menu
Login
About PAWineTalk Contribute Privacy Policy Terms of Service
Wines Sorted Alphabetically Wines Sorted by Region Wines Sorted by Variety
All Ratings Recent Ratings My Ratings
Articles PAWineTalk Daily e-mail My List Store Map Wine Availability Map
Logo line

User Mark has rated the following wines:

Bonpas Chateauneuf du Pape Reserve de Bonpas 2015
Rated by Mark on April 17, 2017

Rating 33

The only thing it's lacking is interest.

Comments (3)

Buoy Ten Pinot Noir Willamette Valley 2015
Rated by Mark on March 23, 2017

Rating 33+

Never heard of this producer, nothing in cellartracker, no web site, etc. Wine is clearly young and pretty typical for Willamette Valley. Medium-ish body, dark flavors, good acidity, no sweetness. Reserved but decent. From a good vintage for what that's worth. Despite the "Second Growth" BS in the winemaker's notes I'd buy it again at $20.

Comments (0)

Claudie Peguet Vire-Clesse 2015
Rated by Mark on March 16, 2017

Rating 33

I've really come to enjoy Vire-Clesse. It's often decent Chardonnay for a relatively good price. Add in the hype that 2015 is supposed to be a terrific year in Burgundy and I had to try this. Well, it's just good enough but doesn't stand out in any way. Was hoping for more.

Comments (0)

Brandlin Cabernet Sauvignon Mount Veeder 2012
Rated by Mark on February 26, 2017

Rating 44

Totally different from their 2011 Henry's Keep blend which is on sale for the same price and drinking beautifully. This is young and tannic, promising, and needs time.

Comments (0)

Maroon Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve Maroon Vineyard 2011
Rated by Mark on February 22, 2017

Rating 22

Maroon winery, maroon vineyard, maroon label. I have to admit to being suckered by a Napa Cab in a big heavy bottle for under 30 bucks. That being said I was ultimately disappointed. I drank this over 3 days and it held pretty steady...each day it gave me a headache. It isn't as dense or full of fruit as you'd expect given that it has such heavy tannins. By the time the tannins eventually soften I think the fruit will be gone. I am curious to try their other Cab in the program however, since it's from 2013, an obviously better year, as there's potential for real value. Once a sucker always a sucker.

Comments (0)

Encosta da Vinha White Dao 2015
Rated by Mark on January 13, 2017

Rating 33

Portugal-themed wine tasting tonight. Light and summery. Not much oomph but a nice snappy finish. Decent for the price.

Comments (0)

Sogrape Vinhos Callabriga Alentejo 2013
Rated by Mark on January 13, 2017

Rating 33+

Like so many of the Sogrape blends, this is a great QPR. A tad sweet (crowd pleaser) and easy drinking with just enough stuffing to hold your interest.

Comments (0)

Quinta do Vallado Reserva Field Blend Douro 2012
Rated by Mark on January 13, 2017

Rating 44-

Ripe and jammy, rich, needs time. Plenty of upside. I'd wait 5 years before trying again.

Comments (0)

Podere Poggio Scalette Il Carbonaione Alta Valle Della Greve 2012
Rated by Mark on January 6, 2017

Rating 33+

Inky purple. Big alcoholic nose. Very young and difficult to evaluate. Could pass for Australian at this early point in its life. If you have any, put it away for at least 5 if not 10 years.

Comments (0)

Biondi Santi Brunello di Montalcino Annata 1999
Rated by Mark on January 6, 2017

Rating 33

Meh - save your money. This '99 is over the hill, but it's not clear that it was ever great.

Comments (0)

Canonica A Cerreto Chianti Classico Riserva 2011
Rated by Mark on December 18, 2016

Rating 44-

I'm not generally a fan of Chianti but based on Hawk's glowing review I was very curious. Definitely a pleasant surprise. An easy drinker that's ready to go.

Comments (0)

Solena Estate Pinot Noir Domaine Danielle Laurent Yamhill-Carlton 2013
Rated by Mark on December 18, 2016

Rating 44

This is dark and brooding. I popped and poured but it needs time, maybe 4-5 years. Pretty serious stuff given the price.

Comments (0)

Domaine de Verquiere Rasteau 2010
Rated by Mark on December 9, 2016

Rating 33+

Enjoyed this. Had among a group of Cotes du Rhone and didn't take notes but it was memorable and has plenty of life ahead. I didn't but any :-( but was a great buy at the closeout price of <$10.

Comments (0)

Vignerons de Caractere Vacqueyras Seigneur de Fontimple 2015
Rated by Mark on December 9, 2016

Rating 33

Not bad. Decanted one hour, no sediment. Bright cherry color. Too young of course but everything's there. Will never be great but decent for the price. Buy a couple and wait 5 years.

Comments (0)

Martinelli Zinfandel Vigneto di Evo Russian River Valley 2013
Rated by Mark on November 18, 2016

Rating 44

Extracted and jammy, relatively smooth considering how young it is. Needs time but a nice wine and a good buy. Hides the alcohol well.

Comments (0)

HKG Chardonnay Russian River Valley 2012
Rated by Mark on November 14, 2016

Rating 22

If we assume that the winemaker was going for an alcoholic butter ball with practically no acidity (despite a statement to the contrary on the back label), then he/she hit the mark. As soon as I took my first taste I started feeling pressure on my temples. After my wife had a sip and said it tasted like alcohol, we poured it out, opened a Maconnais that cost about the same and enjoyed our evening. A disappointing follow-up to the enjoyable Pinot Noir North Bridge from two weeks ago.

Comments (0)

HKG Pinot Noir North Bridge Russian River Valley 2013
Rated by Mark on October 31, 2016

Rating 44

Typical Sonoma Pinot flavors, which is to say, pretty good. Hides the alcohol well. Apparently these guys got bought which is why we have so many of their wines available.

Comments (0)

Ardora Maris Albarino Rias Baixas 2015
Rated by Mark on October 1, 2016

Rating 33+

Nice fruity nose, think lemon and pear. Steely and clean on the palate with a fairly long finish. It made a bigger impression at the preview tasting but perhaps that was due to the wines that were tasted immediately before and after. Good QPR.

Comments (0)

Chateau Laroque Saint-Emilion Grand Cru 2005
Rated by Mark on September 9, 2016

Rating 44

Opened my one and only bottle, decanted about an hour. Very pleasant, concentrated, young and still improving. Could have/should have waited another 5 years if not longer.

Comments (0)

Montague Pinot Noir Russian River Valley 2012
Rated by Mark on September 7, 2016

Rating 44-

As good a $10 Pinot as you will ever find. Bright cherry on the nose, syrupy but light on the palate, good acidity and decent finish. I've paid much more for far worse - grab it while you can.

Comments (0)

Domaine Arnoux Pere et Fils Chorey Les Beaune Les Beaumonts 2013
Rated by Mark on September 3, 2016

Rating 33-

Medium fruit, dry, decent acidity, a tad bitter on the finish. After 30 minutes got less appealing. Meh.

Comments (0)

Hugh Hamilton Shiraz The Rascal 2013
Rated by Mark on August 27, 2016

Rating 33

I agree with many of WharfRat's comments but not as impressed overall. Drank this along side the Twelftree Grenache Mataro which - while granted is not a shiraz so not a fair comparison - blew it away and is only $3 more.

Comments (0)

Clair Diamant Rose Cotes de Provence 2015
Rated by Mark on August 5, 2016

Rating 33+

Bottled specifically for the US market - why else would they put a corny English write-up on the front label? "Because Southern France's greatest treasure is..." blah blah blah gimme a break. That being said this is a serviceable Provencale Rose, typical of the region, and a decent buy.

Comments (0)

Roger Peguet Charmes Chambertin Grand Cru 2014
Rated by Mark on July 27, 2016

Rating 44

OK someone's got to open the Grand Cru burgundy way too early and report back. I had to take a bottle to a tasting and this fit the theme so out came the cork. Decanted for several hours. It was fairly light in color, almost like a Beaujolais (gasp!). Obviously very primary, but it had more up front fruit than expected, a good bit of acidity, and soft tannins. Good depth of flavors on the palate. Unlike so many wines built for the long haul -- and I'm thinking in particular of the other current Chairman's Grand Cru, Louis Latour Corton Clos du Roi -- this was somewhat enjoyable at such a young age. (I only had a small taste of the Corton on two occasions, and it's 3 years older, but it's pretty tough.) But like the Corton this too clearly has a better life ahead of it. Rating it a 4 for today, likely would be a 5 a decade or more down the road. I'm surprised it does not say "Grand Cru" anywhere on the front or back label, although Charmes Chambertin is by definition exactly that.

Comments (2)

Henry's Drive Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon Padthaway 2010
Rated by Mark on July 2, 2016

Rating 44

Agree with PittGuy and J2K - good Aussie blend, reasonably priced. I still think it's Parson's Flat with a different label.

Comments (0)

Claudie Peguet Fleurie 2014
Rated by Mark on June 27, 2016

Rating 33

I appreciate the relatively low alcohol, minerality, and balance. Perfectly serviceable, if lacking excitement. Decent for the (sale) price.

Comments (0)

Nicolas Joly Savennieres-Coulee de Serrant Clos de la Coulee de Serrant 2010
Rated by Mark on May 29, 2016

Rating 44

Color was pretty dark gold for a relatively young wine, but there were no other signs that this was flawed or aging prematurely. An almost Alsatian nose with some kerosene. Fairly dry. Did not taste like it smelled. A nice alternative white. There's a lot going on with this wine, though that doesn't necessarily mean you'll like it, and I'm sure a number of folks won't. I did like it, but at the price point I can't justify stocking up. If it gets reduced further however I'll probably grab a couple more.

Comments (1)

Finca Flichman Malbec Cabernet Sauvignon Expresiones Reserve 2011
Rated by Mark on May 22, 2016

Rating 33

Fruit forward, light tannins, one-dimensional, not very interesting, but reasonable for the price.

Comments (0)

Brandlin Henry's Keep Proprietary Red Mount Veeder 2011
Rated by Mark on May 19, 2016

Rating 44

Ya know, for an off year this is pretty tasty. Bordeaux blend with 0% Merlot - gotta love it! Dark color, just a touch sweet, tannins are there but not heavy. Lacks the structure for long term aging, but it's drinking well now. Could maybe wait a year or so, or, just get some fatty red meat and enjoy. A nice back porch sipper for J2K. Rumor has it this will be reduced another $10 late next month.

