Friday, June 28, 2013

Hartford Zinfandel Highlights Summer Barbecue Zinfandel-Syrah Replay

Hartford Zinfandel Highlights Summer Barbecue Zinfandel-Syrah Replay

A gala summer barbecue rib dinner with out of town visitors Eric and Cathy, and Bill and Beth, provided a chance to taste a selection of hearty big reds - California Zins, Aussie Shiraz, and a outlier Grenache.

Following our Zinfandel barbecue a few weeks ago, we did a replay to try another pair of vintage Sonoma Valley/County Zins from Hartford Russian River Valley and Benziger Sonoma Valley.

Bridging the Zins to a pair of Aussie Shiraz' was'Melée' Grenache from Tuck Beckstoffer, followed by HazyBlur Baroota and Flinders Ranges Shiraz'. These were all enjoyed with the ribs, artisan cheeses, bacon wrapped blue cheese stuffed figs and double chocolate cake desert. 

Hartford Fanucchi Wood Road Vineyard Russian River Valley Zinfandel 2003

This single vineyard select offering sourced from century old vines is the fifth blockbuster Hartford Zinfandel I've sampled over the last decade and I have yet to be disappointed, or even to encounter a less than stellar offering. However, at $60 retail, this is at the high end for this varietal. Located in the Sonoma County town of Forestville, the winery is about 15 miles from the cool Pacific Coast, an area more noted for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir than Zinfandel, varietals also produced by Hartford.

In the years near and leading up to this vintage the accolades were flowing for Hartford and their Zinfandel labels. The early release of Hartford Vineyard Zinfandel was chosen by The Wine Spectator's James Laube as one of the "Best Zins available in 1996".

In 2002, winemaker Mike Sullivan named "Winemaker of the Year" by Ronn Wiegand M.S., M.W. in Restaurant Wines and Robert Parker's Wine Advocate named the Hartford Family Winery Winemaker, a "wine personality of the year." The 2000 Hartford Fanucchi-Wood Road Vineyard Zinfandel was named in the Top Ten Wines of 2002 by Bob Johnson, Wine Times, in January 2003.

This vintage release at ten years old was still at or near its peak, despite some hint of age in its color. Dark inky garnet color with a slight brownish hue, this is concentrated and rich, with full aromas and dense flavors of black raspberry and boysenberry with hints of blueberry fruit intermixed with black pepper, spice and hints of wood and mocha on a firm tannin finish.

RM 91 points.

Benziger Family Bruschera Vineyard Sonoma Valley Zinfandel 2007

Bill and Beth brought this hearty zin on cue for our barbecue. We became acquainted with Benziger Family Sonoma Valley wines when we met  Erinn Benziger of Benziger Family Winery when she visited Chicago and presented at Binny's Beverage Depot Midwest Wine Expo. We all then visited Benziger Family Estate Vineyards and Winery in Sonoma Valley in the Autumn of 2009 during our Sonoma Wine Experience. Today over a dozen different family members are active in the extended family wine business that prides itself on the extent of its 'green' initiatives - certified sustainable, organic or Biodynamic© wines. A visit to their Sonoma Family Estate is a study in the practice with their numerous exhibits and self guided and formal tours of the property.

Benziger produce a wide variety of wines but their Zinfandel is rather obscure and limited production. Bill and Beth find their premium Sauvignon Blanc as one of their favorite Benziger releases. I found their limited production release cabernet blends to be their most memorable such as their 'Tribute' and 'Signaterra'
blends which were the highlight of their Binny's Expo tasting, along with the Sauvignon Blanc.

This Zinfandel is a limited single vineyard designated release from the Bruschera Family Vineyard,  located on the Mayacamas (eastern) side of Sonoma Valley with twenty–two year old vines planted in white volcanic alluvial soil that produces hearty Zinfandel fruit with lush ripe flavors. As is the Benziger practice, the the Bruschera family practice organic sustainable agriculture - no herbicides or pesticides are used. The vineyard soil is nurtured through the use of cover crops, composts, compost teas and mulches.

Benziger attributes the Bruschera Vineyard old Zinfandel vines to produce concentrated fruit with aromas and flavors of blackberry, bramble, black cherry and hints of oak, spice and espresso bean.
Bill C's tasting note on Cellartracker -  Deep indigo color. Soft, round but evidencing the bramble and spice expected in a Zinfandel. While certainly representative of the varietal, there are better, more distinctive Zin's available at this $35 price point.

