Saturday, October 26, 2013

Amon-Ra Barossa Shiraz 2008

Amon-Ra Barossa Shiraz 2008 Overpowers Italian Dinner

For our special getaway weekend to NY/Hoboken to visit son Alec, we picked up this special wine to take for a BYOB dinner. We chose the wine and then settled on a restaurant and despite the pairing being less than ideal, the wine and the dinner individually were wonderful. 

We dined at Cafe Michelina a short walk from son Alec's place - trendy' lively and quaint  traditional Italian featuring pasta dishes with some select seafood and chicken entree's. 

If you read this blog, you'll see continually that we, and especially Linda, love big bold Shiraz, so she selected this label for tonight's dinner. This was our first adventure tasting the classic AMON-Ra and this is indeed a BIG wine ...  not for the feint of heart!  While it overpowered our Italian fare and begs for a big steak, dark chocolate or hearty cheese,it was delicious none-the-less.

AMON-Ra is the flagship wine of the Glaetzer Family who have been producing Barossa Valley wines since 1888. We hold several Glaetzer wines going back a decade including one of our favorites, GoDolphin, which has since been discontinued, Wallace, Annaperenna and Bishop. The branding and labels for these wines all feature hieroglyphic symbols from ancient Egyptian mythology.  

Since AMON-Ra was considered to be the king of all gods, winemaker Ben Glaetzer chose that symbol for his flagship, top of the line ultra-premium label. Perhaps this is fitting since the temple of AMON-Ra was believed to be the first temple to ever plant a vineyard to produce wine for the citizens of the temple.

The eye on front of the AMON-Ra label is the all-seeing eye of Horus or wedjat ("whole one") - a powerful Egyptian symbol of protection. It is represented as a figure with six parts, corresponding to what Egyptians regarded as the six senses; touch, taste, hearing, sight, smell and thought.
Ben created AMON-Ra Shiraz to appeal to all these six senses. And it certainly does! 

Fruit for Glaetzer wines is sourced from the small sub-region of the northern Barossa Valley called Ebenezer. Some of the vines are as up to 80-120 years old. The 2008 release of AMON-Ra Shiraz is the eighth release of this label. The 2008 vintage in the Barossa was a difficult year for wine producers due to a heat spike during the vintage. As a result, Glaetzer limited the total production of AMON-Ra to maintain the quality of the wine. The strict fruit selections were rigorous and uncompromising to sacrifice quantity for quality resulting in the smallest volume released since the tiny 2003 vintage, lower than the 2007 production. This required carefully monitoring the vines and making multiple passes through the vineyards carefully selecting only grapes with the right intensity of fruit and balancing different levels of ripeness before the heat spike overstressed the fruit

This release was produced by winemaker Ben Glaetzer who was New World Winemaker of the Year in 2006. According to the producer, "the 2008 vintage shows great purity of fruit and firm but fine tannins, giving great structure and power to the wines."

This was dark inky purple colored, full bodied, dense powerful and concentrated with a firm structured core of fruit yet nicely balanced. The bright aromatic fruit scents filled the room upon opening - the flavors were of ripe sweet dark berry, cranberry, boisenberry with a layer of mild licorice and tones of spice turning to smooth silky clinging tannins on the long finish.

RM 93 points.

More on our getaway weekend and dining experience to come ...

Château Haut-Brisson La Réserve 2009

Château Haut-Brisson La Réserve St Emilion Grand Cru 2009 BYOB at Anthony David's Hoboken

We selected this Grand Cru St Emilion to take BYOD to trendy Anthony David's Gourmet just a couple blocks from son Alec's place in Hoboken thinking it would go with a variety of dishes including a hearty beefsteak. Succumbing to the peril of buying wine on the road for an occasion as opposed to sourcing from the cellar (due to TSA carry-on bag restrictions), we drank this wine far too young/early. The tight tannins should soften with some aging hopefully rendering this a bit more approachable. 

The marketing appeal of this label might have been enhanced by the oversized hefty bottle packaging but of course it didn't enhance the wine. Medium-full bodied, dark purple in colour, moderately complex but a bit disheveled, (Parker called it 'unevolved'), the black cherry with a hint of tartness predominated over the black berry fruit and the terroir elements of black tea, leather and hint of tobacco on a tight tannin finish. Parker said it will benefit from 5-7 years of cellaring and I would echo that advice. 

