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1996 Chateau Lagrange, Saint Julien

Date: Thu, Aug 9, 2007 Wine Tasting


I really had no intention of opening up this bottle anytime soon, but in a response to a reader's comment regarding my review of the 1996 Leoville Barton I recommended the '96 Lagrange as a close second for about 40% less. Since it had been about four years since I tasted this wine, I figured I should taste it again to confirm that my memory has served me well. Unfortunately, my memory for this wine was about as good as Alberto Gonzales' memory of his own role in the firing of eight U.S. attorneys.

Ruby red, lots of wood on the nose with hints of red fruit, cigar box and leather. Although very good, it lacks the depth and complexity of the '96 Barton. The tannins feel as if they are predominately from the oak, and it is a bit thin and has a short finish. Lots of earthy notes as well, and although the '96 Lagrange isn't all that funky, here is a great shot of Bootsy anyhow. 88 points. find it

Read Full Wine Blog Post

1996 Chateau Lagrange, Saint Julien

Date: Thu, Aug 9, 2007 Wine Tasting


I really had no intention of opening up this bottle anytime soon, but in a response to a reader's comment regarding my review of the 1996 Leoville Barton I recommended the '96 Lagrange as a close second for about 40% less. Since it had been about four years since I tasted this wine, I figured I should taste it again to confirm that my memory has served me well. Unfortunately, my memory for this wine was about as good as Alberto Gonzales' memory of his own role in the firing of eight U.S. attorneys.

Ruby red, lots of wood on the nose with hints of red fruit, cigar box and leather. Although very good, it lacks the depth and complexity of the '96 Barton. The tannins feel as if they are predominately from the oak, and it is a bit thin and has a short finish. Lots of earthy notes as well, and although the '96 Lagrange isn't all that funky, here is a great shot of Bootsy anyhow. 88 points. find it

Read Full Wine Blog Post

1996 Chateau Lagrange, Saint Julien

Date: Thu, Aug 9, 2007 Wine Tasting


I really had no intention of opening up this bottle anytime soon, but in a response to a reader's comment regarding my review of the 1996 Leoville Barton I recommended the '96 Lagrange as a close second for about 40% less. Since it had been about four years since I tasted this wine, I figured I should taste it again to confirm that my memory has served me well. Unfortunately, my memory for this wine was about as good as Alberto Gonzales' memory of his own role in the firing of eight U.S. attorneys.

Ruby red, lots of wood on the nose with hints of red fruit, cigar box and leather. Although very good, it lacks the depth and complexity of the '96 Barton. The tannins feel as if they are predominately from the oak, and it is a bit thin and has a short finish. Lots of earthy notes as well, and although the '96 Lagrange isn't all that funky, here is a great shot of Bootsy anyhow. 88 points. find it

Read Full Wine Blog Post

1996 Leoville Barton, St. Julien

Date: Thu, Jul 26, 2007 Wine Tasting

Producer: Chateau Leoville Barton
Vintage: 1996
Appellation: St. Julien, Bordeaux

A beautiful wine with lots of deep, rich, dark fruit, wet stone and leather. Ruby red/purple with no visible signs of fading. It completely takes over the palate, expanding and unfolding, with a finish that seems to go on and on. Don't worry that this wine is already eleven years old as it probably has another fifteen years of life left in it. We tasted this next to the 1990 Gruard Larose, which currently does not seem to be drinking nearly as well. Do not hesitate to look for other vintages of Leoville Barton, too, because their quality to price ratio is usually unsurpassed in Bordeaux. 93 points. find it

Read Full Wine Blog Post

1996 Leoville Barton, St. Julien

Date: Thu, Jul 26, 2007 Wine Tasting

Producer: Chateau Leoville Barton
Vintage: 1996
Appellation: St. Julien, Bordeaux

