Can a critic criticize his choices?

on 21/11/11 at 9:52 am

Booze News, BoozeBlog

Reported by BoozeNews Wine Reviewer D.R. Stewart


Photo: Tom Plant

Ian Blackburn continued his tradition of “Best ofs” by offering Los Angeles a night to cab it with “Stars of Cabernet 2011.” Held at the swank Peninsula (no, the hookers don’t go there anymore, it was the perfect environment to revisit a grape that suffered some in the Pinot ascendancy.  I ran into my pal Sam Dependahl of  Jarvis Communications — and we both agreed – the 2006 Sylk was as good as it got.  Sylk caught my eye.  They had a blow-up of an email from wine collector Wilfred Jaeger goin’ off on their ’07. I drank the ’06 and loved it, and couldn’t wait to taste Jaeger’s meister monster. Aaand – not my fav. Weird that. I always doubt my taste against the industry titans — who am I to question Mr. Jaeger? Fortunately, I had some company in Dependahl who helps publicize Spectrum’s wine auctions. Just as people are re-thinking Chard (“Big and Oaky is so 1999”), Cabernet has benefited from a reboot. The big bottom can exist without pulling everything askew. You can have a full circle of taste, without any jagged stripes.. In particular, Anderson Conn Valley’s Éloge had the frenchy thing going on, without sacrificing USA! USA! USA! The two classics Heitz’s Martha’s Vineyard 2006 and Joseph Phelps Vineyards Insignia, both ’06 and ’08, delivered for me as well.  (Shout-out to collector and comedian Rob Becker for flagging these for me.)

2011 may be the year I say buh-bye to the overwhelming bottoms of alcohol defining cab.  In fact, the tannins had so soaked my tongue, that by taste’s end – I was no longer sure of my choices.  I dug Coupe de Foudre’s 2009 Cab, but maybe I was fried. Rob and I marveled at how someone like Parker can claim to taste so many wines in a single sitting. Even with water, bread, and small sips, the buds just go buzzy on you at a certain threshold. I think I’ll have to ask Coupe for a case to be sure …

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