Some CA Cult Cabs with helpers

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Blake Brown
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Joined: Fri Oct 01, 2010 10:36 pm
Location: Santa Barbara

Some CA Cult Cabs with helpers

Post by Blake Brown » Mon Sep 17, 2018 12:13 pm

Our dinner group got in last minute dinners at the soon to be closed Sly`s, a top fav located in Carpinteria.

James Sly has long been considered one of the top chefs on the West Coast and recently lost the ability to renew his lease after 10 years and has decided to retire as a result. This is a huge loss to all of us locals who have been graced with his cooking skills and creative and broad menu selections. For more details re the closing and some history, here is a link: ... press.html

We have dined here in the past with the idea of complimenting chef`s special meat courses with top Bordeuax/ Cabernet. Due to a new house rule limit of 8 per table, we divided our group into 2 different nights with 5-6 people attending each. As expected, we drank and ate quite well:

2000 LANSON CHAMPAGNE NOBLE CUVEE de LANSON BRUT- my first of 3 and I’m happy to have made the blind purchase; it had a lot of the stuff that I like in champagne including inviting aromatics of fresh and ripe citrus with overtones of tropical fruit and floral notes; on the palate, it was more distinct with lemon zest early and peach and nectarine coming in later; it had a lovely creamy texture which enhanced the sensory experience and serve to lengthen the welcomed long finish.

2008 R & L LEGRAS ST. VINCENT BLANC de BLANC GRAND CRU BRUT- I’ve remarked often my love for the house Brut and Brut Rose at La Tour d`Argent in Paris and after a few visits, a couple of years ago I finally inquired as to who made those wines for them and it was Legras; so when I returned to the US, I searched for anything Legras and found a few, none anywhere close to the style of the house wines at La Tour d`Argent; they’re still good but with an entirely different, somewhat oxidized style; the first nose of our bottle was redolent of mature peach, apricot and nectarine fruit with caramel and hints of almond butter, but with time and on the palate, more citrus notes came in with lemon peel most prevalent along with pear and apple amidst a nice dollop of spice; it had an almost thick creamy like texture and landed in an respectable balanced state.

2006 FORMAN CABERNET SAUVIGNON NAPA- one of the advantages of going the 2nd of 2 nights was getting a few of the leftovers and this was one of them although it was said to have been better the first time around; I liked it; the color was a youngish dark ruby red, the nose had loads of cedar laced blackberry that became eucalyptus and oak spiced black currant on the palate; it was somewhat astringent toward the end with pretty stiff tannins and yet the mouthfeel was more velvety like; I would expect this to soften a bit over time and recommend a slow ox decant for those who can’t give this the 10-15+ years of aging needed.

2003 COLGIN CARIAD NAPA VALLEY RED WINE- Cariad, the Welsh word for “love”, is a Bordeaux-style red wine blended from three vineyards owned and managed by David Abreu; the final blend is comprised of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 38% Merlot, 9% Petit Verdot and 5% Cabernet Franc and sourced from Madrona Ranch as well as blended with small amounts of fruit from Thorevilos and Howell Mountain.

Our bottle was sadly corked.

2005 PRIDE MOUNTAIN VINEYARDS CABERNET SAUVIGNON NAPA/SONOMA- 91% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Petit Verdot sourced 58% from Sonoma and 42% from Napa; the inky dark ruby color suggested a wine of exuberance and it held true to form with robust flavors including licorice and mint chocolate accents to the black cherry, plum and blackberry fruit; firm tannins are evident and showed no signs of easing up.

The next 3 wines were poured as a flight, a righteously good flight at that. We kept vacillating as to which one was the best and all 3 got votes with my conclusion that the were all equally really good:

2007 MAYBACH FAMILY VINEYARDS MATERIUM CABERNET SAUVIGNON OAKVILLE NAPA- 100% Cabernet Sauvignon; this was the fourth release coming from a single block of the Weitz Vineyard, which sits at 1000 feet elevation on the eastern hillside of Oakville; it just reeked of class from the nose through the tail; the aromatics consisted of immense ripe dark fruit which translated into plum, blackberry and black currant once tasted; mild hits of talc and sandalwood plus a touch of coffee and chocolate add to the overall tasting pleasure; the silky smooth mouthfeel provides and even greater sensory experience; it seemed to grow in the glass and by evenings end, it reached its apogee, a grand place indeed.

2010 JOSEPH PHELPS INSIGNIA NAPA- 84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petit Verdot, 4% Merlot and 2% Malbec; black cherry dominates the nose and makes up a big part of the taste profile; it is joined by lesser amounts of blackberry and black currant plus accents of licorice and cedar; it had layers of depth and complexity and with all going on, it had incredible balance; some oak influence was just barely evident; refined tannins and firm acids provide a backbone to ensure longevity.

2012 SCHRADER LPV BECKSTOFFER LAS PIEDRAS VINEYARD CABERNET SAUVIGNON NAPA- another gem from Thomas Rivers Brown {see Maybach above}, this beauty was really good even in its infancy; the depth and unfolding layers of fruit and the wine`s nuances kept my attention for the remainder of the evening with re-visits; there’s definitely noticeable oak influence with pine and cedar assuming a major portion of the taste profile which also included black cherry/ berry and blueberry; it was so soft and smooth and held on for a looooong finish.

BTW, TRB has journeyed to the SB area a few times in the past and he has attended at least 2 dinners we had at this same venue with similar quality of wines including many he brought from his stable of wines.

As another aside, Fred Schrader founded Schrader Cellars in Calistoga in 1998 after making wine for 6 years with Ann Colgin, who was then his wife. Colgin-Schrader Cellars launched in 1992, a banner year for start-up Cult Cab producers that also saw Screaming Eagle and Bryant Family producing their first vintages.

Our night was concluded with a small dose from a 750 ml of the stellar 01` Ch. Climens:

2001 CHATEAU CLIMENS BARSAC- the “Lord of Barsac” should be proud of this fine sweetie; honeysuckle follows orange blossom aromas along with vanilla infused lemon mindful of a lemon meringue pie in taste and texture; some apricot comes in past mid palate with all being delivered in a creamy thick substance that carries all of the goodies to the back end.

This was a fitting acknowledgment and celebration for many grand dining experiences over the past 10 years. We wish James and his wife Annie all the best.


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