Wednesday, February 2, 2011

2005 Slaughterhouse Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon (USA, California, Napa Valley, Rutherford)

Years back, I had read there was a petroleum depot or refinery located nearby Chateau Latour. I had also read that if you search hard enough, you can find traces of petrol in the wine. Now, I might not be the smartest wine-o around, but I know petrol is NOT something I want in my wine, either real or theorized. I went on to wonder what petrol might actually taste like?; it has taken me 25 years to find it but here it is, right now, in this wine. This is a big wine, bursting with fruit and goodness. Everything I would want in a Cabernet from Rutherford, and no, I can't find dust... I found the elusive petrol though. The nose was all bright black fruits of currant, pomegranate, plums, black cherry, blackberries and more. It's intense and boisterous, all while being brash and playful. There is a certain quality I have not, or never paid attention to here that is so in play, I can honestly say it endears me to this wine more. Initially the petrol came across somewhat like a petroleum jelly turn to fabrication/fakeness, but with air it awakened to add to the structure and overall pleasure of this wine. It is super structured with a mouth-feel that is lush and its tannins are oversized. I can see you all cringing, but don't; it's actually quite nice when all in balance and all in focus like this is tonight. I will even go further by saying this is very Paullliac-like, albeit young Paulliac-like. There is a cornucopia of 'stuff' here (Like the tea), almost too much to speak of, but since I have never been at a loss of words before, here tou go: creme de cassis, kirsch, new leather, lead pencil shavings, hints of vanilla, hints of cola, lavender, framboise, black cherries jubilee...BLACK. Had enough? It's long finish and lively acidity really makes this sing. And with song, comes dance. 93 pts

2006 Alpha Omega Cabernet Sauvignon (USA, California, Napa Valley)

A very interesting wine. Deeply colored and opaque. The nose is a very quietly refined black cherry and black berry. The palate shows a superfine and luxurious cab with some depth and elegance. Actually, a lot of elegance. There is some fine woven tannins with just a hint of heat that dissipated with some decant time. This starts out an all black fruited cab with a very refined attitude that in time takes on some red fruits of red currant, tart red raspberries and plum; enter some camphor, some linseed oil, some lead pencil and some dried spices. Balance it deft and finish is long. This needs 3-4 hour minimal decant time to show itself.
91 pts

2003 Hug Cellars Syrah Bassetti Vineyard (USA, California, Central Coast, San Luis Obispo County)

Very pretty nose of black currants, violets and black cherries with hints of cola. The palate shows a purity and intensity. Initially there is a wee bit of sweetness that distracts, but as it sits in the glass, and as it comes up from cellar temp, it opens up to bright red and black fruits, some white pepper, some soy sauce, some violets. This is very Cabernet Sauvignon like in its approach. I would say almost fully resolved and totally in business. If I had to find a fault, it would be a slightly elevated acidity. It is fruit pack and light bodied, but enjoyable nonetheless. This is a food wine. 91 pts

2001 Robert Mondavi Winery Cabernet Sauvignon M-Bar Ranch Oakville (USA, California, Napa Valley, Oakville)

I expected more from this one. It was 'typical' as a Cabernet, but just not boat rocking. Black cassis driven nose and mouth with cola, black cherry and black raspberry. What was missing was depth and sense of presence. Alongside a 2006 Realm Farella, this lacked structure, class and breed. Don't get me wrong, I did not throw it out of bed, but I also did not stare admiringly at it as it left the bed.Expectations can be problematic. 90 pts

2006 Realm Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Farella Vineyard (USA, California, Napa Valley)

3 hour decant. Consistent with my last note. This is opaque. The nose is a refined creme de cassis and blackberry. A beautiful refined and classy cabernet that just screams 'drink me'. Initially quite closed, but the decant time gave it dimension and depth. Black fruit ruled this bottle. Some cedar box, some leather, a hint of vanilla and some graphite in a medium bodied wine, this went long and stayed black fruit laden. I am thrilled to have 4 more in the cellar. No need to run to though, as these are built for some more distance. 93 pts

2003 Andrew Murray Syrah Roasted Slope (USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Ynez Valley)

The more I drink Andrew Murray Syrahs, the more I find ho much I enjoy the them more and more. This was floral and pretty with a black & blue fruit profile. It has a nice creaminess within the light/mid-weight mouth feel. some pomegranate pomace, white pepper, bacon fat and wild flowers. A very enjoyable wine that has a fantastic QPR. 92 pts

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

This wines is just a fantastic rendition of a Cali Syah that I am still learning I seem to really enjoy. It has a vibrancy and level of fruits that catch your attention early and hold it long, but in a seemingly delicate and profound way. Blue fruited with some underlying blacks, this glides across the palate with an almost lush and velvety texture that I associate with some Cali Cults more than Cali Syrahs. Elegance and purity rules the roost. Some worn leather, hints of soy sauce, river rocks and white pepper. A long finish tops it all off.Its pretty and joyful. The hit Syrah (3 total) on the table with wine-os and non wine-os alike. 94 pts

2005 Big Basin Vineyards Syrah Mandala (USA, California)

Big and bold. No doubt you're in Cali. Smoked meat, river stones, white pepper, blueberry pie, black cherry, leather and black cherry liquer. As it had the opportunity (3 hrs) to sit on the table it fleshed out into a finely delineated pure Syrah. I can be a fan of such a bold style, just not sure I want it all the time. It is a great wine nonetheless. 91 pts