TN: Lots of great Cabs, Syrahs and others NVW&C

LOTS OF GREAT CABS, SYRAHS AND OTHERS NVW&C - Napa Valley Wine & Cigar (3/4/2012)

Last Friday, I was out in Napa/Sonoma for bottling our 2010 wine and Carrie and Randy were kind enough to host an offline. Its always fund to do these casual walk around offlines there. Lots of good wine and great people. Carrie ordered some salad and pizza and it was a very fun night. got to see some old friends and meet some new ones. Always one of my highlights of going out to make wine! We also tried some 2009 SonkinCellars Persona. As for the rest of the wines:

  • NV M. Lawrence SEX Brut Rosé - USA, Michigan, Leelanau Peninsula
    For $15, this is a fun name and a decent starter. From Michigan. Some tart cranberries, this has a fresh and ever so sweet aspect that works well to cleanse the palate and get me ready for some more “serious” wines. (87 pts.)
  • 2010 Margerum Sauvignon Blanc Sybarite - USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Ynez Valley
    This had a Happy canyon designation. I don’t know. Others seemed to like this more than I did. SB is getting to be like Chard for me from California in that there are a few I LOVE but most just don’t do it. This is nice and pleasant. Slight nose. Some tropical fruit. It gets slightly grassy but not a problem. I look for more texture and found this simple. As I said, others seemed to like this a lot more than I, so I may be the outlier. Perhaps some food would help. (86 pts.)
  • 2008 Hartford Court Chardonnay Stone Côte Vineyard - USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast
    Another wine that people liked more than I but here I know why. There is a lot of toasty oak on this one, both the nose and the palate. Also some grapefruit. It has a creamy texture with nice acidity. I had a harder time dealing with the oak although it did smooth out with some air. Some thought it was too cold, but I thought that helped the acidity. Obviously well crafted if you like this style. (88 pts.)
  • 2009 Ketcham Estate Pinot Noir Russian River Valley - USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley
    I might not like these as much as Randy (who does), but these are nice wines. Light ruby in color. The nose has nice strawberries, some rhubarb and a slight earthiness. It is soft and a bit tart on the palate. Worked better with food. a very pleasant Pinot. (89 pts.)
  • 2007 Maybach Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Materium - USA, California, Napa Valley, Oakville
    Wow. I may have underscored this, but in a tasting like this, its hard to give this ones full attention. That said, it was hard to ignore. Still young, but singing. The nose has cassis, blueberries and coffee. Lip smacking good. Great texure. Clean fruit. Starting to develop some layered complexity. This was a rock star and seemed to be a consensus WOTN. (98 pts.)
  • 2009 Hobel Wine Works Cabernet Sauvignon Engelhard Vineyard - USA, California, Napa Valley, Diamond Mountain
    Another great showing for this wine. It is still very young, but delicious. Cassis and some oak on the nose. The palate is tight, but does show complexity. Nice finish. Outstanding wine. (94 pts.)
  • 2007 Continuum Proprietary Red - USA, California, Napa Valley, Oakville
    Another awesome wine. My first try with this vintage. Surprisingly to me, it is much more accessible than the 05 at a similar age. Perhaps that is a vintage characteristic but I would have thought this contains more mountain fruit and would have been the opposite. I think it had been slow-oxed for 10 hours and that may have helped. A delicious wine that in many way resembles a Pauillac. Cassis, some pencil led like notes on the nose and not overblown. On the palate, this is complex albeit tight layering. Full, silky texture. A delicious wine for sure. (96 pts.)
  • 2007 Realm Cellars Cabernet Franc The Falstaff - USA, California, Napa Valley, Rutherford
    This is very tight. It opened up over the evening. Black raspberries and some blueberries. Very tannic. Hard to say, but I think this will improve over the next few years. Certainly seems to have stuffing, and I think the fruit will outlast the tannins. Needs air now. An example of how picky and spoiled we can get as this is a great wine right now. It just has room to improve. (93 pts.)
  • 2008 Harris Estate Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Lakeview - USA, California, Napa Valley
    Another new wine for me, this is delicious. The fruit is slightly sweet and while it might be ripeness, i wouldn’t be surprised if there is some RS. Certainly not enough to mar the wine for my tastes though. Great supple texture. very tannic, it need time and/or air. Its hard to see what is lurking underneath although later in the evening it started to unwind and really showed better. Outstanding. (94 pts.)
  • 2005 Château Boswell Cabernet Sauvignon Jacquelynn Cuvée - USA, California, Napa Valley
    Another first time for me. This a blend of Beckstoffer/To Kalon fruit. More minerality than I might have expected. Lots of good cassis, but also an iodine note that I liked and a minerality that ran under the fruit. Still, it is a big wine. Tight, it needs air/time although the texture is soft, it takes some swirling to unwind the layers. They are there though. Delicious wine. (93 pts.)
  • 2007 Shafer Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select - USA, California, Napa Valley, Stags Leap District
    This was slow-oxed for 10 hours and that wasn’t nearly enough. This is big and tight and needs 5 years IMO. Such a great texture. Lush and rich. Very tannic. The last glass after a few hours showed complex layering of fruit and an undercurrent of gravel/minerals. Long finish. i mentioned to Tom that texture and finish, for me, are what really shows where this wine is heading, along with the fruit of course. Just needs to time to get there. (95 pts.)
  • 2006 Ramey Cabernet Sauvignon Pedregal Vineyard - USA, California, Napa Valley, Oakville
    i don’t know if this was flawed, but I scored it an 85. The nose is medicinal and band-aid along with some cassis. On the palate, I found it vegetal. I mean, its drinkable and I certainly wouldn’t spill it out if home alone drinking it, but outclassed on this table. I am guessing it was an off bottle though. NR (flawed)
  • 2009 Jean-Michel Stephan Côte-Rôtie - France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Côte-Rôtie
    This really stood out but not in the best way from the crowd. The bottle was marked vin naturel. This was a brett monster. Sweaty horse, some manure, it obscured the black raspberry fruit on the nose. On the palate, more fruit was apparent. Although young, this has some complexity and a nice minerals base. I love Brett and seemed far more tolerant to it than most. (88 pts.)
  • 2009 Five/Five Wines Cabernet Sauvignon Sydnee 85% Ink Grade Vyrd, 15% Gerlach Ranch Vyrd - USA, California, Napa Valley
    This is young but very good. A project of Dave Smig (Decalier) named after one of his daughters. Soft texture but very tannic at this stage, give it a few more years. Lots of black cherry fruit and a bit of gravel. Tight layering. I would like to revisit it, its hard to get a good handle on a wine this young and tight in this type of setting. I don’t think a lot was made but worth checking into for sure. (91 pts.)
  • 2009 Halcon Vineyards Syrah Alturas - USA, California, North Coast, Yorkville Highlands
    A better showing than a bottle consumed about a month ago at home. The nose has boysenberries, iron and bacon fat. Great acidity. Juicy texture. Lots of boysenberry fruit on the palate. Very young and in need of time. Compared to a 2010 Copain Halcon, this is much more about red fruits and had a better texture. (93 pts.)
  • 2010 Copain Syrah Halcon Vineyard - USA, California, North Coast, Yorkville Highlands
    It was interesting to compare with the Halcon Alturas. Apparently, Wells, uses stems on this. It shows not as ripe and does have a green element to the more raspberry (than boysenberry) fruit. Not sure how much is due to the vintage differences and how much to winemaking. Certainly a very good cool climate Syrah though I preferred the Halcon. (90 pts.)
  • 2006 Bevan Cellars Syrah Dry Stack Vineyard - USA, California, Napa Valley, Oakville
    This had been opened earlier in the day when I met up with Victoria. Meaty with boysenberries on the nose. Mature. Showing a nice complexity. Good acidity. Long finish. Very nice cool climate Syrah. (91 pts.)
  • 2010 Mollydooker Two Left Feet - Australia, South Australia, Fleurieu, McLaren Vale
    Randy opened this late. I am much more tolerant of these wines I think than many. They are what they are. Lots of jammy blueberries and black raspberries. Creamy texture. Nothing complex here, but it is tasty. An ounce or two was fine. (88 pts.)

