As in, three 2005s, or 3 different wines all from the 2005 vintage.
Other than their harvest year, they’ve got little in common apart from the fact that I tasted all three as samples over the last week or so, and in a rare case of vinous serendipity found all three to be excellent (a real treat for me) and probably worthy of your time (and your cash). So much so that I decided to write a “what-I-drank-last-week” style article, which I don’t often do (not to be taken as a “statement” on the validity of such pieces, by the way).
An alternative title for today’s post might be “Dude-i-locks And the Three Reds,” seeing as how one of these wines is a bit overpriced, the other a bit underpriced, and the price of the third is juuuuust riiiiight.
Let’s start with the slightly overpriced wine, Trefethen’s 2005 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley), which you can sample as part of their ingenious “mini bottle” offering before you decide to plunk down $100 on a full 750 ml bottle. This wine is most decidedly not a wine for now. It’s a wine for 5-7 years from now. Tasting it right out of the bottle now, you might exude a heavy sigh and a look that says “Oh shit, what did I just spend a hundred clams on?!???” – a veritable mess of dense dark fruits, tight tannic grip, vanillin oak and booze all vying for your attention. BUT… a day in the decanter will show what this wine is capable of becoming in a few years, which is downright magical. It’s like a miracle will happen in that decanter, which on day two will greet you with an enormous wine of power and depth, waves of black fruits, red jams, chocolate, and tiny amounts of nuts and black olives to really seal the deal into awesomeness. If you don’t think Napa Cabs are capable of aging, then you and I ought to split a bottle of this, come back to it in 2015, and see who won the bet.
And now, our second wine, which is probably slightly underpriced (I know, right?)…
The appropriately titled “TWO” is the second vintage (2005) of the second wine from Snows Lake, a vineyard in the Mayacamas mountains in CA’s Red Hills Lake County AVA. TWO is a Cabernet Sauvignon / Cabernet Franc blend from Snows Lake, and it sells for $45 – which is a bit of a steal considering the complexity of this wine. In the past, Snows Lake have sold fruit to the likes of Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, Cakebread Cellars, and Rosenblum; starting with the 2004 vintage they’ve bottled their own wines under the Snows Lake label with excellent results.
Like the Trefethen, TWO needs a little time, but is a bit more open now and far spicier, thanks to the healthy proportion of Cab Franc in the blend. Black currants provide the backdrop, with raspberry and sweet spice on top – it’s like they got the whole kitchen pantry into this thing. I don’t expect it to stay at $45 once people figure out how f-cking good it is.
Finally, we arrive at a wine that is priced just right but isn’t from California – DaVinci’s “St. Ippolito” 2005 (sort of) Super-Tuscan half-and-half blend of Merlot and Syrah, at $45. What makes this wine excellent, in my view (which I suppose is redundant since this is my blog and naturally I’m giving you my view so I don’t need to say that, right?… ok, whatever…), is how balanced it is – red fruit, a silky, velvety mouthfeel, some pepper and toast, and NOT heavy on the booze.
The other item of note in the St. Ippolito is the acid profile, which – far from feeling flabby or overly-boozy – is positively screaming when you think about the varietal mixture; and in terms of food-friendliness, the St. Ippolito just kills with red sauce pasta dishes. You can visit the DaVinci website for purchasing info.
There you have it, three different wines, three different ways to have kick-ass in your glass. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m feeling a bit sleepy and I’ve got three different beds to try out here…