There are some here who think I am not discerning about what I drink; that I ga-ga about hot new labels and fawn over board favorites. How nearsighted can one be? If digging this wine makes me a ra-ra boy, so be it. Come to think of it I can only hope to be able to appreciate such wines in the ridiculous amount of time we get to enjoy this wonderful life.
To those naysayes I say one thing: why don’t you drink as well and why not expect to on a regular basis? This wine could be one of Mike’s best to date. Bold statement, I know but when has that stopped me? If you own this, feel assured, you did well. If you passed, there is always next year. Do not make the same mistake twice. Here’s hoping your Sunday is even remotely as great as mine.
2012 Becklyn Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon- USA, California, Napa Valley (11/9/2014)
Dense color. Nose of soft cassis, cardamom, violets and blackberries. Palate shows a refined style of cab that just has to please the masses of true cab aficionados. Amazing balance, purity one poise, it’s hard to imagine this is a first year wine. It’s deft, it’s welcoming, it’s Mike Smith at the top of his game for sure. Round and intense, this has layers upon layers of what WE seek. While it showed much more rambunctious when i last had it in June, it has certainly found a groove. Today it’s homecoming queen whereas in June it was schoolyard bully. Quite the transformation. Tannins are monumentally restrained and acidity spot on. Finish is long with blue fruits in control. A complete package. (95 pts.)
I think I beat Mr. Pobega at his own game. A neighbor opened a bottle of the Becklyn Saturday night while we were watching some great college football games. I’d agree with your tasting note, we were really not expecting it to be as good as it was. It was ready to go on a pop-n-pour and delivered on all of the desired cali cab smells and tastes. The Becklyn was clearly in the same class (but different) as a 10 year old Jones Family Estate we drank along side of it.
To my mind, based on my limited experience, there is a lovely honeymoon phase for newly bottled wines. This does not include the first few days post-bottling, when the wine just says, “What did you just do to me?”
But then there is that newness…that fresh love that emerges. Bright, full, energetic. But for how long?
You are pulling corks and finding what I think is a phase. This is not commentary on any particular wine, and certainly not on Mike’s! But it is a comment on things developmental, concerning wine, of course. For many wines, there comes a day…and no one knows when that day will come. But the wine will go backwards and hide. Some vintages this does not happen - mostly my 2007 and 2009 did not do this. But all the others? Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. To me, my 2005 and the 2005s I have had over the years are the best examples: yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. I call it the cha-cha. Back and forth: some steps forward and then fewer steps back.
May the 2012s never do this - for any label, any producer. But I will bet that I will pull a cork one day soon and people will just…prefer another vintage. For a while.
I think there comes many days…
Keep in mind what we are discussing is winemaker reliant and to discuss without Mike Smith here would be unfair, so I will pontificate just a thought or two. I think much depends on style and vision. There are many styles available today in the valley, more than ever before. There really is something for everyone. Having had your wine I must say you and your winemaker would appear to be on a different path. Its a wonderful path and I am almost positive that your wines may be more ageworthy. Your are more on the Cathy Corison path. You pick a bit earlier than Mike and vignify different, or at least I think you do.
Your 2007 is interesting and I have a theory about it and how it shows, all good by the way. I just need to remember it and read my notes. I sum it up that you took advantage of the vintage in ways others might not have. I believe it was one of your longest hang-times. I could be wrong and probably am. If I a right, keep reading. If I am wrong throw your hands up in the air and wave them like you just don’t care…
If no cursing ensued, I will continue: 2007 almost forced you to draw out of the lines a bit. The wine was showy young and probably still great.
Wines like this may not be built for 20 years, or even fifteen, but they drink so well when early, I think most will be gone by by then, at least that’s my thinking. Don’t be afraid of wines like this, embrace them for what they are, no what they are not. That’s my plan.
If none of this makes sense, forgive me. I’m tired and weary from my week. Tomorrow I get to start a whole new one…
Mike does not need to be here…we are friends and understand each other perfectly. I would love it if he would join in. But…
No, my 2007 Black Cat - before I conceived of a Black Cat Special Selection (2009)- was my earliest pick ever. Equaled in harvest date only by my recent 2014 pick - same day: August 30. Yes, folks, Napa Cabernet Sauvignon picked on August 30. Two separate vintages. Each harvested - with a pick date called by me (and I am alone in making the call to pick) -and at different Brix. And flavors. And all the other labs and gut feelings that accompany “harvest.” Each vintage is a mystery unto itself.
But, to your point, I do not look around. I look to my vineyard, and then to my label, and I decide what will make the best wine.
Many thought my 2007 to be great. Based on supply and demand, it is my highest priced 750ml bottle I have sold in the last 5 years (currently at $160). It has been reliable - what a joy for a winegrower/winemaker/producer like I - to bring out a wine that, time after time, shows well. Practically right out of the crusher.
But honestly, my go to wine from my stash is my 2009. I would love to make that wine over and over again. My 2014 shares a harvest date with the 2007, but labs (and preceding the labs, my gut feeling)show it to be more like my 2009.
I pobega’d a Becklyn this past Saturday night (pop 'n pour) and I agree with Mike and the others. Outstanding, better even than my high expectations, especially at its price point. Would definitely buy again.
Long answer: I don’t really know the answer, to be honest. I do not see why it shouldn’t last, but what it becomes is something I really do not know. The real key to this now, and for at least the next 4-5 years is the freshness and purity. I realize many seek age for its so many secondary and tertiary qualities, but to open that can of worms again, I ask what is the drinkers preference. If you want all that my note mentions and the smile, I would say keep it under 6 years to be safe. Now, if it takes a different track and closes like others here say, who know what it returns as. Many 2008s seem to play this in and out game. IF I were that betting man, I would drink mine all by age 6 and not be too concerned as I will have the 2013 to drink the next year(s), and I will regret nothing…