Tuesday February 22, 2000
I must apologize for not making very many entries in the diary lately. At this time of the year, it is hard to come up with something new to say. Presently, we are gearing up for the Barrel Tasting weekend during the first weekend of March and have been putting most of our efforts into that during the day. I have been struggling to find a new theme for the diary and have made a decision that hopefully will make up for my lack of entries recently.
I have been reluctant to post notes on my own wines, even though encouraged to do so by many of you. I've never been in favor of some wineries who suggest that their wines should be tasted with certain foods or that they should taste a certain way, for instance with a "hint of" something. We all know that everyone's palate is different. But tonight I would like to introduce my preferences or palate into the mix nonetheless. As some of you probably suspect, I taste more of my own wines than anyone else. I am trying to convince myself that that makes me an expert on my own wines, but in reality that only makes me an expert only on which wines that I prefer. I've decided to inform you of my preferences on my wines as I taste them most every week. I will even rate them, but I plan on saying very little in the way of describing them.
First of all, I would like to make a few comments on some additional Cabernets I purchased and tasted last week. 1996 Saddleback Cabernet ($32) was a little herbaceous but had a great nose, improved on the second day, and definitely had the best finish of the wines I tasted last week (91); 1997 Richardson Cab ($24) had great fruit and balance but seemed to fade the next day, with a short finish (86); 1997 Stag's Leap Cellars ($35) was very dense with great intensity but had a musty bouquet and lost its intensity and finish the next day (88); possibly the best wine was the 1996 Liparita ($43) which seemed to be overripe at first but became much more concentrated and improved greatly over the next three days - initially I rated the wine 92 but probably would rate it higher now; the 1996 Frog's Leap ($55) had great fruit and balance (90); the 1996 BV Private Reserve ($60 at Costco) was the heaviest and seemed to need time, but did fade somewhat in the second and third day (90); 1995 Fife Reserve Cab ($33) tannic with less fruit at first but seemed to improve in the next two days (90); 1996 Harlan Estate "The Maiden" ($60) seemed young at first with good balance but in the next two days, the fruit dominated--great potential (90); 1995 BR Cohn Special Selection ($85) - there may have been something wrong with this wine as it appeared to be very overripe or oxidized and none of the people tasting the wine here liked it; didn't appear to be a bad cork, perhaps bad storage (no rating).
In the last two days I have tasted 5 of my 1998 wines. I will present at this time some brief comments with my ratings. I tasted the 1998 Carignan and 1998 Estate Cuvee both last night and today. The Carignan for my taste beat out the Estate Cuvee last night. It seemed to be spicier with more intensity. This evening after 24 hours, the Estate Cuvee's bouquet improved dramatically and nosed out the Carignan. I rated them both 90.
I had a phone call from one of my customers today and he stated that he tried the '98 ZP2C recently and enjoyed it. That prompted me to bring one up tonight to taste it compared to the '98 Petite Sirah. I was very happy that it had definitely improved from the last time I had tasted it in December and I rated it 88.
My 1998 estate Zinfandel was opened on Sunday and I have been tasting that wine for the last two days. It has become almost elegant after two days, with great balance and maybe I'm just tasting the oak. It is definitely not a big wine but is pleasurable and I rated it 88.
The 1998 Petite Sirah was definitely the stand out for me. Much more intensity, or I even like to call it sharpness or harshness, but a great food wine and I rated it 92.
As many of you know, I love young wines and when I say sharpness, harshness or intensity that is what I like for my wines to be at a young stage. As a matter of fact, I'm not really a fan of older wines. I admit that there are times when I am impressed with older wines, but for the most part, I prefer my wines within 5 years of age. So take these ratings with a grain of salt. I may rate a wine high *just because* it is young.
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