While it’s possible to barrel taste recent vintages at many of the preview parties that take place around Premiere, the Napa Valley Vintners’ annual tasting and live barrel auction, a three-vintage, blind perspective tasting of ’08, ’09 and ’10 Cabernet Sauvignons and ’09, ’10 and ’11Chardonnays from 24 Napa Valley wineries was made to order for this column.
Designed to demonstrate how Napa Valley vintages unfold over the short term, the multi-vintage tasting of 72 wines was held at the CIA’s Rudd Center on Friday, February 22. The wines presented were whittled down from more than 90 submissions in each category by a jury of local winemakers, buyers and educators including the CIA’s own Traci Dutton and Bob Bath, MS.
Release dates are still in the works for many of the ’11 Chardonnays and the majority of ’09 and ’10 Cabernets. It’s worth noting that all of the wines were decanted into hourglass-shaped carafes which tended to work against the Chardonnays when they were poured through the necks of decanters being gripped by warm hands. Kudos to the producers with more than one wine among the top picks this month.
Chardonnays in the order tasted:
1. Creamy with bright lemon curd and length. $tbd
2. Ripe pineapple and softly-framed structure. $38
3. Marked intensity and varietal typicity. $34
4. Balanced with uplifted fruit and purity. $30
5. Aromatic and floral, focused, lengthy. $30
6. Lemony with intensity and balance. $30
7. Crisp, green pineapple throughout, still taunt. $30
Cabernet Sauvignons in the order tasted:
8. Cool, unroasted coffee aromas, fresh and silky. $110
9. Polished, elegant fruit, finely weighted. $100
10. Youthful fruit, structured with tasty finish. $45
11. Cool and aromatic with cedar and savory fruit. $230
12. Complex with cassis throughout, silky and elegant. $75
13. Fragrant with coffee and intensely berried, clean finish. $65
14. Lean and bright, complexly scented and balanced. $55
For the reveal, Premiere Napa Valley’s 2013 Multi-Vintage Perspective Tasting