@chipgreen@jmdavidson1@losthighwayz enough acidity but also has depth. I would not compare a Nebbiolo rose with a Mourvedre rose nor would I compare my palate with anyone else’s. But in my limited and humble opinion if all three were on the same shelf I would grab this one all day long
@losthighwayz It’s Iron Horse Estate Chard. What else do you need to know? This is their oaked version. Retail is ~30 at the winery.
If you like it, it’s a good deal. If it’s not your style then it’s not. We like it.
2008 BV Tapestry. Somebody was selling it a couple of days ago (2014 I believe for about $50), so I thought I’d try the 1 bottle I had. I found it on the “good wine” rack, about 7 shelves down…way below the Turleys, Shafers, Chappellets and its more distinguished relative…Georges. Gotta say, It’s darn good.
Weird… Without looking through this thread, I decided to open and try the 2015 Bell D6 Blend with a heavy steak, potato, and veggies lunch. Then again, we are all drinking the same juice and recording our experiences here, so that can’t be too coincidental, right?
Not surprisingly like the rest of Bell wines, it needs more years in the bottle. I had to cork it 3/4th’s way through… for science tomorrow night. Even though I have an anniversary gift to get and the typical excessive holiday splurging, I would get another case of this mix in a heartbeat… or something equal to the deal offered earlier in the year. Nudge, nudge.
You are not alone JM, since casemates stopped allowing imgur pics it’s not as fun posting…so over the last who knows
2004 Nicholas Cole reserve cab
2014 Chateau Senjac
2012 A Tribute to Grace Shake Ridge Grenache
2004 Stoney Hill Chard
2006 Arcadian Pinot Noir Francesca’s Cuvée
2012 Argiano Brunello di Montalcino
2015 Gérard Boulay Sancerre Monts Damnés
And more i’m sure…and yes we have a drinking problem
BTW the Nicholas Cole is really drinking well!!!
@InFrom He asked for beef (when given a choice of beef, lamb, pizza). I thought about letting him choose the wine but then decided I didn’t care which wine he wanted
Yeah, of course he got a taste. And extra chances to smell. It’s his birthday, after all!
Admit it – you were wondering if maybe it wasn’t going to happen this year. Well you can banish that thought right out of your head, my friends, because it’s GAME ON.
It’s time for SECRET SANTA 2018!
Hi! This post represents the official start of the U.S. Chapter of Secret Santa 2018. Believe it or not, this year marks the 10TH ANNUAL incarnation of the game! How time does fly. Once again your co-Head Elves and purveyors of shenanigans will be me (crispino) and ChrisinSunnyside. Looking forward to another great year!
IMPORTANT DATES AND INFO
Registration Deadline: Friday, 11/9/18
Shipping Deadline: Monday, 11/26/18
Reveal Day: Saturday, 12/8/18
If you’re new to Secret Santa this year, welcome! Please make sure you read everything in this post.
If you’re already familiar with the game, the highlights:
The registration form is below in Section 1 (appropriately titled “Register For Secret Santa”).
Bottle cost is $50.00, BEFORE any taxes and shipping.
When you ship, send a PM to your Head Elf with the appropriate info - ESPECIALLY THE TRACKING NUMBER (see Section 3.5).
When you receive your own shipment from your SS, send your Head Elf a PM to let him know (Section 3.6).
Once the Reveal Day threads open, if someone guesses you as their SS, please post whether or not they’re right (Section 4.3).
You can skim the rest.
Enjoy, and let the Games begin!
INTRO: WHAT IS SECRET SANTA?
