Wine Lab: A Random Round-Up of Wine Reviews

"All of us failed to match our dreams of perfection. So I rate us on the basis of our splendid failure to do the impossible." - William Faulkner

Here's a small smattering of tasting notes of very recently sampled wines via the campus tasting lab, here in my new Oregon home. There will be more to come, so please stay tuned. Yes, this a take no prisoners review, I don't hold back, and I let the tasting notes fly, where they may be unencumbered by the need to please anyone but the truth.

These wines were not samples, nor is this an advertorial for any producer, importer, marketer or distributor. All opinions here, are apparently my own and fall far from mainstream reviewers who may feel the need to pander to specific groups, to find something worthwhile to say about each every wine sent to them for review. Refreshing isn't? No? Reviled by this brutal honesty?  

Roederer Estate NV Anderson Valley Sparkling Wine:  In the glass, the color is light, transparent, a tight bubble formation, vividly rambunctious even after it had been poured for a few minutes. I found the color, a vivid straw, with gold overtones, brilliant clarity. I found the aromas, jumping effortlessly from the glass; honey-crisp apples, Bosc pears, and freshly baked bread.  After the first slurp, it was dry, crisp, medium in body, and the tannins were moderate to low. The following flavors, citrus, baked pear, brioche coated my palate, and the finish was a medium minus, lingering only for a moment, but still clean and refreshing. My Score: 89 points recommended.

Peachy Canyon Petit Sirah 2013: I found the appearance of this wine to be deep in color, inky purple, and opaque. The aromas bounding from the glass were reminiscent of freshly ground black pepper, drying tobacco leaves, and ripe plums, newly noshed on. After the first slurp of this wine, I found it dry, its acidity balanced, its body was full, and the tannin level was intense, but not off-putting.  Frankly, this wine tasted much better than the aromas let on, smoked blueberries, tobacco tar, and freshly baked blackberry pie, freshly ripe dark-skinned plums.  The finish was long and lasting, it would be excellent barbecue wine, sure to delight all who it gave it a swirl.  To be honest, in the past, I really disliked the majority of their portfolio, glad to see some things have changed. My score: 89 points, recommended.

Hartford Court 2013 Pinot Noir RRV Maclean Block: I found this wine light in appearance, a light ruby color, and pale rim, the clarity was clear. On the aroma scale, I found this wine very unpleasant, wet, dank earth, decaying mushrooms, which had been unearthed for more than a few days and old tea bags. A brief scent of cherries sitting on a counter pulled from the shopping bag, which I put my head in wondering what the inside of a recently used shopping [doubled] bag would smell like. 

On the palate, I found this wine to be dry, the acid crisp; the body was light to medium. Flavor-wise, there was more of the same from the nose, like someone trying too hard to not make a California Pinot Noir. Tasting the wine, I found eager amounts of wet, damp earth, freshly turned bog stones, wet tobacco leaves, underwhelming cranberry, old cupboard spices, a cherry which fell to earth, smacked a rock or two, split in two and the dried juice would have had more flavor. I sent a search party out to find the finish, they never came back. My Score: 79 points, not recommended.

Rombauer Chardonnay 2015 Carneros: The appearance of this wine in the glass was reminiscent of the summer I spent working on a horse ranch, medium intensity horse piss, with the clarity of an old cat-eye marble. The aromas escaping from the glass, made me think of old movie theatre butter, hot, oily and quite messy, over baked apple pie, a smattering of dime store citrus freshener. The galling smell, aka aromas of new construction, which had me, looking for my hammer. 

On the palate, unfortunately, I tasted it, dry, low acidity, medium bodied and moderate tannins. The flavors pretty matched the off-putting aromas, new lumber drizzled with old movie theatre butter, stale popcorn, and glazed apples, moldy citrus. Safe to say I don’t recommend this wine one bit, its fame comes from repressed rich suburban 'cougars' who [imho] merely want to be seen by their equally contemptuous friends guzzling down this hideous brew. The finish is mercifully short. My Score: 78 points, not recommended.


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