TN: A lot of Wines at Tommy's Clambake (again again)


My friend Tommy had his annual clam back (25 years now). My wife and I have been to a lot over the last decade. About 200 people converge with wine lovers, beer guzzlers and all sorts of people. A group of us grab a few tables and start popping corks. Again this year, many of the guests stroll over to see if they can have some of our wines and we always say yes. Most are very polite about it. Of course last night, as ever year there are some. Last night it was the woman who filled her 18 ounce glass to the top with Peter Michael Chardonnay. Oh well, we laugh and open more bottles. I usually spit most of the wines as I like to cover some ground but at some point, its more about having fun, talking with old friends and making some new ones. I take notes although they are more impressions than detailed notes, but I am sure I missed a few and of course, I didn’t get to probably 1/3 of the wines. A few I would have liked to try are an 06 Donnhoff and an English Sparkler along with a Quinault L’Enclos. And a corked magnum of Monbousquet seemed to be the only casualty of the night. :frowning:

  • 2014 Peter Michael Sauvignon Blanc L’Apres-Midi - USA, California, Sonoma County, Knights Valley
    Very elegant. Understated in style. Showing clean aromatics, no grassiness. More elegant. (91 pts.)
  • 2009 Peter Michael Chardonnay Ma Belle-Fille - USA, California, Sonoma County, Knights Valley
    Very nice showing. Showing just a touch of age. This is a bigger, slightly buttery chard that probably had more oak than it does now. Lots of lemon curd left and showing depth and complexity. (93 pts.)
  • 2015 Bevan Cellars Sauvignon Blanc Dry Stack - USA, California, Sonoma County, Bennett Valley
    Wow. Drinking brilliantly right now. It is big and in your face but also very clean. Lots of tropical fruit on it and peaches. Delicious. (94 pts.)
  • 2015 Dönnhoff Riesling trocken - Germany, Nahe
    Just got these in an thought I would give it a twirl. Screw capped. Dry, yes, but with a perception of sweetness from the fruit. It is ripe fruit. Delicious take and for $16, an amazing value. I will probably let them rest for a while as there is a lot of depth here. Plenty of upside. (90 pts.)
  • 2013 Gandona Chardonnay - USA, California, Napa Valley, St. Helena
    OMG this was not very good. I am probably being generous with my scores. I asked others to try it and there was a consensus. Harsh, hot, over oaked, little fruit. I even went back late in the night (no surprise there was some left) to revisit. If anything it was worse. No obvious fault to the bottle, just bad. (78 pts.)
  • 2010 Antica Terra Chardonnay Aurata - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
    I remember having had this before and liking it more. Perhaps in a dumb stage or just not built for the long haul. Its a find wine though and certainly worth drinking. This bottle seemed tired. Some red apple fruit. A bit flabby. Others seemed to agree. (89 pts.)
  • 2012 Hammell Wine Alliance True Believer - USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Maria Valley
    Served from Magnum, I got to this after a lot of pours, so it had been well aerated. Much better than I remember a prior tasting of this. Great juicy black raspberry fruit with a lot of depth. Very young and needs a few years, but it was a wine that made me pause and remember what was in the glass. (95 pts.)
  • 2012 Ramey Syrah Rodgers Creek Vineyard - USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast
    Served from Mag, I had with about 80% gone from the bottle and had been open for 4 hours, so it was fully aerated. Delicious Syrah. Soft and accessible. Deep black raspberry fruit. Lifting aromatics. Powerful finish. Loved the wine. No obvious oak showing at that point which I only mention as it can be an issue for me in his Chards and Cabs. I don’t think I ever had his Syrah before. Great wine. (94 pts.)
  • 2006 Canalicchio di Sopra Brunello di Montalcino - Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino
    Meh. Its a nice wine. What makes this Brunello? Nothing to me to suggest anything special though. Perhaps it is still in a shut down stage, not uncommon at ten years from vintage. I drank it shortly after it was open. Its earthy with touches of fruit. Not a lot of complexity but still plenty of tannins. (89 pts.)
  • 2009 Rivers-Marie Cabernet Sauvignon Panek Vineyard - USA, California, Napa Valley, St. Helena
    Seemed to be the crowds choice for WOTN and while not mine, certainly it might have been. Amazing wine. Glad to have some in the cellar. Still drinking very young but showing great cassis fruit, some leather and earth. Deep but powerful. Tightly layered. Delicious as well. (95 pts.)
  • 2012 Alpha Omega Cabernet Sauvignon - USA, California, Napa Valley
    Very good Cabernet. Cassis, black raspberries, some graphite and sandalwood. Opulent. Firm tannins. Should improve and would hold a few years. (91 pts.)