For the uninitiated (or for those who want a refresher): Secret Santa (SS) is a round-robin wine exchange. Legends tell us that the ritual was started long ago, circa 2009, by Jedi Master Hollowine. The way it works is this: you are given a name from a list of participants, and you buy that person a bottle of wine valued at 50 dollars (before taxes, shipping, etc.). Many people peruse their recipient’s CT cellar to find something they think their recipient will like, but you can also give them something you really like yourself, ask your wine store clerk for recommendations, etc. While you are doing this, someone else on the list is doing the same for you, and sends you a bottle, and someone else sends that person a bottle, and so on. Everyone opens their package on a prearranged date (the Reveal Day) in early December. A new forum thread is started on Reveal Day, and everyone posts what they received. Then you try and guess who your Secret Santa is. More often than not – okay, always – hilarity ensues! Many thanks are exchanged and everyone goes home happy. In short, it’s a great way to meet new people on the forum, and to give (and get) a tasty bottle to enjoy.
Assuming similar participation numbers to previous years, we’ll have two groups of participants again this year; crispino and ChrisinSunnyside will each be Head Elf for one group. You won’t know which group you’re in until Reveal Day, so it will keep you guessing as to who your SS is. We will all stay as one big happy family in this initial discussion thread until Reveal Day. Then we will start TWO SEPARATE new threads, one for each group, and you will only be guessing amongst your own group as to your potential SS, although you can of course follow both groups.
THE SECRET SANTA PROCESS:
Following are the nitty-gritty details. Again, If you are new to the game or need/want a refresher, please read everything.
REGISTER FOR SECRET SANTA
To register for SS, copy and paste the following registration form into a PM, fill it out, and send the PM to crispino. The deadline for submissions is Friday, November 9th, 2018. There will be NO submissions accepted after this.
REGISTRATION FORM - return to crispino by Friday 11/9/18
Note: Items 1-6 must be filled out in order for your form to be accepted.
Your exact CellarTracker user name (not your forum user name):
Your real name:
Is your CT Cellar set to Public or Private?
Your preferred SHIP TO address:
Is the above address a residence or business address?
A contact phone number (most carriers require this, therefore you must provide one):
Any dates on which you cannot receive your wine (e.g., because you are on vacation, out of town on business, etc.):
Any other pertinent information (e.g., type(s) of wine you would prefer or prefer not to receive, any carrier restrictions, special instructions, etc.):
I will start a list of SS participants in the second post of this thread. If you see your name on the list, it means I have all your info and you are registered. If your name’s not on the list, you’re not registered. If you think you should be registered but don’t see your name, it’s your responsibility to PM me and follow up. I will not be chasing down people looking for additional info.
Pro Tip! Unless you really don’t care what kind of wine you’re getting (which is fine), include a little preference info in #8. Most people find it helpful.
PICK A WINE FOR YOUR RECIPIENT
2.1 Receive Your Recipient’s Name and Info
Once registration closes, I will put all the names into the proverbial hat and we will assign everyone a recipient. It is at this point that we will split the party up into two groups (although again, you won’t know which group you’re in until Reveal Day). As in past years, the matchups will be done randomly, although there may be some minor re-drawing of names to avoid previous matchups. There will be no considerations given to geography; you might wind up with someone in the same city, or it could be someone on the opposite coast!
ChrisinSunnyside and crispino will distribute the names and info of recipients to everyone by Monday, November 12th, 2018. Whoever you get your info from, that’s your Head Elf! That will be your point of contact throughout the rest of the event. If you don’t get your info from either of us by Monday 11/12, PM crispino with questions or concerns.
2.2 Do A Little Research
For many people, this is one of their favorite parts! When you receive your recipient’s name and info, it’s time to start sleuthing. As mentioned above in the Intro, it’s often helpful to browse your recipient’s cellar contents and/or forum posts to get an idea for their likes/dislikes. Ultimately, this step is not strictly necessary – some people don’t have oodles of time to spend perusing someone else’s giant cellar – but if you can put at least some time into it, it’s sure to be appreciated by your recipient. When researching a wine, be sure to take into account any information your recipient has provided in their registration form, particularly about wine likes/dislikes, etc.
