Tasting Notes

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I use cellartracker to very quickly obtain wine reviews , especially when I am dithering in the supermarket when deciding what wine to buy.
As free apps go, cellartracker is superb. As a wine app, I find it light years ahead of any other.
The wines found below are my own personal reviews, if you agree or disagree, please join and state your opinion !

2010 Tokaj Classic Winery Tokaji 5 Puttonyos – Hungary, Tokaji (9/10/2016)
For a dessert wine this was very poor. For a Tokaji, this was appalling. No botrytis, no fruit, no marmalade , nothing. Vacuous, bland and just awful. (NR/flawed)

2005 Charles Heidsieck Champagne Brut Millésimé – France, Champagne (9/9/2016)
Golden opulence ! Superb balance , good yeast, full bodied. Evolved quicklyto leave bags of ripe, full fruit on the palate. 29 tasters awarded it an average score of 8.5/10. Outscored the Bolly RD (99 points)

2002 Bollinger Champagne R.D. Extra Brut – France, Champagne (9/8/2016)
Extreme. From the bottle allowed to stand for 10 mins.Slight farmyardy overtones giving way to full on marmite. Big, chunky and unforgiving,laced with a multitude of fruits and very young. 29 tasters averaged it 7.6 /10. When I get a chance to drink again, I will do so with 2 or 3 people, attack it straight from the chiller and enjoy over an hour or so. (97 points)

2006 Taittinger Champagne Brut Blanc de Blancs Comtes de Champagne – France, Champagne (9/8/2016)
I always feel that this wine upon opening yells out ” leave me alone for an hour, it is too early to get out of bed”. You really have to go in search of what you most like in a Blanc De Blanc, but you willl find it over half an hour as the wine grows in stature. Very delicate, seductive and just a classy , well crafted wine. Superb. 29 average votes of 8/10 (95 points)

2009 Château Rabaud-Promis – France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Sauternes (8/30/2016)
Great if you hanker after a reminder of how good lucozade was when you were a kid. Clumsy, cloying, far too much acidity. Boiled sweets, spritzy and frankly, sickly. All the fruit seems to collide like a bad car crash and leaves the worst after taste i can ever recall. Has an almost tannic finish. At best it is like getting bored with sucking a sherbert lemon, but when you finally crunch it to relieve the boredom you get a squirt of sour, bitterness. Off to the fridge to get some PX . (50 points)

2010 Baron de Ley Rioja Gran Reserva – Spain, La Rioja, Rioja (8/23/2016)
Magnificent. Waitrose keep lowering the price from £22 to £16. If you like Rioja, I would buy a case of this. No decanting or breathing, it grabs you by the proverbials, slaps you around the face and then simply seduces you. Coffee, Chocolate, Mocca ,Raisins, leather, cigars and cherry. The tannins are perfectly tempered and the aggressive, explosive fruit is somehow still harnessed to deliver perfect balance and harmony. Everything this estate turns out seems to be sublime. Why wait to mature further when it is this good now ? (95 points)

2011 De Bortoli Noble One Botrytis Sémillon – Australia, New South Wales, Big Rivers, Riverina (8/23/2016)
Fabulous return to how I remember this wine can be. completely different to the previous two bottles, this oozed acidity, pineapple and citrus fruits, hints of raisins, fat and juicy. It saw off a lump of Epoisse and a few chocolate brownies. Marvelous. (92 points)

2009 Frédéric & Daniel Brunier Châteauneuf-du-Pape L’Accent de la Roquete – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape (8/2/2016)
Maderised (NR/flawed)

2010 Baron de Ley Rioja Reserva – Spain, La Rioja, Rioja (7/24/2016)
Strawberry, mereno cherry, cassis, vanilla, leather and spice . Fat rich palate, classy finish. It lasted sbout 15 mins between 4 of us. (96 points)

NV Emilio Lustau Jerez-Xérès-Sherry Puerto Fino – Spain, Andalucía, Jerez-Xérès-Sherry (7/24/2016)
Massive ! Yeast, marmite, ice cream. Rustic , gritty and delivers a long , richly rewarding finish. (90 points)

