TGIF (Domaine Wine Storage - Chicago, IL): So good, and from what I could tell, in perfect balance. Aromatics were deep, somewhat savory, and dark. Layers of earth, cherry, earth, and spice were woven together seamlessly. Palate was vibrant and fresh with nice acidity and soft, sweet tannins. Big fan of this.
What a classic Napa cabernet. Fully evolved at this stage, but no signs of decline at all. A slightly herbal nose with just a touch of green pepper, balanced by some lovely secondary animale characteristics. It's weird, I'd have a hard time seeing how wines made today will turn into something like this. The palate was very much alive, with a good balance between some drying fruit, leather, and earth. Nicely restrained, with soft but present tannins.
Joseph Phelps Eisele Vineyard Cabernet Mini-Vertical (Benoit, NYC): Easy WOTN. Similar light weight and aromatic + flavor profile to the younger ones, showing herbs, blackcurrant, plum, and figs. But this is more complex, with added notes of spices and a bit of mocha. Shows its age in that the fruit is more baked, as if served in a pie. Where this *really* separates itself is the suave texture and above all the length: the wine is perfectly harmonious at every point on the palate, and the flavor lingers indefinitely, leaving a silly smile on your face as you try to carry on conversation. A big success.
My wine of the evening... you will see later that I rate the Harlan 1999 higher, but sometimes it is not just the wine. It is the expectation and the experience. 1978, a great Cabernet year. This wine at 33 years old, was fresh and reasonably full in the mouth. It was balanced through the palatte (from front to back). The fruit that pre-dominated was not blackberry, as is the case with many of the "modern classics", but bilberry. The wine was a great "french wine made in America". No disrespect to the American winemakers, but a badge. While the "Chateau's" were struggling an producing some fairly ordinary wines through the 70's (the 1978 Lafite couldn't even hold a match to this wine, let alone a candle) there were great long lived wines being made in the US. The 78 Pedrocelli outshone a Calon segur of teh same vintage, the Diamond Creek Volcanic Hill till this evening was the best 78' was the best I had had of this vintage till this evening... this was a great wine and a great tribute to the US wine industry. While it still had beautiful fresh fruit (still), it also had wonderful mineral undertones that yu might expect from St Emilion. In fact blind you would probably pick this as an old world and be somewhere in teh region of St Emilion or at a push Paulliac. Great great wine, an experiential wine - history, character and class.
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(Joseph Phelps Cabernet Sauvignon Eisele Vineyard) Group's #3 (my #1) – 54 pts; 4, 1, 2, 0 – Dark red violet with pale meniscus; sweet ripe cassis and cherry nose; solid, youthful, cassis and plum palate with fine grained tannins and years to go yet; medium-plus finish
(Joseph Phelps Cabernet Sauvignon Eisele Vineyard) Easily the best California Cabernet I have ever had. They do not make them like this anymore at all. Massive nose of mint, cigar, menthol, chestnut, minerals and wet forest floor. Amazingly complex and inviting nose. The palate was amazingly concentrated and dense. So much flavor it was unreal. The power/flavor combo was brilliant. It was not like todays Cabernet's that are so over the top with fake processed flavors that you almost want to puke. The finish, midpalate and attack were all world class.
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