Sunday, February 6, 2022

Napa and Columbia Valley Big Red Wine Flight

Family dinner features Napa and Columbia Valley Big Red Wine Flight

We were invited over to Ryan and Michelle's new home for a Saturday night pot luck dinner with Erin and Johnny and the grandkids. 

Erin brought pasta and Italian Beef and cupcakes and Linda took chocolate cake for a belated birthday tribute to Erin. 

Ryan had open a Mondavi Reserve Napa Valley Tokalon Cabernet and a Columbia Valley Cab so I took from our cellar a Napa and Columbia Valley Cab to compare. 

Robert Mondavi ToKalon Vineyard Oakville Napa Valley Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

With a release price of $175 and monster reviews of 96, 96, 96, 94 points, and a Cellar Selection designation, one would expect this to be an impressive bottle worthy of special occasions. Hence, our dismay and disappointment over its tasting profile tonight. Perhaps and hopefully this off-putting was bottle variation and the rest of the partial case Ryan acquired will be in-line with the pundits. 

The winemaker's notes for this bottle - ".... offers flavors of rich black berries and black plum, dried herb complexity, sweet oak spices, vanilla bean, and toasted almonds unfold in mesmerizing layers. gave it 96+ points and said, "The flagship 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve is a more long-term effort yet is loaded with potential. ....  hide bottle for 4-5 years and this beauty will cruise for 3 decades or so."
Wine Advocate also gave it 94 points Vinous, Wine Enthuiast, 93, Cellar Selection. 
They speak to black berries and plum, dried herbs, spices, vanilla, almond .... None of their accolades mention the over-riding notes of vegetable green pepper that permeates this bottle. Hopefully it will burn off or be lost in integration with time. 
RM 88 points.  


McGah Family Winery "Scarlet" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

I took this Napa Valley red from our cellar. I wrote about this producer in a blogspot about their 2013 vintage release of this label.

This is crafted by winemaker Mike Smith who uses fruit for his other winery projects, sourced by Russell Bevan, for this single vineyard red, from the McGah estate vineyard on the eastern side of Rutherford. The McGah family are most notably known for co-founding the Bay area Oakland Raiders.  Sherratt Reicher, grandson of E.J. McGah, former Boston Red Sox player and second generation Oakland Raiders owner who maintained ownership interests in the Oakland Raiders football team until 2005, oversees their wine interests.  

McGah family own and operate 64 acres of vineyards in the storied Rutherford appellation on the east side of the central valley near Silverado Trail. They sell fruit to other producers and also offer Scarlett Wines under their own, recently rebranded label, named after the producer/founder's daughter. 

This is similar to the 2013 vintage release we tasted and reported in earlier blogposts

Awarded 92-94 points from Robert Parker's Wine Advocate and 91 points from Jeb Dunnuck. 

The Cellartracker community Average Value for this wine is listed at $122.  I consider this a key source of valuing a wine as I see the Cellartracker community as savvy and astute wine consumers and buyers. This is typically a reliable benchmark price for a wine that I will reference when considering a wine purchase. This renders our Vin Chicago purchase price at under $70 a real bargain.   

Parker's Wine Advocate wrote, "As for the 2015s, as you might expect from this high-quality vintage in Northern California, the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon McGah Family Vineyard is a fruit bomb, and called it "in-your-face and rather flamboyant, dramatic style, are all part of its appeal and personality."Jeb Dunnuck called it 'fruitcake'.

Amazing notes of sweet caramel candy predominate, dark garnet colored, medium-full bodied, the bright full forward concentrated blackcurrant and blackberry fruits are accented by a layer of delectable sweet vanilla, almond and sweet clove and oak notes turning to ripe tannins on the long finish. 

RM 93 points.

Mark Ryan "Long Haul" Columbia Valley Red Wine 2015

This is produced by Mark Ryan McNeilly who founded Mark Ryan Winery in 1999 with the simple and lofty goal of making the best wine in Washington State. Mostly self-taught, Mark honed the craft of winemaking through rigorous study and the welcomed advice of some of the area's most experienced producers.

He studied wine for years before producing his first vintage. He was working as a wine distributor during the day and a server/bartender at night when he developed his passion for wine. Reading about wine making and hanging out with winemakers back in the 90's, he bought a truckload of Washington fruit, paid for from proceeds of his first vintage release. His first labels were 'Dead Horse', named for the vineyard from which it came, and this 'Long Haul', named for the road he started walking with his venture.

Ryan had this big red open from the previous evening. He and I discovered and tasted and acquired this together at the producer's tasting room in Woodinville during our  Seattle Culinary and Washington Wine Tour, Woodinville Wine Experience. 

Tonight's tasting was consistent with my notes posted from that earlier tasting at the producer.

8/25/2018 - I like this wine: 92 Points

Like many others in these pages, we tasted, and acquired this in the Woodinville tasting room. This was dark garnet colored, medium bodied, bright vibrant dark berry, accented by what some refer to as violet and spiced plum, we detected notes of dark mocha, spice, hints of cassis and cedar with firm but approachable tannins on the lingering finish.