Institute of Masters of Wine - 2013 Cabernet Walk-Around Tasting

Hyatt, San Francisco

Tasted October 24, 2016 by RajivAyyangar with 605 views

Introduction

Overall impressions of Napa Cabernet:
Color
- Dark ruby, less often Medium plus and Opaque
Nose
- Intense Blackcurrant
- Moderate to high influence of new oak
- Occasionally shows pyrazine influence - bell peppers, olives
- Very clean - only rarely show brett
Palate
- Elevated to high alcohol - most 14.5-15%
- full-bodied

Stylistically there is a spectrum of ripe, classic, and elegant:

Overripe:
- Alpha omega
- AXR
- Duckhorn
- Gallo Signature
- Krupp
- Viader Liquid Cashmere

Ripe:
- Chris Carpenter wines (Lokoya, La Jota, Cardinale)
- Joseph Phelps
- Pahlmeyer
- Pride Mountain
- Rutherford Hill
- Snowden

Classic:
- Louis Martini
- Cakebread
- Grgich Hills
- Jordan
- Stag’s Leap

Elegant: Higher-acid, lower ripeness types
- Corison
- Lyndenhurst
- Inglenook Rubicon
- Trefethen
- Chimney Rock
- Ridge Montebello
- Mt. Eden

In terms of quality, the quality was excellent across the board. In terms of my preference, a lot of the wines skewed riper than I’d like, but this seems consistent with California Cabernet as a genre. Here were my favorites, by score:

Around 9-9.5:
- Spottswoode Lyndenhurst
Around 9:
- Corison
8.5-9
- Grgich Hills
- La Jota Howell Mtn.
- Louis M. Martini (Value!)
- Pride
- Rutherford Hill
- Snowden
- Trefethen
- Ridge Montebello
- Leonetti (Washington!)

Flight 1 (27 notes)

Red
2013 Alpha Omega Era USA, California, Napa Valley
82 points
Jean Hoefliger, M. Rolland consulting. Black in the glass. Super duper ripe aromas - verging on overripe. Polished tannins. Acid is elevated and sticks out - possibly acidified? Really big and lumbering. Not a fan of this style - I feel like if you want ripe, ripe, super-ripe, you can get this at a lower price point.
Red
2013 AXR Cabernet Sauvignon USA, California, Napa Valley
83 points
Big, bold wine. Ripe and juicy. Not my style, but this seems well-made.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2013 Cain Vineyard & Winery Cain Five USA, California, Napa Valley, Spring Mountain District
60 points
Fecal aromas - bacterial issues? Very poor.
Cain is known for having Brett, but this is way more. Maybe stability issues due to high pH?
Red
2013 Cakebread Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon USA, California, Napa Valley
84 points
Nice and pretty down-the-middle style. Ripe but with good acidity.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2013 Cardinale USA, California, Napa Valley
84 points
(A Chris Carpenter wine - Lokoya, La Jota). Big, ripe, and highly tannic. Slight savory stewed bell pepper pyrazines which add savory interest, but needs acid.
Red
2013 Chimney Rock Cabernet Sauvignon Tomahawk Vineyard USA, California, Napa Valley, Stags Leap District
82 points
Light and vague, like the Inglenook.
Red
2013 Corison Cabernet Sauvignon USA, California, Napa Valley
90 points
Lovely - strong blackcurrant aromas with a characteristic hint of brett and fresh m+ acid. Good integration at this stage.
1 person found this helpful Comments (2)
Red
2013 Duckhorn Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley USA, California, Napa Valley
80 points
Smells and tastes overripe, raisinated. Low acid. Low tannins. Seems consistent with Duckhorn’s style. Plush.
Red
2013 Gallo Family Vineyards / Gallo of Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon Signature Series USA, California, Napa Valley
70 points
Overripe. Sweet. A bit fishy.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2013 Grgich Hills Cabernet Sauvignon USA, California, Napa Valley
88 points
Classic. Slight pyrazines, intense ripe blackcurrant, modest oak. Classic structure, slightly on the ripe side.
Red
2013 Inglenook Cabernet Sauvignon USA, California, Napa Valley, Rutherford
83 points
Nice savory nose but a bit soft on the palate. More restrained ripeness compared to other wines here, which I tend to appreciate, but the complexity isn’t really there. Much lower flavor concentration mid-palate than the Spottswoode Lyndenhurst.
Red
2013 Jordan Vineyard & Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley USA, California, Sonoma County, Alexander Valley
84 points
Balanced and elegant but the quality doesn’t seem as high as the others - length, complexity of fruit character, mid-palate intensity. 13.8%.
Red
2013 Joseph Phelps Insignia USA, California, Napa Valley
84 points
Smells underripe (pyrazinic) and tastes overripe. Structurally a bit soft (lower acid and tannins, higher alcohol).
3 people found this helpful Comment
Red
2013 Krupp Brothers Estates Cabernet Sauvignon M5 Stagecoach Vineyard USA, California, Napa Valley
85 points
Huge. 15.2% and tasted like it. Intense blackcurrant nose with high tannins, high acid, and high ripeness. Too much for me.
Red
2013 La Jota Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain USA, California, Napa Valley, Howell Mountain
88 points
Similar to other Chris Carpenter wines (makes Lokoya and Cardinale). Ripe, but bright too. Well made in a ripe style.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2013 Lokoya Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain USA, California, Napa Valley, Howell Mountain
86 points
Ripe. Some eucalyptus and menthol. Too much ripeness for me. I’d like more acidic freshness. Still, undeniably a good wine in this style.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2013 Lokoya Cabernet Sauvignon Mt. Veeder USA, California, Napa Valley, Mt. Veeder
86 points
Similar to the Howell Mtn. Ripe with well-rounded high tannins. I’d prefer less ripeness and more acid, but a well-made wine. Texturally it is plusher than, say, Corison.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2013 Louis M. Martini Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma County USA, California, Sonoma County
88 points
Bright and elegant. Slight olive and good blackcurrant. This held up really well against wines 5x the price!
Red
2013 Pahlmeyer Proprietary Red USA, California, Napa Valley
Aromatic. Intense black fruit. Ripe on the palate. Not super refined. (no score - quick impressions).
Red
2013 Pride Mountain Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Vintner Select USA, California, Napa Valley
87 points
Intense blackcurrant and coffee (oak ). Hefty on the palate. Tannic and big without freshness. Some faint savoriness that adds interest.
Red
2013 Ramey Cabernet Sauvignon Pedregal Vineyard USA, California, Napa Valley, Oakville
80 points
Very light. Slight olive. Medium minus color. Low intensity fruit.
Red
2013 Rutherford Hill Cabernet Sauvignon USA, California, Napa Valley
88 points
Pure intense blackcurrant. Ripe and aromatically open with high tannins. Great example of a ripe style.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2013 Snowden Cabernet Sauvignon Brothers Vineyard USA, California, Napa Valley
87 points
Ripe with green bell peppers (pyrazines). Savory and tannic. Would like more acid.
Red
2013 Spottswoode Cabernet Sauvignon Lyndenhurst USA, California, Napa Valley, St. Helena
92 points
Energetic nose with precise ripeness, slightly tart, intense blackcurrant, and slight brown olive. Balanced with modest alcohol (~13.9%), great acidity, elevated tannins (well-rounded). Power and elegance. I retasted this a few times throughout the walk-around tasting to calibrate, and it really impressed me every single time. By far my favorite of the walk-around.
Red
2013 Stag's Leap Wine Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Fay USA, California, Napa Valley
86 points
Middle of the road CA Cab. Good balance, a bit on the ripe side.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2013 Trefethen Cabernet Sauvignon Oak Knoll District USA, California, Napa Valley, Oak Knoll District
88 points
Similar in style to the Spottswoode Lyndenhurst. Cigar ash. Pickled jalapeño. Bright acid freshness. High tannins. Black fruit. Fresh.
Red
2013 Viader Cabernet Sauvignon Liquid Cashmere USA, California, Napa Valley
Very ripe. Very tannic. Intense blackcurrant juice - a bit overripe. Big with low acid. Not a fan. (no score - quick impression).

