Lee L. Wine Reviews



 

 

2006 - L'Aventure Cote A Cote Estate Proprietary Blend

very dark/ripe for a GSM

Jun 12, 2008
1 star 1 star
40% Mouvedre, 30% Grenache, 30% Syrah. Red fruit and spice on the nose a little hot. Black cherries and blueberries round out the palate with a very long finish. Very pricey.
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2006 - L'Aventure Estate Cuvee Proprietary Blend

opulent central coast cuvee

Jun 12, 2008
1 star 1 star
Black fruit and french oak, extremely opulent.  Blueberries and blackberries from the syrah, the cab notes are atypical of paso (probably because of the westside location). This needs years of cellaring or a day in the decanter as is would be a struggle to drink now.
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2007 - San Saba Vineyards Bocage Sauvignon Blanc Sauvignon Blanc

unique, but not my style

Jun 12, 2008
1 star

A little too much skin contact may be to blame, but there is a pencil lead in the nose that shouldn't be there. Other than that, lush tropical fruit and great acidity make this a great first effort. Hopefully next year they will just press and run with the free run.

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2003 - Talbott, Robert Chardonnay Diamond T Estate Chardonnay

don't fear the snowflakes on the bottom

Jun 12, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star
Extremeley rich and golden, bursting with thick gobs of fruit and oak. Huge and a little sweet, this Diamond T vineyard lends itself to smaller concentrated berries. This isn't the unfined and unfiltered version, but an excessive amount of acid has come out of solution. Don't be affraid, even if this wasn't cold stablized the golden elixr on top from an special carmel valey vineyard is too rare and too good to waste.
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2004 - Williams Selyem Pinot Noir Ferrington Vineyard Pinot Noir

anderson valley fruit stars

Jun 12, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star
Mulling spices on the nose, beautiful red fruits on the palate and a loamy finish. Very streamlined, no sharp edges, soft and lush. Bob Cabral has definately changed the style and expanded the vineyard selection, but the end result hasn't suffered much.
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1995 - Williams Selyem Pinot Noir Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

My first great cali pinot

Jun 12, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star
Amazing acidity and spice, burgundian style with california power. Typical russian river fruit on the nose followed by a rollercoaster of spice on the palate. Still could use a couple years cellaring believe it or not. 
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1988 - Williams Selyem Pinot Noir Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

Its alive!

Jun 12, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star

I've had this three times recently with varying results (muted fruit, dead nose) but it definately has life and possibilites. Spice and cherries throughout very balanced acidity and a lip smacking finish. I'm batting .333 but it is worth the try just to experience this vintage.

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2006 - San Saba Vineyards Bocage Unoaked Chardonnay Chardonnay

great deal in un-oaked monterey chard

Jun 12, 2008
1 star 1 star
Winemaker Sabrine Rodems takes a scientific approach to winemaking and this formula definately works. At $12 a bottle for estate grown monterey chard fermented and aged sur lie in stainless steel you can't go wrong. Very clean and crisp, bright juicy acidity, tropical fruit, not overly complex just overtly enjoyable.
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2005 - Pahlmeyer  Pinot Noir Pinot Noir

wood and alcohol

Jun 12, 2008
1 star 1 star
This 14.9% oak bomb of a pinot was made in the style of their excellent chard, but the subtley of the fruit is lost. Please re-hire Helen Turley and stick to the bordeaux blends. 100% new oak is not appropriate for the fruit they got.
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1997 - Silver Oak Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

I expected more

Jun 12, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star
The 1996 blew this away, but 10 years from now this will still be alive. Tobacco and under ripe plum on the nose, full mid-palate, but out of balance on the finish. The tannins are not integrated in a delicate manner, and the finish suffers.
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1999 - Silver Oak Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

very muted

Jun 12, 2008
1 star 1 star
This effort was very muted and austere. It showed minimal amounts of cassis and american oak on the nose, then a flat midpalate.Very round, integrated and balanced, soft tannins just no edge or anything exceptional about it.
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1994 - Silver Oak Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

most bordeaux like silver oak i've had

Jun 12, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star
The 1994 vintage had cedar and green notes that are very unusual for dan meyer's style. Bitter tannins and gobs of acidity mean this could benefit from another 5 years of cellaring.
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2006 - Goldeneye (Duckhorn) Pinot Noir Migration Pinot Noir

