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Showing posts with the label napa valley

2017 Pope Valley Winery Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

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We absolutely LOVE trying new wines!  And we get super-excited when we get a chance to work with someone we have never tasted before, as is the case here.  This is the 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley) from Pope Valley Winery.  As you can see, in the glass what you would expect from a beautiful Cabernet - dark to the rim.  This young wine was swirled extensively and the cherry and spice aromas leaped effortlessly from the glass.  In the mouth was blackberry preserves, cedar, at times a hint of dark chocolate and a very solid and definite finish.  Despite teetering the 15% ABV mark, this wine is not hot in any way, which is testament to the winemaker and time in the barrel.  The tannin was surprising small and soft.  The winemaker states that this wine spent 26 months in oak before bottling and we absolutely love the youthfulness and potential to age this wine.  This would be a fun one to open again in a year, 3 years and 5 years.  At this price point, you really can't go wrong

2016 Coquerel Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

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"You really can't find any great wines under $100 per bottle" is a huge disagreement that you and I can have all day, every day.  It simply isn't true.  This 2016 Coquerel Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is perfect example of what I'm talking about today.  This wine is wonderfully delicious and won't kill your bank account.  And with only 322 cases produced, this wine surely won't be available much longer. In fact, the magnum is sold out, so you have been warned! This wine is mostly Cabernet Sauvignon (about 82%) with a smart blend of Malbec remaining.  This gorgeous color reminds me of black raspberry pie in a glass.  It's deep and the aromas are soul-filling and mouth-watering.  You can really  appreciate the ripe black and red fruits, hint of cedar and dried spices and a bit of vanilla-y graphite.  In the mouth is a powerfully fruit-forward wine that introduces micro tannins with every sip, creating a sleek and persistent finish.  You can certainly

Navigating Wine Country During a Pandemic (aka let's help each other)

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There is little doubt that the first half of 2020 has been anything less than unexpected from what most would consider a 'normal' daily life.  The global pandemic has affected every person in some way, and most people significantly enough to alter their lifestyle, even if temporarily.  Work, school, daycare and financial hardships have reached into most homes, creating a fear of uncertainty and anxiety for many.  But all is not lost.  Whether it is a false sense of security, the need to return to an accustomed lifestyle or a belief that the worst of this virus is over, people are starting to venture out of their homes and travel.   There is no doubt that a large number of the world's population are still cautious and some, even frightened, about the health of the world and those around us.  It's difficult to control the actions of those around us, but by using common sense and social distancing, we can begin to appreciate the lives we are customary of enjoying.  I, for

The $200 Wine Tasting Fee and Why You Should PASS!

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I recently followed up with a contact from a Napa Valley winery who I had virtually met about two years ago.  We are currently planning a trip to wine country in late August and she had previously left an open invitation to host me and a guest for a private tasting the next time we were in town.  I have always been a fan of this particular winery and they make ONE varietal every year.  Their inaugural vintage was beautifully crafted, and according to popular ranking publications, each year seems to get better and better (or so the points would leave us to believe).  While the winery itself is about 10 years old, the family behind the juice has been making wine for decades, in fact, multiple generations. Before I get into this article further, let me say that I wholeheartedly believe that wineries should charge for tastings.  There is no doubt about it.  I think that paying for the tasting experience cuts down on the weekenders who are looking to just get loopy (aka "Wine Country&q

2016 Boeschen Vineyards Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

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I have never sat in a French bistro overlooking the Champs Elysees while enjoying the finest cuisine.  I have never read a first print of The Call of the Wild  while sitting amongst the finest literary classics a prestigious library.   But those are two feelings that I get when tasting the  2016 Boeschen Vineyards Estate Cabernet Sauvignon .  This wine is an extraordinary example of winemaking with passion, care and diligence.  Many Napa Valley Cabernet examples are very fruit forward, but this one is more reserved, a big and powerful statement that is held back by the door of opportunity in a wine that can be enjoyed now or for the next 20+ years.  Dark purple, almost inky, this wine has a balance of dark cherry, tobacco leaf, cassis, and antique spice cabinet with satin-like tannin.  This wine was tasted at room temperature multiple times (hence, the wine streaks on the label!) with and without food and was a true champion every time.  I would recommend this with braised short r

2016 Priest Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon

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Every once in awhile you taste a wine, taste it again, and then have to scratch your head at the price tag.  Could a wine this wonderful, a 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, really be just $50 retail?  Am I seeing that correctly?  The  2016 Priest Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon is an unfiltered beauty that really pushed be back in my chair!  Absolutely mouth-coating and full of delicious dark fruits, dark chocolate, whisps of dried spices and incredibly satisfying tannins that dance on the palate from beginning to end.  I'll be honest with you.   I spent minutes just swirling and smelling this wine, both at the beginning and throughout the tasting experience.  It's that good.  And remember, you could go to a restaurant and spend $12 - $16 for a glass of wine from a $20 bottle that is mediocre or you go visit the Priest Ranch Winery web site and purchase a few bottles of this Cabernet, knowing that you are getting more than your money's worth!  Highly recommended.

