Rick's Wine Journal 2006 Half 1

Date

Wine - Notes and Comments - ( See Key- See Rating Wines)

June 30, 2006 - Silver Oak Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1989 - RM 89 RP 89 - Black cherry, hint of spice, slightly earthy cedar and a long long finish of licorice and full oak with smooth tannins.

June 28, 2006 - Yangarra McLaren Vale GSM Grenache/Shiraz/Mourvedre 2003 - RM 89 WS 90 WE 92 - $20 - Black cherry and blackberry, tar, a hint of cedar and mineral with layers of tannins on a pronounced lingering finish. Yangarra, recognized as International Winery of the Year in 2005 by Wine & Spirits Magazine is a member of the Kendall Jackson Vintners Group.


June 24-25, 2006 - Henry's Drive Australia Padthaway Shiraz 2003 - RM 92 WA 94 - Dark inky colour. Huge aroma and taste of jammy blackberry, essence of creme brulee, licorice and sweet toasty oakwith a hint of pepper. RP says - "The 2003 Shiraz is a full-bodied, opulently-styled red that smells of creme de cassis and blackberry liqueur intermixed with smoky meats, espresso
roast, jammy black fruits, licorice, earth, and toasty new oak. It should evolve nicely for a decade or more." 94 points - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate #161 (OCT 2005) - This was my choice but L preferred the bigger fuller ripeness of the Mr. Riggs. Tasted w/ Mark D. with fabulous flank steak and beets on Sat and again on Sun. Michele Chiarlo Nivole Moscato D'Asti 2005 - RM 90 - $9 /375ml. Delightful easy drinking essence of sparkling pear. Perfect as an aperitif, to cleanse the pallet between courses, or after dinner on a sunny afternoon on the deck!  Tasted w L, and Erin & Johnnie after fabulous rib b-b-que dinner. 
June 23, 2006 - Mr. Riggs 'The Gaffer' McLaren Vale Shiraz 2005 - RM 89 - $20- Named in honor of Ben Rigg's great great great grandfather John 'The Gaffer' Riggs who settled their vineyards 150 years ago. Dark black crimson colour. Classic McLaren Vale ripe fruit nose and flavors of ripe blackberry, plum and vanilla followed by licorice and spice. Fine grained tannins, nice balance, long aftertaste of licorice and black pepper.

June 21, 2006 - Château Paloumey Haut Medoc Bordeaux 1996 - RM 87 - $29 - Earthy leathery black cherry and berry fruit with a mild tannin finish.

June 18, 2006 - Goosecross Cellars Napa Valley Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon 1996 - RM 90 - $62 - Forward cherry flavors, anise, sweet oak, eucalyptus and a hint of chocolate taper off to intense, even, tannin. The long lingering dry finish is accented with oak and dark ripe Bing cherry flavors and a hint of nutmeg. The depth, complexity and polish of this are offset by a Goosecross Cellars Napa Valley Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon
bit of astringency rendering a lower rating. Frank Family Vineyards Napa Valley Chardonnay 2004 - RM 90 Rich smooth, full bodied, roasted almonds, hint of citrus and peach fruit accented by toasty oak. From ENA's cellar who picked it up at the winery. Great complements to flank steak and Mahi Mahi Father's Day dinner.

June 11, 2006 - Kate's Vineyard Sedna Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2002 - RM 88 $27 - Blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Syrah - layers of black fruit flavors, a hint of smoky cedar, earthy leather, and elegant fine grained tannins and a long finish. Only 250 cases were produced. Tasted at Bob & Gloria's steak dinner.


June 10, 2006 - Robert Mondavi Reserve Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1992 and 1993. 1992 - WS 91 RM 88; 1993 - RP 93 RM 90 - A study in contrasts in this mini-vertical tasting. The '93 opened with brilliant forward fruit of black cherry and blackberry framed by subtle cassis and earthy leather with a modest tannin finish. The '92 was dense, firm earthy, leather, and a hint of cedar overarching its black cherry and berry fruit and chewy tannins. Over the course of the evening they each took on the characteristics of the other as the bright fruit of the 93 became more subdued and the 92 revealed a complex, dense and chewy fruit. Rosemount GSM (Grenache Syrah Mouvedre) McLaren Vale 1997 - RM 87 - Not quite as bright and full flavored as the 02 below but similar profile of blackberry, mineral, spice and a touch of plum on the finish. The 97 is more modest in fruit but also in the metallic minerality which tended to detract from the 02. Norman Paso Robles Late Harvest Zinfandel 1997 - RM 88 - Great accompaniement to the chocolate browny sweet. Not as sweet as the 36 brix and 16% alcohol would tempt but tasty black cherry and cherry fruit none-the-less. One must remember this is not a fortified port - the richness and density are but the product of late harvest fruit. Tasted w/ L and Bill and Beth C at their home - perfect complements to a wonderful beef tenderloin dinner and tasty 5 year old aged sharp cheddar! 

June 9, 2006 - Rosemount GSM (Grenache Syrah Mouvedre) McLaren Vale 2002 - RM 87 - Huge bouquet. Flavors of intense blackberry, mineral, spice and a touch of blueberry on the finish. This wine is a decent value at $15. Its a great value at $10 where it is currently available at Trader Joe's.


