Cab-A-Palooza & Friends 2018 (Part 3: Lots 100 through 200)


Lot 102 | 2018 Walla Walla Cabernet Sauvignon - DRINK OR HOLD - opens up nicely with a few minutes of air...cherry and sweet pipe tobacco out of the gate then gaining weight with plum and walnut darkening and expanding the bouquet. Juicy and fleshy on the palate with dark fruit and dark chocolate on a fantastic finish. Very approachable now. Still Available

Lot 108 | 2018 Fair Play District Zinfandel - DRINK OR HOLD - wanted to see how this was coming along as its been pretty tightly wound at times. Its really cracked open now and boisterous with berry, Medjool dates and chocolate covered raisins. Delicious now but will continue to age nicely over the next 5-7 years if not more. Still Available

Lot 109 | 2018 Fair Play District Syrah - DRINK OR HOLD - opening up, ripe and meaty with powdered lilac florals in the bouquet. Smooth on entry with vibrant, mineral-laced tannins fleshing out red fruit and rock. Fantastic. Still Available

Lot 110 | 2018 Fair Play District Petite Sirah - DRINK OR HOLD  - resinous and smoky adding raspberry and plum notes as it opens in the glass. Sexy and vibrant on the palate with dark fruit over minerally tannins and finishing with black and red fruit with dates and chocolate. Fairly elegant Petite Sirah and not at all over-extracted. Still Available

Lot 112 | 2018 Sierra Foothills Cabernet Sauvignon - DRINK OR HOLD - this is ready-to-rock and drinking nicely now. An absolute steal at $14/bottle. Still Available

Lot 115 | 2019 Sonoma Carneros Rose - happy to report the steely reductive note that had plagued this wine is finally gone, replaced with a delicate strawberry and rose petal perfume encircling a raspberry core. Lean and crisp on the palate with pretty strawberry notes supported on citrusy minerality. Great for poolside refreshment but please note this is a bone-dry Rose. Still Available

Lot 120 | 2018 Moon Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon – HOLD – this may as well have come from the Moon. Its otherworldly and ethereal with juicy blackberry oozing from a frame of Sonoma mountain herbs of sage and fragrant wild lupine. Palate staining blackberry oozes on the front of the palate and works through the baby fat on the finish. This is fun but still unwinding and best to let it sit another couple of years. Still Available

Lot 123 | 2017 Napa Valley Merlot - DRINK OR HOLD - expressive, open knit and drinking great. No need to wait, that's for sure. Couple cases left. Still Available

Lot 124 | 2018 2018 Napa Valley Merlot – HOLD – just starting to open up with dusty barrel spice aromas of fresh cherries, and brown sugar with cinnamon hard candy/dried bing cherry on the palate. A mineral focus keeps the midpalate ethereal with focused barrel tannins carrying baking spice, seasoned French oak and crushed walnuts on the finish. Yes, you could enjoy this now after a loooong decant but better to wait and let this puppy open a bit more. Still Available

Lot 125 | 2019 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir - DRINK OR HOLD - finally opening up with pretty red fruit and rose petal profile. Very elegant but well-structured with a long finish. Still Available

Lot 126 | 2019 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir - HOLD - tight out of the bottle and pretty unyielding aromatics at this point. Let it sit. Still Available

Lot 129 | 2018 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon - DRINK OR HOLD - finally unpacking, this wine hits all the right notes with both bass and treble in sync. Brown sugar and blackberry syrup introduce a fantastic structure, seamless and perfectly attenuated. Still Available

Lot 138 | 2018 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon - HOLD - big, rich, chewy and knit with beautiful structure and focus. However, aromatics are still developing so I would hold for another 6-months. Still Available

Lot 141 | 2018 Horse Heaven Hills Cabernet Sauvignon – DRINK OR HOLD – the ultimate sleeper? This may end up being the value wine of the year…black fruit and oak amalgam meet austere graphite, caramel, blackcurrant, violets and fresh linen supported by toffee French oak. Exceptionally structured with magic carpet tannins, elegant structure with fantastic tension and lift. Perfectly-ripe and exceptionally-well-balanced, this deftly-made Cabernet Sauvignon is an incredibly fine wine. Still Available

Lot 142 | 2018 Horse Heaven Hills Malbec - DRINK OR HOLD - quite approachable now but will age nicely for another decade +. Still Available

Lot 143 | 2018 Horse Heaven Hills Petite Verdot - DRINK OR HOLD - same as above, quite approachable now but will age nicely for another decade +. Still Available

Lot 145 | 2018 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon – HOLD – still awkward and needs another 6-months to coalesce the significant additional componentry added to the blend before bottling. Still Available

Lot 147 | 2018 Walla Walla Charbono/Nebbiolo - HOLD - still unwinding and tightly wound.

