California dreamin'! May’s tasting explored a cross section of 4 vintages of premium California Cabernet Sauvignon wines and primarily the Napa Valley region, with one exception from Alexander Valley in Sonoma County. Our four vintages were 2005 to 2008. The ’05, ’06, and ’08 were rated as “outstanding” according to Robert Parker, and the ’07 was assessed as ‘extraordinary’ (the top rating description) and we have three of these!! Dream no longer! We were joined by guest speaker, Derek Kronenberg of The Vine Agency at our event on May 20th, 2014.
HOW THE WINES WRE RANKED
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.