Some people have their cellars marked as “Private,” which means that you won’t be able to view their inventory. If this is the case, send your Head Elf a PM to let him know. Your Head Elf will PM your recipient and ask him or her to make “CT Santa” a CT Friend. If your recipient agrees, then your Head Elf will give you the login information for CT Santa. You can then log in to CT as CT Santa and view your recipient’s cellar.
Pro Tip! It’s always a nice touch to try and include some sort of note/message in the package explaining why you picked the wine you did. If you are shipping the wine yourself, this is easily done; if you use a retailer, you can ask them to include a message for you. Most are quite accommodating. Sometimes people will also include a subtle clue or hint as to their true identity – or even, if they are feeling particularly dastardly, a piece of misinformation – in the missive as well. Any and all are fair game.
2.3 Obtain The Wine
You can either buy a bottle or give your recipient a bottle from your own cellar. In either case, the value of the wine should be at least $50.00, before taxes and before any shipping costs. The value can be more but should not be less. Sending someone multiple, cheaper bottles is not “against the rules,” per se, but generally people opt to send one $50 bottle as opposed to two $25 bottles. Sometimes people will send something with a cool backstory, will include a homemade liqueur, etc. This is definitely fine and Christmasy and warm and fuzzy. Feel free to be creative! Whatever you decide to do, please just bear in mind the general value rule of $50.00 so that it’s fair for everyone.
Pro Tip! Often, you can order a wine from a retailer who is local to your recipient. This can cut down on your shipping costs, and is an exceedingly effective way to conceal your identity.
SHIP THE WINE TO YOUR RECIPIENT (and receive a shipment of your own!)
3.1 Make Your Shipping Arrangements
Choose a shipping carrier to send the wine on your behalf. If you are shipping through a retailer, ask which shipper they’re using. When making shipping arrangements, please be mindful of any unavailability dates, shipping restrictions, or any other pertinent information specified by your recipient on their registration form. Then, stick that puppy in the mail!
Pro Tip! Try to avoid shipping late in the week when the package might spend a weekend or an extended weekend in a non-climate controlled warehouse. Mondays and Tuesdays tend to be the best days to ship. Also, be mindful of the weather to the extent possible, and try to ship when conditions are favorable.
3.2 Ship Before The Deadline
The shipping deadline is Monday, November 26th, 2018. Seriously people, you must have your package shipped by this date. This should ensure that everyone gets their package by the end of November. That gives you two weeks between the assignment of recipients and the shipping deadline. So no excuses! Get those happy packages sent!
3.3 It’s SECRET Santa, Remember?
To the extent that you can, conceal your identity on the shipping label and inside the package. For a lot of people, the guessing game part of the event is the most fun, so keep your real identity a secret! Again, ordering from a local retailer can often accomplish this. Just make sure they don’t include your name on any receipts or shipping manifests.
Having said that… if your package does end up being totally and completely anonymous, we encourage you to include some sort of hint so that people don’t have to guess totally blindly!
Pro Tip! People get devious with this. It is not uncommon for people to give (or even ship) their package to a friend, relative, or even another CT member and potentially even another SS participant, and have that person ship it to the recipient. That can sometimes be a serious curveball! In any case, again, do whatever you can to keep it a truly Secret Santa – but remember to be kind with the hints if necessary when it comes time for the guessing.
3.4 Get A Tracking Number
It bears repeating, so I will. Get a tracking number. This is the only way to find out what happened if something goes wrong and someone doesn’t receive their wine. It’s very important that you not ship without a tracking number, so please, once again, make sure to get a tracking number.
3.5 Send A PM With Your Shipping Info
Once you have shipped your wine, send your Head Elf a PM with the following information:
The name and vintage of the wine you’re sending
The carrier you’re using
The tracking number for the package
The date you shipped the package
Posting in the forums that you’ve shipped something doesn’t count. There are a lot of people participating in this thing and the forum posts move quickly. There’s no guarantee that your Head Elf will see that you shipped something, and in any case we need your shipping info. So you have to send your Head Elf a PM.
