Last night the CLONYC gang hosted Larry Fairchild and an amazing selection from both his current offerings and personal library. It was CLONYC 45 and we did it big-- my fellow CLONYCers have come to expect nothing less. I have been looking forward to this for some time now.
3 flights, 10 wines, lots to say, so let’s get at it…
2010 Fairchild Sigaro- pretty nose of wonderful black fruits. Palate shows a very refined and focused wine with dark currants, blackberries and coffee bean. A light note of cedar brings dimension, Balance is impeccable. As it sits the nose actually gets darker and the wine becomes plusher with a super interesting note of tobacco leaf. I also find a hint of minerality/earthiness in there as well. What an amazing start. My WOTF
2011 Fairchild Sigaro- A bit redder in nose and palate. A nice red cassis driven wine with some sassafras. I get an almost medicinal note on this. Balance is tremendous and finish long. A great effort in a trying year, even above the fog line.
2011 Fairchild GIII- Bolder and darker with some added depth. More blackberries and dark fruited and a similar mout-feel to the Sigaro. Balance near perfect. I think this to be a bit more four-square in style than the Sigaro just as Chris Maybach’s Amoenus is to the Materium. Very nice wine indeed.
2006 Fairchild Sigaro- This opens in the what has become obvious on the night, a Sigaro style: a very fragrant nose of super black fruits. Palate shows some of the coffee-bean and tobacco albeit much quieter and resolved into the soul of this wine. Style-wise, it leans a bit more to the restrained. As usual, balance deft and finish long and true. A pretty good way to start this flight.
2007 Fairchild GIII- So, after just discussing how myself and this group has not found much love in 2007 Napa Cabs, this comes along to stick its multi-layered shoe into my over-opinionated mouth, sideways. Pretty nose of spring flowers and cola with some worn leather and lead pencil shavings. (Something we start seeing more of across the board). This is stupendous with layer upon layer of resolved goodness with no rough edges to be seen, anywhere. It’s delicate in its approach and flinty in its memory. May be one of the top 4-5 2007s I have ever had, and that is saying much. Wow. My WOTF
2008 Fairchild Sigaro- Whenever I get to sample anyone’s 2008, I always get this rambunctious rascally wine with a tremendous will to just wreak a fun loving havoc on your senses; this wine could be leader of the pack. It’s dark and brash with a playful wistfulness. Its deep, it’s dark it’s multi-layered and it has some cola, some un-cola, some forest floor, some rubbed leather, some tar and lead pencil and some lightning and thunder. Its everything to everyone and yet something you just quite can apprehend, like a bank robber, it wears a mask. Wowsa, wines from 2008 are constantly evolving in a cyclical maelstrom of vortexed conundrums.
2009 Fairchild GIII- dark fruited with a nice lilty creaminess running right through it. The usual fine grained tannins layered within a very balanced structured boneset. The nose shows a wonderful violet note. The finish it true and long. We had an interesting conversation about GIIIs distinctiveness or lack thereof. What the hell do you mean, Mike? I mean GIIIs can be good, but ‘we’ in this modest group after sampling a nice selection just can’t find any common thread like you would in say a Tokalon or a Dr Crane. Larry agreed and added the vineyard is a bit tricky and just makes great wine. I can’t argue with that because they are….great. This actually reminds me a bit of a well made ToKalon of the now-gone Karl Lawrence.
2012 Fairchild GIII (unreleased)- This one shows tremendously with a more side-ways explosion of the fruits to the Sigaros fully rounded. I also get the redder styled fruit profile. It’s finely woven and densely packed. Hints of cola and cardamom with fresh leather and a slight note of vanilla. A great wine that will astound for many many years.
