Thursday, February 11, 2010

Excellent Napa Cabernet

Had dinner with my friend Susannah at Vin Rouge.

2005 Edmond Vatan Chavignol Clos la Néore
No longer painful to drink it has started to uncoil a bit, but there is still a sense that there is a ton of babyfat sitting on the structure of this wine. While this doesn’t have the linearity and precision of past great vintages like 1996 and 2002, it has an amazing depth. I’m not sure it will ever surpass those two examples (and really, who cares about splitting hairs among greats… oh wait, I do) but it has the potential to be a monument to Chavignol. Drink now to check in, otherwise this should age slowly.

1990 Dunn Vineyards Howell Mountain cabernet sauvignon
This was a quite formidable and lovely example of Dunn Howell Mountain. Avoids all the roasted flavors that some 1990 Napa cabernet can display. This had more of the dusty tannin that I associate with Dunn Howell Mountain, as opposed to the 1991 which has seemed unexpectedly lush. This still has good fruit, some secondary cabernet aromas of forest floor, leather, and tobacco. I like the way this wine is showing, but it will certainly age gracefully for the foreseeable future. In terms of drinking window, I’d say it depends on your preferences in flavor profiles and structure. This is in a good place for me right now, if you wait you might miss the show.

2003 Ferrando Carema
This was showing really surprisingly well. I’ve heard about successes in nebbiolo from 2003, Levi Dalton is a proponent, but have yet to find any charm myself. Certainly a looser interpretation of the standard Ferrando Carema, a wine that is generally fine-tuned and crystalline. This was fruity in the way that Chignard Fleurie is fruity, almost lavishly so. It does have a bit of stoniness and structure, but it is mostly a happy delicious mouthful of fruit. No reason not to drink these now.

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