2012 Napa Cab (Atlas Peak) by Gustavo Wine

Tonight’s Occasion: 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon (Atlas Peak) by Gustavo Wine (@gustavowine), Napa Valley, CA

Dark semi opaque color. Out of the bottle, intense dry plums. As it breathes, it develops a fine, dusty, sandy leather essence, almost granite in nature. Hints of berries pop in and out of the back, eventually turning to dark, slightly sweet cherries. Notes of herbs and eucalyptus emerge. It’s a bit rustic. I feel like the nose will continue to evolve for hours if left alone. Very nice.

Oh wow. Okay! So the body is unexpectedly smooth. Balanced, front to back. There is little to no attack. Fairly light for a Napa Cab. It leans more on the delicate side. It is dry. Plums carry over with a measured amount of tannins quickly arriving at a harmonious compromise. A soft old wood, leathery mushroom essence tempers the stage, adds a little weight as the body slowly develops. Plums ripen slightly and tannins develop a dusty, fine grained texture. This marks the transition to finish as the palate slowly begins to dry, leaving behind gentle but firm tannic grip, leather and a touch of warmth.

I love the story behind this winemaker and even more that he continues to make wine. His generation were the ones who’s craft put Napa on world stage. These are the kind of winemakers I seek out, off the beaten path.

Bien hecho Gustavo! I had a blast visiting the tasting room!

I’m reminiscing about my last visit to their tasting room downtown Napa at the beginning of last year with my friend (2020, right before the pandemic hit). We had a blast tasting and handing out with Gustavo’s wife at their understated tasting room. I highly recommend a visit whenever you’re in Napa.

2016 Cabernet Sauvignon (Moonspell) by Bergevin Lane

Tonight’s Occasion: 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon (Moonspell) by Bergevin Lane Vineyards, Walla Walla Valley, WA.

Dark intense semi opaque color. Big nose out of the bottle with dark plum filling the air immediately. As it opens up, the plum ripens a little, adding ripe dark cherry, a touch of wet sedimentary soil and wood creates the essence of damp forest floor. You’d likely miss it, but a very faint honey beeswax emerges towards the back. This wine is interesting and shows good complexity on the nose.

Body shows good structure and balance from front to back. Being from Walla Walla, tannins show good restraint. The milder climate has a taming effect on this easily bold varietal. Body is overall lighter than your average Cab. Not as chewy or jammy. For a cab, I’d describe it as medium bodied. This allows terroir notes to peak through ever so slightly in the form of a subtle mineral leather and cola. Blackberry and a crisp caramel (neutral oak) are prominent throughout. Transition to finish is seamless, ending with a slightly dry dusty tannic grit. If this wine is in fact 14.6% ABV, I’d say the winemaker has pulled a tricky balancing act. It is barely noticeable. I’d put it at about 13.8% ABV. It’s a pleasing, easy sipper.

This is a good, well built wine with enough complexity and nuance to keep the intermediate to advanced palate interested, without being overly abstract to the general wine audience. I think this winemaker has done a great job.

Head over to Casemates and order your own case for just $139. You won’t be disappointed! 🍷😁👌🏽

2014 Cabernet Sauvignon (Grey – Glacier) by Ventisqero, Chile

Tonight’s Occasion: 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon (Grey – Glacier) by Ventisquero , Maipo Valley, Chile

Warm earthy nose with damp woody leather. Hint of mushroom. Dark plums characteristic of Cabernet Sauvignon linger in the back.

Body shows great balance from front to back. A dry plum and damp old wood greet the palate immediately. Ever increasing tannic structure follows. This progresses though the entire experience all the way through the finish ending with a slight spice tingle and warm heat lower towards the chest. Subtle oak soften the body. A mild acidity dances in the back. As it opens up, a dry tannic grip grows even more massive and dominates the finish rendering the palate dry and parched shut.

I absolutely love what this Winemaker and his team are doing down in Chile. A recent entry into the US (and global) markets, it presents great value, punching way above its weight. I highly recommend following them closely and seizing any opportunities as they come up.

Bien hecho amigos! 🍷😁👌🏽

Read more Ventisquero on WineSnob.

