Decanter Wine Encounter NYC 2022

Decanter is a British based magazine similar to the Wine Spectator magazine in that it reports on all things concerning wine including wine personalities, vineyards, wine regions and the influential wine reviews.

They hold a big tasting in London and in Asia and on June 18th they held their first tasting in the United States in New York City.

That tasting was held at Manhatta restaurant on 28 Liberty Street in the Financial District of lower Manhattan. The restaurant is located on the 60th floor of the building which gave for an amazing view of lower Manhattan.

The tasting was more Euro-centric with France and Italy well represented and a handful of wines from the rest of the world including California. Most of the tables had at least one older vintage that they poured which made for an interesting tasting.

Some of what I sampled:

1995 Col d’Orca Poggio al Vento Brunello di Montalcino Riserva (Tuscany) Clear medium brick, sweet tar and anise on the nose, toasty and tannic.

2005 Chateau Lagrange (St-Julien) Clear medium to dark red, pretty nose of olives and crushed red fruit, concentrated, silky and dusty fruit with silky tannins.

2005 Lungarotti Vigna Monticchio Rubesco Riserva (Umbria) Opaque dark brick, stinky smoke on the nose, silky red fruit ending tight and tannic.

2006 Chateau Lascombes (Margaux) Opaque dark red with a brick rim, toasty, earth notes, ripe vegetable and violets on the nose, chewy with big tannins.

2006 Chateau Beaucastel Chateauneuf du Pape (Rhone) Clear medium brick, dried leaf notes on the nose, chewy and tight, long finish.

2009 Jean-Claude Boisset Chambolle-Musigny (Burgundy) Light brick, roasted meat on the nose, silky red fruit with some earth notes, dusty finish.

2009 Chateau Beychevelle (St-Julien) Medium brick, violets and black olives on the nose, silky, tree bark and olives on the fruit, balanced and long.

2010 Chateau La Dominique (St-Emilion) Opaque black, closed nose of crushed dark chocolate, chunky and chewy with a good grip at the end.

2014 Chateau Lagrange (St-Julien) Opaque medium red, cinnamon and sweet bell pepper on the nose, medium red fruit with big tannins at the end.

2015 Mas de Daumas Gassac Cuvee Emile Peynaud (Languedoc-Roussillon) Opaque dark red to black, earthy nose, chunky and dense with meat notes on the finish, good balance.

2015 Col d’Orca Olmaia Cabernet Sauvignon (Tuscany) Medium clear red, sweet bacon fat on the nose, dusty bell pepper fruit with firm tannins.

2016 Domaine de Chevalier (Pessac-Leognan) Medium with a red purple rim, pretty nose of tar, red leather and sweet spices, chunky and silky with gritty tannins, balanced and long.

2002 Freemark Abbey Sycamore Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley) Opaque dark red, pretty nose of mint and cocoa, chewy dark chocolate fruit with a good grip and great balance.

2012 La Jota Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley) Opaque black, anise and black fruit on the nose with dense black fruit ending with lip smacking tannins.

2013 Trefethen HaLo Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley) Opaque black with a purple rim, mint, smoke and black pepper on the nose, chewy fruit with mint notes, good grip with a long finish.

2013 Domaine Anderson Dach Vineyard Pinot Noir (Anderson Valley) Clear medium red, sweet herbs on the nose, dense with roasted nuts and coffee on the finish, good balance.

2014 Staglin Estate Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley) Opaque black, cracked black pepper on the nose, chewy fruit with dark chocolate on the long finish, great balance.

2017 Beaux Freres The Belles Soeurs Pinot Noir (Ribbon Ridge) Clear medium red, sweet red fruit on the nose, silky red fruit with a nice balance.

2018 Freemark Abbey Sycamore Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley) Opaque dark red to black, crushed black fruit on the nose, dense red fruit ending with firm tannins.

2018 La Jota Howell Mountain Merlot (Napa Valley) Black with a purple rim, plum and bacon on the nose, dense, bright fruit with tight tannins at the end.

2018 Staglin Estate Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley) Opaque black with a purple rim, bacon fat and black pepper on the nose, dense and chewy with mint and dark chocolate on the finish, good grip.

2020 Freemark Abbey Chardonnay (Napa Valley) Light gold in color, lime and green herbs on the nose, juicy tropical fruit notes, good grip.

