Sunday, December 26, 2010

2004 Andrew Murray Syrah Roasted Slope (USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Ynez Valley)

Dark with tinged edges. The nose has warm blueberry pie, blackberries, spring flowers and cooled bacon fat. The palate shows a wonderful expression of California Syrah. There is great vibrancy of fruits with blueberry in the forefront. Included are black berries, black cassis liquor, sun warmed river stones, bacon fat, exotic spices and a hint of damp forest floor. Some vanilla shrouds this nicely and the tannins are well behaved. Balance it fantastic with acidity lying amongst the fruit as if it were kin. Mouth-feel keeping in the mid area with a touch of creaminess. I was surprised how well this showed tonight with some challenging foods of spicy fish sauces & vinegared salads. 92 pts

2005 Frazier Cabernet Sauvignon Estate (USA, California, Napa Valley)

This is super dark indeed. Purple edges. The nose is all black cherry and black cassis with a hint of cardamom. The palate shows an attack of pure Cabernet Sauvignon. You will not make a mistake on calling this if tasted blind. It's all black fruited and pure. There is the black currant, black cherry, blackberries and ripe black plum skin. Some exotic tea, some soy, some kirsch and some framboise. This is a mid-weight wine with chewy but not aggressive tannins and a lilty acidity. Somewhat two dimensional and exact in its approach, what I used to call Four-Square, this is all it could promise to be, and does not pretend to be anything other; Pure exact Napa Cabernet somewhere in the middle of both worlds, but tonight leaning to the more classic side. In this price-point it's tough to beat ($24), The finish is admirable. Yep, It's Cabernet!  91 pts

2006 Rockledge Cabernet Sauvignon The Rocks (USA, California, Napa Valley, St. Helena)

This has loads of stuffing; It just needs the patience to treat it right. 4 hour minimum decant on this. It is a tightly structured cab with tradition soaked into the molecules. Black cassis, black cherry, tar, soy, leather, cedar box, exotic tea. its all here; it just need coaxing. When it shows itself you will know what a classically cab is like if you never had one before. It's a medium to full bodied style with masculine tannins, nice balance, and it's all brawn. Not for the faint hearted. A long finish with all the black fruits remaining in play. If you are a Napa Cab lover you owe it to yourself to try this wine. It's everything many 2007 Napa cabs I have sampled are not. If you don't have the time to decant, don't bother. I can see this going for the long term. 93 pts

Saturday, December 18, 2010

2007 Schrader Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer To-Kalon Vineyard (USA, California, Napa Valley, Oakville)

(from CLONYC 21)

Hold onto your seats. This one is the ride of a lifetime. Its pure cab explosiveness on the nose. When I opened it at about 3pm my kitchen filled with its fragrant beauty. When poured later on it gained weight. Probably the most mouth coating wine I have ever experienced. Dark and ominous with goby layers of lush exotic fruits. Black cassis, crème de kirsch, pomegranate, and more. Deep and expressive--long and luxurious. An incredible balance with multi-faceted tannins and a lilty acidity. Wow. 7 Wine of the flight votes. 96pts

2007 Virage Vineyards (USA, California, Napa Valley, Carneros)

Simply put: What a beautiful wine. Pop and pour. This has pretty hue of purple tinged crimson. The nose showed some bing cherries, red raspberries and red plums. A multi-layered joy to behold that just kept giving, this was bright and lively on the palate. There was zero of the negative stuff CF can have. Perfectly balanced and lilty with a purity and focus that tip toes over bind-boggling, this was a lite to mid-weight wine initially but after about an hour this gained some weight as well as some black fruits of currants and black plum. A luscious and plush CF blend that has structure, breed and elegance. It crescendos into a long opulent finish. Fantastic. (94 pts.)

Monday, December 13, 2010

2006 Audelssa Estate Winery Cabernet Sauvignon - USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Valley (12/12/2010)

100% Cabernet Sauvignon. 1 hour decant. Pretty ruby red with neon edges. Nose of black cherry, sassafras & red plums. Palate shows those fruits with an intensity that is pretty great. A very focused and vibrant Cabernet that shows a cool cab profile. Its floral and fragrant with cherries on top. There is a cherry Herring liquor quality that I find fascinating. It could be dangerous if over-done, but for the moment it stays pleasing. A medium weight mouth-feel with firm structure. Tannins are refined but ever-present. A near perfect balance. The dark fruits style on the tongue long after the wine has gone down. There is the ever so smallest hint of cool menthol on the tail end as well. What a great QPR. I might have to go back for more. (91 pts.)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

2007 Beaulieu Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Georges de Latour Private Reserve - USA, California, Napa Valley (12/11/2010)

