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These wines were poured at the minivertical tasting that was hosted by Grossie in honor of Pyangs visit to Chicago last weekend. Pyang muled these wines from Napa for us. In my opinion this was the best overall vertical of the night and also included my top wine.

1998- This is one of the best 1998 Cabs I have had. Wonderful blueberry cheesecake nose. Meium bodied and lighter than the 1999 but with a better depth of fruit. A flavor profile similar to the great 2001 but on a slightly lesser scale. Notes of bitter berry fruit, cream and currant with a smooth mellow finish. Quite interesting. 93.

1999- This is an excellent wine on its' own merits but frankly comes off as a cheap imitation when tasted next to the 2001 version. This wine was full bodied with rich red berry and toasted oak notes. Firm tannins. 92.

2001- When I smelled and tasted this wine I immediately thought of the 1997 Avignonesi Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Grand Annate which I rated a 97 a year ago. Primarily because of its incredible nose. This is an excellent wine and my WOTN. I think Pyang got an earlier release of this wine and I am thankful he did. I am also glad that I ordered some with Otis after he barrel tasted it a month ago. This is a big wine with firm tannins but I already love it. Vanilla, carmel, blueberry and chocolatey oak notes. Intricate and complex and showing much more than I thought a 2001 ever would at this stage. Smooth swirling finish. 96.


AC145895 but dreaming of AC000000
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49 hours later the 99 is simply uniquely stunning! I dreaded drinking the last drop. Caramel, bittersweet chocolate, butterscotch, maple, brandy on a syrupy frame of plum and red fruits. Awesome! 95

The 01 is was an amplified version of this. I'm ecstatic to have 3 bottles coming my way, but I wish I would have ordered more. As for the 98, It was indeed drinking very good on saturday night and I also think it was the best 98 I've had. - Keep your friends close, but your wines closer.
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I had the Neals fairly early in the night (i snuck them during the wiffleball ass whooping). I though that the '99 was the most approachable of the group. It was huge, almost over the top but very enjoyable. Probably 93 points at that time.

I thought that the '01 was tight and not showing a whole lot but it appeared to be nicely balanced and one for the cellar and will probable surpass the the '99. Like R2, VM, and Otis, I am glad that I have some bottle coming.

The '01 Neal is a classic beauty of a wine. Pretty on pretty. Elegant and chic. Well-proportioned silky structure, with a spectacular flavor per square millimeter ratio. I absolutely loved it. 96P.

VM - just to clarify, the barrel samples I tasted were from the '02 vintage. The '01 had just been bottled and they were letting them settle. This was my first sip of the '01 and it did not disappoint. The '02 are actually more dense and powerful.

The '99 is a weightier cab than the '01, with big mocha and currant flavor on a velvety frame. 93-94P.

The '98 was solid and big in the middle. Great wine for the vintage. 91P.

Fantastic value at $45/bottle. Thanks pyang for bringing these!


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Humm...that's a good question, let me start by listing the 2001 Napa Cabs I've tasted out of the bottle. All of these has been in the bottle for less than 6 month, and some less than a month when I tasted.

2001 Del Dotto Lot 'C' Missouri Oak
2001 Hourglass
2001 Pine Ridge SLD
2001 Pine Ridge Andrus Reserve
2001 Pride
2001 David Arthur
2001 Neal Family

I think at this point it's still too early to put an accurate assessment on how any of these wines will age. All of them are still in some stage of bottle shock with some of them not showing close to what it was out of the barrel. Best example of such case in here is probably the 2001 David Arthur, which was tasted less than a month after it was bottled.

With that said, my educated guess would be the 2001 Neal Family will age better than most of them listed above, other than maybe David Arthur and Andrus Reserve.

Five years would not be an issue, as the '99 Neal is quickly approaching five years old and still drinking wonderfully like a baby, and the '01 in my opinion is a '99 on steroids in every dimension.

Based on that, it's probably safe to say that the 2001 Neal can last a good 7-10 years without any problem. Will just have to wait and see.

Now taking reservation for Version 1.4 of the 2003 Whirlwind Tour
So 7-10 years is not out of the question? Great to hear as I have 6 ordered based almost entirely on your (and others' on this board) recommendation.

