Monday, March 9, 2009

Taste Napa Valley- New York

These notes are from one of my favorite tastings of the year, the Taste Napa Valley tour, where I tasted no less than 65 great to wonderful wines, mostly King Cabernet variety himself. I have listed the high lights of the day here. More will follow.

1995 Burgess Cabernet Sauvignon Library Selection- Fully matured with some bricking of the edges, this has some great aged cab notes of cassis, soy sauce, some earthiness, and a good dimension of red fruits throughout. Very admirable. 90/100

2005 Burgess Cabernet Sauvignon- Great structure and showful, this has the crème de cassis and kirsch notes I enjoy with a full mouth feel that is plush, elegant and abrupt all at the same time. A great value in today’s world of runaway pricing. 93/100

2005 Cornerstone Cabernet Sauvignon Napa- Gorgeous fruit forward with a lush mouth feel. Dense currant with black cherry. A very beautiful wine 92/100

2005 Cornerstone Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain – Much darker than the Napa, no surprise. Less approachable and more densely packed, no surprise. Still a great wine to have in the cellar in about 2-4 years. 91/100

2004 Dutch Henry Winery Argos- A blend of 40cs, 35m and 25 cf this was deep and dark. The nose had a floral perfume and the mouth fell all elegance and style. Tons of pure cab cassis notes and a note of red cherries. Great 91/100

2006 Darioush Cabernet Sauvignon- super dark cassis filled black cherry cola. Big bold and chewy tannin. 2 years will round this out and reward nicely 90/100

2005 Etude Cabernet Sauvignon Napa- Nice and fragrant nose. The mouth feel is lush and super structured. Some black and red fruits of cassis, blackberries, and pomegranate. A wonderful Cella’s chocolate wrapped cherry note. Some anise and tar. A good long finish. 91/100

2005 Faust – Darkest blackest cherries and cola. Subdued nose. The palate has a silky feel. The tannins are big and angular. Nice acidity. A great second wine of Quintessa 91/100

2005 Frank Family Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve- One of the days highlights: Big and bold but stylish and classy. Dark crème de cassis notes with an ultra pure and showy style. The tannins are complex, this is a beautifully balance wine. I like showy. 93/100

2005 Gargiulo Vineyards Merlot Money Road Ranch- This is one of the darkest and purest Merlots I have ever encountered. Black cherries with caramel. Camphor, tar, and violets. Cabernet sized tannins. This is lush and pure and has a structure and balance that make this a real winner. 93/100

2005 Gargiulo Vineyards 575 OVX Cabernet Sauvignon (Not for general sale) – Jeff was pouring this from under the table. Dark and perfumey with a soft lush mouth feel. Big and boldly structured with a super long and precise finish. Mail list only. 92/100

2005 Hoopes Cabernet Sauvignon – Beautiful and fragrant nose that is pure cassis driven fruits. Wow. Black cherries with a hint of kirsch royal. Very showy styled cab wit bold but exact brushstrokes. Super lush and classy with a very very long smooth finish. I have been a fan for years and this is one of the best I have had to date. Always under the radar. Worth seeking out in its price-point ($65) 94/10

2006 Kapcsandy Family Winery Estate Cuvée State Lane Vineyard- Some great black fruits of, cassis, black plums and blackberries. Nicely intertwined tannins with deft balance. This had wonderful structure and some easygoing style. 91/100

2006 Kapcsandy Family Winery Cabernet Sauvignon (Grand Vin) State Lane Vineyard- This is an awe-inspiring ode to Bordeaux. Some beautiful exotic red and black fruits. Black currant and crème de cassis. Some scorched earth with soy, led pencil shavings, and leather. Amazing. This is an elegant and classy wine. 93/100

2005 Lail Cuvee Daniel Cabernet Sauvignon- Subdued nose and slightly reticent on the palate but the makings were there, just need some coaxing. Purity and style. Not as showy as past vintages I have had, but worth keeping an eye on. 91/100

2006 Larkin Cabernet Franc- Big and chewy with gobs of black and red fruits. Some soy, tar and leather, this is one of the prettiest Cab Francs I have ever had. 93/100

2006 Larkin Cabernet Sauvignon- A bit closed nose, this has a mid weight feel to it. Nice cassis and blackberries. Some great notes of cedar. A very nice cab indeed. 91/100

