Stuff I haven't had time to post individual notes for lately:
2006 Ridge Zinfandel Pagani Ranch
While no Pagani I've ever had can match the power and finesse of a Geyserville or a Lytton Springs, it can be a darned good bottle of expertly made zinfandel while the big boys continue resting, and this was that wine. Spicy blueberry notes here with silky tannins and just on the edge of developing secondary nuances of bark and leather. Perfect for a spicy southwestern dinner of green enchilada pie.
2002 Terra Andina Cabernet Sauvignon, Chile, Central Valley
Initial nose of black cherry, dust and something sharp and green. Develops chocolate in the glass--a big dose of carmenere in the blend would explain the green and chocolate elements. Spice and earth emerge come next. Would drink remaining sooner than later but on the whole this is balanced and pleasant, especially so for a $12 Chilean (probably wholesale price, but still).
1998 Kay Brothers Shiraz Block 6 Amery Vineyards, McLaren Vale
First of two bottles purch'd at the winery in 2000, and very different from other recent reports so possibly a flawed bottle. Black currant off the bat followed by a sour burst of buttermilk, after which licorice and soy sauce flavors filled in and faded. Drinkable, but no joy.
2002 Dunham Cellars Syrah Frenchtown Vineyard, Columbia Valley
One of the best WA syrahs I've had. The Frenchtown vineyard produces very Cote Rotie-like syrah; Dunham recognizes this and bottles it separately from the blacker, plusher Lewish fruit. This bottle demonstrates why that's such a good idea: bright raspberry-centered fruit with tangy herbs and spice in the foreground, with minor notes of bacon, fennel and toast. Feminine and refined; more similar to Chapoutier's Les Becasses than any Washington syrah I've had. At 11 years it's in peak form. I'm crushed that I don't have another bottle, but look forward to my 05's drinking this well in three years.
1995 Terrabianca Campaccio Selezione Riserva Toscana IGT, SuperTuscan Blend
Outstanding fruit and concentration; elegant and unnaturally youthful presence. Should hold here for years. Wish I had more.
2005 Red Car Syrah The Fight, Napa Valley
Another Mike-over-the-fence bottle; this one given to him by Drew Bledsoe. Rich, ripe and admirably concentrated, but it stops just short of over-the-top. Black fruit and violets with roasted meat and tar. Especially good as an after-dinner sipper.
2004 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon The Montelena Estate, Napa Valley
Another wine over the backyard fence; Mike's bottle. Big, ripe, and drinking very well now though it should acquire more depth with time.
2000 Leonetti Cellar Merlot Columbia Valley
Opened to celebrate the life of Tammy Faye. Unfortunately, this hasn't matured in the most interesting way possible--tired, and oxidation looms.
2011 Rombauer Vineyards Zinfandel California
I detest the fat, porty, alcoholic zin type that is every Rombauer zin I've had in the past, but this was excellent: concentrated spicy zinberry fruit with racy acidity, great presence and balance. Either they've changed their style or this is, from their point of view, a bad vintage.
2009 Cline Cellars Zinfandel Sonoma County
What a dog. Simple, dilute flavors on the palate, turns into vinegar overnight. Arf arf.
2010 Quails' Gate Estate Winery Chardonnay, British Columbia
Like this a lot. Bought a case for summer eves. In the way that the best wines from this area do, it bridges the gap between new world fruit and old world flavors with that resplendent Okanagan minerality. A bit sweet and buttery right now, but I believe that will firm up with more time in the bottle--it def as the stuffing to hang around for awhile. Question is, will I be able to keep my hands off 'em? Don't bet on it.
2012 Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) Los Vascos Rosé,Colchagua Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon
Dry and simplistic--all top notes, no depth. And disappointingly, none of the red rose petals and dust that I love about cab sauv roses. Would not buy again.
2008 Domaine Brusset Gigondas Tradition Le Grand Montmirail
All black fruit and asphalt; drinkable but unfriendly (especially w/o food). Lowish acid but reasonable tannins leave me confused. Not one for the ages but not quite one for right now either--check again in a year.
1999 Betz Family Cabernet Sauvignon Père de Famille, Columbia Valley
Served to the neighbors, my bottle. Very cut and structured, like an Oscar statue, with bold, complex, spicy black fruit. After years of backwardness, it's excellent drinking right now and should hold here if not improve for years to come. Read once that Parker called Chaleur (another WA wine) the Lafite of WA; if that's true, then this is the Leoville Las Cases. Very grand juice. Sadly, it's my last of six (why I know so much about the backwardness.)
2003 Etude Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
Another of my neighbor's wines. Stunningly and unexpectedly svelte for a 2003 with excellent concentration, spice and style. Big alcohol not evident. Drank very well (popped and poured) but it has another decade of life left.
2007 Corliss Estates Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley
Mike's bottle. Possibly the best WA cabernet I've ever tasted. Power and elegance with classic cabernet flavors and terrific balance.
2000 Woodward Canyon Cabernet Sauvignon Dedication Series, Columbia Valley
Very good, but picking up some brown notes. Definitely on the downhill slide from the perfect bottle a year ago May.
2008 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Mike's bottle. Maybe it was because it followed a big WA cab, but while very enjoyable I didn't find as much to love as I read in others' notes on Cellartracker. Allred fruit, lowish on acids and tannins, only the faintest funk. Blind, would never have picked it out as the caliber of wine it is. It was just at the top of very good, but not excellent. (And I own some, so would hope for more.)
2009 Reynvaan Family Vineyards Syrah The Unnamed, Walla Walla Valley
Needs time. Expected it to be a pop and pour because an 09 In The Rocks was two weeks ago, but it needed three hours to develop the fruit in balance to the overtly herbal green olive note that was it's primary feature early on. Could be wildly stupid to speculate, but though TU is less enjoyable than In The Rocks (below) at this stage it has the makings of the longer-lived wine between the two.
2009 Reynvaan Family Vineyards Syrah In the Rocks, Walla Walla Valley
Opened a bottle to show John and Annabelle what Reynvaan can do. Made some fans! Raspberry, olive, tar, roasted meat and funk--all that old world stuff was there, and it's as exciting a young bottle of WA syrah as I've ever had. Gotta dig one out to show my friends over the border that something like this is possible from the New World.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov