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Decided to open one early to see if I wanted to bite for more from the recent mailing...

A baby. Very tight as expected. Hot nose. Inky, dark color. Full-bodied mouthfeel that I liked. After 3 hours in decanter without this one giving up much of its secrets, I decide to wait it out a day. After 24 hours, the tannins are softer, but still significantly overpower the fruit. On the tongue it beguilingly hints at a future lushness of sweet black cherry, bitter-sweet chocolate, wood smoke, meat. Getting a bit of mocha coffee and cedar also. This wine is going to be nice, but I agree with other tasters: it will take 5 more years. 89 points.

Randy Sloan
Match Vineyards
When I opened my bottle of 2001 Neal cab in April, it was ferrociously tannic. I left it open for a full day in the fridge, and tried again. Still no luck. So I bottled half of it in a clean .375 Sauternes empty bottle, put in the Neal cork, and put it on a shelf in the kitchen. I had forgotten it was there, but saw it last night.

Opened it again. Now at this point this wine was open for a full day, and aerated by pouring into a .375, then exposed to temperatures that ranged from 65 on the low end to 80 on the high end, for seven months.

It was delicious last night. Tannin had integrated, it was moderately complex, and had a nice bouquet.
I had this wine with Mrs. Drab tonight. All this talk made me want to "drab" a bottle. I haven't had it since release last year. I would have to agree with comments above about it being "ferrociously tannic". This wine has MONSTEROUS structure to it. Both ripe, thick, volumptuous tannin, and a cornicopia of well integrated acid. IMHO, these two things dominate the wine right now. This could be the most primal wine I've ever had. Even the 15.2% alcohol is well concealed within it's structure. There is, looming in the background, a curtain of black fruits and spice, but I think it will be many more years before those move ahead of the wines backbone. 91 pts. for me for now..... was decanted while I was at work for nearly 5 hours. We drank about 1/2-2/3 of the bottle over the following 2 hours, and left the rest for the wait staff. I gave up on it....

So much little time!!!
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Opened and decanted for three hours. I read the immediately prior notes and don't think its unfair to describe this as tannic at this point. If you choose to drink it this early, it is not for the faint of heart, but that being said it is still a joy. The aroma is wonderful and the palate is full of ripe plum, cinnamon and nutmeg. I won't touch another of these for at least a couple of years, but I wanted to check it out again before I placed my '02 order.
I am not tasting this wine as overly tannic?? I'm sure its just my palate as it seems, some recent posters with much more experience see it that way. I am really trying to hold back on these to see what they taste like down the road, the only problem is I can't find anything better, for $45 bucks and Im too chicken to spend much more.
i popped this for 2 couples i occasionally drink with, and that i havent seen in a long time... it was consumed last with minimal decanting, if any

the wine was obviously tight but surprisingly drinkable & smooth, a little hot, but just noticeable, nothing to complain about. the nose didnt show much, and the palate for that matter, but it did at the same time - very layered & dense, you could just tell there was stuff hiding... a nice core of fruit emerged near the end, always smooth...

FYI - 147 search results came up for "2001 Neal" - that's ridiculous
15,000 threads on this wine so I guess I'll pick this one since it's the only one dedicated to this wine and not combined with others... Razz

2001 Neal Family Cabernet Sauvignon - USA, California, Napa Valley (1/15/2007)

Tasted January 15, 2007 at home. Opened and splash decanted about 45 minutes before serving in a Spiegelau Authentis Magnum glass. Nose of black berries, juniper, smoke and a mix of dark fruits. Flavors of black cherries, black berries and once again a mix of dark fruits. Medium acidity, tannins and body. Seems to be in an akward stage. This wine would bounce back and forth between an attractive nose and palate to something akin to “dishwater”. Really weird. I’d recommend holding another 6 months before trying again. (90 pts.)
no formal notes but had a bottle of this on Tues night with some people who had never had a Neal wine and it was very good right out of the bottle... nicely integrated tannins, good weight & texture, the flavors were tight but you could still taste alot going on... still has a long life ahead of it obviously but it drank very well at this point with no decanting
2001 Neal Family Cabernet Sauvignon - USA, California, Napa Valley (8/30/2007)

