Sunday, April 17, 2011

2001 Kay Brothers Shiraz Hillside Amery Vineyards (Australia, South Australia, Fleurieu, McLaren Vale)

Dark and brooding. The nose is pure black cherries and cherry cola. This has a wonderful mid weight mouthfeel with loads of red/black fruits. There’s hints of cassis, a nice amount of black cherry, red raspberries, some cola, some Kirsch, and some black plum pumice; notes of worn leather; espresso bean, warm river stones, hints of menthol, spice box and wet forest floor. A really pretty and evolved wine that seems in such a perfect place right now, why wait. Gorgeous balance with a near perfect finish, bringing in even darker fruits. I love it. 94 points.

2001 J. Rochioli Pinot Noir - USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley

Ok, so I am not usually one to note on a Pinot. I have hosted winemakers with my tasting group and have left the official notes for some really great Pinots to others. This is one I want to speak of. It's not a regular occurrence that a non-Cabernet makes a WOTN for me on any given group tasting. Today is that day. This was a rusty crimson/strawberry color with a nose of dark strawberries, red raspberries and spring flowers. The palate showed incredible focus of said fruits with more, much more: This was elegant and classy with much depth and structure. The red fruits had a purity and precision that was mind boggling. Even if I did not find a sense of place, I sure got a sense of joy. A flintiness quality that I really loved with hints of cola, cardamom and a note of soy. Balance was amazing as this wine just seemed to float in and out of the palate with nary an edge. Tannins aligned and acidity perfect. What a great Pinot Noir. Wish I had some, and when do I ever say that? (93 pts.)

Friday, April 15, 2011

World's End wines come east.

Some time back there was a vote done on to send two lucky candidates a few samples from a new venture by Jonathan Maltus, the original ‘Garagiste’. A few weeks back I had received these bottles. It had always been my intention to share with a few Cab-head friends; last night we did so. These are all well made wines that will give joy to those who seek them out. A big ‘thanks’ to Jonathan Maltus for sending these east. All wines were pop and pour.

2008 Good Times, Bad Times Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard, Oakville, Napa An interesting nose that was indeed ‘To Kalon like’ on pop and pour. I got some intense and focused black fruits of cassis and blackberries with just a hint of Kirsch. There was a very interesting creme brulee quality to this with maybe an exotic note of pickle (dissipated quickly) and some black olives. The tannins were firm with a bit of grip but with nice balance. As this sat its structure tightened bit and became a wee bit less fragrant. A nice little bottle of wine with its roots firmly into the To Kalon vineyard

2008 Crossfire Beckstoffer Missouri Hopper Vineyard, Oakville, Napa Initially I loved the way this busted from the glass into the nose. Slightly more black/blue in the fruit profile. This reminded me of a Coombsville Cab like say Realms ‘Farella’ offering. It was more plush and bigger/fuller in the middle. A very ethereal wine with lots to like. I also enjoyed the cola aspect it exhibited in the middle. As this sat it became a bit thin (1 hour. I popped and poured all of these). This placed as an early favorite. I really enjoyed this save for the behavior as it sat in the glass.

2008 Wavelength Sugarloaf Mountain, Napa A 50/50 Syrah Cab Franc blend. As with its two siblings, this was fragrant and pretty on the nose. I can honestly say it was like nothing I have ever had in my life. It was nicely balanced and intense with plenty of flowers, red and blue berries, cherries and red plum. I got a hint of white pepper and spice-box. I would love to try this on its own as I think it has much to offer, just not alongside the fragrant and plushy Crossfire.

Monday, April 11, 2011

2001 Frazier Cabernet Sauvignon Estate (USA, California, Napa Valley)

Fantastic nose of cola and black-cherries. The palate shows some deep reddish black fruits of red currant, red cherries and raspberries. There was a nice dose of cola wrapped cardamom alongside some cedar box, soy and graphite. A classically styled cabernet that would please both preference parties (Old and new), but certainly with the lean to the old guard. There are some hints of Kirsch Royal and leather as well. Intricate tannic structure that seemed to unweave itself within the first 45 minutes to a very focused and pure cab lovers cab. Long finish with the blacker fruits lingering. What a treat. 91 points.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

2008 Jones Family The Sisters (USA, California, Napa Valley)

Nose of red cherries and pure cassis. A bit closed, but after about an hour there emerged (with coaxing) some cool reddish-black fruits. This is an intense wine with tons of gobby goodness lurking. Tremendous backbone really veils what this is all purity, creaminess, plush, menthol and leather. A real iron fist/ velvet glove wine, this has tremendous balance and depth. Finish is admirable as would be expected. I would say wait 2-3 years for this one and drink your 2007s. If this lives up to the 2006 Sisters, is yet to be seen, but it will be fun following it for the next few years. My early opinion--- I will keep to myself......92 points.

Friday, April 8, 2011

2009 Quivet Cellars Syrah Las Madres Vineyard (USA, California, Napa Valley, Carneros)

30 minute decant, then through a Vinturi. Although a baby (Just received yesterday from the winery), this shows tons of potential. Nose of sassafras and blackberry. A beautiful and intoxicating purity with notes of soy and leather. There is a hint of spring flowers as well. The palate has some warm blueberry pie with blackberrry, hint of soy, hint of bacon fat, some mild white pepper and more. A light to medium body weight with fantastically woven tannins and a perfect high wire act of acidity. Long finish really completes it nicely. Released with 12 months bottle age I am surprised this need so much coaxing. It only proves how wonderful this will be in about 2 years. If mine last. Another great Mike Smith wine. 93 points.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

2002 Diamond Terrace Cabernet Sauvignon (USA, California, Napa Valley, Diamond Mountain)

45 minute decant. Dark with those purple tinged edges. Nose of all cola laden cassis and black cherries with the slightest hint of tinned black olives. The palate has the same cola driven black fruits with some dried herbs, worn leather and some cream soda? Interesting for sure, this had such a four-square approach to what it is and makes no apologies for it; It's a Napa Cabernet in the classic style. Interesting as well since hailing from the 2002 Napa vintage this shows no 'fatness' of the vintage, and come closer to 2001 or even 1999 is style. A hint of sweetness and a decent finish that ends just slightly metallic. 90 points

Saturday, April 2, 2011

2008 Pott Wine Cabernet Sauvignon Actaeon Quixote Vineyard - USA, California, Napa Valley, Stags Leap District

Super purple tinged and beautiful. A nose of pure cassis, black cherry Kirsch with pomegranate. A full and round mouth feel that never comes close to even resembling anything overbearing. Pure and focused, more textural than layered now. In 5 or 6 years this could be a perfect rendition of a Stags Leap Napa Cabernet, and at least able to compete with SHS. There is an intense presence that beckons your attention. Some very pretty floral notes run the length; this really is an awesome bottle of wine; structure, grace, poise and breed all wrapped in a near perfect package. Deep and luxurious with fine tannins and a perfect lilty balance. A finish that goes for minutes.

There are times when people have asked me what I like in my Cabs; I would love to have a few dozen 187ml bottles of this for them to pop and see for themselves, as this really does have it all. I used the word beautiful no fewer than 6 times at the table while sampling this over lunch. If this is further indication, I am going to love the 2008 vintage in Napa. (95 pts.)