Upcoming CLONYC events



CLONYC 21 - 2007 Napa Cabernet

Last night 12 of us converged last night on a cold NY night to sample these Cabernets and fill our arteries with bad stuff. The food at North Square is fantastic, as is the service. My steak au poivre was great, and the frites equally so. Enough already! onto the wines!

All were served double blind, in flights of 3s with each flight being unveiled as we went. The last group was in 2. 14 wines, 5 flights. Most were decanted 3-4 hours in advance, (another mistake, all mine. In retrospect we should have popped and poured).
There was a Chablis (thanks Steve) and a Trimbach (Thanks Mike).

Flight 1

1) 2007 Corra Cabernet Sauvignon -The nose was all milk shake and cocoa powder. There was some muted fruits of black cherries and black berries, this seemed to be somewhat plushy . A medium weighted wine that please the senses, just some maybe a wee too much. It garnered 4 number 1 votes. 91pts

2) 2007 Buccella Cabernet Sauvignon – this one will be a ‘hot point’ with the group. On first sniff this was proclaimed to be corked. I did not get that. I got some sweet cherry cola, black cassis and blackberries. A very pretty and fragrant wine that might not have been at its potential, but in my estimation was not flawed. within 20 minutes this got much more focused and precise. I enjoyed it and some on the table started coming around. It actually had 5 #1 votes. 92pts

3) 2007 EMH Blackcat Cabernet Sauvignon- maybe I had an unfair advantage, but I still played this tasting single blind since I knew what was in the house, just not in what order it was served in. This was an obvious pick-out by me as we had hosted Merrill Lindquist and her wines last month so my olfactory memory perception was spot on. There is a certain quality present in all of Merrill’s wines and this had that signature. There was some nice black cherry cola notes with some pretty plush mouthfeel. It seemed a bit typical amongst much flamboyance on the table. I liked this more last time I had it. A big thanks to Merrill for adding this to the line-up. 3 #1 votes. 90pts

Flight 2

4) 2007 Georg Rafael Cabernet Sauvignon- On whiff, I knew we were in new ‘cab land’ of the night. The nose was bold and brash. The palate was huge, but in a good way. This had all black fruits with tremendous mouth feel and structure. A bolder style indeed. It lacked the flamboyance I expect of the vintage and remained a perfect example of a variation of what’s coming from Napa these days. More classically structured, there really is something for everyone, and this is for me, especially when you find out its 1/3-1/5 the price of the average bottle on the table. 4 #1 votes for Wine of the flight. 92pts QPR of the night.

5) 2007 Kapcsandy State Lane ‘Grand Vin’ Cabernet Sauvignon- Initially this was closer to the Buccella (early on). It had some stuff, but seemed almost outclassed tonight. This gained an almost annoying sweet fruited profile, too sweet. I dumped it after a few more minutes as it tanked even further to the dark side. 1 Wine of the flight votes. Me:n/r

6) 2007 Schrader Beckstoffer Tokalon Cabernet Sauvignon- Hold onto your seats. This one is the ride of a lifetime. Its pure cab explosiveness on the nose. When I opened it at about 3pm my kitchen filled with its fragrant beauty. When poured later on it gained weight. Probably the most mouth coating wine I have ever experienced. Dark and ominous with goby layers of lush exotic fruits. Black cassis, crème de kirsch, pomegranate, and more. An incredible balance with multi-faceted tannins and a lilty acidity. Wow. 7 Wine of the flight votes. 96pts

Flight 3

7) 2007 Ramey Pedregal Cabernet Sauvignon- This is one that has never inspired me. I had the 2007 Ramey Annum last month that I thought was fantastic, but what about this one? Its one dimensional and blasé. Sure, there’s fruit and stuff but the package did not click for me. Great cab should inspire. For now, I would stick with the younger sibling. 4 WOTF votes. 89pts

8) 2007 Melka Metissa "Jumping Goat Vineyard"- Pretty nose with some exotic spice box. There was some red currant & bing cherries. Some cedar box. Finish was ok. I would like to try this one again at some point. 5 WOTF votes. 89 pts

9) 2007 Stag's Leap Wine Cellars Cask 23 Cabernet Sauvignon- This was beautiful. Its was more bold and brash than others around it all while being elegant and classy. I got black cassis driven fruits with crème de cassis, kirsch and plum. I did detect just a hint of heat toward the finish but not enough to distract me or sway my vote for #1 in the flight. A great showing that reminded me a bit of the 2007 BV Georges de Latour last weekend. 3 WOTF. 93pts

Flight 4

10) 2007 Rockledge Premiere Napa Auction Cabernet Sauvignon- this was another beauty. All plushy black fruits with a very delineated structure with loads of class and breed. The first real iron fist/velvet glove wine on the night. A rare bottling that is impossible to find, I am glad to sample this tonight. Super long and fragrant, this had purity and super structure. Black plum compote, black cherry cola, wow. 9 WOTF votes. 94 pts.

