There are times when pouring for my wine rep friends, things can get a little, shall we say, mundane? It’s not that I don’t understand the reasons why certain wines are chosen for a particular tasting (economics, tasters profile and such), and a desire on the distributors part to sell wines to the wine drinking public. My years in the finance sector have given me a laser sharp understanding of such things.
Ah, but then comes that particular tasting when the reps bring out “the big guns.” I’m talking about a quadruple of wines whose combined scores totaled 386 Points, that’s an average score of 96.5 (have I dazzled you with my math yet?). Then there were another 4 wines totaling 369 Points or an average of 92.25 (I didn’t want to round up to 92.3, again, to impress you with my mathematics ability).
Here I am attending a monster wine tasting (no, it was a tasting for monsters), and I have this killer lineup (full disclosure, no one was injured drinking wine – maybe a few headaches the next morning?).
How about starting with the last four wines noted above? The Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc. Great wine from New Zealand. Then a new wine (I love it when I get a chance to taste the first vintage of a wine), the Dumol Chardonnay “Wester Reach” 2016. All Chardonnay, but a “blend” of six different vineyards comprised of their Ritchie, Lorenzo, Dumol Estate, Dutton-Hansen, Dutton-Jentoft, and Charles Heintz vineyards. Out-fricking-standing! A favorite of mine from the late 90’s, comes the d’Arenberg “Dead Arm” 2014. Don’t ask why they call it “Dead Arm,” just chalk it up to good ole Australian marketing. A beautiful 100% Shiraz all wrapped up in a fruit-filled package with a savory characteristic as well. Last of the first four (keeping track here?), is the Lancaster Winemaker’s Cuvee 2016. From Vintner, Bill Foley and the Alexander Valley, a generous and supple wine composed of 97% Cabernet and 3% Merlot. Are you sufficiently overwhelmed yet? Wait till you hear the next four!
Who hasn’t heard of Ridge? With a compliment of 95 Point scores, it was on my radar and one that I was going to actually BUY! Their “Field Blend” from their Geyserville vineyards consisting of 73% Zinfandel, 17% Carignane, 7% Petite Sirah, and 3% Alicante Bouschet. Wonderfully crafted and a thrill to taste. Now to the Cabs. From my meeting with the winemaker, Danielle Cyrot at Cade, I was hooked. If memory serves me correctly (and that could be questionable at best) I met her not long after she joined Cade in 2012. I want to also say it was the 2012 vintage of their Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Howell Mountain, her first vintage, that I fell in love with. If memory is wrong, then I know it was 2013. With mid-90’s scores for both, who’s counting or cares. This one I was now pouring happened to be the 2016 vintage. 96+ Points from Wine Advocate and, like all the vintages since 2012, or 13, a mouthful of gorgeous wine. Danielle brings that touch of fruit that I so like, while still forming a solid foundation of tannins and acid complementing each other to that full long finish. One of my favorite wines.
Heralding from that little town where I worked for over 12 years in a wine shop, Hinsdale, Illinois, John Shafer moved his family to Napa in 1972 and creates Shafer Vineyards. His son, Doug, taking over operations in the mid-90’s. Shafer has created an Iconic Brand. With their trusted winemaker, Elias Fernandez, they continually strive and succeed in making wines that are sought after and prized by wine drinkers and collectors. See my recent review of Doug and Elias’ new venture, Eighty Four, and their Albarino. For the tasting, I was lucky enough to be pouring the Shafer 2015 One Point Five Cabernet Sauvignon. As the winery explains the One Point Five Story: “For the father-and-son team it was the start of a working relationship that has lasted more than 30 years – a partnership embedded in the name One Point Five. John and Doug eventually coined the term “a generation and a half” to differentiate theirs from a traditional second-generation story.” Nice. Having its roots (literally) in the Stag’s Leap District of Napa Valley, this 90% Cabernet, 7% Merlot and 3% Malbec comes across with rich dark fruit and that Cabernet earthiness that you just want to savor. Last, but certainly not least, returning to Ridge once again for the last wine. I was poised to run to the coat room and take this bottle with me. The 2015 Ridge Monte Bello. From the 98+ review by Antonio Galloni: “the 2015 Monte Bello will soon take its place among the greatest Monte Bellos ever made.” I think that sums it up pretty well, don’t you? With 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot, 7% Petit Verdot, and 5% Cabernet Franc at its core, this is a wine for aging and the ages. I can’t wait to try this in ten years, that is if I’m still around and can drink wine anymore. Humor there, just to reassure everyone I’m not planning on going anytime soon.
So you should be able to see what I meant when I started by saying
“Now I Remember Why I Do This.”
Sign me up for another round of tastings!!