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Roy Hersh

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TN: Vine Cliff Winery Cabernet Oakville Estate

by Roy Hersh » Sun May 14, 2006 4:32 am

I felt like I had held onto the 1998 bottling long enough. My folks are visiting and tonight was a great night of grilling some excellent oversized NY Strips and spending some quality time with them talking, eating and drinking.

The '98 vintage stuff aside, this was a heck of a bottle of wine. Actually it was good enough that I may buy another couple of bottles. It had one of the more deftly integrated oak treatments and reminded me of the '95 Dalla Valle in that way. Initially there was a pine resin aroma that did not last that long. It morphed into more of a dried leaf with a touch of cedar, cinnamon and cherry pipe tobacco, almost Burgundian. Yum! It was sublime on the palate: sweet, super smooth and supple but certainly not simple. Excellent Oakville juice of black currant, olive tapenade and prune flavors providing polish and great length. I wish I had been wiser by buying more on release. Solid 93 points and a classy Cab that drinks perfectly now.
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Jenise

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Re: TN: Vine Cliff Winery Cabernet Oakville Estate

by Jenise » Sun May 14, 2006 12:59 pm

Roy, you have me wondering if I've even heard of Vine Cliff Winery. Might be the name--whether it's deserved or not, "Vine Cliff" in my head sounds like one of those Gallo supermarket brands, i.e. Gossamer Bay, Pacific Echo, etc.
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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Roy Hersh

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Re: TN: Vine Cliff Winery Cabernet Oakville Estate

by Roy Hersh » Sun May 14, 2006 9:40 pm

Jenise,

Believe it or not, I just checked winesearcher and saw this bottle for $60-$70. so it is not your typical inexpensive plonk, regardless of the name. The producer is well-known and respected. Don't make too much fun of Gallo, I have had some pretty spectacular wines made by them from time to time.
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Re: TN: Vine Cliff Winery Cabernet Oakville Estate

by Jenise » Mon May 15, 2006 12:59 pm

Roy, I could tell from your description that this wasn't a supermarket brand. Re Gallo, I've heard that about the wines, but they're such bullies that I refuse to buy their products.
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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Roy Hersh

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Re: TN: Vine Cliff Winery Cabernet Oakville Estate

by Roy Hersh » Tue May 16, 2006 3:26 am

Jenise,

IF I avoided all wines that rubbed me the wrong way because of politics or even political correctness or the lack thereof, it would be a much smaller world of wine drinking for me. I rarely let that kind of stuff get in the way of drinking wines I like. But I do respect your opinion!
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Re: TN: Vine Cliff Winery Cabernet Oakville Estate

by Jenise » Tue May 16, 2006 10:37 am

Roy, I actually spent a year of my life dodging a private investigator Gallo put on my tail because of a comment about Kendall Jackson I made on the internet, if you can believe that. Minor compared to the grief they've caused small family wineries over trademark infringement, like our dearly departed Milan Maximovich at Thunder Mountain over the use of the name 'Thunder' as if some skid row bum might get that premium brand mixed up with their precious Thunderbird.

Fortunately there are enough people who don't care about things like that to buy their products, and many other better wineries for me to choose from so none of us are hurting from my little stance, but I'll still make it.
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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Roy Hersh

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Re: TN: Vine Cliff Winery Cabernet Oakville Estate

by Roy Hersh » Tue May 16, 2006 5:22 pm

Hey I certainly am aware of the stance of Gallo on many fronts that go against the grain of fairness, morality and laissez-faire to name just a few dynamics (e.g. Intentionally plying their high octane plonk on the ghettos etc.) but the newer generation is far less caustic and they have really made a strong effort to change the way the company does business.

Here we were doing a high end CA Cab (blind) tasting recently from the 1994 vintage. I tossed in the '94 Gallo Estate Cab. Some of these guys are anti-Gallo and think they ONLY make crap wines. The scores from the group ranged from 93-96 points and the Gallo was overall 2nd or third of about a dozen wines. Now I was not at all surprised. With all of their money and vineyard acreage and technological resources, there should be no doubt that they can make world class wines IF they want to.
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Doug Surplus

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Re: TN: Vine Cliff Winery Cabernet Oakville Estate

by Doug Surplus » Tue May 16, 2006 6:50 pm

While I like their single-vineyard bottlings, I've backed away from buying Gallo wines ever since I read about them taking on a woman who made decorative tiles with chickens painted on them. It seems she was using the name gallo (meaning chicken) and they didn't like that. She didn't have the money to fight them and changed her business name.

So now that's two of us not putting a dent in their business, but as you said, there plenty of other choices.
Doug

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Re: TN: Vine Cliff Winery Cabernet Oakville Estate

by Jenise » Wed May 17, 2006 2:56 pm

Roy Hersh wrote:the newer generation is far less caustic and they have really made a strong effort to change the way the company does business.


Really? Have they put a stop to the kind of thing Doug mentions in his note above? We haven't dredged stories like that up from a generation ago, they're fairly current. Again--not saying that don't make some good wines, I just don't like their ridiculous and (to me) inexcusable bulliness.
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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