TNs--WineFest IV, July 9, 2016---109 (NO THAT'S NOT A MISPRINT) wines from my cellar

So. The great quadrennial Cellar Depressurization has come and gone.

I need to first express how truly lucky I am to have the best parents any son could ask for. My mom and dad opened their home and worked right alongside me with all the planning and all the cleanup and were legion in greeting and hosting all my friends who came. I cannot express my thanks in enough ways or in enough volume.

I owe a deep debt of gratitude to my friends Tran, Gunnar, Nick and Heather for all their help throughout the day as well. Tran, in particular, went so far above and beyond in creating beautiful station prints for each station. Gunnar and Nick were very fine to assist with cleanup and setup, and Heather helped me in so many ways throughout the day, not least rescuing some of the almost-drained bottles to be sure I got my taste.

A very special thanks to many, many friends who traveled from far and wide to be part of things. In particular, my friend Mike made the flight from Frankfurt and environs to be with us. I think he wins for “furthest away”.

The table cuts looked like this:


2008 Francois Villard Condrieu Terrasses du Palat (Condrieu)
2010 Sandhill Small Lots Viognier (BC)
2002 Daniel Lenko Viognier Icewine (Ontario)
2004 Chateau Grillet (Condrieu)
2011 Calera Viognier Mt. Harlan (Cali)
2006 Calera Viognier Mt. Harlan Dessert (Cali)
2009 Yves Gangloff Condrieu (Condrieu)
2009 Yalumba Virgilius Viognier (Australia)
2007 Yalumba Wrattonbully Botrytis Viognier (Australia)

THE DUMOL GIRLS (and other California Chards)

2009 DuMol Chloe
2009 DuMol Isobel
2009 DuMol Clare
2009 Alpha Omega
2009 Peter Michael La Carriere
2009 Marcassin 3 Sisters
2009 Aubert Ritchie


2006 Kutch McDougall Pinot Noir
2007 Kutch McDougall Pinot Noir
2009 Kutch McDougall Pinot Noir (none made in 2008)
2010 Kutch McDougall Pinot Noir
2011 Kutch McDougall Pinot Noir
2012 Kutch McDougall Pinot Noir
2013 Kutch McDougall Pinot Noir
2014 Kutch McDougall Pinot Noir (Unreleased)


1970 Chateau Suduiraut Sauternes
1988 Chateau Suduiraut Sauternes
2001 Chateau Suduiraut Sauternes
2003 Chateau Suduiraut Sauternes
2005 Chateau Suduiraut Sauternes
2006 Chateau Suduiraut Sauternes
2007 Chateau Suduiraut Sauternes
2009 Chateau Suduiraut Sauternes
2011 Chateau Suduiraut Sauternes


2007 Hidden Bench Estates La Brunante
2010 Sojourn Cellars Home Ranch
2004Feather (oops, sorry for the mislabelling of this one!)
2005 Chateau La Lagune
2009 Black Hills Nota Bene
2008 Quivet Cellars Kenefick Ranch
2011 Pearl Morissette Cuvee Persephone Cab Franc
2000 Chateau Kirwan


2008 Jamet Cote Rotie
2009 Littorai Savoy Vineyard Pinot Noir
2006 Navarro Structura Ultima Malbec
2000 Emmanuel Rouget Vosne-Romanee
2002 Rossignol-Trapet Chambertin
2007 Beaucastel
2001 I Faustino Gran Reserva
2004 Quintarelli Valpolicella
1984 Kalin Cellars Pinot Noir Cuvee DD


2011 Dog Point Sauvignon Blanc
2012 Moss Wood Chardonnay
2010 Jean-Marc Brocard Chablis Les Clos
1998 Kracher #9 NV Chardonnay Trockenbeerenauslese
2006 Beaucastel Vieilles Vignes Roussanne
2004 Nikolaihof Steiner Hund Riesling
2010 Domaine Bott Geyl Schlossberg Riesling


2007 Smith-Haut Lafitte Blanc
2010 Grosset Riesling
2007 Luneau-Papin Muscadet Le D’Or
1997 Huet Vouvray Le Mont Moelleux
2009 Huet Vouvray Le Mont Moelleux
2013 Brundlmayer Zobinger Heiligenstein Riesling
2002 Lelarge-Pugeot Champagne
2007 Louis Jadot Chassagne Montrachet Les Grands Ruchottes


2008 Bouchard Genevrieres
2010 D’Angerville Santenots
2010 F&L Pillot Caillerets
2011 Roche de Bellene Charmes
2009 Domaine Leflaive Sous Les Dos D’Ane
2012 Domaine de Montille Perrieres
2001 Roulot Luchets
2013 Lucien Muzard Les Meix Chavaux
2012 Remi Jobard Les Poruzots-Dessus
2011 Charles Buisson Bouches-Cheres

THE FINAL FRONTIER (grapes almost no one has tried)

2014 Domaine des Molardes Chasselas Reserve
2004 Gravner Amphyllo Ribolla Gialla
2012 Pfeffinger Scheurebe Spatlese
2013 Moon Curser Tannat
2010 Malivoire Marechal Foch
2008 Ronchi Cialli Schiopettino
2004 Kracher Traminer #3 NV TBA
2009 Klein Constantia Vin de Constance Muscat de Frontignan
2009 Raul Perez Sketch Albarino
2009 Magrez-Aruga Koshu (Japanese wine from Bernard Magrez)
2012 Bodegas Buenavista/Veleta Vijirieja

MY HERO—Wines for my dad

2007 Olivier Leflaive Corton Charlemagne
2009 Paul Pernot Batard Montrachet
2011 Maison Ilan Chambertin Aux Charmes Hauts
2006 Poggiotone Brunello di Montalcino
1988 Chateau Haut Brion
2011 Casanera Ramanegra Cabernet Sauvignon
1999 Bouchard Pommard Les Rugiens
2001 Chateau Coutet
1994 Broadbent Vintage Port

FAMILY TREE (5 generations of winemaking)

2014 Schug Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir (Walter Schug Winemaster)
1994 Phelps Cabernet (Craig Williams—apprenticed under Schug)
2008 Turley Dusi Zinfandel (Ehren Jordan—apprenticed under Williams)
2010 Rivers Marie Napa Cabernet (Thomas Rivers Brown—apprenticed under Jordan)
2011 Quivet Cellars Pellet Vineyard (Mike Smith—apprenticed under TRB)
2012 Rudius Cabernet Sauvignon (Jeff Ames—apprenticed under TRB)
2012 Turley Pesenti Zinfandel (Tegan Passalacqua—apprenticed under Jordan)

NORTHERN CHAR-D (Ontario’s best)

2009 Pearl Morissette Cuvee Dix-Neuvieme
2006 Le Clos Jordanne Le Grands Clos Chard
2012 Bachelder Saunders Chard
2013 Closson Chase Closson Vineyard Chard
2011 Southbrook Poetica Chard
2012 Hidden Bench Tete de Cuvee Chard
2013 Norman Hardy Cuvee L Chard

For anyone tracking, I have to add treatment of many of these bottles. To my best recollection, I do so here:

2006 Beaucastel Roussanne VV—opened day before and left uncorked, no slow-ox
2008 Jamet Cote Rotie – opened day before and left uncorked, no slow-ox
2009 Littorai Savoy Pinot – opened day before and left uncorked, no slow-ox
2011 Pearl Morissette Cuvee Persephone – opened night before and left uncorked, no slow-ox
2004 Quintarelli Valpolicella – opened 2 days before and decant
2007 Chateau Beaucastel – opened 2 days before, slow-oxed one day before
2009 Leflaive Meursault Sous Les Dos D’Ane—opened 1 day before and recorked
2012 De Montille Meursault Perrieres – opened one day before and slow-oxed
2011 Roche de Bellene Meursault Charmes – opened day before and recorked
2013 Kutch McDougall – opened day before and recorked
2014 Kutch McDougall – opened day before and recorked (I’d forgotten I wanted to open all these at exactly the same time, ah well…)
2001 Chateau Coutet – opened day before and left uncorked, no slow-ox
2005 Chateau La Lagune – opened 2 days before, slow-ox night before, decanter day of
1988 Chateau Haut-Brion – Opened day before and recorked
1994 Broadbent port – opened day before and recorked
1999 De Montille Pommard Rugiens – opened 2 days before, double-decant and slow-ox day before, decanted day of
2000 Rouget Vosne Romanee – opened day before and recorked
2002 Rossignol-Trapet Chambertin – opened day before and recorked
2007 Olivier Leflaive CC – opened day before and left uncorked, no slow-ox
2009 Pernot Batard – opened day before and recorked
2012 Remi Jobard Meursault Poruzots-Dessus – opened day before and recorked
2007 Hidden Bench La brunante – opened day before and slow-oxed
2013 Brundlmayer Zobinger Heiligenstein Riesling – opened day before and “recorked”
2011 Maison Ilan Charmes Chambertin Aux Charmes Haut – decanted day of
2006 Poggiotone Brunello – decanted day of
2000 Chateau Kirwan – Decanted day of
2011 Chateau Suduiraut – opened 2 days before and decanted day before
1988, 2001, 2005, 2007 and 2009 Suduiraut – opened 1 day before and slow-oxed
2011 Charles Buisson Meursault Bouches-Cheres – Decanted day of.
2009 Kutch McDougall Pinot – decanted day of (only out of necessity, snapped the cork and put it in my narrowest-mouthed decanter
1998 Kracher #9 NV TBA—opened day before and slow-oxed

As is my usual custom at these things, I am providing my notes in order of my own tasting. I did taste the first 10 the night before, and I’m still not done, but have about 77 of ‘em to get posted now. With much thanks to participants for reading the rules and with further thanks to a couple of my wardens, I will only end up missing tasting the 2004 Kracher, I think.

I really must say I was extraordinarily fortunate. I think there was only one truly corked wine (although there’s some debate about that with a second that I will discuss later). It’s too bad that the one had to be that one, but….and perhaps 2-3 oxidized (I have to try some of these to confirm other tasters’ declarations on ‘em). Out of 109 wines, that is not a terrible batting average.

So here we go…

[Night before]

2012 Domaine De Montille Meursault Perrieres

On opening, lovely hazelnut and brazil nut scents. Nougat and underlying flinty sniffs too. A wine of great class and energy. Fills the mouth with sparky lemon and stone leads, with more nuts and ginger in the back. Such tremendous, elegant length, this is a stunner of which good examples will go out at least 20 years. #11

1988 Chateau Suduiraut

From full. Orange marmalade with traces of baked treacle. It has orange follow, but not a lot else yet, length but a rather shallow version—almost like the vintage mismatched with their usual riper profile. 2 days’ air and near-empty open doesn’t change my impression—it’s still a very linear Sud

2005 Chateau Suduiraut

From half. This is more like it, orange intermingled with rich coconut and the botrytis in play—a sweet Vidalia onion side. Mm—like drinking candy, man. Soft and supple and pure vanilla with orange and maple glances. Real maple sugar at the back. A little lacking in acidity, but so much pleasure here. I know this was a favourite of many people, and for me this may rival the Climens from this year. #7

2002 Daniel Lenko Viognier Icewine

He only made this once. Daniel told me it hurt too much to see so many of the grapes die before they could be picked. This is maybe part of history now, as I’m not sure the winery is still open. At any rate, apricot and super-ripe peach—super-ripe—assault the schnozz. Something of guava underneath. Yowza, I don’t think it’s budged an inch from 8 or so years ago when I last had this. Still thick as anything. Peach cobbler, even a pie note, but now has just that touch of nut finish and a tiny back-lace of acidity. Still very good in its style.

