Napa Valley Uncorked: The "Big-Guns" Tasting

"All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

There was definitely a bit of experimenting going on that weekend in Portland, OR. I and the many other thirsty vino-sapiens were treated to some fantastically generous tastings, including the one you see above. I say generous because if you look at the wines in the picture above you'll see a collection of wine that could amount to far more than most folks weekly wages. Yep, no kidding the bottles on that table are what I call some of Napa's intermediate "big-guns". Think about it this way, if they were going to re-make the movie the Magnificent Seven, I believe you'd see some of those producers as headliners in the new movie.

Luckily, I did have a chance to give them all a swirl and was impressed with most of them to one degree or the other, save the one bottle from Chateau Montelena Estate Cabernet Sauvignon [I'm sorry to report]. For some reason, it just didn't show that well, especially when compared against its counterparts on the table in my opinion. The wine felt a bit muddled, little texture, very lean red or dark fruits, and a short finish. Oddly, it had a graphite, tobacco, and leather feel from beginning to end, plus some green olive note thing going on, unfortunately, this wine a far cry different than their much heralded 2001 vintage.

2002 Elivette Proprietary Red: A thick and viscous blend of 81% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Merlot, with just drop Cabernet Franc balancing out this superb wine at 7%. You know how I often say that just because you pay more, you don’t always get more, well in this case I’m wrong. Because in this wine, which typically retails for about $90 most places the price more than matches the quality. If you're wondering about this wines long-term aging possibility, I'd say another five to ten is easily possible.

What you will find after uncorking the bottle and decanting for an hour or so is a saturated, deep ruby-red, opaque core in the glass. This wine will wow you with quintessential and classic Spring Mountain Cabernet aromas and flavors; like blackcurrant, black cherry, dark chocolate, and licorice, a slice of black olive, herbs, and rich earth.

All this nicely sweetened by some roasted oak tones that give way to a dense, supple and a long seamless finish, a wine which is so much more concentrated than other basic Napa Valley Cabs you may have encountered in the past, viva Spring Mountain. This is the kind of wine that demands fat rib-eye, I scored this wine 94 points, very nicely done. I have to admit, I actually had more than one glass, my apologies to anyone else who may have missed out.

As for the rest of the wines on the table, yes they were very good, but were they $80 to $90 good? Well, that is the question isn't? But if you're anything like me, you'd be better off buying some of the other Cabs, I've reviewed here for far less coin. Honestly at my house; because wines in that price range are for me, what I call "occasion-wines", great wines to uncork when having old friends over or going out to dinner with Mrs. Cuvee for a special evening, you get the idea.

But it’s definitely not the kind of vino I'll be popping the cork on the average Sunday night while I watch the Packers kick-off another great winning season. But hey, it's your money and if it makes you feel better having wines like that in your in the decanter and swirling about in your glass every day of the week, then, by all means, have at it. Until next time folks, remember to sip long and prosper cheers!


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