Recommendations for Napa/Sonoma Blind Tasting Contest

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Tom Chawluk
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Recommendations for Napa/Sonoma Blind Tasting Contest

#1 Post by Tom Chawluk » November 18th, 2019, 3:06 pm

Hello all,

I am a longtime lurker, first time poster, and have gained a wealth of information from this community.  I was hoping to solicit some suggestions for a wine tasting that I have coming up this week.

The tasting group (10-15 people) is mostly wine novices, but has some bar/restaurant industry professionals and one somm.  Every month or so, we get together and have a tasting/competition where each person brings a bottle of their choice from the specified region, and we put together a kitty to cover food and the prize at the end.  We blind taste all of the bottles, and vote on our favorite.  The person who brought the wine that gets voted the best gets the prize, which is usually a magnum of a good wine from that night's region/category.  Our last tasting/competition was any wine from Tuscany, but Sangiovese couldn't be the dominant varietal.  The winner took home a magnum of Sassicaia. 

This month's tasting theme is wines from Napa or Sonoma.  These are probably the regions I know least about, as my wife and I typically drink wines from other areas (Italy, France, Chile, Oregon, South Africa, etc.).  I have never been a huge fan of big California Cabs, but that might be more to do with the fact that the standout wines from the area were so expensive by the time that we really got into wine 5-6 years ago.
I listed some wines that I was considering for my bottle, and any insight/recommendations are greatly appreciated.  I assume, based on the group, that the majority of wines will be big, bold cabs, many of which will be too young to show at their best.

Here's some that I was considering:

Anderson Conn Valley Eloge
Alpha Omega Red Blend
Shafer Relentless

All suggestions/recommendations welcome.

Thanks!

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Chris Seiber
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Re: Recommendations for Napa/Sonoma Blind Tasting Contest

#2 Post by Chris Seiber » November 18th, 2019, 3:40 pm

Questions:

1. Is your goal to try to compete for bringing the wine that will get the most votes? (zero judgment or criticism implied by the question, but it's relevant to what you ought to pick)

2. What types of wines tend to appeal to the others in the group? What style (big/modern, traditional, savory/low alcohol)? What types of grapes? Do they tend to like young wines or mature one?

3. Can it be any kind of red wine and any age from those regions?

4. How much are you looking to spend for the bottle?

5. Are you willing/able to source your bottle over the internet and have it shipped, or if not, what places do you have available to you for your purchase?

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Re: Recommendations for Napa/Sonoma Blind Tasting Contest

#3 Post by Ian H » November 18th, 2019, 5:01 pm

Chris asks all the right questions, and I'm far from a Napa/Sonoma expert, but FWIW within the past few months I've had a couple bottles that were truly excellent and drinking great, and furthermore that I could see having wide appeal, even for the people in your group that aren't as into wine as you are. They were 2014 Bedrock Heritage and 2014 Montalena Estate Cab.
@@S

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Anton D
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Re: Recommendations for Napa/Sonoma Blind Tasting Contest

#4 Post by Anton D » November 18th, 2019, 5:05 pm

Chris nailed it, then we will chime in more!

And welcome to you!
Anton Dotson

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Re: Recommendations for Napa/Sonoma Blind Tasting Contest

#5 Post by Tom Chawluk » November 18th, 2019, 6:09 pm

Thanks all! To answer those questions

1. Is your goal to try to compete for bringing the wine that will get the most votes? (zero judgment or criticism implied by the question, but it's relevant to what you ought to pick)- Yes, I would like to win, but that is secondary to just being able to taste some good wines that I don’t normally buy.

2. What types of wines tend to appeal to the others in the group? What style (big/modern, traditional, savory/low alcohol)? What types of grapes? Do they tend to like young wines or mature one?- This isn’t my main tasting group, but I think the group leans toward big, new world modern reds. However, I feel that is more a result of the demographics (most of the group are late 30’s guys new into wine), even if that is a somewhat unfair stereotype. I myself prefer old world, restrained wines and typically gravitate to burgundy (especially with some age on it), northern rhone, Piedmont, Tuscany

3. Can it be any kind of red wine and any age from those regions?- Yes, it can be any varietal and any vintage

4. How much are you looking to spend for the bottle? $50-$100, but possibly a little more if the bottle intrigues me.

5. Are you willing/able to source your bottle over the internet and have it shipped, or if not, what places do you have available to you for your purchase? Yes, I can buy online and ship. I also have many wine shops within 30 minutes, in PA, NJ, DE.

Thanks again for the help!

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Anton D
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Re: Recommendations for Napa/Sonoma Blind Tasting Contest

#6 Post by Anton D » November 18th, 2019, 6:21 pm

Mmmmm!

