16 Napa's What can we expect

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Alan Eden
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#1 Post by Alan Eden » April 4th, 2018, 7:02 pm

From those ITB what can we expect from the 16 vintage ? starting to get teh first mailing lists so im curious about good Napa cabs particularly BTK bottles

What general style and qualities does 16 bring, what recent vintages does it compare to ? softer 12 ? harder 13 ? approachable 14 ?

Thanks

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#2 Post by PHuff » April 4th, 2018, 8:09 pm

What is BTK???
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#3 Post by Sc0tt F!tzger@ld » April 4th, 2018, 8:23 pm

PHuff wrote:What is BTK???
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#4 Post by Rick Smith » April 5th, 2018, 3:57 am

I assume vintage of the century.

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#5 Post by Chris T. » April 5th, 2018, 4:48 am

Rick Smith wrote:I assume vintage of the century.
Lol!!!
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#6 Post by JFertitta » April 5th, 2018, 8:47 am

Rick Smith wrote:I assume vintage of the century.
sounds about right
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#7 Post by Anthony Iezzi » April 5th, 2018, 1:19 pm

Rick Smith wrote:I assume vintage of the century.
Yep yep!

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#8 Post by Casey Hartlip » April 5th, 2018, 7:32 pm

I hear it wasn't great in Calistoga.
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#9 Post by Bdklein » April 5th, 2018, 7:41 pm

Casey Hartlip wrote:I hear it wasn't great in Calistoga.
Oh no, this feud again?
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#10 Post by MICHAEL C R O M W E L L » April 5th, 2018, 7:47 pm

2016 is better than 2011 but behind the other 14 vintages of the century!
M i c h a e l C r o m w e l l

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#11 Post by james l moleberg » April 5th, 2018, 9:08 pm

Casey Hartlip wrote:I hear it wasn't great in Calistoga.
what is your deal?

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#12 Post by Mark Y » April 5th, 2018, 9:15 pm

Ha ha. funny

Ok so any real feedback from anyone?
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#13 Post by Casey Hartlip » April 5th, 2018, 9:18 pm

james l moleberg wrote:
Casey Hartlip wrote:I hear it wasn't great in Calistoga.
what is your deal?
Ok got me. I'm out.
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#14 Post by Karen Troisi » April 6th, 2018, 1:44 pm

We blended our 16’s about a month ago - the only other reds I have tasted from the 16 vintage were during Premiere Napa Valley (if that is an indication 16 will be a very good vintage). Overall our 16’s have a bigger profile than 14 and 15 - but not quite in your face as 13 was at this stage. We will be bottling 16’s in August.
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#15 Post by Eric LaMasters » April 6th, 2018, 3:30 pm

The barrel samples of 2016s I tried last summer were terrific. I think it will be another great vintage. I thought they had a bit more stuffing and concentration than the 2015s.

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#16 Post by Rick Smith » April 6th, 2018, 7:57 pm

Rick Smith wrote:I assume vintage of the century.
Bump

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#17 Post by Roy Piper » April 6th, 2018, 10:29 pm

Well, 2016 is probably better than 2015. Better than 2014, too. Not quite at level of 2013, which is the second coming of 2002. 2016 is better than 2017.

The 16s are lower in alcohol than the 15s and there is more wine produced. Great balance. Kind of a cross of the balance of 2012 and the structure of 2014. Not as tannic as 2015, which like 2007 and 1997 is gonna need time. Then again, 1997 and 2007 never quite lived up to the early promise, so....

2016 reminds me of 2006, which has really turned into an excellent vintage in retrospect.

Most of the 2016s I've had were really good. And them have been good for some time and I don't think they are gonna shut down.
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#18 Post by jeffruggels » April 7th, 2018, 8:10 pm

thanks Roy

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#19 Post by Roy Piper » April 8th, 2018, 9:21 am

We will see with 2017, but the 2012-2016 range is the best run of consecutive vintages Napa has had since the 1991-1997 seven-peat. Just like that period, some are a little better than others. Here is my own current impressions of each Cab vintage since I arrived in Napa. Remember that I think Napa Cabs are best consumed between ages 8-15yrs most of the time.

