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Date: Tuesday, May 20, 2014


Time: 6 PM


Price: Members: $92
            Guests:     $112

          (includes appetizers)


Venue: Faculty Club, Univ. of Toronto,

         41 Willcocks Street
         Toronto, Ontario
         M5S 1C7  - 


Mailed Reservations
          - Tuesday, May 13, 2014
Online Payments
         - Sunday, May 18, 2014


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California Dreaming - Premium Cabernets

Tuesday, May 20, 2014


Guest Speaker: Derek J B Kranenborg


Notes on the Wines

How the Wines Were Ranked



We would all probably agree that this past winter has left most of us “California Dreaming”. While the weather has finally turned, TVC thought it was not too late to spend a night sipping some of the finest red wines California has to offer. This May we invite you to come indulge in premium wines, hand selected by the TVC winebuyers as some of the best representation of the great wines California has to offer.  


Cabernet Sauvignon is said to be America's favorite red wine.  The warmer climate of Napa, in contrast to Bordeaux, leads to fruitier and fleshier wines that are more palate friendly after several years.  California “Cabs” tend to be dry, fully flavoured, with aging potential of 10-20 years, although 5-9 years is the norm. Words commonly used to describe California’s gems are currant, toasty oak aromas and berry.  While the premium Cabernet-based Bordeaux’s have defined great wine, Napa Valley winemakers imported Cabernet vine cuttings from Bordeaux in an attempt to recreate the exceptional wines from Bordeaux. Luckily for these winemakers, the climate and soil of California turned out to be well suited for growing Cabernet and because of the climate, they are a lot easier to drink than many Bordeaux wines which are characterized as more austere, less approached and often require decades of cellar aging.



May’s tasting explores a cross section of 4 vintages and primarily the Napa Valley region with one exception from Alexander Valley in Sonoma County - Kendall Jackson.  Grapes for Kendall Jackson’s world famous wines are grown in elevated sites, which produce the richest, most intense character and flavors in its Cabernet Sauvnignon.  Napa Valley is by far the most famous wine producing region in the US and is considered by many to the premier wine region in the US and amongst the world. Therefore, no California red wine tasting would be complete without some of Napa’s finest wineries, specifically: Caymus, Chateau Montelena, Corison, Trinchero and Clos du Val. Caymus Vineyards uses a “hang time” technique, which leaves the fruit to “hang” on the vine longer, allowing the grapes to intensify in colour and develop suppleness and mature tannins. The resulting wines are abundant in textural tannins, yet soft as velvet. At Chateau Montelena Winery, the winemakers focus on smaller yields by “dry faming”.  According to the winemaker’s website, Chateau Montelea wines “…express the fruit from which they are made and the vintage in which they are grown, with all other elements in balance to complement the fruit.” Cathy Corison of Corison Winery, makes complex wines that balance between power and elegance. Corison employs time-honored techniques, using only small French oak barrels sourced from several forests for complexity. Trinchero wines are luxury-class, single-vineyard wines. Their Cloud Nine Cabernet offers luscious berry and black cherry flavours, with hints of tobacco and tea. Terra Valentine’s Wurtele Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon produces intensely concentrated fruit with deep color and structure.  Its wine is aged in 50% new French oak and has the structure to age gracefully for up to 20 years.  Clos de Val produces terroir-driven wines of balance and elegance.  Characteristic of Clos Du Val's world-class Cabernet Sauvignon since 1972, their 2007 vintage continues the winery's tradition of balanced, complex and elegant wines.  Lastly, we have one Bordeaux-style blend from Cain Winery, called Cain Five, made up of 5 different grapes, with Cab Sauv the main variety.  Each vintage varies in composition. Made by respected winemaker, Chris Howell who studied in France, “it's too respected to call it a cult wine but if you mention it to serious food people their eyes tend to light up.” (


Our four vintages are: 2005 to 2008. The ’05, ’06, and ’08 are rated as “outstanding” according to Robert Parker, and the ’07 is rated as ‘extraordinary’ (the top rating description) and we have three of these!!   Dream no longer! This event is not to be missed. Book your ticket early to enjoy some of the finest that California has to offer.


Included in the event price is a reception wine and light appetizers with the main wines. (Please refrain from wearing perfumed products to a wine event.)



The Wines

2005 Caymus Vineyards, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley $87
“A dark, scarlet red color, with powerful aromas of sweet ripe cabernet grapes. Initial impressions are fantastically appealing, brooding to expansive textural sensations of finely grained cacao tannins. The whole of the wine is balanced, rich, expressive and impressively complex. The backbone of fine tannin and sweet ripeness is a carry-­‐‑over from perfectly mature fruit.” Winemaker’s website. 91 pts. Wine Spectator.   