Comments (0)

San Polo Brunello di Montalcino 2010
Rated by Mark on April 17, 2016

Rating 44

A winner. I let it breathe for about an hour. Color is really bright. Somewhat muted nose but really nice on the palate. Medium bodied and easy to drink on its own or with food. Decent acidity, mild tannins. No sediment. Will certainly improve with some age. I understand that it's selling quickly.

Comments (0)

Louis Latour Gevrey Chambertin 2012
Rated by Mark on April 2, 2016

Rating 44-

I had thought this would need several years before coming around but it was surprisingly pleasant now. Aromas jumped out of the bottle as soon as the cork was pulled - actually reminded me of Welch's grape juice, but thankfully the wine itself wasn't at all sweet. I decanted it for several hours and there was no sediment whatsoever. Some folks I shared this with claim to only like Latour whites but they were also pleasantly surprised. Someone on CT said "Would be a shame not to have a case sitting around in 10 years." If you have the money and the space, why not? Giving it a 4- today, would almost certainly be higher with some cellar time.

Comments (4)

Charles Noellat Savigny-Les-Beaune Les Vermots 2004
Rated by Mark on January 26, 2016

Rating 33+

A lousy vintage from a middling AOC, but this wine exceeded expectations. It is very well preserved. Decanted about two hours, absolutely no sediment. Violet color with just a tinge of brown at the edge. Medium weight flavors that were unremarkable, nice acidity and a longer finish than expected. Drinking well and I don't see much upside to sitting on this any longer.

Comments (0)

Dezzani Barbera d'Asti Superiore 80 Anni 2011
Rated by Mark on January 16, 2016

Rating 44-

My experience was more new world than old. Maybe I was influenced by the big heavy bottle but I got a lot of red fruit, medium body, good acidity, light tannins. Drink now.

Comments (0)

Husic Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2008
Rated by Mark on January 14, 2016

Rating 44-

Dark purple color, some sediment inside the neck and under the cork. Lots more sediment at the bottom of the bottle. Smells a lot like a Napa Cab (funny how that is). A quick sip after opening was not very enjoyable - medium fruit, lots of acidity, tannins a little rough. I poured a glass and let it sit. It definitely calmed down after a while so you should probably decant. I think a couple more years would do this wine some good. It's great to have decent wine available in smaller bottles!

Comments (0)

Maison Bouachon Chateauneuf du Pape La Tiare du Pape White 2012
Rated by Mark on December 31, 2015

Rating 33+

Color turning a bit golden. Floral, almost sweet nose. Starts off really nicely on the palate but drops off, sweetness disappears and finish seems short. Then after half an hour or so it grew legs and started to grow on me. Maybe because that's when I started eating. Would've been disappointed at $30 price point but happy at <$20 sale price.

Comments (0)

Twelftree Wines Grenache Mataro Gomersal Ebenezer 2011
Rated by Mark on December 30, 2015

Rating 44

For the fruit bomb crowd...or if you're just in the mood. Twisted and poured, not quite as enthralling as during the preview tasting, perhaps needed some air. Still, a crowd pleaser.

Comments (0)

Clos LaChance Sauvignon Blanc 2013
Rated by Mark on December 5, 2015

Rating 22+

Mehhhnaaah. I guess you could do worse but it would be easy to do better.

Comments (0)

Stonestreet Chardonnay Bear Point Vineyard 2012
Rated by Mark on December 4, 2015

Rating 44-

I like the wine, I like the price, I do NOT like the headache that comes from just two glasses of this stuff.

Comments (0)

Dr. Pauly-Bergweiler Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett 2012
Rated by Mark on August 25, 2015

Rating 44

Forgot that I had this at the beach a few weeks ago. Ostensibly brought it for my niece who likes off-dry whites but we all shared it. Sorry can't remember many details except that it was enjoyable and the bottle didn't last.

Comments (1)

Chateau Laulerie Blanc Bergerac 2014
Rated by Mark on August 20, 2015

Rating 44

Three things: 1 - I spent a week with family in Bergerac in the summer of 2007 that I remember fondly; 2 - This wine costs $8; 3 - It's pretty decent. Going back for a case in the morning!

Comments (0)

Clos du Bois Marlstone 2007
Rated by Mark on August 13, 2015

Rating 33-

Surprisingly, disappointingly meh. Like others I got a great nose immediately on opening. Decanted an hour, smooth-ish but very little flavor on the palate, then pfft it was gone with minimal finish. Slight improvement on day 2 but still far short of expectations, especially considering the vintage.

Comments (0)

Robert Mondavi Sauvignon Blanc Botrytis 2001
Rated by Mark on July 18, 2015

Rating 44+

Sweet deal on a sweetie, and even sweeter on closeout. Needs a touch more acadity to hang with the big boys (Sauternes) but I'm not complaining.

Comments (0)

Sainte-Victoire Grande Reserve Cotes de Provence Sainte-Victoire Rose 2014
Rated by Mark on July 7, 2015

Rating 33

A bit brooding on the palate, unexpected given the light color. Could use more acidity, but grew on me as the afternoon turned to dinner time. Guess I'm puzzled as to why this is a Chairman's as there are plenty of other Provence Roses available in the state for the same or less money. For example I prefer the Chateau Montaud (#47593) and it's a buck less, and not a Chairman's. Oh well, you certainly could do worse (*cough*Santa Julia*cough*).

Comments (0)

Chateau St. Jean Cinq Cepages 2003
Rated by Mark on June 13, 2015

Rating 44+

Holding up very well at 11+ years old, better than I had expected for the vintage. Very typical, well made bordeaux blend. Wine is a 4, price gets the +. Wish I'd bought more.

Comments (0)

Santa Julia Innovacion Malbec Syrah Rose 2014
Rated by Mark on May 4, 2015

Rating 11

Blech! Started out promising but after a couple seconds it took a wrong turn...a sour mess. My wife spit it out even sooner. Poured out the whole liter. At least it was only $8.

Comments (0)

Cuvaison Pinot Noir Carneros 2012
Rated by Mark on April 29, 2015

Rating 33+

Stereotypic CA Pinot nose, darker in color than one might expect at this price point. Also drinking well beyond the price, especially after an hour or two in the glass. Will probably be better in a year or two and certainly has the stuffing to last a little while. All that being said, this is a very good bargain Pinot, but I doubt it will ever be great. Still, it can't hurt to have a couple on hand.

Comments (0)

Vine Cliff Cabernet Sauvignon Claret 2007
Rated by Mark on April 12, 2015

Rating 33

Decanted two hours. Dark in color, typical Cab nose, looks promising. Fruit forward, high acidity, doesn't mask its alcohol - awkward teenage years? No better on day two. No need to return my second bottle, but am going to forget about it for at least a couple years.

Comments (1)

Clos du Pere Clement Cotes du Rhone Villages Visan Cuvee Notre Dame 2010
Rated by Mark on March 1, 2015

Rating 33

Mostly Grenache from a great vintage, how bad can it be? So I bought one. Turned out to be a dumb question. This was dark and brooding, funky, almost bitter. Funk blew off after a few hours but that was it. Day two turned a little brighter but still nothing to get excited about. Guigal's lowly CdR (not Villages, not Visan) is better and a few bucks cheaper.

Comments (0)

Achaval Ferrer Quimera Mendoza 2011
Rated by Mark on February 22, 2015

Rating 44-

This wine made a bigger impression at the Chairman's tasting last year than in did at home this evening. Bright purple, a bit tannic and with good acidity. Seemed really young and primary - time will probably help it integrate. Will sit on another bottle for a year or two.

Comments (0)

Jean Perrier et Fils Savoie Apremont Cuvee Gastronomie 2011
Rated by Mark on February 10, 2015

Rating 44

Just realized I never entered a rating for this, even though it's pretty much a moot point now. See, I opened my last bottle Saturday, and in so doing discovered that its shelf life is about three years...d'oh! It was flat and starting to turn. Dumped it out. But that shouldn't take away from the four other bottles we thoroughly enjoyed.

Comments (1)

Evening Land Bourgogne Blanc 2011
Rated by Mark on February 10, 2015

Rating 44-

This was plan B after the Perrier Savoie didn't work out. Relatively straightforward but agreeable, a good deal, have bought a handful.

Comments (0)

Tiefenbrunner Pinot Grigio 2013
Rated by Mark on December 20, 2014

Rating 33-

I don't share jlburd's enthusiasm, thought this was flat. Decent flavors but seemed a little thin.

Comments (0)

Licia Albarino Rias Baixas 2013
Rated by Mark on December 20, 2014

Rating 33+

Had this along side of the Tiefenbrunner PG and enjoyed much more. Tart citrus flavors with great acidity, hint of sour candy on the finish. Focused palate lacked breadth but decent for the price.

Comments (0)

Gallo Chardonnay Signature Series 2011
Rated by Mark on December 13, 2014

Rating 22-

Bad year? Or just a bad wine? Faint hint of lemons on the palate, otherwise flat. Some acidity trying to salvage things but it's a lost cause.

Comments (0)

Varvaglione Vigne & Vini 12 e Mezzo Negroamaro del Salento 2012
Rated by Mark on December 13, 2014

Rating 33

Drank from a plastic cup at a party. Really not bad and a decent party wine, although everyone else was more interested in the cupcake zin and coppola merlot. Decent fruit, a touch of tannin and acidity. Not much depth but pleasant.

Comments (1)

Erasmo Maule Valley Chile 2009
Rated by Mark on September 30, 2014

Rating 44-

So I took the tonystro challenge and tried a bottle. Opened and had a quick taste, and my wife said "That'll suck the life right out of you." As in, dry and tannic. Then let it sit a couple hours but it was still pretty dry. Could use more depth on the palate. Tannins aren't rough at all, but this wine will definitely benefit from a couple years in the cellar. It actually reminded me of the old round hard candies wrapped in cellophane I used to get at my grandmother's house: fruity, round, and hard. A great deal, will pick up a couple for parties and/or to lay down, but not enthralling.

Comments (0)

Henry's Drive Shiraz Reserve 2008
Rated by Mark on September 14, 2014

Rating 44+

Agree with previous ratings. Brought to a cookout and everyone loved it.

