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Jenise

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WTN: That California Over-40 Tasting

by Jenise » Mon Nov 20, 2017 9:13 pm

Remember when I asked for names of California wineries still owned by the family since 1977 or earlier? Well this was that tasting. To best accomodate the food, we served two white flights and one red, all blind.


First whites:

2013 Grgich Hills Chardonnay Napa Valley
Wonderful stone fruit, vibrant acidity and minerality. Good intensity, obvious quality. My kind of CalChard.
Everybody's 1st place in this flight.

2013 Baileyana Chardonnay La Pristina Edna Valley
Ol' Hucko keeps showing up with these wines. I don't get it. Too sweet, low acid. Everybody's last place.

2015 Cakebread Cellars Chardonnay Napa Valley
In a flight of three, more like the Baileyana than the Grgich, but creamier, and what struck me at the time as a tad more dilute but on retrospect, think might have just been tightness. Would have shown better the next day.


Second white group:

2015 Trefethen Chardonnay Oak Knoll
My own notes look stupid after reading LA CAVE D'ARGENT's. So I'll quote: strikes a beautiful balance between fruit and oak...stone fruits, lemon zest, white flowers and golden delicious apples...crisply acidic, medium-bodied palate...the oak component is complementary and does not mar the freshness of the wine...medium-to-long, vibrant finish."

2008 Stony Hill Chardonnay Napa Valley
My wine. Stood out with it's minerally fruit with a touch of diesel indicating a wine with some age on it, but even then most were surprised it was an 08. Voted best in flight.

2014 Hanzell Chardonnay Sebella Sonoma Valley
Quoting another reviewer: "Dependably good chardonnay. Lots of stone fruit, some citrus, and touches of apple and minerality. A medium to plus mouthfeel, showing the neutral oak aging." In a flight with two other chardonnays that saw a little more new oak, this wine stood out only for having the sweetest finish of the three. I'm a big fan of Hanzell's flagship wines, but these Sebella's just don't make it for me. Unoaked is overrated.


And then the cabernets: five, as a Beaulieu (which didn't meet the criteria, owner brought it in error) was corked.

1996 Spottswoode Cabernet Sauvignon Estate St. Helena
Bordeaux-like flavors with Spottswoode's signature elegance. Great nose, good flavor, has held up very well (in a passive cellar, no less). I did not detect it's serious age. Second place.

2011 Clos du Val Cabernet Sauvignon Winemaker's Signature Series State Lane Vineyard Yountville
Excellent, Bordeauxish, savory tones with terrific structure. Too young to drink, yet, but will be glorious some day.

2012 Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon 40th Anniversary Napa Valley
So I took this bottle. Goopy and sweet, and I was embarrassed to have brought it. (In my defense, all I had in my cellar that qualified. I'd ordered stuff like an early 2000's Chapellet Pritchard Hill to take, but because of the fires the seller was unable to ship, and I had no resources up here.) This only got one first place vote: from my husband, of all people. I thought I'd trained him better than that!

2013 Snowden Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
Quintessential Napa cab flavors, young, balanced and sturdy.

2004 Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley
Nose of black cherry, leather and a touch of orange ring. On the palate, shows older, smoother, with integrated oak, tobacco, and leather. Group first place, my first place.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Patchen Markell

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Re: WTN: That California Over-40 Tasting

by Patchen Markell » Mon Nov 20, 2017 9:39 pm

Sounds like fun. I’d love to have compared the Silver Oak to the Spottswoode — the former I’ve never had aged, and the latter I’ve never had at all, though I’ve now got a couple laid down.

And I’m glad to hear about the Grgich Hills, a wine I remember from another lifetime, but haven’t had in decades!
cheers, Patchen
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Jenise

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Re: WTN: That California Over-40 Tasting

by Jenise » Mon Nov 20, 2017 9:48 pm

Definitely fun.

And yeah, that Grgich. In fact, my written notes had the names of the Baileyana and the Grgich scratched out and reversed because whoever sat next to me told me that was the correct order (I was serving, so up and down). But that sure didn't square with what I thought of each of those wineries. My notes had a lot to do with unrealized or exceeded expectations for both. Well then I went to put all that on Cellar Tracker today and saw I have a note on that exact same Baileyana brought 18 months ago to a different event by the same person who brought it to this, also complaining of the low acidity and sweetness. He claims to hate that style but his lady loves it and for some reason he's put on blinders about it. And then I read notes from others on the Grgich--there's no way that those wines didn't get switched.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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David M. Bueker

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Re: WTN: That California Over-40 Tasting

by David M. Bueker » Mon Nov 20, 2017 9:58 pm

I really like Hanzell. I keep thinking about signing up. Then I see the pricing.
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ChaimShraga

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Re: WTN: That California Over-40 Tasting

by ChaimShraga » Tue Nov 21, 2017 7:11 am

When I visited Hanzell, the prices turned me off, too. Nice wines, though.

Jenise, sorry to hear about your husband's lapse.
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Jenise

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Re: WTN: That California Over-40 Tasting

by Jenise » Tue Nov 21, 2017 2:29 pm

David M. Bueker wrote:I really like Hanzell. I keep thinking about signing up. Then I see the pricing.


I nearly always have a bottle or two of the chardonnays in my cellar and tend to drink them about five years out. Usually find them for around $50 one way or the other, though that's well below MSRP.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov

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