Mike Smith 2018s & 2017s - Myriad, Quivet, Scarlett, Becklyn, and others

Saint Helena

Tasted August 24, 2019 by csimm1161 with 833 views

Introduction

An unreal tasting with hoards of proofs, samples, bottles, and most of all, outstanding and generous company. Mike and Leah are the MOST gracious of hosts who are constantly doing everything they can to elevate the brand and, most importantly, the quality of the juice.

As rumored, the 2018s are fantastic quality and intensity. There is sophistication in this vintage when compared to 2016, which was more about flamboyant intensity and concentration (which is what made 2016 so amazing in my opinion). 2017 has produced fresh and fruit-driven wines, but will need some time to fully integrate their parts and find the most optimum drinking windows.

A fantastic series of wines with fantastic, real people behind all of the amazing efforts that produce such highly lauded wine. A great night indeed!

Flight 1 (16 notes)

Red
2018 Myriad Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Steltzner Vineyard USA, California, Napa Valley, Stags Leap District
97 points
A tight and fuzzy frame surrounds a pulsating core of blackberry, black cherry, black rock, and bitter chocolate. Behaving almost like a Las Piedras on an Arnold Pumping Iron horse juice regimen of liquid obsidian and tar heroin, the 2018 Steltzner plays clamp-and-release with the palate as it undulates back and forth between flavor and frame throughout its delivery. Finishes with semi-sweet tannins that are ever-present but inviting: Imposing in the way you might look in awe at Mount Everest, but not terrifying like getting robbed at gunpoint in the Tenderloin.

The 2018 is similar to the 2016, except that the 2018 seems to show a little more control. 2016 is such a massive beast by any standards; the 2018 contains a similar profile, but isn’t a complete rocket launcher when compared to its nuclear 2016 sibling. The 2017 version is more red-purple fruity than the 2016 and 2018, and still in need of some confection-shedding in its current state.

Standby for the 2018 Steltzner to deliver the goods. It’s a bad boy that’s poised to impress in strides. I personally favor the 2016, but with some time, the 2018 may be able to pull off a slight extra level of sophistication compared to the glorious monster 2016. 96-97+ points for the 2018.
4 people found this helpful Comment
Red
2018 Myriad Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve Beckstoffer Dr. Crane Vineyard 'Elysian' USA, California, Napa Valley
100 points
Pumping out that Dr. Crane black cherry core that ya’ll are familiar with, the Elysian falls in-line with the compelling 2015 and 2016 vintages in terms of overall profile and intensity. Earth and rock bring up the rear, encompassed by a wall of formidable but surprisingly silky tannins. A massive mid-palate gives way to a smooth back end, clamping gently down on the tail and keeping the flavors all in focus. This truly envelops the palate with a sensual and controlled delivery. There’s some Einstein going on with this Scarlett Johansson.

Offering more seamlessness than the standard Crane, even despite the Elysian’s heavier tannin display, this Dr. Crane on steroidal sexy juice shows that the Big Bang Theory and 9 ½ Weeks can both be fused together into liquid form. This will need a few years in bottle before it really starts to blossom, but when it does, standby for smoking jackets and swanky party-going. 97-100 points.
10 people found this helpful Comments (33)
Red
2018 Myriad Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer Dr. Crane Vineyard USA, California, Napa Valley, St. Helena
96 points
Not surprisingly, the Crane is similar in most ways to the Elysian in terms of its enticing flavor profile. Black cherry dominates, with some red cherry and licorice; faint earth and spice prairie-dog through the attack. Less minerality here at the moment. Not as sensual and silky on the frame as its more civilized sibling, with the tannins making for a slightly more angular spread across the palate. There is an inviting immediacy of fruit here, but the scaffolding will need time to integrate into a more seamless animal. A little alcohol competes with the rooty-tooty-fresh-and-fruity finish. Give this a little time once it hits bottle and be rewarded. 95-96+
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2018 Scarlett Wines Cabernet Sauvignon USA, California, Napa Valley, Rutherford
97 points
Super expressive! This version of Scarlett may be the best rendition of the standard McGah offering yet. Much like the 2015 in its infancy, this 2018 delivers a gushing attack of an array of fruit flavors. The 2018 raises the bar up a notch or two with a darker black/purple profile (the standard Scarlett I usually more associate with red/black fruit). An intense and flavorful mid-palate, with the blackberry and huckleberry notes reverberating on through the back end. Finishes as it starts, with an out-pouring of flavor rushing to the tail.