2007 Chateau Beaucastel

Meat and bacon bits, very dark and ripe cassis and plum fruit beneath. To taste, a quite thick and rich example, there’s still a brambly side to the tangy plum sauce, some soy and also some heat on this. Still gangly, but not sure if that’s due to youth or, as I suspect, due to the nature of the wine in this particular vintage, which has presented as a very big one in any of the regional wines I’ve tried.

2009 Domaine Leflaive Meursault Sous Les Dos D’Ane

Still that abundant gunflint and bit of sulphur that characterizes a lot of DL. Really on the matchstick side. This shows an initial round feel but quickly grabs at your tongue with lemon-lime, stone and hint of hazelnut. Short-ish finish, though, will be interested to see others’ notes with a day’s air (I wasn’t able to get back to this, sadly)

1998 Kracher #9 Nouvelle Vague Chardonnay TBA

Colour is darkest topaz. Apricot frangipane bouquet, some buttered figs too. Super-honeyed, and it fans out in the mouth with crème brulee all the way and a buttertart finish. And the finish is so light. These things are marvels, and this is the first one I’ve been able to try after treating it to some air. I know a lot of people adored this #12

2007 Hidden Bench La Brunante

My last of their top-end meritage from this year. Green pepper and black pepper scents, but not offensive. Sort of resolved and fitting and there’s plenty of dark cocoa and black cherry too. This does have fruit—cherry and raspberry—and plenty of cedar and wood varnish, but is still growly on opening, needs yet time. I’m glad I opened in advance. I’m still not sure about this vintage making it in the long run, it’s missing the promise of full integration, but I do have some left to try and will report duly.

2005 Chateau La Lagune

Even with a day open, this is still surly. Swirling brings up some berries, touch of tar, violets and sandalwood a little. A vin de garde for sure, palate finds very little fruit still, good depth of structure and tannins. Should emerge as a classicist’s Bordeaux, just give it lots and lots of time. Will re-check this too.

2008 Jamet Cote Rotie

This does smell like Cote Rotie—florals and bacon and a lovely strawberry essence and light leather. Still a baby for sure—dynamite pickup, though, with aromatic follow-throughs, adding raspberry and bilberry. A real fine meaty tang and very bracing acidity. Especially for the vintage, good stuff with some future.

[day of]

2008 Marquis D’Angerville Meursault Santenots

Tropical scents here—dragon fruit and papaya curl around mineral and tick of mustard. This may be getting to tipping, but it is still very dry and forceful with apple and baked bread notes at the back. Great to try one of these (I was told by a couple others later that it had, indeed, faded)

1988 Chateau Haut Brion

So here’s the thing. This has been the pride of my stable for over 25 years and, really, the first bottle of connoisseur’s wine that I bought (I was 22 at the time, I think). And when I opened it……oh no….don’t say so….is it corked? Well….I capped it and then dad and I shared a glass in the early morning. That glass did give some stuff—pencil shavings, slightly sweet raspberry mix with heady cocoa. And to taste, it can be said that no one makes anything like this. Dry and cool and smooth all at the same time, and I can detect red fruit, cocoa and slight minerality. It all says “Graves”. But it’s not truly awesome. And that’s because once air got at it, it did indeed prove to be slightly corked. My only regret is that I didn’t get to share what I’m sure this truly is with more people.

1970 Chateau Suduiraut

46 years old, eh? And gosh, is this playing? It is! Glances of quince and, eventually, vanilla and peach. Lovely. And le gout, it is OK—past its peak, yes, but still fine with treacle, tasty peach and orange and all within a very stately structure. A very cool experience that was so rewarding in its way.

2009 Yalumba Virgilius Viognier

Initially toasty, then gets at honey and pear. This is sturdy, but it has flow and energy. There is definitely oak, but it does work.

2006 Kutch McDougall Pinot Noir

So, greeting and talking with so many friends lengthened what I’d planned as a 15-minute slam-through into about an hour, but I did taste all these in sequence and after what I’d estimate was about 2.5 hours’ air time. This oldest example shows cherry and raspberry nose with a definite cardamom secondary. It’s ripe and big, as you’d expect early on. Macerated cherry and what I’d describe as some sweet red pepper. A touch hot at the back.

2007 Kutch McDougall Pinot Noir

You are already seeing a more “complete” presentation—some cinnamon braces resolved strawberry and cherry. Tasty this is—very tasty—and in a good spot. A lighter style, but all of one piece. Raspberry, wild strawberry and tingle of citrus aftertaste.

2009 Kutch McDougall Pinot Noir

Wow—what a nose! Bursting with fruit and baking spices, it won’t let go and keeps coruscating through a kaleidoscope of scents. No less dans la bouche, where red berry, cocoa, light backhit of citrus and a real controlled juiciness along with length all make for a very fine effort. In a grand place right now, and probably my current fave of this version of Kutch. #9

2010 Kutch McDougall Pinot Noir

Also spiced cherry and strawberry and some of that citrus making it into the nostrils. Leaner than the others, grapefruit and raspberry mix for me. Still needs a bit of time, but quite promising.

2011 Kutch McDougall Pinot Noir

Super-fragrant, pungent with sweet roasted herbs and strawberry, along with citrus and a light dash of mocha. Palate finds this dynamic, plenty of tension and snap with raspberry, pink grapefruit, boysenberry and lots of fine earth. This is really good too, and has come a ton of a way from my last taste—I am frankly surprised at how ready for business it is. #18

2012 Kutch McDougall Pinot Noir

Citrus and cola/root beer here, with black cherry underneath, this is still fairly primary, with replays and some almost-anise. It is juicy. I think I have some saved and will be curious to see how it is after some days.

2013 Kutch McDougall Pinot Noir

Another fragrant beastie, for sure. Citrus and expressive multi-berry fruit. Tangy, chewy and very vibrant on the tongue, this shows flashes of minerality and earthiness but never sacrificing any of that to the driving red fruit. I do think this may end up being the best of ‘em with a few more years to resolve.

2014 Kutch McDougall Pinot Noir

Nose is slammin! All sorts of fruit, some citrus, pomegranate, some spices, roots and earth. Just going and going. To taste, it is, of course, extremely primary, crunchy and with the fruit in the background to tons of structure and energy. You will need to be more patient with these than with any other of Jamie’s wines to date, I think. My own hesitant advice is leave 6 years.

2002 Lelarge-Pugeot Champagne

Terrific bouquet, fresh-baked bread and plenty of white fruit. Snappy and very flavourful, with lots of lemon drive and a youthful exuberance about it. Quite a joy to consume this, and it had many fans.

2009 Paul Pernot Batard Montrachet

Well, the aroma—I don’t want to stop sniffing. Fantastic almost-luscious pear, matchstick and gingerbread. Those things appear on the palate and it’s a long enough wine, but it also seems a trifle sedate—nothing wrong with the bottle, it’s just not expressive and authoritative in the way I would expect from Batard. This is good, don’t get me wrong, but in looking up tasting notes for research, I’d noted that another taster said they prefer the Bienvenue from this year, and I think I agree. I remember giving it a 94 at the winery 5 years ago. I’d probably be closer to 87 today (remembering that I am a very very tough grader when I use points).

2001 Domaine Roulot Meursault Les Luchets

Bouquet of lemon meringue pie…and so much else lurking underneath. This is simply sterling to taste—so much life still—lemon and mineral and the Roulot steel. And the thing of it is, it all comes together in a fashion that bespeaks royalty for the commune. #3, this was one of the superstars today and I’d probably bestow a 93 or so on it. One of those I wish I had another taste of!

2008 Turley Dusi Vineyard Zinfandel

It’s Turley all right—plums and black cherry galore. It’s Turley all right—rocket fuel plum and blackberry pudding. A monster, this stuff will probably last close to forever. It is jammy and rich, still works as what it is, just not that much my style now. Much appreciated to Berto for contributing this bottle to the cause.

2000 Emmanuel Rouget Vosne Romanee

A true sense of mystery in the nuzzie—has a great floral element, red fruit and the undulating scenting flow of this is sublime, in a way that takes me to Emmanuel’s doorstep. Mix of berry, plum and light chestnut only serve as descriptors to the gracefulness and in-place-ness of this wine. It is sublime. #6 today.

2002 Rossignol-Trapet Chambertin

Aromatics include beguiling chestnut, earth and very Chambertin earth aromatics. This is still robust and plenty tasting, replays with a slightly sweet finish, and it is rather lovely. But I also do think that this may have been at its very best about 3 years ago. It’s been a long, long time since I had my last bottle. I would recommend you pop and pour one now if you have it.

2004 Chateau Grillet Condrieu

In-ter-est-ing. Smoky, this is. Smoked honey and peach. Gentle entry and then it bounces around the mouth with bitter quince, a touch of star fruit and a bitter melon finish. I don’t love it but I wouldn’t spit it out either. It is different from anything else Viognier out there and I am glad to have tried.

2007 Yalumba Wrattonbully Botrytis Viognier

Only ended up with the tiniest taste of this. But it did show me honey, peach and a little melon fruit in the snoot and my taste had plenty of nectarine and honeysuckle taste, with a really light butterscotch backing. A good dessert wine. My very deep thanks to my very good friend Deb for contributing this bottle to the table.

2011 Calera Mt. Harlan Viognier

Nummy smells of honey, floral and lightest lime. Tastes lovely—such balance, such length for a Viognier. There is fruit but you don’t concentrate on it because of the layers and elegance of structure. It has been too long since I’ve had one of Josh’s Viogniers, it would appear. I have some left over and am excited to retaste. #13.

2006 Calera Mt. Harlan Dessert Viognier

A late harvest, I believe. Apricots aplenty, a lot of tropical. Wow. That just floods the tongue with sweet and candy. It is also very unique and I’m glad to have tried, but not quite my style of dessert wine. I will be interested to have others’ thoughts on this one. Certainly, it’s not in any way faded after 10 years.

1999 Bouchard Pommard Les Rugiens

As mentioned above, I gave this 2 days of air and decanted on the day of. I got to it about mid-afternoon. And finally…the fruit has conquered the meat and earth that dominated the nose and palate at the outset. What has emerged is still a rugged Pommard that has lots of time yet to reach its apogee, but this is a wine in a style that I like very much for its authoritative sour cherry, earth, light smoke and chestnut presentation. I’m not sure the velvet will ever get put on the glove, but I have, I think, 2 more of these to find out. This definitely was a polarizing wine on this day.

