We typically hold our last formalized tasting of new wines right before Thanksgiving, and this year was no exception. Because it is the last of the year, it tends to be a good one. This year was FANTASTIC. In fact, I would say it was the best tasting of the year. What do you think?
2012 Morlet Cabernet Sauvignon ‘Estate’, Napa Valley
Wine Spectrum 97, Robert Parker 96: From his nearly six acres of Cabernet Sauvignon planted with Margaux cuttings near Vineyard 29 and Colgin’s Tychson Hill vineyards, the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Morlet Estate (100% Cabernet Sauvignon) displays the vintage’s open, opulent, plush personality. With exceptional intensity, plenty of crème de cassis, vanillin, floral and lead pencil notes, this full-bodied 2012 offers low acidity as well as impressive flavors. There are 275 cases of this gorgeous red. It should drink well for 15-20 years.
2011 Marcassin Pinot Noir ‘Marcassin Vineyard’, Sonoma Coast
Wine Spectrum 97, Robert Parker: There is no doubt that Marcassin is the most difficult appointment for people to schedule, to sit down and taste wine with owners Helen Turley and John Wetlaufer. The legacy they have created in California wine is immense.
The 2011 Pinot Noir Marcassin Vineyard has sweet berry fruit, roasted herbs, incense, a touch of background wood spice and foresty notes all present in this medium-bodied, slightly lighter style of Pinot Noir from Marcassin. This was a challenging vintage, but the wines turned out outstanding, and very Burgundian. The alcohol is 13.9%, which is one of their lowest sugar levels. The wine presents a very attractive, moderately intense perfume, good acidity and excellent precision. Drink it over the next 7-8 years.
2013 Cayuse Syrah ‘En Chamberlin’, Walla Walla
Wine Spectrum 97, Wine Advocate 94-97: Another sensational looking Syrah, the 2013 Syrah en Chamberlin Vineyard is the most savory, umami-styled, exotic and funky of the lot. Iodine, beef blood, licorice, mushroom and hints of soy and give way to a full-bodied barrel sample that has ample concentration, sweet tannin and a great finish. This is classic Rocks characteristics and is perfumed, complex and downright exotic. It should drink well for 15 years or more.
2013 David Arthur Cabernet Sauvignon ‘Elevation 1147, Napa Valley
Wine Spectrum 96+: Our 2013 Elevation is massive wine with a dense deep ruby color offering aromas of spicy brambled baked fruit of blackberry and current, that transition to earth driven aromatics of forest-wet soil, cocoa nibs, and spice tones like wild sage/bay laurel, bergamot/black tea and hints of cedar. The palate is rich, broad and fleshy with a seductively fine grain, yet rigidly built texture finishing with baked cherry, licorice candy and persistence. Best from 2016 to 2036.
2013 Cayuse Tempranillo ‘Impulsivo CV’, Walla Walla
Wine Spectrum 96+, Wine Advocate 97-99: Aging in 50% new puncheons (they’re moving to using more and more puncheons), the 2013 Impulsivo was one of the top barrel samples I was able to taste from the vintage. Inky colored, with incredible purple fruits, violets, licorice, cedar and pen ink-like aromatics, this thrilling, dense, concentrated and structured Tempranillo will require 3-4 years of bottle age and keep for over two decades.
2013 David Arthur Cabernet Sauvignon ‘3 Acre’, Napa Valley
Wine Spectrum 95: This wines color is very dark ruby and nearly opaque while offering lifted aromas of dark currant, black raspberry followed by hints of sage and lavender floral notes. There are baking spices and hints of toffee and espresso. The palate is plush and punchy with forward style tannins yet firm and bold followed by flavors of dark cherries, chocolate and candied licorice. The finish is long and persistent with fine grained tannins. Best from 2015 to 2025.
2013 David Arthur Chardonnay, Napa Valley
Wine Spectrum 94+: The just released 2012 Napa Valley Chardonnay is fresh and delicate. It offers delightful aromas of white stone fruit, floral fragrances and citrus minerality. This vintage has flavors of tropical fruits wrapped in an elegant creaminess with a slight hint of vanilla.