Wine Talk

Snooth User: VegasOenophile

Zin Choices for tasting

Original post by VegasOenophile, Sep 17, 2010.

I am hosting a Schreiner's Winers tasting Saturday and we're covering zins.  I was wondering what some Snooth favorites are.  I am looking to get 6-9 bottles from various areas and price ranges.  I already have a 2007 Plungerhead.  I was thinking something from Ridge?  Robert Biale?  Renwood, Ravenswood or Cosentino.  Thoughts?

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Sep 21, 2010.

Irish Monkey is just such a terrible name.  I have seen it but I think I have to taste it without knowing what it is for that reason.

I had some of the Bellas during barrel tasting.  There was one in particular that I kicked myself for not buying, but the car was full of kids and wine.  I intend to go back and get some soon.

Reply by napagirl68, Sep 22, 2010.

Ok...  I'm sure I am missing something... I am usually the last to figure out things that others are well aware of..(I AM blonde!) , but does Irish Monkey have a bad connotation that I am unaware of, or is it just a silly name you don't like?  If it is the former, I feel terrible for posting it here :-O   I just saw the winery mentioned on a friend's social networking site, and saw it was in Oakland and was curious.

Looked up the winery, and this is the link to how they say they got the name:

Reply by Richard Foxall, Sep 22, 2010.

I am not aware of any particular meaning, I just don't think "wine" when I hear the words "Irish" or "Monkey."  Beer, whisky, bananas, the snaggle-toothed lead singer of the Pogues... Not wine. 

Doesn't mean there isn't another meaning.  I had no idea what the entry for "screaming eagle" was in the Urban Dictionary until SH mentioned it in another thread.  (For those who don't know, SH is StephenHarvey, whose name usually appears in one of the "TopContributors" spots.)  In fact, I had no idea there was such an entry.  (And that's an unintentional pun. Sorry.)  I don't recommend reading it if you are even a little prudish.

Didn't this start off as a thread about Zinfandel? I digresse.

Reply by Stephen Harvey, Sep 22, 2010.

Sorry to digress, but back to my US wine education

I can get some

DOMINUS ESTATE Estate Bottled Cabernets, Napa Valley 1997

I am thinking of this for my next wine dinner which has cabernet as a theme

I have got lots of great advice from previous threads but I can get 6 bottles stored in original timber case and supply of good Napa Cab in any quantity is limited here

So is this a good example of Napa Cabernet tha

wine knowledge of a bunch of Aussie wine drinkers.


Most of the group are knowledgable and some are winemakers?

Reply by napagirl68, Sep 22, 2010.

HOLY GUACAMOLE, foxall!!!   I did look up the urban dictionary meaning of screaming eagle you mentioned.  Wowzers.Yikes....

I am one of those smart, (yet a bit clueless about somethings), blondes.  Recently, I was totally embarassed when I asked one of my male coworkers what MILF meant.  He just started laughing, and wanted to know who said that to me!!!  I was mortified.

Just glad I didn't post anything off color with the Irish monkey winery name. I was just curious if you had tasted since it is in your neck of the woods.

Yes, Bella was good, and I did taste it.  will try to include on my trip up north.


Reply by Stephen Harvey, Sep 22, 2010.

NG - you can imagine the reaction of my wife when she found our then 17yo son and his mates on a US site called MILF Hunter, funny but suddenly he was my son and what was I going to do about it!!!!

Your experience reminds me of a naive young grad who did not understand the significance of the number between 68 & 70 and created some hilarious mayhem around the office

Reply by napagirl68, Sep 23, 2010.

SH- OMG- that is so funny (and scary for mom)  about your son.. what IS IT with these YOUNG boys going for the 30-40-somethings??? who knows...

Anyway, back to your 1997 Dominus question.  I think you should go for it.  97 was a great year for napa caps in general, and many have aged well. Dominus is a reputable winery as well.  I would get some beforehand and taste it yourself to make sure there were no storage/cork issues. 

