Napa Valley - November 2022 - Two Couples - kids at home with the grandparents!

NAPA VALLEY - NOVEMBER 2022 - Napa Valley (11/16/2022-11/19/2022)

Group of four of us visited Evidence Wines, La Pelle/Simon Family, Favia, Spire Collection, Dunn, Corison, Stony Hill, Di Costanzo, Teachworth, and Myriad. Dinners at Singlethread, Solbar and Charter Oak. Spent alot of time researching some smaller spots that would fit our style and it paid off!

Evidence Wines Tasting with Maker - Jason Court

Tasted Jason's Rose, Chenin Blanc and 2017/18 cabernets at his space next to Oxbow Market in Napa. I've visited quite a few large and small wineries in Napa but this one really was a standout. The wines were fantastic and an amazing value. Jason was a great host and I wish we'd have had even more than 90 minutes.

The cabernet is more restrained in style but mostly approachable now. This is a label to buy and a winemaker to follow.

  • 2018 Evidence Wines Cabernet Sauvignon Evidence of divine intervention - USA, California, Napa Valley, Coombsville (11/16/2022)
    Nose of blackberry pie and baking spice. On the palate some red fruit that transitions into black cherry with some menthol on the long finish. Tannins are finer on this one than than the Mt. Veeder offerings. Nice acidity as well. Drinking very well now and will continue to improve.

    Impressed by the approachability of these wines while still being low alcohol, well balanced and without overpowering oak.

    13.8% abv.
    79% Cabernet
    21% Cab. Franc
    131 cases produced (96 points)
  • 2018 Evidence Wines Cabernet Sauvignon Evidence of the matter - USA, California, Napa Valley, Mt. Veeder (11/16/2022)
    Found the nose on this one a little tighter than the 2017s and 2018 Coombsville but still expressive. Bigger than Coombsville offerings but had the acidity and the dusty tannins to balance. Very structured but could used some years in the cellar. On the palate was blackberry forward with some leather, tobacco and even some peppery spice. 94 now but with age could improve to 97-8 in my book.

    14.5% abv.
    84% cabernet
    16% malbec
    200 cases produced (95 points)
  • 2017 Evidence Wines Cabernet Sauvignon Evidence of the matter - USA, California, Napa Valley, Mt. Veeder (11/16/2022)
    The biggest of the four Evidence cab offerings of 2017 and 2018. Nose was powerful with a deep dark fruited burst with a cedar and tobacco note as well. On the palate black plum fruit with a smokiness that becomes more red and earthy on the back half. The fruit is not overpowering at all and the wine doesn't feel heavy even at 15% abv.
    Another big finish on this one. Alot of acidity and big dusty tannins.

    15.0% abv
    92% Cabernet
    8% Malbec
    200 cases produced (94 points)
  • 2017 Evidence Wines Cabernet Sauvignon Evidence of divine intervention - USA, California, Napa Valley, Coombsville (11/16/2022)
    Red bing cherries mingling with blackberry and plum with a finish into a creme brulee and long finish. Some nice earthiness in the background that I think will come out over time. Med++ body. Big acidity with fine tannins. Very nice. Another that is drinking well now but will continue to get more and more interesting.

    14.0% abv.
    92% Cabernet
    8% Cab Franc
    200 cases produced (95 points)

Favia Wines

Tasted with John at the family property near Napa. We were excited to finally get to visit as we were unable to connect on the last trip. The tour was great prior to the tastings to see how the house has been maintained mostly as it was since it was built by Antonio Carbone. One of the most memorable tastings from the trip.