  • 1997 Ridge Lytton Springs - USA, California, Sonoma County, Dry Creek Valley
    I was a bit disappointed by this but only because I had hoped for more. It is a very good wine. Not showing the complexity I would have expected at this point. Still fresh and vibrant. Lots of raspberries and black cherries. Some charcoal underlying the fruit. Good texture. Happy to drink this wine any time. (90 pts.)
  • 2013 Booker Vineyard Vertigo 24 - USA, California, Central Coast, Paso Robles
    Really nice showing for this. The bottle had been open a few hours and was 2/3 gone so well aerated. Juicy fruit mostly cherries and dark cherries but also some black raspberries. Shows a nice complexity. More open and drinking well than I would have imagined. Great texture. Delicious. (94 pts.)
  • 2011 SonkinCellars Persona - USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Barbara County
    Disclaimer - Biased opinion. I think this is drinking at peak and would encourage people to drink these up over the next three or four years. The Petite Sirah (the only vintage to have any) is coming to the fore front and the Syrah is as good as it will get IMO for the vintage. Everyone seemed to enjoy it though or were just being nice. As I think this is the wine I have had the most times, from a wine geek stand point, it has been so much fun to watch its evolution.
  • 2002 St. Innocent Pinot Noir Shea Vineyard - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley, Yamhill-Carlton
    Hey, this wine has finally come around and is ready to drink. Seems like it has taken 15 years and its only really been around 13. This bottle anyway was drinking great. Everything I want from this vineyard and producer and region. Good cherry, some sour cherry fruit. An underlying clean earthiness. Great freshness and acidity. Showing layers of complexity. I would imaging it has a decade and more left in it. (94 pts.)
  • 2013 Saxum Heart Stone Vineyard - USA, California, Central Coast, Paso Robles
    Got the second last pour of the bottle, so it had a lot of air. While of course, young, it was drinking well. Lots of black raspberries, black pepper, some floral notes and black pepper. Showing depth. Juicy fruit on the palate. A bit of smoke. Hold for 5 years, its going to be worth it. (96 pts.)
  • 1988 Domaine Deletang Montlouis-sur-Loire Demi-Sec Les Batisses - France, Loire Valley, Touraine, Montlouis-sur-Loire
    Served from Magnum. I love older Chenin and this was great. I noticed it later on and it revived my palate. Slightly sweet. Great orange peel and some ginger notes. Tightly layered. Slightly more flabby than I might have expected. The fruit is holding up well. Perhaps just a bit of oxidation at this point but that doesn’t bother me. (91 pts.)
  • 1989 Pierre Sparr Tokay Pinot Gris Vendanges Tardives - France, Alsace
    Perhaps a bit worse for wear at this point but still with something to offer. It drinks pretty dry which surprised me but wines do lose their sweetness with age. Nice texture. A bit of peach fruit left. Good acidity not great. Worth tasting, but I would not want a full glass. drink up at this point. (89 pts.)
  • 2006 Francis Tannahill Pinot Noir The Hermit - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
    Not a big fan of this. It is ok. Not much fruit. Slightly bitter. Not much complexity. Still, its fine, nothing wrong with it. Maybe should have been consumed a few years ago. (87 pts.)
  • 2012 DeLille Cellars D2 - USA, Washington, Columbia Valley
    I thought this was quite good. Seems to be a BDX blend. Cherries, black raspberries, char, and roasted herbs on the nose. This is a big, ripe wine but not overdone. Blind I probably would have guessed a 2009 bordeuax of some pedigree. Tightly packed, it unwinds in the glass. I revisited later in the night and it had just barely opened. I suppose it needs five years or more. This might be one to buy a few bottles of. (93 pts.)
  • 2012 McPrice Myers Luna Matta - USA, California, Central Coast, Paso Robles
    Very interesting. Seems like a GSM blend but there is something else in there. Maybe some ripe Pinot? Not really sure, but it works very well. There is some black raspberries and pepper and then this slightly sour cherry thing over the top and seems to be driving the acidity. In any event, drinking well right now and very tasty. (92 pts.)
  • 1977 Cuvaison Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley - USA, California, Napa Valley
    From magnum. I presumed this was OTH and skipped it but everyone kept saying it wasnt so after about four hours I tried it with some apprehension. Very nice showing. no pity points or cool factor. This was drinking very well. Cassis and cherries, some spice. Light tannins. Not great complexity but certainly some. Good balance. Well done. (90 pts.)
  • 2010 Passopisciaro Sicilia Contrada Porcaria - Italy, Sicily, Sicilia
    I used to drink a lot of this wineries wines in the last decade, but somehow got away from it. I had not seen this label before. Very nice and much richer and darker than I remember them being. Mostly dark cherry fruit but also some either volcanic soil or smoke taint, but either way very good as it intertwined with the fruit. Nice acidity. I may have to revisit these wines. (94 pts.)
