Virtual Tasting for Charity Week 5, Dec 20th - 27th - Wines you wonder if you are going to like

It’s on page 27 of the spiral bound Cheesecake Factory menu I think.


I bought this wine while visiting the winery in Lodi. I’m in love with the history and the fact that these vines are 135 years old now. There are cinsault on the property that are even older which are the oldest in North America. The vines are like tree stumps, it’s unbelievable.

I so wanted this wine to be awesome but the stuff from Lodi scares me. Tends to be way riper than what I’m looking for and lacking acidity.

It’s great when history compliments personal expectations

Super excited about how nice this wine was and my wife said this is great.


Here goes another one… ! I struggle with CdP. When it’s on, it’s absolutely glorious, but when it’s off… UGH. In the last decade, many CdP in my budget have been too fruity, too alcoholic, too oaky… off balance. In any case, I got FOMO during some random Last Bottle offer, and ended up with a few bottles of 2015 Clos Saint Jean Châteauneuf-du-Pape. I opened one bottle in 2019, it was clunky and did not agree with me, so I decided to let the rest sit for a while. “A while” has arrived, and last night I PnP, hoping that time had been kind.

Composition: 75% Grenache, 15% Syrah, 4% Mouvedre, 3% Cinsault, 2% Vaccarese, 1% Muscardin.
Color: Gorgeous limpid deep red ruby-garnet color. Smells of fresh crushed blackberries / boysenberry jam, but then I stuck my nose in a little further into the glass, and OUCH. The alcohol nearly curled my nose hairs (lovely visual, no?). 16% Alcohol listed on the bottle, so it may be more. On the palate, it’s very smooth, unexpectedly a bit thin, with not as much fruit or flavor as I expected. The overwhelming flavors were alcohol and vanilla oak with secondary of stewed plums or stewed fruit and minor baking spices. This is odd because apparently only 25% of this was aged in oak. Moderate-low acidity. A surprising lack of tannins, and unsurprising lack of alcohol. Four hours later, the nose had improved with more fruit and something floral (violet??!), but the taste was unchanged. The alcohol was still dominant. I don’t think this will improve - fruit is faded and there is little structure. Drink up now if you have this in your cellar. This could have been nice if it had either been elegant or big. To be elegant, the alcohol needed to be lower, as it’s currently overwhelming some of the delicate fruit flavors. To be a good big wine and carry off the 16%, there needed to be structure/tannins, more fruit, and less vanilla.
Not horrible, but it’s not for me.


Wines I have tasted from Paso Robles for the most part have never done it for me. Most have been blends that seem to be seeking an identity. When I received this one from my Secret Santa I was like, “Familiar with the producer name, never had one, let’s give it a whirl.”

Brought it to dinner last night to share with Son-in-law and Step-Daughter. Totally whiffed on a photo op. My punishment is I’ll donate $50 to your charity.

  • 2016 Linne Calodo Problem Child - USA, California, Central Coast, Paso Robles (12/23/2023)
    Was a Secret Santa gift, never tasted one before. Only Paso bottle in my cellar. Zin, Syrah, Mourvèdre blend at a whopping 15.7%abv. Dark black cherry color, nose more GSM than Zinfandel. Blackberry, black cherry, the blending wines must have been pretty ripe as the palate was all ripe fruit with no acid backbone to speak of and little spice. Kinda what I usually get from Paso wines I’ve had. Was easy drinking and hid the alcohol well but not memorable. Wouldn’t seek out more.

Posted from CellarTracker


That’s fantastic, Brian, thank you.

I hope that this is ‘on theme’, Chris…

We needed three cups of red wine for cooking the Boeuf Bourguignon ‘a la Julia Child’ that Jacqueline is preparing. I played with a few ideas before settling on a variation of “one for the pot and one for the table”. I pulled two Hamilton Russell Pinot Noirs, a 2014 and a 2017, and based on previous foggy, not so positive, recollections, I thought the 2014 would be for the pot. As a further check I poured some of the 2014 and sipped at it for an hour or so. To my palate, it was on the thin side with tart almost sour red fruit. Smugly, I offered Jacqueline a taste without comment just to confirm my impression. .
“Hmm this is good” she said.
“REALLY?!#*” I silently shouted.
I then went and poured some of the 2017 and we went to a face off mode. Alls well that ends well and the 2017 impressed both me and Jacqueline as the better drinking wine. Better balance , richer flavor, and more complexity. The 2017 was awarded a Repour stopper and a couple of days in the refrigerator. The 2014 was poured into a carafe and set aside to meet its fate later today.
Cheers, Chris.