We will compile all the wines that people have sent into a Secret Santa 2018 cellar on CT.
3.6 Receive Your Own Package
When you get your own delivery from your Secret Santa, do not open it. Wait! Not yet! Instead, send your Head Elf a PM letting him know that you got your package and the date it arrived. Then, stare longingly at that box for days on end, stretching on interminably, even more interminably than this post, until at last Reveal Day comes.
REVEAL DAY AND THE GUESSING GAME
4.1 Reveal Day
Unless there are extenuating circumstances that force us to move the date, Reveal Day will be Saturday, December 8, 2018. We usually start at 12:00 noon EST (but no worries if you need to open later). When the appointed time comes, open your gift! Merry Christmas everyone!
4.2 The Reveal Day Threads
As mentioned previously, on Reveal Day a new thread will be started for EACH group. The first post in each thread will list who’s in that group. We’re going to ask that you please, please, do your utmost to post only in your own group’s thread. There is a lot of posting traffic and the threads move very quickly. Feel free to follow the discussion in both threads, but we are asking that you exercise as much restraint as you can muster from hitting the “OK” button on that super-witty rejoinder you were just about to post in the other group’s thread.
When the Reveal Day threads open, you should post what wine you got and send out some thanks to your Secret Santa, whomever he or she may be. It’s by no means necessary that you drink your wine right away; however, if you do decide to drink your wine, feel free to post a tasting note in your thread too.
Then, it’s time to…
4.3 Guess Your Santa!
People will start trying to guess who gave them their wine. People will use shipping information, will try to analyze clues others have dropped, will look at other people’s cellars, will look at past years’ threads… whatever it takes, man. Whatever it takes. Sometimes a Santa will post a hint if they see their recipient struggling. You as a recipient may also ask for a hint, and hope that your Santa takes pity on you. In any case, as a common courtesy, if someone guesses you as their Santa, please post whether or not they’re right. It will help make the guessing game go a lot more smoothly. Also, if someone guesses you, please post the true answer (i.e., don’t lie to try and confuse them further).
Note: Some people really LOVE the guessing game part; others are more into this event just to give and get a new bottle of wine in a fun way, and don’t follow the guessing game antics much. Both approaches are welcome! But, please, at least check in on the threads periodically to provide hints, confirmations, denials, etc. if they’re being requested of you.
As guesses are made and people are identified, the Head Elves will update the initial posts in their respective threads with info on who’s been ID’ed.
When all the smoke clears, everyone will be a bottle of wine richer, and will hopefully have a nice story to attach to it!
So, that should just about cover it. If there are any questions, nuts and bolts issues, etc., feel free to PM crispino. I’m really looking forward to helping with this event again, and I hope everyone enjoys the continuation of this fun and unique tradition. Thanks to the genius of ChrisinSunnyside, you can peruse previous years’ threads in one place here (thread name: CT Secret Santa Compendium), for ideas and/or for a stroll down memory lane. Above all, have a good time with it, and all the best to everyone!
2011 Chappellet Signature Cabernet Sauvignon.
Yum…one of my all-time favorites. And 2011 wasn’t
a stellar year, but still, Chappellet made a delicious wine.
As usual, We’ll have a glass tonight, recork and put it
on the counter to finish tomorrow. Looking forward to it.
@radiolysis yeah, the 2013 Laura Michael oat hill Zin wasn’t working for us Saturday night. No formal notes taken… I do recall it being dark and red fruit driven and oaky. Slightly muddled flavors and falling a bit flat. I did pick the bottle that was filled noticeably less(not shoulder, but where an aged cab should be) than the other 3 which had me thinking. Wifey was not too impressed either.
