2003 Tasting Notes

David Coffaro  Estate Cuvee, Dry Creek Valley, 2001,   VG-

An interesting blend from our friends Judy and Jim to start off the new year. In order of amount, it contains Zinfandel, Cab, Carignan, Petite Sirah, and Barbera. Nice light fruit and ample vanilla oak, it lacked a distinct character or a good finish [1/1].

Cayron  Red Gigondas, Gigondas, 1995,   VG

Mouthfuls of classic southern Rhone tar and fruit [1/1].

Joseph Phelps  Eisrebe, Napa, 2001, $14  VG+

Extremely delicious, with classic sweet Reisling-white flavors, with touches of orange, apricot, and light earth and herbs. It is made from the Scheurebe grape, a cross between Reisling and Sylvaner. The wine is made by freezing the grapes after harvest and crushing out the juice while still frozen. Unfortified, it is only 8.6% alcohol [1/1].

Dry Creek Vineyard  Zinfandel, Sonoma, Heritage Clone, 2000, $13  VG

I'm a little tardy in writing this review, but I do recall this was a delicious wine [2/1].

Krohn  Tawny Port, Portugal, NV,   G+

This inexpensive tawny from Whole Foods leans toward cherry flavors, which is OK, but it's not especially rich or complex, either [2/1].

Peachy Canyon  Zinfandel, Paso Robles, Westside, 1999, $12  VG

Maureen really loves this one, but I still give the edge to the cheaper and more rustic Cline California. This one is definitely more elegant and refined [2/21].

Simi  Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley, 1999, $16  VG+

A really delicious wine, with superb balance between fruit, tannin, oak, and acidity. That said, it neither blew me away nor stood out as unusual. Very solid [3/1].

Picchetti  Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley, 1998, $12  VG

Nearly black in color, but not as rich in flavor as the Simi. Still, it is extremely sound, and sediment suggests that it is unfiltered [3/1].

Beringer  Zinfandel, Clear Lake, 1998, $10  VG-

At first the oak in this Zin was overbearing, but a few days airing out in the Vacuvin'd bottle brought the fruit to the fore, making for delicious drinking. This might actually be a Very Good [3/8].

Foppiano Dry Creek Valley  , Zin, 1998, $7  G+

This cheapy from Whole Foods was OK, but didn't bowl me over. Light, somewhat varietal fruit. Certainly pleasant [3/14].

Ocone  Red, Italy, Vin Giocondo, 1999, $10  G

This organic red from Whole Foods had some promise, and opened up with some extra time, but ultimately came off like a modestly priced Chianti - light on the fruit, acidic, and earthy [3/15].

Stonehaven  Merlot, South Eastern Australia, 2000,   G

Light with herbal overtones, little oaking [3/17].

Blackstone  Merlot, California, 2000, $13  G+

Light blend of oak and fruit with herbal undertones [3/17].

Chateau Ste. Michelle  Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley, 1999, $13  VG

The whole shebang in a compelling but understated style: focussed fruit, earth, dampness, dust, and oak. Not your typical inexpensive two-dimensional Cab [3/17]!

Chateau Ste. Michelle  , Columbia Valley CS, 2000, $13  VG

Perhaps not as complex as the 1999, but we'll know more in a year. Still compelling in an understated style with focussed fruit, earth, dust, and oak. [3/20]!

Cline  Zinfandel, California, 2000, $6  VG+

The price went down (Trader Joe's) and it takes better than the 1999. What's going on here? I'm buying this one in bulk. Robust, rustic, sassy, and even hedonistic. As full-bodied and fruity as any six dollar wine I've ever had [3/22].

Condado de Haza  Red, Ribera del Duero, 1995,   VG+

Full, soft and fruity with earth, dampness and pleasant touch of tar. Made me think Cab, but Tempranillo is clearly a unique but grand grape [3/28].

Osborne  Sherry, Jerez, Pedro Ximenez 1827, NV, $13  VG

Deep opaque brown in color, loaded with flavor, and over-the-top sweet, this sweet sherry is a surprisingly satisfying after dinner drink. Flavors of prunes and cedar, almost gritty in consistency. And did I mention that quality of mystery that all good sweet sherries posess? Fabulous poured over vanilla ice cream. I rated it higher last year, but I think I came to my senses [3/29].

Concannon  Syrah, San Francisco Bay, 1999, $5  VG

Well, I just got done saying the Cline Zinfandel is the best $6 wine I'd ever had, and now I'm going to tell you that this wine is the best I've ever had for $5. Purple in color, bursting with fruit, and a classic Syrah dark underbelly. Especially after open for awhile. Yabba dabba doo. I'm buying more [4/10].

Charles Shaw  Merlot, California, 2001, $2  G-

The Charles Shaw wines are the talk of the town, being distributed widely by Trader Joes for cheaps. They've now moved up to the 2001's, and the Merlot is a disappointment--light fruit and ample tar. A night in the open bottle to open up helped bring it up from Fair, but didn't save it altogether. [4/12].

Columbia Crest  Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley, Grand Estates, 2000, $8  VG

This seems to be the year for me to say, ``The best wine I've ever had for $X.'' Well, this may be only the best Cab I've ever had for this price, but it's really good. Not especially unique or mindblowing, but superb balance bertween fruit and oak to make for a very enjoyable chocolate-styled Cab [4/18].

Charles Shaw  Cabernet Sauvignon, California, 2001, $2  G+

The Charles Shaw wines are the talk of the town, being distributed widely by Trader Joes for cheaps. They've now moved up to the 2001's, and the Cab is worth every penny--light but balanced. Not a lot of varietal character, but genuinely pleasant. The best $2 wine I've every had? Gotta be [4/20].

Poderi Cannubi  Red Barolo, Barolo, 1989,   VG

This elder wine should have still had some legs on it, but came out of the bottle with an orange tint. I think our room-temperature storage was a little too harsh on it. As a consequence, the wine was missing the power that would have been expected from this great vintage. The next day, the wine had improved considerably, however, suggesting that it still had lots of life in it, and storage was the only possible concern [4/26].

Columbia Crest  Chardonnay, Columbia Valley, 2000, $4  VG-

It's obscene what these guys can do with grapes for almost nothing. A nice vanilla oak streak with enough varietal Chard fruit to back it up [4/30].

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