Comments (0)

Santa Duc Cotes du Rhone Les Vieilles Vignes 2009
Rated by Mark on August 19, 2014

Rating 0No Rating

This may be the first wine I've had that was in a "dumb" phase. Not sure if CdRs even do that, but that's really the best way to describe it. Color was deep purple and showed no signs of age. On the palate it was fairly concentrated but totally flat and one dimensional. Didn't even taste like a Rhone. It wasn't undrinkable, just bland. I have one more bottle and will hold it another year or two.

Comments (0)

Saintsbury Vin Gris of Pinot Noir 2012
Rated by Mark on May 5, 2014

Rating 33+

Really nice nose of strawberries, not much on the palate, decent finish. Perfectly acceptable for a rose, and I've had much, much worse. This price is very good (which earns it the "+") and the "Vincent Vin Gris" label is attractive but in the end I can't get excited about buying more. I greatly prefer Sinskey's Vin Gris of Pinot Noir which unfortunately is at least $5 more.

Comments (0)

Beringer Blanc Knights Valley 2011
Rated by Mark on March 15, 2014

Rating 33

Decent but couldn't get excited even at the reasonable price. Initial sip seemed to turn sour (@Worm: cat pee?) and I left it alone. Two hours later after dinner tried it again and it was much improved. Still prefer others in this price range (Tariquet, MSH).

Comments (0)

Heitz Cellar Cabernet Sauvignon Trailside Vineyard 2001
Rated by Mark on February 22, 2014

Rating 44+

I thoroughly enjoyed this "ex-chateau" Chairman's. Pulled out the grill on a rare warm February afternoon, grilled a couple steaks, and this bottle was a perfect accompaniment. Tannins have softened but are still present, belying the wine's age. Overall balanced very well. More left bank Bordeaux than Napa. Cassis, leather, earth, acidity, long finish, it's all there. Going back for more.

Comments (0)

Hubert Veneau Pouilly Fume 2011
Rated by Mark on January 29, 2014

Rating 44-

Been sitting on this for over a year, just didn't get to it until I needed a "dry white wine" for cooking (not the most economical choice!). Used some in the pan and had a glass with dinner, then filled my little 12oz plastic coke bottle right up to the top and put it in the fridge. Opened that back up tonight. To me this wine is really defined by the almost Chablis-like minerality. There's some grapefruit but it almost sits in the background. I liked it to begin with and then it grew on me even more as it warmed and evolved in the glass. If it were a couple bucks cheaper (and still available) I'd be out picking up a case, but oh well.

Comments (2)

Landmark Vineyards Chardonnay Damaris Reserve 2011
Rated by Mark on December 14, 2013

Rating 44-

I understand '11 was not a great year in Sonoma and to me this bears that out. Don't get me wrong, I'm enjoying this as I type and will likely pick up a couple more, but I'm just not as enthralled as Bigred. I've have had a number of other vintages of this that were better...but at $30+ for those the QPR was probably similar.

Comments (2)

Lockwood Vineyard Pinot Noir 2010
Rated by Mark on December 7, 2013

Rating 44-

Surprisingly pleasant. Pretty light in color and weight, Beaujolais-like, sour cherry, decent acidity and light tannins. Little in the way of depth, but hey it's 11 bucks. A pinot that you may not remember but probably won't regret.

Comments (0)

Maison Bouachon Cotes du Rhone Vieilles Vignes Les Rabassieres 2011
Rated by Mark on December 7, 2013

Rating 44-

Had alongside the Lockwood Pinot (both PnPed) and this was another straightforward bargain. This was darker and a bit heavier on the palate but again not real complex, and pretty tasty. I've paid more for CdRs that weren't nearly as good.

Comments (0)

Sut Ribolla Gialla Delle Venezie 2011
Rated by Mark on November 19, 2013

Rating 33

Reminds me of a pillow that's too soft; it feels nice for a second or two until your head sinks all the way down to the mattress. This is very soft on the palate, fat, unstructured. There's a light touch of acidity on the finish but not nearly enough IMO.

Comments (0)

Vineyards Found Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2007
Rated by Mark on November 19, 2013

Rating 44

Drank over a couple days. Straight-up Napa Cab nose, mid-palate was sort of flat. However the finish came on nicely; tannins seem like they're softening but still have a little way to go. Decent acidity. I'd say good not great. Probably a good QPR, but honestly the whole deception with winemaker's notes, coupled with the producer's refusal to take responsibility, means that I won't be recommending it or buying any more - there are plenty of other options available.

Comments (0)

Housley's Century Oak Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Judy's Vineyard 2011
Rated by Mark on November 16, 2013

Rating 33-

Not bad, not especially great; lacks depth. Acceptable holiday party wine. No repeat purchase here.

Comments (0)

Greg Norman Malbec 2010
Rated by Mark on October 27, 2013

Rating 44-

Pretty typical Argentinian Malbec, but seems well made and the price is right. Doesn't break any new ground, but delivers at the price point. Have had many $10 (and higher) Malbecs that weren't this good. Reminded me of a Zinfandel, bright acidity and peppery zing of a finish. My teeth were purple after two glasses. Went well with steak on the grill. Will definitely be buying more. -Update Day 2 there's a noticeable drop-off, lost a decent bit of complexity, tastes more manufactured. But for $10 I'm sticking with it, just plan to drink up on day 1.

Comments (0)

Gundlach Bundschu Cabernet Sauvignon Block 13 2005
Rated by Mark on October 23, 2013

Rating 44

I pulled this out a little hesitantly, planning to use it for cooking, fully expecting to dump out the rest. I had bought a case of the Pinot Noir at the same time, same vintage, and really enjoyed it, but before I could get through it all it really fell apart and the last 2-3 bottles were losses. However I was pleasantly surprised by this and now wished I had more. It's in a really good place. Beautiful fruit-filled aromas jumped from the bottle when I pulled the cork, fruit doesn't show signs of fading, tannins are nice and soft, acidity is there but not overpowering. This probably isn't big enough for some palates but I found it to be a balanced middleweight, and quite the deal at that.

Comments (0)

Bertani Sereole Soave 2011
Rated by Mark on October 19, 2013

Rating 33+

Largely agree with acorelli (although we aren't buying a case). There's a good bit of minerality as well.

Comments (0)

Chimney Rock Elevage Blanc 2008
Rated by Mark on October 7, 2013

Rating 33+

I just glanced at ecola's review of the '07 and he absolutely nailed it for this '08. Really crisp without being too citrusy, nice minerality, but not a lot of fruit; seems like there's a hole in the mid-palate. A crowd pleaser it isn't. I absolutely disagree with the Wine Enthusiast review that says "rich, opulent, and full bodied." Huh? I can't see how anyone could pay the "Quoted at" price of $42 and feel good about it. Even at the original Chairman's price of $20 I'd be on the fence, but I'm fine with $11 and wife said to get some more.

Comments (0)

Heitz Cellar Cabernet Sauvignon Martha's Vineyard Napa Valley 2000
Rated by Mark on September 28, 2013

Rating 44

I completely agree with bigred's rating and comments. Nice cab, smooth but good acidity to keep it lively, soft tannins, plenty of life remaining.. For the price you could do worse but could probably also do better, although it wouldn't be 13 years old and from Napa. Maybe 2000 wasn't a good year but you wouldn't know it from this bottle.

Comments (0)

Mederfil Lambrusco Reggiano NV
Rated by Mark on September 19, 2013

Rating 33

Drank leftovers from wife's cooking - at room temperature! My daughters like Welch's sparkling grape juice, which they call Princess Champagne. Color it a bit darker and add a touch of grain alcohol to make it 8% ABV and you'll end up with this. Hard to complain for the price but not really what I'm looking for.

Comments (1)

MSH Cellars Sauvignon Blanc 2012
Rated by Mark on August 3, 2013

Rating 44

Solid, balanced, well made, great summer wine, going back for more. A few bucks more than the Justin but well worth the difference. Label says it's made by Gamble Family Vineyards. Steve P says MSH was their second label which they're eliminating, thus the deal. Thanks to John at Spoon for the recommendation.

Comments (0)

Pierre Chainier Quintessence Pouilly-Fume 2011
Rated by Mark on July 24, 2013

Rating 33+

Ecola would be proud, drank this at barely lower than room temp over two days. Choose it largely based on the Wine & Spirits review, with which I generally agree but which doesn't mention the lack of depth. Uninspiring upon opening but much better on day two. Definite old world, food wine. Would be inspiring closer to $10, not so much at $16.

Comments (1)

Londer Vineyards Pinot Noir Ferrington Vineyards 2011
Rated by Mark on June 11, 2013

Rating 44

This seems more brooding than the Paraboll bottling. More going on as well, but probably still too young. Reminded me of a strawberry rhubarb pie (yum). If drinking today (which I am!) my preference is for the Paraboll, but if drinking in a couple years my guess is that this would be better. Both are great deals. Still have to try the Estate.

Comments (0)

Londer Vineyards Pinot Noir Anderson Valley 2011
Rated by Mark on June 4, 2013

Rating 44-

A solid light-weight wine. The $30 "Quoted" price would have left me disappointed but at $15.99 I have no complaints. Was on the fence between 3+ and 4-. I would be buying more of this if not for the Paraboll bottling which is clearly better and just $3 more. BTW like the '07 there's a decent amount of sediment, strainer caught a good bit.

Comments (3)

Vidal Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2004
Rated by Mark on May 27, 2013

Rating 44

Could be the biggest, yet most balanced cab you'll find for the price.

Comments (0)

Londer Vineyards Pinot Noir Paraboll 2011
Rated by Mark on May 25, 2013

Rating 44+

I liked the regular Anderson Valley '07 a few years ago so was very interested in trying this. Think Flowers at one third of the price. An almost unbelievable deal, get on it now. (Yes the label is still ugly.)

Comments (2)

Sanford Pinot Noir Sanford & Benedict Vineyard 2008
Rated by Mark on January 20, 2013

Rating 44+

I've had two bottles of this so far plus Admin has also had one. I've found a little bottle variation but not a lot; weakest was between a 4- and 4 while the best was nudging into 5 territory. Unlike some I haven't had any issues with short finishes, and agree that this is a good buy. Not the steal of the year but a good buy.

Comments (0)

Mas Carlot Cuvee Tradition Costieres de Nimes 2011
Rated by Mark on December 21, 2012

Rating 33

Hmm, a rhone wine in a bordeaux bottle. Lots of zippy acidity but just not much oomph on the palate. Dad called it a good cheap wine which I think is accurate.

