Friday, January 4, 2013

Duo of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignons with Beef Tenderloin Dinner

A pair of Napa Valley Cabernets from Calistoga with beef tenderloin family dinner on Alec's last night at home before returning home to Sandy ravaged New Jersey. With Alec's colleague Kyle. Following recent tastings of Sterling Vineyards Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 and 2010, we pulled a 2006 from the cellar. For a comparison tasting we pulled another Calistoga area Napa Cabernet, Elizabeth Spencer Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Proprietor Blended Special Cuvee 2009. After dinner we had a Chateau Raymond-Lafon Sauternes 2003 with a selection of artisan cheese cakes.

Elizabeth Spencer Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Proprietor Blended Special Cuvee 2009

Elizabeth Spencer is a husband and wife wine-making partnership that produces small lots from fruit sourced from growers throughout Napa Valley. Only 60 barrels of the 09 Napa Cabernet were produced, a hand-crafted blend of 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot, and 1% Cabernet Franc from premier growers St. Helena, Howell Mountain, Yountville, Oakville, Rutherford and Mount Veeder districts.

Dark garnet colored, full bodied, this shows bright vibrant full forward complex black and red berry and plum fruit flavors, accented by clove spice and hints of dark chocolate. with velvety mouthfeel, and naturally balanced acidity turning to firm integrated tannins on the finish.

RM 90 points.
Sterling Vineyards Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2006

We enjoyed two recent vintages of this wine that exceeded our expectations so I was anxious to try this earlier vintage release in comparison. (See journal posting).

This wine was dark inky purple color, medium bodied with subdued briary black berry and hints of sweet strawberry fruits accented by clove, allspice, tones of creosote, smoke, and black licorice turning to a layer of firm dry tongue coating tannins on the lingering  finish. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignons from Napa Valley 88%, Knights Valley Sonoma County 8% and Lake County 5%.

Opposite the Spencer above with its bold vibrant forward berry fruits, the Sterling came across as smooth, polished with its more subdued style, this was the preferred choice of Johnny and Kyle.

RM 88 points.

Chateau Raymond-Lafon Sauternes Bordeaux 2003

Light honey colored, medium to full bodied, unctuous sweet pear and slight hint of honey, apricot fruit and vanilla bean with a tone of sweet nut and subtle smoke on a lingering tongue coating finish.

RM 91 points.