P.S. One of my favorite skits form the early SNL days had Dan Aykroyd impersonating Julia Child in her French Chef persona


The warden has an obsession with purchasing wine from trader Joe’s. Since it’s never over 10 bucks a bottle I don’t really care, she seems to enjoy it. How she selects the bottle ranges from the “label looks like it was good” or the kid with a box cutter stocking the shelves said it’s popular. This time she overheard two customers asking an employee for the specific wine because it wasn’t on the shelf and he went back and brought out a case.

FOMO took over and she grabbed the bottle. $6

Probably the best $6 bottle of red wine I’ve ever had. LOL. I actually enjoyed it and would have no problem serving it to people.

Fireplace Socal style: YouTube video playing on the TV


around 15 or so years ago, My wie and I were visiting family in California and took a side trip to Lodi and visited Jessie’s Grove while we were there…Queen Mother’s name is Jessica so it seemed like the thing to do…Regrettably, no notes or memories re the tasting,.I do remember we had lunch at a very charming inn while we in Lodi.

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1998 Pietranera Brunello di Montalcino
25 years and I had some trepidation as to the soundness of the bottle. I had a terrific 1997 Brunello from another producer last year, so I had high hopes.

Turned out to be brandied and loaded with sediment. Down the sink it went. As noted in other threads, the ratio of bad bottles seem to be higher for Italians of age.


Several years ago a partner at work gave me a bottle of the 2005 Sierra Visa Cabernet Five Star Reserve. I should have drunk it upon receipt, as the extra age has done it no favors. The fruit has surrendered to the tannins, and I would never have guessed this as Cabernet drinking it blind. Drinkable (best cold), but not particularly enjoyable, at least for me.


NV Phillipe Gamet Brut Rosé de Saignée
I purchased two bottles of this online without seeing the color, which is like Tavel. The first bottle was not something I enjoyed, but perhaps time had done a little magic.

100%PM from Fleury la Riviere, from 2015 harvest, 30 hours maceration, no malo. Disgorgement date unknown. Dosage unknown.
Tavel-reddish color, vivid mousse, tiny vivid bead. Nose of blood orange, red berries, and some herbal note (maybe thyme? It was pretty faint). Tastes of blood orange, raspberry/boysenberry, a bit more citrus on the finish. There are definitely tannins on this, but it didn’t feel distracting or weird the way it did on the 1st bottle. Nice acidity. I liked it a lot more than last go around, and it paired great with a hearty “winter” (SoCal…) dinner.


So the story here is that this 1997 Rene Renou Bonnezeaux Cuvee Anne was something I bought eons ago at a LWS and never knew what to do with. The Mrs is not a big sweet wine fan and we have a small lake of Yquem etc, so this just sat in our cellar for years — outside the temperature controlled parts, which means it spent years with summers up to the low 70s in the cellar. Eventually I decided to take it to my wife’s family home in Ohio. It languished there for a few more years, never the right occasion, etc. Comstruction in the Ohio house forced us to bring this unloved little bottle back to the east coast. This charity theme finally gave us a reason to open this. And it turns out to be pretty intact — very advanced, but intact, with an intriguing balance of sherry like bitter and sweet butterscotch along with hard to place herbal scents.

From CT review:

From an ignored and indifferently stored 50cl bottle. The color is by now a deep amber. Far less sweet than I thought it would be. There is an almost sherry - like quality to this — imagine a slightly sweet (a little more than off-dry) version of a venerable sherry and you’re getting close to the experience here. Strikingly, it still had some herbal touch to the nose — grass, seaweed, something like that — and a surprisingly fresh rainwater finish. While it is not the most complex dessert wine it makes up for that with some unexpected tastes and gets extra credit for longevity and sheer endurance after years of neglect.
Score : 93. Relative to expectations: +++ given how badly I treated it. The little bottle that achieved redemption in a little Xmas miracle.

It gets an extra point because the youngest member of our tasting party thought this was the bomb. This is someone who, despite her tender years, has had Yquem and RTC Essenzia, and yet thought this was the greatest dessert wine she has ever had ….

And yes , before you raise your hand, that is a Grassl champagne glass. Don’t ask. It was that kind of night.


Bonnezeaux is an awesome name. Thanks for the great note and story.

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2019 Lamblin & Fils Bourgoune Blanc. Wasn’t quite sure about this one as I wasn’t clear where in Burgundy it actually comes from. Chablis?
I bought this in 2018 from Garagiste for $12, so expectations weren’t high. Funny thing was in 2020, I bit on a Rimmerman hyped $20 mystery white Burg. Guess what? Same exact wine

Pretty solid wine overall. Crisp apple, minerality, acidity right in the zone. Excellent food wine as it is enjoyable and is a complimentary beverage.

