Red

2019 Vice Versa Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer Las Piedras Vineyard

Cabernet Sauvignon

  • USA
  • California
  • Napa Valley
  • St. Helena

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Community Tasting Note

  • csimm1161 wrote: 100 points

    July 27, 2021 - Vice Versa weekend and dinner: This is round #2 with the 2019 LPV since my last sampling it back in April. Once again, it is unquestionably the star of the show. This is the best LPV Vice Versa has ever produced and is categorically one of the best LPVs I’ve ever had. It just does…not…let…up, with a finish that lasts longer than a Turritopsis dohrnii immortal jellyfish (It’s fer reals. Look it up… And that’s right friends, you’re always sure to score an esteemed education nugget with a rando factoid every time you read a note from your pal csimm! You’re welcome). The concentration and intensity are perfectly weighted, with an attention-grabbing entry that isn’t so ostentatious it leaves you facedown on a sticky barroom floor at 2AM. Instead, its flashiness is bracketed with honed acidity and dark, DARK minerality.

    Yummy black licorice, blackberry cobbler, graphite, char, toasted spice, obsidian, creosote, and black molten lava from the biblical bowels of the underworld. It’s kinda like chewing on the Exorcist, except the ending of the LPV is WAY better. This is likely the deepest LPV I’ve encountered. Thankfully, its lift comes from propulsions of luscious tannins and acid that glaze the mouth and drench the palate with the proper ramp to hurtle the succulent black fruit and spice into flavor orbit.

    100 points. If this can retain its core character throughout the course of its evolution once in-bottle, then it will surely merit continued accolades and be rightly lauded as a perfect representation of the site and of Napa Cabernet Sauvignon. And what’s even better, my Cellar Tracker pal Cristall2000 has to once again face me and admit that the 2019 LPV beat out the 2019 Crane – for the second time. Victory!

    3 people found this helpful 2,431 views

22 Comments

  • MJP Hou TX commented:

    7/27/21, 2:18 PM - Well Csimm, I just picked up three due to this post. In a flight of VV 18 I liked LPV the most. If 19 is like 18 I will love it.

  • csimm1161 commented:

    7/27/21, 2:59 PM - I personally think the 2019 is the best LPV VV has ever made. The 2018 is great, but the 2019 has an extra layer of complexity and intensity that I think is unmatched. The two times I've had this now, the majority of others with me were all praising the 19 LPV as the best in the lineup (with some back and forth about the M7).

  • MJP Hou TX commented:

    7/27/21, 5:14 PM - I need to try Mysterons before buying. I blindly bought but then switch over to LPV.

  • Cristal2000 commented:

    7/27/21, 5:39 PM - Ah CSIMM, you will regret your bragging when this shuts down so hard you can't drill through it in about 6 months. Then you'll be begging for the CRANE. :)

  • csimm1161 commented:

    7/27/21, 5:51 PM - The LPV will persevere with fortitude and gusto. Your hate will not dissuade its ability to deliver joy and happiness to all who appreciate it. While you continue to throw stones, I will instead enjoy drinking those stones with the heavenly minerality of the LPV.... those stones that the fruity good doctor could only hope to ever possess.

  • MJP Hou TX commented:

    7/27/21, 6:04 PM - Grabbing some popcorn gents. I’ll be right back!

  • Cristal2000 commented:

    7/27/21, 6:08 PM - Little known wine critic Robert Parker once said of wine from Dr Crane: "This gravelly site produced a wine with notes of wet pebbles, Haut Brion-like scorched earth and volcanic notes, some smoke, dark chocolate, forest floor, and massive amounts of blueberry and blackberry fruit. If somehow Bordeaux's Haut Brion were injected with steroids, it might taste like this monumental effort from Napa." Now, I realize he has no credibility, but does that sound like a fruity wine with no mineral character? Hmmm...

  • MJP Hou TX commented:

    7/27/21, 7:06 PM - Well now I need to pull the trigger on DrC. I know Lite loves the good Dr.

  • csimm1161 commented:

    7/28/21, 7:56 AM - I don’t know if I would trust Parker to school me on minerality. Oak and fruit perhaps, but his wine archaeology when it comes to rocks and pebbles is a bit suspect in my book. Last I checked, the term Parkerization wasn’t referring to the phenomenon of minerality nor his egregious up-scoring of wines for their superb frame and tension. So the fact that he would consider Crane as mineral-driven is like you considering Bernie Sanders as too conservative.

