Wally's CA All-Stars 2012
This took place last Sunday, so I'm a little late getting my TN's posted. This is all from memory so hopefully things aren't too foggy by now. Here are the wines we hit:
'06 Iron Horse Russian Cuvee - ~75% pinot noir. Good, dry, biscuity champagne. 90 pts.
'09 Hess Napa Valley - Both the Hess and Heitz were very similar. Very mellow and not much acid. Decent for drinking on their own but would get lost along with food. 88-90
'10 Heitz Napa Vaelly -
'09 Chateau Montelena - This one kicked the acidity up from the first two and had a bit more structure to it. 92
'08 Ramey Hyde Vineyard - This was the most stand-out wine of the chards we tasted. A lot of butter and oak, so if this is your style, it was a great one. 93-94
'09 Paul Hobbs Russian River - ??...
'09 Alpha Omega - Most balanced and complex of all the chards we hit. Has enough structure to age for a few years. 95
'08 Alpha Omega Proprietary Red - Nice mix of complex fruit and tannin. Blue and black fruits mostly with a touch of red. 94-95
'09 Blackbird Vineyards Arise - ?..
'09 Blackbird Vineyards Contrarian - ~40% cab franc with cs, merlot, and syrah? Brighter than I was expecting (being in more of a cs frame of mind that day). 92
'09 Chateau Montelena - Had the '07 Estate at the same tasting last year, so I was wondering what happened to the '08 Estate this year. In any case, it was had more fruit (red and blue) than I was expecting from Montelena. Ready to go, now. 93
'08 Hess Napa Valley- Mostly just got a lot of tannin from this and not much else. Will need a few years to come around. 88-90.
'09 Caymus Special Selection - Tasted this one immediately after their Belle Glos and I think the Belle just over powered the SS. Have seen really good reviews of late on the '09 SS so I had my hopes up. Wanted to go back and try it again but they were out by the time I got around to making a second pass. 90
'08 Dominus - Graphite and cedar. Very complex with a long, long finish. 95-96
'08 Quintessa - Elegant and sophisticated with good balance of fruit, acid and tannin. 96
'08 Insignia - Wine of the tasting for me. I tried the '07 last year at the same event and it was pretty tannic. This year, the tannins were much more subdued and instead there was a lot more fruit coming out of the wine, both on the nose and palate. 98-99.
'09 Hall Napa Good balance of fruit, spice and tannin. Could go now or cellar a few years. 94
'05 Hall Bergfeld - Didn't get much distinction out of this one vs their Napa. It was getting late in the day by this point. 93
'10 Belle Glos Pinot Noir Taylor Lane - Felt like I was being hit over the head with vanilla and cola on this one. Not what I was expecting from a pinot at all. Very distinctive and apropos when in the mood but it caught me so off guard that it kind of turned me off. 95+ if this is your thing. 86 for me on that day.
'10 The Prisoner - The '09 was way too jammy for me. Having my guard up for the '10, I was having a hard time finding the fruit. More acid too than I remember. 87
'10 Orin Swift Abstract - My second time tasting this wine and better this time around. First time I didn't get much from but this time the red fruits were coming out for me. 90
'07 Prager Aria White Port - Chardonnay port. What stands out most about this wine is that the finish is exactly like a popcorn JellyBelly. Quite a trip in a bottle of wine, but not my cup of tea. 95 if you like popcorn JellyBelly's, otherwise 87.
'06 Prager Royal Escort Port - A great port with big blue and purple fruits and a nice long finish. You can always count on Prager to deliver great desert wines from Napa Valley. 96.
Best Chard: '09 Alpha Omega
Best red under $50: '09 Hall
Best red $50-$100: '08 Alpha Omega Proprietary Red
Best red $100+: '08 Insignia
Best other: '06 Prager Royal Escort Port
I only purchased a pair of the Prager because they had such a screamin' deal on it. Had I had the money, I would've also picked up both AO's and the Insignia.
Morgan... I wish I knew you were at the tasting. Lots of fun wines to pick from, although it was a bit crowded. I managed to taste a myriad of California Caberent Sauvignon based wines. I'm with you on the Phelps Insignia. Outstanding wine!
