This is still a work in progress as I upload tasting notes and wine labels from as far as 1999... Check back once in a while to get the updates.

December 15, 2003

MNSC Dinner - Golden Leaf

MNSC dinner at Golden Leaf (金葉庭), hosted by Pineapple.

First pair:
1983 Margaux

1985 Stag's Leap Cask 23

Second pair:
1983 Beaucastel

1983 Rayas

Third pair:
1990 Marcoux Vieilles Vignes

1995 Marcous Vieilles Vignes

April 18, 2003

Beringer Private Reserves

Dinner at Cafe Bizou in LA.

1983 Beringer Cabernet Sauvignon Private Reserve - delicious.

1984 Beringer Cabernet Sauvignon Private Reserve - also very delicious.  More fruit and sweeter, and over time this opened up really well.

Proof that Californian Cabs can age.

April 17, 2003

1996 La Sirena Cabernet

1996 La Sirena Cabernet Sauvignon - drank over dinner at Pinot Blanc.  Bottle was signed by Heidi Petersen Barrett.  Nose of vanlla, toffee, coconut, sweet strawberries, minerals, cherries, and a bit of stewed prunes towards the end.  Tannins rounded despite the young age.  Very nice indeed.

Ann Colgin was at the next table celebrating her 50th(?) birthday and was drinking Château Margaux.  If I had brought the 1992 Colgin as I originally planned, I would have asked her to sign it...

Napa Trip - Philip Togni

2001 Philip Togni Cabernet Sauvignon - barrel sample of both the free run and the pressed juice (25% of the blend).  Pretty good stuff.

2001 Ca' Togni - very sweet stuff.  Pretty interesting.

Napa Trip - Etude

Visit to Etude Winery.

200x Etude Pinot Blanc - this was great.  Cheap but good wine.

2000 Etude Pinot Noir Carneros - much better than the '96 I had before.  Bigger body, not as light.  Delicious

1999 Etude Cabernet Sauvignon - wow!  This was very, very good indeed.  Every bit an Etude Cab as it should be.

2000 Etude Pinot Noir Heirloom - this was definitely one of the best Californian Pinots... Not Kistler but holds its own in any tasting.

Napa Trip - Barnett

Visit to Barnett Vineyards.  Barrel tasting.

2000 Barnett Merlot - this vintage includes some fruit from Mia Klein's plots in the valley.

2000 Barnett Pinot Noir - this was OK and grown in Santa Lucia.

2000 Barnett Cabernet Sauvignon Peacock Family - pretty good.

2000 Barnett Cabernet Sauvignon Rattlesnake Hill - really like this one, which actually turned out to have a Bordeaux-like nose.

Napa Trip - Pride Mountain

Visit to Pride Mountain Vineyards.

2001 Pride Mountain Viognier - pretty good stuff.  Trying for Condrieu.  Pear, lychee, minerals.

2000 Pride Mountain Merlot - very good Merlot  2001 is even better with no Cab in the blend.

2000 Pride Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon - really good stuff!  Big, jammy and powerful.

April 16, 2003

1992 Araujo Cabernet Sauvignon Eisele Vineyard

1992 Araujo Cabernet Sauvignon Eisele Vineyard - drank over dinner at Terra in St. Helena.  Wow!  So nice!  The nose showed a bit of stewed fruit at first, with some glycerin, then coffee, sweet strawberries came out after 45 minutes, as well as a hint of smoke.  Spicy on the after palate, long finish, smooth tannins.  This was really delicious.  Araujo is never a big, powerful wine.  Rather, smooth and silky.

Napa Trip - Beringer

Visit to Beringer Vineyards.

2001 Beringer Chardonnay Private Reserve - OK, but a bit too oaky, not as buttery and creamy.

1998 Beringer Merlot Private Reserve - very good Merlot.

1998 Beringer Cabernet Sauvignon Private Reserve - very good stuff.  Consistent year after year.

Napa Trip - Caymus

Visit to Caymus Vineyards.

