So, we arrived in Napa Friday morning and started at Promontory with a glass of 2006 Dom Perignon as they do not make a white, only one red wine. We also tasted the 2016 out of large Austrian oak vats. That wine shows great promise but won’t be available until 2021.
We then tasted their inaugural 2008 vintage and the 2009. Thirty-six hours later and five other excellent Napa wine producers visits later, I am still thinking about these wines.
This wines were so good, heady and absolutely stunning, it was painful not to spend an hour contemplating each of them. Instead, having to rush off to Vineyard 29 for our next appointment with my tasting glasses half full.
My notes below detailed as they may, will not do these wines justice and still underwhelm the experience. At times, I was at a loss for words to wholly convey the experience. It defied the allotted time and my verbal skills. These wines created an entire body experience. I am still thinking about my tasting experience and will likely still be thinking about it for weeks.
Beautiful dark currants & cassis framed in light oak with amazing florals. There’s a light smokiness, blackberries, dark plum, dark cherries, lots of blue fruits, boysenberries, black raspberries, strawberries, soft wood, beautifully layered light baking spices, very light spice, steeped tea, dark chocolate, mocha, light caramel, cedar, fresh tobacco, Provence herbs, dark floral bouquet, violets, blue flowers and lavender. Absolute stunning nose I didn’t want to stop experiencing the layers, the way it nuances crisscrossed in my head.
The body is light, weightless, yet full. Fine dusty tannins with some stickiness. It glides in layers & waves across the palate. What finely knitted structure, tension, amazing length with incredible balance. Both dark currants & cassis framed lightly in oak with amazing enticing florals. Light smokiness, ripe beautiful; blackberries, dark plum, dark cherries, lots of blue fruits, boysenberries, black raspberries, strawberries. soft saddle-wood to light presence of cedar. Beautifully layered light baking spices, asian spices, steeped tea, dark chocolate, mocha, light caramel, cedar, fresh tobacco, anise, Provence herbs, finely crushed rock dust, dark floral bouquet, violets, blue flowers and lavender. The acidity is brilliant like a gentle rain shower. The incredible finish is everything you look for in a wine and then some.
When I left, I wished I had another undistracted hour or more to enjoy and study each wine further.
Photos of, the view from Promontory over looking Harlan and Promontory vines, the fire we enjoyed on a cool morning to enjoy our 06 Dom Perignon, immaculate barrel room and new oak barrels and their oak & concrete vats. — 3 hours ago
Amongst all the big name Napa producers and cult Cabernets, this small production under the radar producer impresses me and blind will stand in there with many of Napa’s best.
James Cole until 2014 was made by Charles Hendricks. Truly, one of my favorite Napa Winemakers. He has the gift of making wines that drink really well young, yet will improve over 10-20 years. His apprentice has taken over now. I cannot endorse the vintages after 14. I have had a few of his wines and they lack the beauty & elegance Charles could bring to them in their youth. You can still find Charles’s beauty & elegance in the Hope & Grace wines and his own label Hendricks.
The nose reveals; a mix of dark currants & cassis, ripe, blackberries, black cherries, black plum, black raspberries, plum, well extracted blackberries, strawberries on the glass edges, dark chocolate, mocha powder, limestone minerals, dark mixed berry cola, whiff of smoldering ambers, fruit liqueur notes, anise, leather, cedar, lead pencil, underbrush, old tobacco, notes of soy & Worcester sauce, hint of mint, vanilla, dark spice and withering dark floral bouquet.
The body is medium full and rich. The structure, tension, length and balance are hitting its stride. The tannins are round, dark and a little chewy. Dark currants & cassis, ripe, blackberries, black cherries, black plum, black raspberries, plum, well extracted blackberries, floral strawberries, edges, dark chocolate, mocha bar, limestone minerals, dark mixed berry cola, smoldering ambers, fruit liqueur notes, anise, leather, cedar, lead pencil, sweet tarriness, underbrush, old tobacco, notes of soy & Worcester sauce, hint of mint, vanilla, dark spice, black pepper, dry clay, loamy dry top soil, dry crushed rocks, bright red florals, lavender, violets and withering dark floral bouquet. The acidity is like a rain shower. The long finish tangos on the palate with bright ripe fruits & earthiness and is persistent for minutes.
Still has 10 years of life ahead of it.
Photos of, the front of James Cole, entrance sign, modest tasting bar and side lawn sitting area. — 8 days ago
After putting away Christmas decorations & cleaning most of day, it’s good to kick it and enjoy a 375ml of my favorite N/V Rosé Champagne. Always good...never disappoints!
Hope you all have had a great start in 2019!!!
Previous numerous still notes apply. — 14 days ago
What a really nice Rosé Champange from Drappier and an extraordinary value at Costco at $39.99. I’m not giving up my Billecart Salmon Rosé but, this is pretty close to Ruinart. At this price point, it’s being well added to rotation.
