Saturday, November 28, 2015

1998 Marques de Riscal Rioja Reserva

I picked this wine up at a liquor store somewhat apprehensive about the storage conditions, but also aware of the potential of these Spanish wines to age miraculously despite many conflicting factors that may trump their success in the aging process......

To my surprise the wine was in absolutely tip-top condition and had beautiful color and no trace of any adverse flaws due to faulty storage.

The wine as you can see in the picture has a deep ruby core with a fading to brick and light burgundy color on the meniscus.

On the nose I found beautiful aromas of stewed black plum, subtle hints of spearmint, rusty bike chain, graphite, and nutmeg.

On the palate flavors of sweet tobacco, teaberry gum, prunes, cranberry, and leather. Very umami and sensual. Devoid of any harshness of tannin or the pucker of new acid. Finish sails on for 2 minutes. 

I've always known of the toughness of wine. I think it obviously receives particular plaudits for being a product that can age gracefully when presented with the right temperature, light, and stillness. However, I think folks really don't give it credit for being incredibly robust amongst a plethora of unmitigated abuse. This wine is proof that a half bottle (375ml) of mid-to-low priced Rioja that is 17 years old and has spent most of it's life on a dusty liquor store shelf can be incredibly resilient. 

Another parallel to the human condition I suppose. We are incredibly resilient in the face of all sorts of adverse circumstance. So is wine.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

2012 Cono Sur "Block 21" Pinot Noir

Block 21 is located at the highest point of the Campo Lindo Estate in the San Antonio Valley, in Chile. Direct maritime winds significantly cool the area and provoke one of the slowest ripening processes within this variety. In addition, red clay soils, intense sunlight and no springtime rains create a brilliantly colored grape of intense aromatic expression and impressive concentration.

On the nose this wine displays almost Tuscan-like cherry notes, with accents of dried rosemary and Provencal herb, and sweet tobacco.

The wine definitely shows more Pinot Noir typicity on the palate with beautiful cherry and cranberry notes, a silky and soft texture, and a tight and focused finish with clarity and good acidity. There is just a touch of that dried herb quality that crepes onto the palate from the nose, but it's not intrusive to the fruit and adds complexity. 87 points

Thursday, October 29, 2015

2010 Cono Sur Reserva Pinot Noir

I've long been a fan of Chilean Pinot Noir. Why? because their coastal climate and proximity to the the ocean along with some pretty amazing cool climates and diurnal shifts make it a perfect place for growing Pinot. In Fact, I'm actually quite surprised it hasn't become a total bombshell yet in the wine business. 

The 2010 Cono Sur Reserva Pinot Noir is from Chile's Valle de Casablanca region. The region is located 47 miles northwest of Santiago and viticulture is possible there because of the cooling influence of the Pacific ocean, in the way of cool morning fog and greater cloud cover than is found elsewhere in the north of Chile. 

It's fun to taste a wine that already has five years of age on it and is starting to mature. On the nose the wine is unique in that it expresses a gorgeous wild rhubarb and strawberry, but also exudes pleasant aromas of sauteed mushroom and a pinch of oregano. There is also a plummy note and a slightly stewed essence that will make the consumer understand it's beginning to mature.

On the palate the wine is true to the varietal and shows gorgeous savory red fruits; strawberry, cherry, and currant. Chilean Pinot tends to have a deep savory sensor
y element that can't be ignored. It's not that the wines are overly robust or alcoholic or even acidic, but they have a ribbon-like texture and a powerful intensity to them similar to wines from the Russian River Valley.....

This wine is fantastic and a complete bargain at it's under $20 price point. I actually think the wine will continue to develop nuance for the next 2-3 years and may even improve a touch. 88+ points

Monday, June 03, 2013

2010 Flor de Pingus

The wine known as "Flor de Pingus" which is the second label made by Dominio de Pingus in Spain's Ribera Del Duero appellation has been one of my favorite wines for the last decade or so. For a long time it flew under the radar and was relatively unknown in the world of fine wines. Now this once unknown gem that was affordable at one time has garnered enough fame around the world and i't become quite a commodity and the price has gone up quite a bit. It is still however, one of my favorite wines and is worth the price tag of above fifty dollars (and approaching $100).

