10. 2007 Cabernet — J. Lohr — San Jose, CA — $17. A bouyant red-purple color with bright hues. Generous aromas of black cherry, black currant and plum fruit, complemented by vanilla, tar and toasty notes from the twelve to fourteen months in barrel. On the palate, the fruit flavors echo the aroma, complexed with blackberry and a plump, softly texture mouthfeel and finish.
9. 2007 Papillon — Red Table Wine — Orin Swift — Rutherford, CA — $57. This is Orin Swift Cellar’s third release of Papillon. This wine combines Bordeaux varietals from a number of great local vineyards including Lewelling, Taplin, Moorhead, Frediani, Ink Grade, and Morisoli; encompassing Napa Valley appellations Oakville, Rutherford, Saint Helena, and Howell Mountain. The color of the wine is deep garnet with an opaque red tinge. It has aromas of opulent black fruits (cassis, blackberries, black cherries) and a touch of well-integrated, sweet oak. The entry of the wine is soft and lush; it sets up the wide yet well defined mid palate. Dark fruit flavors combined with ripe tannins lead into a long and soft finish.
8. 2006 Marriage — Red Table Wine — Terra Valentine — Napa Valley, CA — $75. Dark cherry, brambly fruits, cinnamon, clove, sweet tobacco and cocoa on the nose. Satiny tannins and plush fruit envelop the mouth with candied fruit and chocolate covered cherries. The velvety tannins expand in the mouth before slowly ending in a long and smooth finish. If it’s from Spring Mountain—it’s for me.
7. 2007 Prisoner — Red Table Wine — Orin Swift — Rutherford, CA— $35. The 2007 blends the lush berry flavors of Zinfandel, the power and concentration of Cabernet Sauvignon, the dark black fruit of Syrah, the intensity and structure of Petite Sirah, the flesh of Charbono, and a hint of Grenache – all combined for a decadent wine with great complexity.
6. 2007 Date Night — Cabernet — Phifer-Pavitt — Napa Valley, CA — $75. An extremely dense, multi-layered, and altogether mesmerizing wine. Opens with aromas of blueberries, quince jelly, framboise, and marzipan. On the palate the wine unleashes a silky wallop of black fruits, caramel, truffled chocolates, fresh plums, Christmas spices, and black tea. The melange of flavors is joined by a deep toasty char as they echo throughout the ridiculously long finish. (Enjoy from 2010 until 2025 and beyond.)
5. 2002 Benedetto — Cabernet — Miner Family Wines — Napa Valley, CA — $125.Once sip started the juices were flowing. Concentrated Red fruit flavors hints of Dark Red cherries, mocha, and a soft but present, round tannic structure. Long on the finish with persistent red current and blackberry flavors. Wine really opened up after sitting in the glass an hour after pouring.
4. 2008 Pinot Noir — Pahlmeyer — Sonoma, CA — $70. Medium ruby in color, the profuse nose of the Pahlmeyer Pinot Noir shows raspberry, red plum, light cedar and damp earth. Vibrant red fruit lends to a lively, layered palate that lingers on and on. Exquisite.
3. 2004 Library Vineyard — Petite Syrah — Turley — $90. The Petite Syrah reveals a black/purple color as well as notes of graphite, smoke, blackberries, blueberries, creme de cassis, a liqueur of mineral-like intensity, and huge tannin and concentration. A meaty effort, tasting almost like a liqueur of bloody steak is the 2004 Petite Syrah Library Vineyard. This is a prodigious wine that should be purchased only by those with cold cellars and good DNA for longevity as it will all age for 40-50 years.
2. 2006 Yverdon — Cabernet — Terra Valentine — Napa Valley, CA — $70. Inky dark fruits, vanillin, and black walnut mingle with exotic spices and sweet pipe tobacco. Notice how the brightness of this wine complements the full, plush mid-palate and fine, silt-like tannins that lend to the superb mouth-feel and exceptional balance. Estimated maturity: 2013-2020. This wine has my number. The tastes are heaven to my palate.
1. 2003 Angels Share — Syrah — Two Hands — McClaren Vale, Australia — $29. Number 51 on Wine Spectator Top 100 Wines of 2004. A deep ruby/purple color is accompanied by aromas of blackberries, balck currants, and cherries, opulent, succulent, medium to full-bodied flavors, sweet, well-integrated tannin, and loads of freshness as well as intensity. Not a huge mouthful, but it unfolds its flavors and builds up intensity as the blackberry, plum, cedar and floral-pepper flavors persist into the long, generous finish. Best from 2007 through 2015. I have tasted this wine each year for the past five years. It has evolved from tasty to transcendent.
Coming January 2011!
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