2013 Mostly cabs but some other stuff too

GHT

Tasted September 11, 2016 by Loren Sonkin with 875 views

Introduction

Last night 4 couples met at one of our favorite restaurants to have a great meal, lots of laughs and sample mostly 2013 Cabs. Why you ask would we drink such obviously young wines? Lots of reasons. At least a few of the group finds this to be the sweet spot. As Charlie said, "You're only young once". I find it educational to drink some young especially if I have more in the cellar to drink later. But mostly, we do it because it was so much fun! The wines were consumed non-blind in flights. There was time to revisit or just keep some in an extra glass on the table. The food was amazing and kept coming out in courses and the chef tried to match the wines.

Flight 1 - A Champagne starter to begin the night. (1 note)

Not a 2013, but it was DP, so we graciously allowed it. ;-)
Served with an Amuse Bouche of garlic and some white and green stuff (all right, I forgot to write it down) on a spoon.

White - Sparkling
2004 Dom Pérignon Champagne France, Champagne
95 points
Always a great way to start a night. Drank with no food, just standing around the table. Going back at the end of the evening, it was even better although warmer, it had really opened up and was showing more complexity. The nose is very nice with a cream note as well as pears and minerals. On the palate, a nice froth. Great if not pin point acidity. Nice lemons and peaches. With air, the acidity is calmed a bit but the minerality and the pit fruit really come out as well as showing more depth. Outstanding.
2 people found this helpful Comment

Flight 2 - A Cal Chard flight to start the night. (3 notes)

Served with a Pimento Balls, Eggplant "Meatballs", and Carrot "pasta" with Tahini.

White
2013 Rivers-Marie Chardonnay B. Thieriot Vineyard USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast
96 points
This was pop and pour and was much improved at the end of the night. Very tight at first. As it opens, it shows very rich. Beautiful nose with orange and tropical fruits. Also a fair amount of vanilla. On the palate, the theme continues on with orange rind, vanilla and a slight char note. Deep but tightly layered. There is an oily texture which I love in Chards. Long finish. Just a gorgeous wine but will improve from here.
3 people found this helpful Comment
White
2013 Rhys Chardonnay Horseshoe Vineyard USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
97 points
Blind, i would not have guesses this to be the Rhys. Pop and pour, this came out of the bottle blazing. It was far richer and bigger than I expected but in a good way. The nose has tropical fruit and peaches. On the palate, this is already showing a nice complexity. Good backbone of acidity. Peaches and papaya with a bit of lemon. Just delicious. I never did get back to it, but it was also my wife favorite Chard.
3 people found this helpful Comment
White
2013 Aubert Chardonnay CIX Estate Vineyard USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast
95 points
This was a bit too warm which did not help it. That said, it was outstanding. Great nose. Peaches, apples, caramel and slight char. On the palate it is much more reticent but still some peaches. There is some roughness to the finish, but perhaps a bit colder would help. Still, it is quite long.
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Flight 3 - A red "starter" (1 note)

George really wanted this in here. Like we were going to say no?

Red
2013 Saxum Cuvée Rocket Block James Berry Vineyard USA, California, Central Coast, Paso Robles Willow Creek District
97 points
I wasn't going to rate this as it is so early. Pop and pour, this was not a good initial showing. Disjointed and hot. It really didn't belong in the tasting, but George wanted to try it so he made special arrangements to get a bottle early. I left some in my glass to return to and took a bit more at the end of the night. Still way too young, don't open for 5 years, but that said, the nose has black cherries, black raspberries, a couple of different floral notes (purple and white for lack of a better term), and a roasted herbs note. On the palate, gorgeous texture. The heat disappears with air. Juicy black raspberries with some tarragon and an underlying fresh turned soil quality. Long finish. 97 tonight with plenty of upside in 5 to ten years.
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Flight 4 - Our first Cab flight (3 notes)

This was basically the wines that didn't fit into the other flights as well. It proved to be a great way to start.

Red
2013 Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon USA, Washington, Columbia Valley
95 points
I have never liked this as much as some and I think that was true tonight. Its "lack" of opulence stood out and this format did not do it any favors. That said, this is really an great bottle of wine. The nose has coffee and cassis and some pencil lead. On the palate, more of a boysenberry note with some roasted herbs qualities. While not boisterous, there is nothing under ripe or anything like that. Long finish. I am sure it improves with a decade in the cellar.
7 people found this helpful Comment
Red
2013 Seaver Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon GTS USA, California, Napa Valley, Diamond Mountain
96 points
My first time trying this wine. It was my favorite of the flight and still my favorite of this flight going back later in the evening once it had opened. I believe this is made by TRB. The nose has cassis, cherries, roasted sage and tobacco. With air the sage is gone but a leather note comes out. On the palate, this is ripe but deep. Great texture. No idea where the wine comes from, but while ripe it is not opulent and the depth suggests mountain fruit to me. There are some tannins, but this is pretty accessible now. No hurry of course, but with some air, no harm. This bottle was open at 10AM and allowed to breathe.
3 people found this helpful Comments (2)
Red
2013 Larkmead Vineyards LMV Salon USA, California, Napa Valley
96 points
This is a blend of Cab (74) and cab Franc (26). The bottle was open at 10AM and allowed to breathe. It needed every bit of that air and more. The nose has cassis, dark cherries, cigar tobacco and chocolate. Also a slight bit of mint. On the palate, this is very tannic. The tobacco comes out but the fruit is quite tight. It is there and packs a punch but still tight. great texture. Long finish. I didn't get to retaste this, but I would hold these for a while before revisiting.
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Flight 5 - The elegant side of Cab (3 notes)

Just an amazing flight. It was put together hoping for wines that showed more elegance and femininity. Probably less true of the Sinegal. Maybe that is because the Scarecrow and Pride had women winemakers?

