Monday, August 20, 2012

2005 Waypoint Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer Dr. Crane Vineyard (USA, California, Napa Valley, St. Helena)

After one disappointing bottle, this comes back with a vengeance. Still dark and youthful looking. Nose of pure creamy cassis with some blackberries. Palate shows the finely delineated cool-creamy textured profile that I have expected from the best Dr Crane wines; black infused currants with a tinge of cola, violets and framboise. This has a super deft palate that says class and elegance are in control. Long and pure with some pretty notes of asian teas, cedar-box and cardamom.This medium weight wine has a line of creaminess running right through it and reminds me of why I love Dr Crane Cabs; so distinctive and speaks of place like not many others can, this is the real deal.  94 pts

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

2009 Rivers-Marie Cabernet Sauvignon Corona Vineyard (USA, California, Napa Valley, Oakville)

 Opened 8 hours beforehand. Upon pour this just shoots from the glass; fragrant black currants, blackberry and violets abound. This youthful wine has tremendous appeal with a black fruit profile and balance to spare. Medium to light bodied, but intense and well structured. Notes of spring flowers, framboise, pomegranate and cedar box. Tannins are huge but well in check. Interestingly once food hit the table this took a backseat to the 2003 Pride Cabernet that was enjoyed alongside it. Certainly one to drink while sitting on the deck with some light fare or on its own. A beat behind the Panek in my humble estimation, but super nonetheless. 91 pts

2003 Pride Mountain Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon (USA, California, Napa Valley)

 Opened 3-4 hours beforehand. Nose shows the Foley profile nicely. Not too over the top, but certainly some chocolate/cocoa notes with a more red fruit profile. Lovely across the palate save for a hint of dryness toward the finish, just a bit and not distracting. I got some red cherry, red raspberries and currant with a touch of cola and malted. Time has treated this nicely and I had to reconfirm it was the regular bottling….twice. Medium weighted viscous wine with resolved tannins and no sign of a cliff in sight. Long and fragrant, this really too a shine above when food hit the table; some tricky pan-Asian dishes really made this pop. (The 09 RM Corona we had alongside it went the other way). I am almost in regret in not owning any of these. What a great showing. 92 pts

Sunday, August 12, 2012

2007 Jean Edwards Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Stagecoach Vineyard (USA, California, Napa Valley)

Opened 2 hours previous to note. Nose of red currant with hints of cherries & dried wood.. Palate has a somewhat sweet & creamy texture with red black fruits in control. Initially there is a boozy quality that dissipates quickly. I now find some cedar, boysenberry and graphite. Nice balance and decent structure. Tannins seem youthful. Long finish keep the fruits in play. 89 pts

Monday, August 6, 2012

1999 Karl Lawrence Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve Morisoli Vineyard (USA, California, Napa Valley)

Black as night. nose has pure creme de cassis, cherry cola and blackberries. The palate shows a slight reductive note I usually don't associate with KL Reserves. There is some nice dark fruits with a lively medium body mouthfeel. Tannins seem nicely resolved. Interestingly enough, this showed so much better a year ago at CLONYC 17, the Got Karl dinner. ( Maybe I am not of the world of 13 year old wines any longer? Maybe this is slightly damaged? Maybe I have to stop buying anything older than 5 years old? Maybe all of the above.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

2010 Rivers-Marie Pinot Noir Summa Vineyard (USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast)

Super fragrant nose of sour strawberries, Asian tea and cranberry. A very intense delivery on this as the palate shows dried and sour fruits of strawberries, dried red currant and pomegranate. A very lively mouth-feel with so much going on. I get hints of cedar, rubbed tea leaf and spring flowers. Tannins are large but behaved and acidity is just right to carry it all to the crescendo, and what a crescendo it is: focused, boisterous and playful all while remaining as serious as a heart attack. Long finish and I am gonna need……more.  93 pts