2006 Jack Larkin Merlot- One of the great Merlots of the day, this was beautiful. Pure black fruit profile with some pomegranate and cherry cola notes. Very plush and full, this explodes sideways in the mouth. Elegant yet fully structured, this is a keeper. 92/100

2006 Jack Larkin Cabernet Sauvignon – Pritchard Hill- Fragrant and pure, this deftly made cabernet has wonderful crème de cassis, tarry note, soy, and freshly rubbed leather. Wow. 93/100

2005 Minor Oracle (blend) – Dark and perfumed with a nice soft mouth feel. Nice flowers with cassis, Bing cherries, lavender, and tar. Some pencil shavings. Very nice indeed. 91/100

2005 O'Shaughnessy Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain- a very pretty black fruited cab that is all mountain in style. Big and burly with some soft edges, this had all the components. Deep color, somewhat reticent, and a bit closed on the nose. Crème de cassis, black berries, with a touch vanilla, cedar, and tar. I would like to re-visit this in a year, and think I will…. 90/100

2005 O'Shaughnessy Cabernet Sauvignon Mt. Veeder- I’m a Veeder fan so this was right up my alley. Good lush bright fruits of Currant, black cherries, and cola. I love the vibrancy and exactness of this one. Beautiful structure and class with a flamboyant edge. Nice. 92/100

2005 Palmaz Cabernet Sauvignon- deep and densely packed with big chewy full-fledged tannins. A dark fruit medley and tons of structure. A very serious wine indeed. 90/100

2004 Palmaz Cabernet Sauvignon- More plush than the 05. Dark and brooding. This has some notes of kirsch, cola, earth and tar. Another serious, albeit more approachable cab from Palmaz. 92/100

2003 Palmaz Cabernet Sauvignon- Slight reduction on the nose, this coming from an ‘off’ vintage surely delivers beyond the nose. Great structure and firm soft tannins, this had nice soft red and black fruits to match. The easiest drinking wine of the group that is still holding up. 90/100

2002 Palmaz Cabernet Sauvignon (Randy Dunn wine)- Deep dark and elegant fruit profile. Much more 4 square than the rest of the group. Densely packed cassis, black berries, cedar, and leather. A very beautifully drinking cab worth seeking out. Winery still has available as a library selection.

2006 Shafer One Point Five Cabernet Sauvignon- Big bold and showy style of rough and ready cabernet. Dense black currant with some camphor and tar. Some slight vanilla notes. Big chewy but sophisticated tannins with a nice balance throughout. I like the turn these have made with the re-branding of One Point Five. 91/100

2006 Shafer Merlot- Floral and pretty, this medium weight Merlot has some nice black cherries, black olive, and earth. Subdued but elegant. 90/100

2006 Staglin Salus- Pretty nose and beautiful bones, this has some deep color and a nice dark black-fruited profile. Good mid weight mouth feel with a nice touch of elegance similar to the Staglin Estate. A nice second wine. 89/100

2005 Staglin Estate Cabernet Sauvignon- Dark purple tinged color. This has the classy crème de cassis and camphor I so love. A mid to heavy weight cab with great cassis, black cherry notes, some earth and some pencil shavings. Very seductive and pure, just what I believe these are known for. A year or two would surely make this a stunner. 92/100

2005 Storybook Mountain Vineyards Antaeus - 56% zin, 27% Cab, 12% merlot, 5% Petit Verdot. An interesting blend indeed. Super dark with a bit of spiciness. Elegant and nosy at the same time, this one surely catches your attention. Some tat, spice box, cassis, red cherries, and pomegranate. I may need to investigate closer…. 90/100

2005 Storybook Mountain Vineyards Zinfandel Eastern Exposures- Not being a big fan of Zins these days, here is one I can wrap my tongue around. It has tons of finesse with a touch of spiciness. All red raspberries and black cherries, this had some violets as well. Some tarry notes. The tannins are massive and a year will soften nicely, this is a beautifully balanced Zin that I would be proud to share with friends. 91/100

2005 The Terraces Cabernet Sauvignon- a very pretty cab with pronounced sasparilla notes alongside a bit of cola tinge. Pure with clean and elegant bright fruits of cassis & black cherries. A minor stunner in its own right. A very long finish completes the package. 91/100

2006 The Terraces Zinfandel- All red fruits all in a perfect row; this was another nice zin from a day of cabernet. A bit of pepper and some exotic spiciness rounded this one out. Very cool. 91/100