Rosso Proprietary Blend

Very good value for the money

May 27, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star 1 star

Berry explosion in your mouth. Fruit-forward with nice acidity and tannins and a touch of oak, but still in balance. Very good QPR at under $10. Blend of zinfandel, syrah and cabernet sauvigon from Lodi and Paso Robles.

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2004 - Whitehall Lane Cabernet Sauvignon Cabernet Sauvignon

Over-oaked and a bit simplistic

May 27, 2008
1 star 1 star

This cabernet needs serious decanting to open up. Red and black berries, with generous coffee and toast flavors. Finish is too oaky for my taste. This may integrate better over time but as of now (May 2008) I find this too disjointed.

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2005 - Crema, La Chardonnay Reserve Chardonnay

Nicely balanced California chardonnay

May 27, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star
This chardonnay offers a nice balance of tropical fruit flavors, acidity and oak. However, it is not an oak monster like so many California chardonnays. This is a chardonnay I would serve to people who dislike overoaked California "butter bombs."
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2006 - Phillips, R H Chardonnay Toasted Head Chardonnay

Overaked butter bomb

May 27, 2008
1 star 1 star

This bargain-priced chardonnay offers tropical fruit flavors and a pleasing acid profile but the overall roundness is mared by excessive use of oak.

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2006 - Earthworks Shiraz Syrah

Crowd pleaser with no hard edges

May 14, 2008
1 star 1 star

This shiraz from the Barossa Valley is dark, fruit-forward and has no hard edges. It's an enjoyable quaffer and definitely a crowd pleaser, especially if your crowd includes people not used to red wine. Overall, though, it's simplistic, with a short finish. A good value at the price but not something to wow wine aficionados.

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2005 - Bogle Vineyards Petite Sirah Petite Sirah

Excellent petite sirah at $10

May 14, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star 1 star
Exceptional QPR. Has everything I want in a daily quaffer: full-bodied, rich fruit, nice acidity and tannin without over-oaking. Good (88 points) right out of the bottle but significantly better after generous aeration (4+ hrs). This is a steal at $9-10.
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2005 - Penfolds Koonunga Hill Shiraz Cabernet Proprietary Blend

Needs signficant decanting

May 14, 2008
1 star 1 star
Popped and poured. Disjointed, simplistic, with a bitter oaky finish when first opened. Much smoother and more enjoyable after 12 hours in the decanter. I'll wait until 2009-2010 before drinking my other bottles.
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2006 - Negly, Chateau de la Coteaux du Languedoc la Clape Proprietary Blend

Very simple rose

May 14, 2008
1 star
Very simple. A bit of strawberry on the nose but the midpalate is completely hollow and the finish offputtingly dry. Would not buy again, even at an $8 price point.
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2004 - Renwood Zinfandel Old Vine Zinfandel

Simple zinfandel

May 14, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star
Nice fruit, soft tannins, simple finish. Not very complex but good everyday quaffer. Better after a few days of opening, which suggests generous decanting would be useful.
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2004 - Montevina Terra d'Oro Deaver Old Vines Zinfandel

Solid Sierra Foothills zinfandel

May 14, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star
Red fruit flavors and soft tannins but relatively bland finish. Quite one-dimensional. I had this after a bottle of 2005 St Amant Mohr-Fry Ranches zinfandel, and I much prefer the St Amant.
Update: Flavor profile increased in complexity and became more enjoyable over the next couple of days. Increased rating to 3 starts from initial 2 stars. A good value at Costco price of $11.99.
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2006 - Concha y Toro Carmenere Casillero del Diablo Reserve Carmenere

Vegetal and oaky

May 14, 2008
1 star

First night. Bitter (can you spell OAK MONSTER!), not much fruit flavor. Great color though.
Second night. Slightly more fruit flavor, but still super oaky.
Fifth night. Bottled sat on the counter for three more nights (corked but not evacuated). Bitterness has receded a little bit, allowing the fruit to come through. I'm just noticing how hot this wine is (or seems). This could be a solid value if it were more balanced. Maybe in 6 months. Right now, I would not buy again--even at the Trader Joe's price of $6.99.

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2006 - Chalone Pinot Noir Estate Pinot Noir

Way over-oaked. Not enjoyable.

May 14, 2008
1 star

Nose of violets and red raspberry. Red berry and cherry flavor profile. This wine would be enjoyable flavorwise but it is way over-oaked. I found it very hard to drink, even with food. Would not buy this again.

