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Snooth User: dmcker

Very impressive Napa tasting on August 15

Posted by dmcker, Aug 8, 2010.

If you're able to get to Napa this coming weekend, you should definitely try to get to this tasting on Sunday. 100 different local wineries' interpretations on the theme of cabernet sauvignon, all in a very nice al fresco setting (the Grove at the Silverado Country Club)?! For a year's membership support of the Napa Valley Wine Library Association (you can access all the books in the library, too) at $75, you get free admission to the Aug. 15 tasting. Considering the cost of tastings in the Valley these days, that's a steal, and probably a good opportunity to meet some interesting people, too. Great breadth and depth of tasting opportunities, all in the same place at the same time. There's also an interesting-looking food-and-cab seminar at the CIA on Saturday the 14th, for an additional charge.

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Replies

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Reply by Stephen Harvey, Aug 9, 2010.

Unfortunately no go but do you much about these

CAIN VINEYARD Cain Five Cabernet Blend, Napa Valley   1991

HEITZ Trailside Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 1992

OPUS ONE Cabernet Blend, Napa Valley   1995

RIDGE VINEYARDS Geyserville Zinfandel blend, Alexander Valley 2005

ROBERT MONDAVI Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 1990

STAG'S LEAP WINE CELLARS SLV Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 1992

Available at auction and I will buy 1 or 2 if you think they are any good

Look forward to getting any advice

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Reply by outthere, Aug 9, 2010.

If you are looking to drink now the Opus is ready. Hold or drink - Mondavi, Stags Leap. The Cain and Heitz have probably seen better days. The Ridge is a $25 daily drinker. Nice but nothing special. The two best of the group and most worthy in my opinion are:

  1. Mondavi
  2. Opus One

Both are excellent California Cabernets and mid 90's wines.

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Reply by dmcker, Aug 9, 2010.

All of these are classic Napa (with the Sonoma exception) names.

Never have drunk much Cain, though it has a good rep, especially with age on the bottle. I've had great Geyservilles in the past (started on the'74), but interestingly not that vintage. I paid more attention to the Stag's Leap and Heitz (esp. Martha's) back then than recently, too. Mondavi and Opus are solid, and have taken up sections of my cellar in the past, but I also seem to be moving away from them this decade. Wonder what's going on? Thanks for the chance to reflect on my changing drinking habits, Stephen.... ;-)

If you have the wherewithal, why not buy all and post us your notes? This would be a good intro for you to certain Napa styles.

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Reply by Stephen Harvey, Aug 9, 2010.

Unfortunately capacity is one question and permission is another, I can probably avoid Presidential veto if I buy 1 or 2

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Reply by dmcker, Aug 10, 2010.

Mondavi and Opus are the safe and easy calls. Why not stretch it to 3 if one is a (cheaper) Geyserville? Say, one or the other of the two outthere recommends (and I second), then the Stag's Leap and the Geyserville. Am I correct in guessing that Opus One is the priciest down your way?

Personally, I'd be happy to guzzle them all at the moment (though not at the same sitting ;-) ). Getting that anxious feeling as my California stock begins to run lower than I'd like....

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Reply by Stephen Harvey, Aug 10, 2010.

Opus One 200-300

Mondavi 120-160

Stags Leap 80-110

Geyserville 50-65

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Reply by dmcker, Aug 10, 2010.

How about the Cain?

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Reply by Stephen Harvey, Aug 10, 2010.

Cain went for 73

I got Opus one for 184

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Reply by Stephen Harvey, Aug 10, 2010.

Next auction has only 5 US wines

BEAUX FRERES Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley 2006 Est 110-130

BOND Vecina Red Wine, Napa Valley 2004 Est 490-540

HARLAN ESTATE Red Wine, Napa Valley 2000 Est 490-560

HARLAN ESTATE Red Wine, Napa Valley 2001 Magnum Est 2,450-2,600

RAVENSWOOD VINEYARD Zinfandel, Sonoma 1996 Est 30-40

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Reply by dmcker, Aug 10, 2010.

The Ravenswood is a lesser wine than the earlier Ridge, IMHO. They do have some very drinkable offerings, though they are more among the single-vineyard designates (which that does not appear to be).

Bond and Harlan are both serious Napa cult-objects, as you can see by the projected prices. I've had more Harlan than Bond, but both are interesting. These days I tend to spend the money for one or two of those on a half or full case of something else, though.

Give the Beaux Freres a shot. A representatively good Willamette pinot, and they'll make my top 10 up there.

Did you get anything other than the Opus? I've liked it and been drinking it since the '80s (visited with the winemaker several times, taken clients there on junkets, etc.), but for some time have thought there are many better options for the price.

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Reply by Stephen Harvey, Aug 10, 2010.

Unfortunately no - will have a crack at the pinot

Is the 2000 Harlan ready to drink and is 2000 a better Napa vintage

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Reply by dmcker, Aug 10, 2010.

