2015 Vangone Cabernet Sauvignon Estate

Cabernet Sauvignon

  • USA
  • California
  • Napa Valley

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Community Tasting Note

  • msuwright Likes this wine: 98 points

    March 7, 2019 - This is modern Napa Cabernet at its best: ripe, dense, balanced, and complex, with an insane intensity and complete deliciousness that California can deliver like few others. I had high hopes upon opening this - thank you csimm and Cristal2000 for the recommendation! - but this wine exceeded them. There are only a handful of wineries that have impressed me this much from the first bottle (e.g., Carter LPV, Realm’s Bard 2013, Bond Pluribus 2012, Memento Mori 2012). This is such a memorable - and exceptional - wine.

    Dark red in color and full in body, the wine offers enticing aromas of blackberry, cocoa powder, new asphalt, baking spices, and fresh cedar, along with a hint of eucalyptus. The tastes are concentrated but nuanced: blueberry, sweet cherry, milk chocolate, warm gravel, and bay leaf, with a finish that goes on and on. 14.7% alcohol. Decant at least an hour or two, though more air wouldn’t hurt.

    In terms of other wines, two comparisons come to mind. The first is the Revana Block 6, a similarly dense, almost saturated wine made by TRB. The Vangone is more enjoyable right now, but it has a similarly mind-blowing concentration: it's almost like listening to Springsteen’s Rosalita or Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 3 (or insert your favorite piece of noisy and complex music) at full blast on fantastic speakers - so loud, so precise, so immersive, so stunning. The second comparator would be Kaplan’s Memento Mori, a wine that seems restrained compared to the Vangone. This wine has more fullness, ripeness, roundness, chocolate, depth - in a word, Oakville - and that, done right, can be a glorious thing. The Vangone may be the more obvious wine - but in the very best way.

    So chalk a win up for CellarTracker (and, again, csimm and Cristal2000!); this is, to me, a genuine discovery. I need another way to spend money on wine like I need a whole in the head, but it’s kind of like an unexpected gift that you secretly really wanted: you might not have asked for it, but now you can't imagine the world without it. Bottom line, this wine is the real deal (and I just ordered more). Drink now, drink in another few years, but drink it. If you love modern Napa Cabernet, you'll love this wine - it’s just incredible. 98+.

    5 people found this helpful 2,453 views


  • iamandyc commented:

    3/8/19, 3:52 AM - Thanks for this review as I can't wait to try this. I signed up with Vangone once I saw CSIMM and Cristal2000 reviews as I also rely on them to find new wines and when I saw Sam makes the wine, I was in. Sam is a great guy and a talented winemaker - hardly anything he does that I don't like. It's great for someone like me on the east coast to have folks like you in California having access to all these great wines (yes, I'm jealous!) and cluing me into them! Keep up the great work and yes, it is amazing how many times I say that's it but yet again find another wine to sink more money into. Gotta love it...

  • Cristal2000 commented:

    3/8/19, 7:27 AM - Nice review MSUWRIGHT! I am really happy you liked it so much. Both CSIMM and I had our minds blown out of nowhere with that 2016 and 2018 barrel sample. It's quite a little hidden gem, although those days of obscurity may be over now. :) It rivals the MM SVD's as his best work IMO.

    And iamandyc, can't wait to hear what you think of it!

  • blarmston commented:

    3/8/19, 8:15 AM - Great reviews fellas! And just when I thought I was out for a couple months, I get pulled back in! (Godfather 3 quote).

    This vineyard is from a source in Eastern Oakville, up by Dalle Valle and Backus, right?

  • Cristal2000 commented:

    3/8/19, 9:56 AM - Although I haven't been there, from what I understand it is a little vineyard with a bit of elevation in Oakville near Weitz, overlooking Oakville Cross Rd. Prime time location if there ever was one.

