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Shiraz


Jarad Slipp
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The cheaper of the two offerings (it was a good, inexpensive match for these two dishes!)

Dare I mention I had a Fox Creek Vixen (a dry Australian sparkling Cabernet/Shiraz blend) at Tallula earlier?

There comes a point where you've just got to glug the stuff down, man, in the name of science.  I'm also undergoing cellular-change in an attempt to become a werewolf.

And amazingly, I zipped my penis up in my zipper earlier today.

I wouldn't even give my dog an enema with sparkling shiraz. Your cellular changes may be ering towards pussy (cat) not wolf. You would certainly lose all street cred if you ordered that at Lee-Ho-Fook.

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I had a Black Chook sparkling shiraz the other day. It's like grape soda, but less sickeningly sweet and with alcohol. Seems like something worth having around on a blazing hot day when you want to throw a butterflied leg of lamb on the grill. But clearly not appropriate at this time of year in Seattle.

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I'm not sure buying a bottle of Vixen constitutes a "score."   :lol:

Hard to imagine, I know, but also sitting on a shelf at the store I got it from were two magnums of '88 Margaux they just acquired from a private cellar. Only 30x the price of the Vixen.

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I remember that Perry's restaurant used to do Hardy's Sparkling Shiraz by the glass.

It seems that, with a decent chill, you could enjoy the stuff in hot weather, but I've never had any kind of bent for it, though we get the occasional customer who asks for it.

Seems too expensive for what it is.

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A Phenol-menal Bargain

I have never heard of a 95 point Parker red, let alone a shiraz, that sells for $18.33 a bottle. This is the prearrival price due in September. On the internet Wally's in L. A., Sokolin and Zachy's in New York all are offering it on pre-sale for $21.95 and up per bottle. Pedigree: Sarah and Sparky Marquis who launched Marquis Phillips and Henry's Drive. One case limit per customer.

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Are they also offering "Two Left Feet", "The Maitre D", and/or "Violinist"? All of these are inexpensive and were also rated well by Parker. I know that all of these have small allocations in the United States. I understand that they are making a fair amount of it, but not targeting the United States as the primary market for it.

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Are they also offering "Two Left Feet", "The Maitre D", and/or "Violinist"? All of these are inexpensive and were also rated well by Parker. I know that all of these have small allocations in the United States. I understand that they are making a fair amount of it, but not targeting the United States as the primary market for it.

Steve, I sent you the e-mail from Paul's. The Boxer is the only one mentioned although a number of internet sites are also offering The Violinist. I think that Paul's (and Joe Riley) are now sold out of the Boxer pre-arrival. I called a couple of internet sites and they were sold out, too. I did not try Zachy's or Sokolov which were also offering it.

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Wide World sold out of all of their allocation by Saturday afternoon. I have a six-pack of each coming my way. The only one I am really excited about is the Violinist; however, since it is a white, I don't think that you would care for it.

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Yeah, I posted about this wine last month (or possibly late June) and only a couple of folks inquired about it with me, and I have their orders locked in.

The distributor is so overwhelmed with orders for it that they had to allocate it by account. I'm sold out of mine.

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I have never heard of a 95 point Parker red, let alone a shiraz, that sells for $18.33 a bottle. This is the prearrival price due in September. On the internet Wally's in L. A., Sokolin and Zachy's in New York all are offering it on pre-sale for $21.95 and up per bottle. Pedigree: Sarah and Sparky Marquis who launched Marquis Phillips and Henry's Drive. One case limit per customer.

I may be in the minority here, but I think Sarah & Sparky's wines are generally overrated, particularly by Parker. Generally too 'sweet' and subject to wide bottle variation. That said, clearly I have not tasted this wine nor have I had any of the wines these two have been responsible for in about two years.

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I may be in the minority here, but I think Sarah & Sparky's wines are generally overrated, particularly by Parker. Generally too 'sweet' and subject to wide bottle variation. That said, clearly I have not tasted this wine nor have I had any of the wines these two have been responsible for in about two years.

