My Tasting Notes From Cellar Tracker

  • 2001 Karl Lawrence Cabernet Sauvignon – USA, California, Napa Valley (10/25/2009)
    Appearance: dark inky purple with garnet rim, very little signs of age; medium + viscosity, very slow stained tears


    Nose: black currant, plum, cooked fruit, pain grille, coconut, vanilla, pepper, capsicum, leather

    Palate: mostly fruit on the palate, supported by oak and vegetal flavors: black currant, dried fruits, pain grille, and a nice nutty backbone. New American and French Oak are evident with supporting but not overwhelming presence. Overall, a very well integrated wine and well worth the $.

    Had a nice 32oz US Prime NY Strip with roasted potatoes, asparagus, and aged goat cheese croutons. Followed up with Chocolate cake, lemon sorbet and a Macanudo with some Di Saronno on the rocks. A good evening was had by all. (96 pts.)

  • 2008 San José de Apalta Sauvignon Blanc – Chile, Central Valley, Rapel Valley (10/23/2009)
    Taurino Tradicion Sauvignon Blanc 2008, San Jose de Apalta, Rapel Valley, Chile


    Yellow with greenish and silver tint, medium color intensity(for sauv blanc)

    Gooseberry, pomelo, citrus fruit
    Hay, limestone

    This is a dry white wine with pomelo and citrus flavors , gooseberry, hay and a long finish.

    This is a surprisingly fresh, vibrant Sauvignon Blanc for the price point, well balanced and great with food on a warm afternoon. Not overly intense as some of the NZ examples can be at the same price.

  • 2007 Cave de Tain l’Hermitage St. Péray Fleur De Roc – France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, St. Péray (10/20/2009)
    2007 Saint Peray, Fleur de Roc, Cave de Tain


    Appearance: Medium gold, clear, daybright with medium plus viscosity and color intensity
    Nose: Gooseberry, White Flowers, vanilla, butter, coconut- medium plus intensity
    Palate: Lemon, green apple, butter notes from oak medium plus acidity and finish
    Overall, a nice wine for the price (86 pts.)

  • 2005 Cave de Tain l’Hermitage Hermitage Gambert de Loche – France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Hermitage (10/14/2009)
    Appearance: Dark ruby with purple tint, medium to med+ color intensity, clear, bright
    Nose: Plum, black berry and bay leaf, with leather, tobacco and wet earth notes. med – nose intensity
    Palate: black fruit, plum and black cherry with a hint of blackberry on the front. Mid palate of tobacco and finish off with black pepper
    A very nice wine full of finesse. I was prepared to be underwhelmed at first because the nose was a little closed. With some additional breathing the Gambert started to open up.
    This wine definitely needs decanting to wake her up. This is a classic right bank Rhone- not over-powering but beautifully elegant Old World Syrah. (88 pts.)
  • 2007 Les Jamelles Merlot Vin de Pays d’Oc Naturelles – France, Languedoc Roussillon, Vin de Pays d’Oc (10/12/2009)
    Appearance: Deep ruby with purple hints, bright and clear, medium color intensity
    Nose: Black Cherry, plum, mint, chocolate
    Palate: Black cherry, cocoa with mint and pepper hints. Rich mouthfeel with fruit forward style.
    Very good for moderately priced daily drinker. (82 pts.)
  • 1996 Henriot Champagne Brut Millésimé – France, Champagne (9/3/2009)
    At its peak and blossoming well. Still has some acidity and has started taking on a toasty note. (94 pts.)
  • 2001 Hastae Barbera d’Asti Quorum – Italy, Piedmont, Asti, Barbera d’Asti (8/21/2009)
    Appearance: Dark garnet with orange tinge medium plus to high color intensity, stained tears, very slow and even tears


    Nose: red and black fruits: cherry, blueberry, blackberry, raspberry with leather spice and tobacco notes. Background of anise, pepper and herbs.

    Palate: Cherry, plum, raspberry, cooked fruits, tobacco, anise with vegetal and forest floor background. Hints of vanilla, smoke and toffee.

    Conc: Medium plus color, medium plus alcohol 14%(Probably 14.9%), medium plus intensity of flavor, medium nose, medium plus finish- lingers pleasantly. This is a solid Barbera and very good quality for the price/value ratio. Went very nicely with my home-made Pasta Bolognese the acidity supporting the tomato and cutting through the richness of the sauce. (93 pts.)

