Tusk Vertical 2011-2015 plus 2016 L'Orange - W/CSIMM1161

Seven Hills Restaurant, SF & Tusk Party

Tasted September 13, 2019 - September 14, 2019 by Cristal2000 with 337 views


Great times w/ CSIMM1161.

Flight 1 (6 notes)

2011 Tusk Estates Cabernet Sauvignon USA, California, Napa Valley
94 points
This wine was consumed at the Tusk party and not side by side like the 12-15 vintages. Did not take any formal notes, but it left a pretty distinct impression.

An outstanding effort given the vintage. Everything was in great balance. The wine was expressive and wonderfully textured, with soft tannins that made it imminently approachable. There was a bit of the hallmark "green" notes that show up in this vintage, but it was not absent fruit and had some great earthy & mineral driven character. Tertiary notes of tobacco and mushroom also present. Definitely a bit more on the medium bodied and elegant side, this was in a really good place to drink.
2012 Tusk Estates Cabernet Sauvignon USA, California, Napa Valley
94 points
This showed the poorest in the lineup of 12-15 vintages. As CSIMM mentions in his note, there was a lot of plum and raspberry. Like the 13 edition, it was missing the trademark silky texture. Unlike the 13 however, this didn't have a big core the unwind, and instead was a bit soft and didn't have a lot going on. Where I can see the 13 coming out of a "dumb" phase here and rocketing back up to great heights, I have a hard time seeing the 12 doing so. That said, this was served warmer than ideal, so that could have played a role.

Plums, raspberries, red licorice and forest floor on the nose. This seemed more red fruited than the others, with soft and approachable tannins. Good level of concentration, but not on the level of the other Tusk wines. Hints of mushroom and a mineral streak run through the core. A bit more medium than full bodied, the energy and freshness was lacking in comparison. Solid if unremarkable finish.
2013 Tusk Estates Cabernet Sauvignon USA, California, Napa Valley
95 points
I was a bit surprised by the showing of the 13 next to the other vintages. I expected it to be at the top, but in the end it was just better than the 12. It was like a less expressive, leaner and more acidic version of the 15. It certainly was not giving up much. I've had some amazing experiences with this wine, and then others like this one where it didn't show nearly as well. Fickle animal.

Showing a nose of tobacco, herbs, blackberries, iron and graphite, this was super tight on the palate. The trademark silky texture was not present and there was some bitterness and biting tannins. The mostly dark fruit was still clearly first rate, but rough around the edges. Unsweetened chocolate and graphite abound. The finish is long but astringent. This was served at a bit higher temperature than ideal, so that could have been part of the story.
2014 Tusk Estates Cabernet Sauvignon USA, California, Napa Valley
98 points
As noted by CSIMM, it was quite clear when we had 2012-2015 at dinner that the best wines went youngest to oldest. So the 2014 here was the second best wine of the night, and really quite excellent. It reflected the vintage nearly perfectly, with a fun nearly over the top opulence and forward style that is easy to really enjoy.

Expressive black cherries, blackberries, cedar, fresh cut flowers and anise. Big time black and blue fruit envelope the palate immediately, with layer upon layer of fruit and mineral driven flavors hitting all the right notes. Sweet fine grained tannins and silky texture make this a delight to all the senses. It's got great depth of flavor, but perhaps will not be quite as complex and well rounded as the 2015 edition. Great wine.
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2015 Tusk Estates Cabernet Sauvignon USA, California, Napa Valley
99 points
As CSIMM notes, we had this on two separate occasions. Once at dinner next to the 2012-2014 vintages, and then again at the Tusk party. A bit surprising since we expected to get a taste of the 2016, but alas, our hopes were dashed.

The wine showed quite a bit differently at dinner than at the party. My score is primarily based on the restaurant experience, where we had it in a more controlled setting and it was borderline perfection. It easily out did the 2012-2014 wines next to it. At the Tusk party, it showed more oaky and unresolved.

Super rich, with massive depth and concentration, this is a very serious and powerful wine. At the same time, it is silky, with refined and integrated tannins along with nearly perfect texture that makes it glide gracefully across the palate. This showed the best layering of all the vintages, and was really expressive with blackberries, black cherries, violets, herbs and earthy notions. There's a lot of the Pritchard Hill profile - think Colgin or Ovid. That red dirt/volcanic effect. Lasting, super long finish.
2016 Tusk Estates L'Orange USA, California, Napa Valley
98 points
As CSIMM pointed out in his note, this is a limited edition offering that will be a "gift" to list members at $150. I talked to Michael about it for a little bit and it should be released by the end of the year. Seems like it's a one time deal. Unique for Tusk by adding the 20% PV component, and I have to assume the Cab portion is juice that didn't make it into the final blend of the flagship. That said, you certainly couldn't tell it was a step down during this tasting.

Consumed right after 2015 Tusk, this was more immediately ready to drink and was super expressive, powerful and plush. Dark fruit, forest floor, bit of smoke and char, this showed opulence without being over the top or fruity. Well structured and delineated, it has great depth of flavor and is full bodied with ultra fine grained tannins. As per usual with Melka made wines, the texture is near perfection and the finish lingers for well over 45 seconds. This will be rare and awesome.
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