  • Cristal2000 commented:

    7/28/21, 8:55 AM - My, my, my...how French of you to place your own palate above the best wine critic to ever live.

  • csimm1161 commented:

    7/28/21, 9:36 AM - In order to elevate your Napa freedom patriotism, you need not disparage everything else on the periphery. Let us all embrace the diversity of the noble juice across continents and across all our hearts and palates. #HandsAcrossTheAtlantic.

  • MJP Hou TX commented:

    7/28/21, 10:01 AM - We tasted the 2018 lineup of VV last Oct and DrC was not include in multitube of glassware that littered the table. My favorite by far was LPV followed by Mag 7. I need to request a few bottles of the good doctor so I can add value to the conversation.

    Csimm or Cristal, What are your thoughts on MM, VH, LPV & DrC? Assuming you've tried all side by side.

  • Cristal2000 commented:

    7/28/21, 10:02 AM - "Last I checked, the term Parkerization wasn’t referring to the phenomenon of minerality nor his egregious up-scoring of wines for their superb frame and tension. So the fact that he would consider Crane as mineral-driven is like you considering Bernie Sanders as too conservative." - Now who needs to be reminded not to disparage? Lol...

  • Cristal2000 commented:

    7/28/21, 10:06 AM - MJP: what are you referring to by MM and VH? Memento Mori and VHR? Not sure if you are asking about VV wines or others.

  • MJP Hou TX commented:

    7/28/21, 10:09 AM - Yes, you nailed it.

    Memento Mori (MM) & VH (Vine Hill Ranch)

  • csimm1161 commented:

    7/28/21, 10:11 AM - Cristal just broke my olive branch right in half. Hurtful.

    MJP, in short (and in all "seriousness"), I think VV has an edge over other producers both on the LPV and Dr. Crane front. Melka gives you the goods with texture and ripe fruit, but also is able to hone-in on the acidity and focus - which is crucial when dealing with these phat Cabs. I like MM quite a bit and think it's splitting hairs of course. The MM Crane is undeniably delicious each year (hear that Cristal? You're welcome). Also, Cristal is not wrong with his comments about LPV being a bit fickle at times and hard to target, as when/if it shuts down, it can shut down hard. That said, when LPV is rocking, there is no better wine for me. The Crane is certainly more gradual and consistent in its evolution as it ages. In reality, Crane vs LPV should really just be Crane AND LPV, because both are excellent.

  • MJP Hou TX commented:

    7/28/21, 12:49 PM - Csimm. Thank you for sharing your opinion. I agree with regards to approachability of VV wines. They display beautifully in their youth which has not been the case for the limited 18's I've tried. Hats of to Melka as the terroir was very apparent and fun to explore. Patria could not have been a better host.

    I'm a homer for Vine Hill and hope to dial in on the 7 blocks though other producers SVD's.

  • csimm1161 commented:

    7/28/21, 3:30 PM - Vine Hill is growing on me. I was lukewarm for a bit, but there is no denying some of the quality coming from there. There’s an energy there that is unquestionably captivating.

  • Cristal2000 commented:

    7/28/21, 4:33 PM - MJP: All the wineries you mention, VV+MM+VHR, are really standout producers in my opinion. None of them are over the top extracted or super modern. That being said, VHR is by far the most classic and old world in the way it is made, and presents great lifted acidity and structure, perhaps without as much concentrated fruit and general opulence. I think that's why the newly minted Frechie CSIMM is coming around to it. :)

    It can be a toss up between the MM and VV LPV and Crane. Often times in blind tastings the MM does very well, but the VV tends to be great with food. I'd favor the Melka product over the long term, but really it's very hard to choose.

    And clearly I prefer Crane because it's more predictably excellent no matter when you pull the cork. No doubt the LPV can be amazing, it's just harder to time. I have not had MM shut down the way the VV offering has in the past however.

  • MJP Hou TX commented:

    7/29/21, 6:27 AM - Thanks Cristal. The wine geek finds these topics fun as a lot of very talented folks are getting their hands on these grapes. Keplinger in 18 & Kinsman hopefully in 21 will have a Vine Hill bottling.

  • Cristal2000 commented:

    7/29/21, 7:39 AM - MJP: Let's just hope there's a 21 vintage. Have a couple of hairy months ahead. Napa needs a win this year.

  • MJP Hou TX commented:

    7/29/21, 11:02 AM - I'm just using the power of positive thinking that harvest will go off without a hitch! Just putting out the vibe......

    Although the heat spikes might already be baked into the discussion.

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