Comments (0)

Vignerons de Caractere Gigondas Cuvee Prestige 2010
Rated by Mark on November 22, 2012

Rating 33

So I guess not everything coming out of the Southern Rhone in 2010 is gold after all. This was mostly about the fruit with little acidity or tannin. Isabelle also noticed a little bit of mustiness on the finish. Didn't improve after a couple hours. Not a disaster, but just a big old bottle of meh.

Comments (0)

Santa Duc Cotes du Rhone Villages Cairanne Les Buissons 2010
Rated by Mark on November 4, 2012

Rating 44-

Diggin' it. PnP and then followed over the course of a football game (Stillers). If this is a precursor of the 2010 vintage in Southern Rhone then the hype is true and good things are on the way. Pretty dark ruby color for a CdR which belie the mid-weight palate. Finish smoothed out after an hour or two. Still tight, dry, with mild acidity and tannins. I'll check back in a year to see how it's going.

Comments (3)

Les Vignerons de Tavel Le Chant du Soleil 2011
Rated by Mark on October 11, 2012

Rating 33

Has that luminescent Tavel reddish-pink color. Very aromatic with Strawberry and Pomegranite. More Pomegranite on the palate with a dry finish. Well made. Great price for a Tavel. Now if I actually liked Pomegranites I might have given this a 3+ or 4-.

Comments (0)

Clos LaChance Cabernet Sauvignon Estate 2007
Rated by Mark on August 5, 2012

Rating 33

Like Bigred's experience, mine was also better on day 2. That said, I generally wasn't crazy about this. Couldn't get past the heat and harshness. The first half-glass from the bottle had sediment (and no, I didn't shake it up before opening like a pre-teen with a can of soda). However, I do believe that there is upside potential and have two more in the cellar -- as jlburd would say -- in the interest of science.

Comments (2)

Erba Mountainside Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2005
Rated by Mark on July 21, 2012

Rating 33+

Not as impressed. Started off OK but mid-palate lacked depth. Finished fairly long with nice tannins didn't get much acidity. Decent but would not re-purchase at $30.

Comments (0)

Tenute Silvio Nardi Brunello di Montalcino Vigneto Manachiara 2004
Rated by Mark on May 18, 2012

Rating 44

Decanted two hours and brought to PIT BYOB tasting #26. Very little sediment. Drank blind, head to head against Fuligni Brunello '06 which was clearly superior and my WOTN. This was darker in color, tight nose, more earthy and brooding, balanced, not as overtly fruity, with some gritty tannins. Definitely old world style. Planning to sit on my other bottle for at least a couple years.

Comments (3)

Emina Tinto Fino Red 2007
Rated by Mark on May 15, 2012

Rating 33+

Based on everyone's comments I psyched myself into thinking this would be more than it actually is. Well made, old world, nice find, but if you're looking for something substantial keep looking. I was actually surprised at how light-bodied it was upon opening, although it seemed to put on weight throughout the evening. Will keep some around for cooking or taking to large parties.

Comments (2)

Shoofly The Freckle 2008
Rated by Mark on April 26, 2012

Rating 33+

We have a new house summer white at chez Wilkins. Wife said to go back and get a case, I'll probably settle for 6 bottles. Was introduced to Shoofly several years ago with their Buzz Cut, paid full boat of somewhere around $12 and was happy to do so. This is really enjoyable for $8. I'm a fan of the Torres Vina Esmeralda which is even cheaper but this is drier. Recently had the Stratum Sauvignon Blanc from NZ and while it isn't an apples to apples comparison this has a much nicer mouthfeel. Mid-palate isn't full, and would have preferred lower alcohol (although you can't tell it from the taste), but overall this is a winner. Borderline 3+/4-. ... Update: Looking at the back label it turns out the alcohol content is happily just 13.5% and not 14.5% as shown on PAWineTalk, Admin needs to correct that.

Comments (0)

Celestino Pecci Brunello di Montalcino 2006
Rated by Mark on April 26, 2012

Rating 44+

Been waiting a long time for this since the PAWineTalk Statewide Gathering last July. Smokier than I remember, balanced acidity and tannins that have started to integrate nicely. Ready to drink now although probably will continue to improve at least in the near term. Old world goodness. FoM called this smooth, excellent.

Comments (2)

Bouchard Pere et Fils Meursault 2006
Rated by Mark on March 17, 2012

Rating 33+

PnP with cheese on the back porch before dinner on this lovely early spring day. Balanced and elegant, a little chewy with nice acidity. Light oak. This is good for the price but am happy I didn't pay the original $35 price. It really makes me appreciate the Drouhin Saint-Veran from two years ago even more, which was much the same style but half this sale price and perhaps a little more fun.

Comments (0)

Demuth Winery Pinot Noir Limited Reserve Anderson Valley 2006
Rated by Mark on February 5, 2012

Rating 33+

So I went to pick up a few bottles of this yesterday and surprise, got the last 3, all '06. I guess this is selling very fast. If I had had it blind I definitely would have thought Burgundy. Purply-brown translucent color which honestly wasn't very appealing, but the nose made up for it. However I didn't get all the fruit that masi3v did. Great acidity but almost no tannins. Definitely a food wine. Forget everything you expect from a Cali Pinot and think Cote d'Or and you'll be fine with this.

Comments (0)

La Czar Zinfandel Dry Creek Valley 2007
Rated by Mark on January 28, 2012

Rating 33+

Sediment crystals caked on the bottom of the cork made it quite sparkly. Some crumblies also on the inside of the neck. I thought this was very Zin-like, from the nose through the palate and to the the finish. Unlike J2K, I did get a good bit of pepper and spice. The mid-palate was the weakness, good but could have been better. It's funny how the environment and what you may have had immediately before and after influences your opinion; with Steve Pollack at Aviva Pizza last fall he offered this up near the end of the evening and several of us thought it was the bee's knees. At home with a meal of leftovers I enjoyed it and do not regret the price paid, but now I think this may just be the bee's elbows rather than knees.

Comments (0)

Maculan Dindarello IGT 2010
Rated by Mark on January 9, 2012

Rating 44

Bought two of these as commented above with the intention of holding, but curiosity killed the cat. After dinner with a neighbor I pulled the cork on one and we loved it. Largely agree with Acorelli, although we got a lot of pear flavors as well (wife insisted it was poached pears). I don't have experience with holding sweet wines but if this improves with time then it's all upside. Would be interested to see what Capaneus has to say about this. Going back for more, as is my neighbor.

Comments (0)

Gloria Ferrer Royal Cuvee Vintage Reserve Brut 2002
Rated by Mark on December 28, 2011

Rating 33+

Didn't get the yeasty factor. At first a tad bitter on the finish like acorelli's sample but then seemed to turn a bit sweeter...may have just been me getting less sober.

Comments (0)

Donnafugata Ben Rye Passito di Pantelleria DOC 2007
Rated by Mark on December 27, 2011

Rating 55

Had this the night after Christmas with leftover Bche de Nol and it rocked. We played a game where I read the back label about "Intense flavors of _____" and I didn't say what it was. Everyone wrote down on a piece of paper what they thought it tasted like. Turned out that everyone said Apricots except Dad who said Peaches. Then I read the full back label, and we pulled out some dried apricots and compared. Everyone patted themselves on the back while Dad remained steadfast with his peaches. Bottom line is that it capped off a great evening with family. What more could you ask? Kicking myself I didn't buy more.

Comments (1)

Schweiger Cabernet Sauvignon Spring Mountain District 2003
Rated by Mark on December 23, 2011

Rating 0No Rating

Bad bottle, or at least I hope it was. Color was a nice deep purple, nose was restrained, oddly medicinal, but like nothing I've smelled before. Wine had absolutely no structure, almost watery. I can't believe this is what the winemaker intended.

Comments (1)

Penfolds Shiraz St. Henri 2005
Rated by Mark on December 12, 2011

Rating 33+

Decent but I don't share others' enthusiasm. We had a bottle of '05 Parson's Flat the day after Thanksgiving and preferred it to this, and it's a bit cheaper. That said, I really like the idea of a good wine in a 375ML bottle.

Comments (2)

Lagarde Primeras Vinas Malbec Mendoza 2008
Rated by Mark on November 26, 2011

Rating 44+

Really solid. Had the day after Thanksgiving with barbecue (vinegar style). Would love to describe how it evolved thru the evening but it simply didn't last. Even my Dad who is a certified Pinot / Beaujolais / Cotes du Rhone drinker liked it. Glad I have a couple more, will probably try holding one for a few years.

Comments (0)

Torres Vina Esmeralda Spain 2010
Rated by Mark on October 28, 2011

Rating 44

This is simply delicious. Floral and fruity, big and bouncy, persistent and ... uh, well, as admin noted (;-) just a touch off dry, but really enjoyable on its own as well as with food. Only nit is the mid-palate which could be a little more involving. I'm stocking up for Thanksgiving.

Comments (0)

Shimmin Canyon Vineyard Quadrant Paso Robles 2010
Rated by Mark on October 10, 2011

Rating 22-

Ruby colored, light bodied, young and tight. One dimensional with no discernible finish. The description makes reference to the Rhone varietals but this is more like a mediocre Beaujolais.

Comments (1)

Joseph Drouhin Cote de Beaune Villages 2007
Rated by Mark on October 8, 2011

Rating 44

Not much else to say at this point. Picked up several on closeout for ten bucks and wish I had bought a case, would've had no trouble finishing them all.

Comments (0)

Montinore Estate Pinot Gris 2009
Rated by Mark on September 26, 2011

Rating 33+

I agree completely. A good value.

Comments (0)

Merryvale Chardonnay Carneros 2008
Rated by Mark on September 15, 2011

Rating 44

I liked this but didn't have the transcendent experience as j-rad. In many ways this reminded me of a Chateau St. Jean Chard from 5-10 years ago. Fortunately it was a lot better than the CSJ Reserve Chard 06 from last year that was a big disappointment. Agree that it definitely got better after an hour or two. Worth picking up a few more at this price. OK here is my best Burghound imitation: The rich, fairly oaky and alcoholic nose screamed California Chardonnay while leading to an admirable balance of fruit, oak, and acidity and though the finish veered ever so slightly towards bitterness it passed with time as did the alcohol on the nose.

