Hennepin Lake Wine Tasting Results

Post to Wine Berserkers

The Best of Tasting

2015 Tenuta Sette Ponti Oreno Toscana IGT – Italy, Tuscany, Toscana IGT
Top 3 wine of the night. The first taste of this wine was a bit tight. Later on offering funk, minerals, raspberries, cherry, earth and floral notes. Long finish. While a modern styled wine very enjoyable. (94 pts.)
2009 La Rioja Alta Rioja Viña Ardanza Reserva – Spain, La Rioja, La Rioja Alta, Rioja
Top 3 wines of the night. This wine does have some dill but also features wood, raspberries, floral, minerals and leather. Complex and long finish. I love the concept La Rioja Alta lives by. Release the wines when they are entering the drinking window. This wine has another decade of enjoyment. 93 points now with 95 potential. (93 pts.)
2016 Domaine Serene Pinot Noir Evenstad Reserve – USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
Top five wine at the tasting. Wonderfully balanced with fragrant floral notes along with rose petals, cranberry, raspberries and earth. Good acidity and medium plus finish. No noticeable flaws on this wine. (94 pts.)
2014 Mount Eden Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon – USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains

Top five of the tasting. Classic Napa featuring cherry, blueberries, spice, pencil lead and earth. Very balanced, good acidity and medium plus finish. Should age for another decade. (93 pts.)
2008 Shafer Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select – USA, California, Napa Valley, Stags Leap District
This is drinking really well right now. Pop and pour. Cassis, mild oak, spice, blueberries and black licorice. Balanced wine. Long finish. This wine is in an excellent place right now. 95 points (95 pts.)


90 point plusThe wine that stood out here was the Il Fauno Toscana which is sub $30. The Arrowood Knights also was a very good value.


