EP 954 Tasting of New California Arrivals

Gary Vaynerchuk tries 4 Californian reds that have just arrived at Wine Library and also received massive scores in the press. He tastes them to see if they live up to the hype.

Wines tasted in this episode:

2006 Luna Napa MerlotNapa Merlot
2007 Flora Springs TrilogyNapa Red Meritage
2008 Lewis Cellars Alec’s BlendNapa Rhone Blends
2008 Lewis Napa Cabernet SauvignonNapa Cabernet

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luca bercelli


line of the day – ‘Calibree; it means calibre and pedigree all in one.’

GV’s passion over the last one is so infectious – it really makes me want to taste the wine…if only!

Tags: cabernet, california, meritage, merlot, napa, red, review, Video, wine, wines

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  • Anonymous

    ALLAN has an excellent point. I don’t think you’ve done a Pedro Ximenez Sherry either (or any Sherry for that matter). Step up, Vaynerchuk!

  • Anonymous

    Great show GV. Major Thunder.
    QOTD A: No Cally wine of the moment now. The ones i loved are too expensive (I blame Bordeaux)

    QOTD B: Oh the good years. Mondavi Reserve 1987, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994 I remember them so well. Berringer Reserve, Simi Reserve, Dominus 91, 92, Togni 91, LaJota through the 90’s. I miss them so much. Newton too, but for their Merlots, outstanding.
    Such a shame they have all played the “We are as good as Bordeaux so we will have price points similiar” game.

    Bottom Line Crackhead – back then was the Mondavi Cab Reserves. I almost had a heart attack when they sold the winery. RIP Robert.

  • Anonymous

    Qotd California wine of the moment, anything from Brown Estate, but particularly their Chaos Theory cab/zin blend. Also digging Orin swift Prisoner.

    Qotd 2 I would say shafer cabs and Lail J Daniel cubes, both first major forays into higher quality wines, and recommended at Charlie Palmer steak in Vegas, so likely ambience had something to do with it.

    Great show. See Lewis often at my wine shop so might have to take the splurge and pick up a bottle.

  • Cubatobaco (Ray)

    Robert Craig is the shizzz!!!!

  • Cubatobaco (Ray)

    Randi is the best!!!!

  • Cubatobaco (Ray)

    Hey, our time is coming!

    Its Jay-Z said, “You let you shit bubble quietly, and then you BLOW”! ; )

  • Cubatobaco (Ray)

    PPS – K. Murph needs to make more appearances

  • Christian

    great show, great wine. i’m a little dissapointed cause my bottle of trilogy 2007 was really bad, thin, sour and hard unripe tannins on the palate.
    i love the lewis wines for a lont ime, espacially the 2007 and 2008. my favorit ist single syrah 2008 from lewis.
    but all over my favorit wine from california is broken stones 2007 from saxum. justin smith is one of the greates guys on this planet. and the wine is incredible good. for only 50 usd from the winery (last year).

  • Anonymous

    Awe! You are too Ray! :o)

  • Sdmckimmey

    So happy to see you reviewing Cali Cabs again!! I’m really enjoying O’Shaughnessy Cabs and Merlots at the moment. I recently visited Pride Winery and was impressed with their wines. Finally, Talbott 2008 Pinots are very good and really under the radar right now.

  • Robert

    California wine I went crazy over, David Bruce Pinot Noir 2001, 2002, 2003?could not get enough. Right now, I am drinking California Merlot, Rodney Strong 2006 Sonoma County $12.00 baby. I am all about price/performance $10.00 ballpark drinkable wines. I definitely will seek out and try the Luna 06.

  • Larry

    Orin Swift wines are on my radar currently. We have gone through a Ramey phase but cost is a factor. I have had a few Parr wines that I think are as good as any. Liocco is making a wide range of unoaked Chardonnays that drink nicely with food.

  • Meh.

    QOTD: Never been that into Cali wines, would like to try Scholium Project though, and I do really like the Dominus wines, but I don’t really seek any out.

  • I need to try Saxum wines. His o7 James Berry vineyard is Wine of the Year on Wine Spectator this year and his broken stones is right up there as well 96 pts. Thx

  • Umm. i think I saw it at Costo last time I was there. Poor Gary. 🙂

  • Anonymous

    I’m going to have to check that out….. my Costco used to have a lot of good wine. Not anymore. But mayeb BJ’s…??

  • No, never have.. Sounds like I need to try them. Thanks again!

  • No, are they are good, too? Will seek them out! Thx again.

  • Well, Costco in Northern Calif has a great selection – as they should. Are u in NJ? What is BJ’s? A Costco wanna be?

  • Anonymous

    QOTD:I was really enjoying Weins of Temecula.I just scored a 2007 Weins Merlot at Big lots for $4.00. Now I need to Pop it to see if I will wipe out the shelves Friday.M~R

  • Noleesk

    great episode! cant answer the qotd because ive only started to get into wines recently. although, ive bought an artemis cab sauv for my dads retirement present… which will in within the next 5 or 6 years..

  • Anonymous

    Actually they were here since the 80’s and before Costco. Same thing though. Where are you exactly?

  • Redwood City and/or Mountain View, CA I saw the Trilogy a couple of months ago.. Will check this wknd and see if it’s still there. The only negative about Costco is that they may not always store wine as well as a local wine shop. Also try K&L (online) Redwood City… I think the price is higher than Gary’s though.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks and yes I know I have bought from K&L before. That’s cool…. I live in Mountain View and or Wayne NJ.