The nose reveals, ripe; black cherries, strawberries, raspberries, cherries, watermelon and orange rind citrus. Fruit blossoms, pink rose petals, nice, soft chalkiness, sea spray, sea shells, volcanic minerals and a touch of white spice.
The palate is fresh & lively. Nice micro bubbles. It’s thick and rich. The fruits are ripe and deeply concentrated. Ripe; black cherries, strawberries, raspberries, cherries, watermelon, orange rind citrus, nice, soft chalkiness, sea spray, sea shells, strong presence of gritty volcanic minerals that press deeply into the palate, a fair amount of dark spice on the palate with fruit blossoms, pink & red rose petals. The acidity is really good...lively. The long, rich, beautiful, well balanced finish persists several minutes.
Photos of, the Champagne House of Drappier, wide & really chalky caves, different oak vats they use for fermentation and one of Drapper’s Grand Cru vineyards. — 2 days ago
The more I have of this Cuvée, the more I like it.
The nose reveals; lemon parfait, lemon meringue, golden apple with green apple that layers underneath it, grapefruit, fresh pineapple, honeysuckle, marzipan, cream, toast, caramel, hints of ginger, sea shells, verbena, soft chalkiness, yellow lilies, fruit blossoms and spring flowers.
The body is soft, rich, creamy mousse and lively in the mouth. The palate is lemon sorbet, lime zest, honeysuckle, pineapple, verbena, golden apple, some green apple, caramel, light spice that brings some palate heat, toast, hints of ginger, marzipan, silvered almond, brioche, beautiful nice chalkiness, sea spray, grey volcanic minerals that penetrate into your palate, yellow lilies, fruit blossoms and spring flowers. The acidy is very nice...well executed, the long, rich, balanced finish is quite enjoyable and persists on the palate for minutes.
Photos of, the Champagne House of Laurent-Perrier, their tasting bar, retail shop and beautifully manicured Grand Cru Vineyard. — 7 days ago
One thing I enjoy about Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars is their style. They make much better wines than a number of years back. After changing Winemakers, they continue to excel. However, their style has remained intact despite changes.
Chase Creek is normally a member only allocated wine but, I imagine some members have purchased a few bottles.
The nose reveals; used expresso grounds, dark currants, blackberries, dark slightly sour cherries, black plum, black raspberries, plum, haunting blue fruits, steeped tea, limestone minerals, anise, leather, fresh tobacco, cedar, pronounced herbaceous notes, rich, black turned, earth with dry leaves, cinnamon stick, clove, nutmeg, vanilla, dark withering flowers, fresh blue florals with violets.
The body is full and rich. The tannins just getting to nicely resolved with gritty, dusty and tarry stickiness. The big structure, good tension, length and nice balance are just nudging towards its peak. Used expresso grounds, dark currants, blackberries, dark slightly sour cherries, black plum, black raspberries, plum, a little more blue fruits than the nose, steeped tea, limestone minerals, dry underbrush, anise, dark sweet tarriness, leather, fresh tobacco, cedar, pronounced herbaceous notes, dark asian spices, rich, black, turned, earth with dry leaves, cinnamon stick, clove, nutmeg, vanilla, mocha powder, caramel, dark withering flowers, fresh blue florals with violets. The acidity is good but, not great. The long finish is big, bold, dark, elegant, well balanced fruit & earth and persistent for several minutes.
This will continue to improve over the next 7–10 years.
Photos of, their newer tasting room and Estate vines, their spotless cellar with the swinging pendulum ball that doesn’t stop, newer tasting room and their Fay Vineyard.
— 14 days ago
I opened this bottle last night, vacuum sealed it and put it back in my cabinet last night. Despite that, it’s showing some slight signs of wear.
The nose reveals; dark berry liqueur notes, dark cassis, ripe; blackberries, dark cherries, black raspberries, stewed black plum, brown sugar, black licorice, dark, rich, sweet soil, steeped fruit tea, limestone minerals, dry crushed rocks, clay, burnt ambers, light graphite, rubber toy, savoriness, leather, hints of mint, vanilla, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, violets, lavender and dark withering florals.
The body is full, very rich with dark, tarry tannins. The structure & tension are still big. The length and balance just falling into place. Dark berry liqueur notes, dark cassis, ripe; blackberries, dark cherries, black raspberries, stewed black plum, bright cherries, boysenberries, brown sugar, black licorice, root beer characteristics, dark, rich, sweet soil, steeped fruit tea, herbaceous notes, limestone minerals, dry crushed rocks, dry brush, clay, burnt ambers, charcoal, light graphite, rubber toy, savoriness, leather, signs of mint, vanilla, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, violets, lavender and dark withering florals. The acidity wonderful. There’s a slight alcohol sting. The finish is rich, ripe, lush, elegant, well balanced, persistent and if not for the alcohol sting would receive a slightly better score.
