Notes on over 230 Wines from 2 Fall Wine Tastings

As discussed in previous years, the Fall Wine Trade Tastings are upon us. This is our chance to taste the new vintage wines in preparation for the Holiday season. Due to Sunday sales, some of the distributors have moved them during the week but the two biggest names still have there’s on Sunday’s. The following is a compilation of these two tastings to give potential customers an idea of what the wine is like utilizing the traditional 100 point scale.

Show 9/8/13

Keenan Winery – wines were very good although more similar than different. Stick with the regular Mailbox Merlot for the best value.

2008 Mailbox Merlot Reserve 91 points

2008 Mailbox Merlot 92 points

2009 Merlot Spring Mountain 91 points

Turnbull – The Old Bull wasn’t as good as recent years. The new Oakville Cab was very nice and only a few dollars more than the regular Cab.

2009 Old Bull Red 88 points

2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 90 points

2010 Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon 92 points

2008 Black Label Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 94 points

Joseph Phelps – Bit disappointed with the Sauvignon Blanc considering the vintage. In years past it has been a top wine. The Insignia was top notch and one of the best bottles I have tasted this Fall.

2012 Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley 88 points

2010 Insignia 95 points

Melville – Pinot is Top Notch with the 2010 Estate Pinot representing excellent value. Chardonnay is always hit or miss for me. The Viognier is usually good but this vintage seems off the pace with past vintages.

2012 Estate Chardonnay 89 points

2011 Estate Chardonnay Clone 76 Inox 91 points

2010 Estate Pinot Noir 92 points

2010 Estate Pinot Noir Terraces 92 points

2011 Syrah Verna 89 points

2012 Viognier Verna 88 points

Anderson’s Conn Valley – The Prologue Cab use to be excellent but seems to be slipping. I believe it use to be all Napa fruit but now they are sourcing from all over the state. Eloge remains one of the best bottles for the money.

2009 Chardonnay Prologue 88 points

2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Prologue 88 points

2008 Chardonnay 90 points

2010 Right Bank Red 92 points

2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 91 points

2008 Eloge Proprietary Red 94 points

Silver Oak – Verified my continued belief that this is the most overpriced winery in California. It’s just not worth the money and you can find similar wines for $20-$25.

2008 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 88 points

2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley 89 points

2009 Twomey Merlot 88 points

Paul Hobbs – only poured the Crossbarn “Value” line. While enjoyable wines, not sure I would consider $30 a value. Look to his imports from Chile for better deals.

2012 Chardonnay Crossbarn 88 points

2011 Pinot Noir Crossbarn 88 points

2011 Chardonnay Russian River Valley 90 points

Honig -Continue to be one of the best wineries for value in Napa Valley. Sauvignon Blanc is very consistent and the Cab has been super the last few vintages.

2012 Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley – 89 points

2012 Sauvignon Blanc Rutherford – 90 points

2011 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 90 points

2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Bartolucci 92 points

Boyanci – From Napa Valley. First time having there wines and they weren’t bad at all but not inexpensive.

2008 Red Blend 92 points

2010 Inspire Romance Cabernet Franc 90 points

2010 Inspire Cabernet Sauvingon 92 points

NV Pol Roger Brut 91 points

2008 Tenuta Silvio Narde Brunello di Montalcino 93 points

2006 Giacomo Borgogne e Figli Barolo 93 points

2007 Il Palazzone Brunello di Montalcino 92 points

2008 Casa E. di Mirafiore Barolo DOCG 91 points

Palmaz Vineyards – definitely an up and comer. Cedar Knolls is a great value!

2008 Cabernet Sauvignon Cedar Knolls Vineyard 92 points

2009 Cabernet Sauvignon 94 points

Barons de-Rothschild – I have enjoyed these new wines the few times I have tried them.

NV Champagne Blanc de Blancs 90 points

NV Champagne Rose 91 points

NV Champagne Brut 90 points

Col d’Orcia – Tasted both of these wines our of 3L bottles. Outstanding quality for the money!