Arguably, Marquis Philips is the finest cough syrup I have ever had. ' 03 Sarah's Blend or the '03 Shiraz for me are remarkable wines for the price-about $12 or 13.00. (I am not as big of a fan of the screw top '04's.) The '03 #9-for a $35 wine is full bodied with a great deal of depth. (House wine at Citronelle?)Still, my wife, argues they taste like expensive cough syrup. Henry's Drive, for her, does not have the ancestry that Elixir Terpin Dydrate has; still she's not particularly fond of it. But that's all right. The half dozen or so cases I have left of their wine no longer has to be shared! I expect I'll also have the Boxer to myself, too.

So be it!

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Arguably, Marquis Philips is the finest cough syrup I have ever had. ' 03 Sarah's Blend or the '03 Shiraz for me are remarkable wines for the price-about $12 or 13.00. (I am not as big of a fan of the screw top '04's.) The '03 #9-for a $35 wine is full bodied with a great deal of depth. (House wine at Citronelle?)Still, my wife, argues they taste like expensive cough syrup. Henry's Drive, for her, does not have the ancestry that Elixir Terpin Dydrate has; still she's not particularly fond of it. But that's all right. The half dozen or so cases I have left of their wine no longer has to be shared! I expect I'll also have the Boxer to myself, too.

So be it!

I have never had the chance to Experience any of the higher end M-P bottles like the 9 and the Integrity. I did try some Henry's Drive and found the reserves to be enjoyable. But man, I think they need to be drunk young, and cooler than I normally prefer my reds too. I think I am more or less over my 'Aussie Phase' of wine drinking....for now. I'll revisit when I am done with Italy, perhaps. But that'll probably take me ten years at least. BTW, I agree with your wife's cough syrup comments. :)

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The new Wine Spectator gives this 5,200 case wine 96 points, an absolutely unheard of rating for a wine at this price. It may also be the most seriously allocated wine never to come into the D. C. area and almost impossible to find outside of a handful of stores and restaurants that save it for their best customers. I've been told that none will be coming here. The distributor on the West Coast is not even sure of how much they'll get and the winery itself has a one bottle limit: http://www.schildestate.com.au/purchase/ I've also learned that a handful of stores (i.e. Woodland Hills, Wine Club) received a token allocation and sold out within hours.

...there IS some available for anyone who doesn't believe in taking no for an answer. I found two cases and there is more left.

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Voila, wine on airplanes? no problem!.

I have one and bringing in wines is easy. Except for the ignorant TSA people who added up 12.7% proof wine x 12 bottles and said I couldn't have 144 proof alcohol on! :) Idiots!

Raisa, doesn't this have to be checked now with the ban on liquids? And, if it does, is it sturdy enough to survive baggage?

Ted, I agree with you about shopping around. There are some places (i.e. Alessi in Florence) that are almost as expensive (if not AS expensive) as many stores here. Costco has become remarkably competitive on prices for some Italian wines. I should also note that wine which is hand carried from another country can taste better since the alternative might be two weeks on a boat. Enoteca Baldi which I noted above in Panzano is generally 20-25% lower in price than Alessi. The same wine can also cost less in smaller towns than in larger cities as you note. Alessi doesn't discount-in fact on some wines they mark them up additionally. The only argument for going there is that they have virtually everything-for a price.

I've found that when the Euro was introduced the cost of wine went up. This was offset when the exchange was around .83-.85 to the dollar but now, at 1.28 or more, it is not the real bargain it used to be. I average seven or eight trips a year to Europe on business and I would bring anywhere from 10 to 18 bottles on each trip. Now, selectively, I may bring back six or so excluding a winery near Verona where I know the owners and bring back all that I can carry. In some cases such as first growth Bordeaux it can actually be MORE expensive to buy at certain places in Paris (i.e. Hediard) than here (i.e. Calvery Woodley, MacArthur, futures, Internet, etc.). But, similar, to elsewhere and again, as you note, if one shops around better prices can be found especially when you get away from larger cities such as Paris.

