Seattle Wine Blog

This blog is dedicated to commentary on all aspects of wine, especially short entries to help you find the best wines without the usual hype and spin. These are my frank, independent opinions, usually based on tasting wine at a public event, off the shelf or at the winery. "All creative acts must arise out of a specific soil and flicker with a spirit of place" -D.H. Lawrence

Monday, January 02, 2012

The Best And Worst Wines Of 2011

With over 600,000 wines in the world ,obviously, these are not The Best and The Worst in the whole world.They are just some of my faves, and disfaves(?), unfives(?), anti-fave(s)? that  I've tasted in the past year.They appear in no particular order, just stream of consciousness, you know.


  • Roederer Brut - WhaT a disappointment!Neither fresh and elegant like Crystal, nor creamy like Napa Roederer Estate, I really wanted to send this one back. It tasted metallic, old or cooked, no pizzaz. Was it spoiled or poorly made? Fortunately we had a backup for New Year's Eve. The next day we tatsed it again. This time it was softer, less obnoxious. Still didn't like it Give it a 65
  • 2009 Quivera Zinfandel  This one reallywasn't that bad, only by comparison with the glorious 2007. Too much herbaceousness, eucalyotus, vegetative taste for me. Give it an 80
  • 2006 Domaine Du Moulie -I was so excited to find a Madiran from the southwest of France Another disappointment! Lacking real Madiran quality, it was so acidic as to be undrinkable. We finally managed to use for cooking. Give it a 70.


  •  NV Chandon Brut - Fresh, lively, a lazer beam when really cold, fuller, softer, but still pleasingly dry when warmer. When it's on sale for $12 at Safeway, it's a great bargain .Give it an 88.     
  • 1998 Nelm's Road Merlot -This would have been one for Ryan's cellar. I purchased a case roughly ten years ago, and it has been getting better and better. The first bottline was, great, though high in tannin. The last bottle was beautifully complex with a panoply of dark fruit flavorsIn the old days Parker might have given it an 80, not it definitely rates a 90-good stuff at a reasonable price.
  • NV Quail Oak Merlot - well, not quite the same as the Nelms Road, but we prefered it to Two Buck Chuck. and Southern from Walgreen's. Good basic Merlot, not too sweet or sappy - great for cooking. Call it Four Buck Chuck.
  • 1991 Togni Cabernet Sauvignon - We first met Phillip in the 1970s when he was winemaker at Cuvaison up the Silverado Trail near Calistoga. We had done a tasting of three French White Burgundies and three Napa Chardonnays totally blind. Phillip"s Cuvaison won by far. When he read the results in the Northwest Consumer's Wine Guide, he invited us to visit.  When he started his own "Togni" winery on Spring Mountain we continued to follow him..Tthe twenty year old 1991 Cab, not surprisingly, tastes like a well aged Bordeaux with a little more "stuffing as the English say. Let's give it a "91".
  • 1975 Chateau Latour - The first Chateau Latour I tasted was a 1963 for which I paid $3. As a poor student that represeted approximately .001% of my yearly income, but it was worth it. Okay, you 1%ers, don't turn up your noses at a 1963. Yes it was a lousy year, but the Latour taste was there. Even though Robert Parker has always kind of panned 1975 it was mindblowing good - flowers, dark fruit, peonies, roses and tar = complex, holds your attention, soft and velvety, but with plenty of substance. Definitely better than Parker's "93+".
  • -2009 Chateau Greteau - It's a good thing we didn't taste this after the Ch. Latour, but on it's own it is a delicious 2009 Bordeaux at Costco for about $10. A best buy and still, I think, available.
  • 2004 Andrew Will- An outstanding wine from Chris Carmada. This Washington State beauty is mad from Champoux vineyard grapes. I keep debating with myself about which is better - Champoux or Ciel Du Cheval. I'll take either one. Fabulously rich, fruity and complex. A delight to drink. Give it a 94.
  • 2003 Peppe Bridge Walla Walla Pepper Bridge Vineyard Reserve - Another fabulous wine from Washington State. Jean Francois Pellet has fashioned a big rich velvety red an outstanding flaor profile. If you want to debate more terroir, compare Jean Francois' wines from Peper Bridge Vineyard with those from neighbor Seven Hills Vineyard. Give it a 91
  • 2005 Cayuse Syrah En Cerise - You will feel like you've been hit by a bowling ball that splits open to reveala  spicy fruitbomb. Give it a 92
  • 1997 Dunn Cabernet Sauvignon - With this one a baseball bat will hit it out of the park. A BIG, linear, powerful gamma knife that that will cut your steak for you. Belive it or not, it is only 13% alcohol. It's a style! Give it a 90.
  • 1997 Stag's Leap Wine Cellars Fay Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon - Winner of the 1976 Spurrier tasting in Paris, Warren Winiarski launched Napa and California on a journay to the top of the wine world with his 1973 "Cask 23" Cab. Robert Parker has bee poohpoohing the winery since to 90s saying the winery is living on it's reputation. Rollover Robert, this is possibly the best California wine I've tasted. At 14.5% alcohol it is a velvet tapistry or soft textures and complex flavors. No jammy in-your-face here. Reminiscent of a really big but soft St. Julien from Bordeaux Diane and I decided to give it a "110".
  • 2009 Chateau Bois Redon - This Bordeaux Superior is a Right Bank style red with 75% Merlot. It is an amazing value at $10 from Total Wines. Give it an 85.
  • 2009 Ch Haut Sorillon - Perhaps the best value I've tasted this year at $9 from Trader Joe's. Delicious Bordeaux at a great price (85)


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