2008 Brunello de Montalcino 94 points

2007 Brunello de Montalcino 92 points

Trimbach – consist with other vintages. Make a nice value bottle and the Frederic Emile is always excellent!

2010 Riesling 90 points

2006 Riesling Cuvee Frederic Emile 93 points

Evening Land – Honestly have had better vintages of their entry level wines but the prices are decent. Their different color labeling system is confusing.

2011 Pinot Noir Blue Label 89 points

2009 Chardonnay Blue Label 88 points

2010 Bourgogne Blanc Blue Label 88 points

Round Pond – worth the extra few bucks to upgrade to the estate. Big difference between the two.

2012 Sauvignon Blanc Estate 89 points

2011 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 88 points

2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate 92 points

Benton Lane – consistent producer from Oregon whose entry level bottling is beyond reasonable.

2010 Pinot Noir Estate 90 points

2010 Pinot Noir First Class 91 points

1996 Broadbent Colheita Madeira 92 points

20 Year Ferreira Quinta Do Porto Tawny 94 points

Coho – This has been an up and down producer over the years. The Merlot was very impressive this day while the Cab based wines fell a little short.

2010 Headwaters Red Wine 89 points

2009 Headwaters Red Wine 89 points

2010 Stanly Ranch Pinot Noir 90 points

2010 Michael Black Vineyard Merlot 92 points

2009 Michael Black Vineyard Merlot 90 points

2010 Summitvine Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon 89 points

Calera – Very impressive set of wines. The entry levels were all very nice and even the single vineyard wines (which were excellent), aren’t that pricy for the quality.

2011 Chardonnay Central Coast 90 points

2011 Pinot Noir Central Coast 90 points

2010 Ryan Vineyard Pinot Noir 92 points

2010 Mills Vineyard Pinot Noir 93 points

2012 Viognier Central Coast 90 points

2010 Domaine Grand Veneur Chateauneuf-du-Pape Les Orignies 94 points

Copian – Lot of hype on these wines over the last few years. From this tasting I felt they had varying quality.

2011 Pinot Noir Tous Ensemble 89 points

2011 Syrah Tous Ensemble 87 points

2011 Syrah Les Voisins 91 points

2010 Pinot Noir Monument Tree 91 points

2011 Pinot Noir Monument Tree 89 points

Heitz Wine Cellars – Typically I have really only enjoyed their Martha’s Vineyard Cabernet but there recent regular and Trailside Cabs have really stepped up their quality.

2009 Ink Grade Zinfandel 85 points

2008 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 91 points

2007 Trailside Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 91 points

2006 Martha’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 92 points

2005 Martha’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 93 points

Domaine De Beaurenard – Quality is very high at this estate for the wonderful 2010 vintage. Great prices for the quality your getting as well!

2010 Rasteau 90 points

2010 Coulon Chateauneuf-du-Pape 93 points

2010 Chateauneuf-du-Pape 95 points

Robert Craig – Some very nice wines here headlined by the 2010 Affinity which is drinking very nicely right now!

2010 Affinity Cabernet Sauvignon 92 points (In Stock)

2009 Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon 90 points

2010 Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon 91 points

Show 9/15/13

Catena – These are typically a very strong set of wines year in and year out. The entry level wines are fantastic values but I must say that the top tier wines showed only slightly better than the entry level wines, which is a bit disappointing considering the price.

2011 Malbec Classic 90 points

2011 Cabernet Sauvignon 90 points

2010 Alta Malbec 91 points

2009 Alta Cabernet Sauvignon 88 points

2008 Nicolas Catena Zapata 91 points

2008 Zapata Adrianna Vineyard Malbec 92 points

Zenato – Delicious Amarone’s and the Pinot Grigio was very nice for the money.

2012 Pinot Grigio IGT 88 points (in stock)

2008 Amarone DOC 91 points

2004 Amarone Classico Riserva Sergio Zenato DOC 93 points

Allegrini – Consistent producer with a wide selection of tasty wines. The Palazzo della Torre is widely available and consistently very good.

