DonaldWilliams


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One final remark about the 2004 Merlot: It was great on its own, with the brie, and with the chicken curry salad. We ran out before the curtain went up on King Lear and were forced to open the Meritage I had brought along, knowing the single bottle wouldn't last. It was a woot wine from last year, cost more than this Merlot, and didn't come close in quality at any price, much less QPR. I'm already in for 2, and SWMBO is thinking about getting some, too. Kyle, you still have a little over an hour. Buy some.

Thanks to Sparky for helping out in our efforts to get a timely post out there to sway you.

"Always keep a bottle of Champagne in the fridge for special occasions. Sometimes the special occasion is that you've got a bottle of Champagne in the fridge". - Hester Browne


Ddeuddeg's Cheesecake Cookbook

MarkDaSpark


quality posts: 183 Private Messages MarkDaSpark

Week of 6/23 - Part 2 -- Donati White - Three Pack

2007 Pinot Blanc
2006 Pinot Grigio
2005 Chardonnay

This set's pack:
kkv123 - Pinot Grigio Labrat Report
auggie24 - Pinot Blanc Labrat Report
mketner - Chardnonnay Labrat Report


Someone has to put WD's kids thru college, but why does it have to be me!
*This post is for purposes of enabling only, and does not constitute any promise of helping pay for said enabling. It does indicate willingness to assist in drinking said wine.

MarkDaSpark


quality posts: 183 Private Messages MarkDaSpark

We will have labrats for the Donati Whites:

kkv123 wrote:OK, speaking of wine...I am so eagerly anticipating the arrival of both the Saxon Brown and Mumm shipments, so when I heard the bell I flew to the door. Sure enough, there stood the FedEx man with a box. But only one, so as I was signing for it, I asked if he was absolutely, positively sure there was not a second box on the truck. He looked at me and shook his head.

Dang! As I shut the door my heart sank, knowing that somehow the day would end with me making a trip to the UPS center to pick up my missing case of Mumm. But wait a minute...hadn't I ordered 2 Saxon Brown sets? This box was pretty light, more like one bottle than two. [The thought gave a kick-start to the mental gerbil wheel, which began to spin faster]. And that was the FED EX, guy...doesn't my wine usually come by UPS?

My heart skipped a beat. I ripped open the box to see the flash of golden ticket ---

LAB RAT! LAB RAT! The Pinot Grigio is mine!

And suddenly, the week got a whole lot better. I had planned for weeks to take last Monday off to celebrate my birthday. But an emergency work project kept me chained to my desk instead. On Tuesday, too. And Wednesday.

Suddenly, all became a distant memory. Thanks, WineDavid!

The wine is chilling.



Will post when the labrats report.


Someone has to put WD's kids thru college, but why does it have to be me!
*This post is for purposes of enabling only, and does not constitute any promise of helping pay for said enabling. It does indicate willingness to assist in drinking said wine.

MarkDaSpark


quality posts: 183 Private Messages MarkDaSpark

Labrat Report for Donati Chardnonnay - mketner


mketner wrote:Just got home from work today and see that I am chosen to be the guinea pig (wine reviewer). My first time, and I couldn't have had a better present for a Friday after a long work week.

So on the the review:
I received a Donati Family Vineyards 2005 Chardonnay, from Palcines San Benito County. It looks like a typical Chardonnay and has 14.1 % alcohol by volume (also good for a Friday after work). After a quick turbo chill in a container of ice and water we crack open the bottle. It should be noted that I am a red wine type of guy and generally drink the dryer ones. I ordered 2 of this set mostly for my wife.

All that being said, this is probably one of the best chardonnays that I have ever had. If you are looking for a sweeter taste they you should look elsewhere. This chardonnay has all the really good character of the grape and very little of the residual sugars that I feel kill most whites. This chardonnay has not gone too far down the other side of the spectrum however. By this I mean it is by no means a 'dry' wine, or bitter at all. It strikes a very good balance right in the middle. I don't taste any of the barrel which will have pluses and minuses for some of you. Perhaps it would be perfect after another year or so in the bottle in which the flavor would have blended more.

All in all I have no complaints about this wine, and in fact I am recommending it to those guys who normally can't take the white wines. This is a wine that the ladies and gentlemen should both enjoy and it is really nice, chilled, on a 90+ degree Friday afternoon.

Thanks Woot for the opportunity and I am going to go and enjoy the rest of this wine.



Someone has to put WD's kids thru college, but why does it have to be me!
*This post is for purposes of enabling only, and does not constitute any promise of helping pay for said enabling. It does indicate willingness to assist in drinking said wine.

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Labrat report on Donati Pinot Grigio - kkv123:


kkv123 wrote:Manos: The Hands of Fate! I was chosen as a lab rat for the 2006 Pinot Grigio. Since Loweel lives but a few blocks away, it seemed only neighborly to ask him to join me. [And yes, to those of you who wish to know, he is as personable and courteous in person as he is on the board.] Perhaps he'll post his own tasting notes later.

Hardware: We each tasted in a set of two Reidel glasses: the Sauvignon Blanc tumbler and a generic white wine stem. Both us preferred the tumbler, as it tended to concentrate the bouquet.

Pale gold in color, with legs of surprising length, the wine was initially tight right out of the chilly refrigerator, tasting of green apples. Nice acidity, but not overwhelming. Attempted pairing with parmesan reggiano nice, but not singing.

After a bit more time out of the refrigerator, and after tasting with a brilliant vegetable saute courteously contributed by Loweel, the wine opened a bit more with a hint of floral notes. After a bit more conversation, the wine opened fully - nice body, good balance with carmelized fruit...baked apples? A hint of grilled pineapple?

Conclusion: this is no high-acid paint thinner. Although most Pinot Grigio is best served well chilled, this wine surprises with depth, roundness, flavor and structure that carries through to nearly room temperature. Which would make it ideal an ideal "cocktail party" wine...

...but only if you could stand the thought of sharing.




Someone has to put WD's kids thru college, but why does it have to be me!
*This post is for purposes of enabling only, and does not constitute any promise of helping pay for said enabling. It does indicate willingness to assist in drinking said wine.

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Labrat report on Donati Pinot Blanc - auggie24


auggie24 wrote:Labrats reporting in on the Pinot Blanc:

Tasted with my wife. As a forward note, we did this a while after dinner (popcorn, Sour Patch Kids, and pop at WALL*E with the kids), and with crackers and cheese (please don't ask what kind) after the kids left with grandma. Let it be noted that we are like Ebert and Roeper when it comes to our wine - thumbs up or thumbs down. So we're trying here. Ask questions if you want, I'll be around tomorrow.

When I first opened the PB - at a fairly cold 40-45º, a sweet smell of pear accented by apples absolutely jumps out. This bodes well for my wife who loves sweet wines.

It is a nice pastel yellow when poured, looks pretty in the glass.

Smells good, looks fine, hoping the taste will blow our minds:

First taste, somewhat effervescent, but more smooth, sweet on the tongue, with the same pear and apple coming through in bushels. The finish is delectable – the sweetness fading somewhat, with the warmth and body enveloping the tongue and throat (my wife described the taste/feel as smoky in a good way). Good body, nice finish, not as sweet once it is down.

