Me versus Wine Spectator: Belle Glos Las Alturas Pinot

2008 Belle Glos Las Alturas Vineyard Pinot Noir:

“An elegant, understated style that builds depth and complexity around a core of ripe, rich cherry, wild berry and raspberry fruit. Firm and full-bodied, featuring a spicy, earthy foundation that ends with bay leaf, shoe polish and ripe fruit themes. Drink now through 2016. 1,635 cases made. –JL”

Using their review for my thoughts:
“A non-elegant, overrstated style lacking any complexity with a core of overripe, overrich, overextracted cherry, wild berry and raspberry fruit with a bit of residual sugar to boot. Full bodied and ultraplush with little earthiness and totally lacking adequate acidity to balance the uber-ripe fruit themes. Pour down the drain now through the end of time. Or throw this into a fine burgundy tasting as a cruel joke. 1,635 cases made. –RG”

I can’t imagine this is purely bottle variation, but its always possible. In all seriousness, I’ve had other vintage Clark and Telephone and the base bottling in the past that I liked, but this was just not good. Three winegeeks at the table all hated it. One’s only descriptor was disgusting. This is not my idea of pinot noir in any way, but to each his own. I’m not sure I’d give this 80 points for my palate. Too bad I have two more bottles…

Why is it so important that you seem to have a different palate than Laube?

Likewise it shouldn’t matter that the CellarTracker tasting notes for this wine generally seem to argree with Laube, not you (median = 91 pts, n=17).

Belle Glos Las Alturas Pinot Noir 2008

Of course, there is undeniable pleasure to be found in implying that a professional critic is incompetent. We need more of that around here…


Yep, if CT reviewers like it, it must be true. “this is the first pinot I’ve ever liked before”. “I love this this, it tastes like someone mixed grenadine syrup in”. “This could almost pass as Amarone.” “i liked it even more after I added an ice cube” "

Although none of those “quotes”, or anything like them, actually appear in any of the CT reviews of this wine. [scratch.gif]

In other words, Laube can’t be trusted, CT can’t be trusted, but Rich can.

What’s a wine lover to do? I guess we’ll just have to trust our own pallets as to what is good or bad (which I think was my original point)…


It’s all in good fun. I completely agree that palates are very individual and there is no right or wrong. I did find it more amusing that aside from score, I disagreed with almost all of Laube’s descriptors.

It would make sense that with wines like this, most CT reviews would be from fans of the producer, so being mostly positive reviews isn’t surprising.

I had two bottles of this between thanksgiving eve and day of. I thought it was a very fun cocktail wine for quaffing while sitting around and talking with family and friends. For the price I paid, I would certainly drink it again. Sorry you hated it so much…

Of course! It’s just wine.


3 geeks around a table can’t be wrong. [stirthepothal.gif]

This guys palate sucks too:
Tasted by Richard Jennings on 6/25/2010 & rated 89 points: 2010 Pinot Days Grand Tasting (plus trade tasting); 6/25/2010-6/27/2010 (Fort Mason, San Francisco, California): Tart cherry, baked cherry nose; big, tart cherry, baked cherry palate; medium finish (1575 views)

I tend to like delicate, feminine, higher acidity pinots so most of it is probably palate preference.

I enjoy Richard’s tasting notes and blog. He tends to enjoy riper and sweeter wines more than I do, but clearly has a great palate(if one exists truly across many different varietals). Richard describes the wine as “big” and “baked cherry”, descriptors I agree with, not “understated” and “bay leaf”. That was the point of my making fun of the JL descriptors. A lot of people on CT liked the wine, but few described it like Laube.

I missed his “pour it down the drain” window. neener