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2005 - Mas Que Vinos Ercavio Roble Tempranillo

Simple table wine

May 14, 2008
1 star 1 star
Inky, almost black color. Nose of red raspberries. Akward, almost hollow mid-palate. OK finish with noticeable tannins. Acceptable with food but not as a cocktail wine.
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2004 - R Wines Marquis Philips Roogle, Roogle Red Proprietary Blend

Great everyday wine

May 14, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star

This shiraz/cabernet sauvignon blend from the Barossa Valley is a big fruit bomb full of red and black berry flavors. It manages to walk a fine line between fruit forward and over the top. Noticeable tannins on the long finish. A bit on the oaky side.

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2006 - Pillar Box  Red Proprietary Blend

Nice everyday quaffer

May 14, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star
Popped and poured. Nicely balanced right out of the gate. Tons of black fruit with a pleasant balance of acidity and tannins. Drinks as well as many $20+ shirazes. Great QPR.
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2005 - Rosenblum Cellars Zinfandel Harris Kratka Vineyard Zinfandel

Restrained zin

May 14, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star
I found this particular zin to be quite restrained to other Rosenblum zins. Dark red and full bodied (with a little help from petite sirah), with ample tannins and lots of spice. Not as fruit forward as expected. While I like to drink zinfandels young, this will probably improve with 2-3 years of cellar time.
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2005 - Story, Herman Syrah Larner Vineyard Syrah

Stunning Central Coast syrah

May 14, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star 1 star
Absolutely seductive nose of raspberries, blackberries and violets. Massive taste of berries covered with dark chocolate. Has the tannic backbone to integrate even more in the next 1-2 years. This is a stunning wine!
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2004 - Concannon Petite Sirah Limited Release Petite Sirah

Fruit-forward entry-level petite

May 14, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star
Deep garnet color. Flavor profile is blueberry and blackberry pie. Drying tannins on the finish but not as much as I'd come to expect from petite sirah. A bit hot on the finish. A fruit-forward, consumer-friendly wine at a very attractive price point. Suitable both as a cocktail wine and with hearty meats.
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1998 - Trefethen Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

Disappointing performance for such a big name

Apr 29, 2008
1 star 1 star
Still very tannic, even at 10 years of age. Fruit has receded somewhat. High acidity. Not much to recommend, unfortunately.
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2005 - Santa Ema Cabernet Sauvignon / Merlot Barrel Select Proprietary Blend

Unbalanced, with a vegetal note

Apr 29, 2008
1 star 1 star
Popped and poured. A bit unbalanced. but I think it would have improved with time. Unfortunately, there was a greenish vegetal note that I didn't enjoy.
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1994 - Henschke Shiraz Mount Edelstone Vineyard Syrah

Classic mature shiraz

Apr 29, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star
Drinking very well right now (December 2007). Beautiful example of a mature Australian shiraz. Still fruity, with wonderfully integrated tannins. An Aussie classic that favors structure over jamminess.
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2006 - Castle Rock Pinot Noir Russian River Pinot Noir

Good basic pinot noir

Apr 29, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star
Fruit-forward, with cherry and raspberry notes. Little oak and acidity. A crowd pleaser, especially for people who aren't really into red wines. Great QPR.
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1998 - Feuillatte, Nicolas Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne Blend

Stunning champagne

Apr 28, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star 1 star 1 star

Very prominent flavor of green apples both on the nose and on the palate. A bit of yeastiness as well, which adds another layer of complexity. Just enough residual sugar to not go completely dry. Overall, a tremendously enjoyable champagne.

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2005 - Elyse Zinfandel Morisoli Vineyard Zinfandel

Big, spicy, jammy

Apr 28, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star 1 star
Big zin. Jammy, spicy. I get none of prune/raisin flavors that other reviewers have noticed. Somewhat less heat than expected from such a big wine (in the neighborhood of 14.5% rather than 16% or more). More acid than expected. 90+ on day 1, 87 on day 2. This is drinking at its peak now.
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2006 - Layer Cake Shiraz Syrah

Highly recommended cocktail wine

Apr 28, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star 1 star
This is a great bottle of wine. Decanted for two hours. Massive attack on the nose and palate. Fruit to the max, combined with soft tannins and judicious use of oak. Yes, it's a huge fruit bomb but it never goes overboard for me. I liked this better than the 2006 Mollydooker Boxer, which I found a bit over-oaked. Great wine to have with appetizers or just for sipping.
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2005 - Taz Vineyards Pinot Noir Pinot Noir

Cali pinot for New World fans

Apr 28, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star
A California pinot noir on steroids. Dark color, probably because of added syrah or petite sirah. Very fruity flavor profile, heavy oak influence, high alcohol. Old World fans need not apply. 
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2005 - Rosenblum Cellars Zinfandel San Francisco Bay Zinfandel

