AG's 95 points versus RP's 97 points


I was poking around my local retail store on Friday and picked up a single bottle of the 2014 Martini Alexander Valley Cab that Robert Parker highly rated. A few friends were coming over for a low key BBQ Saturday night and thought why not serve this alongside a 2013 Clos du Val. Have a little fun while serving crowd pleasing wine.

Broke out my trusty 1.5L Paul Masson decanters, decanted, and placed the bottles neatly behind each decanter on our center island. And the respective cork in front of the decanter so I could easily identify each wine. Then I ran to the butcher shop and picked up a few Porterhouse steaks and other goodies. I was gone for 20 minutes. While away, my well-intentioned wife moved the decanters from the center island approximately 5 feet to the counter top next to the sink. And diligently placed the two wine bottles in the recycle bin. Corks? Missing. My fun little idea turned into a blind tasting with no reveal. Wines were in the decanters two hours before tasting.

I generally struggle finding enjoyment with California Cabs in the $25-$30 range. I am far from being a wine snob but was fairly certain I would be dismissive of these wines and their ratings. I was pleasantly surprised. Definitely saturated/ripe dark fruit but enough refinement to make the wine pleasurable. Both drank above their price point. The two were not that dissimilar but I did prefer one over the other given the firm tannins provided a bit more structure. To be honest, I would be happy to have a few bottles of each in the cellar. I have one more bottle of the Clos du Val in the cellar and plan on picking up an additional Martini so I can repeat the tasting next year. I’ll be sure to label the decanters. Stay tuned.

Man, that would be so frustrating to not know which is which! That’s a funny situation, but I’d really be bugged (not in a serious way, but not definitively knowing would scratch at the back of my head for a while) by the unknown. Thanks for posting…

I would have guessed that the more tannic rough one was the Clos du Val.

I had a 2013 cdV this year and it’s a good wine. Points shmoints but it was a good medium style cab at a very reasonable price.

And your wife is exiled to which country? [stirthepothal.gif]

My question would be how do you compare AG 95 vs. Parker 97 from two completely distinct appellations in SLD/Napa vs. Alexander Valley/Sonoma.

I always find Sonoma a bit more feminine so I’d say the tannic presence belonged to the CdV wine.

If you picked up the tannins-2013, CDV
If there was a more Bordeaux-like, fruit forward wine in the glass, 2014 Alex Valley, IMO.

I’ve killed 4 bottles of L Martini. It’s not my typical style but delivers when in the good. A crowd pleaser too. It is not a tannic wine at all.
I had some of the Clos du Val as well. Very different style and much more introverted. I would think I could tell them apart (but blind tastings are humbling)

I don’t agree, CdV is generally a very taut and rustic style Cab. I equate fruit forward and BDX style as
apples and oranges with Cab based wines.

Just had my 2nd bottle of lm avc and it took about 6 hrs or so to start to sing. Hard to ignore for the coin.

I don’t think “taut and rustic” and detectable tannins are mutually exclusive… both describe 2013 Clos du Val cab accurately (which was a rough wine and underwhelming to me)…


The fruit forward was my disagreement…pretty sure that has rarely been a CdV descriptor. I would associate fruit with Martini AV, not CdV Napa.

I’m glad we can talk about the LM Alexander Valley Cab again. If you thought you were drinking vanilla extract, that would be the Louis Martini. I think it’s a fine value for $25-30 but it really angers me that Bobby P have it 97 points. Honestly his scores seldom gives me issues, I still say he’s the king, but this is not a 97 point wine, unless he grades on a scale relative to price point which in that case he’d be slightly less off.

Good grief, given his health issues, Parker is no king.