The single best Beaulieu Vineyard Georges de Latour Private Reserve I have ever had, and I had many. Dark an ominous. A nose of all black cassis, lead pencil, black plum and cola. The palate shows a deep and focused Cab with gobs of layers that keep evolving. Cool licorice and black cassis with Kirsch & Framboise, plum, and tar. This is a serious wine that deserves 10 minutes of pure meditation, and then hours of continuous enjoyment. There is some complicated nuances of oak with some underbrush present; some cocoa, cedar box, and tea-leaf. The tannins keep the complication alive as they are omni-present and luxurious. there is a sweet underlying quality that I really like; there must be at least 5 layers to this wine. A medium to full-throttle leaning mouthfeel that has almost a 'sweet and cool' lushness to it. The finish just....goes. This is a show stopper; the schnizzle we all ever really wanted from GdL. (96 pts.)

Eating crow -or- tasting the 2000 Corison Cabernet Sauvignon (USA, California, Napa Valley)

A few months back these were available for deep discount at where-as I had placed foot in mouth when some friends asked my opinion and said that it was most definitely a pass due to vintage. Well, even at 49 I can learn a thing or two, and hope I am all the better for it. Within a half a day I received an email from Cathy Corison telling me I should taste this wine, that I would be surprised with it. I have and I am.

Hey Cathy, nice job!

2000 Corison Cabernet Sauvignon - USA, California, Napa Valley (12/10/2010)
Pop and pour. Dark mature edges on a crimson base. Super bright nose of sweet cheery pie, sweet anise, red currants and red raspberries, all in a big bouquet of spring flowers. Very interesting and inviting. The palate is all cool red fruits with tons of structure and finesse; there are some red currants, red raspberries compote, bright bing cherries, a hint of tart plums, some tar, worn leather, and graphite. There is a wonderful mid-weight and somewhat lush & creamy feel to this one. The finish is long and exact. Interestingly, I have never really had a 2000 Napa Cab that I really really liked, or should say experienced any that did not exhibit at least some of the problems inherent of the vintage; they always seemed a bit manufactured, fake or cloying. This has broken the mold and is a revelation to me. It’s a very pretty and most certainly a Bordeaux-like Cabernet, something I always believed was Corison’s house style. Definitely a very different style than many being made these days and although not the style I usually seek, this is a winner. Drink now and enjoy. Should hold on for a few years. (92 pts.)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

2005 Summerland Syrah Single Vineyard Collection Bien Nacido Block X (USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Maria Valley)

Deep dark color, almost opaque. Purple red edges. Nose of cherry cola soda and black cherries. The palate is medium in weight slightly elevated in acidity, but all in all a very round a full Syrah with tons of class and pizzazzzzz. This screams California, and that's a good thing. There are some crushed stones, ripe black berries, clack currant, bacon fat, blueberry tart and more. A long finish closes it out nicely. A nice Syrah that drinks well above its station. If this pops back onto WTSO, I am jumping....... 91 pts

2007 Lewelling Cabernet Sauvignon (USA, California, Napa Valley, St. Helena)

Color is more red than black. Opaque. The nose has a sweet cherry and vanilla wrapped red currant quality. Palate has explosive reddish black fruits with cherry first and foremost, then some raspberry and sour cranberries. Oak is a bit elevated as is the alcohol in the form of dry finish. Very awkward and blowsy, this really fits what I had expected of it for the vintage. These are somewhat flamboyant in a classic year, in 07 this is 4 fold. I wish I could wrap my palate around it. Maybe 10 years might help, but I could also imagine it not. I could imagine it drying up and fading away. Too bad.

2006 Drew Family Cellars Syrah Broken Leg Vineyard (USA, California, North Coast, Anderson Valley)

Dark color with purple-crimson edges and a nose of sweet red cassis/currant, cherries and raspberries. The palate shows some great breed. There is bacon fat, warm blueberry pie, cherry compote, crushed river rocks and more. Some violets show toward the mid palate and there is a real perfumey quality (eau de cologne) that pops in as you remove the glass from your mouth. Very intriguing. A extremely balanced wine that has its tannins in check and acidity fluttering right above the mid-palate. Something between new world and the best of the old world minus the funk. A long finish with the dark fruits in memory for more than a minute. I have had some Drew bottlings in the past and they always deliver the good. 92 pts

2002 Emilio's Terrace Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve (USA, California, Napa Valley, Oakville)

20 minute decant. Crimson-black with carmine edges. The nose is all currant, black cherry & graphite. The palate reveals some expressive notes of cocoa, cassis, kirsch royal, black plum, & creamy plush stuff, all good. the tannins seem resolved and balance really tight. There is some good symmetry going on here, some goood structure in the middle weight fighting category. Class is evident. Some cola pops in Mid-palate and a hint of cedar & mint show themselves. A decent finish all in all. If I had to find fault (and why would I?) I would say somewhat 'typical', but maybe that's not a flaw at all. A pretty nice example of a 2002 Napa cab and I would expect no less when the word 'Reserve' is on the label (maybe that's why I went a-lookin'). A great deal from this past summers Winebid bonanza and pretty good qpr for $25 per. 91 pts

