Upcoming CLONYC events



CLONYC #4 BV Georges de Latour Vertical Tasting and Dinner


BV Georges de Latour Vertical Tasting and Dinner

Tasting Notes


All notes by Ben Sherwin

Another great CLONYC event. It was interesting to see these wines over a 28 year period. There is certainly a consistency in that the predominant fruit is cassis and there are clear powdered cocoa notes and herbs (which often crosses the line to herbaceousness). There were some good wines here, but other than a nice run from '94-'96, there's nothing that I'd run out and buy. One topic of conversation is whether these wines are made to last past 15 years. Given the experience with the older wines and the way the '94 went south, I think there is some truth to that. Amazingly, given the history of bottle taint, we did not have one flawed bottle.

Thanks to Mike for putting on another great event and thanks for supplying the beautiful brochures. As always, good times.

Warm Up
Thanks to Steve for bringing the Tensley. An interesting little wine that's worth finding. Thanks to Nano for bringing the Tapestry to whet our appetites.

  • 2005 Tensley Grenache Blanc Blanc Camp 4 - USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Barbara County
    Very nice re-creation of a S. Rhone wine. Lush and full in the mouth with pretty tropical fruits, lime and a slight nuttiness (almond?). The acidity is well used here preventing it from being overly heavy (although it is quite substantial) or flabby. Nice effort.

  • 1996 Beaulieu Vineyard Tapestry Reserve - USA, California, Napa Valley
    An easy drinker with some nice, dark aromatics. Slightly astringent on the finish, but it doesn't ruin the overall effect. A good, simple steak wine. Drink up now.

Bring Out Your Dead
None of these wines showed particularly well. They ranged from the interesting ('78) to the good ('87) to the undrinkable ('80). Lesson learned here is that it's tough to take a BVGdLT out 20 years.

  • 1978 Beaulieu Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Georges de Latour Private Reserve - USA, California, Napa Valley
    Certainly showed the best of the olders BVs. Nice mature fruit (I thought of crushed dried cherries although I've never actually smelled that), cocoa powder and a complementary herbal quality (dill, thyme) that was in no way vegetal. Some notes of old leather emerge after a while although they begin to replace the fruit which dissipated after a couple of hours in the glass. Unfortunately, there is no middle to this wine as the midpalate just disappears. The wine reemerges on the finish, but mostly in the form of acid which overwhelms the little bit of fruit that is left. In the end, I'd say that this wine was more interesting than good.

  • 1980 Beaulieu Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Georges de Latour Private Reserve - USA, California, Napa Valley
    It was interesting to see this wine evolve in the glass from the initial aromas of burned plastic to toasted celery to madeira. In a word, yuck.

  • 1986 Beaulieu Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Georges de Latour Private Reserve - USA, California, Napa Valley
    A bit of burnt rubber on the nose that dissipated over time. Some dusty cassis on the nose was the highlight of this angular, joyless wine. I didn't get any interesting secondary aromas (such as leather or tobacco), only an herbal quality that bordered on the herbaceous. Whatever fruit that is left is ruined by a sharp astringency that clips the finish. I don't get the sense that this was ever particularly good.

  • 1987 Beaulieu Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Georges de Latour Private Reserve - USA, California, Napa Valley
    The initial whiff of rubber blew off fairly quickly leaving surprisingly lively fruit on the nose. Black plum and raspberry liqueur with some cocoa and herbal notes. Unfortunately, there wasn't much follow through on the palate which was all sharp angles. Whatever fruit that existed in this wine went south some time ago leaving the other components, particularly the acidity, to knock it out of balance. The finish is all acid and not particularly long. Not undrinkable, but well past its prime.

Ohio Flight
So called because it was high in the middle and round on the ends. There was great consitency stylistically for the entire flight and I had a tough time differentiating them at first. This was clearly the flight of the night and all of these showed very well with the '95 being the standout. I'm not sure there was a stylistic change fromn the '80s, but these wines sure were different (i.e., lively).

