Older Wines Recently Swilled

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Below are tasting notes on wines Hanes has recently imbibed which are not current releases. Please remember that The Hanes Wine Review only covers current release wines being sold in the United States so as to not yank any reader's chains. But don't think that all Hanes ever drinks are current releases. Why, no, he drinketh many older wines as well! So, for those of you who might be interested in reading about how these older wines are drinking at the present moment, forge on ahead. But keep in mind the useful dictum that there are no great wines, only great bottles. These notes represent one bottle, separated at birth from its siblings and your bottle may taste quite differently based on a host of factors. Also note that the prices for older wines tasted will vary greatly, depending on if the wine was purchased on release or more recently. So, take the noted price with a grain of salt.

Sent to Their Grave in May 2017

Verset, Alain
Rhône, France
Semi-filmy brick red color, slightly darker core but not really full-on purple. Violets, wet animal fur and stone dust percolate in the nose, sour red currant to cherry scents, a few saline notes, strong lift. Light to medium-bodied, again violets lead the way with blood iron, beef jerky, iodine, salt lick. Here the fruit is more blueberry, blackberry, cherry, the sourness brightened by the powerful acidity. Tightens up through the finish, shortening its length. Olive pits and white grapefruit peek out at the end. As close to vicious as aggressive. Not sure the fruit will go the distance versus the structure. 89 points

Leclerc, Domaine René
Burgundy, France
Pinot Noir
Ruby-violet color, decent clarity, slightly burnt red tint along the rims. Good sweetness to the nose, candied cherries, raspberries, some muddy earth and barnyard floor notes, undercurrent of herbaceousness, too heavy overall to achieve much lift. Light-bodied, tannic and acidic both, the sweetly candied core of raspberry, red cherry fruit accords itself well. Flows forward in spite of this brawny structure. Leather, earth, twigs. Does end on the short side and seems to shut down further with additional air time. Likely not the best moment to check in on it, maybe 5-6 years from now. As a result, satisfactory now, no more. 88 points

Vieux Télégraphe, Domaine du
Rhône, France
Vieux Télégramme
Sunset red to orange in color with a yellow aura, looks washed out, no cloudiness. With wet leather, fur, potpourri and olive pits it has good breadth of scents but lacks intensity and concentration, simple cherry, blackberry fruit, you can call it succinct in a non-pejorative manner. Light to medium-bodied, more prune and date fruit than cherry, berry. The tannin and phenolics perhaps underripe, maybe gives it added firmness at this point in its life. Wet wool, herbs, garrigues, orange peel. Weak finish but have to say that on the whole the bottle exceeded expectations. 65% Grenache, 15% Mourvèdre, 15% Syrah, 5% Cinsault. 87 points

Russian River Valley, California
Rancho Burro
Opaque and somewhat cloudy with a basic purple color, heavyset red magenta rims, glows strongly. The nose shows alcohol alongside the jammy blueberry, blackberry, cherry fruit, supplemented by vanilla fudge and butterscotch, licorice and flowers, no sense of terroir, ends with a taut green apple note. Full-bodied, fleshy but not soft, now and then comes across as angular. The caramel, butterscotch dominate mostly upfront and the turns floral past the mid-palate. The fruit for sure has faded some but no general lack of boysenberry, blackberry, cherry fruit. The alcohol shortens the sweetness through the finish. Broadens into basil and orange peel nuances. Hard to say it has significant tertiary development so with the juiciness on the way out it is time to drink up. 88 points

Schneider, Weingut Karlheinz
Nahe, Germany
Vulkanstein QbA Trocken AP #5
Moderate concentration of golden straw hue in the core, average loss of intensity at the rims, not especially shiny nor flat, looks like Riesling. At first the nose is all floral with sweet citrus zest then let it open a few moments and a big surge of rubber and wet stone comes forth, consistently present apricot, peach to white grape and red cherry fruit scents, there’s a delicate or sensitive nature about the presentation in spite of overall muscular fullness. Medium-bodied and firm for the weight, the acidity brings blunt force not a keen edge. Still, pep in the tangerine to lemon citrus as well as some guava, papaya notes in the nectarine, peach fruit base bring it to life. The rubber element a lesser factor here if present. Overperforms when taken as a whole rather than parsed out, great length on the finish too. 89 points

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Sent to Their Grave in April 2017