2011 Maison Ilan Charmes Chambertin Aux Charmes Hautes

The bouquet is intriguing and difficult in its way—stinky a bit and funky, but also slashes of black cherry and nice baking spice. When I sniffed someone else’s later, the good parts of all of this had resolved quite a bit. This does have character and is still building. I like the blueberry tinge to the blackberry and spiced cherry fruit. I don’t know if it has quite enough character that speaks of high-end Charmes, but there is some decent hope here for continued development and I’ll hold onto my other bottle for some little while.

2001 Chateau Suduiraut

While the aromatics and palate are typically rich orange-centred with some vanilla and coconut, with air this seems to simplify some, which is very surprising. I suspect an off-bottle here, unfortunately, and a couple other tasters seemed to feel the same way.

2006 Beaucastel Roussanne Vieilles Vignes

Expansive honeysuckle and an alluring citrus side note to the bouquet. This has just come out of hiding and is smooth, deep and delish with pear, nougat, flowers and melon rind, all without being in any way over-sweet. A bit of lanolin feel, there is a lot of wine here and it has rewarded my patience beautifully. #10

2009 Littorai Savoy Vineyard Pinot Noir

Has herbs and spices and plenty of red fruit on the sniffer. Dans la bouche, strawberry and raspberry and tangy edge of basil, it has complexity lacking in so many of these and a signature for me of Littorai wines. Leaving this 2 – 3 years would be no mistake.

2011 Charles Buisson Meursault Bouches Cheres

Lemon-lime, nuts, ginger—plenty of activity. This has a roundness the others don’t—still with drive and and a real savoury element. Lime repeat and some delicious herbs. This is a tremendously engaging wine. #8

2010 Sandhill Estates Small Lot Viognier

Slice of honey with buttered melon, maybe some sweet greens in the bouquet too. Mm—that’s actually not bad! It has lots and lots of flavour—on one level, but its tasty peach and orange and tangy lemon are enjoyable. A real surprise after 6 years.

2009 Marcassin Three Sisters Chardonnay

The typical-for-me matchstick, woodsy, tropical fruit and poached pear nose. The problem is the palate, which is on the sweet side, but more is one-dimensional and flat. Don’t really know what happened here, I’ve never had an experience like this with a Marcassin Chard, but arguably the biggest disappointment of the day.

2009 DuMol Clare Chardonnay

Plenty of tropical and oak, but it all fits, and some toasted bread wafts up the glass. Custard and juicy lemon and apple greet the tongue. It has plenty of depth and carry and is also unquestionably a big-style Calichard.

2009 Gangloff Condrieu

Still a little closed in the sniffer—silvery, plenty of poached pear and also some guava perhaps. It is again rich, but I may have tried this too late in the day—it doesn’t match that richness with length or extra interest, almost just sits on the midpalate. I will try again and report back.

2000 Chateau Kirwan

Smells really good. Aromatics of tobacco, graphite, nice black plum and cassis. Very nice indeed on the palate—smooth, delectable, suave and plenty of buttressing black fruit and savoury herbs. A tremendously complete package, this is really excellent, probably about 91+ if I was going to score. #5 today and certainly one of the best reds.

2010 Rivers Marie Cabernet

Smoky chocolate covered cherries here dans le nez. In the mouth, more of that with some carry and balance. Good wine with room to improve.

2008 Quivet Kenefick Ranch Cabernet

Cherry, plum and licorice. Lots of black fruit and some underlying chocolate. Yum-my. I do mean it. Rich and bit of sweet with great plum, black cherry and touch of pomegranate, but it smooths its way right through your mouth. For-sure good. #20

2011 Pearl Morissette Dix-Neuvieme Chard

Rich nose of binned apple, toast, very edge of tangerine. With air, it’s gained a nice element of softness and suavity to go with bracing pear and what I want to say is pine nuts and pine resin. Very interesting spot for this right now.

2006 Le Clos Jordanne Le Grand Clos Chard

Old wood varnish comes with an apple and pear presentation. In the mouth, quite settled and rather pretty, with just-tasty apple strudel and a small slash of almond at the back. Probably still has time.

2013 Lucien Muzard Meursault Les Meix Chavaux

A good smoked forest floor background to lemon-balm and some definite balsam in the nose. With a full day’s air, very lilting and dances across the tastebuds with white flowers, lemondrop, touch of saline at the back and some apple crisp. Quite good.

2007 Olivier Leflaive Corton Charlemagne

This presents with a little white pepper to accent apple and some fresh herbs. End of the day, it still has good presence with some lime, some ginger and some apple mixed in. In a very good place, lots of energy and activity, enjoyed by many including me. He really killed it in 2007.

2001 Chateau Coutet

Key lime pie and a sweeter apricot-based overtone. This continues to be just superb—fantastic liveliness, racy still with lime cordial and orange marmalade plays. It doesn’t have, like, 5 layers, but for sheer intellectual and sensual pleasure, this now rivals the best 01s. Bravo! #2

1984 Kalin Cellars Cuvee DD Pinot Noir

One of the more fascinating bottles, I had no idea what I’d get here. Well…even with a full day open, tons of interesting earth, light barnyard and underlying raspberry with slash of rhubarb. And this is a beauty to put in my mouth, because this is in the old style of Cali Pinot, where vivacity and acidity are king. So much active sparkly red berry fruit and amazing liveliness for, remember, 32 year old wine. A true and rare marvel, one of the great delights of my day. #4 for sheer audacity and best of the reds.

2007 Chateau Suduiraut

Inhale the tropics—papaya, mango, coconut, orange, pit fruit. This is good all right—thick and rich with plenty of honey, melon, apricot and fig bar at the sides and back. Missing just that “enough” of acidity, it may come with time—the botrytis is still present here.

2006 Poggiotone Brunello

Turbocharged bouquet of plum pudding, almost a soy note and chocolate. Yes, this attacks front and back and is plum and leather in the middle. But not a smooth, whole, harmonious showing. This will appeal to some, but not as much to me.

2001 I Faustino Rioja Gran Reserva

Quite classic, cocoa, leather, black plum. Tangy replays—it’s not a stunner, but does deliver genuine pleasure with lines, black fruit and more cocoa.

2012 Remi Jobard Meursault Poruzots-Dessus

An almost-fresh minerality here interspersed with juniper and lime. And a tremendous elegance on the tongue, great fundamental lime and minerals, but with a yellow fruit and sunshine-y frame. Very, very good and an archetype for the 2012 vintage, I think. I’m going to get more of this for sure. #14

2007 Louis Jadot Chassagne Montrachet Les Grands Ruchottes

This is also absolutely splendid stuff. My last wine of the night has one of the intriguing noses—butterscotch and banana glints to some bosc pear and some star fruit. It’s just drinking beautifully, fans out with some light ginger and marzipan on a toasty pear pie palate. Apple core later. Terrific wine. #17

[next day]

2013 Brundlmayer Riesling Zobinger Heiligenstein

Had this while watching the Wimbledon men’s final. Bit of petrol only accents lemon and appleseed with a steely note. I like this with the day’s air—ads a rounded appley grace to still-tactile and crystal lemon and lime. Good and will surely improve with age.

2007 Luneau-Papin Muscadet de L’Or

Polished aromas of white flowers, touches of apple pie, whit fruits and dab of coriander. Drinking well, has the fresh crispness you want out of Muscadet. Granny Smith apple and unripe bosc pear base, it adds length and a trace of salinity on the finish.

2008 Francois Villard Condrieu Terrasses du Palat

Honey bue also crème brulee and some toffee. Peach cobbler aromatics too. Dans la bouche, this presents initially with a graham cracker entry to some tropical fruit notes, but still for me is relatively thin and slants away on the finish. Not over the hill at all, just with a very definite ceiling.

1997 Huet Le Mont Moelleux

So this is easily the most controversial wine. My 2nd-oldest kept bottle—I think I’ve had this 14 years, the calls at first were for corked. I thought so too, but my friend Heather exhorted me to wait it out. And—she—was—right! At least I think so (I do know some respected tasters will disagree). This morning, this is a beauty. Tantalizing bouquet of nectarine, apricot, toffee, vanilla, trace of marzipan and…sunshine. I think this is in the heart of its drinking window. Most of the aromatics are replayed but along a very tight, controlled band down the middle of the tongue and throat. Remarkably assertive and truly individual wine and experience. #15.

2009 Black Hills Estate Nota Bene

Today, aromas of plum, sweet blackberry and chocolate-dusted cinnamon and sweet cedar, all is very harmonious. Very different on the tongue, where cured meats, chickoree, some char and blackberry play out. Depth to this and smooth, but the separation of aromatics and palate makes this more of an intellectual exercise for me.

2007 Smith Haut-Lafitte Blanc

Today, grass and hay with some asparagus are very at the front. Lots of sage and rosemary. Probably fresher yesterday, there’s some apple crisp and lemon dust and it has a spike at the back. Overall, a good and interesting wine, but I was hoping for more. Will hope a Saturday taster will weigh in here.

2012 Rudius Napa Cabernet

Redolent with plum, black cherry and lots of cassis. Nips of prune, licorice and a roast beef underside. Palate is mouthfilling blue and black fruit—big enough but also bridled and very smooth and velvety, this is a very nice drink which holds its components well and an excellent example of its style. #24

2011 Pearl Morissette Cuvee Persephone Cabernet Franc

Nice slightly smoky blackberry nose. This day after, it has really great flow and balance, has such brightness and soul about it. And excellent cranberry, blackcurrant and black cherry fruit. #21.

2003 Chateau Suduiraut

Surprisingly, the aroma is rather on the fresher citrus and orange side here. Yup—hit this vintage dead-on, with luscious, creamy tropical fruit—pineapple and papaya overlaid with honey and vanilla. And this is not too heavy—it’s really very, very good, and maybe next to the 03 Climens in this vintage for me.

2013 Southbrook Poetica Chardonnay

Floral aromatics, some light pear and apple. But not much for me in the mouth, fairly sweet and not much beyond initial apple.

1995 Ronchi Cialli Schiopettino

I had never had one before. Some cedar and tomato leaf and dusting of cocoa swirls up the glass around plum and berry. Savoury here, pomegranate seed, cranberry and raspberry with a fine acidic spine. It’s hard to categorize this, though it reminds me some of Gamay.

2009 Aubert Ritchie Chard

Still young, the oak is in evidence but buttressed by that Ritchie citrus and some coconut—it’s definitely alive. And that continues on the palate, with kinetic dynamism for sure. Oak still wants a bit more time to fully integrate and peach and citrus also in the mix, but this is a place where maybe the house is already moving to a fresher style. Pretty good….says something if Aubert Ritchie, which I always love, doesn’t crack the top 25.

2011 Chateau Suduiraut

Scents of bananas. Very much crème brulee. Roasted butterscotch and even toasted marshmallow. Remember, this is 3 days out. You know the thing about this house? The thing that really comes through now that I’ve had the chance to run a vertical like this? It’s not always the most multifaceted, not always the most elegant. But it is always most delicious and hedonistic—waves of tropical fruit here with vanilla and maple fudge. I think you do this to realize that the house does truly have a style.

