Mixed Case lot - please see individual item description
This lot contains the following items:
Cain "NV8" Napa Valley Cuvee (qty: 1)
Opus One "Overture" Napa Valley Bordeaux Blend (qty: 1)
2009 Penner-Ash "Pas de Nom" Willamette Valley Pinot Noir (qty: 1)
2009 Merryvale "Profile" Napa Valley Bordeaux Blend (qty: 1)
2009 Olson Ogden "Alder Springs Vineyard" Mendocino Syrah (qty: 1)
2009 Keplinger "Lithic" Amador County Rhone Blend (qty: 1)
2009 King Estate "Backbone" Oregon Pinot Noir (qty: 3)
2009 Goldschmidt Vineyard " PLUS - Yoeman Vineyard" Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (qty: 1)
2009 Griffin Creek Rogue Valley Merlot (qty: 1)
2009 Griffin Creek Rogue Valley Syrah (qty: 1)
2009 Hall "Darwin" Napa Valley Proprietary Red (qty: 2)
2009 Hall "T-Bar-T Ranch" Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (qty: 1)
2009 Inglenook "Rubicon" Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon (qty: 1)
2009 Balboa "Pandemonium" Walla Walla Valley Syrah (qty: 1)
2009 Bethel Heights Willamette Valley Pinot Noir (qty: 1)
2009 Arkenstone "Obsidian" Howell Mountain Bordeaux Blend (qty: 8)
2009 Arkenstone Howell Mountain Estate Syrah (qty: 9)
2009 Anne Amie Willamette Valley Pinot Noir (qty: 1)
2009 Argyle "Spirithouse" Willamette Valley Reserve Pinot Noir (qty: 2)
2009 Argyle "Stoller Vineyard" Silver Series Dundee Hills Pinot Noir (qty: 2)
2009 Arkenstone "Coliseum Block" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (qty: 8)
2009 Caymus Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (qty: 2)
2009 Cade Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon (qty: 1)
2009 Colgin "IX Estate" Napa Valley Bordeaux Blend (qty: 1)
2009 De Ponte Cellars "Baldwin Family Reserve" Dundee Hills Pinot Noir (qty: 1)
2009 De Ponte Cellars "Estate" Dundee Hills Pinot Noir (qty: 3)
2009 De Ponte Cellars Dundee Hills Pinot Noir (qty: 1)
2009 Epoch "Estate Blend Paderewski Vineyard" Paso Robles Red Blend (qty: 1)
2009 Figgins "Estate" Walla Walla Valley Bordeaux Blend (qty: 1)
2009 Retour Willamette Valley Pinot Noir (qty: 3)
2009 Saviah Cellars "The Funk Estate" Walla Walla Valley Syrah (qty: 1)
2009 Saviah Cellars Walla Walla Valley Petit Verdot (qty: 1)
2009 Saviah Cellars Walla Walla Valley Syrah (qty: 1)
2009 Saxum "Paderewski Vineyard" Paso Robles Red Blend (qty: 1)
2009 Sitar (Revana) "Verse" Willamette Valley Pinot Noir (qty: 1)
2009 Six Prong Horse Heaven Hills Cabernet Sauvignon (qty: 1)
2009 Vecchie Terre di Montefili Chianti Classico Riserva (qty: 1)
2009 Willamette Valley Vineyards "Elton" Eola-Amity Hills Pinot Noir (qty: 1)
2009 William Hatcher Willamette Valley Pinot Noir (qty: 1)
2010 Trinchero "Chicken Ranch Vineyard" Rutherford Merlot (qty: 1)
2010 Spottswoode "Lyndenhurst" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (qty: 1)
2010 Signorello "Estate" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (qty: 1)
2010 Sitar (Revana) "Chorus" Willamette Valley Pinot Noir (qty: 1)
2010 Seven Hills "Reserve" Walla Walla Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (qty: 1)
2010 Rotie Cellars "Dre" Washington Mourvedre (qty: 2)
2010 Promontory Napa Valley Bordeaux Blend (qty: 1)
2010 R. Stuart & Co. "Vignette" Willamette Valley Pinot Noir (qty: 1)
2010 Sans Liege "Pickpocket" Paso Robles Grenache (qty: 2)
2010 Sans Liege "The Adversary" Santa Barbara County Mourvedre (qty: 2)
2010 Sans Liege "The Offering" Santa Barbara Rhône Blend (qty: 3)
2010 Van Duzer Willamette Valley Pinot Noir (qty: 1)
2010 Foley Johnson Rutherford Merlot (qty: 1)
2010 Beringer "Private Reserve" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (qty: 1)
2010 Epoch "Ingenuity - Paderewski Vineyard" Paso Robles Rhône Blend (qty: 1)
2010 Faust Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (qty: 1)
2010 De Ponte Cellars "Baldwin Family Reserve" Dundee Hills Pinot Noir (qty: 1)
2010 Cade Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon (qty: 2)
2010 Coelho "Atracao" Willamette Valley Pinot Noir (qty: 1)
2010 Adamvs "Teres'' Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (qty: 1)
2010 Adelaida "Anna's Estate Vineyard-Block 6" Paso Robles Syrah (qty: 1)
2010 Adelaida "Estate Reserve" Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon/Syrah (qty: 1)
2010 Alexana "Shea Vineyard" Willamette Valley Pinot Noir (qty: 2)
2010 Anne Amie "Twelve Oaks Estate" Chehalem Mountains Pinot Noir (qty: 1)
2010 Balboa "Eidolon Vineyard" Walla Walla Valley Syrah (qty: 2)
2010 Bogle Vineyards "Old Vines" Zinfandel (qty: 1)
2010 Balboa "Pandemonium" Walla Walla Valley Syrah (qty: 1)
2010 Carne Humana Napa Valley Red Wine (qty: 1)
2010 Castello di Amorosa "La Castellana" Napa Valley Red (qty: 2)
2010 Castello di Amorosa "La Castellana" Napa Valley Red (qty: 1)
2010 Caymus Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (qty: 1)
2010 Hewitt Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon (qty: 1)
2010 J. Lohr "Gesture" Paso Robels Zinfandel (qty: 1)
2010 Hall Diamond Mountain District Cabernet Sauvignon (qty: 1)
2010 Gravet-Renaissance, St.-Emilion (qty: 1)
2010 Hall Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (qty: 1)
2010 Hanzell Sonoma Valley Pinot Noir (qty: 3)
2010 Hall "Ellie's" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (qty: 1)
2010 Gramercy Cellars "L'idiot du Village" Columbia Valley Syrah (qty: 1)
2010 Jettlynn Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon (qty: 1)
2010 La Ferme du Mont "Vendange" Châteauneuf-du-Pape (qty: 1)
2010 Law Estate "Beguiling" Paso Robles Grenache (qty: 2)
2010 Lyeth Sonoma County Meritage (qty: 1)
2010 Market Vineyards "Arbitrage" Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (qty: 1)
2010 Nicolas Allen "Carte Blanche" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (qty: 1)
2010 Montes "Purple Angel" Carmenère Valle de Colchagua (qty: 1)
2010 Patton Valley Vineyard "10 Acre" Willamette Valley Pinot Noir (qty: 1)
2011 Penner-Ash "Pas de Nom" Willamette Valley Pinot Noir (qty: 1)
2011 Penner-Ash Willamette Valley Pinot Noir (qty: 4)
2011 Keplinger "Caldera" El Dorado Rhône Blend (qty: 2)
2011 Memento Mori Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (qty: 1)
2011 Levy & McClellan Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (qty: 1)
2011 King Estate Oregon Pinot Noir (qty: 1)
2011 Keplinger "Lithic" Amador County Rhône Blend (qty: 2)
2011 Keplinger "Sumo" Amador County Proprietary Red (qty: 2)
2011 Gramercy Cellars "L'idiot du Village" Columbia Valley Mourvedre (qty: 1)
2011 Gramercy Cellars "Inigo Montoya" Walla Walla Valley Tempranillo (qty: 3)
2011 Gramercy Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (qty: 1)
2011 Gramercy Walla Walla Valley Syrah (qty: 1)
2011 Hall "Exzellenz" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (qty: 1)
2011 Hall "Jack's Masterpiece" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (qty: 1)
2011 Hanzell Sonoma Valley Pinot Noir (qty: 4)
2011 Hall Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon (qty: 1)
2011 J. Lohr "Gesture" Paso Robles GSM (qty: 1)
2011 Isenhower "Olivia's Blend" Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (qty: 1)
2011 Arkenstone "NVD" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (qty: 1)
2011 Ayoub "Brittan Vineyard" McMinnville Pinot Noir (qty: 9)
2011 Bachelder Willamette Valley Pinot Noir (qty: 2)
2011 Ad Vivum Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (qty: 1)
2011 Alexana "Revana Vineyard" Dundee Hills Pinot Noir (qty: 3)
2011 Anomaly Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (qty: 1)
2011 Antica Terra "Botanica" Willamette Valley Pinot Noir (qty: 1)
2011 Coelho "Paciencia" Willamette Valley Pinot Noir (qty: 1)
2011 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape (qty: 1)
2011 Chimney Rock "Elevage" Stags Leap District Bordeaux Blend (qty: 1)
2011 Corliss Estates Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (qty: 6)
2011 d'Issan, Margaux (qty: 1)
2011 Futo "OV" Oakville Bordeaux Blend (qty: 1)
2011 Figgins "Estate" Walla Walla Valley Bordeaux Blend (qty: 1)
2011 Foley Johnson Rutherford Meritage (qty: 1)
2011 Rotie Cellars "Swordfight" Washington Rhone Blend (qty: 2)
2011 Raymond "Generations" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (qty: 1)
2011 Seven Hills "Ciel du Cheval" Red Mountain Bordeaux Blend (qty: 3)
2011 Saxum "Booker Vineyard" Paso Robles Rhône Blend (qty: 1)
2011 Seven Hills Walla Walla Valley Petit Verdot (qty: 1)
2011 Trisaetum Willamette Valley Pinot Noir (qty: 2)
2011 Turley "Ueberroth" Paso Robles Zinfandel (qty: 1)
2012 Vine Cliff Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon (qty: 1)
2012 Vineyard 29 "29 Estate" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (qty: 1)
2012 Shea Wine Cellars "West Hill" Willamette Valley Pinot Noir (qty: 1)
2012 Spottswoode "Family Estate" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (qty: 1)
2012 Seven Hills Columbia Valley Merlot (qty: 1)
2012 Rulo Winery "Orb" Columbia Valley Rhone Blend (qty: 1)
2012 Frank Family "Winston Hill" Rutherford Bordeaux Blend (qty: 1)
2012 Etzel Brothers "Sleeping Lady Vineyard" Yountville Cabernet Sauvignon (qty: 1)
2012 Cuvaison "Spire" Carneros Pinot Noir (qty: 1)
2012 Cuvaison Carneros Syrah (qty: 1)
2012 Conn Creek "Anthology" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (qty: 1)
2012 Conviction Wines Cabernet Sauvignon South Africa (qty: 5)
2012 Chionetti Briccolero Dogliani (qty: 1)
2012 Archery Summit "Arcus Estate" Dundee Hills Oregon Pinot Noir (qty: 1)
2012 Arkenstone "NVD" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (qty: 3)
2012 Arrow & Branch Napa Valley Red (qty: 1)
2012 Beaulieu Vineyard Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (qty: 1)
2012 Isenhower "River Beauty" Yakima Valley Syrah (qty: 3)
2012 Isenhower "Batchelor's Button" Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (qty: 2)
2012 Hall Diamond Mountain District Cabernet Sauvignon (qty: 1)
2012 Gramercy Cellars "The Deuce" Walla Walla Valley Syrah (qty: 1)
2012 K Vintners "Stoneridge Vineyard - El Jefe" Walla Walla Valley Tempranillo (qty: 1)
2012 Keplinger "Lithic" Amador County Rhone Blend (qty: 1)
2012 Linne Calodo "Perfectionist" Paso Robles Rhône Blend (qty: 1)
2012 Linne Calodo "Problem Child" Paso Robles Red Blend (qty: 1)
2012 Linne Calodo "Sticks & Stones" Paso Robles Rhône Blend (qty: 1)
2012 Mark Herold PNV "Premiere Napa Valley - Herold & The Vineyardist" Diamond Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon (qty: 1)
2012 Nine Suns Napa Valley Bordeaux Blend (qty: 1)
2012 Napa Cellars Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (qty: 1)
2012 Pontet-Canet, Pauillac (qty: 1)
2012 Pahlmeyer "Jayson" Napa Valley Bordeaux Blend (qty: 1)
2013 Mollydooker "Two Left Feet" Shiraz-Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot South Australia (qty: 1)
2013 Hall "Bergfeld" St. Helena Cabernet Sauvignon (qty: 1)