In terms of right-now satisfaction, this Scarlett can’t be beat in 2018. The Reserve will likely lap it in terms of longevity and overall completeness, but if you wanted to be the coolest kid on your block, you’d order a palette (different than ‘palate’ folks) of this juice and make it your house wine for the next 3-5+ years. 95-97+
3 people found this helpful Comments (6)
Red
2018 Scarlett Wines Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve USA, California, Napa Valley, Rutherford
99 points
Equally dark as the regular sample, the Reserve fires-off with a serious streak of minerality and a tannic backbone that immediately frame-out and control the electric fruit just waiting to explode. On the attack is a measured and chiseled delivery, with plenty of concentration and skillful extraction to create both a highbrow and a sensual shape. The Reserve behaves much like the Elysian does with its elevated locked-and-loaded application as well as conveying its succulent fruit core with appetizing appeal. Not as overtly flamboyant as the standard Scarlett at the moment, this Reserve offering ultimately impresses for its focus and knife-blade accuracy of execution from front to back. Finishes like a 6’2” German runway model’s skintight skirt; precise, stimulating, and mesmerizing.

This instantly reminded me of the beguiling 2015 Scarlett Reserve (which was a 99-100 point wine for me last time I had fun with it). The 2018 has a near-identical profile, with just a bit more spine-forward attack in its current state. This will need a few years in bottle before it will produce a like level of extravagance as the 2018 standard Scarlett now. 96-99+ points for the Reserve.
2 people found this helpful Comment
Red
2018 Quivet Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer Las Piedras Vineyard USA, California, Napa Valley
96 points
Blackberry, black cherry, and ripe purple fruit compile the core fruit, with scorched earth, wet cedar, and obsidian framing the general profile. This is displaying a bit of a reduced and macerated plum element, especially as it fans across the palate midway through the delivery. It had a little funky-terroir-ish thing going on the back end, finishing with an earthy purple/black fruit flavor infused with and framed by mineral-laced tannins. 95-96+ points.
Red
2018 Myriad Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Empyrean Beckstoffer Georges III Vineyard USA, California, Napa Valley, Rutherford
99 points
Tight and locked-up from the very first sip, but not so much that it doesn’t offer the insatiable consumer some flavor gratification in the form of black currant, black pebbles, plum skin, and blackberry seeds. Skirts the mid-palate nicely and drops just long enough to speed off toward the back end. Finishes fuzzy and mineral-driven, with grippy tannins on the tail.

Not too much of the GIII earthy soil elements popping up at this juncture, and certainly less forward-giving than the extracted and glitzy standard GIII in its current state. Like the Scarlett Reserve, the Empyrean is a next level, extraordinary wine that will need a couple of years to fan out once it slumbers in bottle for a hot minute. Be patient and gulp down the standard GIII while you’re waiting. 97-99+ points, perhaps with even the potential to hit a perfect score with just the right drinking window.
2 people found this helpful Comment
Red
2018 Myriad Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer Georges III Vineyard USA, California, Napa Valley, Rutherford
98 points
Dear Lord in Heaven, this is a WIIIIIDE open book in its current state, splaying out all the goods right on the front end and making no excuses for it. Those familiar with GIII are no strangers to the early onset of big ‘ol gobs of fruit jumping right into your face-hole. Expect nothing less with the 2018 GIII. Chewy and ultra-accessible (almost shamefully so). Extracted blackberry, the darkest, wettest soil (think the bottom of a waterfall in northern Oregon in February), spice, and black cherry syrup. Not to worry, however, your conservative side will still be pleased to experience the GIII’s ample tannic spine to hold all of its ostentatiousness together. But ya, it’s still super, duper showy. Finishes intense and effusive. It’s awesomely decadent and debauched.

