Beserkerfest Napa Halloween Party

Napa Valley Wine & Cigar

Tasted October 31, 2011 by Loren Sonkin with 623 views

Introduction

Last Saturday, I was out in Sonoma sorting this years harvest. I was lucky enough that this party was scheduled that evening in Napa. I arrived late and left early, but I still got to taste thru a lot of wines. More importantly I got see some old friends and meet some new ones! I missed all the whites and sparklers, many of the reds (I also brought an 09 Sonkin Cellars Persona which I hoped people liked) and most of the dessert wines. I figure I tasted about half of the wines there. It was a great event. Thanks to Randy and Carrie for hosting.

Flight 1 (20 notes)

Red
1980 Joseph Phelps Insignia USA, California, Napa Valley
88 points
I got one of the last pours, so this may have had more air. It was very nice but past prime. A slight aquarium scent slightly marred the otherwise earthy and interesting note. Some nice cassis still on the palate. Complex. A fun way to start the evening.
Red
2009 Hobel Wine Works Cabernet Sauvignon Engelhard Vineyard USA, California, Napa Valley
94 points
I was excited to get a chance to try this. A new venture with the wine made by TRB. It is delicious and quite open and accessible. Good upfront cassis without over bearing oak. Quite primary but juicy and easy to drink. Medium but soft tannins.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2005 Jonata Winery El Alma de Jonata USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Ynez Valley
96 points
This was mine (brought across country that day). I kind of did not want to like this as it is pricey and I have considered dropping from this list. It was great. Probably my WOTN. The nose was really interesting with some funk, green tobacco, cassis and cranberries. On the palate, young, but deep and brooding with a complexity that will need years to unwind. Still, lots of upfront fruit on a velvety texture. Great balance. This is a great wine that is five years away from peaking.
Red
2008 Anderson's Conn Valley Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Reserve USA, California, Napa Valley
90 points
I think this was the wine (and not the Reserve). It is very nice. Good cassis fruit on the nose with some oak. Still quite young and tight on the palate. This was from Mag. Nice cassis fruit. There is some heat, especially on the finish. I suspect time/air will help that out. Others seem to like it more than I.
Red
2006 Rivers-Marie Pinot Noir Occidental Ridge Vineyard USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast
91 points
From magnum. I like the nose which is slightly earthy along with a candied cherry quality. Hard to place but also a somewhat confectionery note. On the palate, it is still quite young. A bit candied for my tastes, but it also has a quality that makes me think that in ten years it will be much more earthy. Some heat on the finish. Really interesting.
Red
2007 Domaine de la Janasse Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Chaupin France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
95 points
I loved this wine. Surprisingly, no one seemed to be talking about it. I guess that what happens in Napa ;-). The nose is complex with raspberries, black licorice and violets. On the palate, this is slightly sweet but within reason. Also a very slight burnt note (as opposed to raisiny). Complex with raspberry fruit layered with licorice. It was very accessible as well. Just delicious.
Red
2007 Herb Lamb Cabernet Sauvignon HL USA, California, Napa Valley
95 points
Wow, this is really good too. Earthy and complex. Also some smoke. This is really open, although the bottle was mostly drained and had been opened for some time. It has lots of layering. Not over the top. Really delicious. 2007 is a great vintage.
Red
2009 Dacalier Deux Barriques USA, California, North Coast, Lake County
90 points
If Dave Smig hadn't been next to me, I might have thought this was a rose. It is very light in color. That did not translate to the body though as this has some weight to it. Slightly earthy aromas with some stewed meaty qualities. Also some black raspberries. On the palate, this is clean with raspberries and some black raspberries. Nice finish. Very nice wine.
Red
2006 Baer Winery Ursa USA, Washington, Columbia Valley
90 points