2005: fruit forward, large crop, start drinking, 90pts

2006: gorgeous for last several years, improved a lot in bottle, drink over next 5yrs, 95pts

2007: tannic when young, huge early promise but hit or miss, will tannin outlive fruit? Try now. 91pts

2008: good but rarely anything spectacular. Start trying. 88pts

2009: quite ripe, lacking tannin, not long agers, drink up over next 5 years 87pts

2010: cool vintage with heat spikes, exc tannin, can age, give a try now 94pts

2011: poor, cold, wet vintage. A small number of wines are beauts. Drink now and next five. 75pts

2012: large crop, these wines have never shut down, drink now and next 5. Under-rated vintage. Beautiful 94pts

2013: has it all, fruit, tannin, depth. Should age well. The 2002 of this generation. Lay down a few years. 97pts

2014: leaner and more structured, might really appeal to some. Built to last. Lay down. 92pts

2015: a lot like 97 and 07. Very tannic, needs time. Have great potential but we will see. 90-94pts

2016: balanced and deep, showing immense promise. feels like the 06 vintage, 93-95pts

2017: lower alcohol, hit and miss, there will be excellence but not across board and we won't know until its in bottle. 87-91pts
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#20 Post by Andrew W. » April 8th, 2018, 9:28 am

Awesome, thanks Roy
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#21 Post by John Webber » April 8th, 2018, 1:35 pm

Great work Roy, thank you.

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#22 Post by Mark Y » April 8th, 2018, 3:01 pm

Thank you Roy!
Y.e.

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#23 Post by Ed Steinway » April 8th, 2018, 3:07 pm

Thanks, Roy. Your post was very informative and useful!

Thanks,
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#24 Post by Robert Chesnick » April 8th, 2018, 3:08 pm

Thanks for your insight Roy. By the way, I opened one of your 2014's last night with a 1-2 hour decant and it was fantastic,

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#25 Post by R. Frankel » April 8th, 2018, 8:55 pm

Thanks Roy. I’m surprised to see the width of the range for 2005-2010. I’ve seen much more consistency across these vintages. Eg. the 2009s I’ve had have been very similar to 2008s.
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#26 Post by Merrill Lindquist » April 9th, 2018, 6:42 pm

OK, I was going to stay away from posting on this thread, but when did I ever listen to myself? I need a meaningful 9000th post!

Roy is a friend and colleague. We do not always agree. He tastes MUCH more widely than I do. But, and in all due respect to my friend, I disagree with his assessments. And I would never go out there and award points like that.

I have a micro-assessment from growing, making, and selling my own Cabernet. But that does not invalidate my experience. Many of my personal experiences vary so widely from his that I wonder if we are tasting anything Napa at all!

Roy knows I will lay out a vertical for him any time. Of my own EMH Black Cat.
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#27 Post by Jim F » April 9th, 2018, 8:30 pm

Ok, so Merrill, where and how do you disagree? Just wondering...
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#28 Post by Merrill Lindquist » April 9th, 2018, 8:40 pm

Jim F wrote:Ok, so Merrill, where and how do you disagree? Just wondering...
I am jet-lagged from a week in Boston. I used to do the time difference easily. These days? Not well.

But I will approach this tomorrow. As always, I will be truthful. And as I said, it will be from my own perspective. But yes, I look forward to addressing Mr. Piper's opinions, one by one.
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#29 Post by NED VALOIS » April 9th, 2018, 8:45 pm

Roy,
How about '16 Paso Robles Syrahs etc?

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#30 Post by Bruce Rudman » April 9th, 2018, 9:05 pm

Generally Roy may be right in many respects. But, wines are different where they were grown - case in point, the 2011 (mold year). The valley floor was devastated if not already picked before the early October rains (fixed). The mountain fruit from many producers was just fine. But, even valley floor fruit from the better winemakers was much better than 75 pts!

