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Interesting you asked that. I haven't had the Livingston Moffett Gemstone bottling recently, so can't really comment on that.

However, at the tasting I was at earlier tonight, Gemstone was brought up in the conversation, and someone in the grouped mentioned that he thought the Livingston Moffett Gemstone have more oak infulence vs. the Gemstone.

2004 Whirlwind Tour
Friday, June 18, 2004

David Arthur
Hummm...what else can I add to this introduction, the ever wonderful and entertaining David Long, great view of the valley and the wonderful juice. Bottom line, GO VISIT if you haven't.

Oh, this visit was cut short as we had to rush back to the office for a BBQ. Wink

2002 Sangiovese - barrel sample
Spice with layers of cherries, raspberries and strawberries. Voluptuous ripe tannin, sweet and soft.

2002 Cabrenet Franc - barrel sample
Ripe fragrant black cherries rises from the glass. Tones of sweet black fruit on the palate accompanied by silky tannin, a lush wine. Solid mid-palate and structure.

2003 Cabernet Sauvignon 3 Acre - barrel sample
This is from their young vines. Sweet cherries with round and smooth mouth feel, joined by layers of spice, cedar and fragrant herb. Soft and sexy.

2002 Cabernet Sauvignon 3 Acre - barrel sample
Also from their young vines. Dense chewy black cherries. Tons of warm fuzzy black fruits with brown sugar and cream brulee finish.

2002 Elevation East Block - barrel sample
Powerful aromatic black fruit. Roasted coffee bean with layers of black cherries and hints of stone and mineral to retain the freshness. Solid mid-palate with firm ripe tannin.

2002 Elevation West Block - barrel sample
Slightly porty nose. Heavy roasted espresson bean dominates the nose. Medium fruit on the palate with gripping chalky tannin. Toasty finish.

1993 Meritagio

2001 Meritagio

After this tasting, kind of wished I picked up that 3L of 2002 Elevation from my allocation...

2004 Whirlwind Tour
Saturday, July 10, 2004

Neal Family
Okay...what else can I add... Wink
Yeah, Mark is a pretty good cook as well. Went up the mountain for some lunch fresh out of the stone oven, had some 2003 & 2002 barrel samples for appetizers. What a way to start a beautiful weekend. Smile

2003 Cabernet Sauvignon barrel samples
Second Chance
The Atlas Peak entry. Deep dark fruit aroma. Tannic monster with ripe sweet fruit hiding in the background. Toasty finish that lingers on.

A Howell Mountain entry. Nose of sweet black plum. Teeth gripping tannin with layers of ripe round black fruits, dominated with black cherries.

Howell Mountain Estate
Fragrant espresso beans rises from the glass. Loads of dark fruit with freshness balanced by minerals. Toffee finish.

All these 2003 barrel samples are coming along nicely. They are all comparable and in the similar stage with the 2001 & 2002 barrel samples at about the same time. If 2003 is truly such a difficult vintage as reflected by Laube, it ain't showing here.

2002 Cabernet Sauvignon barrel samples
Napa Valley
Cola nose followed by the reaction of WOW after the first sip. Beautiful entry with round and supple fruit. Firm tannin and great balance that should make this wine age quite well.

2002 Second Chance
HUGE black fruit nose that just jumps out at you. Unbelievable texture on the palate, thick, juicy, chewy. A dense and monstrous wine that should be served with knife and fork. Impeccable wine across all aspects, bulls-eye! Words can't do this wine justice.

2002 Chafen Vineyard
Perfume of milk chocolate with ripe black cherries. Liquid chocolate and black cherry mixture sings on the palate, round, supple, silky smooth. An extremely polished wine with amazing balance.

2002 Rutherford
Huge Black fruit with cream brulee. Loads of black fruits, softest tannin of all '02 entries. Elegant, sexy, silky smooth. Rene Russo in that black see through gown in Ocean's 11 comes to mind. Wink

2002 Howell Mountain Estate
Ripe cherry nose. Flavors of chocolate covered cherries with whipped cream just melts together on the palate. Huge wine with firm tannin and refreshing quality.

I've said it before and I will say it once more. The 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon lineup from Neal Family is across the board better than 2001 without a doubt!!!

2004 Whirlwind Tour
Thursday, August 19, 2004

Kapcsandy Family
Helen Turley is the winemaker for this new winery. First release will be the 2003 vintage from their estate owned vineyard in Yountville.

The vineyard plot was the old State Lane Vineyard owned by Beringer, purchased by Kapsandys in 2000 and replanted in 2002.

Case production for 2003 will likely be around 200 cases of 100% Cabernet Sauvignon.

2003 Cabernet Sauvignon barrel sample
Aged in 100% new French Oak, Taransaud heavy toast. The nose displays a heavy dose of lavender accompanied by dark fruits and a touch of peppery spice. Still a very young wine, some may say raw at this juncture. However, the wine shows a strong mid-palate and good balance, chewy texture and medium dark fruits. Impressive especially considering the vineyard is only two years old for this production. Should be interesting to watch and track the progress.