Red
2013 Scarecrow Cabernet Sauvignon USA, California, Napa Valley, Rutherford
100 points
Wow. Amazing wine. My WOTN and got 3/8 group votes. Great on pop and pour and just as great revisiting at the end of the night. Cassis and floral notes and pencil lead and licorice and clean forest floor notes. Wow. gorgeous texture. Seamless wine. Not a blockbuster by any means. Transcends the old world - new world breakdown of style. Layers of complexity that unwind in the glass. Despite being so accessible right now, I think it has a long life ahead as well. I imagine it gets better but utterly a 100 point Napa cab right now.
5 people found this helpful Comments (2)
Red
2013 Pride Mountain Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve USA, California, North Coast, Napa / Sonoma
99 points
Coming right after the 100 point scarecrow, this was in a tough position. No worries, it handled it just fine. This has been decanted for a few hours which I think helped. It got 2 votes for WOTN. The nose is beautiful with cassis, pencil lead, sandalwood and slight black raspberries and leather. On the palate, this is a bit tighter with firmer tannins and that is the only reason it did not score 100 from me. That said, I bet it gets there in a few years. Great juicy cassis and black raspberry fruit. A bit of spice. Some earthy/leather notes. A long finish. What a gorgeous wine!!
4 people found this helpful Comment
Red
2013 Sinegal Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve USA, California, Napa Valley
98 points
What a tough flight to be in. 98 And finishing third. The interesting thing is everyone agreed that as the wines changed in the glass, there were times this was the best wine in the flight. One person had it as their favorite of the flight. It was also the most backward of the wines in this flight. The nose has cassis and spice with some cedar and a bit of eucalyptus. On the palate, this has a lush but juicy texture with cassis and black raspberries along with some oak/spice and firm tannins. A taste later in the night and the wine had not really budged. This bottle had been open since 10AM and allowed to breathe.
2 people found this helpful Comment

Flight 6 - The bigger Cab flight (3 notes)

These were much more masculine in style as a flight. The group seemed mixed as to which flight they like better, but it did seem clear that the order was right.

Red
2013 Schrader Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon LPV Beckstoffer Las Piedras Vineyard USA, California, Napa Valley
95 points
This was pop and pour. It did get one vote for WOTN. The nose has cassis, slight black cherry and iodine. With air a bit of fresh loam earth comes out. On the palate, this tastes a bit riper and sweeter than most of these. Firm tannins. Black raspberries and spice on the palate. Drinking well but needs time I think. I would hold for a while.
4 people found this helpful Comment
Red
2013 Futo 5500 USA, California, Napa Valley, Stags Leap District
97 points
This wine ws the most tight and backward of the night. Do not open for at least five, better ten, years. The nose has cassis and lavender and chocolate and smoke. On the palate, very tight. Lots of tannins. Still, there is a seamlessness here not present on many of these wines. Gorgeous texture that carries the purple fruits and spice beautifully. Long finish. Leaving this in my glass and going back later, it shows so much but is so tightly packed. Plenty of room for upside here but it will need time.
Red
2013 Cliff Lede Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer To-Kalon Vineyard USA, California, Napa Valley, Oakville
99 points
This also got two votes for WOTN. I teetered on giving this 100 but if I had to teeter, it didn't get it though I am not sure why. I had high hopes for this and it exceeded them. The bottle was opened at 10AM and allowed to breathe. The nose has cassis and blueberries with cedar and spice. On the palate, this is a powerful masculine styled wine. Its a bruiser. Lots of cassis, some blueberries as well on the palate. A bit of cedar but very clean and young. It is above all though, just delicious. Probably the most delicious wine on the table. It will be interesting to see where it goes from here. My first time trying this wine, it makes me wonder if perhaps the Poetry is worth the $300 per bottle if it is better than this.
5 people found this helpful Comments (5)

Flight 7 - The finish (2 notes)

This was cool, knowing a little bit both Aaron and Roy and of course that Aaron helped Roy so much in his wine career. A real treat.

Red
2013 Pott Wine Cabernet Sauvignon Le Nouveau Western Star Vineyard USA, California, Napa Valley, Rutherford
95 points
I love Aaron's wines and this was no exception. The nose has cassis, slight dark cherries and mocha and char. On the palate, this is a mid ground between elegance and power of earlier flights. It is very deft and straddling that line. Nice cassis fruit with a bit of earthiness and char. Nice texture. Long finish. This was pop and pour but drinking pretty well. That said, i suspect some air or cellaring will help this.
Red
2013 Roy Piper Cabernet Sauvignon USA, California, Napa Valley
92 points
A real treat to get to be able to try this wine. I remember when Roy was still a finance guy in LA posting on the wine Boards, before following his dream. This had been decanted for a few hours. It reminded me of the Keating Cabernet if perhaps a bit tighter. The nose has Cassis, leather, some graphite. I thought Roy used mountain fruit, but I am not sure. It doesn't have that personality so perhaps not (or perhaps I just drank too much). In any event, this wine is outstanding. Well done Roy. Even with the decant, i think there is some room for upside improvement with cellaring. What a fun way to end a tasting.

Closing

No need for a dessert wine. I went back to some whites, revisited a few reds too, and time for sleep.

Thanks to all for stepping up and bringing some great wines. Another great night with friends, food and wine. We are very lucky and blessed people.

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