Tasting Notes, in Order Tasted:
Cabernet Sauvignon - Napa Valley. Agreeable fruity nose. A bit
hot and astringent from mid palate through long finish.
Sangiovese - Napa Valley. Big effusive spiced black cherry nose.
Spicy sweet mouthfeel, long finish.
Zinfandel - Napa Valley. Nose of raspberry and licorice. Full
mouthfeel, good balance and fruit, long finish.
Merlot - Napa Valley. Nice fleshy and stemmy nose, with a hint
of mint. Full mouthfeel, stemmy plum and cherry fruit, good balance,
Cabernet Franc - Napa Valley. Beautiful cassis/floral and toasty
nose. Full mouthfeel, chewy fruit, excellent balance, long finish.
Syrah - Napa Valley. Nice blackberry jam nose. Astringent, somewhat
backward mouthfeel, with a higher level of acids than expected.
Zinfandel Single Vnyd - Napa Valley. Smoky
and spicy boysenberry nose. Nice full mouthfeel, tasty raspberry
fruit, long spicy finish.
Merlot/Cab Franc Single Vnyd - Napa Valley.
Fleshy cassis/plum nose, with a sweet oak background note. Full
mouthfeel, black cherry and toast flavors, and long finish.
overall, a very impressive group of wines from Ballentine, especially
considering the vintage. Generally, I found the nose slightly
more appealing than the mouthfeel - which tended to be balanced
more to the acid side. On the other hand, that should make them
excellent "food wines."
Pichon Longeuville- Pauillac. Nose of cassis, cheese, tobacco
and toast. Nice mouthfeel of toasty cassis fruit, with a long finish.
La Dominique - St. Emilion. Fleshy and slightly sweet fruity
nose. Smooth and somewhat soft mouthfeel, medium-long finish.
Beauregard - Pomerol. Interesting nose of cassis, cedar, old
wood, and tobacco. Big and oaky mouthfeel, tannins will take a while
to resolve on this monster.
Pavie Decesse - St. Emilion. Dark garnet ruby color. Lovely
nose of cassis and anise, with a light floral/vanilla background
note and some toasty oak. Smooth and jammy mouthfeel, with a slight
fade to the fruit at the finish.
Blanc de Blanc. Clean slightly crisp and fruity nose; just a
touch leesy. Moderate mouthfeel, aged leesy mousse, moderately long
dry finish. Mostly Chardonnay.
Blanc de Noir. Clean slightly fruity nose, with some light spice.
Moderate-full mouthfeel, light strawberry/cherry flavor, moderately
long dry off-sweet finish. Mostly PN.
Brut Rose. Clean slightly crisp fruity nose, with hints of strawberry
and cream. Moderate mouthfeel, light strawberry flavor, moderately
dry off-sweet long finish.
Sangiovese. Nose of slightly burnished spicy black cherry/strawberry
fruit. Medium-full mouthfeel, spicy fruit, slightly hot and long
Hill Cabernet Sauvignon - Estate. Nose of cassis, toast, leather,
and anise. Big and chewy mouthfeel, lots of fruit with a slight
minty quality, long finish.
Hill Merlot - Estate. Lighter-smelling fleshy nose, yet has
a sense of complexity and interesting background notes of tobacco,
stem, and anise. Nice, if moderate mouthfeel, good fruit, long finish.
Meritage Mercury Rising. Some CF qualities
in the nose with a stemmy and slight veggie note to some steely
fruit. Plush and fleshy mouthfeel, good fruit, long finish, and
very nice aftertaste.
Merlot - Central Coast. Slightly sweet and jammy nose, with
spiced black cherry fruit and chocolate. Fruit seems a bit thin,
yet maintains a chewy consistency through latter palate and long
Cabernet Sauvignon - Santa Cruz Mtns. Interesting nose of cassis,
pine, cedar, and tobacco. Moderate mouthfeel with somewhat thin
cassis fruit, along with toasty and slightly stemmy and veggie overtones.
I've always been a little more impressed with the seemingly
more accessible Central Coast Merlot from Cinnabar, than from
their local Cab.
Creek Merlot Moderately fruity and fleshy nose. Nice fruit,
but slightly soft and thin feeling on the palate, with good balance
and a medium-long finish.
Creek Merlot Reserve Big black cherry and
chocolate-scented nose. Plush and chewy mouthfeel, and long finish,
but the fruit seems a little hollow.
Creek Zinfandel Old Vine
Beautiful spicy raspberry, vanilla, and slightly floral nose. Smooth
and very tasty mouthfeel, lots of slightly soft fruit, and long
Creek Zinfandel Heritage Clone Complex nose of
raspberry/boysenberry, vanilla, anise, and orange peel. Nice, if
more acid-influenced mouthfeel, very good fruit, long finish.
Niente Cabernet Sauvignon Nose of sweet cassis and vanilla.
Somewhat sweet mouthfeel and fruit, along with the impression of
a well-extracted wine. Slightly odd bitter finish.
Niente Dolce Nose seems like a dead ringer for
Suduiraut Sauternes. Smooth and sweet mouthfeel, has some light
coarseness to the latter palate, but smooth aftertaste.
Chateau Pichon Longeuville
Ballentine Cabernet Franc
1997 Chalk Hill Cabernet Sauvignon
1999 Martin Ray Cabernet Sauvignon - Diamond Mtn
1997 Gallo Sonoma Zinfandel - Barrelli Creek
Parker Chardonnay - Santa Barbara Co. Nose of citrus, and tropical
fruits. Slightly sweet mouthfeel - seems to have a bit of RS, and
is very Kendall-Jackson-like.