11) 2007 Dominus- Dark fruit profile but I got some band aid on the nose. A bit off. other than that it was mostly uninspiring. Not sure where this lands in the years to come. I think it’s a stylistic thing for me; at least historically it is, as I have never been a fan. Why start now?. Pass. No votes. n/r

12) 2007 Maybach Materium Cabernet Sauvignon- a sweet and somewhat candied showing of one of my sweetheart wines. Some red and black currant with a red cherry note. Some vanilla milkshake and cedar box. My fourth time with this wine. Maybe it’s a vintage thing with me, as I prefer the 2006 over the 2007. 3 WOTF votes. 91 pts

Flight 5

13) Hourglass Blueline- Very nice but at this point I have had enough. An interesting two wine flight with the other being the Hourglass Estate. Everyone felt for sure this had to be the estate. Wrong! 11 votes WOTF. 93pts

14) Hourglass Estate – A big step downward from the Blueline. Again, notes are sparse here, but there was one lone WOTF vote. 90

Wine of the night: 2007 Schrader Tokalon- 6 votes (lost 1)
runner up: 2007 Rockledge PNV wine- 2 votes
1 vote each: Corra, Buccella, Blueline and Maybach

Thanks to everyone involved. Now let it fly! I am ready for ya.


CLONYC 20 EMH Black Cat Cabernet with Merrill Lindquist

In a time long ago, in the land of NY there was a dinner. Not just any dinner, but a cabernet sauvignon dinner. At this dinner was a bottle of wine that might not have been shown in the best light for reasons I will not go into here. The farmer/grower/proprietor of said wine was a wee bit disappointed with how her wine showed, and rightly so. This was the genesis of last evenings CLONYC dinner where Merrill Lindquist and her wines, EMH Black Cat Cabernet came east to settle the score, and settle she did. Like a gunslinger riding into town at noon, she arrived with a gun full of bullets, 8 vintages of bullets.

Merrill is a gracious and lovely lady who happens to produce a small volume wine, a wine that I have not had the pleasure of trying until that fateful night about 6 months back. it was the '01 Black Cat that had seen too much air. Considering Merrill has less than 12 bottles of this in her cellar (as well as the next three in the line-up), the sacrifice(s) she made for us was huge. I mean, who are we? A bunch of wine loving geeks who, oh yeah, are true lovers of all thing Cabernet Sauvignon. Even our name is silly: Cabernet Lovers Of New York! Who came up with that one?

Okay, okay. Onto the wines!

2001 EMH Black Cat Cabernet Sauvignon- The all neutral oak treatment on this keeps it graceful and pretty. There is some floral notes with red currants, bing cherries and red plum. A very classy wine with a smooth long finish. very nice.

2002 EMH Black Cat Cabernet Sauvignon- This evolved from the get-go. It started a bit muted, but went really pretty and precise very quick. Fantastic structure. More up my alley stylistically. Blacker fruit profile with a medium body of joy and balance. A fine purity and long finish made this an early favorite.

2003 EMH Black Cat Cabernet Sauvignon-This was similar to the 01 in style just a bit muted and soft. there was that usual 03 thing going on, you know, the thing that makes you chose where to go next when the glasses on either side contain the 02 and 04 of the same wine? A nice drink in the context of the vintage.

2004 EMH Black Cat Cabernet Sauvignon- I have always been a fan of this once juicy vintage. This had the similar nose profile that all have carried to this point, and I seen it was a trend. Merrill agreed. When you pick the same fruit from the same 2/3 of an acre I guess similarities are expected. Pretty nose of red and black currants, the palate has a mix of fruits of the red and black variety. Classy and precise, this was a real beauty.