Second tasting - wine has warmed up significantly, and the experience is almost the opposite from above. There is a pleasant tartness at the top, reaching over the sweetness of the pear and apple, although they are still there.

As the wine moves through the mouth, the tartness mostly evaporates, leaving a pear and apple finish even more pronounced than it was before, less smoky

Although there were two distinct tastes, we enjoyed it both ways. With the first tasting, the wine was sweet, which made it very approachable. As it warmed up and flared its true colors, it was a little more dry. However, it was too late for someone who likes sweeter wines (the wife) to back out of, she was hooked. I may have to up my order...

As you can see, we tasted twice, leaving about half the bottle left over. The wine stood by its own with our 'impromptu' menu, and was very enjoyable on a warm summer night.

We are completely kidless tomorrow night, when we plan to finish the bottle off. I am taking suggestions on home-made, preferably land-based meals that take less than an hour from prep to finish for under $25 ingredients for two. After making that meal, I will come back and report back additional notes at that time.




Someone has to put WD's kids thru college, but why does it have to be me!
*This post is for purposes of enabling only, and does not constitute any promise of helping pay for said enabling. It does indicate willingness to assist in drinking said wine.

cheron98


quality posts: 123 Private Messages cheron98

Week of 6/30 -- Monticello Presidential Red - Two Pack

This week's pack:
favrerocks
cidiel

Previous Notes:
Khrisward

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MarkDaSpark


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Khrisward previous tasting notes:

Khrisward wrote:Hey everyone,

I actually drank this very wine at a dinner party about three months ago. In fact, I enjoyed it so much my friend gave me another bottle for graduation.

What I remember of the tasting is as follows:

The wine opens with very big mouth-filling fruit flavors of dark berry fruits (cherry, blackberry) which seem to be kissed by a nice mocha character (backed by a slight smoky/earthy essence). The wine has nice depth, and a very smooth texture (thanks to the Merlot), but somehow manages to obtain a fairly weighty mouthfeel - which I very much enjoyed. Overall a VERY enjoyable wine.

For a NAPA valley Cab it's about on-par for the price point, but my friend assures me he bought it for less (he's kind of cheap when it comes to CA wine) so I'm not sure I'm in for one.




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*This post is for purposes of enabling only, and does not constitute any promise of helping pay for said enabling. It does indicate willingness to assist in drinking said wine.

cheron98


quality posts: 123 Private Messages cheron98
favrerocks wrote:Labratting the 2005 Monticello Vineyards Presidential Red – by Scott Candage (“favrerocks”)

Just a bit of info about myself. I wouldn’t consider myself a wine expert like many of you here, or even close to anyone here. I’ve always enjoyed wine but only recently have I wanted to become serious about it. I’ve seen the blend information on this wine, and I do like Merlot and Syrah (don’t think I’ve ever had a Cab Franc), so I do expect to like this wine. My review might not be as detailed as other’s reviews might be, but a rookie’s perspective still has value (I hope).

So, some detail. I chilled this wine in my refrigerator all day then poured it over ice and gulped some down, very nice! KIDDING!!!! Per WD’s advice, splash decanted and waited for about an hour before trying. Very deep red, almost blood red color, very even color. The first thing I noticed on decanting was the tremendous fruit scent of the wine (the nose, I believe I’ve seen you all call it). I can still smell a little bit of the alcohol through the wine even after almost an hour of decanting, but I’m sure this will dissipate as the night wears on.

First impression of my first glass, without food – I’m quite surprised that the very fruity nose doesn’t turn into a massive fruit taste. It’s a very smooth wine, seems very balanced to me. The alcohol blends well in this wine, it’s not overbearing at all, but it is definitely there. I don’t find it too heavy of a wine on my tongue, nor too light. There’s quite a few different flavors going on, but even though I had read some of the reviews, I’m not going to pretend that, at this moment in my wine-drinking experience, I can tell the difference between different notes in the wine (or any wine). I didn’t want to use my labratting experience as a way to claim something I don’t know, nor did I want to merely repeat what others have said. However, I am enjoying the nice balance and taste of this wine. I’m betting this wine would go well with stronger cheeses but might overpower milder ones.

Second glass – with food (1:30 post-decanting). I saw that Chris Corley recommended that the Presidential Red went well with spicy Asian food. Unfortunately, I live in the Middle of Nowhere, North Dakota, and such wonderful cuisine is really nowhere to be found for me. So, when in doubt, I go to the best butcher I’ve ever been to (Walt’s Meat Market, Williston, North Dakota – “No one can beat our meat”) and get myself a nice rib-eye steak (prepared pepper-encrusted, garlic mashed on the side). With more time in the decanter, the wine gets more complex, and more flavors I can’t yet identify are definitely present (I know most of you are rolling your eyes, but this is a new experience for me – this is actually the first time I’ve ever used a decanter for wine, I just never knew). What I can say is that these new flavors are deeper and different than the more fruity flavors I experienced before. This wine goes just ok with the steak; its complex flavors are kind of overpowering the steak. I now see how this would go well with spicier food. But, that’s my problem, not yours. It’s not horrible with the steak, but I wouldn’t call it ideal either. I’m still enjoying it though. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to finish my dinner and my second glass of this very nice wine.

Did you miss me, I’m back. Third glass – with baseball – my beloved Boston Red Sox vs. the Tampa Bay Rays on MLB.tv (2-1 Rays, middle of the 5th) (2:00 post decanting). The alcohol scent isn’t really dissipating by now (I thought it might have by now), but is not overpowering. However, this seems to be a pretty high alcohol content wine, as I’m definitely feeling it after only two smallish glasses (for me, I bet they would be pretty average-sized glasses for most experienced wine fans here). The flavors are deeper and more complex, and are separating for me. If I were more experienced I might be able to identify the individual flavors, but I’ll save that more experienced labrats. But I am enjoying the flavors that I am tasting.

Final verdict – I really enjoy the 2005 Monticello Vineyards Presidential Red. A lot. If one were to bring a bottle or two of this wine to a dinner party where they were serving strongly flavored food, one would be the hit of the party and would be well remembered by the hosts of the party. I’ll try to find stronger flavored foods to pair this wine with when I get the full order. However, I would recommend this wine to anyone. It’s very flavorful, complex, and accessible to both wine veterans and rookies like me.



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cheron98


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cidiel wrote:Very happy that i ordered this wine... but it could easily sit for another 5+ years and still taste young. Napa had a killer year in 2005 and IMO this wine will not disappoint, this is for wine drinkers looking for a rich wine that can take some heavy foods with heat. The initial nose/flavors of the wine are solid blackberry and very strong tannins, you definitely need to let this decant for a bit before serving. After a hour or three the wine really begins to open up and show itself, as I said very rich and alcohol taste levels are high and hot. The wine will certainly be able to handle any big foods that you throw at it and I would recommend something smokey and spicy off the grill to really make the wine shine. A great wine for this summer bbq's but will easily store for several years to come. Enjoy!!