2016 Coquerel Cabernet Franc Bennett's Vineyard

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Admittedly, I am not a huge Cabernet Franc fan because historically most of it has left me wanting more, often wondering if all Cab Franc was lackluster or if I had just been unlucky.  After today, I am putting all of that behind me and all Cabernet Franc will be judged against this 2016 Coquerel Bennett's Vineyard Cabernet Franc.  Yes, you read that right.   This wine spoils you because it is a 100% varietal and made from a single vineyard - and it shows!   Incredible dark maroon color with lifting aromatics of very ripe blackberries, cassis, hints of barn wood and cherry show the same on the palate with very juicy tannins and a finish that is surely a fist clencher.   I know it was for me.  This wine would pair well with braised short ribs but if you truly love Cabernet Franc, I would recommend this wine with a good book or a lazy Sunday on the sofa.   It's truly a work of art and at only 96 cases you should grab this quickly! ABV:  14.8% Napa Valley, Cali

Arns Winery NV Impromp2 2 Cabernet Sauvignon

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This non-vintage 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from Arns Winery started out as an experiment in wine aging and Sandi Belcher and her team have hit a home run.  This wine is a fine example of smart blending, expert wine making and risk taking that paid off in a big way.  This wine has three separate vintages in a single bottle.  This wine is rooted in a gorgeous purple color and presents lung-filling aromas of ripe blackberries, chocolate, saddle leather and toasty cedar.  There's a great mid palate feel with this one and generous flavors of dark berries, cedar, dark chocolate, tar and spice box.  This is everything you want to see in a quality Cabernet Sauvignon and I think this is an experiment that went extremely well!  I love seeing winemakers step outside of the box and I think you'll love this too.  Only 200 cases were produced and at this price point, it won't last long. ABV:  14.5% Napa Valley, California Suggested retail price:  $65.00 Drink The Bo

2013 Arns Winery Estate Grown Cabernet Sauvignon

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This 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from Arns Winery is another fine example of a powerfully restrained, still young wine with tons of potential.   I "Drink The Bottles" when I get them, so unfortunately, sometimes I miss out what are probably the best years of many stellar wines.  I think that is the case here with the 2013 Estate Grown Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon from Arns Winery .  This wine has a gorgeous, sexy black color and a depth that you can see and feel.  Layers of chocolate cake, tobacco leaf, spicy paprika, and cherry cola marry with ease on the nose and in the mouth.  I feel like this wine has so much more to offer and the flavors will explode out of the glass in the next 3-5 years.  But who can wait??  This is a wine that is very tasty now, but will probably bring tears of joy to your eyes if you hold onto it and save it for that special occasion or special someone in the not-so-near future.  With only 300 cases produced, you better grab this quickly! ABV:

2012 Arns Winery Estate Grown Cabernet Sauvignon

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2012 was a mixed year for many wine producers.  Some soared and some struggled.  Those who did soar rose way above the competition and this 2012 Estate Grown Cabernet Sauvignon from Arns Winery is a fine example of wine made gorgeously and with style.   There is a big contrast in color from the 2011.  This was is very dark and inky, leaving behind a beautiful stamp on the cork.  I decanted this wine for about an hour but couldn't help myself to get lost in the aromas dark fruits, black licorice and damp, loam earthiness.  Solid mouthfeel and the aromas carry over to the same flavors, but add in some cocoa powder and hints of sweet berries on the finish for a mouth covering and memorable drinking experience.   Arns Winery wines are those that you want to take with you to a dinner party.  These are also great wines to share with folks who are not traditionally "wine people", but beware that those folks may think that all wines are this delicious! ABV:  14.8%

