Wine Spectator’s NY Wine Experience 2018

 

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Wine Spectator magazine held its 38th annual New York Wine Experience on October 18-20. It was three days of sit-down seminars, wine pairing lunches, a critics’ choice Grand Tasting and a Grand Award banquet. Proceeds from the event go to support the Wine Spectator scholarship foundation.

The Grand Tastings were held on Thursday and Friday evening. They were one of the best if not the best wine tastings of the year. It was two floors of over 269 participating wineries/chateaus pouring wines that have been rated 90 points or higher on the Wine Spectator ratings scale. Many of the owners and wine makers were on hand to pour and to talk about their wines.

The event was held at the Marriott Marquis hotel in the heart of Times Square, Manhattan at 1535 Broadway. This was a mega tasting that one day of sampling didn’t do it justice but one day was what I had, I attended on Friday night. With so many great wines available I had to narrow my focus on what to drink. I decided to forgo white wines and Champagnes and narrow the tasting to Bordeaux and Napa Valley reds for the most part. Even with that I wasn’t able to get to all but I did my best. I drank some very, very nice juice.

The #1 wine of 2017 selected by Wine Spectator was the 2014 Duckhorn Merlot Three Palms Vineyard from Napa Valley.

 

New World

1993 Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars “Fay” (Napa Valley) Medium brick, dusty nose of rusted metal, dried leaf notes on the good fruit and a long finish. Holding up well.

2008 Ridge Vineyards “Monte Bello” (Santa Cruz Mts) Opaque dark red to black, pretty perfume of fresh herbs, mint and red candy, chewy and chunky dark chocolate on the firm finish.

2008 Hall Cabernet Sauvignon “Jack’s Masterpiece” (Napa Valley) Black in color, roast nuts and crushed red fruit on the nose, thick, syrupy, dark chocolate on the fruit.

2009 Dominus Estate (Napa Valley) Red blend, opaque dark brick, tar, paint thinner on the nose, concentrated smoky fruit, tight, nice finish.

2010 Carter Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon To Kalon Vineyard “The OG” (Napa Valley) Thick black in color, crushed raspberry on the nose, thick and chewy, nice tannins.

2012 Harlan Estate Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley) Opaque medium red, roast nuts on the nose, chewy with silky firm tannin on the long finish.

2013 Kerr “Reserve” (Napa Valley) Black in color, crushed back fruit and ripe plum on the nose, thick, syrupy dark chocolate on the fruit, moderate finish.

2014 Far Niente Cabernet Sauvignon “Oakville” (Napa Valley) Clear dark purple, dark fruit on the nose, dusty, chewy red licorice on the fruit, moderate finish.

2014 Dariosh Cabernet Sauvignon “Darius II” (Napa Valley) Dark red to black, deep concentrated with chewy black licorice on the firm, balanced fruit, long finish.

2014 Louis M. Martini Cabernet Sauvignon “Lot 1” (Napa Valley) Black, crushed black berries on the nose, chewy, minty with big acidity at the end.

2015 PlumpJack Cabernet Sauvignon “Oakville” (Napa Valley) Dark purple, purple rim, crushed red cherry on the nose, thick, juicy and toasty on the fruit.

2015 Joseph Phelps “Insignia” (Napa Valley) Black in color, toasty red berries on the nose, tight and concentrated with dark chocolate on the firm finish.

2015 Peter Michael “Les Pavots” (Knights Valley) Opaque dark red, crushed red fruit and red leather on the nose, concentrated with green herb notes on the fruit, balanced.

2015 Continuum “Sage Mt Vineyard” (Napa Valley) Black in color with a purple rim, crushed black fruit on the nose, thick and juicy with firm tannins at the end.

2015 Sinegal Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley) Black with a purple rim, crushed black fruit and dark chocolate on the nose, very chewy and concentrated, a big wine with a lip smacking finish.

2015 Staglin Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley) Opaque dark red, sweet black cherry and roast nuts on the nose, red cherry fruit.

2016 Bergström Pinot Noir “Bergström Vineyard” (Dundee Hills) Light red, toasted nuts, bacon on the nose, black cherry on the fruit, tight finish.

 

Old World

2003 Chateau Mouton Rothschild (Pauillac) Dark amber, ripe plums, tar and leaf notes on the nose with oak notes on the balanced finish.

2005 Chateau Canon La Gaffeliere (St-Emilion) Cloudy dark red, roasted tar and crushed red berries on the nose, starts juicy, tightens up at the finish.

2005 Chateau Montrose (St-Estephe) Cloudy black in color with a brick rim, herbs, roast meat and forest floor on the nose, finishes tight and hard.

2005 Chateau Pichon Longueville (Pauillac) Black with a red rim, crushed red berries and toasted nuts on the nose, very tight fruit that drops off, thought it was unbalanced.

