Sunday, May 13, 2018

Trio of Napa Cabs reflect diverse terrior and styles

Trio of Napa Cabs reflect diverse terrior and styles

We hosted a dinner to welcome former client and friend Mike Z and wife Tammy to Chicagoland. Linda grilled ribeye steaks served with brussel sprouts and delicious Chantilly potatoes.

Tammy brought a mixed green salad, and we finished with Linda's chocolate mousse and homemade almond profiteroles, with fresh berries and a selection of assorted chocolates.

Prior to dinner we had a broad selection of artisan cheeses.

 We toured our just finished rebuilt wine cellar and pulled a trio of Napa Valley Cabernets that reflect three appellations and their diverse terroir and styles; Elan Vineyards from Atlas Peak, Paradigm from Oakville, and Constant from Diamond Mountain.

I had initially pulled two 2002 vintage bottles and Mike and Tammy pulled a '94 vintage Elan for their son's birthyear. We also pulled a 2002 vintage Suduiraut Sauterne dessert wine.

Elan Vineyards Napa Valley Atlas Peak Cabernet Sauvignon 1994

We discovered and acquired this wine during a visit to the Monticello Winery where it was produced back in the mid-nineties.

Consistent with earlier tasting notes, this tasted remarkably like a vintage Bordeaux with huge floral scents, earthy leather, black fruits, smoke and black cherry with hints of anise and cedar. This wine originally tasted at the winery with producer Richard Elliott-Smith and his lovely wife Linda was true to his Bordeaux roots in flavor, character and apparent age-worthiness as this seventeen year old (now at twenty-four) is holding well and revealing itself more profoundly than earlier tastings.

Now at twenty four years, this is still holding and drinking well, it is showing its age as the berry fruits are giving way to notes of black olive and green pepper. 

RM 91 points.

Constant Diamond Mountain Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2002

We visited Constant Diamond Mountain Vineyards during our Napa Valley Wine Experience in 2011. We hold a half dozen vintages of their mountain grown Cabernet and this 2002 vintage release is the best I have tasted to date.

The backbone foundation for this wine release is predominantly Constant Diamond Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon from their mountain top vineyards sitting at 2000 foot elevation high atop the Mountain with views of Sonoma Valley to the West and Napa Valley to east. it is one of the oldest history wine properties in the region dating back to the 1880's and is one of the very few properties that span both sides of the summit.

The mountain fruit is firmly structured with big but approachable tannins. The 2002 release is a Bordeaux style blend  of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.

This was dark garnet colored, medium full bodied, complex and fruit forward yet elegantly balanced and nicely polished with a symphony of flavors: ripe black currant and black berry fruits with exotic spices, notes of licorice, hints of sweet mocha tobacco leaf and leather.

RM 93 points.

Paradigm Napa Valley Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon 2002
We visited the Harris' Paradigm Oakville winery during our Napa Valley Wine Experience back in 1999. We hold a half dozen vintages of this label dating back to the mid-nineties.

Perhaps an unfair comparative tasting of three diverse Napa cabs, the Paradigm was slightly narrower and single dimensional compared the mountain fruit and complexity of the Bordeaux blends. It was delicious never-the-less and a top performing Napa Cab.

This was dark garnet colored, medium-full bodied, bright tangy black cherry and black berry fruits accented by notes of anise, tea, spice box and hints of dark mocha, caramel, and leather.

RM 90 points.

With the chocolate mousse and fresh berries dessert we opened this perfectly accompaniment, Suiduraut 2002.

Château Suduiraut 1er Grand Cru Classe' Sauternes Bordeaux 2002

Its great fun to watch these Sauternes wines age and turn from the straw color on release, darkening over time to butter, then honey colored to weak tea colored.

Dark honey colored, medium full bodied, not as sweet and unctuous as some vintages, the fruit is more subdued lacking the apricot nectar and honey of some vintages. This showed plenty of botrytis, with predominate notes of smoke accented by marzipan, almond, ripe apple, and hints of  vanilla on the tongue cloying finish. This was a perfect compliment to the fresh berries, homemade profiteroles and chocolate mousse.

RM 91 points.

Tasted from a 375ml half bottle.