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bigriller


quality posts: 0 Private Messages bigriller

I hate to sound like a total noob (which i am), but how does one go about becoming a LabRat? Do you have to buy on the first day and then Woot randomly selects you? just wondering. The wine.woot blog is amazing by the way.

cheron98


quality posts: 123 Private Messages cheron98
bigriller wrote:I hate to sound like a total noob (which i am), but how does one go about becoming a LabRat? Do you have to buy on the first day and then Woot randomly selects you? just wondering. The wine.woot blog is amazing by the way.



First you have to send an email to labrat@woot.com and ask WineDavid to put you on the list. You won't receive a confirmation on it though. Then you have to purchase on the first day prior to 10AM CST. Typically when there's a two-offering week, it's only the first offering that gets ratted, but lately we've been seeing more and more rats on the second offering as well.

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cheron98


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Week of 7/7 -- Souverain Pinot Noir - Three Pack

2004 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir (x2)
2005 Sonoma County Pinot Noir

This week's pack:
Corrado (2005 PN) and part 2 and Day 2
davidgrahammd (2005 PN)

spdrcr05 (2004 PN)
joegopher (2004 PN)

Volunteers:
INTLGerard (2004 PN)

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cheron98


quality posts: 123 Private Messages cheron98
Corrado wrote:Here's my first unofficial report (more details later).

Blind tasting was pulled off for the missus (virtually double-blind) and would have been for me as well if I hadn't been able to immediately tell which was which.

Notes later will likely be more meaningful; these are SWMBO's notes based on about 30 minutes of glass-decanting. Dinner was an Italian herb-dry rub grilled chicken with a mushroom marinara sauce and green salad.

Wine 1 was the woot.wine. She found it to be smoky and had a bit of a edge, able to discern the alcohol through the flavors.
Wine 2 was the Morgan which was fuller, smoother, and just a lot more fun to drink.

MSRP on the Morgan was around $28-$30, but somehow Costco sold it for under $18, putting it about on par with this week's offering.

Round 1 goes to the Morgan in the head-to-head. Both are in their respecitve corners decanting and waiting a more detailed tasting later tonight.


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cheron98


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Corrado wrote:For those who missed my earlier comments, I opened a bottle of what I believe to be the best sub-$30 QPR Pinot Noir I've had (2005 Morgan Twelve Clones). MSRP was around $28/bottle, but I tracked it down at Costco for $18. It's the lower tier of Pinot from a winery that produces several $50+ single-vineyard Pinots (some of that fruit ends up in the Twelve Clones).

I set this up as a single-blind pseudo-horizontal tasting. I marked the bottom of two identical brown beer bottles poured about half a bottle of the Morgan into one bottle and about half the bottle of the Chateau Souverain into the other. I had the missus mix up the bottles (she had no idea what I was doing) so I didn't know which was which and poured us each a glass of each wine (Spiegelau Vino Grande Burgundy for her, Riedel "O" Pinot Noir for me).

We each sampled our wines and reflected. For me, the "blind" element of the test was gone before I tasted. The Morgan's distinctive nose was easily identifyable in comparison. You can see my wife's comments above. I held my comments for a second tasting after the wines had been aired out for a few hours and dinner was gone from my palate.

Between beer bottles and wine glass, both wines were open for about 4h before *this* tasting commenced. I chilled both wines up a bit to allow this second tasting to occur as they warmed to room temp and sampled as they warmed from the low 50's to around 70F. Notes are posted in the order tasted/reviewed.

2005 Chateau Souverain Pinot Noir
Sonoma County


COLOR: 5/5 - Rhubarb/raspberry red, bright, and light-bodied
NOSE: 11/15 - Shizophrenic nose starts with pencil shavings and mesquite smoke as the dominant aromas with raspberry vodka and strawberry kool-aid playing hide & seek in the background.
FLAVOR: 6/10 - Entry is hot and tart with lots of minerality. Smokiness from the nose carries onto the palate with boysenberry in the background.
FINISH: 6/10 - Raspberry sour-patch kids; fairly short.
POTENTIAL: 4/5 - The potential is in the bottle for this to be a much better drink down the road than today. The fruit is there, but playing second fiddle to the structural components of wine. This drinks like an adolescent wine that will be quite a charmer when it emerges from its awkward years.
OVERALL: 3/5 - There are plenty of individual things to be excited about with this wine, but the players don't have a game plan and my overall impression is, "awkward." This wine sets itself apart from many of its $20ish peers by having character and potential and, once the rough edges smooth over, will be very presentable. Recommend cellaring for a bit longer; will likely be more of a food-wine than one you'll drink by itself. 85/100


2005 Morgan Twelve Clones Pinot Noir
Santa Lucia Highlands, Monterey


COLOR: 5/5 - Black-raspberry red, more opaque than translucent.
NOSE: 13/15 - Big cherry cola, leather, green veggies, and saltiness mark a gloriously pungent nose.
FLAVOR: 8/10 - Silky smooth entry, palate-coating leather, 'shroom, and cherry pipe smoke dominate.
FINISH: 7/10 - Cherry smoke lingers pleasantly on the finish with raspberry coming in toward the end.
POTENTIAL: 3/5 - While there's been some evolution of this wine over the past year, it doesn't show signs of growing long in the tooth and should hold well in a cellar for several more years.
OVERALL: 4/5 - In the world of sub $30 Pinot, I haven't found an equal. It has a wonderful mix of earth and fruit and complexity that is often lacking in (overpriced) $40+ Pinots. Flexible drinkability in that it the has the stones to be a great drink-alone wine, but isn't so in-your-face that it can't be a wonderful accompaniment to a meal. 90/100

While not the extent as the Distinguished Gentleman from Fu, I think I'm pretty fussy when it comes to Pinot Noir to the point where I rarely buy it any more and find myself frequently disappointed, regardless of how much I spend. For that reason I have a tough time spending more than $30 on a bottle. Catch-22, eh?

As much as I panned the CS in comparison to the Morgan (sorry, WD, Susan, Ed), it's still one of the better PN's I've had this year and, unlike most of the sub-$20 stuff, there's actually something there worth waiting for.

The simple truth is that the style of the Morgan is more my speed for Pinot (more funk, less smoke). This would be a great addition to a cellar and would be a teriffic wine to use as a participant in a $15-$25 Pinot Noir tasting party where it would likely stand out from its peers. I was in for 2 for myself and I don't regret the decision.



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cheron98


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davidgrahammd wrote:Very happy to find my rat package waiting at the end of a long day...

Tasted on it's own without benefit (or lack thereof) food alongside...

This is not a chewy mouth-bomb type of PN. The texture is certainly lighter than many other PNs, I've had. This is not a complaint but rather a distinction to be noted.

Straight out sipping brings out a very peppery flavor with a definite taste of the alcohol. After 45 minutes or so, however, the flavors really open up and the berries make their presence known. The peppery undertone stays, though.