2010 Jean-Marc Brocard Chablis Les Clos

Chalk, stone, sweetish lemon and apple, but all somewhat subdued, although there’s hinted-at freshness. I wonder, though, if there’s been some kind of style change here. While this has some chalkiness and lemoncurd base, it doesn’t say much to me—and it’s not because it’s closed. Instead, this is correct without being riveting, as Les Clos should be. More like a Montee really. Or my friend Nick remarks, it minds him of Pouilly Fuisse. Not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s also not Les Clos.

2013 Veleta Vijirieja

This was my first chance to try Nola’s and Juan’s white wine. Well, now, this is a bit of summer sunshine to scent, with some sweet peas mixing into apple and some background vanilla cream. Cut greens on secondary. Gentle entry and finish, not much to find in fruit but had it warm. Cooled down on Monday, one gets some binned apple and I think perhaps guava hints. Still a light snack, but that’s as it should be and there’s value here for the price.

2010 Grosset Polish Hill Riesling

Even after 1.5 days, this is still reticent in the nuzzie, but with some coaxing, apple and a bit of petrol show. This continues to have real spine with rigourous lime and some lemoncello. A great crystal-type feel, this truly is Aussie Riesling at its best and probably will sit still for 20 years.

2012 Turley Pesenti Zinfandel

Brambles and boysenberry, but light and very enjoyable bouquet. Lots of plum underneath. OK, well, this IS a Turley Zin. There is no lack of sweet plum, pomegranate and black fruit. But it is not hot or overbearing in any way. There is zero acidity, though, and not much carry, but what’s in there has weight. More of an admire wine for me than a like wine, but in its style this is a strong entry.

1994 Joseph Phelps Cabernet

Don’t quite know about this one—wood varnish and kind of tomato-ey scents. More on the palate to get here, a very sure red cherry complemented by cinnamon heart and meat tones. It’s mature and in its window and I like the palate, just not the nose, and I want a wine to be complete.

2008 Bouchard Meursault Genevrieres

Really fine-tuned bouquet now, pears vie with lime, snip of thyme and a smoky minerality. And man, this is so consistently shudderlicious. Still fresh, but also super-long with lemon, lime a bit of sweet grapefruit and nutty finish. I could drink down a whole bottle of this and still have an ongoing conversation, not one of these bottles has disappointed me. This is absolutely super, 95, probably the best of the 8 or so that I’ve had and, remarkably #1 and WOTD.

2006 Chateau Suduiraut

And if I ever needed an exemplar for what I said above, this has to be it. Custard and bits of banana flow through honeycake bouquet. Dans la bouche, it is just so round and just-right lush and endearing as a drink. It pillow-talks your mouth and is dessert all by itself—true umami feel here. Licklicious and a great job in this vintage.


2006 Navarro Correas Structura Ultra Malbec

Spices—lots—and beef blood and meats are first impression. Juicy blackberry and some anise waiting underneath. Layers upon layers of chocolatey black forest cake goodness. 2 days later, this is drinking really nicely. Soft but insistent with long length. Maybe one of the better reds, the meatiness is just hinted at on the sides. A whole different look at what you can do with Malbec. #22

2010 Magrez-Aruga Koshu Isehara

So the thing is, when I was in Bordeaux in 2014 and visiting at Pape Clement, they had this on the shelf. I absolutely had to grab a bottle and it cemented my decision to have a “Final Frontiers” table. Koshu is the traditional Japanese grape. Read on, brave souls. The nose reminds me a bit of leeks and there’s also a scented soap thing here mixed with some lemongrass. Not offensive, just interesting. But on the palate, well now. Very flowery—almost liquid potpourri—drinking this cold is a must and it’ll never be mistaken for Grand Cru burg, but it is fresh and giving in its own gentle way. In fact, later, it’s orange blossom and orange….and a dead ringer for a Muskat.

2010 F & L Pillot Meursault Caillerets

Man, 2 days later this smells like a friggin’ Chevy. Pure matchstick, approaching diesel, intermixed with lilac and acacia. Herbal undertone to sweet lemon and some pear. Very pretty indeed, it drives through the mouth and down the throat without lingering, taking the hazelnut and lemongrass mains with it. In the aftertaste, a real interesting almost coffee crisp-without-the-chocolate nuance. Fascinating.

2011 Maison Roche de Bellene Meursault Charmes

A little gunflint here too, but it is less of the focus, where here light nutty tinged with butterscotch and pear and apple hold sway in the aroma. This is perhaps the gentlest and most elegant of the bunch, having perfect balance and precision as it dances across the tongue. Mists away and yet still focused with lemon, pear skin and a very slight salinity. One to meditate on.

2009 Raul Perez Sketch Albarino

I had hoped my friend Berto was wrong, but he wasn’t----nose now is showing almost a green bean thing and the palate is flat and lifeless—he said that on opening the palate was amazing but when he tasted it, the wine had gotten shot. I’ve left it with our Station Chief for Perez, Jay Shampur, and asked him to report back to me—he hopes chilling it might bring back some life. Hopefully will be able to let the readers know, but his taste last evening reflected my thoughts.

2009 Huet Le Mont Moelleux

Liquid orange blossom is my first thought. Some sweet marmalade and definite quince for me. Oh, my my! That has the best entry of anything I’ve had on the list—it drops into your mouth and sparkles there for a few seconds before sailing off. Replays are there with what I might term citrus cider if I could. Not crazy long and deep but rather evocative in its way and very good. In fact, it does show its kinship with the 97 Cuvee Constance

I also retasted all the Kutch except the 2006, notes in this thread (post 2)



2004 Nikolaihof Steiner Hund Riesling

Extremely quiet—no, flat—bouquet. Little bits of oak and lime perhaps, but…on palate, nowhere close to my last scintillating bottle. This would be another that is “correct”| for tastes of lemon, lime, bit of minerality and white pepper, but with no lasting drive, verve or character at all. I fridged the rest and checked on it the next day, but no real change. Disappointment

2008 Klein Constantia Vin de Constance

From Muscat de Frontignan, boy, does this jump your nostrils with crushed fig and sultana raisin buttertart. Heady fruity aroma. Oohhhh—different from the Le Mont, the entry on this is fig and quince but with such an incredible creaminess. The action is all at the front of the tongue and throat and it almost skips through the midpalate. But for purity of expression, kudos. A wine I’d love to have more of. #23

2009 Chateau Suduiraut

Today, sort of sweaty, caramel-sided scents. Getting at the fruit is difficult. In the mouth, though, it is very solid stuff. Vanilla cream with edges of quince and star fruit, this is one where the for-me signature orange is completely absent. Botrytis is still in evidence and this’ll be a 20-30 year wine. It is one of the more elegant Suds that I’ve tasted, would just want more on the nose. Long, long aftertaste, though I wouldn’t categorize it yet as multidimensional. This was from a full.

2012 Pfeffingen Scheurebe

This is still, 3 days later, fresh as anything with potpourri surrounding applesauce and tart white grape. No one will be bowled over by this. But yummy? You bet yummy. Can you say yummy? This is just plain yummy, with lilting sweet lilac-infused juicy fruit stuff going on. It playfully makes its way through my mouth. Don’t leave one of these for decades, but what a fine value this wine is. Must…get…more in current vintages.

2009 Alpha & Omega Chard

If there was acidity here, it’s gone now, unfortunately. Quite perfumey, musky aromatics today with melon fruit in the mix. I do think this may have been better a couple years ago, as right now the alcohol seems to have taken hold It has a somewhat heavy, tropical presence without counterbalancing acid. To be fair, it has been 3 days and was likely better on Saturday.

2004 Gravner Amphylos Ribolla Gialla

On day 3, the colour of sherry-casked whisky. It is almost vermilion. And that is only the start of this most unique of wine experiences. The bouquet today speaks of saltwater taffy and there’s plenty of vanilla custard too. Maybe kumquat as well. But there’s none of that at all dans la bouche. This attacks the front of the mouth and then has this peaty/whisky thing going on along with nuttiness that definitely has me thinking vin jaune. Truly unique.

2012 Moon Curser Tannat

Plenty of cherry liqueur here is tempered by some bacon and a dash of mustard seed. Fairly straightforward now with some bacon echo to the red fruit. A portion of velvety feel, but not that dynamic a wine today. Will like food, though, and there’s still some peppercorn nuance at the back

2009 DuMol Isobel Chard

I like the understated complexity of aromatics—moving from white pear and buttercream biscuit to some light herbs and spiciness. Doesn’t stay pinned down. The taste, I’m not sure what to make of this—certainly tastes mature and has this mix of marmalade, unripe pineapple, but also a sort of bitter baked apple. No question it does have length and drive, and one of those I’m the sorriest about trying 3 days later. I imagine this has suffered a bit even though I transferred it to halfsie. There are good lines here.

2009 DuMol Chloe Chard

Even more rounded complexity than the Isobel, maple smoke is hinted at around light pear and toffee and a little star fruit too. This has held up well and is quite balanced and delicious, the slight shivers of pralines & cream and some sweetness only accent a white fruit centre with some dry mustard shakes. It is long, undulating, very smooth and in its optimum drinking window. Really very good, and I’m not dumping any of the pour, with fewer wines, may well have been in a top-20.

2014 Domaine des Molardes Chasselas

Some greens, some cheese, some lilacs—such are the scents here. Tasty enough with a citrus and verbena lemon entry and a little aromatic replay. Very contained, though, and not much finish. Nevertheless, decent quaff.

2011 Casarena Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon

The only “crossover” bottle between dad and me—we joke that every bottle over $30 belongs to him and every bottle under $30 belongs to me. This still has its share of plums, cocoa and ripe boysenberry, perhaps even a blueberry tinge. Drinks rather like a merlot—very, very soft and sweetish plum sauce and black cherry compote. It’s no vin de garde, but neither is it undrinkable—the core of plush does have some tannic bite still that grabs the roof of my mouth

2012 Norman Hardie Cuvee L Chard

The overt oak on this is quite distracting. It has apple notes, but hard to pin them down. Le gout is a bit more restrained, it has a certain attractive saline side and a backbreathe of sandalwood and pineapple, but not something connecting it in the middle. Ok, but not great.

2010 Bott Geyl Schlossberg Riesling

The lime and fresh-washed stones are still so purely evocative in the bouquet. Smells like you’re on the mountainside by the creek. This continues its youthful showing, still with tremendous verve and snap. Where it falls off after the 3 days is a more truncated finish than usual, but no lack of characterful lemon, lime and acacia presence. High quality here. Should be at its peak in about 3 years. #25

2009 Peter Michael La Carriere Chard

Demure toffee and nougat under tangerine and white fruit aroma. On the palate, it skates across with a ballerina’s elegance—amazingly light tracings and yet leaves you tasting the aromatic replays with apple pie and vanilla ice cream. It maybe is too controlled, as there is no second gear, but that’s nitpicking over a fine, fine wine.

