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Alan Kerr’s November 25th Vintages Release Notes

On November 25th, the shelves of Vintages will see an influx of the hierarchy of Californian wines and just in time for Christmas to boot. Having had the chance to try a few of them I can report that they are mostly good to exceptional, but the expense will be overwhelming for many.

936039 SILVER OAK CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2012 Napa Valley$184.95
A medium weight Cabernet blended with 10% merlot, 7% cab franc, and 3% petit verdot, showing a spicy nose of peppery vanilla and oak. Nice blackcurrant aromas along with mint, blackberry, sandalwood and biscuit. Soft and creamy on the palate, with some tannins, but not as weighty when compared to previous vintages, especially on the finish. Find this wine

142844 STAGS’ LEAP ESTATE THE LEAP CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2013 Stags Leap District, Napa Valley $99.95
An incredibly bold wine full of aromatics, mineral and fruit, showing plum, blackcurrant, dark chocolate, dusty soil and Dutch licorice. Pure fruit hits the palate; it’s meaty, fleshy, but well balanced. Although it tasty now, there is tannin that suggests that years down the road this will be a winner for those with patience. Find this wine

Whiffs of Moroccan spice, dark cherry, sweet vanilla, blackberry, blueberry and cherry cola are intriguing. With time in the glass it also shows a tarry note with milk chocolate and mocha. Voluptuous texture, a fruit bomb with class. Lot of silky tannin and a sweet fruity vanilla finish. Find this wine
992529 DUCKHORN MERLOT 2014 Napa Valley$64.95

Plum, red and black cherry aromas meld with cocoa, tobacco leaf, Asian spice and clove. The palate is lush, it’s wonderfully balanced, with gentle tannins and a long complexed finished. Find this wine

906404 LA CREMA RUSSIAN RIVER PINOT NOIR 2014 Russian River Valley, Sonoma County $45.95
Full of sweet red fruit, candied cherry, licorice root, baking spice and cola. The intensity of the sweetness on the palate renders the wine a little too flabby for my tastes. There is some pleasant red fruit, tannins are light, but more acidity would be welcome. Find this wine

723072 RIDGE GEYSERVILLE 2015 Geyserville 50th vintage, Alexander Valley, Sonoma County $64.95
Being a long-time fan of Ridge’s Zinfandel blends, I am sad to say this anniversary vintage is not up to the standard of previous newly released Geyservilles that I have tasted. All I can discern from the nose is oak, spice and alcohol. Perhaps it is a faulted bottle, VA maybe, which can stifle the heart and complexity of any wine. Next time I am south of the border I will grab another bottle. The asking price of sixty five bucks is more than double that of the price on many America shelves. My faith in Ridge as one of the State’s greatest producers remains solid. Find this wine

045476 SHAFER ONE POINT FIVE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2014 Stags Leap District, Napa Valley $154.95
A core of blackcurrant and blackberry with star anise, stone, cigar leaf and mocha leads to a full bodied and elegant palate. Lovely cherry, blackberry and mineral flavours, so silky; tannins are chewy, but non-aggressive and combine to create one amazing bottle of wine. Find this wine

147231 FOLIE À DEUX ZINFANDEL 2013 Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County $27.95
Quite lovely, hosting a nose of dried black fruit, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and forest floor. Perfectly balanced palate, vibrant acidity, nice sweetness to the fruit and deftly administered oak. Find this wine








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