1996 Caymus Sauvignon Blanc - mature and mellow.  Full-bodied.  Minerals, petrol, pear, oaky but well-rounded.  Nice stuff.

1999 Caymus Zinfandel - pretty good and interesting.  Big and fruity with minerals and earth notes.

Napa Trip - Beaulieu Vineyard

1991 BV Georges de Latour Private Reserve - not good.  Maybe opened for too long?  A bit cooked.

1998 BV Georges de Latour Private Reserve - best of the tasting.  Nice tannins.

1999 BV Tapestry - OK for drinking wine.

April 15, 2003

1997 Marcassin Pinot Noir

1997 Marcassin Pinot Noir - drank over dinner at Wine Spectator's Greystone.  Pretty good stuff.  Nose of toffee, coffee, vanilla, a bit of smoked meats, also glycerin, sweet red fruits.  A bit spicy on the palate.  While this wine does not "wow" me, the structure is definitely there, and one will need to wait another 5-10 years until it matures.  But can we resist the temptation to drink it?  Will need to keep my bottle of '96 out of my reach...

April 14, 2003

2000 Morgan Syrah Tierra Mar

2000 Morgan Syrah Tierra Mar - this was very good, even though it is very young.  The potential is definitely there.  Lots of sweet fruit in the nose.  Medium to full-bodied with firm tannins.

April 13, 2003

1997 Smith & Hook Merlot

1997 Smith & Hook Merlot - OK but not great.  Then again it didn't cost very much.  Needed a lot of time to open up.  I thought it would perform better since this is a '97.  Again slightly disappointed.

April 12, 2003

2000 Andrew Murray Enchanté

2000 Andrew Murray Enchanté - drank over dinner at Tarpy's Roadhouse in Monterey.  This blend of Roussanne and Viognier was interesting and the flavors are pretty typical of the varietals, with floral notes on top of pear.  But it tastes just like a Côtes-du-Rhône!  A bit disappointed...

April 9, 2003

A pair of '90s

Dinner at Brasserie on the Eighth.

1990 Henschke Cyril Henschke - noticeably sweeter on the palate, also fuller-bodied and firmer tannins despite the age.  My preferred wine of the night.

1990 Vieux Château Certan - a little disappointing.  It was very smoky at the beginning.  This dissipated but there just wasn't enough fruit.  It was classic, understated Bordeaux.  Improved a bit after 2-2½ hours, but so typical of many Bordeaux - not interesting enough.

April 8, 2003

1995 Geyser Peak Shiraz Reserve

1995 Geyser Peak Shiraz Reserve - drank over dinner at W's Entrecote.  Decent drinking wine.  Fairly good amount of red fruit.  Medium to full-bodied, tannins OK but still firm.

March 30, 2003

1997 Clarendon Hills Grenache Kangarilla

1997 Clarendon Hills Old Vines Grenache Kangarilla Vineyard - Very sweet, fruity nose.  Actually very close to Côte-Rôtie, surprisingly, with floral notes, smoked game meats.  Medium-bodied.  Very nice and drinkable.

March 29, 2003

1989 Castillo Ygay

1989 Marqués de Murrieta Castillo Ygay - drank over dinner at Nectar.  Still pretty good wine.  Nose ws very fruity and open.  Acidity noticeably higher as expected.  Smooth on the palate.

March 24, 2003

1990 Mondavi Cab Reserve

1990 Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve - this is a very good wine!  As expected, nose of leather saddle, game meats, stewed prunes and glycerin.  A bit sharp at times.  Smooth and round tannins, with a medium-long finish.  Very enjoyable.

March 10, 2003

1994 Montelena

1994 Montelena in magnum - drank over dinner at Golden Leaf.  It was pretty good, consistent performer although not great.  I had hoped for better.