2010 Sojourn Home Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon

Some dill, yes, but also dark chocolate, espresso bean, cedar and blackberry. Very fluid, very sensitive and very engaging mouthful of wine. From entry to finish, it all flows extremely well, it all makes sense, with just-chewy dark cherry, plum, pine needle accent and dark cocoa all mixed in. This is great wine ,#16

2014 Schug Pinot Noir

Well—isn’t this the nice surprise. All this time later, cinnamon bun around lively strawberry fruit sniffs. An almost-nervy style for Sonoma, sour cherry, a glance of rhubarb and strawberry do work together with notional cinnamon heart at the end. This also is a fine bottle in its individualistic way, perhaps a faint echo for me of the superlative 84 Kalin DD.

1994 Broadbent VP

When I first opened it and thought to decant, there seemed to be no need, so joyful was the rich raisin, bread and plum pudding showing. 3 days later, fig bar and some molasses have taken over the bouquet. On the palate, it retains that very elevated sweetness, but now it’s without the freshness of that first day and fades into blackstrap molasses and dark raisin. Glad I tasted it on the Friday night to see the difference. As long as you don’t drink it day of, you should have no complaints. I’d suggest a 3-4 hour decant at most. Very glad to have my first port from this house.

2004 Kracher #3 Traminer Nouvelle Vague TBA

Hurrah—someone DID save this for me. The sad news? The small save was in a fully open halfsie for 3 days till I detected it. The good news? There is still a pure expression of apricot fudge. Yeah, that’s how I’d describe it. I’m sure there was more vivacity on Saturday. Still a joy to consume.

2004 Quintarelli Valpolicella

I don’t know if this is slightly oxidized so much as very Veneto/amarone in nature, with raisins, prunes and grapey sniffs. The palate remains quite elegant and has some tart feel to the funky overripe plum and raisin flavours. Even 5 days after opening (and this was opened and decanted a full two days before the event), a wine of interest for me.

2013 Closson Chase Closson Chard

There’s a wee bit of sulphur, but it doesn’t distract from a gingerbread and apple crisp nose. On the tongue, though, this sort of collapses. Just starts with some tart citrus and then doesn’t go anywhere. A reminder, it’s been 3 days in a halfsie now, so would want to give a fresh bottle a chance.

2012 Moss Wood Chard

Herb and mineral-tinged lemon, possibly a little sweet corn in back. This has good feel and texture, a thread of grapefruit acidity running through, but misses diversity and character, with just some lemon-water and small trace of unripe tangerine. I’ve had better from here.

2004 Long Shadows Feather Cabernet

The only wine I mislabelled, this 12 year old is showing some old wood and forest floor impressions to go with dried cherry and crabapple. Curious dans la bouche, as up front there is tangy redcurrant with nutme, but a hit of sweet plum and cherry and cocoa gets you at the back. Disconnected, but no lack of interest.

2012 Bachelder Saunders Chard

I am a fan of the matchstick, ginger, candied nut and pear aromatics. Le gout, this is a light, fanciful expression but has good repays. Adds a trickle of grapefruit. Will try again with food, which I have a feeling will intensify the wine.

2011 Dog Point Sauvignon Blanc

WOW! The nettles and gooseberry and capsicum are absolutely the most intense I’ve ever smelled. There are people who don’t like this profile. Fine, but for those who do, this aroma is riveting. Real steel in the schnozz and in the mouth, with equal intensity to the nose. Kiwi fruit borders the replays and everything is marvellously alive. If you want to identify NZ Savvy, come hither pilgrim. This is dee-lish with a gorgeous herbs de Provence underpinning. #19

2010 Malivoire Old Vines Marechal Foch

Curious sort of christmascake scents. Plums lurk with boysenberry. Sad to say, this is past the post. Tomato leaf and tired raspberry can’t keep up. Not as much a function of 3 days’ open, I never know exactly how long to age these. Ah, well.

2012 Hidden Bench Tete de Cuvee Chard

Subdued but complicated bouquet suggests hibiscus, stone fruit, lilac and unripe honeydew. This is quite nice indeed, with gentle entry but insistent midpalate. Today, oak and acidity and the apple pie and marzipan flavours all work together as a team. Without a true memorable aspect, it is very complete and enjoyable nonetheless.

That’s everything, I think, except the 2011 Quivet Pellet and that may still be hiding at my parents’ place, and the 2003 Suduiraut which I couldn’t remember if I’d tasted—I have a little left and will try today (now Wednesday).

Slainte, truly!


That’s a lot of wine! ;D

Wow. Impressive. Jane and I had a great time. I am still working on typing up my notes and I didn’t have as many as you. Will post when completed.

Thanks again for your generosity with your wines, and your friends.

Where was the open invite??

Legible notes even toward the end…I’m impressed!

I bolded a few thoughts below. No notes taken; and I have to tell you, it was liberating.

Mike. Was there a top 5 or wot-event in your notes?
Wonderful event. So wish I could’ve made it!!

On offline planner!

An almost top-20, Mark—anything with a # at the end of the note :slight_smile:

For now, WOTE was the 2008 Bouchard Meursault Genevrieres, but that could change.

I have yet to post notes on the next-day lunch, though, which featured—thanks to the generosity of wonderful friends—my 1-2 WOTYs so far.


WOW, that’s one heck of a tasting Mike. I was happy to look at 5 bottles on Sunday… Well done!

I don’t know if I feel sorry for, or am jealous of, your liver… It terms of ‘fun-ness’ this has to be rival just about anything. Really enjoyed the notes, thanks for that!

wow amazing notes for what looks like a crazy event from here.

WINEFEST IN TORONTO (MIKE GRAMMER) - Mike Grammer’s (parents home) in Toronto (7/10/2016-7/12/2016)

Last Saturday, my wife and I drove across the border and up to Toronto (about a 6 hour drive). The reason, Michael Grammer was having his fourth wine cellar decompression party. We had not been able to make the prior ones, but were very happy to make this one. Every few years or so, Mike opens his home (actually his parents as he lives in an apartment) and shares about 1/3 of his cellar with his friends and acquaintances from all walks of his life. He has the wines arranged throughout the house in groups with a theme. Sometimes its about the wines, the grape or maybe the winemakers. Everyone just goes around drinking the wines at their own pace. It was crazy walking into a room that I had been in earlier only to discover there was another wine station along the wall that I didn’t even see the first time.

There was plenty of food on hand to nibble on around the house.

This year, there were 109 different wines at 13 or so stations. While there were some truly special wines, I was more interested in trying wines that I had not had or are difficult to find. That said, I did end up missing some wines that I truly wanted to try (Klein, Broadbent), but it was impossible to try everything. What I didn’t anticipate was how interesting the crowd was. There were the requisite wine geeks and as these events go, it is great to meet people whose comments I had been meeting on the wine boards for years (Tran, Bob Summers, Dan Hammer, Nick) and others who I had met before Berto, David). There were also people that had little or not knowledge of wine the Mike knew from Bridge, Games, the Hospital, neighbors) that made for fascinating conversations.

The weather was beautiful, so some of the wines were even set up outside. As you can imagine there was a wide diversity of opinions on the wines. There were only a few of the stations in which I got to every wine at the station. Fwiw, here are my notes on the wines I tasted. The labels of the tables are from Michael.
Upon arrival, we found ourselves in the dining room with glass in hand and a table full of Meursaults in front of us. That was fine as my game plan was to start with the whites and work thru them first.

  • 2009 Domaine Leflaive Meursault 1er Cru Sous le Dos d’Âne - France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Meursault 1er Cru (7/10/2016)
    A bit sweaty on the nose. slightly flat in terms of acidity. Good fruit though. Orange juice and lemons on the palate. A bit of complexity. Very enjoyable with what was a few hours of air. (90 pts.)
  • 2012 Domaine Rémi Jobard Meursault 1er Cru Le Poruzot-Dessus - France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Meursault 1er Cru (7/10/2016)
    Great showing with 4 hours of air. Nice citrus on the nose. Slightly nutty. Wonderful rich texture. Young, of course. Still, nice acidity. Good fruit. Grapefruit. Long finish. A long life ahead. (92 pts.)
  • 2001 Domaine Roulot Meursault Les Luchets - France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Meursault (7/10/2016)
    Killer at this stage. This was slightly warm but that was dine. Some red apples, great minerality on the nose. Nice texture. More minerals but some citrus on the palate. What it made it great were layers of complexity of earth, minerals and fruit. Nice acidity. Good finish. This had a lot of air by the time I tried it but was everything I want in a white Burg with age. (93 pts.)
  • 2008 Bouchard Père et Fils Meursault 1er Cru Les Genevrières Domaine de Chateau de Beaune - France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Meursault 1er Cru (7/10/2016)
    Above my expectations. Nose has nice lemons. Good balance. Very deep. Tight layering even with 4 hours of air. Fresh and vibrant. Lemons on the palate. Nice finish. Well done. (91 pts.)
  • 2011 Buisson-Charles Meursault 1er Cru Bouchères - France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Meursault 1er Cru (7/10/2016)
    Harder to see where this is going. Not a lot of fruit. Some lemons. On the palate, I liked the minerality. It finishes slightly bitter though. Very nice. OK acidity. Food helps it. (89 pts.)

As I worked my way outside, I noticed a table that was uncrowded with whites. At this point, I decided to mix in a few sweet wines as well.

  • 2009 Domaine Huet Vouvray Moelleux Le Mont - France, Loire Valley, Touraine, Vouvray (7/10/2016)
    From a 375. Killer wine. This had been open for a while, but was kept lightly chilled. The crowd seemed to be passing it by. Light golden in color. A nose of sea air, canned peaches and minerals. On the palate, this is slightly sweet although not as ripe as I expected (which was fine). Layers of minerals with honey and slight peaches. Good acidity. Complex. Years left but delicious and fascinating right now. A real treat. (96 pts.)
  • 2010 Grosset Riesling Polish Hill Clare Valley - Australia, South Australia, Mount Lofty Ranges, Clare Valley (7/10/2016)
    One of those wines I give the benefit of the doubt to based on history. Don’t get me wrong, it was excellent, but very tight. It took some vigorous swirling to coax out some flavors. A bit of petrol on the nose. Some grapefruit and minerals. Mike called this “lime” as in the mineral. I can agree with that. Ever so slightly sweet at this stage. There is a great texture. I meant to go back, but didn’t make it there. I would hold for now or give it lots of air. I think this will be better in 5 years. (90 pts.)
  • 2007 Luneau-Papin / Domaine Pierre de la Grange Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine Sur Lie Le “L” d’Or - France, Loire Valley, Pays Nantais, Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine (7/10/2016)
    Great nose of sea shells, hints of pepper and slight metallic quality. Very nice. Still showing young-ish. Oranges with a salinity and minerals. Passed its youth but not showing fully mature. Loved this wine for what it is. Drink or hold. Another treat to taste. (91 pts.)
  • 2002 Lelarge-Pugeot Champagne Millésime Extra Brut - France, Champagne (7/10/2016)
    Kept chilled, it had a few hours or so of air. In a good place. No hurry but I think at or close to peak. Green apples on the nose. Tart acidity on the palate along with the apples. Very vibrant. Some complexity. Clean and refreshing. My first time trying this. It seemed dry to me but I was going from dry to sweeter wines, so maybe there is some sweetness there. Not a lot. (91 pts.)