I never thought of the 2012's as underrated; I loved that vintage when they were young and I have rarely been disappointed with the '12's.

I really liked 2005 back around 2008-2010. Not holding up as well as I hoped. Still love 2007 (much better than 2006).
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#31 Post by Merrill Lindquist » April 9th, 2018, 10:43 pm

Unless my mind is totally screwed up, in 2011 the rain started on Monday, October 3. That was my latest pick ever, and at the lowest Brix ever. I made the call to pick, got it done, through the crusher, into the tank, and got into my car at the winery at 11:45 a.m. The first rain hit my windshield as I turned the key in the ignition. The rest is history.
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#32 Post by Bruce Rudman » April 10th, 2018, 6:17 am

Merrill Lindquist wrote:Unless my mind is totally screwed up, in 2011 the rain started on Monday, October 3. That was my latest pick ever, and at the lowest Brix ever. I made the call to pick, got it done, through the crusher, into the tank, and got into my car at the winery at 11:45 a.m. The first rain hit my windshield as I turned the key in the ignition. The rest is history.
A very good call, Merrill!
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#33 Post by Merrill Lindquist » April 10th, 2018, 10:04 am

Bruce Rudman wrote:
Merrill Lindquist wrote:Unless my mind is totally screwed up, in 2011 the rain started on Monday, October 3. That was my latest pick ever, and at the lowest Brix ever. I made the call to pick, got it done, through the crusher, into the tank, and got into my car at the winery at 11:45 a.m. The first rain hit my windshield as I turned the key in the ignition. The rest is history.
A very good call, Merrill!
Dual meaning. My call to pick then turned out to be "a very good call." As usual, I came under fire from some people for picking "too early." And calling you on your inadvertent mis-speak is a good call, too!
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#34 Post by Merrill Lindquist » April 10th, 2018, 10:49 am

[quote="Roy Piper"]We will see with 2017, but the 2012-2016 range is the best run of consecutive vintages Napa has had since the 1991-1997 seven-peat. Just like that period, some are a little better than others. Here is my own current impressions of each Cab vintage since I arrived in Napa. Remember that I think Napa Cabs are best consumed between ages 8-15yrs most of the time.

2005: fruit forward, large crop, start drinking, 90pts

Merrill: The most inconsistent, PITA vintage I have produced. This one has done the cha-cha on me too many times. I won't even show it anymore. I was not as heavily involved in the winemaking aspect back then, more focusing on growing, but the man who handled this one for me is deceased. Not going to find out soon what we did wrong. Not sure if other wineries experienced strangeness, too. 90 would be high for me, as I value consistency.

2006: gorgeous for last several years, improved a lot in bottle, drink over next 5yrs, 95pts

Merrill: agreed. Balanced and elegant, with every part working together. Was not this great out of the gate, but those who love wines that are mature love this one. I would rate slightly lower.


2007: tannic when young, huge early promise but hit or miss, will tannin outlive fruit? Try now. 91pts

Merrill: I love love love this wine! Opened a bottle the other night at a restaurant, and just from the bouquet when it was decanted, the waitperson went scurrying to google EMH. She is studying wine at Boston U. Very happy lady when I left her the remains of the decanter. I would rate a lot higher.

2008: good but rarely anything spectacular. Start trying. 88pts

Merrill: Opened this one this past weekend at a house party of non wine geeks. They loved it. I poured it after my 2011, which they had sucked down, but when I insisted that they try them side by side, everyone wanted more 2008. I would rate way higher.

2009: quite ripe, lacking tannin, not long agers, drink up over next 5 years 87pts

Merrill: My best vintage. Elegant, feminine, and drinking so well since it emerged from the crusher! It ain't going anywhere south in 5 years. The core of fruit (which seems to have shifted from red to darker) will make it enjoyable for a long time. Rate way way way higher.