  • 1994 Beaulieu Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Georges de Latour Private Reserve - USA, California, Napa Valley
    A nicely made wine. A substantial improvement from the earlier BV's, this boasted sweet dark fruit (cassis, plums), baker's chocolate and some tobacco. Very round and silky in the mouth with sweet tannins that are fully resolved. Nicely balanced finish of fruit and acidity that lingers nicely. My one complaint is that it faded a bit as the evening went on, but I'd say that this has another good 5 years of drinking in it. Well done.

  • 1995 Beaulieu Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Georges de Latour Private Reserve - USA, California, Napa Valley
    A broad open wine that heaps generous fruit (cassis) up front and lingers long on the finish. It had a bit of toast and herbs. What elevated it over the '94 and the excellent '96 was the fine balance of opulent fruit and bright acidity that gave the wine a more pure focus. Delicious. WOTN

  • 1996 Beaulieu Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Georges de Latour Private Reserve - USA, California, Napa Valley
    Very similar stylistically to the '94. Perhaps a bit more cedary which may be the extra 2 years in the bottle (cedar vs. dill?). Still, you can tell these two wines are related with big, round black fruit and dark chocolate notes. Silky and of medium weight in the mouth with a longish finish. Very nice.

Going South
Not much good here. The '97 was especially disappointing after the nice run in the mid-'90s.

  • 1997 Beaulieu Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Georges de Latour Private Reserve - USA, California, Napa Valley
    This was the most disappointing wine of the night for me, albeit not the worst. I found it fairly non-descript steakhouse wine. None of the opulent exhuberence that I've had in other '97s. Not flawed, but uninspired.

  • 1998 Beaulieu Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Georges de Latour Private Reserve - USA, California, Napa Valley
    Green, thin, astringent. I don't even know why I put any '98s in my mouth any more. You just can't beat this vintage.

  • 1999 Beaulieu Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Georges de Latour Private Reserve - USA, California, Napa Valley
    Tight and closed for my tastes. This wine is going to appeal to those who prefer leather to fruit in their Cabs. Not that there wasn't some fruit there, it was just overwhelmed by the firm structure. It was so reticent to me that I wrote the word "closed" twice in my notes. Maybe this will emerge as something nice (there's plenty of stuffing), but it could just as easily go the other way if the fruit fades and this becomes a stemmy, dusty mess.

"A Winemaking Tour de Force"
The quote of the night from Steve about the mediocre 2000. His point was that it took a hell of a lot of winemaking talent to even get what they got. He had a point. Pretty funny quote though. The '01 was a pretty decent wine, but there was nothing special here that would lead you to spend big $$ for this stuff.

  • 2000 Beaulieu Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Georges de Latour Private Reserve - USA, California, Napa Valley
    A pretty decent bottle of wine for the vintage. You can bet it took some work to even get it this good. Still, taken out of the context of 2000 it's a mediocre bottle of wine of best. There is some fruit there (cassis), but it seemed just shy of ripeness with the predominant flavors being herbs, cocoa and bell peppers. The gambit here seems to be to move the secondary flavors to the fore to make up for the lack of real fruit and they almost pull it off. In the end, it's a bit to thin, lacks any substance in the mouth and finishes a touch to astringent to make it worthwhile.

  • 2001 Beaulieu Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Georges de Latour Private Reserve - USA, California, Napa Valley
    Not bad, this was surprisingly open and round. It's a wine I would order off a menu, but there is nothing interesting enough here to actually have it in my cellar. Plenty of fruit, oak and cocoa. I don't sense this is going to improve much although it should drink well for a while.

  • 2002 Beaulieu Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Georges de Latour Private Reserve - USA, California, Napa Valley
    Way backward and slightly shut down, it's tough to make heads or tails of this wine. Pretty much just oak and earth at this stage, I would expect some of the juicy 2002 fruit is hiding somewhere in there (although I didn't see it). I'm not sure what to make of this one.

Dessert Course

  • 2000 Mer Soleil Viognier Late - USA, California, Central Coast, Monterey County
    An interesting wine. A bit unctuous and borderline, this wine coats your teeth with sugar. Perfectly nice, but it could use a little more acidity to balance the natural sweetness of the Viognier.