RM 90, RP gave this a 92. 

Blend - 85% merlot 10% cabernet sauvignon 5% cabernet franc.

The wine was a wonderful complement to Anthony David's foie gras, but then it was so rich and flavorful with the toast points and black cherries that any wine would've been enhanced. The Haut-Brisson was also a perfect complement to the Anthony David's demi-glaze sauce on my rib-eye steak entree. The highlight of Alec's seared sea scallops was the creamed corn accompaniment. Linda's chose the special red snapper. The chocolate and pistaschio ice creams were wonderful.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Fogdog Sonoma County Pinot Noir 2010

Fogdog Sonoma County Pinot Noir 2010

Elysian Cafe - Hoboken
We took a weekend getaway to visit son Alec in trendy Hoboken across from Manhatten. Hoboken offers a wonderful array of restaurants, many within walking distance of Alec's place. During the weekend, we enjoyed three wonderful meals at local eateries - Anthony David's Gourmet, Cafe Michelina Italian, and Elysian Cafe, Hoboken's oldest continually operating eatery and bar dating back to 1895.

Of course being the wine geeks we are, selecting our wine experience is an essential and equally important part of our dining experience, so we gravitate to the BYOB eateries. BYOB aside, our most memorable and favorite dining experience in Hoboken remains Amanda's which was our first and chance encounter to Hoboken dining. 

Upon arrival in town, we picked up this Fogdog Sonoma County Pinot Noir at the neighborhood wine shop and enjoyed it back at Alec's with grilled hamburgers, avocado, onion, tomato and cilantro. This smooth easy drinking Pinot was just right for the occasion.

Label from 2009 vintage
This is an interesting whimsical label from the legendary Joseph Phelps known for Bordeaux varietal wines from Napa Valley. Yet Phelps loved the wines of Burgundy and wanted to craft wines in that style. Originally he sourced Chardonnay from St. Helena, then Yountville and later from Carneros.

Through the years, he continued searching for the ideal spot to grow both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. He found the perfect combination of climate, soil and location in Freestone, in the Sonoma Coast appellation AVA, just five miles from the Pacific Ocean. In 1999, Joseph Phelps Vineyards began developing 100 acres of vineyards just outside of Freestone.

In 2005, he built a new winery which was completed in time for the 2007 harvest. Today, 80 acres of Pinot Noir and 20 acres of Chardonnay produce remarkable estate-grown wines bearing the Joseph Phelps name.

The moniker 'fogdog' refers to 'a bright or clear spot that appears in the breaking fog'. Being just five miles from the coast, the fog rolls in from the ocean and graces the vineyards early in the day before being burned off by the late morning sun.

This Fogdog was sourced from Joseph Phelps' Freestone estate vineyards on the Sonoma Coast. The wine was aged in 30% new French oak before bottling.

From the winery: "Ripe raspberry, red cherry and plum aromas with touches of fragrant violet, earth and tangerine peel. Youthful, with great energy and racy acidity, this wine is loaded with juicy blackberry, black cherry and black pepper with lingering notes of baking spices. During the Fogdog selection process, we look for wines that boast vibrant fruit characteristics in addition to texture and acidity that are approachable upon release without extended bottle aging."

RM 88 points.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Constant Diamond Mountain Claret Horizontal Highlights Beef Tenderloin Dinner

Constant Diamond Mountain Claret Horizontal Highlights Beef Tenderloin Dinner

For an impromptu beef tenderloin dinner party, I suggested opening Napa Valley Cabernets from the mid-nineties so Bill brought Constant Diamond Mountain Claret 96 and 97 and I added a 95 to round out a mini-horizontal. Lyle brought a Guimaraens Vintage Port for dessert which I complemented with a 95 Warre's Quinta de Cavadhina for a comparison tasting.

Prior to the dinner flight we opened a Ravines Finger Lakes Cabernet Franc 2010 and a Reasons 'The One' Horse Heaven Hills Cabernet Sauvignon 2009. Lyle shared with us his memories from growing up in the Finger Lakes region near Keuka  Lake and swimming right near the Ravines' site.

Linda prepared a butternut squash lobster bisque which we served with a Chateau St Jean Reserve Chardonnay 2007.