Friday, August 3, 2012

2009 Congruence Cabernet Sauvignon (USA, California, Napa Valley)

Opened about an hour beforehand. Fragrant black and red fruits on the nose; dusty black-cherry, cassis and hints of cardamom. Palate reveals some fresh kirsch infused blackberries, black cherry and cardamom. I get a creamy midpalate that has some exotic tea leaf and lead pencil shavings. Tannins are somewhat edgy but overall balance is admirable. I get a long finish that keeps true. More fragrance than I remember. A 'very' cab lovers cab. This really hits on all the sense today. Glad I have more, although I may wait about a year for my next. If you must, best to decant for an hour. 92 pts

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

2009 Maybach Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Amoenus (USA, California, Napa Valley)

opened 5 hours and recorked. What I found was consistent with my last night. This is creamy textured, blue and black fruits which include cassis, blueberry and bing cherry. I find spring flowers, cocoa powder, cardamom, and warm vanilla. A very feminine wine with lilt balanced and length. This coats the palate with a blanket of velvet. Nice. 94 pts

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

Saturday, June 30, 2012

2001 Justin Vineyards & Winery Isosceles (USA, California, Central Coast, Paso Robles)

This got old since I last had it. Candied cherries on the nose. Palate has some dull red fruits (muted?). From the last time I had this (4 years back +/-) This had gone to a different side and has become a Bordeaux lovers wine. Probably a good thing if you were not me. Hints of chalkiness and sassafras with red raspberries, red cherries and pomegranate. Some tea leaf and worn leather are in there too. Balance slightly lopsided toward heat. Finish holds true. I have had this no less than 5 times before and this certainly shows a horse of a different color today. Too bad. Drink up.  87 pts

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

2009 Maybach Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Amoenus

Think about how a Maybach Materium gets creamy and plushy with some notes of cola, cocoa powder and warm vanilla? Well, forget all that and meet Maybach Amoenus.

Purple tinged. Nose slightly unyielding. On the palate this is pure Cabernet love. It has red raspberries, violets, black cherry and pomegranate. It glides across the palate with a more square Cabernet approach than round, as the Materium is but there are no rough edges on that square. A nice mouth feel that commands attention. Obviously very young, this needs some bottle time but look out because it will be amazing; there is so much squeezed in the little package; I get some light notes of graphite, eucalyptus and Heering Cherry liqueur. Nice. Balance is pretty deft for its youth with nothing poking you in the eye. Just delicious. This is Robin to Materium's Batman--- who, admit it, was always cooler.

Friday, May 11, 2012

A Dominus Vertical Amongst Friends.

Last night eight happy souls sat down to eat too big a meal and enjoy a decent vertical of Dominus. Here are the results.

A great Aubert Chardonnay was served up top and I can't tell you a thing other than yum.

A blind wine was the red starter. Nano in his usual form is very deft at the aluminum wrap.

Blind: I sensed some cab franc, dustiness and faded fruits. Hints of cedar and graphite were tucked in there too. I figure it to be about 20 years old. Others said a 20 year old Beringer Private Reserve, which I thought a good guess. I said 1991 Mondavi Cab of sort.
Unveil showed it to be a 1997 Napanook. On theme for sure although uninspiring.

1984 Dominus Estate- Corked.

1987 Dominus Estate- fragrant and pretty with youth on its side. Wonderfully structured with black currant, plum and blackberries. This has evolved some nice secondaries of cedar, soy, cardamom and more. This is all about the elegance and I was glad to have experienced it. 93

1990 Dominus Estate- Lighter in color, I would have thought this to be slightly older than the 1987. It started out with decent moderate black fruits and hints of leather. As it sat, it became a bit disjointed. Not a bad drink, but not in the class of the 1987. 88

In this first flight we had unanimous agreement on the 1987 being WOTF.

