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This Week's Tasting

New Cabernets, Bordeaux vs Napa
May 17, 2017

In 2014 both Bordeaux and California Cabernets were very interesting wines. The two regions showed contrasting styles; while Bordeaux were rich and fruity, many had a strong underlying burr of tannin which made them better for aging than consuming.



California Cabernets were the reverse, softer and broader than the the norm. in both regions 2014 fell in the shadow of other vintages; in California it came after the classic 2013s; in Bordeaux before the ballyhooed 2015s and 2016s If you look there are very good wines from both. We chose this week's six wines plus a few more recommendations below from over 100 wines tasted. 


We'll start with a Pomerol. Ch. Monregard La Croix is all Merlot, which in Bordeaux behaves more like Cabernet in California, structured with generous fruit. The 2014 is well balanced, with nice herbal notes and clean lines.

Ch Angludet  has a similar balance, with finely delineated fruit and the quality of fen-mininty that you find in the cabernet based wines from Margaux.

Lalande Borie is owned by Bruno Borie best Known s the proprietor of the renowned Ch. Ducru Beaucaillou. The wine is made by Ducru's team. With air the 2014 is classic St. Julien, rounded and fleshy, but wi8th a defining core of tannin.

The exception to the 2014 tasting rule will a 2015 Cabernet from Daou, one of our favorite producers , It has the smoothness of a Paso Robles cabernet . Jeb Dunnock wrote in the Wine Advocate that "it has full-bodied richness, beautiful concentration and lots of dark chocolate, plum and smoked herb aromas and flavors. It has more obvious structure than the 2014 did at this stage as well.."

Cabernet Sauvignon's Clone numbered 6 is one of the most distinguished in Napa Valley. It formed the backbone of Beaulieu Vineyards Gerorges de Latour Reserve  in its heyday, and is the extraordinary  Bell Cellars flagship wine at $100 wine. Somehow ace entrepreneurial winemaker Nick Goldschmidt got hold of a parcel that made his single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Charming Creek which he named after his wife Hillary. It is all Cabernet. I loved it's quintessential Clone 6 soft nutttiness  at first taste. It has lots of character at a very reasonable price for Napa Cabernet.

The 2014 Punch Cabernet Sauvignon  is labeled California, only because there is some Lake County fruit.The vast majority comes from the premium areas of Rutherford and Spring Mountain. You can taste that in the wine. It is one of smoke and rich fruit, with a finely delineated mineral strcuture, Again a very serious wine with a good price for Napa.


2014 Château Monregard La Croix (Pomerol); Aroma: Heady herbal, dense, Fresh, pretty, softly deep; Mouth: Clean dense, fine acid; Very Good Plus 36; Mixed Case, 32.4; Case, 30.6

2014 Château Angludet (Margaux); Aroma: Sharp, lightly herbal, reduced, spicy candid; Mouth: Clean firm, sweet, some reductive notes, long; Very Good - Excellent 40; Mixed Case, 36; Case, 34

2014 Château Lalande Borie (St. Julien); Aroma: Fresh herbal clean ; Mouth: Light clean fine acidity, racy bright elegant tannins fine acid finish, tight; Very Good - Excellent 43; Mixed Case, 38.7; Case, 36.55

2015 Daou Cabernet Sauvignon (Paso Robles) "should be another outstanding vintage of this cuvee and it has full-bodied richness, beautiful concentration and lots of dark chocolate, plum and smoked herb aromas and flavors. It has more obvious structure than the 2014 did at this stage as well.."

2014 Punch Cabernet Sauvignon; Color: medium dark opaque; Aroma: heady  smoky, deep graphite earth, pencil; Mouth: fine sweet acid rather thick, bright acid, clean , smooth  fine acid on the finish; Very Good Plus 39; Mixed Case, 35.1; Case, 33.15

2014 Goldschmidt Cabernet Sauvignon Charming Creek Hillary; Aroma: heady very dense, light anise note, plummy, earthy, , cedary, ; Mouth: light lean bright, herbal soft, textured rather mineral,l French oak; Very Good - Excellent 37; Mixed Case, 33.30; Case, 31.45

5-17 Cabernet Glories Case: Special, two each of the above wines - $382

5-17 Cabernet Glories Pack: Special, one each of the above wines - $202


Other New Cabernet-based Arrivals

Classic Margaux from a 3rd growth chateau

2014 Château Marquis d’Alseme Becker (Margaux); Aroma: Fine rager elegant, subdued, , pretty balance, , fresh; Mouth: Smooth, direct, clean, poised and balanced, , low acid elegant presence ration, long deep finish; Excellent 60; Mixed Case, 54; Case, 51

The second wine wine of Pauillac's Pichon Lalande

2014 Reserve de La Comtesse (Pauillac); Aroma: Wood lifted fruit bright acid herbal; Mouth: Light clean thin, finely delineated, forward,  more delicate than powerful; Very Good - Excellent 59; Mixed Case, 53.1; Case, 50.15

A small estate with a precision and lift rare in Napa

2012 Rafael et Fils Cabernet Sauvignon (0ak Knoll); Color: Veryy dark dense; Aroma: heady a very light minty edge gives it definition, very rich, ; Mouth: sweet very thick, rather dense concentration without being heavy, firm more acid on the finish, rather lush textured, very long; Very Good - Excellent 60; Mixed Case, 54; Case, 51

The above wines assort with the tasting wines or any others in the store for the mixed case discount.


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           - Len Rothenberg


(c) Federal Wine and Spirits Inc. 2017