NV Taittinger Champagne Brut Réserve / La Française – France, Champagne
Spice, dough, floral and biscuit. Good acidity and medium plus finish. Solid offering on this NV version. (90 pts.)
2016 Flowers Chardonnay Sonoma Coast – USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast
Really enjoyed this wine with pear, apple, floral, touch of oak and minerals. Medium and smooth finish. No harsh edges on this wine. Drink now to 2023. (92 pts.)
2017 Flowers Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast – USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast
At first thought was corked but with some air opened up. Wood, floral, cranberry, figs and gooseberries. Medium finish and good acidity. This wine needs some air. Advise to decant this wine! (90 pts.)
2017 Tenuta San Guido Guidalberto Toscana IGT – Italy, Tuscany, Toscana IGT
Very nice showing. Rustic with floral, earth, raspberries, spice and minerals. Medium to long finish. Good acidity. Drink through 2028. (92 pts.)
2016 Faust Cabernet Sauvignon – USA, California, Napa Valley
Nice wine overall with oak, blueberries, menthol and spices. Medium to long finish. Lacks a bit of acidity is really the only flaw. Should age for another decade. (91 pts.)
2017 Hartford / Hartford Court Chardonnay – USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley
This is nice with spice, lemon, oak and minerals. Good use of oak and medium finish. Very satisfying. (91 pts.)
2017 Siduri Pinot Noir Willamette Valley – USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
Nice base bottling wine with cranberry, floral, underbrush and earth. Medium finish. (89 pts.)
2016 Penner-Ash Pinot Noir Willamette Valley – USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
More intensity than the Siduri I tried right before. Strawberry, rose petals, earth, minerals and forest floor. Medium and concentrated finish. Should drink well through 2024. (91 pts.)
2015 Arrowood Cabernet Sauvignon Knights Valley – USA, California, Sonoma County, Knights Valley
Very nice wine. Cherry, blueberries, mild oak, vanilla, pencil lead and spice. Medium plus finish. Drinking well now but could cellar for 5 years. (91 pts.)
2015 Tenuta di Arceno Il Fauno Di Arcanum Toscana IGT – Italy, Tuscany, Toscana IGT
59% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc, 9% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Petit Verdot. This was a softer style but flavorful featuring dust, cassis, blueberries and minerals. Medium finish and good acidity. Drink alone or with food. Excellent value. (92 pts.)
2015 Brewer-Clifton Chardonnay Sta. Rita Hills – USA, California, Central Coast, Sta. Rita Hills
4th time I have sampled and at a big tasting event this stood out amongst the Chardonnays due to the balance it possesses. Apple, pear, stone orchard fruits, minerals and lemon rind. Short to medium finish with good acidity. Consistent with other tastings of they wine. (91 pts.)
2014 Beaulieu Vineyard Tapestry Reserve – USA, California, Napa Valley
Dark, ripe berries, oak, floral and spice. Medium plus finish. A big style wine that will benefit with additional cellaring. 90-92. (90 pts.)
2015 Bodega Norton Privada Mendoza – Argentina, Mendoza
Second time sampling this in a month. Very well made but not the complexity of the amazing 2013. Fruit is the star here with cherry, blueberries and raspberries. Picks up some spice and floral notes on the medium plus finish. A very good value. (90 pts.)
2014 Marqués de Murrieta Rioja Ygay Reserva – Spain, La Rioja, Rioja
Always a great under $20 value. Raspberries, dust, earth, wood, minerals and blueberries. Nice balanced wine with ample acidity. Should drink well through 2023. (90 pts.)
2016 Buehler Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon – USA, California, Napa Valley
This represents a very good value from Napa. Fruit forward wine featuring cherry and blueberries along with spice and mild oak. Drinking really well now and could age 5 years or so. (90 pts.)
2017 Hartford / Hartford Court Chardonnay – USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley
Nice wine with spice, oak, lemon, pear and minerals. Medium plus finish. Should drink well over the next 5 years. (91 pts.)
2015 Ferraton Père & Fils Châteauneuf-du-Pape “Le Parvis” – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Nice overall with raspberries, stone, Garrique and earth. Medium plus finish. (90 pts.)
2014 Achával-Ferrer Quimera – Argentina, Mendoza, Lujan de Cuyo
One of the better values at the tasting. Blackberries, floral, minerals, spice and dark chocolate. A little bit of everything on this wine. Powerful finish.
50% Malbec, 24% Cabernet Franc, 18% Merlot and 8% Cabernet Sauvignon (91 pts.)
2015 Mount Eden Vineyards Chardonnay Santa Cruz Mountains – USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
Oak, spice, lemon, apple and saline. Complex wine that should drink well through 2025. (92 pts.)
2016 Frank Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley – USA, California, Napa Valley
Solid effort featuring floral, ripe cherries, plum, spice and mild oak. Medium finish. (90 pts.)