second label more approachable than the first

Jun 12, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star
In a tight year this second label cuvee of 6 vineyards outperformed the namesake wine of the estate. Cherry and floral notes on the nose, with cola mulling spices and sweet fruit on the palate finishing with an earthiness and forest mushroom note that is particular to anderson valley. Great deal.
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2005 - Goldeneye (Duckhorn) Pinot Noir Pinot Noir

quinessential cold climate pinot

Jun 12, 2008
1 star 1 star
Mulling spices and dark fruits on the nose followed by a very austere red fruit mid-palate. lots of french oak, over 16 months in barrel! Very light and delicate, not particularly ripe, it has bright acidity that will bode well for aging.
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1996 - Silver Oak Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

best out of a vertical

Jun 10, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star 1 star
This vintage is showing so much creme de cassis its hard to believe that its silver oak. Amazingly soft, not beating you over the head with oak and tannins, it is probably peaking right now..
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1982 - Ducru Beaucaillou  Bordeaux Blend

has massive amounts of life left

Jun 10, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star 1 star
wow. tobacco and smoke, tannins that grip for days. One of the better 1982 i've had recentely. I'd cellar this another 5 years as it needed a couple hours open , in the glass or decanter. Beautifully structured quinessential left-bank cab bomb. 
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1997 - Schloss Saarstein Serriger Schloss Saarstein Riesling Auslese Gold Cap Riesling

fruit and petrol jump out of glass

May 31, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star 1 star
oh gold cap auslese! why can't i have more of you than a half bottle? Immense amounts of peach pears and petrol on the nose and palate, one of the more fruit driven old rielsings i've ever had. Herb and mineral notes are present, but this is a clean clean wine. At 8% alcohol and a healthy amount of sugar, it isn't very heavy on the palate, never cloying it will disappear. do not share, you will miss every last drop. Diabetes here I come...
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2005 - Corra Cabernet Sauvignon Cabernet Sauvignon

ripe balanced and soft

May 28, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star 1 star
Ripe dark fruit jumps out of the glass on the nose, lush and soft on the palate, rich and concentrated without being cloying or hot. Needs decanting and continues to develop new spices and flavors over time. A winning effort from scarecrow winemaker Celia Masyczek (and much cheaper).
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1982 - Monterey Peninsula Cabernet Sauvignon Docter's Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

light, soft and holding up

May 28, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star
Tobacco and herbs on the nose, well balanced, reminiscent of smith & hook or a 5th growth Paulliac. Soft integrated tannins and still holding onto its fruit. A great example of monterey couty cab.
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1995 - Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame Champagne Blend

sourdough and strawberries

May 28, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star 1 star
While the NV is the coca-cola of good champagne, this vintage bubbly has a profile of sourdough and strawberries as opposed to toasted brioche. Nice complexity, a champagne to ponder and not just slam.
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2005 - Navarro Chardonnay Premiere Reserve Chardonnay

cold climate chard

May 19, 2008
1 star 1 star
Cinnamon and mulling spice on the nose, a signature of the cold climate in anderson valley. Citrus and green apple fruits with honey on the finish (slightly off dry .15% rs). Pleasant complex affordable chard. 
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1974 - Monterey Peninsula Chardonnay Chardonnay

first vintage for monterey bay pioneers

May 19, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star
I was blown away how a 34 year old monterey chard made in the "dark ages" for this area is still so clean and golden. Golden stone fruits on a the nose with a slight funk, new sweet french oak and minerality still prevalent in the mid-palate and a buttery finish from the ML and the oak. Bravo.
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1981 - Monterey Peninsula Pinot Blanc Cobblestone Vineyard Pinot Blanc

has held up exceptionally well

May 19, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star
For a slightly off dry pinot blanc this was showing beautifully yesterday at brunch. Golden fruits on the nose with a sweet lactic buttery finish, like an old white burgundy blended with riesling.
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2004 - Bonny Doon Le Cigare Volant Proprietary Blend

best cigare this decade

May 19, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star
A new grenache source in paicenes, and a commitment to smaller production has lead to the best CDP imitation i've had from bonny doon. Rose, anise and rasberry jam waft from the glass to the nose, and its backed up by a denser core of spice and meat than in previous vintages. Stellar, as the flying saucer should be.
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2006 - Bonny Doon Le Cigare Blanc Proprietary Blend

i love grenache blanc

May 19, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star
There is something really appealing about the broadness of grenache blanc on the mid-palate that makes this such an exceptional food wine. This cuvee is 75% GB and 25% Roussane, aged in neutral french oak sur lie with about 25% ML fermentation, and it doesn't need any more rich lactic acid. Exceptional with salad and cheese, this nose packs herbs, melon and pear, there is significant weight to the mouthfeel and an expressive finish.
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2005 - Bonny Doon Le Pousseur Syrah Syrah

this vintage is a sign of things to come...