June 6, 2006 - Paradigm Napa Valley Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon 1994 - RM 92 WS 92 $45 - Dark inky color. Full forward fruit flavors of black currant and raspberry, ripe plum, black cherry, cedar and a hint of anise and milk chocolate on a full firm finish. Picked up this wine at the winery during our Napa Valley Experience 1999. Brigaldara Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 1997 - RP 90 RM 89 - $45 - Review from the Wine Doctor - A moderately deep, glossy red with a pink-tinged rim. A lovely nose, with dark roasted fruits, fine dark chocolate and a touch of earthy farmyard. Big, full-bodied and powerful palate, still dominated by ripe but unintegrated, mouth-puckering tannins. There's a good amount of dry fruit, typical Amarone texture and appropriate acidity. I retasted after 24 hours, and the tannins were much less prominent, giving the wine a chance to show its surfeit of sweet blackberry and plum fruit, and its rich texture. Quite backward, and clearly in need of another five years in the cellar. Tasted at home w/ AJ, Dave McD, and L following the NetM RG Workshop.  


June 5, 2006 - Rosemount Estates McLaren Vale Balmoral Shiraz 1995 - RM 90 $39 - Dark full flavor, berry, blueberry, plum fruit, with spice and anise. Showing age on opening but opened and softened with a long full magnificent finish.; Raimondi Villa Monteleone Campo San Paolo Amarone della Valpolicella Classico DOC 1997 -  RM 91 $59 Big nose and flavor of rich super ripe raisiny currant and mineral with a long full finish that is full of mineral with hints of eucalyptus. Marquis Phillips '9' Barossa Valley Shiraz 2001 - 92 $39 - A bit less polished than the 2000, but that distinctive 'burnt sugar creme brulee' taste abounds. Full, forward rich and dense ripe fruit. HS of WS calls it 'exotic spice' taste, "very ripe and dense,  with rich blackberry jam flavors, which echo on the long silky smoky finish".; Tasted w/ AJ, Dave McD, Scott E, L, Erin & Johnnie at home for NetM RG Wrkshop dinner w/ L's fabulous tenderloin, lobster medallions, and gala bakery selection.

June 2, 2006 - Shingleback McLaren Vale Davey Family Vineyard Shiraz 2003 - RM 89 RP 90 WE 89 - Dark inky colour - ripe black raspberry, plum, and a hint of oak and mineral.

May 31, 2006 - Robert Craig Napa Valley Affinity Cabernet Sauvignon 2001 - RM 91 WS91 RP 89 Ripe, complex, smooth and polished wine, rich currant, plum, blackberry, and what WS refers to as "toasty mocha-laced oak and firm yet creamy texture ending with chewy tannins". Blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Tasted w/ Eric W. at Flemmings in Tysons Corner.

May 30, 2006 - Shingleback D Block McLaren Vale Shiraz 2002 - RM 91 RP 93 - Deep magenta red. Lifted strawberry and blackberry aromas are intensified with toasty vanilla oak. Ripe berry and mocha fills the palate and fine grained American oak enhances the fruit flavor and structure. Tasted w/ Jim K at Da Domenicos in Tysons Corner.

May 26, 2006 - Miner Napa Valley Zinfandel 2002 - RM 90 - $28 - Winemakers notes say it best. - Selected from two very distinct vineyards, one near Calistoga, the other in Chiles Valley and finished with a dollop of Petite Sirah, this wine exudes youthful aromatics of clove, cinnamon and tobacco backed by fruit flavors of wild raspberry and strawberry. Tasted w/ L & Marlene at Branmors in BBrook. Review coming.

May 20, 2006 - Punters Corner Spartacus Reserve Shiraz 1998 - RM 90 WS 90 $43 - Ripe and full bodied, a backbone of acidity supporting focused earthy blackberry, anise and vanilla flavors. - Hahn Estates Central Coast Meritage 2004 - RM 91 Deep purple - rich full flavored currant, blueberry, plum, raspberry and vanilla - tastes like a Barossa shiraz! Tremendous value at $14. This  was one of my recent Rick's Picks. Tasted w. L, Erin & Johnnie, Ryan & Michelle for my surf and turf birthday dinner on the patio-deck.

May 18, 2006 - Grand finale to the flight of the top rated Shiraz's (see below). Barton Vale Smith's Folly Barossa Valley Shiraz 2001 - RP 95 RM 92 - $80 - Dark garnet color. Slight earthiness and full firm tannins predominate the black berry, black cherry, coffee flavors. Hazy Blur Baroota Shiraz 2004 - RM93 RP91 WS91- $38. Deep dark purple colour. Rich dense full flavored vanilla bean accented by currant, plum and black raspberry, and a hint of cola and mocha on the full flavored finish. Tasted w/ L, Bill C., and Jeff M. at Emeril's at Universal Studios in Orlando (click for Rick's DineSite Review).

May 17, 2006 - The March of top rated Shiraz' continues (see May 16).... Haan Prestige Barossa Valley Shiraz 2003 - RM 93 RP 93-95- $50 - Rich currant blackberry, plum and a hint of dark chocolate taste - less rich, full or forward as the Elderton or Oracle from last night but delicious none-the-less, Hans and Fransien Haan were selected Australian Producer of the year for 2005. Branson Coach House Rare Single Vineyard Coach House Block Shiraz 2002 - RM 91 RP 92 WS92 - $75 - Similar to the Haan. Slight earthiness detracts from the of flavors of plum, currant and spicy blackberry and a hint of dark chocolate with a long smoky tannin finish. Tasted w/ AJ and L at Charley's Steakhouse in Orlando (click for Rick's DineSite Review).


