2006 Realm Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Farella Vineyard (USA, California, Napa Valley)

Realm_2006_FarellaThe color of this wine is opaque purple all the way to the rim. The nose has a nice combination of black fruit and a hint of oak. Quite complex and interesting across the palate showing notes of currant, black cherry, and dark chocolate. The tannins are fine grained and well integrated. Shows more old world elegance than new world fruit forward  in style. Thisultra premium Napa Valley Cab is made of 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from the Farella vineyard which is located in the cooler climate of Coombesville at the Southern end of the Valley. It’s aged in 100% new French Oak. Tempting now, it needs a year or two in the cellar to reach it’s full potential.

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2006 Delectus Cuvée Julia (USA, California, Napa Valley)

Very dark purplCuvee Juila_2006e all the way to the rim. The aromas are a wonderful mix of black currant, cherry and vanilla. Across the palate the fruit really shines with black cherry, plumb stew, and blackberry. There is a lot going on but everything in it’s place and working very well together. The tannins are fine grained and work well with the rest of the experience. The Cuvee is the best of the barrels of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah and Merlot in the Delectus lots. If you enjoy the ripe expression of these varietals without drifting into overblown, you will enjoy this wine. Outstanding.

2005 Bodegas Castaño Monastrell Yecla Hécula (Spain, Murcia, Yecla)

This wine is still very tight. It needs at least 90 minutes in the decanter to be fully enjoyed in the near term. Very dark purple color. Early on this wine was very dry with very little of the fruit showing through. After about 2 hours of aeration the wine showed lots of black fruit aromas as well as leather and a touch of smoke. Across the palate there were blackberry, pepper and leather notes. This wine is quite Hecula and the finish is drying. Monastrell is the Spanish version of the French Mourvedre. It’s widely planted in Spain and is generally blended with Grenache or Garnacha. If you can decant this value priced ($13) red wine from the Yelca region of Spain  it’s a good wine for the money.

Published in: on May 26, 2009 at 1:33 am  Leave a Comment  
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2005 Ramey Claret (USA, California, Napa Valley)

RameyAromas of sweet black fruit creme de caramel and cedar. This Claret (or as we say in the States Meritage) shows notes of Cherry, currant, blackberry and vanilla. This wine is smooth, balanced and easy to drink even when you consider it’s high alcohol content (14.5%). The tannins are fine grainedand linger at the end of the finish. David Ramey likes to blend his wines early in the process which more like they blend red wine in Bordeaux. Most in the US blend right before bottling. 54% Carbernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc, 7% Syrah, 1% each Malbec and Petit Verdot. According to the Ramey website  “More than a third of it (the Cabernet Sauvignon) derives from the Jericho Canyon Vineyard, along with wines from the Somerston, Larkmead, and Snowden Vineyards, and 7% Merlot from the Hyde Vineyard”. A good introduction to the Ramey brand and good for the money ($30).

2006 DuMOL Syrah Russian River Valley (USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley)

2006_DuMol_RRV_SyrahThis wine is a very dark hue of purple. Sweet black fruit and caramel aromas fill the glass. Plenty of black currant, blackberry and vanilla balanced nicely with a mineral edge and spicebox across the palate. The tannins are well integrated and linger well past the long finish. A lot going on but all in it’s place. The grapes for this vintage were sourced from throughout the Russian River Valley which explains it’s even composition. Another excellent winefrom a very consistent producer of premium California style Syrah.

Published in: on May 21, 2009 at 12:46 am  Leave a Comment  
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2006 Geo Wines Chono Reserva Syrah (Chile, Coquimbo, Elqui Valley)

Chono_SyrahDeep dark purple with black hues. The nose is full of spice, blackberry, dark roast coffee and a touch of smoke. The palate has plenty of juicyblack cherry and blackberry fruit with tobacco and mineral notes that mix well with the minty herb flavors at the end. The tannins are well integrated and hang on through the medium length finish. Very good. The Elqui Valley is located 500 kilometers north of Santiago, Chile and close to the Pacific Ocean which makes for cooling breeze and longer hang time for ripeness.  The yields are only 9 tons per hectare and the fruit shows a very high concentration.  The grapes were handpicked according the ripe levels. 10% of the wine was racked in new French and American oak barrels for 6 months with the remainder in stainless steel barrels. Overall very enjoyable and a extremely good value at $11.

Published in: on May 19, 2009 at 2:18 am  Comments (1)  
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2006 Las Rocas de San Alejandro Garnacha Calatayud (Spain, Aragón, Calatayud)

Las Rocas_2006Dark crimson in color. In the glass the aromas are dusty blackberry, black cherry and a mineral note like wet stones. Across the palate this Garnachahas a well structured mix of previously the mentioned black fruit as well as some smoke and vanilla. The Granacha is better known by it’s French version Grenache but many believe the grape is actually native to Spain. Grenache is the staple of many of the Rhone blends like Chateauneuf du Pape. In Spain it’s widely planted in the Calatayud DO which is the source for the grapes in this red wine. This wine is easy to drink and for the price ($11) is quite good and also a good value.

Published in: on May 17, 2009 at 11:10 pm  Comments (2)  
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2006 Artesa Merlot Reserve Napa Valley (USA, California, Napa Valley)

Deep purple in color. The nose gives mineraland black fruit notes with black cherry and plumb leading the way. A hint of bay leaf also adds to the Artesa_Merlot_Reserve_2006aromas. Across the palate the plumb notes continues with cherry, vanilla and a hint of smoke. The tannins and round and silky. This Merlot is from the cooler regions of the Napa Valley so long hang time contributes to the fruit forward flavor profile. The Artesa Merlot program continues to produce value driven wines year after year.

Published in: on May 14, 2009 at 2:11 am  Leave a Comment  
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2006 Viña Santa Rita Cabernet Sauvignon Medalla Real Reserva Especial Single Estate (Chile, Central Valley, Maipo Valley)

Dark opaque purple in color. The nose was a little closed but did show some black fVina_Santa_Rita_2006ruit, tobacco and alcohol. The flavors across the palate were cassis, blackberry, licorice and smoke. The finish in medium to long in length and picks up a minty note at the end. The tannins are chewy but stay out of the way until the very end. This Cabernet is textured and interesting because of all that is going on and how it unfolds. Excellent example of Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon and a good value too at around $14. From the Maipo Valley this wine is aged for 12 months in French oak barrels. Santa Rita continues it’s run of excellent vintages with this single estate designated wine.

2005 Girard Artistry Red Wine (USA, California, Napa Valley)

Dark crimson/purple in color. The nose is full of red fruit and cedar, graphite. Across the palate there are currant, cherry and pronounced mineral notes and a touch of spice. The wine (AGirard_Artistry_2005rtistry) is nicely balanced and elegant with more in common with a left bank Bordeaux than a new world Cabernet Sauvignon blend. The tannins hang on through the long, dry finish. Girard also produces an excellent single vineyard series from Pritchard Hill in Napa Valley.  There is alot going on with the blend. The grapes come primarily from Oakville and St. Helena with a mix of hillside and valley floor fruit. 54% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Cabernet Franc, 14% Petit Verdot, 9% Malbec, 1%Merlot. A solid value for the money ($37).

Published in: on May 12, 2009 at 12:55 am  Leave a Comment