  • 2006 Bodegas Callia Magna Malbec-Merlot – Argentina, San Juan, Tulum Valley (8/13/2009)
    Appearance: Dark, intense ruby/purple color. medium to high color intensity


    Nose: Violets, Plums tobacco, smoke, leather and meat. Spice and vanilla from time in oak. medium plus nose intensity

    Palate: Plums, black cherry, Violets, tobacco, leather.

    Conc: Medium tannins, present but soft and well integrated. Medium minus acidity- balanced. medium finish.

    Easy to drink, well built- great value for money wine. At, HK$100/US$12 retail Callia Magna Malbec Merlot is ready for the big leagues. I would put this up against many European wines at the same price level without hesitation. The tall bottle and attractive label make a very impressive package. I would give this to a friend with no hesitations. (87 pts.)

  • 2003 Domaine de St. Paul Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Jumille – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape (8/11/2009)
    Appearance: medium ruby, bright, medium to medium plus color intensity
    Nose: cherry, raspberry, kirsch stewed montmorrency cherries, earthy- garrigue, spices, truffle and a hint of white pepper, medium intensity
    Palate: cherry, raspberry, truffle with spice notes. Medium plus alcohol, medium acidity, medium finish
    Conclusion: Very well balanced, approachable CDP considering 6 yrs old, very little color and flavor variation from age.
    Had with Lamb Chops Provencal and Roasted New Potatoes and Baked Goat Cheese Provencale, yum! (91 pts.)
  • 2008 Greenstone Point Sauvignon Blanc – New Zealand, South Island, Marlborough (7/17/2009)
    Greenstone Point, Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand 2008 HK$127 ~ US$16.50


    Pale gold with greenish and silvery tinge
    Clear and daybright
    low color intensity, medium to med + viscosity from ripe fruit

    Clean and bright with a nice crisp acidity
    Pure fruit: Peach, lime and guava with some pineapple notes
    background notes of grass

    Crisp acidity- medium balanced by initial fruit
    Peach, lime, pineapple and pear
    Green bean/grass notes

    A well crafted wine for immediate enjoyment. Clearly made in a New World style- fruit forward with mineral chaser. A bit of a departure from the typical Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc; toned down the acidity and minerality/asperagus character and brought out more fruit. This is a softer Sauv Blanc, great as an aperitif on a hot summer day. More body and fruit allows it to match with more heavily flavored foods- Thai, Chinese or Sushi would be a great match. Worked very well with the Spicy Soi Gau Wonton Mein we had for dinner. Good enjoyment for the price. (86 pts.)

  • 2008 Saint Clair Sauvignon Blanc – New Zealand, South Island, Marlborough (7/16/2009)
    Summary: Good Crisp summer white at an attractive price. HK$120 ~ $15US What with all of the fuss over NZ Sauv Blancs, I thought I would set out to find a couple of good value wines. New Zealand’s wines fetch some of the highest prices in the world so finding a good value is becoming harder.
    Saint Clair Family Estate, Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand 2008
    HK$120 ~ $15 USD


    Pale Gold, day bright, with a greenish tint.
    Medium to high viscosity due to relatively high alcohol content for NZ of 13%
    Low intensity of color

    Peach, black currant leaves, Gooseberry, lime, green bean, green apple, mineral- chalky stony background layers with a hint of guava
    medium plus intensity of nose

    Gooseberry, lime, green bean, asparagus, green apple
    Mineral- chalky
    Medium plus acidity- refreshing
    medium plus alcohol
    medium finish

    88 Points. A very nice summer white, especially well chilled on a warm afternoon. Serve with oysters on the half shell, salad nicose, cold grilled vegetables with vinaigrette, aioli monstre, shellfish. As with many Marlborough Sauv Blancs, this is one of the purest expressions of this grape. Saint Clair combines the old world minerality like a Sancerre you rarely see in NZ. The full fruitiness of Sauvignon Blanc is expressed in this wine with tropical fruit and grassy notes in the background. (86 pts.)

