Shut in due to the Caronavirus lock-in, we opened this vintage aged Napa Cabernet for a Sunday afternoon dinner of leftover beef pot roast, baked potatoes and asparagus.
We discovered and acquired this label during our Napa Valley Howell Mountain Wine Experience when we visited Ladera Winery up on Howell Mountain. The producer of this label, Karen Culler, is/was the winemaker for Wolf Family Vineyards and Ladera Vineyards. She produced this label and another Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon cuvees under her own label.
Karen Culler worked at Mondavi and set out on her in 1997. This label appeared in '97 and lasted for a dozen plus years until the '10 vintage, the last vintage recorded.
This 2005 Proprietary Red La Palette is a blend of 91% Cabernet Sauvignon and 9% Petit Verdot, all from Alexander Ranch fruit.
This label was awarded 93 points by Robert Parker's Wine Advocate and 91 points by Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar.
Tonight, this was a perfect complement to our beef dinner and selection of artisan cheeses and fine chocolates afterwards.
At fifteen years of age, this tasted much better and was more impressive than as noted in my tasting notes from the previous recorded tasting back in 2008 when I wrote: "October 3, 2008 - Culler La Pallette Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 - RM 89 - Dark inky purple, fruit forward gooseberry, currant, red raspberry and silky firm tannins on the finish."
At that time I awarded this 89 points and I remember the tasting and found it interesting but rather uninspiring. Tonight, this was much more expressive and vibrant. Immediately upon opening, aromas burst from the bottle and filled the room.
Consistent with that earlier tasting note, this was dark inky purple, fruit forward gooseberry, currant, red raspberry and silky firm tannins on the finish.
Tonight it was more expressive and vibrant than I remember, and was more complex and polished, medium full bodied, black currant and black berry fruits with accents of floral, bitter chocolate, spice, graphite and notes of cedar on the tangy acidic lingering smooth tannin laced finish.
RM 91 points.