While I have not tasted this particular vintage, I suspect it would be a somewhat representative "taste" of napa cabs..  There are so many districts/apellations within the Napa name that taste so different..   Some other areas within Napa that I like are Diamond mtn, spring mtn, and howell mtn.   If you can find some of those in your ventures, give the snoothers a holler to see if we have tasted...

Another idea I had for your gathering of friends and cabs... do it BLIND for sure...  I am a big fan of blind tastings.. the impression/prejudice one has is a strong factor.  Interesting what the results would be if you compared it to a fav Aussie.

Reply by Stephen Harvey, Sep 23, 2010.

NG - I think it is part herd mentality, part luck? when net surfing, part it was a site with a lot of free content.  Trying work out the mind of 17yo boys is a fruitless exercise it rates with 14yo girls [but for different reasons!!!!]

Thanks for the advice on Cab, I like the blind idea but will do that as a seperate exercise.

Might line it up with 96 Coonawarra, 97 Margaret River and a 96 Bordeaux [probably something like a Lynch Bages or Montrose] if I can get one at a reasonable price

From a style perspective is it straight cab or does it have any Merlot/Cab Franc etc blended, at my dinner we have a straight Cab set and a Cab blend set

Reply by napagirl68, Sep 23, 2010.

I rarely see 100% cab blends in CA, personally.  There is usually a very heavy cab sauv presence (85-95%), with some trace blendings of usually merlot and cab franc.  I tend to like a "cab" with a larger cab franc presence.

At any rate, here is what I found online for the 1997:

Reply by dmcker, Sep 23, 2010.

Definitely go for the '97 Dominus, and even before tasting I'd take all six in the OWC if the price is at all reasonable. They'll only be harder to find in the future. 

Dominus, together with Opus One and Joseph Phelp's Insignia (and Ridge Montebello, though it wasn't always lumped together in that type of description) was one of the first who popularized the 'meritage' type concept (in other words Bordeaux blend) in Napa back in the '80s. It's been one of my steady go-tos ever since then, even though those since the early-mid '90s have been mellowed out to a smoother style than those up to the beginning of the '90s (they only started in the early '80s). 

If you ever run across any Napanook, that's Dominus'/Moueix's second label in Napa, and well worth a drink. Napanook is the name of the vineyard first farmed by George Yount, for whom the Napa Valley town of Yountville is named, and was also the source of fruit for the classic Inglenook wines of pre-modern Napa fame.

I'm also a firm believer in blind tastings and suggest that if not the next tasting, perhaps the one after that be conducted in brown paper bags or whatever you care to use. It would also be interesting to throw in a Bordeaux or three affilliated with the Moueix family holdings in a blind tasting also including Dominus and other Napas, since Christian Moueix is who created and has run Dominus Estate subsequent to his education at UC Davis (at the time his father was still heading things back home), and who now runs the family empire headquartered in Libourne. Some candidates:


  • Château Pétrus
  • Château Trotanoy
  • Château Hosanna
  • Château Lafleur-Pétrus
  • Château Lagrange
  • Château Lafleur Gazin 
  • Château Certan de May
  • Château Bourgneuf
  • Château de Sales
  • Château Latour-a-Pomerol
  • Château Providence

  • Château Magdelaine 
  • Château Belair
  • Château Puy-Blanquet
  • Château Le Prieuré


Pretty nice portfolio, eh? Wonder who might be considered a royal family of Bordeaux, at least of the right bank? Particularly interesting is to consider what (big) names on the right bank are more-or-less holding the line against steadily encroaching Parkeristic style conversion. And a comparison between the usually-more-leftbankish Napa style and that of Dominus (which is mostly cabernet) is obviously something to focus on. Moreover, it's nice to see that a UC Davis education is not always a bad thing... ;-)


Off on a bit of a tangent, here's the official Moueix Family description of the vintages for their Right Bank wines over the past decade or so. Their website is typically Gallic, in a way, in not portraying fully and transparently all their activities, but I did enjoy this merchant's (they also serve as a negociant for many other wines than the above) picture of recent vintages. Apparently the descriptions are directly from Christian Moueix.


