Putzi's Napa 2017 new arrival tasting

Tasted May 13, 2020 by sirpat00 with 102 views

Flight 1 (2 notes)

White
2018 Spottswoode Sauvignon Blanc USA, California, North Coast
92 points
A new Napa arrival tasting hosted by a wine merchant. A total of 30 wines mostly from 2017 (with a few 2018 whites and new releases from 2016 and 2015 in the mix) were presented in various price brackets ($40 to $200+). For 2017 my takeaways were 1) 2017 is already approachable and offers immediate drinking pleasure. But 2) the wines also came across lighter and less layered. 2017 doesn’t seem to have the refinement of 2016, the depth of 2014 or the muscular concentration of 2015. For many, it seems, finding a spot in the sun will be hard with 5 outstanding vintages before and likely 2 more (at least) right behind. There were notable exceptions of course. Wine of the night was Diamond Creek Volcanic Hill 2017 (95) and just whisker behind Viader 2017 (95). A very notable mention deserves the Detert East Block Cabernet Franc 2017 for its unique character (94).

Tasting note:
A typical Sauvignon Blanc, almost. Steely and mineral notes embedded in a gooseberry fruit. A bit savoury with a smoky overlay and I welcome and appreciate the a well measured deployment of oak. Relatively light on the palate lacking mid-palate structure. Otherwise nice and crips acidity. A great, easy-drinking wine and ideal for social events where stretching the purse strings is not appreciated.
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White
2018 Behrens Family Winery Sauvignon Blanc La Danza Con Neustras Familias USA, California, Napa Valley
91 points
A new Napa arrival tasting hosted by a wine merchant. A total of 30 wines mostly from 2017 (with a few 2018 whites and new releases from 2016 and 2015 in the mix) were presented in various price brackets ($40 to $200+). For 2017 my takeaways were 1) 2017 is already approachable and offers immediate drinking pleasure. But 2) the wines also came across lighter and less layered. 2017 doesn’t seem to have the refinement of 2016, the depth of 2014 or the muscular concentration of 2015. For many, it seems, finding a spot in the sun will be hard with 5 outstanding vintages before and likely 2 more (at least) right behind. There were notable exceptions of course. Wine of the night was Diamond Creek Volcanic Hill 2017 (95) and just whisker behind Viader 2017 (95). A very notable mention deserves the Detert East Block Cabernet Franc 2017 for its unique character (94).

Tasting note:
Green gooseberry just a few lychee notes in the mix. Faintly mineral and slightly smoky - but mostly fruit-forward in character. Very high acidity and probably best to age in bottle a bit. Well structured otherwise but without any compelling complexity. I preferred the Spottswoode 2018 over this in the line-up.

Flight 2 (4 notes)

White
2018 Fisher Vineyards Chardonnay The Unity USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Valley
89 points
A new Napa arrival tasting hosted by a wine merchant. A total of 30 wines mostly from 2017 (with a few 2018 whites and new releases from 2016 and 2015 in the mix) were presented in various price brackets ($40 to $200+). For 2017 my takeaways were 1) 2017 is already approachable and offers immediate drinking pleasure. But 2) the wines also came across lighter and less layered. 2017 doesn’t seem to have the refinement of 2016, the depth of 2014 or the muscular concentration of 2015. For many, it seems, finding a spot in the sun will be hard with 5 outstanding vintages before and likely 2 more (at least) right behind. There were notable exceptions of course. Wine of the night was Diamond Creek Volcanic Hill 2017 (95) and just whisker behind Viader 2017 (95). A very notable mention deserves the Detert East Block Cabernet Franc 2017 for its unique character (94).

Tasting note:
Green herbal savoury, light in appearance, just hints of melted butter, but mostly fresh with a more Old Word type of citric fruit profile. Thinly structured but easy to drink and great if you’re looking for a straightforward, down-to-earth Chard.
White
2018 Fisher Vineyards Chardonnay Whitney's Vineyard USA, California, Sonoma County
91 points
A new Napa arrival tasting hosted by a wine merchant. A total of 30 wines mostly from 2017 (with a few 2018 whites and new releases from 2016 and 2015 in the mix) were presented in various price brackets ($40 to $200+). For 2017 my takeaways were 1) 2017 is already approachable and offers immediate drinking pleasure. But 2) the wines also came across lighter and less layered. 2017 doesn’t seem to have the refinement of 2016, the depth of 2014 or the muscular concentration of 2015. For many, it seems, finding a spot in the sun will be hard with 5 outstanding vintages before and likely 2 more (at least) right behind. There were notable exceptions of course. Wine of the night was Diamond Creek Volcanic Hill 2017 (95) and just whisker behind Viader 2017 (95). A very notable mention deserves the Detert East Block Cabernet Franc 2017 for its unique character (94).

