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THE WINES OF RUSSELL BEVAN - Domaine Wine Storage - Chicago, IL (7/11/2013)

Russel Bevan and Josh Peeples were on their 2011 vintage tour and luckily stopped in Chicago. It was a lot of fun chatting with them over the course of the evening and was exciting to see/hear their passion about their 2011 vintage. Much maligned, the wines showed very well. I'm not a big Napa Cabernet fan, but this seems to be a vintage of softer tannins, a more lean structure, and less jammy/smokey fruit. A number of us Old World guys commented how surprisingly delicious these wines were.
  • 2011 Château Boswell Jacquelynn Cuvée Blanc - USA, California, Napa Valley
    Very tropical. The semillon really powered past the sauvignon blanc to me. Pineapple, mango, peach, lychee, name it, this had it. The melange of fruit from the semillon dominated the subtle grassy, herbal, freshness of the sauvignon blanc. Oh well, I think it would have been a bit more enjoyable for me if the sauvignon's acid powered through. (86 pts.)
  • 2011 Château Boswell Chardonnay Ritchie Vineyard - USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast
    This was rich, textured, plush, and quite nice. The meyer lemon flavors were incredibly vivid and the palate was oily and sappy without being overly aggressive. Nice cut and minerality on the finish - again, thinking the 2011 vintage is helping out this old world palate of mine enjoy these more than normal. (91 pts.)
  • 2011 Château Boswell Chardonnay The Voyage - USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley
    Big, burly and tropical. This was my least favorite of the Boswell whites. Its flavors were overly exaggerated, the alcohol was a touch too aggressive for me and the acidity was low. Just missed the mark for me. (81 pts.)
  • 2012 Château Boswell Chardonnay Dutton Ranch "Rued Vineyard" - USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley
    I would have had no chance guessing this wine blind. It does not smell like chardonnay...but is a dead ringer for viogner, marsanne, roussane. Lots of ginger, melons, white florals and sappy fruit on the nose. The palate seemed to correct its course and the subtle butter, lemon, mineral and flinty notes emerged. Josh Peeples mentioned how radical a wine it was, and I would have to agree. Almost seems like the name "Scholium" should be on the label. (89 pts.)
  • 2011 Château Boswell Cabernet Sauvignon Jacquelynn - USA, California, Napa Valley
    A nice combination of minty, dark, cabernet fruit with silky tannins and smokey earth. I thought the palate showed nice restraint and with time should really round into a nicely balanced, elegant Napa cabernet. This was good. (89 pts.)
  • 2011 Château Boswell Cabernet Sauvignon Jacquelynn Beckstoffer George III - USA, California, Napa Valley, Rutherford
    This may have been the first time I tasted wine from BG3, and it was quite nice. Again, I think the coolness of the 2011 vintage really helped me out keeping the fruit cool, the alcohol moderate and the tannis soft. The palate was silky and layered. All-in-all a really nice wine. (91 pts.)
  • 2010 Château Boswell Cabernet Sauvignon Jacquelynn Oakville - USA, California, Napa Valley, Oakville
    Another minty and dark-fruited cabernet from Boswell. The dark fruit was silky, the tannins were smooth, but there was a coffee and/or mocha flavor that made the wine a bit sweet for me. I think this had a lot going for it, but the sweetness kept it from really knocking my socks off. (86 pts.)
  • 2011 Bevan Cellars EE Cuvée - USA, California, Napa Valley, Oakville
    A very inviting wine with spice notes, dark fruits, and smoke on the nose. The first sip was super silky. While the fruit was rich and textured, it did have nice finesse. I can't get by how polished this wine is...seems a bit devoid of much rusticity or edginess, but c'mon, it's Napa. Pretty good stuff. (88 pts.)
  • 2010 Bevan Cellars Oscar Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyard - USA, California, Napa Valley
    The cabernet franc came through on the nose with the hints of green pepper, some dirt and funk. The richness of the merlot combined nicely with the more rustic cabernet franc and the mix of rich fruits and hints of green had me daydreaming of Chinon. The palate was big and bold. Mocha, hints of spearmint, blackberries, and smokey minerals were bold and thick. Thankfully, the 2011 vintage coolness kept the fruit and smoke in a somewhat restrained mode. Could go either way on this wine. The fruits were lush and vivid, just maybe a hair too heavy for me. (87 pts.)
  • 2011 Bevan Cellars Ontogeny - USA, California, Napa Valley, Oakville
    One of the better wines of the night. Nice dark, deep fruits, but was balanced with a firm earthy and mineral edge. Russell mentioned that the vintage gave the fruit a really sexy coolness and I would have to agree. Tannins were there, but it was bottled three weeks, whatever. Liked this. (90 pts.)

Most of the 2011s were bottled three weeks ago, and I thought they showed nicely. I think the coolness of the vintage may provide opportunities for those of us that pine for the '70s, '80s, & '90s in Napa.
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