Saturday, July 5, 2014

David Arthur Elevation 1147 and Estate Napa Cabernets 2003


David Arthur Elevation 1147 and Estate Napa Cabernet Sauvignons 2003

To celebrate brother Pat's visit, and to commemorate his wedding year, Bill C pulled a selection of vintage Napa Cabernet Sauvignons from the cellar including a special 2003 vintage David Arthur flagship Elevation 1147, a 1993 Vineyard 29 Estate from magnum, and a 1999 Freemark Abbey Sycamore Vineyard. I brought the David Arthur 2003 Estate Cabernet to compare against the Elevation.

To showcase the wines, Bill and Beth grilled New York strip steaks and barbecue ribs served with haricot verts and corn on the cob with mixed greens salad. Earlier we had artisan cheeses, crab stuffed champignons and after dinner accompaniments included chocolate caramels with sea salt.

Our visit to David Arthur at the end of Long Ranch Road high atop Pritchard Hill overlooking Napa Valley was one of the highlights of our Napa Wine Experience 2013.

Elevation 1147 is the vineyard named for the height at the mountaintop precipice and sources the fruit for this flagship vineyard designated label. The surrounding vineyards source the Cabernet fruit for the Estate label.

There are distinct similarities in the tasting profile of these two David Arthur wines that come from the site and reflect its terroir. The difference between them is their presentation.

David Arthur estate Cabernet Sauvignon is full bodied, complex, concentrated but nicely balanced. Full forward black berry fruits with essence of sweet spices, tobacco, leather and hints of cedar on the smooth tannin finish. As good as it is, its a shadow of its big brother, Elevation.

RM 91 points. 

Elevation is flawless, extraordinary in its refined elegance and harmonious balance. While full bodied it has no sense of weight in its symphony of seamlessly integrated flavors, silky smooth and polished balance of floral, dark fruit and accent tones from start to finish - lavender, sweet ripe black and blue berry fruits, whispers of cinnamon, clove, exotic spices and tobacco leaf on the soft lingering finish. At eleven years of age it seemed to be at its apex as I can't imagine it getting any better. It was delightful and delicious. I sense I drank my earlier Elevations too early to allow them to come together so nicely.

RM 95 points.

Bill's tasting notes from Cellartracker -

"Found this to be truly exceptional and the hit of the evening. Big, robust with cassis, blackberry and sour cherry on the front palate. Complex and layered revealing a hint of cedar and chocolate on the mid palate. We'll integrated tannins with a lingering finish. Quite elegant and balanced with a floral nose reminiscent of a Margaux though the wine itself is much bigger than a Margaux. A real treat. Friend and wine buddy Rick provided a 2003 David Arthur Estate Cab to taste side by side. Very interesting comparison. The common heritage was evident. Interestingly the estate seemed a bit thinner until it had been open over two hours at which point it really blossomed."

Vineyard 29 Napa Valley Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 1993

Bill's notes from last winter - Medium garnet in the glass. Still some fruit left. Nicely balanced with flavors of raspberry, sour cherry, mocha and a hint of cedar. This was the consensus favorite at "Open That Bottle Night" one year ago. A year later, it is still very tasty but tannins are fading and is not as vibrant as it was last year.

WCC 90 points.

Freemark Abbey Sycamore Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 1999 

Freemark Abbey Napa Valley Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2007

To round out the tasting Bill pulled this mid year vintage of Freemark Abbey Cabernet, a nice starter before dinner.

Bill's tasting notes from Cellartracker - "A nice way to kick off a gala evening with visiting family and friends. Robust and fruit forward. Deep indigo color. Will get better over the next couple of years but pretty tasty right now. Predominantly dark, black raspberry and cherry on the palate with a touch of oak. A tad smoky in a good way. Would have probably rated higher but had the misfortune of being compared to some really heavy hitters."

WCC 88 points.

My notes -
Dark purple, medium - full bodied, black cherry and black berry fruits, smoky cedar notes with hints of oak on a firm tannin finish.

This is a blend of fruit 79% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest mostly Merlot and fractions of Petit Verdot, Malbec and Cabernet Franc.
RM 89 points.