The Tasting Panel magazine

August 2017

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 123 of 136

august 2017  /  the tasting panel  /  1 19 Forefathers 2016 Wax Eye Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand ($19) is produced from the 19-acre Wax Eye Vineyard on Hawksbury Road on the cool Wairau Plain in Marlborough. Glacial, rocky soils offer the vines good water retention, and a rather sharp minerality is in play, with a bright acidity. The nose displays dried pineapple and passion fruit, and on the palate, ripe melon offers a round mouthfeel, balancing texture and structure. It is noticeably not the grassy/ grapefruit style expected from the region. 92 Goldschmidt 2015 Singing Tree Chardonnay, Russian River Valley ($16) is a single- vineyard wine at an incredibly reasonable price. "The last thing I wanted to do was to make another Chardonnay," confesses Goldschmidt, who looked for a unique site and found it in the Sebastopol hills "on crazy Goldridge sandy loam soil, the decomposition of an ancient seabed." The wine was named for a tree that is right outside his window. "I look out to it every morning," he smiles. "There are no curtains in my house." The wine uses a bit of French oak, but mostly neutral oak. Perfumed flowers, chamomile and candied papayas play against a wet stone mid-palate. "I prefer the flavor of the vineyard instead of the flavor of the lees," Goldschmidt advises. The finish tastes like buttered cookie batter. "The key is that it is an old "see" field selection planted back in the '80s known for melon and passion fruit. There are no clones used in this blend. I also like to build body without ML," he adds. 92 Forefathers 2014 Lone Tree Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley ($50) is grown on a 5.5-acre vineyard on a small knoll in the Alexander Valley, north of Geyserville. This dry-farmed red is lushly textured—just what we think of when it comes to this region—a velvet that, with maximum extraction (think ripe and dense), crosses the boundaries of texture and flavor. And if a material does possess a flavor, this would be redolent of violets. With a savory palate and perfume of mountain brush (sage and lilacs), the spices are reined in with the tartness of pomegranate and the sweetness of blueberries. There's a Mediterranean Old World sense to this wine. And, like all of Goldschmidt's Cabs, alcohol is no higher than 14.5 percent. 95 Goldschmidt 2013 Game Ranch Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Oakville, Napa Valley ($85) smells of the outdoors, and in a blind tasting, we would probably not guess it hailed from Napa Valley. Picked at 24.5 Brix, it's hardly surprising: There is a sweetness on the nose and palate—blackberries, dates and figs, but also a tobacco-spiced olive scent. While the tannins first appeared as tightly wound, the walnut-espresso dryness quickly opened up to reveal a rounder body, showing classic Napa Valley traits. The vineyard site is the gentle east-facing slope on Oakville Cross opposite Plump Jack. 96 We could imagine the Game Ranch Vineyard Napa Cab to be from somewhere else, and the same thought occurred while nosing the Goldschmidt Vineyard 2013 Yeoman Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley ($75). The wine smelled of the savory notes of a barrel room, which reminded us of a Napa Cab. "That's the smell I call 'truth,'" notes Goldschmidt. "Savory equals Cabernet Sauvignon," continues the very quotable winemaker. The buxom wine may have big tannins, but it glides sleekly along the palate. "I think Cabernet should be spicy," declares Goldschmidt. "But when you're over 14.5%, you are removing not only the terroir but also the flavor of the grape. If you don't like that, you should be drinking Merlot." 94 Goldschmidt Vineyard 2015 "Katherine," Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley ($25) is named for Nick's middle daughter (of five children). The grapes hail from Crazy Creek, a vineyard that has been known to produce some iconic wines. Big, bright, blue fruit notes on the nose are meaty, with a chocolate espresso twist. The palate shows dry tannins, but the fruit slips and slides. It's an elegant tooth-coater with a dark chocolate finish. This wine is a little masterpiece that way over- delivers on price-to-quality. 94 "Wine on the edge creates a new interest. Taking risks and pushing the envelope also pushes boundaries," says Nick Goldschmidt. Our Top  Picks

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Tasting Panel magazine - August 2017