2005 EMH Black Cat Cabernet Sauvignon- Merrill's problem child. Mikes alley.
This was dark and ominous with a burliness and brashness unlike anything else yet. It was very perfumed with so much happening, you need a few hours to follow and get a read. It got darked as it sat. I got some black-cherry cola and leather. This started taming after about 20 minutes and a blueberry popped in! I asked Merrill if there was any rogue Syrah vines hiding in those cab vines. Mikey likey.

2006 EMH Black Cat Cabernet Sauvignon- Somethings gotta give, right? 2006 is a vintage that I really enjoy. This one seemed a bit unstructured than most I have encountered. You are always measured by the company you keep. I commented that it really is not fair to do these types of tastings because any wine like this 06 that would be lovely and welcomed at the table if alone, just sits in the shadows.

2007 EMH Black Cat Cabernet Sauvignon- This is the one I really wanted to try. With all the talk of 07 cab this, 07 cab that, I wanted to see what cab is like in Merrill's EMH part of the world. It was fantastic. With her style leaning in this 'could be blowsy' vintage, she has nailed it. Multi layered goodness with purity, balance and structure. Elegant black and red fruits surrounded by plushness and love. The 2 hour decant really did wonders as the second bottle on pop and pour was a bit more subdued, but opened slowly in my glass. There was some vanilla present among some lead pencil shavings and soy. I think after the 01, this is the wine Merrill really wanted to read my face with. well done there my lady!

2008 EMH Black Cat Cabernet Sauvignon- tough to read in its youth. It was primary and closed. Interestingly enough, on second bottle this shined with pop and pour! Its a pretty wine with the EMH nose. Lots of spring flowers with a cornucopia of red and black fruits. There was some cedar box and exotic tea. A very tightly wound wine with a narrow line of attack, I can see this evolving into something really special with 2 years in the bottle more.

All the wines were opened save for a few dupes after dinner (2 mentioned above).
The 01 and 02 were not decanted but everything else was. 5pm.

I want to thank Merrill for her tenacity and wherewithal to deal with us loud but pretty harmless group of guys. There was many laughs for sure. Merrill is a very dedicated lady who wants to make sure her babies are enjoyed as the deserve to be, and there's nothing wrong with that. I love passion.


SLONYC 3- Here, there and anywhere.....

Last night the SLONYC group met with a simple theme: Syrah from anywhere.These were to be served blind with no-one knowing more than 2 of them in total. Even I avoided making much note on what was ‘in’, and I allocated regions/countries in a first come first serve format. Trying to get 3 from each major Syrah producing region. Most responses came back US, France and Australia as expected. I was glad a NZ Shiraz and Italian Syrah showed up as well.11 of us sampled 14 wines at North Square restaurants private room. It got loud from time to time, but a good time was had, as usual. Bottles were all wrapped in aluminum and numbered. Placement in no particular order.What a great assortment we had. Classic next to flamboyant, all the ‘rules’ were in check this night.

Thanks for everyone for participating and bringing such great bottles.

We unveiled after every flight of 3.
Check out the 'ringer', wine #11

Starter: 2006 Dutton Russian River Chardonnay

1-2006 Craggy Range Syrah Le Sol, New Zealand. Very interesting from the get go. Black pepper is first and upfront with some red raspberries, and macerated black cherry. Some sour cherry notes in the mix. A cool climate Shiraz that’s kept me curious to see what I could find and I liked it for that. 90

2-2006 Cayuse "Armada Vineyard" Walla Walla Valley US. Wow, this screamed purity. This screamed west coast. Clean and delineated lines with blueberry pie, river rocks, and some floral notes. I recognized this one immediately as possibly being a Cayuse of some sort. Very nice indeed. My WOTF 95

3-2000 Chave Hermitage, Rhone France. Barnyard, funk, more of same. Dump. Sorry….no I am not.