Posted from CellarTracker


Great meeting you and the gang on Friday. A lot of excellent wine, generously shared.
Of the Cabs I slightly prefered the Hillside. Great depth and perfect ripeness.
I tried the Shephan C-R the next day. Much better, with more fruit and the Brett no longer dominant.


Carrie and Randy are wonderful hosts. [cheers.gif]

I enjoyed the Sauv Blanc. At $18, I think it’s a less expensive version of Merry Edwards.

Carrie turned me on to Ketcham. They compete with Sojourn for my house pinot noir.

I opened the 08 Mayback last year at an O/L. Mayback makes delicious cab sauvs.

Great notes Loren, a big thank you to Carrie and Randy ! Paul, enjoyed the Halcon syrah, delicious pure fruit, I’m definitely connected with your passion for the grapes of the Rhone. Look forward to visiting your vineyards. best regards, Tom

I gave the pizza 91 and salad 95, but I might have been swayed by the Bleu Cheese dressing. Enjoyed having everybody here and the wines were very diverse, interesting and apparently, I missed one or two of them. (or don’t remember them)

[cheers.gif] [cheers.gif]

It was a fun night. We really appreciate everyone that was here and their generosity.
We finished the Harris the next night and it showed even better than Friday. Of course there wasn’t even a spit of the Maybach left (dammit) absolutely delicious.
The Shafer Hillside is still young but I love it. The Hartford Court Stone Cote is a big rich Chard, I definitely liked it more than Loren did, when it warmed up.
Totally agree about the Ramey, it was very funky as was the '97 BV. The Continuum has been a fav since first release and it seems to get better and better. We had the opportunity to try the '09 someone brought when Dan Hammer was here and it was tremendous.

I need to pay more attention to the offline planning section of this site!

My apologies, I usually try to remember to kick ya (send a note) but totally spaced. Won’t happen again flirtysmile

Yes, the 97 BV GdL was unfortunately corked.

Paul, nice meeting you and your wife. I look forward to seeing your vineyard.