2015 Argyle Vintage Brut – USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
Very refreshing and complex. Spice, lemon, dough, apple and floral notes. Medium plus finish. Good acidity. A great US Sparkler. (91 pts.)
2016 Chappellet Cabernet Sauvignon – USA, California, Napa Valley
Love this wine. Cherry, plum, coffee beans, pencil lead and spices. Medium to long finish. Good acidity. (92 pts.)
2017 Chappellet Mountain Cuvée – USA, California, Napa Valley
For being so young drinking well. Cherry, floral, earth and mild oak. Complex and medium plus finish. (90 pts.)2014 Il Poggione (Proprietá Franceschi) Brunello di Montalcino – Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino
A rebound from the awful Caymus wine. Had to get a good rinse in the glass. Classic Brunello with floral, spice, earth, wood and nice fruits. Medium plus finish and good acidity. (91 pts.)
2016 Robert Craig Cabernet Sauvignon Affinity – USA, California, Napa Valley
A solid wine overall. Minerals, spice, red currants and mild oak. Medium finish. (90 pts.)
2017 Familia Zuccardi Malbec Q – Argentina, Mendoza, Valle de Uco
This was a nice wine. Coffee, floral, blueberries, boysenberries and black licorice. Quite complex and medium finish. (90 pts.)
2015 L’Ecole No. 41 Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley – USA, Washington, Columbia Valley
Nice based bottling with plum, cherry, spice, pepper and minerals. Medium finish. Hennepin Lake sale price $29.95. (91 pts.)
2016 Domaine Serene Chardonnay Evenstad Reserve – USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley, Dundee Hills
Well rounded Chardonnay featuring tropical fruit, apple, minerals, floral and mild spices. No noticeable oak influence so guessing neutral was used. Very clean finish. Drink now to 2024. (92 pts.)
2017 Artadi Viñas de Gain – Spain, La Rioja, La Rioja Alavesa, Rioja
Always enjoyable wine. Wood, cherry, floral, spice and earth. Medium finish. (90 pts.)
2016 Frank Family Vineyards Zinfandel – USA, California, Napa Valley
Balanced for Zin. Berries, underbrush, violets and spice. Medium finish. (90 pts.)
NV Roederer Estate Brut Rosé Anderson Valley – USA, California, North Coast, Anderson Valley
Nice with strawberry, floral, dough and chalk. Medium finish. (90 pts.)
2015 Bedrock Wine Co. Zinfandel Esola Vineyard – USA, California, Sierra Foothills, Amador County
Really enjoyed this wine. Balanced with floral, spice, black licorice, blueberries and underbrush. Medium finish. (92 pts.)
2016 Domaine Serene Pinot Noir Yamhill Cuvée – USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
I have never liked the Yamhill offering from these guys but this is the exception. Floral, strawberry and earth. Well balanced and medium finish. Drinking really well right now. (90 pts.)
2017 Big Table Farm Pinot Noir Willamette Valley – USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
Cherry, dust, tea leaves, earth and rose petals. Medium finish and decant acidity. Not a cheap Willamette Valley appellation wine at $45. (90 pts.)
2017 Frank Family Vineyards Chardonnay Carneros – USA, California, Napa / Sonoma, Carneros
A bit bigger style than some of the other Chardonnays at the event. Oak, lemon, pear, tropical fruit and vanilla. For those who like the bigger style Chards. (90 pts.)
2016 Prisoner Wine Company Derange – USA, California, Napa Valley
This is the first Prisoner wine I have scored over 90. There was nice fruit featuring cherries and plums along with dust, spice and floral notes. Quite balanced which is what I normally don’t find on their wines. Not cheap though. (91 pts.)
2015 Pahlmeyer Merlot – USA, California, Napa Valley
Overpriced wine would come to mind but still very enjoyable. Red currants, black licorice, plum, oak and minerals. A bit of heat on the finish. (90 pts.)
2015 Melville Pinot Noir Estate – USA, California, Central Coast, Sta. Rita Hills
Cola, floral, cranberry and earth. Medium finish. Balanced overall. (90 pts.)
2016 Shafer TD-9 – USA, California, Napa Valley
I like the wine but it definitely falls into the overprice Napa Valley category. Spice, cherry, oak, vanilla and dark chocolate. Medium finish. (90 pts.)2017 Anko Malbec Salta – Argentina, Salta
Very nice wine and my first introduction to it. Smooth wine featuring blueberries, cherry, rose petals and pepper. (90 pts.)
2016 Poliziano Vino Nobile di Montepulciano – Italy, Tuscany, Montepulciano, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano
Cherry, floral, clay, mint and balanced overall. Not a powerful wine and smooth finish. (90 pts.)
2017 Pendulum Cabernet Sauvignon – USA, Washington, Columbia Valley
One of the better values at the tasting. Dust, cherry, plum and spice. Medium finish. Well balanced for a CV under $20. (90 pts.)
2017 Domaine Alain Chavy Puligny-Montrachet – France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Puligny-Montrachet
Nice but pricy at $70 a bottle. Lemon, shells, minerals and orange peel. Good acidity and medium finish. (91 pts.)
2015 Schramsberg Vineyards Brut Rosé – USA, California
Very flavorful featuring strawberry, floral, spice, cherry blossoms and dough. Medium plus finish. Very nice Sparkler! (91 pts.)


