wa3.gif (3780 bytes)

Wine Anorak index page

Tasting notes index page

Uncategorized tasting notes

Tasting notes arranged geographically

Tasting notes from organized tastings and offlines

'Offline' in St Louis, Missouri, USA

On a recent trip to the USA I managed to meet up with some fellow participants in the wine lover's discussion group. Here are the tasting notes.

Offline hosted by Walt and Marsha Carpenter, St Louis MO Monday 12 April 1999

(wines served double blind)

Flight 1

1978 Beaulieu Vineyards George Latour
Big nose of spice and tar. Nicely balanced, drinking well now, a little bit earthy. Bordeaux?

1980 Beaulieu Vineyards George Latour
Very dark. Delicious nose, but mid-palate it is a little flat. Ruipe, edgy, funky. Old Cal cab?

1983 Ch Musar, Lebanon
Lighter colour. Odd, smoky nose. Funky caramel flavours, with herbaceous notes. Evolved but bizarre.

Flight 2

1985 Pichon Lalande Comtesse, Pauillac
Bright purple. Big nose of minerals, smoke and maybe some chalk. Soft and ripe on palate. Fine Bordeaux, drinking very well. Superb.

1989 Pichon Lalande Comtesse, Pauillac
Similar: a little riper, with cedar and minerals, and a spicy tannic structure. Excellent, but not drinking quite as well as the previous wine.

Flight 3

1990 Gruaud Larose, St Julien
Dense, herbal, medicinal nose. Soft palate with rich fruit. High acid and tannins. Very good. Deliciously complex herbal character.

1994 Dominus
Slightly muted, soft, port-like nose. Rich fruit on palate. Dense and quite complex: after a while a bit of barnyard character begins to emerge. Very good.

Araujo Eisele Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 1994
Smoky, chalky nose with a strong herbal character. Rich herby/earthy palate with nicely textured tannins, plenty of oak and a chalky edge. Very good.

Flight 4

1996 Qupe Bien Nacido Hillside Estate (?exact details)
Big funky nose with concentrated Syrah-like fruit. Very strong herbal elements. Very good.

Tim Adams 'The Fergus' 1995, Clare Valley
This is a Grenache-dominated southern Rhone-style blend. Lemon peel nose with strong coconut and herbal characters. Odd.

1989 Dunn Vineyards Napa Cabernet Sauvignon
High acid, liquorice, rubbery fruit. OK.


Turley Zinfandel Contra Costa County, Duarte Vineyard 1995
This is the first Turley I've tried, and I quite liked it, even though I know it is wrong to. Big herby nose leads to palate with plenty of new French oak, and spicy, herbal and brambly fruit. Rich and full, but complex. Carries its 15.2% alcohol lightly.

Warres 1977 Port
Pleasant spiciness to the palate. Perfectly balanced and smooth and full of interest.


Offline with Jim Dove, from various tasting events round the St Louis wine shops and later at Jim and Rasha Dove's home. Saturday 17 April

Vina Casablanca Cabernet Sauvignon Santa Isabel Estate 1997, Chile
Big, sweet nose of ripe cassis with a herby, menthol edge. Soft tannins submerged in rich blackcurrant fruit on palate. Concentrated and well textured but if I'm being picky it is a little simple.

Clos des Papes Chateauneuf du Pape 1996
Red/brown colour. Odd medicinal nose with bitter cherry acidity and a herby, rustic flavour. Quite tannic and light bodied. Unusual and not that good. I guessed this to be from Piedmont or even Portugal.

Joseph Phelps Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 1996
Very dark colour. Huge nose of furniture polish, mint and menthol. Soft fruit with tannic backbone. Very ripe, full and concentrated, good but not compelling. I guessed this as a Cal cab.

Fife Cuvee Max 1994, Napa
Opaque black purple. Highly concentrated. Smoky, slightly animal nose. Mid palate is missing. Sweet with lots of tannin. I guessed Petite Sirah or Alicante Bouschet.

Havens Syrah 1996, Carneros
Thick purple black. Big nose of brett but with beautiful bacon-fat syrah character. Spicy, concentrated palate with ripe, complex flavours. Superb!

JL Chave Hermitage 1996
Really stinky nose of bacon fat and animal/barnyard notes, with a rubbery edge. On palate tight structure dominates. Very characterful, but not that pleasant at present. My guess was way out. Jim got this right.

1995 Haut Beau Sejour
Ripe fruit, plenty of structure, and stony, mineral components. Tight and closed but with promising future. Guessed a good Bordeaux from a recent vintage. Good value at $28.

Nuits St Georges Les Perrieres Robert Chevillon 1989
Superb mature Burgundy with gamy complexity and firm acidity.

1989 Dominus
A really hard wine to call, this has rich, ripe fruit (suggesting California Cab), but also such a good tannic structure underlaid by minerals and complexity that it's hard to imagine it is not from Bordeaux. Very good.

1990 Philip Togni Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Hugely concentrated, rich, ripe fruit. Chalky, earthy nose. Very good.

1986 Gruaud Larose, St Julien
Earthy, animal nose with minerals. Strong tannic structure with good fruit and fine balance. Really excellent.