Comments (3)

Vineyard 29 Cabernet Sauvignon Cru 2008
Rated by Mark on July 23, 2011

Rating 44

This was pretty good overall, though somewhat atypical. PNP and it didn't seem tight, which was unexpected given it's youth. Dark, medium bodied with light tannins, an easy drinker.

Comments (0)

Kilikanoon Shiraz M Reserve 2005
Rated by Mark on July 21, 2011

Rating 44+

Wow this is a rocker. PNP and it's a fruit bomb, but not one dimensional like so many others. Got it during the first markdown sale for $24.99, wish I'd bought more. Whoever got this for $9.99 got the deal of the year. The alcohol was not immediately perceptible, but... I'm not giving this a 5 for two reasons: 1. While very very good it's really not my style, I would drink this again in an instant with the right crowd, but at home with my wife wouldn't touch it; but more importantly, 2. I woke up around midnight with a pounding headache!

Comments (3)

Valley of the Moon Cuvee de la Luna 2007
Rated by Mark on July 4, 2011

Rating 33+

This has a richness that belies the price. Very ripe black cherry on the nose and palate. Has a good dose of oak to go with the acidity, but only light tannins. The sad reality is that I've paid twice as much for wines that were not as good. On the fence between 3+ and 4-, leaving at 3+ for now.

Comments (0)

Domaine Saint Martin Muscadet de Sevre et Maine 2009
Rated by Mark on July 4, 2011

Rating 33+

Agree with other reviews. Sensed just the slightest hint of bitterness on the finish when first opened, but didn't notice it again.

Comments (0)

Reserve des Vignerons Saumur-Champigny 2009
Rated by Mark on July 2, 2011

Rating 22+

A friend brought this to dinner and we were all disappointed. Seems to be well made and has a nice velvety mouth feel, but comes across rather thin on the palate and not much of a finish.

Comments (0)

Geyser Peak Sauvignon Blanc River Ranches 2009
Rated by Mark on May 26, 2011

Rating 44

In a word, yum! Lithe and zesty but not overly acidic. Not the most complex white you'll find, but a great find for the price. The touch of Viognier is nice. Appreciate that this is not oak-laden or too heavy. Loren said this is moving well and I can see why. Don't delay!

Comments (0)

J. M. Fuentes Gran Clos Priorat 2000
Rated by Mark on May 19, 2011

Rating 44

Regarding the wine itself I totally second ecola's comments, and in regards to the packaging my experience was similar to In limbo's. I thought the wine was in great shape and definitely could be aged further, although I'm not confident that the packaging would hold. The cork did come out in one piece, fortunately, although I had my doubts. It had some nasty grey and white stuff on top, and once pulled it showed seepage that had almost made its way out. Took a couple photos and am posting in the forum.

Comments (0)

R Wines Chateau Chateau Skulls Australia 2007
Rated by Mark on April 30, 2011

Rating 22+

Did not enjoy this wine. Based on the blend I thought it was going to be a new world take on a Cotes du Rhone, and it started off that way. My wife loves Cotes du Rhone, but she took one sip and nothing more...after dinner she handed me her otherwise untouched glass. As some have pointed out it also has some similarities with California Pinot (which we both also like), with light tannins and decent acidity. But the back end was full of medicinal flavors and alcohol, the fruit just seemed off. Cool label though.

Comments (1)

Le Mistral Red Blend 2007
Rated by Mark on April 16, 2011

Rating 44

I pretty much agree with bigred. Dark, medium to full bodied, very smooth and enjoyable. There's a good bit of oak in here although it doesn't necessarily scream. I see no reason to age this other than out of curiosity. Not to detract anything but I too didn't get any of the "spicy and peppery" qualities mentioned in the WS review. $9-$13 less than the stores on wine-searcher.com.

Comments (2)

Husic Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2006
Rated by Mark on March 14, 2011

Rating 44

Well I guess I'm the dissenter here. Decanted for three hours and drank over the next three with short ribs. I didn't get the same nose as bigred, and while the finish was smooth it didn't necessarily stand out. That said, there's nothing to really complain about except the price: If I'd paid the quoted $110 I would have fired off a letter of complaint. At the CS price of $56 it was merely overpriced. I think it would take a hypothetical price of $25-30 for me to be a satisfied consumer. IMO not as good as the Anderson's Conn Valley '06 Cab which was $40 and seemed to have a brighter future.

Comments (1)

R Wines Shiraz First Class 2007
Rated by Mark on March 7, 2011

Rating 44-

The inky color, big nose and ample viscosity suggest a much more expensive wine. Which is what it is, except that the producer is bankrupt and this is probably the last we'll ever see of this wine anywhere. If this is your style, buy it up at this bargain basement price and enjoy. It isn't mine.

Comments (2)

Bodegas Y Vinedos del Jalon Alto Las Pizarras 2005
Rated by Mark on January 24, 2011

Rating 44-

Tasted this blind at the 14th PIT-area BYOB gathering. My notes say that it was lighter in color than the Priorats tasted immediately before and after, and that is was relatively fruit-forward, light-to-medium bodied and had nice acidity. I'd say probably not worth the original $37 asking price, but at the clearance price of $19 I'd be more tempted.

Comments (0)

Londer Vineyards Pinot Noir Anderson Valley 2007
Rated by Mark on December 31, 2010

Rating 44-

First off, this bottle had the most sediment I have EVER seen. If I had to guess there was maybe a teaspoon of what looked like coarse coffee grounds remaining in the bottle after we finished it. Second, it has a label only a Cleveland Browns fan could love...brown, orange, and beige, with nondescript graphics. An update is overdue. All that said, the wine is really pretty good and a decent buy. Definitely on the light side, smooth and round, could use a touch more acidity, but very pleasing overall. The fact that it was immediately preceded by a bottle of two buck chuck Merlot probably helped. And finally, the fact that I'm sitting at home typing in a wine rating on New Year's Eve is a sad commentary on my wife's and my social lives.

Comments (2)

Chateau St. Jean Chardonnay Reserve Sonoma 2006
Rated by Mark on December 30, 2010

Rating 22

This wine makes me sad. I fondly recall my first wine tasting trip when Chateau St. Jean was the first stop on the first day and I enjoyed everything. Their style has always been oaky but this lacks the acidity needed to cut through it all. It is a blend of the vineyards that they used to bottle separately (do they still?) and lacks any personality. A big disappointment.

Comments (0)

Anderson's Conn Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2006
Rated by Mark on December 29, 2010

Rating 44+

PNP felt a little tight (not surprisingly). The richness of this wine stood out for me. Big but the 15% alc wasn't overbearing. Can't get to a 5 here but still very good.

Comments (0)

Louis M. Martini Cabernet Sauvignon Monte Rosso Vineyard 2005
Rated by Mark on December 24, 2010

Rating 0No Rating

Had this near the end of a party and don't remember a lot except that it wasn't particularly memorable. Maybe I was too buzzed to notice but I didn't get any of the racy qualities mentioned in the WS and WA reviews, although I would agree with the latter's description of "reserved and restrained." Nothing really wrong with it except the Chairman's price which seems high.

Comments (0)

Carini Furzivu Munti Sucu Mendocino County 2003
Rated by Mark on December 20, 2010

Rating 44

Had at a party side by side with the Cuvee 65 which was interesting. This is a Cabernet blend while the other is all Cab, and this ONLY spent 60 months in oak instead of 65(!). But the oak is way more prevalent than with the 65, presumably newer barrels? This was smoother than the 65 and I generally liked it more, though it was the first red wine that made me think of butter. A big alcoholic wine but lacking much in the way of elegance.

Comments (0)

De Chanceny Rose Brut Cremant de Loire NV
Rated by Mark on December 5, 2010

Rating 33+

This is one of the few times when I pretty much agree with the winemaker's notes. This is light although pretty dry. Brought the leftover to the 13th Pittsburgh-area tasting and someone commented that it was a good palate-cleaner, and I'd agree. As long as you aren't looking for something more serious, the price is right.

Comments (0)

Arnaldo Caprai Sagrantino di Montefalco 25 Anni 2004
Rated by Mark on December 5, 2010

Rating 44

Decanted four hours and brought to the thirteenth Pittsburgh-area tasting. Still young, tannic and very dry. Needs another five years if not ten. I wish I was better at predicting how young wines evolve. This will probably never be bad. The question is will it merely become very good, or will it become great. If you have both the budget and the patience I'd recommend it. I'm giving it a 4 for now, but thinking it would probably get bumped to a 4+ or 5- a few years down the road.

Comments (0)

Alma Negra Mendoza 2006
Rated by Mark on December 5, 2010

Rating 33-

Had this at the thirteenth Pittsburgh-area tasting. Love the label, too bad I didn't love the wine. Not horrible, just not particularly noteworthy and a short finish. There are better options available.

Comments (0)

Gaja Ca' Marcanda Magari Toscana IGT 2006
Rated by Mark on November 25, 2010

Rating 44-

"Quoted at" $85, original CS price of $49.99 is also the lowest price on Wine-searcher, I managed to steal three bottles at the clearance price of $19.99. Opened the first one the night before Thanksgiving with pizza. Seemed young. Definitely rich and rather silky, nice finish but it was pretty short. Will hold the other two for a while and try again.

Comments (0)

Dancing Hares Vineyard Mad Hatter Napa Valley 2008
Rated by Mark on November 21, 2010

Rating 44

Comes in a big heavy bottle. Deep purple in color. Jammy fruit and leather on the nose and palate. Not a lot of tannins which would've led me to believe it is older than it actually is. I didn't pick up any heat but my wife did. No question this is new world.

Comments (0)

Domaine du Tariquet Amplitude Vin de Pays des Cotes de Gascogne 2009
Rated by Mark on November 5, 2010

Rating 33+

I liked this somewhat, but the wife liked it even more and said I need to go back for more. Pale straw color, some citrus on the nose. Very juicy and well balanced, fresh acidity without the overpowering grapefruit you get from many new world examples. Mid-palate is a bit lacking. One problem with this wine is that it's November rather than July and about fourty degrees too cold to enjoy outside (OK so that's not the wine's problem). I think if the PLCB had brought this in in June it would have sold out in about a month.

Comments (0)

Santa Duc Cotes du Rhone Villages Rasteau Les Blovac 2007
Rated by Mark on November 5, 2010

Rating 33+

Admin said this was the best CdR in the program in a while but I'm not so sure;-) PNP, a decent Rhone specimen but doesn't stand out. Will try again tomorrow to see if it gets better overnight. - Day 2: fruit became a little more pronounced, more alcohol on the nose, but not significantly better overall, leaving rating unchanged.