March 6, 2003

1995 Château d'Ampuis

1995 Guigal Château d'Ampuis - I was curious to see if the wine is now ready, after my last bottle almost 2 years ago.  It certainly was!  Wow!  The nose was classic Guigal Côte-Rôtie.  Lots of violet, leather, game meats, sweet fruits, animal blood.  Very awesome up to about 2 hours in the decanter.  Very smooth on the palate.  Medium-bodied.  Delicious now but wait till it gets better in 5 years!

March 4, 2003

1996 Dalla Valle Cab

1996 Dalla Valle Cabernet Sauvignon - I wanted to see if would show better than the last bottle, and it did.  Nose of iron, minerals, black cherries and lots of sweet red fruit.  Very powerful.  Full-bodied with very firm tannins.  Still needs a few years of aging time.

February 28, 2003

1991 Faiveley Echezeaux

1991 Faiveley Echezeaux - body was extremely light, probably because it's Echezeaux, after all.  Never quite developed and remained slightly acidic.  Flat on the palate.  A bit earthy.  The nose, however, was very good.  Opened up well with core of sweet fruits.

February 24, 2003

MNSC Dinner - Plats

MNSC dinner at Plats.  Theme was 1987 - 1997 Californian.

1997 Beringer Cabernet Private Reserve - smooth on the palate, and became flatter.  Pretty Bordeaux-like.  As it opened up it improved somewhat.

1996 Ridge Monte Bello - nose was very sweet, with vanilla and oaky notes.  A bit acidic on the palate.

199x Fisher - don't remember the vintage or the wine... but perhaps Wedding Vineyard.  A totally sweet fruit bomb.

1995 Philip Togni - what a disappointment!  The nose was dominated by sweet grass, stewed fruits.  Not the fruit bomb I had expected.

1993 Beringer Cabernet Sauvignon Chabot Vineyard

1998 Plumpjack Reserve - pretty concentrated.

February 19, 2003

1990 Peter Lehmann Stonewell

1990 Peter Lehmann Shiraz Stonewell - drank over dinner at Xi Yan.  Brought 2 bottles of this and double-decanted at home.  By the time we got around to drinking, it was smooth but was a bit flat.  Not happy.

January 25, 2003

1996 Montelena + 1982 Beausejour Duffau

Dinner at La Boheme.

1996 Montelena - old reliable.  Sweet nose and firm tannins.  Full-bodied.  Very enjoyable.

1982 Beauséjour-Duffau - this was flat, maybe because I decanted at home too early.  Not enjoyable so we didn't finish the bottle.  Acidic without much fruit.

January 18, 2003

1986 Lynch-Bages

1986 Lynch-Bages - drank over dinner at Morton's.  Honestly I was fairly disappointed.  Not enough fruit in the nose.  Only a bit of it, dominated by grass and straw notes, plus a bit of earthy tones.  Rounded and smooth tannins, but a little too flat.

January 17, 2003

1998 SQN E-raised

1998 Sine Qua Non E-raised - drank over dinner at Le Parisien.  This Syrah was really good stuff.  Nose of coffee, caramel, sweet, ripe red fruits like cassis, prunes.  Full-bodied but not too tannic.  Can easily last another 10-15 years.  I really like it.

January 13, 2003

1996 d'Arenberg Riesling the Noble

1996 d'Arenberg Riesling the Noble - wow!  Color is now brownish/dark amber, very, very sweet nose of citrus, pineapple, apricot, honey, walnut.  Now down to my last case from the original 3.

January 11, 2003

1999 Greg Norman Cabernet Merlot

1999 Greg Norman Cabernet Merlot - a little young but drinkable.  Full-bodied and tannins still strong.  Nose of caramel, sweet cassis.  Decent drinking wine for the price.

January 6, 2003

1997 Mitchelton Print Shiraz

1997 Mitchelton Print Shiraz - this was actually pretty good.  Very forward with sweet fruit in the nose.  Not too acidic or tannic.  Definitely worth buying.
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