  • 2019 Favia Viognier Suize - USA, California, Sierra Foothills, Amador County (11/17/2022)
    Got alot of peach and floral notes on the nose. On the palate pineapple, kiwi and hibiscus with minerality to spare. Medium bodied with only a touch of oak. Powerful acidity makes me think this could be laid down for 5-10 years. (94 points)
  • 2019 Favia Cabernet Sauvignon Oakville - USA, California, Napa Valley, Oakville (11/17/2022)
    Nose of fresh black plums, chocolate and some wet earth. Drying fine tannins with big acidity. Palate starts with red cherry transitioning to baked blackberry/currants and leather. This one is big and could use some time to settle down but I think it is likely to all come together. Big fruit + big acidity + big but fine tannins keep it all in balance somehow. Probably best in 7-10 years, maybe longer but no reason to regret enjoying it in a few years. (95 points)
  • 2019 Favia Cerro Sur - USA, California, Napa Valley (11/17/2022)
    The favorite wine for most of the group for not just this tasting but potentially the entire trip. Cabernet and Cab. Franc blend. Nose was big with macerated berries, graphite and a hint of a floral note. Palate of red and blue fruit with cedar, violets, and some pepper I'm sure from the Cab. Franc. The acidity keeps everything fresh with fine but certainly present tannic structure. The finish goes on and on...

    Will let our couple bottles sit for at least a couple years, but what an effort here. (97 points)
  • 2019 Favia La Magdalena - USA, California, Napa Valley, Oakville (11/17/2022)
    One of the group preferred this to the Cerro Sur, but it is a tough call. Also a Cabernet and Cab. Franc blend. Body felt more full than the Cerro Sur but not heavy as there is a nice lift of acidity. Fine tannins that are more integrated now than in the Cerro Sur. Red plums and blueberry pie are quite dominant on the palate. Finish is potentially even longer on this one than the Sur. (96 points)

Spire Collection

Tasted with William at their beautiful tasting room just outside of Calistoga. I really like this tasting as there is a wider range of regions and vintages that are usually poured. William knows the wines and properties well in the portfolio. The labels offered by Spire are owned by the Jackson family.

  • 2017 Hickinbotham Shiraz Brooks Road - Australia, South Australia, Fleurieu, McLaren Vale (11/18/2022)
    Nose of blackberry crumble, ocean breeze and some wood/cedar. On the palate beautiful red fruit of strawberries and cherry with some cigar box and smokiness. Finish is very smooth. Tannins were fine and rather well integrated. Medium acidity. I'd drink anytime now to the next 10 years. (93 points)
  • 2009 La Jota Merlot - USA, California, Napa Valley, Howell Mountain (11/17/2022)
    Nose is massively expressive with vanilla cream, cedar and raspberry jam. Palate feels luxuriously smooth with chocolate, blueberry, cherry and crushed stone. Acidity starts to show on the finish with some menthol/eucalyptus. Tannins were still rather dusty.

    Might not come together as an anywhere near perfect wine even with more time, but is quite enjoyable now and could go a few more years. (92 points)
  • 2011 Anakota Cabernet Sauvignon Helena Dakota Vineyard - USA, California, Sonoma County, Knights Valley (11/18/2022)
    Tasted along side the 2011 La Jota Cab. Nose is grassy and has a glycerin component along with some earthiness and dried fruit. On the palate this one has softened with age and includes notes of black cherry, bubble gum, leaves/forest floor, eucalyptus and leather. The finish is incredibly long. Tannins are well integrated and acidity is moderate. Drinking very well right now and has some years left to go. (93 points)
  • 2011 La Jota Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain - USA, California, Napa Valley, Howell Mountain (11/17/2022)
    Tasted along side the 2011 Anakota Dakota. Nose was not as pronounced as the Anakota with garrigue and mahogany wood. On the palate very smooth with some red fruit, earthiness, smoke, herbs and spice. Finish was nice but not as long as the Anakota. Tannins and acidity were more pronounced than the Anakota. This one may have some additional potential down the road. (91 points)
  • 2018 La Jota Merlot W.S. Keyes Vineyard - USA, California, Napa Valley, Howell Mountain (11/17/2022)
    This one screamed structure to me, especially for a Napa merlot. Tannin and acidity will drive this for many years to come. Bright red and blue fruit on the palate. More time and I'd expect the nose to continue to open. Huge potential for this one but it is definitely early in its life. Blind I guessed a cabernet and merlot blend, potentially from bordeaux, but I thought it was more cab heavy than merlot. (94 points)
  • 2013 Mt. Brave Merlot - USA, California, Napa Valley, Mt. Veeder (11/17/2022)
    This one is really coming together well. Nose of baked plums with a mossy/forest undertone. One the palate blue fruit with some blackberry as well with an ever present chocolate taste and texture. Finish is long and holds its fruit component throughout. Moderate acidity and fine but still present tannins. Very nice now and still has room for improvement. (94 points)

Dunn

What a treat to taste Dunn up on the mountain at the family property. Mike Dunn was our host and he is quite the character who was willing to share just about anything about his process, history and life experiences. We tasted both the Dunn label as well as Mike's own label Retro. The property is beautiful and the tasting was held on the back patio of the family estate with some light snacks.