A beautiful wine with lots of deep, rich, dark fruit, wet stone and leather. Ruby red/purple with no visible signs of fading. It completely takes over the palate, expanding and unfolding, with a finish that seems to go on and on. Don't worry that this wine is already eleven years old as it probably has another fifteen years of life left in it. We tasted this next to the 1990 Gruard Larose, which currently does not seem to be drinking nearly as well. Do not hesitate to look for other vintages of Leoville Barton, too, because their quality to price ratio is usually unsurpassed in Bordeaux. 93 points. find it

Read Full Wine Blog Post

1996 Leoville Barton, St. Julien

Date: Thu, Jul 26, 2007 Wine Tasting

Producer: Chateau Leoville Barton
Vintage: 1996
Appellation: St. Julien, Bordeaux

A beautiful wine with lots of deep, rich, dark fruit, wet stone and leather. Ruby red/purple with no visible signs of fading. It completely takes over the palate, expanding and unfolding, with a finish that seems to go on and on. Don't worry that this wine is already eleven years old as it probably has another fifteen years of life left in it. We tasted this next to the 1990 Gruard Larose, which currently does not seem to be drinking nearly as well. Do not hesitate to look for other vintages of Leoville Barton, too, because their quality to price ratio is usually unsurpassed in Bordeaux. 93 points. find it

Read Full Wine Blog Post

Larkmead, 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon

Date: Wed, Jul 25, 2007 Wine Tasting

Producer: Larkmead Vineyards
Wine: 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
Winemaker: Andy Smith
Estimated Cost: $50

Medium body. Tons of forward, red fruits such as cherry and raspberry with a handful of blackberries thrown in for good measure. Warm and soft with lots of oak. Inviting and pleasing with a moderate finish. Should be a crowd pleaser. 88 points.

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Larkmead, 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon

Date: Wed, Jul 25, 2007 Wine Tasting

Producer: Larkmead Vineyards
Wine: 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
Winemaker: Andy Smith
Estimated Cost: $50

Medium body. Tons of forward, red fruits such as cherry and raspberry with a handful of blackberries thrown in for good measure. Warm and soft with lots of oak. Inviting and pleasing with a moderate finish. Should be a crowd pleaser. 88 points.

Read Full Wine Blog Post

Larkmead, 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon

Date: Wed, Jul 25, 2007 Wine Tasting

Producer: Larkmead Vineyards
Wine: 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
Winemaker: Andy Smith
Estimated Cost: $50

Medium body. Tons of forward, red fruits such as cherry and raspberry with a handful of blackberries thrown in for good measure. Warm and soft with lots of oak. Inviting and pleasing with a moderate finish. Should be a crowd pleaser. 88 points.

Read Full Wine Blog Post

What To Drink On My Birthday?

Date: Sat, Jul 21, 2007 Wine Tasting

Although I have a decent collection of nice wine, I have a hard time opening the really good stuff. No matter what the occasion I always find myself saying something like, Oh, it would be infanticide to open that one. Or I might think, I don't care if it is Thanksgiving, there were only 120 cases of this stuff imported. Other times I will look at what the wine is worth today and say to myself, No wine tastes that damn good! This wine is for selling, not for drinking. Although it pains me to do so, we decided that since Saturday was my birthday we would open up a couple of bottles of the good stuff.

We started with a beautiful chardonnay from one of the world's greatest terroirs, Batard-Montrachet. The wine was a 2001 Grand Cru from producer Bernard Morey. Although the '01 white Burgundies were for the most part overshadowed by the epic 2002 vintage, do not ignore 2001. There were some incredible wines produced in '01. While '02 generally produced rich, flamboyant wines with great fruit, the '01s I have tried have shown great structure and focus. In a blind tasting, however, I am sure I would guess the '01 B. Morey Batard-Montrachet to be an '02 due to it's richness and intensity. According to Burgundy Online, "While the white wines are in the barrels Bernard likes frequent batonnage (stirring up the lees or sediment at the bottom of the barrel to make wines thicker or “fatter”) and uses only natural yeasts." Golden in color, the wine is lush with notes of apple, pear, vanilla and lemon zest. The finish is extraordinary with creme brulee lingering on the palate for minutes. Although I do not believe this wine is available anymore, if you ever come across it I highly recommend you give it a try. 93 points.