Group: 8 1st place votes for wine #2. 2 for wine #1. 1 for wine #3

4-2003 Standish "The Relic" Shiraz-Viognier Barossa Valley South Australia. This was an easy spot for an Aussie. It was dark and almost syrupy and sweet. Blackberry, anise, chocolate malted, and more. It had some real interesting stuff going on. Long and profuse, this did not work with for at all. I did enjoy it, but context of the night kept it just below what I wanted. A Syrah. 91

5-2006 Charles Smith Syrah Royal City Stoneridge Vineyard, Columbia Valley, Washington, US. 4 hour double decant. Dark glossy and pure, this had an attack of elegant black fruits; macerated blackberry, pomegranate, with some Kirsch and bacon. Pretty and floral with elegance and super structure which belies its initial mouth feel (intense). Wonderful balance. Tannins big and brawny and in the back field. Long finish. Fantastic. My WOTF . 95

6- 2004 Negly Porte Du Ciel. Languedoc, France. Started out somewhat funky, but turned medicinal and band-aid real quick. Flawed

Group: 7 1st place votes for wine #5 4 for wine #4

7-1995 Jim Barry Shiraz The Armagh , Australia, South Australia, Mount Lofty Ranges, Clare Valley. Initially very Cab like. This had menthol notes amidst some black cherry, currant and plums. Some licorice, some tar, some lead pencil shaving. I thought right away on how it reminds me of a Penfolds Grange. I figured maybe15 years old or so. This was a very classy, classical Shiraz with tons of elegance and pizzazz. Long and pure, the menthol never really let up. 93

8-2005 Saxum Syrah Bone Rock James Berry Vineyard, Central Coast, Paso Roble, CA, USA. Dark hues, this was initially somewhat dis-jointed and awkward. As it sat t came around to a pure and intense style I really love, not too unlike the Royal City. Lots of macerated black fruits with a hint of blueberry. River rocks, some earth, some Crème de Kirsch, and so much happening. A cornucopia of goodness with super structure and depth. Ultra long pure finish, kept alive for minutes. Incredible. My WOTF 94

9-2000 Negly Clos des Truffiers, Languedoc, France. n/a

Group: 7 1st place votes for wine #8. 4 for wine #7.

10: 2001 Jaboulette La Chapelle Hermitage, Rhone, France-n/a

11- 2006 Antica Terra Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon, US. In retrospect, the nose should have given this away. What a great exercise in blind tasting and its expectations. This had some great red fruits of cherries, plums and more. A decent light weight mouth feel. What else could I say? The group LOVED it. 9 WOTF votes. Me included. 92

12- 2004 Hazyblur Shiraz The Invictus Barossa Valley Australia, South Australia, Barossa, Barossa Valley. Dark, pure, and oh so Australian. Lots of Blueberry, blackcherry, blackberry with chocolate malt shake, vanilla, and more. A mid weight wine with stuffing to spare, I would not mind trying this on a cold winters night by itself. Evolved much as it sat. It may have suffered by placement. A good wine nonetheless. If I knew 11 was a Pinot, I would have voted this my number 1 of the flight. Retrospect is a beach with an I and T where the E and A is. 90

Group: 9 1st place votes for wine #11. 2 for wine #12.

13- 2006 Eric Kent Kalen. Shut the fire. I’m done.

14- 2006 Tenimenti Luigi d'Alessandro (Manzano) Syrah Cortona Il Bosco, Italy. Nice, but no notes takenUn-scientific vote for WOTN.4 Cayuse3 Saxum2 Craggy1 Standish1 Royal City (me)


CLONYC 19- Napa AVA Distinction

If you have ever seen the movie ‘burn after reading’, you know the line from the very end where the FBI boss is being briefed about some spy activities that no one seems to know much of about the goings on of a few fools and buffoons, acting like spies, says: “So what did we learn here?--------Damned if I know”. He then shakes his head and closes his file.
That’s how I feel this morning about the many AVAs of Napa Valley. As you see, we had some wonderful wines, but aligning them with their respective AVA by either style or characteristics would be difficult for most MIT Scientists—who would have to have large cellars themselves, and WITHOUT their beakers and bunsen burners.What might have initially seemed futile actually turned to an array of wonderful wines with great company and grub, all on a beautiful June evening---and what’s so wrong about that?
That said, last night we put CLONYC 19 into the books. Its theme was Napa AVAs. We planned to sample a bottle of Cabernet from each and every of the official AVAs. We were short a few, but marched onward into cabernet hedonism anyway.