I felt a little scammed on pushing it off for $8 more as a mystery wine 2 years later. But as with many Garagiste offers, $20 is still a good value. $12 was a terrific deal

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When I was first learning about wine, I remember Mumm being a wine I was really interested to try. I’m sure I tried a bunch I them buy don’t remember (wonder why) except for two bottles of DVX and two bottles of 2000 Wedding Cuvée (this was in like 2010), both found on the grocery store clearance rack and both moved my appreciation of wine forward.

This bottle didn’t do that. :joy: This is like pillowy sweet cream. It’s tastes pretty good, but it barely tastes like wine. My favorite brewery had a slushy machine (in beer, out slushy) and I’m thinking that’s the jam — pour this into the slushy thing and hang out at the lake.

Chris, hitting your charity with a 2x matching donation for my note.



Merry Christmas, Kyle, thanks for the note and the spirit of generosity.

Was at a friend’s house for her 70th birthday party/Christmas Eve open house. Lots of different wines on offer, and I tried to at least give each a small taste, even if I was doubtful that I would like them. The 2013 Woodstock Shiraz (McLaren Vale) was one that I was especially dubious about trying. Then I thought about this charity challenge and grabbed a pour. It was pretty good. Not at all over the top. Plenty of dark fruit and some decent structure. What surprised me was that a 10 year old wine might as well have been a new release. Perhaps the screw cap helped slow evolution.

p.s. the Eagles wine was downright gross

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Screaming > Philadelphia


2022 Villa Molino Soave Classico
I needed wine to make a tarragon mustard sauce for Christmas Eve and didn’t want to sacrifice a bottle out my collection because the sauce takes 1.5 cups of wine. I was at Trader Joe’s picking up last-minute ingredients and grabbed this Soave instead of my usual $7.99 white Bordeaux (can’t ever remember the name) for cooking. The Villa Molino was $5.99, and I wondered whether it would be drinkable.

PnP, just a tad cooler than room temp. Nose… more like “What nose?” Maybe some faint honeydew? Doesn’t smell of much. Taste: lemon water with a hint of apple. Not a lot of flavor, very acid from start to finish. I did not want to drink another sip of this. Perhaps if it were straight out the fridge at 36* degrees, it would be fine on a sweltering hot day, but I would rather drink the Trader Joe’s Vinho Verde. I debated chucking this in the sink and opening something else, but there were too much going on in the kitchen and my brain was short-circuiting. This wine made my sauce so acidic that I resorted to adding a splash of the Inniskilin posted above (and a lot of butter to then disguise this weird combo). I was cursing myself for picking such a dud of a wine. Why the heck was I trying to “save” $2 on our Christmas Eve meal? Hard pass on this.

NV Charles Collin Brut Champagne
I reorganized my wines and found this bottle, which was labeled in CT as “Missing presumed drunk.” It was purchased from the now-defunct Underground Cellars, which had an “interesting” (in retrospect, scammy) premise: you would buy wine by theme (e.g., “sparkling”) and you would not know exactly what bottles you would get because they would be “upgraded” to a “more valuable” :roll_eyes: selection after payment. It sounded fun at the time until the boxes arrived - and I was lucky that I did not trust their “Cloud Cellar” :cloud_with_lightning_and_rain:. Some folks stored their purchases in the “Cloud Cellar” and received nothing when UC went bankrupt… In any case, many of the wines were not close to their claimed value and half were not to my taste, so this Charles Collin was a flip of the coin.

No details available on the bottle besides being a blend, and I didn’t do any sleuthing. Medium mousse. Vivid medium bead. Lighter yellow color. Smells of sulphur (blew off after about an hour) and supermarket brioche, for lack of better term; if you’ve smelled bagged brioche that has some preservatives, this champagne was reminiscent of that. In terms of taste, it has an almond pastry note, with faint lemon and green apple notes. The almond pastry note, for a fleeting second, made me think of the infamous Wilson’s Creek Almond sparkling wine. Dosage was noticeable to me, but it might not be for someone who seldom drinks champagne or prefers Grande Marques. Very short finish. It was serviceable for brunch today since the maple syrup and breakfast sausage would overwhelm most sparkling wines, but I would not recommend this unless it was priced at $18 and used to make Kir Royale.


Got swamped with holiday family stuff and hadn’t closed the loop here.

I made a $500 donation, plus my employer matched to make it an even $1000. Thank you all for the spirit and participation.