10 hours of decanting and it was still a monster? Yikes! I opened a bottle of 2001 Pride a few weeks ago, and although angry on opening, revealed (what I can only hope was) a glimpse of its glory after two to three hours of open air. From your experience, any indications on when the wine will be more approachable (i.e., I will not have to run home from work at lunchtime to decant it for dinner)?

Obviously, I would ask for input from others on the board who have something to add.

Thanks to all. Sounds like a great night. Smile

Vino Me - I'm sure you've copyrighted your notes and are now filing infringement actions against the Neal Family for lifting your comments and using them in its marketing. Big Grin
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We just had a Neal Family vertical tasting up in Oregon. I would say both the '99 and '01 Neal easily came in the top 5 wine for me among all the wines we had over the weekend.

Based on the way the '99 Neal is drinking right now, I would guess that '01 Neal should be more approachable around late 2005.

Mark mentioned the other day that he opened a bottle and left it in the cellar, a week later, it was singing... Eek

Now taking reservation for Thanksgiving Week Tour Dates of the 2003 Whirlwind Tour

Having had the '98 and '99, I have to agree that there are precious few California Cabernet wines of this good quality at this affordable price. The '02 single vineyards out of barrel were uniformly excellent in what some now call an uneven vintage year.

I couldn't fill out my order for the '01 wines fast enough
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Well after tasting this vertical last weekend with Pyang and enjoyingwine, I am glad I ordered a mag and a case. The only question now is whether to order that second case? Where am I going to find such a nice wine for this kind of money? The only choices for me are: 2001 Insignia over $100.00, 2001 Foley Claret $100.00, 1999 Shafer Hillside $150.00, 2001 Pride Reserve $110.00. 2001 Switchback $60.00. Roll Eyes

It's like a half off clearance sale! But if I order the two cases then I feel like I am being greedy. Red Face

It used to be beer, the old lady, & TV. Now it's wine, American Express, & this stupid forum!

"Where am I going to find such a nice wine for this kind of money?"

If you find it let us know. Be greedy - order more, I think you'll be glad you did. I originally ordered 6 bottles before visiting Neal. As soon as I returned home from the winery I ordered another case as well as some 375's. This wine is not only a great QPR it is simply GREAT !

Thank you sir...may I have another ?
Otis opened 2 bottles of the 2001 Neal Family Vineyards Napa Cabernet Sauvignon at his Cellar Diminishment Party last weekend. The first he decanted for 18 hours; the other received no decanting.

18 Hour- There was a marked difference between these 2 bottles with this one being superior. This bottle showed more of the sweet fruit and depth I remember. However, it was not showing as well as the bottle Pyang opened for us. Could it have been decanted too long? 95 points.

No Decanting- A marked step down in my opinion but still very nice. Many of the subtle nuances were missing and the fruit did not come across as focused, pure and sweet. 92-93 points.

2001 Neal Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon

Otis opened another bottle of this wine at his CDP this year. This bottle was decanted for 12+ hours. This particular bottle reminded me of the 1st time I tasted the 2001 Neal. A beautifully sweet nose. Rich and full bodied but very nicely balanced. Round ripe fruit with some milk chocolate notes. Tied for my favorite Cab of the night. 94+ points.

Thanks Otis.

Since you have a case why not open one now? Try a sip upon opening, then decant and revisit over 1 or 2 days and see how much the wine evolves. Since I have a good stash, I plan opening 1 a year, looking for the optimum drinking window. If you only had a few, I would say hold on to these as LJ suggests.
Enjoy, you never know what's going to happen tomorrow.
Opened a bottle of the 01 Napa cab this evening. Right out of the bottle, this is a HUGE wine. Loads of cherry, blackberry, mocha and...too much oak. This needs time. Two hours later, the heavy oakiness is still there, but is somewhat less pronounced. I think it (a) needs another couple of years (at most) in the botttle and (b) the right food match (grilled steaks, perhaps).

I'll see what this is like tomorrow night, after 24 hrs open. Tonight, HI=91.
2001 Neal Family Cabernet Sauvignon - USA, California, Napa Valley (4/16/2007)

Opened at the Heggis aloha party last week. Dark purple color. Notes of bleuberry and currant. Medium bodied with a round finish. This wine was drinking much better when young. It had a youthful exuberance back then that I really enjoyed. Still my score today is nothing to scoff at. 92-93 points.


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