CLONYC 3 Small Production

 Small Production Gem Tasting and Dinner

Tasting Notes


All notes by Ben Sherwin

Another successful CLONYC dinner. What better way to beat the heat than to drink some big red wines. Thanks to Mike for setting it up. Some really great wines and, of course, great company. As usual, Zoe was top notch with the wine service.

An Interesting Mix of Wines
The Cobb was a bit out of place here, but it was big enough to hold its own. The Gemstone was oustanding and tied for 2nd place for wine of the night.

  • 2002 Cobb Pinot Noir Coastlands Vineyard - USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast
    Began with a little plastic on the nose, but that blew off pretty quickly. We weren't sure what to make of this at first because the nose was a bit tarry as well. It was clear that it just needed some time as it eventually settled in to a more recognizable SC Pinot. The fruit started getting brighter and the tart acidity began to show, but the consistent note was wet earth. The fruit was sweet and borderline between red and black. With some air it picked up some black tea notes as well. Enjoyable? Yes. Would I run out to get some? No, but I wouldn't mind having it in my cellar.

  • 1994 Cosentino Winery M. Coz Meritage Red - USA, California, Napa Valley
    I still don't get why everyone raves about the '94s. Decent nose of herbs and cassis. Pretty good fruit with cassis and plums but there is no shortage of oak and the finish clips off a bit. It's certainly ready to drink and there is nothing fundamentally wrong with it, but its fairly conventional and uninteresting.

  • 2003 Gemstone Facets - USA, California, Napa Valley, Yountville
    Wow. An amazing nose on this one. A great black fruit story, uplifting, but told in dark terms. You name a black fruit and it's in there (currant, blackberry, cherry). As it unwound I got hints of cinnamon as well. Not as explosive on the palate, with dark berries and smoke. The finish lingers nicely but for a few dusty tannins reminding you that this is a youngster. Very nicely made.

1996-98 Vertical
No, I'm not related to the Sherwin family of Cabernet fame. Still, I thought it was the best of this flight. The Livingston was a close second if for no other reason that it so exceeded the low bar I had set for it. The Backus wasn't bad, but it did not excite.

  • 1996 Sherwin Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon - USA, California, Napa Valley, Spring Mountain District
    A solid, well-made wine, but not a revelation. A great nose of cassis and leather. Supple mouthfeel with dark fruit and ripe, sweet tannins. I think this is on the downswing with the acid outlasting the fruit on the medium long finish. While I preferred the '97, this certainly does the Sherwin name proud.

  • 1997 Joseph Phelps Cabernet Sauvignon Backus - USA, California, Napa Valley, Oakville
    Not the worst wine of the night, but my biggest disappointment. One of my favorite vineyards and vintages, this was one of the 2 wines that I really wanted to try and, while it wasn't terrible, it was not as advertised. Ripe plums, black cherry and cedar on the nose. Pretty nice in the mouth with mocha and blackcurrant, but a bit too woody. All the component were there, but it just didn't do anything for me. A real enigma.

  • 1998 Livingston Moffett Red Wine Gemstone Vineyard - USA, California, Napa Valley, Yountville
    Not the best wine of the night, but the biggest surprise. It has to be one of the best '98s I've had (granted pretty faint praise). Nice aromas of cassis, leather and vanilla bean. Also, no green. I got some herbs on the nose and on the palate, although it was in no way herbaceous and underripe. Medium bodied with sweet fruit on a longish finish and no green! The cream of the crap for 1998.

The Bad, the Superb and the Ugly
My first Schrader. Another reason to love TRB. WOTN in a close call over the Realm and the Gemstone.

  • 2000 Carter Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer Vineyard - USA, California, Napa Valley, Oakville
    Some beat the tricky weather of 2000 and some are this wine. Underripe and uninteresting, this was the only wine of the night that I dumped. Whatever interesting notes in this wine came from the oak and not the fruit (dill, vanilla, cedar). I'm 0 for Carters in the last week, albeit from terrible vintages (the other was a 1998).

