Category Archives: Cult Cabs

Scarecrow: Extraordinary Cabernet From Napa’s Oldest Vines

While Scarecrow is undoubtedly a cult Cab, albeit one selling for a fraction of the price of Screaming Eagle, it is also based on grapes with an unusually distinguished pedigree. Add to that Ms. Welch’s thoughtful and sensitive decisions and the result is, I believe, one of the great achievements of California winemaking over the past decade. Continue reading

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Great California Chardonnay and Cabernet: From 1965 to Present

My favorite wine from our Chardonnay flights was the gorgeous 2007 Rhys Alpine, which is still a baby, but our 1990 Mount Eden was also a real treat. We then had three flights of Cabernet: an older flight, going back to 1965; a maturing flight from the ’90s; and a vertical of Shafer Hillside Select. The stars of these three flights for me were the 1991 Peter Michael Les Pavots, my WOTN; a stellar bottle of 1965 Charles Krug Vineyard Selection; and the ’97 Shafer Hillside Select. Continue reading

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Jonata Wines: Good (High Priced) Stuff, even if they are Parker Darlings

Robert Parker has given Jonata’s wines very strong scores since their first release (i.e., much like he did Screaming Eagle), and he gave some of the wines of the ’07 vintage initial scores of 95-97 and 98-100 points. Not surprisingly, the prices of these wines are also very high–ranging from $70 for the Sauvignon Blanc blend, La Flor de Jonata, to $200 for the Syrah, La Sangre de Jonata. I had a chance to taste eight of the wines, all from the ’07 vintage, at a recent tasting, and I was quite impressed with the quality of the fruit and the level of winemaking. I do think Parker’s scores are inflated, and my ratings were more in the 91-94 point range, but these are not typically overblown, over-concentrated, jammy, “Parkerized” wines, as might be expected from the RP scores. Yes, there is concentration, ripe fruit, and expensive oak in evidence, but there is also complexity, structure and decent acidity levels, along with an interesting array of varietals and varietal blending. Continue reading

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