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Farmstead BTK Taste-Off

Saint Helena

Tasted October 4, 2017 by csimm1161 with 259 views


Another great dinner with Cristal2000 and #1Winelover full of fun wine and great company. Predominantly a To Kalon taste-off of big, young Cabernets from the famed site. Some big, bold bottles of wine showed up to the table for sure. Thanks to all!

Flight 1 (1 note)

2012 Morlet Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Cœur de Vallée Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard USA, California, Napa Valley, Oakville
96 points
This wine was decanted for a number of hours and still struggled to exhibit much more than some tight, compacted red, black, and purple berry notes. Some faint earth and minerality, with vanilla-laced alcohol and a puple jam note washing up on the finish. Throughout dinner, this was the most reticent. At the time, and especially among the other BTK wines poured alongside this wine, I was in the 91-92 point range with this wine initially. This was the only BTK wine at our table that was made with 25% Cab Franc, so it was a bit of a different animal anyway; but at this stage, it showed little-to-no signature notes that would've suggested the BTK site.

What was left of this wine at the end of the night (about 1/3 bottle) was poured back into the bottle, corked, and remained at cellar temperature (54 degrees) for 24 hours. The next day, this wine was revisited. It was TOTALLY AMAZING! Wild black raspberry, purple and blue berry, cassis, dark black cherry liqueur, wet blue river rock, and hints of earthy spice box. Deeply pitched at the core, but with some fascinating minerality and black/red cassis notes swirling around the core fruit. A complete 180 from the stubborn donkey it was 24 hours earlier.

96++ points (pushing into the 97-98 mark) by the very end of this day-long drama that was this wine. Final sips were the absolute best. A really compelling wine that has tons of potential. Hold until after 2022++. I know some of Morlet's wines take some time (I have some 2008 Coeur de Vallee bottles resting patiently still in need of time). This one DEFINITELY needs time, with the promise of delivering in spades after a number of years.
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Flight 2 (1 note)

2015 Carter Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon The O.G. Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard USA, California, Napa Valley, Oakville
97 points
Previous notes apply, except that this was fairly tight and restrained throughout the course of consumption. It was not decanted (and definitely needed it), but over the course of a couple of hours of being open in the bottle and some vigorous swirling in the glass, I kept going back to this wine and finding it to be quite enjoyable. Still incredibly tight and not ready for prime time, but the purity of fruit was probably one of the best at the table. The 2015 Carter OG and the 2012 Schrader CCS began to taste similarly to me, with the Schrader a bit more accessible and giving in its overall flavor profile.

In terms of how the wines were performing at the table that night, the battle seemed to be between the Schrader CCS and the 2015 Realm BTK. The OG and the 2012 Tusk were neck and neck right behind the Schrader and Realm, but all of these wines were amazing. Any seeming "issues" with any of these wines would solely be a factor of timing for service and optimum drinking windows. All wines served were remarkably well made.

Thanks to #1Winelover for sacrificing this 2015 Carter OG for the greater good! 97++ points with certain upside in at least two+ years.
3 people found this helpful Comment

Flight 3 (1 note)

2012 Schrader Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon CCS Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard USA, California, Napa Valley, Oakville
98 points
This Schrader started off much in the same way a 2013 Carter OG began its display of flavors on PnP the night before: overt red (and some black) fruit (bordering on "fruity") and little in its display of nuance or secondary notes to add interest. Luckily, it didn't take too long before a little air slowly started to wake this wine up. After about an hour, the Schrader started to lap the other wines at the table. The Schrader's purity of fruit, along with its overall ability to balance superb concentration with power and intensity, resulted in a wine that delivered quite well on all fronts. Flavors of red and some faint black core fruit (not much in the way of purple or blue), pebbly minerality, baking spice, red and black licorice, and hints of quality vanilla bean.

The profiles of the 2015 Carter OG and 2012 Schrader CCS were similar to me at various points of the evening. The Schrader began pumping out nice intensity to drive the fruit flavors to the whole back of the mouth, really filling out the mid-palate beautifully. 100RP makes sense in a few years.

Thanks to Cristal2000 for bringing this to the table! 97-98 points. I would hold until after 2019.
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Flight 4 (1 note)

2015 Realm Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard USA, California, Napa Valley, Oakville
98 points
PnP and this was one of the most giving and accessible of the wines served at the table. As noted by Cristal2000 and #1Winelover, this was indeed a young wine, but ironically delivering a medley of superb flavors throughout the course of consumption. This and the 2012 Schrader CCS were in that 97-98 point spot for me by the end of the night. The Realm was predominantly black fruit driven, with black and dark red currant, black raspberry, blackberry, scorched earth, dark dry mulch, cedar, and hints of bitter chocolate. A pretty tight clamp on the back end for most of the night, but it did start to fan out and gain some weight, enveloping the mid-palate much more efficiently over time. It had a little less intensity and concentration than the Schrader in my opinion, but its black fruit profile gave it more of a bass tonality carrying an air of depth that helped to add interest.

A wine with a good future ahead of it, and all-in-all drinking really well given its youth. 97-98 point potential. A huge thanks to winemaker Benoit Touquette for gifting this wine for our dinner. Extremely giving of him to donate to our little cause!
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Flight 5 (1 note)

2012 Tusk Estates Cabernet Sauvignon USA, California, Napa Valley
97 points
As with the 2012 Schrader CCS, 2015 Carter OG, and 2015 Realm BTK, the Tusk was competing very well toward the final sips. Initial PnP was extremely tight and almost unforgiving. Super powerful and intense, but striking with a linear slap of higher-toned fruit at first. An almost cranberry-esque tartness sucked the back end dry, clipping the finish. More of a red/black fruit core that struggled to expand. As with the the aforementioned wines, some air helped tremendously. At the first sip of the Tusk, we knew immediately a decant was necessary.

After about two hours in the decanter, the true essence of that wonderful Pritchard Hill fruit started to take shape. Lively black raspberry, black and red cherry, black rock, vanilla extract, and some spice. The entire inside of my mouth was coated with flavor and intensity. It still maintained quite some verve and tension, reminding me it was a young wine that begs for time in the bottle. For those holding bottles, I would recommend not popping the cork on this for another couple of years at least. So much drive on this wine, it just needs to find a more seamless glide at some point as it strives to mature over time.

96-97+ points by the final sips. Good things to come with this wine; it is just going to take some time to get into its rightful groove.

Thanks to Cristal2000 for bringing this very special wine. Quite the sacrifice!
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Flight 6 (1 note)

2012 Christopher Tynan Wines Cabernet Sauvignon Old Vines Meleagris Gallopavo USA, California, Napa Valley
Notes of black currant, black earth, dark loam, and dark chocolate. In terms of flavor, the overall profile of this wine is undoubtedly in my wheelhouse, with a brooding, gothic type of quality about it. This seemed like a well crafted wine indeed.

This wine was opened a few days prior, so its mid-palate and back end unfortunately came off a little flat. Amazingly, it did not initially display as over-oxidized or bitterly acidic the way some wines can after an over-abundance of air. The flavors were all there, but some of the intensity and push had weakened some. No rating just due to the ultimate service of the wine, but definitely a wine I'm curious about revisiting if the opportunity presents itself. I do like what Tynan has done for a number of the higher end Cliff Lede wines.

Thanks to #1Winelover for bringing this wine to the table!
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