This week it was so much fun to be a Wine Advisor at Wine Spectrum. We tasted some absolute stunners. Although I would love to post about all of them here, I don’t want to make you jealous. Instead I’ll just highlight the top few.
2009 Hundred Acre ‘Deep Time Ancient Way Vineyard’ Summer’s Blocks Shiraz, Barossa Valley
Wine Spectrum 97: The wine was picked from our Ancient Way vineyard in the Barossa Valley, South Australia. It is dry farmed, has ultra-small berries and tonnage, fermented in oak puncheons (500L French Oak Barrels) and unlike ANY WINE ON EARTH this was aged for 50 months in new French oak barriques (the best money can buy), hence it has achieved the status of DEEP TIME which is highly coveted by those that have gotten some of the minute quantities we produce in the past from our single vineyards in Napa Valley, (this is the first ever crafted in Australia) and is essentially…the power and concentration of a great Amarone… the enormous elegance…an indulgence. ~ Jayson Woodbridge
Antonio Galloni: ‘Jayson Woodbridge is one of the most focused and determined people I have ever met in the Napa Valley, or anywhere, for that matter. A man of deeply held convictions, Woodbridge knows exactly what he wants to achieve and won’t let anyone get in the way. His inner drive and passion are both remarkable. I suppose surviving cancer at the age of 18 will do that to you. Hundred Acre fans will find much to admire in this set of new releases. The Hundred Acre wines remain some of the most distinctive wines being made in Napa Valley today.’
2012 Teeter Totter Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
Wine Spectrum 95+: Benoit describes the wines as “opaque ruby/purple-colored, exhibit[ing] tons of fruit on the nose: crème de cassis, black currants and blackberries intermixed with notes of baking spices, lavender, graphite and licorice. It is a medium to full-bodied, round and juicy wine that could be drunk now or over the next decade or more.” Sourced from Pritchard Hill, Calistoga, Oakville and Saint Helena, the inaugural release of this wine was aged in 60% new French oak for 16 months. 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Syrah, 6% Cabernet Franc, 6% Merlot, 3% Zinfandel, 2% Petit Verdot. 1000 cases produced.
2005 Kathryn Kennedy ‘Estate’ Cabernet Sauvignon, Santa Cruz Mountains
Wine Spectrum 95+: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. The vines cover gentle slopes in Saratoga, California on the inland side of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Eight acres of vines were planted on their own roots by Kathryn in 1973. Excellent soil, a climate possessing just the right amount of marine influence, and personal attention combine to yield outstanding grapes. Each vintage is grown by hand and vinified in small lots followed by gentle barrel aging with 90% French oak. Boasting the lowest yield per acre in California at 1/4 tons, this is a massively concentrated and complex wine designed to reward those with the foresight to procure it now and the patience to allow its development. Full-bodied, with a great acid balance. The fresh cassis and rich ripe fruit makes for smooth drinking now, but the tannins will turn this age worthy wine into a collector’s gem. Drink now-2045. 425 cases made.
2012 Orin Swift ‘Papillon’ Proprietary Red, Napa Valley
Wine Spectrum 95: The 2012 Proprietary Red Papillon is composed of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Malbec and Cabernet Franc. Another big-time winner, it was sourced from multiple AVAs, including Oakville, St. Helena, Howell Mountain and Rutherford. Gorgeous aromas of white chocolate, blackberries, blackcurrants, blue fruits and toasty oak are followed by a full-bodied, layered wine that builds incrementally. The tannins are sweet and well-integrated, and the acidity is sufficient for definition. It is a savory, hedonistic as well as intellectually pleasing wine to enjoy over the next decade or more.
French for “butterfly,” Papillon is our interpretation of a Bordeaux blend. The components are sourced once again from renowned Napa Valley appellations including Oakville, St. Helena, Rutherford, and Howell Mountain. Notably, Stagecoach, Morisoli, and Taplin vineyards are featured from a near perfect 2012 growing season. Well spaced out with ideal hang time, this vintage showcases the region at it’s absolute best. Fittingly, we commissioned two of the top in their respective trades for the label; hand model, Vince Tofanelli is a third generation grape grower as well as friend, and famed photographer Greg Gorman, who snapped the image.
2011 Coho ‘SummitVine Ranch’ Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
Wine Spectrum 94+: SummitVine Ranch Vineyard is located at almost 1800 ft elevation in the Diamond Mountain District, high above the Napa Valley floor. The 2011 harvest includes only three of the Bordeaux varietals grown on the ranch. Floral notes, cassis and black olive aromas and black cherry flavors with muscular tannins come from Cabernet Sauvignon; a perfumed spice of tobacco and violets come from Cabernet Franc; pencil lead with forest floor and a powerful complexity comes from the Petit Verdot. The wine’s exceptional entry on the palate is seamless and fruit-forward, with ripe black fruit flavors and luxurious tannins in the finish. 91% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc, 4% Petit Verdot. Will age well for the next decade. 900 cases made.
2013 Marciano ‘Massiglia’ Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley
Wine Spectrum 94: The 2013 Marciano ‘Massiglia’ Sauvignon Blanc is a mouth-watering, sensational wine. Fresh green herbs, flinty minerals and perfectly ripe hints of stony and tropical fruits dance together on the palate with just the right amount of acidity. Aged in 30% new French oak, this is a white Bordeaux-like style Sauvignon Blanc that tastes delightful on its own or will pair beautifully with shellfish dishes.
2013 Venge Family ‘Scout’s Honor’ Proprietary Red, Napa Valley
Wine Spectrum 94: This wine is based on a tradition of producing a full bodied, delicious and enjoyable red wine. We start with a base of old-vine Zinfandel and build upon that with dry-farmed Petite Sirah, old-vine Charbono, and finish with mountain vineyard Syrah. The result is an unpretentious red wine that will satisfy time and time again. The 2013 vintage was another perfect growing season on par with that of the 2012 vintage. This vintage has a gorgeous, concentrated assemblage of aromas, with black fruits, crushed blue herbs, violets, cherry, licorice and anise. On the palate is pure richness from the old-vine Zinfandel with loads of black cherry, pepper spice, and an enveloping masculinity of char and tannins from the Syrah, Charbono and Petite Sirah. A seamless balance and mouth coating deliciousness are found throughout the palate, with an extra long finish with a touch of barrel tannin at the end. 2013 Scout’s Honor is certainly a generous mouthful of red wine that we recommend be opened and enjoyed immediately upon release. Cellared correctly it will age for 5 to 8 years. 71% Zinfandel, 15% Petite Sirah, 10% Charbono, 4% Syrah.
2012 Auteur ‘Durell Vineyard’ Chardonnay, Sonoma
Robert Parker 94: The 2012 Chardonnay Durell Vineyard was made from the Old Wente clone, and spent time in 33% new oak. It reveals lots of poached pear, honeysuckle, and caramelized citrus characteristics, ripe acidity, medium to full body, and beautiful density as well as richness. The most opulent and lavishly constructed of these four Chardonnays, it should drink well for 5-6 years.
Wine Spectrum 93+: Intense, ethereal. Mineral, lime zest, white truffles, sea breeze, crème brulee, and white flower restrained around layers of stone and Macintosh apple. Viscous and expansive palate weight balanced by mouth-watering citrus with a persistent match stick finish. -Kenneth Juhasz, Winemaker