May 19, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star
Hats off to Randall Grahm. This syrah is sourced from exceptional vineyards on the central coast: Bien Naicido in Santa Maria, Chequera in west-side Paso Robles, Gimelli Vineyard in the Cienega Valley near hollister and the Estate Ca' del solo vineyard in the salinas valley of monterey county.  Very hermitage like, this wine has a floral, meaty & smoky note on the nose. Leather and game are prevalent in this very reductive style, super concentrated and under $20! Decant this or enjoy it the next day and the next and so on....
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2007 - Bonny Doon Vin Gris de Cigare 

summer time picnic wine to crack

May 19, 2008
1 star 1 star
crack a screwtop of this rose this summer and you won't be disappointed. Bone-dry and rich, this vin gris of 47% grenache, 27% cinsault, 14% syrah, 7% grenache blanc and 5% rousanne has complex floral, spice and herbal notes with a heavier viscocity on the mid-palate mouthfeel and a clean finish. Strawberry and cherry fruit are prevalent, but do not dominate.
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2004 - Dujac, Domaine Bonnes Mares Pinot Noir

this wine made burgundy the promised land for me

May 07, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star 1 star 1 star
Never sweet or cloying, this perfectly balanced pinot blew away the marcassian tasted next to it. This fruit is exceptional, and the price doesn't lie. Powerful deep fruit, this was decanted for half a day and still had places to go, gorgeous balanced mineral finish. I wish, i wish i had more...
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2003 - Castelnau De Suduiraut  Sauternes Blend

second label still very tasty

May 07, 2008
1 star 1 star

some malign 2003 for being flabby, lacking acid, but that makes this second label sauternes that much more accessible young. Thick sweet, rich botrytis honey coats your mouth without much complexity or bite. Great deal, it won't last forever but it tastes fine now.

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2005 - Bonny Doon Ca del Solo Sangiovese Sangiovese

great central coast biodynamic QPR

May 07, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star
i like this screwtop QPR more that a lot of randall Grahm's other more expensive reds. Black cherry, rasberry and strawberry all play a part in this fruit driven sangio. Biodynamic farming might have helped the focus on minerals and fruit as opposed to earth and tannins. We can't ask for more from a $12 wine.
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2006 - Pax Cellars Syrah Sonoma Hillsides Syrah

decommissioned syrah dump

May 07, 2008
1 star
This is Pax's decommissioned syrah blend and it deserves the title. While possessing the unholy deep purple black plummy fruit of pax, thickness on the palate, and a long fruity cassis finish, there is some brett in there as well. The nose turns me off for the price, but at least the fruit is there somewhere...
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2006 - Pax Cellars Syrah Cuvee Christine Syrah

fruit driven pax

May 07, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star
deep purple black syrah cuvee. extremely juicy creme de mure and cassis, it is all fruit (thank god), blackberries and spice. Very rich and deep on the palate, this is what expensive california syrah should be like!
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2006 - Pax Cellars Cuvee Moriah Proprietary Blend

i'd like to see a different blend

May 07, 2008
1 star 1 star
This is a 88% grenache blend from sonoma that burns with heat on the nose. Decant, swirl, oxidize this however you can. Sweet bitter strawberry rhubarb pie with heat, not an extremeley long finish. Would love to see them make a traditional GSM because this grenache doesn't match up to their syrah.
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2006 - Pax Cellars Syrah Walker Vine Hill Syrah

big bold tannic syrah

May 07, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star
This black colored inky bomb is big, big, big. Blueberries and meat, i'd decant this for 3-4 hours as it is extremely tannic in its youth. Maybe in the future they will include less stems. I'm not a fan of green stemminess as a preservative
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2005 - Galante Vineyards Rancho Galante Cabernet Sauvignon Cabernet Sauvignon

great cv cab value

May 07, 2008
1 star 1 star
Sweet fruit on the nose a little dirt, some vegetal notes, very earth driven and complex for a cheap cuvee. This is showing very well young and has been very consistent year to year.
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2004 - Galante Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Blackjack Pasture Cabernet Sauvignon

pricey but tasty

May 07, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star
Sweet french oak, black fruits, a few green notes, a little black pepper a tad hot tannic and bitter but that will fade with age. Try 98-02, 03 and 04 have been fairly weak for this excellent vineyard.
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2005 - Galante Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Red Rose Hill Cabernet Sauvignon

