1984 California Cab Tasting at North Square in New York City

TPE and g-man were kind and generous in organizing the event and in providing most of the bottles for the cab tasting. Wineabdul, noiregonian, myself and others (12 in total with 2 MIA) were in attendance. I kinda liked having 12 because the pours with 2 extra people would have been challenging. The cabs were tasted blind in flights of 2. There were 9 CA cabs plus 1 ringer.

DC Volcanic (Jeff)
Heitz Martha (Dominic)
Opus One (Paul)
BV GDL (Paul)
Mondavi Reserve (Jeff)
Silver Oak Bonny's Vineyard(Paul)
Caymus SS (Jeff)
Phelps Insignia (Paul)
Montelena Estate (Tom)

In addition to the reds, we had a 2001 J. Schram in the beginning, a 2000 Tattinger Grand Cru and a 2005 Domaine Morey Coffinet Chassagne Montrachet La Romanee 1er Cru in magnum formats while enjoying the appetizers, and a 1970 Dow Vintage Port with desserts. I'll post my notes shortly.
Original Post
Flight 1:
Bottle #3 (Joseph Phelps Insignia)
- lighter than #5, a little candied cherries, and ketchup on the nose initially
- nicely balanced with dried fruit on the palate
- some cocoa, coffee grounds aromas after giving it some air
Bottle #5 (Heitz Cellars Martha’s Vineyard)
- couldn’t get much on the nose
- some good amount tannins
- not much fruit on the palate, mostly cranberry if any
- tobacco, smoke, and black olives on the finish

Flight 2:
Bottle #4 (Diamond Creek Volcanic Hill)
- Initially, there wasn’t much smell to it. Then you get a bit of a warm cherry fruit tart.
- Very smooth, silky tannins with a dollop of acidity on the finish.
- Great balance with enough red cherry fruit.

Bottle #1 (Opus One)
- Very funky, barnyard nose that eventually went away after a few minutes. Not much nose after though.
- Palate wasn’t bad with trace oak

Flight 3:
Bottle #8 (Chateau Montelena)
- Much darker than #10. In retrospect, it appeared to be the darkest of all the wines.
- A little spirity on the nose. Loads of dark macerated fruit.
- Surprisingly very youthful on the palate with black cherry, licorice, and tar.

Bottle #10 (Beaulieu Vineyard George de Latour)
- Noticeable light fading at the rim
- Potato chips on the nose
- Sweet fruit on the palate

Flight 4:
Bottle #6 (Caymus Special Selection)
- Everything about this wine was light. It looked lighter than most of the previous wines.
- Nose seemed a delicate mix of raspberry, cedar
- Palate was simple if not thin and consisting mostly of cranberry flavors

Bottle #9 (The ringer – 1976 Hargrave Vineyards from Long Island)
- Did not taste

Flight 5:
Bottle # 2 (Robert Mondavi Reserve)
- Only note I had was that it had a minerally finish.

Bottle #7 (Silver Oak Bonny’s Vineyard)
- Ample crushed red fruit on the nose with a touch of vanilla a few minutes into it
- Dried, sweet fruit on the palate
- Very balanced with a little spicy finish

My WOTN were the Diamond Creek Volcanic Hill (also the group’s WOTN, I think) and Silver Oak Bonny’s Vineyard. The latter was probably the most surprising in a positive way while the Caymus Special Selection was disappointing given their hype. It was a great learning experience to have tasted these wines.
I agree very much. It certainly helps quantify how much people enjoy the wines as well as give some idea of how they compared to each other in quality.

Somebody posted a note not too long ago on this site on a wine that sounded mediocre from the description, then scored it an 89.
quote:
Originally posted by PurpleHaze:
Frankly, it sounds like these were a bunch of mid to high 80-something wines based on the initial notes from DoubleD. I'm sure the experience and company enhanced the experience somewhat.

PH


no way

WOTN DC was a clear 95 points for me.

the low was the opus one at 81 points (but I noted flaw)

the 76 Hargrave Vineyard was certainly surprising.

Over the hill but I managed to fool some bordeaux drinkers into thinking it was a Chateau Talbot from 1980.

I also would like to thank Jburman for spotting the wine of the night!
I hesitate to give scores because 1) the lighting was not great, and I think it would have helped with a bit with the evaluations, and 2) we only had a couple of ounces to try with limited time. I think a couple of the wines like the Montelena, Heitz MV, and Insignia were getting better at the last sip.

With that said, I would give the Diamond Creek Volcanic Hill and Silver Oak Bonny's Vineyard 92-93 points, the Insignia and Montelena 90-91 points, Heitz MV 88-90 points, Opus and BV GdL 85-88 points, and the Caymus SS about 83-85 points.
quote:
Originally posted by g-man:
Really doubled?

you considered stewed tomatoes that was the opus higher than the caymus SS!!?!?
I didn't get stewed tomatoes with the Opus dude. I also didn't get the menthol/peppermint patty characteristics of the Heitz MV which I think is more noticeable in younger wines than it is in older wines.
quote:
Originally posted by DoubleD:
quote:
Originally posted by g-man:
Really doubled?

you considered stewed tomatoes that was the opus higher than the caymus SS!!?!?
I didn't get stewed tomatoes with the Opus dude. I also didn't get the menthol/peppermint patty characteristics of the Heitz MV which I think is more noticeable in younger wines than it is in older wines.


you sure you poured the right wine into your glass? ;-)

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