2018 Minuit by DeLille Cellars

Tonight’s occasion: 2018 Minuit (French for Midnight) by DeLille Cellars, Woodinville, WA

70% Malbec, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, Yakima Valley

Deep dark as midnight. Out of the bottle, nose is slightly shy, warm, with a healthy dose of ripe plums and blueberries which only intensify when swirled. A faint caramel butterscotch lingers in the back. Terroir is expressed in the form of a dusty silty leather, so subtle it could be missed. A faint anise makes an appearance in the distance. I briefly picked up very faint herbs. I like it! This is clearly a Malbec, very nicely complemented by Cabernet Sauvignon. After about an hour, the Anise is more intense and pronounced.

Body is absolutely gorgeous! Not as heavy as the color and nose would suggest. Balanced from front to back. It begins with a suggestion of acidity while ripe plums and blueberries rush in to balance it out. Slightly restrained tannins provide great structure while a very clean oak expression softens the edges, creating a clean plush mouth feel. This act quickly vanishes, giving way to thin blackberry and cola as it transitions to a finish characterized by crisp, dry tannic grip and a warm spice that descends down into the chest. There is a subtle freshness rendered on the palate like a mint-eucalyptus. My lips a left dry, yet moist. After an hour the tannins turn dusty and this texture permeates the entire experience.

Now I remember what caught me about this wine when I visited them not long ago. Very nicely done DeLille!

Thanks to wine.com and their extensive library, you can now access most of the wines I review on here. You can use the link below to have DeLille wines delivered to your doorstep.

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WineSnobTV: Global Drink Wine Day

February 18th is Global Drink Wine Day. Did you celebrate? I know I did! My friend Kristal stopped by to help. We celebrated by opening a Cab from Chile. How did you celebrate? What did you open? Let me know in the comments below. I highly recommend sipping along while watching as we taste and make small talk about different wines we’ve tried.

2008 Napa Cab (Cloud’s Nest, Mt. Veeder) by Trinchero

Tonight’s occasion: 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon (Cloud’s Nest, Mt. Veeder) by Trinchero Family Wines, Napa Valley, California

Dark opaque color. Nose is very shy out of the bottle. Once it breathes a little, you can recognize ripe plums. Sweet dark cherry caramel comes second. Out of the bottle, hints of red licorice and amber wood dot the background. These quickly dissipate as it opens up. Terroir is fairly neutral and if anything, is expressed as a faint woody leather.

Body is perfectly balanced from attack to finish. Ripe, plums, dark cherries and blueberries play nicely on the palate. This conspires with a touch of wood/oak to create a slightly silky, weighted, wet mouth feel. Dusty, fine grained tannins provide an ever present substructure. Eventually the body gives way to expose this dusty tannic underlayment. This marks the transition to finish as dry spicy tannic dust storm engulfs the palate. Black currants, caramel make sporadic appearances as spice and a dry tannic grip wrestle for control. This duel continues with no end in sight for a very long protracted finish.

This wine may not be so old after all. It has had time to integrate. As it opens up, it comes even more alive as opposed to mellowing out. At 13 years old, I feel like this is how it was meant to be enjoyed. Here’s a little secret: if you visit Trinchero, ask for the list of library wines. Explore your favorite wine and how it progresses.

Nicely done Trinchero!

2017 Cabernet Sauvignon (Root 49) by Naggiar Vineyards

Tonight’s occasion: 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon (Root 49) by Naggiar Vineyards, Sierra Foothills, California

Dark opaque color out of the bottle. Rich dark plum essence on the nose. A granite rocky mineral essence comes second. Swirling vigorously unlocks a burst of sweet, dark cherry and red vines licorice as a distant leather disappears into the background. Notes are crisp, unmistakable, and very highly delineated.

Body is precisely balanced from attack to finish. Fruit carries through, and is well represented without overwhelming the palate. Oak is measured, almost unnoticeable as it conspires with dark plum and berries to create a slightly silky mouth feel. This has the effect of taming this fairly dry wine. Firm tannins provide broad structure across the palate while remaining fairly restrained. Transition to finish is marked by a the unleashing of massive tannins that, in short order, completely dominate the palate, revealing its relative youth. Blackberries and currants linger as an ever tightening grip seals your lips shut, parched. At 14.7% ABV you would hardly notice but for a slightly bold spice towards the finish which easily dissipates as it opens up. A testament to the winemaker’s craft.

This is a big bold Cab by all accounts. It is full of character, balanced and shows a good amount of restraint. It will only become more interesting as it further integrates over the next 5-10 years. This is a winemaker to watch closely. Well built, impeccably executed wines.

Very nicely done Naggiar Vineyards!

