2016 Vice Versa Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon

  • USA
  • California
  • Napa Valley

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Community Tasting Note

  • Badmonkey wrote:

    February 3, 2019 - My parents returned from vacation and I decided to pop a bottle since they've never had a higher-end Vice Versa cab. Quite a difference from the last bottle a couple days ago and for the worse which was surprising. The fruit was tightly wound and somewhat closed. Dark ruby/purple fruit - blackberry, black currants, and dark cherry. Smooth mid-palate but the fruit came across lighter than the last bottle - medium body. Flavors of dark berries, some spice box, and a little mineral graphite component; however, the flavors came across a little closed/somewhat muted. Decent finish but not overly long nor deep. Decanted for one hour and drank over a couple more. Improved a little with time but never fully came around. Drank next to a 2015 Carter Beckstoffer La Verdad Las Piedras cab which destroyed the Vice Versa - bigger/fuller fruit, more expressive/flavorful, longer/deeper finish, etc.. There's always the possibility that this bottle was somewhat flawed but I don't believe that is the case. I'll refrain from rating it because it clearly needs some time but 92/93 if rating. I'm going to lay the other bottles down for at least a year but likely even longer. Once again, WA anticipated maturity 2021 to 2045 which makes sense.

    1 person found this helpful 3,749 views


  • TXRDW commented:

    2/3/19, 7:23 AM - Great note, Badmonkey. Like you I was very high on my first VV of the 2016 vintage. In fact, I had never tried VV before. I also love the Carter La Verdad. I’m curious about any thoughts you might have for the upcoming VV release given the inconsistency you’ve experienced and the fact that it will be the 2017 vintage. This appears to bring two variables into play.

  • Badmonkey commented:

    2/3/19, 11:18 AM - TXRDW, I'm not sure that it was necessarily an inconsistency with the 2016 Vice Versa cab. The first bottle came across like a really youthful barrel tasting sample and the second bottle appears to have gone into an awkward/transition phase and needs time. I wouldn't think that it would progress that quickly from one stage to another but I believe that is very possible. WA rated both the 2013 and 2016 vintages of Napa cabs at 98 points but tannic/slow to mature. I remember a lot of the 2013 Napa cabs bounced around for a couple years after their release and just needed to lay down for a while. I believe that is where many of the 2016 Napa cabs are now. I'm going to give them at least another year before revisiting.

    The only real knowledgeable individual that I've talked to so far about the 2017 vintage is Mike Smith when I did a tasting last summer of his Myriad and Quivet cabs. According to Mike, he picked his cab grapes before the fires so there shouldn't be smoke taint with his cabs. However, as I'm sure you have heard otherwise, there are other concerns with the 2017 vintage of Napa cabs. I'm not going to buy much blind and will continue to buy the 2015 & 2016 vintages until I have a better idea about the 2017 vintage. WA hasn't rated many 2017 cabs yet but I did notice that they rated the 2016 Schrader Beckstoffer cabs in the 97 to 100 point range while the 2017 vintage is between 93 and 95. Quite a difference. Here is a link to an article from Galloni that I found informative in regards to the 2017 vintage:

  • TXRDW commented:

    2/4/19, 7:21 AM - Thanks Badmonkey. The referenced article was very helpful as were your your thoughts on the topic. I received a lengthy email response on this topic from a prominent female Napa winemaker suggesting that the key to the 2017 vintage was tasting the wines after release, then making the buying decision. Her thought was that if 2017 ends up being relatively ignored, the result might be some lower after-market pricing. She went on to point out that while some reviewers are pointing to a Labor Day heat spike in 2017, this should not be alarming in that Napa almost always has had a 3-4 day window in early September of high temperatures, which often is what “makes a vintage”, especially in a cooler AVA but even for Rutherford or Oakville.

    I think a sound strategy for the 2017 vintage will be to taste first, then make they decision whether or not to buy.

  • Badmonkey commented:

    2/4/19, 7:40 AM - I hear you. I've found some nice values in the secondary market with the 2011 vintage - especially with some Beckstoffer cabs. Hopefully the same happens with the 2017 vintage. I believe Galloni's article references this as well but it is my understanding that some of the mountain areas like Howell Mtn weren't affected by the weather problems of the 2017 vintage like the Valley floor - although I'm also going to try and taste those wines first before making a decent commitment. Take care.

  • TXRDW commented:

    2/4/19, 5:59 PM - Again, thanks for the info. Since you are still looking at 2015s & 16’s, you might check out the 2015 Dunn Howell Mountain. 95 rating from Wine Spectator, highest for Dunn since 1987.

  • Badmonkey commented:

    2/5/19, 6:33 AM - I bought a bunch of Dunn cabs from the 2006 through 2009 vintages but they needed so long to fully come around that I decided to move-on to other producers. I’m still sitting on some of the 2008 & 2009 vintages. How long do you think the 2015 vintage needs for prime time?

  • TXRDW commented:

    2/5/19, 9:13 AM - I really don’t know. Wine Spectator gives a window starting in 2022. I’ve already tried the 2013 and it was very good, but in need of a few more years. It’s just unusual to see Wine Spectator score the wine so high. The other wine I’m very high on for 2015 is the Shafer HSS. If you can find any once it is released I think it will end up with an unusually high score this vintage.

  • Badmonkey commented:

    2/5/19, 9:50 AM - 2022 isn't too long. From what I recall, I believe Galloni's anticipated maturity for the 2008 vintage when he was with Wine Advocate was around 2028. I might grab a bottle to lay down. Not that he's the know all be all but I noticed that Parker only gave the 2015 Dunn Howell Mtn cab 93 to 95 points. The Shafer Hillside Select cab is on a short list of cabs that I really want to try. However, I have a hard time spending close to $300 on a bottle when I can buy a Carter Beckstoffer cab for $185. A local store has the 2014 Shafer Hillside Select for $299 but I haven't seen the 2015 vintage yet. As you probably know, Lisa Perrotti-Brown of WA gave the 2015 Shafer HSS 98+ and the 2014 vintage 98+. Thanks for your thoughts.

  • TXRDW commented:

    2/5/19, 10:20 AM - HSS is by far the most expensive bottle I purchase, without a close second. The main attribute I like is the ability to lay down the wine. What has me so intrigued about the 2015 HSS is that historically the Shafer One Point Five tracks the HSS (plus 3 to 5 points) on WS scoring. James Laube of WS scored the 2015 OPF at 93, which is the highest OPF score ever since the OPF came out in 2004. As a comparison, JL only scored the 2014 OPF at a 90. My thought is that Shafer nailed both of their 2015 cabs. It will be very interesting to see the WS score when it comes out. I’ll be very surprised if the 2014 ends up better long term than the 2015, but then again that’s what makes this hobby fun.

  • Badmonkey commented:

    2/5/19, 10:38 AM - I tasted the 2015 Shafer OPF in light of the 97 rating from WE. I thought it was good but closer to the 93 rating from Laube in my opinion. I also noticed that Lisa Perrotti-Brown rated the 2016 vintage of the Shafer OPF 95 points and apparently it is 100% cab. That intrigues me because I tend to prefer how 100% cabs tend to finish - another reason why the Shafer Hillside Select continues to be on a short list of cabs that I really want to taste. Thanks again.

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