Notes on 5 wines from a Weekend Dinner

Opened up a few Cabs for our friends who came up from NJ who brought two bottles as well. Tried through all the wines blind first then we revealed what the wines were before sitting down for dinner. Made short ribs with pasta and a pancetta cream sauce. For desert my wife and I made a pecan pie from a recipe from the one and only pecan pie expert, Barbara Zanowiak!
  • 2012 The Great American Wine Company by Rosenblum Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon – USA, California Napa ValleyThrew this in as a ringer because I had it two weeks ago and it had a lot of jammy fruit in it so I thought it might fool my friend. This started off with aromas of cherry, menthol and raspberry. Got some flavors of cherry, raspberry with a touch of earth. As soon as I tasted this I knew what it was and to my friends credit so did he. Wine was lighter and softer than the other high octane wines. The finish was much shorter than the rest. But, for a 9.99 bottle, it certainly was a good bargain and spoke to the strength of the 2012 vintage. Probably rated this a point or two higher than I should have but this was my initial score and decided to leave it. (90 pts.) In Stock
  • 2009 Vine Hill Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon Vine Hill Ranch – USA, California, Napa ValleyThis started off with a big nose of cherry that went into some dusty berry, lavender and flowers. When I came back to it later I got a little hint of green pepper. The wine had silky tannins and a wonderful mouth feel with no hard edges. This was a very big wine with flavors of cherry, plum and raspberry. The raspberry portion really became prominent in the mid palate before coming back with another blast of fruit. Finish was approximately 45-50 seconds. Just a beautiful wine. I guessed it was the Shafer I opened. Decanted for 12 hours. Would be curious to see how this was when first opened. (98 pts.)

  • 2003 Shafer Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select – USA, California, Napa Valley, Stags Leap DistrictGot a lot of sweet red fruit on the nose of this with cherry, raspberry, plum and roses. I almost would have thought this would have been similar to the first wine but clearly it was different when tasted. This wine was darker in it’s flavor profile and had more tannins. Got some flavors of raspberry and blackberry but also some iron and earth notes. Finish wasn’t quite as long on this wine compared to the first wine but your probably looking at 40-45 seconds still. I guessed this was perhaps a Bond, VHR (never had this but assumed it was similar to Bond) or the Maiden. Decanted this for 4 hours before tasting. Little surprised when this was revealed. Still very young and I think it still has a long life ahead of it. (97 pts.)

  • 2009 Pahlmeyer Proprietary Red – USA, California, Napa ValleyWhat struck me first about this wine was the nose was completely different from the other wines tasted. This had aromas of vanilla, creme de cassis and blackberry on the nose. It had a few similar qualities to the Kapcsandy Grand Vin but I have never had found this on any other vintage from Pahlmeyer. On the palate, I again got vanilla, raspberry, cherry and another strong element that I wanted to say was brown sugar but it really wasn’t that. Ended with another long finish of about 45-50 seconds. This to me, was even more different than the second wine when compared to the first wine. You could tell it was California but it had a certain Bordeaux like quality to it. I guessed a Dominus. Was very surprised when it was a Pahlmeyer since I have had several vintages of this and it was always straight up Napa Cab. Decanted 12 hours. (98 pts.) Available

  • 2007 Blankiet Estate Proprietary Red Wine Paradise Hills Vineyard – USA, California, Napa ValleyThe last wine of the night had the biggest nose to me. It really just jumped out of the glass with a lot of sweet red fruits of cherry, currant, blackberry, espresso and a hint of earth. The wine was really rich with flavors of cherry, raspberry, blackberry, and was very juicy. Tannin was present but integrating nicely. Probably could have used a longer decant than the 4 hours I gave it. The finish on this was the longest of the night to me, almost reaching a minute. I recognized this as soon as I drank it as the Blankiet since I have had it twice before, finally getting at least one right. This was really a great showing for the Blankiet. (99 pts.)