Friday, March 19, 2010

Weekly Winery Adventure: In which we taste some Superb Napa Cabs and a Knock-Your-Socks-Off Cab Franc

My friend and fellow blogger, Bon Vivant, recently scored an invitation to a private tasting at the Napa Wine Company and, lucky me, I got to participate too!  BV had tasted a couple of these wines at JV Wine & Spirits recently, and after her enthusiastic review, I was eager to give them a try.  The wines we tasted were from Hoopes Vineyard, and its sister label, Liparita, produced by the same winemaker, Jason Fisher.  Both labels make well structured 100% Cabernet Sauvignons, sourced from various Napa appellations.  What a taste treat! 

We were greeted by our host, Brian Bowman, who escorted us into the barrel-storage facility at Napa Wine Company, where these wines are made.  Our first sample was the 2006 Liparita Stags Leap District Cabernet.  I tasted black cherry, with hints of chocolate and raspberry, and dreamed of a classic roast beef pairing with it.  Next up was the 2006 Liparita Oakville Cab, also lovely, fascinatingly different from the first wine.  I tasted berries, plum, and a hint of unsweetened chocolate, and craved a braised or even grilled preparation to pair with it.  Next we tasted the 2006 Hoopes Vineyard Oakville Cabernet, with notes of cassis and leather and black pepper, with a hint of vanilla in the finish.   

I simply can’t pick a favorite – I loved them all, though I’d probably pair them with different things.  If I need a reason to return to my early love of Napa Cabs, these wines might do the trick!

Brian also treated us to barrel tastings of the 2008 Liparita Stags Leap Cab (black fruit, blueberry), the 2008 Liparita Yountville Cab (strawberry jam), and 2008 Hoopes Cab (black current, black pepper) – all of which promise to be amazing! 

Back in the tasting room with just a few minutes to spare before our next appointment, we tasted the 2006 Volker Eisele Napa Valley Terzetto, a blend of Cab, Merlot and Cab Franc.  It had lots of currant notes, and BV and I thought it would be The Bomb paired with a Turkey Molé. 

Our next stop was a trip to Sullivan Vineyards, one of BV’s favorites.  I had never visited before, and wasn’t disappointed.

Here is the list of wines we tasted, each one a big hit:

·    2006 Napa Valley Chardonnay – floral, lightly oaked, hints of honey, tangerine, Meyer Lemon
·    2006 Red Ink – a blend of 81% Cab, 19% Merlot, delicious.  I think it would pair wonderfully with the Kobe Beef Burger I had at the Boon Fly Café not long ago.  I bought some.
·    2006 Estate Merlot – big and balanced with eucalyptus notes
·    2007 Right Bank Bland – 75% Cab Franc, 25% Merlot, probably my favorite of the day, delicious currant notes.  I am a huge fan of well-made Cab Francs, and this wine was so big and complex, I gotta say I was blown away.
·    2005 Cabernet – smoky with notes of black cherry and blueberries
·    2005 Coeur de Vigne – delicious Bordeaux blend of 50% Merlot, 37% Cab, 5% Cab Franc, 8% Petit Verdot, with notes of cassis, leather, a hint unsweetend chocolate

Every bit as delightful as the wines themselves was our host, Asa Baird, who regaled us with stories and food pairing tips while he poured the wines.  Thanks Asa!


Bon Vivant said...

Great review! It was a fun afternoon tasting such great wines - I can't wait to try the new vintages of Liparita and Hoopes.

Thanks for the crop.

Daphne said...

BV, thanks for the comment! Thanks again to you for introducing me to such great wines!