Corison Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 – Worth the Wait @corisonwinery @cathycorison

Corison 04 CabOn our last Napa trip, we had the pleasure of visiting Corison Winery during crush and also meet Cathy, the owner and winemaker.  In their working “cellar”, we tasted a vertical of their Cabs and couldn’t believe how wonderful the 2004 held up.  We’re not necessarily patient in letting our collection age, so we end up drinking many of our wines when they are young.  So, in an effort to try something with a little age, we picked up this library selection from the stellar 2004 year and are very happy that we did.

This Cab was clearly a very fruit forward wine in its early days, but now has that matured and subdued raisin/prune(ness) to it with a little plum too and a very lasting finish.  We still have a 2006 Kronos Cab from Corison too and will try to keep it until 2014, but no promises.

Some pics below of our visit (and maybe a little inspiration to plan a return trip).  Cheers.

Corison Vineyards Corison Cab GrapesCorison VerticalCorison Cellar


Chappellet Signature Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 – Gave me the juice to blog again (thanks) @chappellet_wine


I’ve been a little busy and while I can assure you that I’ve had a fair amount of wine,  I apologize to the 18 people that might read this post as I’ve been a very bad blogger – – but I miss it and I’m going to start writing more, really!

So, this 2007 Chappellet Cab really triggers some great memories and not just because it’s Napa (although that’s a good reason too).  The 2007 vintage was one of the great vintages of my wine-lifetime and I was privileged to have tasted my way through the Napa Valley as the 2007 bottles were released.  This was also our first visit to Chappellet and I won’t go back to Napa without stopping there, sitting at their gorgeous table and enjoying whatever they are pouring that day.

The funny thing about these “great vintages” is that we’re almost programmed to sit on a ‘special’ bottle until it’s a special occasion that warrants a splurge.  I don’t know about you, but I’m not terribly patient and usually don’t let the really good wines ‘lay down’ for too long as I’m never sure how they’ll taste after all that time.

The moment of truth for this 2007 Chappellet Cab was last night and it was indeed glorious.  This not only stood up to the test of time, but may have…improved?  Sure, it was a giant Cab with all the fruit you’d expect from Pritchard Hill, but it had a structure to it as well that provided a unique balance which is often missed in the many fruit forward wines from a variety of California (and other) AVAs.  After some time in the decanter, I found some violet in the nose, followed by an uber-smooth plum vanilla through the palate.  Cheers to the crew at Chappellet!

Lava Vine Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 – Blueberry Cobbler? @NapaVintners @VisitNapaValle

We visited Lava Vine on a recommendation from another winery on our last trip to Napa.  They are in Calistoga and we were on our way to Healdsburg, so this was a great find!  It was a happy hour atmosphere when we stopped in while Joe, the winemaker and owner poured the wine for all.  He has an engaging way about him (as he holds court from behind the wine bar) and you can tell that he takes a lot of pride in his wine.  Well, he should – – it’s fantastic!

This Napa Cabernet is big, but not overwhelming.  It reminds me of a blueberry cobbler, with the ripe berry and balance of cinnamon and finish of graham and vanilla.

If you’re in Napa and you don’t visit Lava Vine, you’re missing out on the unique experience of meeting the winemaker and understanding the connection to what’s in the bottle.  If you don’t do that at Lava Vine, make sure you do it somewhere.  Cheers.

Vina Robles Cabernet Sauvignon Huerhuero Vineyard 2008 @vinarobles @winelibrary

We continue to be happy with the wines we drink from Paso Robles and this is no exception.  The 2nd of 12 from our Wine Library purchase, this $15.98 (list $24) is a great bottle with a WE 90pt rating to boot.  It’s a full bodied cab that is balanced with fruit throughout and a violet finish that tends to linger a bit.  We enjoyed this with a grilled flank steak and veggies…and our animal crackers for dessert as well.

Chappellet Signature Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 2006: “It’s Just Great” @Chappellet_wine

We bought this great Cab when we visited Chappellet’s gorgeous winery and vineyard a few years ago.  We went with a close friend who was making her initial pilgrimage to the Napa Valley…I think she’s ready to join the “wine country” cult.

This wine was just phenomenal, and not because Wine Spectator told us that it was.  It’s a very full bodied wine – – what that means exactly, I can’t articulate beyond the description that my taste buds were overwhelmed by berry and smooth vanilla without the overpowering fruit bomb of many Napa Cabs.  This lives up to the reviews and I look forward to visiting Chappellet this year during crush to pick up some of their new offering.

Alpha Omega 2005 Napa Cabernet Sauvignon – Fruit, Tea, and Mint? @AOwinery

Yes, this sounds like the name for a fraternity or sorority, but, in fact Alpha Omega is a serious winery in the heart of the Napa Valley.  This is a Cab with some complexity and it’s delicious to boot.  I think that once it opened up, this wine had some black tea up front followed by the typical dark berry fruit and a refreshing mint finish.  Cheers.

Sawyer Cellars 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon – “These People Know What They Are Doing” @NapaVintners

My wife made the above statement  “These People Know What They Are Doing” and she’s not kidding.  I’ve had great experiences visiting Sawyer Cellars and, moreover, buying their wine.  It’s always as good as when we bought it and tonight, we enjoyed the 2005 Cab Sauv.  Sawyer tends to barrel age their wines longer than their neighbors, so we’re generally drinking their vintages a bit older than others, but this ’05 stood the test of time and is really a wonderfully balanced wine.  This has the smoothness of vanilla and the simple fruit of ripe berries.  It’s really a phenomenal wine that showcases the care that went into its production.  I’m really looking forward to seeing the great folks at Sawyer in the near future.

Columbia Crest 2005 Reserve Cab Revisited – WOW! WS #1 in 2009 – @columbiacrest @WineSpectator

I went on an exhaustive search a couple years ago when this wine was awarded No. 1 Wine in the World for 2009 by Wine Spectator.

I located and secured the last 8 bottles in the state of Pennsylvania and kept 4 for myself (initial post here) and shared the others with some friends.  While it was hard, we let this one lay down for a couple years in hopes that we’d enjoy it with a hint of “age” on it.

I’ve found that we’re generally happy with the way Washington and California wines are drinking when they are bottled rather than after they have been “laid down” for a few years.  So, maybe that means I’m not the extreme oenophile or just that I like a less restrained wine than those that are completely rested.

Either way, this Columbia Crest Reserve Cab stood up nicely to its hibernation in my wine frig.  If I had to give it one flavor combination, I’d go with one of my favorite sodas: Cherry Cola.  This wine was just phenomenal.  I’d like to start buying a few of each vintage to see how they stand up and how they change year to year.  This is a great value for the quality delivered and extremely consistent.

PA Deal-Alert: Gallo Family Sonoma 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon @GalloFamily @whiteoakpasture

I used to joke that the Gallo of Sonoma was my house wine.  What could be wrong with that decision and who doesn’t need their own house wine?

It’s a consistent performer, available for ~$12 and it’s nice to have something reliable.  Well, that was 10 years ago and I’ve branched out quite a bit since then, but it’s nice to come back to things from the past and the PA Chairman, within the much maligned PLCB made that happen.  For $8.99, this could be a powerhouse of a cabernet sauvignon – – had you paid $25, you might feel otherwise, but for the price, this is great.  It’s a fruit forward, smooth cab without much pretense or complexity.  We enjoyed this earlier in the week with a grassfed sirloin from white oak pastures which on a side note was perfect!  The wine matched well and provided exactly what we wanted.  Cheers!