February 6, 2012

NYC Wine Tasting Group, Cabernet Sauvignon Past and Present

1997 Renaissance Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Sierra Foothills (Yuba County) California – Cabernet Sauvignon grape
This is flat-out great cabernet sauvignon, the sort that used to come from some of Bordeaux’s greatest chateaus in the 1950s and ’60s before the New World wine order took over. Composed 100 percent of cabernet sauvignon, this wine begs to be served with roast beef, lamb or game. Like its classical Bordeaux model, it needs food in which to be, if you will, understood. Wine Spectator

1997 Casa Lapostolle Clos Apalta (Colchagua Valley) Chile – blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Carmenère grapes
One thousand, eight hundred cases of this extraordinary wine were produced from the oldest (50 years average age) non-irrigated vines controlled by Casa Lapostolle. The blend of 95% Merlot and 5% Carmenere, aged in 100% new French oak casks, and bottled with neither fining nor filtration, is a triumph in wine making. Yields were kept to a conservative 40 hectoliters per hectare, resulting in an opaque purple-colored wine with an exquisite nose of black cherry, blackberry, and creme de cassis fruit intertwined with subtle toasty oak and lead pencil. Full-bodied, with an opulent texture, sensational concentration, and layered nuances, this wine will have 10-15 years of longevity, although its fatness and low acidity give it immediate accessibility. This superb wine is a tour de force. Not surprisingly, the consulting winemaker was Pomerol’s brilliant Michel Rolland. Anticipated maturity: now-2015. Serious wine tasters should give it a try. Rated 93 The Wine Advocate
This showstopper has all the bells and whistles: deep color, lavish oak, concentrated ripe fruit, power and harmony in a polished package. The boysenberry, chocolate and licorice flavors are voluptuous and velvety; the wine has elegance to match its power. It’s hard to find Chile in its character, but easy to take pleasure in the result. Merlot, Carmenère and Cabernet Sauvignon. Rated 91 Wine Spectator

1999 Dunn Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley) California – Cabernet Sauvignon grape
Sharply focused, with a pretty beam of plum, currant and black cherry flavors, framed by spicy, cedary oak and finishing with dry tannins. Rated 92 Wine Spectator

1997 Vina Seña Seña (Aconcagua Valley) Chile – Cabernet Sauvignon grape
High-toned, stylish Cab that’s robed in cedar, mineral, smoke, iron and currant flavors. It’s plush yet sophisticated, and the structure is finely grained. Long finish. Really classy stuff, showing more elegance than previous vintages of Seña. Rated 91 Wine Spectator

1997 Vina Santa Rita Casa Real Cabernet Sauvignon (Maipo Valley) Chile – Cabernet Sauvignon grape
Dark, with a brooding nose that offers glimpses of cedar, coffee and smoke. The dense chocolate- and cassis-laden palate is harnessed by ripe, round tannins and snappy acidity. Winey and extracted, this should develop finesse with short-term cellaring. Rated 90 Wine Spectator

1995 Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley) California – Cabernet Sauvignon grape
A dense, well-oaked style, with plenty of anise, currant, chocolate, cedar and berry flavors to sustain it. Turns complex and supple on the finish, though it has the tannic strength to cellar short-term. Rated 90 Wine Spectator