2006 Cloud View Pritchard Hill (USA, California, Napa Valley)

Purple tinged edges on crimson. Nose a bit subdued. There is some very evident pizazz here. Dark cherry cola, black currant, some pomegranate, some soy, some leather. A very plush wine with a medium bodied mouth-feel. Large formatted tannins on a silky acidity base that rides a bit high, but not too much so. There is a dryness from the middle out that really never lets up. A long finish for a few minutes closes this one. There is a certain classy element here. I can see what Mondavi see as far as potential for his Continuum label. Though not for the faint of heart, I might like to revisit in 2 years. It will be a stunner. 91 pts

2003 Double Diamond (Schrader) Cabernet Sauvignon Mayacamas Range (USA, California, Sonoma County)

Still vibrant. The nose is all sweet cherry-cola. Palate shows some pretty good cab qualities of black currant, black cherries, Kirsch, and smoke. Interesting. It is a wee-bit simple, but for the price paid, a home-run ($15). A medium weight wine with some plushy goodness. Pretty long finish with fully resolved tannins and a almost imperceptibly elevated acidity that worked pretty well with chicken Milanese with a lightly dressed white balsamic & olive oiled Boston lettuce salad. Great deal and qpr. This has held up well and I will seek more for the right price. 90 pts

1991 The Terraces Zinfandel (USA, California, Napa Valley)

Some browning on the edges as expected. The nose is sweet red cherries and Framboise. It is actually quite elegant and petite and light in its weight with some spring flowers and rubbed sassafras. The palate has the same cherries and Framboise, but add into the mix some red currant and macerated blackberry skins. There is some sun kissed warm river stones in there as well. Totally resolved with lots of good stuff for lovers of old wine to like, you know all those secondaries one seeks: tar, old leather, and cedar box. There is also a hint of some spiciness left. A long and focused finish really makes this enjoyable. A great deal on WB for $15. Love me some experiments.....90 pts

2006 Two Hands Cabernet Sauvignon Some Days Are Diamonds (USA, California, Napa Valley)

Wow. This has shed some of its bulk and become more graceful and pretty. It has a very fragrant & floral note of violets and spring flowers. Its gotten a bit silky too. There is some creme de cassis, blackberry, black-cherry and black currant. In my last note I mentioned it would be great on the deck with my alongside the BBQ tools, now it can be moved inside to a nice rack of lamb. A super long finish really makes this enjoyable. If I put this into a CLONYC tasting blind, it will really catch attention. I think I just......might. 92 pts

2008 Congruence Cabernet Sauvignon (USA, California, Napa Valley)

From the pick up party earlier today:
This has really became the sum of all the parts I tasted a bit back as barrel components. Its dark and sexy with great backbone and some real Coombsville character, (a character I am learning more & more about all the time). This was a bit closed at first, but after about 30 minutes it opened nicely. There is a silkiness about it this that stems from the fruit, always showcasing its purity. Theres some black currant, black cherry and hints of cool cola, this had some power within the elegance that really catches and holds your attention. It has some great balance which displays the iron fist/velvet glove thing nicely. Did I say it was sexy? It was. Once this sheds its baby fat this will really be an amazing bottle. I am going to try and hold back opening my first bottle for a bit, but it will be tough.

2005 Etude Cabernet Sauvignon (USA, California, Napa Valley)

Something amiss with this wine and I can't quite put my finger on it, but I'll try. There is an almost fabrication quality to it that I seen on many a 2000. I would never expect this in 2005, and certainly not from Etude. Theres some black fruits but I really can't get past a maderized/over-extracted/port like quality that really annoys me. The mid palate is high in acidity and the finish seems seems fake, and I just feel it in my nose! I hate that.. I had heard there was an issue with this one, but had to see for myself. I guess if you want to really appreciate great wine, you need a yardstick to measure it against from time to time, and I have met this years yardstick. Ouch!

2003 Beckmen Vineyards Syrah Purisima Mountain Vineyard (USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Ynez Valley)

The nose is ALL steamed meats with some black berry and cardamom. The palate has a nice purity with fantastic balance and structure. There is blueberries, blackberries, black cherry, smokey bacon, sun warmed river stones and more. A very nice and precise, albeit maybe a wee simple Syrah from Purisma mountain, never ever to be confused with a French wine. Tannins are resolves and acidity rides slightly high. This would be great with some grub. A longish finish with much vibrancy. Pretty nice for the price at auction ($15) and glad I have more. I will hold the rest of this for dinner, and btw, it needs at least a 30 minute decant. 90 pts