25% discounts such as what can be found on the Internet also factor into the domestic price on some wines; in some cases this can offset even competitive prices from overseas. Futures have direct impact, too. Bordeaux futures, Spanish futures such as the recent tasting for Wide World of Wines. There are some wine stores (i.e. P & J) that offer VERY low prices (as much as 30-35% discounts) but they wait until they can fill a palette before placing the order. The result is that you may not receive the wine for six months or so.

I suppose my point is that I've bought wine many, many different ways searching for the best prices I can find if I am willing to buy a fair amount of it. At one time I always relied on bringing back as much as I could carry. Now, I've found other sources such as what I noted in the previous paragraph. Last, I've also found that many stores here will discount 20-25% on almost any wine (excluding severely allocated) if you're willing to buy enough of it. I've got neighbors together and bought 10-15 cases at one time and found no problem in receiving 25% discounts locally.

Last, the website for Osticcio is really interesting. But it's not the bargain you may think it is. I looked at the prices for a dozen or so Tuscan wines and when you factor in the cost of shipping it is no less than what you can find here if you shop around. On some, such as the Solaia, Costco actually has the same or better prices. Of course the argument can be made that I would trust a bottle shipped directly from Italy by air to Costco taking delivery from a boat in the summer...

Edited by Joe H
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Let me take this a step further and give a specific example: 2004 Langmeil Barossa Shiraz which the upcoming (October 15th) issue of the Wine Spectator gives 94 points and lists a price of US $24 a bottle.

This is the website for Discount wines in Australia which is listed on Winesearcher as having the lowest price of any contributing store: http://www.discountwines.com/ They charge US $14.58 a bottle and Aus 255 for shipping a case which is US $194.79.

If I bought the wine in Australia and carried it home the cost would be $14.58. If I have it shipped to me from Australia it is $14.58 + 16.22 or US $30.80 per bottle.

Winesearcher lists Pacific Wine Merchants offering it for $20.99 + $25 a case or about $23.10 a bottle. There's no tax and the final price is $7.70 less than having it shipped direct from Australia.

But there is a point: if you are buying a more expensive wine the price difference shrinks. At some point it becomes less expensive, perhaps considerably less expensive to buy directly from Australia. This is when the $194.79 shipping charge can be offset by the difference in the price of the wine buying it here from buying it there.

Conclusion:

1. Most wines hand carried and purchased in the native country cost less.

2. Depending on the cost of the wine and the shipping it can cost less to buy the wine here. I would suggest that when you are dealing with shipping cost of US $150 or more the price point is probably around $40 a bottle or so.

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Osticcio has a website, Osticcio.com, with their inventory and prices. They will ship to the USA. In case you can't get back as soon as you want. :)

Yeah, I have the owner's number (incredibly nice and helpful guy), but we have so much left from the first trip that it might be until we return that we need to restock. The 40-bottle unit we have can only hold so much ...

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Their website lists Il Poggione @ E37.80 (which brings it to US $59.+ and much closer to the Wine Library price). Your purchase @ E 32 must reflect a 15% discount. Without that discount the wine would be over the $40 threshold I suggested. 25-30% discounts from sources such as the Wine Library and other companies on the Internet as well as volume buying and futures have created a ferociously competitive market here-perhaps more so than at any time since I started drinking wine many years ago. Essentially our discussion is a confirmation of this. As you note, even @ $59 you're still $40 cheaper than the $99 a number of places ask. But @ $63 or 4 it's a different game. We as consumers greatly benefit from this.

There is one other point that I believe gives a preference for buying wine in Europe and hand carrying it back: you control the overseas shipping. I would argue (over a glass or two of wine) that wine often TASTES better when you buy it in the source country and hand carry it here as opposed to having it spend two weeks on a boat in transit.

