The Bernard Roth Archives
We happy that Bernard, who has sampled so many wines, has shared his notes with us. We do have, or have had for sale a few of the wines Bernard writes about, and we include a link to our stock page whenever it is a producer we carry (but since the stock page is kept up-to-date and the wines are sold, don't expect any but the newest of wines to show up in our stock!). Mostly though, since we specialize in County of Santa Barbara Wine and Central Coast Wine, we don't carry a lot of the wines Bernard writes about. But we think it is important that you be able to have an idea what they're like in case you are planning to buy some somewhere, or have them in your own collection. Enjoy.
Here are Bernard's notes from October 17, 1997:
|Cafaro--Deep purple color. Lovely nose. Good flavor,
but could be more extracted, more glycerol. Slight bitter finish.
Arrowood--This is second time I've had this wine. Elegant, floral nose. Sweet tannins, good acid. Lavender, plum. Could stand more concentration on the finish.
Forman--Raspberry, oak, black cherry, leather nose. WA tasting notes are pretty accurate. Could use more glycerol. Finishes a bit astringent.
Arns--Rich black cherry, blackberry, gunpowder nose. Good fruit concentration, solid mid-palate. Big tannins, but enjoyable. Not as tough as WS implies, but should be best in 5 years.
Smith Madrone--Black fruit, oak, earthy nose. Fine, lingering tannins, a bit over-acidic finish. Puckery.
Staglin--The first outstanding wine of the night. Red fruit, leather, iron mineral nose. Luscious core of fruit, fine integrated tannins. Elegant finish. Great Cab, just as I like it. 93+
Truchard--Earthy, oaky, cherry, black olives, leather bouquet. Huge fruit bomb, tannins and acid to support it. Herbal finish with lingering tannins. 92
Phelps Insignia--Slightly muted, elegant nose. Velvet texture, just as WA states. I could drink this like soda. Could use a bit more sweetness in the fruit. 94+
Whitehall Lane Morisoli--Very expansive bouquet. Very Pauillac nose. Black cherry, cedar, cigar box aromas. Incredible, lush concentration. Very fine tannins. A bit of gamy meat on finish and stewed fruit in the mid-palate. 94
Whitehall Lane Galeron--Elegant, fine nose. If Morisoli is Pauillac, Galeron is Margaux. Sweet tannins, refined, silky texture. Burst of fruit and flowers on finish. Very sexy wine! More powerful than the Insignia. More raspberry flavor components. 95+
Araujo--A bit closed nose. Incredible flavor, smooth, smooth tannins. This IS a 98 point wine. The 92 Araujo was tighter, more classically sculpted and showed the wine maker's talents. The 92 shows craftmanship. The 94 is expansive, alluring. It's a complete package that really shows off the fruit and does not hint at winemaker intervention. Finishes with an earthy, minerally quality. Beautiful. Almost as good as anything from Bordeaux that I've tried. Put this up against the big guns from Medoc. 98
From the soap box (Tom Hill's got an exclusive on the bloody pulpit):
The last four wines are remarkable examples of the greatness of 1994 fruit. I tried them separately first and then side-by-side. Each wine displayed individual nuance and charm and it was a pleasure to keep going back and forth amongst them. The greatness of each bolstered the greatness of the others insofar as not one overwhelmed the others. The difference here between a 94 and 98 is only one of nuance.
The Staglin was a surprise. I'd never had one before. This one is superb.
The Galeron was the most pleasant surprise. Based on other's notes, I wasn't expecting to be blown away by this wine. Apparently the WS gave it a 91, although I don't remember the write-up. I think they ought to go back and re-evaluate it. Try it against the Phelps and it shows more complexity, richer tannins, and a more exciting follow-through.
Araujo. I haven't yet tried the 91 or 93 vintages for comparison because I have very little of either. If you aren't already, you should try to get on their allocation list.
Thanks to Bob Wesley at Lazy Acres in Santa Barbara for arranging the tasting.
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