Home | Wine Reviews | Wine Journals | Updates

by Tom Hill

A self-admitted wine geek, Tom lives in Northern New Mexico and works as a computational physicist at Los Alamos National Laboratory doing numerical neutron transport & large scale code development. He has been tasting wines since 1971, participates locally with a couple of large tasting groups in his area, and is practically a fixture at most California wine festivals, such as the Hospice du Rhône, Rhône Rangers, and ZAP. Other interests: Tom is heavily into competitive sport fencing (foil & epee), biking, cooking, basketball, skiing, backpacking, mountain climbing.

Some Cabernets - August 22, 2012

We tried tonight (8/22/12) Some Cabernets:

  1. SilverSpringsWnryLLC CabernetSauv NYState DonGiovanniWines (12.5%; www.SilverSpringsWinery.com) Mattituck/NY 2004: Med.dark color; rather earthy/herbal/classic cold-climate Cab light perfumed/ cinammon quite Loire-like attractive nose; tart/lean lightly tannic elegant/herbal/earthy/Loire-like light charred/oak flavor; med.long bit lean/tart light/herbal/earthy/dusty slight spicy/cinnamon light oak/charred finish w/ slight tannic bite; no one would mistake this for a Napa Cab but it would hold its own to a Loire CabSauv; a pleasant interesting Cab.
  2. SilverSpringsWnryLLC CabernetFranc NYState DonGiovanniWines (12.5%;
    www.SilverSpringsWinery.com) Burdett/NY 2003
    : Med.color w/ slight bricking; rather herbal/earthy/
    cold-climate Cab rather spicy/rosemary/cinammon bit smokey interesting nose; tart/acid quite herbal/
    earthy/Cab mushroomy/damp cellarslight smokey/charred/oak lightly tannic flavor; tart/lean strong
    herbal/earthy some spicy/rosemary finish w/ light tannins; a bit more spic and a bit more aged than
    the CabSauv; rather light/lean on the palate but attractive Loire-like CabFranc character; surprisingly
    good in a lighter style.
  3. Soif de Jour AC: Bourgueil CabFranc (MeBaD; 13%) GAEC Gauthier Pierre et Rodolphe/Benais 2009: Med.dark color; rather medicinal/milk of magnesia rather earthy bit unclean/bretty somewhat herbal/LoireCab nose; soft rich/lush/grapey bit chocolaty/milk of magnesia some earthy/herbal almost porky flavor; med.long lush/grapey/soft slight chocolaty/milk of magnesia earthy/herbal finish w/ light tannins; very atypical of Loire CabFranc w/o the usual lean/tannic character and quite grapey; strange wine that seems to have been monkeyed around with. $16.00 (WoP)  
  4. FredericMabileau Racines AC?:Bourgueil (12.5%; www.JonDavidWine.com; 100% CabFranc from 50 yr old vines) 2007: Med.light color; rather earthy/herbal/dusty classic Loire CabFranc bit smokey/mineral/wet ashtray very interesting nose; fairly tart/lean slight tannic/hard/bitey earthy/herbal/Cab some smokey/ pungent/ashtray bit mushroomy/root cellar flavor; long earthy/dusty/herbal/Cab bit mushroomy/root cellar/ wet ashes/smokey tart/lean bit tannic/hard finish; a classic Loire CabFranc; on the lighht/restrained side but quite an interesting CabFranc. $20.00 (K&L)
  5. JohnAlan EastBankCuvee PasoRobles (80% CabFranc, 20% Merlot; www.JohnAlanWinery.com; 13.3%) 2005: Very dark/ black color; very strong black cherry/blackcurranty/chocolate covered cherries/CherryMash bit alcoholic/ripe slight pungent/ozone/sparkler/4th of July fireworks strong vanilla/toasty/oak very attractive nose; soft very rich/lush bit alcoholic/overripe strong vanilla/toasty/oak intense blackcurranty/chocolate covered cherries slight pungent/fireworks mouthfilling heavy body flavor; very long bit overripe/alcoholic intense chocolaty/ blackcurranty/black cherry/chocolate covered cherries soft/smooth/lush/mouthfilling finish w/ modest tannins; on the ripe side but just shy of being over the top; quite a delicious Cab at a very good price. $27.00 (MW/SPas)
  6. Chester'sAnvil Malbec MtVeeder/NapaVlly (14.8%; 118 cs) 2009: Black color; intense chocolaty/black cherry/ black cherry cola light toasty/oak/smokey huge fruit bit earthy/spicy/herbal nose; soft plenty of soft tannins intense black cherry/black cherry cola very spicy bit earthy/mineral light toasty/oak flavor; very long lush/rich/huge fruit black cherry/black cherry cola light toasty/oak bit earthy/mineral/herbal finish w/ ample soft tannins; needs age yet; some like a Cahors but more intense fruit and not the hard tannins; a beautiful/huge wine. $40.00