2001 Diamond Creek Cabernet Sauvignon –Diamond Mountain District AVA: (Pop & Pour) this changed moment to moment. Started great with good fruit, some nice balance and mouth feel. It did not initially show its age, but in 10 minutes sure changed to an older wine. Structure was persistent and overall a very good bottle indeed. 89

2001 Shafer Hillside Select - Stags Leap District AVA – Dark and ominous, this was tight out of the gate (as expected for pop and pour). Within minutes it started shedding its armore and black fruits started emerging. Wow, this is pure and precise with tones of refined black fruits of currant, blackberry and black plum. Some real nice cola notes amidst some tar, cardamom and soy. I kept this in my glass all night. It evolved, but in the super-flight at the end of the night, my new pour seemed a bit tired and fading. Still, all in all a very great Hillside from a classic vintage will always please in my book. 95

2001 EMH Black Cat Cabernet Sauvignon - Calistoga AVA – Steve opened this early. Too early. It came across as a pure, but oldish cabernet with some remnants of beauty. Initially there was some burnt rubber on the nose, but that left quick, it had some correct cab features; some nice red currant, red raspberry, lead pencil shavings, cedar and forest floor. Others who have recently had it did not recognize it all sure agreed pop & pour would have been best. 90

2002 Caymus Special Select - Rutherford AVA – A very flashy generous Cabernet with tons to give. Stylistically appealing to many, maybe not me. It had great mid weight mouthfeel with goby red & black fruits. Balance seemed to lean toward a higher acidity. Great finish. Some great discussions about this, and it being a delicious wine, but most wanting more defining depth and character. I agreed. 92

2002 Bryant Family - St. Helena AVA – Ready for this? This is one of the most incredible cabernets that I have ever had. It had everything a Napa Cabernet drinker could, should ever want. Depth, elegance, structure, and reverence, all wrapped around some sweet black fruits of macerated currants and black cherries--Bing cherries—maybe maraschino cherries. Stellar and precise, this had lead pencil shavings, soy, worn leather, crème de cassis, kirsch, river stones, and more. Almost mystifying depth and purity that one can make cabernet dreams of. Made me want to find my pillow tout suite. 100

2004 Dunn Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon - Howell Mountain AVA – always happy to sample these, this was a revelation to many as its approachability. Opened at 9am, this was really balanced and super-structure, all while showing some elegance and class. It maybe suffered by the company it kept tonight. Dark black cassis with some kirsch notes, cola, sassafras and earth. Maybe a bit four square in style and if a bit of show can or should ever be warranted, this would be the time. 92.5

2004 Gemstone – Yountville AVA – Flashy nose, this is fragrant and showy. Reminded me of a Cali Syrah, initially, both in nose and taste. The palate had some redder fruits of red cherries, plums and pomegranate. A subdued currant note with some soy, tar, leather, and cedar. Some oak, some anise. I am a fan of gemstone, and again, this suffered from the company it kept. 91.5

2005 Fourteen Appellations- mixed AVAs- All over the place. It really never could do as promised, which is to display ALL the AVAs, this marketing genius wine stood a bit slouchy amongst giants. Really seemed a bit out of place and messy. Red and black fruits with some awkward balance. Short finish... 87

2007 Maybach Materium -Oakville AVA – Remember where I said the EMH should have been pop and poured? This should have had the 4 hours air-time. It opened with such a creamy oak profile, Steve almost screamed! Once it sat in the glass, it really opened and unwound by the minute to a very pure, elegant, somewhat showy cabernet. Having had all the Maybachs available, this sits in the number 2 position after the 2006 Maybach Materium. To me the 2007s in general lack structure. It had some black currant, crème de cassis, ultra pure and precise, with a light to mid weight mouth feel. A super long finish, it showed its pedigree well---with air. I might hold mine until 5 years. Tasted during the Super-flight this really came around and beat out the SHS. 93+

2007 Pott Wine CS Kaliholmanok Bel Canto- Spring Mountain District AVA – Quiet, pure, precise and focused, this held its own. Initially stylistically appealing to me, this had some wonderful structure wrapped in elegance, all while being confident and bold. After the Bryant, possible the most exact Cabernet on the table. Lacking the depth of the Bryant, this really was in my wheelhouse to start, it changed quickly to something resembling a Bordeaux, (hence the ‘Initially stylistically appealing to me’ comment) and then back to cali. Very interesting. 91.5

2007 Domaine Georg Rafael Cabernet Sauvignon- Mt Veeder AVA- This was the wild card on the night and it sure shined bright. Black and deep colored, this had a pure cassis nose with some cardamom, cherry cola, coffee, cocoa/mocha, sweet plums and lead pencil, all wrapped around some very structured and aligned tannins with a deft balance. A really admirable wine that managed to stand tall amongst the ‘trees’ of the night. A super QPR ($45ish +/-). A long clean finish. Very nice indeed. 92

Thanks to everyone for participating!