Rieussec, Château
Bordeaux, France
Pure orange-amber color, light and still youthful, great clarity with above average shine for the wine category. Restrained nose of apricot paste, peach pit, orange marmalade, ginger, a few rubber notes, gives to a point and then just doesn’t. Medium-bodied, has a nice trim and sleek feel to it, very good and high level of acidity, brings serious sourness to the orange marmalade, pink grapefruit citrus. Pineapple, nectarine, papaya, peach fruit with more bite than sugariness, follows up with a few nips of green apple. Led by ginger to clove, has a high-toned spiciness. Does not seem anywhere near its peak, just entering middle age, extended finish. 89% Sémillon, 8% Sauvignon Blanc, 3% Muscadelle. 90 points

Scalette, Podere Poggio
Tuscany, Italy
Alta Valle della Greve
Il Carbonaione
Purple-black core, opaque, the crimson red rims are deep and youthful yet. Densely packed nose of plum, black cherry, cassis fruit, firm for its girth, sweet herbs, white citrus, gains focus as it opens, barely any trace of oak just some cocoa, not unevolved per se but no sweeping tertiary aromas present. Full-bodied, sweeps broadly through the mouth, the acidity is “good plus” while the tannin is more sneaky strong. Mixed white citrus, leather to horsehide, poor dirt add moderate dimension. If allowed to open the cherry, blackberry fruit becomes more supple and lush. On one hand it feels plateaued yet also leaves you thinking there’s something more ahead. 89 points

Ornellaia, Tenuta dell’
Tuscany, Italy
Bolgheri Superiore
Light violet to burnt red/orange in hue, good clarity and not truly showing its age. Earthy and minerally nose supplemented by cedar, leather, the plum to black cherry fruit consistent, the longer it sits in the glass the fuller your nostrils feel, stays on point and balanced until it finally dissolves. Medium-bodied, very acidic and much more minerally here and also with greater notes of oak toast and dill. This turns into a certain herbaceousness, keeps it lively. The red cherry, raspberry, blackberry fruit taut from start to finish. Keeps it all together on the high wire with laser-like focus. Seems to be what it is capable of, on its plateau. Mostly Cabernet Sauvignon, remainder Merlot, Cabernet Franc. 91 points

Canon, Château
Bordeaux, France
Good vigor in the color, the purple core yields to crimson and brick red rims before finally a touch of orange. Sandalwood, incense and cedar give the nose a breeziness, baby powder, a bright red cherry to red currant fruit profile, while at times a touch muted nowhere near losing its staying power. Medium-bodied, closer to light-bodied now, sour cherry, raspberry, boysenberry rather than darker fruits. The tannin fully resolved, leaves the acidity to do whatever heavy lifting is needed. Almost sour at the end, turns a little metallic, more so than just earthy. This sourness brings out notes of white grapefruit. Energetic but no longer fully complete. Approximately 75% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc. 88 points

Quintarelli, Giuseppe
Veneto, Italy
Ca’ del Merlo
Crimson-purple core, clearly advancing red-orange rims which turn yellow furthest out. High-toned, candied nose of strawberry, raspberry fruit, orange peel, an herbaceous twist lifts it with a pine breeze, has a decided booziness to it, quietly aggressive. Medium-bodied, here in the mouth the alcohol really takes over with considerable burn. Leather, loam, anise, more grapefruit than orange citrus. The acidity can appear decent but the wine does not seem especially structured. The cherry, raspberry fruit has golden raisin to fig accents yet not so much residual sugar. The heat really prevents it from attaining greater promise. 55% Corvina and Corvinone, 30% Rondinella, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Nebbiolo, Croatina, Sangiovese. 87 points

Clerico, Domenico
Piedmont, Italy
Bright violet core, opaque, displays ruby to brick red rims which still remain fully saturated. Borderline viscous nose of licorice, floral water, fresh wet leather, ripe cherry to blackberry fruit, youthfully plump and unevolved. Medium-bodied, the acidity cuts nicely through the flesh and relieves the natural weight in the raspberry, cherry fruit, this leaning more towards strawberry than blacker fruits. The tannin starts to kick in through the finish, both firming it up while shortening it. With flowers, orange peel and mint it can be quite pretty for its brawn. Doing fine now, unsure if meaningful development is in its future. Approximately 90% Nebbiolo, remainder unspecified percentages of Barbera and/or Cabernet Sauvignon. 89 points

