TN: Some Calif Cabs...(long/boring)

We tried last night (5/8/19) Mostly Cabs:

  1. Ryme CabFranc AlegriaVnyd/RRV/SonomaCnty (12.5%) 2016: Med.dark color; rather blackcurranty/Cab/light herbal
    slight earthy/loamy light toasty/oak fairly spicy/herbal/thyme aromatic/floral very attractive nose; rather
    tart/tangy/bit lean strong blackcurranty/Cab/light herbal very light toasty/oak flavor w/ some tangy tannins;
    very long rather Cab/blackcurranty/bit herbal some floral/violets light toasty/oak finish w/ modest tannins;
    speaks strongly of CabFranc w/ lots of floral character; quite a nice CabFranc. $35.00

  1. Ryme CabFranc AlegriaVnyd/RRV/SonomaCnty (12.5%) 2017: Med.color; strong blackcurranty/Cab slight herbal/thyme
    very light toasty/oak quite aromatic lovely nose; rather tart/tangy/lean rather blackcurranty/Cab fairly
    herbal/thyme slight earthy/loamy bit more restrained/quiet flavor w/ modest bitey tannins; very long rather
    blackcurranty/Cab/herbal/thyme bit earthy/loamy light toasty/oak finish w/ modest tannins; somewhat more
    restrained & closed than the '16. $41.25

  1. DryCreekVnyd Sailor’sCuvee DryCreekVlly RW (13.5%; 30% CabFranc/26% CS/17% Merlot/10% PetiteVerdot;
    430 cs) 2011
    : Very dark color; rather pencilly/toasty/oak very strrong blackcurranty/Cab/bit herbal quite
    spicy bit complex lovely nose; lightly tart strong pencilly/toasty/oak strong blackcurranty/Cab bit herbal/
    CabFranc balanced/structured some complex flavor w/ modest ripe tannins; very long/lingering strong toasty/
    pencilly/oak strong blackcurranty/Cab/very spicy some herbal/CabFranc/Bdx-like balanced/smooth finish w/
    modest smooth tannins; a lovely some Bdx-like very spicy balanced/structured Cab whose balance should take
    it out another 5-10 yrs; a beautiful DCV Cab. $48.00 (VSP)

  1. DryCreekVnyd CabernetSauvg Sailor’sCuvee DryCreekVlly RW (13.5%; 89% CS/8% Merlot/1% cCabFranc/
    1% Malbec/1% PetiteVerdot) 2012
    : Very dark color; lighter toasty/pencilly/oak very strong blackcurranty/Cab/
    ripe slight herbal some spicy very strong Cab nose; bit softer slightly harder/more tannic very strong
    blackcurranty/Cab very slight herbal/Bdx-like quite structured flavor w/ some harder/ripe tannins; very
    long/lingering very strong blackcurranty/Cab light pencilly/toasty/oak bit simpler very structured finish
    w/ some hard tannins; more classic Calif Cab in character; more structured & needs more age; a very serious
    Calif Cab but more balanced than most from NapaVlly at twice the price. $60.00 (VSC)

  1. DryCreekVnyd Merlot Hillside&Benchlands/DryCreekVlly (14.5%; 16 mo. in French/Hungarian/American oak; SaH:
    24.8 Brix; TA: 0.63; Hrvstd: Sept 8-15; 78% Merlot/15% CabSauvg/4% Malbec/2% CabFranc/1% PetiteVerdot)
    Healdsburg 2014
    : Very dark color; strong grapey/Merlot/plummy/black fruits light toasty/oak/bit pencilly
    attractive nose; soft lush strong Merlot/grapey/plummy light toasty/oak bit shallow/facile flavor w/ light
    soft tannins; med.long strong/Merlot/plummy/grapey light toasty/pencilly/oak bit simple finish w/ light soft
    tannins; a pretty decent expression of Merlot but on the soft side & lacks structure; a classic unthrilling
    Merlot. $nc (SR)/$26.00