Fair warning, don’t wear a suit and tie when trying this wine. Shoot instead for a bib and a face shield. The only thing missing here is a pole and a swole-up bouncer in his little sister’s tanktop. 96-98 points depending on your tolerance for wet T-shirt contests and beads of sweat on furry-chested Persian men.
4 people found this helpful Comments (8)
Red
2018 Myriad Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Three Twins Vineyard USA, California, Napa Valley
94 points
Showing its hand the least amongst the otherwise intense and commanding 2018s, the Twins rode a little high on entry and couldn’t get into full envelopment mode on the palate in its current state. Nice flavors of black and red cherry and some faint earth, with an agreeable but somewhat reserved disposition by comparison to the others in the lineup. Worry not my friends, note that the operative phrase here is “by comparison.” This ain’t your grandma’s Twins, so rest assured the flavor is here and it would likely stomp the majority of like-classed Cabs coming out of the Valley. I’ve personally found I prefer the Twins with a little extra time in bottle as it is. Nevertheless, best to sit on these once they hit bottle to gain some additional heft. 94+ points.
2 people found this helpful Comment
Red
2018 Myriad Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Round Pond Vineyard USA, California, Napa Valley, Rutherford
94 points
The most plush and round of the 2018 offerings, the Round Pond delivers well in the blackberry and plum department, flaunting its commodities without giving up the whole farm. Fun and pleasurable from start to finish. Stays in the lavish and lush lane throughout delivery, but with a well-balanced frame to keep it from getting to mushy. Finishes strong and soft at the same time, coating the back end with ripe fruit and some spices. 94+ points.
3 people found this helpful Comment
Red
2018 Myriad Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Peterson Family USA, California, Napa Valley
95 points
A new offering from Mike Smith, the Peterson (of Switchback Ridge fame) is a very fine testament to the site’s ability to pump out some quality juice. Not surprisingly, this behaved very similarly to the Switchback Cabs I’ve had in the past. Purple and black fruit and dark gravelly soil rule the roost, with a chunky and chewy texture that adds personality. A little less seamless than some of the other top shelf 2018s in its current state, but the overall character delivers savory flavors in spades. The mineral component elevates the finish just before the tannins rush around and grip the tail.

This will be a fun wine to follow over the next few years and is an outstanding inaugural effort. 95+ points. I may be underscoring a bit, as any new edition in such stiff competition makes for a comparative effect that can water-down scores sometimes. Something to look forward to once it hits bottle. I’m personally glad to see juice coming out of this area with the craftsmanship of Mike Smith at the helm. Anxious to follow its evolution…and what a great vintage to start with!
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2018 Becklyn Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon USA, California, Napa Valley
94 points
Much like the Myriad Twins, the standard Becklyn sample displayed fresh, ripe red and black fruit, albeit with a more reserved temperament overall at the moment. Complete, friendly, and with medium intensity from stem to stern, the Becklyn kept the mid-palate depth meter middle-of-the-road for now, picking up speed on the rear and finishing strong with lasting fruit and spice, as faint traces of booze linger as well. Usually a more outward-showing animal, the Becklyn this vintage seems to beg for a little time once in bottle to gain some additional weight.
6 people found this helpful Comments (3)
Red
2018 Becklyn Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve Moulds Vineyard USA, California, Napa Valley
93 points
This wine is admittedly a tricky one for me, as this particular site jives less with my palate in general; so, full disclosure there. Many will find it to be a well-honed machine that reflects attractive red and black cherry, strawberry seed, and mineral notes. I often find this site to produce a more restrained and sometimes bitter quality in the juice that seems to be holding the fruit back and never fully committing to a full mid-palate drop. I’ve had the same experience with Roy Piper’s wines as well. Fans of a more linear and “stay in your lane” type of creature will find pleasure here, especially considering the way in which its frame-first attitude commands the pure fruit to stay in check. This is almost old-world in profile in that drinking it young gives one less of an idea of how it will actually manifest down the road. Finishes slightly shaved and diminutive. Devotees of frame-before-fruit will be more than satisfied, and with time in bottle, the Moulds usually allows the red/purple fruit to eventually out-wrestle its structure and balance the execution of both aspects of the delivery. 91-93+ points. Best upside will likely come after 3+ years in bottle.
2 people found this helpful Comment
Red
2018 Becklyn Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer Missouri Hopper USA, California, Napa Valley
95 points
Creosote, blackberry, damp black earth, fresh turned soil, and some charcuterie notes cut in line before the frame eventually catches up with its semi-sweet, rich tannins. A bit of an onslaught on the palate initially, but then almost immediately fanning out in the mouth and providing a hedonistic flavor-wave of more wet earthy black fruit.