2013 Hall "Exzellenz" Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon (qty: 1)
2013 Hall "Eighteen Seventy-Three" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (qty: 1)
2013 Hanzell "Estate" Sonoma Valley Pinot Noir (qty: 1)
2013 Hall Diamond Mountain District Cabernet Sauvignon (qty: 1)
2013 Hall Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon (qty: 1)
2013 Arkenstone "Obsidian" Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon (qty: 1)
2013 Arkenstone "NVD" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (qty: 1)
2013 Anomaly Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (qty: 1)
2013 Alpha Omega Napa Valley Bordeaux Blend (qty: 1)
2013 David Arthur "Three Acre" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (qty: 4)
2013 Frank Family "Reserve" Chiles Valley Zinfandel (qty: 1)
2013 Rotie Cellars "Southern Blend" Washington Rhone Blend (qty: 1)
2014 Stoller "Reserve" Dundee Hills Pinot Noir (qty: 1)
2014 Vine Cliff Los Carneros Chardonnay (qty: 1)
2014 Frank Family "Lewis Vineyard Reserve" Carneros Pinot Noir (qty: 1)
2014 Felton Road "Calvert" Pinot Noir Central Otago (Biodynamic) (qty: 1)
2014 Ferrari-Carano Sonoma County Chardonnay (qty: 1)
2014 David Arthur Napa Valley Chardonnay (qty: 1)
2014 Dakota Shy Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (qty: 1)
2014 Argyle Willamette Valley Chardonnay (qty: 1)
2014 Hanzell "Estate" Sonoma Valley Chardonnay (qty: 5)
2014 Hall "Ellie's" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (qty: 1)
2014 Hall "Jack's Masterpiece" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (qty: 1)
2014 Picayune "Padlock" Napa Valley Bordeaux Blend (qty: 1)
2015 Picayune Lake & Napa Counties Sauvignon Blanc (qty: 1)
Then multi-vintage blend that until recently has been available only at the winery in Napa Valley, now being commercialised to beat the drum a bit more for Opus. Deep ruby with a pale rim. Very sweet, ripe, penetrating nose that screams Napa Valley. An edge of cocoa. Light, lively and open with just a little bit of rusty nail on the end. (JR)
Deep, dense and brooding with a curious bias to iron, dark soils and heavily roasted coffee in the nose, this strapping youngster finds fine fruity direction in its impressively extracted flavors. It is big and chunky and very solidly built, and it is roughed up by lots of varietal tannin, but what it delivers in the way of richness and depth more than makes up for its lack of immediate polish. It is a wine for the cellar and will take up to a decade to come around, but it has all of the pieces in place to make aging a very sure thing.
The 2009 Profile bursts on the palate with an exciting array of black fruit, smoke, tar, licorice and grilled herbs. It is a muscular wine endowed with considerable depth and richness, but despite its obvious size, all of the elements are in harmony. This big boy will need some cellaring, but it is beautiful. Profile is 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petit Verdot, 3% Malbec and 2% Cabernet Franc. (AG)
Bright, saturated ruby-red. Cassis, blackberry, licorice, coffee and mocha on the nose, plus a whiff of tarry oak. Silky on entry, then vinous and firm, with noteworthy verve to the flavors of dark berries, chocolate, tobacco leaf, minerals and herbs. Good primary, brooding Cabernet-based wine with serious tongue-dusting tannins and very good length. Should gain in texture and complexity over the next five to eight years. 90(+?) points.
A luscious Napa Valley blend, with perfumed red cherry and fragrant, herb-scented fruit enriched by oak. Barrel age has brought the texture to a generous smoothness, adding walnut tones to contrast the bright fruit. Ready to decant for filet mignon.
*Cellar Selection* This falls midway between the spectacular '08 and the elegant '07. Based on Cabernet Sauvignon, its grapes were grown in St. Helena. The wine shows softly lush tannins and deep, complex flavors of red fruit, berry, licorice, cocoa and mineral that easily stand up to 100% new French oak. Don't open it until at least 2018, and it should develop for many years afterward.
Exhibits a rich array of savory herb, dried dark berry, mocha, licorice, smoke and cedar flavors, gaining depth and richness and firming nicely on the finish. Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Malbec and Cabernet Franc. Drink now through 2020.
(42% Grenache, 34% Mourvedre and 24% Syrah; 14.8% alcohol): Full, bright red-ruby. Lovely high notes of lavender and blood orange lift the aromas of blackberry and bitter chocolate. Dense, sweet, energetic and seamless, with superb intensity and a light touch to the flavors of red and blue fruits, gun metal, tree bark and crushed rock. This wonderfully penetrating, juicy wine finishes with toothcoating tannins and powerful structure. Superb, and built for the long haul. (ST)
The 2009 Lithic comes across as rich, round and polished, with a greater sense of harmony and finesse than the 2008. This is a decidedly extroverted wine bursting with dark red fruit, flowers and spices. Darker hints of smoke, iron and savory herbs develop with time in the glass, adding further complexity and nuance. The 2009 Lithic is 42% Grenache, 34% Mourvèdre and 24% Syrah. (AG)
Beautifully crafted, intense and vibrant, with a firm mix of loamy earth, mineral, plum and blackberry. Full-bodied and tightly wound, this one begs for cellaring, ending with a strong flex of ripe tannins. Grenache, Mourvèdre and Syrah. Best from 2014 through 2024.
A big, imposing wine, the 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Rubicon is going to need some time to shed its tannin and baby fat. There is plenty of weight and gravitas in the glass. Smoke, tar, chocolate, licorice and dark red raspberries are all woven into the virile, authoritative finish. In 2009 the blend is 97% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Cabernet Franc. Anticipated maturity: 2017-2029. (AG)
A classy effort that is rich and layered, restrained and structured, featuring fine tension between the dried currant, cedar, cigar box and anise flavors and the firm, fine-grained tannins. Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. Drink now through 2023. (JL)
A more deeply pitched nose of red berries exhibits background nuances of plum, violet and black currants. There is a suave and seductive texture to the delicious and solidly complex flavors that terminate in a balanced, persistent and harmonious finish. This also offers good value.
My favorite of this collection is the 2009 Pinot Noir Willamette Valley. Aromas of cedar, cinnamon, clove, rose petal, and cherry compose the bouquet of this velvety-textured, easy-going, impeccably balanced Pinot. There is enough material here to ensure another 5-6 years of enjoyable drinking. It makes a good case for the art of blending.
Vivid red. Red berry and cherry aromas show good clarity and energy. Brisk and focused on the palate, offering spicy raspberry and bitter cherry flavors and a hint of white pepper. Finishes with good breadth and sweetness, leaving red fruit preserve notes behind.
Light and zingy, with a sense of delicacy around the raspberry and cherry flavors, lingering nicely on the polished finish. Drink now through 2016. (Web-2012)
Not the least bit shy about standing up to its big and pricey mate, this nicely crafted wine shares a keen focus on the currant fruit that makes Napa Valley Cabernets so special. It also shares a drift into slight fleshiness, and, in this case, shows greater willingness to be drunk up in the next five years even if keeping it longer is within its ability to age. Still, with a somewhat more open stance and more inviting price, this wine serves up lots to like while we wait for the Special Selection.
A flashy, opulent Cabernet. You could even call it sexy. It’s so soft and luxurious in blackberry, blueberry and cassis flavors. Absolutely delicious by any standard, yet the dry structure maintains elegant balance.
Supple and creamy-textured, with mocha, ripe plum and cherry flavors that show touches of tobacco, espresso and underbrush. Full-bodied, gaining tannic traction on the finish, elegant and readily approachable. (JL)
The 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain is a fascinating wine. Some of the rougher, wilder edges that are present in the 2008 are smoothed out here. Layers of expressive dark fruit, licorice, mint and new leather wrap around the palate in this deep, powerful Cabernet Sauvignon. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2024. (AG)
Balancing power with finesse, this offers intense blackberry, dusty rock, cedar, black licorice and dried herb flavors. Gains depth and nuance, with tannins providing traction and definition. Best from 2013 through 2024. (JL)
henomenal aromas and flavors of pure fruit with stones and rock. Turns to mint and eucalyptus. Full body, with powerful yet polished tannins. Creamy and fresh. Changes continually. The finish goes on for minutes Savory. And juicy.
Composed of 69% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot, 11% Cabernet Franc and 6% Petit Verdot, the 2009 IX Estate exhibits a flowery bouquet with notes of subtle smoke, blackberries, black currants, kirsch and baking spices. Rich, deep and full-bodied, this voluptuous, sensational blend boasts an inky/purple color. While approachable, it should hit its stride in 4-5 years and last for two to three decades. (RP)
Saturated deep ruby. Pure but subdued aromas of black cherry, blueberry, menthol and sweet butter. Pure liquid pleasure in the mouth, combining the seamlessness of the Tychson Hill with the tannic force of the Cariad. This wonderfully sweet, palate-saturating wine is downright penetrating without betraying any rough edges. Finishes strong and very long, with mouthfilling chocolatey ripeness. A classic example of the way the best Napa Valley Cabernet-based wines can combine sheer sweetness and size with structure. 96+ points. (ST)
The 2009 IX Estate Red Wine is another breathtaking wine. It is the coolest, most inward of these 2009s. Graphite, tar, smoke, savory herbs, licorice and black fruit are some of nuances that emerge from the IX Estate. Here, too, the tannins are quite imposing at this stage, but the integration of fruit and structure is superb. This has more than enough stuffing to age for a number of years. (AG)
A muscle-bound effort, tight, dense and chewy, with tar, blackberry, cedar and tobacco flavors. Ends with a pleasant wall of tannins and a persistent push of flavors. (JL)
The 2009 Estate Blend is laced with vibrant dark fruit, crushed flowers and spices. It is one of the more accessible of the estate’s 2009s and flat-out delicious, even today. In 2009, the blend is 60% Syrah, 19% Grenache, 9% Tempranillo, 8% Zinfandel and 4% Mourvedre. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2015.