I love Viognier. I walked into the living room and it was empty. While I told myself I would not just sit by myself and be a wine geek, i could not help myself here. So much I wanted to try. Luckily, the room soon filled up with some wine geeks and the conversation got lively on topics such as politics and euro-styled Board games.

  • 2004 Château-Grillet (Neyret-Gachet) Château-Grillet - France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Château-Grillet (7/10/2016)
    Of the more than 100 wines at the tasting, this was the one I did not want to miss. There are very few wines left on my bucket list, but this is one. Never had it and it did not disappoint. Not my WOTN but a wine that is rare and one just doesn’t get the opportunity to taste much less with some age on it. A huge thank you to Mike for this. The nose has melons, minerals and spice. An almost waxy but not quality to it. On the palate, this is complex with layers of dried honey, minerals and some fruit. A very nice bitterness to it as well. Long finish. In a day where I did not linger on many wines, I spent some time here. A Viognier that is a bit different to be sure. (93 pts.)
  • 2008 François Villard Condrieu Les Terrasses du Palat - France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Condrieu (7/10/2016)
    Another Viognier that I had not had before. I love Viognier when done right. And it ages so well. The nose has honey, oranges and spice. Great texture. Good acidity. Complex on the palate with orange rind, honey, dried honey. Great acidity. Slightly sweet. Long finish. Did I say long finish. Lovely wine. I know most people drink these young, but I would have no issue waiting on this. (93 pts.)
  • 2011 Mathilde et Yves Gangloff Condrieu - France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Condrieu (7/10/2016)
    I have had many of their reds, but this was the first white. Of course, the label is very recognizable anyway. :wink: The nose is a bit sweaty with oranges and pith. On the palate, slightly sweet, slightly tart. Slick texture. Great. Plenty of fruit although not ripe. Finishes slightly bitter bit not in a bad way. Demanded a bit of food. (93 pts.)
  • 2011 Calera Viognier - USA, California, Central Coast, Mount Harlan (7/10/2016)
    After a bunch of Rhone Viognier, I wondered how this would show. Pretty much exactly the same. I was both surprised and not surprised given the winery. A very floral nose, not over blown with some orange peel/oil. It is tight on the palate but with some swirling it open up and shows good complexity. Lots of minerals, and an almost German Riesling Trocken quality. Slight heat on the finish may be the only sign of being from CA. Still, this is outstanding. (91 pts.)
  • 2010 Sandhill Viognier Small Lots Program Osprey Ridge Vineyard - Canada, British Columbia, Okanagan Valley, Okanagan Valley VQA (7/10/2016)
    So, this is one of the thing I loved and was well worth driving up to Toronto to taste (among many others). The chance to sample wines that I would never get to try otherwise. I was so excited to try this. No, it was not great. It is good though. But, it was so cool to try. As hard as it might be to believe, I just don’t drink many British Columbia Viogniers. The nose has a nice saline note, like sea air with some peaches. Slightly sweet. I would prefer a skosh more acidity, but there is some. Nice peaches on the palate. Good finish. Happy to drink this anytime. (89 pts.)
  • 2007 Yalumba Viognier Hand Picked Botrytis - Australia, South Australia, Limestone Coast, Wrattonbully (7/10/2016)
    Nice dessert wine. 375. The nose has honey apricots. Viscous texture. Approaching cloying but enough acidity to reign it in. A little goes a long way though. Some depth. The honey is more dried on the palate. Nothing amazing but very very nice. (92 pts.)
  • 2002 Daniel Lenko Viognier Icewine - Canada, Ontario, Niagara Peninsula, Niagara Peninsula VQA (7/10/2016)
    Apparently this is a one off as Daniel found the process of letting rapes die on the vine disconcerting. Michael also let me know that the winery is no longer making wine. A shame. Back in the day a visit and sitting at their kitchen table was a real treat in the world of wine. Nothing stays the same though. Thanks (again) to Michael for sharing this cellar treasure. Iced tea in color. A bit of VA on the nose, but fine with me. It raises the aromatics along with it. Honey and peaches on the nose at first, it turns nutty and salty. All were great. Good acidity. It skirts the cloying issue but doesn’t pass it. Very complex at this point. There is some peach left but mostly nutty with some honey. Long, long finish. I would drink these sooner I guess, but with every bottle, history is passing. (95 pts.)
  • 2006 Calera Viognier Dessert - USA, California, Central Coast, Mount Harlan (7/10/2016)
    Ruby/iced tea in color. The nose has some heat and apples but also a weird paprika note to it. It seemed disjointed to me on the palate. A lot of heat. It may have been better a few years ago, but a lot of fruit has faded. Others may have liked it more than I. (86 pts.)

MY HERO—Wines for my dad
Mike had a couple of tables set up in the basement with some of the more big names in wine. As I had many of these before, I decided to leave these for later and let those who hadn’t ever have them, get a chance. As it turned out, I never really did get back to these tables. Oh well. I did, however, sample a couple from them.

  • 2007 Olivier Leflaive Corton-Charlemagne - France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru (7/11/2016)
    Golden in color. Nice lemon vanilla cream on the nose. Decent acidity. This is good. Would like a bit more complexity and volume. Perhaps young or shut down, but I had higher hopes. I am sure it is not inexpensive. That said, an excellent wine. (91 pts.)
  • 2001 Château Coutet - France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Barsac (7/11/2016)
    Found this one excellent. It had a lot of air and the bottle only had a few pours in it when I got to it. The nose has apricots, brown sugar and some peach. On the palate, this is sweet with enough acidity to cut thru. Slightly oily texture. Clean. The apricots and brown sugar carry over. Quite complex at this point. Certainly in adulthood, but with years left. (95 pts.)

The Kitchen seemed to be at the cross roads of the traffic patterns. That was where this table was set up. Some interesting wines.

  • 2004 Giuseppe Quintarelli Valpolicella Classico Superiore - Italy, Veneto, Valpolicella, Valpolicella Classico Superiore (7/11/2016)
    This was in a decanter and there was no bottle, but Michael indicated that was what the wine was. The nose is dusty with dark cherries. Slightly oxidized. On the palate, more plums. Seemed fresher on the palate. Some warmth on the finish. Nothing raisined. I am not sure how much air this had. It is very nice, but I would have expected a bit better showing for this. It was on a table with some Pinots which may have made it seem a bit harsher than it might have. (89 pts.)
  • 2002 Domaine Rossignol Trapet Chambertin - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Chambertin Grand Cru (7/11/2016)
    Light ruby in color. The nose has nice cherries with slight powdered cherry drink. A hint of funk. On the palate, the fruit is excellent - cherries. Nice texture. I might have hoped for a bit more complexity and maybe it will still come. Excellent wine though. (91 pts.)

THE DUMOL GIRLS (and other California Chards)
Back in the Living room, I noticed a table in the corner I had missed while drinking the Viogniers. There was a vertical of DuMol Chards. I never did get to them (again, I though I would make it back), but I did sample the others. Its not often you see an unattended table of wines only to walk up and see labels like Marcassin, Aubert or Peter Michael. But for most of the crows, those labels meant little. It was a good day.

  • 2009 Marcassin Chardonnay Three Sisters Vineyard - USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast (7/11/2016)
    I walked into the living room and noticed a table in the corner that I had missed previously. Picked this bottle up to see what it was. Wow, pretty impressive label and most people were walking right by for the easier to access Viognier table. Lots of fun. Light golden in color. Some vanilla cream on the nose. Also some charred wood. Probably a bit warm but that wasn’t too bad. There did seem to be some funkiness (sulfur?) showing on the nose. Good acidity. Good fruit on the palate. A very nice, blowsy, Cal Chard. (93 pts.)
  • 2009 Peter Michael Chardonnay La Carrière - USA, California, Sonoma County, Knights Valley (7/11/2016)
    I really enjoyed this one. The nose is almost sweet. Lemons, vanilla, honey, slightly smoky. On the palate, great texture. Complex, deep with precision layering. Some lemon cream and spice. Great acidity. Still seems young but really exciting. Long finish. (94 pts.)
  • 2009 Aubert Chardonnay Ritchie Vineyard - USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast (7/11/2016)
    Light golden in color. The nose is sweaty with great fruit and vanilla. It was not as cloudy as I expected so perhaps this had been standing for a while. On the palate, there is a nice complexity. Tart acidity cuts thru but plenty of fruit too. Long finish. Very nice. (94 pts.)
  • 2009 Alpha Omega Chardonnay - USA, California, Napa Valley (7/11/2016)
    The nose is sweet with honey and tropical fruits. Also some vanilla. Blind I might have guessed Semillion or Suavignon Blanc. There is some sweetness (or a perception of it) on the palate. It is refreshing with good acidity that balances the sweetness. Interesting take on Chardonnay. (88 pts.)

This was fun. Many of the fills were getting lower, and as much as I wanted to wait on this, I figured it was now or never.

  • 2001 Château Suduiraut - France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Sauternes (7/11/2016)
    This has always been a personal favorite of mine, so I was delighted to see a vertical. The 2001 ended up being my WOTN even if the 09 did technically get more points from me. What a great nose. Gorgeous. Honey, apricots, slight vanilla and spice with a hint of nuttiness. Ripe and out there. On the palate, a bit more structure. Honey and a slight nuttiness (PayDay Candy bars). This is a bit wine but so good. Long, long finish. Just a lovely wine. Years left. (97 pts.)
  • 2007 Château Suduiraut - France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Sauternes (7/11/2016)
    Somewhat like the 2001 only a bit less flamboyant. The nose has honey, apricots and orange peel. On the palate, this is viscous though not cloying. Enough acidity to really cut thru. Some vanilla, this is more like pastry than candy (comparing it to the 2001). Love this style for a dessert wine. A little goes a long way. (96 pts.)
  • 2011 Château Suduiraut - France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Sauternes (7/11/2016)
    This was tight. Seems to be plenty of room for upside though. Honey and tropical fruits on the nose. Some spice. On the palate, melons, tropical fruit. Good acidity. Tightly packed. Long finish. Would like to revisit in 10 years. (94 pts.)
  • 2003 Château Suduiraut - France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Sauternes (7/11/2016)
    Great nose here. Really expressive. Honey, mangoes, pineapples with spice. Lovely. On the palate not quite as good as the nose. Tropical fruit but lacks the acidity of other vintages. Really rich and filling. Not as sweet as it is rich. That said, it is an excellent wine. Warmth on the finish. (94 pts.)
  • 2005 Château Suduiraut - France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Sauternes (7/11/2016)
    Probably my least favorite of the recent bottlings but still quite good. The nose has apricots and honey. The spice element in so many of these is not present. On the palate, this was a bit flabby compared to the others. It also had a bitter note on the finish. That is, of course, nit picking, as this wine is outstanding. I mention it to distinguish between the others in this vertical. Really a wonderful wine. (93 pts.)
  • 1988 Château Suduiraut - France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Sauternes (7/11/2016)
    What a treat to try this at this age. I really do like aged Sauternes although they are clearly a different wine than in their youth. The nose has caramel with some burnt oranges. On the palate, this is sugary and caramel with some citrus. There is enough acidity to make this lively though. There is also a depth, not layered, but depth that is a nice complexity. (91 pts.)
  • 1970 Château Suduiraut - France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Sauternes (7/11/2016)
    I hate to score this as its more of a treat than the score might show. Call it 90 with some points added for congeniality. deep brown/gold in color. The nose has toffee and caramel but also some burnt orange peel. On the palate, this has caramel but still some citrus notes. Good acidity. At age 45, this is very respectable and another real treat to taste. (90 pts.)
  • 2009 Château Suduiraut - France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Sauternes (7/11/2016)
    Not my WOTN, I give that to the 2001, but that’s partly because I know this one will eventually be better. Let the 01 have its day. This is so young but such a great wine. Honey, quince, spice on the nose. Great acidity. Lively, spry acidity with a slightly viscous honeyed palate with oranges and orange peel. Long finish. Gorgeous wine. Needs another 10 years and should last for a couple of decades after that. (98 pts.)