Bill C 84 points. RM 87 points.

'Melée' Grenache 2010 from Tuck Beckstoffer

As reported in tasting blog last winter ... Wine enthusiasts will recognize the Beckstoffer name for their ownership of the legendary and exclusive To Kalon vineyard in southern Napa Valley - source of grapes to some of the most notable wines and labels from the region. Second generation Tuck Beckstoffer has created several brands and labels sourcing fruit from various sources throughout California.

This is the second release of Melée Grenache. The large heavy oversize bottle is the first indication this wine is not for the feint of heart. The artistic primevil label should be further indication this is a unique wine. I would like to think that the over-the-top packaging is not to make up for the deficiencies in the product, but rather make a statement about the product the producer is striving to make, and that this particular product is not my 'cup of tea' as they say. More to the point, this is not the style of wine that I prefer and tend to favor but it was fun discovering and tasting.

Grenache is a variety of grape generally grown in hotter climates such as Spain (Garnachia), Australia, the Southern Central Valley in California and in the Southern Rhone River valley in France. Grenache produces spicy, berry-flavored fruit that tends to be soft on the palate with a with a relatively high alcohol content. It is commonly used in blending Chateauneuf-du-Pape wines in the Rhone region, and in Australia with other Rhone varietals Syrah and Mouvedre to produce 'GSM' (Grenache, Syrah, Mouvedre) wines.I've never been a fan of Grenache however its generally not found standalone, but rather its generally widely produced to be blended with other varietals of complementary characteristics where the sum of the parts is greater than the parts resulting in a more complex but approachable and enjoyable drinking blend.

The fruit for Melee is sourced from Central California. It is a deep ruby/plum color with characteristic Grenache aromas and flavors - cherry, black cherry, early season plum, scents of shale, new leather and a hint of tobacco,big forward flavors of red currant, hints of pomegranate and licorice with firm, tannins and soaring acidity that produce a long lasting, focused finish.

RM 87 points.

HazyBlur Baroota South Australia Shiraz 2004

Bill and I discovered and first tasted the Baroota label from this producer while attending an industry conference and dining together at Emeril's at Universal Studios in Orlando. I had previously picked up and tasted other labels from this producer from Total Wine in Virginia.

Bill's tasting notes from Cellartracker - Continues to get better and better. Opaque, dark purple in the glass. Over time, the astringency and spice so evident when young has morphed into deep, complex and layered notes of mocha, clove, blackberry and a bit of plum. Although delicious in its youth, this is for me, a much more interesting wine as a 9 year old. Still 2 bottles left.

Bill C and RM 89 points.

Flinders Run Southern Flinders Ranges Baroota Australia Shiraz 2005

One of our favorite wines with a big QPR (Quality Price Ratio). Dark inky colour - full bodied, elegant rich thick chewy - symphony of flavors of sweet currant, ripe plum, red raspberry, blueberry, a layer of mocha accented by hints of pepper, vanilla, and spice, and a lingering essence of creme brulee' and cedar on the long full soft finish. Now seven years old with a bit of age, this wine is smoother, more polished and more approachable than earlier tastings when young.

RM 92 points. 

We first discovered this wine down in central Illinois wineshop Friar Tuck's. We bought some and brought it home and loved it. We bought case quantities from Southern Hemisphere Wines in Huntington Beach, SoCal. Eventually Binny's featured this wine and we bought it all and are fortunate to have a supply as we continue to enjoy this wine which is improving with age! Ironically, I was downstate last week and ventured back into that Friar Tuck's store and they still had two bottles remaining from their original two cases. Needless to say, I grabbed em!

Two bold and hearty Australian Shiraz's - perfect complement to hearty barbecue rib dinner with special friends. 

After dinner with double chocolate cake, fresh fruits and angel food cake with chocolate sauce we served two dessert wines - Elyse Napa Valley Cabernet Port and Triebaumer Ruster Ausbruch

Elyse Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Port

The convergence of our two dinner guest couples, Eric & Cathy are in town to visit daughter Elyse, namesake of a Napa wine producer that we visited with Bill & Beth during our last Napa Valley Wine Experience. We picked this up at the winery in anticipation of such a gathering. 