2012 Fairchild Sigaro (unreleased)- Here is where the rubber leaves the road. This wine is all you could ever expect from Sigaro in a wonderful vintage; skills have been honed and lessons learned all for this very moment where the perfect expression of Sigaro is released upon the world (Next year, lol). I had this as my first taste right after opening; it showed an intensity and structure you would expect from the perfect storm I mentioned above; it’s super deep with a crazy amount of layers and each layer almost seems to hold another variation on the same theme: awesome fruit, lovingly nurtured and delivered to perfection. Larry should put bubble wrap around the cases that hold these bottles, it’s that good. Black cassis driven fruits profile with hints of cola, graphite, leather, cedar-box and exotic tea leaf. Tannins are what you would expect them to be, somewhat large but nowhere can I sense a rough edge. It’s a finely woven wine which has texture and states it presence like a King. As the second to last wine on the night it has become more boisterous or ‘slutty’ if you will, but remains my WOTF and my WOTF. 7 others agreed with me. A wine worthy of the splurge, if you so must. 2011 Stones One- the latest creation of Fairchild, this is adorned with hand made and applied labels that are striking in themselves. This comes from the Las Piedras vineyard. What was once a Syrah laden tract is now reclaimed for Cabernet Sauvignon. I love the concept of this wine. Nose of red/black fruits with tremendous depth and structure. Late in the night but I can still discern it’s greatness. It certainly reminded me of the earlier sampled 2011s with a twist on the fruit profile, with an additional dose of verve and elegance. This shows purity and an interesting sense of place. One to watch.
It was interesting to see the change from the Paul Hobbs made wines to the Philippe Melka. Having tracked Melka wines for many years now, I can say that I believe he has found his place and firmly so with wines like Fairchild; give a talented winemaker some incredible fruit and allow him to do his thing. Everyone seems to win here, especially us.
Thanks to Larry for the opportunity to sample such an amazing lineup of wines. He has both knowledge and passion; he speaks of his life-work almost as a life-pleasure and his magnetic personality just makes you want to shut up and listen. The shutting up part has gotten a bit hard for me to do lately.
Last night the CLONYC gang hosted Larry Fairchild and an amazing selection from both his current offerings and personal library. It was CLONYC 45 and we did it big-- my fellow CLONYCers have come to expect nothing less. I have been looking forward to this for some time now.
Posted by m pobega at Sunday, October 12, 2014
It was Super Hero Night in NYC last night. No, we did not order sandwiches (subs, wedges, hoagies or grinders) and bark at the moon. We did something so much more meaningful and fun! Our little tasting group got to eat drink and laugh with some pretty awesome people you may have heard of, Mike & Leah Smith. BTW, Mike brought wine.
It was Cabernet night in NYC! 2012 Cabernets to be more accurate. This vintage is the real deal, not like other purportedly ‘real deals’ in the last 6 years. All of Mike’s wines are made to an exacting standards. He is sometimes scientist and sometimes botanist and full time perfectionist. Hearing him discuss his babies is like hearing a doting mother discuss her seven year old who just aced the big test. The passion oozes from this man.
Anyway, before I sound like Super Fanboy, let me digress some and chat wine with you. These wines listed below are all serious contenders for your Cabernet dollar. As mentioned elsewhere, there is something for everyone here, so let me get on with it.
2012 Quivet Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Kenefick Ranch - This has been an all time favorite of mine year to year and this one does not disappoint. I would like to think I could spot it by aromatics alone if placed blind among the whole Quivet lineup. Nose of sweet red cassis with a touch of cardamom. Such an elegant and refined wine that I hear rumors women tend to flock to. I guess that is where I want to flock too (I have noticed that about myself since 9th grade). Wow.
2012 Becklyn Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon - A new project for Mike in a price-point many scream for. Soft and silky mouthfeel with an almost un-noticeable hint of menthol that brings much interest. Tannins are of the round variety. I love the notes of Kirsch Royal that run down this. A reddish black cab that when sits become (cringe cringe) slutty, but in a good way. ($55) I will be looking for some myself. (see note 1 about the flocking). Think a more boisterous Myriad Napa. Go to find out I already signed up for the mailing list some time ago. I must be clairvoyant.
2012 12c Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer Georges III Vineyard - Certainly a serious wine that is closed compared to the other two in the flight but coaxing brings out a bold and dense stryle Cab that everyone loves (at least everyone I know). Ripe black currants and black berries, this is large boned and made for distance. (I said eighteen months and was booed from the table). I kid, this will be stunning in about 3-5 years. It’s price is in-line at $75 and I actually think it’s a QPR.
The Kenefick garnered 7 WOTF votes.