Afterwards, we compared Lyle's Guimaerens 1995 Vintage Port with a Warre's Quinta de Cavadhina 1995 Oporto over chocolate truffles, pumpkin and key lime pies.

Chateau St Jean Sonoma County Reserve Chardonnay 2007

Chateau St Jean in Sonoma
Chateau St Jean is one of the classiest producers and wineries in Sonoma Valley with its expansive grounds of stylish gardens and old world style Chateau and accompanying buildings - one of the most authentic old world style sites in the region. Its one of our favorite producers in Sonoma that we've visited on numerous occasions including during our Sonoma Wine Experience 2009.

They consistently produce a selection of quality ageable reds and respectable whites in prices ranging from entry level to moderate to premium. This is a quality Reserve Chardonnay at a fraction of the price of similar labels from other notable producers.

Straw colored, medium bodied, balanced, crisp and lively, a bit buttery and slightly oaky with a solid structure and creamy texture. with aromas and flavors of lemon, pear and mandarin orange with hints of nut, vanilla and clove.

RM 88 points.

Ravines Wine Cellars Finger Lakes Cabernet Franc 2010

Keuka Lake from Ravines Wine Cellars
Being one of the very few Finger Lakes region wines distributed in the Chicago market attracted us to make sure we visited the winery during our visit to the Finger Lakes Keuka Lake wine region last year. Being three quarters of the clockwise drive around Keuka Lake, we arrived just about closing time and were grateful we were able to convince the staff to bear with us since it was the sole target producer of our trip. We would not be passing by this area again, due to the expanse of the wine trails that envelop three of the five elongated finger like lakes in south central New York state.

Too many of the Finger Lake producers produced a large selection of labels from a large number of varietals. I believe all would be better served if they would stick to the one or two varietals best suited to the region terrior - climate, terrain, soil, drainage etc. For lack of doing so, we tasted too many lackluster disappointing wines during our tour - moreso than standout highlight wines.

Like many of the Finger Lakes produces we visited, Ravines offered no less than nine different labels. I believe if, like most wine producing regions in the world, if they focused on what was best suited to their area, they would produce higher quality from their selectivity. It defies conventional logic that the region is best suited to produce a dozen different varieties of grapes, each with their own suitability to climate, soil, etc.

While I wouldn't expect Cabernet Franc to thrive in this region, this Cabernet Franc is an example of a bold flavorful varietal that gets the most out of the number of sun and degree days available in the climate - pushing the limits of the grape. This Cab Franc overachieves and exceeds expectations, however the bar is set rather low compared to warmer climate locales more suited to the varietal. I expected and think the Rieslings were best suited to the region and offered a better sense of terrior or place.

This Cabernet Franc is opaque purple colored, medium to light bodied, presenting modest black cherry fruits offset by black olive, dark mushroom and earthy spice tones on the modest tannin finish.
The saving grace is that unlike $30 or $40 California or French Cab Francs, this modest price point of  $18, or the $16 in Chicagoland stores, renders a decent QPR - quality price ratio.   

RM 87 points.

Reasons "The One" Horse Heaven Hills Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 

The guys at Wine Discount Center love this wine and give it 93 points. Wine Enthusiast ranked its 2008 as one of the top 100 wines of the vintage. I don't feel it lives up to its billing or its expensive packaging of a oversize weighty bottle, however, it isn't priced like a premium Cabernet so it ends up being a decent value with reasonable QPR (quality price ratio).

From the Horse Heaven Hills area of Washington's Columbia River Valley, the 2009 Reasons "The One" is medium bodied but a bit lean lacking polish and balance, but bursting with aromas of berry fruits upon opening, giving way to dark fruit flavors of black cherry, black plum, blackberry and cassis with hints of tobacco, leather and mushroom.

RM 88 points.

Mini horizontal tasting of Constant Diamond Mountain Cabernet Sauvignons - 1995-96-97

We visited Constant Diamond Mountain vineyards high atop Diamond Mountain during our Napa Valley Diamond Mountain Wine Experience 2011. Freddie Constant's property sitting at the summit overlooking Napa Valley to the east and Sonoma Valley to the west is one of but a select few vineyards that span both. The property is one of the oldest, longest continuous production vineyards in the Napa Sonoma region. Tonight's mini horizontal tasting revealed three diverse vintages with different effects yet clung to a common sense of place or terrior that bound the three together.