I have considered the bottle is bad, this is my first purchase in over a year from tso. I have also considered I was comparing it to this Primitivo offer; that may have thrown it off? I wanted to put it up to its supposed sibling grape. After the second day it was near pouring down sink. Let me know what you think?? I’m going to make some ribs with it next week and see if it was one or all.
@TechnoViking popped the first one tonight. I’ll be honest that I’m fighting allergies/head cold, but it was pretty nice! Served with a spiced pork chop and it was a good pair. I thought the wine was a little fruity, but good acid. We certainly didn’t want to pour it away.
Maybe my stuffy nose played a part, but I’m cautiously optimistic.
@radiolysis great to hear! It must have been a bum bottle here, like I said the neck was a bit low and was flat. I’ll chime in next week with that other one. Hope you feel better before all these festivities!
@InFrom Yum! I finished the last of my Gruet about a month or so ago when we had a farewell party for my bff just before she moved out of town. I sacrificed about a case of mixed goodies for that fabulous evening.
@rjquillin Thus far, I’ve avoided Berserkers Day. I have too much wine as it is. @winedavid49 causes enough problems over here. That, and local wine tastings. I buy far more than I drink. I think I need to up my game.
@karenhynes@rjquillin I like BD for stocking up on some really good PNs (and recently rosé), plus this year grabbed some Gabriel Glas wine glasses, and I believe they were ½ off. Never had nice glasses before.
So Klez finally decided to grace me with his presence so I dropped a couple of old Bordeaux on him with an American Waygu steak and roasted duck fat potatoes Wine was great but the company was fantastic!
@rjquillin No, it’s a couple who doesn’t much care about wine, so we take bottles they will enjoy. Their friends who were there cared even less about wine, so they got to open the $5 supermarket crud.
Tonight I think we’ve got a couple friends coming over for Chinese food. So probably at least one bottle of white
Started with 2002 Iron Horse LD (late disgorged) - magnificent.
With dinner - rare filet with green peppercorn sauce, carrots and roasted potatoes: 1989 Niebaum-Coppola Rubicon
This was a bottle I’ve had since the day it was bottled (by my cousin Bill) on May 21, 1992 (date handwritten on the top of the cork). Despite the less than stellar reviews I’ve seen (none very recent), this was a gorgeous wine. Still young (not a hint of bricking at the edges at 29 solid years old) with a wonderfully complex nose, all of the notes I expect from that ancient Inglenook vineyard. Slight hint of eucalyptus, but only enough to add interest and complexity, not heavy (as it sometimes was with Heitz Martha’s Vineyard). Tight to start with, opened nicely over the hour of dinner. All sorts of curranty Cabernet flavors, with hits of earth, leather and cedar. Reminiscent of 66 Bordeaux in style, still felt like a young wine. Finish very long, smooth and satisfying. Probably one of the half dozen nicest bottles of California Cabernet I’ve had in the past 10 years. Not the equal of the 1968 Martini Special Selections on the 2012 Veterans Tour, Cathy’s 2001 Kronos (or her 2001 Napa Valley), the 2001 Mario P-M Miriam (a rare bottling), or any of the top 1970 Cabernets but certainly a wine to be considered in the same class. Certainly in the same league as a good cru classe Bordeaux from an equally good year. If you have any of this in your cellar, hold it another 5-10 years!
@klezman Bill has had a mobile bottling line business for more than 35 years - he was one of the first and best - and has done quite a few very high end, small lot bottling projects over those 4 decades - this was one of them. I was visiting that day and went over to Niebaum-Coppola with him for part of the day. He always received a case or two of everything he bottled as samples and for quality control purposes… he told me to keep that bottle and put it away for 20 years or so… My bottle doesn’t have a label on it, but I have the original label…
@ScottW58 Now, that should be worth drinking. A little long in the tooth for a 5th growth, but Lynch-Bages routinely exceeds its 1855 expectations. The '61 Lynch-Bages was holding up well in late 2003 when Clive Coates tasted a number of the better '61s. He suggested it would remain at top form through 2010. Assuming the wines have sat undisturbed it a relatively cool, damp cellar, the wine should be delicous, if a bit past its absolute peak.