Below 90Many B and B+ efforts for a good price including the Substance, Clos de los Siete, Delas Cotes du Rhone and Catena Malbec. The Caymus certainly will be in the running for worst wine of the year for 2019.


2017 Ferrari-Carano Chardonnay – USA, California, Sonoma County
Typical under $30 Chardonnay from California. Nothing terrible but not that interesting either. Oak, lemon, pear and vanilla. Some spices on the finish. (87 pts.)
NV Mionetto Il Prosecco – Italy, Veneto, Veneto IGT
Never had a Prosecco I loved and this is no exception. Chalk, floral and lemon. Short to medium finish. Not terrible but too many other options out there under $20. (84 pts.)
NV G. H. Mumm & Cie Champagne Cordon Rouge Brut – France, Champagne
Again this is a mediocre wine. The Mumm Sparkling Brut Prestige is better. Light with apple, lemon, spice and minerals. Tastes like a cheap sparkler. (84 pts.)
2015 Rodney Strong Symmetry – USA, California, Sonoma County, Alexander Valley
Bright fruit, oak, earth and tobacco. This wine needs some time to fully develop. Potential is there with 3 or 4 years with age. 88 to 92. (88 pts.)
2015 Rodney Strong Cabernet Sauvignon Knights Valley – USA, California, Sonoma County, Knights Valley
Not as good as the Arrowwood version. Oak, tight, dark fruits and lacks acidity. Not recommended. (85 pts.)
2016 Beringer Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Knights Valley – USA, California, Sonoma County, Knights Valley
Better than the Rodney Strong but not in the league of the Arrowwood. Blueberries, blackberries, oak and spices. Lacks acidity. (88 pts.)
2017 Substance Cabernet Sauvignon – USA, Washington
Interesting as I have sampled 3 batches in the Twin Cities. June good bottles. Costco a few weeks ago terrible bottles and this one back to normal. Cherry, blueberries, earth and spice. Medium finish featuring some dusty notes. Outstanding value. (88 pts.)
2015 Clos de los Siete – Argentina, Mendoza, Valle de Uco
Have not had this wine in a while and it was nice. Dust, floral, blueberries and earth. Medium plus finish. (89 pts.)
2016 Schrader Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Double Diamond – USA, California, Napa Valley, Oakville
I am in the 80s crowd for this wine. Eucalyptus overload. Can’t quite tell what fruit is hiding in the wine. It is a big in your face wine that lacks balance. Never been a fan of this 2nd label wine. (85 pts.)
2017 MacRostie Chardonnay – USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley
Very light almost to the point of not even tasting like a California Chardonnay. Floral, pear and apple. Shorter finish. Nothing wrong with the wine but for the price way to many better wines out there. (87 pts.)
2017 Les Trois Couronnes Côtes du Rhône – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Côtes du Rhône
A juicy, fruit forward Cotes du Rhone featuring cherry and raspberries. Floral and perfume elements on the finish. Good value. (88 pts.)
2016 Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon – USA, California, Napa Valley
A slam dunk for worst wine of the year. Brown sugar! This could have passed for a cheap port. The last several vintages of this wine seem like the wine maker for Prisoner wines is at the helm. Comment if they are. No balance and no acidity. (78 pts.)
2015 Chalk Hill Estate Red – USA, California, Sonoma County, Chalk Hill
Too pricing for the quality. Not a bad wine but lacks personality. Red currants, some oak and vanilla. Medium finish. Acidity is lacking. (88 pts.)
2017 Sallier de la Tour Grillo Sicilia – Italy, Sicily, Sicilia
A light wine featuring floral, lemon, tropical fruit and minerals. Short finish. Refreshing and under $10. (88 pts.)
2012 Stéphane et Vincent Perraud Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine Sur Lie Granite de Clisson – France, Loire Valley, Pays Nantais, Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine
Lemon, minerals, kiwi and sublet spice. Medium finish and good acidity. (87 pts.)
2017 Lafond Chardonnay SRH – USA, California, Central Coast, Sta. Rita Hills