Thinking of cabs to compete with other bigger style wines, and not wines other people are likely to bring...

https://www.ryew.com/product/2015-Scion ... position=1

https://www.arrowoodvineyards.com/r%C3% ... -sauvignon

https://shop.grgich.com/SHOP.AMS?LEVEL=BOT&PART=CSNV15
Anton Dotson

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Re: Recommendations for Napa/Sonoma Blind Tasting Contest

#7 Post by GregT » November 18th, 2019, 7:37 pm

So it doesn't matter if you mix varieties, etc., or reds and whites?

Then I'd just go with the kind of stuff the group seems to like. If they like big, get some big Syrah or Zin. Or just some good ones - Carlisle for example.

If they like leaner styles, then I'd avoid Cab altogether and get some Syrah from the west west like Failla, or not even so far west, like Fogline or Wind Gap. They all make good whites too.
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Re: Recommendations for Napa/Sonoma Blind Tasting Contest

#8 Post by Karl K » November 18th, 2019, 9:19 pm

Kamen CS is a nice Sonoma Cab Sauv which would be interesting in a tasting like this.

My guess is some would think it is from Napa.
K a z a k s

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Re: Recommendations for Napa/Sonoma Blind Tasting Contest

#9 Post by Brian Tuite » November 19th, 2019, 5:00 am

You can’t go wrong with any of these...

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FB571CC4-80A2-4135-8B8C-48F3687A344A.jpeg
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Re: Recommendations for Napa/Sonoma Blind Tasting Contest

#10 Post by Steve Crawford » November 19th, 2019, 5:03 am

gotta throw in a prisoner in here for shits and giggles.

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Anton D
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Re: Recommendations for Napa/Sonoma Blind Tasting Contest

#11 Post by Anton D » November 19th, 2019, 7:18 am

Karl K wrote:
November 18th, 2019, 9:19 pm
Kamen CS is a nice Sonoma Cab Sauv which would be interesting in a tasting like this.

My guess is some would think it is from Napa.
I agree! I was just too lazy to keep going!
Anton Dotson

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Re: Recommendations for Napa/Sonoma Blind Tasting Contest

#12 Post by Tom Chawluk » November 19th, 2019, 8:50 am

Much thanks to everyone! After some research and deliberation, I decided to go with a 2013 Kamen Estate Cab. I'll let everyone know how it goes.

Thanks again

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Re: Recommendations for Napa/Sonoma Blind Tasting Contest

#13 Post by B. Buzzini » November 19th, 2019, 9:23 am

Ridge Geyserville is always a fav in blinds.
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Re: Recommendations for Napa/Sonoma Blind Tasting Contest

#14 Post by Ken Strauss » November 19th, 2019, 1:39 pm

Lewis cellars makes a big bold cab that has been a crowd favorite at many tastings I have been to.
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Re: Recommendations for Napa/Sonoma Blind Tasting Contest

#15 Post by Chris Seiber » November 19th, 2019, 3:31 pm

Tom Chawluk wrote:
November 19th, 2019, 8:50 am
Much thanks to everyone! After some research and deliberation, I decided to go with a 2013 Kamen Estate Cab. I'll let everyone know how it goes.

Thanks again
I haven't had that, but I just read the notes on CellarTracker, and it sounds like a great choice for your event.

I look forward to hearing about the tasting and the winner. And hopefully, you might choose to join us going forward and post here - it's a good group.

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Re: Recommendations for Napa/Sonoma Blind Tasting Contest

#16 Post by John Glas » November 20th, 2019, 4:36 am

[quoteAnderson Conn Valley Eloge][/quote]Very good start

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Re: Recommendations for Napa/Sonoma Blind Tasting Contest

#17 Post by Matt A » November 20th, 2019, 6:12 am

Good choice on the Kamen.
Heads up when pouring, those bottles usually have quite a bit of sediment in the bottom.

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Re: Recommendations for Napa/Sonoma Blind Tasting Contest- UPDATE- WINNER!

#18 Post by Tom Chawluk » December 2nd, 2019, 4:58 am

Hi all,

As promised, I am checking back in after the blind tasting/competition that I attended. Due to the great recommendations from the community, I am happy to report that the 2013 Kamen Cab took first place! The prize that I took home was a bottle of 2015 Trefethen HaLo.

Some of the wines that it beat out were Realm Cellars (not sure of which Realm wine), Cakebread Cab, and multiple other Napa Cabs. I will try to get a full list, and update this post.

Thanks again to everyone for their recommendations, and happy to be a part of this great group!

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Re: Recommendations for Napa/Sonoma Blind Tasting Contest

#19 Post by Brandon R » December 2nd, 2019, 12:03 pm

Tom, thank YOU for closing the loop and posting again with resolution. I've never had a Kamen...I might have to rectify that.
B. Redman

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