Birthday Party CLONYC style! (#18)

My baby is growing up! CLONYC is 4 years old! 
Reason enough for a party, CLONYC style.

9 of us met on a cool spring evening at North Square once again to indulge in great food, lively conversation, and ….Cabernet Sauvignon. Here are some notes/impressions of most of the wines. Maybe others can fill the rest.

We started with a 2007 Dönnhoff Riesling Spätlese that was incredible. So easy and refreshing. Less filling and tastes great! 94 

1995 Leonetti Cabernet- Nice deep color, some direct cab qualities with black currant and cherry first and foremost. A little burnt ember quality. Very classic. 90

1994 Stags Leap Cask 23- (Blind) on first impression, this was bright and flabby. I guessed an 02. I was wrong. In the glass this turned quickly and its age was starting to show. I got some red fruits, and cedar, it turned unbalanced and awkward –fast. A real shocker when revealed. 86

2001 Pride Cabernet Reserve- Wow, pure and elegant with some wonderful lush blackish-red fruits. There were some hints of creamy vanilla, soy, and leather. A finely meshed tannin base with perfectly balanced acidity. Wonderful medium weighted mouthfeel, super long finish. What a treat. 94

2004 Buccella – I decanted this 4 hours and it could have used more. Much more. It was big and showy with so much coming at you from so many directions, so very hard to pin down. Some said Zinfandel! I usually like this one a bit better, no…much better. It calmed down a bit in my glass with food. 90

2004 Georg Raphael Cabernet Sauvignon- A wind card on the night, this really showed well amongst this crowd of rowdy and rambunctious characters. Very delineated cab style with currant, kirsch, black cherry and rubbed saddle. Medium weight with a hint of sassafras and vanilla. Great balance. A decent finish rounded this nicely. 92

2005 Pahlmeyer Red- I was interested in trying this just having the 06 a week previous. Wow. Super dark in color with brooding viscosity, this had such a medley of mixed fruits. Currant, black and red cherry, kirsch, fresh ground coffee, camphor, leather, and more. All nicely balanced within a super structure of tannins, true to the vintage. Long and elegant with food, pure and precise. 94

2005 Mondavi Marjorie’s Premiere Napa Valley- Wholly crap! This was super fragrant of all things good: blackest cassis, chocolate covered cherries, spring wild flowers, leather, some pomegranate and more. It was deep and elegant with layers upon layers of cabernet goodness. The tannins were brawn hidden by flash, but never did it out flash itself. Phenomenal. 95

There were a few others I did not make notes on. Too much wine does that. Maybe someone else can fill them in.
Wine of the night was the Mondavi with 5 points
# 2 on the night was Pahlmeyer.

Another great night indeed. Thanks to everyone involved for you generosity once again, and a big thanks for those ‘extra’ bottles that just have a way of showing up!


CLONYC 17- The Big Juicy Cabs Amongst Friends dinner

When 'Philly' from Chicago calls on a Friday night and says "I will be in town for one day on business and want to do a big cabernet dinner, CLONYC style"....you listen. That was the scenario for the impromptu CLONYC dinner, just 8 days after the Dr Crane dinner last week. (As I walked into the room at North Square, I could swear I still smelled the aroma of that Myriad Dr Crane from last week).And so the CLONYC Big Juicy Cabs Amongst Friends dinner commenced. I sent a few emails out hoping to gather a group. By Monday, mission accomplished.

CLONYCs new home at North Square restaurant really fits our needs; The private room, the top notch red meat leaning choices for dinner, and a killer lobster and crab meat with home made slaw that is yummo!

Anywho, I will stop my rambling and move on--to the wines.3 flights of 3, each with a blind entry. 2 blinds in the third flight.

2006 Maybach Materium -This opened with a whiff of vanilla that really balanced itself into a creamy, lush, velvety & pure cabernet. It had some great blackish fruits with some crème de cassis and kirsch notes. A very great showing that just continued to benefit from air, even after the 3 hour decant. In my mind, this still has the best qualities of both the 2004 and the 2005 Maybachs. Wow

2005 Buccella- This was a bit awkward at first, almost a bit funky/soapy nose. I initially thought it was my unseasoned glass, but when ‘after flight’ conversations went around, I found out that Eric and Lance had the same sense. Thankfully this dissipated and opened into a very clean and precise cabernet with some great cola note, cassis, cardamom, and black cherry. Fantastic balance with a decent finish. I think the 04 Buccella overshadows this, but not a bad drop at all.

