August 4, 2021 - Decided to pop the cork on one of these last night to celebrate a mini career milestone. Since it had been a minute from the last bottle, I was fired up.
Decanted for about three hours and dove right in. The nose seemed a bit muted, with mouth drying tannins. It just didn't seem ready to rock, suggesting a much longer decant time at this point (5 hours+?), or several more years of slumber.
Unfortunately, while I decided to dive right in, a couple fruit flies (despite my best effort in placing a paper towel over the mouth of the decanter) decided to take a swan dive in as well.
I was horrified when I looked in and saw those two little FUCKERS swimming around in my pristine juice. After scooping them out (and hoping they were males since apparently they don't release those wine destroying pheromones), I just couldn't help but to think the bottle had been compromised.
For that reason alone I will withhold a score, but suffice to say that my expectations were not met.
It is what it is, and there are bigger things to concern oneself with these days, but it was a letdown for sure.
April 30, 2021 - 3 days in Napa: Arkenstone, Memento Mori, Maxem, The French Laundry, Christopher Tynan, Kinsman, Harlan, Vice Versa, Accendo, Fairchild, Macdonald, and a truckload of others (Napa): I've written quite a bit on this wine already. Strikingly similar to the 2019 barrel sample we had two days earlier, the 2016 LPV from Memento Mori busts out of its seams with powerfully ripe black fruit and dominating black rock elements. More overt brawn here than the 2019, but the 2016 found a pathway to fuller and more seamless flavor expansion with a considerable amount of air. The serious mineral side is layered with the equally serious black fruit core that I continue to be especially drawn to. As previously mentioned, the bridge between 2019 and 2016 seems evident to me with the Memento Mori wines, which is obviously a great thing. I think the 2019s will be a bit more approachable than the 2016s in general, as the 2019’s freshness is already inviting and work well at taming some of the explicit power. This 2016 is a staple wine for LPV and a fine representation of Napa Cabernet. Give it 5+ years to shed some of its superflex.
December 29, 2020 - Preferred this on the night against a VV M7 which surprised me. More open and rich over the 3 hours, both bottles could have likely used more than the 2 hour decant but thought it was enough based on other 2016 experiences.
June 23, 2020 - Consistent with my past note. This bottle had a lot of sediment but that did not impact the flavor or quality of the wine.
My wife got distinct chocolate aromas from this and once she pointed it out I agreed. Not sure if the last bottle had that, but I did not notice it
Great depth and complexity. Had one glass left for today, and I think it was better day two. I think this wine has a long life ahead. Enjoyable now with a proper decant, but will probably still be singing in 2030+.
May 20, 2020 - SpaceX is targeting lift off from Kennedy's historic Launch Pad 39A soon, hopefully a heavenly achievement. This wine's mission has already launched from Las Piedras and is a terroir achievement right here on the ground.
A full payload of dark cherries and black raspberries is effortlessly lifted across the palate by twin boosters of deep minerality and silky smooth tannins. Currently tracking flawlessly in the first stage, in a few years this Memento Mori variant's second stage will propel this vintage into high orbit. Thanks to Sam Kaplan's super hardcore work ethic, a talent for making wine, common sense, & trustworthiness, all systems are go.
December 25, 2019 - Black cherry, purple plum, and black raspberry are flanked by asphalt and spice notes, creating a mouthwatering delivery that both exhibits drive and exquisite balance from front to back. Neeeds air, as it is still youthful and slightly primary on the finish. Even more depth will come with some shorter term cellaring. 3-5 years and this will be money in the mouth! 96-98+ points. Previous notes apply otherwise. Hold until 2023+.
November 28, 2019 - This is a wow bottle. Nose is otherworldly, completely outclassing a 2004 bond vecina tonight. Flavor profile - glossy depth laden with earthy nuance and enveloping, taut fruit. Rare combo of an elevator shaft full of fruit without flab or raisin. Super suave and just next level lovely. Silky mouthfeel, slight tingle from tannins and alcohol, (only element holding it back from 99-100), deep dark midpalate and enticing elegant finish. If you can get your hands on this bottle, it is simply awesome. This will improve in years to come. I expect this to be a 99 or 100 in 2022.
November 9, 2019 - Double blind tasting of four Napa Cabs, all 2016 vintage. Entries were Vice Versa BTK BBS, Realm Absurd, Memento Mori LPV and Arrow & Branch Dr Crane. All wines were given approximately 3 hours of slow-ox, and all were served at cellar temperatures. There were six of us tasting.
I didn't take formal tasting notes, but figured I would post the results. The Vice Versa BTK BBS & Memento Mori LPV were in a dead heat for the #1 spot. The VV had the most #1 votes (3 to 2), but the MM was the most consistent, being ranked either #1 or #2 on every scorecard but one. Overall they produced the same number of points. For what it's worth, I had the MM slightly higher this time around. It was absolutely bursting with flavor and showed amazingly well. The VV would ideally get some more time in bottle, but showed even more potential.
Of the other two wines, the Absurd was clearly #3 and the AB was #4. If this wasn't blind, I would have expected the Absurd to show a bit better. It was a bit primary, more red fruited than other wines (and previous vintages) and didn't have as amazing a flavor profile at the top two wines here. While all the wines showed extremely well, the AB was clearly sucking wind trying to catch up. It's going to need some time in bottle and even then, while great, still may have been a bit out of its league with these heavy hitters.
August 9, 2019 - Similar notes to the last bottle I opened back in early DEC.
It was great then, and it was great again last night.
Glad I have four more bottles, but I really need to stop drinking these so young, because I bet in 5 years this will be singing like Beyonce in her prime...
April 24, 2019 - The Memento Mori Crane and Piedras wines remind me of the popular quote from Ben Franklin - “Wine is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” Correctly attributed or not, this saying is usually found in tacky plaques in wine stores, but it’s plainly applicable to these two single vineyard wines. These wines are proof, theology aside, that someone out there wants us to be very, very happy - even overjoyed. They are simply spectacular.
Far above my poor power to add or detract to prior CT comments (really, these wines have been well-reviewed in the early going!), I figured I’d focus on how these wines are different. To be sure, they are more similar than not; each is dark red in color and medium in body, with sweet and glorious fruit, pungent aromas, a silky mouthfeel, and similar alcohol (15.2%). So how are they different?
- Crane. The intensity of this wine grabs you from the beginning and won’t let go, with aromas of blueberry, warm gravel, black licorice, and fresh flowers. The wine has incredible, almost bottomless depth - boysenberry pie, mountain blueberry, mocha, and new leather come out - but the swirl of flavors is dizzying. Drink now until whenever. 98+.
- Piedras. This wine is more reticent but just as alluring, with cooler aromas of dark fruit (e.g., mulberry), baking spices, fresh herbs, and toasted bread. The tastes of the Crane are more flashy, while the LPV is (almost literally) more grounded, with tastes of blackberry, crushed rock, pencil lead, and cocoa powder, and a more grainy finish. Drink in 2020 or later. 97.
And now come the adjectives: The Crane is more ripe, sweet, forward, integrated, and drinkable now (really, it went twice as fast as the LPV). The Piedras is more earthy, grainy, structured, and ageable (though it may be the better wine in 3-5 years). Bottom line, these are incredible wines that will only improve with time. Even if you don't believe in God, Ben Franklin, or tacky wine sayings, these bottles are magnificent.