Friday, December 22, 2023

Boys night features flight of ultra-premium Napa Cabernets

Boys night features flight of ultra-premium Napa Cabernets

Son Ryan invited brothers, dad and in-laws, in town for the holidays, over for a boys night of darts, ping-pong and pop-a-shot. He opened the evening serving a flight of ultra-premium Napa Cabernets.

Ryan served a selection of artisan cheeses and charcuterie. 


Hall Xzellenze Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2007

We discovered, tasted and acquired this label at the magnificent Rutherford Estate Winery during our Napa Wine Experience in 2017. This is sourced from the Sacrashe Vineyard that lies just above the winery adjacent to the estate residence. We hold and have had some of the earlier single vineyard designated wines from this vineyard dating back to 1998. Who knew this would evolve and progress to such heights? Not often does one get to taste a 'perfect' wine. of course perfection is in the eyes ('eyze') of the beholder. The 2013 vintage of this label that we tasted that day in their magnificent tasting room in the cave at the Rutherford Sacrashe estate (shown below) got 100 points from  Robert Parker.

We tasted this wine recently in our Pour Boys holiday wine dinner so it was great to compare an earlier vintage of this classic Napa label - the flagship of Hall Wines. That release and another were featured in these pages' blogposts:

Exzellenz and aged Robert Craig Mt Veeder for holiday celebration gathering 

Ryan has also visited the Hall Rutherford estate and has acquired a significant collection of Hall wines and several vintages of this super label. 

This earlier release was awarded 96 points by Wine Enthusiast and 93 points by Wine Spectator.

This is 100% Cabernet sourced from the Hall Estate Sacrashe Vineyard that surrounds the producer's home and sits above the Hall Rutherford Winery and Hospitality Center. This was a limited production barrel selection of only 420 cases.
We wrote in earlier visit blogposts about the spectacular Hall Rutherford estate and cave tours at the Rutherford estate sitting in the Sacrashe Vineyard, with hospitality rooms above the wine production area, barrel caves and tasting room below.

A powerful expression, ripe and rich, with tiers of loamy earth, spice, currant, blackberry and herbal notes. Full-bodied, very tight and compact, ending with firm, fine-grained tannins and a touch of new saddle leather. blackberry jam, chocolate, olive and cedar flavors, it’s hard to not drain the bottle now. But it also shows fabulously rich tannins that suggest aging.

Continuing our flight of outstanding Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignons ...

Cardinale Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2010

Just last week at our Family Christmas dinner offering a medley of festive wines, we served another ultra-premium label from the extensive Jackson Family Wines portfolio of iconic brands.

I written often in these pages about Jess Jackson (1930–2011) who founded what became one of the most successful family-owned wine companies in the world. Jackson’s lengthy career spanned more than 30 years in pursuit of his vision and passion to produce extraordinary wine from California’s best vineyards. 

Here is another one of those labels, Cardinale Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, a small-production, limited-availability wine, highly sought after label.  

In 1983, Jess Jackson, proprietor of Kendall-Jackson Winery, decided to produce a world-class red Meritage wine. The name comes from the original Cardinale vineyard site at Kendall-Jackson's Lakeport winery. The wine is made predominantly of Cabernet Sauvignon blended with small amounts of Merlot and, in certain years, Cabernet Franc. 

The 2010 Cardinale is 86% Cabernet Sauvignon and 14% Merlot, sourced from 100% Napa Valley hillside and mountain vineyard sites.  It was aged 20 months in 98% new French oak.
It was produced by winemaker Chris Carpenter who wrote: “An intriguing combination of dark fruits and spices. The blending of five mountain sub-appellations provided aromas of ripe boysenberry, dark cherry and dragon fruit. These fruits meld on the palate with holiday spice and Sumatra coffee bean characters. The wine is lush in mid-body texture and has a lingering finish.”

Winemaker Notes continue .... "The 2010 Cardinale reflects a vintage that challenged us and highlighted our dedication to producing a wine that defines the very best of Napa Valley in a way that impacts your palate like Coltrane's "A Love Supreme." The score is at once a classic of musical creation and a masterpiece with all of the subtly, grace and precision of a Mozart symphony, but with the charisma of complex Jazz. Following suit, the 2010 Cardinale is an intriguing combination of dark fruits and spices, opening with scents of ripe boysenberry and dark cherry that meld on the palate with holiday spices and Sumatra coffee bean flavors. The 2010 Cardinale has a lush, mid-body texture and a lingering finish."

This release was awarded 96 points from Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate, 92 points Int'l Wine Cellar and Stephen Tanzer, 91 points from Wine Spectator and 17/20 points by Jancis Robinson.

Dark garnet colored, full bodied, intense, powerful and rich layers of dark red and black fruits with notes of mocha, cinnamon, cassis, earthy cedar and tobacco with hints of tar and graphite on a firm grippijng tannin laced lingering finish. 
Fleury 29  Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

I featured Brian and Claudia Fleury and their Fleury Napa Valley estate wines in thess pages back in 2018 in the blogpost Fleury Estate Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Duo. I wrote about when we first met Brian and Claudia Fleury at a Del Dotto Estate Winery event (see below) back in 2002. From that meeting we acquired some Fleury Estate Lauren Bryce Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon from what I believe was their inaugural vintage release. How surprising then and what fun to hear son Ryan speaking of this wine and about he and some of his buddy's acquiring some of the highly allocated select wine for their cellars. Fleury Estate Napa Cab is a favorite of him and several of his colleagues who have extensive collections of numerous releases of this label. 

Fleury Estate Winery owns 50 acres of premium vineyard land in different appellations and elevations that they note allow them to "craft consistent, high quality Napa Valley wines year after year". Their primary Fleury Estate Vineyard located in the heart of Napa Valley just south of St. Helena in Rutherford, is also home to the Fleury tasting room, winemaking facilities and 11 acre estate vineyard.  
They also own and manage 30 acres in the St Helena Vineyard, and six acre Howell Mountain Vineyard high up in Deerpark.
Their vineyards are planted to all the Bordeaux Varietals:  Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petite Verdot and Malbec. 

Le Fleur 29 is sourced from the Fleury estate vineyard in the foothills above St Helena sitting at an elevation of 880 feet. It is named for Brian Flurry's father Lee Fleury.
Garnet colored, medium full bodied bright expressive blackberry fruits accented by clove spice, oak, tobacco leaf, graphite with hints of sweet mocha and vanilla. 
RM 93 points.