There were lots of other good wines here, but I figured the Kracher worked after the Suduiraut. And I could not pass up the Beaucastel.

  • 1998 Alois Kracher Chardonnay TBA #9 Nouvelle Vague - Austria, Burgenland, Neusiedlersee (7/11/2016)
    The nose has raisins, peaches and a bit of nuttiness. On the palate think sweet tarts. Also some tea and honey notes. Very complex. Not reserved but not boisterous. Great acidity. Mature but some time left to enjoy. (91 pts.)
  • 2006 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc Cuvée Roussanne Vieilles Vignes - France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape (7/11/2016)
    Golden in color. The nose is slightly waxy with figs and fennel. Also some smoke. On the palate, there is pear and spice and fig. Complex and layered. Enough acidity. Explosive finish. This peaks up steam as you drink it. Very special wine. (95 pts.)

Back outside on the back patio, I though it might be time for some reds. There was a theme in the winemakers of these wines tracing them thru their mentors and/or proteges. This may have been the table with the most diverse opinions that I heard.

  • 2012 Rudius Cabernet Sauvignon - USA, California, Napa Valley (7/11/2016)
    After a whole bunch of whites and sweet wines, this was my first red. This turned up the volume. It is a big wine. Delicious but I might have appreciated it more later. purple in color. Cassis and coffee and spice on the nose. Very accessible right now if not showing a ton of complexity. It is very enjoyable though. Good finish. (92 pts.)
  • 1994 Joseph Phelps Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley - USA, California, Napa Valley (7/11/2016)
    I was told by a few people this wasn’t any good. After tasting it, I get why they said that, but it was a matter of taste and that it was with some bigger younger cabs. Like a Spottswoode from 94 I had a few weeks back, this is also drinking like a well aged but still in the peak years, Bordeaux. The nose is tobacco, cassis, slight bell pepper and dust. On the palate, the fruit is fading but still there, some cassis, dried cherries, with leather and some damp forest floor. Good balance. This would certainly show better on its own, but still has plenty to offer the person interested in listening to what it has to say. (90 pts.)
  • 2010 Rivers-Marie Cabernet Sauvignon - USA, California, Napa Valley (7/11/2016)
    A wine that I have had on multiple occasions. Fwiw, probably my wife’s favorite wine of the day. This is still showing big with lots of fruit and structure and tannins. Lots of juicy cassis on the nose and palate. Nice finish. Still needs time but an excellent Cal Cab that was reasonably priced. (92 pts.)
  • 2012 Turley Zinfandel Pesenti Vineyard - USA, California, Central Coast, Paso Robles (7/11/2016)
    I had a hard time with this and usually I like it. Outside on the back patio, it was warm, I had been drinking mostly whites, but this was showing a lot of alcohol. The nose is sweet with jammy black raspberries and pepper. On the palate, there is also some heat. There is a lot to like here. Cherries, black raspberries, jammy, but the heat and alcohol were problematic for me. I meant to go back and retaste later in the evening as my palate adjusted more to bigger reds, but never made it. As I said though, there is a lot of good stuff too. Great texture. Lots of fruit. Still room to develop. I presume others liked it more than I did. (89 pts.)

It was nice to sit down outside and talk with a lot of wine geeks about these wines. Heather, Mike’s Sommelier friend, told us all about “Foch” while bob and I talked wine, travel and baseball. A really interesting collection of reds.

  • 2011 Pearl Morissette Estate Winery Cabernet Franc Cuvée persephone - Canada, Ontario, Niagara Peninsula, Twenty Mile Bench VQA (7/11/2016)
    Another new Canadian winery for me. The nose is nice. Very earthy with green tobacco and cherries. It comes in a Burgundy shaped bottle and there were many elements of Pinot in the wine. I wondered if it had some mixed in. Otoh, the green tobacco on the nose and firm tannins on the palate spoke loudly of Cab franc. It has a nice complexity. Cherries and bell pepper on the palate. Good acidity. Very nice wine. (88 pts.)
  • 2010 Sojourn Cabernet Sauvignon Home Ranch Vineyard - USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Valley (7/11/2016)
    Purple in color. The nose is nice with cassis and slight green bell pepper. Also a nice mineral note. On the palate, this has a lovely texture. Good balance. Not a monster but not wimpy either. Good cassis and cherry fruit. Nice finish. Seemed to be popular with the group. (90 pts.)
  • 2007 Long Shadows Wineries Cabernet Sauvignon Feather - USA, Washington, Columbia Valley (7/11/2016)
    After reading some other reviews, I am going to assume this was not a proper bottle. Everyone at the table seemed to be dissing this wine. It is thin, not much fruit, hollow mid palate, clipped finish. I think it had been opened a long time, so i doubt it was tca at a low level (usually that presents itself). Perhaps it just shut down hard? Not sure what was going on. Oh well.
  • 2007 Hidden Bench La Brunante Hidden Bench Estate Vineyards - Canada, Ontario, Niagara Peninsula, Beamsville Bench VQA (7/11/2016)
    I really liked this. Another Canadian wine. I am guessing this is a Merlot based Bordeaux blend. Very nice and with some potential to improve from here. Cherries with slight strawberries on the nose. Some bell pepper and brown tobacco. On the palate, firm tannins. More cherries and cassis with some spice. Nice texture. Tart acidity. 2007 was an excellent vintage IMO in Niagara. (91 pts.)
  • 2009 Black Hills Estate Nota Bene - Canada, British Columbia, Okanagan Valley, Okanagan Valley VQA (7/11/2016)
    This is from British Columbia I believe. Blind I might have guessed a Loire valley Cab Franc. The nose is thinner with cherries, green pepper and some green tobacco. On the palate, there is some funk with cherries and cherry juice alongside tobacco and bell pepper. Others found this more appealing than I did. I didn’t mind that green notes as much as the lack of body. It is interesting though and another wine that was cool to get to try. (87 pts.)
  • 2010 Malivoire Foch Old Vines Albert’s Honour - Canada, Ontario, Niagara Peninsula, Beamsville Bench VQA (7/11/2016)
    Perhaps no wine of the more than 100 there got more discussion than this wine did. Foch is apparently a hybrid grape designed in part to survive in the Great White North. It does have some pleasant qualities to it but not something I would seek out again. Ruby in color. Slightly foxy, slightly grapey on the nose. On the palate, cranberries with a tart, slightly powdery quality. Light tannins. A new grape for me. (85 pts.)
  • 2000 Château Kirwan - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux (7/11/2016)
    This had been decanted for a while. It was exactly where one would expect and a very nice showing at that. The nose has cassis, tobacco, a bit of earthiness in a very pretty perfume. Mature and layered on the palate. Cassis and earth. Good acidity. Remnants of a richness but not a mature Bordeaux. Classic. (91 pts.)
  • 2005 Château La Lagune - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Haut-Médoc (7/11/2016)
    i don’t recall having this wine before. In a good place but I am not sure it won’t get a bit better. Ruby in color. The nose has spice, cassis, cedar and cherries. Firm tannins on the palate. The cassis dominates on the nose but the cherries on the palate. There is still a fair amount of oak on this. It probably had 5 or 6 hours in a decanter by the time I got to it, so I suspect this needs more time and may end up being in that outstanding category. (89 pts.)
  • 2006 Navarro Correas Structura Ultra - Argentina, Mendoza (7/11/2016)
    Mallbec I think. Ripe. Plums and black cherries. Mono-dimensional. Tasty but not much more. (88 pts.)

A great chance to try this vineyard and to see Jamie’s progression as a winemaker. Very geeky, but so many people (as opposed to wine geeks) were getting in to determining their favorite vintage.

  • 2006 Kutch Pinot Noir McDougall Ranch - USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast (7/11/2016)
    Even these many years later, this still shows a lot of ripeness. Gone, however, are the cough syrup notes of the past. I heard more than a few people list this as their favorite. Cherries on the nose. Cherries and tart cherries on the palate. Good acidity. Yes, the fruit it ripe but nothing crazy here. In a good place and showing a nice young-ish maturity. (91 pts.)
  • 2007 Kutch Pinot Noir McDougall Ranch - USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast (7/11/2016)
    Still a bit on the riper side but just a delicious bottle of Pinot. Cherries, slight dark cherries. Ever so slightly jammy. For the vintage, not that huge though. Quite vibrant. very nice middle of the road showing. (92 pts.)
  • 2009 Kutch Pinot Noir McDougall Ranch - USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast (7/11/2016)
    This was the only bottle that had been decanted. Not sure why this one over some of the others. The wine shows a bit of a turn in style here. It is very smooth and showing a nice complexity. Cherries and earthiness on the nose and palate. Good balance. Still young. (91 pts.)
  • 2010 Kutch Pinot Noir McDougall Ranch - USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast (7/11/2016)
    This has really improved since I tried it last. Dark cherries on the nose with spice. On the palate, cherries and dark cherries. Some powdered cherry drink. Medium tannins. Lovely texture. Spry and light on its feet. This is the tightest of all the bottle IMO but should continue to improve IMO. (93 pts.)
  • 2011 Kutch Pinot Noir McDougall Ranch - USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast (7/11/2016)
    This was above my expectations. I am generally not a fan of the 2011 Pinots. This was very expressive. The nose has cherries, spice with a bit of a green herbal note. Not bad but interesting. On the palate cherries but no green note. Deeper darker cherries as well. Great texture. Good acidity. Nice finish. (93 pts.)
  • 2012 Kutch Pinot Noir McDougall Ranch - USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast (7/11/2016)
    My favorite of the line-up by a hair over the 2013. This is ripe. For all the talk about how Jamie is making lower alcohol Pinot’s, and that may be true, this has a lot of ripe fruit as well. Cherries, dark cherries, spice and roasted herbs on the nose. The palate has a great slick texture. Cherries and dark cherries with slight oak showing. Long finish. Easy and accessible yet a lot of depth and complexity. It may get better but it is great right now. (95 pts.)
  • 2013 Kutch Pinot Noir McDougall Ranch - USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast (7/11/2016)
    I think eventually, this will beat out the 2012, but today it is more introverted and in need of time. Dark cherries and cranberries and cherries with some spice. On the palate, this is rich and ripe yet very tight. really energetic. Again, the alcohol may be lower (I did not check), but there is nothing underripe and there is no shortage of fruit. Delicious. (94 pts.)
  • 2014 Kutch Pinot Noir McDougall Ranch - USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast (7/11/2016)
    This was a bit harder to judge. It is a lot like the prior years but just a bit less of everything. That may be that it is shut down right now or perhaps that is just how it is. After the glorious 12 and 13, this seemed like a let down which is totally unfair. On its own it is quite good and very enjoyable. Nice cherry fruit with roasted herbs on the nose. Good acidity. nice cherries on the palate. Hopefully, i will check in on these again in five years. (91 pts.)

