I hosted a Cab Tasting party on the 13th. Food included tri tip (a California roast), roasted chicken, eggplant parmigian, salads, and deserts. Quite a big group fro my little towhouse. I am ashamed to admit I overdid it quite a bit
but since it was my house I didn't have to drive home, just stumble upstairs.
On the menu:
-showed much better last night than it did at the winery. Still quite fruit forward, but there was more balance this time and I quite enjoyed it.
Frank Family 2002
Frank Family puts out a nice, rich, smooth and balanced basic Cab. Delicious. A crowd favorite.
Cafaro 2001 Estate Cab.
Not one of my favorites-probably the weakest wine of the night. This contrasts with the 1999 Reserva, one of my absolutely favorite top 5 wines I've ever had (a bottle awaits), but this one was quite harsh, frankly. Too young? I don't think that's it. They've dropped the price way down to $21 at K&L. Tuco at his wine bar in Davis was right-but he says the newest vintage (2002) is quite nice, so there's hope for this winemaker, yet.
Mazzoco Maretix 1999
. Bordeaux Blend. Now I remember why I bought two bottles when I visited the winery. Delicious! A crowd favorite at a modest price. Nice color, delicious herbal nose, rich mouthfeel and a great savory character.
Stonestreet Christopeher's Vineyard 1996
. Decanted for two hours, should have been given even more air. Even after ten years, this mountain wine (2400 feet elevation in the Mayacama Mountains) was a tannic monster. It was also amazingly complex and multilayedred. Another favorite.
Chateau Prieurie Lacchine Margaux 1996
Frankly, a disappointment. Perhaps too young and tight (the K&L guy said that 96 Margaux are very tight) but I found this wine quite harsh. Would I buy it again and cellar it for 10 years more? I'm not sure. The Cafaro and this one are the two I didn't care for enough to buy again.
Merryvale Profile 1999. Merryvale surprised me. Huge place with a big tourist draw, but they produce a quite austere and interesting Bordeaux Blend that is not what I would have expected. Another favorite-nice complexity, beautiful color.
Opened as the party wound on (we were a happy bunch):
Volker Eisele 2002- A very nice cab from a small grower in the valley east of Napa Valley proper. Nice herbal and savory character with great fruit. IMO equal to the Jones family cab I tasted next at 1/3 the price.
Elizabeth Spenser Oakville Cab 2002-One of my favorite discoveries. Great dense, rich wines with a lot of balance, even young.
Sawyer Cellars 2002-another nicely balanced cab that compares to the Frank Family in profile.
Raymond generations 1998. Still a lot of raisiny port-like character on the nose, but the palette is less pronounced here.
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