Ron Blachman's Reviews

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54 reviews were found
  • Rating:
    (12/16/2014)
    Bila-Haut by Michel Chapoutier Occultum Lapidem 2012
    $29.99
    Beautiful, intensely dark purple-red color, medium-to-full body. On the palate there is abundant tarry fruit, a stiff tannin backbone and enough acid to carry this now and for just a few years. The flavors are big - unfortunately the nose is not. This has very little nose: a hint of cassis and briar but not much, it didn't improve much with air, either. This wine wants until about 2107 or so to enter maturity; the medium length, good quality cork will hold until 2020 or so if needed. I just don't think there will ever be much of a nose to this wine. I'm holding a couple of bottles until 2018 just to see but I'm not buying any more - if that tells you anything. Certainly not a bargain.
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  • Rating:
    (12/5/2014)
    Domaine Olivier Hillaire Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2012
    Sold Out $48.99
    2011 vintage available for $42.99
    Pair with: Game, Roast beef, Lamb
    I tried this with a pair of 2010's from Beaucastel and Clos de 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:
    (12/4/2014)
    Condes de Albarei Albarino 2012
    Sold Out $13.99
    2013 vintage available for $13.99
    Pair with: Veal Piccata or Marsala, Roast pig or boar, Paella, Tapas
    This is my second experience with Albarino from the Rias Baixas. This is firmer, less tropical than the Paco & Lola. The color is pale gold, medium bodied; legs form slowly; I think this has a high "total extract". The nose is medium sized, not a explosive as the P&L; notes of pear and spice, a bit riesling like but distinct. Big flavors, a dry balance with plenty of acidity but enough fruit to carry it. It is a big, firm wine, mouth filling with a long finish. this does not want to be overly chilled. This is a "serious" wine; try it with a nice, salty Jamon and olives. The style is not available on the pull-down menu, I'd call it big, stuffed but crisp. It might transform a bit with a few years in the bottle but it will be intersting at every point along the way.
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  • Rating:
    (12/3/2014)
    Fattorie Melini Chianti Classico Riserva La Selvanella 2010
    $28.99
    This is an old-fashioned Classico - made to last with traditional european balance. I'd say this will start drinking well in about 2018 and will last into the early 2030's - all do-able as the cork is first quality. Tasted in December 2014, the wine wanted some air to begin to open up. The fruit is rather recalcitrant right now; the acid and tannin are front and center. With a bit of air and with food, though the fruit shows up and the overall balance is good. The color is medium garnet without any particular brown at this stage. Medium body and somewhat leggy (after a short delay). The nose grows quite fine with some air: berries, cherries, oak, a hint of something floral...the cherry tone comes to dominate with time. Is it worth the money? That depends on your timeframe. It is a bit clumsy right now but I think it will deliver a fine experience in a few years, lay it down and look forward to it or else skip it.
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  • Rating:
    (11/29/2014)
    Domaine St. Damien Gigondas Les Souteyrades 2012
    $34.99
    Brittle, coarse grained cork was too tightly fit into the bottle; my corkscrew pulled right through. Medium garnet-ruby color, medium to full body, fairly leggy. Not much nose: NOTE ROBERT PARKER AND OTHER REVIEWERS MUST BE KIDDING TO CALL THIS PERFUMED!. Even with some air the nose remained smallish though there were interesting notes of olive, pepper, dark fruit and oak. Flavors are big but not well integrated or balanced at this point, keep in mind this is a 2012 wine tasted in 2014 so it might settle down over time. I thought the alcohol too high and harsh, the acid is pretty high as is the tannin and I don't think there's fruit enough to carry it. This might be interesting in 2020 or 2025 but right now it is awkward and imbalanced and has very little nose. It isn't bad wine but it is overpriced and wants a long time to show whatever it has.
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  • Rating:
    (11/25/2014)
    Guigal Cote Rotie Brune et Blonde 2009
    Sold Out $49.99
    2010 vintage available for $59.99
    Bottled to age with a long top-quality cork. Good color and body, legs are very slow to form; I think this wine has very high extract but not a lot of (fruity) glycerol. The nose is generous with exotic notes of juniper, Provencal herbs and something like tropical fruit atop the dark fruit and cassis. On the palate it explodes with flavor and has good acid and tannin for graceful aging but the fruit is not quite up to the other parts at the moment; the wine seems out of balance, short and a bit harsh from the acid or the high alcohol. I can't call it sour or even tart and I usually want more acid, not less in Rhone wines but this one just doesn't come together well enough to merit the price, (hence three stars instead of the four I might have given at a lower price.) Mind, it might become something special in 20 years but I don't plan to wait that long.
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  • Rating:
    (11/17/2014)
    Chateau de Beaucastel Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2010
    Sold Out $99.99
    2008 vintage available for $69.99
    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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