  7. Chester'sAnvil HattoriHanzo NapaVlly (14%; www.LagierMeredith.com; www.PottWine.com;
    CabSauv/CabFranc/Merlot/Syrah + Malbec) 2008
    : Very dark/black color; intense blackcurranty/Cab/ ripe/ chocolaty rather spicy/rosemary light toasty/oak lovely classic Cab nose; slightly tart ripe very
    blackcurranty/Cab/chocolaty smooth/mouthfilling light toasty/oak flavor w/ ample ripe/soft tannins; very
    long ripe/lush strong black curranty/Cab/chocolaty slight herbal/spicy/rosemary finish w/ soft tannins;
    more straightforward blackcurranty Cab and not as interesting as the '09. Very fair price at $36.50
  8. Chester'sAnvil HattoriHanzo NapaVlly (CS/CF/M/PV/Syrah; 14.9%; 244 cs) 2009: Black color; intense Cab/ blackcurranty/ripe/chocolaty slight herbal/rosemary/oregano quite spicy/DrPepper light toasty/oak lovely ripe/lush nose; lightly tart rich/ripe/mouthfilling very strong blackcurranty/Cab/chocolaty/black cherry spicy/DrPepper/rosemary/cassis lovely flavor w/ ample/soft tannins; very long/lingering intense Cab/ blackcurranty/chocolaty/DrPepper/black cherry cola ripe/lush/mouthfilling light toasty/oak finish; a bit more tannic/hard and a lot more interesting/spicy in character; great price at $35.00
  9. Ridge Merlot TorreRanch MonteBelloVnyd/SCM (13.7%; Bttld: June 2011; Planted: Late '80's, The "Bowl"; Drk: 3/11-3/18-3/19: EB) 2009: Dark color; ample toasty/oak/vanilla/coffee bean lush grapey/blackcurranty/ Merlot bit chocolaty some aromatic/grapey bit simple nose; soft slight tannic/hard rather vanilla/toasty/ Am.oak fairly lush/grapey/blackcurranty/Merlot flavor; long soft/grapey/lush/blackcurranty/Merlot strong vanilla/toasty/Am.oak slight tannic/hard finish; speaks mostly of Ridge winemaking; a soft/lush Merlot but a bit lacking in structure and interest. $49.50
  10. Ridge Perrone CabFranc MonteBelloVnyd/SCM (13.5%; Bttld: 6/11; Planted: 1972; Drk: 3/11-3/21: EB) 2009: Very dark color; stronger more earthy/herbal/chocolaty/CabFranc some coffee/toasty/smokey/oak/pungent very rich attractive nose; bit hard/tannic strong chocolaty/CabFranc/herbal/blackcurranty strong smokey/coffee/ toasty/oak somewhat soft mouthfilling flavor; very long strong chocolaty/herbal/CabFranc bit earthy/dusty strong coffee/oak/smokey bit hard/tannic finish; lots of rich chocolaty CabFranc character. $49.50
  11. Ridge Klein CabSauv MonteBelloVnyd/SCM (13.6%; Bttld: 6/11; JimsomareRanch; Replanted: early '70's; 10 Acre Parcel; Drk: 3/11-3/26-3/31: EB) 2009: Very dark/black color; intense herbal/Cab/blackcurranty/ pungent/licorice strong coffee/smokey/toasty/oak some SCM/earthy/dusty classic SCM Cab nose; rather hard/ tannic strong blackcurranty/Cab/herbal rather earthy/dusty strong coffee bean/Fr.roast/toasty/oak flavor; very long strong blackcurranty/herbal/Cab rather coffee/toasty/smokey/oak some earthy/SCM Cab/dusty finish with ample/hard tannins; has a lot of the earthy/SCM character that the Ridge MonteBellos of the '70's showed; my favorite of these three. $49.50
  12. Ridge MonteBello Estate/SCM (72% CS/28%Merlot; 13.3%; 60 tons from 58 acres; 80% selected; Bttld: June2010; Drk: 3/20-3/35: EB) 2008: Very dark/black color; complex coffee bean/espresso/charred/toasty/oak intense herbal/Cab/blackcurranty classic SCM/earthy/dusty slight licorice/pungent nose; rich/mouthfilling/ smooth very balanced strong blackcurranty/herbal/Cab strong SCM/earthy/dusty strong coffee bean/espresso/ charred/roasted/oak flavor w/ ample/round/tannins; very long/lingering strong coffee bean/charred/oak very strong blackcurranty/Cab/herbal some earthy/SCM Cab complex balanced very structured finish; ample tannins but smooth/polished/balanced; good for the long haul. $85.00
  13. Caymus NapaVlly CabSauv (13.0%) 1987: Med.color w/ slight bricking; very strong herbal/earthy/Cab/
    RedBdx-like bit toasty/smokey/oak slight minty/menthol fairly complex mature Bdx/Cab nose; very smooth/ graceful rather herbal/earthy/Bdx-like strong toasty/cedary/smokey/oak slight tannic/dried out flavor; long/smooth/elegant herbal/earthy/Bdx-like strong cedary/smokey/oak/toasty finish w/ bit tannic/dried out in aftertaste; has come together quite nicely and is an attractive Bdx-like mature Cab w/ little fruit and starting its downhill slide. Larry's mystery. $18.00