This Port is made from Cabernet Sauvignon grapes from the 1½ acre vineyard at the winery on Hoffman Lane in right off Highway 29 in southern Napa Valley. 
During the natural fermentation of the Cabernet Sauvignon, the native yeast was allowed consume half of the initial grape sugar before the fermentation was arrested by adding aged Zinfandel and Viognier Brandy from Germain-Robin Alambic - noted Mendocino County brandy producer.
The winemaker notes - This Port reveals aromas of saturated blueberries, raspberries, and mint that lead to flavors of dark chocolate, whiskey, and vanilla. The wine spent 18 months resting in neutral French oak barrels.This Port is the perfect accompaniment to chocolate desserts or pair with blue cheese and sliced pears.
RM 88 points.

Herbert Triebaumer Ruster Ausbruch Burgenland Neusiedlersee-Hügelland Rust 1996/1997

This is a Chardonnay blend of Fürmint and Gelber Muskatellier (Furmint and Gold Muscatel grape varieties). While this was no doubt straw colored upon release, over time it darkened to butter color, then weak tea colored, eventually darkening to the dark orange rust color it possesses now. Allowed to continue to age, this will likely eventually darken to dark strong tea color, although I suspect it won't necessarily improve the flavor and suitability of the wine. Some classic dessert wines are built to last decades, I suspect this Ruster Ausbruch is at or even past its peak drinking window. We still have a case of this wine, so watch this blog as we monitor this over the coming months and years.

The thick almost syrupy extracted sweet fruit was offset by a smoky almond nut flavor. Rather than the highly desirable apricot or peach flavors, this tended to be more cirtus focused. This was a great complement to hard Parmesan cheese.

RM 88 points.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Oliver's Taranga Vineyards Carrina Rayment Expatriate McLaren Vale Shiraz 2005

Oliver's Taranga Vineyards Carrina (Wright) Rayment 'Expatriate' McLaren Vale Shiraz 2005

#1 son Ryan and I each picked up a bottle of this Expatriate Shiraz when out wine shopping together so when he opened his he stopped by to share and taste it with me. This is attributed by name to Corrina (nee Rayment) Wright, Winemaker & Director of 170 year old fifth generation Olivers' Taranga Vineryards.

This McLaren Vale Shiraz is packaged in an extra heavy glass bottle with the largest or deepest punt I have ever seen. (The punt is the dimple in the bottom of a wine bottle. Historically they were there to strengthen the glass, particularly useful in the case of sparkling wine which builds up pressure in the bottle. It also was put there to provide stability for the bottle, artifacts from the earlier days of glass making. The other reason its there that has value today is to collect and consolidate sediment deposits at the bottom or side of the bottle (depending on how the wine was stored) to separate it from the juice to ease in decanting.) 

Expatriate sports a whimsical Oliver's Taranga label inscribed with handwritten journal notes about 'arriving in wine country and deciding to stay awhile', as if from a foreign 'Expatriate'. 

Full bodied, dark inky purple, dense, concentrated and tongue coating richness predominates with blackberry fruit, hint of blueberry tones and black olive giving way to a slightly awkward tinny mineral layer before an oaky vanilla nuance on a firm lingering tannin finish. The forward fruit is a bit tightly wound and comes across a little disjointed and unbalanced that diminishes the experience. It would be great at $30 but at $60 one expects more polish and refinement.

RM 90 points.

Big 15% alcohol.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Napa Cab Duo and Tomahawk Rib-eye Feast - Ruster Ausbruch, Flowers Chardonnay

Napa Cab Duo and Tomahawk Rib-eye Feast - Ruster Ausbruch, Flowers Chardonnay

Perhaps the ultimate grilled steak may be the 'tomahawk' bone in rib-eye (shown left), a cut with the full bone resulting in a tomahawk shaped beefsteak. What fun to have these whilst in the middle of our beloved Blackhawk's run for the championship Stanley Cup. Also shown is Mark with the Atlantic Coho Salmon filets.

For such as feast at Mark Z's, we took two 2004 vintage Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon blends - Robert Craig Affinity and Beaulieu Vineyards Tapestry Reserve. Both were decanted before serving.

Before dinner we opened a Ruster Ausbruch Austrian Chardonnay blend based dessert wine which we tasted with artisan cheeses and French breads.