Tasting note:
Heavy with sweet oaky and vanilla aromas. Underneath fresh citric fruit. Lacked a bit acidity for the structure a Napa Chard would require to balance oak and ripeness. This put an bigger than necessary spotlight on the oak notes on the palate.
White
2016 Grgich Hills Chardonnay Paris Tasting Commemorative USA, California, Napa Valley
93 points
A new Napa arrival tasting hosted by a wine merchant. A total of 30 wines mostly from 2017 (with a few 2018 whites and new releases from 2016 and 2015 in the mix) were presented in various price brackets ($40 to $200+). For 2017 my takeaways were 1) 2017 is already approachable and offers immediate drinking pleasure. But 2) the wines also came across lighter and less layered. 2017 doesn’t seem to have the refinement of 2016, the depth of 2014 or the muscular concentration of 2015. For many, it seems, finding a spot in the sun will be hard with 5 outstanding vintages before and likely 2 more (at least) right behind. There were notable exceptions of course. Wine of the night was Diamond Creek Volcanic Hill 2017 (95) and just whisker behind Viader 2017 (95). A very notable mention deserves the Detert East Block Cabernet Franc 2017 for its unique character (94).

Tasting note:
Well balanced nose with citric freshness complemented by some ripe tropical elements, sweet oaky notes and salty mineral aromas. Lots of crisp acidity and oak notes on the palate. Long, citric finish. Really solid, a notable step-up from the Grgich Chardonnay 2016, although not living up to the expectations raised by its title.
White
2016 Grgich Hills Chardonnay USA, California, Napa Valley
90 points
A new Napa arrival tasting hosted by a wine merchant. A total of 30 wines mostly from 2017 (with a few 2018 whites and new releases from 2016 and 2015 in the mix) were presented in various price brackets ($40 to $200+). For 2017 my takeaways were 1) 2017 is already approachable and offers immediate drinking pleasure. But 2) the wines also came across lighter and less layered. 2017 doesn’t seem to have the refinement of 2016, the depth of 2014 or the muscular concentration of 2015. For many, it seems, finding a spot in the sun will be hard with 5 outstanding vintages before and likely 2 more (at least) right behind. There were notable exceptions of course. Wine of the night was Diamond Creek Volcanic Hill 2017 (95) and just whisker behind Viader 2017 (95). A very notable mention deserves the Detert East Block Cabernet Franc 2017 for its unique character (94).

Tasting note:
Initially started to suspect this could be faulty with aromas reminding me of decomposing vegetables catching my attention first. Apart from this, mostly a citric fruit and sweet savoury notes with some mineral complexity too. Crisp acidity and again citric on the palate but adding buttery notes over time. Those unwanted vegetal aromas disappeared after a while, by the way, making space for a decent wine after all.

Flight 3 (3 notes)

Red
2017 Barnett Vineyards Merlot Spring Mountain District USA, California, Napa Valley, Spring Mountain District
90 points
A new Napa arrival tasting hosted by a wine merchant. A total of 30 wines mostly from 2017 (with a few 2018 whites and new releases from 2016 and 2015 in the mix) were presented in various price brackets ($40 to $200+). For 2017 my takeaways were 1) 2017 is already approachable and offers immediate drinking pleasure. But 2) the wines also came across lighter and less layered. 2017 doesn’t seem to have the refinement of 2016, the depth of 2014 or the muscular concentration of 2015. For many, it seems, finding a spot in the sun will be hard with 5 outstanding vintages before and likely 2 more (at least) right behind. There were notable exceptions of course. Wine of the night was Diamond Creek Volcanic Hill 2017 (95) and just whisker behind Viader 2017 (95). A very notable mention deserves the Detert East Block Cabernet Franc 2017 for its unique character (94).