2012 Myriad Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer Georges III Vineyard - If you are a fan of Myriad G3 you will be giddy about this iteration. I love the interest of the cocoa powder nose on this. Bold black fruited with a touch of Framboise. The mid-palate on this one is stupendous. It has many layers to its depth. Tannins are intricate and finish true and long. Another Wow wine for sure.
2012 Quivet Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Pellet Vineyard - If you have had the inaugural bottling form 2011 you should have known that greatness was in its path. I certainly did. I just didn’t know it would arrive in its second vintage. This is focused and precise. An elegant wine with so much going on you really need to spend some time with it. 12 minutes in a glass does not do it justice. Again, it’s all about the mid-palate and this one has some to share. Am going to tell you this right now: If you are trying to limit your Cabernet purchases, this is not the place to do it. Buy long and thank the Mikes later. WOW
2012 McGah Family Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Scarlett - Another I have watched for some years. This is a super-consistent enjoyable Cabernet that just brings a smile to your face with every sip. At least as good as Mike’s 2011 version of this which itself was one of the best wines he made in that vintage. (don’t check that on Google, or at least give it an hour for a bot to pick it up from here). A redder fruits profile with some great dark cherries and a tiny note of sassafras. Soft and gentle and long. Just Do It. (credit given to Nike)
The Pellet got 6 votes for WOTF and the GIII received 5.
2012 Myriad Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Three Twins Vineyard - Mikes wines are also all about the aromatics and this one remains consistent to it’s stable mates and all other Three Twins before her. Some nice black/red fruits on this with a note of graphite and black plums. Another winner in a circle of winners. This is proving to be a difficult tasting with so much win. First World problem I will not be seeking a fix for.
2012 Carter Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon The Grand Daddy Beckstoffer To-Kalon Vineyard - This is the wine that amazed everyone at the table. It has some amazing purity and heft while being deftly balanced and poignant. Black wall of cassis driven fruit profile with some worn leather& a hint of vanilla. An amazing conveyor belt of ‘the things we seek’ in our Cab. It’s price is a bit out there but the proof of what is in the bottle is locked under cork. If you are fortunate enough to have access to this, you will be rewarded in spades. You’re welcome.
2012 12c Cabernet Sauvignon G3 Reserve Beckstoffer Georges III Vineyard - This was my least favorite of the flight. It had a great black fruit profile with hints of Kirsch and black cherry. Well balanced and worthy of a deep sleep. Not to deep. Just enough. 5 years? Yes, 5 years.
The Grand Daddy kicked ass with 9 of 11 first place votes. Kicked ass!
2012 Myriad Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer Dr. Crane Vineyard - Opened with what I sensed was a dash of heat in the nose but it disappeared super quickly. Then, a precise Dr Crane fragrance on this; on the palate this was pure and black/red fruited with a creamy mid-palate that I have come to expect from DC. This wine is all about balance and focus. Deep and dark with hints of crème de cassis, exotic tea and more. I can understand why it garners the attention it so deservedly gets. Awesome.
2012 Quivet Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer Las Piedras Vineyard - To be honest I have never been bitten by the Las Piedras bug and let’s face it, It’s not like I don’t have my share of bugs to enjoy.
A sweetness on the nose with some good bounce on the palate and at wine number 11, it better have bounce. Another superbly made wine and a great addition to the full line-up. There truly is something for everyone here today.
The Dr Crane had 6 first place votes and the Las Piedras 5. Pretty close indeed.
The next two wine are bruisers with such a tremendous life ahead, it’s almost not fair to include them in this tasting. Both were wonderfully structured and packed to the gills with purity, expansiveness and structure. I think them the closest to one another of any in the whole nights line-up and coming in at 12 & 13 certainly make more precise notes a bit more difficult. This is our second time with the Elysian and the one year has really made this more focused and exact. I would easily say these are the wines not to drink while you are waiting for almost all of the ones above save for the 12C GIII in the first flight. The Carter put me in mind of a Colgin Cabernet. What a great wine indeed.
2012 Carter Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon The O.G. Beckstoffer To-Kalon Vineyard -
2012 Myriad Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve Beckstoffer Dr. Crane Vineyard 'Elysian'
The food and service was spot on. My steak perfectly prepared and the hot mustard sauce as tangy as ever. What a great night. One I am sure we at CLONYC will discuss for many years to come. Thank you to Mike & Leah for the generosity of drinking such great wines.