May 16, 2006 - A heavyweight bout of top rated Aussie Shiraz's. Troll Creek Shiraz, Barossa Valley 2002 - RP 96 RM 93 - $79 - Full bodied and flavorful - smooth and elegant with a pronounced currant, plum, a hint of raspberry and vanilla and a touch of oak. A product of Rusdan Wines. Kilikanoon Clare Valley Oracle Shiraz 2003 - RP 98 JH 96 RM 97 -$65 -  Spectacular. Dark inky colour with garnet rim. Full bouquet and flavors of currant, sweet plum, raspberry vanilla and sweet oak - smooth, silky, chewy but polished - the currant 'Dentyne' flavor lingers with a long full subtle smoky cedar full tannin finish. Elderton Command Barossa Shiraz 2002 - RP 95 RM 95 - $72 - Huge, powerful, dense, richly complex, dark, full forward plum, black raspberry, dark chocolate punched by firm intense tannins on a smooth and long finish. This wine was more approachable than the first time we tried it - but it still needs some time to meld and reveal its complex fruit. Tasted w/ AJ, Bill C., Jeff M., Duncan S., Bill McD and Stefan at Vito's Chop House in Orlando (click for Rick's DineSite Review).

May 14, 2006 - Robert Craig Napa Valley Affinity Cabernet Sauvignon 1996 - RM 90 Beautiful deep purple color, taking on an earthiness to complement a smooth polished taste of strawberry, pear and berry with a nice balance. Perfect complement to beef tenderloin Mother's day dinner with L, E & Johnnie, G'ma Evelyn and Keith, Alec and Ryan. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon from Howell Mtn, Mt Veeder, and Napa Oakville.

May 13, 2006 - Isenhower Columbia Valley Wild Alfalfa Syrah 2004 - RM 88 - $29 - Dark purple color. Vibrant bright notes of floral, rich ripe berry, mineral, a hint of white pepper, accented by that classic Red Mountain terrior essence of cognac that lingers on a long finish.  

May 11, 2006 - Chateau De La Gardine Châteauneuf-du-Pape 1998 - RM 88, RP 90, WS 94 - $49 - A subtle earthiness detracts from the blackberry and black cherry fruit, accented by a subtle leather and cassis.

May 8, 2006 - Frank Family Vineyards Napa Valley Zinfandel 2004 - $36 RM 90 - Dense and dark. Soft and smooth blackberries, plums, and black cherries with the essence of soft chocolate mocha spice. The palate is rich and concentrated with mouth filling ripe fruit flavors interwoven with velvety tannins followed by a long finish.

May 6, 2005 - Kilikanoon Clare Valley Oracle Shiraz 2003 - $65 - RP 98 JH 96 RM 97 - Spectacular. Dark inky colour with garnet rim. Full bouquet and flavors of currant, sweet plum, af vanilla and sweet oak - smooth, silky, chewy but polished - the currant 'Dentyne' flavor lingers with a long full subtle smoky cedar full tannin finish.

May 3, 2006 - La Tour Haut-Brion Pessac Leognan Bordeaux 1999 - RM 90 - $49 - Big earthy mouthful of black cherry, black raspberry, a hint of meat, mineral and plum fruit.
May 2, 2006 - Forman Napa Valley Chardonnay 2000 - RM 89

April 29, 2006 - Liparita Sonoma County Merlot 1997 - RM 88 - We tasted this wine from the barrel with wine-maker Gove Celia at our Napa Wine Experience 1998 - winemaker of the Neal cab from two nights ago (below). Dark garnet coloured, earthiness bled off the next day to reveal cherry, ripe black raspberry and cassis  with a hint of mocha blackberry and smoke on the finish.

April 28, 2006 - Ravenswood Sonoma County Zinfandel 2003 - RM 88 - Deep purple, full flavored berry, raspberry and berry with a black cherry finish. Tasted w/ Eric & Kathy at Mama Carolla's Old Italian Restaurant in Broad Ripple, Indy.

April 26, 2006 - Neal Family Vineyards Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2003 - RM 93 $50 - Dark ruby in color. That distinctive Howell Mountain terroir comes through with aromas of cherry, black cassis, sweet oak, violet and cigar box spice with mixture of full flavored currant, ripe Bing cherries, raspberries and semi-sweet cocoa dominating the mid-palate giving this wine with a nice backbone, plenty of structure, and long soft silky but firm tannins. and a beautiful balance. The wine maker is Gove Celia who we met at Liparita during our Napa Wine Experience back in 1998. Purchased at Corkscrew and tasted w/ Scott E at Gallaghers in Springfield, IL.


April 23, 2006 - Cellar Tasting at Binny's Willowbrook - Fabulous tasting of 40 cellar quality wines at Binny's newest store - formerly DiCarlo's. Highlights of the tasting were Bordeaux classics Cheval Blanc 2002, Haut Brion 2001,  Chateau Mouton Rothschild 2002, Chateau Cos d' Estournel 2000, and the 100 point Chateau Leoville Las Cases 2000. Australian highlights were the Elderton Barossa Command 2001, Mr Riggs Shiraz 2004, Amon Ra Shiraz 2004, D'Arenberg Dead Arm 2002, 2003, and Clarendon Hills Kangarilla Grenache 2002. California coronation included Caymus Special Select 2003, Ridge Monte Bello and Dominus 2002, and Joseph Phelps Insignia and Silver Oak 2001's. The best of the tasting was the Penfolds Grange 2000. The surprise over achiever of the tasting was the Northstar Washington State Merlot 2003. Notable Pinot Noirs were the Ponzi Reserve,  Goldeneye and Domaine Serene Evenstad 2003's, and the Belle Glos Clark & Telephone 2004. Notable whites were Ramey Hyde Vineyard Chardonnay, Newton Unfiltered Chardonnay and Chateau Beaucastel Chateauneuf du Pape Blanc 2003's, Dagueneau Bisson Renard Puilly Fume 2004, and Dom Perignon 1998. More detailed tasting notes, pictures and best of the rest are coming on Binnys Cellar Tasting feature page.

April 23, 2006  - Napa Cellars Zinfandel 2003 - RM 91 - $22 - Flavorful black raspberry, currant, and black cherry with long full flavored finish.
April 22, 2006 - Tapestry McLaren Vale Shiraz 2004 - RM 91 WS 90 - $18 - Dark colour. Bursting with black raspberry, blueberry and a hint of pepper.

