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Crown Point Relevant Red is made from 80% Cabernet Sauvignon,10% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot, 5% Malbec
The 2018 Crown Point Relevant is the introductory wine to Crown Point Vineyards. All estate grown, it showcases incredible freshness and fruit character from their young vines. A large part of the blend is given to Cabernet Sauvignon, which brings spiced tones of cassis, violets, and bay leaves. Cabernet Franc brings a delicate and soft character to this wine and is completed with a touch of Petit Verdot that brings tension and density. The wine was aged in 50% new French oak and 50% used French oak for one year.
A dense crème de cassis aroma shows a serious edge of loamy soil, bittersweet cocoa and roasted rib eye on the nose. The palate is wrapped in smooth yet structural tannins, offering charred black currant, black olive and more cocoa, with a sizzle of acidity persistent throughout. Matt Kettmann
-Wine Enthusiast 97 Points
Eleven miles north of the Pacific Ocean, Crown Point Vineyard lies between the Santa Ynez coastal range and the flanking San Rafael mountains.
The genesis of Crown Point unveiled a site with undeniable attributes prompting consistent recognition. A confluence where rocky slopes fade into a loamy mesa providing distinctive personalities for Cabernet Sauvignon.
Perched in the foothills of the Happy Canyon American Viticultural Area (AVA), the Vineyard’s apex is 930 feet, sloping down to the mesa flats elevated at 500-feet providing various microclimates and diverse soil makeup. The Santa Ynez coastal range protects the site from afternoon summer fog; the San Rafael range erosion riddles the site with varying volcanic rock. The coastal proximity paired with the stress-inducing rocky soil creates the ideal balance to produce 45 acres of distinguished Cabernet Sauvignon (75% of the Vineyard), Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot.
At the epicenter of the Crown Point estate lies the state-of-the-art winery – a retrofitted horse barn that is an homage to the Happy Canyon equine industry. Surrounded by 45 planted acres, the winery’s connection to the site is the definition of an estate property. The facility houses French oak barrels and upright oak fermenters with stainless tanks and concrete fermenters surrounding the structure.
The 2017 season started with a memorable amount of rainfall, which was a refreshing change after five years of drought conditions. Summer brought numerous 100+ degree heat spikes and then the weather during the mid-harvest season cooled a bit and included some late foggy mornings. These cooler mornings allowed for a longer growing season for our later-ripening red varietals, giving them more time on the vine. This additional hang time slowed sugar accumulation and ripening, ultimately producing deep, alluring, finesse-driven wines.
At first glance this commanding Cabernet Sauvignon displays aromas of pronounced blackberry notes along with black pepper spice, fresh cut pine, pencil shavings, dried herbs and a pleasing woodsy feel. On the palate there is a juicy entry framed quickly by firm, supple tannins. This is a complex wine, which shows its brilliant tension in youth, and will age gracefully in the cellar.
“This new release is a 100-year tribute for the Round Pond family’s “grand patriarch.” Concentrated notes of melted dark chocolate, blackberry and sweet earth are luxurious and profound. Black coffee and black plum linger on the finish. Structured, robust and opulent, with even more room to mature in years to come."
97 points, Tasting Panel
Crown Point Estate Selection is made from 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot, 6% Cabernet Franc, 3% Malbec.
The 2016 Crown Point Estate Selection exhibits a heady aromatic array of baking spices, ripe red and black fruits, with deep intonations of earth and minerals. The palate is elegant and bright, with appealing acids and nuanced notes of savory mocha and dried herbs. Polished and seamless, the tannins finish with a comet-like trail of textural opulence highlighted by glossy flavors of baked berry pie and warm toast. Recommended drinking window: now through 2030s.The 2016 Estate Selection is representative of all five red Bordeaux varieties. The selection process starts in the vineyard and continues on through the winemaking process: only the best lots make the final blend. All blocks were harvested & fermented separately. The individual components were blended after 12 months in barrel. Total time in 225 liter French oak barrels was 26 months.
Deeply colored, the 2016 Estate Selection checks in as 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot, 6% Cabernet Franc, 3% Malbec that was brought up 26 months in 75% new French oak. Deeply colored, it has a smoking good bouquet of crème de cassis, smoke tobacco, lead pencil, camphor, and hints of chocolate. This gives way to a powerful, opulent Cabernet Sauvignon that has plenty of sweet tannins, a layered, multi-dimensional texture, no hard edges, and an awesome finish. I’d happily put this beauty in a lineup of top Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and blends.
-Wine Enthusiast 97 Points
There’s an impressive amount of complexity on the nose of this bottling by winemaker Adam Henkel, from crushed graphite and concentrated black strawberry to cinnamon pastry, licorice and a brush of herbs. The sip is intense, with leathery but chiseled tannins presenting flavors of charred black currant, licorice, black olive, dried flower and white pepper
-Jeb Dunnuck 97 Points
Continuum Red Blend 2019 is made from 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37% Cabernet Franc, 7% Petit Verdot, 6% Merlot.
VINTAGE NOTES- 2019 Continuum is a singularly significant vintage marking the families of Tim and Marcia Mondavi’s 100th consecutive harvest in wine.
