|2005 Ridge Montebello|
We started by tasting the main event: The 10 year old beauty, 2005 Ridge Montebello, Bob and Caroline gave me for my 40th. It was truly a treat.
We then moved on to an 'at your leisure' tasting of my best cabs.
It should be noted that while everyone tasted, not everyone provided their ratings, including yours truly. I was disappointed not to find Jennifer's thoughts on this, given her affinity for Napa cabs.
|Top to Bottom from Left to Right|
D - 2010 Frank Family Vineyards, Reserve, Rutherford came in first place with an average of 3.69. I picked this up on a Napa adventure with Dawn two years ago. This wine tasted fantastic then and even better now. They had an even better, more exorbitant Cab blend: The Winston Hill Reserve. Thanks Dawn for reminding me! If I ever return to the tasting room, you can bet I'll be looking for them both.
A - 1997 Silver Oak, Napa Valley came in a close second with an average of 3.60. Bob and CJ gave me this 18 year old masterpiece as well for some occasion that by no means warranted it. At this point you may be asking yourself who is Bob and how can I become friends with him. :) We are blessed with truly wonderful friends. Often they are far too generous. Whenever this generosity comes in the form of a bottle of wine, I always try and make certain the wine is enjoyed with them.
Silver Oak is the first bottle I ever purchased over $50 at the first wine bar I ever went to courtesy of my good friend Ted. We tasted with a nice older couple. I remember the wife said her favorite wine was Opus One. I had never heard of this wine. Ted told me it was a silly expensive, overrated wine.
C - 2009 Vine Cliff, 16 Rows, Oakville came in a third with an average of 3.26. At Ted's recommendation we toured Vine Cliff on our first real trip to Napa. It was a fantastic, beautiful, and informative two hour tour with just us and the wine maker. I will always remember it. It ended in tasting 4 wines: 2 white and 2 red. This is when I learned how expensive wine in Napa was.
Me: "This tastes great!"
Winemaker: "That's our $85 Estate. You liked that, try this."
Me: "Wow! That's even better!"
Winemaker: "That's our $150 reserve"
At this point I felt I had to buy something, so I bought one of each of the reds.
I'm not picking on Vine Ciff's incredible wine. It's all that expensive in Napa. This was just my first experience with the pricing.
At some point, When Wine Enthusiast gave the wine a 98. Ted and I bought one, betting who would open it first. I paid Ted the $20 I owed him to serve this wine.
B - 2011 Dariush, Napa Valley Cabernet Franc came in a last with an average of 2.66. We picked this bottle up on our last trip to Napa. The Dariush cab will always have a special place in my heart after the Return to Napa Cab Tasting. I'll never forget opening up #1. I still can't believe it was an Opus One that beat the Dariush; what a wonderful gift to share.
I was shocked to read the bottle the next day and discover that this was the Cab Franc instead of the Cab I had intended to use. Doh! I'm going blind in my old age, that and their bottles look very similar. This wine was also too warm, which was unfair to it. It was incredibly chocolatey too.