April 16, 2006 - Hartford Family Wines Russian River Valley Zinfandel 2003 - RM 92 RP 93 - Deep purple colour. Full bodied, smooth polished, rich fragrant nose and flavours of black raspberries, cherries, spice, pepper, and earth. Great Easter ham dinner selection - bold enough to withstand the ham and sweet potatoes but elegant and soft enough to compliment and not overpower the holiday feast.


April 15, 2006 - Parcel 41 Napa Valley Merlot 2003 - RM 88 - Not a fair fight matching this subtle soft merlot up against the big full bodied fruit forward Thorn-Clarke and the Can Blau below. Setting this one aside by itself allowed the blueberry, plum and raspberry fruit to peak to emerge although merely a shadow of the bigger profiles of the others. Can Blau Montsant Spain 2004 - RM 89 RP 90 - Dark full bodied - big forward fruit of dark berry and raspberry, mineral and
what Steve at Binny's Naperville refers to as 'crushed limestone' - parker calls is 'slate/rock', blend of Carignan, Syrah, and Grenache. Another good value wine at $15. Tasted with L, Ryan & Michelle, Erin & Johnnie and friend Jason M in season christening of the deck bar-b-que.
April 14, 2006 - Thorn-Clarke Barossa Shotfire Ridge Shiraz 2004 - RM 91 WS 91 RP 92 - Dark, rich ripe big full bodied fruit forward black berry, black cherry and black raspberry, with licorice and dark chocolate on the big long raisin finish. This is a great value wine at $14-18.


Robert Craig Chardonnay 2000 - by REMC



April 9, 2006 - Caymus Estate Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 1991 - RM 92 WS 93 - Slight earthiness permeates the opening black cherry which gives way to a mouthful of sweet black cherry, plum and an even bigger creamy toasty oak on a long smooth seductive finish.  Robert Craig Napa Valley Chardonnay 2000 - RM 88 $27 - Rich full bodied, creamy, buttery and full predominant oak.- Hess Collection Mount Veeder Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 1993 - TBD - Cellar Selection tasted and purchased at the winery back in the mid-nineties. Wines selected for gala family surf and turf dinner celebrating ATM's 16th.
April 8, 2006 - Steel Creek Monterey County Pinot Noir 2004 - RM 86 - $13 - Smokey slightly earthy black cherry and berry. Decent value wine.
April 7, 2006 - Westry, Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon 2004 - RM 87 - Ruby color and aromas of herbs, spices, and raspberries and an earthy tone to complete the package. Medium-bodied, a fine balance between its refined red fruits, acidity and tannins. Hahn Estates Central Coast Meritage 2004 - RM90 - $16 - While not as complex or polished as the 03, the 04 is darn good and a great value for the money. Deep purple color, mouthful of currant, caramel, black cherry, black raspberry, oak and a hint of plum. Tasted at Zaza's in St Charles w/ RG team Board dinner.
March 31, 2006 - Chateau St Jean Cinq Cepages Napa Valley 1994 - WS 91 Spectator Selection RM 88 - Earthiness overpowers the fruit of plum, cherry and berry with a oaky finish. Blend of 76% Cab, 14% Cab Franc, 5% Merlot, 4% Malbec, and 1% Petit Verdot. Behrens & Hitchcock Napa Valley Staglin Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 1994 - RM 87 Dark ripe black raspberry, cherry, leather, bark, essence of a fortified wine with raisiny alcohol taste. Last bottle from cellar of this inaugural release of this producer and label, discovered and purchased upon release at the Tre Vigne Cantina in St Helena w/ AJ, L, et al.
Chateau Haut Bages Averous Pauillac Bordeaux 1989 - RM 89 WS 90 Classic left bank Bordeaux earthiness, huge floral essense with dark berry, cherry, mushroom and tar.  Tasted with Bill C and Ryan at home.
March 30, 2006 - Spring Valley Vineyard Washington State Walla Walla Uriah Red 2003 - RM 91 - $42 - Smooth polished and nicely balanced, easy but elegant drinking wine - featuring aromas and tastes of raisiny currant, sweet plum, a hint of red cherry and milky chocolate with a smooth silky firm tannin finish. Blend of  77% Merlot, 22% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot. Named for and pictured on the label, Uriah Corkrum, grandfather of producer Shari Corkrum Derby, who began farming the area in the 1880's and acquired the Spring Valley land in 1910. Tasted w/ Bill C at home.

Groth Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1993 - R McNees

March 29, 2006 - Groth Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1993 - RM 88 Dark inky colour, amazing resilience in this dozen year old - slight earthiness gives way to a full ripe black cherry and blackberry fruit giving way to a black licorice essence on a big finish. 84% Cabernet from Oakcross Vineyard, Oakville; 16% Merlot from Hillview Vineyard, south of Yountville. We visited Groth Winery during our Napa Wine Experience trip in 1998.

March 27, 2006 - Hess Collection Mt. Veeder Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1990 - RM 86 WS 90 Cellar Selection - Fruit has given way to a earthy leathery tar and licorice competing with the dark berry and black cherry fruit.

March 25, 2006 - LaFond Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir 2004 - RM 87 - $20 -  Big mouthfeel of mineral and essence of floral violets predominate over the dark cherry and spice notes with a pronounced finish. 

March 24 - Parusso Mariondino Barolo 1998 - RM 89 WS 93 - $39-59 - My review is less glowing as I found this wine underwhelming - a modest more subdued version of what JS at WS reviews -> "The Wine Spectator Wow. Gorgeous nose, offering ripe plum, cinnamon and flowers. Full-bodied, with big, polished tannins and a long, long finish. Like cashmere in a glass. Best after 2005. 850 cases made. Score: 93. —James Suckling, November 30, 2002."  Tasted w. Erin & Johnnie, Ryan & Michelle, and Mark DB at spring break loner's dinner.