Bright purple. Intense raspberry and cherry aromas are lifted by notes of peppery spice and fresh rose. Lively and well-focused, with juicy red berry and bitter cherry flavors that stain the palate. Finishes with very good clarity and length, the cherry note repeating. I'd have guessed that there was more Tempranillo in here.
Bottled in July of last year and comprising a roughly 60-40 Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot blend (Petit Verdot didn’t make the cut this year due to the late frost), Figgins’ 2009 Estate Red is stunningly scented with perfumed essence of iris and violet as well as ripe dark berries and high-toned, resinous green herbs and geranium. The effect is like Merlot contributing Chartreuse liqueur! (Is this a sweet spot to plant that grape or what?) The palate combination of seamless high ripeness and satiny polish with levity, billowing inner-mouth florality and sheer energy is utterly uncanny, and the finish is so juicy you’ll need a napkin. If you’ve visited the site, it’s hard not to imagine its airy openness reflected here in liquid form. And this is a libation you’re likely to desire following for at least the next dozen years. (DS)
Good deep red-ruby. Aromas of dark berries, cocoa powder and licorice. Dense, silky and rich, with a lovely creamy sweetness to the slightly high-toned black raspberry fruit. A compellingly sweet blend with suave, fully ripe tannins and outstanding black raspberry persistence. (ST)
*** Editors' Choice *** The second release of Figgins — a single wine produced by Leonetti’s Chris Figgins — is astonishing. Tasted in a lineup of exceptional Walla Walla reds, it outshined them all. It’s a sophisticated blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Merlot, from the Figgins Vineyard, with gorgeous aromas of flowers, spices and black fruits. Seamless and long, complex and forceful without being overpowering, it can stand alongside top tier Bordeaux costing four or five times as much. (PG)
This is full and spicy with blackberry and spices with a chalk and dried fruits. Round and velvety. A little warm but I like the spices. This is wine from a vineyard on Peachy Canyon road. Solid core of fruit here.
The 2009 Paderewski Vineyard is a new bottling from a site Smith developed for Bill and Liz Armstrong, the owners of Epoch. Zinfandel, Syrah, Petit Sirah and Mourvedre are planted in separate plots but co-fermented. Layers of dark fruit meld into flowers, mint, sweet spices, menthol, eucalyptus and plums, with marvelous density and harmony. This shows superb aromatic complexity and tons of nuance to match its absolutely striking personality. It is a dazzling effort, especially for a young vineyard in just its third leaf. The blend was 39% Zinfandel, 38% Syrah, 13% Petite Sirah and 10% Mourvedre. (AG)
Inky purple. Seductively perfumed aromas of dark berry preserves, potpourri, Asian spices, anise and mocha. Broad, sweet and spicy in the mouth, showing outstanding vivacity to its black and blue fruit flavors accented by clove and candied flowers. Finishes spicy and lucid. This is the first release for this bottling. (JR)
Rustic, muscular and dense, with a chewy core of dried berry, roasted herb, hot brick, blackberry and wild berry, with spice and mineral flavors folding in on the finish. (JL)
Rose petals, dark red cherries, mint, savory herbs and leather all jump from the glass in the 2009 Chianti Classico Riserva. This is another wine endowed with serious depth and pure, unbridled power. Ideally, it is best left alone in the cellar for at least another few years. At times, the Riserva resembles a Barolo for its extraordinary aromatic complexity, nuance and structure. The style is a bit eccentric, and at times even rough around the edges, but there is no shortage of intrigue. If opened young the 2009 needs quite a bit of air. (Drink between 2016-2029)
Contains 1.5% of each of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Aged for 19 months in French oak, 40% new. Glowing crimson. Rich and ripe on nose. Succulent and glossy. Sweet end. Food wine. Rich but not at all heavy. Very different from the more open 2011. A fine wine by any measure but still a little reserved.
Bright red-ruby. Dark berries, menthol and a hint of tobacco on the nose. Soft, ripe and plush but not at all cooked, with sweet berry and milk chocolate flavors offering considerable immediate appeal. This fruit-forward second wine finishes with building tannins. Very successful for this bottling. Beginning with the 2011, the label will not say St. Helena.
Signorello's 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate (93% Cabernet Sauvignon and 7% Cabernet Franc) exhibits a dense ruby/purple color as well as sweet notes of cedar, black currants and spice box, medium to full body, and good acidity and purity. Accessible now, it is capable of evolving for 15+ years. (RP)
The 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate stands out for its layered, sumptuous personality. Dark red cherries, French oak, mocha, smoke, tobacco and incense all meld together in the 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate. A long, polished finish rounds things out nicely in this expressive Cabernet Sauvignon. The 2010 has developed nicely since I tasted it last year. The 2010 includes 7% Cabernet Franc.
Full-bodied and rustic, immensely tannic and extracted, with slow-to-open dark berry, spice, crushed rock, and loamy earth notes. Drink now through 2019. (Web-2013)
The 2010 Promontory appears to be a killer wine. It ratchets up the level of concentration, but does not reveal as much of the La Mission Haut-Brion personality as the 2009. It exhibits more creme de cassis, sweet earth, truffle, new saddle leather and background vanilla and barbecue notes. Full-bodied, rich, pure and multidimensional, this wine is a kissing cousin of the great Harlan Estate located five to six miles due north on a similar latitude in the lower Mayacamas Mountains overlooking the Oakville Corridor, whereas Promontory overlooks Yountville. This is another 25-30-year wine from the winemaking team of Harlan Estate and Bond. (RP) 98+
Deep saturated ruby. Extremely primary aromas of blueberry, kirsch, bitter chocolate and licorice, plus a whiff of leather; distinctly blacker in character than the 2009. Wonderfully plush and deep but with outstanding inner-mouth energy to the dark fruit and smoky mineral flavors. Boasts a remarkably noble, silky texture and great sweetness for such a powerful and unevolved wine. Most impressive today on the superb tactile, rising finish, which features strong but very smooth tannins and lovely floral lift. This beauty should be quite long-lived. (ST) 96+
The 2010 Promontory is rich, powerful and intense, with a core of inner sweetness that is compelling. Today the 2010 is quite exotic in its aromatics, but is less available and forthcoming on the palate. I would prefer to cellar it for a few more years. (AG) 95+
Playing in the same ballpark, yet more restrained and tight at the moment, with a darker fruit profile than the En Gedi, the 2010 Pickpocket (100% Grenache) has loads of darker berry and cherry fruit, licorice, leather, crushed flowers and underbrush as well as a full-bodied, voluptuous palate that stays light and fresh. There’s ample ripe tannin adding focus on the finish and it should benefit from another year or two of bottle age and drink well through 2018 or so. Drink 2014-2018.
Inky ruby. Ripe cherry, licorice and lavender on the highly perfumed nose. Silky and sweet, offering juicy red fruit flavors and a sexy floral pastille quality. Silky tannins give shape to the impressively persistent finish, which echoes the floral and cherry notes.
Here is a big, very ripe, abundantly tannic young wine that may have high aspirations, but it is far more substantial and potent than it is tailored, and its rather rough-cut demeanor tags it as one that needs waiting. Fans of extract and power should find plenty to like, just as those who are troubled by high ripeness will not, and, if the rest of us will grudgingly acknowledge that it is a bit overdone, it does have the substance and sheer fruity strength to withstand the lengthy cellaring that its formidable, ten-year tannins prescribe. *Two Stars*
Ripe aromas of blueberries, lightly toasted oak and coffee bean follow through to a full body, with chewy tannins and a toasted-barrel aftertaste. Needs time to come together still but a stylish and well-polished red. Try in 2017. (JS)
The 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Private Reserve is built from completely different sources. Sixty-six percent came from the St. Helena Home Ranch, 18% from the Chabot Vineyard, and the rest from Beringer's estates in St. Helena, Rutherford and Coombsville. It is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon that came in at 14.6% natural alcohol with a pH of 3.8. Perhaps the greatest Beringer Private Reserve since the 2007, 2005, 2002 and 2001, the 2010 offers up notes of lead pencil shavings, creme de cassis, subtle smoke, wet rocks and background oak. Full-bodied, rich and impressive, it can be drunk now or cellared for two decades. (RP)
Saturated ruby to the rim. Deep, brooding, highly complex aromas of blackberry, licorice and sweet oak show a slightly port-like quality. Full, plush and sweet, offering outstanding chewy depth to its superripe flavors of dark berries, bitter chocolate, licorice and mint. The wine's huge baby fat is framed and energized by nicely integrated acidity. Boasts an impressive combination of fruit, flesh and underlying structure, finishing with wonderfully smooth tannins. A spectactular early showing for this wine, which should enjoy a glorious evolution in bottle. (ST) 94+?
The 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Private Reserve is showing beautifully today. Plums, black cherries, smoke and graphite all explode from the glass in a huge, dramatic Private Reserve built for the cellar. The full-throttle 2010 covers every inch of the palate with fabulous depth and richness. The 2010 is going to require patience, but it is striking, even today. Home Vineyard is the core site in the 2010, followed by Chabot, Morisoli, Tournahu and Verhey. The 2010 spent 18 months in French oak barrels, 93% new. (AG)
Gilded with toasty oak, this Cabernet is opulent with flavors of blackberries, cassis liqueur and mocha. The tannic mouthfeel is elegant, complex and dramatic. Blended with Cabernet Franc and Merlot, it’s delicious and heady for drinking now and over the next six years.
A dense, rich and powerful expression of Cabernet, with loads of dark berry, loamy earth and crushed rock flavors that show pockets of black licorice, road tar and dried flowers, ending with rich, chewy tannins that give the lingering flavors traction. Should be long-lived. Best from 2015 through 2028. (JL)
The 2010 Ingenuity is a knockout effort that checks in as a mix of 62% Syrah, 14% Mourvedre, 12% Grenache and 12% Petite Sirah that was aged in 61% new French oak. Gorgeous all around, with a lively, yet decadent bouquet of grilled beef, black fruits, licorice, mineral, violets and earth, it flows onto the palate with a full-bodied, rich texture, notable freshness and a clean, energetic finish. Already delicious and approachable, it nevertheless has the concentration, acidity and tannin to evolve gracefully through 2020. Drink now-2020. An estate that continues to go from strength to strength, Epoch is owned by Bill and Liz Armstrong, with the wines made by Jordan Fiorentini. All of their wines come from their estate Paderewski Vineyard, and both their 2010s and 2011s are incredibly strong, with the edge going to the 2010s at the moment. You can’t go wrong here, though, and these are serious, top-flight wines. (JD)
Glass-staining ruby. A complex, expansive bouquet evokes dark berry preserves, licorice, smoky minerals and spicy oak. Offers concentrated blackberry, boysenberry and vanilla flavors and shows impressive back-end mineral lift. Gentle tannins add shape to the strikingly long, sweet, penetrating finish, with the spicy element carrying through. (JR)
Super-ripe black cherries, mocha and spices come together in the 2010 Ingenuity. The 2010 impresses for its mid-palate juiciness and round, layered personality. It is a gorgeous wine to drink now and over the next few years. (AG)
Big, broad, rich and chewy, with dense, extracted dark berry, black licorice, anise and cedar notes. Rambunctious now, but will have tamer days ahead. Syrah, Mourvèdre, Grenache and Petite Sirah. Best from 2014 through 2024. (JL)
Decidely varietal from the first in its aromas of currant, black cherry with a hint of red cherry, green olives and rich soil notes, this very likeable wine is medium-full to full in body and supple in feel with a solidifying streak of supportive tannins for grip and longevity. Continuous in flavor right to the end, this is a very well-made, entirely reliable wine for today and tomorrow, and we expect that it will mature gracefully for a decade or more.