Flight 2 (3 notes)

Red
2011 Daou Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve USA, California, Central Coast, Paso Robles
70 points
Grape candy and a bit of seaweed. Acid-deficient, flabby, and soft.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2013 Mount Eden Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
flawed
Good concentration but kind of sulfury. Flawed bottle. Juicy and ripe. Med plus tannins.
Red
2013 Ridge Monte Bello USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
88 points
Aromatic, with black cherry and blackcurrant. There’s some purple fruit - reminds me of the varietal Petit Verdot I tasted in the 2013 blending event. Blackberry as well. Good acidity - a bit simple and juicy on the midpalate. Medium tannins - rounded and open already.
2 people found this helpful Comment

Flight 3 (2 notes)

Red
2013 Burrowing Owl Cabernet Sauvignon Canada, British Columbia, Okanagan Valley, Okanagan Valley VQA
75 points
Unappetizing nose - vegetal without being identifiably pyrazinic. Ripe and flabby palate - lacking acid, alcohol is too high. Hot.
2 people found this helpful Comment
Red
2013 Stratus Cabernet Sauvignon Canada, Ontario, Niagara Peninsula, Niagara-on-the-Lake VQA
86 points
Pretty decent. Oak and blackcurrant (a bit heavy on the oak and could use more acid).

Flight 4 (1 note)

Red
2002 Pheasant Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve Limited Release USA, Texas, Texas High Plains
83 points
14-year-old Cab from Texas? What a surprise! It tastes light and faded - a bit washed-out with some tamari/sweet leather from age. Still m+ tannins, a bit thin and tart. It’s not identifiably Cab at this stage - just an old wine that’s still holding on.
1 person found this helpful Comment

Flight 5 (1 note)

Red
2013 RdV Vineyards Lost Mountain USA, Virginia, Northern Virginia, Fauquier County
70 points
It smells like poor-quality fruit - uneven ripeness, a bit dirty and weedy. In the mouth it’s short and thin, with low acid - overall impression is a bit flabby.

Flight 6 (4 notes)

Red
2013 Quilceda Creek CVR Columbia Valley USA, Washington, Columbia Valley
75 points
15.2% and feels hot. Has some weedy fruit that strikes me as unevenly ripe - like a lower-end Malbec. Hot, flabby, and thin on the palate.
2 people found this helpful Comment
Red
2013 Duckhorn Wine Company Cabernet Sauvignon Canvasback USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Red Mountain
80 points
Raisinated with green pyrazinic menthol (maybe heat stress led to under-developed flavor at time of harvest?). Soft and a bit acid-deficient / sluggish on the palate. Ah I see this is made by Duckhorn. Makes sense - and consistent with their plusher, riper style.
2 people found this helpful Comment
Red
2013 Doubleback Cabernet Sauvignon USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Walla Walla Valley
80 points
Pretty generic cab. Lighter body than most, with low acid - a bit sluggish. Some pyrazines - the fruit tastes a bit green overall.
2 people found this helpful Comment
Red
2013 Leonetti Cellar Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Walla Walla Valley
87 points
Slightly Bretty. Good structure. The best of the Washington wines at this tasting - savory and ripe with noticeably blackcurrant. Good!
1 person found this helpful Comment
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