May 07, 2008
1 star
Apparenlty they are going to blend petite syrah into the future vintages of this maligned block. This is the exact opposite of syrah, a bell-pepper bomb empty on the mid-palate, bitter and tannic finish.Oh well...
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2007 - Galante Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc Sauvignon Blanc

Another winner SB from galante

May 07, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star
The bottle has changed but the quality is the same two years in a row. A tart scrumptious grapefruit nose. Juicy big fruit for an SB, mouth watering and puckering acidity with a ton of stony mineral notes. If only they made more of this and less red...
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2003 - Joullian Cabernet Sauvignon Cabernet Sauvignon

cold-climate cab

May 07, 2008
1 star
This has potential for aging, as it is very light and low alcohol. Right now it suffers from being in a cold area, with too many green notes (bell pepper in particular). Other than that, there is a alot of chocolate, anise and blackberry.
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2006 - Joullian Chardonnay Sleepy Hollow Vineyard Chardonnay

Totally different style than talbott

May 07, 2008
1 star 1 star
Orange and other citrus peel nots on the nose, very floral. Lip-smacking amount of acid, toasty hazelnuts on the finish. More french style than cali, a definate candidate for cellaring.
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2006 - Joullian Chardonnay Roger Rose Vineyard Chardonnay

tiny single vineyard chard

May 07, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star
only 241 cases of this arroyo seco chard were made. Tropical fruit and toast on the nose, very lush concentrated mid-palate, a lot of creme brulee, with a clean finish that feels sweet but isn't (its bone dry). Very tasty now, wait a couple more years...
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2006 - Joullian Chardonnay Chardonnay

ridge watson's monterey chard cuvee

May 07, 2008
1 star 1 star

8 different vineyards contributed fruit to this chardonnay and it bursts out of the glass with golden hay and clean asian fruits, pear and peach.Rich from sur-lie, but silky on the mid-palate, it finishes crisp. This can age for 5-10 years, i had a mind-blowing 1997 just a couple weeks ago.

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2005 - Talbott, Robert Pinot Noir Case Pinot Noir

smoke and cherry

May 07, 2008
1 star

If you like your pinots smoky, here you go. Much cleaner than the logan this has focused cherry flavors and a smoky undercurrent. Nothing mind blowing now, maybe in 4-5 years.

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2005 - Talbott, Robert Pinot Noir Logan Pinot Noir

last hurrah for old pinot clones

May 07, 2008
1 star
This SLH sleepy hollow pinot  is mostly martini clone, as in old school louis martini. The nose on this 05 is extremely muted, there are a few funky green note and a touch of bitterness on the finish. This is meant to age, unlike every other pinot on the block.
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2006 - Talbott, Robert Pinot Noir Kali Hart Pinot Noir

Beats out most $20 pinots

May 07, 2008
1 star 1 star
Tons of cherry, blueberry and cola on the nose. Clean and light, not much structure on the mouthfeel. Finishes on a few green spicy notes. This pinot is meant to drink young, like a dark rose and will easily be quaffed at any function.
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2006 - Talbott, Robert Logan Chardonnay Chardonnay

amazing SLH chard for the price

May 07, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star
This rich second label alternative to talbott's sleepy hollow chard has kiwi and sweet tropical fruits on the nose. Extremely rich and austure on the mouthfeel, with a toasty sweet but not buttery finish. For around $20 its a steal.
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2006 - Galante Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc Sauvignon Blanc

we need more SB in CV

May 06, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star

We have a lot of chenin blanc in CV and georis makes a decent SB, but galante's 06 was exceptional. The 05 (tasted out of stainless steel tank) was so acidic that it could peel paint, and the enamel on my teeth are worse for the wear. The 06 was so much more expressive its hard to believe its from the same vineyard or not blended. Tropical fruit caramel pineapple, citrus, toast and it tends toward lush rather than sharp.