2006 Louis Roederer Champagne Cristal Brut – France, Champagne (7/23/2016)
From the fridge, and on immediate opening it stank of biscuits and butter. 15 mins later, more brioche, cream and almonds. 15 mins later again the sweetness and crushed lemons came out. Multi faceted, multi dimensional and a bit like going on a magical mystery tour with several stops of discovery. Young , yet almost wise and mature at the same time. Outstanding (93 points)

2006 Taittinger Champagne Brut Blanc de Blancs Comtes de Champagne – France, Champagne (7/22/2016)
Refined and uber delicate on the nose, multi dimensional , evolves through lemons, brioche to butter and toast. A young and subtle wine that needs another 5 years . Fluffy mousse delivers layers of fruit. A class act (93 points)

1998 Bodegas Riojanas Rioja Monte Real Gran Reserva – Spain, La Rioja, Rioja (7/22/2016)
After the 07, this wine is more plummy with massive Burgundian overtones, showing a much lighter, slightly orange hue. Rich, soft, still bags of life in it. Lovely (90 points)

2005 Marqués de Murrieta Rioja Castillo Ygay Gran Reserva Especial – Spain, La Rioja, Rioja (7/21/2016)
Sublime. A thick waft of cherry, but the wine is still a little closed. Oozes class and finesse, and 28 people averaged it a 9/10. Needs time, in the glass and no doubt in the cellar (95 points)

2007 La Rioja Alta Rioja Viña Ardanza Reserva – Spain, La Rioja, La Rioja Alta, Rioja (7/21/2016)
Continues to blow me away with the high levels of consitency. Velvet soft, massive strawberry nose, delicious spices, vanilla, leather, walnuts.
Smashes there palate with a big and long finish. I love this wine and always have. I would not keep this any longer, but that is because while probably not peaked into maturity, I like to catch it now. Reminds me of the difference between a beautiful woman who knows it, and one who does not….. (93 points)

2007 Bodegas Riojanas Rioja Monte Real Gran Reserva – Spain, La Rioja, Rioja (7/21/2016)
Stunning – Bordeaux in a Rioja Bottle ? Cassis, black currant and leather, spice, baked beans and vanilla. great tannins, acidity and balance. Excellent (90 points)

2011 Baron de Ley Rioja Reserva – Spain, La Rioja, Rioja (7/21/2016)
Was never going to reach the dizzy heights of the 2010, but had to replace a corked Monte Real Reserva Familia, and this was the obvious option at short notice. And what we in England refer to as a “supersub”, it comes running onto the field, bustles a defender out of the way with its elbows and scores a long range goal on the turn. A volley of fruit, spice,leather and tobacco. Ridiculously good value for money from a Bodega that is going places. Loved it, and so did the other 28 tasters. (89 points)

NV Emilio Lustau Manzanilla Papirusa – Spain, Andalucía, Manzanilla de Sanlúcar de Barrameda (7/17/2016)
At 8 quid a pop I took a punt and boy am i glad that i did. Rich, big and fresh, great flor, almonds nuts and even a hint of chocolate. Tres bon bouche. Demolished it in under an hour (89 points)

NV Wiston Estate Winery Cuvée Brut – England, West Sussex (7/4/2016)
Apples and lemon. Good mousse , but i would have to think really hard about something else to say . The finish is very short. Could have had two bottles of decent champagne for the same price. (80 points)

2007 Klein Constantia Late Harvest – South Africa, Coastal Region, Cape Peninsula, Constantia (7/3/2016)
A mix between a Sauternes and a Tokaji. Interesting because it appealed to those who do not like Tokaji and those who are impartial to Sauternes.
Pleasant, but in my opinion does not hold a candle to Tokaji or Sauternes. Very expensive for what it is.