March 23, 2006 - Rutherglen Estate Red 2004 - RM 85 IWS 87 - Too much off fruit flavor overpowering the modest fruit to warrant a recommendation although decent considering the equally modest $12 price. This 'pro' is more kind. "Deep ruby. Roasted coffee and dark berries on the nose, with hints of tar and smoke. Juicy and round in the mouth, showing fresh dark berry and mocha flavors. Round, supple and gently tannic on the finish." Reviewed By: International Wine Cellar 87 pts. - 85% Syrah, 15% petit syrah.

March 21, 2006 - Craneford Allyson Parsons Barossa Valley Shiraz 2003 - RM 88 - $ 16 - Dark berry, black cherry and leather predominate with hints of spice and dark chocolate. Artist series label featuring painting by Australia artist Allyson Parsons - part of proceeds go to cancer research at Royal Adelaide Hospital.

Plumpjack Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

March 18, 2006 - Plumpjack Estate Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1996 - RM 91 - Rich flavorful forward berry, cherry, plum and black raspberry fruit with a leathery earthiness on the slightly oaky finish.

March 17, 2006 - River Road Siebert Ranch Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2003 - RM 86 - Dark black fruits give way to tar and essence of vanilla on the finish.


March 15, 2006 - Cain Cuvee Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2003 - RM 89 - Somewhat subdued dark berry fruit, spice and black pepper with a hint of earthiness - a multi-vintage blend - 83% 2003 17% 2002 - 46% Merlot, 41% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Cabernet Franc, from vineyard in Rutherford, Oakville, Yountville, Spring Mountain, and Diamond Mountain. Tasted w/ Jim K at Tower Club in Tysons.

March 14, 2006 - Panther Creek, Willamette Valley Winemakers Cuvee, Oregon 2003 - RM 91 $64 - crushed cranberries, cedar, sweet mocha on the long finish, - supple, polished, complex- reflecting only blend of Willamette & Umpqua valleys. Tasted at Flemmings in Tysons Corner and w/ Carla M at Vidalia in WDC.

Mar 10, 2006 - Kathryn Hall Napa Valley Sacrashe Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 1998 - RM 86 ($50) A bit hard, earthy tobacco and cedar, a hint of eucalyptus or mint overpowers the crushed berries and a bit of tar. Visited the winery during our Napa Wine Experience 2003.

Mar 8, 2006 - Baldacci Family Vineyards, Napa Valley Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon 2000 - RM 88 $40 - The aromas and flavors of ripe black cherry, blackberry are accented by cedar mint and leather. Inaugural vintage of this wine, a blend of 91% Cab Sauvignon, 9% Cab Franc.
Mar 3, 2006 - Elderton Friends Barossa Shiraz 2003 - RM 88, RP 91 - $24; Full bodied but a bit subdued berry fruit, hints of chocolate, plum and vanilla. Soft and smooth but lacking the big forward fruit of so many of its peers. Parker calls this a Best Buy. I'm a bit less ebullient.

Feb 28, 2006 - Titus Vineyards Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2002  - WS 91 RP 91 RM 92 $39 - Dark colour, big full aromas of sweet currant and vanilla. Big full bodied forward fruit with mouthful of sweet black currant, red raspberry, black cherry, chocolate, a hint of vanilla, cedar and mint on the long lingering mild tannin sweet oaky finish.  

Feb 25, 2006 - Pride Mountain Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1994 - RM 90 - Deep dark purple, blackberry, currant, earthy cedar, leather and oak. Mr. Riggs Adelaide Shiraz Viognier 2004 - RM 87 - Dark purple color, full forward fruit of black cherry and currant, subtle tones of vanilla, overpowered by an intense lead pencil mineral that lingers on the long finish. Consensus preference of L and the kids. Tasted w/ L., Ryan & Michelle, Erin & Johnnie.


Beaulieu Vineyards Tapestry Meritage 1997 -- Rated 94

Feb 23, 2006 - Melka Matisse Proprietary Red Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Blend 2000 - RM 90 - Firm, full bodied, smooth, polished, dark, black berry and raspberry fruits with a touch of currant, anise and toasty oak and firm tannins. Blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, and 5% Cabernet Franc, from Phillip Melka, Frenchman, recent 'winemaker of the year', advisor to a dozen of Napa's greatest producers. Carmenet Moon Mountain Sonoma County Estate Reserve 1995 - RM 88 WS/RP 90- Dark, medium bodied, berry currant, cedar and herb with moderate tannins. From Magnum. Blend of 79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% cabernet  franc, and 2% petit verdot. Tasted w/ KD, SE, and Jon M, Gordon F, and Matt S. at Rain Restaurant in Geneva.  Carmenet Moon Mountain Meritage 1995
Feb 21, 2006 - Rosemount Balmoral McLaren Vale Syrah 1995 - WS 92/RM 89 $35 Dark full flavor, berry, blueberry, plum fruit, with spice and anise. Showing age and a slight bit of astringency on opening but opened and softened with a long full magnificent finish. Beaulieu Vineyards Napa Valley Tapestry Reserve 2002 - RM 92 WE 90 - Dark medium bodied, smooth easy drinking, Bordeaux blend showing loads of plum, cherry and currant fruit as well as vanilla spice notes from oak aging. Tasted at Indigo Restaurant in SPG.
Feb 18-19, 2006 - Cosentino CE2V Napa Valley Meritage 1999 - RM 92 - $75 - Full bodied, firm, fruit filled - black cherry, black raspberry, charcoal, smoke, and a hint of soft vanilla with smooth soft tannins and a long silky finish. Second vintage of this wine from the Pope Valley region of Napa - 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot and 13% Cabernet Franc,  510 cases produced.

