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Ken Brown Rancho La Vina Vineyard Pinot Noir 2010

Pinot Noir lovers need to introduce themselves to Ken Brown Wines!

Located on the southern edge of the Sta. Rita Hills AVA, the winery specializes in small lot Pinot Noirs with about 3,000 cases produced annually with most lots at less than 250 cases.

I highly recommend that you stop in for a visit the next time you are in Santa Barbara as all of his wines are stunning and well priced.

The 2010 Ken Brown Rancho La Vina Vineyard Pinot Noir is absolutely irresistible!

The only thing more incredible is that the bottle only cost $39, this is especially striking when you consider that only 166 cases of the Rancho La Vina Pinot were produced in 2010.

This is a big, expressive effort whose brilliant violet color and enticing fruit aromas are just a precursor of what is to follow.

Intense, mouthwatering black cherry and blueberry flavors overwhelm the palate, while licorice and hints of raspberry can be detected in the lush rounded tannins on the exquisite finish.

I rate the wine a 9.2 on a 10 point scale.

 

 

 

Lewis Cellars Alec’s Blend 2015

 

The 2015 Lewis Cellars Alec’s Blend is a wonderfully decadent effort.

The wine is balanced and loaded with luscious fruit, racy acids and plush dusty tannins.

Syrah forms the backbone of the blend at 50%, followed by 30% Merlot, 11% Cab Franc and 9% Cabernet Sauvignon, and the fruit was sourced across selected vineyards throughout Napa Valley.

The juice explodes across the palate with waves of blackberry and blueberry flavors that are intertwined with chocolate, sweet creamy oak, licorice baking spices and flowers.

The unbridled intensity and energy that gushes from the glass truly overpowers and awakens the senses, and is more than you would expect from a wine that costs just under $60.

Now “Old World Enthusiasts” may not appreciate this opulent style, but I thoroughly enjoyed it and highly recommend it as well.

I give this wine a rating of 9.2 on a 10 point scale.

2005 Cliff Lede Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon

 

 

What a massive and powerful Napa Cab!


The 2005 Cliff Lede Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon is bursting with concentrated flavors of blackberry and plums that are balanced by the cinnamon and licorice infused velvet tannins that cling incessantly on the palate.

Even after 12 years, this dark purple juice has great structure replete with an abundance of youthful fruit which together should allow this wine to continue to age another 15+ years.

I really loved this wine, and its original cost of $65 gives it a ridiculously high quality to price ratio.

 

2007 Cakebread Benchland Select

 

 

The 2007 Cakebread Benchland Select is simply gorgeous!

Fruit for this 100% Cabernet Sauvignon is sourced almost evenly from Rutherford (56%) and Oakville (44%).

After maturing for almost 10 years in the cellar, the wine is now perfectly balanced as delicious ripe fruit and juicy acids are harmonized and supported by soft dusty tannins.

The juice is a beautiful, inky purple almost black color with aromas of licorice and blackberry on the nose.

Lush flavors of dark berries, plum and cinnamon are followed by chocolate and leather with hints of earth on the satisfying and long dry finish.

Although drinking exceptionally now, the experience is amplified even more when paired with food like this roasted filet mignon.

Limited quantities of this Cab can be found for $200 or more, but current vintages retail for about $110 – $120.

Jarvis Lake William

The 2003 Jarvis Lake William Napa Valley is still a very charming wine.

This Bordeaux style blend is comprised of 39% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Cabernet Franc, 22% Merlot with the balanced split between Petit Verdot and Malbec.

The color is still a violet opaque purple, while the nose provides light fruit aromas which is a pretext of what is about to come on the 1st sip.  After decanting for an hour the tart fruit softened and the wine opened nicely. The palate was now elegant as soft juicy dark fruit and blackberry flavors were followed by leather, mushroom and earthy velvet tannins that lingered effortlessly for 3+ seconds.

The back label recommends that the wine should be consumed within 7 years, but I disagree as the additional years in the cellar has this wine living up to its Bordeaux blend pedigree as it drinks more like an aged wine from the Pauillac region in Bordeaux.

The 2003 Lake William is hard to find now, but it priced for $70 when release back in 2005.  Today it retails for about $125, while newer vintages retail for about $150.

On a separate note, in my opinion, Jarvis has the best underground cave tours in all of Napa Valley.  So the next time you are in the Valley, schedule a tour and tasting in their caves.

You will not be disappointed!