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CLONYC 39 - Cabernet Sauvignon Reserves & Selects

CLONYC 39 was set into motion by a request from Merrill Lindquist who was to be part of the evening. She was bringing her Select wines from 3 vintages. Sadly, she was called back to her home on some urgent family business. She was missed and we all wish her well. At the time the theme Merrill and I agreed on seemed appropriate, and as it turned out was actually decent, even with a late flurry of cancellations. Mind you, we were 12 just last Sunday, but when the dust settled, we were 8. This group has never wanted for a reason to get together, so in the dark shadow of what I mentioned above, we went forward with a Reserve/Select Cabernet Sauvignon dinner. As much as I wish it had a wider selection of the options available, it all went quite well. Thanks to all that participated.
As a gathering wine, Steve poured his 2008 Congruence Cabernet. I did not take notes but enjoyed how it seems to have settled into a nice groove. I had remembered it to be a maverick of a cab. Thanks, Steve.

Here we go….

2002 Pride Mountain Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve- this started with a slight note of reduction both on the nose and palate. It certainly had the Foley signature sweet profile. It started with some blackberry and black currant but turned to a redder fruit profile within 15 minutes. I also noticed it then became a bit more concise and elegant. These are always a joy to sample, a veritable cornucopia of fruits and styles all dictated by the clock. 90

2004 Leonetti Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve- When Howard mentioned he had a Leonetti Reserve, I said why not? This one came on with a pretty eucalyptus and black fruit profile that surely showed its northern profile well. Deep & dark, this was well balanced and nicely delineated with maybe just a miss on dimension,. A nice wine nonetheless. 91

2004 Shafer Hillside Select Cabernet Sauvignon- Always love to sample Shafer Hillside; this one had the usual awesome mouthfeel and darkness I associate with Hillside Select, a wine that would sure be my house wine if I had Bloomberg money, but I don’t and it ain’t. This was opened earlier in the day and double decanted and it still showed some reticence; tannins well rounded and balance deft. As it sat I noticed a ripe tomato note that is nothing like tomato leaf associated with Sangiovese, and actually added interest for me. Finish was long and pure. Boy, do I enjoy Shafer Hillside. Just awesome. 94

5 first place votes for the Shafer, 3 for the Pride. The place was 5 votes for the Pride, 2 for the Leonetti and 1 for the Shafer. The fact that the Shafer had 3 votes in last place really makes math difficult when you do the 5,3,1 score as the Pride wins the flight. Crazy but true. I hate math. I had the Shafer for my WOTF.

2005 Karl Lawrence Cabernet Sauvignon Morisoli Vineyard Reserve- This opened with a slight medicinal nose that quickly made it stand out, and not in a good way. Palate was slightly cloying, but I can’t really say flaw. It had maybe 65% of what I remember my last 2005 Morisoli having, so maybe it was in a dumb stage. Some red and black fruits with hints of soy and cola, this had a bit of the creamy mid-palate I always enjoy. I am going to sit out with the pointage.

2005 Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon Majories Vineyard Premiere Napa Valley- this is always just a special wine. On this night you got its specialness from nose alone and at a foot away. Pure black and red fruits of currant, black cherries and black raspberries, this had a phenomenal mouthfeel that just oozed its pedigree. In many ways it reminded me of Mondavi’s Reserves in a great year, but this one went up 2 more notches from there. Class, breed, elegance, structure and dark and red fruits, this is the complete package guys like me seek, sort of the holy grail of Cabernet sauvignon and one I can say I have been lucky to try more than once in my lifetime. Creamy midpalate and a well resolved tannin structure, this goes long on the finish remaining true to itself. Some at the table said it fell a few rungs with airtime in the glass; I did not notice any perceptible change. Don’t spend too much time seeking it out though, it’s quite rare; maybe 5 cases rare. 95

2006 Snowden Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve- After 39 CLONYC dinners, the only empirical knowledge I have gained is how good wines pale when tasted along great wines. This is a very good wine by any standard; red and black fruits with cherries, cardamom and some edgy tannins, but it becomes outclassed quickly when one realizes that you just had the Shafer Hillside and the Mondavi PNV. It certainly shown itself to be a correct Cabernet with some dimension but lacking was the pizzazz. On the table, alone and with some time to spend, this would be a minor rockstar, tonight it’s a roadie. 90

8 first place votes for the Mondavi. 7 second place votes for the Snowden. Howard chose the Karl for his number 2.

2007 BV Georges de Latour Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon- When I had this a few years back, I thought it quite possibly one of the best 2007s I have sampled (and I sampled many). It reminded me of the greatness once associated with this label. Tonight it shown more like a Bordeaux blend showing some extra horizontal bigness quite possibly from any merlot content. (I have not checked the blend). If you remember all I said about the Snowden, I can reiterate it all here once again. 90

2010 Congruence Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve- Steve has hit a homerun and a triple in the 2010 vintage. His homerun being this wine. It shows some pureness and flowers within a finely structured red/black fruit profile that has some wonderful crème de cassis, pomegranate and black currants; in that mix is a wonderful spring flower mix, a hint of honeysuckle and new leather. A deftly made wine that continues to astound me, especially when I remember it’s 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. Well done. 93 Unanimous first place for the Congruence. Me too :)