  • 2003 Schrader Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer To-Kalon Vineyard - USA, California, Napa Valley, Oakville
    This is a crazy good wine. Sweet ripe black fruit (currants, blackberries, plums) and smoke jump out and grap your attention. Substantial and seamless in the mouth with cassis, vanilla and cocoa that spread out and coat the palate. Plenty of structure here with a grip that reminds you that you probably shouldn't have opened it yet. Still, a phenomenal, well-balanced wine that will be a star when the tannins soften and the oak further integrates. WOTN.

  • 2003 Harris Estate Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon LTD Limited Reserve Jake's Creek Vineyard - USA, California, Napa Valley
    A tough one to figure out. It peeked its head out every once and a while, but really didn't really want to show us anything. Clearly not open for business it still had some elements that may let evolve into something. Let it sleep and see what you have in a couple of years.

The Future
A nice flight. The Realm was tied for 2nd for WOTN and the Scythia was 3rd.

  • 2004 Realm Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Farella Vineyard - USA, California, Napa Valley
    It took a little time to come around (starts out a bit liqueury), but when it did it came on strong. Huge nose of cassis, brambly fruit and spice. Lush and round in the mouth with a great, big core of fruit but with tannins and acidity that balance out the size well. It's accessible now and something special with time. Superb.

  • 2004 Scholium Project Syrah Scythia Donati Vineyards - USA, California, Central Coast, San Benito County
    Another one of Abe's mindbenders. It's tough to get a sense of these wines at a broader tasting as they're so dense that you could spend a whole night on one glass. Accordingly, here are impressions that in no way do anything but hit the surface. Syrah? OK, I sort of see that although it's certainly not typical. There's some sweet blackberry and tar there. Interesting notes of grapefruit and cola. A huge wine.

  • 2004 Scholium Project Petite Sirah Babylon Tenbrink Vineyards - USA, California, Napa Valley
    Don't open this wine. It's like hitting yourself in the head with a hammer. Huge and monolithic, the most I could get out of it was some spicy plum.

CLONYC #3 - Small Production Gems (8/3/2006)

Thanks everyone for a great night. The company was fantastic. Some new friends were made, some great wines were consumed, and wonderful food was served by smiling professionals. The wine director at Zoe, Scott oversaw the whole shebang with tireless enthusiasm.

My notes are not really notes, but more like a synopsis. It was great to taste some interesting wines that normally would not have crossed my path. Thanks all.

Here goes.................

2002 Cobb Pinot Noir. I was concerned about having one pinot around monsterous wines. I exchanged pms with Kevin, and he had no problem with leaving it. Nor did I. I am glad we did. It was an amazing wine that improved for the hour I left it in my glass. A bit disjointed at first, but then it started to remind me of some great Gevreys I have had form Magnien. Great full bodied red fruit, ultra smooth tannins, and a middle of style and soil. (Magnien is one of the very few producers in that region that I buy, not being such a big Pinot guy). Kevin mentioned that it was his last bottle and I know it was a sacrafice for him to bring. 92

1994 M Coz. This opened with a subdued nose of dried fruits, a deep garnet color and fine intergrated tannins. A little heat at the end. I kind of liked this wine, I am not sure its worth what Cheryl paid though. When compared to the next blend (Facets) its actually 2x the price. 87

2003 Gemstone Facets. This had a wonderful deep dark color. the palate revealed a super finessful wine of breed. I really enjoyed this. I thought the rest of the nights selections would have to work hard to measure up. 93

1996 Sherwin. This seemed a bit vegetal, It had great balance, but seemed a bit off. Also seemed a bit rustic to me. 86

1997 Phelps Backus. This is one I was really looking foward to. Just coming off the Insignia vertical 6 weeks ago I stll had memories of the standouts that night. This had great dark fruit, nice intergrated tannins and alot of class. I liked this better than the '97 Insignia (which I sold after the vertical). The similarity of winemakers was there, the source of the fruit differs, but it was hard to tell. 91

1998 Livingston Gemstone. Out of the two 'off' vintages in tonights line up, and I have rarely had a '98 that I have loved.. this showed well though. Some decent structure and style, but the vintage kept coming through with a certain manufacturedness. I am on the fence with this one. Interesting to get the Gemstone fruit. I give it an 89. It has a good beat and you can dance to it.