(83% cabernet sauvignon, 13% merlot and the rest cabernet franc, petit verdot and malbec; made mostly from non-estate fruit): Good bright, deep red. Cool aromas of black cherry, licorice, tobacco and tar. The palate shows a restrained sweetness to the flavors of cherry, spices and loam (I got a note of Rutherford dust here). Broad and fairly full, finishing with substantial tongue-dusting tannins and a slight dryness.
(blended with 13% merlot; from vineyards all over Howell Mountain, according to winemaker Danielle Cyrot): Good bright medium ruby. Crushed cassis, tobacco leaf, loam and smoky, flinty minerality on the nose, with medicinal pepper, spice and licorice qualities that reminded me of Bordeaux. Then supple in the middle, with plum, graphite and mineral flavors dominating. I wanted a bit more mid-palate verve and lift. Finishes with substantial broad tannins and good length. Winemaker Cyrot did a very short total maceration in 2010, explaining that "we really needed to show restraint in 2010."
Offers appealingly rustic charm, with cinnamon and cedar notes up front and brambly wild berry flavors at the core. The tannins are thick and bold. Petite Sirah, Petit Verdot, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Charbono. Drink now through 2024.
The 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon La Castellana Super Tuscan Blend, 66% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Merlot and 15% Sangiovese, is the best of this trio. Rich, tobacco leaf, unsmoked cigar tobacco, black currant and new saddle leather characteristics emerge from this medium to full-bodied, fleshy, opulent 2010. Seductive, impressively concentrated and multilayered, it should drink nicely for a decade or more.
The 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon La Castellana Super Tuscan Blend, 66% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Merlot and 15% Sangiovese, is the best of this trio. Rich, tobacco leaf, unsmoked cigar tobacco, black currant and new saddle leather characteristics emerge from this medium to full-bodied, fleshy, opulent 2010. Seductive, impressively concentrated and multilayered, it should drink nicely for a decade or more.
The 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa is a beauty. Dense ruby/purple-colored, it is filled with creme de cassis fruit, supple tannins and an opulent, full-bodied mouthfeel. The family believes in delivering exceptional pleasure and intensity to their wines, but they also have remarkable aging potential as the 1975 and 1976 Special Selections in my cellar bear witness. Though the Wagner family is not quite the pioneer that Louis Martini, Charles Krug, Beaulieu Private Reserve, Ridge Vineyards and a few others are, they have long farmed and made the wines at Caymus Vineyards. (RP)
Young and appropriately vibrant and grapey. Homes in on pure currant and blackberry fruit, veering briefly toward cedar and tobacco before tightening on the finish. Best from 2014 through 2024. (JL)
The less expensive 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Rutherford is also of extremely high quality. Copious aromas of black currants, black raspberries, spring flowers and a touch of earth emerge from this stunningly rich, full-bodied, impressive Cabernet. (RP)
*Ranked #4 on Top 100 Wines of 2013, Highly Recommended* Deliciously pure, rich and deep, featuring tiers of spicy red berry, blackberry and red and black licorice flavors, with pretty wilted rose scents and a long seamless finish that slowly reveals an underlying tannic grip. (JL)
Good ruby-red. Sexy, expressive aromas of cassis, minerals, licorice, loam and roast coffee. Concentrated, creamy and suave, with the currant, licorice and chocolate flavors really sucking up the new oak today. Plenty sweet but nicely buffered by bright acidity. This expressive, tactile cabernet finishes with sweet tannins and impressive soil-driven length. Very nicely balanced and concentrated wine.(15.5% alcohol; 75% new oak) (ST)
Classic Hall Cabernet, blended with some Merlot and ultrarich and smooth in cherries, raspberries, sweet plums and mocha. The high alcohol is balanced, and this is quite delicious and drinkable. Ready now and should hang in there for at least six years. (SH)
Deceptively subtle and polished for a full-bodied wine, with smooth currant, dried herb, fresh-turned earth and smoky, toasty oak, all rich, chewy and well-distributed. Drink now through 2026. 520 cases made. (JL)
Good bright, dark red with ruby highlights. Pure aromas of redcurrant, loam and licorice. Pliant and sweet, offering good texture and extract to its flavors of plum, currant, mocha and brown spices. Finishes with broad, sweet tannins and a drop of milk chocolate.
Well-built, with a firm core of dark berry, cherry and wilted rose, showing good density and intensity. This gains depth and holds focus, ending with ripe, chewy tannins. Drink now through 2022.
Bright, moderately saturated medium red. Strawberry and raspberry fruit aromas are complicated by minerals, rose petal, spices and herbs. Quite dry and uncompromising on the palate, but with excellent cut to the rather delicate flavors of strawberry, raspberry and spices. Quite restrained today and not a fleshy style of pinot, but this is subtly intense and firmly built. The rose petal quality returns on the juicy, salty aftertaste. (ST)
This Pinot is too tart and tannic to drink now, though it has great potential. You have to search for the fruit, but it’s there, in deeply hidden layers of cherries and red currants. Dry and stubborn now, but don’t give up. It will reward cellaring for a minimum of six years.
The 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Ellie’s is an homage to Kathryn Hall’s mother-in-law, who was one of the first women to enlist in Word War II. Its dark ruby/purple color is followed by notes of boysenberries and black raspberries. Medium to full-bodied with attractive earthiness and spice as well as a long finish, it is impeccably well-made, although not at the complexity level of the Bergfeld or Howell Mountain. Drink it over the next 12-15 years. (RP)
Full, bright ruby-red. Slightly high-toned aromas and flavors of plum, currant, coffee and mocha. Plush and open-knit, in an almost exotic style and showing considerable early appeal. A sweet chocolate element carries through to the long finish, which features sweet, building tannins. I'd hold this for two or three years before popping the cork. 90(+?)? points
Another super impressive wine, the 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Ellie's wraps around the palate with layers of voluptuous dark fruit. Plums, black currants, cinnamon and licorice are some of the many notes that come alive in the glass. The Ellie's is one of the more overt wines in this lineup. It captures the essence of the Hall house style in all of its pure exuberance.
The creamy, mocha-infused oak lends this a sense of luxury and a supple texture, with plenty of substance to the currant and dark berry fruit. Gains depth and dimension on the finish, revealing roasted herb and black licorice nuances.
The 2010 Chateauneuf du Pape Vendange exhibits complex aromas of smoked duck, lead pencil shavings, jammy black fruits, truffles, melted asphalt and forest floor in its deep, rich, multidimensional, super-rich personality. With good acidity, sweet, well-integrated tannin and a long finish, this wine should evolve beautifully over the next 15+ years. One of the more exciting, relatively new estates in the southern Rhone is La Ferme du Mont, which is run with considerable enthusiasm as well as meticulous attention to detail by Stephane Vedeau. I bought his 2007s and am thrilled I did so as they combine the best of the southern Rhone with a Burgundian grand cru-like gracefulness and elegance. His 2011 and 2010 offerings are both outstanding, with the latter vintage possibly better than his 2007s. Readers should also check out this estate’s impressive Cotes du Rhones. Stephane Vedeau not only fashions exquisite Chateauneuf du Pape, but also terrific Cotes du Rhones.
Another powerful, young wine, the 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon is incredibly dense and virtually impenetrable. Blue and black fruit, grilled herbs, licorice, new leather, menthol and tobacco flow through to an incisive finish layered with graphite and crushed rocks. Today, the 2010 is cool and implosive, suggesting it needs at least another few years to come together. The addition of 10% Petit Verdot seems to give the wine some of its brooding personality. Anticipated maturity: 2018-2028. Carte Blanche is a partnership between proprietor Nicholas Allen and winemaker Luc Morlet. Although a new project started only in 2008, all of the wines I have tasted so far have been impressive. The 2010s are no exception.
Good bright, deep ruby. Sexy crushed blackberry, blueberry, minerals, bitter chocolate and violet on the youthfully medicinal nose. The palate is dominated by medicinal black fruit (from the petit verdot component?) and bitter chocolate flavors, yet comes across as broad, sweet and tactile, with dense, chocolatey tannins giving the wine a solid underpinning for further development in bottle. An excellent showing today.
Lightly cooked cherry and salted beef stock mingle in the nose and on the firm palate of Penner-Ash’s multi-sourced 2011 Pinot Noir, leading to a finishing of mouthwatering persistence in which cherry pit lends a cyanic glow and the wine’s beefy, carnal side – allied to a stony undertone and peat-like smokiness – a surprising sense of depth for a generic bottling. This should delight through at least 2017.
Deep red. Musky aromas of dark berries, cherry compote and sassafras, with a subtle mocha nuance in the background. Smooth and open-knit, showing good heft for the vintage. Sappy blackberry and bitter cherry flavors display good energy and carry through a smoky, nicely persistent finish.
The 2011 Caldera impresses for its elegance and pure textural silkiness. Dark red cherry, plum, spice, leather and licorice notes meld together in a perfumed, fragrant Rhone blend. In 2011, the Caldera is distinctly savory, high-toned and delicate, but it is the wine's finish that impresses above all else. Caldera is 62% Mourvedre, 34% Grenache and 4% Counoise from Goldbud Vineyard in El Dorado. (AG)
Explodes with dark berry, road tar, hot brick, tobacco and cigar notes that command attention, with reverberating flavors of black licorice and subtle volcanic earth that are grainy and gripping. (JL)
More downsized than the 2012, but still outstanding, the attractive 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon is a successful wine for the vintage. It offers up lovely notes of tobacco leaf, red and blackcurrants, and an elegant, medium-bodied style. Consume this fully mature 2011 over the next 7-8 years. (RP)
Bright, deep ruby-red. Sappy aromas of black cherry, blueberry and gun metal. Rich, tactile and sweet, offering lovely saline minerality and a strong crushed stone character. At once silky and energetic. Finishes broad, long, aromatic and classically dry, with excellent lift. (Cool nights help to preserve acidity here.) The syrah that goes into this wine is from north-facing vines. Both the syrah and grenache components of this very pure wine were partly fermented with whole clusters. (ST)
Dark red cherries, menthol, tobacco and savory herbs are some of the many notes that flesh out in the 2011 Lithic. Even with all of its early appeal, the Lithic boasts tremendous depth and has the pedigree to develop beautifully for a number of years. The polished finish is striking, but today, the Lithic is showing just a hint of its potential. The blend is 46% Grenache, 31% Mourvedre and 23% Syrah, with the Mourvedre and Syrah clearly dominating today. All of the fruit was sourced from Shake Ridge Vineyard in Amador. (AG)
Edgy and rustic, with a dense, potent core of road tar, dark berry, black licorice and raspberry, this is a vital young wine that begs for cellaring, delivering purity, complexity and density. (JL)
However, readers should not miss the 2011 Sumo, a blend of 85% Petite Sirah, 13% Syrah and 2% Viognier. Sadly, there are only 200 cases of this stunning Petite Sirah-dominated red. Its inky/purple color is followed by a sumptuous perfume of violets, blueberries, blackberries, camphor and a hint of graphite. This full-bodied, rich effort is the finest wine in the Keplinger portfolio. It should age effortlessly for 15-20 years.