  1. Harrington CabFranc CedarCrestVnyd/MantonVlly/LassenPeak/TehamaCnty (13.5%; 97 cs) 2017: Dark color; bit
    reductive/pungent someherbal/CabFranc quite volitile/acetic light toasty/oak slight Loire-like very
    interesting nose; rather volatile/pickle juice/acetic some CabFranc/herbal bit earthy/Loire-like/loamy bit
    rustic hot/fumey/burning flavor w/ light tannins; long very volatile/acetic/fumey slight herbal/CabFranc
    finish w/ light tannins; way too volatile/acetic/hot/fumey/EA to tell much about this wine. $30.00

  1. Ridge MonteBello Estate/MonteBelloVnyd/SantaCruzMtns (72% CS/12% Merlot/10% PetiteVerdot/6% CabFranc;
    13.7%; Y= 83.7 tons from 60.7 acres; Bttld: May 2018; Drk: 4/18-4/48: EB; calcium carbonate;
    0.7% water addition) 2016
    : Very dark/near black color; intense Cab/blackcurranty/bit herbal rather Bdx-like
    some dusty/OV rather toasty/oak/Fr.roast coffee/coffee bean very aromatic quite complex beautiful nose;
    rather tart/tangy fairly dusty/OV intense blackcurranty/Cab/some herbal/Bdx-like very structured/complete
    strong toasty/oak/coffee bean quite complex flaver w/ ample ripe/chewey tannins; very long/lingering intense
    blackcurranty/Cab/Bdx-like/herbal very structured/seamless very strong toasty/oak/coffee bean finish w/
    ample ripe tannins that goes on & on; a classic stunning MB very structured that will be a great one;
    a very intense/extrracted Cab but unlike the SQN/Alban paradigm you know it will evolve & develop.
    $127.00 (MBC)

  1. Bedrock CabSauv SonomaCnty (14.5%; MontecilloVnyd + others) 2017: Very dark color; rather smokey/toasty/oak
    strong blackcurranty/Cab bit earthy bit simple fairly attractive nose; fairly tart/tannic bit angular/hard
    rather blackcurranty/Cab some toasty/smokey/oak bit earthy flavor w/ some hard/rough tannins; very long
    fairly strong blackcurranty/Cab rather hard/tannic/angular some toasty/smokey/oak somewhat rough/rustic
    finish w/ some hard/angular tannins; a pleasant enough expression of Cab but a bit simple and on the hard/
    rough side; reminds some of a Languedoc Cab.$29.00

  1. Bedrock CabSauv MontecilloVnyd/MoonMtnDist/SonomaVlly/SonomaCnty (14.5%; Plntd: 1960’s;
    Farmed: ChuyOrdaz) 2016
    : Very dark/near black color; strong pencilly/toasty/Fr.oak/bit vanilla strong
    blackcurranty/Cab/slight herbal bit Bdx-like/coffee bit complex nose; lightly tart strong blackcurranty/Cab/
    bit herbal slight coffee/Bdx-like structured rather toasty/pencilly/Fr.oak bit complex flavor w/ modest
    chewey tannins; very long strong blackcurranty/Cab/plummy/bit herbal slight Bdx-like/earthy/coffee strong
    toasty/oak structured finish w/ ample chewey tannins; badly needs age but not sure where it’ll go; on the
    pricey side for a Bedrock red. $60.00

  1. Bedrock CabSauv MontecilloVnyd SonomaVlly/SonomaCnty (14.5%; 6 brls; Plntd: 1960’s) 2017: Very dark color;
    bit less pencilly/toasty/oak more subtle blackcurranty/Cab bit muddled almost Zin-like less focused Cab nose;
    lightly tart some blackcurranty/Cab/ripe/almost Zin-like lighter toasty/oak flavor w/ ample chewey tannins;
    very long less blackcurranty/Cab slightly unfocused/muddled some toasty/oak finish w/ ample chewey tannins;
    doesn’t have the purity of Cab fruit of the '16 but a bit of Zin character and more interesting; needs more
    age; doesn’t speak as strongly of Cab but a quite attractive red if on the pricey side for a Bedrock. $50.00