Good but not outstanding

Apr 28, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star
Day 1: Strong note of ethyl acetate (nail polish remover) on the nose and palate. I recently had a bottle of Rosenblum Heritage Petite Sirah with similar overtones. The ethyl acetate overpowers everything else. 82 points.
Day 2: Nail polish remover note has subsided, allowing the sweet fruit to come forward. 87 points.
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2005 - Mas Que Vinos Ercavio Roble Tempranillo

Simple table wine, not much else

Apr 28, 2008
1 star
Touted by Wine Library as a good every-day wine. Great price at $6 but I found this to be too simple, without oomph. Short finish. OK for food, but nothing I will buy again.
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2005 - Opolo Vineyards Summit Creek Zinfandel Zinfandel

Fantastic full-bodied zinfandel

Apr 28, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star 1 star 1 star
This zinfandel ROCKS. This is the fruitiest, jammiest zin I've ever had, and yet one of the most delicious. Talk about terroir--you can taste the California sunshine in every sip. This wine makes me happy. Can you ask for more?
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2005 - Hijos de Juan Gil, Bodegas Juan Gil Proprietary Blend

Excessive use of oak spoils enjoyment

Apr 28, 2008
1 star 1 star
Nose of charred wood. Dark fruit and medium tannins on the palate. Moderately long finish. This would be a nice everyday wine if it weren't for the excessive use of oak. There's just way too much oak for my taste. Too bad...
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2005 - Rosenblum Cellars Zinfandel Richard Sauret Vineyard Zinfandel

Excellent, but requires generous decanting

Apr 28, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star 1 star
Strong note of violet on the nose. Palate is completely explosive, with a riot of red fruit and spices. Definitely give this lots of air. The more air it had, the better it became.
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2006 - Two Hands Shiraz Angel's Share Syrah

Fine Barossa shiraz

Apr 28, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star 1 star
Decanted for 1 hour. Pure fruit, smooth, elegant, with a nice backbone of oak and acidity. Moderately long finish. Very, very nice wine, as is to be expected from Two Hands. At $25, I would consider this to be quite a good value.
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2005 - C. G. DiArie Zinfandel Amador Zinfandel

Wonderful Sierra Foothills zin

Apr 28, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star 1 star
One of the best Amador County zins I've had. Smoky nose, very tasty red fruit but none of the cloying sweetness that can mar Central Valley zins. To me, the perfect marriage of fruit, acidity and tannin. I will definitely buy more of this one.
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2005 - Glaetzer Wallace Proprietary Blend

Sunshine in a bottle

Apr 28, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star 1 star 1 star

Imagine making love on a velvet blanket underneath the Australian summer sun. This is what this wine tastes like. Silky, fruity perfection. Everything is in balance: fruit (huge!), tannins, acidity. This is a back-up-the-truck kinda wine.

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2006 - Seghesio Zinfandel Sonoma Zinfandel

Solid zin

Apr 28, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star
Nice dark fruit, full mouth feel, good tannins. Ready to drink now. Consumed over three nights and no big change noticed. No "wow" factor but a solid zin nonetheless. This is more of an every-day drinking wine than that special bottle you bring out to celebrate.
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2006 - Shenandoah Zinfandel Sobon Estate Zinfandel

Nice everyday quaffer

Apr 28, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star
Lighter color than expected for a zinfandel. Nose of violet and raspberry. Raspberry and a little blackberry on the palate. Less "ripe" than zins from hotter growing areas such as Lodi. Very little oak. Nice, everyday quaffer. Will please everybody.
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2005 - Catena Zapata, Bodegas Catena Malbec Malbec

Enjoyable, simple malbec

Apr 28, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star

Deep purple color, expressive nose of red and blue berries. Well integrated fruit, little tannin, little acidity. A bit on the simplistic side but very enjoyable. Good value.

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2001 - Annie's Lane Shiraz Copper Trail Syrah

Classic shiraz, drink now (2008)

Apr 28, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star 1 star
Immediately after opening the bottle, I thought the fruit was fading but on day 2, the wine settled down into a wonderful combination of mature fruit, tannin and oak. This is the best of the 6 bottles I've had. I don't think this will get significantly better than this (as of spring 2008), so drink up now. A great mature shiraz, definitely NOT an over-the-top fruit bomb.
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2005 - McPrice Myers Syrah Colson Canyon Vineyard Syrah

Very good, with fantastic potential

Apr 28, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star 1 star
This wine has what it takes--fruit and structure--and it's just beginning to come together. The tannins are still strong and drying on the finish. I predict this will get even better with additional bottle age. I'll hold my remaining bottles until 2009.
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2005 - Rosenblum Cellars Syrah Hillside Vineyard Syrah

Excellent Syrah with good QPR

Apr 28, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star 1 star
Floral nose. Expressive combination of sweet dark fruit and tannins. Moderately drying finish with a repeat of the floral component. A nicely balanced wine that's drinking well now but should continue to smooth out. Excellent QPR.
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2006 - Edmeades Estate Zinfandel Mendocino Zinfandel

