Ron Blachman's Reviews

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71 reviews were found
  • Rating:
    (8/10/2015)
    Conundrum White Blend 2013
    $22.00 $17.99
    Save $4.01 (18%)
    Style: Fruity & Smooth
    Maybe this is a three star wine at $8 but not at $18 (In fairness, this was an accidental gift to me so I can't complain about what I paid.) Chilled, the nose has tropical fruits, a hint of ginger...as it warms the nose actually dissipates and becomes just generalized fruity. Medium bodied; it has a pleasant mouth-feel. In terms of flavors: this is beyond fruity - it is downright sweet and hasn't the acidity to carry it off. A hint of bitterness is nice in the finish of a wine but this has more than a hint. Most objectionably this wine is nondescript and this is the danger in blends. In Bordeaux, on the Rhone or in the Pays d"Oc standards have evolved for blends entailing preferred or required grapes that define a regional character and allow the vigneron to vinify for a consistent style. Here in California the art is just starting. Maybe in a hundred years there will be distinctive and good premium white blends here but they wont resemble this.
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  • Rating:
    (8/6/2015)
    Don & Sons Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2012
    $25.00 $17.99
    Save $7.01 (28%)
    Style: Fruity & Smooth
    This is a bit of a fruit bomb. With some air the nose and flavors reveal themselves. There is a lovely dark-cherry tone in the nose with a shot of oak. The flavors are strongly tilted in the fruity direction with just enough acid and tannin for current drinking. There is no absolute right or wrong in matters of taste - this is well made and pleasant but very, very fruity. If you are a long time aficionado of Pinot Noir and Burgundy you will probably not be impressed; if you are not highly experienced with the grape this is a nice, friendly way to explore some of the seductiveness of Pinot Noir in a distilled, simplified form. It is fairly priced.
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  • Rating:
    (6/25/2015)
    Chateau de Beaucastel Coudoulet Rouge 2012
    $35.99
    Well corked to last for a decade or more. Medium purplish-ruby color, medium body and very leggy. It has a generous nose showing berries, a little oak and a hint of something floral. Big flavors with a lot of tarry fruit, acid to match and respectable tannin; less appealing is a bitter note- a little is nice but this lingers unpleasantly. There is also a bit of "petillance" (prickly CO2) suggesting some fermentation after bottling or just before. I think this will mellow with age and peak in the 2019 to 2024 timeframe. At $32 it didn't meet expectations upon my first tasting. Tasted again in June 2015 and the petillance was gone, the wine had settled down and I liked it better. Also, Wine.com has it on sale right now at $28. I can recommend it.
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  • Rating:
    (6/22/2015)
    Bila-Haut by Michel Chapoutier Occultum Lapidem 2013
    Sold Out $29.99
    2012 vintage available for $27.99
    Style: Big & Bold
    The color is intense, dark ruby-garnet. Full bodied, legs form slowly at first but then are numerous and heavy. This suggests high total extract and fruit in a high-alcohol wine and that is just what I experienced. The nose took a an hour's air to develop but then was lovely, medium-to-big with blackberries, warm climate herbs, a hint of peonies, olives, creosote - much more fragrant than the 2012! The flavors are big with lots of tarry fruit, good acid and middling-to-hefty tannins. The alcohol is a bit prominent and harsh right now. There's a bit of sediment, looks like tartrates; this is consistent with high total extract. This wants time, I think it will start drinking very well circa 2018 and will continue as long as the cork holds up. The cork is of good quality and medium-long and this will set the limit on this wine...2025 or so?
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  • Rating:
    (5/11/2015)
    Villa Ponciago Fleurie La Reserve 2011
    Sold Out $23.99
    2012 vintage available for $22.99
    Pair with: Highly seasoned lamb, Curries
    Tasted May 2015. Intense color, medium body, leggy. Nose is medium-sized and sort of nondescript-Gamay-vinous at first; with air the general vinous tone subsides and a smallish floral nose emerges. One expects Fleurie to be fragrant, this falls a little short. The flavors are good, tart and bright with fruit to balance. Tthere's enough tannin to suggest two or three years ageing will be rewarded. The composite cork is of good quality and length so I'd target 2017 to 2019 to drink this up. It is nicely priced at $20 and at the upper end of three star wines.