2005 Chateau Montelena, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley $57
“The winery continues to turn out a strong Cabernet Sauvignon from vineyards in the Calistoga area. This is a big production item (10,000 cases), and tends to be a good value for a high-class Napa Cabernet. The 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon (22,000 cases) is a beauty. Savory black currant fruit notes intermixed with some licorice, underbrush, and spice jump from the glass of this medium to full-bodied, smoothly textured, beautifully elegant wine meant to be served and drunk in its first 10-12 years of life.” 90 pts. Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, Dec. 2007.  
2006 Corison, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley $71 (originally $95)
“…exhibits plenty of good things, such as a dark ruby/purple color and black fruit, graphite, earth, and wood spice characteristics. A wine of elegance, restraint, and flawless winemaking, it remained somewhat muted and monolithic no matter how much aeration and coaxing I gave it. Perhaps the tannins of the 2006 vintage are keeping it in a more closed down state at present. It has 15 or more years of aging potential.” 88+ pts. Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, Dec. 2009.
2007 Clos du Val, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley  $83
 “That vintage was so good, it is hard to hide all the fruit and character. The wine possesses a dark ruby/purple color, medium body, good elegance and a pleasant personality, but what might have been produced if they took the chains off?” 87 pts. Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, Dec. 2010.   90 pts, Wine Enthusiast

2006 Kendall Jackson, Hawkeye Mt. Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley     $65
“The 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon Hawkeye Mountain from the Alexander Valley offers sweet blackberry, loamy soil, new oak, and spice notes. It is more concentrated as well as more tannic than the Trace Ridge Cabernet.” 92 pts. Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, Dec. 2008.
2007 Terra Valentine - Wurtele Vineyard, Cabernet Sauvignon, Spring Mountain District, Napa Valley  $80
“Planted to clone 4 and clone 15 cabernet, these vines experience a unique climate above the fog that brings out the dark chocolate, black licorice, and cassis flavors, balanced with elegant tannins and bright minerality. The wine spends 22 months in 45% new French oak barrels.: Winemaker’s website.


2008 Trinchero Cloud's Nest, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley          $65
“The similarly colored 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon Cloud's Nest Vineyard is from Mt. Veeder, a complicated mountain site of many diverse terroirs, but with the best parcels having fabulous potential. More black raspberry, blueberry and floral notes along with hints of background oak and roasted coffee emerge from this 2008. Slightly more seamless than its two predecessors, this opulent wine displays layers and layers of fruit and a rich, powerful finish with no hard edges. There is plenty of tannin, but the luxurious fruit levels conceal most of the tannin. This wine should drink well for 15-20 years.” 93 pts. Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, Dec. 2010. 


2007 Cain Winery, Cain Five, Spring Mountain District, Napa Valley  $99
Composed of the five classic varieties—68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Merot, 6% Malbec, 5% Petit Verdot and 5% Cabenet Franc.  Cain Five epitomizes the benefits of blending to achieve a complex wine. It is supple and rich of texture, combining a full, firm structure with a long and subtle finish.  “We blend early to allow the wine to come together and to find its balance. Even after the vigorous fermentation of the harvest, the young wine is still alive with yeast and bacteria, still in the process of developing. Where most wineries want to arrest the process at this point, we tend the young Cain Five with an eye to letting it continue to develop and evolve in the barrel. And so, with the herbal “garrigue” of the Cain Vineyard comes truffles, a bit of earthiness, and some lovely floral notes of roses and jasmine.” Winemaker’s website.

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How The Wines Were Ranked

Please check back after the tasting for the results.


Name of Wine (in order poured) Group Ranking Guest Ranking
A -
2008 Trinchero Cloud's Nest, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley $65
2 7
B -
2007 Clos du Val, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley $83
8 1
C -
2007 Terra Valentine - Wurtele Vineyard, Cabernet Sauvignon, Spring Mountain District, Napa Valley $80
6 2
D -
2007 Cain Winery, Cain Five, Spring Mountain District, Napa Valley $99
7 6
E -
2006 Corison, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley $71 (originally $95)
4 3
F -
2006 Kendall Jackson, Hawkeye Mt. Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley $65
5 4
G -
2005 Chateau Montelena, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley $57
3 5
H -
2005 Caymus Vineyards, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley $87
1 8