BLIND #1- 2004 Paul Hobbs ToKalon- Pouring this into the glass I noted a bit lighter color, and an amazing fragrant burst of flowers, reddish fruits and joy. A super balanced example of Hobbs surely needed after last weeks 'Hobbs incident' at CLONYC 16. Medium weight and chock full of everything one could ask for, the breed and class was really showing through. Never really moving away from its near perfect showing. Incredible.
2004 Kobalt- Dark and pure, this was exquisite in its showing and once again proves the skills and abilities of the winemaker, Mark Herold. Currant, plum, sassafras, cardamom, crushed river rock, spring flowers wow. Long and full figured, this was both elegant and a bruiser. A velvety hand within its iron glove.

2005 Harris Estate Lakeview- a bit more restrained than the Kobalt (same winemaker, more up valley fruit), this was heady with tannins that really dug in. Some great black fruits of cassis, blackberries, dark plums, and leather; this really needs more air, or more time, my preference the latter. A longish pure cab finish, this really is something wonderful. I have been a fan of Mike Harris’ wines form some time now. Still well under the radar, I never understand where the love is, but that’s cool, because I know I have some….

BLIND #2 – 2004 Bialla Cabernet Sauvignon- a nose of dill pickle, this was a bit awkward and unbalanced to me. I hear it can be compared to Insignia, and that might be true, as Insignia, although a good drink, has never been a ‘gotta have’ for me in MOST vintages.
2001 Rudd Estate Oakville- A more quiet style, this showed a bit of its age as compared to the others so far. A pure and elegant wine with a mix of red and black berries, crème de cassis, and leather. A nice finish. I have always enjoyed Rudd’s wines. It’s always the company you keep that brings you up or keeps you down. On a lazy Sunday night without 8 wines ahead of it, I would most certainly appreciate this one much more.

BLIND #3 2005 Go Figure Cabernet Sauvignon Lot 3- Tire rubber on the nose kept this one down for a while. It took a while to come around. It was a correct cabernet it the sense it had the currant, cassis, cola and black berries, but it was a bit clunky and out of class. I knew what it was right away, (I knew 3 of the 4 blinds). A good wine, but see what I said about the Rudd about the lazy Sunday night. (At $35, it really was outclassed tonight).

BLIND#4- 2006 Seven Stones- Wow, the youth was evident. An amazingly pure and precise cabernet that was lush and elegant. I have always like Aaron Potts wines, and this must certainly be one of the best I have had yet. Creamy and full of promise….and baby fat, when this comes around in a few years time, you would be mighty happy to have it in your cellars. I almost felt as though I had tasted a barrel sample. Lots of exact black fruits with a hint of some red in the background. An amazingly intricate tannin base, with a lithy acidity. So much going on in 750ml of space. Wow. Gotta get me some.
I had left place mat with the results of WOTF and WOTN home. I can tell you this, The Maybach, Kobalt, Hobbs and Seven Stones were my favorites on the night of almost wine-perfection--once again.Great night. Thanks all. Always great welcoming new friends in the CLONYC family.


CLONYC 16 - The Dr. Crane Vineyard

CLONYC 16 commenced last evening with an introspective retrospect of the Dr Crane Vineyard, all 21 acres of it. 10 different bottlings of assorted vintage. 

1996 Henriot Champagne Brut Millésimé- Nice, refreshing. A little front loaded and loudish, but I believe thats the style here, as it drank exactly as it did a few months back. Nice acidity, all with faint tiny bubbles.
"Tiny bubbles, in my wine, make me happy, some of the time"

The first flight of Karl Lawrence Dr. Cranes was thought to be a tough act to follow. As we see, it wasn’t. Not to say these aren’t awesome, because they were, but the two flights to come were no slouches either, especially with Hobbs on the horizon.