2010: cool vintage with heat spikes, exc tannin, can age, give a try now 94pts

Merrill: This is quite the burly one. It still needs time to come together, unlike the 2007 and 2009. Bouquet is awesome. I often describe it as the 2008 in a new jacket. Would rate a bit lower.

2011: poor, cold, wet vintage. A small number of wines are beauts. Drink now and next five. [75[/b]

Merrill: Mine is a beauty. Not green, but the herbal notes (dried sage) keep this one interesting. No one has turned it away. Definitely good for the AFWE crowd. I sell it every time I show it. I think it will last virtually forever. Add at least 15 points and you have a better assessment

2012: large crop, these wines have never shut down, drink now and next 5. Under-rated vintage. Beautiful 94pts

Merrill: Yes, a large crop. I like it. It will go more than 5 more. I would rate slightly lower, perhaps.

2013: has it all, fruit, tannin, depth. Should age well. The 2002 of this generation. Lay down a few years. 97pts

Merrill: Not arguing here.

2014: leaner and more structured, might really appeal to some. Built to last. Lay down. 92pts[/b

Merrill: Still trying to wrap my arms around this one. Agree that it is built to last.

2015: a lot like 97 and 07. Very tannic, needs time. Have great potential but we will see. 90-94pts]

Merrill: Just bottled last June - not even a year in bottle. I am withholding comment because I do not know this one well enough yet!

2016: balanced and deep, showing immense promise. feels like the 06 vintage, 93-95pts

Merrill: Rich, full, awesome fruit. Still in barrel. Have recently made my choices for Special Selection and regular Black Cat. Clueless on rating at this point, but it is no slacker.

2017: lower alcohol, hit and miss, there will be excellence but not across board and we won't know until its in bottle. 87-91pts

Merrill: Six months in barrel.... This one had a stuck fermentation, for some reason. We re-started it, and I think it messed with the conversion rate (sugar to alcohol). Does not taste high alcohol, but preliminary labs are indicating it. Gorgeous, gorgeous fruit. Small production.
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#35 Post by ky1em!ttskus » April 10th, 2018, 10:56 am

I’m not sure which is less useful — broad vintage generalizations about a huge area or vintage assessments from a single, tiny plot of land within said huge area. neener

Seriously, though, I very much appreciate the posts from you both.

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#36 Post by Merrill Lindquist » April 10th, 2018, 11:12 am

ky1em!ttskus wrote:I’m not sure which is less useful — broad vintage generalizations about a huge area or vintage assessments from a single, tiny plot of land within said huge area. neener

Seriously, though, I very much appreciate the posts from you both.
I agree. Perhaps someone else can add a third perspective and the dialogue will continue!

Many vintners and winemakers purchase fruit from various sources, and don't have control over some of the growing aspects, or the changing fruit source alters the profile. My fruit source is always the same, and the cellar staff I use is always at the same facility, so I believe what I experience is truly vintage difference.

As I said, Mr. Piper tastes far and wide. I tend to taste close and narrow. The hundreds of acres being farmed in my neighborhood provide fruit for a wide range of wineries. You will see fruit being harvested at various points of maturity. And virtually no one outside knows which techniques each winery employs to produce its wines.

Lots of food (fruit?) for thought!
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#37 Post by Craig G » April 10th, 2018, 12:08 pm

Merrill Lindquist wrote:2005: fruit forward, large crop, start drinking, 90pts

Merrill: The most inconsistent, PITA vintage I have produced. This one has done the cha-cha on me too many times. I won't even show it anymore. I was not as heavily involved in the winemaking aspect back then, more focusing on growing, but the man who handled this one for me is deceased.
Remind me not to cross Merrill.
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#38 Post by Merrill Lindquist » April 10th, 2018, 12:38 pm

Craig G wrote:
Merrill Lindquist wrote:2005: fruit forward, large crop, start drinking, 90pts

Merrill: The most inconsistent, PITA vintage I have produced. This one has done the cha-cha on me too many times. I won't even show it anymore. I was not as heavily involved in the winemaking aspect back then, more focusing on growing, but the man who handled this one for me is deceased.
Remind me not to cross Merrill.
You and our host during my October fire evacuation get an infinite hall pass. Your kindness, good (if slightly engineerish) humor and warmth, in addition to Champagne and the most divine cheeses I have ever had...they will stay with me forever.