2016 Cabernet Sauvignon (Heritage) by Browne

Tonight’s occasion: Cabernet Sauvignon (Heritage) by Browne Family VineyardsBrowne Family Vineyards, Columbia Valley, Washington.

Deep dark opaque color. Out of the bottle nose is a little shy for a Cab. I was curious to see how the milder climate affects this otherwise big, bold grape. Nose has a good balance of dark, slightly ripe plum. A subtle leather reminiscent of sedimentary terroir. Very faint sawdust and mushrooms linger in the distance. You would almost miss them.

Body is where you can see the difference this region and its climate makes. I expected the bold fruit and aggressive profile typical of a California Cab, but this is not the case. It is very nicely balanced and restrained from front to back. Slightly tart plum is softened by a touch of oak which softens the whole experience giving it a hint of caramel towards the back. Tannins are almost secondary in their expression, providing good structure that almost blends in completely. Transition to finish is fairly seamless and characterized by subtle caramel, black currant, and a slight dry tannic grip which eventually overcomes an otherwise moist palate. A hint of spice lingers for a moment.

This is a gentle Cab with a very broad appeal. I can see it appealing to an intermediate, even beginner palate while still maintaining enough complexity to keep an advanced palate interested. This… is no mean feat.

Nicely done folks! 🍷😁👌🏽


2015 Cabernet Sauvignon by CG DiArie, Shenandoah Valley

Tonight’s occasion: 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon (Estate) by CG DiArie, Shenandoah Valley, CA.

A slightly restrained but aromatic nose greets out of the bottle. Subdued dark, dry, plum at the front, a touch of dusty, woody, leathery oak, faint tertiary notes of spice, black licorice, and granite very typical of this region. Swirl vigorously to amplify tertiary notes. I love it. It’s rare that a Cabernet shows this much restraint and nuance. As it opens up a hint of sweet cherry emerges in the back.

Body is very nicely balanced, front to back. You are greeted by ripe plums and touch or dark cherry. Measured amount oak softens the body ever so slightly, giving it a nice, almost silky mouth feel that wets the palate almost immediately. Tannins are reined-in on a tight leash. This provides a crisp structure while allowing the other subtle notes room to play on the palate. Impressive. Licorice and granite sandy terroir persist in the background. A gentle spice echoes throughout the experience from nose to finish and down to the chest. Seamless transition to finish leaves the palate dancing between moist and dry as the whole symphony fades away. As it opens up, the cherry becomes more pronounced and black currants make an appearance towards the finish.

I’m smiling. I actually love this Cab. If there ever was a Pinot Lover’s Cab, this would be it. This Winemaker understands how powerful this grape is, has cultivated and mastered it such that he sees no need to submit to its brute nature (as many relent) but rather show how beautiful and nuanced it can be. There are more ways this could go wrong than right. A testament to the winemaker’s skill.

Very nicely done Chaim and the entire Di Arie crew! I look forward to exploring more of your wines! 🍷😁👌🏽

Read more CG DiArie on WineSnob.

2017 Cabernet Sauvignon (Sonoma County) by Louis Martini

Tonight’s occasion: 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon (Sonoma County) by Louis Martini, Napa, California.

Not all wines have to be an intense, even sometimes laborious exercise for the senses. There are times when one just needs an honest wine. Not every bottle has to be an occasion. Sometimes I just want to contemplate other matters and not necessarily have to focus so intently on the wine. These are the moments that I resort to the unsung heroes of my cellar – The Pleaser. A wine that doesn’t overwhelm your senses or demand your attention. A wine that hits a few key notes and maybe offers an interesting suggestion or two. A clean, well made, honest wine, most importantly, for a great price. These wines I stock by the case.

This Louis Martini Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon is just that. A winner. It embodies the value proposition. A hint of that Sonoma dirt, good fruit, dry plum and blackberry, a touch of cedarwood, balanced body, a finish characterized by a moderately dry tannic grip and a touch of spice. It is always available and for a good price that makes a case an approachable proposition for most.

This is the wine that draws you in and draws your interest towards their signature wines such as their Napa Cab and Monte Rosso Cab Franc, both of which are noteworthy and in my reserve.

I love a winery that not only puts out great signature wines, but also makes a good flagship wine I can enjoy on any given day.

Nice work!

Thanks to wine.com and their extensive library, you can now access most of the wines I review on here. You can use the link below to have Louis Martini wines delivered to your doorstep.

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