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?)…
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The first thing that you think (if you’re me, anyway) about the late Wes Walker’s Hidden Napa Valley ($19.95 from Welcome Books, I received an advanced sample copy of the newly updated edition) is how unexpectedly small it is.
At 7 and 1/4 inches square, you almost want to greet it with a cliche; “Oh, I’m sorry, it’s just that… well, I expected you to be taller”).
The second thing that you might think when seeing Hidden Napa Valley for the first time is that it’s just another book of beautiful photographs from the equally beautiful Napa Valley, the kind that tourists pick up from winery gift shops so they can take them home and later lament at how unbeautiful their hometowns are in comparison; another stone to hang around their heavy hearts as they sink into the miasmic depths of the discontent that only those who chase after the capitalist notion of the wine lifestyle can truly appreciate.
Or something like that, anyway.
Writing off Hidden Napa Valley can only ever be a temporary mistake for anyone who really knows the Valley, however; once you flip through its gorgeous pages you will, eventually, come across a photo that speaks to you, as if Walker had somehow, without ever knowing you, captured a private moment – some time when you let your guard down, willingly got sucked into the gorgeousness of it all, and that you thought was only known by you and Napa.
Walker probably knew that just about everybody that spends more than one vacation stop in Napa has had that moment…
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