(85% petite sirah, 13% syrah and 2% viognier): Bright medium ruby. Aromas of blackberry, violet, mint and game, plus a whiff of flinty reduction. Spicy, savory and dry, with brisk acidity and a saline quality energizing the dark berry, licorice and spice flavors. Can't match the outstanding 2010 for sheer richness or flavor development. This backward wine finishes with big, serious tannins that call for patience (or time in a decanter).
Keplinger's 2011 Sumo tastes like a young wine right out of tank, such is the purity of its fruit. Cloves, menthol, tar, licorice and blueberries meld together in an intense, inky Petite Sirah loaded with class. I would drink the 2011 early and cellar the 2010 for another few years. A juicy, expressive finish rounds out this soft, beautifully contoured wine. In 2011 Sumo is 85% Petite Sirah, 13% Syrah and 4% Viognier.
Fully ripened, with plum, blackberry and wild berry notes. Chewy and tannic, with iodine and creosote accents. Ends with a crushed rock minerality. Petite Sirah, Syrah and Viognier. Drink now through 2021. 190 cases made.
Also outstanding, the 2011 l’Idiot du Village gives up searing white pepper, leather, underbrush and assorted red and black fruits on both the nose and palate. Showing more smoked herbs and meatiness with air, this medium-bodied, focused and pure effort has solid mid-palate concentration, polished tannin and a big finish. A blend of 90% Mourvedre, 5% Cinsault and 5% Syrah, enjoy it over the coming decade or so. Master Sommelier turned winemaker, Greg Harrington is fashioning some of the top wines in Washington from his base in Walla Walla. His 2011s showed beautifully from barrel last year, and didn’t disappoint this year from bottle. His 2012s will be even better. (JD)
The 2011 Tempranillo Inigo Montoya is one of the top examples of this variety coming out of Washington today. Exhibiting gorgeous pepper, cedar, spice-box, dried licorice and smoked black fruits, it hits the palate with medium to full-bodied richness, fabulous mid-palate depth, and a supple, layered and richly textured mouth feel that keeps you coming back to the glass. Already drinking gorgeously, it should have no problem evolving for 10 to 12 years or more. Master Sommelier turned winemaker, Greg Harrington is fashioning some of the top wines in Washington from his base in Walla Walla. His 2011s showed beautifully from barrel last year, and didn’t disappoint this year from bottle. His 2012s will be even better. (JD)
Good medium-dark red. Wild, musky nose delivers sexy spices and a hint of black olive: very Old World. Deep and sweet on the palate, with plum and cherry fruit flavors complicated by a saline quality and repeating olive and spice notes. This complex if youthfully understated wine was aged in 70% American and 30% French oak, with a small percentage of the American barrels being new. Owner/winemaker Greg Harrington added 6% Syrah and 4% Grenache to the blend in 2011, noting that the Grenache in particular “added fruitiness in a cool year. (ST)
Firm in texture, with the flavor profile dominated by spicy oak. Features plenty of ripe currant and cherry notes, finishing with plush opulence. Drink now through 2018. 550 cases made. (HS)
The 2011 Syrah Walla Walla offers pretty red and black fruits, peat, loamy earth, ground pepper and plenty of herbal notes to go with a medium-bodied, rounded and beautifully textured feel on the palate. Overall supple and yet nicely focused and pure, it has solid mid-palate depth and building, fine tannin on the finish. It’s a beautiful effort in a difficult vintage and will have 10 to 12 years of prime drinking. Master Sommelier turned winemaker, Greg Harrington is fashioning some of the top wines in Washington from his base in Walla Walla. His 2011s showed beautifully from barrel last year, and didn’t disappoint this year from bottle. 92+ (JD)
(from Les Collines vines planted to the Phelps clone; vinified with 50% whole clusters): Bright, deep medium red. Red raspberry, pepper and spices on the lively nose. A juicy, firmly built midweight with red berry and leather flavors complicated by a saline element. Finishes with serious building tannins and excellent length. This tightly wound Syrah is carrying a moderate 13.1% alcohol. Owner/winemaker Greg Harrington noted that he did not pick any fruit in 2011 until October 15. 90(+?).
The 2011 appellation wine from Gramercy is 100 percent Les Collines, which rendered an austere version in such a cool vintage. Scents of dark berries have a zinc-like edge, while the flavors are subtle and compelling, if a bit austere at the moment. This needs a year in the cellar to mature.
*Cellar Selection* 2011 the alcohol drops a bit and the fruit comes forward, stepping slightly away from the strongly herbal flavors of the 2010. It’s reflective of the vintage, and perhaps more immediately approachable, without sacrificing any of the complexity or structure that typifies Gramercy wines. Strongly aromatic flavors of blackberry, black cherry, cola and licorice are all in play, backed with refreshing minerality. The wine should age beautifully for a decade or more.
Starts off quietly, but by the finish this is flashing ripe plum and rhubarb flavors, shaded by hints of green tea and floral overtones. Persists, displaying intensity and finesse. Drink now through 2019. 470 cases made.
Full red-ruby. Red berries and spicy oak on the nose, along with a green pepper streak. Then a bit riper in the mouth, showing good intensity and decent depth to the currant and tobacco leaf flavors. Shows nice definition and a restrained sweetness, finishing with firm tannins, an herbal quality and moderate length. (ST)
*Cellar Selection* The 4% Petit Verdot in this dark, inky Cabernet Sauvignon is doing its job in terms of color and structure, adding much of both to the mix. Overall the wine is savory and full-bodied on the palate, with bits of spicy clove and sage around black cherry and toasted oak. Enjoy through 2030. (VB)
A solid, chunky effort, with dense blackberry, dark berry, mocha, loamy earth and crushed rock flavors, featuring a cedary oak presence amid the chewy tannins. Best from 2015 through 2025. (JL)
The light gold-colored 2011 Chardonnay Estate offers a gorgeous nose of white currants, quince, honeysuckle, crushed rocks and flowers. With medium to full body, terrific acidity, wonderful freshness and purity, and a long finish, it is further confirmation of the extraordinary history this winery has had since it was founded in 1953 by Ambassador Zellerbach. Drink this 2011 Estate over the next 10 years. (RP)
(one-third barrel-fermented): Pale straw-yellow. Aromas of apple, pear and citrus zest complemented by vanillin oak. Spicy, dense and concentrated, with harmonious acidity and solid underlying minerality giving shape to the apple and lemon fruit flavors. At once gripping and restrained on the finish, with citrus and spice flavors leaving the palate feeling refreshed. Sexy chardonnay with aging potential. (ST)
From barrels selected blind under the aspects of inter alia density, dark fruit, and florality, the Antica Terra 2011 Pinot Noir Botanica ended up being sourced nearly half from Shea Vineyard (the core of previous Botanica bottlings, too) along with Old School Vineyard (a cool site in the extreme South Willamette) and Antica Terra itself. Cranberry and red currant combine with wild ginger, sassafras and iris root for a mouth-shaking Pinot of pungently penetrating intensity, cut and energy, its tart-edged bright juiciness picking up cyanic and smoky piquancy reminiscent of the corresponding 'Ceras' bottling in a finish of ringing clarity. (DS)
Vivid ruby-red. A heady, complex bouquet evokes black raspberry, cherry-cola, Asian spices and dried rose. Sweet and penetrating, with impressively pure red and dark berry flavors lifted by zesty acidity and a hint of allspice. Intensely flavored but surprisingly elegant, with strong finishing punch and smooth, even tannins adding shape. This sexy Pinot has great upfront appeal, especially for fruit freak, but I'd be stashing mine away for a few more years, at a minimum. (JR)
Reminiscent of a lighter weight 2009, the 2011 Chateauneuf du Pape offers up a sweet bouquet of spiced black cherries, plum, truffle, saddle leather and underbrush. Coming from tiny yields (which were down 50% from 2010), this medium to full-bodied 2011 is gorgeously textured and has solid mid-palate depth, terrific purity of fruit and ripe tannin. Relatively approachable and enjoyable even now, it should nevertheless evolve gracefully for 15-20 years. Drink 2015-2031. (JD)
Deep ruby. Dark berries, dried cherry, anise and lavender on the highly perfumed nose. Offers intense cassis and bitter cherry flavors with sexy floral pastille and spicecake nuances. Aeration brings out a smoky quality that carries through the long, smooth, gently tannic finish. There's 40% mourvedre here but I wouldn't have guessed it based on this wine's forward, voluptuous character. (JR)
Although the hot spring and cool, wet July of 2011 made for some challenges (yields were down 50 percent from 2010), this is a lush and inviting vintage of Beaucastel. It stands out not only for the exuberance of its cassis flavor but its purity; if that flavor were a color, it'd be cadmium red. While it should hold well in the cellar for a few years, it is so appealing now it's hard to think of a reason to wait.
An impressive wine by any measure, this shows ample complexity in its mix of black cherry, dark earth and briery notes. The tannins frame the wine’s opulent fruit, while remaining wonderfully unobtrusive. This should drink well for at least 15 years from the vintage
Very sleek and refined despite the obvious heft, featuring steeped red and black currant fruit studded with bergamot, blood orange, sweet tobacco and alder notes. The long, racy finish has a lovely echo of singed mesquite. Best from 2015 from 2027. *Top 100 Wines of 2014* (JM)
(aged in 70% new oak for 28 months): Bright ruby-red. High-pitched, vibrant aromas of cassis, blackberry and licorice, with less obvious oak showing today than in the Red Wine blend. Very broad, creamy and dry, boasting terrific verve and grip to its sappy black fruit, violet, licorice, bitter chocolate and mineral flavors. Very densely packed and primary today, with the very firm but noble tannins to support a long and glorious evolution in bottle. Winemaker Andrew Trio told me that he has been working hard to “bring back the aromatic qualities” of these splendid wines during their long élevage, noting that they are racked only three times in total. (ST) 95+?
The 2011 OV has turned out beautifully. Espresso, mocha, red plums, sweet spices, licorice and rose petals jump from the glass in an impeccable drop-dead gorgeous wine loaded with Oakville character. The aromatics are bright and precise, which gives the 2011 a level of aromatic lift that is beguiling. Some of that is the vintage, but the high amount of Cabernet Franc in the blend is also very much felt. Ideally the 2011 needs another year or two in bottle for the tannins to soften, but it is drop-dead gorgeous. (AG)
A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Merlot, the 2011 Figgins Estate Red is excellent in the vintage, with classic creme de cassis, lead pencil shavings, tobacco, bay leaf and toast giving way to a medium to full-bodied, elegant and seamless 2011 that has good concentration, plenty of sweet fruit and building tannin that emerges with more time in the glass. (JD)
Bright, dark ruby-red. Pure, complex aromas of cassis, black cherry, bitter chocolate, mint, minerals, licorice and spicy oak. Sweeter and lusher than the Leonetti Reserve blend I tasted before it but less complex today--and at the same time tight, backward and dominated today by its structure. The tannins are huge but still a bit less tough than those of the Leonetti Reserve, and the wine’s inherent sweetness shows through on the very long aftertaste.