Edited by Joe H
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Mollydooker The Boxer

unbelievably good for the money! For those who know Sparky and Sarah Phillips' wine, i.e. Marquis Phillips which means screw tops for the '04's, this has the same pedigree. They made it. But, it is a bit more "refined," not quite as "cough syrupy" if you will. Smoother, a bit more subtle but with the same kind of "background" that the Marquis Phillips wine has. In truth, the damn stuff is really delicious. Even my wife likes it. A lot! She wants to buy another case of it!

But here is the problem: I bought a case from Paul's on a one case limit allocation. My wife also bought a case on my suggestion. (My wife now has the first 12 bottles of wine in HER cellar...) There is no more for me to buy. None. Not from Paul's, not from Calvert Woodley, not from MacArthur, nor Total, nor anyone. Or her, either. And she can't believe that now that she has started her very own cellar she can't buy another case of what she likes!

An outrage!

It is gone.

And it never reached anyone's shelf. She also may not share a bottle with me...her husband!

Anyway, for those who read this board and might find themselves travelling outside of the D. C. area. If you come across a bottle of the 94 point (RP) Mollydooker The Boxer (about $17 per bottle) you should buy every bottle you can find. If you don't like what you bought, we'll buy your "leftovers."

For what it's worth: Paul's (and others) will take delivery of the Mollydooker Reserve in about a month or so. This is allocated also. And, believe it or not, there is already competition for this waiting list. At $40+ per bottle!

As an addendum, my wife just opened her second bottle and refuses to share with me!

Edited by crackers
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I'm new to the board. Just moved here from Chicago and wanted to let you know that as of Sunday Binny's in Chicago was selling the 2005 Boxer and Two Left Feet for $17.99 a bottle. Binny's isn't my favorite wine store in Chicago but occasionally they will have some good deals. I agree that this is not a type of wine for everybody. Binny's website. http://www.binnys.com/index.cfm

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Had a bottle of this at a friend's place on Sunday. He and I were both very curious to see what merits a 95 from Robert Parker. It's huge and syrupy (16%... goodnight!), but beyond that, there didn't seem to be much going on with it. I don't get what Parker sees in this. "To each his own" and all, but it's puzzling that he's given this wine a score that puts it in some very lofty company. I confess to sometimes enjoying an Aussie fruit-bomb shiraz as a cocktail of sorts (not with food, as I don't know what you could possibly pair these with), but for the same money or less, there's several that to my taste are far more complex, balanced, and interesting (Evans and Tate Margaret River and Torbreck Woodcutter's to name two).

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The new Wine Spectator gives this 5,200 case wine 96 points, an absolutely unheard of rating for a wine at this price. It may also be the most seriously allocated wine never to come into the D. C. area and almost impossible to find outside of a handful of stores and restaurants that save it for their best customers. I've been told that none will be coming here. The distributor on the West Coast is not even sure of how much they'll get and the winery itself has a one bottle limit: http://www.schildestate.com.au/purchase/ I've also learned that a handful of stores (i.e. Woodland Hills, Wine Club) received a token allocation and sold out within hours.

...there IS some available for anyone who doesn't believe in taking no for an answer. I found two cases and there is more left.

I just took delivery of two cases of this from Carolina Wines. I'm opening the first bottle in about an hour...

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I am "well" into the first bottle of wine that I opened. From the back of it:

"The Schild family established their Barossa vineyards in 1952, and have since developed a reputation for consistency and quality in their approach to viticulture. Through careful selection of the best fruit from our extensive holdings, this Barossa Shiraz, harvested at optimum ripeness, is a classic full style showing why the Barossa is the home of Australian Shiraz. This wine shows a nose of ripe cherries, rich spices and licorice with some vanilla undertones derived from the extended maturation in select new and old American oak. On the palate the flavours explode in a fusion of complex oak and well integrated tannins with a backbone of rich ripe black plums. A focus on quality rewards the consumer with a wine showing the best of Barossa Shiraz."

