2009 Cabernet and Merlot Round Up

Our End of Year Round-up


Cabernet Sauvignon

My top scoring wine among these is the Malk, though the Trinitas offered alot of wine for a very price. Ultimately my personal choice among these wines is the Sausal. It's a classic old school style of California Cabernet bursting with ripe fruit and subtle notes of American oak. I love California Cabernet because it can be so fun to drink and the Sausal wins that race hands down in this group. The Montevina gets honorable mention for it's value.

2006 Malk Stags Leap Cabernet Sauvignon Black olive, black currant, intensely aromatic, milk chocolate, roast beef, lots of paprika and coriander spices.  Like velvet on entry, good acidy very well concealed tannins, tons of plush, vanilla and cinnamon scented fruit. This is super refined, very fresh and a fruit bomb without the fat and weight of most fruit bombs.  This is very easy to drink with a broadly appealing style and a structure that is soft enough to allow this to be enjoyed on it’s own but substantial enough to benefit from food. Really nice length on the fruity, spicy finish. 94pts

2006 Trintas Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Intense yet fine with plenty of oak but strong black currant, tomato leaf , licorice, vanilla and mint tones.  Lovely mouthfeel, rigid with a touch of woody sweetness and wonderfully pure fruit. The tannins are modest and a touch stiff but in proportion and well balanced allowing the pure fruit tones to take center stage. This is not a powerhouse but a well balanced, well focused bottle of cab that recalls some of the classic wines of the 80’s and shows very little sign of the formidable 14.9% alcohol.  93pts.

2006 Cliff Lede Stags Leap Cabernet Sauvignon

Lots of chili and grassy notes on the nose over note of vanilla, toast, cocoa, and crème de cassis notes.  This is a bit cold in the mouth, tight and angry at being opened but with an emerging edge of fresh fruitiness. The tannins are refined, if copious with a really rich core of red and black berry fruit.  Compressed on the finish as well but you can feel the fruit trying to break out through the finish. Quite a minty finale. This will definitely benefit from some time in the cellar but is well equipped to emerge a very complete wine in 2-4 years time.  92pts

2005 Kenwood Artist Series Cabernet Sauvignon

Restrained and slightly herbaceous with integrated oak notes well balanced by the slightly vegetal, cauliflower and floral scented notes that contrast against the ripe red currant, red raspberry fruit. The oak is a touch too prominent on the nose at this point.  Rather seamless on entry, deceptively so. On the mid-palate this begins to reveal lively acidity that is intertwined with the ripe, juicy, wild black raspberry fruits. The oak is well integrated and offers lots of accent on the palate with herbal top notes and a touch of eucalyptus appearing on the backend.  This finishes a touch short but with nice purity to the flavors. 92pts

2005 Sausal Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

A wonderfully fruit driven nose with deep, smoky, dried chili notes, leafy ripe black currant fruit, hints of black olive, leather, dill, and crushed flowers and just the faintest traces of oaken spice.  A bit light on the palate with fresh red fruits topped with green herbs and sweet bell pepper tones. This lacks some of the complexity found on the nose but offers up a refreshingly pure mouthful of slightly minty, slightly herbaceous, coffee tinged, unabashedly Cabernet fruit and finishes with the fuzzy mouthgrab of fruit tannin.  91pts

  2006 Lionheart Wines Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Big and sweet on the nose but with layered and complex notes of smoke, chipotle, black fruit, leather, dried grass and musk and soil tones.  Big, rich and soft with a chocolate toned dark dried cherry fruitiness that supported by good acids and plenty of fine-grained tannins.  Finishes with good focus, this is a bit in a rough and tumble style but has good length and a distinct character. Tannins build on the finish so this should benefit from a year or two in the cellar. 90pts

2004 St. Supery Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

The nose is soft and subtle yet full of earthy, tobacco, spiced roasted plum and cherry fruit.  This is lovely in the mouth with an elegant mouthfeel based around fine tannins. The wood element is still obvious but in balance with the fresh slightly jolly rancher sweet and sour wild grape note on the palate.  Turns a touch drying on the finish but carries the fruit through to the finale with a nice consistency 90pts

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