  • iamandyc commented:

    3/8/19, 10:04 AM - Just got a small (but very appreciated!!) allocation of the 2016 MM SVDs! Just arrived today! Can't wait to try them but assuming they'll need a year or two.

  • blarmston commented:

    3/8/19, 10:45 AM - I texted earlier with a friend ITWB who is very familiar with Sam's wines and she says, in her words... ITS AMAZING!

    Alright, I'm in for a three pack. Thought I was done buying for a while after the Scarecrow offer the other day... damn #NapaObsession...

  • csimm1161 commented:

    3/8/19, 3:07 PM - It’s becoming harder and harder to find those little wineries that can truly delivery on all fronts... As CRISTAL mentioned, Vangone kinda came out of nowhere with those 16/18 barrel samples. It wasn’t even on my radar at all. I was nervous the 15 in bottle wouldn’t represent what we had in barrel with the 16/18. Thankfully it was all good!

    ...The 16 is going to be stupidly awesome when it comes out!

  • Cristal2000 commented:

    3/8/19, 3:40 PM - iamandyc: The MM LPV needs more time than the Crane. So if you have to pop one, suggest you go Crane...which is glorious!

  • GQG commented:

    4/17/19, 7:00 PM - I've been drinking great wine but have recently become a bit lazy writing reviews. That's a shame because reviews such as yours are so valuable and I rely on them to help sort out the great from the good and the good from the mediocre. This Vangone Cab lifted me out of the rut and got me to post. Well, not completely out of the rut, as I didn't delve into all the details that you ably delivered, and that reflect my experience. So be it, this wine is a winner! Second day for me from a 375 ml bottle (remainder from day 1) and it's superb.

  • msuwright commented:

    4/17/19, 8:53 PM - Hi GQG - I'm so glad you liked it! It's funny because I bought this wine because of the earlier CT notes from csimm and Cristal2000, so it's fun to see the cycle continue. This forum can be a great way to spend money and/or find good wine; I'm glad it was the former for you (and for me!).

    P.S. It's also good to know that a Spartan and a Wolverine can agree on some things!

  • GQG commented:

    4/18/19, 4:46 AM - Cheers to that! Our respective alumni represent strong fan bases!

  • LiteItOnFire commented:

    4/23/19, 9:53 PM - By not hearing about this I feel like the red headed step child that could not get picked at kickball even by the kids two years younger... and without any in my cellar it’s like I am a drug addict roaming the streets for a hit of crack yet this costs infinitely more. Wait a minute, crack would be a hell of a lot cheaper, but I digress- did he say when the ‘16 will be for sale (need to determine ‘15 quantity)? Thank you all for making me add yet another wine to a cellar I should stop adding to plus Bordeaux Futures are coming out as we speak.

    Anyone figure out the new excuse to tell the wife on why more wine is showing up after repeated assurances the allocations and purchasing is finished for the year?

  • csimm1161 commented:

    4/23/19, 10:32 PM - 2016 Vangone release is unknown (it spends 3 years in barrel, so consider that as a barometer).

    As far as the wife... “Oh these are just futures I ordered a while ago that are just now being shipped...” seems to work pretty well. Or, when in doubt, just go with the ol’ standby of “I told you about these wines really liked previous vintages before... don’t you remember?!” And when you’re really in a jam, just say you only bought them to flip them and you’ll make some extra money on the secondary market... then really seal the deal by buying her something nice and saying it was from the wine money you got from flipping (that you never flipped). See... so many options. I’m here to help. :)

  • LiteItOnFire commented:

    4/23/19, 11:04 PM - I was going to go with one of my favorites about saving pennies after watching Tommy Boy this weekend but I will go with yours instead. Much classier and more credit card points for her gift, who doesn’t need more points! What could go wrong...

  • csimm1161 commented:

    4/24/19, 7:18 AM - That’s me... All about staying classy San Diego...

  • LiteItOnFire commented:

    4/24/19, 7:24 AM - Love it

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