Photos of, James Cole Winery & tasting room, iconic bronze statue that is branded on their label, harvesting Estate fruit and property grounds. — 7 days ago
First, let me say the 07 Bordeaux vintage was largely frowned upon by professional critics. When I tasted it upon release, I had some doubts. However, I have said many times, in all difficult vintages anywhere, there are still producers that made good wine. Especially, if you give them time to evolve in bottle. This 07 has blossomed with 10 years in bottle and an absolutely perfect steak wine.
The nose reveals; smoldering ambers, dry crushed rocks, limestone minerals, ripe blackberries, black cherries, black raspberries, baked strawberries, black plum, floral blueberries, dark fruit liqueur, leather, cedar to saddle-wood, dark rich soils, stones, anise, graphite, old cigar with ash, hints of mushroom, steeped tea, fresh & withering red & dark floral bouquet.
The body is beautiful with; rich, round, velvety, smooth, tarry tannins. This 07 Poujeaux is in top form with plenty of life left ahead...another 7-10years easily. The structure, tension, length and balance are nicely knitted together. It glides effortlessly over the palate. A combination of dark currants & cassis. Ripe blackberries, black cherries, black raspberries, bright cherries, baked strawberries, black plum, floral blueberries, dark fruit liqueur, dark chocolate, mocha bar, vanilla, clove, dark spice, leather, cedar to saddle-wood, dark rich soils, stones, smoldering ambers, dry crushed rocks, dry clay, limestone minerals, dry brush, anise, graphite, old cigar with ash, touch of pepper, hints of mushroom, steeped tea, beautifully, fragrant, violets, lavender, fresh & withering red & dark floral bouquet. The acidity is nicely balanced in the wine. The finish without the steak shows dusty, grainy tannins, good balance in fruit & earth, elegant, ripe fruit and persistent on the palate.
Photos of, the unassuming Chateau Poujeaux by Bordeaux standards, the rootstock & soil structure of the Poujeaux terroir, Cellar with concrete tanks & large oak vats and a wide shot of the Estate.
Producer history and notes...Chateau Poujeaux’s history can be traced back to the 16th Century. At that time, the owner of Chateau Latour, Gaston De L’Isle, owned the estate. Over the centuries, Chateau Poujeaux, like numerous Bordeaux estates has been the property of a multitude of owners.
In fact, the owner of Chateau Beychevelle Marquis François Etienne de Brassier was one of owners. Over the centuries, Chateau Poujeaux was bought, sold, split up and divided. It was not until 1921, when the Theil family became the owners of the property that all the previously divided sections were brought back together again.
The modern era for Chateau Poujeaux began more recently. It started in 2008, when Jean Theil sold Chateau Poujeaux to the Cuvelier family, who were already owners of Clos Fourtet in St. Emilion. Once the Cuvelier family purchased, Mathieu Cuvelier took charge and things changed for the better.
The winemaking facilities were modernized and the farming technique used in the vineyards of Chateau Poujeaux were also changed.
They reduced yields and began picking later, giving them riper fruit. They also moved to an organic vineyard management approach and are looking at biodynamic farming as well. All of this work in the vineyards have helped push the wine quality of the estate. You only need to open and taste some their newer vintages. You’ll notice the improvement in fruit quality and the winemaking practices.
The 68 hectare Moulis vineyard of Chateau Poujeaux is planted to 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot. The terroir is gravel based soils, typical of the area as show in the above photo. The average age of the vines is close to 35 years, although some vines are older.
The debut vintage under the Cuvelier family was the 2008. At Chateau Poujeaux, they are practicing serious vineyard management with the help of Stéphane Derenoncourt, who works with numerous Bordeaux Winemakers on both banks, including the Cuvelier’s property in St. Emilion, Clos Fourtet.
Chateau Poujeaux, fruit is whole berry fermented in a combination of small stainless steel vats, oak barrels and cement tanks with a 25-day cuvaison. Chateau Poujeaux is aged in about 40% new, French oak barrels for an average of 12 months. On average, Chateau Poujeaux produces close to 25,000 cases per year. — 7 days ago
With each vintage, their Pinot’s get better & better.
On the nose, liqueured cherries, black cherries, strawberries, dry cranberries, touch of baked rhubarb, dark rich soils, limestone minerals, red licorice/cola, steep fruit tea. Dry brush, vanilla, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, Provence herbs, warm toast, fresh red & dark florals with violets.
The body is medium, rich & lush. Liqueured cherries, black cherries, strawberries, dry cranberries, pomegranate, touch of baked rhubarb, blueberries, dark rich soils, limestone minerals, red licorice/cola, steep fruit tea. Dry brush, vanilla, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, Provence herbs, warm toast, fresh red & dark florals with violets. Even though this wine was stored well, it wasn’t stored in my best storage. It might be two years ahead of schedule. However, the structure, tension, length and balance are about two years from its peak. The acidity is round and like a gentle rain shower. The long finish is well balanced, elegant, lush, rich and lasts minutes.
Photos of, the Estate vines as viewed from their patio, the old oak vats inside their tasting room that were once used for winemaking, event tasting room, and their tasting patio. — 15 days ago