Ron Blachman's Reviews

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47 reviews were found
  • Rating:
    (11/22/2014)
    Chateau Fortia Cuvee Baron Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2012
    $38.99
    This is a sleeper and will someday rate very highly. The Syrah-to-Grenache is 1:1, much higher than in most Chateauneuf. This makes for a firmer wine with more tannins. Ch. Fortia also picked early enough to get a bit higher acid than many CDP's, thus completing the sturdy backbone. This one wants until 2018 or so to become drinkable and will really hit stride in the middle 2020's. Medium-dark color, medium body and leggy. The wine gets its nose on within minutes of pouring and it only grows from there: notes of cocoa, coffee, something floral, dark berries, a touch of oak. The flavors are huge; there is good fruit but (for now) it is a bit recalcitrant; ample acidity creates a lovely balance and will (over time) assist the considerable tannins in bringing a possible masterpiece to fruition. This is an old fashioned Chateauneuf du Pape - not so forward as currently in vogue. Be patient, be very patient and you will be rewarded. A bargain at $39 and bottled and corked to last a long time.
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  • Rating:
    (11/17/2014)
    Domaine Olivier Hillaire Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2012
    $48.99
    Pair with: Game, Roast beef, Lamb
    I tried this with a pair of 2010's from Beaucastel and Caillou. This one is slightly leaner, the color is medium-dark but very saturated ruby tinged with magenta, medium-to-full bodied and leggy. The nose is smallish: dark berries and a hint of something floral. On the palate: abundant tarry fruit with a hint of anise or licorice, a bit more acid than the others but still just barely enough for the fruit, a stiff tannin backbone (this is after all the youngest of the wines), the alcohol comes on a bit too strong. This wine wants more time. Drinking it before about 2018 would be infanticide and I don't think it will really hit stride before 2022 or so. I just don't know if it will show much of a nose or if it has acid to carry it into the far beyond. If I were 20 years younger I'd lay some down and forget it. It is a good buy compared to other Chateauneuf so if you're thinking long-term then by all means lay a few down.
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  • Rating:
    (11/17/2014)
    Chateau de Beaucastel Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2010
    $120.00 $89.99
    Save $30.01 (25%)
    Limit 12 bottles per customer
    Pair with: Goose or game, Lamb
    I tried this in a flite of 3 Chateauneuf du Pape, the others being the Caillou 2010 and the Olivier Hilaire 2012. All three were good but this one is the winner. Dark, saturated ruby-garnet color, medium-full body and leggy. The small-to-medium sized nose acquires complexity and depth with a bit of air and time: pomegranate, lavender or violets, pepper, currants; I'm disappointed in the smallness of the nose but the wine is young and it might grow a little with time. The flavors start with enormous tarry fruit (my how things have changed compared with the harder Rhone wines of decades past!) Along with the fruit is just enough acid and a firm tannin backbone. The wine fills the mouth, I think this must have a very high total extract, it already has a decent finish; there is a bit too much alcohol on the palate, though. It is bottled to last with a first-rate 2-inch cork. I don't think there is acid enough for very long-term aging, I'd say drink this from 2016 to 2026. This is expensive on my budget and is slightly deficient in the nose and the acid but I'm buying more if that says anything. It is not quite a Great Chateuneuf but it comes close.
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  • Rating:
    (11/15/2014)
    Bodegas Zerran Tinto 2011
    $16.99
    Style: Smooth & Supple
    Pair with: Tomato dishes, Herby Pastas, Lamb or Goat
    A fruit bomb but I like it. Dark purple-red, very clean, clear saturated. Medium body, leggy. Nice medium sized nose with amazing tones The Grenache is almost like French Gamays, the Syrah is prominent, there is the very fresh aroma like newly fermented wine plus pomegranate and floral tones rather like roses, camelias? Just lovely. The flavors are big and complex but youthful. The balance is very fruit forward; if this wine has any fault it is that the fruit is huge and the acid is just barely adequate although there is enough acid for a bright, clean overall impression. There's a stout tannin backbone but it isn't harsh, just robust. I'd compare this to a BIG appellation Beaujolais or a very fresh, lively Rhone wine. It is very drinkable now, will improve for a few years and could hold a decade or two. I'd give it five stars except the fruit acid balance is so so so fruit forward - if you like very fruity reds you'll love this, if you're more attuned to classical Bordeaux/Burgundy balance you might find it rather candy-like but at the price, try it! Recently I tasted some expensive Chateauneuf Du Pape. They reminded me of this wine - and why not, the grape blends are about the same. This is much less expensive though!