2006 Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion (Pessac Leognan) Dark purple, sweet black cherry and turpentine on the nose, tight and chewy sweet fruit, firm tannins on the finish.

2008 Chateau Lafite Rothschild (Pauillac) Medium red, with sediment, green herbs on the nose, tight, light. Disappointing.

2008 Chateau Margaux (Margaux) Medium brick, toast and roast meat on the nose, tight with silky tannins on the finish.

2010 Chateau Pavie (St-Emilion) Opaqe dark red to black, mint and red leather on the nose, chewy with firm and silky tannins.

2011 Chateau Haut-Brion (Peassac Leognan) Dark amber, crushed dark fruit on the nose with sweet, dark fruit.

2011 Chateau Cheval-Blanc (St-Emilion) Opaque dark red, toast, roasted nuts on the nose, silky red fruit, firm, long finish.

2012 Bouchard Pere & Fils “Vigne de L’Enfant Jesus”(Burgundy) Light amber, ripe red fruit and mint on the nose, light cherry fruit, balances.

2012 Chateau Angelus (St-Emilion) Moderate red, toasty and green herbs on the nose. moderate fruit, nice balance.

2014 Chateau Canon (St-Emilion) Moderate purple, roasted bacon on the nose, tight, bright fruit, crisp finish.

2015 Chateau Pontet-Canet (Pauillac) Dark red with a purple rim, barnyard on the nose, chewy red fruit with a long finish, nice balance.

2015 Chateau Lynch-Bages (Pauillac) Dark red to black, closed nose of roasted nuts, starts thick and chewy then drops to tight tannins.

2015 Clos Fourtet (St-Emilion) Opaque dark purple, vanilla on the nose, thick and chewy with good balance on the dark fruit.

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2006 Vega Sicilia “Unico” (Ribera del Duero) Amber in color, toasty red cherry on the sweet dusty fruit with a moderate to long balanced finish.

2009 Tenuta dell Ornellaia “Masseto” (Tuscany) Medium brick, crushed cooked berries on the nose, starts chewy, finishes tight, long finish with some heat.  

2011 Biondi-Santi Brunello di Montalcino “Tenuta Greppo Riserva” (Tuscany) Light brick in color, red cherry on the nose, cherry leather on the fruit.

2013 Gaja Barolo “Sperss” (Piedmont) Light brick, roasted nuts on the nose, dusty, roasted meat on the light fruit, balanced.

2014 Pio Cesare Barberesco “Il Bricco” (Piedmont) Medium brick, tar, cherry leather on the nose, medium dusty, dried leaf on the fruit, ending with big acids.

 

 

 

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Wine Spectator Grand Tour 2018

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Wine Spectator magazine held their 17th annual Spring Grand Tour wine tasting event. The tour travels to three cities in the Untied States and this year the tour stopped in Las Vegas, Washington DC and in New York City on April 24th. While not to be confused with the Spectator’s New York wine experience held in October which is three days of tastings, seminars and dinner, the Grand Tour still offered the opportunity to taste over 200 wines rated 90+ on the Spectator scale. Plenty of good juice to be sampled, too many for one evening but I tried my best.

The event was held at the Marriott Marquis hotel in the heart of Times Square at 1535 Broadway.

Some of what I tasted:

 

New World

2005 Heitz Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon “Martha’s Vineyard” (Napa Valley). Moderate to dark cloudy red, nice perfume of pencil shavings and tar, cherry mint on the fruit with a long finish. Tasty.

2013 Hall Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Kathryn Hall” (Napa Valley). Inky black, crushed red fruit on the nose, thick, dark cherry fruit with mint notes on the finish.

2014 Adobe Road Winery Cabernet Sauvignon “Beckstoffer Georges III Vineyard” (Napa Valley). Dark red to black, black cherry on the nose, chewy dark chocolates on the juicy fruit, moderate finish.

2013 Beaulieu Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Georges de Latour Private Reserve” (Napa Valley). Black in color, roasted meat and dark chocolate on the nose, concentrated dark fruit and mint on the chewy fruit, moderate tannins and acids.

2013 Crown Point Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Happy Canyon” (Santa Barbara). Black with a purple rim, green herbs on the nose, silky tannins with juicy dark fruit and black licorice notes.

2014 Guarachi Family Wines Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley). Inky black, vanilla and crushed black fruit on the nose, big juicy black fruit with dark chocolate on the finish.

2010 Rodney Strong Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Brothers Ridge” (Alexander Valley). Inky black, cooked meat on the nose, chunky, mint fruit ending with firm acids to balance the fruit.

2014 Round Pound Estate Cabernet Sauvignon “Reserve” (Rutherford). Dark red, red cherry and roasted meat on the nose, bright cherry fruit, moderate finish.