Mark also prepared grilled Scottish North  Atlantic Coho wood plank Salmon (pictured above left) with which we served a Flowers Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2007. Completing the dinner were twice baked potatoes and steamed grand purple asparagus spears.

The wine flight is pictured left.

Herbert Triebaumer Ruster Ausbruch Burgenland Neusiedlersee-Hügelland Rust 1996/1997

Burgenland is a wine region in Austria along the Hungarian border, across from the region that produces Tokaji dessert wines. Neusiedlersee-Hügelland (Neusiedler Lake Highlands) is one of the sub-regions of the area, adjacent to and influenced by the Neusiedler Lake (Neusiedlersee) body of water that defines the region.  This northernmost Neusiedlersee area produces full-bodied white wines, including the country's best Chardonnays. Due to the vineyards proximity to the lake and the climatic hot Pannonian zone, the grapes develop the "noble rot" (botrytis cinerea) which creates heady dessert wines.Rust is a village in the Neusiedler Lake Highlands, where the famous Ruster Ausbruch dessert wines are produced.

The label says Erzeugerabfüllung which would translate to producer's bottling or what we would call 'Estate Bottled' in America or Chateau Bottled (mis en bouteille au chateau, ala bottled at the chateau) in France, meaning the grapes are grown of sourced on the producer's property and the wine is produced by the land (estate or chateau) owner.

This is a Chardonnay blend of Fürmint and Gelber Muskatellier (Furmint and Gold Muscatel grape varieties). While this was no doubt straw colored upon release, over time it darkened to butter color, then weak tea colored, eventually darkening to the dark orange rust color it possesses now. Allowed to continue to age, this will likely eventually darken to dark strong tea color, although I suspect it won't necessarily improve the flavor and suitability of the wine. Some classic dessert wines are built to last decades, I suspect this Ruster Ausbruch is at or even past its peak drinking window. We still have a case of this wine, so watch this blog as we monitor this over the coming months and years.

The thick almost syrupy extracted sweet fruit was offset by a smoky almond nut flavor. Rather than the highly desirable apricot or peach flavors, this tended to be more cirtus focused. This was a great complement to hard Parmesan cheese.

RM 88 points.

Robert Craig Napa Valley Affinity Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 

Robert Craig produces this blend of Napa Valley Cabernets from his various vineyard sources on Mt Veeder, Howell Mtn and Napa Valley. He also sources fruit from Mt George and Spring Mtn distict for his wines. He calls Affinity 'three mountains and a valley cabernet'. Its produced for early enjoyment but we continue to find it ages well too. We continue to hold a vertical of this wine dating back to the inaugural 1993 vintage. This wine was a highlight of the evening and was a perfect pairing with the grilled rib-eye steaks, and also went especially well with the the pre-dinner double Gloucester cheese.

Consistent with earlier tasting notes, deep dark purple inky color, huge ripe berry fruit aromatics, full body, ripe berry fruit, accented by a undercurrent of caramel with a hint of anise, tobacco and firm full tannins on the long fruit filled finish.

RM 91 points.

Beaulieu Vineyards Tapestry Reserve Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2004

In the comparison tasting, while this went well with the grilled steak, it was overshadowed by the big aromatic fruit of the Affinity.

Consistent with earlier tasting notes, dark garnet colored, medium-full bodied, a bit tight and closed, the black berry fruits were a bit overtaken by tones of tea, tobacco and hints of cedar, anise and smokey oak on a moderate tannin lingering finish.

RM 89

Flowers Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2007

This Chardonnay went well with the salmon and the white cheeses. Light to golden straw colored, balanced and full complex layers accented by lemon citrus, tones of mineral and a hint of vanilla, pear and buttery oak, giving way to citrus on the crisp clean finish. This wine is a blend of several Sonoma Coast vineyards, including Camp Meeting Ridge ; a blend of Dijon clones (95 and 76), mature vine clone 4, and the low-yielding "Old Wente" selection.

RM 87 points.  . 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Northstar Columbia Valley Merlot 2009

Northstar Columbia Valley Merlot 2009

According to my Wine Tasting Journal Index of US Northwest wines, we've enjoyed Northstar Columbia Valley Merlot and have published tasting notes since the 1995 vintage. We have a vertical collection of about ten vintages in the cellar, so we picked up the new 2009 release upon first sighting to try.  It is a blend of fruit sourced from a multitude off growers' 10 separate vineyards and 14 different blocks from vines averaging 15 years old .