Comments (0)

Ramey Cabernet Sauvignon Larkmead Vineyard 2006
Rated by Mark on October 9, 2010

Rating 44+

Really very nice. There's no doubting the serious intentions of this wine, packaged in a big heavy bottle and sporting 15% alcohol. Deep purple color. Fruit-filled nose of cherries and currants that shout Napa Cab. Only decanted an hour but not tight at all. Similar flavors on the palate with a good dose of oak. Tannins are fine, was wondering where the acidity was when it snuck up on me. Drinking well now.

Comments (0)

Castello di Meleto Rainero Toscana 2004
Rated by Mark on September 19, 2010

Rating 33

Brought this to the PIT 11 tasting. Beautiful violet color and a wonderful nose of raspberries and blueberries. Silky mouthfeel and while the finish had nice tannic structure it really lacked acidity.

Comments (0)

Rizzi Barbaresco 2006
Rated by Mark on September 18, 2010

Rating 22+

Had at Pit 11 tasting. Not baaaaad, just not very good. Agree with daner92 re: watery. Just seemed thin.

Comments (0)

Ca' Furlan Prosecco Cuvee Beatrice Veneto NV
Rated by Mark on September 18, 2010

Rating 44-

I enjoyed this, esp. for the price. I think Vaynerchuk nailed it, a bit off dry but hey for $9 this is a great value.

Comments (0)

Tenuta Sette Ponti Crognolo 2006
Rated by Mark on September 18, 2010

Rating 44-

Had at Pit 11 tasting. Maybe this is starting to come around. Still has plenty of life, medium-full bodied and enjoyable.

Comments (0)

L'uvaggio di Giacomo il Leopardo 2001
Rated by Mark on August 11, 2010

Rating 44-

Picked up a bottle of this based on a recommendation from my local Luxury Wine Consultant. PNP took a whiff then a sip then ran out to buy a bottle of the il Lupo to compare. Meanwhile this sat on the kitchen counter breathing. Not a big wine but nice from nose to finish. Rather dry. My preference was for this over the Lupo, seemed a bit more complete. (See il Lupo rating.) Or maybe it just means I prefer Nebbiolo to Barbera.

Comments (0)

L'uvaggio di Giacomo il Lupo 2002
Rated by Mark on August 11, 2010

Rating 33

This wine was very lush in the mouth and I was digging it but then I swallowed and the finish turned just a slight bit bitter which ruined it for me. Bigger than the il Leopardo but the overall experience was not as enjoyable.

Comments (0)

Domaine Carneros Pinot Noir The Famous Gate 2006
Rated by Mark on July 24, 2010

Rating 33+

PNP liked but didn't love. Burgundian in style. Well made and no real issues, just no Wow factor. Nice Pinot fruit on the nose but more earthy on the palate. I know this is a great deal compared to what others (outside of PA) have paid but I can't get excited to buy more even at ~$40 a pop.

Comments (3)

Joseph Drouhin Saint-Veran Burgundy 2008
Rated by Mark on July 24, 2010

Rating 44+

Wow, this is really good and a great deal. I'm not wondering whether to buy more, but rather, how much more to stock. Definitely case-worthy! Nice and fresh, pure, unoaked goodness. A mere twelve bucks and 13% alcohol seal the deal. For everyone frustrated with big flabby over-oaked California chardonnays, this wine is for you.

Comments (0)

Epiphany Dry Riesling 2008
Rated by Mark on July 16, 2010

Rating 44

I didn't get as much minerality as the other reviewers, but did get a lot of floral aromas which I really liked. There was a very light touch of oil -- call it an extra virgin olive oil -- which I also like. Sometimes oily wines are unappealing but that's not the case here since it's so subtle. Finish was the only thing that didn't quite keep up with the rest of the experience. It was very good, and very persistent which again I liked, but it seemed to veer a little towards the sour side. It didn't actually get there, fortunately, but seemed like maybe it was headed in that direction. But I'm splitting hairs. Agree with Dontime, an excellent value. I need to drink more Riesling.

Comments (0)

Mumm Napa DVX 2001
Rated by Mark on July 7, 2010

Rating 33-

I think it's fun when there are such divergent views on a given wine. I agree with jonradus on this one. After our positive experience with the more humble Mumm Napa Brut Prestige last December, which was less than half the price by the way, this was a real disappointment. The mid-palate was strange -- not sure if it was plastic-y or what, just odd flavors. When my wife doesn't like a sparkler, you know you're in trouble.

Comments (0)

Mika Winery Meritage Sonoma County 2004
Rated by Mark on July 4, 2010

Rating 44

My wife took one sip and declared "four years." As in, put it away for four years before trying again. I'm not sure it needs that much time but certainly another year would ease the tannins. I'm totally down with Bigred's comment re: acidity. Still, easily the best $9 red wine I've had.

Comments (1)

Carini Cuvee Sixty Five Napa Valley 2003
Rated by Mark on June 28, 2010

Rating 44-

Not a whole lot to add at this point. PNP, only found light tannins. Would never have guessed 5+ years in oak. I agree that there's a definite vegetal aspect. A good value, but not case-worthy IMO. Update: Had again, this time side by side with the Furzivu Munti Sucu and was less excited, was a bit more harsh than I remembered.

Comments (0)

Louis Latour Chateau Corton Grancey Grand Cru 2002
Rated by Mark on May 31, 2010

Rating 44

Bought several of these during the $24.99 sale a while back and just opened the first. Decanted about two hours. Had it with grilled chicken in a mild barbecue sauce and it went very nicely. Not as much fun by itself. Definitely old world, fruit was reticent, but overall very enjoyable. I'm doubtful about keeping this for any significant amount of time as the color is turning brown around the edges and tannins are mostly gone, but there is still some acidity to keep the finish interesting. Didn't really live up to its Grand Cru billing, but again the price was right.

Comments (0)

Murrieta's Well Meritage Livermore Valley 2005
Rated by Mark on April 30, 2010

Rating 44-

With red wines at this price point my expectations are pretty low. Is it inoffensive? Check. Balanced and seemingly well made? Check. Then things start looking up. This is a nice light-bodied Cab, think of it as a Pinot of Cabs. Great nose, textbook flavors that don't blow you away, light tannins but the acidity is there to keep the finish interesting. Label says 14% alcohol but I would've guessed 12.5-13%, after half a bottle was barely feeling it (which is a good thing). Wine is a 3+ and the price gets it to 4-. Bigred: Move along please, nothing to see here.

Comments (0)

Buehler Cabernet Sauvignon Estate 2005
Rated by Mark on March 20, 2010

Rating 44-

Was intending to have this with my first steak off the grill this year. Weather was great but no propane = no grilling (d'oh!) so had to settle for broiled. Red fruit aromas jump from the bottle the moment the synthetic cork is pulled. Dark purple color coupled with the nose makes you to think that this will be a serious wine. However while the finish persists it is not all roses; the light acidity and tannins are more akin to a 15 year old bottle, but not necessarily in a good way. Maybe at its peak now? Great for the price.

Comments (0)

Showket Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Oakville 2005
Rated by Mark on January 17, 2010

Rating 44

Had this first at the 2nd Pit (blind) tasting but it was a bit of a blur, and now a second time and liked it. Popped and poured through Vinturi. Not a big overripe Napa cab but no lightweight either. Very enjoyable with beef rib roast.

Comments (0)

Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Blancs 2005
Rated by Mark on January 1, 2010

Rating 44-

This is practically a rerun of the '04, which is to say, very good especially considering the price. Both sparkling and non-sparkling wine drinkers enjoyed it.

Comments (0)

Ponzi Pinot Noir Reserve 2006
Rated by Mark on December 19, 2009

Rating 44+

This is really really nice. My mother-in-law proclaimed it "delightful." I didn't get the same sense of power as jonradus, but I'm also not looking for a pinot to bowl me over. I thought this was full and round, very well balanced, definitely new world but not a fruit bomb, and under 14% alcohol...when was the last time you saw that? I'd put this in the same ballpark as the Sea Smoke Southing ('05?) from the 2nd PIT tasting - maybe about the same, maybe not quite as good, but either way it's in the ballpark. And what, $20 less?

Comments (0)

Mumm Napa Brut Prestige
Rated by Mark on November 27, 2009

Rating 44-

Impress your friends! Great QPR in a BAB (big-ass bottle) make this a no-brainer. I rarely buy magnums and this bottle seems physically larger than most. We drank it while waiting for the Thanksgiving turkey to cook and everyone liked it. Was still fizzing a couple hours after being opened.

Comments (0)

Domaine Zind-Humbrecht Riesling Herrenweg de Turckheim Alsace 2006
Rated by Mark on November 15, 2009

Rating 44

Really enjoyed this. Very perfumed nose, floral mid-palate and balanced acidity round this out well.

Comments (0)

Hangtime Pinot Noir Gallery Vineyard Carneros 2006
Rated by Mark on September 26, 2009

Rating 33+

Generally agree with the previous reviews. But for just $2 more I greatly prefer the Gundy Bundy.

Comments (0)

Gundlach Bundschu Pinot Noir Rhinefarm Vineyard 2005
Rated by Mark on September 19, 2009

Rating 44

Very agreeable. Not just a simple table wine. A good drinking Pinot for under $20, are you kidding me?!? Going back for more!

Comments (0)

Laurenz V. "Charming" Gruner Veltliner 2004
Rated by Mark on July 18, 2009

Rating 44

My first Gruner Vetliner and I really enjoyed it. I thought it was similar to an un- or slightly oaked Chardonnay, but perhaps a little lighter. Not real big aromas but had a nice crisp feel and a medium finish.

Comments (0)

Chateau St. Jean Cinq Cepages 2004
Rated by Mark on July 18, 2009

Rating 44+

This was the fourth or fifth vintage I've had of this wine, and while some have been better than others I've never been disappointed. I'd put this one mid-pack -- better than 2000 but not as good as '97 or '01. $19.99 sale price was Crazy Eddie insane. I've never had a Cab as good at this price.

Comments (0)

Allegrini Palazzo della Torre IGT 2004
Rated by Mark on July 18, 2009

Rating 44

A pleasant surprise! I knew nothing about this region, producer, or two of the three grapes making up this wine. Definitely opened up over the course of an hour or two, if you pop and pour you'll be missing out. Mid-weight, this had a nice finish with good acidity and mild tannins. A good value.