2011 Valpolicella Doc 88 points

2009 Palazzo della Torre IGT 90 points

2009 La Grola IGT 89 points

2008 Amarone Classico DOC 91 points

2008 Recioto 92 points

Poggio al Tesoro – The Sondraia, a Super Tuscan Blend, and the Decicato (100% Cab Franc) were both excellent and fairly priced.

2010 Mediterra IGT 88 points

2009 Sondraia DOC 93 points

San Polo

2010 Rubio IGT 88 points

2011 Rosso di Montalcino DOC 89 points

2008 Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 90 points

2006 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 91 points

2007 Dedicato “W” IGT 93 points

Altesino – Fairly consistent producer of Sangiovese wines with the higher end bottlings having a good track record for aging.

2010 Rosso di Altesino IGT 88 points

2010 Rosso di Montalcino DOC 89 points

2008 Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 90 points

2008 Brunello Montosoli DOCG 93 points

2007 Palazzo Altesi IGT 91 points

2001 Vin Santo Valdarbia DOC 94 points

Fattoria Le Pupille – producer of some fine Super Tuscan blends.

2007 Poggio Valente Riserva DOCG 93 points

2007 Saffredi 91 points

Tua Rita – Impressive producer who has some good entry level wines plus high end wines. The Redigaffi is 100% Merlot and was by far the most impressive wine of the day. Exceptional!

2011 Rosso di Notri IGT 90 points

2011 Perlato Del Bosco IGT 90 points

2009 Giusto Di Notri IGT 93 points

2009 Redigaffi 96 points

Castellare – some nice Chianti Classico wines from this producer but the highlight was the I Sodi di San Niccolo, which is only going to get better with some age.

2011 Chianti Classico DOCG 91 points

2010 Chianti Classico Riserva Il Poggiale DOCG 91 points

2008 I Sodi di San Niccolo IGT 93 points

Ceretto – Nebbiolo wines were all quite tight but should open up with some bottle age.

2008 Barolo Zonchera 90 points

2008 Barbaresco Asili Beranot 92 points

2009 Barbaresco Asij 92 points

2007 Barolo Prapo 91 points

2007 Barolo Bricco Rocche Brunate 91 points

Castello di Neive – decent producer of Nebbiolo based wines. Like the Ceretto, these wines showed very tight. Need a lot of time.

2012 Piemonte Grignolino DOC 88 points

2010 Dolcetto d’Alba Basarin DOC 89 points

2011 Langhe Pinot Nero Cortini DOC 88 points

2010 Barbera d’Alba Santo Stefano 89 points

2009 Barbera d’Alba Superiore DOC 90 points

2009 Barbaresco DOCG 91 points

2009 Barbaresco Albesani Santo Stefano DOCG 91 points

2006 Barbaresco DOCG Riserva Santo Stefano 93 points

Castello di Neive – producer of some nice entry level value wines but the real stars were the Barbaresco’s.

2012 Piemonte Grignolino DOC 88 points

2010 Dolcetto d’Alba Basarin DOC 89 points

2011 Langhe Pinot Nero Cortini DOC 88 points

2010 Barbara d’Alba Santo Stefano 89 points

2009 Barbara d’Alba Superiore DOC 90 points

2009 Barbaresco DOCG 91 points

2009 Barbaresco Albesani Santo Stefano DOCG 91 points

2006 Barbaresco DOCG Riserva Santo Stefano 93 points

Szigeti – interesting sparkling wine producer from Austria. The Gruner Veltliner was quite interesting and affordable.

NV Gruner Veltliner Brut 89 points

2009 Pinot Noir Rose Brut 88 points

NV Cuvee Prestige 89 points

2011 Loimer Gruner Veltliner LOIS 89 points

2012 Gruner Veltliner Kamptal 91 points

2011 Prager Gruner Veltliner Federspeil Hinter der Burg 91 points

2012 Stadt Krems Gruner Veltliner Kremstal 91 points

2011 Wieninger Wiener Gemischter Satz 90 points

2011 Domaine Seguin-Manuel Pommard Vielles Vignes 91 points

Lanson – kind of uninspiring considering the price.