Serious hyperbole that I am embarassed that I did not write myself. My guess is that a half dozen people at the vineyard sat around on one weekend night with a pencil and paper and a half dozen bottles of wine. As they drank one or two of them took notes. "Well" into the night the notes began to take shape as the liquid volume of wine they consumed approached an impressive amount. At some point the notes stopped and aspirin was requisitioned for the remainder of the evening.

The result of that collective binge are the notes on the back of the bottle.

For myself and several indulgent neighbors conscribed for their apparently indifferent and objective opinions this is a wine that was a real mouthful. Full bodied with a long aftertaste, redolent of plums and cherries. Viscous, textural it "drank" like a $50, $60 bottle. If a brown bag had been placed around it I would have guessed the price in this range.

But I would not have guessed a 96 point wine. Perhaps 92 or 93 with body and potential but not the complexity of the more evolved wine.

Of course there is another consideration: price. This is a wine that I paid $24 for. And, above, I'm discussing it as I would discuss a bottle that I paid two to three times as much for. From this perspective, perhaps this perspective alone, this is a great bottle of wine, well worth the $24. I would even suggest well worth the $44 or $54 that it cost.

But a 96 point wine that costs $24 is not the same as a 96 point wine that costs $100. This is not a $100 wine. No one buying it should expect this. Rather the expectation is for a serious effort in a moderate price range and this realizes exactly that.

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The Mollydooker Boxer is very much in the style of Marquis Phillips but, I think, a bit more restrained,quite a bit smoother. Schild Estate is another matter: much more complex, with a longer "feel" or "taste" in the mouth. The Schild Estate Barossa Shiraz just drinks like a MUCH bigger wine. I love the Marquis Phillips wines and Mollydooker but, for $24, Schild Estate is just an unbelievable value if one can find it.

Having said this, the '01 Tenuta Sant 'Antonio La Bandina, the tre bicchieri Valpolicella that I've raved about on another thread, in its own way, is easily the equal of Schild Estate. Easily! A very different wine. But a full bodied mouthful of pleasureable taste as is the Schild. If I were using numeric scores like Parker and the WS I would give the Boxer 91, Schild Estate Barossa 93/94 and La Bandina 94/95.

I should add that last night I opened a bottle of '00 Dal Forno Valpolicella which is the greatest Valpolicella I have ever tasted. It still is. But the '01 La Bandina was 98% as good. (Dal Forno '00 Valpolicella 96)

Edited by Joe H
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For those interested, the Wine Specialist on M has cases of all four Mollydooker wines, including the Boxer, on the floor right now. Except for the Verdelho (the Violinist), they were priced at $24.

(Aside to anyone from the Wine Specialist that reads this board: Your prices, on just about everything, are too high.)

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The Boxer is an outstanding wine priced in the 'teens ($17.99 at Paul's, $15.99 at Joe Riley's but both are long gone). But not in the twenties; merely good to very good. Schild Barossa Shiraz is outstanding in the twenties ($23.99 at release, $21.59 with case discount from Carolina Wines; also long gone), perhaps the low to mid thirties but not higher. Tenuta Sant 'Antonio La Bandita is unbelievable at $25.95 (A "major NJ internet supplier" whose name I do not want to say for fear if I decide to buy another case they may not have one left!), well worth the price anywhere in the $30's (list in the D. C. area when available is around $32.95) but when you get into the $40's it slowly becomes another matter. Dal Forno Valpolicella is around $100+ ($70 from D. Sokolin out of NY if you're willing to wait a few months-they take orders until they fill a palette).

Everything is relative...

Edited by Joe H
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You know, I just had a glass or two, and I have to say this is the shortest, most one-dimensional wine I've ever had at that rating. 95 points Parker/the price = something that I had to taste, so I guess there will be more for those who are into this. I guess if you like the wine then it's good.

Joe, I respect your notes usually, but cannot agree with this one.