We then moved on to one of our favorite Cabernets - Shafer Hillside Select. I have been hoarding a few bottles of the 1996 vintage, and as far as Napa Valley Cabernet goes it doesn't get much better than this. The '96 Hillside is at its pinnacle, so if you are holding onto any you will find that your patience has been rewarded. Fully mature, it has a rich bouquet of cherry reduction, cigar box, lavender, coffee and leather. Ruby red and medium bodied with firm, finely grained tannins, it feels like a top Pauillac in the mouth. Every component is so perfectly integrated that this wine is difficult to describe. The secondary flavors that come with maturation are present, but the wine has also retained its inviting array of lively red and black fruit. Lots of chocolate and espresso on the palate as well. 96 points. find this wine

Am I sad that I now have a few empty bottles of prized wine sitting in the recycling been? Not even a little bit. Both wines were drinking beautifully, and there is nothing worse than opening up what was once a great wine to find that it has passed its prime. Best of all, I was able to share the experience with my favorite tasting companion, traveling partner, dive buddy, cycling partner, confidant and best friend - my wife.

Read Full Wine Blog Post

What To Drink On My Birthday?

Date: Sat, Jul 21, 2007 Wine Tasting

Although I have a decent collection of nice wine, I have a hard time opening the really good stuff. No matter what the occasion I always find myself saying something like, Oh, it would be infanticide to open that one. Or I might think, I don't care if it is Thanksgiving, there were only 120 cases of this stuff imported. Other times I will look at what the wine is worth today and say to myself, No wine tastes that damn good! This wine is for selling, not for drinking. Although it pains me to do so, we decided that since Saturday was my birthday we would open up a couple of bottles of the good stuff.

We started with a beautiful chardonnay from one of the world's greatest terroirs, Batard-Montrachet. The wine was a 2001 Grand Cru from producer Bernard Morey. Although the '01 white Burgundies were for the most part overshadowed by the epic 2002 vintage, do not ignore 2001. There were some incredible wines produced in '01. While '02 generally produced rich, flamboyant wines with great fruit, the '01s I have tried have shown great structure and focus. In a blind tasting, however, I am sure I would guess the '01 B. Morey Batard-Montrachet to be an '02 due to it's richness and intensity. According to Burgundy Online, "While the white wines are in the barrels Bernard likes frequent batonnage (stirring up the lees or sediment at the bottom of the barrel to make wines thicker or “fatter”) and uses only natural yeasts." Golden in color, the wine is lush with notes of apple, pear, vanilla and lemon zest. The finish is extraordinary with creme brulee lingering on the palate for minutes. Although I do not believe this wine is available anymore, if you ever come across it I highly recommend you give it a try. 93 points.

We then moved on to one of our favorite Cabernets - Shafer Hillside Select. I have been hoarding a few bottles of the 1996 vintage, and as far as Napa Valley Cabernet goes it doesn't get much better than this. The '96 Hillside is at its pinnacle, so if you are holding onto any you will find that your patience has been rewarded. Fully mature, it has a rich bouquet of cherry reduction, cigar box, lavender, coffee and leather. Ruby red and medium bodied with firm, finely grained tannins, it feels like a top Pauillac in the mouth. Every component is so perfectly integrated that this wine is difficult to describe. The secondary flavors that come with maturation are present, but the wine has also retained its inviting array of lively red and black fruit. Lots of chocolate and espresso on the palate as well. 96 points. find this wine

Am I sad that I now have a few empty bottles of prized wine sitting in the recycling been? Not even a little bit. Both wines were drinking beautifully, and there is nothing worse than opening up what was once a great wine to find that it has passed its prime. Best of all, I was able to share the experience with my favorite tasting companion, traveling partner, dive buddy, cycling partner, confidant and best friend - my wife.