2015 Fess Parker Pinot Noir “Bien Nacido Vineyard” (Santa Maria Valley). Medium red with nice earth notes on the nose, silky, chewy fruit with cola notes on the balanced finish.

2015 Domaine Della Pinot Noir “Keefer Ranch” (Russian River Valley). Medium clear red, spicy cinnamon on the nose, spicy red fruit, moderate to low acids at the end.

2009 Col Solare (Columbia Valley). Inky black, cooked fruit and mint notes on the nose, dusty and tight.

2015 Penfolds Cabernet-Shiraz “Bin 389” (South Australia). Black with a red rim, crushed ripe berry on the nose, juicy and ripe with cedar and cooked fruit notes, moderate finish.

2013 Cheval des Andes (Mendoza). Dark red with earth notes on the nose, tight with dark slate on the fruit, firm, long finish.

 

Old World

2012 Chateau Haut-Brion (Pessac Leognan). Medium amber in color, green peppers, sweet herbs and cherry mint on the nose, dusty, silky fruit, great balance with dark chocolate on the finish. Tasty.

2011 Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion (Pessac Leognan). Medium red, toasty nose, silky red fruit finishing with firm tannins.

2005 Chateau Calon-Segur (St-Estephe). Dark brick with a beautiful perfume of violets and crushed red fruit, silky fruit with green pepper and dark chocolate notes, nice balance and a long finish.

2011 Chateau Angelus (St-Emillion). Medium red, black olives on the nose, dusty dark fruit, moderate to long dusty finish.

2011 Chateau Brane-Cantenac (Margaux). Dark red in color, pretty perfume of earth and violets, chewy red fruit with firm tannins.

2009 Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande (Paulliac). Medium brick, roasted sour pickles? on the nose, dusty black fruit with moderate tannins.

2014 Chateau Talbot (St-Julien). Dark red to black, crushed black fruit and dark chocolate on the nose, tight, concentrated fruit, slate notes on the moderate finish.

2012 Fuligni Brunello di Montalcino (Tuscany). Clear medium brick, pretty nose of violets, tar and leather, silky red fruit, great balance with moderate tannins and acids at the end.

2012 Caparzo Brunello di Montalcino “La Casa” (Tuscany). Clear medium red, dried leaf and dark plums on the nose with chewy red leather fruit.

2011 Fattoria Dei Barbi Brunello di Montalcino “Vigna del Fiore” (Tuscany). Medium brick, dried leaf and roasted meat on the nose, velvety fruit with some cinnamon notes on the finish.

2013 Mazzei “Tenuta Belguardo” (Tuscany). Clear dark red with a perfume of violets and roasted meat, big dark chocolate fruit followed by firm acids.

2004 Paolo Scavino Barolo “Bricco Ambrogio” (Piedmont). Light red in color, tar and red cherry on the nose, tight red fruit with pencil shavings on the finish, moderate acids.

2013 Pio Cesare Barolo (Piedmont). Brick in color, cherry tar on the nose, moderate chewy, red licorice fruit, moderate tannins and acids at the end.

2013 Aldo Conterno Barolo “Bussia” (Piedmont). Medium amber, tar and petroleum on the nose, dusty tight fruit, firm finish.

2010 Bodegas Bilbainas “Vina Pomal Gran Reserva” (Rioja). Medium red, stinky damp earth on the nose with dusty tart fruit.

2011 CVNE “Imperial Gran Reserva” (Rioja). Dark red to black, roasted bacon on the nose, concentrated dark fruit with mint notes, firm finish.

 

 

Matter of Taste New York 2017

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Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate presented its Matter of Taste wine event on Sunday, December 3rd. It was the final event of the year of their global tasting series that had similar events held in London, Singapore and Macau. This year’s theme was The Ultimate Cult Cabernets and Champagne and featured over 300 wines rated 90 points or more by Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate.

The event was held at the Conrad hotel located at 102 North End Avenue in lower Manhattan and was a walk-around tasting with a couple of seminars thrown in.

Wines were offered from many of the wine-producing countries of the world but the stars of the afternoon were the Cult Cabernets from California. There were many high-end wines from Washington State as well. As with tastings of this size I had to focus my efforts and that focus was on the California wines. Without a doubt this was one of the best tastings of the year with a copious amount of the best wines from California available for tasting.

Some of what I sampled:

California

2014 B Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon “Beckstoffer Vineyard” (Napa Valley). Dark purple, green herbs and dark chocolate on the nose with chewy, cocoa and tobacco fruit on the nice balance.

2013 Blackbird Vineyards Paramour Proprietary Red (Napa Valley). Mostly Cabernet Franc, black in color, graphite on the nose, tight with teeth coating tannins at the end.

2014 Chimney Rock Cabernet Sauvignon “Ganymede” (Napa Valley). Black, warm cooked fruit on the nose, concentrated and thick with green herbs on the finish, moderate tannins and acids.