The 2010 Flor de Pingus has lovely aromas of black plum, tobacco, smoked meat, soy sauce, cassis, and vanilla. This wine is still a baby, so it's understandable that the wine is still somewhat closed down and it's really pretty obvious that this wine has multiple layers of complexity on the nose that will unfold as the wine develops in the cellar.

On the palate the wine offers up a bold flavor profile of ripe black currant, licorice, black plum, tobacco, graphite, scorched earth, and roasted game meat. This is incredibly concentrated wine that has multiple layers of powerful complexity and depth. It's quite obvious that the wine is far too young to enjoy completely at this time, but it's clear that this wine will only improve with significant time in the cellar. 94 points

Sunday, March 03, 2013

WinePoynt Allows Android Users the Ability to Follow Others with My Feed and World Feed Function

Latest social feature gives users the option to follow friends or other wine enthusiasts

AUSTIN, Texas (February 19, 2013)—WinePoynt today released a “social media” style follow feature in its latest version for Android devices.  WinePoynt gives its users smart individualized wine recommendations based on what it has learned from previous ratings. With the app’s social area unveiled less than a month ago, WinePoynt shows a growing commitment to social functionality. The new social area is divided into two tabs: My Feed and World Feed which allows the WinePoynt user the ability to click on any name in the World Feed and follow that person to see their activity in the user’s My Feed. 

“This is our first truly social offering,” Chris Taylor, president of WinePoynt said. “With a new type of social behavior available to users early in the New Year, we know2013 will be a very big year for WinePoynt. We are looking forward to the challenge of connecting with users and growing WinePoynt’s relevance in this space.”

The World Feed will display wine ratings, public notes, and changes to public lists as they happen in WinePoynt. At first, the user’s My Feed will only show a stream of their activity, but by clicking the plus sign in the top right hand corner of either the World Feed or My Feed, it will allow users to follow any of their Facebook friends who are already on WinePoynt.

Users who do not have Facebook accounts, or have not yet integrated their Facebook accounts with WinePoynt, can still select other WinePoynt users to follow in their My Feed. Every rating, public note or edit to a public list is displayed as a widget in the social area with an option to “Click to Follow.”

WinePoynt’s original social page was released for Android devices at the beginning of January 2013 and has since been deployed to iOS devices. The social pages on iOS devices will continue to offer the original social area until early March 2013. Advancing the social page for Android devices to include all activity in the World Feed allows users to choose people they are following in their My Feed, creating a social connection within the app.

For a quick overview on WinePoynt, watch their introductory video featuring Vinny, or visit

*MEDIA NOTE* Chris Taylor is available for interviews, wine education and to share more about WinePoynt’s latest features. For photos, logos, more information or to schedule an interview (or tutorial), contact Jennie Whitaker at or 512-705-7605.
About WinePoynt 
WinePoynt, an app created and launched for iPhone and Android users in 2012, is a personalized tool for wine drinkers of varying tastes and experience levels, designed to help make wine purchases easier at restaurants, retailers and bars regardless of the consumers wine knowledge. The app analyzes the likes and dislikes of the user based on wines rated in the past, and then makes personalized suggestions for individual users. The technology behind WinePoynt simply asks the app user to “Drink. Rate. Repeat.” with the promise that, “The more You Rate the better we get.”  WinePoynt also encourages users to try new wines without that fear of a negative experience, because their recommendations are personalized suggestions. Like a traveling sommelier in your pocket, the app comes in free and premium versions available on iTunes, Google Play and Amazon for $.99 a month or $4.99 a year. For more information go to

2011 Williams Selyem Sonoma County Pinot Noir

The Pinot Noir for this blend was sourced from the Drake Estate Vineyard, the Calegari Vineyard, the Lone Oak Vineyard, and from the Williams Selyem Estate Vineyard. It was aged in French oak (34% new, 44% 1 year old, 22% 2 year old) for 10 months.

On the nose I get lovely aromas of red currant, cranberry sauce, red raspberry, red plum, Bing cherry. There are also some secondary aromas of toasted oak, dried herb, and fig. I get a slight sensation of alcohol as well, which unfortunately creeps through the fruit filled aromatics. Perhaps with a bit of bottle age that will integrate.....

