Blind Cabernet Face-Off, USA vs. France

Meritage Wine Market - Rancho Santa Fe, CA

Tasted December 3, 2010 by rstark with 541 views

Introduction

One of Meritage's best Friday night tastings in recent memory. The idea was two wines in the $25, two in the $50 and two in the $100 categories.

Flight 1 (6 notes)

Red
2006 Esca Cabernet Sauvignon USA, California, Napa Valley
90 points
This is what I want to taste in a Napa Cab. Not over-oaked, not over-ripe. Slightly tart, but plenty of dark plum fruit. Medium bodied. Good QPR and nice expression of Cali-Cab fruit (instead of what many winemakers do, which is make wine out of raisins or pencil shavings).
Red
2006 Richard Partridge Cabernet Sauvignon USA, California, Napa Valley
Too big and bouncy for my liking. But people-pleasing for Cali-loving friends so I won't leave a score since it's not to my personal taste, but is just what the doctor ordered for many Cal Cab lovers. Very soft with a long finish. I would have guessed there was some Merlot in here. At $25 blowout price this is a Cali-Cab steal.
Red
1998 Château Malescot St. Exupéry France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux
94 points
I LOVED this wine! Perfect blend of smoke/earth/fruit on the nose. Could tell that it had a little age on it. Mouth filling with light dusty tannins and deep long Bordeaux finish. Was amazed to see this was the same wine given to me by the owner of MSE the month before when I was in Bordeaux! (picture in tasting event note). I loved it then and am going to snag up more of it. WOTN for sure.
Red
2007 Page Wine Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon The Stash USA, California, Napa Valley
88 points
The fruit was either too tart or too tight. Alcohol on the finish. Nothing integrated, but not sure it ever will. Last place out of 6 wines, and the most expensive by a long shot.
Red
2006 Clos du Jaugueyron Margaux France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux
88 points
Nice blend of fruit and earth (ok, brett) on the nose. Dusty plum fruit, but either a little too light on the palate and finish or too closed to be completely enjoyable. Now that I know it was an '06 I'll guess that it ain't ever going to open up.
Red
2003 Château Les Ormes de Pez France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe
90 points
Modern enough that I wasn't sure whether it was Napa or Bordeaux. A slight earthiness on the nose but then the deep blackberry kirsch fruit took over and it had a very int'l style finish. I guessed it was either a $70 Cali or $35 Frenchy.

Closing

It was pretty easy seperating the domestics from the Frenchies, but a little harder figuring out which fit into which price range.

Jean-Luc giving me a Mag of the '98 Malescot at the Chateau just a month ago (he lost a bet). Loved it then, and loved it at this tasting.

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