The usual BloodyPulpit stuff:

1. DonGiovanni: Back in the old days I used to post a lot on the Squires board, back when it was an happening place to hang out, back before it bacame morbund. JohnZuccarino, winemaker at SilverSprings/ DonGiovanni used to post quite lot on that Board. He noticed that I tasted quite a lot of wines and wanted me to try some of his wines. So we connected and these btls duly arrived. This was probably 4-5 yrs ago. I thought it would be interesting to include, finally, in this tasting. I had rather low expectations for these two btls...it's UpState NewYork red wine...how good could they possibly be??

I was pleasantly surprised at how good they really were. At 12.5%, they were rather light, almost anemic, on the palate. But they delivered both good aromas and (lightweight) flavors that reminded me quite a bit of Loire Cab & CabFranc. This is probably all those grapes could deliver from that cold-climate, but I thought they delivered it well. Everybody else was also pleasantly surprised as well.
2. Ridge: The single varietals from MonteBello is a new program launched by Ridge almost a yr ago. It focuses on mono-varietals from the historical Ranches on MonteBelloRidge...Torre/Short; Perrone; Klein/Schwabacher/Jimsomare; using their names from the 1800's. Details can be found at: (www.ridgewine.com/About/Historic%20Monte%20Bello%20Vineyards). Ridge recently leased the old Rousten/Ortmann ranch between Jimsomare and Short and planted it in '08. So there
will be a RoustenRanch wine a few yrs down the road. This means Ridge farms the entirety of MonteBelloRidge from the old Zin on lower Jimsomare all the way to the tippy-top of Perrone. On the back side of Perrone, to the North & West, are some old terraces of abandoned vnyds that lie on the MonteBelloPreserve. They hope to plant those terraces sometime in the future.

Interestingly, when you go to GoogleMaps and enter 17100, the first address, of all the 17100's in the world, that pops up is....MonteBelloRd!! It's worth taking a look at the satellite image and locate the various ranches on MonteBello. I've suggested to Ridge they outline those on the GoogleMaps image.

Of these four wines, I was unthrilled by the Merlot...no surprise there. It was much simpler than the CabFranc and the CabSauv. Those two I liked a lot. But, after the MonteBello, when I went back to them, they seemed a bit simpler, more mono-chromatic. The MB was a big wine, but superbly balanced and made for the long haul.
3. Chester'sAnvil: This is the collaborative label of SteveLagier/CaroleMeredith and the Potts, their neighbors up the ridge on MtVeeder. Not being much of a fan of Cabernets, I'd put off tasting these wines. Sorry I did now. I was pretty impressed with these, especially the two '09's. They all had plenty of tannins and were quite structured, but that tannins were rather soft and not at all hard. The only Cab, Calif or otherwise, I buy is MonteBello. I may break down and start buying the Chester'sAnvil ones now.

The Hattori Hanzo name comes from a famous Japanese sumarai warrior and ninja master. Sorta describes the wine I think.


[Additional Wine Reviews from Tom Hill]


Home | Wine Reviews | Wine Journals | Updates

Copyright © 1993 - 2012, Tom Hill- All rights reserved
No original material may be reproduced without written consent
Mail & Comments
- Grape-Nutz
Updated 4.01.12