Constant Diamond Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon Claret 1997

Bill's tasting notes from Cellartracker - Deep indigo color. Full of fruit on the nose. Complex and layered on the palate with classic Bordeaux style notes of leather, tobacco, jammy dark fruit and seemingly typical of Constant, a bit of spice on the back palate. This will still improve for another 3 to 5 years. Fared well against the '95 and '96 Constant Claret though I felt the '95 at this point was a bit more expressive. Could be the '97's still need more time.

WCC 92 points.

True to the vintage ratings, this was the biggest, fullest and most complex of the three vintages - more resembling a left bank Bordeaux than a Napa Cabernet. Medium to full bodied, dark purple, earthy leather, tea and a layer of tobacco compete with the black berry fruits and hint of spice. This was the most stable of the three clinging to its core of fruit and tannin backbone on the finish. 

RM 91 points.

Constant Diamond Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon Claret 1996

Constant Vineyards magnifcent grounds high atop
Diamond Mountain
Bill's post - This was good, but like many of the 96's we have tasted recently, probably a bit past prime. Still some interesting characteristics. Medium garnet in color, showing just a bit of orange at the rim. Limited fruit on the nose. Was a bit thin on the palate with heavier notes of black pepper and a bit of spice box. This might have rated higher if not for tasting side by side with the Constant Claret from '95 and '97.

WCC 89 points.

I found this a bit austere and the leanest of the three vintages but nicely balanced and sufficiently focused that this was favored by some of the ladies. 

RM 88 points.

Constant Diamond Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon Claret 1995

Cabernet Sauvignon 73%, Merlot 18%, Cabernet Franc 9% 

Bill's post - Deep indigo color in the glass. A bit more full bodied than I remembered. Deep flavors of dark berry...blueberry, dark cherry and raspberry, with some minerality on the finish. Not surprising, given this vintage was made in more of a Bordeaux blend style albeit a bit Cabernet heavy at (73%). Smooth integrated tannins. A nice bottle drinking at peak. Will last another couple of years but why wait?

WCC 90 points.

My notes - This is the third bottle from this vintage we've opened in recent years and this one was consistent with earlier notes from one. Dark purple color, medium to full bodied, full forward flavors of black berry and black cherry fruits with traces of anise and hints of tobacco, tea and leather on a lingering, moderate, soft tannin finish. Mid-evening tones of black pepper appeared but were short-lived.  This is holding on but is showing its age and is nearing the end of its drinking window.

RM 89 points. 

Ports - Warre's Quinta de Cavadhina 1995 and Guimaraens Vintage Port 1995

Guimaraens Vintage Port 1995

Bright dark ruby colored, full bodied, rich and chewy, concentrated and complex but nicely balanced and smooth with rich ripe black berry, black raspberry, cassis with tones of expresso coffee and hint of spice. 

RM 91 points.

From Fonseca: "In years when Fonseca does not ‘declare’ a classic vintage, it selects the finest grapes from its own vineyards to yield a small quantity of this superb wine, which is produced exactly as a declared Fonseca Vintage. Beautifully structured and perfectly balanced, Guimaraens Vintage Ports show Fonseca’s superb marriage of power and breed in a slightly lighter, earlier-maturing style."

Warre's Quinta de Cavadhina 1995

Not quite as complex and balanced with slightly more subdued fruits than the Guimaraens.
Dark coffee color - full bodied, a bit of an edge of sweet black fruits, layer of smokey creosote with hint of cedar and cassis and black cherry on the finish. From a half bottle.

RM 89 points. 

This was one of WINE SPECTATOR’S Top 10 Dessert Wines for 1998.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Half Bottle Mania offers twice the tasting options

Half Bottle Mania offers twice the tasting options

Half Bottle Mania - Twice the tasting options -
Napa Cabs, Shiraz, Bordeaux, IceWine Flight
For a gala tasting with friends TRR and Don K to discuss wine collecting and cellar management planning, and purchasing strategies, I chose half bottles for a more extensive tasting. While the fun of big bottles is evident, its not as widely known or practiced that opening half size bottles offers twice the number of tasting experience options in the same setting.

