Sunday, July 29, 2012

2008 Kuleto Estate Cabernet Sauvignon (USA, California, Napa Valley)

Starts dry and rounds out slightly after 30 minutes. Some dusty black fruits with cedar, soy and kirsch. Overall decent but nothing spectacular.  88 pts

2009 Jones Family The Sisters (USA, California, Napa Valley)

Yowser! How does he get so much flavor into the bottle? Nose has an incredible array of reddish black fruits, violets and cool cola. The palate attacks with an intensity that is difficult to explain, but I'll try.
Blackberries, framboise, cardamom, black raspberries, kirsch, cola and more. Like a deep dark hole, this takes you well into its inner being gracefully. This weaves left to right and back again across your tongue., in its wake it leaves a coating of dusty black fruits. Tannins are huge, but behaved and all else is perfectly balanced for the long run, but when you taste this now you ask 'why wait?’ The finish remains many minutes and then beckons you to lift the glass again; to this, I will be subservient do as told happily.If you own this, consider yourself lucky. 95 pts

Saturday, July 21, 2012

2009 Rivers-Marie Cabernet Sauvignon Panek Vineyard (USA, California, Napa Valley, St. Helena)

Opaque dark red color. Dense looking. Edges are purple tinged. Nose shows cocoa powder, black raspberry with a hint of strawberry. The palate shows a very serious, slightly hi-toned wine that expresses much breed; intense chocolate covered black raspberries, blackberries and plum pumice. A medium weight wine with fantastic balance and delivery. Some brightness interjects itself as well. The mouth feel is pure and simply incredible. There sits within hints of cola, cassis and soy. I also get the most interesting level of minerality which I do enjoy in small doses. Finish is long and true. What I like is the overall feel to this and yes, it’s certainly young, this would benefit from at least two years in the bottle. TRB’s signature is all over this one and as close to a baby Schrader as I have ever had; a style which I prefer more and more. Good for me……..
After about three hours this has turned into something totally different. It has shed its youthfulness and garnered tremendous fullness and roundness. It's more cool blue in fruit style now and the brightness is gone and it now resembles Maybach Amoenus in a big way; so much so I had wondered if Panek is actually Chris' fruit source for Amoenus. I went to the Maybach site for my answer: 'from a hillside vineyard on the Western side of Calistoga', so no, it's not.
But it is now an easy 95 points. (was 93)

Friday, July 20, 2012

2007 Lagier Meredith Syrah (USA, California, Napa Valley, Mt. Veeder)

This one lines up like a thoroughbred right in the gate. Pretty intense nose of infused black fruits with black cherry and cassis controlling the ride. Palate shows deftness with pure black fruits still in command. There is the already mentioned black cherry and cassis with blackberries, notes of framboise and warm blueberry pie. A very command-full wine with precision and elegance. (I opened and let breath about an hour and this sure benefited from it). Balance near perfect with complicated tannins overseeing all else. Midway I get some hints of lavender and soy. An interesting wine and unlike anything else I have encountered. Something about this one that I can't quite put my finger on it, but this rides a few different styles seamlessly and deftly; somewhere between Napa Cabernet and Napa Syrah---Pretty amazing. Finish remains true to itself and all in all a very nice package, and a thoroughbred nonetheless. 93 pts

Saturday, July 14, 2012

2004 Scholium Project Scythia Donati Vineyards (USA, California, Central Coast, San Benito County)

Pretty nose of spring flowers, blueberry and sarsaparilla. Great plush felled mouth-feel with amazing blue and black fruits creating a wall of solid goodness. More concise and complete than I remember it. Age likes this one. There is the usual underlying verve on this today. It becomes hard to picture in my mind what more I could expect on this here and now; tannins are fully resolved and balance it lithe. Finesse and elegance wrapped together. Finish remains true on this, and long. Having had this no less than 15 times in the past, I can say this remains one of the best Syrahs I have encountered in its price range. Rarity of the 'only one vintage made' could first have appeared like a negative , but I now see the interest in tracking a single vintage/single expression of this one that has made my lemonade from lemons. For the most part it remains consistent with about o dozen of my previous notes.  95 pts

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

2010 Quivet Cellars Syrah Las Madres Vineyard (USA, California, Napa Valley, Carneros)

Pretty amber color with purple tinged edges. Wonderful blue fruits on the nose, fresh squeezed and bright blueberries being prominent; very pretty indeed. Palate has a creamy light weight feel that feels so good without dinner, but the inch thick ribs eyes should be just about right later in the afternoon. Complicated but approachable style of Cali Syrah I really find myself gravitating toward in my advanced drinking years (30+). There perfectly fragrant crushed blueberry, blackberry and boysenberry with a hint of flint, flowers and white pepper. Nicely balanced with a tamed tannins and nothing amiss. A magnetic Syrah with loads of elegance and joy. Finish remains true but I really need to mention that creaminess again, just for the record. You would be hard pressed to find a better cool climate Syrah at this pricepoint. I do prefer this style to the Myriad. Time top reload. 94 pts

Friday, July 6, 2012

2006 Hoopes Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Oakville (USA, California, Napa Valley, Oakville)

PnP but best after about an hour. Dark and brooding. Nose of black raspberries and cassis. Palate has all black fruits with a slight lean toward over-ripeness. Balance very admirable. Tannins are large and somewhat clumsy; I can see what some think this properties potential is limitless. It's all pure Cabernet with not much elegance but tons of character. Finish holds the dark fruits true. I would like to try this in another few years. 90 pts