Thursday, July 14, 2011

Moffett Vineyards Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2006 & Ladera Napa Valley Malbec 2006

Moffett Vineyards  Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2006

First tasting of this or any other wine from this producer. Sourced from two Napa Valley vineyards: one high up on Howell Mountain and the other in St. Helena it strikes a beautiful balance in the blend composed of 94% cabernet sauvignon and 6% cabernet franc. Dark inky purple color - full bodied - polished and smooth flavors of blackberries, that Howell Mountain appellation character of ripe plum and currants - highlighted by a layer of sweet milk chocolate and a slight touch of spice - the wine shows great balance of toasted oak and acidity. RM 93 points. 

 Ladera Napa Valley Malbec 2006 

We discovered this wine and purchased it following our visit to the winery during our Napa Valley Howell Mountain Wine Experience 2008.   Malbec is one of the "big five" grape varieties in Bordeaux included in the "Cabernet family" of grapes. It serves as one of the blending wines to round out and add complexity to the primary varietals of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc or Merlot used for its deep, dark purple color, its fragrant aromas, ranging from black cherry to black pepper, and its texture which is lush and juicy in the mid palette and very soft on the finish. Primarily a blended complement to the tannic, brooding Cabernet Sauvignon, it produces an interesting and nice stand alone wine, as well.

The 2006 Ladera Malbec is a blend of fruit from two mountain vineyards - 50% from Howell Mountain and the other 50% from Lone Canyon - two unique terroirs. The rolling hills and volcanic soils of Howell Mountain vineyard lend to the bold dark fruit characters while the steep slopes and gravely soils of Lone Canyon contribute intense phenolic structure and complexity to the wine.

This wine holds true to its varietal characteristics with its dark inky color, rich aromatics and bold masculine structure. The wine exhibits forward fruits flavors of black cherry and black berry with violets, red licorice, hints of vanilla, white pepper and smoky fig.A bit flabby on opening but overcame the funkiness to reveal black berry and cherry fruit flavors, a layer of spice, hints of leather and a touch of cedar on a long finish. RM 90 points.

Tasted with L, Mark & Shirley at Angeli's Italian Restaurant - our favorite local trattoria. The wines were perfect complements to the spectacular veal margherita and mushroom and ricotta ravioli yet provided an interesting contrast in the varietals with common core pedigree Howell Mountain appellation characteristics. The girls preferred the Malbec with its more forward and deeper intensity flavors while the guys preferred the more complex and polished but more subtle flavored Cabernet.

Rick & Linda at the picturesque Ladera Howell Mountain winery - formerly the historic Chateau Woltner.