Tasting note:
The weakest of the this Merlot flight. Full of sweet spices in the nose showing liquorice, vanilla, toasted brioche with a greenish and minty touch. Herbal with camomile tea leaves. On the palate light and slightly acidic on balance.
Red
2017 Pride Mountain Vineyards Merlot USA, California, North Coast, Napa / Sonoma
91 points
A new Napa arrival tasting hosted by a wine merchant. A total of 30 wines mostly from 2017 (with a few 2018 whites and new releases from 2016 and 2015 in the mix) were presented in various price brackets ($40 to $200+). For 2017 my takeaways were 1) 2017 is already approachable and offers immediate drinking pleasure. But 2) the wines also came across lighter and less layered. 2017 doesn’t seem to have the refinement of 2016, the depth of 2014 or the muscular concentration of 2015. For many, it seems, finding a spot in the sun will be hard with 5 outstanding vintages before and likely 2 more (at least) right behind. There were notable exceptions of course. Wine of the night was Diamond Creek Volcanic Hill 2017 (95) and just whisker behind Viader 2017 (95). A very notable mention deserves the Detert East Block Cabernet Franc 2017 for its unique character (94).

Tasting note:
More dense and concentrated as a first impression when compared to Titus Merlot 2016 and Barnett Merlot 2017, but overall a light nose reminding me of cooled fruit tea. Ripe red cherry fruits, some sweet spices and fine notes of oak. A clean nose overall, but less so on the palate with coarse and a tad greenish tannins. Firm structure otherwise. Accessible and good to drink.
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Red
2016 Titus Merlot USA, California, Napa Valley
92 points
A new Napa arrival tasting hosted by a wine merchant. A total of 30 wines mostly from 2017 (with a few 2018 whites and new releases from 2016 and 2015 in the mix) were presented in various price brackets ($40 to $200+). For 2017 my takeaways were 1) 2017 is already approachable and offers immediate drinking pleasure. But 2) the wines also came across lighter and less layered. 2017 doesn’t seem to have the refinement of 2016, the depth of 2014 or the muscular concentration of 2015. For many, it seems, finding a spot in the sun will be hard with 5 outstanding vintages before and likely 2 more (at least) right behind. There were notable exceptions of course. Wine of the night was Diamond Creek Volcanic Hill 2017 (95) and just whisker behind Viader 2017 (95). A very notable mention deserves the Detert East Block Cabernet Franc 2017 for its unique character (94).

Tasting note:
This was part of a Merlot flight within the tasting. Too overripe and Porty fruit for my liking, unfortunately. Otherwise nice sweet oaky notes, a bit of milk chocolate and unsweetened cocoa powder. The fruit was mostly raspberry, Lightly structured and fruity on the palate with good balance and soft tannins. This is readily accessible already this young and a very decent everyday-wine.

Flight 4 (4 notes)

Red
2017 Titus Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve Family Estate USA, California, Napa Valley
93 points
A new Napa arrival tasting hosted by a wine merchant. A total of 30 wines mostly from 2017 (with a few 2018 whites and new releases from 2016 and 2015 in the mix) were presented in various price brackets ($40 to $200+). For 2017 my takeaways were 1) 2017 is already approachable and offers immediate drinking pleasure. But 2) the wines also came across lighter and less layered. 2017 doesn’t seem to have the refinement of 2016, the depth of 2014 or the muscular concentration of 2015. For many, it seems, finding a spot in the sun will be hard with 5 outstanding vintages before and likely 2 more (at least) right behind. There were notable exceptions of course. Wine of the night was Diamond Creek Volcanic Hill 2017 (95) and just whisker behind Viader 2017 (95). A very notable mention deserves the Detert East Block Cabernet Franc 2017 for its unique character (94).

Tasting note:
Dark fruit, wet leather, clearly more detailed and layered than the estate Titus (and. Barnett or Pride, for that matter) with liquorice, sweet baking spices adding complexity. Great structure with lots of acidity and tannin but in good balance. Full-bodied with a stronger character providing some glimpses into what a great Napa cab should look like.
Red
2017 Barnett Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon USA, California, Napa Valley, St. Helena
89 points
A new Napa arrival tasting hosted by a wine merchant. A total of 30 wines mostly from 2017 (with a few 2018 whites and new releases from 2016 and 2015 in the mix) were presented in various price brackets ($40 to $200+). For 2017 my takeaways were 1) 2017 is already approachable and offers immediate drinking pleasure. But 2) the wines also came across lighter and less layered. 2017 doesn’t seem to have the refinement of 2016, the depth of 2014 or the muscular concentration of 2015. For many, it seems, finding a spot in the sun will be hard with 5 outstanding vintages before and likely 2 more (at least) right behind. There were notable exceptions of course. Wine of the night was Diamond Creek Volcanic Hill 2017 (95) and just whisker behind Viader 2017 (95). A very notable mention deserves the Detert East Block Cabernet Franc 2017 for its unique character (94).