Comments (0)

Testarossa Pinot Noir Palazzio Central Coast 2007
Rated by Mark on July 18, 2009

Rating 33

Good, but a little disappointing as I guess I was expecting more. I paid full boat (non-CS price) for the '06 last year and remember it having more personality. Don't get me wrong this wasn't bad, and everyone knows how hard it is to find a decent Pinot these days that is relatively inexpensive, and this fits that bill. But I won't be going back for more.

Comments (0)

Shannon Ridge Wrangler Red 2007
Rated by Mark on July 4, 2009

Rating 22+

The name, screw top, and very dark color all imply an Australian Shiraz, not the California blend that it is. Tight nose and rustic finish but no discernable mid-palate. In contrast to the Davis & Bynum Rochioli Pinot which I thought was OK but my wife hated, I really didn't care for this while my wife thought it wasn't bad. At least it was cheap.

Comments (0)

Franciscan Magnificat Napa Valley 2005
Rated by Mark on June 22, 2009

Rating 0No Rating

Was at a fundraiser picnic held on a farm. Bar was in the barn, and in among the soda and beer they had this as well as the Franciscan Cuvee Sauvage Chardonnay. It was served at ambient temperature (~85 degrees) in a plastic cup, and I had just finished a bag of salty buttered popcorn. Better than a 1 and not a 5, but where in between I cannot say.

Comments (0)

Parson's Flat Shiraz Cabernet 2005
Rated by Mark on June 5, 2009

Rating 44

Several of us had this back to back with the 2004 to compare. Many preferred this while one person preferred the '04. But overall everyone liked them both and they are very similar. The '04 was a little more dry and not quite as much fruit. The lower alcohol of the '05 was appreciated (14.8 vs 15.5) although neither felt hot. Agree with 2BuckChuck, a good bottle for $20.

Comments (0)

Joseph Drouhin Beaune-Epenotes 1er Cru 1999
Rated by Mark on June 2, 2009

Rating 33

New world fans: leave the room. Very dry, restrained fruit, nice finish. A solid well made wine lacking in excitement. Probably should have decanted, it did open up a bit in the glass. A definite food wine.

Comments (0)

Davis Bynum Pinot Noir Rochioli & Bynum Vineyards 2004
Rated by Mark on June 2, 2009

Rating 33-

This was an experiment that didn't work out. Knew nothing about it other than the CS description, figured I was getting a deal for $21.99 after all the markdowns. At her first sip, wife crinkled up her face and said "EW!" I didn't think it was so bad and convinced her to take a second, but she was unwavering. (OTOH she really enjoyed the Drouhin Beaune Epenotes.) The finish had a bit of a chemical-y tint that was probably what turned her off. Medium weight but no real defining characteristics. Guess I'll be drinking my other bottle alone.

Comments (0)

Bodega Colome Amalaya Salta Argentina 2006
Rated by Mark on April 25, 2009

Rating 44-

Rich and fruit forward with light tannins. A nice deal on a nice wine.

Comments (0)

Saintsbury Pinot Noir Stanly Ranch Carneros 2006
Rated by Mark on April 21, 2009

Rating 33+

This is a nice Pinot by itself and even better with food. It was already open when my wife changed direction on dinner plans, and it didn't quite stand up to grilled steak (nor would I expect it to). We still enjoyed it.

Comments (1)

Whitehall Lane Cabernet Sauvignon 2004
Rated by Mark on April 4, 2009

Rating 44

Waaaay better than the old "Whitehall Lane Chairman's Selection Cabernet Sauvignon." Typical Napa Cab profile, although I got a little bit of smokiness on the palate initially. I think I like this a little more than the Columbia Crest Walter Clore, but not as much as the Steven Kent or Chalk Hill cabs, although they're all close.

Comments (0)

Pessagno Pinot Noir Spring Grove Vineyards 2005
Rated by Mark on March 21, 2009

Rating 33+

Largely agree with Zippy, nice fruit and no tannins, although I did get some acidity. On the lighter side. Good with food; on it's own the lack of depth was more obvious. Nice wine overall. Paid $40 at a restaurant and believe it's worth the $20 asking price at a W&S shop. But 14.7% alcohol?!?

Comments (0)

Chalk Hill Cabernet Sauvignon Estate 2003
Rated by Mark on February 21, 2009

Rating 44

I have to admit, I still had the flavor of toothpaste in my mouth when I took the first sip. With that in mind... This wine to me seems like it's trying to be bigger than it is. The long, dry, somewhat oaky finish sets a high standard that the mid-palate doesn't quite meet. I liked it overall. Would have been disappointed if I had paid the suggested retail price, but am fine with the Chairman's price.

Comments (1)

Martinborough Vineyard Pinot Noir Terrace 2004
Rated by Mark on February 8, 2009

Rating 22

This wine lends further support to Winegal's statement that most Pinot under $30 isn't worth it. There are pleasant surprises from time to time but this isn't one of them. A sort of rusty brick red color, nice nose but on the palate watery sour cherries dominate. Not enjoyable at all. I'm super glad I didn't pay full boat.

Comments (0)

Testarossa Chardonnay Castello 2006
Rated by Mark on January 29, 2009

Rating 44

Tasted this briefly a while ago and really liked it. Second impression was almost as good... Apple aromas almost jump from the glass. Initial flavors are yummy while the finish is a bit oakier than I recall but not over the top.

Comments (0)

Columbia Crest Walter Clore Private Reserve Columbia Valley 2004
Rated by Mark on January 24, 2009

Rating 44

Medium bodied, not big or heavy despite the 14%+ alcohol. It was initially tight and the Merlot made itself known on the finish. After 30 minutes or so in the glass it improved and some more fruit came out. Further patience probably would have paid off but it was late...

Comments (0)

Langlois-Chateau Sancerre Chateau de Fontaine-Audon 2005
Rated by Mark on January 24, 2009

Rating 44

Largely agree with ecola. Very French, very good.

Comments (0)

Pascual Toso Malbec Reserve 2007
Rated by Mark on December 29, 2008

Rating 44-

The '06 was on the upcoming Chairman's Selection list for almost six months but never arrived. The '07 came in instead on the same PLCB code # and at the same price but was not listed as an actual Chairman's Selection. I thought this was a great buy at $11.99. Nice solid fruit with mild tannins, and everyone in the family liked it.

Comments (0)

Fetzer Coro Red Blend Mendocino 2004
Rated by Mark on December 21, 2008

Rating 33

I thought this was a little rough around the edges. Not sure if it would smooth out with time, or even if I'd want it to (a smooth Zinfandel?!). Guess I just wasn't overly excited about it.

Comments (0)

Castle Rock Pinot Noir Napa County 2007
Rated by Mark on December 21, 2008

Rating 33-

Light and inoffensive. Would have to disagree with 2Buckchuck as I found this wholly uninteresting.

Comments (0)

Louis Latour Meursault-Blagny Chateau de Blagny 1er Cru 2004
Rated by Mark on December 19, 2008

Rating 44+

My wife loved this while I merely enjoyed it. Definitely picked up honeysuckle on the nose along with some lemon. Smooth and fairly rich without being heavy. The finish is more mineral-like than anything from California.

Comments (0)

Chateau Ste. Michelle Merlot Ethos Reserve 2005
Rated by Mark on November 11, 2008

Rating 33-

Nice nose and great fruit but there was basically no discernable finish. Better enjoyed with food?

Comments (0)

Steven Kent Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Livermore Valley 2004
Rated by Mark on November 4, 2008

Rating 44

A solid California Cab. Medium purple color, not super big but no lightweight by any means and more complex than you'd expect for $25. Decanted it for an hour, no sediment whatsoever. We started drinking it with appetizers and everyone liked it. There wasn't much left when we sat down for dinner. Relatively low 13.8% alcohol, I didn't feel buzzed after a glass and a half. Going back for more!

Comments (0)

Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Blancs 2004
Rated by Mark on October 25, 2008

Rating 44-

VERY good for the price. Doesn't have the depth of a true Champagne but does have nice texture and a decent finish. Fine for a Saturday night at home without company, a big party, or with OJ for brunch. Keep this on hand for everyday and save the really good stuff for special occasions.

Comments (0)

Domaine Rouge Garance Cotes du Rhone Villages 2005
Rated by Mark on September 11, 2008

Rating 33

Deep violet color, 70% Syrah, 14% alcohol. Nice nose readily apparent upon opening the bottle but the finish didn't keep up. Wife called it a little "sharp." Softened a bit with time.

Comments (0)

Artesa Pinot Noir Carneros 2006
Rated by Mark on September 5, 2008

Rating 33+

Not really sure how to sum this one up. Light to medium bodied, some fruit but not overpowering. I didn't get any old world character, only California. OK for the price but didn't rock my world.

Comments (0)

Vinedos de Murcia Sierra Carche Jumilla Spain 2005
Rated by Mark on August 20, 2008

Rating 44+

Reminded me of a Rhone valley wine (Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Gigondas, etc.). Old world elegance rather than in-your-face exuberance. Nice fruit and oak but I didn't get much acidity or tannins. Not sure how Parker gets to 96 points, for me this walked the line between a 4 and 4+.

Comments (0)

Dutschke Shiraz St. Jakobi Barossa Valley 2004
Rated by Mark on July 30, 2008

Rating 44

Was looking forward to this bottle ever since a brief taste in the spring. Didn't let it breathe as long as it probably needed, there was very little nose upon opening. Really big new world style, dark berries and leather, some acidity and tannins but not a ton. High alcohol (15%) is only partially hidden by the fruit. It did pair well with spicy barbeque. Would be interesting to try back to back with the Parson's Flat.

Comments (0)

Merryvale Starmont Sauvignon Blanc 2006
Rated by Mark on June 23, 2008

Rating 33+

I like this wine. It's well made, light, dry and tart. I didn't sense any "hotness" but did feel a little buzzed after a glass and a half. Just drank it with dinner on the back porch...what summertime is all about!

Comments (0)

Montes Pinot Noir Limited Selection 2007
Rated by Mark on June 19, 2008

Rating 33

I guess the exploding tree branch missed me(!), I didn't get the sense of too much oak. Almost a perfect Beaujolais stand-in if not for the extra alcohol (14.5%). Wife's opinion upgraded from "certainly drinkable" to "good" when she learned the price.