WINEGROWING- Continuum is estate grown on our Sage Mountain Vineyard. It’s location, high on Pritchard Hill along the eastern ridge above Oakville, overlooks Napa Valley and the San Francisco Bay. The rocky, volcanic soils of the site focus the vine’s energy keeping yields low yielding fruit of depth and complexity. 38 acres of mature estate vineyard, planted in 1991 and 1996, with additional plantings in 2004, 2010, together comprise 38 distinct vineyard blocks. Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Merlot are grown from 1300 to 1600 feet in elevation, on western and southern facing aspects with slight northern and eastern slopes in places. This diversity of plantings on our volcanic soils are the essence of the complexity of Continuum.
PRODUCTION- Continuum is 100% estate grown, produced and bottled. All fruit is selectively hand-harvested at night. The fruit is then sorted before and after de-stemming, and gravity fed into French oak or concrete tanks. A threeday cold soak is followed by fermentation, receiving three to four pumpovers daily, and délestage two to three times in total during the most active period. The wine remains on skins in tank for 20 to 40 days. All lots are then drained, basket pressed, and transferred with lees for malolactic fermentation and aging. Continuum spent 22 months in barrel. 63 percent of French oak barrels were new and 35 percent were once used. A single concrete amphora was also used for aging. The wine clarified slowly and settled naturally in our cold barrel room, was racked sparingly and bottled without fining or filtration. Each vineyard lot was tasted and carefully considered many times to assemble the blend. TASTING NOTES- Continuum shows energy and verve. The wine expresses purity and precision, with high tone aromatics of red and blue fruit, deep plum and rose oil. This vintage shows an approachable nerve of the land in the refined mineral quality on the palate. The surrounding native vegetation of bay and sage is evidenced in an earthy, savory profile. This is a shimmering, silky and harmoniously integrated wine with densely packed fine grain tannins.
DECANTING- For the fullest sensory experience we encourage decanting to allow the wine to breathe before serving. Decanting awakens the wine’s more purely fragrant expression and enhances the suppleness of the palate. Continuum is accessible and enjoyable upon release; however extended aging will be richly rewarded.
Blackberries, dark wet soil and blackcurrants. Graphite, too. So aromatic. Pure fruit. Full-bodied with superbly polished, fine tannins that draw you down through the center of palate. Extremely layered and the texture is so curated, giving wonderful persistence. Real plushness and fine, velvety texture. 50% cabernet sauvignon, 37% cabernet franc, 7% petit verdot and 6% merlot. Better after 2026.
-James Suckling 99 Points
Dominus Napa Valley Red Blend is made from 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc, 5% Petit Verdot.
The historic Napanook Vineyard, a 124-acre site west of Yountville, was planted in 1838. This vineyard was the source of fruit for some of the finest Napa Valley wines. Estate-bottled in the spirit of the Bordeaux châteaux, Dominus Estate is dry-farmed to allow natural stress and good concentration of fruit. Grape clusters are crop-thinned to allow sun and air to pass in between, helping to achieve full maturation and soften the tannins. Only 20% to 40% new French oak barrels are used in order to limit the extraction of oak notes. To express the unique terroir, the classic Bordeaux grape varietals of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot are planted with different root stocks best suited for the varying soil composition of gravel, heavy clay and loam.
Composed of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Cabernet Franc, and 6% Petit Verdot, the 2019 Dominus was harvested from September 29 to October 10. It was aged in 40% new oak. Deep garnet-purple colored, the nose slowly unfurls to unveil beguiling floral notes of candied violets and rose oil over a core of crème de cassis, blackberry pie, and plum preserves, giving way to notions of licorice, Indian spices, iron ore, and crushed rocks. Full-bodied, the palate is jam-packed with taut, muscular black fruit layers, intertwined with gorgeous floral and exotic spice accents, and framed by firm, finely grained tannins with seamless freshness, finishing long and mineral laced. Tightly coiled with so much latent energy waiting to explode, this is a spectacular expression of the vintage and Napanook vineyard. Still tightly coiled, give it a good 6-7 years in the cellar before broaching, and allow it a few hours in a decanter if consumed before 2032. 3500 cases made, to be released in May 2022.
-The Wine Independent 100 Points
Force Majeure Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain is made from 100 percent Cabernet Sauvignon.
The estate Cabernet Sauvignon is grown primarily along the southwest ridge of the vineyard. The vines produce small berries with bountiful flavor, concentration and intensity, but also a good degree of finesse, excellent structure and layers of complexity that will continue to develop during extended bottle aging for those who want to cellar and age their wines. The wine is powerful, elegant, full-bodied.
Bottled unfined and unfiltered.100% free run
Pumpovers and punch-downs, up to 45 day macerations
Native yeast, 5 day cold soaks
22 months in 75% new French oak barrels
Fermented in concrete and stainless closed top tanks.
Another gem is the 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain Estate, a deep, concentrated, powerful Red Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon that I suspect will be up there with the legendary wines from this terroir. Beautiful cassis, graphite, lead pencil shavings, and damp earth notes give way to a full-bodied effort that has a liqueur of rocks-like minerality, flawless balance, building yet polished tannins, and a great finish. Hide bottles for 4-5 years, and it will evolve for 25-30 years if properly stored. Best After 2026.