Sourced entirely from the estate vineyard, this is two-thirds Cabernet Sauvignon and one-third Merlot, with just a splash of Petit Verdot. Fat, juicy, toasty and deliciously flavorful, it opens quickly into a plush midpalate, with pomegranate and raspberry fruit dominant. Streaks of caramel and nougat thread through the generous finish. Enjoy right now.
A strong earthy undertone runs through the cherry and spice flavors, finishing with a veil of firm tannins. The fruit lingers in the end and should gain with time.
The 2011 Vintage Red Wine Ceil du Cheval Vineyard is a smoking blend of 38% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 15% Petit Verdot, 14% Cabernet Franc that spent 21 months in 40% new French oak. Medium to full-bodied, elegant, focused and with fabulous purity of fruit, it offers up loads of black raspberry, creme de cassis, crushed flowers, toast and graphite. Showing solid tannic structure under its fruit, it will benefit from short-term cellaring and have 10 to 12 years of overall longevity. Made by Casey McClellan, these are superb, classically styled wines that are more than reasonable priced. (JD)
This Bordeaux-style blend starts out massive, as most wines sourced from Ciel do, but with a little air the wine unfolds elegantly, revealing mocha, Mexican chocolate and an earthiness that folds into the cassis core of cabernet with an effortless grace. It has plenty of power, plenty of brawn, and it needs time in the cellar to grow into itself. Then serve with steak.
*Cellar Selection* This Bordeaux-style, single-vineyard blend outshines others from the same iconic Red Mountain site that cost significantly more. Packed with concentrated cherry and cassis, it's layered with well-integrated earth, rock, leaf and stem flavors, and finished with a hint of toast from 21 months in 40% new French oak.
Sleek and vivid, with boysenberry and floral aromas and flavors on a juicy, lively frame. Has elegance without losing depth and intensity of flavor, finishing harmoniously. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. Drink now through 2020. 525 cases made.
Beautifully done, and probably the most elegant, seamless version of this cuvee I’ve tasted, the 2011 Booker Vineyard offers terrific aromas and flavors of liquid violets, sappy underbrush, smoked, exotic spices and plenty of crushed rock-like minerality that are all carried by layers of sweet cassis and black raspberry. There’s a northern Rhone-like character here, but it hits the palate with full-bodied richness, fantastic mid-palate concentration, and a seamless, layered and multi-dimensional mouthfeel that’s hard to resist. Made from 67% Syrah and 33% Mourvedre and aged in 300- and 350-liter hogsheads (and fermented with varying degrees of whole cluster), this beautifully pure, polished and complex effort will benefit from short-term cellaring and have over 15 years of overall longevity. (JD)
Dark purple. Potent aromas of cassis, cherry liqueur, blueberry, Moroccan spices, violet and smoky minerals. Impressively deep but energetic, offering sappy dark fruit flavors laced with notes of mocha, violet, cola, five-spice powder and cracked pepper. Decidedly rich but this comes across as almost elegant, with impressive lift and energy thanks to bright, juicy acidity. The deep, sappy black and blue fruit flavors refuse to let go on the long, spicy finish. (JR)
Pomegranate, plum, exotic spices, smoke and graphite are some of the many notes that are found in the 2011 Booker Vineyard. An exceptionally beautiful wine, the 2011 possesses remarkable depth and intensity. Expressive floral and citrus overtones develop in the glass, adding considerable brightness and aromatic nuance. Even though the 2011 is gorgeous today, my sense is it is holding back much of its potential. (AG)
Good full medium red. Brooding aromas of black raspberry and deep smoky minerals. Hugely rich and lush, with very deep dark berry, spice and garrigue flavors framed and lifted by pungent mineral-driven acidity. Wonderfully mouthfilling, creamy and deep. Finishes with outstanding breadth and palate-staining persistence. Already showing some positive evolution but its crushed-rock umami character suggests that it will be even better for four or five years of bottle aging. The soil here has a very high pH and yet the wine is always very low--in this case 3.3. (ST)
A deep, inky wine, the 2011 Petite Syrah Turley Estate boasts striking depth and nuance. Blackberries, licorice, tar, smoke and a host of dark aromas and flavors flesh out in a big, powerful wine endowed with tons of pedigree. If opened anytime soon, the 2011 needs a lot of air to show at its best. There is a lot going on in the glass, and plenty of potential for the future. (AG)
Makes a bold statement, with aromas of berry flambé and dried wildflowers leading to ripe, jammy flavors of cherry pie, caramel and cracked pepper. Features enough structure for focus. A style some will love. (TF)
Stunning, but a more classic and elegant wine without any of the scorched earth , Graves-like character of the Aida Vineyard is the classic 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon 29 Estate. This is a fabulous property on the lower hillsides of the Mayacamas Mountains. A blend of 96% Cabernet Sauvignon and 4% Petit Verdot aged in 100% new French oak, the 2012 is inky purple, with a gorgeous nose of lead pencil shavings, spring flowers, blackberry and blueberry fruit, cedar wood and baking spices. Dense, multi-layered, full-bodied and beautifully pure, this is a stunner to drink over the next 20-25 years. (RP)
The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon 29 Estate is going to thrill readers who appreciate the opulent full-throttle side of Napa Valley. Exotic, rich and beguiling to the core, the 2012 races across the palate with super-ripe fruit, white truffles, flowers and spices. Drink this voluptuous, intense Cabernet Sauvignon over the next 10-15 years. 94+ points. (AG)
The 2012 Pinot Noir Shea West Hill comes from Wadenswil, Pommard, Dijon 114 and 777 clones picked October 7-13 and sees 50% new French and 20% whole-cluster fruit. It has a more cohesive and delineated bouquet compared to the Block 5 with perfumed raspberry and wild strawberry scents. The palate is medium-bodied with crisp tart red cherry and blackberry fruit bouncing around the entry. There is commendable sense of tension underlining this 2012, more so than the Block 5, and the dash of spice toward the finish is welcome. This is worth seeking out. (NM)
Young and a bit stiff when first opened, this multi-block blend mixes berry and cherry fruit with a streak of cola and a dusting of peppery Italian herbs. The tannins are smooth and ripe, and, as is often the case with Shea wines, this has the structure and muscle for cellaring.
Supple and generous, light in texture and intense, with cherry, red plum, nutmeg and floral flavors that don't quit as the finish lingers against delicately crunchy tannins. (Web Only--2015)
Incredible blueberry, blackberry, black walnut, mineral, black licorice and flowers. Full-bodied, very tight and structured with hints of hazelnut, fine chocolate, mineral and spice. Layered and very fine. A solid and classic-styled Napa Valley Cab.
With the lowest percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon in of any of the wines from this vertical, the 2012 final blend was 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot. Production across the board in 2012 was high, and reflected in the 3,977 cases made at Spottswoode. This is a dramatic, flamboyant, modern-day version of the 2002. Dramatic blueberry, black raspberry and blackcurrant fruit, along with camphor, charcoal, white flowers and foresty notes all emerge from the impressive aromatics that soar from the glass. The intense, explosively rich, full-bodied palate is layered with beautiful purity, stunningly sweet, silky tannins and terrific presence and complexity. This is a gorgeous wine on a relatively fast evolutionary track, I suspect, but certainly it has 30 years of upside left. (RP)
One of the wines of the vintage, the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon is dense, racy and voluptuous. Succulent red cherry, plum, spice and polished, supple tannins give the 2012 its sexy, radiant personality. I am far from the biggest fan of Napa Valley's 2012 vintage, but there is no denying the exquisite beauty of this stunning wine. (AG)
The Novak family continue to produce an understated style of gorgeous Cabernet year in and year out. This vintage provides a fine example, a blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon with 10% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot, all from the historic, 40-acre estate. Complex and smooth, it offers an exotic array of cigar, tar, black pepper and currant, the tannins soft and integrated, yet strong. Coffee and chocolate make appearances on the finish, ever so slightly, never at risk of dimming its freshness. *Cellar Selection* (VB)
Pleasantly juicy, blackberry fruit. Slightly smoky on the finish. Well made, easy-going, liquorice and Worcestershire sauce on the finish. Merlot through and through. (17/20 points)
*Editors' Choice* Smooth and palate-coating, it’s 100% varietal, with just the right balance between blackberry and black cherry fruit, and barrel-induced flavors of toffee, toasted macadamia nuts, and café crème.
Polished and supple, with ripe flavors of red berry and dark cherry. Almost syrupy in intensity, this is balanced with mineral nuances and buffed to a sheen on the finish. Drink now through 2019.
Although this outgoing and expressive Cabernet exhibits little in the way of subtlety or restraint at the moment and seems at first to put all of its cards face-up on the table with lavish oak and emphatic, fully ripe fruit rushing to the fore in its very generous aromas, it surprises by showing an extra sense of depth and reserve to its deep, far-from-developed flavors. It is solidly built with ample, but wonderfully well-integrated tannins, its focus on classic cassis fruit is unwavering and it is remarkably sustained at the finish. All of its parts add up to a special Cabernet of great potential, and it deserves to be set aside in a quiet corner of the cellar for no fewer than another six to ten years. *Three Stars*
A red with tension and backbone plus black currant and spice character. Full body, tight tannins and finesse. Mineral too. Best wine from Frank Family Vineyards.
The 2012 Winston Hill Proprietary Red Blend, which is 84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Cabernet Franc and the rest Merlot and Petit Verdot, is a pretty serious hombre. Dense ruby/purple in color with notes of créme de cassis, graphite and concentrated black cherries, the wine has good acidity, sweet tannin and a full-bodied mouthfeel. The purity and overall personality and character of the wine are impressive. It is a very youthful, relatively unevolved wine with tremendous upside. Give it another several years of bottle-age and drink it over the following 15-20 years. (RP) 94+
The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Winston Hill stands out for its creamy mid-palate and expansive, textured personality. Mocha, new oak, menthol, red cherry and pomegranate notes blossom as this enveloping Cabernet shows off its ample, inviting personality. The Winston Hill is all about texture. (AG)
This wine is made from a majority of Cabernet Sauvignon, followed by smaller percentages of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, the lot aged almost two years in 75% new French oak. It presents itself as a classic example of the vintage and the valley, robustly bold and approachable in sage and red berry with a sturdy, sizable structure. (VB)
The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Anthology exhibits a dense purple color as well as attractive floral, blackcurrant and blue fruit-dominated aromatics. The enticing bouquet is followed by a medium-bodied, pure, complete wine with a solid attack, mid-palate and finish. There is noticeable, but well-integrated tannin in this excellent/outstanding effort. Drink it over the next 10-12 years. (RP)
Graphite, ash, smoke, incense and licorice all jump from the glass in the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Diamond Mountain District, a wine that is full of aromatic complexity, nuance and structure. The typical, rich lush Hall fruit is there, coupled with plenty of underlying grip and tons of Diamond Mountain personality. A brooding, backward wine, the 2012 is going to need time to soften. (AG)
***Cellar Selection*** Juicy black cherry and vanilla wrap around sizable mountain tannin making for a full-bodied experience of tobacco, clove and tar. Chocolate and dust round out the profile of a wine with prolific power and structure, along with a bright, fresh finish. Drink now through 2022. (VB)
Aromas of dill and roasted herb join a chorus of red and dark fruit in this supple, harmonious effort. Hints of cedar, black licorice and dusty, rocky earth join the mix. Ends with a long, full finish. Drink now through 2029. (JL)
85% whole cluster. Lovely, lovely fragrance: violets, pepper, smoked meat, toast. Plush, plummy fruit. Seriously savoury finish. Powerful yet nuanced.