Merlot is the core of Right Bank Bordeaux blends and on the Left Bank is a key component added to Cabernet Sauvignon for breadth and depth in the blend.

While not a fruit bomb, this was rich and concentrated black berry, black cherry and plum fruits with a layer of vanilla, mocha and hint of maple flavors on the finish. This is one of the more flavorful and expressive of Northstars in memory.

A bit softer and more approachable than bigger more structured Cabernet Sauvignons, Merlots such as this are pleasant easy drinking with artisan cheese, fruit and chocolate, and of course they also go great with grilled steak!

At a pricepoint of around $26-28, this represents a good value high QPR (quality price ratio) selection for drinking now through the next ten years. 

RM 89 points. 

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Vintage Bordeaux and two upstart 2007's with Grilled Strip Steak Dad's Day Dinner

Vintage Bordeaux Anchors Grilled Strip Steak Dad's Day Dinner

For Dad's Day dinner Linda prepared my favorites - grilled NY Strip Steaks, corn on the cob, whipped potatoes and flour-less chocolate dessert. Ryan brought a intriguing pair of diverse reds that shared the same tasting profile. One, Larose De Gruaud, St Julien Bordeaux prompted me to open the Chateau Talbot for a St Julien terrior comparison tasting. Interestingly, the Gruaud was very similar to and more like the Caparone Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon.

Chateau Talbot St Julien Bordeaux 1986

Medium to full bodied, classic left bank aromas and flavors of floral violets, leather, tobacco and slight earthiness, herbs and hint of tar accent the blackberry and black cherry fruits on the lingering full floral moderate tannin finish. Decanted for an hour before drinking, it initially had a bit of barnyard funkiness but this burned off over the course of two hours to reveal its native character. A nice surprise in the staying power of this wine still in its drinking window albeit past its prime and beyond any chance for improvement through further aging, it still has several years of life left.

RM 90 points.

Larose De Gruaud St Julien Bordeaux 2007

Ryan brought these two 2007 vintage bottles to share/taste. The St. Julien Bordeaux prompted me to pull the Chateau Talbot for a terrior comparison tasting. When I bought these back in the eighties, I considered Talbot as a poor man's Gruaud Larose. It certainly presented itself like a big hitter tonight!

While the Larose De Gruaud is a lesser second label of legendary Gruaud Larose, this wine resembled the Caparone moreso than its 'cousin' the Talbot, aside the difference in vintages. I say cousin because back in those days, both were properties whose wines were marketed by the Cordier enterprise and labeled as such. Today, Chateau Talbot is still owned by the two daughters of Jean Cordier, earlier patriarch of the company,

Not to be confused with their second label Sarget De Gruaud Larose, this wine is sourced from younger vines not considered ready for premier use in the first and second labels.

This was especially fun to taste this with Ryan following our encounter with Gruaud Larose winemaker David Launey when we taste their vintage release at the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux Producers' 2010 Release Tasting in Chicago back in January.

Both the Caparone and the Larose De Gruaud presented big firm predominant gripping bramble dark black fruit flavors accented by a layer of creosote tar and smoke giving way to black cherry, tobacco, leather and lingering firm tannins. A bit austere on the finish.

These are two great pizza or barbecue wines. Both provide good QPR - Quality Price Ratio's at their sub $20 price points. .

RM 87 points.  

Caparone Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon 2007

Ryan's notes from Cellartracker on the Caparone:

I'm very impressed... what a bargain. very interesting wine. I don't have lot of experience with Paso Robles, but now I'm very intrigued.

This reminded me a 2001 Gruaud Larose I drank a couple months ago. when I closed my eyes, i was envisioning that wine. keep in mind, this was 20% the cost!

Color - showed some moderate bricking, which was really concerning upon pouring it. i'm wondering if this wine may have been flawed in a strange way that actually improved it.

Nose - earthy and kinda musty, with smoke and leather.

Mouth - smoky, with tar and leather, and red fruit. as mentioned above with the GL similarity, it tasted a lot like a 15 year old St. Julien. drank over several hours and after about 3 hours it starting showing another layer of fruit that was really nice.

I'm going to buy a couple more bottle today. I'm very curious to try this again.

