Continued 2000 Tasting Notes

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Spelltich  Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa, 1995, $20  Exc-

Wow! Soft, jammy fruit, almost sweet with hints of darker chocolate. I wonder what this was like on release [8/18].

Ravenswood  Petite Sirah, Sonoma, 1997, $12  VG+

Gorgeous berry flavors and nicely balanced. I was perhaps a little less impressed than on release, but the restraint and balance gained over the year makes it more compatible with normal food [8/19].

Morgan  Chardonnay, Monterey, 1998, $34 (rest.)  VG

Rich fruit with buttery oak [8/19].

Callaway  Chardonnay, Temecula, 1998, $9  VG

This lacked the signature grassiness of earlier releases, signalling a transition to a more international style. This was carried off reasonably well, with nice fruit and crisp acidity [8/24].

Marietta  Old Vine Red, California, Twenty, $7  VG

Very interesting. Having been aging (or you might say cooking, in our place) for two/three years, this OVR still had nice fruit with a bit of earthy tar in the background, this diminished, leaving a well-balanced, soft, fruity wine. For seven bucks [8/28]!

Pirramimma  Shiraz, McLaren Vale, Australia, 1996, $16  VG+

Yum! I bought a bottle of this over a year ago, and it had smoothed out and lost some power in the interim. Lovely berry fruit, classic Aussie Shiraz [8/31].

La Jota  Petite Sirah, Napa, 1993, $15?  VG+

An oldie, but still a goodie. A lot of the fruit was gone, balanced by earthy flavors. Very complex, very interesting [8/31].

Rancho Zabaco  Zinfandel, Sonoma, Heritage Vines, 1997, $8  VG

A really delicious ``internationally styled'' Zin, with rich fruit, heavily oaked with strong vanilla overtones. A super bargain if you like the mainstream [9/6].

Galway Pipe  Tawny Port, Australia, S. Smith and Son, NV, $20  Exc-

Another really outstanding dessert wine from Australia. Smooth, rich, sweet with a nutty caramel finish. Unreal when taken with aged Emmanthaler cheese [9/6].

Schuetz Oles  Zinfandel, Napa, 1996, $10  G+

I'm a huge S.O. fan, but this didn't impress like their more expensive offerings. Then again, this is a '96, which was a tough Zin vintage [9/6].

Rosenblum  Zinfandel, California, Millennium, Cuvee MM, $10  VG-

Not a typical Rosenblum. Overripe, unbalanced, a little turned. Its richness and brashness barely save it [9/9].

Estancia  Meritage, Alexander Valley, 1994, $14  Exc-

Wonderful young, beautiful aged. Geez Cabs are good aged. I'm short on adjectives on these older ones because they are so subtle and complex [9/10].

Joseph Phelps  Le Mistral, California, 1995, $14  VG

Not the monster that it was in '97, this was soft, fruity, with modest complexity. I'd say this was a tad over the hill, although maybe it should have been served cooler to give it some body. My warm "cellar" probably didn't help either [9/22].

Hidden Cellars  Zinfandel, Mendocino, 1995, $10  G+

A little funky, not very rich. I think the extra years in the bottle diminished the fruit and brought out other nuances [9/24].

Baron Thomieres  Red, Gaillac, 1997, $?? (500ml)  G+

Earth and tar dominating rich, tight fruit [10/7].

Marietta  Old Vine Red, California, Twenty One, $7  VG-

Classic OVR, but not as rich as others tasted this year. Maybe a bit over the hill [10/14].

Robert Mondavi  Zinfandel, Napa, 1997, $17  VG+

Really nice. Lovely fruit balanced by oak. Quite polished [10/21].

Veritas  Tawny Port, Barossa Valley, Australia, 10 Year, $17  VG

Delicious, albeit a bit on the light side. Sweet caramel and oak flavors [10/21].

Chateau de Plassan  Red Bordeaux, Premieres Cotes de Bordeaux, 1990, $13  VG

Not the least bit over the hill despite its modest roots and old age. Complex, with tar, tobacco, mint, and typical Bordeaux fruit. Nicely balanced [10/25].

Clos du Muriel  Viognier, South Coast, 1997,   VG

Floral fruit, with lots of movement and complexity [11/3].

Belvedere  Cabernet Sauvignon, Dry Creek Valley, 1997,   VG

Nice fruit, not over oaked. Tannins provide some punch [11/10].

Ravenswood  Icon, Sonoma, 1997, $19  VG+

This Rhone-style blend, primarily Syrah, was outstanding. Dark fruit, tarry earth, with soft tannins. Very balanced, elegant [11/19].

Marietta  Old Vine Red, California, Nineteen, $7  VG

Despite the long aging in our warm closet, this wine still possessed bright, albeit soft, fruit well-balanced by darker earth tones. Almost unbelievable in a wine this price [11/20].

Markham  Petite Sirah, Napa, 1993, $10  Exc-

Hear me now and believe me later. This may be the best wine I've ever had for $10. I bought this wine several years ago, drank a bottle then, and found it far too tannic to be enjoyable. Expecting the worst, but having nothing to lose, I decided to cellar it for a few years. Eureka! What emerged from the bottle was gorgeous, rich raspberry fruit, dusty texture, dark earth, concentrated, black-purple wine. Divine. Perfect. This is why we drink wine [11/22].

Estancia  Duo, Alexander Valley, 1997, $20  VG+

This super-Tuscan styled Sangiovese/Cab blend took a while to come together in the glass, but it was worth the wait. Bright Sangiovese fruit tones filled out by darker chocolate Cab fruit, complemented by earth coming from who-knows-where. Super-friendly, not super-concentracted, but perfect with a Thanksgiving dinner [11/23].

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