If you want to pay for the shipping, I will send you some of my 2005. It will probably be outstanding! Anyone else who wants in, please email me. I have a few cases left. Then ya'll can post on CellarTracker and bury that baby.
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#39 Post by Bill Tex Landreth » April 10th, 2018, 1:15 pm

First off, I trust what Roy has to say in regard to both broad vintage ratings and specific wine recommendations to the effect that his opinions carry more weight than any critic for me these days. He tastes far and wide, and he does have the Napa insider track that he can parlay into early access to things we here cannot. Sure he has some Napa Fanboy bias, but same here in our household. I have tasted with him (been years though) and his palate aligns really well with mine. As for numerical valuations, that of course is purely subjective, but overall impressions are what I am going to base my dollar expenditures on anyway.

Secondly, I had a text conversation this past weekend with another Napa owner/winemaker and he summed up the 2013-2016 vintages pretty well. Although, he gave no points to specific years. Of course that is fine when talking the same language such as tannin, ripeness, extraction, etc. From what I gather, 2016 is a year for me to spend some coin on all up and down the spectrum of Napa wines.

Third, I have had only one 2016 Napa Cab Sauv so far. It was a Textbook Napa Cabernet Sauvignon from two weeks ago tasted side by side with the 2015. Of course it was a baby, but with four hours of air the wine was way approachable and more refined than the 2015. The '15 is still brooding and full of tannin. Based on a minuscule sample size, I prefer this 2016 to its counterpart. Again, I need to go to Napa to taste to make a broad call (I plan to make a venture in Summer to bring some of my Wagyu).

Finally, to speak Merrill's points and opinions above...we get it. You are the only one in Napa that picks as early and at such a low brix. You yourself admit to having a micro-assessment of Napa and how wines are made at other properties. Your opinion is yours, of course.

We all know that you have lots of fans here and this is going to ruffle some feathers, but you are not a winemaker or vineyard manager by any stretch. Deciding on a pick date makes you the owner of the property, sorry. Also, the constant promotion of your wine and very little mention of any competitors in Valley does grow a bit tiresome. I have had winemakers tell me offline that your property is being underutilized and mismanaged. The comment was that if someone else bought the property and a new wine making team brought in, the brand would garner huge scores and dollars. Just some more food for thought.
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#40 Post by ky1em!ttskus » April 10th, 2018, 1:35 pm

Merrill, I think Tex might be in love with you. #notjoking

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#41 Post by Bill Tex Landreth » April 10th, 2018, 1:40 pm

ky1em!ttskus wrote:Merrill, I think Tex might be in love with you. #notjoking
Nope. Too many strikes against her.
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#42 Post by Alan Rath » April 10th, 2018, 1:56 pm

Roy Piper wrote:2011: poor, cold, wet vintage. A small number of wines are beauts. Drink now and next five. 75pts
Funny, one man's poor is another's exceptional. For me, this was the best vintage of this century. When picked before things went totally bad, these are classic old school wines, remembering wines from decades ago. I will take a 2011 every time over most other recent vintages.
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#43 Post by Merrill Lindquist » April 10th, 2018, 2:09 pm

As I said many times here, and will reiterate, Roy Piper and I are friends. When I was evacuated for the fire in early October, he was the first to check on my property. I told him where the key was so he could actually enter my house. My post is not a case of mis-trust or negativism toward my friend Mr. Piper. Just another view.
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16 Napa's What can we expect

#44 Post by Roy Piper » April 10th, 2018, 2:13 pm

I am a little lucky because when I attend the Premier Napa Valley Auction every February, all the wines are from the vintage 15 months prior. So the other month I was lucky to try about 150 top Cabs from 2016, all in one place. Plus another 50-75 throughout that week. Most of these Cabs were about 4-6 months from bottling, so its a nice time for a snapshot. I really liked what I tasted. A year ago I thought 15 might be the cat's meow, but I and others are starting to think the it might be a little less incredible than we thought due to the very high ripeness and massive tannin, and 16 might be better than we thought.