A definite benefit is there to be had from decanting this for 30 minutes or so.

This wine would go just fine with a pasta dish, especially with a pesto or alfredo sauce. It would also be just fine with some fruit or cheese. A big old hunk-o-cow (steak) or heavy marinara sauce would likely overpower this.

And...as heretical as it sounds...I would not mind having this with a good fish entree like a seared tuna or salmon.

I greatly appreciate the opportunity to share like this and my "golden ticket" will be prominently displayed at my desk.



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cheron98


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INTLGerard wrote:With the labrats for the 2004 late to the game maybe my experience can help. As many have expressed here, I too was unfamiliar with Souverain Pinot Noir. Their Cabs, Merlots and Zins are well known and highly recommended for their value. Well I recently had the opportunity to taste my first CS PN and it was the 2004. I found the style to be classic new world, fruit forward, soft tannin and supple body, strawberry, cherry and sweet spice, cinnamon on the palate. I did pickup some subtle earthy notes and a hint of smoke which complimented the complexity in the background. Overall, a well balanced, smooth and easy to drink (in one sitting) wine with a nice lingering finish that only left me wanting for more and more I had. IMO this is an excellent soft summer red that pairs extremely well with food. Try it with grilled Salmon. I would also recommend this is an excellent bridge wine or intro for any nubbies to dry reds. Typically, these are not built to age like old world PN and while I am sure this will hold up a while the fruit is so expressive now that I do not see the benefit in holding on for any significant length of time. Although your company at Thanksgiving will be glad you did so. Pinot Noir is my favorite red with food and this will not disappoint. As far as the QPR goes, IMO this is an excellent deal and certainly in keeping with Sourverain and W.W.'s rep for delivering just that.

As far as any AVA concerns, the regions represented here are well know as that best sources for PN and Chard in the area. It is no accident that the Sparkling houses reside there. IMO there is no need for concern here.



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cheron98


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Corrado wrote:So, since I know this offering ends tonight, I'm also breaking from my 'night-cap' tasting tradition and pounding some vino after work.

Same wines, same glasses, 62.1F according to my Woot-purchased thermometer.

Chateau Souverian nose has mellowed is more woodsy than smokey. Entry has smoothed substantially and is showing more raspberry and boysenberry. Fruit comes first followed by smoke, a reversal of last night's tasting. Finish carries some smoke and the tartness has abated, but is similar to initial impressions. For those who like numbers, my gut tells me this picked up 3 points overnight (88 points).

I'll confess to having a love affair with the Morgan. The nose of the wine was still with me at work today and the first whiff of the glass tonight, while subdued, is still doin' it's thing. Hasn't lost a bit of the smoothness, but the flavor explosion isn't there any more. As with the CS, the finish hasn't been that affected by a day of being open. The subdued flavors lead naturally to a softer finish. Gut rating again, I'd drop a point off on the flavor component, bringing the Morgan on Day 2 closer to the Chateau Souverain at 89 points.

A year or so ago, the Morgan was actually drinking a helluva lot better on Day 2 than on Day 1 and it's been interesting to track its short-term aging. With only one bottle left, the next sample will be the end of the road.

For the 05 Chateau Souverain, I would recommend forgetting about them in the cellar until early 2009. If this '05 is aging similarly to the '04s, I would expect VERY positive reviews of the 2004 from tonight's lab rats based on it being a year more mature than what I feel is an adolescent 2005 Pinot Noir.



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cheron98


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spdrcr05 wrote:So my rebuke from Corrado for my shameless begging aside, I think I am your first official Rat Report for the 2004 offering of this excellent wine.

As I said in my earlier post, FEDEX delivered the box around 2:00 Eastern and Mom signed for it. "What's this?" she asks as I come downstairs after seeing the FEDEX truck drive away. Oh, could it be... did I really draw the proverbial "golden ticket"? YES! I am positively overcome with joy and elation runs through my veins!

So bringing the box into the kitchen I open it to discover that the aforementioned proverbial golden ticket is in fact an ACTUAL golden ticket sitting on top of my very carefully packed and cold pack protected bottle. Huh, all this time I just thought it was WW slang.

I pulled the bottle out of the box and set it on the counter to settle a bit. Around 2:30, unable to contain myself and wanting to get it into the decanter before we left for the latest round of D.C. area sight-seeing I cut the foil and pulled the cork. The vast majority went straight into my decanter, but approximately 2 small or 1 large drink went into my version of a B.A.G (Big A$$ Glass).

The color is exactly BMW Barbera Red .. I know this because I saw one yesterday and when I looked through the glass, DING... that's what I thought of. And yes, I did have to go look up the name of the color.

I swirled and smelled and liked what I was getting... Some spice that I can't quite put my finger on poking through what can only be described as an earthy funk... followed by hints of ripe cherries and not so much raspberries, but raspberry candy.

The initial taste hot feeling like it was a tad heavy on the alcohol, but the fruit immediately jumped up and grabbed me which was then followed by that earthy funk and a spice taste that isn't pepper but again... I can't quite get a hold of it... across my mid-palate. The finish was smooth and long, lingering on the sides of my tongue, but not overwhelming as the tannins seem to be in pretty good balance with the initial fruit mini-bomb. Hmmmm I think to myself... I bet this will be AMAZING a year from now! Mom says to me, "Oh you opened it... let me have a taste" Mom, who drinks 1-2 glasses of whatever red you put in front of her takes a sip and pronounces, "Pretty good stuff" High praise indeed!

We then left for a few hours to go visit Great Falls National Park.... A must see if you are ever in the D.C. area.. but that's a story for another post. Dinner followed and it was 6:00 by the time we returned home. Oh joy I think, 3 1/2 hours in the decanter.

Out comes the B.A.G. and in goes a solid slug of wine... I start to swirl and just as I'm about to calibrate my olfactory organ, I hear, "Hey, I want a glass". So Mom gets a glass as well. Now.. where was I? Oh yeah, swirl & sniff... hey... remember that spice... CINNAMON! Definitely cinnamon. Hey Mom, smell the cinnamon? "Huh, cinnamon who would have thought wine would smell like cinnamon on cherries?" It's at times like this that I remember why I love my Mom so much!

Now onto the tasting... sour cherries and not quite ripe raspberries, a hint of strawberries... the not unpleasant funk has mellowed but still there and the finish is longer and smoother but still pulling up the sides of my tongue . This needs some food. Run to the fridge and what to my wandering eyes does appear? mmmm aged cheddar and shaved prosciutto. Take a small piece of cheese, wrap it in a little ham, savor the bite and then another sip of wine... YES... the tannins perfectly cut the residual fat and allow the fruit to come through even more.

So, final verdict: Now I'm a lot like several others on the boards here, and to quote Lowell, "Big bold bad ass reds are right in my wheelhouse". This is an excellent wine that pairs very well with any meat dish. I think if I was choosing, I'd stick with pork or a mellow beef, and for me, it's non inconceivable that I would drink this with an oilier fish. For the price, I think this is an excellent wine and I'm glad I'm in for 3. My only cautionary note, is that think that I am going to sit on these for at least a year before I open another one and see what happens then.

