Tuesday, September 9, 2014

2013 Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc Tasting Note

For years new Zealand has put out some of the better and less expensive wines - particularly for Sauvignon Blanc. Oyster Bay is one of them. While I usually found tasting this producer to be a notch below Kim Crawford and some others, for the price - it is still a very solid wine and easy pleasing. These are very consistent wines to taste regarding vintage year to year. You'll find similar notes from a 2005, 2007 or most other years. New Zealand knows how to do Sauv Blanc.

I find these NZ and most white wines are best after refridging and then letting the temperature come up a little or just put them in an ice bucket to chill, but not get TOO cold. Wine served too cold voids much of the flavor - unless it's not a good white wine to begin with, then chilling it out is your best bet. :)

Tasting Note Review 2013 Oyster Bay

Crisp and clean, though I found the 2013 Oyster Bay a little thin without much acidity. It had the typical nice grassy - kiwi - tropical flavors. It was a little bitter, but not through the whole finish - which was decent. Oyster Bay is a very solid wine to serve at cocktail hours or on a hot day. It also is very reasonable with the US price range usually between $10 - $13. Hard to beat. Your friends that drink any ole pinot grigio and not that into wine nuances will enjoy this and not compare it other vintages or many of the Sauvignon Blancs out there. It will hold it's own.

So, for the price - it's a buy, but taste some other producers in that region and see what best suits you. That is really the best judge of white wines or any wine. Feel free to post your experience with this wine or any New Zealand Sauv Blanc.

Happy Sipping (don't gulp)


Friday, May 2, 2014

2002 Neal Family Cabernet - Reviews and Wine Notes

Notes by me for the 2002 Neal Cabernet. Opened 2 hours. Drank over the next 90 minutes.

Big nose with ripe blueberry, candy apple and brown suger. Very sweet on the nose (too much) that settled down a little after a while where I got some coffee later and less syrupy notes. Concentrated blackberry and crushed fruit with black cherry on the taste. Very little earth or secondary non obvious fruit flavors. In balance with a solid finish. Not overly tannic. A delicious easy to drink cab that would please any non serious winos who don't care much about complexity or nuances.

Added Notes for the 2002 Neal Cabernet:

Decanted for one hour, then poured back into the bottle. Consumed one hour later at dinner at Hoku (Kahala Resort). Dinner was great, by the way! Fully-loaded with dark, black plum, and hints of leather, cinnamon, and raisin.

The 3 Week Diet

Monday, May 7, 2012

Castello Banfi Brunello Di Montalcino Wine Tasting 1997 and 1999

1997 Banfi Brunello di Montalcino

Aired for 1 hour. Nose was very open (first time for me). Ripe rasberry and flowers. Open right out of the gate. Tastes of wild berries, spice, slight cherry tartness - in a good way. Tannins are resilient, but integrated with the fruit - a sign we are just about there. Long Finish. Improved slightly over 2 hours, but not too much.

91-92 Wine Review Points

1999 Banfi Brunello di Montalcino

It was opened (not decanted) for 2 hours in bottle. Had with Veal Chop. This definitley has more finesse and grace than the 97 did at the same stage in the bottle. It was not giving at all early on. 3rd glass brought out more classic sangi fruit and light spice. Very "Banfi" (it is the one brunello I can blind peg every year to the producer - Frescobaldi being the other). Tannins were well integrated and polished. Long Finish.

Rating range (92-94 pts)

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1999 La Poderina Brunello Di Montalcino

Brunello Di Montalcino is one of Italy's most wonderful wine varietal. La Poderina is a well respected producer of Brunello red wine.

1999 La Poderina Wine Tasting Review and Notes

Decanted 1 hr. Great clarity in the glass, but tight to start. Early aromas of berries, tobacco, and a little spice. Swirled for another 20 minutes, good legs.

First taste brought flavors of cherries, dates, meat, vanilla. Perfect tannins. Incredibly elegant and balanced. Long long finish. Just when I thought it couldn't get better, an hour later it was better still, never faded. Full throttle flavor. Not even close. Best 1999 Brunello I've had. Classy and delicious.

95 Points

I'd go 2 hours min. in decanter now, but wait this one out.

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2004 Beaux Freres Upper Terrace Pinot Noir

Wine review and tasting notes for the 2004 vintage Beaux Freres Upper Terrace Pinot Noir.

Aromas of cedar, flowers, smoke and a lot more. The aromas are stunning. Taste of ripe and spicey cherries, with some delicious toasty flavor. Long lingering finish. Got better over the 90 minutes it was opened. Great balance. A perfect cross between ripe california and burgundian style. Also a good cross between the denser Beaux Freres Vineyard and the lighter Ana vineyard.

Beaux Freres is an elite California winery of pinot noir. Their wines are largely only available through their mailing list, fine dining establishments and auction.

Production was very low on this.