Tasting note:
Unlike other 2017 cabs this showcased more menthol and fresh herbal type of aromatics and a bit of black coffee. Fruit predominantly black currant and a few oak notes. Light and fresh with lots of acidity that needs more time to integrate.
Red
2017 Pride Mountain Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon USA, California, North Coast, Napa / Sonoma
91 points
A new Napa arrival tasting hosted by a wine merchant. A total of 30 wines mostly from 2017 (with a few 2018 whites and new releases from 2016 and 2015 in the mix) were presented in various price brackets ($40 to $200+). For 2017 my takeaways were 1) 2017 is already approachable and offers immediate drinking pleasure. But 2) the wines also came across lighter and less layered. 2017 doesn’t seem to have the refinement of 2016, the depth of 2014 or the muscular concentration of 2015. For many, it seems, finding a spot in the sun will be hard with 5 outstanding vintages before and likely 2 more (at least) right behind. There were notable exceptions of course. Wine of the night was Diamond Creek Volcanic Hill 2017 (95) and just whisker behind Viader 2017 (95). A very notable mention deserves the Detert East Block Cabernet Franc 2017 for its unique character (94).

Tasting note:
A slightly (wet) leathery core with a slightly liqueur-esque fruit, fresh and marmalade type of fruit but managing not to come across overripe. Fruit forward on the palate, fresh and juicy yet with a firm structure and still mouth-coating tannin.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2017 Titus Cabernet Sauvignon USA, California, Napa Valley
92 points
A new Napa arrival tasting hosted by a wine merchant. A total of 30 wines mostly from 2017 (with a few 2018 whites and new releases from 2016 and 2015 in the mix) were presented in various price brackets ($40 to $200+). For 2017 my takeaways were 1) 2017 is already approachable and offers immediate drinking pleasure. But 2) the wines also came across lighter and less layered. 2017 doesn’t seem to have the refinement of 2016, the depth of 2014 or the muscular concentration of 2015. For many, it seems, finding a spot in the sun will be hard with 5 outstanding vintages before and likely 2 more (at least) right behind. There were notable exceptions of course. Wine of the night was Diamond Creek Volcanic Hill 2017 (95) and just whisker behind Viader 2017 (95). A very notable mention deserves the Detert East Block Cabernet Franc 2017 for its unique character (94).

Tasting note:
Nice and dense nose with ripe red and black currant, fruit forward overall with additional elements of sweet spices and mineral notes. Rather cool in character, fresh red fruit with lots of acidity and a slightly oaky finish. This is great for the price bracket, although clearly a league below the Reserve.

Flight 5 (3 notes)

Red
2017 Detert Family Vineyards Cabernet Franc East Block Oakville USA, California, Napa Valley, Oakville
94 points
A new Napa arrival tasting hosted by a wine merchant. A total of 30 wines mostly from 2017 (with a few 2018 whites and new releases from 2016 and 2015 in the mix) were presented in various price brackets ($40 to $200+). For 2017 my takeaways were 1) 2017 is already approachable and offers immediate drinking pleasure. But 2) the wines also came across lighter and less layered. 2017 doesn’t seem to have the refinement of 2016, the depth of 2014 or the muscular concentration of 2015. For many, it seems, finding a spot in the sun will be hard with 5 outstanding vintages before and likely 2 more (at least) right behind. There were notable exceptions of course. Wine of the night was Diamond Creek Volcanic Hill 2017 (95) and just whisker behind Viader 2017 (95). A very notable mention deserves the Detert East Block Cabernet Franc 2017 for its unique character (94).

Tasting note:
Roasted coffee, black tee, some cedar and tobacco are more in the limelight than the red to blue type of berry fruit. Fine-grained and elegant, nice an harmonious on the palate with a distinct character. Definitely one of the more interesting juices tasted at this event.
Red
2017 Ovid Experiment A2.7 USA, California, Napa Valley
90 points
A new Napa arrival tasting hosted by a wine merchant. A total of 30 wines mostly from 2017 (with a few 2018 whites and new releases from 2016 and 2015 in the mix) were presented in various price brackets ($40 to $200+). For 2017 my takeaways were 1) 2017 is already approachable and offers immediate drinking pleasure. But 2) the wines also came across lighter and less layered. 2017 doesn’t seem to have the refinement of 2016, the depth of 2014 or the muscular concentration of 2015. For many, it seems, finding a spot in the sun will be hard with 5 outstanding vintages before and likely 2 more (at least) right behind. There were notable exceptions of course. Wine of the night was Diamond Creek Volcanic Hill 2017 (95) and just whisker behind Viader 2017 (95). A very notable mention deserves the Detert East Block Cabernet Franc 2017 for its unique character (94).

