A Tale of Three Oh-Fives

Vinted on April 22, 2010 binned in California wine, Italian Wine, wine review

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…

Cheers!

(images: 1winedude,com, snowslakevineyard.com, davinciwine.com)

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    Comments

  • Richard Scholtz


    Good to hear about the 2005s from Cali. I think 05 is going to be one of those "sandwich" vintages, where some good wines were made, but they're between some very good vintages in 2004 and 2006 and 2007. 2005 is by no means bad, but it's like coming in fourth in the Olympics. There should be some good buying opportunities here, especially when those wines made in 2007 are going to be ready at about the same time the 2005 will be ready.

  • Richard Scholtz


    Good to hear about the 2005s from Cali. I think 05 is going to be one of those "sandwich" vintages, where some good wines were made, but they're between some very good vintages in 2004 and 2006 and 2007. 2005 is by no means bad, but it's like coming in fourth in the Olympics. There should be some good buying opportunities here, especially when those wines made in 2007 are going to be ready at about the same time the 2005 will be ready.

    • 1WineDude


      Thanks, Richard – with the backlog of inventory for some of the CA wines (due to the economy), we may very well see 'fire sales' on older vintages as the newer wines hit the shelves…

  • Evan Dawson


    Interesting notes – nice. Thought I can't say I'd be impressed with a wine that can age for a whopping five years. 2015? How about 2025 or more?

  • 1WineDude


    Thanks, Evan – depends on what you're looking for; and I'm not saying that the wine could *only* age for 5 or 6 years, just that I expect it to come together by that time – it may well still be very, very good several years beyond thay.

    Cheers!

    • Evan Dawson


      Yeah, I hear you – Some of these super-tight wines can be hard to rate. But it sounds like the wine is pretty close to where it wants to go already – just needs decanting!

      It's also true that I'm a geek for aged wines. Mayacamas Cab is my Napa sweet spot in that regard. And while many people worry about a wine going past peak, I dig the secondary and tertiary character that comes forward.

      Cheers!

  • 1WineDude


    Very cool, Evan – those mountain cabs can definitely age (well, the better ones, anyway! :-).

  • @nectarwine


    Whao, new comment structure. Hmmmm –

    After I read the post I was hoping for an image of “dude-i-locks” at the end. I think its awesome when you find wine that is under priced. Even at $45 (which some would say is spendy) that says quite a bit for the Snows Lake

    Evan – how can you age your wine for 25 years. Who in America has that kind of patience any more?

    Thanks for sharing, “what you drank last week”

    Josh

    • @nectarwine


      Ok thats weird, when I entered the comment it looked different, very linear, now its back to normal. Sorry for the alarm.

    • 1WineDude


      Thanks, Josh – I would certainly agree that $45 is pricey; having said that, I'd bet that Snows Lake could successfully raise the price (I sure hope that they don't, though!). As for Evan – he's gotta be in the minority in aging wine that long, but if it's what you like then it's what you like.

      Cheers!

  • 1WineDude


    Sometimes I think the debate gets too intense for Intense Debate… ;-)

  • Steve Heimoff


    I didn't have the Snows Lake or the St. Ippolito but you are right about the Trefethen 05. It is as nearly perfect a Cab as I've ever tasted.

    • 1WineDude


      Thanks, Steve – I suppose in a lot of ways I am late to the party on that! :-) Day two sealed the deal on the Trefethen cab for me, it was like a miracle had occurred in the decanter. Cheers!

  • vinogirl


    Most people in these parts agree that the Mayacamas cab is unapproachable at anything less that 15 years old, the mountain fruit is extremely tannic and extracted. My professor at NVC used to be the vineyard manager there and he has lots of old vintages. I have been on a tour of the winery and their stock room is full of older vintages.

    • 1WineDude


      Thanks, VG – if they ever hold a party where they decide to pop open some of those older bottles, can you get them to invite Evan and me? :-)

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