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2006 - Morgan Pinot Noir Gary's Vineyard Pinot Noir

A lighter gary's

May 06, 2008
1 star 1 star

Lightly extracted, translucent red-purple rose color. Nose of sweet blackberries and cherries, not very long on the mouthfeel, adequate acidity, mild midpalate. Cellar at least 1-2 years, needs time.

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2005 - Pelerin Winery Syrah Mesa Del Sol Vineyard Syrah

Arroyo Seco's finest

May 06, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star
This syrah is from Anne Hougham's organically farmed 7-acre Mesa Del Sol vineyard, one of the most beautiful plots in south monterey county. Chris gets his syrah from a steep low-yielding section of the vineyard. This inky syrah has fleshy plums, blackberries, a lil white pepper a lush full mouth and mid-palate with soft silky tannins. This inky elixir is exceptional and very limited.
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2005 - Pelerin Winery Pinot Noir Rosella's Vineyard Pinot Noir

Artisan SLH Pinot

May 06, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star
Explodes with kirsch-cola, spice and sweet french vanilla oak. This elegant vineyard harbors some monster fruit, and Chris Weidemann's deft touch yields a complex big SLH pinot. This is showing beautifully now, but will benefit with a couple years of tucking away.
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1998 - Ojai Chardonnay Bien Nacido Vineyard Chardonnay

ojai flying under the radar

May 06, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star

Another excellet old california chard. This has shed its youthful fruitiness, but is still lush and rich. Tropical fruits, a touch of honey a lil funk from age, not much oak, well balanced, teeming with acid. This went down with my caesar salad very easily.

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1992 - Morgan Chardonnay Reserve Chardonnay

they don't make 'em like they used to...

May 06, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star 1 star
Had out of a magnum stored at the winery and man-o-manischewitz was it singing. Nose of golden fruits, fresh peaches opening up to light toast and hazelnuts. Clean, refreshing, not overboard on the lactic acid. Perfectly balanced complement to any any fish dish rich or raw. An early pick in 92 leading to 13% alcohol made this wine an acid bomb when it came out. This reserve is a barrel select cuvee. 16 years later it has coke into its own and blows away al the over-oaked thick sweet and hot styles we have currently.
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2006 - Morgan Pinot Noir Double L Vineyard Pinot Noir

the estate always gets the royal treatment

May 06, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star
Very extracted, dark opaque red-purple. A lot of new french oak on the nose. Very concentrated, kirsch, rose and dark berries. Definately showing the best young among all of morgan's pinots. Organically farmed, this could be the breakout year for this underrated SLH plot.
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2006 - Morgan Pinot Noir Rosella's Vineyard Pinot Noir

cellar your 06s!

May 06, 2008
1 star 1 star

Light extraction, floral nose of rose and cherry. Fairly chewy, not as elegant as previous vintages. Closed up, with a bitterness on the finish. The jury is out, and the verdict can't be read for another couple of years.

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1982 - Lynch Bages  Bordeaux Blend

5th growth better than most

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

Unbelievable depth and silky smooth soft tannins. Sweet ceda, pencil lead and tobacco on the nose. Dark extracted color for bordeaux, and still vibrant fruit. Simply perfect and it has a long life ahead of it.

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1981 - Mouton-Rothschild  Bordeaux Blend

first growth

Apr 28, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star 1 star
brick red color with a lighter extraction leading to an orange tinge. A nose of cedar, tobacco, chocolate and coffee grounds, this mouton is drinking fabulously right now, and its remaining life is hard to estimate because it isn't as dense as other vintages.
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1978 - Beychevelle  Bordeaux Blend

bad years in bordeaux still have more life than cali cabs

Apr 28, 2008
1 star 1 star

I've had 3 over the last year and they have all been metalliac, like blood iron and coffee grounds. Limited funk on the nose, tangy tannic bordeaux juice, definate old world fruit still shining 30 years later...

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2005 - Torbreck Run Rig Proprietary Blend

thunder down under

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

Thos Cote-Rotie blend spent minutes in my glass before i even took a sip because the nose was breathtaking. Blackberries, cassis, wet leather and smoke. Thick mid-palate, with a lil floral sweetness from the Viogner. A true gem.