  • 2016 Dunn Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain - USA, California, Napa Valley, Howell Mountain (11/18/2022)
    Tasted at Dunn property on the mountain with Mike Dunn. The 2016 Howell was at the top of the wines tasted on the trip for all four of us. Nose of cola and plums. Palate brought baking spice, blackberry and more plum prior to a very long finish. The mouthfeel was very smooth with fine tannins with nice acidity. Very approachable - definitely more so than the 2018 which is also a great wine but will respectively need more time. (97 points)
  • 2018 Dunn Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain - USA, California, Napa Valley, Howell Mountain (11/17/2022)
    Tasted at the Dunn property up on the mountain with Mike Dunn. The 2018 Howell came in third behind the 2016 and 2008 for me but only because of its youth. The nose on this one was very expressive. On the palate purple fruit with an incredible feeling of purity. Dusty tannins for the long haul. Mouthwatering acidity that made it all feel fresh and lithe - definitely lighter on its feet than 2016 and 2008. A future standout. (95 points)
  • 2019 Dunn Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley - USA, California, Napa Valley (11/17/2022)
    Tasted at the Dunn property up on the mountain with Mike Dunn. Palate of cola, vanilla and black plum. Tannins fine and will integrate nicely. Round, smooth mouth feel. Obviously much more approachable now than the Howell's as is intended. Very nice. (93 points)
  • 2008 Dunn Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain - USA, California, Napa Valley, Howell Mountain (11/18/2022)
    Tasted at the Dunn property up on the mountain with Mike Dunn. I found this one wonderfully balanced at 14 years of age. Palate of cola, leather and some nice floral notes. Felt like this is in the early part of its prime. Mouthfeel was clean and soft. Perhaps the longest and most beautiful finish of any wine on the trip. (96 points)
  • 2018 Retro Cellars Syrah - USA, California, Napa Valley, Howell Mountain (11/18/2022)
    Tasted at the Dunn property up on the mountain with Mike Dunn. Retro is Mike and his wife's label. I found this to be a wonderful California syrah with bright ripe red plum on the palate with fine tannins. Very approachable now and could improve some with time, especially to let some of the secondary and tertiary notes come forward. (93 points)
  • 2014 Retro Cellars Petite Sirah - USA, California, Napa Valley (11/18/2022)
    Tasted at the Dunn property up on the mountain with Mike Dunn. Found this one to be very mineral with chalky/dusty tannins. Ripe blueberry fruit with some earthiness. Very nice petite that will drink well for 3-5 more years at least. (92 points)

Corison

Didn't take detailed notes at this one, decided just to sit back and enjoy. The Corison Napa's of the last few years are fantastic, let alone the single vineyards. Cathy was able to make a 2020 as she had already picked prior to the fires. Our membership technically only covered two tastings, but the winery comped the whole group for us. Great experience as usual!

Stony Hill

Tasted at the property up on the mountain. Quite a windy and thin drive. The property is grandfathered into the area of a state park. Tastings will be shut down soon for some months as they renovate some of the facilities and potentially widen the road. Beautiful views.