Comments (0)

Robert Stemmler Pinot Noir Nugent Vineyard Russian River Valley 2004
Rated by Mark on June 14, 2008

Rating 33+

Largely agree with jlburd. Great nose, nice finish, mid-palate was nothing special. A solid Pinot overall. I still prefer the Gloria Ferrer Jose Ferrer for a couple bucks less.

Comments (0)

E.M.M. Santa Barbara Chardonnay 2005
Rated by Mark on May 28, 2008

Rating 44

Really nice nose, floral and apple. I enjoyed the wine although the finish didn't quite hold up as long as I would have liked. Still, better than most $10 chards I've tried.

Comments (0)

Rolf Binder Heinrich Shiraz-Grenache-Mataro 2005
Rated by Mark on May 14, 2008

Rating 44

Largely agree with ecola's review. I've had a few bigger Shirazes but this is no slouch...I'd call it "medium-full" bodied;-) If you like Shiraz and are OK with the price point, buy this up, you won't be disappointed.

Comments (0)

Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2000
Rated by Mark on May 9, 2008

Rating 33

Had this at the wine festival and wasn't overly impressed. Was on my way to another table and stopped to taste it quickly. From a supposedly off year; my expectations weren't high and it met them. Not big, maybe elegant. Even at half price I still can't see spending $60 for this. A nicer setting, perhaps with a meal, may have led to a better outcome.

Comments (0)

Miner Family Viognier Simpson Vineyard 2006
Rated by Mark on May 9, 2008

Rating 33+

I tried this at the wine festival and wasn't sure if I should laugh or cry. It was exactly what I thought it would be. A little floral on the nose, fat mid-palate, and a nice citrusy zip on the finish. Very California.

Comments (0)

Vall Llach Idus Priorat 2004
Rated by Mark on May 9, 2008

Rating 44

I didn't have the opportunity to wait for this to open up at the wine festival, they were uncorking bottles and immediately pouring. I totally agree with the last line of Parker's review which is included in the PLCB description (go read it)... OK nearly four years later, had again at PIT BYOB 42 and am bumping this from 3 to 4. Previous bottle was clearly consumed too early and/or without needed decant.

Comments (0)

Rubicon Estate Cask Cabernet Sauvignon 2004
Rated by Mark on May 9, 2008

Rating 44-

This didn't leave quite the impression that the '03 did. Maybe it was the setting (wine festival). Still very good, still more than I'd like to pay.

Comments (0)

Rolling Estate Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2006 2006
Rated by Mark on April 2, 2008

Rating 33

Not the greatest white in the world but really not bad and hard to beat for five bucks. I've certainly paid more for wines that weren't this good. 51% Sauvignon Blanc 49% Semillon, and only 12.5% alcohol which is a nice change from the 14%+ that is so common these days. Wife told me to go buy more.

Comments (0)

Vina Cobos Bramare Chardonnay, Marchiori Vineyard, Mendoza, Argentina 2005
Rated by Mark on March 21, 2008

Rating 44-

Complex and balanced, just a touch off-dry, a nice wine. Lacks a certain something? It's just hard for me to believe that someone somewhere other than in a restaurant paid $60 for this.

Comments (0)

Gloria Ferrer Jose S. Ferrer Pinot Noir Carneros 2003
Rated by Mark on March 20, 2008

Rating 44

Dry, fruity and delicious. Even better at 20% off this week.

Comments (0)

Vina Cobos Bramare Malbec Marchiori Vineyard Mendoza Argentina 2004
Rated by Mark on March 20, 2008

Rating 33+

Rich and dry, but at $50 I guess I'm not a big enough fan to pull the trigger.

Comments (0)

Picket Fence Chardonnay Russian River Valley 2005
Rated by Mark on March 20, 2008

Rating 33

Light in color and texture, OK but not much stuffing.

Comments (0)

Valley of the Moon Pinot Noir 2005
Rated by Mark on March 20, 2008

Rating 33-

Tastes a little green. There's just not much to get excited about.

Comments (0)

Rolling Estate Chardonnay 2006 2006
Rated by Mark on February 27, 2008

Rating 33

Wife: [hesitatingly] "That wine wasn't baaaaad..." Me: "It was $8.99" Wife: "Oh! Then it was OK!" Light and not at all oaky, a little effervescent, but in the end just OK.

Comments (0)

Richard Hamilton Gumprs Shiraz McLaren Vale 2005
Rated by Mark on February 19, 2008

Rating 44-

Deep purple and a bit tight, had nice fruit and acidity. Overall pleasant. The finish dropped off dramatically and then just a hint of it lingered a while. It might not be a fair comparison but I'd probably pick an '05 Cote-du-Rhone over this the next time around.

Comments (0)

Artesa Chardonnay Reserve 2005
Rated by Mark on February 11, 2008

Rating 44-

Made in the oak-y, buttery style which seems to be out of favor since Sideways. Off-dry with a little bit of citrus on the finish. A good outdoor summer wine.

Comments (0)

Beringer Chardonnay Sbragia Limited Release Napa Valley 2005
Rated by Mark on February 11, 2008

Rating 22+

The label says "I listened to what the vineyard had to say" so it must've said "These grapes aren't that great." Maybe I'm missing something but this just seemed flat. The taste lingered but not in a pleasing way. Greatly prefer the Trefethen Special Release for the same money.

Comments (0)

Hastae Quorum Barbera d'Asti 2001
Rated by Mark on February 11, 2008

Rating 44+

Wow this was really good. Had it at a party in between several different wines and didn't linger on it as long as I should have. It's an easy 4+, maybe 5. I'm going out to get a bottle.

Comments (0)

Hahn Pinot Noir Lone Oak Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands 2004
Rated by Mark on February 11, 2008

Rating 33-

I really wanted to like this wine but it just didn't deliver. Not undrinkable, just not all that great. I was wavering between a 2 and 3 so call it a 3-. A little bit of unfocused fruit that gets wiped out by the alcohol (14.5% and I tasted every bit of it). It softened after an hour or two but by then my head was spinning. I'll spend my next $20 on something else.

Comments (0)

Columbia Crest Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2003
Rated by Mark on February 3, 2008

Rating 44

Agree with the two previous reviews. Great value, get it while you can.

Comments (0)

Kenwood Chardonnay Sonoma County 2006
Rated by Mark on December 30, 2007

Rating 44

Another good value Chardonnay. Has just a bit more substance than the 2005. Nice blend of fruit (think pear) and acidity, and not too much oak.

Comments (0)

Rubicon Estate Cask Cabernet Sauvignon 2003
Rated by Mark on December 23, 2007

Rating 44

This was really nice. Had that fresh, somewhat fruity but dry Napa cabernet character. Interestingly, had it right after some Mondavi Oakville Cab '04 and I had a hard time differentiating the two. Maybe it was because I'd already had several different things to drink by then.

Comments (0)

Buena Vista Estate Chardonnay Ramal Vineyard Carneros 2005
Rated by Mark on December 22, 2007

Rating 44

This was pretty good, reminded me of the Trefethen Special Reserve. Nice fresh lemon-y, citrusy flavors that lingered.

Comments (0)

Martin Ray Chardonnay "Angeline" Russian River Valley 2005
Rated by Mark on December 22, 2007

Rating 33

Not bad for the price, certainly could've been a lot worse. From the description I was expecting a butterball, but instead was pleasantly surprised. Still, nothing to write home about.

Comments (0)

Kenwood Chardonnay Sonoma County 2005
Rated by Mark on November 5, 2007

Rating 44

Very light for a Chardonnay, could almost pass for Sauvignon Blanc. We enjoyed it. A steal of a deal if you can still find it.

Comments (0)

Artesa Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve Napa Valley 2004
Rated by Mark on September 24, 2007

Rating 33

Restrained nose, fairly dark in color and medium bodied. Some fruit but dry and restrained. Not a lot of tannins and the taste doesn't linger long. There's nothing inherently wrong here. Disappointing only in that my expectations were rather high. Long term I'm not sure where this is going but I'm not waiting around to see.

Comments (0)

Miner Family Oracle Napa Valley 2003
Rated by Mark on September 15, 2007

Rating 55

Understated and elegant. Starts off restrained but spreads smoothly across the palate with plenty of fruit. There's a little pepper but it's not as zingy as a zinfandel. I didn't pick up a lot of tannin and so while it may improve with time it was very enjoyable now.

Comments (0)

Vina Cobos Bramare Cabernet Sauvignon Marchiori Vineyard Mendoza Argentina 2004
Rated by Mark on September 8, 2007

Rating 33

Had this at a party and while there's nothing inherently bad about it a friend and I both agreed it was underwhelming. He even described it as a little sweet. I figured it cost maybe $15...Ouch what a surprise to learn it's $40. Pass.

Comments (0)

Chateau Peyau Bordeaux Superieur 2003
Rated by Mark on August 29, 2007

Rating 44

Tastes like a real Bordeaux table wine. Oh wait it is! Medium-dark in color, medium nose, nicely balanced if not terribly complex. Don't know how much this will improve with age, can definitely be enjoyed now. Better with food than alone. For ten bucks I'm going back for more.

Comments (1)

Trefethen Special Reserve Chardonnay, Napa Valley 2005
Rated by Mark on August 9, 2007

Rating 44

It's not clear to me what is "special" about this wine other than the label (which is very attractive). That's not to say that it's bad, in fact it's very good. Nice, interesting flavors and light-ish oak. It paired well with crab cakes. But "special?" Maybe a little overpriced.

Comments (0)

Flora Springs Trilogy 2003
Rated by Mark on August 6, 2007

Rating 44

Solid if unspectacular. WS gave it 87 and I'm OK with that. The bottle I opened had a good bit of sediment caked up on the inside of the cork and in the neck. If I lived in another state I'd spend my $50-$60 on something else, but for $30 here it's not a bad choice.

Comments (0)

Montes Alpha Chardonnay 2005
Rated by Mark on April 27, 2007

Rating 44

Thought this was OK.

Comments (0)

Vine Cliff Cabernet Sauvignon Estate 1999
Rated by Mark on December 17, 2006

Rating 44

Not sure if this would be called "fruit forward" but regardless it has very nice character. I was lucky enough to get a bottle for $19.99 last month. Still a reasonable buy for $29.99 (though obviously not as exciting).

Comments (0)