Lot 150 | 2019 Red Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon - DRINK OR HOLD - showing really well, starts spicy and clovey and gets darker and meatier as it opens up adding red rock and lilac notes. Delicious on the palate, even at this young age. Still Available

Lot 151 | 2018 Napa Valley Meritage – HOLD – I have to admit, this wine fooled me. I had pronounced this nothing less than a “cellar-defender extraordinaire” but, to be honest, it’s been nothing but a cellar clogger. Pretty much bass-ackwards since going into the bottle and there it sits today with fruit submerged, showing earth and leather and gaining complexity with air but it never really opens up on the palate. Make no mistake, there is a fantastic wine in here but its not ready for primetime…give this another 6-8 months in the bottle and lets see where she stands then. Still Available

Lot 156 | 2019 Russian River Valley Chardonnay - DRINK OR HOLD - cracking open beautifully now...quite expressive but I would err on the side of holding onto this for a while longer yet to let the subtleties unwind. This is an incredible Chardonnay. We have about 15 cases left. Still Available

Lot 157 | 2019 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir - HOLD - still densely packed and tightly wound. Hold for another year or two at a minimum.

Lot 158 | 2018 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon – HOLD – don’t touch this but, instead, count your blessings you own this wine.  Enticing aromas of lavender mingle with black plum and cassis, while lifted acidity and fine French oak tannins focus the mouthfeel with layers of graham cracker, black pepper, and graphite. I know it sounds delicious but this wine is best left alone for another couple of years.

Lot 162 | 2018 Walla Walla Cabernet Sauvignon - DRINK OR HOLD - takes a while to open up but great on the palate. Still Available

Lot 164 | 2018 Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon - DRINK OR HOLD - fantastic now and ready to rock but will cellar nicely too. Take advantage of the six-pack offer - you'll be happy you did. Still Available

Lot 173 | 2018 Sonoma Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon – HOLD – fairly tightly wound out of the bottle with uplifted but still monolithic aroma’s trying to disentangle themselves. The complexity is “emerging”…gobs of structure and depth with wonderful palate impression with seamless, well-integrated tannins. Quite delicious after a couple hours of air I must admit…however, better on the palate than the nose so hold for another 4- or 5-months and see if the bouquet comes around. Still Available

Lot 175 | 2019 Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon - HOLD - lovely and juicy on the palate but the bouquet is totally shut down. For that reason I would cellar this another 6 months at a minimum and see where things are then. Still Available

Lot 189 | 2019 Sonoma Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon – DRINK OR HOLD – what a difference a vintage makes. As I have said, the 2019’s are quite approachable, and Lot 189 is pretty, ethereal and elegant aromatically with wild mountain lupin and black cherry notes. Plush, juicy and open-knit on the palate with beautifully integrated oak bringing fine grained tannin and richness…this wine is impossible to spit out. Great for quaffing whilst your 2018’s enjoy a siesta in the cellar. Still Available

Lot 190 | 2018 Napa Valley " Mountain" Meritage -DRINK OR HOLD - finally fleshing out and opening up. Oak and fruit will integrated now. Still Available

Lot 192 | 2019 Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon – DRINK OR HOLD - prime for re-release, barrel has come forward to eclipse the fruit a bit on the nose, but the palate has fleshed out to a juicy, savory and seductive balance of French oak, violets, and black currant. Great on the palate and the bouquet should come around shortly. Still Available

Lot 193 | 2019 Red Hills Cabernet Sauvignon – HOLD – savory and deep but tightly wound and unengaging right now. Let it sleep for another 3- to 6-months. Still Available

Lot 194 | 2019 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon – DRINK OR HOLD – supremely elegant with a resounding, ethereal and aromatic bouquet of rose petals, pretty currant and cassis notes and wet rain on asphalt. The structure is outstanding with mouthwatering acidity coated with toasted vanilla and cinnamon. Lots of upside to the cellar here but the chewy lushness makes this a compelling wine even now. Still Available

Lot 195 | 2019 Napa Valley Meritage – HOLD – darker fruit profile here is very tightly wound. Needs some time to let the bristling structure calm down. Still Available

Lot 196 | 2019 Napa Valley Cabernet Franc – HOLD – supremely elegant but, alas, quite reticent on the palate. Funny thing about 2019…the lower tannin varietals like Cabernet Franc and Pinot Noir or whites like Chardonnay are perfectly ripe but highly structured (not unlike North Coast Cabernet’s in 2018) and taking their time to resolve. Still Available

Lot 199 | 2019 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon – DRINK OR HOLD – Coming around very nicely…expressive layers from juicy black cherry to fragrant cedar and pepper spice. Focused, lifted and expressive on the palate with chewy tannins leading to a beautiful finish of violets, coffee and black pepper. With 7+ months in the bottle, this is just about fully fleshed out and deliciously approachable…another 2019 miracle. It will age beautifully, of course, over the next decade but will be great in the near term as well. Still Available

Lot 200 | 2019 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon - HOLD - as great as this is, its just infanticide to drink it now. Still Available