A recent enjoyable trip to Napa Valley (with wine savvy relatives from Ohio in tow) confirmed once again the quality and consistency of wines that are crafted by winemakers in this premium wine producing region. Amidst winter rain drenched vineyards and cozy tasting rooms, a host of impressive wines were unveiled:
Joseph Phelps 2006 Insignia: This 95% Cab Sauv, 5% Petite Verdot blend has an inky dark purple hue with expressive aromas of cassis and tobacco that are ever-so engaging. This rich blend builds on the palate with opulent, dense dark berry and cassis flavors that are cloaked magnificently in mocha, anise and tobacco notes, and shows off a velvety texture and long finish Complex with beautifully integrated tannins that suggest long ageability.
Joseph Phelps 2005 Bacchus Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon: The nose is a bit restrained at the moment, but the dark berry and cassis flavors spring forward on first sip and create an elegantly structured and complex elixir full of dense, dark berry fruit, rich cocoa, pleasing minerality and a subtle hint of oak on mid palate. Well crafted with plenty of firm tannins to go the distance.
Joseph Phelps 2006 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon: Cassis and toasty oak greet the nose and continue on the palate with layers of red and black berry, tobacco, sweet oak and smoke notes and a hint of black licorice, too. Nicely balanced with silky smooth tannins and a satisfying finish.
Freestone 2006 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir: Opens with immense florality and cherry on the nose that simply scream Pinot Noir. Juicy Bing cherry, white pepper, Asian tea spice and smoky notes mesh together gloriously on the palate. This is a full bodied, elegantly composed wine.
Freestone 2006 Ovation Chardonnay: Aromatic poached pears and butter notes rise from the glass and meld deliciously on the palate alongside almond paste and toasty oak notes. Full bodied, rich yet clean and fresh with its bright acidity, this chardonnay strikes a beautiful balance and a lingering finish.
Patz & Hall 2007 Zio Tony Ranch Russian River Valley Chardonnay: Stunning aromas of butterscotch and pleasing oak capture your attention and broaden on the palate with crisp green apple, sun drenched peach, candied citrus flavors and a dash of pie spice. Round and viscous mouth feel with layers that unwind handsomely through the long finish.
Patz & Hall 2007 Hudson Vineyard Carneros Chardonnay: Enticing aromas of freshly churned butter, subtle oak and minerality lead to a rich, plush mouth filling wine with Asian pear, ripe apple and lemon zest weaving together seamlessly. Stunning acidity holds up the rich fruit layers strikingly, and the finish is bright and persistent.
Patz & Hall 2007 Jenkins Ranch Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir: Aromas of spicy cherry compote fill the nose and the cinnamon, clove and allspice notes hold enticingly through the palate alongside succulent red and black raspberries, fresh cherries and a generous level of acidity. Silky and ethereal with a magnificent flavor profile from the beginning through the memorable aftertaste.
Patz & Hall 2007 Freestone Hill Russian River Valley Pinot Noir: Cherry cola and anise aromas lead to a burst of juicy tart cherry at the core, and layers of mushroom, anise and exotic spice notes add complexity and simply explode in the mouth. Bright and lifted on the palate, this PN is well constructed and irresistible.
Patz & Hall 2007 Burnside Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir: Here is a deeply hued Pinot Noir with floral and wild cherry on the nose that lead to a full bodied, complex wine on the palate. Provocative earthy, forest floor and anise notes accent wild berry and dried cherry flavors that take center stage on mid palate. Well structured with good depth of flavors and stays nicely focused through the everlasting finish.
Honig Vineyard & Winery 2008 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc: Lush tropical fruit aromas promise a juicy mouthful and this Sauv. Blanc delivers! Grapefruit and lime peel notes meld harmoniously with the ripe tropical mango flavors on the palate; the vibrant acidity enlivens the juicy fruit. What a perfect spring and summer sipper!
Honig 2006 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon: Take a big whiff and capture the generous dark berry, herbs and allspice in the nose. Blackberry and plum laced with spice fill the palate nicely with a dollop of vanilla and coconut weaving throughout. This Cab Sauv is nicely balanced with soft tannins, and finishes delightfully.
Honig 2005 Bartolucci Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon: Inviting plummy notes rise from the glass and open up to dense black cherry, luscious plum and black raspberry flavors enhanced by licorice, herbs and earth notes. Complex and tightly woven, this is a powerful Cabernet Sauvignon that should last for several years.