I still rank 2015 as an excellent year, but I am a little nervous that the tannin levels will outlive the fruit. It reminds me of 1997 and 2007 overall, which had "Vintage of the Century" promise early but in my mind, never quite seemed to fulfill its early promise. And I wonder if 2015 might be in that line.

I think it comes down to the style one prefers. 2015 reminds me of a Myriad Dr. Crane styled-vintage and 2016 reminds me of a VHR styled-vintage, if that helps describe them. Hope that helps! Is one really better than another? Not necessarily, but everyone can probably identify what their preferences are, stylistically.

Also, I am chatting with several Napa (and some Sonoma) winemakers about their thoughts on each vintage, all the time. Each person will have their own views of their own wines and I put them all together in my head and my impression of a vintage comes from a combo of my own tastings of their wines and their own impressions.

If I were to review my own wines, I would rank them in a very different order than my impressions of the vintage, overall. As of right now, my rank for my wines in bottle is, in order... 2014, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2011, 2010. My 2011 is better than my 2010 for me, although for most wineries it was the other way around. Also, my 2012 might be better than my 2013, which again is different than the majority. So I try to make my vintage calls based upon the totality of wines I have had from a vintage, not my own wines.

Bruce is absolutely right about the differences between the floor and mountains in 2011. I posted back in early 2012 that I thought the mountains has a solid vintage in 2011 because they did not have the fog after the heat wave whose humidity caused the mold and early picking before full ripeness. Having had several 2011 mountains since then, I think that even in the mountains, it was in the end only a so-so vintage overall. Although they did pick at the usual 25-27 brix a full month after the floor had been picked off, I think they still suffer from a cold year in general where the flavors never developed their proper depth. So if I had to separate out the mountains from the floor in 2011, I might give the floor a 65 rating and the mountains a 86 or 87. Okay, but not great. I've had some mountain Cabs that got 95 scores in that vintage that seem to have already peaked out and now that the new oak is wearing off, are a little thinner than they appeared when they were first bottled. Obviously not true in all situations, but enough where I ding my vintage rating overall.
Last edited by Roy Piper on April 10th, 2018, 2:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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16 Napa's What can we expect

#45 Post by bob poirier » April 10th, 2018, 2:20 pm

Bill Tex Landreth wrote:First off, I trust what Roy has to say in regard to both broad vintage ratings and specific wine recommendations to the effect that his opinions carry more weight than any critic for me these days. He tastes far and wide, and he does have the Napa insider track that he can parlay into early access to things we here cannot. Sure he has some Napa Fanboy bias, but same here in our household. I have tasted with him (been years though) and his palate aligns really well with mine. As for numerical valuations, that of course is purely subjective, but overall impressions are what I am going to base my dollar expenditures on anyway.

Secondly, I had a text conversation this past weekend with another Napa owner/winemaker and he summed up the 2013-2016 vintages pretty well. Although, he gave no points to specific years. Of course that is fine when talking the same language such as tannin, ripeness, extraction, etc. From what I gather, 2016 is a year for me to spend some coin on all up and down the spectrum of Napa wines.

Third, I have had only one 2016 Napa Cab Sauv so far. It was a Textbook Napa Cabernet Sauvignon from two weeks ago tasted side by side with the 2015. Of course it was a baby, but with four hours of air the wine was way approachable and more refined than the 2015. The '15 is still brooding and full of tannin. Based on a minuscule sample size, I prefer this 2016 to its counterpart. Again, I need to go to Napa to taste to make a broad call (I plan to make a venture in Summer to bring some of my Wagyu).

