Several weeks ago, on a wine-buying visit to Canal’s BottleStop in Marlton, Charlie Beatty, who has built the best selection of wines in any store in South Jersey, mentioned that Canal’s would be hosting a wine tasting at The Mansion in Voorhees, NJ on Friday evening November 5th, to benefit the Burlington County YMCA. It sounded good but we usually go out for dinner on Friday nights so I didn’t think it would be likely I’d be in attendance. As fate would have it, our friends had prior commitments for that evening, my wife, Kathy, wasn’t interested, so I e-mailed my wine drinking buddy, Gerry B. and next thing I knew we were both buying our tickets online and heading up for a Friday night of hopefully, great wines and terrific food.
The Mansion is a beautiful complex and a favorite site for weddings and special functions in South Jersey. It made the perfect setting for a wine tasting. The second and third floors were packed with over 700 wines spread among a dozen rooms with other rooms set aside for food servings. We looked over the program that were available in the lobby and circled the wines we wanted to make sure and try as we began our assault on the gathered distributors tables. Rather than list the scores of different wines we sampled I will focus on the ones that appealed to us the most.
The only white wine that really struck the right notes with me was the 2008 Rombauer Chardonnay , soft and creamy with pear, pineapple and vanilla this is one of the most popular chardonnays on the market and it’s easy to see why. It was one of my Top Three wines of the evening.
The 2008 Gary Farrell, Russian River Valley, Pinot Noir was subtle and smooth with candied red fruits with a hint of cinnamon and had great structure and balance and would go perfectly with a roast pork or a nicely done halibut filet.
I was very happy to see that the good folks at Winebow Distributors had brought with them one of my favorite wines, the 2008 Caymus “Special Selection” Cabernet Sauvignon. This, in my estimation, is what fine cabernet should taste like, and year after year this one performs like a Napa champion. Smooth and elegant the fruits flow over the tongue like velvet and that soft hint of chocolate on the long and lingering finish makes this wine well worth its loft price tag.
Gerry B. had broken his favorites down into two groups. His “A” group were wines that he knew about and expected to be good while his “B” group were wines that he was not familiar with and pleasantly surprised at the taste and quality of them. His top three in the “A” group were:
2007 Beaulieu Vineyards, Georges de Latour
2006 Rubicon Estate “Rubicon”
2007 Beringer Private Reserve, Cabernet Sauvignon
In the “B” Group his Top Three were:
2007 Tenuta San Guido Sassacaia
2008 Faust, Cabernet Sauvignon
2007 Hess “Allomi” Cabernet Sauvignon
Here were the overall winners in his estimation:
Here is how the Wine Advocate felt about this offering: 95 points Antonio Galloni (Wine Advocate): “The 2007 Sassicaia (Cabernet Sauvignon) explodes onto the palate with masses of rich, opulent fruit that caress the palate with gorgeous length and a seamless beauty that is hard to fully capture. Dark wild cherries, plums, spices, minerals and herbs develop in the glass. This is an especially bold, perhaps slightly uncharacteristic Sassicaia in its extroverted personality, but it is beautiful all the same. The inner perfume and sweetness carries through the long finish, where the sheer weight and glycerol of the fruit leaves a lasting impression. The 2007 is more than a worthy follow-up to the profound 2006. While it may lack that wine’s freshness, structure and potential longevity, the 2007 is immensely appealing today, and should drink beautifully pretty much out of the gate. That said, Sassicaia is always the most restrained of Bolgheri’s heavy hitters. This is a superb effort from Tenuta San Guido. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2037.
This is another wine that can be counted on year after year to deliver the goods. This one also received 95 points from the Wine Advocate. Here is Parker’s review:
95 points Robert Parker: “The phenomenal 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon Private Reserve Georges de Latour is the greatest BV Private Reserve made since the 1970 and 1968. The good news is 11,000 cases were produced. The return of this superb Napa classic is fabulous news, and the brilliance of this wine is evidenced by its opaque purple color and its big, sweet, blackberry, cassis, subtle smoke, graphite, and spicy oak-scented nose. Dense and full-bodied with sweet but substantial tannins, thrilling levels of concentration, texture, and richness, and a heady finish, this wine will benefit from 4-5 years of bottle age, and last three decades or more. It’s time to once again fill your cellars with the BV Private Reserve, one of the historic names in California wine folklore.
Here’s what The Wine Enthusiast offered on the 2006 Rubicon:
“The new Rubicon, which is almost all Cabernet Sauvignon, brings to mind the 2003 and 2004. It doesn’t have the sheer force of 2002 or 2005, but it’s certainly a classic Rutherford wine, and has a good future. Bone dry, it shows herb-infused flavors of blackberries, cocoa, spices and smoky sandalwood, and yes, the tannins are dusty. Drinkable now, with a good decant, and should develop in the bottle over the next 6–8 years.”94 Points Wine Enthusiast.
We both awarded the 2007 Girard Zinfandel an Honorable Mention. In addition to all the great wines we enjoyed some good food compliments of Flemings Prime Steakhouse. It was a fun evening and we were both glad we made the effort to attend.