Formerly named the Walla Walla Syrah, the 2012 Syrah The Deuce (100% Syrah, 80% whole cluster and 18% new French oak) is more upfront and sexy than the Lagniappe, with a Rocks-like character of lavender, smoked plums, roasted herbs and pepper. Full-bodied, beautifully balanced, pure and loaded with fruit and texture, it’s another great Syrah from this team to drink over the coming decade or more. Lead by Greg Harrington and assistant winemaker Brandon Moss, Gramercy continues to go from strength to strength, and they have one of the most quality-packed lineups in the state. While more widely known for their Syrah releases, don't miss the Bordeaux blends here; their 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve is one of the most compelling wines in the vintage, and the 2013 looks to continue that trend.
(80% Les Collines and 20% SJR; vinified with 50% whole clusters): Good deep red. Sweet, inviting aromas of blueberry, violet and bloody steak. Similarly savory and complex in the mouth, offering lovely intensity and lift without any undue weight. The wine’s minerality comes through loud and clear on the rocky finish, which features very sweet, supple tannins and lovely length and lift. Incidentally, Greg Harrington compares these 2012s to his 2007s: "They’re on the edge of being sweet without actually being sweet." Harrington still considers his 2010s to be "by far my best wines, but it will take 15 years to prove it," adding that his 2011s have shut down.
This is drawn from Les Collines, with a bit of fruit from the Milton-Freewater Rocks thrown in. And yet it’s the Rocks that give off the initial impression, the smoky mocha and dark olive scents adorning crushed strawberry flavors. The wine’s texture is lean and tense, with a thin stream of acidity to guide it; that acidity should play a larger role with some cellar time. Or serve this youthful, toothsome red with a plate of salumi. (600 cases)
*Editors' Choice* Fermented with 80% whole clusters and aged 18 months in neutral French oak, this outright delicious wine offers aromas of black and green olive, mineral, moist earth and dried herbs. It’s seamless in feel, delivering lithe, pillowy soft fruit, savory flavors and a hyperextended finish. It’s a testament to the strength of Syrah from this region.
Supple, ripe and provocative, with mineral, licorice and tapenade flavors running through a plush, generous core of dark plum and black cherry. Shows presence and polish. Drink now through 2022. 583 cases made.
Full saturated red. Dark berries and spices on the nose and palate. Juicy, sweet and penetrating, with terrific flavor intensity and a firm underlying acid/tannin spine. Finishes with excellent length. Here the stem component gives the wine grip without overwhelming the fruit. A very good vintage for Keplinger's single largest bottling. (ST)
The 2012 Lithic, Keplinger's Rhône Blend from Shake Ridge, is terrific. Explosive to the core, the 2012 Lithic bursts from the glass with intense dark red and black fruits. Sweet herbs, flowers, mint and anise develop in the glass adding attractive overtones. The firm tannins need a few years to soften, but all the elements are in the right place. The 2012 was done with 20-30% whole clusters, an approach that works nicely here. (AG)
Offers a wonderful mix of ripe blackberry flavors, with floral, black licorice, raspberry jam, loamy earth and gravel details. Gains depth and holds focus on the long, intricate aftertaste, where subtle wood and espresso notes add dimension. Grenache, Mourvèdre and Syrah. Drink now through 2028.
The 2012 Perfectionist is mostly Syrah, yet incorporates 12% Grenache and 11% Mourvedre. Fermented with 100% whole clusters and aged mostly in concrete (one puncheon was used), it has complex, savory aromas and flavors of red and black fruits, bouquet garni, crushed rock and smoked herbs all emerging from the glass. While savory and rich, it shows that whole cluster doesn't mean rustic, and this beauty is full-bodied, seamless and incredibly polished on the palate, with no hard edges and high-quality tannin. It's another superb blend from Matt that will have a decade or so of evolution. I had a fantastic tasting with owner/winemaker Matt Trevisan, and to my palate, this estate is at the top of their game. The wines have incredible purity across the board, and while they pack serious flavor and depth, they never seem heavy, over-the-top or cumbersome in the least. You can't go wrong with any of these. (JD)
The 2012 Perfectionist, a Syrah/Grenache/Mourvèdre blend done entirely in concrete, is striking. Red and black cherries, savory herbs, mint and crushed flowers lift out of the glass in a perfumed, aromatic wine. The darker tonalities of fruit are very much those of Syrah and Mourvèdre, while Grenache and the inclusion of 100% stems adds floral overtones. (AG)
Similarly styled (to the 2012 Nemesis), with its sweet berry fruit, bramble, licorice and hints of tar, the 2012 Problem Child is another seamless, sexy blend from Matt that dishes out tons of sweet fruit while staying fresh and lively. (JD)
The 2012 Problem Child is terrific. Dark red cherry, plum, leather, menthol and cloves flesh out in a beautifully layered, voluptuous wine endowed with superb depth and class. Intense, but with no excess weight or sense of heaviness, the 2012 delivers tons of flavor. Sweet floral notes add brightness on the finish. Zinfandel is much more expressive in Problem Child than it is in Outsider, Linne Calodo's other Zinfandel-based blend. (AG)
A red blend with personality, this is ripe but stays focused, offering aromas of smoky raspberry and grilled rosemary, with zesty flavors of baked cherry, pepper and anise.
The 2012 Sticks and Stones is a smoking blend of 63% Grenache, 19% Mourvedre and 18% Syrah. Cherry blossom, cassis, wild flowers and licorice can all be found in this full-bodied, supple and elegant wine. It has no hard edges, but thrilling purity and a sexy style that keeps you coming back to the glass. Bottles wouldn't last long at my house, but this will evolve gracefully on its balance and purity. (JD)
Varietal Grenache notes come through loud and clear in the 2012 Sticks and Stones. Lifted and beautifully spiced, the 2012 impresses for its balance and class. Sweet red berries, plums, cinnamon and mint are layered into the expressive, silky finish. There is plenty of near and medium term pleasure awaiting readers who can find the 2012. Sticks and Stones is 53% Grenache, 28% Syrah and 19% Mourvèdre. (AG)
The 2012 Proprietary Red (500 cases of a blend of 72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot, 11% Petit Verdot, and the rest Malbec and Cabernet Franc) is an absolutely profound wine. Aged in 100% new oak, which you would never know, this sexy beast of a wine offers up an opaque bluish purple color and gorgeous notes of spring flowers, blueberries, crème de cassis, licorice and graphite. The wine is bold, exuberant, lavishly rich, layered and irresistible. This is a beauty to drink now and over the next 20-25 years. These are two great wines made by Sam Kaplan, with David Abreu’s company doing the viticulture. The owners are the Chang family. The wines come from the Pritchard Hill vineyard of Houyi, which is planted on the pure Hambrick red soils that can be found on Pritchard Hill. (RP)
Rich and smoky, with a supple core of licorice-laced blackberry, currant and wild berry, turning ever more graceful and showcasing harmony and finesse. Ends with dusty tannins. Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Malbec. Drink now. (JL)
This shows incredible decadence and opulence for the vintage with dried meat, black berry, blueberries and hints of mushroom. Full body, very polished silky tannins and a chewy finish. Lots of richness for the vintage. Persistent palate. This was aged 35% in cement eggs for 12 months. Better in 2018.
This impeccably run, biodynamically farmed estate of Alfred Tesseron goes from strength to strength. The 2012 triumphs once again with its notes of dark plum, blackcurrant, licorice and almost a hint of truffle, its full-bodied, supple tannins, and beautiful, expensive mouthfeel. Complex and deep, this dense ruby/purple-colored wine may not be at the level of the 2009 or 2010, but it is a successful wine in this vintage, and a significant wine in 2012. Anticipated maturity: 2017-2035. (RP)
A wine of real class, pedigree and distinction, the 2012 Pontet-Canet is absolutely gorgeous. The flavors are beautifully nuanced and delineated throughout. Bright floral notes add lift and sensuality. The 2012 is decidedly understated next to some other recent vintages, but the magic of this site simply won't be denied. This is another sublime wine from proprietor Alfred Tesseron. 93+ (AG)
This tastes jammy and very fruity, with tannins that are totally enveloped by the rich texture. Plummy and comfortable, it’s all about ripe berries and currants. Smoky flavors come from the wood aging, and contrast with the Port-like lusciousness of the wine. (RV)
Broad and fleshy, with an alluring feel to the layers of steeped plum, blackberry coulis and raspberry reduction notes, all gliding over ample but polished tannins. Loam, tobacco and warm stone accents stay in the background for now but add steady base notes to the finish. Packs in solid fruit for the vintage, with a commensurate tug of earth. Best from 2017 through 2025. (JM)
Rich, with tiers of explosive dark berry, plum, blueberry and melted black licorice flavors. This is tight and focused, maintaining a laser beam of flavor that pushes past the gripping tannins. Best rom 2015 through 2025.
The last Hall wine I saw from bottle was the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Exzellenz. This hails from the foothills of Rutherford and refers to Kathryn Hall’s ambassadorship to Austria between 1997 and 2001. A prodigious wine with beautiful floral notes intermingled with blueberry, blackberry, black raspberry and graphite, the wine hits the palate with a full-bodied force, but nothing seems pushed, cloying or out of sync. Gorgeously pure blue and black fruits cascade over the palate, a full-bodied presentation with remarkable purity and complexity. The finish is a good 45-50 seconds, and while there is significant tannin, the extravagance of the fruit and glycerin generally conceal it. This is a remarkable, one-of-a-kind, world class Cabernet Sauvignon that should prove compelling for at least another 30-40+ years. While an old geezer like me could commit infanticide and drink it now, most more rational and intelligent people should give this wine 5-7 years of bottle age and drink it over the following half-century or so. (RP)
Here in its first vintage, the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Sacrashe captures all the best qualities of this site and the Hall style. Waves of intense dark fruit, gravel, mocha, spice and leather build as this virile, explosive wine saturate the palate. Deep and imposing, with huge tannin, the 2013 is going to need at least a few years before it is ready to show the full breadth of its personality. This is one of the few wines in the cellar aged in Sylvain barrels. (AG)
As for the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon 1873, this is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon generally from eastern Napa Valley hillside vineyards. Multi-dimensional, with tremendous concentration and richness, this wine has a dense purple color, unctuously thick, juicy, yet well-balanced crème de cassis, blackberry and blueberry flavors, a floral component, and a long, powerful finish. This is a classic stunner from this great vintage in Napa, and while approachable now, it won't hit its prime for another 5-6 years and then evolve for 25-30 or more. (AG)
Made from fruit grown in the eastern reaches of the Vaca Mountains, a warm place for grapes, this 100% varietal wine delivers a voluptuously smooth experience, shining in baked cherry and plum. Amid its biting tension of ripeness awaits a swath of dark chocolate and tobacco. (VB)
*Top 100 of 2016* Ultrarich, layered and tightly focused on a dense core of meaty blackberry, currant, loamy earth, anise, crushed rock and graphite notes. For all the flavor and depth, this features a persistent finish that folds in smoky, toasty oak, adding an extra dimension of texture, flavor and aroma. Drink now through 2028. (JL)
*Two Stars* This is potent and powerful stuff to be sure, and it is very much driven by obvious ripeness, yet, even if bordering on being a bit of a blunderbuss, it succeeds by dint of its riveting richness and exceptional depth. Those looking for nuance and grace will balk at its two-fisted style, and elegance is clearly not its forte, but it will not disappoint fans of muscular, big-bodied Cabernets that make no apologies for extravagance.
