TN: Hillside, Pride, Myriad, Montelena, Rhys, Peter Michael, Yquem


Last night my wife and I met up with Robert and Carrie for a night in the old hood. After stopping at a really cool Speakeasy for cocktails, we ventured to a favorite restaurant for a long, slow dinner. We brought a bunch of wine and drank a lot, but shared with the owner and the staff. Lots of laughs, great food and some nice wine too.
A Cal Chard flight
What a cool comparison of styles and winemaking between these two. The table was split as to which they liked better and it was a difficult decision.

  • 2013 Rhys Chardonnay Alpine Vineyard - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
    Best showing yet for this Chard. It was great drinking this next to the PM for a contrast in styles. It is still so young and in need of time to open. I would recommend a three hour decant if drinking now. Gold green in color. The nose is gorgeous with steely minerals, slight gun powder, lots of green apples, some lemon curd and vanilla. On the palate, this has pin point acidity. Razor shop. In a sense like a great Chablis but then the fruit has a ripeness to it that doesn’t over power the wine but says its from California. Deep and layered. Red apples, some lemon and vanilla and lots of minerals on the palate. Long finish. Brilliant wine, but I need to hold these a bit longer (although its my wifes favorite white). (97 pts.)
  • 2013 Peter Michael Chardonnay La Carrière - USA, California, Sonoma County, Knights Valley
    What a great Chard and equal to the Rhys but in a very different style. great to drink side by side. If the Rhys is Grand Cru Chablis, then this is Grand Cru from the Cotes du Beaune. Yellow gold in color. The nose is peaches, oranges, floral notes, very slight oak and butter. On the palate, this has some serious weight to it. Rounder but well balanced. Enough acidity to back the structure. Deep and layers. Pop and pour, it seemed to come out singing but then kept improving so air or cellaring would be good. Long finish. Very food friendly. Sonoma Chard at its best. (97 pts.)

Cal Cabs (and one other)
Again, a nice spread of styles and age in these wines. We drank them one at a time, but some revisiting.

  • 2001 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon The Montelena Estate - USA, California, Napa Valley
    I bought a fair amount of this so, I have been watching it every few years. Perhaps not their best vintage but all the wines have been similar. IIRC, it was discounted as that was when Laube was writing about systematic TCA at the winery, but all my bottles have been sound. This bottle has passed into a stage where it drinks more Bordeaux-esque. Of course, that meant my wife was not a fan. The nose is earthy with some funk, cigar tobacco, leather but still plenty of darker cassis fruit. Full bodied. On the palate, this seems at peak to me. Some fruit left. Mostly cassis but some cherries. Tannins are almost all resolved. Good acidity. Layers of complexity. Nice finish. Worked well with food. If you own any, plan to drink a bottle. No point in waiting IMO. (93 pts.)
  • 2007 Myriad Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer Dr. Crane Vineyard - USA, California, Napa Valley
    Boom. The nose hits big after the 01 Montelena. But in a good way. :slight_smile: Tons of ripe cassis but also some mocha and a slight char. Very clean. On the palate, this is certainly ripe but there is a lot going on. Drinking very young despite being at age 9. I wonder if it just woke up from a nap or has always been this vibrant. Good acidity. Lots of cassis fruit. Plenty of tannins left. A bit of mocha and other oak. long finish. This is just a delicious wine right now. For many (like my wife), the perfect time to open. If that is not your style, this wine has a decade or more of life to develop and mature. (97 pts.)
  • 2009 Pride Mountain Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve - USA, California, Napa Valley
    Just a stunning bottle of Cabernet. Sort of a middle ground in style and with mountain fruit. The bottle was opened about 6 hours in advance and allowed to breathe and it needed it. My wife’s WOTN. Purple in color. The nose is great with cassis and dark ccherries along with tobacco and char and earthy wet dirt. Also some oak showing. On the palate, this is still quite young. Firm tannins. With air they give way a bit. Loads of fruit but not flamboyant as much as deep. Wonderful texture and balance. Juicy. Complex. Purple fruits with minerality and an earthy quality. Long finish. Needs air or time but this was stunning. (98 pts.)
  • 2007 Shafer Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select - USA, California, Napa Valley, Stags Leap District
    Wow. Allowed to breath for about an hour or so. This is big and masculine for a SHS, but its about proportion. Purple in color. The nose has cassis, slight blueberries, dark cherries, licorice and sandalwood. On the palate, this is still very young. Plenty of tannins but a great texture, lush and rich. A lot of cassis fruit along with some char. It is very deep and very long. Sure its got a couple of decades left and if you don’t like decadent wine, let it rest for most of that, but this is off the charts deep, tasty and complex. Long finish. From the first sip to the last of the bottle (I had both), it is everything I want from a Napa Cab. (100 pts.)
  • 2000 Les Pagodes de Cos - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe
    Raj stopped at the table for a few sips and opened this one. Pop and pour, it needs a bit of air. Absolutely at peak right now. The nose has cherries, cassis, funk and soy sauce. On the palate, the tannins are resolved. Enough fruit left interwoven with earthiness and leathery notes. Good balance. Nice finish. A very nice wine on its own, but if I owned any, I would drink in the next year. (90 pts.)


  • 2005 Château d’Yquem - France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Sauternes
    Always a fun way to end the night. Its Yquem, what more is there to say. Golden in color. A nose of apricots with some vanilla and orange rind. A bit of honey. On the palate, unctuous texture. slightly sweet. Long, long, long finish. A great way to end a great night. (95 pts.)

Just a great night with wonderful people, excellent foods and wines that lived up to or exceeded expectations. We need to do that again!
Posted from CellarTracker

Great Notes!
Velvet Tango Room was always my favorite when I was there, and got to know the staff well, but I guess there are a handful of “speakeasies” in the CLE now…

Thanks for the notes, Loren. I have a few of the Monty someplace; I suppose I need to drag them out

Awesome notes Loren. That’s a dinner I’d be VERY happy to be a part of!

Great stuff - thanks as always for posting

Nice little line up of wines!

Love that place. Did you know Julie? This was a the other side of town (Cleveland Hts.)

Thanks for the notes, Loren. We bought the 2001 Montelena on futures. 3 half bottles and 6 full bottles. All of the half bottles were off. Kitchen sink off. All of the full bottles have been superb. We have a few of the full bottles left.



What do you mean by ‘kitchen sink off’?

Also, has anyone, anyone experienced the TCA issues Laube discovered with this Montelena vintage?


I assume “kitchen sink off” means that the wine is so off/bad that it gets poured down the kitchen sink.

I have found bottle variation in the 2001 Montelena, but I haven’t had a massively corked bottle (yet).


Larry, Bruce answered before me. They were all corked.


Interesting. I have a 375ml and a 750ml. Will probably open the 375ml this fall, and will hope for a better experience than you’re reporting, Ed.

I hope your .375 is a good bottle, Andrew. FWIW, we have bought a lot of Montelena’s over the years and those half-bottles were the only ones we had problems with.