2000 Carter Cellars Beckstoffer. This seemed like a processed wine to me. I have had many 2000s and most have the same quality. Even the Insignia. I guess as a winemaker you can only work with what you get from Mother Nature. The further away we get from 2000, the better we all are. n/r

2003 Schrader Beckstoffer. I did not understand how this became WOTN. It was a great wine with lots of sweet dark chewy tannined fruit. a decent finish, but I still had memories of the Gemstones breeding, trying to forget the Merlot % in the Gemstone, I tried to be fair. A sleeper.

2003 Harris Estate Jakes Vnyd. Closed for business (even much with decanting). Deep dark fruit on the nose and palate, wonderful balance shown through only with lots of coaxing. This had more stuffing than my moms Thanksgiving Turkey, but much time is needed (cellar and decanter). I have had this twice before. It is a perennial favorite that I will watch closely. 90

2004 Realm Farella. This is the wine I anticipated most. I was worried when Ben mentioned it was still in the shipping system as of the morning of the tasting. No bottle shock present. It opened with an explosive dose of deep dark fruit, on the palate there is a certain bramble quality that I like. A wildness that if I close my eyes I can swear I am in the vineyard on a warm breezy day and every once in a while I sense honeysuckle coming up at me and when the breeze changes I turn to recapture it. Do you think I liked this? I do. I had this at the Realm open house a few weeks back and loved it immediately. If this is representaive of the 2004 vintage, please please bring 'em on. (Walt, If I knew your glass was half full as mine sat half empty, I would have alleviated you of it) 94

2004 Scholium Project Syrah Scythia. I am with Ben on this one. A party in a bottle. The nose alone is worth the price of admission. This guy Abe is either a genius or a madman. (or both?) 90

2004 Scholium Project Petite Sirah Babylon. Even with 9 days of double triple decanting. This wine was still closed. Anticipated maturity 3025-3090 n/r