Those familiar with Hopper know that it can certainly carry an almost Syrah-esque earthy note that certainly defines a site flavor profile that I seem to immediately identify as MH. Sometimes it can be overly sanguine for me (especially with the Cabernet Sauvignon varietal – more appealing in a Syrah’s profile). The 2018 Becklyn Missouri Hopper is a nicely balanced rendition without heading too much into the realm of homicidal transient butcher running around Yountville with a bloody hatchet type of thing. This wine will likely kick out the appeal shortly after bottling. One of the more chewy and decadent wines in the lineup (perhaps with the exception of the decadent and debauched standard GIII and Scarlett wines – where you need to puff a cigar after every sip).
2 people found this helpful Comments (5)
Red
2018 Quivet Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Kenefick Ranch USA, California, Napa Valley
95 points
Black fruit galore; likely the blackest Kenefick I’ve had to date, behaving more like a throttled-down version of the Steltzner. Blackberry, black cherry, black currant, and black rock. Did I mention black? Of course, discerning palates will find flecks of red fruit and spice buried under the…wait for it…BLACK fruit. Finishes with medium intensity, with a hint of minerality. 93-95 points with the expectation that additional notes will emerge once it gets into bottle and is allowed its requisite integration sleepy time.
1 person found this helpful Comments (2)
Red
2018 Quivet Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Pellet Vineyard USA, California, Napa Valley
95 points
The Pellet displays very similar to the Kenefick, perhaps even a hair deeper and intense, with a darker, more brooding profile. There is also some elevated red fruit that skips across the palate and shows up on the finish. The spine shows a bit of booze, but dissipates quickly. 93-95 points.
2 people found this helpful Comments (4)

Flight 2 (15 notes)

Red
2017 Becklyn Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Pangkarra Beckstoffer Missouri Hopper USA, California, Napa Valley
95 points
Ah, the "Supa Hoppa!"... As expected, this is the super-duper-uber Becklyn Missouri Hopper 2.0, and it shows accordingly. Take everything you know about the Hopper, add more wet soil, more roast beef, and more syrupy-macerated earthy ripe plum and huckleberry flavors and you have the Pangkarra. The front end attack and mid-palate deliver full and rich, but it doesn’t get too heavy overall. There is some speed here, though it does finish more lithe and shorter than the front half leads you to initially believe. It’s a mouthful without being suffocating. Texturally chewy (a bit gummy at times), but the extraction level stays where it ought to be without going over the top.