  • 2009 Château Mont-Redon Châteauneuf-du-Pape - France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
    From Magnum. I like this winery. When visiting the south of France, it is ubiquitous on the menus of cafes. Yet, it always under whelms. This is no exception. Excellent vintage. i would like more depth and fruit. It leaves me wanting. That said, it is quite enjoyable. easy drinking and if that was the only bottle (and especially if in a cafe in Aix), I would be content. (89 pts.)
  • 2009 Rivers-Marie Cabernet Sauvignon Corona Vineyard - USA, California, Napa Valley, Oakville
    Just slightly behind the Panek IMO, but still an amazing Cab. Very young at this point, i would still hold for a few. More “reserved” I suppose but that is misleading. Just not as intense might be better. Still lots of everything, just needs time to unwind. (94 pts.)
  • 2001 Château Suduiraut - France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Sauternes
    I have been lucky enough to have this three times this year. This was from 750 format and may not have been as open. Also, i got one of the first pours from the bottle (although I set it aside in a separate glass for a bit). Great nose of apricots with some honey. This bottle was very young and fresh. Deep and complex. Amazing finish that really lasts. Sweet but only a bit and nowhere near cloying. The acidity really helps that. Great wine. in reality my WOTN, but dessert wines seem to always have a bit of an advantage. (97 pts.)
  • 2013 Paumanok Assemblage - USA, New York, Long Island, North Fork
    My first red from this winery although I have enjoyed their whites. My guess is that it tastes much better spending a day out on Long Island. i am presuming a Merlot based blend, but the fruit is light, a bit under ripe for my tastes and finishes slightly bitter. Its not bad, and has some interest though. With lots of choices on the table, its easy to move on. If this was the only bottle, I would be fine drinking with dinner. (87 pts.)
  • 2011 Rivers-Marie Pinot Noir Gioia Vineyard - USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast
    I am left feeling a bit underwhelmed having hoped for more. I own a bottle of this and think I will hold for a while in the hopes it gains more complexity as there just isn’t that much fruit here. It does have some cherry fruit. Nice texture. Probably more a victim of unmet expectations than anything else. (89 pts.)
  • 2000 Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
    This was disappointing. I waited until it had been open for a while and was down to the last few pours. i do own a couple of these. Very little fruit showing. Thick tannins. Not much complexity. I could not detect any obvious faults, but it just seemed old and tires. Hopefully, just a not great bottle. I had this a few times and it showed better but always needed a lot more time. (88 pts.)
  • 1998 Christa Rolf Shiraz-Grenache - Australia, South Australia, Barossa, Barossa Valley
    Most likely just way past its prime although I would not have expected that. Bitter. Little fruit left. Not much going on. If I had any, I would be opening and having a back up ready. NR (flawed)
  • 1998 Glen Fiona Syrah - USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Walla Walla Valley
    So, later in the evening, there are a lot of wines I missed including this. now I see why there is still wine left. Some thin raspberries. No complexity. Too much acidity. Probably too old. (79 pts.)
  • 2007 Canalicchio Brunello di Montalcino - Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino
    Another generic sangiovese disguising itself as Brunello IMO. Its fine. easy drinking. Nice fresh cherry fruit. No depth but the fruit is still fresh. no hurry to drink I guess, but no there there so to speak. That said, if it is priced fairly, it would be a nice drink at an Italian restaurant with pasta. (89 pts.)
  • 2011 Scott Harvey Syrah Mountain Selection - USA, California, Sierra Foothills, Amador County
    Someone gave this to me as a wine that had a lot of value to it and I might like it. A very nice gesture, but not so much a to liking it. I opened later in the night and no one had heard of it. We all poured a glass (about 6 of us), sipped and the race to the dump bucket was on. Bitter. Thin. Weak fruit. Not worth it at any price for me. Oh well, it was a nice gesture and I give that a few points. Each to their own. (80 pts.)
  • 2014 Bedrock Wine Co. Syrah North Coast - USA, California, North Coast
    I planned ahead. I knew I would be going thru a lot wine at the party. For the most part, i spit. But, at the end of the night, I knew I would want a good sized pour and to just sit back and drink a glass of wine. I brought this bottle for that purpose and it worked just fine. Its one of the great values in the wine world. Great black raspberry fruit. Some depth. A bit of dried meats and black pepper. Lovely texture. Young and while it will probably develop, i never manage to hold on to these as they are go to end of night, one more bottle wines for me or better yet, the non-geeks are coming over and we need something good but not too expensive. Love this wine. (91 pts.)

So much fun. Here’s hoping Tommy has 25 more that we can share together!
Posted from CellarTracker

Thanks, as always, for the awesome notes, Loren. I own several of the wines and it’s very helpful to read your impressions. I also enjoyed the story about the woman who guzzled a huge glass of your Peter Michael chard! Funny!