CLONYC 2 Joseph Phelps Insignia Vertical Tasting

 Joseph Phelps Insignia Vertical Tasting

Tasting Notes


All notes by Ben Sherwin

This is California?
Clearly the weakest of the 4 flights, these wines had a Bordeaux feel to them.
  • 1991 Joseph Phelps Insignia - USA, California, Napa Valley
    An exquisite wine. The nose was very restrained at first but opened up beautifully and became more expressive as the evening wore on. Herbal, earthy gave way to plums and truffle. The whole wine came into much more focus with some air time. A herbs, cedar and sour cherry flavors were well balanced with a bright acidity. It really grew in the glass. Great structure and complexity. Not nearly as big as I expected. WOTF.
  • 1992 Joseph Phelps Insignia - USA, California, Napa Valley
    Pretty shut down with very little on the nose. Various attempts at resuscitation by vigorous swirling revealed a little, but not much. Tannins mask a core band of fruit that never really took off. Clipped and slightly astringent on the finish. It was the little engine that couldn't.
  • 1993 Joseph Phelps Insignia - USA, California, Napa Valley
    Not terribly expressive nose of cedar and black cherry. More tar and leather than fruit in the mouth. Supple on the midpalate, but then a bit astringent on the finish. It wasn't quite all that bad, but it wasn't particularly good either.
Now We're Rolling
There seems to be a sea change with the '95 from an Old World style to the classic California profile.
  • 1994 Joseph Phelps Insignia - USA, California, Napa Valley
    This could have used some decanting. Tightly wound, it took a while to open up and show anything. Slightly off-putting nose at first (sulphur?) that blew off after a while. Revealed classic Cabernet notes (currant, tobacco, cedar) but never really got going to where I expected to go. I think this needs more time for the tannins to resolve and show off. I also think this suffered by the format and by being next to the '95 and '96. A step up from the '92 and '93 though. Ultimately, it left me puzzled and a bit disappointed given the hype on this one. Some thought this bottle was flawed.
  • 1995 Joseph Phelps Insignia - USA, California, Napa Valley
    The first WOW wine of the tasting. Deep, dark and brooding. The fruit jumps out of the glass here-very California. Young and vibrant, this one had a dense, complex core of fruit (blueberry, blackberry), as well as secondary notes of cedar and tobacco. If I had to pick a hole in this one it is that the finish wasn't as extraordinary as the rest of the experience. Still, a phenomenal wine. Drink now, drink later. Tied for WOTF. WOTN.
  • 1996 Joseph Phelps Insignia - USA, California, Napa Valley
    I loved this wine. Real primary at this stage it began with notes of prune and oak but soon exploded with vibrant, young fruit (cherry, raspberry!). The oak is clearly there, but well integrated already and will improve. Great earthiness to this one as well. This will benefit with a bit more bottle time. The surprise wine of the evening given the reviews. Tied with '95 for WOTF.
Opulence and Structure Surrounding a Weakling
The '98 really sticks out like a sore thumb between these two beauties.
  • 1997 Joseph Phelps Insignia - USA, California, Napa Valley
    Phenomenal wine. Dark, super rich and concentrated. Ripe, plush black fruits that come in wave after wave. Hints of vanilla, espresso and herbs and, after a bit, I picked up some crushed mint as well. Sweet tannins that are fully resolved. How long was the finish? I'll tell you when it ends. A real blockbuster of a wine. I'm not sure how this is going to look in 10 years, but who cares when it is drinking so well now. WOTF. My WOTN.
  • 1998 Joseph Phelps Insignia - USA, California, Napa Valley
    The poor '98. Sandwiched between the '97 and '99 it really looked like a loser. Still, for a '98, it was pretty good. Cherries on the nose and that's really the lasting impression here. Someone said cough syrup but I don't think it was that bad, but it was a little sweet on the entry. Maybe I've got Zin on the brain, but I thought it tasted like a old, Claret-like Zinfandel with a little bramble fruit and spiciness (which precipitated odd looks from those around me). To complete the trifecta here, it was also a bit astringent on the finish. I think there was general consensus that this was the worst wine on the night.
  • 1999 Joseph Phelps Insignia - USA, California, Napa Valley
    Where the '97 was all about "drink me" fruit, the '99 was all about backbone. Tightly wound with a dense core of currant, black cherry, anise and cedar. Nicely structured, with firm acidity and chalky tannins. It was not unpleasant to drink now (an understatement), but the grip really masks the complexity of the fruit and shortens the finish. A young blockbuster built to age, I thought this was kind of a throw-back to the finesse of the '91.
Flight of the Flights
The '00 is pretty good for the vintage, but the '01 and '02 are a great yin and yang that will be drunk and compared for years
  • 2000 Joseph Phelps Insignia - USA, California, Napa Valley
    This is a nice wine. A good job for a bad vintage, but it's really nothing to write home about. Smooth on the entry it fades a little on the finish. Good fruit, but not much of it. Crushed mint. Solid if unspectacular.
  • 2001 Joseph Phelps Insignia - USA, California, Napa Valley
    Tightly wound beast, this is wonderfully put together and could eventually be the best of the lot. Densely packed fruit (plum, blackberry, sour cherry) with notes of cedar, leather and mint. Great balance-powerful but elegant. Long finish. It should be cellared now to let the tannins resolve but this is a great wine. Tied for WOTF.
  • 2002 Joseph Phelps Insignia - USA, California, Napa Valley
    Believe the hype. The '02 was a wonderful marriage of the structure of the '99 and the fruit of the '97. Still young and grippy, the nose was nonetheless crawling out of the glass. It really ate up the air (it was decanted) and showed complex, layered fruit framed by vanilla, anise and smoke. Wonderfully long finish that spread out beautifully. I really feel that this is a profound wine that will last for 20+ years in fine form. Tied for WOTF. My #2 of the night (with the thought that it will someday be better than the '97).