NORTHERN CHAR-D (Ontario’s best)
I absolutely loved the chance to sample all of these Canadian wines. It is just not something I ever get a chance to so.

  • 2006 Le Clos Jordanne Chardonnay Le Grand Clos - Canada, Ontario, Niagara Peninsula, Twenty Mile Bench VQA (7/11/2016)
    Another from Ontario. Golden in color. The nose has yellow grapefruits. A bit tart. On the palate, the yellow grapefruit carries thru. Tart acidity. Some oak/vanilla comes thru on the palate. A very nice wine. I wonder where this goes from here. It had been open for quite a while before I found it. Seems well made for sure. (89 pts.)
  • 2009 Pearl Morissette Estate Winery Chardonnay Cuvée Dix-Neuvième - Canada, Ontario, Niagara Peninsula, Twenty Mile Bench VQA (7/11/2016)
    Really great showing for this Ontario Chardonnay. Great nose. Minerals and grape fruits. Tight layering despite being open for 8 hours or so when I got to it. Complex and interesting on the palate. Grapefruit and some spice/vanilla on the palate. Long finish. Delicious. (92 pts.)
  • 2012 Hidden Bench Chardonnay Estate Bottled Tete de Cuvee - Canada, Ontario, Niagara Peninsula, Beamsville Bench VQA (7/11/2016)
    This is a very pretty wine. Seems tight though and may still have some upside potential. It had, however, been open 8 or so hours when I tasted it. The nose is vanilla with some lemon cream. The palate matches. There does seem to be plenty of fruit, so perhaps as the oak fades this gets more interesting. Very solid at the moment though. It will be interesting to see where it goes from here. (89 pts.)
  • 2012 Bachelder Chardonnay Saunders Vineyard - Canada, Ontario, Niagara Peninsula, Niagara Peninsula VQA (7/12/2016)
    Another Niagara Chard. The nose is fresh and clean. Ginger and some lime. On the palate, lemon-Lime notes. With air some nutmeg comes out. All in all, pretty crisp and enjoyable. (90 pts.)
  • 2011 Southbrook Winery Chardonnay Poetica - Canada, Ontario, Niagara Peninsula, Niagara-on-the-Lake VQA (7/12/2016)
    An organic and biodynamic wine from Niagara. The nose has lemon creme. Its ogood but the palate is better. More interesting but the lemon creme does carry thru. Decent acidity. More blowsy than I might have expected but a pleasure to drink. (89 pts.)
  • 2013 Closson Chase Chardonnay Closson Chase Vineyard - Canada, Ontario, Prince Edward County VQA (7/12/2016)
    This is Ontario but Prince Edward County (is that Niagara?). Stinky/sulfur on the nose. Too much and I don’t mind that. Tart limes on the palate. Turns bitter on the finish. Its drinkable but a step down from most of the other wines of the day. Not sure if this was a proper bottle or not. (84 pts.)
  • 2012 Norman Hardie Chardonnay Cuvée “L” - Canada, Ontario, Ontario VQA (7/12/2016)
    Minerals and sulfur on the nose. Also some grapefruit. Slightly sweet on the palate. Silky texture. Grapefruit notes. Tart on finish. Nice wine with nothing terrible bu no highs either. (86 pts.)

A couple of Quivets.
These were not at a particular table. Both my wife and Dan Hammer were raving about them, so before we left, I made sure I sample them.

  • 2011 Quivet Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Pellet Vineyard - USA, California, Napa Valley (7/12/2016)
    Very much a product of the vintage. Cassis and an herbal note. Not under ripe but not big either. On the palate there are slight tannins. Dome depth. I don’t think it improves but we shall see in general how the 2011’s age. (91 pts.)
  • 2008 Quivet Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Kenefick Ranch - USA, California, Napa Valley (7/12/2016)
    In a great place right now. Young but certainly past the teenage years. This is a big, sweet, ripe wine that is both delicious as well as showing a complexity. The nose has cassis, slight char and a bit of roasted herbs. On the palate, juicy ripe cassis fruit. Some spice. Slight earth. Good balance. Nice finish. (93 pts.)

So many wines missed. Gravener, Veleta, something from Japan, Haut Brion. It didn’t matter. It was an honor to be included and get to try so many of the wines I did make it to.

Thanks so much to Mike. Jane and I had a truly great time. You have a lot of great friends. I hope we can make the next one.
Posted from CellarTracker

Nice job Mike. Lots of good wines here.
Especially glad to see some notes on all the Kutch wines.

Just read thru your notes Mike. I did not want to until mine were posted. Interesting takes. I did not think the Huet was corked. Sorry I missed some of the wines. Next time, perhaps I will put together a game plan. :wink: Or maybe like Dan, I will chuck the note taking and be liberated. :slight_smile: Thanks again for inviting us.

As an aside, on the way out of town on Sunday we went to a bakery called Tre Mari in an Italian neighborhood. Outstanding. Then driving thru a Portugese neighborhood on the way to the highway, we noticed all the flags and remembered the soccer game. We stopped at a makeshift stand and bought Ryan a Renaldo jersey. He was ecstatic. I imagine that neighborhood went nuts on Sunday night.

Nice notes everyone. Glad your day went off well again Mike. Fond memories of the 2 Winefest’s I’ve been able to attend.

What does “opened day before and left uncorked, no slow-ox” mean? The first part of that sentence is the very definition of “slow-ox” (or at least that was my understanding).


First of all, a great thank you to Mike and his folks for the tremendous hospitality and generosity. Great to see some American Berserkers come up so I could finally put faces to their legendary names. Don’t be modest, guys, you know you’re legends. :wink: I do have thoughts on a great number of the individual wines as well as some sweet wine bottle porn pics of the event to share with everyone but I would first like to put out some general thoughts on the wines as whole.

  • Very interesting to compare the classic French Viognier to the hot climate ones from Oz and Cali. The French were definitely crisper with the higher acidity but the hot climate ones were rounder, fuller and more flavorful and weren’t too heavy at all. With a chill, they would have been just as refreshing as the Condrieus. I particularly enjoyed the Caleras and the Yalumbas. The best at the table was by far the Yalumba Botrytised Viognier. It was less sweet than the Calera Late Harvest and the most aromatic of them all thanks to the boytris concentration. Sorry dry wine lovers, but sweet wines sometimes do bring out the absolute best in a varietal due to their concentration and this was a perfect example.

  • The Suduirauts blew me away but I was even more surprised at the one that ended up my favorite. The 1970 was a marvel in that it was still completely viable and very comparable to the legendary 01, 05 and 07s present which were three of the best vintages of the modern era. Those last three were everything I expected: honeyed, silky smooth, ethereal in flavor. If angels produced nectar, this is what would pour down from the heavens instead of rain. Everything a well-aged Sauternes should be and that fanatics go crazy for.
    Yet, my favorite ended up being the 03 out of all those present. It had the strongest botrytis glycerin tingle, some acidity and the most fruit flavor which actually veered more towards fresh pineapple than roasted. It was not as ethereal as the others but it was far, far edgier. Isn’t that what wine is all about? Breaking the expectations and turning into something truly amazing? Really makes me wonder now why people think 03 is a bad Sauternes vintage. Atypical? Yes. Bad? Absolutely not based on what I just drank.

  • The Kutch vertical was really, really fun. My favorite by far was the oldest for its complexity and flavor, but it was really fun tasting them from youngest to oldest. At the young end of the spectrum, very Burgundy like with balanced fruit and light tannins and high acidity. The flavors and aromas then got more and more intense as we moved to the older wines. The oldest was almost more like aged Bordeaux than Burgundy it was so incredibly rich. Just amazing to see the evolution. I’m kinda torn now on whether these babies should be drunk young or old. I loved the flavor of the oldest which again was my favorite, but I really loved the fruit and texture of the younger ones which were more refreshing in comparison. Thus the advantage of a vertical – you get to have your wine and drink it too!
    FYI, the pictures are the signs I made up for Mike to identify each table for the guests. Cool trivia: that elegant Kutch calligraphy logo was designed by none other than Lillian Grammer, Mike’s mother.

  • My biggest shock of the evening was how much more I enjoyed the Ontario and DuMol Chardonnays over the Meursaults. Blind, I would have pegged the Ontarios for hot climate wines. Quite a bit richer, rounder, and a touch more buttery but not over the top like the old California style. What am I saying, the California chards are not like the old California style! Very well balanced. True, they both lacked the flintiness and crispness of the Meursaults but I thogught they were much more fun to drink overall. Again, truly a shock for me. Meursaults were all amazing, I just felt that they were focused a bit too much on minerality and flintiness with that tell-tale gunpowder aroma and sharp tangy flavor. The Santenot and the Roche de Bellene were my favorites of these by far. I was extremely tempted to pour myself a blended glass of half Meursault and half DuMol to see if I could get the best of all worlds and actually regret that I didn’t do it now.
  • I. Heart. Beaucastel. The Chateauneuf du Papes were both amazing and the Blanc easily my white WOTN. And here I thought Mike didn’t like Grenache Noir! I always wondered why Beaucastel is double the price of other CdPs and now I definitely know and approve.
  • I. Heart. Cali Cab. Though given very close competition by the Beaucastel, Sojourn and the Faustino I, the Rudius was my red WOTN and from what I saw apparently a lot of other people’s as well. People can complain about big and bold and that touch of sweetness and oak vanilla in Cali Cab all they want, this is the only way to go with Cab Sauv as far as I’m concerned. This said, I felt people were way too harsh on the 94 Joseph Phelps. To me, this was more of an Aussie style Cab Sauv. As Loren says, very dry and somewhat austere. I think it threw people off after the Rudius and the Sojourn. Being thrown off your expectations does make a wine different, but doesn’t mean it’s bad. I also agree it’s not my cup of tea but it’s still a good wine. I do understand, though, why people kept running to the Rudius and the Sojourn.
  • The 1997 Huet Moelleux was most definitely NOT corked and if I knew that people were avoiding it because they thought it was, I would’ve been all over that bottle like white on rice and never left its side.
  • Alois Kracher, may he rest in peace, was a sweet wine genius. The two Krachers more than stood on their own against the Sauternes and in the case of the 98… I’d say even beat them. If Mike ever does a Kracher table, I will guard it with a machete until I have drunk every last drop myself.