Oh, I almost forgot. Mom says, "How much is this? Can I buy a bottle from you?" And then she didn't even blink when I quoted the retail price. Again, high praise. You know what Mom, I'm coming to see you in 3 weeks, when my shipment gets here, you can have one (CARP did I really just say that?!?!?!)

And Corrado... I promise no more begging... even though it seemed to work... or maybe it was throwing Mom under the bus that got WD's attention. Whatever, no more begging... at least until Dad comes to visit! ;-)


p.s. It's now almost 7 and the wine has been in the decanter 4 1/2 hours. I just poured my second glass and WOW that made a HUGE difference. The only word I can think of to add to what I wrote above is "SMOOOOOOTH"



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sanity


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Corrado and spdrcr05, great posts, thank you. Corrado, I appreciate the fact that you compared the two Pinot's, and spdrcr05, I enjoyed the analogies that are other than organic - BMW Barbera Red, I knew exactly what color you meant! Karen McNeil, a once upon a time wine c r i t i c for Sunset Mag, used to write about wine using terms from pop culture. I enjoyed her style.

cheron98


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joegopher wrote:This looks like it might be "too little too late," but I thought I would add my impressions to the board anyway.

Upon opening, the wine has a very fuity smell that is really pleasant and mild. It is medium bodied in color and smells wonderful as it opens in the glass.

The first taste was really heavy on cherry and a hint of strawberry and had a very smooth finish. The wine didn't open much more as it stayed in the glass, which to me is OK for a Pinot, and stayed consistant to the end. I actually tried some white chocolate with the end of the glass and the wine tasted like homemade Strawberry jam afterwards. Really pleasant.

I would look to pair this with a pack of Marlboro's and a bag of potato chips. OK, just kidding there. I really think this would go well with grilled chicken or a good pork chop.

I am not one for putting numbered ratings on a wine, so I won't. On my scale of:
Plonk
Good Daily Drinker
Very Good Daily drinker
Cellar Worthy
Oh My God, I am keeping this for 10 years

I would call this a very good daily drinker and I can't wait for the rest of the shipment.



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cheron98


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Week of 7/7 -- Cavedoni Botte Piccola Italian Balsamic

This offering's pack:
jammele
kmeyersvt

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cheron98


quality posts: 123 Private Messages cheron98
jammele wrote:LABRAT REVIEW: Hooray!! My first chance to be a labrat!! I was so excited to see the bottle arrive in the mail today. And, I am just as happy that it is for vinegar as I would be if it were wine. That is the beauty of being Italian.

I compared the Cavedoni Botte Piccola Italian Balsamic to two other bottles of balsamic I have at home (I like vinegar, ok!?!). The first was a more expensive Napa Valley Harvest balsamic – which says it is 100% barrel aged balsamic vinegar from Modena - and the second was the typical cheaper kind you get at the store - Monari Federzoni.

First, compared to the Monari, the Cavedoni held up very well. Sweeter, less acidic in smell and taste, and much thicker. Though not syrupy, the Cavedoni is clearly a thicker liquid than the Monari. Like your average cheap balsamic, the Monari can make your eyes water if you try to drink it. The Cavedoni was easier to sip.

However, compared to the Napa Valley, I found the Cavedoni harsher, less sweet, and more acidic. It had a more overpowering “herbal” smell versus the more fruity smelling Napa. The Cavedoni also tasted and smelled more oaky (and not in a good way) than the Napa, which was also barrel aged. Unlike the always sweet Napa, the Cavedoni had a noticeable aftertaste and bitterness. Note that the Napa was aged 18 years, while the Cavedoni was aged only 7, which may be the difference.

Final thoughts – the Cavedoni is much better than the average crud you get at the store which is good for salads but not much else. But, it’s not the classic balsamic that you can put on ice cream. It will go excellently on food, and would be very enjoyable on tomatoes or on grilled vegetables. For those of you who are uninitiated in the great balsamics, the Cavedoni may not quite sell you on the difference between good and sublime, but it would certainly get you closer. For a gift, the Cavedoni is a great choice. It comes in a nice box, is in a beautiful bottle, and comes with a pour spout. All nice touches.

And, just to make clear that I am not crazy, I had my best taste testers check it out – my 10 year old son and my 8 year old daughter.
Their thoughts on the Napa: sweeter, more vanilla flavor, with a sour and creamy aftertaste
Their thoughts on the Cavedoni : more wine tasting and sour, with a sweeter aftertaste
They both preferred the Napa, particularly if, as my son says, you don’t like wine-taste in the vinegar. My daughter said that the Cavedoni was good, just not as good as the other one. So, they agreed with me. And I didn’t coach them – I promise.



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cheron98


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kmeyersvt wrote:I won Labrat this week! I was so very excited to see the box sitting on my desk when I came out of a meeting this afternoon! Of course, then I found out it was sold out, so I don't even know who is going to read this, but here I go.

Because Corrado is the one who told me about it and gave me the labrat email address, I had to invite him and his wife over to dinner tonight to labrat with me. We used the balsamic three ways: on bruschetta, on vanilla ice cream with fresh local strawberries and raspberries, and by itself.

By itself, there are clear notes of brown sugar which are balanced very nicely with the mild acidity of the vinegar. I do love balsamic and have a very nice non-aged bottle that I use frequently. It was surprising to me how little of the acid was left at 7 years of aging. The sweetness was certainly there but balanced immediately with the acidity for a very pleasant flavor combination.

On Bruschetta it was heavenly. I usually make my bruschetta (tomato, basil, garilic and olive oil) with regular balsamic, so this aged balsamic was a definite step up. The sweetness of the balsamic toned down some of the bite of the fresh garlic I'd infused into the olive oil and enhanced the flavor of the first local tomatoes I've had this year. Corrado also enjoyed it on just plain garlic oil and toasted bread. I can't wait to get some more local tomatoes to have some more bruschetta. I may be eating it for dinner every night this week!

Then, on to the ice cream. I had to try it even though I was a bit skeptical (my husband was not brave enough to put vinegar on his ice cream). On the Ben and Jerry's vanilla with fresh sliced local strawberries and raspberries, it was surprising yet again. I think the tartness of the unsweetened fruit absorbed the acidity of the vinegar because I got no acidity in that delicious bowl of dessert. It was very enjoyable.

The bottle comes beautifully packaged including a cork with a drizzling spout which works beautifully. If there were any left for all of you to buy, I would heartily recommend it! Too bad it's sold out ...

Thank you WineDavid for the Golden Ticket and the chance to enjoy this balsamic ahead of everyone else. When this bottle is gone, hopefully none too soon, I will definitely have to seek out some more! My palate is forever spoiled. Tomorrow, I need to find some fresh mozzerella for a caprese salad!