2009 One of the greatest vintages of the last 60 years, and already a benchmark for its power and natural concentration.

2008 Patience and perseverance were needed, with a wet and late start, an average summer, but a wonderful indian summer allowing a perfect maturity. Some exceptionnal viticultural successes.

2007 A vintage of challenges, with a very warm spring, a wet and cool summer and a beautiful month of September. The early maturing terroirs appear to have an advantage. A reminder of the Mark Twain definition: “Climate is what you expect, Weather is what you get”.

2006 A vintage contrasted by an uneven summer with mixed results. An early, sunny and successful harvest for the Merlots.

2005 A vintage blessed by the gods. A superb summer, dry and hot, but not excessively so. Ideal harvest. A general success for all the varietals and all the appellations.

2004 A rather successful vintage. The wines lack a bit of charm but their fine constitution makes them a bottle to keep.

2003 A vintage of climatic excesses. Some grapes were sun-burned, creating atypical wines. Attentive and cautious wine growers succeeded in producing rich wines with great promise. A particular success in Médoc and for the clay soils of Pomerol.

2002 A difficult climate allowed for the production of easily accessible wines which can be drunk young.

2001 A classic year under estimated after the fanfares of 2000. The wines are remarkably balanced and already delicious.

2000 A banner year. Great, powerful, structured wines which are worth the wait.

1999 A year without excess. A beautiful abundant harvest having produced wines relatively easy to drink now.

1998 A particular success for the Right Bank thanks to sunny harvests after a very beautiful summer, some very great wines.

1995 Already over ten years of age, the true Bordeaux classic, allying elegance and nobility. Great wines are worth the wait. The others are delicious to drink.

1990 Vintage of great heat. Rich in alcohol and its seduction makes this vintage a favorite amongst numerous wine amateurs.

1989 A great classic vintage and very early (Pomerol harvested early September). Slightly more austere than the 1990, it remains one of the best vintages in the 20th century. 

1982 An almost perfect year. Despite their abundance, the wines have kept an infinite charm.

1975 A dry year of little quantity. Many promising hopes were dashed by a persistant astringence. A few great successes in Pomerol.

1970 The first vintage of the Modern Times. Vine cultivation came out of decades of difficulty. Great classic wines.


Back to Dominus, here's a writeup of an interview with Christian Moueix back in 2005. Though not focusing on Dominus, here's a rare video interview with him where you can see both his Gallic charm and intelligence as he talks about the 2007 vintage.

Finally, be sure to save some of the six for laying down longer in your cellar. They can definitely serve as one of the reference points for your expanding knowledge (and, I assume, stock) of Napa reds.

Reply by dmcker, Sep 23, 2010.

The blend for the '97 Dominus was:

  • 87% Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 9% Cabernet Franc
  • 4% Merlot
Reply by dmcker, Sep 23, 2010.

Stephen, one idea, for future ease of reference/retrievability, and to aid integration of the accumulating info/knowledge, why not start a separate thread on info about CA (or French or...) wines that we can keep going back to, and adding to? Lots of good discussion that is buried in unrelated threads. Who would think that a snapshot of Christian Moueix, for example, would be found in a Zin-tasting rampup thread?

Reply by Stephen Harvey, Sep 23, 2010.

D - Thanks

I agree on the thread issue, but its kind of an impulsive thing with discovering wine and getting advice. Thanks for the info will have more of a look at it over the weekend

I have got my hands on some 82 Chateau Leoville Las Cases for the dinner a bit pricey but nothing like Moieux Right Banks and Paulliac 1st growths.