2004 Whirlwind Tour
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Tuesday, August 3, 2004

Pride Mountain Vineyards
Tim invited me up for a tasting of the 2003 barrel samples after discussing with him on what Mr. Laube had to say about the vintage. Who am I to turn that down. Big Grin Just another beautiful morning up on Spring Mountain and CHICO came out to play as well. Smile

2002 Mountain Top Chardonnay
Flavors of tropical fruit, butter scotch, cream brulee, ripe mango that resembles the dry mango snack. Noticeable oak influence.
Worth a shot.

2002 Viognier
Aroma of ripe stone fruit and spring flowers that translates onto the palate with some young mango.
Worth a shot.

2002 Merlot
Toasty nose with brown sugar. Showing heavy oak with burned sugar, cream brulee flavors. Black fruit hiding in the background waiting to emerge. Probably still need to wait another 3-4 month before the wine settle down in the bottle.

2002 Barrel Samples
Vintner's Select Merlot Upper Mountain Top
Melody of caramel, toffee and sweet black fruit jumps out from the glass. Sugar loaded maple syrup with round black fruit just attacks the palate. Silky tannin, good weight and nice finish.

Reserve Claret
Loads of ripe cherries on the nose. Chalky tannin with tons of sweet medium-dark fruits balanced by good acidity.

Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
Toffee, chocolate, black fruits. Hint of Chinese preserved stone fruits. Dense, chewy and thick.

2003 Barrel Samples
Merlot - Kelley's Vineyard
Sweet black cherry and brown sugar. Round fruit with firm and slightly chalky tannin.

Merlot - Wind Whistle Vineyard
Spice, black fruit and a touch of white pepper on the nose. Good structure full body wine. Touch warm.

Classic syrah profile, meaty & peppery. Blueberries, blackberries and layers of spice. Beautiful.

Cabernet Franc
Violet, rose petals with sweet black fruit. Long finish.

Cabernet Sauvignon - Rock Arch Upper Block
Toasty black fruit on the nose. Mouthful of burned sugar & toasty espresso beans. Oak is overpowering the fruit at this point. Powdery tannin.

Cabernet Sauvignon - Rock Arch Middle Block
Another toasty entry. Blueberries jumps out on the nose. This barrel is much more balanced between the fruit and oak.

Cabernet Sauvignon - Carolyn's Vineyard
Slightly toasty accompanied by elegant black fruits. Layers of black cherries and blackberries. Lingering brown sugar finish.

2004 Whirlwind Tour

Tim mentioned that Foley think this is the best vintage yet before our visit. The interesting part is that after the tasting we were slightly puzzled by how much oak influnce the wine is showing on this particular day.
With that said, the Syrah we tasted was on neutral oak so it should be a good example of what's the juice is all about for the 2003 vintage. Based on that, I would say 2003 is on-par with 2001 & 2002, at least at Pride. The same can be said regarding Neal Family, as indicated in an earlier post in this thread.

You'll have to make it out here one of these days and we can setup a dinner to welcome your visit and do some winery hopping. Cool

2004 Whirlwind Tour

Thanks for your continued diligence. We all understand the effort it takes to make it up those mountain roads. I did make it up to Neal and Pride last fall. The Neal 2002 barrel samples were incredible! I’ve been saving up and patiently waiting for their release.

Now you say that ‘03 is going to match up to ’01 and ’02 at a couple of our favorite places. That sucking sound is my money leaving my wallet and into Mr. Neal’s, albeit quite willingly.

Thank you very much for the gracious offer; hopefully I’ll be able to take you up on it some day.

Keep up the GREAT “work”. Smile

Thank you sir...may I have another ?
Maybe you can clear up some confusion with the '03 Chard. Sold out?! Different fruit source? Is it that good or is the problem the amount produced?

I made the trek from Neal to Pride last Sunday, with only a few screams from my wife...just in time for the desert wine accident in the tasting room. Hope everyone is OK. Things are hard enough right now.

I did get to pick up my order, but was mildly disappointed about the Chard, although I had bought plenty already at Rombauer, Vine Cliff and Truchard.

Have you ever whirlwinded your way to Vine Cliff? Don't remember any TN's.

Thanks for the sacrifice you make, taking one for the team on almost a weekly basis.
Wink Big Grin

Better Red Than Not!

Which 2003 Chard are you asking about? Pride?

I visited Vine Cliff once, I believe it was sometime last year, late summer/early fall. It was a last minute thing so I dind't take down any notes. Nothing too interesting as I recall, albeit most reds we tasted was the 2000 vintage. Pricing can also use a little help.

As for the sacrifice I make, just hope that one of you forumites will come through when I need a liver transplant... Wink Big Grin

2004 Whirlwind Tour
Yes, I'm referring to the '03 Pride Chard. As of last Saturday they were sold out both in the tasting room and for someone like myself who has been on the list for a couple years.
I was told that a different fruit source was used and that there was a switch to 100% French oak.
It's no real big deal....but I do use the Chard "hook" as I bait my wife to indulge my red habit!