Tasted August 30, 2007. Opened and splash decanted about 45 minutes before serving in a Spiegelau Authentis Magnum glass. Beware this wine is starting to throw some sediment. Purple color in the glass, clear hue throughout. Nose of mixed dark rich fruits with a smidge of attractive cedar early on followed by plums, black currants and black licorice. Flavors of plums, black berries and cherries. Medium acidity, integrated tannins, medium to full body Drink or hold. One of the best showings yet for this wine. Recommended. (92 pts.)
The recent success of this wine at Otis' CDP prompted me to pull a bottle for tonight's cookout. As wiml indicated, one of the best showings of this wine to my tastes since release. Should only improve for the next few years.

  • 2001 Neal Family Cabernet Sauvignon - USA, California, Napa Valley (9/3/2007)
    Decanted and aired out in the cellar for an hour. Rich Cabernet nose of currant, blackberry and a touch of toast. Very dark with no signs of age. Full bodied, with currant, blackberry, a touch of cherry and a still noticeable tannic backbone. 30+ second finish. Absolutely wonderful with grilled hamburgers. Entering the zone to my tastes. Glad to have more. (92 pts.)

Posted from CellarTracker
Originally posted by indybob:

Thanks for the notes. Glad you liked it. But, only 92pts??? Cool

If it "should only improve over the next few years" ands it's "entering the zone" I would assume that PH means the wine, and the score, would be better with a few more years of cellaring.

Anyway, it's a solid wine but it's never going to be a 95+ classic, with or without time.
Originally posted by indybob:

Thanks for the notes. Glad you liked it. But, only 92pts??? Cool

I think I might tend to be a little stingy with points compared to some. I believe that an 88 point wine is a very good bottle of wine, so a 92 is damn good juice in my book!

It never fails to amaze me how many people will score a wine 87 points and say how much they disliked it. Hey, it's a B+ for crying out loud!

I think the 2001 Neal might pick up another point or two in the next 5 years. Looking forward to finding out. Cool

I read these last few comments yesterday with interest as I have 3 bottles of this wine that I'd nearly forgotten about.

We had one last night. This is a very nice wine, with an especially nice nose. I think PH's comments are on point-- it's dark, with good fruit, and some fine tannins on the end. While the tannins will still soften, I'm not sure it has the density of fruit to go a lot longer without beginning to fade. I'd err on the side of caution here and drink mine within the next 2-3 years. I'm sure someone will experiment-- hopefully with good result-- with leaving a bottle or 3 for a lot longer.
Originally posted by wineismylife:
We need at least one more person to jump into this thread and tell all of us this wine needs more time.

This wine needs more time! Cool

Actually, I only have the SVD's or the SDV's, or whatever, from the 2001 vintage, and will probably hold those for another 3/4 years.

I tried the 2002 Chafen recently, and it was very oaky and not displaying any of the smoothness I expected. I'll hold the 2002 SDV's for another 5 years.

IMO, the best Neal I've tasted (that was ready) was the regular 2002 Neal Cabernet, which I thought was very enjoyable. 91/93
I am in favor of drinking this sooner rather than later. The bottle I recently had was very nice but did not compare to the bottles I have tried earlier when, as Mark would suggest, "decant at noon and hope your guests do not show up for dinner so you can enjoy the whole bottle." As I decant just about everything, I splashed decanted and poured. It had alot less nose than on previous tastings. With all the talk about bottle variation, who knows, just my impression on the bottle I enjoyed. Just thinking that going from a 7 hour decant in early 2005 to decant and drink and not get as much enjoyment means it is ready to drink now for me. I would prefer to drink this on the way up the hill rather than on the backside.
Originally posted by wineismylife:
Originally posted by indybob:
I did. I loved the stuff, gave it 95pts, and said drink up. Got a problem with that?

Wow, guess I struck a nerve or something. No, I don't have a problem with that.

Have a nice day.

No worries WIML! Big Grin A little recent banter between myself, Markiemark, and a few of our our other Southern posters have made my trigger finger itch a bit. I'm sure you understand.

I get that most folks think this wine is a nice solid 91-92 points, and hasn't hit its stride. The bottle I tasted from at the CDP really spoke to me. It kind of hit my personal groove if you will.

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