Posted by m pobega at Friday, June 27, 2014
Last evening the group said 'hi' to fellow wine-board member Humberto Dorta. When Humberto reached out to me and asked to set something up, I jumped at the opportunity. I have always been a fan of his notes on Wine Berserkers and previously, the Robert Parkers forum. He is one of those note-writers I seem to connect with. It was la great chance to meet and open some awesome wines, and there was our theme: Awesome Cabs.
The group did not disappoint. Humberto comes with a full bag too!
Thanks to everyone for bringing great wines and being part of the fun!
2006 Marcassin Chardonnay Three Sisters Vineyard – I will defer to those more trusted than myself to fill in the many blanks I am sure to leave on this one. I can tell you it is beautiful. Nose shows some sweet melon and peaches. Mouthfeel is fantastic and balanced spot on. There was nothing poking out whatsoever. Golden hued and precise with some great ‘light-weighted’ toasty notes, this was fully resolved and in a perfect pleasing spot. It just glided across my palate and I loved it.
1993 Bryant Family Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Proprietor Grown Pritchard Hill- beautiful nose of sweet black/red fruits. Love the aromatics. I feared this would be too ‘evolved’ for my delicate palate. I was wrong. While it does show a decent amount of secondaries, this is nowhere devoid of fruit, as a matter of fact, it displays it all so prominently. Balance is spot on and length as you would expect. Watching this evolve in the glass for 10 minutes was a treat. This showed grace and presence. My WOTF. 93
2001 Beringer Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Private Reserve- Beringer PR is all about consistency. Some pretty fruits of cassis and red cherries, I love the fullness this brings which to me beckoned the question: Is there merlot in here? I still don’t know, but I sure might bet something there is. Fully integrated tannins, this has a interesting cool streak running through it. It may be a bit outclassed in the flight, but its great nonetheless. 92
2003 Abreu Cabernet Sauvignon Madrona Ranch- I always appreciate to taste 2003 Cabernets. Now that they have a decade plus, many have really come into something special. This has some pure red fruits with an almost clipped mid-palate that I would normally attribute to vintage, but there is no mistaking this is a very good wine. Fully resolved and holding on with some sandalwood and Kirsch Royal. 90
The Bryant garnered 7 first place votes making it WOTF. The Abreu got 3. The last singular vote for the Beringer. I had the Beringer my number 2.
2004 McCauley Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer To-Kalon Vineyard- Count on Steve to bring a dark horse, but a tasty one for sure. Nose screams To-Kalon in a huge way. Palate shows some great structure with a black fruited, creamy midpalate that I really love. Notes of leather and soy, balance is nice and tannins still youthful. 93
2005 Araujo Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Eisele Vineyard – the nose on this was crazy fragrant, it just shot from the glass. Palate showed some deftness and lots of class. Nicely structured, this had a pure stream of black fruit medley. Love the dark currants and black raspberries. A hint of warm vanilla and some sassafras brought interest. Full and profound, I loved it. Food certainly helped this along nicely. 95
2006 Buccella Cabernet Sauvignon Cuvée Katrina Eileen- This is not your father’s Cabernet, nor is it your mother’s. This is Cabernet squared. It’s bold and copious red/black fruits attack your senses and if you are ready, or heaven forbid, a fan of only ‘classic cabs’, you may just collapse in place. Purple core of darkness, this was soft vanilla shake and cocoa. Tannins are huge but behaved and acid fully surrounded by softness. Food is not this wines friend. I enjoyed it out of the gate but felt it wore itself down and became a bit ‘candied’ as the other two wines worked upward to awesomeness. Still and interesting wine and Buccella remains a treat for me whenever I can get some. 91
The Araujo got 7 first place votes on the flight, the Buccella 2 and McCauley 2 as well. Interesting statistic point here is the McCauley getting 7 second place votes. My WOTF was the Araujo.