RRM 90 points.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Silver Oak Alexander Valley Vertical Complements Grilled Beef Kabobs

Silver Oak Alexander Valley Vertical Complements Grilled Beef Kabobs

For a strip steak beef kabob dinner we selected a vertical of three vintages of Silver Oak Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon for pleasant easy drinking matched to the grilled strip steak with grilled red pepper, onions, fresh mushrooms and pineapple fruit. Bill C brought a 2005, Bob L had a 2008 in our cellar, actually left over from this year's OTBN, and I pulled a 2004 from the cellar to create this vertical comparison tasting - an interesting contrast in vintage variations, and perhaps perspective on Silver Oak at five years old versus nine. None seemed to be punctuated by that spicy oak layer that is the trademark signature of the label.

Silver Oak Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2004

The lightest, smoothest and perhaps most polished of the three vintages. Medium bodied, with a layer of mocha and slightly sweet currant and ripe plum and berry flavors with hints of vanilla on a silky smooth tannin finish.

RM 90 points.

Silver Oak Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2005

This was the biggest and most complex of the three vintages. Here are Bill's note from Cellartracker: 

"Deep indigo in color. Deep floral notes on the nose. Mocha, clove, pepper and allspice on the palate. Well balanced, with plenty of backbone and tannin with a rather sweet finish with vanilla overtones. Drank as part of a Silver Oak Alexander Valley vertical consisting of 2004, 2005 and 2008. IMO, the '04 was the most elegant of the 3. The '05 was a bit bigger and more structured. The'08 was a different, more fruit forward profile upon opening. However, after 3 hours, the '08 opened nicely, reflecting the traditional Silver Oak characteristics."

WCC 91 points.

Silver Oak Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2008

Perhaps reflecting its youth, the '08 opened a bit awkward, slightly hot with some black cherry tartness edge, but over the course of the evening it evolved to be more similar to the '05, medium to full bodied, nicely polished, moderately complex, dark, black berry and black currant fruits, hints of clove spice and touch of pepper with moderate firm smooth tannins on the finish.

RM 89 points.

Domaine de Roally Tradition Viré-Clessé Burgundy 2007

With shrimp cocktail and artisan cheese starter course we served a Burgundian Chardonnay from Domaine de Roally Viré-Clessé Tradition 2007. Straw colored, medium bodied, citrus predominates over hints of floral, stone and mineral notes, clean acidity with a an almost slightly tart note on the crisp lingering finish.

RM 87 points.

Rosemount Estate McLaren Vale Balmoral Syrah 1997

For a starter transition red with hearty artisan cheeses we served up a Rosemount Estate Balmoral Syrah (Shiraz) 1997. We still hold several cases (six packs) of this wine from the nineties and early millennium across nine different vintages and its time to drink up as shown in this '97 which is showing its age as the fruit starts to diminish somewhat. Looking at Cellartracker tasting notes, one writer reports this vintage still holding on while another says his is over the hill. While past its prime, this was still very much still inside the drinking window.

Dark purple colour, full aroma of perfume and fruit - ripe concentrated plum and blackberry fruits with a touch of vanilla and sweet cherry - tightly wound with a tinge of tight tannins and acid on the long fruit-filled finish.

RM 88 points.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Bennett Family Napa Valley Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2006

Bennett Family Napa Valley Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2006

For a team dinner, we dined at Tuttos Restaurant in Milwaukee. Standing out from the fairly typical selection of wines by glass was this Bennett Family Napa Valley Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2006. After but one sip I ordered the bottle to accompany our dinner entrees. This was a nicely polished, flavorful, complex but easy drinking Napa Valley Cabernet that represented good value for the price (QPR). While they didn't list the vintage on the winelist I later inquired and found it turned out to be the 2006 vintage which we first discovered and last tasted at another fine dining restaurant, Kinzie Chop House in Chicago. See my unwindwine.blogspot post of that dinner. 
This must be a one and done producer release as I haven't seen and can't find any other vintage releases of this wine. The restaurant say they have quite a bit of this wine so its worth a revisit to partake of this again.

Like the first tasting, the Bennett opened with aromas of dark plum, black cherry and mocha, dense flavors of candied dark fruit and subtle hints of vanilla,  oak and a touchc of spice. The finish is smooth and velvety, with elegant tannins. The Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is a blend of fruit from the Estate Lynch Family vineyard in Rutherford and select other sources throughout the Napa Valley.

RM 89 points.