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2006 - Loring Wine Co Pinot Noir Cargasacchi Vineyard Pinot Noir

pepper berry surprise

Apr 28, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star

This has a very light extraction, and the cherryberry pepper and spice aren't hiding at all. An in your face california style, very adaptable to drinking without food.

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2006 - Loring Wine Co Pinot Noir Russell Family Vineyard Pinot Noir

Paso Pinot? nothing to pass over...

Apr 28, 2008
1 star 1 star
Normally a pinot that says paso on it gets a automatic no from me (that even includes you adeladia), this effort was quite interesting. High extraction, dense color, and a floral tea leaf nose. This was very reminiscent of a low-end german Spätburgunder.
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9998 - Big Basin Vineyards Syrah Mandala Syrah

hugh cool climate syrah blend

Apr 28, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star
This syrah is blended from the estate rattlesnake rock vineyard in santa cruz and the fairview ranch vineyard in the SLH. Intense fruit, sweet, deep oxidation, this wine has been beat up and still provides huge soft spices. Its pricey but very good. 
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2003 - Heller Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Estate  Cabernet Sauvignon

The old durney vineyard still impresses

Apr 28, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star
On the oldest and nicest plot in the cachagua region of carmel valley lies the 100% organic durney vineyard. The 2003 offers up chocolate and spice, a clean hot cab that if blind tasted would definately trick many. Winemaker Rich Tanguay works magic with chenin blanc and port, but this cab is a must try along with his cab franc and merlot. One day i hope the Hellers lower the price and just make a proprietary blend instead of doubling up on a meritage. Oh the trappings of owning a tasting room...
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2004 - Talbott, Robert Chardonnay Sleepy Hollow Vineyard Chardonnay

Monterey: chardonnay is what we do

Apr 28, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star
The nose is all tropical fruit thanks to the sur lie. French oak a lil residual sugar and the reduction from barrel and bottle age lead to a creamy rich texture with a sweet finish and some nice toast. A standard bearer that outshines the generic rombauer on a consistant basis.
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2003 - Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon Special Selection Cabernet Sauvignon

It was what i thought it was

Apr 28, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star
Jumped out of the glass with cassis, berries and chocolate. Not extremely complex, but hey this is no small production here. Sweet and rich on the mid-palate with a pleasant soft finish. 2003s are definately showing their all pretty early.
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2000 - Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Cabernet Sauvignon

Washington State superstar

Apr 28, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star 1 star
Took a while to open up in the decanter. Muted nose until about 2 hours, floral blue and black berry fruits, complex positive green notes. Much more complexity than napa powerhouse depth, but still rich and elegant. I need to try better vintages, but good washington cab is hard to come by in cali.
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2005 - Maybach Materium Cabernet Sauvignon

not up to cult standards

Apr 28, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star

Had this along with 4 other high end cabs and it came up short. Over extraced black purple tannat like color, mulling spices in the nose, tannins not completely integrated. Probably needs a day in the decanter, and I still think it would have had a structure unbecoming of cabernet . Glad I didn't buy it.

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2006 - Morgan Pinot Gris R & D Franscioni Vineyard Pinot Gris

dry rich food friendly value

Apr 28, 2008
1 star 1 star
This pinot gris is from the franscioni brother's shared vineyard high up in the SLH. Peachs, pears, crisp acidity, a broad thick mid-palate with a lingering dry finish make this Alsace style white extremely food friendly. A great counter point to the generic italian pinot grigios.
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2006 - Morgan Pinot Noir Twelve Clones Pinot Noir

The coca-cola of monterey pinots

Apr 28, 2008
1 star 1 star
2006 was absolutely terrible in the SLH. Tightly wound, tannic, non-expressive fruit. Morgan somehow (and always) comes out with a quality mix, but the price keeps creeping up. Damn supply and demand because this is a great pinot for $25, and just a good one when its over $30. Cherry cola, rose peatals and spice. A lighter extraction makes this '06 approachable right out of the bottle.
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2005 - Hahn Estates Cabernet Franc Cabernet Franc

last vintage! sacrificed to the pinot gods...

