2007 Cabernet Sauvignon by Chateau Montelena

Tonight’s occasion: 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon by Chateau Montelena, Napa, California.

Dark opaque color. Intense, warm nose out of the bottle with notes of tart plum and slight wet wood. Swirl to intensify the plum, dark cherries leather, release, a slightly creamy butterscotch caramel and subtle red vines licorice. Terroir is fairly neutral. Expression overall is clean, somewhat modest, a mature classic Cabernet Sauvignon. I like it.

Body is smooth. Nicely balanced right down the middle, front to back. Slightly ripe plums accompanied by restrained tannins deliver a harmonious structure and integrated mouth feel with more softer than delineated transitions. Oak is almost undetectable if not for its effect of creating slightly silky mouth feel and enhancing notes of berries in this otherwise fairly dry wine. Pepper spice permeates most of the stage, eventually falling back as it opens. Body forms the bulk of the experience with a seamless transition to a restrained finish characterized by hints of cherry cola, crisp, dry, fine tannic grip and a touch of bold spice that lingers midway down the chest.

This wine has had plenty of time to integrate very nicely. After 14 years it still stands tall. I feel like this is how it was meant to be enjoyed. It’s a classic example of a Napa Cab, well built, and will like be showing like this over the next 5 or so years easily. If you have any in your cellar, now would be the time to start enjoying it.

Nicely done Chateau Montelena!

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2007 Rioja by López de Heredia Viña Tondonia

Tonight’s occasion: 2007 Rioja by López de Heredia Viña Tondonia, Spain.

Bold warm nose with plum, blackberry and a hint of caramel on the back. Swirl vigorously to unlock a sandy mineral leather.

Body is noticeably acidic. It is mostly Tempranillo after all. A very prominent black currant underlayment permeates the experience as moderate tannins make an appearance midway. Mineral terroir occupies a tertiary layer along with hints of caramel and spice. A tart plum dominates the finish capped by a dry, spicy tannic grip.

This is a really good wine. A welcomed diversion from California wines. Like most Spanish wine it is big, bold, dry, masculine and makes no apologies. It is honestly just now approachable at 13 years of age and I shudder to imagine what it was like at 5. It shows good structure and delineated complexity. It should serve as a good reference point for wines of this style and region. Bien hecho amigos! 😁🍷

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Reserve: 2007 Syrah by Rusack

Tonight’s occasion is a 2007 Syrah by Rusack from Santa Barbara County.

I posted a while back about my visit here. You know whenever I feel like tasting something truly special, this region never fails and Rusack is a must. This region is most known for its rich exquisite Pinot Noir, which is precisely why I picked up their Syrah. This 12 year old vintage is drinking perfect right now. Full of gentle subtle aromas, a wide body devoid of any overbearing character and a finish that’ll make you do a double-take as it starts fading and then quickly gets overwhelmed with a long gentle, enduring tannic grip. This is my kind of wine! Great work Rusack!

This wine is a great candidate for your term reserve. You can pick up their current vintages and lay them down for another 5 years or more. I have some 2014 I picked up on this trip as well and I very much look forward to opening them 7 years from now. The good news is they have an extensive list of well priced library wines you can pick from. These will give you an idea of how they will age.

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