Oak, lemon, spice, tropical fruit and minerals. Solid effort for $22. (88 pts.)
2017 Henri Bourgeois Sancerre – France, Loire Valley, Upper Loire, Sancerre
Decanter 96. Are these guys serious? They are worse than Suckling. Floral, grass, lemon and minerals. Refreshing. Shorter finish. (88 pts.)
2017 Agricola San Felice Chianti Classico – Italy, Tuscany, Chianti, Chianti Classico DOCG
Simple but good wine. Good acidity and featured sour cherry, floral and minerals. Short to medium finish. (87 pts.)
2016 G.B. Crane Disciples – USA, California, Napa Valley
While it had a higher level of sweetness than I enjoy on red wines it was drinkable. Floral, strawberries, ripe cherries and spice. Medium plus finish. Drink now to 2023. (87 pts.)
NV Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Champagne Brut – France, Champagne
Not bad but not Piper for me which is also $15 cheaper in Minneapolis. Lemon, dough, sharp acidity and spice. (88 pts.)
NV Moët & Chandon Champagne Brut Impérial – France, Champagne
Citrus, saline, chalk, sour apple and dough. Short to medium finish. Acidity is a bit much on this one. Medium finish. (87 pts.)
2015 Marietta Cellars Christo – USA, California, Sonoma County
Solid overall with cherry, floral, pepper and spices. Medium finish.
64% Syrah, 23% Grenache, 7% Petite Sirah, and 6% Viognier
2017 Andrea Oberto Barbera d’Alba – Italy, Piedmont, Alba, Barbera d’Alba
Solid overall with floral, earth, cherry and stone. Short to medium finish. (88 pts.)
2015 Fleur de Pedesclaux – France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
Very young and has potential. Cassis, gravel, cigar and earth. Medium plus finish. Pretty intense wine. Best from 2022 to 2028. 88 to 91. (88 pts.)
2017 Orin Swift 8 Years in the Desert – USA, California
My yearly sampling of this wine and it did disappoint again. NO balance here. Sweet almost brown sugar elements. Hot! Not for me. (80 pts.)
2017 Orin Swift Abstract – USA, California
This is better than the last abstract I sampled. Floral, ripe cherry, blueberries and spices. A bit hot on the finish but drinkable. (86 pts.)
2016 Orin Swift Papillon – USA, California, Napa Valley
Not as good as the Abstract. Sweet fruit overload. Some spices on the finish. (83 pts.)
2016 Robert Mondavi Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley – USA, California, Napa Valley
It has been a while since I have enjoyed their base Napa Valley bottling. Just not getting the balance of the earlier 2000 versions of this wine. Riper fruit, spice and mild oak. (86 pts.)
2016 Catena Malbec – Argentina, Mendoza
Classic Malbec featuring blackberries, spice, floral and dust. Medium finish. (88 pts.)
2015 Yalumba The Signature – Australia, South Australia, Barossa, Barossa Valley
A dysfunctional wine featuring heavy eucalyptus along with underbrush, dark fruits and tar. Just not balance and lacks acidity. Should be from the Y series. (85 pts.)
2015 Whitehall Lane Cabernet Sauvignon – USA, California, Napa Valley
Cherry, spice, minerals, dark chocolate and oak. Medium finish. (89 pts.)
2015 Delas Frères Ventoux – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Ventoux
Nice wine with earth, floral, raspberries and spices. Smooth wine overall. (88 pts.)
2017 Delas Frères Côtes du Rhône Saint-Esprit – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Côtes du Rhône
Nice as it usually is. Perfume, floral, earth and minerals. Short to medium finish and good acidity. (89 pts.)
2017 The Hess Collection Cabernet Sauvignon Allomi – USA, California, Napa Valley
Solid wine with cherry, plum, oak, spice and vanilla. Medium finish. (88 pts.)
2015 Grgich Hills Chardonnay – USA, California, Napa Valley
Oak, lemon, sour apple and spice. A bit disjointed but drinkable. (87 pts.)2015 Bodegas AAlto Ribera del Duero AAlto – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
Will not be buying any Aalto wines any time soon. Oak, oak and too much oak. Spices and some fruit masked behind that heavy oak treatment. Try after 2028. (87 pts.)

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