2000 is generally considered the worst Napa vintage for at least the last couple of decades. I remember it well, as the tech bubble hadn't quite burst, and people were still spending like crazy, but that vintage behaved like the proverbial lead balloon (errh, bubble). It's often lumped together with the '98 as bad'uns, but it's considered worse than the other bad boy. The 2001, on the other hand is the best vintages of that same period. Though the bubble was definitely deflating, and 9/11 had just happened, people were ecstatic to welcome it. 2004 (the Bond) is considered a very good vintage, but not as extraordinary as the 2001.

That being said, a bad vintage in Napa is nowhere near as devastating as in Bordeaux or Burgundy. Still, you can see the difference between the projected price range for the two vintages, even factoring in the different bottle formats.

One thing this means, of course, is that the 2000 will definitely be just about at its peak, while the 2001 can benefit from considerably more lay-down time, and is still likely quite tannic. That's even though Harlan, like just about everybody in CA, makes wines that are drinkable at a younger age than an equivalent Frenchman might make. I haven't had either of those bottles myself, but am going off of what I know about the maker for other vintages. It's also entirely possible that the 2001 might benefit from greater tightness in that lesser vintage. You've got me curious...

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Reply by dmcker, Aug 10, 2010.

Sorry, meant to say 'it's also entierly possible that the *2000* might benefit from greater tightness'....

Would love to have some post-posting editing capabilities....

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Reply by Stephen Harvey, Aug 10, 2010.

Thanks for the note

What are the best vintages in the 90's

dmcker - I am having dinner with Anfrew Hardy on Thursday Night and I will check on what his team have going on in your world - are you based in Tokyo, I also have a Yalumba contact so I will track down when they are there to

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Reply by dmcker, Aug 10, 2010.

For Napa cabs, in general (though there are a number of microclimates across the Valley), '98 and '99 were considered realitvely bad (and 2000 worse--so you can see even more clearly why 2001 was welcomed so ecstaticly). '90, '91, '92, '94 and '95 were all very, very good. '93 and '96 were somewhere in between, though still decent. And as we know, good wineries make good and interesting wines even in relatively bad years.

Sonoma's a different story, since it's a very large area with even more microclimates. You'll need to chase down winemaker's notes, etc. for the specific vintage where you can. This is also complicated by the fact that so many producers source grapes all over the place for certain bottlings, not even from other vineyards across their valley, but even half way across the state (like Sonoma wineries that have central coast bottlings, or vice versa), not to mention other states entirely (like Willamette wineries that have Sonoma bottlings, and vice versa).

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Aug 10, 2010.

I bought a bottle of the '90 Mondavi some years ago at auction for $105, held it another couple years and drank it in maybe '07.  One of my best bottles ever.  The '90 vintage was outstanding at all kinds of price points, and predated the overblown styles that came along later in the decade.  All the advantages of improved technology without the loss of reason that many see in Napa these days.  Sorry you couldn't get it this time, StephenHarvey, but keep your eyes open.  I would bet it's not at its prime, but still darn close.

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Reply by dmcker, Aug 10, 2010.

That was also while the old man was directly involved in operations, long before he wound down and they sold the place. I had some '90 from barrel on a private tour, and it was very good. As were several other vintages in those other years shortly after that I mention above (as well as quite a few from the '70s and '80s that I still remember).

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Aug 10, 2010.

True, dmcker, but the new wine maker is quite good, I hear.  Not drinking much Mondavi these days for a lot of reasons--like supporting other wineries and trying to get off the beaten path a bit. The old man was something else, though.  Frank Indelicato Sr. might be the last stalwart from those days, although Frank's family was more in the lower end of the business. (Robert's son Michael works for Frank's company, Delicato Family Vineyards.) One of my earliest wine memories is drinking a '68 BV Cab--you can get it now for $400--when I was 15 (1978) that amazed me.  There's more competently made wine at great prices than ever, but some of those wines really stood out.  That's why I look for strong family ties to the land, like at Mauritson and Chappelet and so forth.  I think that knowledge is getting lost now. Nice trip down memory lane.

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Reply by napagirl68, Aug 12, 2010.

Aw, I missed it!!!!!

One of my go-to, drinkable today estate Napa Cabs that I enjoy is the 2001 Estate ZD Cab.  Nice and only ~$80.  I also have a Titus on the shelf that is supposed to be great, and a Outpost 2006 Howell mtn that is supposed to be great as well.

Omg, can't believe someone mentioned Frank Indelicato.  I worked for Dororthy long ago.  I never cared for their wines, but it has been many moons since I have tasted.  Delicato, at least, used to be a mass producer, kinda like gallo. 

I am beginning to like the Sonoma cabs, believe it or not.  I was always a napa cab snob, but am expanding.. I also have found I ADORE Sonoma pinot noirs too!

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Reply by napagirl68, Aug 12, 2010.

Foot in mouth.. didn't miss it!!!  But cannot attend this sunday :-(   Am painting my master bath :-(:-(

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