I was told this was shut down, but by the time I got to it, it was drinking quite well I thought. perhaps there is more to go. Cherries and some powdered chocolate notes. Nice balance. Not a block buster but seems like it will age out for a few years. Should go well at the table. I try to give these kind of wines more attention in a mass tasting as some of the huge wines would drown this out. My first time trying this winery as well.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2008 Carlisle Syrah Bennett Valley USA, California, Sonoma County, Bennett Valley
92 points
This had been decanted for a while. Very nice color. The nose shows black cherry, black pepper and some grilled meats. Delicious wine although the acidity seemed higher than I remember it being. Firm tannins. Very nice.
Red
2007 Beaulieu Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Georges de Latour Private Reserve USA, California, Napa Valley
89 points
I think many liked this more than I. It is a big wine, lots of oak. Very typical Cal Cab IMO. I think some years in the bottle will do it good, although I hoped for more from this vintage. it seemed monolithic. I know some 07's are shut down now, I did not think this was but perhaps.
Red
2007 Klinker Brick Zinfandel Old Vine Old Ghost USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
88 points
I had not had this in a while. I remember liking it more than this one. Its good, but I was expecting more fruit. It also had a Play-do note (Dave S said red), which was interesting. I didn't mind it, but didn't like it either. Still, it is a solid wine and probably hurt in this company.
Red
2004 David Arthur Meritaggio USA, California, Napa Valley
91 points
I seemed to like this more than others. The nose is sweet. Someone said Frito's, which I did not get, but there was a fried fair food kind of note. Lots of tannins and a bit bitter on the finish. Still, there was good fruit and a nice complexity settling in on the wine. I liked it.
Red
2008 Bevan Cellars Ontogeny USA, California, Napa Valley, Oakville
92 points
My first Bevan wine. This is nice. Very fruit forward but seems to be a lot of stuff going on underneath. Cassis and some dark cherries. Nice balance. Long finish.
Red - Fortified
1963 Dow Porto Vintage Portugal, Douro, Porto
90 points
I know the crowd liked this more than I. I got to it late and my glass was cloudy. It also had a brownish color looking a lot like a tawny. It seemed old and tired to me, but still with a little life left. The nose had more nuts than fruit. Some heat on the palate. Very smooth, slightly sweet and easy to drink. A very nice treat for sure.
Red
2004 Pax Syrah Alder Springs Vineyard USA, California, North Coast, Mendocino County
92 points
These really do age well. This is still young and needs a few years. Typical for this wine. Nice black raspberry fruit. Very much a cool climate Syrah. Great structure and as the wine fills out, it really has a lot to offer. Strong backbone of acidity. I did chuckle at the over-sized bottle.
Red
1996 Stags' Leap Winery Petite Sirah USA, California, Napa Valley
91 points
Anyone who knew this wine knew it would not be ready yet. This was from Mag and these take forever. That said, it does offer up a lot of fun now. Not so much not ready as not where it is going. Some stink on the nose which I liked. Slightly bitter black raspberries. Huge wine. Starting to add some complexity.
Red
1998 Château Smith Haut Lafitte France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan
92 points
This is in a great place right now. Complex. Mature. Really well balanced. Still some solid cassis fruit, charcoal minerality. Some funk. Long finish. It is so smooth, it almost drinks itself. On release, I think this was even affordable. Gene brought this and did a great job holding it all of these years.
Red
2007 Switchback Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon Peterson Family Vineyard USA, California, Napa Valley
90 points
This was served blind and I seemed to like it more than most. After seeing the label, I suspect it is shut down now. It was popped and poured. Lots of Hershey milk chocolate notes and some cherries. I was guessing Merlot. Its nice but one would expect more.
Red
2004 Sea Smoke Pinot Noir Southing USA, California, Central Coast, Sta. Rita Hills
88 points
I skipped most of the Pinots, but who could pass on a pre-Grand Cru wine. Some funk. Lots of candied fruit. I would have expected more complexity by now. Its ok. I am not partial to the candied aspect.

Closing

Forgive me, but I had just flown in from Cleveland that day and was without costume. After being up for 15 hours and working all day, this was a great way to relax. Thanks to all! I hope to see everyone again soon.

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