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cheron98


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Week of 7/14 -- Chase Family Cellars - Two Pack

Zinfandel Vertical!
2004 Hayne Vineyard Zinfandel
2005 Hayne Vineyard Zinfandel

This week's pack:
paryb (2004 Zin)
borisgoodenough (2004 Zin) (more to follow)

kylemittskus (2005 Zin)
cameo932 (2005 Zin)

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kylemittskus


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cheron98 wrote:Week of 7/14 -- Chase Family Cellars - Two Pack

Zinfandel Vertical!
2004 Hayne Vineyard Zinfandel
2005 Hayne Vineyard Zinfandel

This week's pack:
TBD




Save two spots. One for you and one for me. ;) Here's hoping!!!

"If drinking is bitter, change yourself to wine." -Rainer Maria Rilke

"Champagne is a very kind and friendly thing on a rainy night." -Isak Dinesen

cheron98


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cameo932 wrote:The 2005....

grilled some GREAT sirloin burgers, some oven fries (tossed some large wedges in sea salt, pepper, parsley and onion), and rounded out the food portion with a tomato & mozzarella salad...

started decanting at 6:00 -- I of course had to have a little sip....found it to be easy to drink, but it immediately fills the mouth with spice...not pepper and not all unpleasant, but spicy right away...also it is strong and goes into the nose quickly too, but it's missing that all-too-familiar rubbing alcohol fragrance of the lesser zins that I remember from college....nice....

ate at 6:45...wine was still spicy, but not as big right away...almost an afterthought that jumps up and grabs you - my hubby - the diet coke drinker who wanted to try anyway said " wow - this is smooth"...so that tells you how nice it is...there also seemed to be a hint of fruit in it too....not sweet and fruity, just something in the initial taste before the zest comes on to get ya.....it really paired well with the beef and heartier/heavier flavors...

my one word summation: SMOOTH

think it would have been even better tomorrow - but alas, I'll never know with this bottle as it's now all gone....

hope this helps those who are straddling the fence - I'm in for 2 already -- and I'm thinking of gifting...thanks for the opportunity...and I hope my very non-wine-thoughts help explain this one well enough to do it justice...it was delish!



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cheron98


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paryb wrote:

Yup. That's an erlenmeyer flask, that's how I roll.



paryb wrote:Wow! wine.woot has been down for me for about an hour....


Anyway, we left the bottle to decant for about 45 minutes: before our first taste (lady paryb and I)

Nose: spicy, especially nutmeg, but more subdued and a little sweet...just like eggnog. I'm serious there is eggnog in here, LadyParyb picked that one out, and she nailed it.

Taste is fruity, all the components of a fruit bomb, but light, a little citrus even shows up to the party, specifically orange peel. Toward the end, the cranberries take over and linger....they really have to. (sorry I couldn't resist)

Finish lingers on fruit for a bit, then the nutmeg shows right back up for a quick encore.

The color is a little lighter than what I expect out of a zin, but the taste profile is spot on. So far.



paryb wrote:well since round 2 has already happened, due to the down time for the site for me...here it is:

2.5 hours from opening, this wine has opened up a lot....maybe too much. We had steaks and a baby green salad, with feta, and a greek dressing. The nose is fruitier than before. lots of candy flavors, and sweet cherry. the wood showed up for a bit too. There is a bitterness that suprises me on the finish though. That's new. The nutmeg is gone, but a roll of red lifesavers has taken it's place.
I miss the eggnog.

Well, as I type, I just had the last sip of the bottle...and the nutmeg showed up once again...sang a duet with the cherries. Man, I am glad I have 3 of these puppies headed my way.

Strong work, Jeff and Pam, Strong work.



paryb wrote:I forgot to mention, the steak paring, wasn't really on point. I enjoyed this guy much better by himself. some fruit, cheese, honey and bread would be spot on though.



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cheron98


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borisgoodenough wrote:LABRAT REPORT: 2004 Chase Zinfandel, Hayne Vineyard

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: A very pretty wine that's not what we expected. Surprisingly elegant, well-rounded and food-friendly, with white chocolate, raspberry and exotic spices. Good value at the going price. All four of us who tasted scored it between 90 and 92.

Full notes, with digressions, to follow.

Joel



borisgoodenough wrote:At the request of the old coot, the remaining members of Hamburg Township Emergency Labratting Response Team convened promptly at 7 PM. (Claymore, who posted just above, is the follicle-challenged guy!)

Prodigious quantities of pulled pork and barbecue brisket from Chef Chris over at the Boogie Woogie rested in the oven for the post-tasting gluttony. Lots of Spiegelau waited to be broken at each place setting. And up for tasting: the golden ticket 2004 Chase Hayne Vineyard and its three zinous challengers: 2006 XYZin 10, 2003 JC Cellars, and 2004 Rafanelli.



Tasted unblind. After the first round of tasting, we proceeded to the barbecue, with lots of Zin still in the glass to test their foodworthiness and how they were opening.

2006 XYZin, 10 Year, California
Mid-ruby color that's significantly lighter than the others in the group. An odd mixture of herbs and jam on the nose, reasonable fruit on the attack but quickly runs into trouble due to a weak body, sucked-out mid-palate and a hot, alcoholic finish. One of the other tasters described it as having Gamay character. Definitely the skunk at this garden party; no one volunteered to return to see how it worked with the food. Score: 79

2003 JC Cellars Zinfandel, Iron Hill Vineyard, Sonoma Valley
Now that's more like it! Ultra ripe jammy nose, bright red fruits, hints of white pepper, plump mid-body, good depth but slightly lacking in the acid department, fairly short finish. To some of us, the fruit tastes more like Paso Robles than Sonoma. Nice food match, but could use a bit more acid. Score: 88

2004 Rafanelli Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley
A long-time benchmark to judge other Zins by. Quickly Indicates the vintage issues of 2004: lighter-bodied and less gnarly and concentrated fruit than typical Rafanelli. But what great fruit it is: pure, sweet black cherry flavors, dark tones almost reminiscent of a Mendoza Malbec. Silken palate, beautifully balanced acidity. Great with food. Score: 92 (unanimous among the group)

2004 Chase Zinfandel, Hayne Vineyard, Napa Valley
OK, I confess: I saw "Hayne Vineyard" and expected Turley. The Woot writeup doesn't exactly discourage that train of thought. The wine with the monster fruit and even bigger alcohol, designed to clash with and ultimately crush all attempts at food pairing. Custom-engineered to garner 98 points from Parker's palate.

That's why the Chase was a surprise. Whether a result of the vintage or the winemaking, this is a Pretty Wine -- a description never applied to Turley. Slightly lighter color than the Rafanelli, a white-choclatey nose with lots of raspberry. Exotic Asian spices. Elegant palate, silky, slightly plump, well-balanced and very round. Became even "prettier" as it opened in the glass.

The best food wine in the bunch -- one of our tasters rated it "Number One with a mouthful of the greens and pulled pork." It begs for spiced dishes. Score: 91 (group range 90-92).

Just the (golden) ticket for a Tuesday night...

Joel




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cheron98


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kylemittskus wrote:Labrat kylemittskus checking in with the 2005 Chase Zinfandel.

Please remember that I am an inchoate enjoyer of the wine. I will do my best to do the labrat legend well but ask questions if I am not specific enough or leave something out.