Opening small format bottles this evening allowed us to taste seven different wines instead of perhaps three had we opened regular or standard size bottles. This allowed a Napa Cabernet tasting as well as a comparison against a similar vintage Bordeaux  and a Australian Shiraz, and a Ice Wine too. It also allowed a comparison of a selection of Napa Valley appellations' terrior and style - Oakville, Mt.Veeder, Howell Mtn, against a blend of those locations, and a Bordeaux blend.

As we most often do, we enjoyed these wines BYOB over dinner at our local neighborhood bistro Angeli's Italian. The big reds were spectacular with their Butternut Squash Gnochi in rich sweet brown sugar and vanilla sauce, and my favorite dish, and off-menu preparation of veal in a rich blue cheese brown sauce on angel hair pasta.

Prior to the red tasting we did an initial tasting at home of artisan cheeses with Cliff Lede Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2007, then a small grilled flank steak taster against the Clark-Claudon and Larmande reds .

Anti pasta course flight:

Cliff Lede Napa Valley Stags Leap District Sauvignon Blanc 2007

This may be my favorite Sauvignon Blanc. A staple to keep for any wine tasting as a tasty starter, transition wine between courses, or by itself with salad, fruit and cheese or a seafood, light pasta or veggie dish.

While a bit more pricey than average, it stands up against classic Sauvignons costing twice as much. We visited Cliff Lede and did a magnificent tasting there during our Napa Wine Experience 2009.

Lemon colored, medium bodied, nicely balanced acidity, subtle oak, citrus and remarkable peach fruit flavor that turns to lemon with hints of mango, passion fruit and tangerine on the finish. Fabulous complement to lobster with a dash of lemon butter. starter. First tasted at the winery - got some at home - a staple white for the cellar. 

RM 90 points. 

The flight:

Clark Claudon Howell Mountain Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2004

We've been collecting this Howell Mtn classic since our Napa Valley Wine Experience 1999. We have a vertical collection back to their inaugural 1993 vintage and have tasted this in Napa Cab wine flights with the same outcome as earlier Big Cab tastings - the concensus favorite of the group ...

Deep dark purple - full bodied - explosive aromas of ripe dark berry fruits, big mouth-full of forward complex but polished spicy black and edge of red berry fruits, violets, layers of mocha and oak with a long lingering tannin finish.

The 2004 Napa growing season was condensed with early bud break, warm days, cool nights and one challenging heat spike. The result was a small harvest of intense, flavor packed fruit from an unusual, but exceptional year that is showing and drinking well and should last another decade.

RM 93 points.

Yates Family Vineyards, Napa Redwood Estates, Aldon Perry Reserve, Napa Valley Mt Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon 2006

This was discovered and acquired during our Napa Valley Mt Veeder Appellaton Experience 2011.

A bit of acid heat initially that soon wears off to a pleasant smooth drinking wine. Deep garnet color - full bodied bursting with complex layers of rich forward black currant, blackberry, ripe sweet black raspberry fruits, tones of cinnamon spice, anise and hints of floral, sweet oak, white pepper and tobacco leaf, finishing with moderate smooth tannins on a rich full finish.
RM 92 points. 

Paradigm Oakville Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1995

This wine was tasted and acquired during the same Napa Valley Wine Experience 1999  as the Clark Claudon above.

Fragrant, soft supple tannin, medium body, the layers of cherry and black currant fruit are being overtaken by earthy leather, licorice, and herbs, with under-currants of spice and cedar.  

RM 89 points.


Robert Craig Affinity Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2004

Robert Craig produces this blend of Napa Valley Cabernets from his various vineyard sources on Mt Veeder, Howell Mtn and Napa Valley. He also sources fruit from Mt George and Spring Mtn distict for his wines. He calls Affinity 'three mountains and a valley cabernet'. Its produced for early enjoyment but we continue to find it ages well too. We continue to hold a vertical of this wine dating back to the inaugural 1993 vintage. This wine was a highlight of the evening and was a perfect pairing with the grilled rib-eye steaks, and also went especially well with the the pre-dinner double Gloucester cheese.

Consistent with earlier tasting notes, deep dark purple inky color, huge ripe berry fruit aromatics, full body, ripe berry fruit, accented by a undercurrent of caramel with a hint of anise, tobacco and firm full tannins on the long fruit filled finish.

