2015 Carter Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon La Verdad Beckstoffer Las Piedras Vineyard

Cabernet Sauvignon

  • USA
  • California
  • Napa Valley

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Community Tasting Note

  • TXRDW wrote: 98 points

    December 19, 2017 - Amazing wine. Very rich and concentrated, complimented by an almost unending finish. Drank alongside a 2012 Shafer Hillside Select, which was one of the more interesting wines for the Carter La Verdad to go up against. From the start three of the four people tasting, without hesitation, had the Carter wine as their WOTN. But by the end of the evening the Hillside won out with all but one person. What was really interesting was that the La Verdad started off strong and stayed strong, but it did not show any better over time (the exact opposite of the Hillside). In hindsight I wonder if I should have allowed the wine more time to settle in after a brief 90 minute slow ox. Luckily I have one other bottle and I suspect over time it will hit the 99-100 range.

    3 people found this helpful 2,579 views


  • csimm1161 commented:

    12/19/17, 9:52 PM - I was looking forward to this taste-off. Great notes and comparison between the Verdad and HSS, especially over the course of consumption. Looks like I need to add HSS to my cellar now also.

  • Cristal2000 commented:

    12/19/17, 10:01 PM - Great note! I love both these wines so interesting to see them side by side in your comparison. I actually had the 12 HSS next to the 13 Realm Crane not that long ago and it was the opposite: I liked the HSS initially more, but the Crane came on like a locomotive and ended up easily besting the HSS. Such good wines, it is likely a bottle to bottle face off where either one could win. Certainly, the HSS has proven to be amazingly age worthy and always gives me the most comfort knowing time will only improve the wine.

    CSIMM: Duh -- HSS is the STANDARD. Gotta have it if you're a Napa wine lover.

  • csimm1161 commented:

    12/20/17, 6:47 AM - I know, huh?! I gotta get with the program. I've been a poser Napa wine guy all these years!

    ...just what I need is another $300 a bottle wine...

  • TXRDW commented:

    12/20/17, 7:13 AM - HSS is a great wine, but if your cellar is considering going the Shafer route you might also consider their Relentless. In fact, a few weeks ago I posted a note on this wine and it (the wine) was very good.... although not quite in the class of HSS.

  • Cristal2000 commented:

    12/20/17, 7:27 AM - Nah, CSIMM is a straight Napa Cab baller, so he would settle for nothing less than the HSS!

  • csimm1161 commented:

    12/20/17, 7:50 AM - Haha. I actually really like Relentless. I have a number of the 2010s and am still loving them. They are drinking really good right now. I know I need to get on the HSS bandwagon. I knew this time would eventually come!

  • TXRDW commented:

    12/22/17, 7:18 AM - CSIMM and CRISTAL: thanks for your comments, looks like we have similar wine preferences. I’m new to CT and curious if either of you have a few vineyard recommendations for me to look into. Thinking maybe Bevan, Realm or maybe Myriad?

  • Cristal2000 commented:

    12/22/17, 8:07 AM - Hi TXRTDW -- Welcome to CT! Clearly you are headed in the right direction with Shafer HSS and Carter LPV Verdad. Those, as you know, are awesome wines. If you enjoy Carter, you will likely enjoy some of the Myriad offerings, especially their Dr Crane and Dr Crane Elysian. Myriad can dip into the sweet side of things at times, but from a QPR standpoint, it's hard to beat. If looking at Myriad you should also try out Scarlett, which is also made by Mike Smith. Maybe the best Napa QPR on the planet is the $68 Scarlett Cab. Their 2015 Reserve at $125 is absolutely outstanding.

    Realm is a personal favorite and you definitely should check them out. It's really hard to get their Beckstoffer wines and Absurd, but most of the others are obtainable. It's also a really fun experience to taste at their new estate.

    A new favorite for both CSIMM and I is Vice Versa. It's a small outfit with Melka making a BTK, LPV and Crane, in addition to a regular cab. Patrice and Samantha are the owners and are great hosts. The tasting experience is another awesome one.

    CSIMM will likely write you a book on this, so I will stop there. :) Hope that helps!

  • csimm1161 commented:

    12/22/17, 8:16 AM - Welcome to CT TXRDW. Cristal and I were actually just talking off-line about this very topic. Site-wise, we definitely (and unfortunately cost-wise) tend to gravitate toward the Beckstoffer vineyards of Dr. Crane, To Kalon, and Las Piedras.

    Carter and Realm's To Kalons are at the top for me. The Carter OG and GTO are favorites. Carter also put together a perfect Las Piedras (La Verdad) in 2015 - as you well know! Mike Smith is someone to follow not only with Carter, but with Myriad as well. The Elysian (Dr. Crane) is very good, as is the Quivet Las Piedras. His Myriad and Quivet price points are some of the best QPRs in the Valley. The Scarlett Reserve in 2015 is also noteworthy.

    Realm Dr. Crane and To Kalon are top notch as well. The price creep on them is unfortunately advancing, but they are "worth" seeking out. Vice Versa is a newer favorite of mine. The Dr. Crane and Las Piedras are phenomenal in 2015 and 2016. Bevan is good as well; I prefer his blends: Sugarloaf and EE. Some others end up falling a little short for me. But when Russell is on point, his wines can be awesome.

    Other honorable mentions for me include Maybach, Outpost, and Schrader (though Schrader's whole business model is not my bag of chips and I don't buy from them anymore). Pott makes some interesting wines as well, as does Memento Mori, Fait Main, and Purlieu.

    Some other more exclusive (or at least more expensive) gems that we've discussed include Tusk, MACDONALD, Scarecrow, and Shafer HSS. Well, that's my 2 cents! (...or rather, my small novella).

  • TXRDW commented:

    12/22/17, 8:41 AM - Thanks guys! I really appreciate your input as I try to build my wine collection. I’m especially excited about Scarlett, which seems like an unbelievable QPR. The tough thing about wine selection is the old adage “you don’t know what you don’t know”. With wine reaching such high price points, good information is the key. From my very limited experience I’ve found Sherwin Family wines to be noteworthy, and probably the best “tasting tour” I’ve yet to experience. Next time I make it to Napa (from Texas), I will definitely try and line up tastings outside my normal go-to vineyards.

  • csimm1161 commented:

    12/22/17, 9:21 AM - Scarlett's QPR is very good, especially when considering it is a single vineyard (McGah) and not just an appellation blend. As Cristal mentioned, the Reserve (which is twice the price) is next level juice by comparison - most notable in 2015. Other good Napa QPRs at the sub-$100 mark include the Myriad and Quivet NV, Bevan Ontogeny (though '15 has yet to show if it'll be as good as previous vintages), Outpost Howell and Immigrant, Carter Fortuna, Kobalt, Lewis (opinions vary here), The Grade, Realm Bard (though '15 is still up in he air, and pricing is up), and Switchback Ridge. Lewelling gets good QPR marks, but it is not my personal style.

  • Cristal2000 commented:

    12/22/17, 12:46 PM - Many would disagree, but for me the Scarlett Cab is the best $65-ish wine Mike Smith makes...perhaps the best in the Valley. Myriad, Quivet and Becklyn NV's are all good, but I find Scarlett to be the best. The good news is it's also the most accessible, since it hasn't garnered the following of those other labels.

    CSIMM mentioned Lewelling, which isn't his preferred style, but I think it's great juice for the $$$. Certainly worth trying. And yeah, all those others CSIMM mentioned too.

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