2009 Mondavi Oakville Cab deserves more credit

July 23, 2012

Great week for McDs. Visited Timothy's to hear Back Seat Becky.  Daniel is bass man. While we were there we ran into Chad Travis, a local young man I met through wrestling 18 years ago,. Chad is  sous chef there. Just moved over from Casa DiLeo, works in Florida in the winter. The food there was very good. A diverse menu with lots of bar food and apps; the dinner menu looked appealing. We had been to an engagement party earlier for Jay Wingate and Tyra Jones and had already been nibbling. I had room for some clams casino and Southwest spring rolls. Both were excellent. The service was prompt and attentive, and the music was terrif.  I think the band is improving every week, especially Bass Man Dan. Dad talking.

Robert Mondavi Oakville Cab 2009  is out there under $30. WS dissed this Cab at 87 points, but WE gave them 94 points. WS were always big Robert Mondavi boys, when the guy who named fumé blanc was alive; they don’t seem to have Tim on their list. I think Tim Mondavi is a bright, innovative guy and WS unfairly rated Oakville 2009. Parker and Tanzer did not review it. Way too much about politics, in my opinion. Tim sourced most of the grapes from To Kalon vineyard, one of the best in Napa. Tim is a winemaker who knows how to extract the most from To Kalon. The lovely dark wine is an expression of the blackberry, currant and soft, supple tannic confluence signature of Cab from To Kalon. The 2009 is dry and smooth. Some tones of dark chocolate, earth and herbs moderate. In the finish, I thought some espresso and toasted oak appeared. Nicely balanced, approachable now, but color, tannin and fruit say cellar me a while. This is a great bargain if you locate it priced under $40. I rate it 92, plus one price point.

L’ Esprit de Chevalier Pessac Leognan Blanc 2009 is the second label of Domaine de Chevalier. The Domaine was rated 95 points and costs too much. The L’Esprit, however, is a wonderful expression of White Bordeaux that can be bought for less than $27 when bringing in a case. Those who enjoy fairly priced Graves and know the product would happily pay $40-45/bottle for this great rendition. A bit grassy, so let it breathe at first. Then look for melon and peach aromas.

These repeat on the palate with ripe honeydew, white peach, lychee nut and some minerality. A lovely fruit bouquet is supported by proper acidity, which cleans up a beautiful, mouthwatering, long finish. Domaine de Chevalier was rated 95 and sold out on release around $90/bottle. I had no chance to sample. The L’Esprit gets 92 points from me.

Snooth’s Gregory Dal Piaz wrote a nice article on Rieslings under $12. These are wonderful summer sippers, and Greg is an excellent reviewer. Read it here, after finishing the paper, ads and all, no cheating:

Some wise guy named Jos wrote to ask what I thought of the 2006 Domaine de la Romanee Conti. I hope you were joshing me. Known as DRC, all of them are Burgundies priced in the high thousands, prices that would buy an entire cellar for most of us. The 2006, rated 97, are selling for an average price of $10,860 according to Winesearcher.

There is absolutely no doubt that Aubert de Villaine is a humble and highly talented guy who is devoted to providing the best Pinot Noir out there. And he does. Over the years I have sampled some of his winners and they were wonderful. Sadly, price is driven more by scarcity than their excellent quality.

That said, no wine is worth those prices to me.

As an example, one could buy 40 bottles of Fonseca 1977, rated 100 points, or 130 Merry Edwards PN Klop Estate at $80/bottle or 100 Roar Rosella’s Vineyard PN 98 points at $110. If I wanted to spend the money for a 100-point wine, it would be for Abreu Madrona Ranch Cab 2001 at $900/bottle; it is exquisite. My friend Paul, who has more money than brains, shared some with me. It truly was a perfect wine for my palate. If anyone reading here sees me trying to buy a bottle, please kick me right square in the butt, or call the guys with the straitjacket.

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