Tasting note:
Not as expressive as most in the line up. More red type of fruit, sweet spices and fresh, herbal nuances - but all of this with very little push behind it. Acidic overhang on the palate. Maybe this needs time to turn from something ok to something good, but are to say.
Red
2017 Behrens Family Winery Parts Unknown USA, California, Napa Valley
94 points
A new Napa arrival tasting hosted by a wine merchant. A total of 30 wines mostly from 2017 (with a few 2018 whites and new releases from 2016 and 2015 in the mix) were presented in various price brackets ($40 to $200+). For 2017 my takeaways were 1) 2017 is already approachable and offers immediate drinking pleasure. But 2) the wines also came across lighter and less layered. 2017 doesn’t seem to have the refinement of 2016, the depth of 2014 or the muscular concentration of 2015. For many, it seems, finding a spot in the sun will be hard with 5 outstanding vintages before and likely 2 more (at least) right behind. There were notable exceptions of course. Wine of the night was Diamond Creek Volcanic Hill 2017 (95) and just whisker behind Viader 2017 (95). A very notable mention deserves the Detert East Block Cabernet Franc 2017 for its unique character (94).

Tasting note:
An intellectually singular nose of black tobacco and some sweet spices and anise, oak, cedar box all orbiting a clean, polished fruit core. Light, fruit forward and juicy palate with a long finish. A bit unbalanced still but already indicating lots of potential. This made me very curious to see how it ages.

Flight 6 (3 notes)

Red
2017 Spottswoode Cabernet Sauvignon Estate USA, California, Napa Valley, St. Helena
94 points
A new Napa arrival tasting hosted by a wine merchant. A total of 30 wines mostly from 2017 (with a few 2018 whites and new releases from 2016 and 2015 in the mix) were presented in various price brackets ($40 to $200+). For 2017 my takeaways were 1) 2017 is already approachable and offers immediate drinking pleasure. But 2) the wines also came across lighter and less layered. 2017 doesn’t seem to have the refinement of 2016, the depth of 2014 or the muscular concentration of 2015. For many, it seems, finding a spot in the sun will be hard with 5 outstanding vintages before and likely 2 more (at least) right behind. There were notable exceptions of course. Wine of the night was Diamond Creek Volcanic Hill 2017 (95) and just whisker behind Viader 2017 (95). A very notable mention deserves the Detert East Block Cabernet Franc 2017 for its unique character (94).

Tasting note:
Clear blue fruit, sweet spices and fine oak, a bit of candy and liquorice. Nice nose already, but the real treat here is the palate: Fresh, fruity, harmonious with structural tannin. One of my favourites in this 2017 line-up, but classes below the majestic 2015 and 2016. 94+
Red
2017 Spottswoode Cabernet Sauvignon Lyndenhurst USA, California, Napa Valley, St. Helena
91 points
A new Napa arrival tasting hosted by a wine merchant. A total of 30 wines mostly from 2017 (with a few 2018 whites and new releases from 2016 and 2015 in the mix) were presented in various price brackets ($40 to $200+). For 2017 my takeaways were 1) 2017 is already approachable and offers immediate drinking pleasure. But 2) the wines also came across lighter and less layered. 2017 doesn’t seem to have the refinement of 2016, the depth of 2014 or the muscular concentration of 2015. For many, it seems, finding a spot in the sun will be hard with 5 outstanding vintages before and likely 2 more (at least) right behind. There were notable exceptions of course. Wine of the night was Diamond Creek Volcanic Hill 2017 (95) and just whisker behind Viader 2017 (95). A very notable mention deserves the Detert East Block Cabernet Franc 2017 for its unique character (94).

