Wednesday, July 2, 2008

2006 Scholium Project Verdelho Heliopolis Delu

USA, California, Central Valley, Clarksburg (7/2/2008)This was a very interesting and enjoyable bottle. I thought it was a Sauvignon Blanc. Pale in color, long on taste, this had some wonderful fresh citrus notes with a very admirable acid level. A smooth elegant mouthfeel with moderate length. A perfect crisp white for a typical July day. (90 pts.)

6 CaliCabs from the mid 90's and a 'ringer'

1995 Beringer Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Private Reserve - USA, California, Napa Valley (7/2/2008)This sang right out of the bottle! Great deep crimson color. A beautiful nose of cassis, camphor and lilacs. The palate revealed amazing balance and breed, elegance and class. Wow. There were some fresh ground coffee beans, lead pencil shavings and soy all wrapped in a multi-layered dark fruit blanket. A long smooth finish beckons one back for a top-off. Wow. Started fading after an hour and a bit, but what an hour and a bit….This is what Bordeaux can only hope to be Did I say Wow? (94 pts.)

1995 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon The Montelena Estate - USA, California, Napa Valley (7/2/2008)Hmmmm. This was a bit cooler to start so the initial thoughts were...well.... initial. Subdued, reticent and closed. Put aside for a bit.Great medium color with some bricking on the edges. Some currant and black fruits were coming through. A little awkward and clumsy. It never really came around. A perfectly sound wine but was a bit disappointing all around. (87 pts.)

1996 Far Niente Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Bottled - USA, California, Napa Valley (7/2/2008)Not too dissimilar to the Montelena, this had a bit more going on. Some decent red and black fruits and a nice balance, but very low key. An elegant wine with a very nice moutfeel. A good finish but just a bit uninspiring. You are a good as the company you keep and this would have showed better had it been a lone bottle on the table. (89 pts.)
1996 Spottswoode Cabernet Sauvignon Estate - USA, California, Napa Valley, St. Helena (7/2/2008)Bringing this one up to your nose you get a burst of eucalyptus . Great dark dense color. Wonderful red and black fruit medley with some secondaries of lead, mushroom and soy. A seamless tannin level and great structure. A very feminine cabernet, but more like a female bodybuilder than a ballet dancer. A long graceful finish closed the deal nicely. (92 pts.)
1997 Thunder Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon Doc Miller - USA, California, Central Coast, Cienega Valley (7/2/2008)This was very different than anything else on the table. All red fruits and all brightly lit (lightning with the thunder? ) Red cherry was the forefront. The tannins were loosely knit and a moderately to high acid level. I though it had a mouthfeel of a better than average Merlot. This was a bit spicy in the midpalate. Hmmm?Not my style of Cabernet, but I can understand why some would like it.(my score reflects such) (88 pts.)
1997 Lakoya Cabernet Sauvignon This was angular and chewy. It was dark but I could not get past an overwhelming perfume emanating from my glass. I did not like this at all. N/R
2004 Château Smith Haut Lafitte - France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan (7/2/2008) (MYSTERY WINE)Served as a blind wine in an all CaliCab dinner. Disclaimer: I was under the impression it was a Cali so I may have gone into this wrong. Medium dark color. Good balance and mouthfeel. I initially spot either Petite Verdot and Cab Franc so I knew it was a blend. A bit subdued and reserved, this was pretty and elegant. I did miss my fruit though. There were some dark red cherries and plums. A little neutral oak was coming through as well. Reminded me of a few Phelps Insignias I have had. Not the best guy to judge Bordeaux so the egg on my face took a while to dry when I took a way off base guess. All in all a very nice wine indeed. (89 pts.)