We had four flights with four bottles in each flight. The results were VERY surprising!!!

The entire evening was a complete BLIND tasting. We knew nothing about vintage or where the wine was produced.

Flight #1
1.) 1998 Byrd Cooper Napa Valley - nose: oak and beef jerky; palette: fuity, strawberry.
2.) 1995 d'Arenberg Custodian - nose: oxidized, port smell; palette tobacco.
3.) 2000 Chateau de la Gardine Chateauneuf de Pape - nose: huge butterscotch aroma; palette: tight and sharp. Too young.
4.) 2001 Qupe Santa Ynez Valley Purisima Mt. Vineyard - nose: closed; palette: tart, very young.

My choice in this first flight was #3.

Flight #2
1.) 2000 The Fifteen - nose: oaky and a hint of licorice; palette: fruity, with that same hint of licorice.
2.) 1999 d'Arenberg Custodian - nose: wildly complexe nose, lots of stuff happening; palette - very well balanced in the mouth, mild tannins, lots of fruit.
3.) 2001 Dehesa Gago - PLONK!!! Nothing good to say here...
4.) 1999 Philip Staley Russian River Valley - nose: rather flat and unexciting; palette: slight hint of strawberry.

My choice in Flight 2 was #2.

Flight #3
1.) 2000 Vina Borgia - nose: smelled exactly like a port; palette: bland, no connection between the nose and palette. Blah.
2.) 2000 Cedarville Vineyards - nose: fruity, slightly tight; palette: fruity, but still a little tart.
3.) 2000 Oliverhill Winery Bradey Block - nose: cranberry/cherry, then olives; palette: well balanced, smooth, fruity.
4.) 2000 T Vine Napa Valley - nose: soft and fruity; palette: well balanced.

My choice in Flight 3 was #3.

Flight #4
1.) 1996 d'Arenberg Custodian - the only note I have for this is Sweet-Tarts.
2.) 2000 Boeger - nose: sweet, carmel; palette: fruity, well balanced, soft.
3.) 1999 Guigal Chateauneuf de Pape (WS WOTY) - nose: fruity; palette: tight and sharp, little balance, tannins.
4.) 2000 Alban Vineyard Edna Valley - the only note I have for this is BURNED RUBBER!

My choice in Flight 4 was #2.

The 2000 Boeger Grenache was the Wine of the Night at this tasting BEATING OUT by a LARGE margin the WS WOTY!!! I think someone said the Guigal tied for 12th place!!! Big Grin Eek Big Grin

I'm still in Eek due to the fact that I brought the Boeger... Big Grin

http://www.winesnobz.com/napa_2003.htm

Wine maketh glad the heart of men and maketh women giggle.
Original Post
Having been a big fan of the '98 (one of all-time favorite California wines) and the '99 (a bit high in acid but still very good), I bought 9 bottles of '00 without tasting. Based on James Laubes note, I assumed it was drinking well early. Nope-it does absolutely reek of burnt rubber. The '98 has some sewer gas/sulfur that blows off, but '00's intense burnt rubber does not blow off even with many hours of air. It is also insanely dense and dare I say it, full of wild, almost stomach turning flavors. I think this is one angry mean monster of a wine that needs five to six years to become drinkable. Right now, it is hardly fit for human consumption. I am a huge Alban fan and like huge over-the-top wines, but chances are this wine will primarily have experimental value, only. As always, time will tell.
My notes basically mirrored Brent's, we had the same #1 in 3 of the 4 flights with me liking the Guigal slightly better than the Boeger due to its cigar box notes though I certainly liked the Boeger, my WOTN was Chateau de La Gardine which needs some time, obviously I have a preference for the Chateauneufs. I liked the '99 Custodian quite well also. The '00 T-Vine showed well, just a little much American oak at this time, but that should settle, this was one of the best balanced wines of the setting. The Dehesa Gago (burnt oak and roofing tar) was just nasty (no matter what grape it is) and the Alban was truly horrific, like a tire recylcing center on fire. It's color was more like Petite Syrah than anything else. I would be interested how your experiment turns out FSS. My other disappointment was the Cedarville which I had as tart and poopy. Great night of good people and interesting wines, thanks Winebrat and Enotria for having us. Big Grin
The Grenache tasting was very eye-opening for me as far as the vastly different forms and fashions that Grenache can take on. My notes followed Brent's and Stealth's almost exactly. To me, one of the greatest things about wine is that a $9 bottle of California wine (or any kind) can have a chance to beat out WS's WOTY!! Of course we were drinking the Guigal quite young but nevertheless.... Great time. Thanks to all who attended.
Thank you for your notes on your tasting includinig the 2000 Boeger.

It is not surprising that a forward syled new world grenache (evidently exceptionally produced) would be more immediately pleasing than Guigal's 70% old-vine grenache 1999 CDP. I agree that Guigal's 1999 CDP is certainly overrated at WOTY but contains all the classic elements and is an exceptional value at $21/bottle (not the $40+ retailers are demanding). Certaintly few would have ranked this wine in their top thirty wines with the truly exceptional 1997 brunello vintage among others if price and availabilty were not the bulk of the WS top 100 criteria.

Having a case of the Guigal, I would be glad to get together in 5 years and taste the Boeger against the Guigal. Of course the strength of Boeger is in its fruit and youth, and Guigal in its earth and longevity.

All the best, Rob
nepal9@hotmail.com
Here's what I find ironically amusing: In the past Alban was not widely distributed and for some strange reason, it would find it's way to some markets where the locals did not know it or appreciate it so it would sit on the shelves. Then J.L. gives the 2000s (both the Reva and the Grenache) huge scores and it goes flying off the shelves. I gaaaaranteeeee that many of the folks who "bought the score" rather than tasting first are going to be quite disappointed. As an unabashed Alban freak, I have learned the hard way that you can't simply open an Alban and expect your wine-geek friends to share your enthusiasm. The more reductive examples tend to polarize any group into the love its and the hate its. For some reason the extent of reductive smell/sewer gas/burnt rubber varies from bottle to bottle and tends to be most pronounced in the Reva and Grenache as compared to the Lorraine, Seymour's, and Pandora. Then again, I've certainly opened far more of the Reva and the Grenache compared to the (even) more expensive bottlings. So, to answer the last post, perhaps the bottle or two that J.L. tasted from had less reductive quality, but regardless of the reason, there are going to be a lot of confused Alban-novices out there.
Had the 2000 Alban Grenache sunday night and burnt rubber was still the nose completely. Very interesting wine. Very fat in the mouth with nice length and finish but I couldn't tell exactly what dark fruits and plum I got in the mouth. A very confounding wine. Maybe in another five years the wine will flesh out and show some fruit. A wine I couldn't really score right now but very interesting.

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