2005 Fairchild Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Sigaro- A late entry by Humberto. A very pretty cab indeed. A bit bold and well structured (pretty typical of 2005s) I love the verve on this. Some spring flowers popped right out at me. Black and pure with a tiny note of cola and cardamom. Long finish completed this well. I think I have only had the pleasure of one other bottle of Fairchild and it was the IIIG. I seem to recall needing to investigate this label more at that time, and I renew that goal. 93
2007 Scarecrow Cabernet Sauvignon- Scarecrow Scarecrow Scarecrow Scarecrow Scarecrow Scarecrow Scarecrow Scarecrow Scarecrow. It’s Scarecrow. So? I still don’t get it and doubly so I still maintain I don’t get 2007s in general. A pretty nose of red and black cherries and currant, this seemed to lack some mid-palate and fell short in the acid department. For giggles I went reading the cellartracker notes on this one. I may be putting all my wine up for sale and going back to collecting stamps; I never did get that C3a Inverted Jenny I had my eye on. 87
2008 Shafer Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select- Everything the Scarecrow is not, the Hillside Select is. I love this wine. I would like to believe (probably wrongly so) that I can spot this wine on nose alone. Fragrant with dark berry fruits and a sweet creamy note, just spectacular. Balanced and structured with layers of depth this just pleases all around. I maintain that if I ‘hit’ lotto, I will make this my house wine. Notes of violets, worn leather and tea with tannins intertwining it all nicely like a bow on a birthday gift. Long and true and pure and deft, the creamy middle and the notes of cola just add to it all. Wowsa, I have landed my WOTF and WOTN. 96
6 votes for the Fairchild WOTF, 4 for the Shafer. The lone 1 vote pulling up the rear for the Scarecrow.
I have been firing all my cylinders until this point. One of my 8 are down. Steve’s Congruence was the saving wine in this flight.
2010 MacDonald Cabernet Sauvignon- after a 24 hour double decant as recommended by Graeme, this just did not come up to the level of the company on the table. It was a good cab for sure, but we all find good cabs for a fraction of the cost of this. 89
2010 Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon Special Selection – I expected more from this and I am sure this suffers tonight from its much too early opening. A bit candied with a note of heat down the middle, I got red fruits and some awkwardness. A 24 hour slow-ox would have done wonders. Tonight I was 90 on this and I am being kind.
2010 Congruence Cabernet Sauvignon Coombsville Reserve- Pure and black, this showed some of its depth through the wall of structure and tannins. I have had this a few times and find it consistent with all other notes I have written. What it suffers from tonight is many of the others previously commented on wines aromatics and stage presence. Still youthful. Drink the regular Congruence in 2010 and revisit this in 3-4 years. That’s my plan. 92.5
5 votes for the Congruence WOTF. 4 for the Caymus and 1 for the MacDonald. Regardless, Humberto is always welcomed back. We had one who did note vote at all.
I will mention for a point of reference we did have a corked 2010 Phelps Insignia in the 3rd flight.
The ‘unscientific’ WOTN vote went like this: Shafer:5, Fairchild:4, Bryant:2, Araujo:1
A great time and many a great wines. Thanks t
Posted by m pobega at Friday, May 09, 2014
PLONYC One enters the books in a big way last evening when Craig Haserot of Sojourn Cellars agreed to be our guest. With my new love for Cali Pinot I felt like a big gift had been hoisted onto my lap. I have never met Craig before and can tell you some things I have learned about him in person last night. Firstly, the passion he brings is second to none, but he backs it all up nicely with a knowledge that is incredible. Listening to him speak is somewhat mesmerizing; he knows where the bones are buried on many subjects California wine. He also has a super sharp palate and listening to his descriptions while tasting the wines really paints the picture well about what is in your glass. All of this made for an amazing, insightful and energetic evening, one that the membership has become quite accustomed to when they attend any XLONYC.
Oh yeah, Craig brought wine, lots of it. 5 amazing Pinots, a Chardonnay that astounds and a few Cabs just for the fun of it. It was a great evening. Thanks to all that attended.
2012 Sojourn Chardonnay Sangiocomo Vineyard- I love this on nose alone, it showed a nicely pure sweet honey and melon that catches your attention. Mouth feel is deft with just the perfect amount of tastiness and buttery-ness. A nice balance which always displayed a fresh minerality that is pretty nice too. It has to be one of the best Chardonnays I have had in a long time, one that displays the Sun, earth and hand well. Forthy-five dollars worth of Heaven
2012 Sojourn Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast- great balance on this one with some notes of strawberries and cherries. The 2010 version of this was my first Sojourn into this label, and this one holds up to that standing. A true crowd pleaser.