Parker Pinot Noir - Santa Barbara Co. Spicy black cherry and
cinnamon nose, with a touch of stemminess. Stemmy moderately full
mouthfeel, nice fruit, medium-long finish.
Parker Melange du Rhone Rouge
- Santa Barbara Co. Nice raspberry-like fruity and floral nose.
Moderate mouthfeel, quaffing-style of fruit, and medium-long finish.
About 46% Grenache, 27% Syrah, and balance "other Rhones."
Parker Syrah - Santa Barbara Co. Nose of blackberry, smoke,
caramelized sugar, with a hint of stemminess. Full mouthfeel, stemmy
and slightly veggie flavor, along with a smoky BBQ sauce, ash, and
a touch of vinyl. This might shake out, but here is a case where
an interesting nose goes overboard, in translating aromas to flavors
on the palate.
Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon - Sonoma. Nose of cassis and shoe
polish - but, smells a little weedy. Tasty off-sweet fruit, chewy
mouthfeel, toasty finish. Nice tasting wine; maybe the nose will
Sonoma Merlot - Sonoma. The cherry apparent fruit is a bit overcome
by the somewhat leafy and weedy qualities in the nose. Medium mouthfeel,
just a touch thin in fruit, moderate finish.
Sonoma Pinot Noir - Russian River. Dense nose of black cherry,
plums and spice. Deliciously sweet fruit, very chewy mouthfeel,
toasty and slightly stemmy from mid palate onward to long finish.
Big and nicely extracted, it certainly won't be mistaken for a Burgundy.
Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon - Barrelli Creek, Alexander Valley.
Beautiful nose of cassis, anise, toast and vanilla. Big chewy mouthfeel,
off-sweet fruit, long toasty finish. Very nice!
Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon - Frei Ranch, Dry Creek. Nose of cassis,
anise and toast, along with some herbaceous CF-like qualities. Chewy
mouthfeel, nicely oaked off-sweet fruit with a slight stemmy or
stalky streak, and a long toasty finish.
Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon - Stefani Ranch, Dry Creek. Very nice
nose of cassis, anise, and toast. Chewy mouthfeel, lots of off-sweet
fruit, with a long toasty and fruit-driven finish.
Sonoma Zinfnadel - Frei Ranch, Dry Creek. Big dense, shoe polishy,
spicy raspberry and boysenberry nose. Full mouthfeel, spicy and
very fruity mouthfeel, very long finish.
Sonoma Zinfandel - Barrelli Creek, Alexander Valley. Very Cab-like
nose, with cassis and anise aromas, and a slightly swampy background
note. Nice chewy mouthfeel, off-sweet fruit, smooth and refined
Sonoma Zinfandel - Stefani Ranch, Dry Creek. Complex burnished
and spiced nose, accenting more wood and leather notes. Moderate
spicy mouthfeel, long finish.
a very impressive group of wines from Gallo of Sonoma. There
can't be a lot of doubt about their intentions with this label.
Zinfandel - Napa. Nose of raspberry, vanilla, and polystyrene.
A little simple in mouthfeel and fruit, yet still enjoyable.
Cabernet Sauvignon - Napa. Mostly restrained nose, with a touch
of cassis, spice, and toasted oak. A bit light on the palate, with
decent flavors - just not enough of them.
Cabernet Sauvignon - Bella Oaks. Stemmy and brushy nose, with
a healthy dose of mint. Nice full mouthfeel, lots of brushy, stemmy
cassis fruit, long toasty finish.
Ray Cabernet Sauvignon - Santa Cruz. Nose of cedar, mint and
spiced cassis. Slightly herbaceous and briary flavor, chewy mouthfeel,
Ray Cabernet Sauvignon - Diamond Mtn, Napa Valley. Herbaceous
nose of leaf, stem, wet stones, and a bit of veggie. Remarkably,
no veggie noted in taste, nice cassis fruit, chewy mouthfeel, long
Ray Cabernet Sauvignon -Santa Cruz. (barrel sample) Deep floral
and shoe polish-scented nose, with a touch of stem and mineral.
Chewy mouthfeel, very nice cassis, vanilla, and licorice flavors,
Ray Cabernet Sauvignon - Diamond Mtn, Napa Valley. (barrel sample)
Cassis-filled nose with a hint of veggie that seems to blow off.
Big mouthfeel, lots of fruit and flavors, long finish. Very nice.
Merlot - Napa. Fleshy, stemmy and even slightly veggie in the
nose. Medium-full mouthfeel, nice fleshy flavors, long finish.
Zinfandel - Napa. Nice effusive raspberry nose. Sweet and somewhat
flabby mouthfeel, though the fruit does carry on through the finish.
Blosser Evolution - Interesting nose that
seems a combination of Viognier, Muscat, and Reisling aromas. Dry,
yet conveys a Chenin Blanc-like sweetness on the palate, nice crisp
Blosser Pinot Noir Redlands - A bit dumb
in the nose, but has some background notes of black cherry and cinnamon.
Moderate mouthfeel, moderate fruit that seems to fade out fast on
Cabernet Sauvignon - Malibu. Nose of sweet tomato, cassis, caramelized
brown sugar. Full mouthfeel, slightly burnished cassis fruit with
a slight acid streak, long finish. Different, but tasty.
Merlot - Malibu. Big nose of black cherry, BBQ and Asian spices,
and a hint of vanilla. Sweet fleshy mouthfeel, burnished black cherry
fruit, that seems to get sharper and more acidic toward finish.