All posts filed under: Wine Reviews

Grands Crus Classés of Saint Émilion 2010

It’s alive! Unlike its Left Bank counterpart, the Saint Émilion classification is indeed a living thing. The promotion of 17 châteaux not previously classified to the status of Grands Crus Classés in 2012 made this year’s tasting of 33 (of the 63 classified) all the more interesting. Having tasted the 2009s during visits to several of these estates prior to their promotion, focus was squarely on the 2010s during the San Francisco tasting held at Terra Gallery in early November. It’s fascinating to witness change, and the châteaux, which were on an upward trajectory in 2009 for the most part, didn’t disappoint. Read the full article here at Grands Crus Classés of Saint Émilion.

Long-lived Lake County

Wine quality has been on the rise in Lake County and winegrowers there have their sights set determinedly on the future—and it’s a very bright one at that. Driven by increased demand for high-quality Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Petite Sirah and Sauvignon Blanc, the value of the region’s wine grapes climbed by 20 percent in 2012, reaching a ten-year high, while yields inched up by just three percent. Here at THE TASTING PANEl, we’ve been following winegrowing in Lake County closely for the last five years. When questions arose about the age ability of the region’s wines, we were quick to take up the challenge. More often than not, exposure to Lake County wines is limited to the supporting role they play in blends from nearby appellations. When this point was raised during a technical seminar hosted in June at MacMurray Ranch by the appellation’s winegrowers, Steele Wines’ Joy Merrilees had answers at the ready but no proof positive that the region’s high-elevation wines can withstand the test of time. Read the complete article here…Long-lived Lake …

Blind Wine Review: Premiere Napa Valley’s 2013 Multi-Vintage Perspective Tasting

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. …

Blind Wine Review: That Rutherford Dust

For this inaugural Blind Tasting, I delved into my notebook for highlights of ten wines that came out on top during an August 2012 presentation of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignons from Napa Valley’s Rutherford AVA. The Rutherford Dust Society tasting presented 27 wines from the 2009 vintage—in reverse order from tastings held in prior years. Three flights of nine wines began with those from Rutherford’s most southwesterly sites and moved north and across the AVA, concluding with wines from the most southeasterly sites.   1. Savory roasted nuts, cinnamon and black plum notes with dark berry flavors and silky, medium-weight tannins. $100 2. Earth and charred oak notes with bright, focused red fruit that deepens towards the finish. $65 3. Ripe, jammy blackberry complemented by toast and sweet vanilla with a generous structure that closes softly. $185 4. Floral, high-toned notes of lavender and blue fruit with bright plum and a savory, granular texture. $65 5. Anise and complex umami aromas; lean, intense dark fruit and leather finishing with notes of toasty caramel. $45 6. Bright, …