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  • Rating:
    (11/15/2014)
    Clos du Caillou Chateauneuf-du-Pape Quartz 2010
    $110.00 $74.99
    Save $35.01 (32%)
    Bottled and corked to last. Saturated, medium-dark ruby-garnet, medium-to-full body, leggy. The nose starts out just small-to-medium sized and a bit simple, with air it grows and acquires complexity: dark fruit, cooked cherries, currants, a hint of pepper, oak; after a couple of hours the nose begins to fade, though. Big flavors, lots of tarry fruit, acid enough to carry the fruit and to promote graceful aging, a firm backbone of tannins; the alcohol comes through a bit strong, though. This wants at least until 2019 and will probably improve for another five years after that; it will hold into the early 2030's. This is a lovely wine but the nose is not as big as I'd expect and I'm not sure it is worth the price. It reminds me of a very similar blend from Spain: Montsant - except I bought that for less than a quarter the price!
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  • Rating:
    (11/11/2014)
    K Vintners Milbrandt Syrah 2011
    Sold Out $29.99
    2012 vintage available for $31.99
    Bottled and corked to last. At first the color is medium purple-red, the nose is smallish, vinous with a hint of pepper. With an hour or two of air the wine actually darkens a bit and the nose grows in size and complexity becoming deeper, with berry tones. The flavors are good and fairly big with ample fruit, acid to balance and a bit of tannin. After several hours the wine reverts to the first impression. It's pretty nice but not a $30 wine
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  • Rating:
    (11/11/2014)
    Yves Cuilleron St. Joseph Les Pierres Seches 2010
    $35.00 $27.99
    Save $7.01 (20%)
    If California reds can be too fruity and lack for acidity then this exemplifies the opposite excess in French wines, it is too acidic, too tart for me. Other than that it is pretty remarkable, a nice complex nose, pretty big flavors; bottled and corked to last a while. I just can't get past the imbalance between fruit and acid. That said, some French wine fans like 'em like this so, if that's you then try it.
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  • Rating:
    (11/3/2014)
    Joel Gott Oregon Pinot Noir 2012
    $24.99
    Pair with: Game birds, Chateaubriand, Lamb
    Willamette Valley Pinot Noir comes closer to French Burgundy than any other new-world Pinot and this is no exception. Not as fruit-forward as most with more acidity this is bright and elegant, it has a bit of tannin and will want five years or so to hit it's marks (until 2019 or so). The color is light-to-medium ruby with a hint of "a robe" (iridescence). Racy and elegant medium sized nose with notes of strawberry, pomegranate, cherry, freesia...not notably oaky. The stout Turley-style bottle is complemented by a longish, top-quality natural cork; this stuff will hold for decades if you want. This Burgundian style is not for everyone But I'm laying a few down.
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  • Rating:
    (10/29/2014)
    Dopff & Irion Crustaces 2012
    $10.99
    Pair with: Roast chicken, Seafood Bisques, Bread and cheese
    A pleasant, fresh white for current consumption. More fruit and body than traditional light, crisp whites such as Muscadet. This wine can stand up to more flavorful dishes and remains pretty nice even as it warms up. Not a lot of nose , though what there is seems to have a hint of Riesling.
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  • Rating:
    (10/26/2014)
    Antucura Malbec 2012
    $16.00 $13.99
    Save $2.01 (13%)
    Pair with: Hearty pastas, Well seasoned lamb
    Nice concentration and "extract", good fruit. The tannins want time but are civilized. The problem is a lack of acid which limits aging and "brightness" on the palate. The nose is nice and pretty big - it acquires beautiful dark-fruit and berry tones with air and there's a hint of oak. There's some alcohol roughness in the finish. A decent quality, medium-length composite-cork will hold for a few years; given the lack of acid I can't see holding this for a long time - too bad because that's all that's lacking for this to be an outstanding Malbec. It's good wine and a fair value at the price but I'm going to keep looking.
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