CLONYC #2 - The Insignia Vertical Tasting

First of all I want to thank everyone for being part of this amazing tasting. As Cheryl mentioned, the company was great. The converstaion and bantor was fun. I even tried to vote twice for the '96, but the group would not have it. I only wish it were a big round table. I like being within earshot of everyone. The long tables are tough. My complaining ends there! I want to thank Holt for giving us the oppurtunity to have a complete vertical, even with his being unable to make it. He offered up at cost his '97 and '98.

A great group you all are! Primarily it's the people who make the night. Then the wine and food.

Speaking of which. The food was great. Zoe did an impeccable job on service and presentaion. I did micro-manage a bit (a real tiny bit), and they handled it well.

And now the wines. A wonderful slice of this great prop. blend follows.

'91 Opened with old Cab qualities, dried fruit, sulphur? An decent wine and interesting to have it in the line-up and for the coming comparisons as we moved to the youngers wines. 87/100

'92 A little funky on the nose. On the palate there was an earthy-minerality that reminded me of an old Graves. There were traces red fruit. bit more tannins than the '91. 86/100

'93 This was my wine of the flight. It had good fruit, nice acid and smooth tannins. My only complaint was that it was a bit 'short'. Still no slouch! 90/100

'94 This one had some anteseptic qualities and maybe a touch of brett. I think it may be have ben flawed. not rated

'95 Full round mouthfeel. Great fruit with medium weight tannins Currant, cassis, and multi dimensional. I enjoyed this wine. 90/100

'96 To me this was the 'breakout' Insignia. New world Cab (Cab blend) style. Great balance. Beautiful dark fruit. Acid and tannins meshed to create an amazing long finish. Back the truck up. WOTF 92/100

'97 Great body, with a super mouthfeel. Nice dark fruit evident. I liked the length of this one. Still from all I have recently read about this wine I feel it did not show full potential. 91/100

'98 An interesting wine unto itself. One dimensional with nice med dark fruit. The thing about this wine was many felt as I did that served on its own would be a very nice wine, but we are known by the company we keep and there was some stiff competition in the room wine. 5 grape blend ( I believe). Possibly The best '98 I have ever had. 89/100

'99 Now we are talking. Great nose of truffles. An amazing fullness on the palate. Showed its breed. Good dark fruit. Nice balance. My wine of the flight. Glad I have some in my cellar. 92.5/100

'00 Another wine that reminded me of the '98. Great nose, good minerality, great red fruit/cherry. Very nice for the vintage. 89/100

'01 Fantastic. Smooth. Dark fruit, currant, mocha, dark cherry. I love this wine. Did I say fantastic? Easily my WOTF and WOTN. 94/100

'02 Oh, the ohtwo....... yes the ohtwo. This one was a bit closed. But understandable. It has the makings for a long lived wine. Great tannin/acid/fruit meshing happening here. Smooth full mouthfeell. I guess everyone wants to see what the fuss is here. WS Wine of the year and all. Makes me wonder. Don't get me wrong, it is a beautiful wine, but NOT wine of the year. 91/100

Jim hit the nail on the head here "It was interesting to see Insignia change from a more Bordeaux styled wine from 1991 to 1995, then to a Bordeaux Cali blend and then in 2002 to a more riper style"

My note taking leaves something to be desired. More like a summation.

Thank you again Cheryl, Nano, Ben, Jeff, Cindy, Jeff, Gary, Kevin, Dan, Jim, and Greg.



 Premiere CLONYC Tasting and Dinner

Thursday April 20th, 2006   7:00PM at Philip Marie

1986 Caymus Estate

1994 Beringer Marston Vineyard

1994 La Jota HM Selection

1995 Hartwell Sunshine

1996 Vine Cliff

1997 Pride

1999 Miner

2001 Arns

2002 Cornerstone Premiere Auction Cabernet

2003 Neal Rutherford Dust

1999 Lafaurie-Peyraguey Sauternes