Better Red Than Not!
Monday, October 11, 2004

Lewelling Vineyards
Still one of the best kept secrets in the valley, but not sure how much longer. Smile Take the time to give Dave and Doug a call to setup an appointment on your next visit to Napa. Won't be disappointed.

2000 Cabernet Sauvignon
A melody of pine, vanilla, bay leaf and eucalyptus rises from the glass. Medium dark fruit balanced with good acidity creates a beautiful harmony. Black cherries and blackberries laced with spice accompanied by silky smooth ripe tannin that's well integrated. A wonderful wine to drink now illustrate what 2000 Napa Cab is capable when it's done right.

2001 Cabernet Sauvignon
Deep black fruit with milk chocolate, vanilla and a touch of cinnamon makes the first impression. Lush, dense and chewy black fruit, a huge wine that's not overblown. Firm, ripe sweet tannin that's not one bid intrusive on the palate. Monster wine with elegance exhibiting great balance, structure, depth and complexity. Long chocolate/mocha finish that lingers on make you keep on reaching for that bottle for seconds.
Stock Up!

2004 Whirlwind Tour
Friday, December 10, 2004

Karl Lawrence
After I completely spaced on yesterday's appointment with Ric Henry, he was very accommodating to take out some time to meet me earlier this afternoon at Sequoia Grove to go through a few barrel samples as well as picking up my 2001 Reserves.

All these barrel samples are still just infants, probably still going through malo. Notes are brief and I hope to revisit these in about a year to check on the progress.

2004 Morisoli
Dense and dark black fruits, ripe, not much mid-palate showing yet.

2004 Herb Lamb
Minty, meatier than Morisoli. Solid black fruits. Seem a bit more advanced than Morisoli. Nice mid-palate and long finish.

2004 Madrigal
Sharp, still going through fermentation. Not the same caliber as Morisoli or Herb Lamb.

2004 To Kalon
Clean, loads of mineral and black fruits. Very intrigued by this.

2004 Dr. Crane

2002 Karl Lawrence Cabernet Sauvignon
This was just bottled in September. Tight and still need to pull back together from bottle shock. Lots of cedar, wood spice and bay leaf at current stage that should soften with 6-12 month bottle aging. Wall of tanning, not giving up much, medium-dark fruit in the background.
Sunday, December 19, 2004

Neal Family
Bottling day up on Howell Mountain for the long anticipated 2002 Vineyard Designates. All those beautiful large format bottles CHICO dreams about, 1.5L, 3.0L and 6.0L. Wink

There will be a total of six vineyard designates available for 2002. The only one I did not taste today is the 1540 bottling, which is from a vineyard on Howell Mountain but carries Napa Valley appellation as it's right below the altitude cut-off line.

For Napa Cabernet lovers out there, these 2002 release will be a good way to get acclimated with the various appellations in the valley. Six 100% Cabernet Sauvingnon from six different vineyards all with it's own distinct personality. Terrior expression at it's best.

2002 Rutherford - Wykoff Vineyard
Truck loads of ripe bing cherry explodes from the glass. Coffee grounds, black cherries and blackberries weaved together with stream of mineral running throught to give the wine freshness and balance. Ripe sweet silky tannin that's well integrated and great mid-palate concentration. An amazing combination of power and grace. The most polished wine in the lineup.

2002 One Lane Bridge - Mt. Veeder
Dark purple in color. Fragrant dark fruits on the nose. Blueberries laced with mint and cigar spice on the palate with a touch of raw steak. Firm tannin, strong mid-palate, medium finish. The most reserved of the bunch.

2002 Second Chance Vineyard - Atlas Peak
Deep, jammy black fruits rises from the glass. Waves of sweet ripe black cherries and blackberries attacks the palate. Firm and slightly chalky tannin. Long lingering finish of cocoa powder. A huge and powerful wine, flamboyant is the word.

2002 Chafen Vineyard - Crystal Springs North Fork
Medium dark fruits on the nose. Initial sweetness of cherries and raspberries hits the tip of the tongue followed by walls of mouth coating tannin. The most tannic of the bunch ever since the beginning. Needs time to soften up the tannin to release the medium dark cherries hidden in the background. Patience required.

2002 Howell Mountain Estate
Aromatic black cherries on the nose. Layers of medium-dark fruits laced with oolong tea spice and pine cone. Firm gripping and stroing long finish. Another wine that requires to be layed down for at least five years.
Originally posted by pyang:
Thursday, August 19, 2004

_Kapcsandy Family_
Helen Turley is the winemaker for this new winery. First release will be the 2003 vintage from their estate owned vineyard in Yountville.

pyang - do you have contact info for Kapcsandy? I e-mailed Louis Jr. at Grand Cru, but never heard back.

As always thanks for your notes. I always enjoy reading about barrel samples (especially from the likes of Neal Family and Karl Lawrence!)
Well hunter, you're now one up on me. You've had all the Brunello AND a Neal Cab. I've got two and a half cases of Neal just waiting for my first taste this summer, and probably more on the way.

I can hardly wait to see whether I'll make the Vineyard Designate cutoff. That would make a very nice welcome home present for myself after being overseas for 6 years. HINT HINT, Mark are you listening?

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