On the palate the wine the wine continues to demonstrate its red fruit character, with cherry and tart red raspberry taking stage. The wine is rather tart and holds a high acidity which is typical of Sonoma Pinot and in particular this cooler 2011 vintage. The wine finishes with extended notes of toasted oak and cherry/cranberry flavors.

Overall this is a very nice Pinot Noir that demonstrates true varietal character and the nuances of a cooler Sonoma County vintage. The problem I have with this wine is that it's hard to come by (retail wise) and it's overpriced if you can find it.... I've tasted Pinot of similar quality for $20-25 retail. A Sonoma County AVA Pinot should never be over $100 on a restaurant wine list, and unfortunately the price this wine is sold at wholesale will place it against Burgundy's mid-tier wines, which are superior in quality.  89 points

Sunday, February 17, 2013

2009 Alysian Hallberg Vineyard Crossroads Pinot Noir

On the nose this wine expresses a stunningly pure red fruit bouquet packed with beautiful ripened black cherries, wild raspberry, tangy red currants, and subtle hints of brown sugar and sandalwood. As the wine opens up the perfume fills the room and the cherry aromas intensify and an amazing rose bud aroma comes forth.....

On the palate the wine is again very pure and delicious, showing flavors of ripe wild raspberries, cranberry, bing cherry, brown spice, black plum, and very slight hints of toast and vanilla. This is a superbly balanced wine that glides across the palate with delicious elegance and displays everything that has become associated with the 2009 Pinot Noir vintage in Sonoma County. It has ripeness, depth, perfect varietal expression, and balanced acidity. 93 points

2009 Alysian Floodgate Vineyard Pinot Noir

On the nose this wine exhibits very pretty aromas of rose petal, red raspberry, bing cherry, cranberry, soft hints of cedar plank, mineral, and touches of baking spice and cinnamon. It's an elegant aroma profile that explores a balance between fresh red fruits and subtle seconday elements.

On the palate the wine expresses an elagance and balance that is very common throughout the full range of Alysian wines. I get savory flavors of red cherry, tart raspberry, red currant, and just very subtle nuances of earth and mineral. It's a wine that represents very well what I believe to be one of the best Pinot Noir vintages in my wine career that spans the last decade. 92 points

2009 Alysian Rochioli Vineyard Pinot Noir - Allen-Rochioli Blocks

On the nose this wine expresses aromas of black cherry, wild raspberry, strawberry-rhubarb, brown sugar, sweet tea, and subtle hints of mineral and clove. The bouquet is very beautiful, but I think it's a tad closed down right now and within a year or so it should wake up a bit.

On the palate this wine is packed with dense flavors of black cherry, red currant, baking spice, mineral, and hints of toasted oak. There is a considerable amount of acidity and tightly packed tannin in this wine, which I also believe will integrate better with a year or two in bottle.

I must admit I believe this wine is a bit too young to be drinking right now. Out of all the single vineyard Alysian Pinot's this wine has the sharpest acidity and the most densely packed core of darker red fruits and tannin. I believe it's perhaps the most age-worthy of the Alysian Pinot's. Give this one at least a year in the cellar and I think it will be massively improved. 92+ points

2009 Dry Creek Vineyard "Heritage" Zinfandel

This wine is composed of 87% Zinfandel and 13% Petite Sirah and was aged in French and American oak (40% new) for a total of 10 months. The fruit was sourced from both the Russian River Valley and the Dry Creek appellation.

On the nose I get aromas of blackberry, ripe black plum, vanilla, and toasted oak. There are also some black pepper notes and cedar from the barrel fermentation that add a layer of complexity but also detract from the purity of the fruit flavors.

On the palate this wine shows flavors of blackberry, over ripe and stewed cherry, toasted oak, and bitter sweet chocolate. The wine is a bit heavy on the oak flavor and is somewhat bland and one dimensional, however it is very serviceable and the alcohol is kept in check. With Zinfandel what I'm looking for is more purity of fruit and a jammyness and ripeness that is only found in the Zins that are small production and artisan efforts. This wine unfortunately falls just a bit short of that. 84 points