Apr 28, 2008
1 star 1 star
Hahn (Smith & Hook) has some prime real estate in the SLH and most of their land was planted to bordeaux varietals. Thanks to 'the movie' these 30+ year old vines were replanted to pinot, making 2005 the last vintage for hahn cab franc. Fellow local winemaker Damien Georis made a great wine out of this last pick called 'Madeline', and it sold out locally in short order. This cab franc is intensely fruit driven, with a slight tobacco nose, made in the modern cali style. The wines made in the early 80s were a tough sell, tight tannin and low alcohol bordeaux blends from monterey didn't really have a market. Now they are very similar to old paulliacs like Latour. Hopefully the pinot they harvest from this plot near soledad can match that potential.
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2005 - Hahn Estates Merlot Monterey Merlot

monterey doesn't mean bell pepper

Apr 28, 2008
1 star 1 star
Hahn estates consistently produces some of the best $10-$15 value wines on the central coast. This merlot is very approachable after a quick decant, offering smoky cherry and oak, soft tannins and a decent finish. A complete wine and balanced package for $12.
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2006 - Linne Calodo Rising Tides Proprietary Red Proprietary Blend

stellar paso GSM

Apr 26, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star
This paso robles GSM is 44% Grenache, 42% Syrah, 14% Mourvedre. It is very sweet on the nose like saxum, but the fruit has more of a floral character. Very juicy and complex, this wine definately is a great example of Paso's potential. They make other rhone blends and even put zin in a few of them, but to my palate the brown fruits just ruin a blend.
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2001 - Shafer Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select Cabernet Sauvignon

Best young california cab ever?

Apr 26, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star 1 star 1 star
Another life changer. Thick chocolate and vanilla, seemlessly integrated tannins. Only decanted for an hour. I wish we had more will power, but this juice is just too good to resist...
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2003 - Sine Qua Non Papa  Syrah

I drank the bob parker jr. kool-aid...

Apr 26, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star 1 star 1 star
I had this at passionfish a couple years back with my good wine buddies because not only do they get an allocation of this impossible to find wine, they sell it at retail! This syrah changed my life, proved that southern california has world class potential and that Manfred Krankl is a genius. Unbelievable nose of purple black fruit and vanilla sweet french oak. Extremely clean, velvet on the tongue, superb balance(and i know that 14.9% alcohol is a lie), immense concentration with a minute long finish. We should have stolen the other bottles because they wouldn't let us buy them to take home at any price.
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2006 - Saxum James Berry Vineyard Proprietary Blend

Paso GSM, the new trend

Apr 26, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star

Had a barrel sample this week along with a few other paso GSMs. This was very sweet on the nose as the style seems to dictate. On the palate it is very soft and supple, packed with berries and spice in a style of its own with no offense to the rhone. This is food-friendly candy and one of my favorite saxum's to date (even though it hasn't been bottled yet!) In my encounters with their syrahs in the past , the sweetness or the alcohol have thrown them out of balance, though hot paso wines tend to have peaks in valleys in the aging process. I'm glad i gave them the benefit of the doubt.

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2002 - Bond (Harlan) The Matriarch Proprietary Red Wine Proprietary Blend

A must try for those who can't afford Harlan

Apr 26, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star 1 star 1 star
Rich vanilla oak, big cassis and blueberry character favoring fruit over tannins. If this is Bond's second label, i've got to try me some Bond. This wine might be an argument against the prevailing wisdom of single vineyard dominance. This cast-off wine from the various harlan/bond vineyards is seamlessly integrated and a testament to the powers of blending. Of course it helps to start out with world class fruit...
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2006 - Alban Vineyards Syrah Reva Alban Estate Vineyard Syrah

syrupy syrah elixir

Apr 26, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star 1 star
I had a barrel sample of this in SLO earlier this week and it was unlike any california or rhone syrah I have ever tasted. Super-extracted sweet jammy fruit, and that was just on the nose. It was syrupy, fruit-forward and high octane, showing extremely well for a barrel sample. The heat was well intregated because it is very soft, lush and concentrated. Hopefully this will gain more complexity after it is bottled, but i certainly got what all the fuss was about, esp. because it stands out in a mediocre year.
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2004 - Leflaive, Domaine Bourgogne Blanc Chardonnay

my favorite affordable white burgundy

Apr 26, 2008
1 star 1 star 1 star 1 star
Nose of toasted nuts with only a hint of oak, lush mid-palate, mouth watering acidity with a long bone dry finish. True burgudian character with the fruit in the back seat while the earth drives. I've had this wine 4 times over the last year and it has been extremely consistant and one of the easiest chards to pair with food.
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