Let these rest in bottle for another year or so in order to best hone its seamlessness. 94-95 points in its current state.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2017 Myriad Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer Georges III Vineyard USA, California, Napa Valley, Rutherford
94 points
Big fruit upfront, with a redder profile than the more gothic-hot-tattoo-chick 2018 GIII. The 2017 shows some of its traditional black cherry and earthy notes, but to a lesser degree when compared to other vintages. Some chocolate chunk pops its head up briefly, but is washed over by a little booze. Most GIIIs are more drink sooner than later animals, but this sample had some heat on it right out of the bottle, so I’d suggest leaving it alone for another year. 93-94+ points.
2 people found this helpful Comment
Red
2017 Myriad Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Empyrean Beckstoffer Georges III Vineyard USA, California, Napa Valley, Rutherford
94 points
Similar to the GIII with its red and black cherry and subtle chocolate-spice, but much more linear and clamped-down in its current state. It has sophistication and the potential stuffing for a wonderful flavor expansion down the road, but it’s gonna take a minute (or a few years) to really blossom. Despite its mousier demeanor at the moment, there is a keen silkiness that really helps to elevate the whole enchilada. Finishes focused and direct. Hold for a few years. 94+ points for now.
3 people found this helpful Comments (3)
Red
2017 Myriad Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer Dr. Crane Vineyard USA, California, Napa Valley, St. Helena
94 points
The standard Myriad Crane offers well-balanced flavors of black cherry yogurt, red and black licorice, and some gravelly earth notes. Faint dirt and soil notes can also be found running around in the profile as well, adding to make for a more complex experience overall. Finishes medium, with the red and black cherry notes repeating. Some alcohol is present on the tail, but not carrying much heat with it (which is a good thing!). As with most of the 2017s, hold for a while longer to get some heft going here.
2 people found this helpful Comment
Red
2017 Myriad Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve Beckstoffer Dr. Crane Vineyard 'Elysian' USA, California, Napa Valley
96 points
Structure and tannins lead the attack here, with some hot-off-the-presses, racy red and black fruit flavors that are pushed rapidly over the palate with significant heft and energy. Stops in time to throw down a nice mid-palate dollop of fruit before taking off again to the finish. Structure and grip butt-in and arrest the fruit on the back end.

95-96+ points. Great potential here. Let it be until after 2023+.
4 people found this helpful Comments (7)
Red
2017 Scarlett Wines Cabernet Sauvignon USA, California, Napa Valley, Rutherford
93 points
Purple and red fruit. Initially an unassuming and straightforward delivery, but the Scarlett picks up some weight mid-way through and pushes its fruity character on through the medium finish. A much more reserved and nimble style when compared to the crazy-expressive 2018. A night and day comparison in that regard. Drink the Scarlett now if you feel like a fun and fruity beverage, or wait a year or two in hopes of gleaning a little more complexity and weight. 92-93 points.
Red
2017 Scarlett Wines Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve USA, California, Napa Valley, Rutherford
94 points
My notes on this wine started out with “WAIT,” as the first sip displayed a walled-off demeanor fortified with tannins and an almost bitter clamp that initially stomped on the fruit. Luckily, with some swirling, and swirling…and swirling, it stated to come around. Still, this remained locked-and-loaded. What was most remarkable was the chiseled focus that came with such a stern mathematician-like delivery. Once the fruit was able to peek out a little more, it gave the impression of sophistication and class instead of just pissed off and ready for war. Let this Gladiator rest for a number of years. I’d personally try not to touch these for 4-5 years minimum. 94++ points.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2017 Myriad Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Steltzner Vineyard USA, California, Napa Valley, Stags Leap District
95 points
Red and purple berry fruit, pulverized granite, and some subtle spice. Much less black and intense this go-around than from when I had it out of barrel. A very satisfying and complete wine, though much less monstrous than the massively endowed 2016. This 2017 strikes a nice balance of flavor and structure, especially as it travels toward the finish, where it keeps a steady pace and allows the fruit to cascade to a rewarding finale.

