Mostly '97 Cabernets -
Results from a Cabernet tasting - Saturday, January 15, 2000, at the Wine Exchange in Orange, CA. Seventeen wines were poured for a tasting fee of $29.
The wines, in the order tasted:
'97 Charles Krug - Napa Valley. $10.99. Dark ruby garnet color.
Nose of sweet cassis, shoe polish, with hints of briar and cheddar. Medium
mouthfeel, soft fruit, good balance, with soft tannins for the short haul.
Surprisingly good, considering the price point.
'97 Clos Tita - Santa Cruz. $20.99. Medium garnet ruby color.
Nose of cassis and vanilla, with notes of butter, rosemary, and blue cheese.
Fairly tight and somewhat tannic mouthfeel, with moderate fruit and herb
flavors. This wine was surprisingly flavorful, considering its moderate
extraction. 50 cases made.
'97 Duncan Peak - Mendocino County. $24.99. Ruby color. Nose of
black cherry and blueberry, with a cheesy aroma. Slightly tart fruit and
mouthfeel that is more to the acid side of the chart. But, the fruit carries
it well and the wines does come together at the finish.
'97 Ehler's Grove - Napa Valley. $23.99. Medium dark violet ruby
color. Major aromas of cassis, shoe polish, and boysenberry. Big mouthfeel,
sweet and chewy fruit, very long flavorful finish. Coming from the people
who gave us the lower priced Cartlidge and Browne and Stratford labels,
this is indeed a step up.
'97 Clos Pegase - Napa Valley. $23.99. Dark ruby color. Nose of
sweet cassis, cedar, and green olive. Sweet fruit, substantial, yet not
massive mouthfeel, nice long fruity finish. Very tasty.
'97 Silo - Napa Valley. $24.99. Medium dark ruby color. Nose of
ripe cassis, vanilla, toast, and blackberry jam. Concentrated, yet somewhat
tight and closed mouthfeel, long finish. This label (previously known
as Savannah) has had a name change effective with this release.
The story is that, after the winery's initial release of a '97 Merlot
last year, the Savannah-Chanel winery in Santa Cruz issued a "desist"
order, citing potential confusion for consumers.
'97 Fisher Coach Insignia - Napa Valley. $22.99. Very dark
ruby garnet color. Huge off-sweet cassis nose, with additional aromas
of shoe polish, vanilla, and toast. Substantial mouthfeel, a bit backward
and tannic, with tart-sour fruit.
'97 Swanson Alexis - Napa Valley. $31.99. Dark violet ruby
color. Nose of cassis, blackberry, vanilla, toast, and sweet sawdust.
Sweet moderate mouthfeel, irresistable sweet fruit. Lingering acids and
tannins on very long finish.
'97 Signorello - Napa Valley. $37.99. Very dark garnet ruby color.
Slightly tart cheddery nose, with oak, toast, and cassis rounding out
aromas. Sweet-sour fruit, substantial mouthfeel, and excellent palate
coverage. Very long and seamless finish.
'97 August Briggs - Napa Valley. $37.99. Dark purple ruby color.
Beautiful nose of sweet cassis, vanilla, sawdust and cheese. Slightly
tart or sweet-and-sour fruit, chewy but somewhat soft mouthfeel. Very
nice wine; it just seems to fall a bit short of the aromatic expectations
on the palate. One of my favorite Cabs of the '96 vintage. Briggs apparently
knows what they've got and have priced this year's offering nearly 27%
'98 Cape d'Estaing - Kangaroo Island, South Australia. $39.99.
Extremely concentrated dark purple ruby color. Massive nose of cassis,
vanilla, toast, and sweet sawdust. Absolutely stunning! Huge mouthful
of slightly tart fruit, that softens somewhat through long finish. Outstanding
nose; and the mouth isn't far behind either. Bloody Aussies!
'97 Del Dotto - Napa Valley. $44.99. Violet ruby color. Huge blast
of cassis, blackberry, toast and vanilla in the nose. Very big mouthful
of chewy off-sweet fruit, with very long complex and seamless finish.
for my tastes, this offering delivers more substantial fruit than their
'97 Harrison - Napa Valley. $49.99. Dark ruby garnet color. Nose
of cassis, cedar, vanilla, with a hint of pine. Chewy cassis fruit, substantial
mouthfeel, great balance, very, very long finish. Just a hint of pine
noted in the taste as well, but I felt this added an interesting note
'96 Freemark Abbey - Napa Valley. $20.99. Medium dark ruby garnet
color. Slightly tart nose of toast, cassis, newsprint, and ink. Surprisingly
sweet and substantial mouthfeel, moderately long finish. This wine might
have performed better if placed earlier in the flight. However, coming
between a '97 Harrison and '96 Corison Kronos it just couldn't cut it.
'96 Corison - Kronos Vnyd, Napa Valley. $79.99. Violet ruby color.
Dense cassis, toast, sweet blackberry and tar nose. on the palate, subtle
off-sweet fruit, slightly sour at latter palate, and medium long finish.
The nose of this wine is a stunner. But, the mouthfeel and taste falls
short of expectations.
'95 Reverie Special Reserve - Diamond Mtn. $62.99. Dark
ruby color. Nose of cassis, shoe polish, toast. Huge toasty fruit-filled
mouthfeel, and long seamless finish. Very nice.
'94 Michel-Schlumberger Reserve - Dry Creek Valley. $33.99.
Dark violet ruby color. Nose of cassis and toast - just beautiful! Light-medium
mouthfull of sweet-sour fruit, with medium long finish. Really nice nose,
but the extraction level on the palate just doesn't keep pace.
Overall impressions: a look at twelve more '97s , as well as a smattering of previous vintages. The '97 vintage is still turning out some fabulous wines, pricey though they may be. The Del Dotto tastes fabulous, and is really a lot of wine for the money. The Reverie was a huge wine that has a long future in front of it. The Briggs was just a hair less concentrated than last year's model at a fairly substantial increase in price. The lone Aussie entry, Cape d' Estaing, had without a doubt the most killer nose. In addition to being as dark as a black cat in a coal mine, the fruit just oozed out of the glass. Also, judging by the nose, the Corison Kronos looked to be a stupendous effort. But, as with several others in the flight, the mouthfeel/taste didn't live up to the advance billing.
No major letdowns here. But, had the Fisher delivered on less
tart fruit, it would have merited a much higher score. Especially considering
its price point at less than $25 in today's market. This and the Clos
Pegase seemed like the best bargains, followed by the Charles Krug,
as the best everyday wine.
Here is my relative ranking, by tier and in order of preference, of the wines tasted.
'97 Del Dotto - Napa Valley. $44.99.
Copyright © 1993 - 2004, Eric Anderson - All rights reserved
No original material may be reproduced without written consent
Mail - Comments - Eric Anderson