1991 Dominus Estate- Although this started better than the 1990, it went down the same path within 10 minutes and within those 10 minutes the 1994 climbed the ladder. 89

It had decent fruit and structure. As all others, it was fully resolved. An interesting wine that would have done much better on a table alone. 89

1994 Dominus Estate (decanted 1 hour) - A slow starter, this had a slightly subdued profile of black fruits, cedar, graphite and cassis. As it sat it gained weight, structure and grace. It became deep and fragrant. Tannins still had some life in the and were of the nicely complicated type. It really did go from 0-60 in minutes. Long finish and just an all around pretty and finessful glass of wine, 94

1995 Dominus Estate (decanted 1 hour) - this started out strong and went slightly in the way the 1991 did. It had some nice plushness and a deft balance. It went just a bit flat, but alongside that 1994 even Dolly Parton would be flat. Decant texture and a light to medium weight. Again, probably should blame its younger sibling for its overall showing. 91

In this flight the 1994 had 6 first place votes and the 1995 had 2 votes

1997 Dominus Estate- corked

2001 Dominus Estate (decanted 4 hours early) - This had super black fruits with an intense mouth feel and precision not exhibited yet tonight. Some said riper. I said better ‘vignified’. It was pretty with blackcherries, black currant, cardamom, pomegranate and more. Deep and long, this had miles and miles to go. Perfectly balanced with complicated tannins, a hint of sweetness and cola. I have been following 2001 Napa Cabs for a few years now, and this one does not disappoint. I would seek this one out. Notice this is the first time I said so. 93

2005 Dominus Estate- Tight and unyielding. Once coaxed I got some black fruits showing. Tannins are huge! This truly needs a bunch of time, something I say about most 2005s I encounter. Interesting to see the juxtaposition this created with the older Dominus on the table. Not sure I would place it on a buy list. 90

Overall on the night, (or WOTN votes)
1987 had 4 votes (me as well)
1994 had 2 votes
2001 had 2 votes

Second place:
1991 had 2 votes
2001 had 2 votes (me as well)
1994 had 2 votes
1987 and 1990 had 1 vote each

Going back to the Napanook at the end of the night, it's now become almost Burgundian, very much like a Gevry Wilt Chamberlain, Vieilles Vignes, 1er Crew, Upper Beaune I once had. But that's a story for another time. (It was my first hundred pointer) :)

An interesting night indeed.
Thanks to Nano for setting it up. Harry's on Hanover Square did a great job.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

2009 Maybach Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Materium (USA, California, Napa Valley, Oakville)

Oh Yeah, I did. :)This stuff is amazing..The nose is holding back some (da!). What you can coax out is a sweet (not cloying type) of black cherry and black raspberries. The elegance can be spotted on the nose alone. Hints of kirsch, boysenberry and Framboise are in play. The palate explodes with incredible balance, depth and beauty. If there is a hard edge in the house, I certainly can't feel it. Mouth-coating and medium weight, this creates a wave of intensity bringing on layer upon layer of pure black fruits. Hints of graphite, tar and spring flowers add real interest. Tannins are well defined and complicated, but the overall package is an alchemy of all things good, and all things previous vintages have brought forth; I get the elegance of the 2006, the intensity of the 2005, the poise and structure of the 2007 and the quiet flamboyancy of the 2004. (I have not had the 2008 yet!). The finish just goes on with those layered fruits revealing themselves even more. I love the hint of creaminess that flows through the middle of this. If you've been a fan, you will certainly smile when you get to sample this one. Enjoyable now, I won't touch another of my own for a year. That's not to say I won't of my own for a year ---and not to say I won't taste it for a year...... :) 96 pts

Sunday, April 1, 2012

2010 Rivers-Marie Pinot Noir Gioia Vineyard (USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast)

Strawberry color with a nose macerated bright red strawberries, pomegranate and spring flowers---pretty great. Palate reveals soft gushy red berry fruits with creamy textured mouthfeel. Acidity rides slightly up-ticks (fantastic food friendliness on this) with tannins being slightly chewy. A wonderful structure controls the second part of the journey which goes from easy to corral to a wild unbreakable maverick. Intoxicating notes of soft coco infused strawberries come out at the half-way mark in addition to some nice minerality and sassparilla. Finish is long and remains focused. Glad I have more. 93 pts