Tasting note:
Fine sweet red, blue and dark berries and herbal components reminding me of moist foliage, some light wooden notes. Clean and fruity palate with some mocca popping up as a nice surprise. But overall relatively simple when compared to the Spottswoode estate.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2017 Barnett Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon MMV USA, California, Napa Valley, Spring Mountain District
93 points
A new Napa arrival tasting hosted by a wine merchant. A total of 30 wines mostly from 2017 (with a few 2018 whites and new releases from 2016 and 2015 in the mix) were presented in various price brackets ($40 to $200+). For 2017 my takeaways were 1) 2017 is already approachable and offers immediate drinking pleasure. But 2) the wines also came across lighter and less layered. 2017 doesn’t seem to have the refinement of 2016, the depth of 2014 or the muscular concentration of 2015. For many, it seems, finding a spot in the sun will be hard with 5 outstanding vintages before and likely 2 more (at least) right behind. There were notable exceptions of course. Wine of the night was Diamond Creek Volcanic Hill 2017 (95) and just whisker behind Viader 2017 (95). A very notable mention deserves the Detert East Block Cabernet Franc 2017 for its unique character (94).

Tasting note:
Pure red currant fruit with some blue berries in the mix, unique sweet flavours profile showing marzipan. Intense palate with tension, lots of fruit and structure.
1 person found this helpful Comment

Flight 7 (3 notes)

Red
2016 Fisher Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Coach Insignia USA, California, Napa Valley
94 points
A new Napa arrival tasting hosted by a wine merchant. A total of 30 wines mostly from 2017 (with a few 2018 whites and new releases from 2016 and 2015 in the mix) were presented in various price brackets ($40 to $200+). For 2017 my takeaways were 1) 2017 is already approachable and offers immediate drinking pleasure. But 2) the wines also came across lighter and less layered. 2017 doesn’t seem to have the refinement of 2016, the depth of 2014 or the muscular concentration of 2015. For many, it seems, finding a spot in the sun will be hard with 5 outstanding vintages before and likely 2 more (at least) right behind. There were notable exceptions of course. Wine of the night was Diamond Creek Volcanic Hill 2017 (95) and just whisker behind Viader 2017 (95). A very notable mention deserves the Detert East Block Cabernet Franc 2017 for its unique character (94).

Tasting note:
Slightly more red type of berries when compared to the Lamb and Wedding vineyards (both 2015). Smoky and oaky. This combines delicate texture, a layered nose with intensity - all woven together into a readily accessible wine.
Red
2015 Fisher Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Lamb Vineyard USA, California, Napa Valley
93 points
A new Napa arrival tasting hosted by a wine merchant. A total of 30 wines mostly from 2017 (with a few 2018 whites and new releases from 2016 and 2015 in the mix) were presented in various price brackets ($40 to $200+). For 2017 my takeaways were 1) 2017 is already approachable and offers immediate drinking pleasure. But 2) the wines also came across lighter and less layered. 2017 doesn’t seem to have the refinement of 2016, the depth of 2014 or the muscular concentration of 2015. For many, it seems, finding a spot in the sun will be hard with 5 outstanding vintages before and likely 2 more (at least) right behind. There were notable exceptions of course. Wine of the night was Diamond Creek Volcanic Hill 2017 (95) and just whisker behind Viader 2017 (95). A very notable mention deserves the Detert East Block Cabernet Franc 2017 for its unique character (94).

Tasting note:
Baking spices more in the limelight here, intense fruit, fine plywood type of oak notes. Full bodied with lots of tannin and acidity but fairly well balanced. Some green herbal notes after a while too. Nose definitely outperforming the palate here. Not a quite a much for the Wedding Vineyard.
Red
2015 Fisher Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Wedding Vineyard USA, California, Sonoma County
94 points
A new Napa arrival tasting hosted by a wine merchant. A total of 30 wines mostly from 2017 (with a few 2018 whites and new releases from 2016 and 2015 in the mix) were presented in various price brackets ($40 to $200+). For 2017 my takeaways were 1) 2017 is already approachable and offers immediate drinking pleasure. But 2) the wines also came across lighter and less layered. 2017 doesn’t seem to have the refinement of 2016, the depth of 2014 or the muscular concentration of 2015. For many, it seems, finding a spot in the sun will be hard with 5 outstanding vintages before and likely 2 more (at least) right behind. There were notable exceptions of course. Wine of the night was Diamond Creek Volcanic Hill 2017 (95) and just whisker behind Viader 2017 (95). A very notable mention deserves the Detert East Block Cabernet Franc 2017 for its unique character (94).

Tasting note:
Raisiny fruit (but not in a bad way) quickly reveals a very different vintage from the 2017, black coffee, black tea and black chocolate, a bit of cigar box and rather dark fruit which drops down to the palate. Good structure and harmonious texture, plush tannin. I‘m a newbie to the Fisher range of products but I‘m liking this and beating the Lamb Vineyard.