95 Points

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Friday, April 27, 2012

Classic Bordeaux and California Cabernets! - Wine Notes

This was from an amazing wine tasting party in Manhattan a few years ago.

Well, everyone has their "WOW WINE NIGHT" and this was mine. I was very fortunate to attend a private tasting in NYC given by a portfolio manager of a major brokerage firm that does business with a very good friend of mine.

These all came from his private cellar. The theme was one of his favorite Bordeaux vs. great CA. Cabs. None of the Leovilles were decanted, except the 82' - so you had to sit with these for a while to get some good impressions.

1994 Leoville-Las Cases

This was the first wine we tasted. Aroma of cedar and earth. Leather, cherry, vanilla. Very polished. Long finsh. 92 Points.

1990 Leoville-Las Cases

Great wine! Barnyard scent that eventually gave way to leathery, spicy and old world fruit that opened up later in the night. I did go back to it and glad I did. This was a favorite of many. The BX pros thought the 90 was more gratifying and open than the 89' initially, but the 89 was more preferable to some. Heaven. 95 Points.

1989 Leoville-Las Cases

This was a surprise hit for many (VS. the 82 and the 86) and a few had this as their favorite LLC. More tannic than the 90 with lovely earth, toasty oak, cedar and wonderful sweet fruit just coming out. This was the tightest of the bunch. Very youthfull. Long long life. 95 points.

1986 Leoville-Las Cases

This was a suprise. Wonderful aroma that would set up the taste. After my second sip of it, it tasted very dry, almost a little chalky. Thinking I had a little palate fatigue, I had some water and bread, but it was still there. I commented to someone else and they agreed. Our host thought the bottle was not showing well compared to another he had 6 months ago. Too bad. Off bottle? I was waiting for this one all night (along with the 82). THIS bottle: Still 90 points

1982 Leoville Las-Cases

This is the oldest BX I have ever had and how often do you drink a 100 point RP wine. Me: never.

This was decanted for 45 minutes or so. The anticpated LLC of the evening. Still youthfull nose. Fruit was lush and polished, but the tannins were silky but not heavy and the finish gave a lot but was short of "wow". It was the opinion of many and I that this bottle tasted near maturity - not that the wine itself is, but this bottle seemed slightly peaked to some or at worst, not improving. I still loved it and an experience I will cherish. 95 Points.

2002 Schrader Cellars CS to Kalon Vineyard

Served from a magnum. Awesome nose. Toasty, with huge lush fruit, needed major time, but I wasn't waiting!. A finish that went on and on. A killer wine that wowed many, including me. A decade to go easy. Where do I get some more of this?! 96 points.

1995 Silver Oak CS

A former champ that was simply overmatched tonight. Attractive nose, oak. Full bodied, balanced and polished. Good, not great finish. I have never had a 95 Silver Oak, but I would have liked to have tried this 3 years ago. Aging well, but for the better? I do not think this will improve. Classy cab, I like em' bigger than this. 91 Points.

2002 Switchback Ridge CS Peterson Family

Incredible aroma. Rich color. Crushed Blackberry, mint, dates, long serious finish. Wonderful. Would have loved to have tried this 3 hours later - but alas, the bottle was long gone! Another classic Cab to remember. Major years ahead obviously. 95-96 Points.

2000 Bryant Family CS

I was staring at this bottle all night knowing I may never get the chance to taste this again. WOW. Huge, huge, huge. The color was so deep and lush. Black and purple mix. Big dark fruit, sweet cassis, dark chocolate. Finish was a monster. Easy the best 2000 Napa Cab I have tried. It actually was better than any 1999 or 2001 Napa cab I have ever had! 96 Points

1995 Araujo Estate CS Eisele Vineyard

OMG! Can it get better? Yes! This was my WOTN and probably 1/3 of the rooms too. This is a 95? Amazingly youthfull. Toffee, spice, sweet big big fruit, circled in vanilla, with tannins that say "20 years easy". A finish to die for. 98 Points.

What a night!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

2011 Babich Sauvignon Blanc Review

Babich Sauvignon Blanc is a year in and year out consistent white wine from the incredibly consistent Marlborough region of New Zealand. One of many inexpensive, yet zesty white wines coming out of that region and why they are so fun to review. Quality white wines at inexpensive prices. The 2011 vintage seems as solid as years past. The 2011 is the 95th year of winemaking from this producer. 2011 Babich Sauvignon Blanc Wine Review Light pearish color with a very clear body. The nose gives good hints of green apple, lime and citrus. This certainly screams cold shell fish on a warm breezy afternoon! The taste has good acidity with tart fruit and tropical flavors. It finishes pretty well. It has that "zest" you look for in New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. Still, the nose provides more complex flavors than the taste gives you. A good solid white wine at under $12 (for most people). Babich Wine Review Score: 86 POINTS