Thursday, September 30, 2010

Wine Review Wednesday (on Thursday): Two Great 2006 Napa Cabs

[Note: I’m posting Wine Review Wednesday a day late this week, as we spent all day yesterday filming the videos for the launch of tomorrow. And remember, if you’re in the area, to stop by Wine Chateau Piscataway for the launch party from 5:00 - 10:00...]


I recently had the chance to taste the 2006 vintage from two perennial stars of the Napa Valley, and fell in love with both of them. My tasting notes are below.

Robert Mondavi Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2006, Napa Valley

Classic Napa richness is balanced out here by an amazing amount of potential still being held in reserve: I wanted to keep on going back to the glass and smelling it again--it’s simply intriguing. Deep aromas of crushed purple berry fruit, black and red currants, cream, seared steak, subtle cedar, and Honduran cigar tobacco mingle with minor notes of sappy black cherries and something that reminded me of braised short ribs. There’s lots of sweet, very ripe fruit on the palate, though the tannins, still quite young, should allow even more to shine through once they loosen their grip with some age. Fascinating flavors of chai, cream, black tea, currants, blackberries, spiced blueberry compote, and licorice dance with intimations of thyme and sage. This is still young and needs time to relax into itself, but once it does, it will attain even more complexity and deliciousness. Give it a couple of years in the cellar, and then drink it through 2025. This is lush, pulsing with life, and utterly elegant for all its power.

Rubicon Estate Cabernet Sauvignon “Cask” 2006, Rutherford

A nose of crushed purple berry fruit, fresh plum, mint, a touch of licorice, bonfire, cedar, graphite, and a background note of chamomile tea define this expressive cabernet. Its palate shows both its youth and its agability, with sweet berry, black currant, macerated blackberry and black raspberry fruit, oolong tea, and a driving sense of power. The so-called Rutherford dust is on full display here, as well as fabulous balancing acidity and a finish that leans in the direction of licorice and mint. And despite the fact that this is still holding back a bit, it’s drinking beautifully as is, and will continue to improve and evolve for at least 10+ years. Fabulous.


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