TN: 2009 Cal Cabs so bad, they move me to doggerel

A tasting was held with John Morris last night
The wines, shall we say, were not quite a delight:

(From group’s worst to first
A lineup most cursed)

Midsummer Cellars Canon Creek Napa Valley
I liked more than most. Thank god, wasn’t sweet
But redolent of oak and of marathon feet - 85 points

Rodney Strong Alexander’s Crown Alexander Valley
Who doesn’t like sugar? Who doesn’t like candy?
[edited by admin] - 80 points

Freemark Abbey Napa Valley
Some blackberries, blueberries, dollops of oak;
$30 dollars you say? This wine is a joke. - 82 points

Robert Mondavi Private Reserve
Currants, vanilla, a hint of garrigue
But hollower than the economy Greek - 87 points

Caymus Vineyards Special Selection
So alcoholic it lit up a wick
[edited by admin] - 75 points

Frank Family Napa Valley
It’s syrupy sweet, but that didn’t faze him
Del Piaz likes cal cab that tastes just like raisin - 80 points

Chapellet Napa Valley
Dark and structured, lots of oak
Perhaps some hope; a sturdy bloke. - 85 points

Stuhlmuller Vineyards Alexander Valley
Its balanced, complex; yes, it’s worthy of mention
Napoleon towers at the midget convention. - 89 points

The last wine, the only one not to me blind,
(A personal favorite I’m inclined to kind)

Arnot Roberts SCM Follom Ranch
Ben Franklin advised that a penny, you save
This wine costs his likeness; he spins in his grave - 90 points

One wine, two wines, 10 wines blind
Crap Cabernet is all he finds

He speaks in rhyme
Of wines he hates

For Texier he waits…he waits.

Fun read, thanks for the notes.

We couldn’t figure out a way to slip a Texier here – or to get David to suspect we had.

Yup, Texier wines suck in an entirely different way from these. Would’ve stuck out like a sore thumb from a leper’s hand.

Pretty sure they were 2009s. Regardless, they were not good.

David, why the salty language concerning the Caymus wine? I respect that this is an open forum of expression but the comment is offensive to me, and perhaps others. You can make a point without being offensive.

DZ – I bet you’d have liked them better if you’d realized they were 09s.

I’d be happy to drink any of these with a hearty meal. They tasted like cabernet, not syrah, which was good, and where the alcohol showed at all (and it was warm and humid last night), it wasn’t burning for me.

Approachable and pleasant at first, but hard oak tannins emerged and it seemed disjointed. I scored it 86-

I really liked the balance of this at first, but it seemed to get softer and it became jammy as it warmed up. The alcohol was apparent in the finish, too. Started at 90, but would score it more like 86 later.

Trace of green pepper at first, which I liked. Ripe. Chewy, fairly hard tannins. Kind of boring. 86

On the nose, oak, ashtray, dark berry fruit. In the mouth, dense, good concentration in the middle – not hollow at all. I found this got better over the evening as others went downhill as they warmed up. I bumped it up from 87 to 90.

Rich, less fruity, more earthy on the nose. A bit of green pepper and green olive. Oak really comes out (which is OK in Cal cab). In the mouth, chewy, chocolate. But over time a jammy element emerges and the alcohol becomes noticeable. 85-

Tight on the nose. Chewy in the mouth. Got better. All-around balanced, with good cab character. I didn’t find this sweet or raisiny in any way. My #2. 91

Tight on the nose at first. In the mouth, this was gorgeous. Lots of dark berries, great balance with good acidity and tannins in balance with the fruit. My #1. 92

Port fruit notes on the nose. (Others picked this up, too.) Fruity in the mouth, with some of those cooked/porty notes there, too. Good acidity. Later this seemed fresher. I scored it 84 but would have scored it higher later. My #8 based on the original score.

Piercing eucalyptus on the nose. Very high acidity, but the fruit seemed like it was from a warm climate. No cabernet character that I could discern. Interesting. I assumed it was Spanish or Portuguese – some high-acid indigenous grape. No score. Not sure what I think of this as a Cal cab.

Is 2009 supposed to be a better vintage? Regardless, I’ll fix the title.

Not offended but concerned about offending others here. We have a fair share of lady posters who will avoid your thread like Ebola. If you’re cool with that, then be cool. Just be mindful.

Are you sure they were not 2008s?


For those who were offended by the Bea Arthur comment, it was first made by Jeffrey Ross at a Friars Roast 15 years ago and has become well-known and helped make Ross’ career. He is now Roastmaster General and has/had a periodic series on Comedy Central called The Burn (my son is the supervising producer). Bea Arthur wasn’t insulted and nobody else should be either.

Does the OP even like wine? neener

Sure…because if you get famous for using offfensive language that makes it all ok. hitsfan

Why shouldn’t we be? It’s crude and witless.


Mark, somewhat condescending to think we need an education on blue comedians. I think I will begin to pepper my tasting notes with bits from George Carlin, Sam Kinison and Lenny Bruce. Since its old material, it should be fine…

Baseball is pastoral.
Football is technological.

More like the seven words you can’t use in tasting notes.

Aren’t we all grown ups here? And should we really all taper every comment we desire to make for fear of offending others? Mr. Zylberberg and I have crossed swords at various points for wine-related arguments (and my provincial, uneducated, caveman-like lack of cultural and viticultural awareness), but as for offensiveness…come on. Are we so sensitive that an off color joke raises our hackles and causes such incredible indigestion? This feigned injury incurred by reading an old joke is literally pitiful. I pity you if it hurt your feelings or caused you so much discomfort. Get some thick skin, oil your feathers, and let is slide like water off a duck’s back. We don’t need the “PC police” to this extent on the board, especially for what is a pretty tame and played-out joke…

As for the content, those aren’t exactly top-quality wines to begin with based on reputation, with the exception of the Mondavi Reserve. The Special Select is occasionally good, but Caymus tends to be rich, jammy, and a little hot when young. I say when young because a number of older bottles I’ve had have been wonderful wines at 15 years (although they are even larger scale now, it seems).

I’m surprised that the Chappellet signature got love. That wine is generally well oaked, massive, and very extracted and rich. It’d seem that would be quite displeasurable given the notes above.