TN from Napa: Seven Stones, Rudd + Kind long but not too bad!

OK, first installment is here
TN from Sonoma: Swan, Copain, Holdredge, Ridge +++ LONG but read it! - WINE TALK - WineBerserkers" onclick=";return false;

Our second (and last) day was spent in Napa. In Sonoma we had no appts, got no special treatment, and had a blast. How would our tightly scheduled day in Napa turn out???

We had a 10 am appt with Roy Piper at Seven Stones. It is an insanely great view from their property and a great way to start my day.

First things first…Roy is THE MAN! Very friendly, good humored, and knows everything about what is going on in Napa. I have read his posts for a while so I thought he might know a thing or two, but man…dude is all over the valley. We had a great time touring the grounds and talking with him about all sorts of things including Napa wine.
Of course, once the tour ended (after visiting the measly 8 barrels of 08) we had to get down to some business. There was an open and decanted bottle of Seven Stones taunting me in the winery.

Seven Stones 06 - 92% Cab and 8% Merlot from their estate vineyard. Dark purple color with Black berries, black olives, plum, cassis, and graphite ont he nose. Very classy start, but how did it taste? One sip and I knew that this was the real deal. I have been fortunate to taste a good number of Cali Cabs, and this ranks up there as most memorable. Super rich and extracted, but somehow not heavy. So classy with currant and strawberry on the palate. Still a baby and lots of tannin and a long finish. The only thing bad about this wine is that I can’t afford it on my wine shop salary. I’m still looking at my finances to see if I can make some happen because this is great.
Scary thing is that Roy said the 07 is bigger and better. I tried to call his bluff and get him to open one, but no dice!

Based on my grape samples from their vineyard, I think 09 will be a winner here as well!

I mentioned to Roy that our next appt. was at rudd and he was all giddy to come with us. So a quick call to Kenny Koda and Roy was added to the guest list. But first we had a quick stop at Taylor’s Refresher for some chow.

Rudd is an unbelieveable plot of land. It is so close to Silver Oak…YUM! Actually it is neighbors with Plumpjack, Bond’s St. Eden vineyard, and not far down the street is a little property called Screaming Eagle. This is some serious real estate with an insane winemaking commitment.
Kenny came out side to greet us and we started with a quick tour of the vineyards. This gave Roy a chance to flex his Napa knowledge and he asked so many great questions about the property. It was fun to see all the grounds, visit the cave, and see some of Leslie rudd’s personal stash. I was so jealous! Insane property here, but it was time to taste.

2007 Sauvignon Blanc - 18% Semillon too. From a vineyard on Mt. Veeder they planted with help from Daguenuea! Tropical fruit, pineapple, light but powerful with a hint of cut grass and orange blossom. Very nice and complex. Can age too.
2007 Bacigalupi Chard - From some of the oldest vines in the vineyard. Awesome nose, herbs, lemon rind, buttery but still mineral and hazlenut notes. Oily textured but amazing balance. I loved this wine.
2006 Crossroads Cab - Raspberry and green peppercorn with cassis, blackberry, and milk chocolate. Nice style of cab for drinking right now. But, we knew what was next…
2006 Rudd Oakville Estate - WoW! I have had a few different vintages of this, but this might be the best one yet, Showing some oak upfront on the nose but lots of violets, cassis, raspberry, with some meaty and earthy notes as well. Huge on the palate with blackberry jam texture. Dark fruited and layered this wine has a huge structure behind it and is excellent. It is not released yet, and that is a good thing because this is a baby. long life ahead of it, but keep them in your cellar for at least 5 years to mellow.
2006 Edge Hill Mixed Black - Field blend from their vineyard in St. Helena. Rhone inspired I guess, but lots of different grapes. Maybe Kenny can fill us in? Licorice, black currant on the very brooding nose. Smoky, raspberry, and hints of herbs. Juicy, but hiding a wall of tannin. This baby needs time too.

At this point I was feeling comfortable with everyone and proposed we pour the Seven Stones next to the Rudd for shits and giggles. A little 06 taste test. Luckily Roy and Kenny were game and it was on.

Tough to pick a winner. The Seven Stones is amazing right now with its plush dark fruits. But the Rudd has some great power and depth of fruit that will come out in a few years. We will call it a tie!

I want to thank again Roy Piper and Kenny Koda. Both reached out to me on short notice and made time for Jessica and I to stop by and taste some wines. They were both super knowledgeable and kind to us. I had a blast geeking out at Rudd with the five of us just tasting wines and bullshitting. And I stand by my prediction of the Ravens in the Superbowl!

One last note, Rudd is also the owner of Distillery 209 Gin from San francisco that I have been selling at my store and drinking at my house for a while now. So cool that they are the ones making it.

With dinner we got a half bottle of pinot just to relax with. I was excited because it came from the Griffen’s Lair vineyard. I only knew that they grew Syrah, with Pax and Arnot-Roberts. In fact I had a killer bottle of Pax Griffens 05 courtesy of WB Brad Swallow last week.

Roessler Griffen’s Lair Pinot 2007 - Smoke, slate, and blackberry on the nose with tonf of up front fruit. Lots of strawberry and even some menthol. To me this was just too much. Heavy on the palate and sweet with some stewed fruits. Didn’t seem heat damaged, just not my style at all.

It was great to see you both, Mike!

Rudd is a gorgeous place. We were told something there that kinda blows me away. My favorite wine of the few we tried there was their Sauv Blanc, which was VERY Left-Bankish and excellent. It was their 2007, the first release since their new winemaker took over and since Abreu took over the vineyard work. It is off their Mt Veeder property. Anyway, you will never guess who was flying out to give them advice on their Sauv Blanc… Didier Dagueneau! Imagine how cool it would have been to have him on your side. flirtysmile A big loss.

not to make you sad Mike, but the 07 is light light light light years ahead of the 06 and is everything Roy said [stirthepothal.gif] . The wine is so good. A different style of wine from the 06, not as big and brutish. Aaron’s hand is evident in this one!

Mike, Jessica, Roy,

My pleasure to host you all at Rudd. A great way to break up the day. It was fun to taste a bunch of wines as always!
Glad you enjoyed the 06, I am looking forward to working with this one when it hits the market in Spring, then we have the 07 to follow it . . .

I wouldn’t book SB tickets yet . . .

The Steelers always start slow. (But not this slow) I have a feeling that Jets team is going to get better.

Hey I remember you from Telluride…Do you remember me? neener