2009 Waitrose Sauternes in partnership with Suduiraut – France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Sauternes (6/30/2016)
Superb again, if a little over chilled. Polished it off next to Bortoli Noble One, which was unfair as the Bortoli is completely outclassed . (92 points)

2011 De Bortoli Noble One Botrytis Sémillon – Australia, New South Wales, Big Rivers, Riverina (6/28/2016)
Much better showing than the last tasting. Very heavy walnut nose, plasticine and good botrytis. Better balanced too, the acidity and fruit are well aligned. Nose is gentle mandarin that changes to seville orange then full on marmalade, not in the same fashion as Tokaji though, more gentle. A little “burnt”, but not in a bad way, very much part of its character. This is how I remember Noble One from 30 years ago. Surprised at 11% alcohol as feels higher. Colour is still surprising given the age of only 5 years, as is very brown, almost dirty lucozade. Very pleasant even if incomparable to a decent Sauternes at frankly, less cost. (86 points)

2011 De Bortoli Noble One Botrytis Sémillon – Australia, New South Wales, Big Rivers, Riverina (6/18/2016)
No. This is very tired with only dull and almost sour marmalade. Acidity is waining and the aftertaste , well, there isnt one. Hugely dissapointed. Lets put it down to a dodgy bottle, but somehow i think the next tasting will reveal the same bland, clumsy, flabby wine. Overpriced and over the hill. (60 points)

2007 Hilltop Neszmély Tokaji Nagypap-Hegy Harslevelu – Hungary, Tokaji (6/11/2016)
So i buy the 07 as its supposed to be a top vintage. Initially im thinking, in over excited anticipation, that it is not that great. I calmed down and waited five mins. And then i am bowled over, skittled, left legless in my wonder and joy. Lucozade, Robinsons concentrated orange juice, walnuts and marmalade. Finesse, beautiful acidity and tart , punchy , sharp daggers punctuate my palate. Glorious, I will never be able to cellar wines of Tokaji. I need to consume with a healthy addiction. (92 points)

2005 Bollinger Champagne La Grande Année – France, Champagne (6/10/2016)
The nose is delivered with the subtlety of Agamemmnons fist. Huge biscuity, marmite and toast . Had i had it blind i would have said it was an RD, such is the yeasty stench. Incredible full length of flavour with dashes of lemon and lime acidity that are straddled either side of the sheer wileight in the mouth. Caramel, toffee and vanilla. Beautiful. (90 points)

2009 Lou Miranda Estate Sémillon Leone Botrytis – Australia, New South Wales, Big Rivers, Riverina (6/1/2016)
As soon as the liquid hit my lips I knew it was too big, clumsy and simply thick. Hardly any finish, acidity fizzles out and just not that good. Never mind. (80 points)

2010 Mas d’en Gil Priorat Coma Vella – Spain, Catalunya, Priorat (5/8/2016)
A hot summer evening and we had just polished off a decent Sauvignon but fancied a red. No time to Phaff around decanting or aerating , just poured directly with no breathing. A herbaceous explosion on the nose, this wine boxes the tongue, tickles the tonsils and slaps you around the face for good measure. Delicious fruit, perfect tannin, big alcoholic punch yet seductive, soft, classy and , well, perfect. We drank it greedily , noisily and with the grace of a few pigs at the trough. Would shame a Claret or CNDP at twice the price. (100 points)

2009 Royal Tokaji Wine Co. Tokaji Aszú 5 Puttonyos – Hungary, Tokaji (5/3/2016)
Massive overtones of marmalade, pineapples and peaches. Reminds me of those yellow macintoshes we wore as kids.Hints of treacle, toffee, walnut, toffee, laced with orange . Powerful acidity , great honey density and also reminds me an old Oloroso. The botrytis is not that pronounced, but i love the tart acidity . Most interested to see how this will evolve. (86 points)

NV Ruinart Champagne Dom Ruinart Blanc de Blancs – France, Champagne (5/3/2016)
Dumb and Dumber. Great mousse , but nothing else. Thought it was just me but the other 27 agreed. Bland (50 points)

