Tuesday, August 12, 2008


To be completely honest, there were around 25 wines in total that I tasted with my distributor. And along for the ride, were my assistants Jesse and Shannon, as well as Fort Thomas store manager, Sean. Though our palates were invigorated by a great feast of fine cheeses, Italian meats, fresh baguettes, and some other great food, the wines that we tasted were all quite remarkable. Yet to just about finish the line-up were these two great Cabs from Dierberg/Star Lane, a new endeavor that boasts both David Ramey and Paul Hobbs as consulting winemakers.

Up first was the entry-level Three Saints Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 from the Santa Ynez Valley. A truly gorgeous Cab with everything a California Cab fan could want – rich fruit, supple tannins, oak aging, and unparalleled depth of concentration. And all this for around $20. This is what you could consider to be a declassified version of the Star Lane Cab, which is designed to be similar to a grand cru classe Bordeaux. This Three Saints Cab, which would figure out to be like a Bordeaux Superieur is a lot of bang for the buck, demonstrating richness and the terroir of the Santa Ynez.

Then came the Star Lane Cabernet Sauvignon 2005, which was truly one of the most incredible reds I’ve had from California. More power, more tannic structure than the Three Saints, this delicious, deep, concentrated red showed off loads of black fruit, cedar, mocha, espresso and cigar box notes, cascading into a hedonistic finish. Simply stunning stuff!
Like all great tastings, this intimate one came to a close, but not before a demonstration of Spain’s remarkable power. To close the night, we were treated to what could be called Spain’s best wine right now – the El Nido 2005 from Jumilla. The sheer intensity of this 100% Monastrell, crafted by Aussie superstar Chris Ringland, is out-and-out beautiful, with its dense, thick blackberry fruit, dark, velvety tannins and flavors of dark chocolate, espresso beans and roasted meats leaving our teeth darker than space. It’s not often a wine leaves you humbled but this one was awe-inspiring.

Thanks to our friends at this particular distributorship for showing us the glory of small-production wines.

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