Over the last couple of months, I have received some wines from vendors to be reviewed. I’ve also found and purchased some interesting wines. Here are my tasting notes.
2008 Hall ‘Kathryn Hall’ Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa ($80.00)
Background: First, this wine scored 96 points from Wine Spectator and they rated it #2 in their top 100 of 2011. That means they consider it “classic.” If you think the price point is high, you will be surprised to learn that this wine is priced ablout half the price of other Napa Cabernet Sauvignons at similar point levels.(For examples, see here). Second: This wine has a direct Dallas connection. The owners, Craig and Kathryn Hall, live in Dallas. He founded Hall Financial Group and she was US Ambassador to Austria (among other achievements).
Let’s get to my notes below.2008 Hall ‘Kathryn Hall’ Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa ($80.00)
Nose of dark fruit and cedar.
Good body in the mouth. Flavors of blueberries, cassis on top of a base of soft tannins.
Long finish that packs considerable power.
We drank this with short ribs but it would be a suitable match with pretty much any cut of beef.
(This bottle was sent as a sample)
Background: This wine is made from grapes grown in a private plot at the center of the Newsom Vineyard in Yoakum County on the Texas High Plains that is co-owned by the winery and Newsom. Grapes here are dedicated to Inwood Estates wines and owner/winemaker Dan Gatlin treats them as special, even to the point of destemming on site, before they are shipped over 250 miles to Inwood Estates Vineyards Winery in Florence, TX.
The product rewards the patient. The first thing you notice about this wine is its dark cherry color which forms an opaque body in the glass. It leads with a nose of raspberries and cinnamon and a hint cedar. The flavors echo the nose but surprise you with how smooth the tannins are. This tastes like a wine that is older than its two years. There is clear synergy between the Cabernet Sauvignon (40%) and the Tempranillo (60%). The texture is like velvet and there is some sweetness discernible at the tip of the tongue. The finish is medium intensity but very harmonious.
In summary: Serve this to your wine-loving friends and ask them where they think it is from. They will probably guess California because that is the style of this wine. But it is 100% Texas and the kind of wine you should serve to doubters to who need to witness the continued progress in Texas wine making. (This bottle was sent as a sample.)
2010 Joseph Phelps Sauvignon Blanc, Estate Grown, St. Helena, Napa ($32)
Nose of light citrus with an unmistakable New World character. Acidity has presence but is not racy. Residual sugar in the mouth. Well-developed citrus flavors with a suppressed grassiness. This wine received some oak aging (7 months in new French oak). A good choice for those who like their Sauvignon Blanc house-trained. (This bottle was sent as a sample.)
2010 Kelly Fleming Sauvignon Blanc, Oakville, Napa ($30)
Background: Kelly Fleming makes tiny quantities of just two wines, Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc. If you want to see an idyllic pastoral scene, click the link above and look at the winery’s home page. That is Calistoga, in the Napa Valley. She produces only 540 cases of this Sauvignon Blanc.
My notes: Powerful citrus fruit, especially oranges mark this well-made Sauvignon Blanc. The acid foundation is definitely present but not racy like a New Zealand wine of the same grape. In fact, this wine is as pleasant to quaff as many a Chardonnay. (This bottle was sent as a sample.)
2010 Mollydooker ‘The Violinist’, Verdelho, McLaren Vale, Australia ($28)
Verdelho is a Portuguese grape and it is used in Madeira and some white table wines – usually playing a bit-part. Verdelho arrived in Australia without an instruction manual so Aussie winemakers, as unimpressed as ever with tradition, made it how they thought it should be made. The result is a glorious, powerful mouthful of lime, floral elements, and citrusy acid. It is uniquely Australian, and one of my ‘finds’ of 2011. We enjoyed it with our Thanksgiving turkey and it wowed the table. Available locally at Sigel’s. (I purchased this wine.)