I have basically been offline for sometime, life catches up to you over time
Here is a list of wines I have tasted recently and my notes:
1997 Four Gates Merlot - Score: A
Love this bottle. The wine keeps changing over time. The nose on this dark purple to black colored wine is filled with blackberry, cassis, mint, eucalyptus, and tobacco. I was shocked at how bright the purple was on this wine. 10+ years has not hurt the color - which is amazing. The mouth on this full bodied wine has a winter coat feel. The wine is so velvety that it coats the inside of your mouth with blackberry, cassis, and soft integrated tannins. The middle of the palate has bright acidity, sage, mint, and vegetal flavors. The finish has tobacco and oak. The oak does not stand out as much as it makes its presence felt. The wine still has a bit of life left to it, but enjoy now.
2002 Bokobsa Sancerre Special Reserve - Score: B-
The nose on this gold colored wine had notes of honeysuckle, grapefruit, earth, and Botrytis. The smell throws off the wine, and unfortunately carries on into the palate. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is fruity. The mid palate was mineral, while the Botrytis commanded the finish. The wine lacked crispness and focus. It was all over the place, a real shame. I had a great experience with a previous Sancerre, and was hoping for it again, but it was not to be.
2003 Château du Desert Grand Vin de Graves - Score: B-
The nose on this garnet colored wine was mineral and raspberry. The mouth on this medium bodied wine has notes of raspberry, and plum. The mid palate had nice earth tones. The finish was muddled with fruit and oak. Again, a non-focused or complex wine. I had high hopes for this one, but it was not to be.
2002 Ella Valley Vineyard's Choice Merlot - Score: A
The nose on this opaque black colored wine is a big Merlot nose. Cassis, blackberry, and oak scream to the front. Mint, chocolate, and earthy tones follow. The mouth on this full bodied wine starts off with black plum, cassis and mint. The middle is a complex mixture of oak, black fruit, and well integrated tannins. The balanced wine's long finish is filled with meaty texture and flavor along with chocolate, tobacco, and oak. This is a really fun wine and one that is ready to enjoy now. There was not a ton of sediment, but still keep a watch out for it. The fruit is slowing down, so drink up.
2005 Four Gates La Rochelle Merlot - score: A-
The nose on this deep garnet colored wine is flush with blackberry, mint, asparagus, and oak. The mouth on this medium bodied wine starts with blackberry fruit and black plums. The mi palate has lovely notes of acid balanced with oak. The finish is long with light tannins that have not yet integrated, and red fruit. The wine is not yet at its peak, but is still quite enjoyable now as well.
2004 Four Gates Chardonnay - Score: A
One of the best Chardonnay out there right now. This complex yet approachable wine is a real joy. This is NOT a lightweight Chardonnay yet not a butterball like other California Chardonnays. This is what a California Chardonnay should taste like - really nice. The nose has gone more citrus and oaky. The mouth has really filled out and the finish goes on for miles. But the real excitement is the complexity that has appeared. The wine is far more complex in nature, with layers of oak, vegetal notes, and wonderful citrus, peach, and apricot flavors. So on to the actual tasting note now:
The nose on this electric light gold colored wine is filled with peach, apricot, and light hints of herbs, sweet oak and caramel. The mouth on this full bodied and very rich Chardonnay is packed with a complex and layered mixture of peach, apricot and citrus flavors. The mid palate is a strong crisp acid core mixed with cloves, vegetal flavors, a slight sweetness. The finish is a long crisp and refreshing stroll with sweet wood notes as a partner. A real success. This is one of my favorite Chardonnays. The wine is crisp yet has weight at the same time, a real joy.
2004 Zemora Castra Red - Score: B+
This wine is a blend of 65% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc, 3% Shiraz and 2% Petit Verdot. The nose on this inky black wine is very Syrah like (which is strange given that the wine is so low in Syrah) Blackberry, cassis, mint, and wood. The mouth on this full bodied wine is layered, starting with cassis and blackberry, but mixed with some tart cherry and blueberry. The mid palate is a tannic and green, the finish is nice but dominated by wood and acid
2002 Ella Valley Vineyard's Choice Cabernet Sauvignon - Score: A-
The nose on this black colored wine has blackberry, cloves, plum, and wood notes. The mouth on this soft full bodied wine is filled with blackberry, cassis, and wood. The mid palate is lush and balanced with caressing tannins. The finish is long with wood, tobacco, and hints of chocolate. This soft and full bodied wine is another example of the 2002 curse. It is a wine whose fruit is going fast and one that is well balanced without an overpowering wood presence.
2005 Katlav Cabernet Sauvignon - Score: B+
This nose on this deep garnet colored wine is filled with blackberry, cloves, and spicy wood. The mouth on this medium bodied wine has notes of blackberry and plum. The mid palate is acidic and and herbal. The finish is filled with oak, oak, and more oak. The spicy oak overpowers the finish and I think takes away from an otherwise decent wine.
2005 Goose Bay Pinot Noir - Score: A-
I really love this vintage. The nose on this light ruby colored wine is rushing with cherry, strawberry, and cloves. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is fresh and alive with raspberry, strawberry, and some cherry. The mid palate has hints of cloves while the finish is spicy and long. A real treat. I like this vintage more than the 2006, because of the spicy finish and the perceived fuller body. The wine opens up as it lays in your glass - the finish gets more pronounced as time goes on - very nice.