Inky black color with huge gobs of sweet black berry, cassis, cedar, anise, and chewy tannins.
Parallel was my first introduction to winemaker Philippe Melka a few years back. Easy to like wine given time to open up. Not the most complex wine but enjoyable palate of sweet cherry, blue berry, peppered steak, and smooth minerality. Medium to full bodied with plenty of hardy tannins.
The 2006 Protagonist is a blend of 63% Merlot, 28% Cabernet Sauvignon with a touch of Petit Verdot, Syrah, and Cabernet Franc. Interesting brown coloring with silky texture. I would guess this wine to be much older if it wasn’t for the massive tannic grip at the finish. Juicy roast beef, creamy blue berry, sweet raspberry, and cake batter. I’ve had this wine at least 10 times and am more impressed each time. Absolutely rocking after 5 hours in the decanter.
2005 Rubicon Estate
Always one if my favorite Napa blends (Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot). Dense midnight black color with translucent rim. Dusty Rutherford nose and palate of black berry, grape Koolaid, sweet licorice, and Asian spice. Some residual alcohol but comes off mellow, smooth, and at peak drinking. Paired excellent with grilled filet mignon on a cold night. A whopping 5,580 cases produced.
Originally tasted at the winery and picked a bottle up at the store. A blend of the 3 highly scored single vineyard 2010’s. Pretty standard Napa black fruit and medium tannins. Smooth and easy drinking.
2010 Arnaut Boushey Vineyard Syrah
The Gray Report stated this went up blind against 100 point Rhones in Seattle and emerged the victor. Definitely impressive and not your typical Washington Syrah. Sweet jammy black cherry and pan seared steak nose. The palate is absent of typical Washington funk (perhaps due to Yakima’s cooler climate) but packed with bright black fruit, cassis, minerals, and herbs. This is a tannic and full bodied expression that matches high quality Northern Rhone. Can no longer be found but a steal at $45.
Super extracted and syrupy Syrah. Incredibly smooth roasted meat and creamy black fruit palate. The 15% plus alcohol is noticeable but not off putting. Tons of room to improve. Very pleasant with homemade Italian sausage pizza.
2010 Larkmead Cabernet Sauvignon
Bright red fruit, rich creamy black fruit, cassis, and spicey anise. Paired with bacon wrapped bacon and shirt rib at Fig Santa Monica. The most approachable 2010 Napa Cabernet so far.
2007 Domaine Grand Veneur Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee les Origines
Yeah, this might be the best midrange Châteauneuf to date. A blend of 50% Grenache, 30% Mourvedre, and 20% Syrah. Smokey bacon fat, cherry, espresso grounds, pepper, anise, and creamy blueberry. Very young but balanced and drinking well. Slight funk reminiscent of what Washington’s Cayuse accomplishes.
2006 Chappellet Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Pritchard Hill Estate Vineyard
I read an article that mentioned Pritchard Hill was the next “it” boutique Napa location. I figured I’d give it a try with one of the original Pritchard Hill wineries. Leather, black cherry, pepper, vanilla, and cinnamon. The 14.9% alcohol is present in both the ridiculously big nose and spicy body.
Dusty Rutherford black fruit, earth, espresso, and spicy anise. Well balanced with a light grainy texture and palate. Sometimes it’s nice to get exactly what you expect.