Vertical Tasting Held on November 14, 2012
1996DRINKDark ruby with a garnet rim. Lovely secondary characters, Bordeaux-like complexity and mystery. Aromas of wet leaves, cedar, cola, rum-raisin, licorice, earth, sweet tobacco, and pine overlay smoky plum and blueberry. Drier fruit and tannins on the palate, with a nice acid lift. The wine is at a perfect state of drinkability—Gillian thought it would be wonderful with roasted chicken with fresh herbs—something simple—to showcase its subtleties and elegance.
1997DRINKPale ruby core fading to garnet. Savory and elegant, showing more aged characters than last year—the nose opened up with some time, displaying mushroom, forest floor, leather, tobacco, soy, rhubarb, dried cranberry, and cherry, pomegranate, and spice. Medium bodied, moderate tannins, good texture, soft and warm, while retaining an appealing freshness. Reflects a gorgeous claret style.
1998DRINK/HoldMedium ruby core, with lovely pronounced floral and spice notes. Layered aromas of sandalwood, dark cherry, fig, maple syrup, green olive, black tea, forest floor, salted caramel. Medium bodied, medium acid, soft tannins, with a lovely silky texture. Nice fruit all the way through, good weight. Not a powerhouse but in a great place. Some fun things going on with this wine. Holding up well, with excellent structure and backbone.
1999HOLDYouthful medium-dark ruby color. Fresh, pronounced aromatics. A spicy, cherry core is wrapped in chocolate, roasted coffee, coconut, butterscotch, vanilla, peppermint, red licorice, and a hint of lime. Vibrant acid, lots of grip and intensity, great length and texture, silky smooth tannins. Graceful and vibrant. We loved this wine. Gillian advocated, “Hold and treasure,” while Rosemary thought, “Miles to go.” A beauty with a lot of potential.
2000DRINK/HOLDYouthful color—a deep ruby core with little rim variation. French style, polished and savory, with graphite, leather, menthol, mushroom, straw, and earth characters—the trademark barnyard bouquet for this vintage. Blackberry and cassis fruit underneath, a sweet core, and a lush creamy palate. Full tannins; mouth has substantial weight, length, and power. Showy and distinct, as usual. In a great window. Decant and enjoy with food.
2001Drink/HOLDMedium dark ruby core. Quintessential Spottswoode, a nice medley of deep fruit and earth characters: cassis, raspberry, Christmas spice, cocoa, coffee bean, cinnamon, and clove combine with more savory notes of Worcestershire, sage, hay, tomato, tar, black pepper, and tobacco. Sweet tannins, lush, smooth and rich—a savory palate that matches the nose. Classic, balanced, pretty. Rosemary effused, “Awesome. Suspend this wine in time. Just about perfect.”
2002Drink/HOLDBright garnet color. Ripe and full, exuding vibrant cherry, rose petal, violets, molasses, almond, and marmalade aromas along with secondary elements of sweet tobacco, balsamic, pine, sage, black olive, camphor, and graphite. Lovely marriage of fruit and earth. Lively, rich mouthfeel. Nice all the way through, with good acidity and texture. Fans out on the palate—broad and expansive. Would be great with a juicy steak. William said, “Drink right now!”
2003Drink/HOLDDark ruby hue. Deep sweet ripe cherry, candied apple, bay leaf, marzipan, soy, black olive, herbs, anise, with hints of sea salt, candle wax, and camphor. Soft, ripe, big fruit, silky texture. Sweet core, good strength front to back, nice mix of older and younger characters. Warm, smooth, savory, elegant. A rich palate, plush, polished tannins. Showing a bit more age this year than last. Still lovely. Drink with a marbled rib eye.
2004Drink/HOLDMedium dark ruby color. Big, rich, voluptuous, forward. Lots of high-toned ripe fruit—mulberry, blackberry, boysenberry, cherry. Red licorice, chocolate, caramel, mocha, hints of sweet spice and potpourri, plus soy, porcini mushroom, and some crushed spearmint. Prominent, pretty vanilla and graham cracker oak characters. Glycerine-like smoothness. Lovely soft tannins. Great balance. Yummy. A favorite again this year.
2005HOLDWarm and appealing, with some dark fruit, cranberry, and hints of orange peel. Cocoa, cherries jubilee, nutmeg, baking spices, pencil shavings, some wet stone, tar, smoked tobacco, and olive. A pretty mélange of older and younger characters. Forward, ample tannins. Weighty yet silky—nice length and textural presence. Terrific balance. The fruit and tannins will continue to integrate with more time in the bottle.
2006HOLDNose is subtle but pretty. Blueberry, plum, cranberry, cherry drops, bread pudding, Christmas spice, hazelnuts, herbs, black pepper, olive, and a hint of quinine. A dusty, velvety quality and, at the same time, almost Rhône-like, with a juicy, lovely texture. William dubbed it a sommelier’s style wine as it would pair beautifully with so many dishes. Savory, balanced, harmonious, not over the top, with nice acidity and unexpected length. Showing really well this year, but with more to come.
2007Try/HOLDYouthful and showy, full of dark chocolate, berries, strawberry, rhubarb, brown sugar, butterscotch, eggnog, cinnamon spice, vanilla, and crème brûlée. Still very young with some elements of baby fat. Powerful and flamboyant. William described this wine as “the whole package”—front, middle, and finish are all there. Expressive, rich, delicious, with a long-lasting finish. Big tannins and forward, but enticing, oak characters. Gillian said, “It’s like a fleshy woman spilling out of her Spanx”—voluptuous. Tempting to try, but with tons of promise if you can wait.
2008Try/HOLDYummy, luscious, grapey, and very young. Big, powerful and ripe. Intense dark berry fruit, hints of cocoa butter and raisin, crumbly cobbler, graham cracker, blackberry pie, vanilla, toast, black olive, tea, tobacco, smoke, iodine. Full bodied, substantial grippy tannins, great balance—warm, rich and velvety, but with lively acidity. Compelling. A showstopper. Great things lie ahead.
2009HOLDViolet hued. Big and youthful, with pretty cream, raspberry, blueberry and floral overtones enhanced by a nice medley of licorice, plum, potpourri, chocolate, mint, juniper, sandalwood, and cedar underneath. Broad, sweet and viscous—spicy, juicy and savory simultaneously. Forward tannins. Aron commented that he appreciates how the warm growing season is reflected in this wine’s refined and restrained expression. A lovely bowl of ingredients, delicious, will evolve beautifully.