Read Full Wine Blog Post

What To Drink On My Birthday?

Date: Sat, Jul 21, 2007 Wine Tasting

Although I have a decent collection of nice wine, I have a hard time opening the really good stuff. No matter what the occasion I always find myself saying something like, Oh, it would be infanticide to open that one. Or I might think, I don't care if it is Thanksgiving, there were only 120 cases of this stuff imported. Other times I will look at what the wine is worth today and say to myself, No wine tastes that damn good! This wine is for selling, not for drinking. Although it pains me to do so, we decided that since Saturday was my birthday we would open up a couple of bottles of the good stuff.

We started with a beautiful chardonnay from one of the world's greatest terroirs, Batard-Montrachet. The wine was a 2001 Grand Cru from producer Bernard Morey. Although the '01 white Burgundies were for the most part overshadowed by the epic 2002 vintage, do not ignore 2001. There were some incredible wines produced in '01. While '02 generally produced rich, flamboyant wines with great fruit, the '01s I have tried have shown great structure and focus. In a blind tasting, however, I am sure I would guess the '01 B. Morey Batard-Montrachet to be an '02 due to it's richness and intensity. According to Burgundy Online, "While the white wines are in the barrels Bernard likes frequent batonnage (stirring up the lees or sediment at the bottom of the barrel to make wines thicker or “fatter”) and uses only natural yeasts." Golden in color, the wine is lush with notes of apple, pear, vanilla and lemon zest. The finish is extraordinary with creme brulee lingering on the palate for minutes. Although I do not believe this wine is available anymore, if you ever come across it I highly recommend you give it a try. 93 points.

We then moved on to one of our favorite Cabernets - Shafer Hillside Select. I have been hoarding a few bottles of the 1996 vintage, and as far as Napa Valley Cabernet goes it doesn't get much better than this. The '96 Hillside is at its pinnacle, so if you are holding onto any you will find that your patience has been rewarded. Fully mature, it has a rich bouquet of cherry reduction, cigar box, lavender, coffee and leather. Ruby red and medium bodied with firm, finely grained tannins, it feels like a top Pauillac in the mouth. Every component is so perfectly integrated that this wine is difficult to describe. The secondary flavors that come with maturation are present, but the wine has also retained its inviting array of lively red and black fruit. Lots of chocolate and espresso on the palate as well. 96 points. find this wine

Am I sad that I now have a few empty bottles of prized wine sitting in the recycling been? Not even a little bit. Both wines were drinking beautifully, and there is nothing worse than opening up what was once a great wine to find that it has passed its prime. Best of all, I was able to share the experience with my favorite tasting companion, traveling partner, dive buddy, cycling partner, confidant and best friend - my wife.

Read Full Wine Blog Post

Marquis Philips, 2004 Shiraz 9

Date: Fri, Jul 20, 2007 Wine Tasting

Very dark, inky purple. Lots of dark fruits, berries, raisin and vanilla. Deeply extracted. Although this wine was made with top quality fruit, it's heat and oak can be overpowering. Not a subtle wine. Certainly fun and enjoyable, though. I have had this wine on several occasions, but I found a perfect pairing for it last night - consumed from a plastic cup at the movie theater while enjoying a tub of popcorn. 88 points. find it

Read Full Wine Blog Post

Marquis Philips, 2004 Shiraz 9

Date: Fri, Jul 20, 2007 Wine Tasting

Very dark, inky purple. Lots of dark fruits, berries, raisin and vanilla. Deeply extracted. Although this wine was made with top quality fruit, it's heat and oak can be overpowering. Not a subtle wine. Certainly fun and enjoyable, though. I have had this wine on several occasions, but I found a perfect pairing for it last night - consumed from a plastic cup at the movie theater while enjoying a tub of popcorn. 88 points. find it

Read Full Wine Blog Post


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