At a recent supplier portfolio tasting in London, Julia Harding MW of JancisRobinson.com tasted a host of wines from 14 different countries. We are pleased that our wines made a favorable impression. The following are the wines she tasted, her tasting notes and finally, her scores.
2016 Monte Bello
Barrel sample – it will spend another year in barrel. 100% new American oak and usually 22 months.Total 60,000 bottles and half sold en primeur now.
Darkest crimson with black core. So intense the fruit seems to engulf you. Deep, deeply sweet with that American oak spice. Thickly sweetly textured but the tannins are very fine. Last year of the drought so very small yields. Dark and pure and overwhelming in its purity. A beautiful baby. Fresh on the finish, remarkably. (JH) 13.7% Drink 2022-2040 19++
2014 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
75% Cabernet Sauvignon, plus Merlot, Petit Verdot and Cab Franc. Mainly from the lower slopes on deeper soil. Green harvest. 30% new oak.
Deep cherry red. Fabulously rich and pure black fruit, cassis and blackberry, with fine juicy freshness to balance all that intense, lively fruit. Deep and long but not heavy. Sweet oak spice on the end. Full in the mouth but with the finest of tannins. (JH) 13.7% Drink 2018-2030 17.5
2015 Lytton Springs
Zinfandel dominates, then Petite Sirah. West of Geyserville with more clay loam.
More intense and a little more spicy than the Geyserville. A little more savoury but wonderfully aromatic. Deep, with some sweet American oak spice but all seamlessly integrated even now. Ripe plum, spicy dark red fruit. Firm, chewy but supple. (Lytton Springs and East Bench often acidified, apparently.) (JH) 14% Drink 2018-2030 17.5
Rocky river bed. 50th vintage of this wine.
Mid crimson. Scented cherry fruit and even a very slight hint of menthol. Sweetly ripe with some dried-fruit sweetness but zero raisining. Fresh and so rounded even with a deft supple structure. Long and complete. Sweet and figgy but with a fresh finish. (JH) 14.7% Drink 2017-2025 17
2015 East Bench Zinfandel
All young vines and all Zinfandel, hence higher alcohol. Planted in 2000 in five different blocks using mass selection. All US oak for 16-18 months and 20% new – as for all their Zinfandels.
Mid cherry and finely fragrant, fresh but spicy dark-red fruit. You can just taste some oak sweetness here but it melds well with the fruit. (JH) 14.7% Drink 2017-2024 16.5