Decanting begins at 5:15 PST.

First sniffy sniff sans any decanting: very sweet, no spice, a bit of the alcohol heat in the background. It’s a softer smell, some cherry, like ripe cherry.

First taste, sans any decanting: a mouth full of flavor. Not fruit bomby at all. Cherries, maybe a bit of plum. Not jammy. A pleasant alcohol burn on the back end. Not like, wow, but like, a nice balance after the sweet taste. I say sweet as in supple, not as in like, sugar-sweet. I am going to like this wine very very much.

Going to pick up dinner. More to come. Stay tuned folks.



kylemittskus wrote:Labrat posting two:

Dinner was gnocchi with marinara sauce, a side salad with creamy italian dressing, and some bread.

I was weary to try the wine with food because it was so good on its own. I tend to prefer the subtle flavors of the wine instead of the robust ones that food brings out. The food brought out some white pepper and some other complex spices that my palate is not trained enough to pull out. Also maybe some other darker fruit flavors. Plum maybe. I don't think of this wine as dinner wine, but rather, desert or cheese wine. I can easily see how some nice blue cheese would pair well with this wine.

I also thought of an odd adjective for it: it's creamy. It is also smooth but it has a velvety feel to it too.

I'm going to let my mouth settle from the spicy marinara.

Last part coming in a while.



kylemittskus wrote:Part three:

Same creamy nose. Alcohol burn isn't there anymore. A bit of spice on the nose. The flavor has changed. It has more depth. Still not a fruit forward Zin which is nice. A bit of orange peel on the back end with a little citric acid flavor. Still some white pepper. Medium length finish.

Oh! I just got a bit of chocolate on the mid palate. That was very nice. And it's still there. This is a complex wine. I wish I had picked up some cheese.

I am going to say this wine is a solid 90. I would recommend decanting for longer than an hour because now, the subtle flavors like the chocolate are appearing. Man, that chocolate is nice.

Sorry! I never commented on color. Very deep, almost brown. It is still diaphanous but not translucently so. And that chocolate is hanging around.

I do not regret my order whatsoever and I am very excited to let this wine sit for a year and see how it changes.

Thank you wine.woot, Wine David, and Chase Wineries for allowing me this pleasure. This is one hell of a Zinfandel.

Cheers!

Edit: Sorry. Forgot one last thing. This wine has nice leg. Individual, slow rolling legs. I am liking it. And that chocolate, I don't mean to make it sound like that's the dominant flavor because it's not, but I am just really enjoying it. It tastes like older chocolate like Gary said. It's not sweet, not dark, but kind of dusty. My favorite characteristic of this wine.

Ok. I think I'm done now.


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Week of 7/21 -- Brian Benson Cellars Syrah - Two Pack

2004 Syrah Denner Vineyards
2005 Syrah Denner Vineyards

This week's pack:
daddybush (2004)
madpoet (2004)

hk94 (2005)
blolumz (2005)
Lucky Bastards (aka RPM Wine Tour-ists) (2005)
cheron98 (2005) (Hey, that's me!)

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cheron98 wrote:Week of 7/21 -- Brian Benson Cellars Syrah - Two Pack

2004 Syrah Denner Vineyards
2005 Syrah Denner Vineyards

This week's pack:
TBD


... though, w/ any luck & a lil' old fashioned cajoling of WD, it might include the rpm tour crowd as well (NOT in replacement of) you lucky bas-tahds out there!

do you know... what biodynamics is?

themostrighteous


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themostrighteous wrote:... though, w/ any luck & a lil' old fashioned cajoling of WD, it might include the rpm tour crowd as well (NOT in replacement of) you lucky bas-tahds out there!


JOATMON wrote:The RPM Wine Tour labrattery reporting:

The current tasting conditions are: we’ve all tasted 30+ wines today. The current air temperature is chilly perhaps in the fifties, as is the wine (we stashed it in the ice chest to avoid overheating it). Not decanted. Sampled in the finest plastic glasses at the Best Western Garden Inn.


The Group Notes

Aces219 says black fruits with a bit of earth – very fruity and hot on the finish – generally enjoying it (she admits she likes fruit bombs). Mr Aces says it is red and cold.

Nematic says got a slight herbaceous and green taste.

DonaldWilliams – lot of stewed plums on the nose – lot of nice black fruit – thought it would be hot once it warmed up, but surprised its was not.

Cesare says Welch’s grape juice dark color – long legs. Meaty.

Joatmon says chalk on the mouth. Can't think of a food I could pair it with. Slight herbaciousness on the nose?

Bahwm – says plums – maybe peppery/spicy. Bold.

RPM – Overripe. Not my style. Well made. High alcohol is not offensive. If you like full bodied, forward fruit wines – you will not be disappointed.

Javadrinker – Doesn’t get much from the nose.

TMR – Overripe, stewed prunes in the nose. Not cooked. Very large fruit-bomb type of wine. Not my type.

Polarbear22 – strong fruit. Decent finish. I’d drink it after dinner.

Jwhite6114 – Thinks he kind of likes this one. Would probably let it breathe a while longer. Drink by itself. Concur with others’ comments.

MarkDaSpark – Liked it very much – very fruity. Doesn’t need food. Not sure it would pair with food.

Woopdedoo – once it warms up, it has an astringent finish.
do you know... what biodynamics is?

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javadrinker wrote:Just to expand a bit on the limited rattery notes that were transcribed on my behalf (Woop you make a lousy secretary ), I actually said more than "I didn't get much on the nose". For me that was to be expected drinking cold wine from plastic cups. Oh well. As for the taste, this Syrah had a lot of dark fruits on the front end but it was the plums that lost me on the back end. It just didn't do much for me. As TMR mentioned, these were stewed plums but the wine was most definitely not cooked. It was just part of the wine making style. There were also some other hints in the flavor profile that I couldn't find the right words for. I tasted Armida's '05 Flora Ranch Chalk Hill Syrah earlier in the day and I got a lot of the same flavor hints. The pourer described the syrah to someone else as "meaty, leathery". I don't think I agree with that descriptor but if this is what "meaty, leathery" is supposed to taste like then it's in the Brian Benson Syrah too. And someone asked if any of the RPM tour peoples were going to buy. Several said they were going to and some already had and were glad they did after tasting the wine with us. It's just not my style of Syrah.
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cheron98


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hk94 wrote:OK, I'm impatient, so I'm not decanting. Here it goes, The Brian Benson Cellars 2005 Syrah.

Color: Inky, a prune juice color. Good start. A swirl in the glass shows big ass legs.

Nose: The alcohol is noticeable, not surprising, since this is a big wine. Earthy, maybe a hint of plumminess. Perhaps there is some herbiness there, but it isn't giving me much right now.

Taste: Wow. Fruity at first, then the typical Paso Robles black pepper taste in the mid-pallet. This is what I love about paso robles syrahs! Doesn't finish as hot as I was expecting, but there is a tad bit of heat there. Would probably go away with a little bit of decanting. Firm, but not overpowering tannins. Very jammy.