2013 Chimney Rock Cabernet Sauvignon “Tomahawk” (Napa Valley). Black, crushed black fruit and sage on the nose, concentrated with firm tannins, moderate acidity.

2013  Chimney Rock “Elevage” (Stags Leap District). Bordeaux blend, Black with a sweet perfume of violets and cooked ripe fruit, tight and concentrated black fruit with a good grip on the balanced finish.

2015 Clos du Val Cabernet Franc (Napa Valley). Black, dark chocolate on the nose, chewy, dark chocolate fruit with silky, firm tannins.

2015 Clos du Val Cabernet Sauvignon “Hirondelle Estate” (Napa Valley). Black, green vegetable nose, black fruit, firm finish, nice balance

2014 DuMol Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley). Dark purple, green herbs on the nose, concentrated with nice balance.

2011 Dunn Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon (Howell Mt). Dark red to black, green herbs on the nose, moderate fruit with tobacco notes on the nicely balanced finish.

2012 Dunn Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon (Howell Mt). Black with green herbs and dark chocolate on the nose, dusty, firm, with cocoa notes on the balanced finish.

2015 Gemstone Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Alluvial Selection” (Napa Valley). Dark purple with tobacco and green herbs on the nose, chewy with moderate tannin and acids.

2013 Hertelendy Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley). Black in color, cinnamon spice on the nose, tight and concentrated with silky tannins and coffee notes on the nicely balanced finish.

2014 Hertelendy Audère Red Blend (Napa Valley). Black, sweet black cherry on the nose, concentrated and tight with big tannins.

2014 Joseph Phelps “Insignia” (Napa Valley). Black in color, roasted nuts on the nose with tight, silky red fruit with tobacco notes on the firm and balanced finish.

2013 Laurel Glen Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon “Estate” (Sonoma). Black with a perfume of black leather, chewy and chunky with a nice balance.

2014 Larkmead Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon “Solari” (Napa Valley). Black, closed nose of tree bark, concentrated and juicy with a balanced finish.

2013 Louis Martini Cabernet Sauvignon “Lot 1” (Napa Valley). Black, dark chocolate and dark red fruit on the nose, dusty, cocoa and nice silky tannin on the fruit.

2014 Martin Estate Cabernet Sauvignon “Collector’s Reserve” (Napa Valley). Dark red with graphite and fresh herbs on the nose, dusty slate notes on the concentrated fruit, nice grip.

2015 Michael Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon “Animo” (Napa Valley). Dark purple, plum and green herbs on the nose, deep red fruit with a moderate to long finish.

2013 Michael Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon “M” (Napa Valley). Single vineyard Cabernet, dark purple to black, graphite and dark chocolate on the nose, firm and balanced on the long finish.

2013 Mauriston Wines Cabernet Sauvignon “Suther” (Sonoma). Dark purple with a perfume of smoky violets, dusty black cherry fruit ending with teeth coating tannins.

2014 Newton Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon (Mt Veeder). Dark red to black, sweet black fruit on the nose, green herb notes on the concentrated fruit, drops a bit at the end.

2004 O’Shaughnessy Cabernet Sauvignon (Howell Mtn). Black with a perfume of mint, tar and crushed sweet black fruit, juicy, crushed fruit, moderate acidity, tasty.

2004 O’Shaughnessy Cabernet Sauvignon (Mt Veeder). Black, sweet perfume of plums and toast, dusty concentrated, firm finish.

2014 Quintessa Winery Red Blend (Napa Valley). Bordeaux blend, dark purple, green herbs on the nose, juicy fruit with nice balance and a long finish.

2013 Sbragia Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Monte Rosso” (Napa Valley). Black, camphor, black fruit on the nose, chewy black licorice fruit ending with firm tannins.

2013 Sbragia Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Godspeed Vineyard” (Sonoma). Black, big perfume of mint, tight and concentrated with toast notes on the firm finish.

2013 Sojourn Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon “Beckstoffer Vineyard George III” (Napa Valley). Dark red, fresh herbs on the nose, dusty black fruit with a nice finish.

2014 Sojurn Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon (Oakville). Medium red, closed nose of spice with dusty red fruit and a long finish.

2010 Whitehall Lane Cabernet Sauvignon “MM Vineyard” (Napa Valley). Black with tobacco and red cherry on the nose, chewy tobacco notes on the balanced fruit.

Others

2010 Chateau Phelan-Segur (St-Estephe). Dark red, nice perfume of tar, tight dark fruit with silky tannins on the moderate to long finish.

2008 Ducru Beaucaillou (St-Julien). Dark red, camphor and petroleum on the nose with concentrated dark fruit with a grip of bitter black cherry at the end.

2014 La Croix de Beaucaillou (St-Julien). Medium red with herbs and toast on the nose, bell pepper notes on the moderate fruit and firm tannins.