2012 Sojourn Pinot Noir, Rodgers Creek, Sonoma Coast- For those with an extra $9 to splurge, this may be your best QPR decision of the year. This shot from the glass with tremendous finesse; a darker shade of berries and a bite riper all around. Love the slight bramble in the middle-palate, this showed some richness and distinction that boggles my mind. It took me a bit to wrap my head around this one. I loved the aromatics and wondered aloud if the 15% whole cluster adds to any of it. What we got was a crash course in whole cluster I won’t soon forget. Phenomenal.
2012 Sojourn Pinot Noir, Sangiocomo Vineyard, Sonoma Coast- A bit more boisterous with a sense of self, this went even darker with a slightly elevated acidity that it seemed to deserve. Another achievement in aromatics, this one played with the senses a bit more. An underlying damp earth component brought interest and a bright-boldness grabs you. This is the second Sangiocomo Pinot I have sampled to date, and I sense I will need to explore it more going forward.
2012 Sojourn Pinot Noir, Gap's Crown, Sonoma Coast- Similar a bit to the Sangiocomo, this had a bit more verve. An interesting viscousness ran through this. This one had some great richness as well. As it sat in the glass it went a bit redder strawberry in style. Another winner with tons of upside.
2013 Sojourn Pinot Noir, Sangiocomo Vineyard, Sonoma Coast, Barrel Sample- Some similarities to its young sibling, but also a hint of what the Rodgers had too. Some darker fruits included a bit of cassis and blackberry. A bit of expected youthful heat showed through, but such deft and balance so early in its ‘wood’ life, this should be truly incredible come next year when released.
I loved this whole lineup. The family traits were evident but as any family there is and well should be singular characteristics. Any of these could be enjoyed with dinner tonight. A few interesting Pinot Noir conversations broke out, one about alcohol (ABV) and another about age-ability of any or all of these wines. I think I have found one of the reasons I am attracted to these wines, the ability to Pobega them with the UPS guy remains intact.
My favorite appetizer is the wine friendly Lobster & Crabcake with seaweed & coconut curry sauce.
2011 Sojourn Cabernet Sauvignon Home Ranch Vineyard, Sonoma Valley- Craig’s ‘house’ wine, literally. Grown out back from his home this shows some pretty black berry notes as well as some cola and sassafras. Its big boned and bold with nice balance. Tannins well formed and acidity just right. A nice first step into the Sojourn Cabs.
2011 Sojourn Cabernet Sauvignon Rutherford, Napa Valley- Possibly the best QPR cab here, this is where Georges fruit goes once it has been given the boot. All the declassified GIII is here and its breed shows. Love the velvety mouth feel and silky tannic structure. Fantastic aromatics with great verve and lift. The PV adds some wonderful dimension and complexity. A must buy.
2010 Sojourn Cabernet Sauvignon Spring Mountain District, Napa Valley- Bold and distinct, the small berry shows through wonderfully always keeping balance and elegance in play. Love this expression of cab today. Some interesting exotic tea leaf notes, violets and some earth is in here too. Black currants, black raspberries and crème de cassis complete a well-formed package. A truly wonderful, aromatic wine with years of life ahead. Find some, buy some, this is Spring mountain at her best.
2009 Sojourn Proprietary Cuvee Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley (cellar wine)- Wow, this is amazing! Plush, deep, bold and elegant. Black cassis with hints of spring flowers and cocoa powder. Mouth feel is sexy with a lingering note of cardamom and a wee bit graphite. Holy smokes, this is great.
2010 Sojourn Proprietary Cuvee Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley- A bit more subdued and less dimensional than the 2009, this should blossom in a few/three years and if it is anything like the 2009, you will smile, big.
2012 Sojourn Cabernet Sauvignon Home Ranch Vineyard, Sonoma Valley barrel sample-Young and fresh, this is all primary. If coaxed you may glimmer a sense of its future, and if its family here on that table has any say, this will be another great Cab expression from Sojourn for a silly price and who can look that horse in the mouth……
This lineup was a spectacular look into Sojourn Cellars. Come for the Pinots, stay for the Cabs and be amazed by it all. I am glad I found Sojourn this year. Better late than never I say.