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  • Rating:
    (4/30/2015)
    Domaines Schlumberger Gewurztraminer Les Princes Abbes 2011
    Sold Out $24.99
    Pair with: Ham, Chinese food, Indian food, Spicy food
    It is well corked - better than needed for the number of years that it will drink well. The color is light, brassy yellow and it is medium bodied and leggy. A lovely, generous nose even when chilled: Apricots, a touch of nutmeg. The balance is lightly sweet but still suitable for some entrees. Mouth-filling with enough acid to carry the residual sugar and a pleasant hint of a bitter note. Long finish. Drink by 2020. it is a good buy at $20.
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  • Rating:
    (4/27/2015)
    Bogle Cabernet Sauvignon 2012
    Sold Out $13.99
    2013 vintage available for $10.99
    Style: Smooth & Supple
    Pair with: Big party buffets
    Tasted in April 2015: On strict quality terms this is a solid three-star wine but at $9.00 it is a stunning value, thus the fourth star. As usual, Bogle has made a well balanced Cab with pretty good concentration and varietal character; it also has a bit of persistence in the finish. The nose is smallish at first but with some air it comes up a bit. My experience with these wines suggests that this can hold a few years and will even benefit from one or two years age.
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  • Rating:
    (4/19/2015)
    La Merika Pinot Noir 2011
    Sold Out $12.99
    2012 vintage available for $15.99
    Not as good as the 2010. This hasn't the big, berrylike nose I liked in the previous vintage. Also the flavors are less balanced, there's good acid but not the fruit to carry it. Rather short. The price is quite reasonable but I can and have done better. Now I have one remarkably good experience with this producer's Pinot Noir and one somewhat disappointing one. I'll try another vintage in future but skip this one. About a year later (April 2015) I tasted this wine again. The balance is much improved and the nose is developing complexity. I don't think that it will get any better than this but it came off much better than previous bottles.
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  • Rating:
    (4/5/2015)
    Chateau Cos d'Estournel  2003
    Sold Out $299.99
    2008 vintage available for $165.00
    Style: Big & Bold
    Tasted in April 2015. As a second great growth Cos d'Estournel is expected to bottle only those wines which meet a high standard; they also have a history of making very substantial wines that need time. This meets those criteria but I don't think it is particularly exciting - especially considering the price of such a wine. The 2003's I've had reminds me in some ways of the 1961's and 1964's both rather hard-edged, both took a lot more time to reach maturity than I expected. By the time they were really ready the 61's (a supposed vintage of the century) were fascinating, sometimes exceptional in some respects but a bit tired, too; the 64's came around very slowly and those that didn't go funky could be astounding examples of aged claret but hey remained somewhat hard-edged even then. I don't know which way this 2003 is going. It is still too young by a decade or more. Definitely decant this wine as it is throwing a bit of sediment. It took two hours for the nose to blossom and it is complex and starting to mature but I wonder if the bouquet will mature before the wine is as round on the palate as I'd like. This wants until 2023 or later. Who knows, maybe by then it will be astounding but right now it is still rather hard and there are much better St Estephe around for less money.
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  • Rating:
    (3/31/2015)
    Chateau du Moulin a Vent Moulin-a-Vent 2011
    $39.99
    Pair with: Marinated Lamb, Tart tomato-sauced dishes
    Tasted March 2015. Medium purple-red, light-to-medium body, slow to form legs. The nose starts out medium sized with a vinous Gamay theme and hints of berries and roses but this dissipates fairly rapidly in the glass. A lively tartness leads the flavors and there is (just barely) enough fruit to carry it off, it isn't big but it works very well with food. With an hour's air the color is slightly darker and the balance a bit better; there's a bit of tannin to round things out. This wants a bit more fruit and fragrance. The cork is first quality and long but I wouldn't hold this past about 2018. I was buying 2011's of this quality for less money two years ago but I've been disappointed by the 2012's and 2013's so this might fill a hole in the market and the price is understandable.
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