We hit a old-school (est. 1959), local pizzeria in the Bronx on our way north of the city for our vacation. Excellent mushroom/sausage pie.
With leftovers of last night’s 2011 Wellington Estate Zin, followed by 2011 Coto de Imaz Reserva Rioja. Not the best, but points added for rosy memories of buying it in Barcelona – in a supermarket, no less.
Doing a solo Christmas this year - recovering from recent surgery - so dug deep into the cellar and came up with a 1978 Inglenook cab to pair with a hickory smoked prime rib and fondant potatoes. Both were excellent, the Inglenook was one of the last bottles of a case of '78/'79’s I bought back in the mid-80’s and ‘rediscovered’ in the very back of my storage unit when repairing it last year.
@dbarrym That 1978 Inglenook Cask Cabernet was a very nice wine between 15 and 25 years old. Haven’t had any since around 2003-4.
If I remember correctly that was a John Richburg wine - he wasn’t head winemaker yet, but all of the wines from the '73 Cask cabs through the late '80s were wines he either made or had a significant hand in. If anyone, almost singlehandedly, restore the reputation of Inglenook’s top wines, it was John.
@rpm Agree…sadly I had placed the case in long term storage at the parent’s house when I moved to MA in '95 and forgot about (along with a few others, including a half-case of Opus One '84 and half-case of Richebourg '88) that I re-discovered when clearing out the basement storage cabinet a couple of years ago. Drank most of it over the last couple of years but kept a couple of bottles as references. Need to better manage my records of when to drink!
Went to Texas de Brazil for dinner. Had a bottle picked out but forgot to bring it, so ordered one off the menu.
2017 Diseño Old Vine Malbec - $40
Made the mistake of looking it up on CT while we were there to find that it has an average value of around $8 and in fact is available at empirewine.com for $7.95/bottle. Don’t think I have ever seen a 500% markup on wine before!?!?
That said, it really was pretty good and paired well with all the meats. Great QPR wine under $10, not so much at $40!
Yesterday I was browsing through Costco and picked up the 2016 Kirkland Signature Cabernet Sauvignon Stags Leap District and some prime NY strip steaks that were on sale. Seasoned a couple of the steaks with salt, pepper, and ground chipotle, cooked them sous vide, then at the end of the sear added some butter, sage sprigs, and garlic. It made a nice dinner.
Gotta have the good stuff sometimes! The debate was Flannery vs Holy Grail…clearly we’re in for a nice night.
Just opened the wine. Initially a ton of aroma that filled the room, but it’s shut down pretty quickly. Good thing there’s another half hour or so until dinner.
Time in the decanter was needed and rewarded. Being 18 years old, and despite my experience having done the full Corison vertical with Tim, this was surprisingly youthful. I should have opened it up an hour before I did, because it was really hitting its stride toward the end of dinner.
Otherwise it was a fairly classic Corison, even if it tasted closer to 8 years old than 18. It kept changing throughout the night. At one point it was cherries, others it was cassis, herbs came and went, etc.
Then we followed it up with a Magnotta Sparkling (Charmat method) Riesling Icewine from Niagara. Only catch with it was the complete and total lack of bubbles. The underlying icewine was fantastic.
@rpm We had some very nice wines last night…
1995 Heitz Bella Oaks vineyard
2004 Stoney Hill chard
But to start it all off a friend pulled out this 1961 grand cru Burgundy that was so perfect in every way, balance, structure, vinous sweetness, and depth. So good it made me question everything I have in my cellar which I like to think is a pretty good cellar I guess I could afford to buy a few wines like this every year but i’m to old to let them age properly and biggest of all SWMBO would kill me post haste! Well who knows I might get to try another bottle like this someday?