Went to a California Cabernet tasting last night and sampled 6 wines, all from Napa. Four stood out as interesting and I made some brief notes.
<b>2004 O'Brien "Seduction"</b>: My WOTN, nice acidity, not over the top, and really opened up after about 1 hour showing balance and a nice finish. Sells for $30-35 locally. This was the only meritage, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc and merlot.
<b>2003 Ladera "Napa"</b>: Several people liked this wine so I tried hard to understand it. My problem was with the tannins, pretty stout, fruit under but just way too early to enjoy. I have always been bad at trying to analyze young wines and live by the idea that "if you don't like it young you will probablly not likeit with bottle age". Using this theory I would rate this a generous "average". Sells for about the same as the Seduction.
<b>2002 Veraison "Stagecoach Vineyard"</b>: This wine was a little too California for me but very well balanced and easy to drink. Soft fruit, silky smooth, no rough edges, just very fruit driven. Stagecoach Vineyard is a huge area at about 1500 ft elevation. Sells locally for about $45
<b>2003 Elyse "Tietjen"</b>: Nobody stand uncommitted on this wine. Gigantic in-your-face fruit that either makes you love this wine or hate it, put me in the "really dislike" camp. I comment on this wine because it was the most expensive, wore its style on its sleeve and after thinking for about 1/2 hour I could not come up with a single food that would match this wine.
Also tasted '03 Sequum "Four Soil' and '03 Neal but neither offered anything but "typical" taste profiles. All the wines were interesting, the styles were somewhat diverse but with the exception of the "Seduction" I would not purchase for my cellar, but that is just my comments. I think Otto would really enjoy the 2003 Elyse "Tietjen"