TN: 2001 Grace Family Cabernet Sauvignon Blank Vineyard

  • 2001 Grace Family Cabernet Sauvignon Blank Vineyard - USA, California, Napa Valley, Rutherford (6/16/2015)
    Man, for my palate this is about as good as modern Napa cab gets. Old school; medium ripe, with cassis and lots of mint / garrigue. Plenty of chocolate oak - a touch too much, perhaps - and a dusty, savory, textbook Rutherford finish. Alcohol is controlled and the fruit isn’t sweet. Super impressive and frankly a wine that a lot of AFWE folks could get behind. Still improving but accessible now. (91 pts.)

Good note. Did you get any menthol/eucalyptus notes?
I ran through my 6 already.

Yup, that’s why I described it as having a minty character.

Ah! I missed that one word. thanks.

In fact Mike, what I was thinking as I drank this is that this must taste an awful lot like the pre-replant Marthas tasted when they were younger.

I agree(d) in my ct notes as well.

I find them nothing alike. Not a fan of Blank. Am a fan of old Martha’s.

That’s kind of the point. Who knows what old Blank will taste like?

I tasted lots of young Heitz Martha’s (Mean Joe Heitz was a family friend) and it tasted nothing like Blank. I was on the mailing list for Grace Family for many years and bought the first vintages of Blank (I believe 2001 was the first) and found it so not to my liking that I immediately sold my remaining bottles. I’ve had it since, and it hasn’t improved. Good for you that you like it, but comparing it to Heitz Martha’s is misplaced.

Unless he actually finds them comparable…

Fascinating. Why’d you dislike it? I agree that it’s quite different from most other Napa cabs but I thought that was a feature, not a bug.

To me, it tastes over ripe and of cask treatment. The eucalyptus/mint character reminds me more of Aussie Cab aged in American oak (although I think Blank is aged in French oak like Grace Family). Similar to my dislike of high octane American oaked Aussie Syrah, while I like Thackrey Syrah, which is grown adjacent to eucalyptus trees. But my tolerance of even that profile is less than it once was. In the interest of science and internet argument, I’ll open an '80s vintage Martha’s when I return from my travels. If I find that my tastes have changed that much (so as to put it in the same orbit as American oaked Aussie Syrah/Cab, Blank Cab, and over American oaked Rioja), I’ll fess up.

Fair enough. I really like Coonawarra cab, so I think we’re tasting the same wine, but coming to different conclusions based on different palates.