2014 Stag's Leap Wine Cellars Armillary Cabernet Sauvignon

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Man, this one is BIG!   I received this bottle of 2014 Stag's Leap Wine Cellars Armillary Cabernet Sauvignon last week and let it rest a few days before tasting.   Tasted over two days, this initially tossed around aromas of plum, leather, cedar, menthol and a touch of sage again big, rich tannins and a lingering finish.  Despite the 15%+ alcohol content, this wasn't hot at all.  In fact, it was beautifully made and a real pleasure to drink.  I was lucky enough to have some of this to taste a second night with a chicken pasta dish that I make regularly and the pairing was spot on.  The wine was more Bing cherry, cocoa powder and tea leaves with saddle leather and neither the pasta or wine overpowered each other.  I absolutely adore a 100% Cabernet that is completely mouth-coating as this one and if you're looking for an amazing wine to share with friends, this is your huckleberry! ABV:  15.3% Napa Valley, California Suggested retail price:  $125.00 D

2015 Flora Springs Trilogy

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The 2015 Trilogy red wine from Flora Springs is a solid pleasure provider that was the star of the show on Cabernet Day this year, hands down!  Incredibly dark purple in the glass, the blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (82%), Malbec (10%) and Petit Verdot (8%) is a slice of heaven in the glass.  So much flavor and elegance with sweet plum, tar, black currant, cedar shavings and black cherry showing off the fine tannins and long legs.  For such a young wine, this one is incredibly velvety on the tongue and the finish and you would swear it has been in the bottle closer to 10 years.  The fruit aromas carry over to the flavors and there is a sweetness that is reminiscent of swirling my vanilla ice cream with chocolate syrup together as a kid.  The price point adds to the attractiveness of such a remarkable wine and while it would pair amazingly with a brisket, I chose to drink this one unaided and with a smile on my face ... and my glass! ABV:  14.5% Napa Valley, Californi

2016 Frank Family Vineyards Carneros Chardonnay

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This post is a couple of weeks overdue, but the timing is right considering the scorching heat that most of the US is experiencing right now.  Many people feel that heavier red wines are cumbersome when the heat index is hovering around triple digits and while I am not one of those people, I think some white wines (slightly chilled) are better suited for the sweltering heat.  With that, I give you the 2016 Frank Family Vineyards Carneros Chardonnay.   This is Chardonnay exactly - e x a c t l y - how I like it to taste.  Whether or not oak is your thing, this 100% varietal has just enough that isn't overpowering, but it definitely helps bring the flavors together.  This wine has a really welcoming light gold color with lemon candy and warm buttered bread dominant on the nose.  Extremely creamy on the palate (again, just how I love it), lemon cake, baked cinnamon apple and baking spices combine beautifully and create a finish that clean and extremely satisfying.  This is defin

2015 Jon Nathaniel Bodacious

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This wine makes me super happy.  I'll be honest, I had to look up the meaning of the word Bodacious to even see if it was a legitimate word.  I found very quickly that Bodacious should not be the name of the wine, but rather the wine review.   Bodacious.   That's all you need.  Holy cow, this wine from Jon Nathaniel Wines is a head turner!  I'll tell you what's in it soon, but what you really need to know is how it tastes and feels.  This wine pops in the mouth with cherry cola, black raspberry jam, chocolate bits, some hints of coffee and what I can only describe as dust from an old book depository at the tail end of the finish.  Weird?  Sure.  But accurate?  You bet.   Aromas of ripe red fruit, funky earthy dampness, cedar, vanilla and mocha are most prevalent.  This is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (30%), Syrah (29%), Cabernet Franc (19%), Petit Verdot (11%), Merlot (10%) and Malbec (1%).   Can you cram anything else into the bottle?   Maybe, but why would you?

2015 Frog's Leap Estate Grown Cabernet Sauvignon

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It had been a spell since I had enjoyed any wine from Frog's Leap Winery , so I was really pumped about the opportunity to taste their latest Cab.   The 2015 Estate Grown Cabernet Sauvignon is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (78%), Merlot (13 %) and Cabernet Franc (9%).  Selfishly, I wish I had a case of this wine and if you want to invest in something that will pay you back ten fold in taste over the next 10-20 years, this wine is for you.  It's super young now, but you can discover some great  mocha, saddle leather, dark plum and medium spice on the nose.  Some might find full bodied flavors that you usually expect from a Cabernet at first, but thing wine is young and the Merlot addition adds structure and balanced flavors of black cherry, gravel, licorice and grilling spices.  I found this finish to be very long with a hint of peppery spice.  I'm loving this wine and I think it will continue to be fine polished if you give it some time.  Eat this one with a rare to me