That's all I've got. I'm not the best at describing why I like wines - it is like art. If a painting makes me feel good, I like it. Don't ask me to explain why. I get the same feeling from this wine. And after getting to know a little bit about Brian, I can see why I like this. He's really put himself into this wine. A solid effort. If you're into BIG ASS SYRAHS, this will not disappoint.



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cheron98


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madpoet wrote:'Rat Report: 2004 Syrah

First let me say I'm by no means an expert, this is just the opinion of one guy who likes Syrahs a lot We paired this wine tonight with a great pork tenderloin that had been stewing in the crock pot for 14 hours today. Typically I'd look to pair this with beef, but I didn't expect to get that golden ticket so pork it is! I decanted the wine for about 1.5 hours before drinking.

I'll start by saying the color was really nice. I love a deep purple wine, and this fits the bill. The aroma was actually fairly mild. Not at all a blast of alcohol or fruit, surprisingly mellow. The wine itself was something of a surprise. I really liked it, my wife not so much. Not at all a fruit bomb. VERY definite peppery flavor in the mid. A bit more than I was expecting, but very pleasant. Not at all what I would consider hot. This is not a "big" Syrah. It's pleasant, fruity without being overbearing, and the flavors were good.

Now my wife's point of view... she wasn't a huge fan. Her words were that it was "heavy and earthy". She couldn't really explain it a lot better than that, but she definitely didn't like it as well as some of the Aussie Shiraz we've enjoyed, or even some of the local Connecticut wineries. So I'd say this wine isn't for everyone, even for Syrah drinkers.

But hey, that just means more for me! I'll let you know how another glass goes tomorrow after 24 hours open.

-Paul



madpoet wrote:So last night we had the rest of the bottle with a nice steak. Decanted for 24 hours at that point. It became fairly mild in my opinion. The peppery taste was almost completely lost, although it did still leave some heat on the back of the tongue. The wife enjoyed it a lot more. Said it had really lightened up. I don't think I personally preferred it decanted that long, I liked it better with the pepper bite.



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cheron98


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daddybush wrote:Labrat Report, 2004 Brian Benson Cellars Syrah

Wife and I opened the bottle and allowed it to decant for about 35-40 minutes. Beautiful deep purple, inky magenta color. Bacony undertones in the nose at first then opened up with blackberry and plumy hints. Perky and peppery on the palate at first, then mellowed out as it opened with plum and raisin characteristics. Alcohol was a bit heavy at first until it opened up a bit. We paired it with veal parmesan and garlic bread, got through a little more than half a glass each and decided to wait to finish the bottle until after our meal. The garlicky tomato sauce was too acidic, almost masking the characteristics of the wine. Would probably be better with a cream based sauce but a very nice wine regardless.

Once we finished our meal, we slowly finished the remainder of the bottle with cheese and salami, causing it to draw out the big berry/plumy flavors. Definitely a stand alone wine. Doesn't need to be paired with complicated dishes. Fruit seemed to shine through towards the end after being opened for a while. Noticed most of the fruit when we drank it alone.

For the price, this is a nice wine. Would love to see how this compares to the 05' and will open that asap after it arrives.

Hope this helps a few people out there make their purchase decision. For the price, this is a nice value. It's not a wine that we were familiar with prior to wine.woot.com but its a wine that would consider purchasing in the future.



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cheron98


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blolumz wrote:That would be me...

Interesting wine here. The wife and I have been WWing from the beginning, but I never get much of a chance to jump into the conversation from week to week. My tastes tend to lean toward the heavier wines, whereas the wife leans toward the lighter reds. To give some frame of reference, I really enjoyed the Pepperbridge and MacRostie offerings from way back when, and the SO didn't care for either. We both loved the Donati and Wellington woots.

That said, I fully expected to be drinking this whole bottle of Syrah myself. Upon opening the bottle, the bouquet was VERY strong; almost unpleasantly so. We poured a couple of glasses and figuratively dove in.

For starters, the color was a deep purple (me)/garnet (the missus). On first taste, I got fruit immediately followed by an overwhelming taste of pepper. Surprisingly (based on historical preference), my other half loved it from the first sip, while I was still on the fence. We finished off our first glasses and decided to let the rest of the bottle decant while we made dinner.

Round two: chicken parmesan. My chicken didn't stand a chance. We finished off dinner sans wine, then came back to reassess. I could taste much more of the fruit at this point, and found the wine a lot more enjoyable. Nice and smooth, with a medium finish. A little on the dry side, I think, but I don't mean that as a bad thing.

Overall, it's another great Paso wine. Prior to wine.woot, we had no idea Paso Robles existed. Now, some of our favorite wines are from the region, so much so that we flew up to the wine festival this past May. The Paso wines we've had seem to have a very distinct character, and this one is no exception. We look forward to seeing the winery at our next trip to Paso.



I saw HitAnyKey42 on wine.woot! and clicked "I want one!"

sanity


quality posts: 5 Private Messages sanity
cheron98 wrote:



Excellent labrat reports everyone! Interesting how both Parmesan dishes were not the best pairing with the Syrah, and how enjoyable they were on their own. I, too have many favorite wines from the Paso Robles area.

cheron98


quality posts: 123 Private Messages cheron98

Thanks to WD and winefarm for sending a bottle of the 2005 for my office party!

cheron98 wrote:Well, I did a test of the 2005 BB vs a 2004 Wellington Syrah Englandcrest today, just for you, along with some of my co-workers. And here's the results...

People were pretty much split right down the middle whether they preferred the BB or the Wellington.

The BB is, as others have said, a HUGE ASS SYRAH. If you like them BIG, this is for you. There's heavy oak on the nose, but it amazingly fruity across the palate (so yes, it has a sweet tinge to it). It was pretty smooth, no heat on it, which I found kind of surprising since it is so young, and has a 15.1% ABV. What fruity fruits? Cassis, blackberries, black cherries, red raspberries. And there's a little bit of leather hiding in it.

The Wellington, by comparison (sorry Peter), was kind of wussy. Now I'm not sure if my palate was corrupted from the BB since I had that one first, so bear that in mind. But the Wellington is much more tart, acidic and sharp, with a bit of heat on the finish - 14.5% ABV on this one. There was more of a minerally quality to it that definitely wasn't there for the Brian Benson. You still get the red fruits and berries on it, but you have to go looking for them. They don't smack you in the face like the BB does.

Both wines were served at approx. 60 degrees, with being opened (but not decanted) for about an hour. They were also served in Riedel Syrah glasses.

The color on both was comparable - deep plum. Both had good legs. Just very different noses and flavor. Very different.

Which did I prefer? Well, I still like my Wellington, but I think it needs more time in the cellar. The Brian Benson seems to be much more drinkable right now, and will probably do well being cellared as well. So if someone gave me the choice between the two to drink right this instant, I'd go with the BB. But, as TMR is now famous for saying, YMMV.

Now, I'm not quite sure why you'd want to compare this to a Zin, since, y'know, they're different grapes...

Hope this helps!



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