Our tasting group met recently to blind taste some California Cabernets. We had 15 in all poured in 3 flights of 5. We score each flight, discuss and then reveal the wines when the score tally has been calculated. Here are some of the wines in the order they were poured:
1996 SILVER OAK CABERNET SAUVIGNON ALEXANDER VALLEY- the color was a youthful purple with no sign of aging; the nose is redolent of mint, eucalyptus and leather [and I`m already thinking Silver Oak with the first 2 being so obvious and a hallmark of those wines made by Justin Meyer in the day]; these components continue on and are joined by cigar box, cedar laced black currant and blackberry; past mid palate, the fruit started to dissipate and it finished a bit dry.
1996 MORAGA ESTATE CALIFORNIA RED MORAGA BEL AIR- from a vineyard just off of the infamous I-405 freeway near Sunset Blvd in the west end of the LA area, this highly respected winery has produced some remarkable wines over the years since inception in 1989; this Bordeaux blend offered some tertiary notes of prunes, minerals and graphite aromas with a taste profile of earth, smoke, tart black currant and almost stewed cherry; this bottle definitely had passed its prime and was undoubtedly a poor representative of the original wine; interestingly, my palate was jaded as the group got it as their fav in the flight; I went back for seconds and got more of the same initial characteristics and dumped.
1986 BEAULIEU VINEYARD [BV] GEORGES de LATOUR CABERNET SAUVIGNON PRIVATE RESERVE- the nose on this gave off some vanilla milk, spice, talc and an earth component; the taste included an initial sweet blackberry which finished off on the tart side; past mid palate, it was losing it and lost a lot of the pizzazz it possessed earlier; most got something similar as it was voted last in the flight; I`m thinking this was not the best bottle of that vintage.
2005 RUDD CROSSROADS OAKVILLE CABERNET SAUVIGNON AKA RUDD ESTATE OAKVILLE CABERNET SAUVIGNON- the nose was a nice and inviting wild black currant and blackberry fruit which continued on and was joined by a more on the sweet side of the wildness along with some black cherry and a touch of talc; it had good mouthfeel being soft and smooth; for me, it showed decently and I scored it #2 in its flight.
2006 CLARK-CLAUDON VINEYARDS ESTATE CABERNET SAUVIGNON NAPA- showing quite well, this had a load of black cherry that was very profound from the aromatics on through; it was not a fruit bomb, but there was a lot that showed up as black currant and blackberry notes chimed in along with some cedar, dark chocolate and spice; the liquid soft texture carried all of the goodies to the back end for a delyed finish; it was full bodied and yet had a degree of elegance that made for an even greater treat; my #1 in its flight and thankfully so since I have a few more in the cellar; no, I did not recognize it.
2000 MOUNT EDEN VINEYARDS CUVEE SARATOGA CABERNET SAUVIGNON SANTA CRUZ MOUNTAINS- from this historically stellar producer comes a wine of similar stellarness; I liked the spicy leather cranberry notes in the nose and the smoky black currant fruit that came in early; the smoke continued all the way through which I found strange unless there were fires in the area prior to harvest mindful of some of the wines that came out of Anderson Valley in 08` where lightening strikes produced vineyard inundated smokiness; there were still enough redeeming qualities in the wine to make it a decent drink; my #3 in its flight.
2007 CHIMNEY ROCK CABERNET SAUVIGNON STAGS LEAP DISTRICT- the nose had nice fresh dark fruit to offer plus a strong sense of oak which shows up throughout and is not yet fully integrated; the taste profile had a lot of welcomed tasty black cherry which was followed by the onset of black currant; the fruit dissipated a bit and the wine finished dry; we all got it about middle of its flight.
2007 CORNERSTONE CELLARS CABERNET SAUVIGNON NAPA- the aromatics contained inviting rich, ripe dark fruit notes which turned out to be more of black cherry and blackberry with a bit of plum and blueberry; there was some sandalwood and vanilla toast by mid palate that dominated from there on out; the oakiness was reason for me to downgrade it knowing full well this has appeal to many in our group and which was confirmed ss it was voted #! In the flight; it was my 3 of 5.
2010 TURNBULL WINE CELLARS ESTATE CABERNET SAUVIGNON NAPA- after the youthful, rich and vibrant purple color comes red and dark fruit aromatics that consists of red cherry, black cherry and olallieberry which when tasted are very sweet; then the black cherry takes over with a larger degree of intensity at the end with a touch of Smith Brother`s cough syrup flavor showing up.
2012 ROBERTS + ROGER CABRNET SAUVIGNON HOWELL MOUNTAIN- 15.4% abv; earth and talc are prevalent in the nose, then a huge hit of oak comes in and prevails along with sandalwood, vanilla toast and the most apparent fruit profile of black cherry, plum and blueberry; it needs time to integrate and mature as well as simmer down; it`s big and bold and discombobulated at this stage.
I always fine blind tasting to be interesting and informative as they take out so much subjectivism. The key is to have all hold onto their comments until the proper time in order to come up with an unbiased opinion and then discuss after voting.