As you read this, I’ll be fresh (or maybe not-so-fresh, after thinking about the stamina-melting temperatures, and lengthy after-after parties!) from the 2011 Wine Bloggers Conference – and after about 24 hours at the homestead, immediately off to Lake County, CA where I’ll be a judging in the 2011 Lake County Wine Awards Competition.
The deal goes down on July 28 at Brassfield Estate Winery in Clearlake Oaks (gotta love town names that make multiple bucolic references!). It will mark the first time that I’ve been in any way involved in an area’s sesquicentennial celebration, by the way (I’m guessing there aren’t too many of those going around).
Several things attracted me to this gig, not the least of them being the fact that the competition doesn’t really deal in medals or trophies that have little consumer meaning – just the opposite, in fact. From the website:
[On] November 5, 2011, a consumer event will be held at Langtry Estate & Vineyards—People’s Choice Wine Awards—where the people get to ‘blind taste’ the judges top picks and select the “People’s Choice.”
In other words, after the judges’ faves are revealed and promoted, the real winners are picked from that bunch in a large blind tasting where consumers decide who gets top honors. That’s awesome.
The competition is meant to showcase wines that specifically state Lake County or a Lake County AVA on the label. That means, generally, wines from high-elevation vineyards, and for me personally, wines with some pretty high expectations…
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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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