Another of the artisan collection series, the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Diamond Mountain District is another wine of great purity and expression. The wine has loads of intense blueberry and blackberry fruit, while licorice, graphite, spice box and pen ink are all present in this complex multi-dimensional wine. It is full-bodied, pure, rich and a tour de force in this great vintage. Drink it over the next 25-30 years. Hall has quickly become one of the great superstars in the Napa Valley firmament. (RP)
Firm beams of underlying tannin give the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Diamond Mountain much of its energy, drive and precision. Savory and mineral notes are all pushed forward, while fruit is more in the background relative to the other wines in the range, although as a group, the Hall Cabernets are always intensely fruit-driven. Graphite, smoke and earthy notes inform the virile, imposing finish. (AG)
Offers tiers of zesty wild berry and blackberry flavors, shaded by spicy oak, anise, black licorice and currant notes. The ending is plush and layered, maintaining focus and gaining persistence. Drink now through 2029. (JL)
Two cuvées I didn’t taste in 2012 include the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Stag’s Leap – a wine that tastes like Château Margaux on steroids. It is flowery, beautifully elegant, but very concentrated, with sweet, sweet fruit, ripe tannin and a long, long finish. This is finesse at its most intense, but there’s no doubting its graciousness and overall harmony. Kathryn Hall’s winery is certainly one of the more dramatic as well as up-and-coming superstars of Napa Valley. It seems every effort is made to propel these wines into the very top echelon of quality. There is not a lot to criticize with the multitude of bottlings, all of which offer considerable character and appeal. (RP)
The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon (Stags Leap) is one of the bigger, richer wines in the lineup. A blast of dark blue and black fruit, smoke, licorice, menthol and dark spices hits the palate. Ample, large-scaled and baritone in its expression, the 2013 shows the more virile side of the Stags Leap appellation. (AG)
This is a blockbuster of a wine, powerfully built grape by grape, with just a handful of Merlot. Cherry vanilla, leathery cedar and juicy plum combine around a lush, voluptuous mouthfeel of tension and tannin. Incredibly satisfying, it shows a length of spicy clove on the finish that appears to go on for days. This is a beauty too hard to sock away, though it should do well in the cellar another decade or two.
Offers explosive, dense fruit, with blackberry, wild berry, black licorice, savory herb and underbrush flavors, showing touches of cigar box and tobacco leaf. Ends with a sustained burst of flavor. Drink now through 2028. (JL)
Wow. This is very impressive with blackcurrant and wet-earth aromas and flavors. Full body, chewy tannins and a long, flavorful finish. Rich yet full of tension. Better in 2019.
The 2013 Obsidian (625 cases) is a similar but slightly different blend than its predecessor (72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc, 7% Petit Verdot, and the rest small portions of Malbec and Merlot). It has an opaque purple color and a stunning nose of acacia flowers, blackberries, licorice, forest floor, mocha/chocolate, and gobs of cassis fruit. Great intensity, a full-bodied, multi-layered mouthfeel, stunning purity, and a length of 45+ seconds make for an exquisite, full-throttle, yet beautifully intense Napa Cabernet Sauvignon that should dink well for 20-30 years. 98+ points. (RP)
A rich and flavorful red with balance and precision for the vintage. Lots of blueberry character with hints of asphalt and sage leaf. Full body. Silky. Excellent winemaking.
A blend of 62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Cabernet Franc, 8% Petit Verdot and the rest Merlot is the 2013 Proprietary Red Wine, which is all sourced from Napa. Again, terrific up-front fruit -- blueberries, blackberries and cassis -- an opaque purple color, and hints of cedar wood, forest floor and incense are all present in this multi-layered, rich, concentrated wine, which should also drink well for 12-15 years. 90+ points. (RP)
The 2013 Red Blend Proprietary Red Wine is a delicious, entry-level offering from Alpha Omega. Dark, bold and juicy, the 2013 is also a terrific introduction to the vintage. There is no shortage of depth or intensity, but the relatively soft tannins give the wine a bit more early appeal than is typical for the year. Blueberry jam, smoke, crème de cassis, licorice and savory herbs meld into the plush, inviting finish. (AG)
This blends 61% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Merlot and 7% Cabernet Franc into a seamless expression of black pepper, garrigue, clove and pencil. Old world in style and in full command of its power, it offers generously layered, intensely robust tannin and concentration that flirts with richness. Half barrel-fermented and half stainless-steel, it shows promise for cellaring; enjoy best 2023 through 2038. *Cellar Selection* (VB)
Hides tannic muscle amid a dense, supple core of anise, black licorice, dusty herb and cedar flavors. A style well-suited for hearty fare and a long decant. Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Merlot. Drink now through 2026. (JL)
Very perfumed with flower, peach and strawberry character. Full body, tight palate and a big mouthfeel on the finish. Shows structure and richness. Better in 2018.
The 2014 Reserve Pinot Noir comes from sections that tend to stand out in the vineyard and are kept separate during fermentation - looking for length and concentration. Matured in around 30% new oak and the rest neutral, it has a lively bouquet with raspberry jus and crushed strawberry with a hint of a vanilla coming through with aeration. The palate is medium-bodied with fine, juicy tannin, plenty of crushed strawberry and cranberry notes, a hint of spice and cardamom with a well-balanced, quite dense finish that lingers nicely in the mouth. It is not overly complex in style, but the delineation and focus deserves a round of applause. (NM)
Deep red. Pungent cherry, black raspberry, cola and floral aromas are sharpened by lively Asian spice and mineral notes. Succulent and gently sweet, offering juicy red and dark berry flavors and a sexy lavender pastille quality. Nicely energetic for the vintage, finishing with impressive clarity and persistence and smooth, harmonious tannins that sneak in late. This stunning, ideally situated vineyard - which looks remarkably similar to Burgundy’s famed Corton hill, right down to the crowning stand of trees - comprises just over 200 acres of vines on a 373-acre former turkey farm that owner Bill Stoller’s parents established in the early 1940s. Stoller, who was raised on the farm, assumed control of it when turkey production ceased in 1993, and the first vines, 10 acres of Pinot Noir and 10 acres of Chardonnay, were planted in 1995. Winemaker Melissa Burr, who started out working at Cooper Mountain in 2001, favors a style that tends toward freshness and forward fruit, with polished tannins that allow her Pinots to be drunk on the young side. The new oak percentage hovers in the one-third range, depending on the vintage and vineyard, which Burr thinks "strikes a nice balance for accessibility and also contributes some but not too much wood tannins and spice, which you have to be careful with when you’re dealing with Pinot." (JR)
This round wine delivers generous cherry fruit with a peppery twist. That exuberant fruit will win you over with its simple, vibrant energy.
*Ranked #77 in Wine Enthusiast's Top 100 Cellar Selections of 2016* Balance, depth, detail and elegance are the hallmarks here. Pretty raspberry/cherry fruit comes up quickly, framed in proportionate acids and tannins. Streaks of malt powder, caramel and mocha weave through a long, subtle finish. (PG)
Fresh, inviting and open-textured, layering the plum, currant and floral flavors with lightly prickly tannins, coming together harmoniously on the finish. (HS)
Scented, savoury aroma with tantalising sweet plum, rich spices, wet earth and Bovril character. The wine offers an intriguing mix of fruit and alcohol sweetness balanced by ripe tannins to give a gently drying finish. Deliciously drinkable now but with good potential.
If Central Otago was the Côte de Nuits, then Bannockburn would likely be Vosne-Romanée and I’m going to hang it right out and say that Felton Road would be the top gun, the DRC.
Moderately deep ruby-red colour. The nose is fulsome and rounded with up-front dark red berry and red floral aromas, unfolding savoury whole bunch and undergrowth notes. The nose has density, revealing layers of fragrance and spice. Medium full-bodied, the red fruit and thyme herb flavours are a little restrained, but complexed by whole bunch and game savouriness. A fine-grained tannin backbone and rounded core carries with length. A gentle, easy to ripen vintage, lower in acidity.
Pale ruby-purple colored, the 2014 Pinot Noir Calvert has pronounced, youthful aromas of Bing cherries, black raspberries and mulberries with hints of earth, menthol and sage. Medium-bodied, elegant, fresh and lively on the palate, it offers layers of bramble berry and earthy flavors, finishing with good length and chewy texture.
Plush and elegant, offering wild strawberry and raspberry flavors, with plenty of precision to the white pepper and fresh earth notes. Fresh and vibrant, showing intensity on the finish. Drink now through 2026.
The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa has 8% Cabernet Franc and 4% Petit Verdot added to it. This is a slightly larger cuvée of 1,000 cases vs. the 600 of the 2013. The 2014 is elegant, with serious concentration and a lovely nose of forest floor, underbrush and loamy soil nuances along with black and red currants and some subtle oak. Round, juicy and fruit-forward, this precociously styled wine should drink well for 10-15 years. (RP)
The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley) is a rare wine that may be better than its 2013 sibling. Violets, lavender, mint, crème de cassis, blueberry jam and graphite notes give the wine its sense of vibrancy and energy. Plush yet also delineated and pulsating with energy, the 2014 is shaping up to be a real beauty. (AG)
Deep purple-black in color, the 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Jack's Masterpiece delivers wonderfully spicy blackberry compote, blueberry pie and black pepper notions with hints of dried Mediterranean herbs, truffles and charcuterie. Full-bodied, concentrated and laden with spiced black and blue fruit preserves flavors, the generous fruit is well supported by chewy tannins and an invigorating backbone, finishing with great persistence. (LPB)
The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Jack's Masterpiece is one of the more harmonious 2014s I tasted during my most recent visit to Hall. A dark, sumptuous wine, the Jack's Masterpiece captures all of the flamboyance that make the Hall wines so compelling. Plum, black cherry, menthol, licorice and a host of dark spices meld into the huge, resonant finish. (AG)
Offers pure, clean, rich aromas of extracted dark berry, cedar, gravel and herbal scents. This is truly a mouthful, but with enough promise to warrant a recommendation. If you like to chew on young wines, proceed. Otherwise cellar this short-term. Best from 2020 through 2034. (JL)