1999 Penfolds Grange

What can I say, for $240 it ought to taste great, right?

It did!

I started by decanting it, with the candle showing the way of course, an hour or so before consumption.

At the first sip, someone said that it seemed like it took the enamel off of their teeth.

My feelings exactly – this is truly a HUGE wine!

But it is also a sipping wine, to be savored over time with good friends, and good conversation.

As it opened up it smoothed out – a lot!

Andrea Immer says that this is a once in a lifetime wine. It would be a shame to limit it thusly.

I say get some friends together and share the cost. And even though it should sit another five to twenty-five years, I say drink it now. You might die tomorrow!

2001 Linne Colado Slacker

The host asked what we thought we were drinking.

The first guess was that it was a Merlot.

Not in my mouth it wasn’t, as this was an amazing wine, and definitely not a typical Merlot.

So I dissented, and was asked for my thoughts.

I said, I think this is a classic Rhone varietal blend (of the American style of course), I said that it was probably a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mouvedre.

Nailed it – of course!

But I have to admit that I was a bit wrong because there is more Syrah than Grenache. But it is very spicy, with tons of dark fruit. Very smooth, very elegant. Got to get me some more.

If I was stuck on a desert island and only could choose one wine to take with me, this might be the one, as I don’t think that I would ever tire of it.

2000 Estancia Meritage

Where the heck did this come from?

I was looking for something to finish my pizza with and this was on the middle shelf, right under the white wines.

In my system that means that I didn’t pay much for it, and I don’t expect much out of it. In other words, a good pizza wine.

But HOLY COW! It is very much ready to drink right now!

If you like your Zinfandels on the hot side, then this Meritage is for you. It says 13.5% on the bottle, but they lied. It has to be pushing 15%. It is a very nice dark purple with nice vicious legs. (Thus my thinking that it is higher than published on the alcohol!)

I say it is ready to drink now, because in another few months, the dark cherry will turn to raisins.

This one is velvety-smooth and elegant.

The label lists the blend as 73% Cabernet Sauvignon and 27% Merlot. From the Alexander Valley. There is just a touch of the Alexander Valley flavor there still, but catch it fast, as it is going to fade on you.

Drink it now with your favorite home-made pizza!

2003 Twenty Rows Cabernet Sauvignon

A good pizza wine, but nothing special.

This is a nice $20 (plus or minus) Cabernet Sauvignon. I would buy it again, but I probably like the Stonestreet Cabernet just a little better.

If you are looking for a nice wine to accompany spaghetti or pizza, you could do a lot worse than this one!

1991 Stonestreet Legacy

$70

I removed the foil from around the top of the bottle so I could check the condition of the cork. I was quite pleased, as the color of the wine had moved up about one quarter of the height of the cork. The bottle and label were in good condition.

I had to use a cheap corkscrew to open this one, and the cork broke at about the half-way point. But the cork was soft, and there was no sign of leakage. The bottom portion of the cork was easily removed.

The color is surprisingly bright considering the age of this wine. I expected a touch of brown to indicate that the wine is fourteen years old, but it looked more like a two-year old wine.

The initial aromas were current and chocolate. Later, a nice cherry aroma was evident.

The wine has a great mouth feel. This is a big wine with nice tannins, and not too soft. It is elegant, with nice current, chocolate, cherry and a touch of leather and wood.

This wine was the perfect choice for a prime-cut steak. The only bad thing about this wine is that it is now gone…

2002 Navarre Knights Valley Cabernet Franc

$50

It’s wines like this one that will ruin Cabernet Franc’s image as being only a blending grape.

Dark purple in color with a clear ring around the outside. This one could probably stand to age a couple of years or twenty. It has lovely dried or dark cherries and tobacco in the nose.

Very nice, well balanced flavors of dark cherry, plum, tobacco, a hint of blueberry. It finishes nicely with perhaps just a touch of pepper at the end.

This wine is quite nice.

2002 Ojai Chardonnay Clos Pepe Vinyard

http://www.ojaivineyard.com/02/chcp02.htm

I’m tempted to not say anything about this one, as I’d like to keep it to myself. I’ve tried several wines from the Ojai Vineyard over the last year, and each was amongst the best that I’ve tasted.

