Californian wines below tasted at Rodwell House in St James, www.rodwellhouse.co.za courtesy of Adam Mason winemaker of Klein Constantia Estate, www.kleinconstantia.com who just returned from a 3 week stint of Californian harvest at legendary Screaming Eagle www.screamingeagle.com in Napa Valley
1 - 2005 Stonestreet Upper Barn Alexander Valley Chardonnay 93+
Bright deep gold, complex, nutty, with tangerine and lime aromas. Fresh, citrus flows through. Intense, crunchy, very good length, impressive mid palate, toasty aftertaste. Big, powerful without loosing focus, precise acidity, the 14.5 alc very well meshed. A beauty. Now until 2023. Only 305 cases made, from grapes grown at 600 meters altitude.
The closest South African wooded Chardonnay would be a style between the intense fruit concentration of Jordan Nine Yards 2006 and the Constantia Uitsig Reserve Chardonnay 2004 for it’s structure and minerality.
2 - 2006 Favio Avarzo Syrah Amador County 95
Bright deep cherry red with slight purple tinge. Fragrant, blueberry, ripe, intense, complex multifaceted, cedary, juicy with very ripe tannins, ripe plum, tobacco.
Intense, concentrated warm finish, impressive the best Syrah I have tasted to date. Only 120 cases made from Amador County fruit. Impressive opulence. Unforgettable.
Anyone aiming at a successful style of world class Syrah with the aimed of wowing either the novice or the experience palate, this is the style to go, you cannot go wrong there, this stuff will sell, irrespective of the price.
3 - 2006 Leviathan 93
This just-released 2006 Leviathan is the follow-up vintage to Screaming Eagle winemaker Andy Erickson's wildly successful premiere 2005 offering that sold out nearly overnight last year. The new 2006 is a blend of prime Napa and Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon (41%), Merlot (32%), Syrah (21%), and Cabernet Franc (7%) that has been brilliantly woven together by Andy to seamlessly deliver a decadently rich-tasting, feels-like-velvet-on-the-tongue red whose outsized flavors inspired its name: Leviathan!
Andy bottles his precocious monster unfined and unfiltered, thus preserving and amplifying its astonishing intensity of flavor.
Production has edged up from last year's 700 cases to just shy of 1,000 this year, but pent-up demand will see this new edition disappear every bit as rapidly as before.
Bright dark cherry. Fresh, mulberries, earthy, lots of dark ripe fruit, complex with notes of dry chilli, classic aromas, more European feel than Californian richness and opulence, well contained, ripe and textured.
Palate is similarly ripe, intense, spicy and earthy, complex, mouth filling, concentrated, touch bitterness, not distracting. soft tannins. Impressive.
4 - 2005 Stone street Christophers Cabernet Sauvignon 92
Dense, concentrated, almost opaque, slight purple, perfect colour. Fresh, with pronounced lead pencil minerality, earthy, complex blackcurrant medley, dry ripe tannins, has grip. Juicy, savoury and fresh texture, elegant finish.
5 - 2005 Arietta H Block Hudson Vineyards Napa Valley 87+
Good deep ruby-red. Restrained, ripe tomato concentrate aromas, black raspberry, touch acetone and alcoholic. Fresh, ripe, intense, touch bitterness, oaky style. This wine is based on 80% cabernet franc, the highest percentage since Arietta's outstanding 1997 red blend ($150)
6 - Dalla Valle Maya 83+
Dalla Valle Vineyards is a small, family-owned winery that was founded in 1986. The winery and vineyards are located on a plateau 400 feet above the valley floor, in the eastern hills of Oakville, Napa Valley. The combination of perfect sun exposure and the cooling marine influence from the Pacific Ocean make this an ideal site for world class winegrowing. Dalla Valle has reached an admirable level of acceptance in the last decade and produces some of the most sought out Cabernet Sauvignon and proprietary red wine in California. Wines made from Dalla Valle Vineyards are pure unbridled expressions of fruit at its most powerful and concentrated. These wines are of immense stature and richness with well-integrated tannin and acidity, this 2005 is ripe, touch alcohol, earthy, gamey, acetone, ripe intense, grippy tannins oaky and cedary, savoury texture. Cab/Cab franc blend
7 - 2003 Staglin Family Vineyards Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Rutherford Napa Valley 90
This 2003 Staglin Family Vineyard Cabernet reflects this classic vintage. With saturated ruby and hints of black colors, the 2003 Staglin Family Vineyard reveals an intense fragrant, delicate, complex blackcurrants with undertones of intense dried apricot, black tea and hints of tobacco.
Complex mouthfeel, savoury with gamey and earthy notes, elegant and fresh, impressive length and richness. The 15.1 very well meshed and integrated. Ultra perfect ripeness and structure, now with some decanting or until 2023. Small amounts of Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc in the blend.