2008 Ramey Hyde Chard – Fresh, bright, crisp, tropical fruit and apple with the prefect amount of acidity to make this refreshing, citrus, oak and spice filled wine interesting. 94 Pts
2009 Paul Hobbs Cabernet Sauvignon – Blackberry, cassis, smoke, vanilla and licorice notes open to a round, ripe, plush, dark berry and chocolate filled wine that is drinking perfectly today. 91 Pts
2008 Forman Cabernet Sauvignon – Ripe, sweet, lush, chocolate covered blackberries, round tannins and a rich, coffee bean, sweet, ripe, jammy plum finish are found in this Cabernet Sauvignon. This is already drinking well. 92 Pts
2009 Caymus Special Selection – Refined, elegant example of California Sauvignon that offers soft, ripe blackberry, vanilla, earth and plums with soft tannins, medium body and no sensation of overripe fruits. Very polished style of wine. 92 Pts
2008 Dominus – From a blend of 84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot, this polished, ripe, refined expression of California wine is filled with fresh blackberry, cassis, chocolate, licorice, smoke, truffle and earthy scents. Rich, powerful and concentrated, yet not over the top in style, this is utterly charming. 96 Pts
2009 Duckhorn Merlot – Medium bodied with a red berry, dominated personality, this is best enjoyed on the young side. 84 pts
2008 Crocker and Starr Cabernet Sauvignon – Plump, plush and ripe, with fresh, soft blackberry, vanilla, earth and a touch of licorice, this is already offered pleasure. 92 Pts
2009 Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon – Medium bodied with red and black fruits, earth, oak and tobacco, this is easy to like and drink. 89 Pts
2009 Chappellet Cabernet Sauvignon Signature – Soft, ripe, black and blue fruit, licorice and coffee with rich textures and a forward, ripe, fruit filled finish. 90 Pts
2007 Arns Cabernet Sauvignon - Medium bodied, red and black plums, oak and earth notes lead to a wine that wants a few more years in the bottle to soften and come together. 89 Pts
2009 Kristine Ashe Entre Vous – Sweet, soft, round, plump, ripe berries, licorice, coffee, chocolate and smoke notes and a plush, forward style make this 97% Cabernet Sauvignon a lot of fun to drink. 92 Pts
2008 Lancaster – Expressive notes of licorice, smoke, coffee bean, black cherry, chocolate and earth lead to a fleshy, ripe, plush, full bodied Cabernet Sauvignon that’s filled with layers of ripe, dark black and blue fruits. 94 Pts
2009 Leviathan – What do you get when you cross a Cote Rotie with a Bordeaux, and make the wine in California? Levithan, with its interesting blend of 28% Syrah, 26% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon and 21% Cabernet Franc offers ripe, jammy berries, spice, pepper, medium body and a forward style with a short, soft finish. 88 Pts
2010Orin Swift Prisoner – Bottled to look like a knock off of Sine Qua Non, the wine is on the uber ripe side with loads of jammy, black and blue fruit, licorice and pepper. This is no subtle wall flower. Fans of this style will love it, but I found it to be a bit too hot and jammy to enjoy more than a glass. 87 Pts
2008 Phelps Insignia – The stunning perfume demanded your attention with its showy coffee, licorice, blueberry, caramel, blackberry and earthy scents. Powerful, round, rich and packed with ripe fruit, the chocolate covered blackberry is as opulent as it is pure. I could drink this now, or age for 15-20 years. 96 Pts
2007 Spring Mountain – A slightly austere style of California Cabernet Sauvignon with cassis, stone and some dryness to the tannins. Medium bodied, with a focus on red berries, this has the structure to age, but it might not improve. 85 Pts
2007 Tournesol Proprietors Blend – Round, ripe fruits, medium body and a soft, but short, cassis and blackberry finish. 87 Pts
2005 Tournesol Estate – Soft, round textures, sweet, black chocolate, plum, blackberry and espresso bean lead to a supple textured, chocolate, dark berry finish. 90 pts
2009 Vineyard 7 & 8 – Sexy textures with layers of plump blackberry, licorice, chocolate and truffle ending with a long, round, deep, ripe, sweet, jammy finish. 93 Pts
2008 Vineyard 7 & and 8 – Jammy blackberry, coffee, licorice and earth scents open to a concentrated, fleshy, ripe wine that ends with a wave of round textures and fresh, ripe, cassis, chocolate and blackberry. 92 Pts
2007 Silver Oak Alexander Valley – Medium bodied, dry, red berry dominated without much distinction. 82 Pts
2007 Silver Oak Napa – There is a marked pickle sensation along with the crisp, cranberry, red berry, smoke and oak sensations. Fans of this well-known wine will probably like it a lot more than I did. 84 Pts
2008 Pahlmeyer Proprietors Blend – Ample layers of rich, ripe, round berries, earth, licorice, truffle and earth lead to a California wine that is well suited for this blend of 5 Bordeaux varietals. This is a refined, elegant style of ripe Cabernet Sauvignon that is already drinking well, yet, based on past performance, the wine will age well too. 94 Pts
Jeff - I'll drop you a note the next time I head out to a big tasting on the west end. I'm guessing the next one will be at the Wine House for their blowout in late summer/early fall.
Do you remember where Leviathan was? I wanted to try it but couldn't find it.
Interesting contrast on the notes for the Prisoner. Yours are more to the style as I know it, but I didn't get any of that at the tasting. I probably would've guessed the Silver Oak scores and I didn't even taste them this year .
I know what you mean - it's a great event to get to try a bunch of wines but sometimes you need to start dropping a few elbows just to get to taste Dominus or Insignia. Who knows, we might have even been doing that to each other and we didn't even realize it.
Originally Posted by Jeff Leve