USA Cult and Wines of Interest

Sydney, Australia

Tasted March 14, 2013 by CamWheeler with 243 views

Flight 1 - Varner Chardonnay (3 notes)

White
2010 Varner Chardonnay Spring Ridge Vineyard Amphitheater Block USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
90 points
Quite restrained on the nose, with lemon, apple, spice and some graphite. The palate is a little bit more forward, showing oak and more richness to the fruit profile. Perhaps finishes a touch short but it is very good.
White
2010 Varner Chardonnay Spring Ridge Vineyard Home Block USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
90 points
Smoky oak, lemon, chalk and some estery banana style character on the nose. The palate is well proportioned, though the oak influence is still prominent at this stage of its life. Has the structure to give it good potential to improve.
White
2010 Varner Chardonnay Spring Ridge Vineyard Bee Block USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
92 points
Flint, matchstick and pear aromas with some ginger and vanilla. Great structure to the palate, with some layers of complexity and it shows fine length. More interesting texturally than the Home Block and Amphitheatre Block that it was served next to, this improved with air and I really enjoyed it.

Flight 2 - Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir (4 notes)

Red
2009 Neely Pinot Noir Spring Ridge Vineyard Hidden Block USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
88 points
Stems, black cherry, smoke and cola aromas. Palate is forward with red berries leading. It isn't overripe but I wouldn't call it restrained either. Medium length and drinking well now.
Red
2009 Neely Pinot Noir Spring Ridge Vineyard Picnic Block USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
90 points
Black currant, smoked meats, appealing floral notes, spice and cherries. The spice comes through on the palate too, there is medium fruit density and good driven acidity. I really liked this and think it will improve over the medium term.
Red
2009 Neely Pinot Noir Spring Ridge Vineyard Upper Picnic Block USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
85 points
Cola, pepper and some light red berries. The palate is lean and there is a bit of bitterness that kicks in on the mid-palate. Lacks generosity and depth. Was the weak wine in this flight.
Red
2009 Rhys Pinot Noir Horseshoe Vineyard USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
91 points
Heady aromas of pepper, ginger and raspberry. Powerful (but bright) fruit on the palate with good acidity to keep things balanced. Very good length. There is heaps of character here and it took me a while to come around to it, but in the end I thought it was interesting and well worth trying.
3 people found this helpful Comment

Flight 3 - Bond Estates (5 notes)

Red
2008 Bond Pluribus USA, California, Napa Valley
95 points
Graphite, liquorice, blackcurrant and a layered spice element in the background that lends intrigue. Outstanding persistence and depth on the palate, the structure is there as well with serious but ultra fine tannic presence. Incredible wine that should get even better with time.
2 people found this helpful Comment
Red
2008 Bond Quella USA, California, Napa Valley
91 points
Tobacco, tar, charry oak and some light cherry character on the nose. The fruit and tannins are well balanced, but even though the wine is high quality it lacks a little bit of depth to be really top class. No problems with drinking this young but also I think another 10 years would serve it well.
Red
2008 Bond Melbury USA, California, Napa Valley
93 points
Lovely floral, cherry and mixed spice aromas with a minerality to it as well. The palate has a restrained fruit profile with lovely purity and savoury elements coming through strongly. I found this restraint appealing and it even had an element of refreshment in this context of a flight of wines that have such density and intensity. Even though it may not have the same fruit power as some of the other wines, it still had great structure and length and was eminently classy in my opinion.
Red
2008 Bond St. Eden USA, California, Napa Valley
93 points
Rich and bold nose of blackberry, cassis, violets, tar and liquorice. Immensely structured, both the tannins and acidity are commanding, but they need to be in order to be in proportion with the dense and forceful fruit profile. A wine that is very impressive, but it also probably needs the most time in bottle out of the 2008 Bond range to really show its best.
Red
2008 Bond Vecina USA, California, Napa Valley
96 points
Aromas that really drew me into the wine - cassis, black cherry, truffle, earth and a lovely smoky edge. The palate is breathtaking, there is immense fruit power that somehow retains its brightness and purity, making for compelling drinking. The structure here is brilliant and it finishes with sensational length. I was left awestruck by this wine and given time to age I think it will become even more magnificent.
1 person found this helpful Comment

Flight 4 - Syrah Flight (3 notes)

Red
2008 Sine Qua Non Syrah B 20 USA, California, Central Coast
93 points
Appealing nose of violets, charcoal, peppery spice and raspberry. The palate is certainly intense and powerful but it doesn't get to the point where it was over the top. There is structure there, but it is overlaid with such delicious fruit that it plays its part without attracting much attention. One of those wines that is so very pleasurable over the course of a glass or two, but I don't think I'd want to tackle an entire bottle on my own!
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2009 Saxum Syrah Booker Vineyard USA, California, Central Coast, Paso Robles
89 points
Blackberry, liquorice, cola, oak and a lifted somewhat spirity character from the alcohol. A huge palate in the ultra ripe style, there is some spice that thankfully provided some dimension and interest aside from the fruit density. It has good length, though I could feel the alcohol following through a bit as well.
Red
2007 Alban Vineyards Syrah Reva Alban Estate Vineyard USA, California, Central Coast, Edna Valley
87 points
Maybe this was in an awkward spot, but I found it quite hard to really get into. The nose shows sultana, earth, blackberry, sawdust and resiny oak. The palate carries across the sensation of substantial oak and I didn't really feel like the fruit was up to the challenge even though there is quite a bit lurking. For me, not even close to greatness on this occasion.
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Flight 5 - Diamond Creek Cabernet Sauvignon (3 notes)

Red
2009 Diamond Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Red Rock Terrace USA, California, Napa Valley, Diamond Mountain
91 points
Blackberry, kirsch, some floral notes and menthol aromas. The palate shows depth and power with a wave of fruit sweetness tempered by deft oak use and fine structure. There is good potential to improve significantly with age.
Red
2009 Diamond Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Gravelly Meadow USA, California, Napa Valley, Diamond Mountain
89 points
Chocolate and earth are both assertive on the nose, there is also pepper and ground coffee elements. The palate is ripe and forward, with lots of jam styled red fruit and as a result it is approachable now. For my taste this lacks some finesse compared to the other two Diamond Creek wines tasted but it is still very good.
Red
2009 Diamond Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Volcanic Hill USA, California, Napa Valley, Diamond Mountain
92 points
Deep and dark aromas of blackberry, blueberry, tobacco, black cherry and cinnamon. Full bodied on the palate with decisive intensity and power. This has serious tannin structure and is probably the least approachable of the three Diamond Creek wines tried at this dinner, but it also has the most potential over the long term.