  1. Bedrock Tinto YorkCreekVnyd/SpringMtnDist/NapaVlly (14.1%; 2 brls; TourigaNacional + TintaFrancesca/
    TintaBarroca/TintaCao) 2015
    : Very dark/near black color; very intense black cherry cola/plummy/bit Port-like/
    boysenberry quite spicy some toasty/oak very fragrant rather complex nose; bit soft very strong rich/lush
    black cherry cola/plummy/RCCola/ripe/boysenberry some toasty/oak somewhat structured flavor w/ modest
    soft/ripe tannins; very long/lingering intense plummy/black cherry cola/Port-like/ripe/spicy some toasty/oak
    finish w/ some soft tannins; lots of ripe plummy fruit and much like a Duoro dry red but not the structure
    or tannins; a terrific Bedrock red. $42.00

  1. Harrington Amarela St.JorgeVnyd/MokelumneRiver/Lodi RW (13.2%; 5 brls Trincadeira/1 brl TintaRoriz/
    1 brl AlicanteBouschet; 187 cs) 2015
    : Very dark color; beautiful perfumed/cherry/black cherry/black cherry cola/
    bit licorice/spicy slight earthy/mushroomy/Lodi/dusty more Calif than Duoro very fragrant some complex nose;
    soft very rich/lush strong plummy/cherry/black cherry rather floral/violets/rose petal slight earthy/Lodi/
    mushroomy/truffly bit complex flavor w/ light ripe tannins; very long/lingering quite floral/violets cherry/
    black cherry cola/plummy/bit licorice some Lodi/mushroomy/earthy/truffly finish w/ light ripe tannins;
    speaks quietly of Lodi but quite floral/aromatic for Lodi; not a Duoro Red but a beautiful expression of a
    Calif red that hints of Port; a steal at $19.00

More likpilli from TheBloodyPulpit:

  1. Ryme: I liked both of these CabFrancs quite a lot. They had hints of that earthy/loamy character you get in
    Loire CabFranc, but they were distinctly Calif in origin. A bit on the hard side & in need of some age.

  1. Portugese varietals: There seems to be a growing interest in making dry reds from Portugese varieties. Like
    the dry reds made in the DuoroVlly, they often seem to have a plummy Port-like character, but are totally dry.
    These two, Bedrock & Harrington, are two of the better Calif ones I’ve had.

  1. Bedrock Cabs: This was my first tasting of any Bedrock Cabs that I recall. In the grand scheme of Calif Cabs,
    they’re pretty good and reasonably priced. In the grand scheme of Bedrock reds, they seem rather pricey and
    I’d rather put my $$'s into their other reds. They just don’t seem as focused and interesting as the other reds.

  1. Sailor’sCuvee: This is a blend DCV made for a couple of yrs and appeared in my VSP shipment. It is no longer
    made for sale and just made for trade use in the wholesale market and as prizes at sailing events. I was
    fairly impressed by these two wines, preferring the '11 for its more Bdx-like character.

  1. Harrington: The CabFranc clearly had a volatility issue with it. I reported this to Bryan and he opened one
    of his and did not see any volatility in his btl. He’s sending me a replacement btl & we’ll try it again.

Tom, thanks for the notes. Regarding the Montecillo Cabs … You were there from the beginning when the fruit went into the Kenwood “Artist Series” cabs of the 70s and 80s. I had a few of those myself, which, at the time were made by a family friend named Bob Koslowski.

I’ve been buying these cabs from Bedrock, Turley, Arnot-Roberts and (soon) Carlisle. Except for the Carlisle, I’ve sampled each. While the Turleys are somewhat more accessible, both the A-R and Bedrock, I think, really demand some time to show. I’m thinking 8-10 years after release, at least. I have some '13s and maybe a '12 A-R I’ll try again in due time.

Mike, I tried the Carlisle version last Fall and think it is built more along the lines of A-R and Bedrock and time in the cellar is warranted.


Thanks for the early look at the ‘16 Monte Bello. I went deep on this one for daughter’s birth year. Sounds like it will hold up just fine!

My early impression is its the best since '01.

Thanks for the tasting notes, Tom!!!

I was especially pleased to read about the Bedrock "Tinto " from the “York Creek Vineyard” and the Harrington “Amarela” Lodi Portuguese blend.

I always regarded Dry Creek Vineyards’ “Mariner” meritage to be a fine wine. I hadn’t heard of the “Sailor’s Cuvee” before…

Thanks for the notes, Tom. Question on the Bedrock Tinto, since I have only 1. Do you think this will improve with age? Or do you recommend drinking it in the near term?