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You know, I just had a glass or two, and I have to say this is the shortest, most one-dimensional wine I've ever had at that rating. 95 points Parker/the price = something that I had to taste, so I guess there will be more for those who are into this. I guess if you like the wine then it's good.

Joe, I respect your notes usually, but cannot agree with this one.

I bought a bottle of this a couple weeks ago and have to agree.

The first night, it was almost undrinkable--too hot, way over the top--but it got somewhat better by the second night. But I never liked the Marquis Phillips wines, either. 95 points? Color me confused, as I just don't get the appeal of this style. What I've found with Parker and the Oz wines is that I like the wines he rates in the low nineties much more than his 95-96 pointers. And last year he pretty much wrote off the Penfold's middle tier as industrial plonk, which is a mystery given the consistant quality of the (not over the top and unoaked) St. Henri shiraz.

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I bought a bottle of this a couple weeks ago and have to agree.

The first night, it was almost undrinkable--too hot, way over the top--but it got somewhat better by the second night. But I never liked the Marquis Phillips wines, either. 95 points? Color me confused, as I just don't get the appeal of this style. What I've found with Parker and the Oz wines is that I like the wines he rates in the low nineties much more than his 95-96 pointers. And last year he pretty much wrote off the Penfold's middle tier as industrial plonk, which is a mystery given the consistant quality of the (not over the top and unoaked) St. Henri shiraz.

My first big hitter MP wine was '01 (I think) Integrity. Good in the context of something to have after a Chablis tasting, smoking cigars. Served the purpose of a port. I could see why it got the rating from Parker, that's his deal and there was a lot going on. Didn't like it but still. I can fathom why most of his 95+ wines get the score they do, but with Australia I just don't get it.

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This is really an interesting discussion, best served while sipping on several different wines. Part of it may rest on how points are given, i.e. is a 95 point wine that costs $17.99 the same as a 95 point wine that costs $200? I think not. It also points out one of the weaknesses of the point system.

Edited by Joe H
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This is really an interesting discussion, best served while sipping on several different wines. Part of it may rest on how points are given, i.e. is a 95 point wine that costs $17.99 the same as a 95 point wine that costs $200? I think not. It also points out one of the weaknesses of the point system.

Points should be given despite the cost, right? Just becuase it costs more money does it really mean it is a great wine? I think all those high priced CA cabs will show that is not the case. A 95 point wine is (should be) a 95 point wine. If a 95 point wine happens to cost a fraction of another 95 point wine, then all the better for the producer and the comsumer.

It sounds like the ratings are not done blind. Am I correct?

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You know, I may be totally wrong because I've thought that numerical ratings were given in relation to the cost of a wine. If they are given regardless of cost then I would have a number of issues. (And, I think you ARE right-they are done blind only confirms this.) In particular the Mollydooker Boxer is a style of wine that I like and, at $17.99, I feel it is well worth it. Still, there is NO way that this is a 95 point shiraz. (My wife insists it is reminiscent of cough syrup!) Also, if ratings do not factor in cost the Schild is not a 96 point Shiraz either. Anyone remember the 94 point WS Chateau Souverain Merlot '99? I saw a discussion somewhere that said the points were given for "potential" in what the wine could eventually develop into. I drank my last bottle of this a year or so ago. It never realized 94 points! At least if cost wasn't factored into it.

I also wonder if Gambero Rosso's system is not a bit more reasonable meaning that a designation is given (i.e. tre bicchieri) for the absolute best wine of a particular style regardless of cost. Some years there are no wines given this, other years several. But they are all measured against what could be a standard concept of excellence.

Still, even with this, I would have questions, i.e. why don't they give Dal Forno tre bicchieri for his Valpolicella? As much as I have raved about the La Bandina I still use Dal Forno as the standard: if I say that La Bandina '01 is 98% as good as Dal Forno's I am also stating that they BOTH are at the highest level.

Regardless, all of this for me, is just to lead me in the direction of a wine that I should try and, hopefully, may like.

Edited by Joe H
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