Flight 8 (3 notes)

Red
2017 Diamond Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Volcanic Hill USA, California, Napa Valley, Diamond Mountain
95 points
A new Napa arrival tasting hosted by a wine merchant. A total of 30 wines mostly from 2017 (with a few 2018 whites and new releases from 2016 and 2015 in the mix) were presented in various price brackets ($40 to $200+). For 2017 my takeaways were 1) 2017 is already approachable and offers immediate drinking pleasure. But 2) the wines also came across lighter and less layered. 2017 doesn’t seem to have the refinement of 2016, the depth of 2014 or the muscular concentration of 2015. For many, it seems, finding a spot in the sun will be hard with 5 outstanding vintages before and likely 2 more (at least) right behind. There were notable exceptions of course. Wine of the night was Diamond Creek Volcanic Hill 2017 (95) and just whisker behind Viader 2017 (95). A very notable mention deserves the Detert East Block Cabernet Franc 2017 for its unique character (94).

Tasting note:
Initially some animal and leathery notes provided for a Bordeaux-like appearance. Sweet red fruit coupled with darker, cooler berries, black currant and herbal notes of lemon grass. A complex, intense, textured palate with leathery components complementing the fruit. The Dimond Creek trilogy had the most consistently good performance with Volcanic Hill slightly ahead of Red Rock and Gravelly Meadow. This was the wine of the night for me and some of the others at the tasting. But I don’t the structure is there to reach the heights of the 2007.
Red
2017 Diamond Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Gravelly Meadow USA, California, Napa Valley, Diamond Mountain
94 points
A new Napa arrival tasting hosted by a wine merchant. A total of 30 wines mostly from 2017 (with a few 2018 whites and new releases from 2016 and 2015 in the mix) were presented in various price brackets ($40 to $200+). For 2017 my takeaways were 1) 2017 is already approachable and offers immediate drinking pleasure. But 2) the wines also came across lighter and less layered. 2017 doesn’t seem to have the refinement of 2016, the depth of 2014 or the muscular concentration of 2015. For many, it seems, finding a spot in the sun will be hard with 5 outstanding vintages before and likely 2 more (at least) right behind. There were notable exceptions of course. Wine of the night was Diamond Creek Volcanic Hill 2017 (95) and just whisker behind Viader 2017 (95). A very notable mention deserves the Detert East Block Cabernet Franc 2017 for its unique character (94).

Tasting note:
Milk chocolate, full of blue fruit, nuances of sweet spices, tangerine, green herbal notes. A cool palate with a broad-shouldered structure carrying a lot of weight. A fine wine no doubt and apart from a few single wines, the Dimond Creek trilogy had the most consistently good performance with Volcanic Hill slightly ahead of Red Rock and Gravelly Meadow.
Red
2017 Diamond Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Red Rock Terrace USA, California, Napa Valley, Diamond Mountain
94 points
A new Napa arrival tasting hosted by a wine merchant. A total of 30 wines mostly from 2017 (with a few 2018 whites and new releases from 2016 and 2015 in the mix) were presented in various price brackets ($40 to $200+). For 2017 my takeaways were 1) 2017 is already approachable and offers immediate drinking pleasure. But 2) the wines also came across lighter and less layered. 2017 doesn’t seem to have the refinement of 2016, the depth of 2014 or the muscular concentration of 2015. For many, it seems, finding a spot in the sun will be hard with 5 outstanding vintages before and likely 2 more (at least) right behind. There were notable exceptions of course. Wine of the night was Diamond Creek Volcanic Hill 2017 (95) and just whisker behind Viader 2017 (95). A very notable mention deserves the Detert East Block Cabernet Franc 2017 for its unique character (94).

Tasting note:
Sweet and sexy and tightly knit. Fresh and clean fruit, some floral notes and candy-like sweet notes. Sweet and juicy fruit with more red fruit on the palate which also came across harmonious already. Apart from a few single wines, the Dimond Creek trilogy had the most consistently good performance with Volcanic Hill slightly ahead of Red Rock and Gravelly Meadow.

Flight 9 (4 notes)

Red
2017 Viader Black Label Estate Limited Edition USA, California, Napa Valley
92 points
A new Napa arrival tasting hosted by a wine merchant. A total of 30 wines mostly from 2017 (with a few 2018 whites and new releases from 2016 and 2015 in the mix) were presented in various price brackets ($40 to $200+). For 2017 my takeaways were 1) 2017 is already approachable and offers immediate drinking pleasure. But 2) the wines also came across lighter and less layered. 2017 doesn’t seem to have the refinement of 2016, the depth of 2014 or the muscular concentration of 2015. For many, it seems, finding a spot in the sun will be hard with 5 outstanding vintages before and likely 2 more (at least) right behind. There were notable exceptions of course. Wine of the night was Diamond Creek Volcanic Hill 2017 (95) and just whisker behind Viader 2017 (95). A very notable mention deserves the Detert East Block Cabernet Franc 2017 for its unique character (94).