  • 2020 Stony Hill White Riesling - USA, California, Napa Valley (11/18/2022)
    Nose included some light petroleum and fresh cut grass. Had a little body to it and was very mineral. Floral with some white peach fruit. Comes from very old vines up on the hill from the main property. (93 points)
  • 2019 Stony Hill Chardonnay - USA, California, Napa Valley, Spring Mountain District (11/18/2022)
    Very clean and fresh overall. Lemon zest and a light cream note. High acidity on this one. Would be good to lay down a few years but was nice now. Preferred slightly to the 2018. (93 points)
  • 2018 Stony Hill Chardonnay - USA, California, Napa Valley, Spring Mountain District (11/18/2022)
    Some hay and perhaps a little sweet oak on the nose. Also very mineral. Med ++ acid. Floral, citrus, honey on the palate. (92 points)
  • 2018 Stony Hill Cabernet Sauvignon - USA, California, Napa Valley, Spring Mountain District (11/18/2022)
    Felt a little tightly wound still with a bit of a reticent nose. Leather, earth with blueberry and cherry on the palate. Tannins still fairly stiff but fine. Needs some years in the cellar. Could be a stunner down the road but at a high price point of $250. (93 points)
  • 2012 Stony Hill Chardonnay - USA, California, Napa Valley (11/18/2022)
    Nose of toasted marshmallow and caramel. Reminded me of an aged Sauternes on the nose. Palate of creme brulee and lemonhead candy. Acidity still going strong. Deep gold color showing some age. (94 points)

Di Costanzo

Tasted in the St Helena tasting room with Erin Di Costanzo. Erin is a wonderful host and this was a perfect start to the day. Great conversation and the wines really were standouts. The value on the 2020 DI CO is incredible and the 2021 pinot which isn't yet released is one of the best California pinots that I've tasted.

  • 2021 Di Costanzo Pinot Noir Costa Bentrock Vineyard - USA, California, Central Coast, Sta. Rita Hills (11/19/2022)
    Tasted in the St. Helena tasting room with Erin. The group unanimously loved this pinot. From the Santa Rita Hills. Extremely expressive nose of ocean breeze, cherry, orange peel and sandalwood. On the palate mineral, spicy, cranberry, and a bit smoky. Medium- in body with very fine tannins and medium acidity. Very impressive effort. (95 points)
  • 2019 Di Costanzo Cabernet Sauvignon Farella Vineyard - USA, California, Napa Valley, Coombsville (11/19/2022)
    Tasted in the St. Helena tasting room with Erin. The last vintage of the Farella. Nose of macerated berries, moss and cedar. Palate of black plum, baking spice, and earthy undertones with crushed stone. Medium+ body with very mouthwatering acidity. Chalky tannins but not overwhelming or stiff. (95 points)
  • 2020 Di Costanzo Cabernet Sauvignon DI CO - USA, California, Napa Valley (11/18/2022)
    Tasted in the St. Helena tasting room with Erin. From a single vineyard at the bottom of Mt. Veeder and will be upgraded to such in future years. Value on this is fantastic. Nose was a little restrained at this stage but I'm sure will open up over time. Palate of pomegranate, cherry, nutmeg and eucalyptus/menthol especially towards the finish. Very high acid with big tannins for a "second label" wine. Medium+ body. What an effort! (94 points)

Teachworth and T. Berkley

Tasted at the Teachworth property up on Diamond mountain. Winemaker Taylor Berkley Boydstun stopped in for a moment but most of the tasting was hosted by their new manager who was still getting up to speed on the offerings. Taylor has his own label T. Berkley that he makes on property. Nice values here and could be a maker to keep an eye on.

  • 2020 T. Berkley Chenin Blanc - USA, California, North Coast, Mendocino County (11/19/2022)
    Tasted at the Teachworth property on Diamond mountain. We really enjoyed this Chenin and at $30 is a very nice value. Bright with nice acidity. Palate of honeydew, cantaloupe and lemon. Would love to try again in a few years. (92 points)
  • 2019 T. Berkley Cabernet Franc - USA, California, Napa Valley, Oak Knoll District (11/19/2022)
    Tasted at the Teachworth property on Diamond mountain. Nose of violets, leather and cherry liquor. On the palate quite floral with cola wrapped in red and blue berry fruit. Moderate acidity with flowing fine tannins. A very nice effort and potentially a great value at $65. The only 100% cab. franc offerings on this trip. (93 points)
  • 2013 Teachworth Cabernet Sauvignon Manzanita Hill Vineyard - USA, California, Napa Valley, Diamond Mountain (11/19/2022)
    Perhaps the most divisive wine of the trip in our group. Both the nose and palate had anise/licorice notes. I personally enjoyed it alot. On the nose, licorice, cigar box and some sweet cherry tomato? Palate continues with some anise, cedar, and blackberry. Mouthwatering acidity and tannins could still integrate further. Very interesting and thought provoking. (94 points)
  • 2017 Teachworth Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Blend - USA, California, Napa Valley, Diamond Mountain (11/19/2022)
    Nose of cola and black plum with a medium+ body. Smooth and elegant feeling, almost soft up front. Tannins become dustier on the mid palate and back end. (92 points)
  • 2019 Teachworth Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Blend - USA, California, Napa Valley, Diamond Mountain (11/19/2022)
    Tasted at the Teachworth property on Diamond Mountain. Feels fresh and light throughout from the big acidity and flowing tannins. Palate of cherry, currant and blackberry. Nice offering and I like the style. (93 points)
  • 2019 Teachworth Pinot Noir - USA, California, Napa / Sonoma, Carneros (11/19/2022)
    Big red cherry on the palate with a touch of oak/tobacco in the foreground. More acid than most california pinots with fine tannins. Solid pinot offering.