Finally, to speak Merrill's points and opinions above...we get it. You are the only one in Napa that picks as early and at such a low brix. You yourself admit to having a micro-assessment of Napa and how wines are made at other properties. Your opinion is yours, of course.

We all know that you have lots of fans here and this is going to ruffle some feathers, but you are not a winemaker or vineyard manager by any stretch. Deciding on a pick date makes you the owner of the property, sorry. Also, the constant promotion of your wine and very little mention of any competitors in Valley does grow a bit tiresome. I have had winemakers tell me offline that your property is being underutilized and mismanaged. The comment was that if someone else bought the property and a new wine making team brought in, the brand would garner huge scores and dollars. Just some more food for thought.


What is the point of this? Someone asks a question and a winemaker answers in an honest way and you attack her, well done . ..we get it you eat wagyu....you are awesome.

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#46 Post by Jim F » April 10th, 2018, 2:23 pm

Roy and Merrill - thank you for your candid comments!
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#47 Post by Bill Tex Landreth » April 10th, 2018, 2:32 pm

bob poirier wrote:
Bill Tex Landreth wrote:First off, I trust what Roy has to say in regard to both broad vintage ratings and specific wine recommendations to the effect that his opinions carry more weight than any critic for me these days. He tastes far and wide, and he does have the Napa insider track that he can parlay into early access to things we here cannot. Sure he has some Napa Fanboy bias, but same here in our household. I have tasted with him (been years though) and his palate aligns really well with mine. As for numerical valuations, that of course is purely subjective, but overall impressions are what I am going to base my dollar expenditures on anyway.

Secondly, I had a text conversation this past weekend with another Napa owner/winemaker and he summed up the 2013-2016 vintages pretty well. Although, he gave no points to specific years. Of course that is fine when talking the same language such as tannin, ripeness, extraction, etc. From what I gather, 2016 is a year for me to spend some coin on all up and down the spectrum of Napa wines.

Third, I have had only one 2016 Napa Cab Sauv so far. It was a Textbook Napa Cabernet Sauvignon from two weeks ago tasted side by side with the 2015. Of course it was a baby, but with four hours of air the wine was way approachable and more refined than the 2015. The '15 is still brooding and full of tannin. Based on a minuscule sample size, I prefer this 2016 to its counterpart. Again, I need to go to Napa to taste to make a broad call (I plan to make a venture in Summer to bring some of my Wagyu).

Finally, to speak Merrill's points and opinions above...we get it. You are the only one in Napa that picks as early and at such a low brix. You yourself admit to having a micro-assessment of Napa and how wines are made at other properties. Your opinion is yours, of course.

We all know that you have lots of fans here and this is going to ruffle some feathers, but you are not a winemaker or vineyard manager by any stretch. Deciding on a pick date makes you the owner of the property, sorry. Also, the constant promotion of your wine and very little mention of any competitors in Valley does grow a bit tiresome. I have had winemakers tell me offline that your property is being underutilized and mismanaged. The comment was that if someone else bought the property and a new wine making team brought in, the brand would garner huge scores and dollars. Just some more food for thought.


What is the point of this? Someone asks a question and a winemaker answers in an honest way and you attack her, well done . ..we get it you eat wagyu....you are awesome.
I know I am awesome. Thanks.

She is NOT a winemaker. Please, everyone understand this. She owns a house on a vineyard with some cats.
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16 Napa's What can we expect

#48 Post by Roy Piper » April 10th, 2018, 2:35 pm

Alan Rath wrote:
Roy Piper wrote:2011: poor, cold, wet vintage. A small number of wines are beauts. Drink now and next five. 75pts
Funny, one man's poor is another's exceptional. For me, this was the best vintage of this century. When picked before things went totally bad, these are classic old school wines, remembering wines from decades ago. I will take a 2011 every time over most other recent vintages.
I really like my own 2011 and think it's among the best of a poor vintage. But yeah, it comes down to style preference for sure. To me, best wines from the floor in Napa in 2011 tastes like 1999 Bordeaux from second and third growths. Some people loved those wines! I also know some people several years ago who were finding they liked 2000 Napa Cabs and found good ones a bargain prices.

