Matter of Taste is a global series of fine wine tastings hosted by wine critic Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate journal. The 2019 tour took them to Napa, Taipei and Zurich with the final Grand Tasting in New York City on Saturday, November 23rd.
The event was held at the Ziegfeld Ballroom, a 1920’s inspired Art Deco, movie palace themed event space located at 141 West 54th Street in midtown Manhattan.
At the Grand Tasting over 250 international wines with scores of 93+ from the Wine Advocate were poured in addition to several Master classes.
Along with the Wine Spectator’s Wine Experience, the Matter of Taste Grand Tasting is one of the premier wine tasting events available to the consumer. There were an amazing amount of high end wines from around the world in the room to sample. As much as I would loved to have tried them all that’s just not possible so I did what I usually do in these situations and picked a category to focus on. Bordeaux and Burgundy were lightly represented so I directed my attention to Napa Valley Cabernet, specifically Cabernet from labels I wasn’t familiar with. Many of the wineries with the unfamiliar labels I sampled are extremely small production wineries, in most instances only a handful to a few hundred cases produced a year. There were so many Napa Valley wineries on hand that after several hours I did not get to all of them. It was an excellent tasting.
Some of what I sampled:
2016 Addax Cabernet Sauvignon “Tench Vineyard” (Napa Valley) Cloudy, dark red with a purple rim with dusty, chocolate fruit, nice balance.
2017 Alejandro Bulgeroni Cabernet Sauvignon Estate (Napa Valley) Black with a purple rim, violets and crushed black fruit on the nose, concentrated dusty dark fruit with a firm but long finish.
2017 Alejandro Bulgeroni Cabernet Sauvignon Lithology “Dr. Crane Vineyard” (Napa Valley) Opaque black, mineral and crushed black fruit on the nose, thick, chewy black fruit with a nice grip at the end.
2014 Buccella Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley) Opaque dark purple, fresh herbs on the nose, juicy red fruit with big tannins at the end.
2016 B Cellers Cabernet Sauvignon “Beckstoffer To-Kalon Vineyard” (Napa Valley) Dark red, purple rim, roast nuts on the nose, juicy and tight with big tannins.
2016 Bevan Proprietary Red “Double E Tench Vineyard” (Napa Valley) Dark red, purple rim, crushed red fruit and tobacco on the nose, tight with dusty tannis.
2016 Darioush Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley) Opaque dark red, crushed black fruit and licorice on the nose, chunky, dusty with mint notes on the crisp tannins.
2016 Darioush Cabernet Sauvignon “Darius II” (Napa Valley) Dark red, purple rim, dark chocolate on the nose with chewy and chunky black fruit.
2015 Gallica Cabernet Franc (Napa Valley) Black with a purple rim, dark chocolate on the nose with a dusty, dark chocolate finish on the firm tannins.
2015 Hertelendy Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley) Dark red, purple rim, closed nose of dusty fruit with chewy, dark fruit, long finish.
2014 Hertelendy Signature Mountain Blend (Napa Valley) Dark red, purple rim, closed nose of black cherry and oak, chewy red fruit with silky, lip smacking tannins at the end.
2016 Lail Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “J. Daniels Cuvée” (Napa Valley) Black, purple rim, dried herbs on the nose, tight and concentrated cigar box fruit, firm, silky finish.
2015 Louis Martini Cabernet Sauvignon “Monte Rosso” (Sonoma) Dark red, purple rim, crushed red fruit and green herbs on the nose, juicy, dusty fruit with silky tannins at the end.
2016 Mathew Bruno Cabernet Sauvignon Rutherford (Napa Valley) Dark purple, purple rim, dried leaf and black pepper on the nose with red cherry, tight fruit.
2016 Mt. Brave Cabernet Sauvignon Mt. Veeder (Napa Valley) Dark black in color, crushed black cherry on the nose with juicy black fruit and firm tannins.
2016 Mt. Brave Merlot Mt. Veeder (Napa Valley) Dark purple, pickle juice on the nose, tight with big tannins.
2014 Pine Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mt. (Napa Valley) Dark red to black with a purple rim, sour pickle on the nose, juicy with firm tannins.
2010 Shadowbox Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley) Cloudy dark brick, tar and graphite on the nose, chunky with dried leaf and leather fruit, nice balance.
2012 Signorello Estate Proprietary Red “Padrone” (Napa Valley) Opaque dark red to black, crushed dusty red fruit on the nose, tight dark chocolate fruit with crisp acids.
2016 Signorello Estate Proprietary Red “Padrone” (Napa Valley) Opaque dark red, purple rim, toasty nose, concentrated with gun metal notes on the fruit.
2012 Sloan Estate Asterisk (Napa Valley) Decanted. Opaque dark red, brick rim, cooked fruit and black cherry on the nose, dusty black fruit, good balance and a long finish.
2015 Sloan Estate Proprietary Red (Napa Valley) Opaque black, brick rim, bell pepper and rosemary notes on the nose, chewy dark chocolate fruit, long finish.
2017 Tor Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer To-Kalon (Napa Valley) Black, purple rim, dusty forest floor notes on the nose, juicy, concentrated black fruit, firm finish.
2017 Tor Cabernet Sauvignon Vine Hill Ranch (Napa Valley) Black, purple rim, black plums on the nose, thick, juicy with dried herb notes on the fruit ending with lip smacking tannins.
2015 Vangone Estate Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley) Black, purple rim, black plum on the nose, chewy, concentrated fruit with dark leather notes, good balance.
2016 Vangone Estate Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley) Black, purple rim, toasty roast nuts on the nose, chunky, with a firm grip on the long finish.
2014 Vega Sicilia “Valbuena” (Castilla Leon) Dark red, biscotti notes on the nose, juicy red fruit with some earth on the moderate finish.
2009 Vega Sicilia “Unico” (Castilla Leon) Dark brick, fresh herbs on the nose, green herbs on the tight finish with big tannins.
2015 Penfolds “Grange” (Barossa) Opaque black, pretty perfume of earth and crushed black fruit, concentrated, tight fruit, dusty finish with a nice grip.
2006 Ducru Beaucaillou (St-Julien) Brick in color, plum and tar on the nose, very tight with dried leaf notes on the finish.
Inside Barbaresco: A Spotlight On Produttori del Barbaresco
I was able to attend this seminar of a vertical tasting of the wines from Produttori del Barbaresco. The Produtori is a cooperative of 50 members and small growers in the Barbaresco zone of Piedmont, Italy. It’s one of the better consortium and are know for making quality wines. They are also know for bottling wines from several of the Cru vineyards in Barbaresco so it’s possible to have a horizontal tasting of Barbaresco from different vineyards. On this day I wasn’t feeling it. It might be that I had spent an hour before the seminar drinking fruit forward California Cabernet but most of the wines I sampled here had thin fruit and high acids. The only one that was appreciable was the oldest wine, the 1982 Rabaja. Still, a vertical tasting is always exciting.
|2013 Riserva Asili||2013 Riserva Montefico|
|2013 Riserva Montestefano||2007 Riserva Asili|
|2007 Riserva Montefico||2007 Riserva Montestefano|
|2005 Riserva Asili||2005 Riserva Montefico|
|2005 Riserva Montestefano||2001 Riserva Montestefano|
|1996 Riserva Montestefano||1982 Riserva Rabaja|