Craig was gracious enough to offer us one of two classic Sauternes to enjoy with dessert: A classic and beautiful (so I was told )1976 Chateau Climens 1st Cru Sauternes-Barsac that was received gratefully from us all! Thanks for all the awesome wines, Criag!--- both from this millennial and last.
Timely? Sure is, the offer came out like twenty minutes ago!
Posted by m pobega at Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Sometimes the thing you don’t learn will be your lesson; last night that un-lesson seemed clear to us all sitting around a dinner table sampling 11 Cabernet Sauvignons from one specific site, the Beckstoffer owned Georges III. I will go on a limb and say that this group is pretty savvy when it comes to its Cabernets; to date we have successfully done Dr Crane and To-Kalon focused tastings but this one left us a wee bit nonplussed in its inability to show any consistency across the spectrum of a vineyard site. Please don’t get me wrong, these are all very well made wines, some superb, but oneness? Nope.
When I don’t actually fall asleep on the express bus home I can sit and ponder what just happened. Last night I came to that conclusion stated above and although Andy Beckstoffer may send a hit team out for me (I will be weary of anyone aproaching me sporting a farmers hat), many others would care less about my opinion. Good wine is good wine, right? Truth be told, Andy would chuckle and hit the little X in the top right corner too. Let’s face it, we are not speaking a 9 acre site, more like 300, a mini ‘To-kalon’ if you will.
We were 11. I asked to have great coverage and used the Beckstoffer Vineyard web-link to guide us. We had some fantastic results, one being the 2008 Fairchild GIII; it was pure poetry in a bottle. The Staglin was a half-beat behind and may have suffered to my barbaric inability to fully appreciate ‘older’ wines---that is my story and I will deal with myself at a later date. The Schrader opened good+ and went to great++ within 10 minutes. By the end of the night it was more perfumed and opulent. Wow. Some group favorites showed nicely. Overall, all the wines showed well, some just slightly less-so.
Here we go:
2008 Fairchild Cabernet Sauvignon George III- This opened with pretty floral notes and some black and blue fruits. It had it all: elegance, structure, approach and length. Loved the slight note of cola. Balance was spot on. Tannins intricate but restrained and acidity perfect. I have never had this before and it could be my discovery of the new year, granted it’s only January. 94
2008 Myriad Cabernet Sauvignon Georges III- Buttery popcorn on the nose. Palate showed a more exuberant style of wine when compared to the Fairchild. The oak nose retracted a bit and the black fruits came forward as coaxed. This is a fatter styled wine with more verve and flash (More Mike Smith I’d say), more akin to its vintage I believe---at least the fatness. I got nice notes of cocoa powder and cardamom. Some bottle age will bring this into focus. I actually enjoyed the style a bit more than others but this is always the case when comparing wines. 90
2009 Schrader Cabernet Sauvignon Georges III- I love when I get to sample these Schrader’s. I am on the list, but seem to be always quietly bashing them in my mind. Maybe the price has pissed me off and I forever search for something to call better. These are the real friggin deal. This is tightly knit and intricately weaved and shows tremendous breed and structure, yes this is a super-structure. Big black currants with blackberry laced cocoa. As it sits in the glass it become more fragrant. The tannins are large and well behaved and acidity right on it mark. At the end of the night I sampled this again and it was just singing from the glass. Densely packed and somewhat flamboyant, but never in your face. That is its key. 93
The group voted 6 for the Fairchild, 4 for the Schrader and 1 for the Myriad. I went 1,3,2.
A very nice flight.