Feb 17, 2006 - Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf du Pape 1995 - RM 92 WS 92- Tasted from magnum. Medium bodied, dark colour, complex but well balanced and harmoniously polished - dark berry fruit, plum, and herb with focused firm tannin undertones. Cellar selection tasted at Mon Ami Gabi in Oak Brook, thanks to their corkage policy; Birthday celebration dinner for L with Johnny & Erin, Ryan & Michelle, Alec & Marlene.

Mr. Riggs McLaren Vale Shiraz 2002

Feb 14, 2006 - Mr Riggs McLaren Vale Shiraz 2004 - RM 94 RP 95 RP review - Drink 2005-2012. The blockbuster 2004 Shiraz was aged 18 months in French oak (40% new). It is a wine of great intensity, with an opaque purple color as well as a gorgeous nose of camphor, graphite, blackberries, tar, and charcoal. Rich, super-pure fruit cascades over the palate of this opaque purple-colored, full-bodied, voluptuously-textured Shiraz. Consume it over the next 6-7 years. RM - Deep dark purple - big nose; huge full bodied mouthful of layers of currant and blackberry with a moderating red raspberry/vanilla on the long long full finish.

Feb 9, 2006 - Haan Shiraz Prestige Barossa 2002 - $59 - RP 95 RM 93 - Rich currant blackberry and plum taste - less rich, full or forward as the Elderton or Tatiarra but delicious none-the-less. Elan Vineyards Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1996. RM 91 $36 From the Atlas Peak viticulture district up in the south east corner above Napa Valley. From Richard and Linda Elliott-Smith - participants in our 1998 Napa Wine Experience. Supple, with a range of peppery, earthy, mineral and tar flavors leading to a core of ripe plum, black cherry and herb. There's a remarkable and intriguing story about their stylish label as recalled by some of our group. Elan was also one of the "The Undiscovered Dozen" featured in Wine Spectator along with our friends at Del Dotto. Tasted w/ Dick & Mary and L at Walkers Char House.

Elan Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 1995

Beaulieu Vineyards Tapestry Meritage 1997 -- Rated 94

Feb 8, 2006 - Beaulieu Vineyards Tapestry Reserve Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Meritage 1996 - WS 92 RM 88 - Dark black fruit is overpowered by cassis and hint of leather and anise.

Provenance Rutherford  Cabernet 1999

Feb 4, 2006 - Provenance Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2003 - RM 87 $32. Complex currant and dark berry fruit are undermined by astringent black cherry on the front before settling on a broad long finish. Provenance Carneros Merlot 2002 - RM 88 - $23 - Not as smooth, polished or complex as I recall from earlier vintage when I first tasted this at the winery - but tasty and easy drinking none-the-less. Winemaker notes refer to a "pleasing rich ruby red color. Spiced apple, exotic plum, green tea and suede leather round out the nose".

Feb 3, 2006 - Rosemount Balmoral McLaren Vale Syrah 1995 - WS 92 RM 89 - $35 - Dark intense ultra-ripe raisiny, smoky loganberry, predominates over plum and a hint of blueberry.

Jan 28, 2006 - Bleasdale Langhorne Creek Reserve Shiraz 2000 - RM 92 - $29 - Rich full bodied and full flavored red cherry red raspberry, currant and berry fruit with a long full finish of earthy currant, cassis and a hint of spice and cedar.
Jan 27, 2006 - Domaine Serene Oregon Willamette Valley Yamhill Cuvee Pinot Noir 2003 - RM 89 - $18 - Light bodied but full flavored cherry, red raspberry, lavender and hints of spices.

Jan 26, 2006 - Toluca Lane Oregon Pinot Noir 2003 -  RM 91 Full black berry and black currant with a delicate but rich full aromatic floral essence.

Del Dotto Vineyards Napa Valley Giovannis Tuscan Reserve

Jan 25, 2006 - Del Dotto Giovanni's Tuscan Reserve Napa Valley 1999 - RM 93 Rich full bodied full berry and cherry fruit with jammy plum. Tasted from magnum with T S team and Scott E at Capital Grille in Tysons.

Jan 24, 2006 - Del Dotto Giovanni's Tuscan Reserve Napa Valley 1997 - RM 87 - Closed, tight and a bit of a barnyard funkiness that wore off after an hour and half - needs time to settle, soften and open to reveal more of its dark berry fruit and firm tannin and oaky finish.

Beaulieu Vineyards Tapestry Meritage 1997 -- Rated 94

Jan 22, 2006 - Beaulieu Vineyards Napa Valley Tapestry Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (blend) 1998 - RM 92 - $33 - Complex, full bodied with currant, cherry, a hint of plum, and sweet oak on a smooth tannin finish.


Jan 21, 2006 - Chateau St Jean Cinq Cepages 2001 - RM 94 - Complex, polished, elegant, smooth, full bodied, currant flavor with subtle vanilla, plum and essence of mocha on the finish. d'Arenberg Dead Arm Barossa Shiraz 2002 - RM 93 - Full bodied, dark, forward but elegant and complex with mouthfull of classic Dead Arm blueberry fruit, plum, berry and subtle pepper, spice and hint of mocha on the finish. David Frost Paarl Arnold Palmer Vintage Cabernet Sauvignon 1999 - RM 90 - ST Review - Big, Ripe, Rich and Chocolaty. This mostly Cabernet Sauvignon based wine shows complex layers of black cherry, spice, and currant on the nose. Finishing long with polished tannins and excellent length. Freemark Abbey Napa Valley Rutherford Sycamore Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 1989 and 1997; 1989 - Sycamore

contains a blend of Rutherford cabernet franc. From Rick's cellar - RM 88 - Full firm - dark berry and black cherry fruit,  earthy and slight wood flavor. 1997 - RM 91 - Full bodied and firm but nicely balanced, still slightly closed, full dark berry fruit, hint of currant and cherry with smooth tannins.  Robert Mondavi Napa Valley Botrytis Sauvignon Blanc 1998 - RM 88 - Thick, unctuous, floral, hint of citrus and touch of smoke. Tasted w/ and compliments of (unless noted) Bill & Beth C, w/ Drew, Matt and L with fabulous beef tenderloin dinner.