Also got some 02 Armand Rousseau Clos St Jacques

Going back to NG's idea which I am going to pursue with some fellow drinkers.  I have a single bottle of 97 Opus One to go with the Dominus and some other known suspects

Foxall - this a good way to try the silly priced stuff get 10 fellow drinkers, put $50-$100 each and buy 4-5 bottles and have a good look at them 75ml is a fair taste.

Reply by Richard Foxall, Sep 23, 2010.

Good example, SH, of that idea.  What we often do is have one of the Wine Friends (couples, always) over.  The host provides two bottles, usually the guest brings another bottle.  The host's bottles are, at my house, decanted and marked on the bottom of the identical decanters with the wine.  When the guests arrive, one of them puts a post-it on each decanter.  Then we taste them blind.  Sometimes we pit different appellations against each other (Napa v. Bordeaux, Cal Rhones vs. French), sometimes identical apps and varieties at different price points (two DCV Zins was a fun one).  Inviting enough people to do what you are suggesting would mean getting babysitters and finding a larger space, but something we can do when the kids are underfoot a little less.  A good idea to have a top end wine--even if it's just a small pour of each.

NG, don't say you weren't warned about that Urban Dictionary thing.  Lucky for you that the colleague was amused and not uptight about your question.  In England, they call them "yummy mummies."  No need to ask what it means--who would think the Brits would be more direct than Yanks?

Finally, a quick question for dmcker.  Was Napanook the same as Niebaum Vineyard?  Because I recall buying Niebaum Vineyard designated Inglenook right before they sold it to Coppola and I recalled that it was the basis of the great wines that Inglenook sold, but it appears that John Daniel kept Napanook after he sold Inglenook to Hueblein, which definitely got the original Niebaum properties, and ruined a portion of them, or ruined the reputation of the wines coming from them. So perhaps they were separate properties. I was pleased with the lot that I bought, but they were not the best wines I have ever had.  I do wish I had kept an empty bottle for posterity. Those were definitely from the last batch of Inglenook to come from the original property.

Reply by dmcker, Sep 23, 2010.

Stephen, if you have the Opus and Dominus, you might as well go for an Insignia, as well.

One question, though: how well does a 750ml get split by 10? Sounds like half of a restaurantish smallish glass per person, and that's assuming there's not any real sediment throw (not that there will be much with a '97 from California, for example, but obviously there will be with older bottles from Europe). Of course I understand the economic realities, but it's hard to watch a wine evolve in the glass if you only have half of one to start with. And yes, I speak from experience, since more than half the DRC versions I've had were procured that way. Whenever possible we tried to keep the split to no more than 5 or 6 persons per bottle, after ongoing frustration.

Fox, how is 'yummy mummy' more direct than MILF? Although, the English have managed to gentrify the quite direct word 'shag' to allow its use for that act into a lot more relatively polite conversation than similar parlance in the American context.


Reply by Stephen Harvey, Sep 24, 2010.

D - I agree with your sentiments [or sediments?] but it is always a case of economics and cash.  3-4 is better than 5-6 is better than 10 but?

If I can get an Insignia I will, but usual caveats on US wine here

Yummy Mummy gets used here a lot to, generally by Middle Aged fathers of senior school children to describe 30yo Mums of the little kids in the junior school.

Must admit my wife says there is no equivalent description of young dads by middle aged Mums??!!

Reply by dmcker, Sep 24, 2010.

Oh, I'd say there are plenty of experienced guys appreciated by younger females. Always seems to have been down history. No need for a category or naming like MILFs or cougars or.... Just ask a group of females what they think of George Clooney or the most reasonable facsimile in the next bar or restaurant or other venue you're visiting. Extra bonus points (for him) when he also looks prosperous.

Reply by outthere, Sep 24, 2010.

Sugar Daddy?

Reply by napagirl68, Sep 24, 2010.

Outthere- What a great name for a late harvest Zin!!!

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