This one has great balance – mellow butter and vanilla but definitely not over-oaked. There is a nice touch of spice on the finish, which I really like also.

You probably won’t find this one at your local wine store, but that’s okay because that leaves more for me!

2003 Robert Young Alexander Valley Chardonnay

What can I say – a perfect Chardonnay.

The aromas are creamy butter, with an emphasis on the cream and there is also a touch of pear or peach.

In the mouth, it is quite elegant. The creaminess continues with some light fruit and a nice touch of minerals.

A very long finish turns to a bit of spice, with a little touch of cinnamon.

Very nice indeed.

2001 Whitehall Lane Napa Merlot

2001 Whitehall Lane Napa Merlot $26

Blind tasting notes – no knowledge of varietal, appellation or vintage.
There was a touch of acetate in the nose, but it wasn’t objectionable. The taste was nice and the finish had nice smoke and tobacco. If I have to drink a Merlot, this one would be one of my top choices.

2000 Chateau Ronan Red Bordeaux

2000 Chateau Ronan Red Bordeaux $15

Blind tasting notes – no knowledge of varietal, appellation or vintage.
Someone said “barnyard” and we immediately said “Bordeaux.” This wine tied my highest score for the night. I would buy this one.

2002 Blackjack Ranch Double Down Syrah

2002 Blackjack Ranch Double Down Syrah $9

Blind tasting notes – no knowledge of varietal, appellation or vintage.
Okay, our table totally blew guessing what this one was, and we really hated it. Most of the room liked this one, and one person told me that they thought this was “quite interesting.” So that being said, this wine got my worst score for the evening. I smelled chlorine, wet dog, cardboard and mustiness. (I don’t think it was corked.) I thought the taste was fair, and the finish horrible. I think that it would be fair for me to try this one again as I thought there was something wrong with it.

2003 Seghesio Sonoma County Zinfandel

2003 Seghesio Sonoma County Zinfandel $13

Blind tasting notes – no knowledge of varietal, appellation or vintage.
I was embarrassed that I missed this one, as I have some in my cooler, and recently visited the Seghesio winery. The appearance was fantastic, the aroma includes nice dark cherry and a hint of chocolate. The taste and texture are perfect. I would have liked to have some spice in the finish. This is very nice and among my top scorers for the evening.

2002 Casanova di Neri Rosso di Montalcino

2002 Casanova di Neri Rosso di Montalcino $20

Blind tasting notes – no knowledge of varietal, appellation or vintage.
A bit of brown in the color, but the aroma had very nice tobacco and black cherries. I really liked this one. This was one of my favorites of the evening.

2002 Greg Norman Limestone Coast Shiraz

2002 Greg Norman Limestone Coast Shiraz $12

Blind tasting notes – no knowledge of varietal, appellation or vintage.
There was a touch of brown in this one, which may have been a sign of age. Nice aroma with a touch of cherries and leather. There is nice spice in the finish.

2004 Kim Crawford Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc

2004 Kim Crawford Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc $15

Blind tasting notes – no knowledge of varietal, appellation or vintage.
Very clear, someone at the table said that they smelled pine. The flavors included apricot and finished with green apple. My guess was that this was Bonny Doon’s Ca del Sol Big House White. That was a decent guess, as I had never tasted this one before.

1999 Tavigny les Beaune White Burgandy

1999 Tavigny les Beaune White Burgandy $20

Blind tasting notes – no knowledge of varietal, appellation or vintage.
Nice color, very clear. Honeydew aroma, don’t care for the taste. It has a strong lemon taste in the finish. I was tempted to say that this wine was flawed. After finding out what it was, I decided that this was the style of the wine.

2002 Mission St Vincent White Bordeaux

2002 Mission St Vincent White Bordeaux $11

Blind tasting notes – no knowledge of varietal, appellation or vintage.
Beautiful appearance, earthy or mineral aromas, a touch of grapefruit in the taste and a touch of lime in the aftertaste. I wrote in my notes that I didn’t care for it.