2016 JACK Reserve Sauvignon Blanc

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I had the pleasure of tasting this 2016 JACK   Reserve Sauvignon Blanc, but I missed the mark by not enjoying it over a major league baseball game.  (Check out their story to see what this means!).  What first catches the eye on this specimen is the beautiful golden color and the logo that ties into the story of the founders.  This bottle is as handsome as Vernon and Chris are and popping the cork permeates the air with wafting aromas that suggest something special is about to happen to you.  I love California Sauvignon Blanc because it doesn't express overly grassy aromas like its New Zealand counterparts and it spotlights more fruity and floral aromas, which is the case here.  Honeysuckle and spring bouquet are dominant and inviting.  In the mouth is a silky example of a wine that has been well refined and initially has me dreaming of pineapple whip ice cream. This wine has bits of honeycomb and loads of baking spices along with a crisp green apple finish that is long and doe

2011 Arns Winery Estate Grown Cabernet Sauvignon

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This is the first selection I've had the pleasure of tasting from Arns Winery and I will say without a doubt that they have spoiled me.  Sandi Belcher, winemaker for Arns Winery, had a challenging year as did most in California for this vintage.  But persistence pays off and it has paid off in a BIG way with this 100% varietal 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon!  Bright garnet in the glass and solid to the rim, this wine is not a big fruit bomb and certainly doesn't present itself like a wine of this age.  This gorgeous Cabernet is more reminiscent of an old world Bordeaux style, with muted fruit being replaced by rose petals, barn wood, ripening vegetables and shoe leather.  Instantly, you are transported to a place that is surrounded by people who don't just pop and pour, but truly savor wines that are complex like this with chocolate bits, braised beef, crushed black cherries and again with that beautiful, old world style barn wood and damp earth.  The finish isn't except

2014 Truchard Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon

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If you're looking for a very affordable and spicy Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvinon, this 2014 Truchard Vineyards wine should be on your radar.  Forward aromas of cherry, plum and spice box are framed with similar flavors that also include raspberry marmalade, vanilla and red licorice.  While the flavors all blend very evenly and compliment each other, the finish on this wine is the star, in my opinion.  The finish is long, spicy and very memorable.  Some air time in the decanter or some intense swirling really opens up this wine and softens the focused tannins.  You really can't go wrong with this wine and it should age gracefully for a very long time.   This would be a fun one to try again in 5 and 10 years as I think it will go through a beautiful transformation that will only further reward the wine fanatic.  This wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (87%), Cabernet Franc (11%), Petit Verdot (1%) and Malbec (1%) and is beautifully blended.  Well done!  We are planning a

2015 Corison Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

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The best part of being a wine blogger is the discovery of all types of wines from all over the world.  Many of these wines are from small, boutique wineries and many are mass-produced, with appeal to everyone who loves wine.  The best part of the 2015 Corison Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is that it is such a special wine that anyone can purchase, share and enjoy.  This is an incredible wine from a Napa Valley icon.  I had the pleasure of tasting Cathy's wine back in 2011 or 2012 and fell instantly in love.  And again, several years later, this wine and I connected and the romance blossomed once more.  Not yet released (coming soon), I was honored to sample this medium-to-dark red wine with aromas of black raspberry, rose petal, cigar wrapper, vanilla and plum.  Swirling this young wine really opens up the flavor profile and layers of plum, blackberry pipe smoke, spice cake and dark chocolate shavings are incredibly blended and memorable.  If there is one thing you can guara

2013 Burgess Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon

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Back when I first began blogging many years ago on Midwest Wine Guy, Tom Burgess was so kind to take my phone call and talk to me about his winery, his vineyards and the valley.  As a wine novice, I was super impressed but probably didn't realize the complete impact of such a wine legend answering my call and talking to me like an old friend.   I will forever appreciate those minutes.  Fast forward several years and again I'm honored with tasting and writing about this 2013 Burgess Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon.  This is a lovely and tasty blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (75%), Merlot (12%), Petit Verdot (11%) and Malbec (2%).  Dark crimson color with black rim, balanced aromas include black and red currant, natural dried herbs and cedar planks.  In the mouth, you're greeted with a wine that is as smooth as glass and drinks absolutely amazingly with flavors of blueberry, black raspberry compote, mocha and mild vanilla bean.  You would be remiss not to drink this bottle for y