Yet someone in Europe might try a 2013 Napa Cab and find it undrinkable. [tease.gif]
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#49 Post by Merrill Lindquist » April 10th, 2018, 2:37 pm

Bill Tex Landreth wrote:First off, I trust what Roy has to say in regard to both broad vintage ratings and specific wine recommendations to the effect that his opinions carry more weight than any critic for me these days. He tastes far and wide, and he does have the Napa insider track that he can parlay into early access to things we here cannot. Sure he has some Napa Fanboy bias, but same here in our household. I have tasted with him (been years though) and his palate aligns really well with mine. As for numerical valuations, that of course is purely subjective, but overall impressions are what I am going to base my dollar expenditures on anyway.

Secondly, I had a text conversation this past weekend with another Napa owner/winemaker and he summed up the 2013-2016 vintages pretty well. Although, he gave no points to specific years. Of course that is fine when talking the same language such as tannin, ripeness, extraction, etc. From what I gather, 2016 is a year for me to spend some coin on all up and down the spectrum of Napa wines.

Third, I have had only one 2016 Napa Cab Sauv so far. It was a Textbook Napa Cabernet Sauvignon from two weeks ago tasted side by side with the 2015. Of course it was a baby, but with four hours of air the wine was way approachable and more refined than the 2015. The '15 is still brooding and full of tannin. Based on a minuscule sample size, I prefer this 2016 to its counterpart. Again, I need to go to Napa to taste to make a broad call (I plan to make a venture in Summer to bring some of my Wagyu).

Finally, to speak Merrill's points and opinions above...we get it. You are the only one in Napa that picks as early and at such a low brix. You yourself admit to having a micro-assessment of Napa and how wines are made at other properties. Your opinion is yours, of course.

We all know that you have lots of fans here and this is going to ruffle some feathers, but you are not a winemaker or vineyard manager by any stretch. Deciding on a pick date makes you the owner of the property, sorry. Also, the constant promotion of your wine and very little mention of any competitors in Valley does grow a bit tiresome. I have had winemakers tell me offline that your property is being underutilized and mismanaged. The comment was that if someone else bought the property and a new wine making team brought in, the brand would garner huge scores and dollars. Just some more food for thought.
Put me on ignore. I have welcomed you in the past into my home as a guest and sent you a thank you bottle of wine for the wine we "discovered" at my table.

If you think I am going to be pushed to invalidate my opinion and 18 years of experience because you attack me, think again. And please, please let me know who is going to make my call to pick my vineyard this 2018 vintage. I'll take a long vacation. And then tell me who is going to make barreling decisions and bottling decisions. And new label submissions to the government. And website changes. Man, I could use someone with all that knowledge and experience and expertise.

The buck starts and stops here. I make the call to pick, and I get Clark Vineyard Management in with the crew to do that pick. And I add my own Quality Assurance team to that. If that does not suit everyone's idea of a grower/owner/winemaker, I can't help that.

And yes, I have received 2 unsolicited requests to view my property - just this week - from those eager to buy. I am not rich, but I do own this - all of this - and I alone make the decisions. I think we've got that straight, now.
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#50 Post by William Segui » April 10th, 2018, 2:38 pm

Comparing vintages is hard, especially when there are no real objective standards or markers. I have impressions, recollections and subsequently trying the wines, I think 15 & 16 are just different and great wines were made in both vintages. But even that depends upon how you rate/quantify great.

2015 - consistently warm (except for two weeks in May during bloom resulting in a poor set), no weather events I can recall. Tiny berries, full canopies -- a race car engine on a go kart frame. The wines are dense & powerful with lots of fruit.

2016 - yields recovered, weather was super cooperative including a great two week cooling period in August that allowed phenolic development to catch up to brix. I've heard it said the best vintages are the hardest to remember and I don't recall much about Harvest 16 save the luxury of picking when you wanted to (which wasn't necessarily the case across the board in 15).

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