The Tasting Panel magazine

May 2013

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GOLD MINE WHISKEY: Cyrus Noble Bourbon A 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 intners' barrel auction, a three-vintage, blind perspective tasting of '08, '09 and '10 Cabernet Sauvignons and '09, '10 and '11 Chardonnays 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 in to 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. s the legend goes, Cyrus Noble fell into the mash bin. It probably wasn't the irst time, or the last, but his buddies kept saving the whiskey-making savant. San Francisco–based spirits merchants Haas Brothers realized his genius and opened a Frankfort, Kentucky, distillery with Noble in 1851. His whiskey became so coveted that in 1901 that a Nevada gold prospector traded a mining claim for one bottle of Cyrus Noble whiskey. Although the whiskey was considered the "best bourbon in town," the newly-named Cyrus Noble Mine yielded $250,000 in gold. Maybe not the best of trades, but the whiskey was hyped. In a Traveler Protective Association poem, the author writes: "You've missed buying the best if you don't drink Cyrus Noble Whiskey. The highest type of pure, old, American whiskey." These days, the premium high-rye Cyrus Noble Bourbon still comes from Kentucky and is still owned by Haas Brothers. And fortunately, nobody regularly falls into the mash bin. —Fred Minnick Distilled in Kentucky, Cyrus Noble Bourbon is still owned and marketed by San Francisco's venerable Haas Brothers. 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 loral, 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, inely weighted. $100 10. Youthful fruit, structured with tasty inish. $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 inish. $65 14. Lean and bright, complexly scented and balanced. $55 The Reveal may 2013 / the tasting panel / 115 1. Merryvale Vineyards 2011 Carneros; 2. Mi Sueno Winery 2011 Carneros; 3. Pine Ridge Vineyards 2009 Carneros; 4. Trefethen Family Vineyards 2009 Oak Knoll; 5,6,7 . Truchard Vineyards 2009, 2010, 2011 Carneros; 8. Keever Vineyards 2010 Yountville; 9. Promise 2008 Napa Valley; 10. Reynolds Family Winery 2008 Napa Valley; 11. Reynolds Family Winery 2010 Stag's Leap; 12. Rocca Family Vineyards 2009 Oakville; 13. Titus Vineyards 2010 Napa Valley, St. Helena; 14. ZD Wines 2009 Napa Valley.

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