Nice cooler-climate zin

Apr 28, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star
Garnet color, red berries and cherry. Really good wine but for my palate not quite as tasty as zins from a warmer climate, such as Lodi or Paso Robles.
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2005 - Glaetzer Godolphin Proprietary Blend

Near perfection

Apr 28, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star 1 star 1 star
Decanted for about 1 hr. Black and red berries, like the most delicious berry pie you've ever had. Sweet tannins and complementing acidity. This wine just blew my mind. Absolutely delicious. Leaves you wanting more. 94 points now (spring of 2008). I'm holding back a little on my rating because I see upside potential of 2-3 points over the next 2-3 years (2011-2013).
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2005 - Thorn-Clarke Shotfire Ridge Barossa Cuvee Proprietary Blend

Solid Barossa shiraz

Apr 28, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star

Solid Barossa shiraz. Lots of rich red fruit on the palate, but no cloying jamminess. Balanced and structured, this is a fruit bomb that stops shy of going over the top. Good value, too.

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2006 - Can Blau Mas de Can Blau Monstant Proprietary Blend

Old world meets new world

Apr 28, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star
Nice smoky nosy. Explosion of red and black fruit on the palate with a nice tannic backbone and a note of toasty oak. What a surprise. I didn't expect this to be so enjoyable. Definitely more new world than old.
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2005 - R Winery Boarding Pass Shiraz Syrah

Crowd pleaser

Apr 28, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star

Very easy-going wine. Popular with our dinner guests. Very dark color, nose of red fruits, but a bit muted on the palate. Nowhere near as full bore as the Mollydooker Booker, which to me is the yardstick by which I measure this kind of wine (and which I happen to like).

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2006 - Westrey Pinot Noir Pinot Noir

Pleasant but not outstanding

Apr 28, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star

As expected, this wine had a velvety and silky mouthfeel but was muted both on the nose and the palate, with a rather short finish. Pleasant enough, especially with food, but not outstanding. At $20, an OK QPR for an Oregon Pinot Noir, but not an automatic buy for me.

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2005 - Montes Syrah Alpha Apalta Vineyard Syrah

Vegetal and a bit austere, no fruit bomb

Apr 28, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star
Nice smoky nose but less fruit-driven than expected. A bit oaky and vegetal when first opened, but much smoother and more balanced on day 2. Would decant for 4+ hours the next time.
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2005 - Neyers Syrah Old Lakeville Road Syrah

Still young and tannic, needs generous decanting

Apr 28, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star
Young, needs lots of decanting. Initially tannic and backwards, generous decanting (4+ hrs) brought out red and black fruit with a backbone of tannins and acidity. This still has years ahead of it, and will get even better.
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2005 - Saintsbury Chardonnay Brown Ranch Chardonnay

Over-oaked. Not a good value.

Nov 04, 2007
1 star

Promising nose of grapefruit and green apple but way too much oak treatment. I could not get past the woody taste. Only for die-hard chardonnay fines who like LOTS of oak in their wine. Not a good value.

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9998 - Buller, R L Premium Fine Muscat Muscat

Incredible dessert wine, incredible value

Nov 04, 2007
1 star 1 star 1 star 1 star 1 star

Dark amber in color, butterscotch and toffee notes with nuts and spices. Finish that goes on forever. This is liquid ambrosia.

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9998 - Domaine Chandon Brut Blancs de Noirs Champagne Blend

Best QPR in champagnes

Nov 04, 2007
1 star 1 star 1 star 1 star 1 star

In my opinion, simply no better value in $10-$20 champagnes. Elegant rosť color, great balance between dry and fruity. This is a perennial crowd pleaser.

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2005 - Domaine Chandon Pinot Meunier Pinot Meunier

Seek this out!

Nov 04, 2007
1 star 1 star 1 star 1 star
One of the few California Pinot Meuniers. Similar in taste to the 2005 Domaine Chandon Pinot Noir, a little more tannic but with an equally beautiful balance and exquisite silky mouthfeel.
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2005 - Domaine Chandon Pinot Noir Pinot Noir

Great Pinot Noir from Carneros

Nov 04, 2007
1 star 1 star 1 star 1 star

This wine is as silky as it gets. Beautiful notes of cherries, long finish. This is the wine to serve to people who don't like red wine!

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2005 - Smoking Loon Merlot Merlot

Decent everyday wine

Nov 04, 2007
1 star 1 star 1 star

After reading a lot of negative feedback about the Smoking Loon line, I was pleasantly surprised by the Merlot. Nice nose, full-bodied, fruity with a pleasant finish. Definitely a decent everyday drinker. Great QPR.

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