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CLONYC 41- A Smattering of Georges IIIs

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:

1st flight
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.

2nd 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

3rd flight
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

4th flight
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)