Jan 19, 2006 - Chateau Garreau Grand vin de Bordeaux 1998 - RM 89 - Nicely balanced and smooth with a medium body - berry, plum accents with a trace of cassis and earthy wood.

Jan 18, 2006 - Nugan Family Southeast Australia Shiraz 2003 - RM 88 ST 87 - Plum and dark berry fruit, with a cocoa-tinged finish. Tasted with Leo W @ Clydes in Reston Town Center. Great value shiraz.

 Jan 15, 2006 - Mini vertical of 1981's - From Bordeaux, Medoc, St Julien, Chateau Ducru Beaucaillou and Chateau Leoville Las Cases, and from Pauillac, Chateau Duhart Milon Rothschild; from California, Katherine Kennedy Santa Cruz Mountain Saratoga Cabernet Sauvignon - Erin's birth-year wines for her 25th celebration dinner. Tasted w/ L, Erin & Johnnie, his parents Kevin and Barb, Ryan & Michelle, and ATM. It's been a while but we lived not far from this winery in Saratoga, CA. Amazing longevity displayed in all these 25 year olds - especially considering '81 was a less than stellar vintage. The St Juliens showed some opaqueness and a slight tinge of rust colour reflecting their age; all showed a healthy nose with medium body yet moderate tannin backbones; modest black cherry and dark berry fruit predominate with a hint of earth and leather. The Ducru (RM 89) was delicate and showed finesse while the Las Cases was a a bit harsh and took two days to open and reveal its finesse and balance of fruit. (RM 88). The Rothschild (RM 90) exhibited healthier colour, and predominant floral lavender with dark cherry and berry fruits - delicate and sophisticated in the character of its cousin Lafite. The Kennedy (RM 87) showed the darkest fullest colour of ink and exhibited firm full bodied black fruit, cassis and bark. To finish, desert was complemented with Beringer Late Harvest Johannisburg Riesling Special Select 1993

Jan 13, 2006 - Kaesler Barossa Valley Stonehorse Shiraz 2003 - RM 92 RP 92-94 - $25 - Dark, rich, full bodied, blackberry, black raspberry, a hint of mineral, and a vanilla mocha on the soft tannin finish.
Owen Roe Ex Umbris Columbia Valley Shiraz 2004 - RM 91 $25 - Deep purple, full bodied, dense, rich mineral, plum and blackberry with a tight tannin finish. Tasted w/ L & Mark B. on his Wine 101 indoctrination.

Jan 11, 2006 - Domaine des Aphillanthes Cotes du Rhone Villages, Cuvee des Galets 2001 - RM 90, RP 91 - $15 - RM - Medium bodied with predominate black pepper over black berry turning to mineral on the finish. RP - "Boasts a dense inky/purple color in addition to sumptuous aromas of freshly ground pepper, blackberry
liqueur, and lavender. Ripe, full-bodied, sweet, rich flavors caress the palate with no hard edges." 91 pts.
Robert Parker (#283234).

http://www.mcnees.org/winesite/labels/labels_australia/lbl_AU_dArenberg_03_remc.jpg

Jan 7, 2005 - d' Arenberg 'The Dead Arm' McLaren Vale Shiraz 2003 -  RP 95 RM 92 - RP Review - ‘One of this estate’s flagship wines, the 2003 The Dead Arm Shiraz appears to be better than the 2002. A deeper, richer, fuller-bodied offering that spent time in equal parts French and American oak, it possesses an opaque purple colour, great intensity, and a fabulously sweet nose of blackberries, cassis, asphalt, earth, and oak. Powerful, super-concentrated, and obviously fashioned from low yields and old vines, this is classic McLaren Vale old vine Shiraz that should age nicely for 15+ years.’ RP Rating 95. Reminiscent of the 94/95 Dead Arms reflecting a distinctive blueberry taste along with that sweet oak, blackberry and slight earthy smoke, but smooth and polished - more approachable than some of the overpowering over-ripe fruit bombs coming out of Australia recently.

Jan 6, 2006 - Hahn Estates Central Coast Meritage 2003 - Deep purple color. Intense aroma and mouthful of tasty of currant, caramel, red raspberry, plum and a hint of oak and vanilla. Delicious -needs an hour to open and reveal the fruit and even better day 2! Tremendous .value at $18 and can be found for as low as $12. I found the final three cases in the west suburbs and shared amongst friends. Rick's Pick for November, 05.The '04 is okay but not as good, but still respectable value.

Jan 5, 2006 - Marquis Phillips Barossa Valley Shiraz '9' 2001 - WS92 RM93 $39 - A bit less polished than the 2000, but that distinctive 'burnt sugar creme brulee' taste abounds. Full, forward rich and dense ripe fruit. HS of WS calls it 'exotic spice' taste, "very ripe and dense,  with rich blackberry jam flavors, which echo on the long silky smoky finish"

Jan 4, 2006 - Hewitson Mad Hatter McLaren Vale Shiraz 2002 - RM 91 - Dark inky purple colour. Deep rich ripe black berry, plum and black currant flavors with flinty mineral on the crisp finish.

