The 1990 Lynch-Bages has a precocious nose, utterly captivating with intense black fruit suffused with iodine and seaweed scents. There is something old school about this Lynch Bages, perhaps not quite as precise as the previous vintage, yet still multi-dimensional. It gains cohesion with aeration. The palate is medium-bodied with more structure than expected. There's fine delineation with chiseled tannins. Cedar and tobacco are interwoven through the layered black fruit, and it fans out with panache on the finish. This continues to fire on all cylinders. Tasted at the château in bottle and double-magnum formats. (Neal Martin, Vinous, July 2023) — 2 months ago
Redfruit aromas and flavors, this is still hopelessly young, though the tannins have softened a bit and it seems to be inching towards maturity, impeccable balance and great depth of flavors, super long, lingering finish, just an absolutely fantastic, old school California mountain Cabernet. I have always believed this to be the best Dunn Howell Mountain ever made (I’ve tasted 1981-1992, with a distinct style change towards riper and higher ABV starting around 1992, after which I stopped buying the wine). $15 full retail when I bought it in late 1984. — 4 months ago
Still fresh and great with Osso Buco. — a month ago
Holy Chee Oly! Love this bad boy. Cherry. Balanced with oak. Amazing clove flavors! Very unique Cabernet experience. Paso Robles representing. As usual! This is Hope Sandoval in a bottle. No doubt. — 3 months ago
2017 School House Pinot Noir. School House is a very small producer of entirely estate wines located in the hills of the Spring Mountain. The 2017 has both earthy and savory character on the nose. It also shows a decent amount of acidity, balance and fine tannins that result in a rich Burgundian style. A very “un-Cali” like Pinot.
This was my second School House. I tasted my first School House (2010 vintage) a couple years ago and recall how youthful it presented. While the 2017 is drinking nicely now, I can see how it might benefit from a bit more bottle age. — 6 months ago
This takes me back. Very old school. Like 70s and early 80s old school. Nose comes screaming out of the glass with loads of coconutty American oak, plummy fruit, and gravel. Intense and clingy in the mouth. Tannins are youthful but soft and well managed. The only thing that distinguishes this from a 70s or 80s rendition is the peppery alcohol (14.5%) that is fairly prominent. A noticeable bitter note lingers on the finish. Still and all, a pleasurable and nostalgic wine. Could easily use another 5 years.
UPDATE: Night 2, the depth of fruit is more prominent and is silencing the peppery alcohol a bit. Upping score from 8.9 to 9.0. — 2 months ago
Opened about four hours prior to service and allowed to breath. Two bottles were opened tonight from the same cellar and one of the corks showed some small signs of seepage but both wines showed equally. No formal notes. The 1997 Opus One pours a fairly youthful looking deep ruby color with moderate signs of sediment and a near opaque core. The nose exhibited powerful aromas of dark fruits, organic earth, tobacco, leather, horse blanket (brettanomyces?!), and fine baking spices. On the palate, the wine is dry and the structure remains quite firm but the texture is plush and almost chewy. The notes on the nose are confirmed and the finish is long and satisfying.
But the tasting notes only tell half the story here. This was consumed alongside a 1990 Chateau Mouton Rothschild. Had these been served together double-blind, I would have absolutely understood if someone called both as left-bank Bordeaux. Yes, the texture was plush and yes, the color was dark(er), but only just. It was just waaaay more Old World leaning to me with the earth and presence of brett. Which makes me wonder, why hasn’t brett been noted very often in other TN’s for this wine? Only (Charlie Carnes and OneFive) really address it directly and maybe this is what most are getting at when they mention “Bordeaux-like” and all the Pauillac vibes. What I can confirm is that these notes were consistent between two bottles from the same case, still in their tissue paper, so I’m reasonably confident that this is characteristic of the 1997 Opus One. I digress; I liked the wine. There, I said it. It was a bit of a one foot in Old School Napa, one foot in New School Napa, handled with an Old World touch. I liked it even better side-by-side with the ’90 Mouton, especially considering the relationship between the two. That being said, folks that can’t get down with a little brett will be turned off by this vintage of Opus. In my case, I would enjoy another opportunity to drink the 1997 some time. Great now with some air to stretch its legs and should be enjoyable through the next decade.
— 3 months ago
2018 vintage. Dead ringer for Haut-Brion or La Mission Haut-Brion. Serious, refined Graves/Pesssac-Leognan vibes. The anti-Napa Cab, Napa Cab. The market/ownership powers that be generally leaving the old-school Napa Cabs alone and keeping them true to roots. Those triple $$$ digit newer Napa Cabs mainly be tasting like chocolate cake reduction. Vive la différence. 3.22.23. — 6 months ago