2006 Chappellet Cabernet Franc Estate (Napa Valley)

Chap_Cab_FrancDeep dark purple in color. The nose has a beautiful note of Earl Grey tea on top of plumb aromas. Across the palate the tea and plumb notes hang on adding layers of coconut, spice and smoke. The finish in long with the round tannins hanging on till the end. This balanced and well made Cabernet Franc wine is produced of fruit from the Chappellet Pritchard Hill estate overlooking Lake Hennessey on the eastern side of the Napa Valley. This wine is a blend of 76% Cabernet Franc 13% Cabernet Sauvignon 11% Merlot.

2007 Michael-David Vineyards Petite Petit

btpet_sMichael and David Vineyards have a good time making wine. It’s obvious they are serious about what they do but don’t take themselves to seriously. Why else would they produce a wine called Petite Petit? Even the label is fun. Dark purple in color. The nose has notes of purple flowers and spiced plum stew. Big and bold flavors of plumb, black berry and currant also hit the plate with guns a blazing. Fun and easy to drink. This red wine is  blend of 85% Petite Sirah and 15% Petit Verdot fruit from Lodi. Aged 14 months in French oak.

Published in: on June 27, 2009 at 11:30 pm  Leave a Comment  
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2005 Realm Cabernet Napa Valley

2005 Realm Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer To-Kalon Napa Valley. Very dark purple in color. The nose had aromas of intense black fruit and sweet oak. The flavors across the palate were layered, complex and included black currant, cherry, and spice. Although this wine is lush and very ripe it’s not over the top and is very well put together. The long silky finish ends with another hit of the fruit. An exciting expression of this legendary Oakville vineyard. Extraordinary

Published in: on June 24, 2009 at 11:52 pm  Leave a Comment  
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2005 Realm Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer To-Kalon Napa Valley

Very dark purple in color. The nose had aromas of intense black fruit and sweet oak. The flavors across the palate were layered, complex and included black currant, cherry, and spice. Although this wine is lush and very ripe it’s not over the top and is very well put together. The long silky finish ends with another hit of the fruit. An exciting expression of this legendary Oakville vineyard. Extraordinary.

2006 Chappellet Vineyard Merlot (Napa Valley)

Chappellet_Merlot_2006Dark crimson color. The nose has hints of spice, mineral and nice cherry and raspberry notes. The palate is very balanced and complex with the spice and cherry continuing with a stewed plum flavor as well. The flavors are very concentrated as would be expected from this hillside vineyard fruit. The tannins are fine grained and linger on the medium length finish. This sturdy Merlot is blended with 6% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Malbec from their Pritchard Hill vineyard and is built for some age so buy a couple and lay one down. Excellent.

Napa Trip part 4 Bennett Lane

We wanted to take a trip up past Calistoga to visit Bennett Lane’s winery. It’s worth the trip up to the top of the Napa Valley. We have purchased their red Maximus since the 2004 vintage and were interested in trying their Napa Valley Cabernets and Reserve wines in their tasting room. Their brochure said they have the “friendliest tasting room in the Napa Valley” and our experience proved to be relaxed, unhurried and very friendly. We were able to taste the 2005 and 2006 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon as well as the 2005 Reserve Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. All were excellent and very good values. The surprise of the visit for us is that we actually purchased some white wine while there. We are red wine drinkers, mostly, so for us to taste a white and like it enough to buy it is a statement. We tasted the 2007 Maximus White which is a blend of 87 % Sauvignon Blanc, 11% Chardonnay and 2% Muscat. It was refreshing with bright citrus flavors and just the right amount of sweetness. We thought it was well worth the extra dive to visit Bennett Lane.

2005 St. Francis Red (USA, California, Sonoma County)

Not much nose to speak of after a short time in the decanter. This wine showed aromas of red fruit and pepper. The flavors were a mix of jammy cherry and raspberry with the pepper carrying on through the finish.  Simple but easy to drink and not bad for the money. A interestingblend of 58% Merlot, 25% Syrah, 9% Cabernet Franc, 6% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Zinfandel.

Published in: on June 19, 2009 at 3:05 pm  Comments (1)  
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Napa Visit Part 3 Delectus

The major reason we decided to travel to Napa this trip was that a party thrown by Gerhard and Linda Reisacher coincided with our wedding anniversary so we maded a long weekend out of it and attend the very first “Chill and Grill” at the Delectus estate in Knights Valley to celebrate. We have been fans of the Delectus wines for a while. Now we are also fans of Linda and Gerhard and their wonderful group of dedicated family members. The visit began at the winery which, for now, is located in South Napa in an office park. Just because there isn’t a beautiful building located among the vines doesn’t mean that the experience isn’t just as nice….just a different “view”. Inside you will find great wine and a super relaxed experience. We started with barrel samples of the 2007 Napa Valley Merlot. This is a baby wine so it was very tannic but has the structure to really be something after additional barrel and bottle age. We also were able to try some 2007 Cabernet Franc in barrel. This wine was originally produced to blend with other wines but it was outstanding by itself. I’m not sure if Gerhard is going to bottle this by itself or use it for its original purpose but it’s very good now for a barrel sample. After meeting the rest in our group of about 15 we loaded up on a bus for the hour or so trip up to Knights Valley to visit the future winery site and more importantly the four year old vines that are now producing fruit beginning with the 2008 vintage. The site is located just above the legendary Peter Michael vineyard and in the shadows of the “backside: of Mt. St. Helena. The picture below does not do the view justice. We tried a 2008 Cabernet based blend barrel sample. Normally wine this young in barrel is not very pleasant regardless of how it eventually turns out. This one was and will be special. The event, the food, the226 wine and the company were all exceptional. Look for Delectus to continue to produce outstanding Napa and now Knights Valley red wine for many years to come

Published in: on June 17, 2009 at 3:13 am  Leave a Comment  
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Napa Trip Part 2 Chappallet

071We traveled to the top of Pritchard Hill to visit the Chappellet family winery. The view from the top is unbelievable. We have been fans of the Chappellet Cabernet Sauvignons and Merlots for some time. We had a chance to taste, for the first time, their Estate Cabernet Franc (2006). Nicely balanced but also fruit forward this wine shows deep red fruit flavors that go well with it’s cedar and floral nose. It’s still young but very approachable now. Not many producers bottle a stand alone Cabernet Franc but this one is one of the best. 

Our experience at Chappellet was very relaxed and fun. One interesting fact about the winery is that they are 100% solar powered. They actually took out a vineyard block to accommodate the panels. The view coming back down the hill is quite the photo opportunity. Tours are small and must be arranged ahead of time but it’s worth the little extra effort. 

Still to come, Delectus, Bennett Lane, Darioush, The Castle, Trefethen.

Published in: on June 15, 2009 at 10:52 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Napa Trip Part 1

Decided to celebrate our anniversary with a short trip to the valley to tour and taste. Our first stop was at DR Stephens where we met with Justin Stephens at their estate on Howell Mountain. It’s a beautiful property with vines and ancient olive trees. We learned a good deal about how the Stephens family got in to the wine business and about Justin project, Hunnicutt wines. More about this later. The wines were outstanding and the hospitality showed us by Justin equally so.

More to come on our travels to Delectus, Chappallet, Bennett Lane, Darioush, Pride and the Castle soon.

Published in: on June 14, 2009 at 4:28 pm  Leave a Comment  
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