-Jeb Dunnuck 98+ Points
Alto Moncayo Red Veraton is made from 100 percent Garnacha.
Veraton is the third wine Alto Moncayo produces from the Garnacha grape, from vines between 30 and 50 years old, and aged in barrels for 16 months. It is a wine with an attractive collection of balsamic notes, of chocolate and black fruits, very warm in the mouth and an extremely pleasant finish.
A silky red, offering an enticing, incense-laced range of raspberry puree and black plum reduction, dried lavender, iron and Earl Grey tea. Medium- to full-bodied, harmonious and fresh, with subtle hints of mocha and smoke enriching the finish. Drink now
-Wine Spectator 91 Points
El Pino Club Sea Floored Pinot Noir is made from 100 percent Pinot Noir.
Sea Floored opens with aromas of cherry cola, dried cran-raspberries, and classic Sta. Rita Hills black pepper. On the palate, deep flavors of Chambord, red pomegranate and cranberry fruit are framed by moderate tannins and food-friendly acidity, finishing with hints of tobacco and oak-roasted coffee bean.
This special bottling from the Foley family packs a lot of complexity into the nose, offering aromas of bay leaf, toasted wood, light cannabis and brisk pomegranate. The palate is firm in texture and covers a wide range of fruit, from dark berry to bright red fruit, though it may be the graphite-like minerality that sets it apart.
-Wine Enthusiast 94 Points
Franz Prager, co-founder of the Vinea Wachau, had already earned a reputation for his wines when Toni Bodenstein married into the family. Bodenstein’s passion for biodiversity and old terraces, coupled with brilliant winemaking, places Prager in the highest echelon of Austrian producers.
Smaragd is a designation of ripeness for dry wines used exclusively by members of the Vinea Wachau. The wines must have minimum alcohol of 12.5%. The grapes are hand-harvested, typically in October and November, and are sent directly to press where they spontaneously ferment in stainless-steel tanks.
Klaus sits adjacent to Achleiten and is one of the Wachau’s most famous vineyards for Riesling. The vineyard is incredibly steep with a gradient of 77% at its steepest point. The southeast-facing terraced vineyard of dark migmatite-amphibolite and paragneiss produces a tightly wound and powerful wine. The parcel belonging to Toni Bodenstein was planted in 1952.
Austrian Riesling is often defined by elevated levels of dry extract thanks to a lengthy ripening period and freshness due to dramatic temperature swings between day and night. “Klaus is not a charming Riesling,” says Toni Bodenstein with a wink. Klaus is Prager’s most assertive and robust Riesling.
Riesling’s high acidity makes it one of the most versatile wines at the table. Riesling can be used to cut the fattiness of foods such as pork or sausages and can tame some saltiness. Conversely, it can highlight foods such as fish or vegetables in the same way a squeeze of lemon or a vinaigrette might.
The 2020 Ried Klaus Riesling Smaragd is deep, pure and coolish on the nose, very complex, refined and flinty. Silky, refined and elegant on the palate, this is a juicy-piquant as well as crystalline and salty, very complex and persistent Klaus of great class and style with fine tannins, stimulating bitters and firm structure. A great wine. Tasted in June 2021.
At Prager, I could not determine that 2020 would be inferior to the 2019 vintage; on the contrary, the 2020 Smaragd wines fascinated me enormously in their clear, cool, terroir-tinged way. A 38% loss had occurred mainly because of the hail on August 22, although predominantly in the Federspiel or Riesling vineyards. There was no damage in the top vineyards such as Ried Klaus, Achleiten or Zwerithaler. "Interestingly, the vines are in agony for about two weeks after the hail. There was no more growth, no development of ripeness and sugar," reports Toni Bondenstein. The Veltliner then recovered earlier, while even picking a Riesling Federspiel in October was still a struggle. "Why Riesling reacted more intensively to the hail, I don't know myself either," says Bodenstein. Whole clusters were pressed to preserve acidity and to compensate for the lower extract, and compared to 2019, the 2020s were left on their lees longer. In June, however, the 20s in particular showed outstanding early shape.
-Wine Advocate 96 Points
Cazaux Gigondas Cuvee Prestige is made from 50% Grenache, 30% Syrah, and 20% Mourvèdre.
A blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre produced from the oldest vines of the estate and only in the years of highest grape quality. Aromas of prune, chocolate, spices, fruit brandy and plum. Rounded tannins and a long finish.
Red meats aged, venison
"Not yet bottled, the 2019 Gigondas Cuvée Prestige checks in as 50% Grenache, 30% Syrah, and 20% Mourvèdre, all from the older vines of the estate and vinified and aged in barrel. There are a tiny 700 cases produced. A terrific nose of red and black fruits, Provençal garrigue, and subtle spicy oak is followed by remarkable purity of fruit, silky tannins, and a great finish. it has a touch of modern character which is going to integrate with 2-3 years of bottle age, and it will have 10-15 years or more of prime drinking.."
- Jeb Dunnuck (January 2022), 91-93+ pts