  • Anonymous

    Who don’t know that!!!!! Bring on the Murphster!!!!!

  • Anonymous

    Next time I fly into Napa we’ll have to meet up. Ever go to the Bounty Hunter?

  • Isak Broe

    I agree, but only to a certain extend. Often the problem with many a young “oak monster wine” is not too much oak, but the need of a bridge between primary and secondary flavours. This bridge will often be provided through the development of tertiary flavours (those that come from the bottle aging of the wine).

  • G S Tripp

    I love the shirt GV! As for the QOTD, I don’t have enough experience to say one way or the other. However, I do love cabernet sauvignon even if that is indicative of an underdeveloped sense of wine.

  • QOTD: Unfortunately don’t get many Cali wines down here in Adelaide, but Ridge Geyserville is my all time favourite. Balance, poise and structure.

  • Anonymous

    QOTD: If I could get any real wines from Cali I might have one but thats kinda hard in Germany.

  • Anonymous

    QOTD: Gnarly Head Old Vin Zin. Has that “Delicious Factor”.

  • QOTD: I go with Jessup Cellars.. probably their table for four

  • Anonymous

    Right there with you on the Togni. But please, keep it down. He only makes so much.

  • My go to California wines are Central Coast Rhones. I think of Qupe syrahs, Tablas Creek blends both red and white, Tercero and Municipal Winemakers, I could go on. Maybe because they’re close to home, but probably because they are so delicious.

  • Anonymous

    qotd: Dont drink a lot of California, but everytime I try Blackbird Vineyards I love it

    Also Had lewis 04 reserve cab and that was pretty darn tasty, lots of fruit but not fake

  • Anonymous

    We sell the Lewis Hillstone Reserve Cab 2007 at my job which WS scored 95. I’ve never actually tasted it but would love to see you review it, considering you scored their regular 2008 cab 95. Playing left field very much into Chappellet winery cabs right now. 2007 was an awesome cab vintage that has a very strong potential. Tikal winery is also on my radar especially their 2008 malbec uuuff! Let’s go Jets!

  • Anonymous

    The first time I realized I liked red wine was when I had a 1980 Clos du Val Cabernet. I drank a lot of Napa cabs until they became too expensive. Then I moved to Sonoma and then to other wine areas. I have been drinking Navarro for more than 20 years and continue to enjoy it.

  • Anonymous

    qotd: Chateau Montelena Cab has been and…. still is my favorite. After watching this show, I’m going to have to try to find the Lewis Cab also.

  • Anonymous

    Robert Sinskey’s Cabernet-Franc is my favorite. It’s the one California wine that I must have in my wine frig.

  • Anonymous

    My Cali-cab of the moment would be the 2006 Liparita Oakville

  • Anonymous

    Nice note Latour90 — brings back memories. I’ve still got a few 1997 Beringer Special Reserves in the cellar; might have to crack one open now that you’ve raised the matter. I too fell off my chair when Mondavi was sold. I don’t blame bordeaux for the price increases though, but the consumer who’s prepared to pay.

  • canvasback is a syrah based wine from the duckhorn people & i have a small obsession with it! best mouth feel and pure fruit i have ever experienced

  • which ones have u had??

  • Anonymous

    Overall not much of a CA fan, but I’ve been drinking more from there lately as well.

    Of the moment: 2008 Fess Parker Viognier
    All-time: 1999 Shafer “Relentless” Syrah.

  • Speaking of California, I bought a bottle of wine made from symphony, looked it up. The Symphony grape is one of dozens of new grapes bred by Dr. Harold Olmo. Doesn’t look like you’ve had any on the show yet :-I

  • QOTD – Still have to say that my favorite all time California was S Anderson Sparkling. That being said, the first time I lived in California which was in 97-8, the 94 and 95 Cabs were widely available and I certainly was hooked on them.

    It is interesting that you have started to move back towards some of the Cabs, as I have shied away from many along with the Zins over the last few years and am finding myself drawn back in. We were in Sonoma on Friday and tasted through a number of wines and feel that the ’07’s and ’08’s have moved back a bit away from the fruit bomb for Pinot, Zin and Cab, and I am liking it. We were extremely impressed with the dutton-goldfield Pinot’s and even did a couple verticals of their single vineyards that were amazingly different year to year (and the Chardonnay was surprisingly fabulous, probably the first California one I have bought in 5 years). Iron Horse, Woodenhead and Ravenswood all had highlights too.

    Happy Thanksgiving.

  • My California wine is 2004 Darioush Cab; just blows me away.

  • My California wine is 2004 Darioush Cab; just blows me away.

  • Anonymous

    QOTD: I have no wine of the moment from CA. I am still very new to wine, but so far the west coast is still one of my least favorite regions. I grew up and still live in Oregon, and i almost never drink Oregon pinot or Cali cab. Two great bottles from CA I really liked have been 2001 Ch Montelena cab, and 2007 Caymus SS, But still the QPR on them isn’t even close for me.

  • Anonymous

    Good episode, good information. It is important to continue to revisit that which we think we know as all information changes with time.

    QOTD – While not really my “California” wine I do enjoy two (2) wines from there, Hanna Sauvignon Blanc and Alexander Valley Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon.


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