2011 Cyprès de Climens – France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Barsac (5/2/2016)
Preferred to the Rieussec 2011 , richer and less acidity. Very easy to drink now, would not age as found it very appealing. Good value for money even if a long way off Climens brilliance of it’s big brother. (82 points)

2011 Château Rieussec – France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Sauternes (5/2/2016)
Well with all the discussion regarding the 2011 v2009 , I thought I would try it. Very delicate, fresh and subtle with , in my opinion, a little too much acidity. I’m being very critical here, but compared to the 09, it is a different wine . I prefer the weight and viscosity of the 09 along with the better balance and more promise of good cellaring
I will throw my money at any of the 09 Sauternes but will pass on the 11’s. (80 points)

2013 Mas de Daumas Gassac Vin de Pays de l’Hérault – France, Languedoc Roussillon, Languedoc, Vin de Pays de l’Hérault (5/1/2016)
Only the second time tasted. The previous occasion some 20 years ago, but the feeling is the same. I find this wine dumb on the nose and struggling to deliver anything other than dense tobacco and leather on the palate. Decanted and double decanted, nothing. Increased the temperature , nothing. Switched from ISO to claret glass and , nothing. 3 of us concluded this a very over priced effort that has won plaudits across the world, for nothing. Could not even be bothered to finish it . (60 points)

2013 Highfield Estate Sauvignon Blanc – New Zealand, South Island, Marlborough (4/22/2016)
Yells pineapple, grapefruit and freshly cut grass at you . 18 of us at a tasting voted it top by a country mile. amazing example of organic and free run juice. Big, quite rich for a Sauv Blanc, weighty and punchy. Highly aromatic, wonderful value for money at around £11.00 a bottle. (95 points)

2012 Highfield Estate Pinot Noir – New Zealand, South Island, Marlborough (4/22/2016)
Powerfull, yet soft and massive overtones of strawberry. Hand picked grapes, hand sorted organic excellence. Tasted next to a sancerre Red, and out foxed it. Superb . (92 points)

2012 Château Roumieu – France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Sauternes (4/4/2016)
Huge , rich and immediately satisfying. Ok, it lacks finesse but at this price who cares as it would be over critical to penalise the sheer weight this wine delivers. It is not cloying, and accompanied and complemented the stilton. (88 points)

2012 Château Fortia Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée du Baron – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape (4/3/2016)
What I love about Fortia is the sheer level of consistency. I wanted to try the baron instead of the tradition as it is supposed to be softer, less tannic and ready to go whenever you fancy. I have to agree. Tried straight from the bottle at 18 degrees, then decanted for air purposes ( no sediment) and served at 20 degrees. A big difference?on the nose and palate as it softened further quite quickly. This wine is multi dimensional, inky, spicy, chocolate, gritty and I am running out of superlatives. A class act at a damned good price (88 points)

2009 Waitrose Sauternes in partnership with Suduiraut – France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Sauternes (4/2/2016)
I find this wine quite wonderful. Tried three times now and each time taken with blue cheese, Epoisses and Stilton. Great nose of apricot and peach , ripples of different flavours on the palate, long finish. Will buy a few to tuck away . (91 points)

2013 First Press Chardonnay – USA, California, Napa Valley (4/2/2016)
Fabulous example of value for money and everything a Burgundy at twice the price should be, but never is. Rich, honeyed, stacks of fruit and great acidity. (90 points)

2005 Château Talbot – France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien (4/2/2016)
Hugely disspointing, AGAIN. Second tasting this month. Starts with great promise, big nose of casis and chocolate, but then fades revealing tired tannins and hardly any fruit. It is not over the hill, nor is it going anywhere. Just seems to hit a wall. (75 points)

2009 Château Guiraud – France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Sauternes (3/17/2016)
25 of us tasted this and it was awarded an average of 8/10. Considering half the room do not like sweet wines…. stunning, great price and I understand that Guiraud are ambitious winemakers. This shows, the wine was truly exceptional, fat, rich but not cloying, great balance, acidity and viscosity. I`m not sure if I do not prefer this to Climens or Rieussec. (93 points)