This still has more weight to gain; so, try to hold off another couple of years so it can hit the gym and try to impress against its year-older stud brother. 94-95+ points.
4 people found this helpful Comment
Red
2017 Myriad Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Three Twins Vineyard USA, California, Napa Valley
93 points
Lighter bodied than the Steltzner, but with a very similar fruit profile; exhibiting red and purple berry fruit and some strawberry vanilla cream to add some interest. Purple plum shows up on the mid-palate, making for a rounded-out, more plush drop before it rolls toward the back end. Finishes light-to-medium. 93 point potential with some time in bottle.
3 people found this helpful Comment
Red
2017 Myriad Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Round Pond Vineyard USA, California, Napa Valley, Rutherford
Similar as I recall from barrel, but ultimately the Round Pond was somewhat of an enigma for me. There is purple fruit intermingling with tobacco leaf and earth, but I was getting a Pine-sol note toward the back end that I couldn’t shake. The fruit slowed down on the finish, with the tannins taking over and shutting down the core a bit. Obviously this little monkey has a few things to still work out. I know I sound like a broken record here, but leave these 2017s alone for a while.
2 people found this helpful Comment
Red
2017 Quivet Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer Las Piedras Vineyard USA, California, Napa Valley
94 points
A more red/purple fruit profile this vintage, with less of the black fruit and scorched mineral elements as is typically the case with this wine and from this site. The front end hits the palate with fresh, pure fruit, with medium intensity and a lush finish. Still working out its dimension and depth, and will require a few years to increase the gravity and concentration of its overall weight and ability to achieve optimum flavor expansion. Upside after 2022+.
3 people found this helpful Comments (4)
Red
2017 Quivet Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Kenefick Ranch USA, California, Napa Valley
92 points
The 2017 Quivet Kenefick and Pellet samples tasted identical to me in their current states. Some sweet vanilla and strawberry cream elements encircle the red cherry core, with hints of spice barely hitting the far reaches of the back end. Finishes with a little alcohol and candied red fruit. As with many of the 2017s, there is a fruitiness that simply needs a few years for these wines to develop-through to best offer more complex and nuanced components that are waiting in the background. Certain potential with all of these wines. Give them time in bottle. Drink your 2014s for now and allow these 2017s some “me” time for a number of years. Short term (2-3+ years) is a must in my opinion.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2017 12c Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer Georges III Vineyard USA, California, Napa Valley, Rutherford
92 points
Red and black fruit, and seemingly the most light-footed of the 2017s in the tasting. As is typical with the 12C, a cedar and earth element rides throughout the delivery. A much daintier example of GIII, especially when compared to the Myriad versions.
Red
2017 12c Cabernet Sauvignon G3 Reserve Beckstoffer Georges III Vineyard USA, California, Napa Valley, Rutherford
92 points
Almost indistinguishable from the 12C, the 12C G3 Reserve displayed a same red and black fruit interlaced with cedar and dry, dusty soil notes; exhibited nearly-identical weight distribution and depth. MAAAAAYBE a touch more intensity here compared to the standard 12C, but if served blind side-by-side, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you which was which. This G3 is a wine to hold for a few years.
Red
2017 Steltzner Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Stags Leap District USA, California, Napa Valley, Stags Leap District
91 points
Cotton candy confection is at the forefront of this wine at the moment. Some purple and red berry fruit notes, laced with vanilla and whipped cream. Hold for 3-5+ years so it can hopefully shed some of the wood flavorings. This will certainly fatten-up. Patience young Jedi.

Flight 3 (3 notes)

Red
2017 Ancillary Cellars Pinot Noir Sun Chase Vineyard USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast
94 points
A healthy does of rhubarb and muddled strawberry lead the charge here, with a slight vanilla cream note on the finish. If you try hard, you’ll maybe detect a citrus element, but it plays hide-and-seek with the palate throughout the delivery. Medium-bodied overall, but definitely holds strong throughout the attack from start to finish. A little deeper and a slightly longer tail than the Sangiacomo. 93-94+ points. Drink the Sun Chase now and over the next 3-5+ years.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2017 Ancillary Cellars Pinot Noir Sangiacomo Vineyard USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast
93 points
Very similar to the Sun Chase, if not a little lighter on its feet overall in terms of depth of flavor and elongated finish, the Sangiacomo impresses for its freshness and purity of higher-toned red fruit. Rhubarb, strawberry, orange peel, and some vanilla cream on the back end, this is an agreeable, medium-bodied animal all the way through. Even better with food. Drink now and over the next 3+ years.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2017 Patiné Cellars Pinot Noir Sun Chase Vineyard USA, California, Sonoma County
93 points
Darker in profile than the Ancillary Pinots, the Patine kicks out more black cherry and spice notes, followed quickly red cherry and earth elements. Also a bit richer than the Ancillary duo. Drink the Patine now and over the next 3-5 years.
2 people found this helpful Comment
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