Tasting note:
A dark fruit profile, peppery, also animal and leather notes, a bit Port-like. On the palate astringent with mouth-coating tannin. This is an interesting blend including Syrah, Malbec and Cab Franc. But from a pleasure perspective this is way too early to open, quite unlike the rest of the 2017 pack.
Red
2017 Viader Proprietary Red USA, California, Napa Valley
95 points
A new Napa arrival tasting hosted by a wine merchant. A total of 30 wines mostly from 2017 (with a few 2018 whites and new releases from 2016 and 2015 in the mix) were presented in various price brackets ($40 to $200+). For 2017 my takeaways were 1) 2017 is already approachable and offers immediate drinking pleasure. But 2) the wines also came across lighter and less layered. 2017 doesn’t seem to have the refinement of 2016, the depth of 2014 or the muscular concentration of 2015. For many, it seems, finding a spot in the sun will be hard with 5 outstanding vintages before and likely 2 more (at least) right behind. There were notable exceptions of course. Wine of the night was Diamond Creek Volcanic Hill 2017 (95) and just whisker behind Viader 2017 (95). A very notable mention deserves the Detert East Block Cabernet Franc 2017 for its unique character (94).

Tasting note:
An icing of sweet spices covers an intense, ripe fruit base - but all in a cool coat. Green herbal notes and somewhat alcoholic on the palate unfortunately with mouth-coating tannin. This will probably need quite a few years for all the pieces to fall into place, but I do see potential then. Adding black coffee and more herbal complexity over time. Quite phenomenal nose actually and the palate is improving very fast in the glass! One of the top presentations at this event and comes very close to Diamond Creek Volcanic Hill, even in a completely different style.
Red
2016 Heimark Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon USA, California, Napa Valley, Calistoga
92 points
A new Napa arrival tasting hosted by a wine merchant. A total of 30 wines mostly from 2017 (with a few 2018 whites and new releases from 2016 and 2015 in the mix) were presented in various price brackets ($40 to $200+). For 2017 my takeaways were 1) 2017 is already approachable and offers immediate drinking pleasure. But 2) the wines also came across lighter and less layered. 2017 doesn’t seem to have the refinement of 2016, the depth of 2014 or the muscular concentration of 2015. For many, it seems, finding a spot in the sun will be hard with 5 outstanding vintages before and likely 2 more (at least) right behind. There were notable exceptions of course. Wine of the night was Diamond Creek Volcanic Hill 2017 (95) and just whisker behind Viader 2017 (95). A very notable mention deserves the Detert East Block Cabernet Franc 2017 for its unique character (94).

Tasting note:
Dark bramble berry fruit, very ripe fruit, unsugared cooked berries. Some animal, meaty notes. In all quite unique bouquet for a 2016. However, somewhat astringent on the palate and doesn‘t feel accessible currently - at all. But then again we were told early accessibility is never the intention of the winemaker. May deserve another visit 5+ years down the road.
Red
2017 Barnett Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Rattlesnake Hill USA, California, Napa Valley, Spring Mountain District
93 points
A new Napa arrival tasting hosted by a wine merchant. A total of 30 wines mostly from 2017 (with a few 2018 whites and new releases from 2016 and 2015 in the mix) were presented in various price brackets ($40 to $200+). For 2017 my takeaways were 1) 2017 is already approachable and offers immediate drinking pleasure. But 2) the wines also came across lighter and less layered. 2017 doesn’t seem to have the refinement of 2016, the depth of 2014 or the muscular concentration of 2015. For many, it seems, finding a spot in the sun will be hard with 5 outstanding vintages before and likely 2 more (at least) right behind. There were notable exceptions of course. Wine of the night was Diamond Creek Volcanic Hill 2017 (95) and just whisker behind Viader 2017 (95). A very notable mention deserves the Detert East Block Cabernet Franc 2017 for its unique character (94).

Tasting note:
Sweet vanilla and powdered sugar jump out of the glass first. Pure, relatively cool fruit, fine oak but then muscular and still somewhat wild on the palate. A solid wine, although the price is a big ask in a lesser vintage.
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