NV Black Label Brut 87 points

NV Brut Rose 89 points

NV Demi Sec 89 points

2012 Chateau La Touche Muscadet Sevre et Maine Vielles Vignes 86 points

2011 Domaine Vigneau-Chevreaux Vouvray Cuvee Silex 88 points

2012 Domaine Couly-Dutheil Chinon Blanc Les Chanteaux 88 points

2011 Domaine Serge Laporte Sancerre Chavignol 89 points

2012 Chateau Simon Bordeaux Blanc 88 points

2011 Collovray & Terrier St. Veran “Tradition” 89 points

2010 Vins Auvigue Macon Soultre “Le Moulin de Pont” 88 points

2011 Henri Boillot Meursault 92 points

2010 Henri Boillot Volnay 90 points

2012 Domaine Couly-Dutheil Chinon Rose 90 points

2010 Paul Garaudet Monthelie Cuvee Paul 87 points

2011 Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe Chateauneuf-du-Pape Rouge Telegramme 94 points

Duval LeRoy – Consistent producer of fine Champagne. I particularly liked the Lady rose.

NV Brut 90 points

NV Brut Premier Cru NV 90 points

NV Brut Rose 90 points

2004 Clos Des Bouveries 91 points

2000 Femme de Champagne 90 points

NV Lady Rose Sec 92 points

Bila Haut – Owned by Michael Chapoutier, they make outstanding value wines for the money.

2012 Blanc 90 points

2011 Rouge 90 points

St. Urbans-Hof – year in and year out they make some consistent, affordable Rieslings from the Mosel.

2011 Wiltinger Kabinett Alte Reben 91 points

2011 Ockfener Bockstein Kabinett 92 points

Adelsheim – Nice set of wines highlighted by the Vintage 31 from the outstanding 2008 vintage.

2010 Pinot Noir Elizabeth’s Reserve 90 points

2010 Pinot Noir Bryan Creek 90 points

2008 Vintage 31 92 points

Chehalem – Besides the Reserve Pinot Noir, a pretty disappointing set of wines considering the reputation of the producer.

2012 Pinot Gris 3 Vineyard 88 points

2011 Inox Chardonnay 89 points

2009 Dry Riesling 89 points

2010 Three Vineyard Pinot Noir 89 points

2008 Pinot Noir Reserve 92 points

Seghesio – consistent producer of outstanding Zins that are fairly priced. The Omaggio was a nice suprise

2011 Sonoma Zinfandel 89 points

2011 Home Ranch Zinfandel 89 points

2010 Rockpile Zinfandel 93 points

2008 Omaggio 91 points

2011 Clos Robert Cabernet Sauvignon 89 points

Duckhorn – consistent producer of Napa Valley Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon with their Migration and Goldeneye labels really taking off.

2012 Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley 89 points

2009 Merlot Napa Valley 90 points

2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 91 points

2011 Migration Chardonnay RRV 89 points

2010 Migration Pinot Noir Anderson Valley 91 points

2010 Goldeneye Pinot Noir 92 points

2009 Paraduxx C Blend 90 points

Rombauer Vineyards – doesn’t get the fanfare of some other wineries in Napa but they produce consistent Cabs, great Chardonnay and an underrated Zinfandel.

2012 Chardonnay Carneros 91 points

2009 Merlot Carneros 89 points

2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 91 points

2008 Cabernet Sauvignon Diamond Mountain 92 points

2011 Zinfandel 91 points

Ladera – impressive set of wines. The 2008 was especially nice but priced on the higher end.

2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 91 points

2010 Stile Blocks Howell Mountain 90 points

2008 Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain 93 points

2010 Pillow Road Pinot Noir RRV 93 points – Impressive Pinot Noir. First time having it.

Titus Vineyards – Enjoyed the reserve Cab, which is a little less than the Ladera but similar quality.

2009 Cabernet Franc 89 points

2010 Cabernet Sauvignon 90 points

2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 93 points

2010 Zinfandel 90 points

Morgan Winery – Really enjoyed the Chardonnay and faired ok with the Pinot in 2011, which is a tough vintage in most of California.