Walker Station
Russian River Valley, California
Dull to cloudy gold, touch diminished at the edges, its flatness betrays some age. Very oaky nose of coconut il, butterscotch, mint and poached peaches and apricot paste, deepened further by candied orange peels, potpourri, clingy texture in the nostrils. Full-bodied, spicy and again with a poached to dried fruit character, nectarine, pineapple, peach, apricot fruit. With loads of vanilla, butterscotch, caramel and mint it starts off sweetly and lush and then trails off to a weaker finish. Zero perceptible acidity, only its weight keeps the forward momentum going. Holding on credibly but no doubt on the downward slope. 1.5 liter bottle. 87 points

Ott, Domaines
Côtes de Provence
Clos Mireille
Cœur de Grain Rosé
Very light and pale pink, extremely washed out and a touch flat. Nice spiciness to the nose, tangerine pith, some underlying minerality, presents peach, apricot, red cherry fruit scents of good ripeness, a bit too musky to really lift and turn airy. Full-bodied and on the heavy side, the sweet attack again highlights peach, apricot flavors with yellow apple, pear supplement, hint of cherry. Some salinity, more so than minerality but it only comes at you subtly. The acidity is on the low side, as a result the length may not be what it could be. More viscerally pleasing than captivating. 70% Grenache, 20% Cinsault, 10% Syrah. 88 points

Mendocino County, California
Anderson Valley
Cuvée 128
Sauvignon Blanc
Standard green-gold color, perhaps on the flat side, pools into the glass more than shines, close to hueless rims. The nose presents a pleasing grassiness, lemon drop notes, pear, apricot fruit scents and a bit of creaminess to allow it all to soak into the nostrils, generally affable. Medium-bodied and closer to full, it has decent acidity yet there’s something inert about the mouth feel, prefers to get anchored than flow. More floral here and even minty, tingles without anything close to pepperiness or green herbaceousness. Peach, apricot, pear fruit, sweet without verging on tropical. Just right down the middle of the plate, nothing unique and that’s not a slam. Sometimes a wine should just be what it is. 88 points

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Sent to Their Grave in March 2017

Prager, Weingut
Wachau, Austria
Full on amber color, strong to the rims with decent clarity but not that vibrant of shine. The nose has a good deal of rubber and nuttiness and doughiness to it, orange marmalade as well, dried pineapple and nectarine fruit, certainly the fruit has lost vibrancy but with some air it’s not totally gone, almost all tertiary at this point. Medium-bodied, thankfully the acidity still has some oomph otherwise it would feel pretty sluggish. Here the dough and baking spices are obvious and the rubber, petrol notes more subdued. Sour grapefruit perks up the tangy pineapple, papaya, peach, apple fruit but it still huffs and puffs to get to the finish line. Decent wine, holding together but probably for now much more. 87 points

Gimenez Riili
Mendoza, Argentina
Valle de Uco
Joyas de Familia Grand Blend
While the liquid is perfectly clean and spotless, the core is an opaque black, the rims more crimson to brick red. The nose betrays a great deal of oak, smoky, cedary with toffee, butterscotch notes, ripe if firm cherry to red currant fruit scents, mint with some pine grove breeze accents, smells expensive and unevolved. Medium-bodied, noticeably smooth from the first sip, glides through the mouth. Hints of grapefruit and garden herbs brighten the mouth entry whereas tar, leather anchors it more firmly. Sweetly concentrated plum, cherry, cassis fruit last well into the finish, where the most longlasting flavors remain the butterscotch and buttered toast. Too young to fully judge, especially with the dominance of the oak. But clearly made with intelligence and thought. 45% Malbec, 25% Syrah, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc, 5% Merlot. 89 points

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Sent to Their Grave in February 2017

Baumard, Domaine des
Loire, France
Quarts de Chaume
Chenin Blanc
Full-on amber color, as close to brown as to brighter orange, losing its yellowish tinge at the rims. Caramelized brown sugar, molasses, candied orange peel and potpourri lift the nose, apricot paste, dried pineapple, a little woolly, for all of this surprisingly pure for its age. Full-bodied, spicy and citrusy with orange, grapefruit to even lemon accents. Then ginger and cola bean. Continues to deliver oodles of sweetness, dripping in residual sugar. That said, the nectarine, pineapple, guava to apple fruit comes with nice sourness to dance with the sugar. The acidity makes a good showing and has moderate pep. More relaxed now than in its youth, while it has lost some brute momentum has power to spare. 375 ml bottle. 90 points