2009 Keating Cabernet Sauvignon Georges III- This opened on the feminine side with some spring flowers, black cherry. Hints of bunt caramel, cassis and red-cherries made this show very admirable, but when food arrived this began to go more expressive, creamy and mouth filling. Nicely balanced with a decent finish. Price-wise, this is in the lower end of the cost spectrum, but I would never refuse this on its own. A very good showing. 90
2009 Lewis Weiser House of Cards Cabernet Sauvignon GIII- A buddy named Jeff Lewis has this made for him with a friend or two. When I had it about a year back I enjoyed it much and felt it should be in this group. It has some pretty sweet red fruits on the nose. Palate shows a lighter styled wine than those surrounding it. There was an interesting lilty/flinty? Note on this that I could not place. Lynn said ‘ditto-paper’ and I seen what she seen, but maybe I didn’t. I know this needs air-time; this was opened at 4pm and recorked. So 3 hours may not have been enough. I seemed to enjoy it more than some. Jeff was to be part of the dinner but had to cancel. It would have been interesting to get his take but maybe it best to stay away from the zoo-animals when they feed. 90
2010 Sojourn Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer Georges III Vineyard- I was very curious to taste this one. It had a similar style to the Myriad with notes of a creamy/buttery popcorn coming at first. I loved the red-black fruits. Notes of cola, reme de cassis and sassafras. Gret verve and approach,, the tannins more feminine and acidity a bit elevated which added real interest. Food served it well. This was my wine of the flight, easily. 92
The voting was 10 for the Sojourn and one for the Lewis Weiser
2001 James Joseph Cabernet Sauvignon Georges III- another I have not heard of. This showed its age well. Pure red fruits with notes of sassafras, cherry cola, tobacco and lead pencil shavings. Well balanced and long red fruit finish, this shows some nice interest but seemed a bit outclassed tonight. 90
2002 Staglin Family Cabernet Sauvignon 20th Anniversary Selection- Interestingly enough, Staglin was on the Beckstoffer website list. I was not refusing an opportunity even if it was sans GIII on the label. This was more like a GIIII anyway.
A beautiful wine with multiple layers of goodness, this was sampled twice on the night since it is from a magnum. Deep red/black fruits with hints of anise, worn leather and cardamom. A mid-weight wine that is lilty in balance and fierce in its attack. I got some quiet notes of cocoa powder set deep within. Tannins are well resolved and this is in no danger of a cliff anytime soon. I mentioned that this wine epitomizes why we all feel in love with Cabernet sauvignon for. It’s 1500mls of pure joy, but then again, it’s Staglin. All else being equal, this would have been my WOTN, but when are things ever equal? 94
Unanimously voted by the group for the Staglin for WOTFlight
2009 Fontanella Family Wines Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer Georges III Vineyard-Another I have not heard of. Pretty nose with slight hint of popcorn coming through. When coaxed, I got some nicely ripened reddish fruits of cherries and dark raspberry. Notes of soy and violets too. A well made wine more on the style of the Myriad. Lively and nicely balanced with some complicated tannins and a sense of ‘down the middle’ verve. Like it a lot, but last of the night sure suffers in placement. Had this been in the first or second flight it might have done better overall. 92
2010 Fontanella Family Wines Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer Georges III Vineyard- Slightly more polished and focused than the 2009 with some sweeter & blacker fruits. I love the density this brought to the table. I did get a slight popcorn note on the nose at first, but it never showed on the palate. A beautiful wine 91
2010 12c Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer Georges III Vineyard- I have always been a fan of this one. I like this one much more than the 2009 I sampled back in April 2012 at CLONYC 31. Densely packed red fruits with some pretty creaminess that makes me think Dr Crane more than GIII. Interesting cocoa powder, cardamom and new leather. Elegant and deft balance with some great aromatics of red raspberries and violets. Long finish and we have another great bottle in out company. 92
The 12C had 8 votes of WOTFlight, the 2010 Fontenella 2 and the the 2009 Fontenella 1, yes me.
Overall on the night the Fairchild garnered 16 points (in the 3-1 point scheme: 3 for new WOTN votes and 1 for runner up) (My WOTN) the Staglin got 13, the Schrader 11 (My number 2 on the night), the Myriad 3 and the Sojourn 1. (44 total 11 guests x 4 points per guest). Man, I hate math.
Another great night of wonderful wines and lively company. Always thought provoking and fun, I think we may actually have too much of that 'fun' at these things. Anyway, that’s my story and I am sticking to it---at least until my next story comes along, one called PLONYC #1 (Pinot Lovers of New York City, the wines of Sojourn later this month)
Posted by m pobega at Wednesday, April 23, 2014