Independence Wine & Spirits Cabernet Portfolio 2022

Plenty of trade wine tastings at this time of year. In the three-tier system in New York State, a bar or restaurant has to buy their wines and spirits from a distributor. On March 8th one of those distributors, Independence Wine & Spirits held their annual portfolio tasting.

I wasn’t familiar with this particular distributor, so I was curious to see what was in their portfolio, so I attended the tasting.

I was pleasantly surprised at what they carried. They had a huge French presence with many Burgundy, Cote du Rhone and Bordeaux brands. I even had the opportunity to sample one of the Premier Grand Cru of Bordeaux, the 2017 Chateau Lafite Rothschild which was drinking very nicely.

They also had a very nice portfolio of excellent boutique California Cabernets and I decided to focus my time sampling them.

It was a trade tasting and was held at The Metropolitan Pavillion event space at 125 West 18th Street in Manhattan.

Some of what I sampled:

2019 Adversity Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon “Melanson” (Atlas Peak): Opaque black, closed nose of crushed blueberries, chewy with dark mint chocolate on the fruit, long finish.

2019 Adversity Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon “Sage Ridge” (Napa Valley): Opaque black with a purple rim, chewy and chunky black fruit, mint notes on the fruit ending with a long, dark finish.

2019 Adversity Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon “Erba” (Atlas Peak): Black with a purple rim, chewy and chunky with smoky, damp earth on the black fruit, nice balance.

2018 Anakota Cabernet Sauvignon “Helena Montana” (Knights Valley): Dark red to black in color, dark leather on the nose, tight red fruit with firm tannins.

2016 Cardinale Cabernet Franc “Caladan” (Napa Valley): Opaque dark red to black with silky fruit and tannins, great balance.

2018 La Jota Vineyard Co. Cabernet Sauvignon (Howell Mt): Opaque black with dusty, crushed black fruit on the nose with dense and chewy black fruit ending with silky, firm tannins.

2018 Lokoya Cabernet Sauvignon (Diamond Mt): Opaque dark red, crushed rocks and green herbs on the nose, bright red fruit, crisp acids.

2018 Lokoya Cabernet Sauvignon (Howell Mt): Opaque dark red, closed nose of milk chocolate with chewy and dusty fruit ending with silky tannins.

2018 Staglin Family Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon “Salus” (Rutherford): Medium red with tobacco and bacon fat on the nose, silky red fruit with some pickle juice notes on the finish.

2018 Staglin Family Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon “Estate” (Rutherford): Clear medium red, crushed black fruit on the nose, chewy with tobacco note on the fruit, silky tannins.

2017 Taub Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Morisoli-Borges” (Rutherford): Clear medium red, dusty dried leaf on the nose, silky black fruit with silky tannins on the long finish.

2017 Taub Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Beckstoffer Missouri Hopper” (Napa Valley): Opaque dark red to black, sweet violets on the nose, silky with a great grip on the balanced, long finish.

2018 Mt. Brave Cabernet Sauvignon (Mt Veeder): Opaque dark red, crushed black fruit on the nose, chewy bark fruit ending with big tannins.

2018 Verité Cabernet Sauvignon “La Jolie” (Sonoma County): Dark red to black, closed nose of tar and tobacco with dense, silky and toasty fruit, firm finish.

2018 Verité Merlot “La Muse” (Sonoma County): Clear medium red, toasty nose with silky red fruit, nice balance.

2017 Y. Rousseau Single Vineyard Tannat

This wine is not something you see coming out of California very often, a wine from the Tannat grape varietal. The grape is native to the French Basque region in the southwest part of the country and grown in Gascony in the Madiran AOC.

It’s been grown in California for over a hundred year used primarily as a blending grape to beef up wines. It’s gotten a foot hold in Paso Robles but this version is grown in the tiny Clarksburg AVA which is West of Napa Valley and about an hours drive North of Lodi.

Yannick Rousseau, a French native born in Gascony is the owner/winemaker.

2017 Y. Rousseau Tannat, Clarksburg, California

A blend of 90% Tannat and 10% Syrah. Opaque dark purple to black with crushed blueberries, menthol and sage on the nose, juicy black fruit finishing with dark citrus notes, mouth coating tannins and moderate acidity.

