The town of Paso Robles, in the Paso Robles appellation of California, is home to Justin Vineyards & Winery. The winery’s primary focus is the production of two Bordeaux blends, one using Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc, and the other using Merlot and Cabernet Franc. In addition to this, they use a number of different varietals (Tempranillo, Zinfandel, Sauvignon Blanc, and Chardonnay to name a few) to produce smaller quantities of wine.
The 2008 Justin Vineyards & Winery Isosceles was a red blend, composed of 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Cabernet Franc, 8% Merlot, and 1% Petit Verdot. The wine was aged in French oak barrels (65% new, 35% old) for 24 months. The label listed ABV was 15%.
Recently, I was dining at Salt Creek Grille, in Rumson NJ, when the manager approached me. He mentioned they had one bottle left of the 2008 Justin Isosceles. Previously, I had neither heard of the vineyard, nor tasted the wine. On his recommendation, I decided to give it a try.
I was glad I did.
Rutherford, California, in Napa Valley, is home to Grgich Hills Estate. The winery produces a full line of red and white wines, including Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Zinfandel.
The 2008 Grgich Hills Estate Cabernet Sauvignon was 89% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Petit Verdot, 3% Cabernet Franc, and 3% Merlot. The wine was aged in French oak (60% new, 40% old) for 21 months. The ABV was 14.5% and there were 14,891 cases of this vintage produced.
I came across this wine on the list at Salt Creek Grille in Rumson, NJ. I had tried it once before, but it was so long ago, I could not recall whether or not I enjoyed the wine.
I decided to give it another try.
Oakville, in Napa Valley, California, is home to Turnbull Wine Cellars. Turnbull produces two white wines and a number of red wines. The reds are primarily blends, utilizing many of the seven different varietals grown in their vineyards.
The 2008 Turnbull Cabernet Sauvignon was 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc, 7% Syrah, 4% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot, 2% Petite Sirah, and 1% Malbec. The wine was aged in new French oak barrels for 20 months. The ABV was 14.5%. There were 6600 cases of this vintage produced.
I found this wine on the list at Salt Creek Grille in Rumson, New Jersey. The restaurant’s wine list is predominantly California offerings (at one point it was exclusively California) with a very wide range of prices.
As I had not previously tasted Turnbull, I decided to give it a try.
Columbia Crest Winery is based in the town of Paterson, Washington, located on the northern banks of the Columbia River in the Columbia Valley. The winery produces a wide variety of red and white wines using a multitude of different varietals.
The 2007 Columbia Crest Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve was 96% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3.8% Merlot, and 0.2% Cabernet Franc. The wine was aged for 25 months in new oak barrels (82% French / 18% American). The wine’s ABV was 14.4%.
Juan Muñoz Oca
On the 2nd of May, 2012, I had the good fortune to attend the Wine Spectator Grand Tour in New York City. At this event, over 200 wineries from around the world gathered to pour their wines for 3 hours.
At the Grand Tour, I had the pleasure to meet Juan Muñoz Oca, the head winemaker at Columbia Crest Winery. That evening, Juan was pouring his 2009 H3 Cabernet Sauvignon (it was quite good). I made a note to keep an eye out for the H3 Cab, or anything else from Columbia Crest.
One week later, while dining at Salt Creek Grille in Rumson, NJ, I happened to see not only the H3 on the wine list, but the 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve.
I decided to give the Reserve a taste.
Salt Creek Grille, in Rumson, NJ, hosted a wine dinner featuring Duckhorn Vineyards on the 12th of April, 2012.
When it was founded, 30 years ago, Duckhorn, based in Napa, California, initially focused on Bordeaux varietals, with specific attention on Merlot. Today, the winery produces a wide range of reds, whites, and blends, with grapes sourced not only from Napa, but from neighboring Sonoma Valley as well.
Wine dinners are always interesting events. Each restaurant has their own thoughts on how it should be done, and no two are alike. Many places pour wine freely, while others limit you to an ounce or two (boo). Some establishments change their format from time to time (which can be so annoying when you like their previous format and set your expectations!). The social aspect is also always up for grabs. If you are not with a group, you never know who will be seated near/next to you. I have sat next to novices, who were much more knowledgeable than I. I have sat with novices, who were self-proclaimed experts (but were obviously not). I have sat with experts, who were very willing to educate those around them. I have sat with connoisseurs, who did not care to share their thoughts (but they usually do by the end of the evening!). Essentially, it is a wild card, but the event (read: the wine) is always interesting.
Overall, Salt Creek Grille did a good job with the evening.
Faust vineyard, based in Napa, California, produces a single Cabernet Sauvignon blend.
The 2008 vintage is 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, 3% Malbec, and 2% Petit Verdot.
The wine is fermented in both stainless steel and French oak and then aged an additional 19 months in French oak.
The combination of the varietals along with the location of the vineyard within Napa make this a very interesting bottle of wine.
Purchased with dinner at Salt Creek Grille in Rumson, NJ.
From Pritchard Hill in Napa Valley. 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Malbec, 9% Merlot, and 5% Petit Verdot. 14.9% ABV.
This is a nice bottle of wine.