The SOMM Journal

June / July 2015

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 39 of 100

{ }  39 QUAFFING CABS In order of tasting, our panel powered through six Cabernets from California and Bordeaux. 1. Château Ducru-Beaucaillou 2010 Saint-Julien, Bordeaux ($225) 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot Complexity beyond fruit: "savory, an earthy aspect—like organic, turned earth." "The acidity really kept it going . . . a taut- ness to this." "It has a little lift, freshness and in harmony." "A little bit tart but still very juicy, really pretty." 2. JUSTIN 2010 Isosceles Reserve, Adelaida, Paso Robles ($100) 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Malbec, 3% Cabernet Franc, 2% Merlot "Velvety tan- nins are really conducive to pairing with a lot of different dishes." "Spicier, oakier, more rounded out, easy to drink right now." "Deep spice that is also linked to the earth. Good structure and it won't fall down." "Very velvety, floral, a lot of ripe blueberry, plum—very delicious." 3. Château Léoville-Barton 2010 Saint-Julien, Bordeaux ($155) 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Merlot and 2% Cabernet Franc Showing both flashy New World attributes such as "very fresh, mentholy-black mountain fruit," and more restrained Old World char - acter : "graphite and cigar box notes and dust . . . Great mineral, quite tannic, chewy . . ." 4. Joseph Phelps 2010 Insignia, Napa Valley ($170) 84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petit Verdot, 4% Merlot, 2% Malbec A "rich-structured, amplified style of Cabernet, which is good, while not being over the top." "A headiness to the finish so it seems more New World on the palate, although it has some of the Old World attributes." "Super clean, very well-crafted wine—well done." 5. DAOU Vineyards & Winery 2010 Soul of the Lion, Adelaida, Paso Robles ($100) 74% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Cabernet Franc, 8% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot "Ripe, concentrated fruit . . . a little saline, olive. Pretty complex on the mid-palate . . . intense oak spice—heavy and warm. . . a bit of bay leaf, a little coffee; really complex, a well-made wine— structured and very fruit-forward." "Really fun and sexy textures." "Modern in style, big, not out of line, not out of balance." "They did a good job of pushing the line but not going over it." 6. Dominus Estate 2010, Napa Valley ($250) 95% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Petit Verdot "Almost like the most overripe and underripe wine you'll get at the same time—an interesting contrast … a tricky wine to place, not necessarily fitting a traditional profile of a specific place." "Definitely a bipolar quality to this wine." "Well-crafted wine, but showing a lot of greenness. " more modern approach than other Bordeaux producers. The Napa wines, however, often baf - fled the panel. The Dominus showed both vegetal and fruit ripeness that few understood, except Darius, the group's Master Sommelier. "This is the most obvious wine of the flight for me: this is Transylvania Cabernet from Romania," he jested. Puzzled by the pyrazine aspect, most agreed the wine was nonconformist. Jared noted, "The signature on this feels different from the others . . . [and] in that befuddlement, I'm enjoying it. But what's your sign, baby?" The panel was split on Insignia's identity. Mike, Darius and Paul shifted to Napa after a discussion of tannins and minerality (amplified, heady and clean). But the dark spice and tart fruit profile expressed Paso to the others. Terence was swayed by the front attack: "It just really sits on your lips and right up in the front—gives you a little bit of a pucker—but it does have some dark spices to it that always seem to be very centric to Paso." For Naureen, it was the "lower acid and lighter body" that she thought might express Paso sub- appellations Santa Margarita Ranch or the Highlands on the east. Uniformly, the two Paso wines were identifiable for their acidity, and integra - tion of deep spice, oak and fleshy fruit. While the panel found JUSTIN "fresh, bright and acid-driven"—a wine of "balanced extremes," DAOU's Soul of a Lion was heady with oak and fruit that pushed ripeness. "There's a lot of complexity there, and you can keep on drinking and smelling this wine and find new flavors," Augustus said. "I think with all these wines they are from where they come from, and for me, that is the most important part about wine . . . that [it] is honest to its origins," Mike said. He praised the qual - ity of the panelists and the wines, even exulting in the times they were puzzled. "That's the idea. We don't know everything. You're tasting it on its merit rather than looking at the label."

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of The SOMM Journal - June / July 2015