RM 91 points.

Château Larmande St Emilion Grand Cru Classe Bordeaux 2005

Château Larmande produces about 9000 cases per year and is known for consistent quality and generally a good value. The estate is planted predominantly in Merlot covering 60% of the vineyard, with 30% Cabernet Franc and just 5% Cabernet Sauvignon making up the balance. 

The 2005 vintage was above average and produced a wine that is already approachable but should last another ten to fifteen years. Bottles are recognizable by the unique lavender colored foil.

Medium bodied, full aromas of floral perfume, moderately complex flavors of red berry and plum fruits accented by subtle spice and hints of cherry-cranberry, nice texture and smooth moderate tannins round out the finish.

RM 90 points.

D'Arenberg Dead Arm McLaren Vale Valley Shiraz 2002

Dead Arm refers to the (one armed) vines that when afflicted in the early days of the last century were spared from being turned under and emerged to produce highly concentrated fruit from the single remaining arm that survived after the loss of the other side of the vine.

Typically a big fruit forward complex wine, the 2002 was a bit more subdued and muted than its normal big forwardness but what was an off-tone of minerality. Lacking that uber ripe almost raisin-fig with a layer of cedar predominating, this still held that complex black berry fruits with tones of pepper, spice, and cassis and hint of vanilla with a big long bold finish that has a slight tone of tangy cherry.

Linda likes this ripe boldness but its a bit too much to my liking it needs to be tasted with hearty meats, even bar-b-que, or artisan cheeses, such as tonight when it complemented the beef tenderloin, marinated pork tenderloin and then the course of dark chocolate deserts.

RM 89 points.

Inniskillin Niagara Peninsula VQA Oak Aged Vidal Eiswein 2004

We visited this classic Ice Wine producer during our visit to the Niagara-on-the-Lake isthmus nestled between Buffalo, NY and Toronto. 

The fruit was a bit more muted and subdued than earlier tastings with it giving way to a layer of smoke and wood. Aromas of apple blossoms, apricot with hint of cinnamon-raison bread. On the palate, this beautifully rich dessert wine follows through nicely with mix of apricot, mango and a strong honeyed fig component. The overall finish has good length with tantalizing flashes of exotic fruit and spice.

RM 91 points.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Aussie Shiraz Duo Comparison Tasting - Heathcote - Henry's Drive Reserve

Aussie Shiraz Duo Comparison Tasting - Heathcote - Henry's Drive Reserve

For a social dinner with L and friends Mark and Gayle B at Angeli's Italian, we compared two vintage Aussie Shiraz's. Heathcote Victoria Shiraz 2004 and Henry's Drive Reserve Shiraz 2002.

Heathcote II, Heathcote, Victoria, Australia Shiraz 2004

I still remember discovering this wine, tasting it at the wine desk with Wine Manager Bill and Aussie buyer Bill, at Binny's GE store. I bought all they had.  

Inky/purple color, full bodied. Not quite as big and fruit forward as my memory and tasting notes reflect from earlier tastings, but big none-the-less. Huge full beautiful aromas of fruit that permeate the room upon opening. Full bodied, rich, structured, full forward flavors of graphite, blackberries, black raspberries, chewy currant, mocha and mineral. 

Earlier ratings - RM 94 RP 94 - tonight 93 points, perhaps reflecting beginning of diminution of fruit falling off due to age. Time to drink.

Henry's Drive Reserve Padthaway Shiraz 2002

Interesting contrast to the bigger, bolder, more forward Heathcote. Henry's Drive was medium bodied, it's subdued fruits moderate but nicely balanced and polished - this was preferred by the girls - my rating and notes consistent with my tasting notes from two years ago ....

Dark ink color - medium full bodied - lighter and much more subdued than my earlier tasting note record, which was six years ago. This was not the full, thick extracted fruit with huge mouth-feel fruit bomb from that review. It still has the same flavor profile of currant and blackberry, a tone of black cherry giving way to tones of tea and tobacco with a hint of smoky sweet oak and vanilla on the long lingering silky tannin finish. My '90' rating was significantly reduced from my earlier '94' back in 2005 suggesting its time to drink younger and drink remaining bottle in the near term as they are past their prime and not improving. 

RM 90 points.