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Archive for the ‘Tasting Notes’ Category


Buried Treasure

October 3rd, 2011 by Tom Johnson

If I have one deeply held belief about wine, it is this: the only thing better than having an extensive wine cellar is having a friend with an extensive wine cellar. For example, my friend Robert, who the other night over snacks and casual conversation poured from an already open bottle of 1982 Zonnebloem Cabernet [...]

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Mark Another One Off the List: Penfolds Grange

September 21st, 2011 by Tom Johnson

I’ve resigned myself to the fact that there are certain great wines that I’m never going to taste. We just don’t travel in the same circles. Expecting to meet-up with, say, a bottle of Chateau Petrus is, for me, every bit as realistic as expecting to bump into Cary Grant at the grocery store. Given [...]

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Brad-Pitt-In-the-Shower Wine

August 11th, 2011 by Tom Johnson

OK, now that summer is on the downside, I’ve decided to climb out of my Sauvignon Blanc rut and try something different. So: L’Ecole 41 2006 Walla Walla Chenin Blanc. What, you expected I might abandon “blanc” completely? Perhaps you don’t understand how comfortable I am with my habits. The wine has been down in [...]

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Climbing the Domaine Serene Ladder

July 29th, 2011 by Tom Johnson

We all know cost has almost nothing to do with the quality of wine, right? Yeah, well, meet the Domaine Serene Pinot Noir product line, which progresses from price point to price point with an almost engineered precision. No confusion here, and no one is going to come away surprised to find that one of [...]

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In Which I Lose My Premier Cru Virginity: A Vulgarian Breaks Loose

June 10th, 2011 by Tom Johnson

I used  to think I was so classy. OK, I ply a small-time circuit. Being a wine expert in Kentucky is no great shakes. We’ve got some knowledgeable people here with great cellars, but they tend not to talk a lot about their affinity, finding it vaguely shameful. I, on the other hand, am a [...]

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2003 Phélan Segur: The Annual Tasting

May 15th, 2011 by Tom Johnson

I’ve got a box of this Saint-Estéphe cru bourgeios down in the basement, and when we last opened a bottle about two years ago the tannins were so sharp it was nearly undrinkable. Now they’ve calmed down, and the flavor profile is darkening, drifting toward chocolate and smoke and blackberries. The wine is noticeably brown, [...]

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That Stage of Life: Vieux Telegraphe 2000

May 12th, 2011 by Tom Johnson

A while back I reported on a tasting of cellared wines Westport Whiskey & Wine. The report stirred-up a gentle controversy because of my notes on the Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe 2000 Chateauneuf-du-Pape: This one is faded, significantly brown with heavy sediment. The nose is all Grenache with some strawberry and volatile acidity. This is a wine [...]

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Are Wines Made from Non-Vinifera Grapes Worth Drinking? Part 1

April 2nd, 2011 by Tom Johnson

I’m on a junket to the Drink Local Wine 2001 conference in St. Louis and I’ve got to tell you: It’s like a minefield here. You’ve got to watch your step. The long, narrow back room at Annie Gunn’s restaurant in St. Louis is packed with locavore bloggers, Missouri winemakers, newspaper writers, and representatives of [...]

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$100 (More or Less) Tasting

January 31st, 2011 by Tom Johnson

The rules start simple: Everyone contributes a bottle of wine that either sold for or is now worth $100. (And keep in mind this is Kentucky, where fine wine prices can be 30 – 50% higher than in more active markets.) To make things interesting, there are other rules: it has to be a red [...]

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Gravitas With Cherries on Top: Flor de Pingus 2000

January 12th, 2011 by Tom Johnson

There are people who obsess over matching wine with food. I’m not one of them. Much more important, I believe, is matching wine with mood. Wine has an effect on the moment; anyone who has spontaneously brought Champagne to a non-celebratory event knows how a single bottle can change the destiny of a get-together. I’m [...]

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