2013 Calera Chardonnay Central Coast – USA, California, Central Coast (3/5/2016)
Very dissapointed. Dumb, thin and no great level of fruit evident. Not worth £25. Must try the Mt Harlan as I have always liked the wines of Calera (70 points)

2010 Baron de Ley Rioja Reserva – Spain, La Rioja, Rioja (2/29/2016)
Great tannins, balance and acidity. 3rd bottle this month, and think it will only get better. I double decanted this time, and made no real difference. So much power underlying this Rioja, a ridiculously good example of value for money. (90 points)

2005 Château Roumieu – France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Sauternes (2/29/2016)
Over the hill. The shelf was full of the 2009, and I went for the one remaining 2005 as a gamble, which did not pay off ! Botrytis still quite fresh, but on the palate the acidity had gone and the fruit was stewed. But to be fair, the label suggested drinking no later than 2015. Would still try the 2009 though. (70 points)

NV Duval-Leroy Champagne Fleur de Champagne Premier Cru – France, Champagne (2/28/2016)
It was ok, balanced and soft, reasonable nose, but not particularly different , and not worth the price of 30 pounds (80 points)

2010 Château Le Moulin – France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Pomerol (2/23/2016)
stunning quality, layers and layers of fruit and spice. Classic claret structure, fabulous definition , harmonised tannins and fruit. bought a few more to see how it ages but doubt I will resist urge to crack open. (93 points)

2010 Château Fortia Châteauneuf-du-Pape Tradition – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape (2/18/2016)
28 people tasted this on a CNDP event. It came second to Beaucastel, at half the price. I think it needs time on th eglass or decanter, but thought it was a seriously good wine with excellent structure, depth and dimension. (90 points)

2002 Moët & Chandon Champagne Cuvée Dom Pérignon – France, Champagne (2/18/2016)
Did not expect it to be so youthful. Like a racehorse clearing Beeches Brook with a few feet to spare, vibrant, but there are clear signs of maturity on the nose, delicious. Has the structure, definition and class of all things great, but I enjoyed it now . Hard pushed to decide if I prefer the 2005, for different reasons. Long, long finish. (80 points)

2012 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape (2/18/2016)
Very closed, so a bit disappointed. Slight nose of toothpaste and cardboard and this threw me for a while. Still, after half an hour , chocolate, spice and cedar wood. Almonds followed by leather and plum. Clearly better for time and warming up , and as i have never experienced anything but excellence from Beaucastel, I am not worried. Looking forward to cellaring half a dozen and enjoying the evolution. (80 points)

2011 Alain Jaume & Fils Châteauneuf-du-Pape Vieux Terron – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape (2/18/2016)
26 of us scored it on average 75/100. Dark plum red, a little closed but hints of pepper, morello cherries and dark chocolate. Good tannins, good friut, quite rustic and warm, lovely wine overall. (60 points)

2013 La Bastide Saint-Dominique Châteauneuf-du-Pape – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape (2/18/2016)
Cherries, quite sweet and alcohol ( 15%) very noticeable. Warm, gritty, gravely. A jam packed , powerful showing of a very good value for money wine. Too young, but we all enjoyed it. 28 votes averaging 51/100 (51 points)

2011 First Press Cabernet Sauvignon – USA, California, Napa Valley (2/12/2016)
Mocha beans, cooking chocolate, slightly sweet but the tannins evident. Excellent fruit, cherries and plums, leather, spice and tobacco. Tea, coffee, nothing astringent about this Claret wannabe and I like the price.
Simple, honest and good value. The nose on opening belted out “Bordeaux” and it was very easy drinking, which at this price I will take over anything from The Medoc! (70 points)

2012 Clos de l’Oratoire des Papes Châteauneuf-du-Pape – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape (1/16/2016)
Watched the price decrease over 3 weeks from £24 to £9.99 at my local co-op. Deep, rich and sweet. Ginger, cherry and strawberry, softened up in the glass over an hour, fat and easy drinking. Did not expect much from it prior to opening, but pleasantly surprised. Ok, it has not got the finesse or complexity of other more famous CNDP, but at this price… (52 points)

