Apr 23 2009

Pritchard Hill Cabernet Taste Off

The Just Grapes 2008 & 2009 Barrel Project members all met last night at the Grocery Bistro for a blind tasting of 10 Premium Pritchard Hill Cabernet Sauvignons.  The Pritchard Hill area of Napa Valley is known for cult Cabernet producers  such as Colgin, Bryant Family and Chappellet. All wines were tasted in a blind format (identity of each wines were hidden) served in two different flights.  Each member was asked to vote for their top wine in each of the flights.  Here are the results based on overall votes (ranked from top to bottom) and their suggested retail prices*.  The order in which the wines were tasted will be in “()”.  You can click each wine for detailed tasting notes.

  1. 2004 Paul Hobbs Stagecoach (#7 overall or #1 flight 2) – $175
  2. 2005 Girard “Estate Bottled”  (#5 overall flight 1) – $75
  3. 2006 David Arthur Elevation 1147 (#9 overall or #3 flight 2) – $135
  4. 2006 Chappellet Pritchard Hill Estate (#10 overall or #4 flight 2) – $135
  5. 2006 Chappellet Signature (#4 overall flight 1) – $42
  6. 2005 Paul Hobbs Stagecoach (#8 overall or #2 flight 2) – $175
  7. 2005 Levendi Stagecoach(#6 overall flight 1) – $70
  8. 2004 Girard “Sam’s Cuvee”  (#2 overall flight 1) – $40
  9. 2000 Chappellet Pritchard Hill Estate (#3 overall flight 1) – $80
  10. 2003 Cloud View Estate Red Wine  (#1 overall flight 1) – $65

The results of this tasting reveal many things about the palates of the members that will assist us in our red wine plan for the 2009 Cabernet Barrel Project.  The top 3 wines had many things in common.  The overall winner came from the Stagecoach Vineyard which is the source of fruit for the 2009 Cabernet Barrel Project.  They all came from volcanic soils planted at 1000+ feet elevation which creates small concentrated grapes with thick skins resulting in big bold age worthy tannins and graceful acidity.  They all used native yeast fermentation for added complexity and sense of place.  They were all put through a cold soak and extended maceration in order to extract additional color, concentration, flavor and intensity.  They were aged 21+ months in French Oak (mostly new) to add richness in flavor and texture.  All 3 top wines were also bottled unfined and unfiltered to retain its core concentration of flavor purity.

The Just Grapes Barrel Project was put together to allow its members the opportunity to experience winemaking from grape to bottle without having to purchase their own winery.  This evening was a chance for the new members of the 2009 Barrel Projects (Stagecoach Cabernet Group & La Encantada Pinot Noir Group) to meet the alumnus of the 2008 Trailside Cabernet Barrel Project to share their past experiences and the exciting things to come.   Each group meets once a month at a local restaurant to taste wine with food and discuss and determine the various components of winemaking.  We still have a few seats left in both the La Encantada Pinot Noir Project & Stagecoach Cabernet Sauvignon Project.  Click here to learn more.

*The overall statistical accuracy of these rankings is thrown by the votes taken for 2 flights and only allowing for their top choice.   #3 & #4tied for 3rd Place, #2, #6 & #8 tied for 5th Place, #1 & #3 tied for 9th Place

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