I had knowledge about last night’s weather ‘situation’ that most in the tri-state did not have: I knew a tornado was coming to
2 since months back. No, I am not a meteorologist, I am a wine lover who resides over one of the most exciting cabernet loving tasting groups this side of the New York and I had Russell Bevan and his wines scheduled for a whirlwind dinner. Mississippi
Last evening our group had that good fortune materialize. If you’ve never met Russell, you are missing out on one of the most vivacious, passionate and opinionated guys the Valley has produced. His approach is unique. As an added bonus, last night he brought with him Jim McDonough from Wren Hop vineyards. Jim is a very unassuming and friendly fellow who farms some amazing vineyards in the
. His Chardonnay are a revelation and his Pinots should be on everyone’s list to try and oh yeah, Russell makes them. I must admit, the dude has some talent. (I will empty my inbox for all the thanks I expect in the next few months) Sonoma County
The skies darkened and the rains fell.
Lightning flashed and oh yeah, stuff was going on outside as well.. 6 flights and I want to thank Russell and Jim for their graciousness in supplying my humble group with world class vino. Let the whirlwind begin.
Wren Hop Wines with Jim McDonough, Prop.
2010 Wren Hop Chardonnay Trial by Lightning- beautifully fragrant with beautiful notes of sweet lemongrass and Meyer lemon. Maybe one of the best Chardonnays I have encountered. A must buy. ($48)
2010 Wren Hop Chardonnay Rebels & Martyrs- I found more minerality on this and it seemed more in line with a traditional RR Chardonnay than its sibling. Focused and pure with hints of honeysuckle and lemon peel. When served alongside the above wine you certainly have a something for everyone situation.
2009 Wren Hop Pinot Noir Omens & Prophecy- Holy crap! This is one amazingly fragrant Pinot! Round and intense with hints of blackberry, strawberry and smoke. I also get a touch of petroleum, star anise and cardamom. This is an estate wine; it shows breed, structure, focus and elegance all wrapped in a layer of power. A very distinctive wine. Loved it. A must buy. ($60)
2009 Wren Hop Pinot Noir Siren's Lure- More typical in its
styling. Nose of cola, black daspberry and spring flowers. Slightly less exuberant than its brother above. Sonoma Coast
Bevan wines with Russell Bevan
Russell’s second visit with CLONYC and I must say, this years assortment show much more cohesiveness as a group. His whole lineup is fantastic but his Cab Franc based wines are some of the best I have sampled yet. He certainly is able to coax some amazing aromatics from this grape. I also notice a slightly more containment of signs of oak in this years array overall.
2009 Bevan Cellars Prop. Red,
, The Whitney- here we go! This 50/50 blend Cab Franc/Merlot is simply put: downright amazing. Black fruited and creamy textured with attractive notes of chocolate. This wines rises from the glass and attacks all the senses. On paper, I might have doubted such a blend but in reality this just…..rocks. wow. Sugarloaf Mountain, NV
2010 Bevan Cellars Prop. Red,
, The Oscar- same blend, year later. Sweeter black and blue fruit profile with the same chocolate notes running right through the middle. Slightly less fragrant, this is an elegant and pure wine that keeps in line for what was being aimed at: joy. As this sat and we got into dinner, it really shined. I loved how it became playful with my steaks mustard sauce accompaniment. I would love to see where this one goes in a year Sugarloaf Mountain, NV
2009 Bevan Cellars Red Wine Showket Vineyard,
, The Curmudgeon- How can you not love a wine named for yourself? This is a 67/33 blend of Cabernet Franc/Cabernet Sauvignon. Nose of pure black and blue fruits. This is a cornucopia of all things gone right: cassis, black cherry and framboise with hints of sweet cardamom. Mouth feel is full and tannins complicated. In keeping with a theme, I get a certain elegance, but this time it brought its iron glove. Loved it. Oakville
2010 Bevan Cellars Red Wine Showket Vineyard,
, EE Cuvée- With all I just said above, I found this one lacking slightly behind. It’s a serious wine that came across slightly typical. You are as good as the company you keep and this one suffered slightly by some rock stars that came before it. Big boned and super structured. Would love to have it alone in about 2-3 years. (50/50 CF/CS) Oakville
2009 Bevan Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, Showket Vineyard,
, Bab’s Cuvée- Big boned with great black and red fruits, this one brings great black currant, plum pumice, blackberry and cherry cola. Lush and deep with a solid core of blackness. Tannins remain in check and finish goes on and on. A few years should reveal a prize for those lucky enough to have buried them away; the perfect bottle to forget you had and surprised to find when company arrives for dinner circa 2016. Oakville
2010 Harbison Wines Cabernet sauvignon- Here is one Russell split the output of: 37.5 cases to Russell and the same under the Harbison label. – This is a cabernet lovers cab: deep dark fruits with depth and intensity. I can still taste this in my minds palate. Fragrant and giving, this explodes as it sits for some time. What you end up with is being fully engulfed in black currant, crème de cassis, hints of cola, cardamom and more. This one packs a quiet punch for sure. Long and true, this glides along the tongue with some silkiness and purity. On my very short (these days) list to buy. Not inexpensive at $140 though….
2010 Bevan Cellars Ontogeny Oakville, Red Wine- this one perplexed me. Its Russell’s
blend. It seems somewhat out of place with all else that came before. I know it’s pretty highly regarded in the world of winos. It seemed a bit ‘manufactured’ and it does not have the focus, purity or delivery its senior siblings have. Bordeaux