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.