    13.5% abv (90 points)

Myriad/Quivet

When I was working to schedule this Leah and Mike picked up the phone while they were on vacation in Switzerland! Leah quickly reached out and got us scheduled after they returned to the US. Leah hosts tastings at the Tamber Bey winery near Calistoga. The four of us were seated with another group of four. Leah and Mike's story is incredible and is certainly one of working your way to success. Leah is an awesome host. I thought that the Mike Smith wines might be too high of octane for our liking, but I figured we had to give them a shot. While not our style - Mike and Leah's results speak for themselves and if you like bigger cabs - their offerings could very well be among the best you can find.

  • 2021 Myriad Cellars Syrah Vivio - USA, California, Sonoma County, Bennett Valley (11/19/2022)
    Nose of blackberry crumble. Big dark fruit up front that recedes to coffee and spie. Dusty tannins with moderate acidity. A nice syrah for sure. (91 points)
  • 2020 Quivet Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley - USA, California, Napa Valley (11/19/2022)
    Tasted with Leah Smith at Tamber Bey. Felt like there was almost some residual sweetness with blueberry pie and chocolate notes. Definitely for those that like the bigger style of Napa cab but just wasn't my cup of tea. (86 points)
  • 2020 Quivet Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Pellet Vineyard - USA, California, Napa Valley (11/19/2022)
    Tasted with Leah Smith at Tamber Bey. Nose of sprite (the soda), lavender and stewed berries. On the palate cola, black cherry, integrated tannins and medium to low acidity. Drinkable now and I preferred this one significantly to the Napa Valley version but still not quite my style. For those that like the big Napa cabs this could be a nice value. (89 points)
  • 2020 Quivet Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Kenefick Ranch - USA, California, Napa Valley (11/19/2022)
    Tasted with Leah Smith at Tamber Bey. Similar to the Quivet Napa Valley, felt like there was residual sweetness/kirsch throughout. More acidity on this one and dustier tannins provide some more structure. (87 points)
  • 2021 Myriad Cellars Sémillon McGah Family Vineyard - USA, California, Napa Valley, Rutherford (11/19/2022)
    Tasted with Leah Smith at Tamber Bey. Smooth and light on its feet with some zippy acidity. Honedew on the palate. Very nice white, I wish there were more dry Semillon options coming from Napa. (91 points)
  • 2020 Myriad Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer Georges III Vineyard - USA, California, Napa Valley, Rutherford (11/19/2022)
    Tasted with Leah Smith at Tamber Bey. More structured than the Quivets but not far from the Pellet. Very fruit forward but some noticeable purity of purple and black fruits. Still not my style but I can appreciate the effort. Add 3-4 points if you're a fan of the powerful, fruit enveloping style. (91 points)

Posted from CellarTracker

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Nice trip, great notes, I’m sorry but I have to ask-is the Stony Hill Cab REALLY $250.00? That’s an incredible price increase.

Yes - the 2018 Cab is at $250. The CT “value” shows $244.

Website shows 2017 as $270.

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Wow, sounds like a great trip!

Epic trip! My cousin-in-law is hometown friends with Taylor (small town central IL) and we all visited him at Teachworth a few months ago. He’s a really good guy and forward thinking. We also enjoyed his cab franc and chenin. His late harvest chenin was great too. We just opened a bottle of the Oak Knoll for cab franc day this week but found it even better the next day.

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