Carmarans, Nicolas
Southwest France, France
Fer Servadou
Cloudy purple core, turns to a ruby hue at the rims, too dark to glow. In the nose its initial reductiveness blows off with time, herbaceous, at times notes of bell pepper, no lack of poor dirt, minerals, animal fur, sour cherry to blackberry fruit scents, a bit volatile overall. Medium-bodied, kind of scratchy texture at first, almost bubbly but not flawed. Animal fur, leather, brown dirt, sour orange pulp. Has a metallic quality to it, herbaceous bite as well and tannic, especially at the end. At times there’s a honeyed aspect which softens things and breathes more life into the tart blackberry, boysenberry, cherry fruit. Really needs time to open and more satisfying when allowed to do so. 88 points

Clape, Auguste
Rhône, France
Cuvée Renaissance
Good clarity to the red-purple core, brighter crimson rims, has that burning ember look. Strives for a high-toned approach in the nose, has red cherry, blackberry fruit of moderate stature, lots of purity and no funk, clean leather and beef jerky, not especially captivating but consistent. Medium-bodied, close to lighter than heavier, the acidity puts a charge into it from the start. Again, it’s so clean that there’s few challenges to the same cherry, blackberry fruit. Notable uptick in the stoniness and earthiness. Tastes so young even at what should be an approaching of middle age. Gives no clue as to where it’s going. 88 points

Gramercy Cellars
Walla Walla Valley, Washington
Matured purple core, cloudily opaque, the rims are a burnt sunset red to orange, there it looks even more advanced. The nose is mute, very little to discern, basic black fruits, stone, some vanilla powder and toast, that’s it. Medium-bodied, dusty tannins, stony and leathery with a beef jerky aspect. The blueberry, boysenberry, raspberry fruit is tart and puckering. Displays some caramel, toffee edges but doesn’t seem too oaky. Floral with sour oranges, it could be prettier if not marred by an alcoholic burn, this in spite of its relatively low ABV. Smokier towards the finish, not showing much length. 87 points

Alsace, France
Hommage à Jeanne
Pinot Gris
Deeper amber influence in the yellow-orange color but actually not that older looking, full rims, overall neither dull nor shiny. Clear smokiness in the nose with tea leaf, tar, the white grapefruit notes seem faded, moderate apricot paste, nectarine, pineapple scents, ends tightly and likely has lost some of its initial richness. Medium-bodied, surprising tautness and erect posture, has nice acidity but mostly its the density that gets things done. Vanilla, honey, orange marmalade, tea leaf and ginger create a pleasing array of background flavors. The star fruit, persimmon, peach, pineapple heads toward sugary then veers to sour. The traction on the tongue lasts longer than the flavors, more blunt pressure than angularity. 89 points

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Sent to Their Grave in January 2017

Clos du Val
Napa Valley, California
Cabernet Sauvignon
While dark, there’s a healthy glow to the purple core, the rims shift between brighter crimson and darker brick red hues, clear throughout. Cedar and pine infused nose, spices and potpourri, its burnt smokiness restricts easy flow in the plum, cassis fruit scents. Full-bodied, sweeter in the mouth with juicy plum, cherry, blackberry fruit, vanilla and caramel tones. That cedar and potpourri persists fully and there’s wet tobacco leaf notes as well. While it hits most of the standard Cabernet Sauvignon notes it seems foursquare and texturally it gets grainy and gummed up through the finish, even if not seemingly tannic. Leaves you suspecting 3-4 years of bottle time would help, fruit should certainly last that long with ease. 92% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot, 1% Petite Sirah. 88 points

Pinot Project, The
Regional Blend
Pinot Noir
Dark purple to garnet red in color, fresh brick red rims, average plus clarity. The nose is fat and heavy, muskily perfumed blackberry, cherry scents and caramel, butterscotch, very lift or sense of movement. Full-bodied, there’s a lot of initial burn when first opened and this subsides some with air time. No acidity and here the butterscotch sweetness matched by a roasted coffee bitterness. Sugary sweet plum, cherry, dark berry fruit, again minimal finesse. Clumpy finish. Hey, look, if you want a super-fruity wine it’s not all bad. But if you are expecting a “Pinot like” experience you may wonder what the hell is in your glass. Grapes sourced from Sonoma County, Monterey, and Central Coast vineyards. 86 points

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Alternatively you can continue on to read tasting notes on other older wines Hanes has put out of their misery.

Reviews of Yet More Older Wines