2003 Karl Lawrence Dr. Crane Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve- 2 hour decant- This opened very pretty and elegant with lots of reddish black fruits of creamy crushed currant, red and black cherry and plums. Some eucalyptus popping. A sweet profiled wine with length and structure. This as the two to follow changed the most in the glass as time went on. 94 My WOTF
2004 Karl Lawrence Dr. Crane Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve- 2 hour decant- This one is very reminiscent of the '03. Same profile and feel, with maybe just a wee bit more structure and finesse. Reddish black fruits, leather, and a hint of sulphur that kept it from beating the 03 in my estimation. 92
2005 Karl Lawrence Cabernet Sauvignon Barrel Select Beckstoffer Dr. Crane Vineyard- this sure could have used a decant. It was big boned with a delineated chunky tannin base, black fruited and bold. The nose was restrained. A bit edgy. A youngster that begs for three to four years further, or a 3 hour. I say go the years. 91

First place:
Wine 1 - 3 votes
Wine 2 - 5 votes
Wine 3 - 0 votes. 8 last place votes

2005 Realm Cabernet Sauvignon Dr. Crane- its no mystery to me why I am such a fan of this, the interesting thing is to put it up against the others in its category and see the differences. This is bright and bold with a berry blast of black currant, black berry, black cherry, and pomegranate. A style that could be polarizing, as it was so last night (your cue Steve). A full featured cab that could have been the schoolyard bully on the night. Nice. 94 My WOTF
2002 B&H Cabernet Sauvignon Dr. Crane- This was the one that all eyes were on, and I must say, it really shined. It was of a softer style, with great plush red and black fruits with the red cherries are dominant. The bottle says blend, and I am not sure what the other grape(s) could be, but a few percent of PV would not shock me. It was very pretty and fragrant. Fully resolved tannins, and a slight underbrushness I enjoy. Interesting.
2004 Paul Hobbs Cabernet Sauvignon Dr. Crane- This wine was the letdown on the evening. Its showing was just not up to par with the others earlier. An Oaky mess is how I will sum it up. I chose to enjoy winner in the glasses around it instead of dissecting this one for too long. Dump.
2005 Paul Hobbs Dr Crane- Corked.

First place:
Wine 1 - 6 votes
Wine 2 - 2 votes
Wine 3 - 0 votes, 8 last place votes.

This flight was ‘The Revelation’ flight. All somewhat similar, these really had the feel of the Crane vineyard available on different labels. 

2005 Waypoint Cabernet Sauvignon Dr. Crane- Anyone ever actually open these yet, you should, they are fantastic. I remember the blowout a local retailer did, and all I can say is I am sorry I did not try and buy. Now they have doubled in price. This was super fragrant and pure with a backbone. Plush and medium weight with crème de cassis, kirsch, currant, black plum pudding, and some cedar. Tannins in full bloom and in line, the balance of this was staggering. Long finish to boot. More please. 94 My WOTF
2007 Myriad Cabernet Sauvignon Dr. Crane- In the same vein as the Waypoint, this was a bit fuller and flashier. You can see TRBs influence on the winemaker here. He learned well. Great structure, poise and elegance, Dark fruits with currant, plums, and cocoa, and a touch of lead pencil shavings. Floral nose with berry influence. I could drink this all night. 93
2006 Frontier Justice Cabernet Sauvignon Dr. Crane- Again, similar to the Waypoint, with some of the same goodies. The difference in my mind is it is maybe just a bit more subdued and restrained, but make no mistake, it fit into this flight perfectly. Not a minor point that both this and the Waypoint say Bounty Hunter on the back labels….Hmmmmm 92

First place:
Wine 1 - 5 votes
Wine 2 - 3 votes
Wine 3 - 0 votes 7 last place votes.
Its tough being last.

2007 Congruence Cabernet Sauvignon Maiden Voyage- Always happy to taste this one and see the evolution, although being at the end of the night is a tough placement. Great reddish black fruits with some lead pencil, cola, and kirsch. A bit lush with some elegance. Very nice showing. Interesting that when these show up at big name dinners, they always hold their own.

Groups WOTN
3 2005 Realm Cabernet Sauvignon Dr. Crane
3 2004 Karl Lawrence Cabernet Sauvignon Dr. Crane 
1 2003 Karl Lawrence Cabernet Sauvignon Dr. Crane
1 2005 Waypoint Cabernet Sauvignon Dr. Crane (guilty!)

Thanks to everyone for being a part of this one. Great people, wine and food. What’s not to love?

Anywho, that's my story, and I'm sticking with it.