2011 Highland Chardonnay Santa Lucia Highlands 91 points

2011 Double L Chardonnay Santa Lucia Highlands 92 points

2011 Twelve Clones Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands 89 points

2010 Double L Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands 90 points

2011 Gary’s Vineyard Pinot Noir 91 points

2008 Burly Cabernet Sauvignon 91 points

Wolffer – one of the best producers in Long Island, their whites are consistently good. The Perle Chardonnay I really enjoyed and ended up purchasing a bottle.

2010 Estate Chardonnay 88 points

2009 Perle Chardonnay 91 points

2012 Classic White 88 points

2009 Estate Merlot 88 points

2010 Red Letter 87 points

2009 Cabernet Franc 89 points

Ravines – typically enjoy their Rieslings but this time the Cabernet Franc stole the show. One of the best I have ever had from the East Coast!

2012 Dry Riesling 90 points

2010 Pinot Noir 87 points

2010 Cabernet Franc 90 points

2010 Meritage 88 points

Smith Woodhouse – most impressive set of wines in recent memory. The LBV was a great value and the Vintage was very nice.

NV Lodge Reserve 90 points

2000 Late Bottled Vintage 92 points

NV 10 Year Tawny 91 points

NV 20 Year Tawny 93 points

2011 Vintage Port 94 points

2011 Quinta do Vesuvio Vintage Port 94 points – Excellent Port which should be quite long lived.

5 Great Cabernet’s from our Fall Wine Club Meeting

This past weekend we had a Fall wine club meeting. The Fall is typically a enjoyable meeting because we have moved past the hot weather but it isn’t quite sub zero temperatures yet so we can enjoy a variety of wines. With Fall though we typically get back to reds, specifically, Cabernet Sauvignon. This meeting was strictly Cabs from anywhere in the world but strange as it may seem everyone brought something from Napa Valley. It proved to be a very interesting meeting. Everything is tasted blind and listed in order tasted.

Wine 1 – 2010 Franciscan Estate Cabernet Sauvingon

This had a really interesting nose on it with aromas of raspberry, dusty berry, earth and smoke. The nose was better than the palate on this one but the wine still had flavors of blackberry, green pepper, raspberry, herbs and cherry. The green note in there led me to believe the wine must have contained some Cabernet Franc but I have since checked the blend and there was none in there. It had a nice 20 second finish. I gave this wine 92 points.

Wine 2 – 2007 Worthy Cabernet Sauvignon Sophia’s Cuvee

This wine was a little more in your face with the fruit but I found the nose a little less complex than Wine 1. Displayed some big fruit flavors of cherry, red berries and flowers. Where this really set itself apart was on the palate with some nice jammy fruit of cherry, blackberry and licorice. It ended with a  beautiful 25-30 second finish. I gave this wine 93 points.

Wine 3 – 2004 Beringer Cabernet Sauvignon Private Reserve

I really enjoyed this wine although I would have never guessed it was a Beringer Private Reserve. The nose had aromas a rose, cherry and earth. It actually had a little funk that blew off. This was medium to full bodied with flavors of blackberry, raspberry and sour cherry and ended with a 20 second finish. I gave this 92 points.

Wine 4 – 2007 Anderson’s Conn Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve

This had the most complex nose of the night with interesting aromas of leather, cherry, cassis, berry pie, pepper and a touch of earth. It really had a lot going on there! The palate revealed long layers of complexity with flavors of cherry, blackberry and herb. The finish on this really stood out though, easily lasting 30-35 seconds, outpacing the other wines. I scored this 94 points and it ended up being the wine of the night.

Wine 5 – 2009 Summers Cabernet Sauvignon Calistoga

The last wine of the night, I found this wine, although very good, pacing behind the others. The wine revealed aromas of blackberry, roses, pepper and earth. Got some cherry and blackberry flavors but where this wine lagged behind the others was the finish. While providing some satisfaction, the finish was not as full or long as the previous wines. That being said it was still a really good wine and probably the best value out of the entire lot. I gave it 90 points.