2006 Louis Roederer Champagne Cristal Brut – France, Champagne (1/14/2016)
The sheer quality of this stuff shines through, within seconds from popping the cork the nose changes from ” quiet” to very loud. Fresh peaches, toast and biscuits. I am a fan of this style so appreciate it is not to everyones taste, i think it will get better and better up to 2020. Probably drank it too soon and should have waited for the wine to warm up a bit. 28 of us gave it an average of 9/10 (91 points)

2006 Deutz Champagne Brut – France, Champagne (1/14/2016)
A massive champagne, marmite, toast , nutty, biscuity. Classy full and mature style. ready now. (90 points)

2005 Moët & Chandon Champagne Cuvée Dom Pérignon – France, Champagne (1/14/2016)
Beautiful ! 28 of us gave this wine an average score of 81. Fat, rich and buttery, yeasty, toasty, lemons, apricots, minerality. I could go on and on. I know DP generally underwhelms people , but I have always found it to be consistent and refreshing. I think it will improve over the next 2-5 years with bottle age adding to the flavour. Impressed (82 points)

NV Laurent-Perrier Champagne Cuvée Rosé Brut – France, Champagne (1/14/2016)
Great burst of nasal sweetness, soft and reasonably flavoured. No length , fizzles out very quickly. £58 ??
Has a huge hole in the middle, probably indicating that LP could not be bothered to finish making it properley and moved onto their other wines which I have always enjoyed. Not this though. 28 of us scored it. 4/10 (51 points)

2009 Tenuta San Guido Bolgheri Sassicaia Sassicaia – Italy, Tuscany, Bolgheri, Bolgheri Sassicaia (12/31/2015)
Fabulous colour. Warm , layers and layers of different fruits, figs, black cherry, blackcurrant, strawberry, mint, tobacco, chocolate. Tannins perfectly alligned with the fruit, alcohol . Mollasses!! Second tasting and exactly the same conclusion with this wine- stunning. So it should be at £120 a pop. Drank with beef bourgignon, flavours just kept pouring out , ink in colour, bubblegum and caramel. (96 points)

2010 Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc Te Koko – New Zealand, South Island, Marlborough (12/31/2015)
Instantly forgettable, daft price tag for a wine living on past glory. (58 points)

NV Canard-Duchene Champagne Brut Rosé – France, Champagne (12/25/2015)
Rose petals, too dry which over an hour , the balance kicked in. Fatter and more fruit , hints of apples peaches and red currant. I spent a while trying to justify the price of £40 and came to the conclusion that I can`t. I found myself looking for something that simply was not there. (51 points)

2013 Calera Pinot Noir – USA, California, Central Coast (12/24/2015)
Can`t get used to scoring out of a hundred, but as everyone else does, I will. But my 70 is a 7/10 , as 70% seems to indicate quite average or even poor. Anyway, purchased from Amazon, at £25. Very , very light and fine. immediate farmyardy manure pong of classic Burgundy. Jam and raspberries abound, sugar and candy floss. Amazing colour, the flavours evolved over an hour. No tannins, soft and in my opinion ready now. Loved it (70 points)

2008 E. Guigal Côte-Rôtie Brune et Blonde – France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Côte-Rôtie (12/24/2015)
Well, woe is me. I cycled to Guigal from Cardiff some years ago as this wine has been in my top 10 for most of my life. I have enjoyed stupendous examples of this, and indeed, any wine from Guigal. Waitrose have been regularly decreasing the price from £39 to £29 and then putting it back up again for a few years now. So I purchased the £29 and sat down with other aficionados of said wine. Immediate whack of farmyardy richness, peppery spice, sweet and big tannins. Looking good I thought till you discover that the tannin has out stripped the fruit.Not at all balanced and faded very quickly. Completely un- enjoyable. Not a great year I appreciate, but should have been better than this. (51 points)

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