TN: Shafer Hillside (12 & 91), Guigal La Turque, Bedrock, Fonseca ++


Last night our friends Chris and Renee ventured out from cross town for part two of our CLE East vs. West Pizza comparison. It was a nice evening of wines and games and food. we never did really talk much about the pizzas (Flour and Sweet Basil) though all were excellent. Chris brought some wines and I opened some as well. A fun casual night. As for the wines:
A Champagne starter
With Spanikopeta and Roasted Almonds

  • NV Lefebvre Champagne Jean Richecourt Brut - France, Champagne
    Pop and pour, this was meh. It was fine to drink but offered no excitement. OTOH, it cost less than $25. Light gold in color. A fair amount of medium bubbles. Consumed in Chardonnay glasses, the nose was still a bit subdued. Some lemons, some ginger all notes. A bit of minerals. On the palate, there is a slight sweetness on the front but it finishes dry. Minerals, some apples. Shorter finish. Its a fine wine but not much more. I would rather spend $10 more and get more excitement. (87 pts.)

A White
With more of the same food

  • 2011 Ceritas Chardonnay Porter-Bass Vineyard - USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast
    Chris brought this, and when I looked back at my notes, it turned out I had it once before at Chris’s home. It seemed much better then. I think I liked its freshness. That is gone now. Like my prior note, this is not the lean and racy chard I might have expected from this producer. It is not flamboyant. There is no real sign of oak or ripe fruit either. Just a sort of middle ground of Chardonnay. That said, there are certainly things going for it. Lemon curd and wax on the nose. Slight red apples and lemons on the palate. A bit of acidity that worked with food. There is a plenty left, so i will revisit it and see ho it held up. A solid wine and perhaps a bit more, but I would drink these up soon. (88 pts.)

The Cab Flight
With various high end pizzas and sald

  • 2008 Bedrock Wine Co. Red Wine #2 Bedrock Vineyard - USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Valley
    I thought this bottle rocked. I am not sure how much air Chris gave it but I think it had a couple few hours by the time we drank it. Purple in color. I assume this is a Bordeaux blend? Cassis, dark cherries, cigar tobacco and slight licorice notes. On the palate, this is still young. Medium tannins. vibrant fruit - dark cherry, some cassis along with a dark chocolate note. Long finish. This got better all night long. Drinking well now, but no hurry at all. (94 pts.)
  • 1991 Shafer Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select - USA, California, Napa Valley, Stags Leap District
    Chris purchased this on release on cellared it over the years in various places. The bottle was opened a hour or so ahead of time and allowed to breathe. The cork did break on opening and came out in two pieces. Purple in color. The nose is stinky. It does blow off mostly after an hour or so. Barnyard followed by cassis, dried fruits, plumes, spice and dust. On the palate, this gets better all night. It starts of old and tired and while perhaps past prime, not that much. Nice complex layers of earth, fruit with slight wispy tannins. Nice finish. Very pretty more elegant wine and a real treat. (94 pts.)
  • 2012 Shafer Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select - USA, California, Napa Valley, Stags Leap District
    Wow. The bottle was opened at 8:00 am and served twelve years later. It could have used more time, but really needs cellaring. Luckily 2012 is a very accessible vintage. This was awesome. Cassis, pencil lead, spice, slight charcoal, slight blueberries on the nose. On the palate, amazing seamless texture. Usually wines need time to develop that seamless quality but its here now. Deep and complex and not as tight as one might expect. It has decades and more left though. Manageable if firm tannins. Long finish. Each sip makes you want more. When we got to the last few announces I announced that I would save it to try the next day. No such luck. Its empty anyway. No worries. This is expensive for sure, but it is the Lafite of Napa IMO. (100 pts.)

A Syrah (because you know, its Saturday)
With Renee’s home made chocolate biscotti

  • 2002 E. Guigal Côte-Rôtie La Turque - France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Côte-Rôtie
    Not the best vintage of this wine, but 15 years from vintage and it is drinking quite well. Certainly not under ripe just not the usual power of this wine. For the Guigal haters out there, this might be a nice middle ground except it is still not cheap. Purple in color. The nose is nice with black raspberries, a strong floral notes (violets and white flowers both), spice and slight roasted meats. On the palate, this has a nice enough depth with layered complexity. Good acidity. Plenty of fruit, black raspberries. Nice finish. A very pretty wine. Coming after the 2012 Shaffer Hillside, my wife compared it to a Beaujolais. Ouch. I got what she meant, nevertheless, the bottle was drained quickly by the rest of us. (93 pts.)

One more to finish
With Trader Joe’s Chocolates

  • 1997 Fonseca Porto Vintage - Portugal, Douro, Porto
    Pop and pour, this could have used some air. Its good but not as good as other vintages. Nothing wrong just a bit less of everything good. Ruby/purple in color. The nose has chocolate, raisins, black raspberries. On the palate, black raspberries and some chocolate. Some heat although that smoothed out with air. Nice finish. No hurry, this, from a 375 was still drinking young. (92 pts.)

What a great way to really enjoy these wines and get a good tasting of them.
Posted from CellarTracker

What model time machine did you use and did it come with a retinal scanner? :wink:

Man, another phenomenal line up Loren, and once again I find myself wishing I lived close enough to you to come crash your get-togethers!

Loved hearing that the Bedrock #2 is drinking well (think I have a couple left), and especially your glowing review of the 12 HSS. Daughters birth year and I plan on snagging a few of those to Cellar, and possibly a magnum if I can find one for a half-way decent price (wish they weren’t so damn expensive though).

Thanks again for posting - I dig the types of wines you drink and really appreciate/enjoy your notes! Please keep em coming!!

Thanks for the notes, Loren!

Impressive (if a little unusual) line-up!!!

Nice notes, love that Bedrock #2, one of my all-time faves, appreciate the update.