2018 Decoy Pinot Noir LTD Sonoma Coast

Decoy wines are part of the extensive Duckhorn Vineyards portfolio which includes the Paraduxx, Canvasback, Migration, Calera and Goldeneye brands.

This Pinot Noir was made with grapes from the Russian River Valley, Green Valley and Carneros AVA’s.

2018 Decoy Pinot Noir LTD

Clear, bright red in color, floral, tobacco and wood notes on the nose with bright red fruit, cherry, cola, some earth notes and firm acids on the finish. Nothing flawed about the wine but it’s a little one dimensional.

2016 Acacia Vineyards Pinot Noir Thornton Vineyard

Now that the weather is warming up it’s almost Rosé season but in the meantime I’ll start with lighter bodied reds which often mean some Pinot Noir.

Acacia is a winery in the Carneros district of Sonoma county in California which bottle vineyard designated Pinot Noir.

2016 Acacia Pinot Noir Thornton Vineyard

Clear medium to light red in color, warm black plum, tree bark and red cherry on the nose, red leather, black cherry and cola notes on the silky red fruit with a nicely balanced, long spicy finish. Really nice, enjoyable glass of wine.

2017 Ridge Vineyards Petite Sirah Lytton Springs

 

 

Petite Sirah is the new world name for the Durif grape which was developed in France in the mid 1800’s. It’s a cross pollination of the Syrah and Peloursin grape varietals. 

It’s relatively rare varietal with less than 10,000 planted acres in the world with the majority in California. 

It was brought into California in the early 20th century and became a workhorse grape with winemakers adding it to a blend to beef up the wine. 

Ridge Vineyards is know for their Zinfandel (and a good Monte Bello Cabernet Sauvignon as well) which are often blended with Rhone varietals . This wine is from their Lytton Springs vineyard in the Dry Creek Valley of Sonoma County.  The oldest vines in the vineyard date back to 1901.

 

2017 Lytton Springs Petite Sirah

Opaque dark purple with a purple rim, dill pickle, bacon fat and slate notes on the nose, concentrated meaty black fruit, chalky tannins on the peppery, balanced finish. Very enjoyable glass of wine.  

 

 

 

2016 Beringer Cabernet Sauvignon Knights Valley

 

 

Beringer Vineyards is an iconic winery in Napa Valley with a 144 year history.

They produce a wide range of wines from basic bottlings to high-end single vineyard and reserve wines.

This one comes from the Knights Valley appellation which is located in North-East Sonoma County.

 

2016 Beringer Cabernet Sauvignon Knights Valley

88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petite Verdot. 

Opaque dark red with a purple rim, with roast meat, metal shavings, tobacco and red licorice on the nose, thick with black silky fruit with mint notes on the nicely balanced finish. 

 

 

2018 Josh Cellars Rosé California

 

 

Now that the warmer weather is upon us, it’s rosé time. I like a glass of rosé on a warm day. To me they are the casual wear of the wine world, nothing serious to make a fuss about and as long as it’s not sweet, I’ll drink it.

Josh Cellars was founded in 2007 by Joseph Carr and named as a tribute to his Dad, Josh. They produce wines sourced from across the California winegrowing regions.

 

2018 Josh Cellars Rosé California:  Clear copper in color, nose of watermelon and sweet strawberry, dry with light cherry notes and some earthiness on the finish, easy drinking. 

 

 

 

2015 Markham Vineyards Merlot Napa Valley

 

Markham Vineyards is one of the oldest wineries in Napa Valley, founded in 1874 by French immigrant, Jean Laurent.

The 2015 vintage in Napa was another drought year in wine country that produced a small crop but good quality wines.

 

2015 Markham Vineyards Merlot Napa Valley:  Clear medium red with a purple rim, nice perfume of earthy raspberries and violets. dusty, chewy, crushed black fruit ending with moderate tannins and acids, nice balance.

 

 

2016 Buehler Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley

 

 

Buehler Vineyards is a 4th generation run vineyard perched on a mountain East of Saint Helena in Napa Valley.

This is their entry level Cabernet Sauvignon and is 90% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Merlot.

2016 Buehler Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon: Opaque dark red, red leather, red licorice and roast meat on the nose, silky dark red fruit of crushed rocks with crunchy tannins and green herb notes on the moderate to long finish.