  • 2006 Hedonist Wines Shiraz The Hedonist – Australia, South Australia, Fleurieu, McLaren Vale (7/15/2009)
    The Hedonist, Shiraz, Mc Laren Vale Australia 2006 HK$168



    deep purple, intense with very little rim variation


    Prunes, stewed black fruits, dark berry, black cherry and plum
    clean with a medium plus intensity, warm climate fruit used


    Off Dry, dark fruit, tannins med minus to low acidity
    black cherry, plum, pepper, spices, black pepper


    It is hard to argue with 91 points from Robert Parker. This is a well made wine from a very good producer. It also happens to be organic. I personally find it a bit lacking in the acidity and structure. While not as jammy as some of the warmer region Shiraz’s, when tasted against a Crozes-Hermitage it seems sweet. I would serve this gladly with grilled meats and vegetables, spiced chicken or pork and some lamb dishes will accompany nicely. (88 pts.)

  • 2008 Château Grand Bireau – France, Bordeaux, Bordeaux Contrôlée (7/15/2009)
    2008 Chateau Grand Bireau, AOC Bordeaux Blanc HK$ 105 US$13.50



    Clear, medium color intensity
    Lemon gold and daybright


    Clean, medium plus intensity
    Lime, unripe pineapple, grass, asparagus


    Dry to off dry- entry is sweet but acidity balances well. Crisp old world style white
    Honey, peach, pears, asparagus, grassy
    Medium finish


    This is a very nice example of a clean generic Bordeaux blend- crisp and refreshing with just enough complexity to pair with shellfish, oysters on the half shell, salad with vinaigrette. (85 pts.)

  • 2007 Cranswick Estate – Australia, South Eastern (7/15/2009)
    2007 Cranswick Estate Semillon Sauvignon Blanc, South Eastern Australia HK$89- US$11.50
    85% Semillon 15 %Sauvignon Blanc


    Clear and very bright
    Medium yellow/gold with a green tint to the rim


    Clean and crisp with a medium intensity.
    Apple, spice, vanilla, grass, floral, green pepper, guava and butter notes
    Some use of oak present


    Dry to off dry- initial taste is a good balance between sweet/ripe flavors and a crisp acidity on the mid palate. Finish is more dry due to acidty- well made and balanced.
    Lime/lemon, unripe pineapple, guava, honey oak characteristics- butter and vanilla
    Medium length of finish


    Well made wine at a good price. Not as crisp as a Sancerre or NZ Sauvignon Blanc which is to be expected from a warmer climate. This will be a nice aperitif, well chilled on a summer afternoon or would go very well with more complex seafood dishes due to the use of oak- Oysters Rockefeller, Grilled Lobster, Pasta with pesto or a light sauce. The acidity and complexity of this wine will go well with many foods. (83 pts.)

Published by thegrapelife

Professional fermented grape taster, Jonathan Mather, originally from Michigan, now hails from the other side of the world- Hong Kong. A sense of adventure and love of exploration has taken Jonathan on some great journeys. Through a love of travel enjoy the pleasure of meeting new and interesting people, and enjoy fine food, wine and music. All of the above; Together if possible! As a classically trained chef and hotelier Jonathan is still exploring life’s pleasures. Over the past two decades, Jonathan has worked in a variety of restaurants and hotels. Passion for great food and wine experiences led to catering and events for hotels. Jonathan’s excitement to explore; meet new people and eat what they eat has led him from street taco stands in Acapulco at 3am to the heights of fine Gastronomy. Always returning for a simple repast of peasant food and great wine- a NY strip rare with salt and pepper, wedge salad, shrimp cocktail, braised osso bucco and a great bottle of wine with some good friends!! While at Michigan State, Jonathan had the honor to run a student led gourmet dinner event for over 300 guests, Les Gourmets. Experience with Les Gourmets and other events sparked a passion for event planning and catering. After graduating from Michigan State’s Prestigious School of Hospitality Business in 1997, Jonathan worked in catering and events with InterContinental Chicago. In the early 2000's Jonathan was a partner in creating YLo Epicure in Denver a gourmet deli and catering company later sold and still one of Denver's top catering offerings. Later moving to Hong Kong, Jonathan has worked in the wine and spirits import and distribution market for over a decade. After a successful chapter with Macallan in sales and marketing, continued rising to General Manager Greater South China for ASC Fine Wines, a division of Suntory. Jonathan has been consulting on import, distribution and brand management for select clients in the region.

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