Dec 30, 2005 - Crocker & Starr Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2003 - RM 86 - Pear flavors predominate over the citrus backbone. Tasted at Shaw's Crab House in Chicago. 


Dec 29, 2005 - Marquis Phillips Barossa Valley Shiraz '9' 2001 - WS92 RM93 $39 - A bit less polished than the 2000, but that distinctive 'burnt sugar creme brulee' taste abounds. Full, forward rich and dense ripe fruit. HS of WS calls it 'exotic spice' taste, "very ripe and dense,  with rich blackberry jam flavors, which echo on the long silky smoky finish".
Dec 28, 2005 - Spring Valley Vineyard Frederick Red Wine Walla Walla 2002 - RM 91 - $42 - Named for the father of winemaker Shari Corkrum Derby, blend of cabernet 70%, merlot, 20%, cabernet franc 9% and petit verdot 1%; sweet dense currant, rich ripe plum and berry, sweet oak and vanilla with a essence of cedar and cognac on the full flavored and full bodied finish. Much like the Uriah below from the same producer. 
Dec 27, 2005 - Hewitson Mad Hatter McLaren Vale Shiraz 2002 - RM 91 - Dark inky purple colour. Deep rich ripe black berry, plum and black currant flavors with flinty mineral on the crisp finish.

Dec 25, 2005 - Silver Oak Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1991 - RP 92 RM 91 - Still a bit tightly wound, fragrances and flavors of floral and sweet oak, nuances of tea, vanilla and black cherry fruit on a firm tannin finish.

Dec 24, 2005 - Van Asperen Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1994 - RM 87 Dark berry fruit, cassis and tar remain in what was a tremendous value wine at the time. This is the last bottle from the cellar. 

Dec 23, 2005 - Connor Park Winery Bendigo, Australia The Honour Shiraz 2002 - RM 93 RP 95 - Robert Parker review - The Honour, a dense off-the-chart, potent Shiraz that spent 18 months in French oak. Readers looking for restrained Euro-styled wines should steer clear of this behemoth. It offers blackberry and cassis fruit intermixed with lead pencil shavings, smoke and high quality toasty oak. Full-bodied, massively rich, dense and well balanced for a wine of this weight and power. It should be at its finest in 2-3 years and last for 10-15.
Dec 22 - Guigal Cote du Rhone Chateau du Ampuis 1993 - RM 84 - Woody, leather, tar tend to overshadow the black berry and black cherry fruits.


Dec 18, 2005 - Rodney Strong Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 1996 - RM 84 -  Light, earthy leather, cherry, tobacco and a hint of cedar. From double magnum. Chateau Potensac Bordeaux Medoc 1989 - RM 88 - Fragrant floral, earthy leather, dark berry and plum. From magnum. Estancia Pinnacle Monterey County Chardonnay 1997 - RM 89 - From double magnum. Served at our M.I.T. holiday dinner

Dec 14, 2005 - Gundlach Bundschu Sonoma County Rheinfarm Vineyard Mountain Cuvée Meritage 2002 - RM 89 - Aromas and tastes of cherry, plum, hints of  vanilla, oak, and tobacco with a subtle mocha on the finish. Tasted at Weber Grill w/ Carolyn C., Marty L, Gary L, Michael R, Jean K of LTi and SZM in from SDO.

Dec 13, 2005 - Napa Cellars Napa Valley Zinfandel 2003 - RM 91 - $24 - Aromas and tastes of red raspberry, sweet currant and plum with a hint a white pepper on the smooth polished finish. Tasted and purchased at Wine Styles in Seven Bridges.

Dec 11, 2005 - Chateau Faugeres Bordeaux St Emilion 1998 - RM 87 RP 90 WS 91 - $28 - Aroma and taste of berry, cherry and mocha with a long smooth tannin finish.

Dec 10, 2005 - Baron Phillip Rothschild Chateau Clerc Milon Bordeaux Pauillac 1986 - RM 89 WS 90 RP 90 - Classic Bordeaux floral scents and tastes accented by earthy leathery currant, berry, plum, a hint of cassis and smoky anise and cherry on a long moderately tannin finish. Tasted with L and Marlene at Bistro Margot in Naperville for M's bday. Second wine of Mouton Rothschild.

Dec 9, 2005 - Spring Valley Vineyard Washington State Walla Walla Uriah Red 2003 - RM 91 - $42 - Smooth polished and nicely balanced, easy but elegant drinking wine - featuring aromas and tastes of raisiny currant, plum, a hint of red cherry and milky chocolate with a smooth silky firm tannin finish. Blend of  77% Merlot, 22% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot. Named for and pictured on the label, Uriah Corkrum, grandfather of producer Shari Corkrum Derby, who began farming the area in the 1880's and acquired the Spring Valley land in 1910.

Dec 8, 2005 - Dominus Napa Valley Red Wine vertical tasting with producer Edouard Moueix - Dominus vintages 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, and 2002. See tasting notes.

Primus

Dec 6, 2005 - Veramonte Primus Casablanca Valley Chile 2003 - RM84 - $8 - Aromas and intense taste of slightly metallic mineral and glycerin overpowers the plum and black fruits that give way to tobacco and leather on the firm tannin finish.
  Back to top
Back to Rick's WineSite
Page updated 11/27/13
 
CarsChicago

DineSite

FaithFLWLibraryLinksMcNeesNapervillePhotographySports

TechSite

TravelWineSite
Click for Naperville, Illinois Forecast www.unwindwine.com
www.McNees.org
www.McNees.net 

R & L McNees Family Website - Naperville, Illinois USA © 1999-2014 All Rights Reserved. Last updated 07/01/2014 Best viewed Get Firefox - the broswer you can trust