From the Carneros District down at the bottom of Napa Valley near where it meets Sonoma. Not as smooth or polished as the 2007 release but a great value none-the-less. A respectable Napa cab, with a great QPR (Quality Price Ratio) especially at a price point of about $17. The 2009 is a blend of Cabernet with small amount of Merlot and Cabernet Franc aged for 16-18 months in a combination of one- and two-year-old French and American oak barrels. Medium bodied, dark garnet colored, aromas and flavors of cherry, blackberry and black currant fruits, a layer of smoke and leather scents open to a focused core of cassis, black cherry and plum fruit with hints of vanilla bean, clove and cocoa powder. Moderately firm tannins with supporting acidity gives the wine freshness not often seen in wines at this price.
RM 87 points.
Flinders Run Southern Flinders Ranges Shiraz 2006
Overall hit of this comparison tasting of varied big reds. Consistent with earlier notes, the 2006 Flinders is dark inky purple, full bodied, powerfully scented bouquet of dark berries, smoky minerals and fresh flowers bursting with flavors of thick chewy black raspberry, blueberry and cassis with layers of nut, vanilla and hints of mocha flavors on a tongue coating lingering finish. As much as we like this wine, the 2005 is even better.
RM 93 points.
Northstar Columbia Valley Merlot 2008
This 2008 is a bit tight and closed, not as smooth, polished and fruit filled as some earlier vintages of this wine that I remember - perhaps due to its age or period in its aging profile. This is medium to full bodied, with dark inky color, this is a bright, balanced wine with notes of black cherry, tobacco, spice box and nut leading to a long, smoky moderate tannin finish.
RM 88 points.
Cavalchina Bianco Del Veneto Passito 2004
muted fruit flavors of apple, subtle tangerine, apricot and peach are overtaken by smoke, leather, nut and lemon peel on a moderate flavorful lingering finish.
RM 84 points.