Wine Talk

Snooth User: Stephen Harvey

Learning more about US wine

Posted by Stephen Harvey, Mar 17, 2017.

Despite my somewhat feeble attempts trying to find US wine in Australia is frustrating

So I think I would like to build a list of high Quality but not astronomic priced wines my American Snooth Colleagues would suggest I look out for

Bare in mind that if it is from a very small niche producer I would need to know how I can source it in Australia

So can I ask if you provide me with

3 best Cabernet Based Wines

3 Best Pinot Noirs

3 Best Chardonnays

3 Best others

If you can let me know USD price you would expect to pay locally as a guide and if the wine has some worthwhile older vintages throw in for good measure

Keep price to under USD100 unless you really think it is worth it for the money

Thanks in Anticipation

Replies

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Reply by JonDerry, Mar 17, 2017.

2013 Forman Cabernet Sauvignon - $100-125 (Also see 2009, 10, 11)

Ridge Monte Bello - $150+ (All vintages)

If you want the best of Cabernet, it's typically $100+

Will try to add to this later.

 

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Reply by dmcker, Mar 17, 2017.

Stephen, you should start thinking in terms of sourcing from the US directly. I put together a curated list of reliable online vendors which (almost all) ship overseas. I'll dig it up and post the link later. For now, here's a current offering from one purveyor on the list (Sea Smoke is a cult wine but I view it as one of the weakest in this listing; nevertheless at these prices and with the aging partially done for you already you should give them, too, a try):

Illustration courtesy of the UC Davis Library Special Collections
I've come to look for America.

Maybe it's the weather, maybe it's listening to "Pet Sounds," but lately I've been thinking a lot about California. Please find below a selection of aged wines from the Golden State classics to some newer school selections. All wines are in stock. Happy hunting!  John McIlwain

Click to view up-to-date inventory on our website →

BV 1978 Napa Georges de Latour Private Reserve Cab Sauv   |  1 in stock  |  $129.99  
Cain 1996 Napa Cain Five   |  5 in stock  |  $99.99  
Clos du Val 1985 Napa Cabernet Sauvignon   |  2 in stock  |  $89.99  
Diamond Creek 1985 Napa Cabernet Sauvignon Gravelly Meadow 6L   |  1 in stock  |  $999.99  
Forman 1998 Napa Cabernet Sauvignon   |  11 in stock  |  $89.99  
Forman 1999 Napa Merlot   |  12 in stock  |  $69.99  
Inglenook 1984 Napa Cabernet Sauvignon Reunion   |  1 in stock  |  $84.99  
Kosta Browne 2005 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir   |  1 in stock  |  $99.99  
Kosta Browne 2005 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir   |  1 in stock  |  $119.99  
Kosta Browne 2006 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir   |  3 in stock  |  $89.99  
Kosta Browne 2006 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir   |  2 in stock  |  $99.99  
Kosta Browne 2007 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir   |  1 in stock  |  $89.99  
Kosta Browne 2008 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir   |  2 in stock  |  $89.99  
Kosta Browne 2008 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir   |  2 in stock  |  $99.99  
Mayacamas 1984 Napa Cabernet Sauvignon (Top shoulder or better)   |  2 in stock  |  $79.99  
Phelps 1981 Napa Cabernet Sauvignon Eisele Vineyard   |  1 in stock  |  $149.99  
Rafanelli, A. 1985 Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel   |  1 in stock  |  $79.99  
Sea Smoke 2008 Santa Barbara County "Ten" Pinot Noir   |  2 in stock  |  $99.99  
Sea Smoke 2008 Santa Rita Hills Southing Pinot Noir   |  3 in stock  |  $69.99  
Sea Smoke 2009 Santa Barbara County "Ten" Pinot Noir   |  3 in stock  |  $89.99  
Sea Smoke 2010 Santa Barbara County "Southing" Pinot Noir   |  1 in stock  |  $69.99  
Sea Smoke 2010 Santa Barbara County "Ten" Pinot Noir   |  1 in stock  |  $89.99  
Sea Smoke 2011 Santa Barbara County "Ten" Pinot Noir   |  1 in stock  |  $89.99

 

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Reply by GregT, Mar 17, 2017.

I think JD is correct when you talk about Cab Sauv. Best is from Napa and you pay. But look at Washington. Andrew Will, Pepper Bridge, Woodward Canyon, and Betz are a few to start with. Andrew Will is a great wine for people who like classic Bordeaux.The mass-market Chateau St. Michelle Cab or Merlot is actually pretty decent for what you pay. And in WA, Merlot is probably what you want to start with. They do a fantastic job. Not mass production but fairly priced would be Arbor Crest, Pepper Bridge, Januik and many others.

If you want to spend over $50US, JD is right.

For PN, don't ask me. Merry Edwards, Arnot-Roberts, Failla, are a few that I would drink but it's been a long time since I had any of those. There are many that are more expensive. OT and JD and the others can help.

Best Chardonnay depends on what you like. You can get virtually every type you want. Ridge, Rombauer, Kistler, Kendall Jackson have defined a particular type of luscious, oaky wine.  For a leaner, brighter style, you can look at I'd look at Failla, Peay, Arnot-Roberts, Hirsch Vineyards, and a few others that are from the far west Sonoma Coast. In fact, that may be the simplest for you - just look for those. You might even look to Canada. There are a couple that are pretty good - Tawse from Ontario for example. Or Wyncroft, from Michigan, which can hold its own with any. Domaine Serene is the one that put Oregon on everyone's list as the "Burgundian" place in the US, which is hilarious since most of Oregon is desert and the East Coast is far more like Burgundy than the west. But the owners, who also make a PN BTW, for which they're actually better known, decided quite consciously to charge a lot for their wine so that it would seem serious. It worked.

That's the funny thing about pricing. No matter whether your wine is good or not objectively, if it's expensive, people start saying that it has to be aged and they give you higher scores, or excuse their low ones for youth. Just look at what happened to CdP over the last 20 years,

Are they the best? It depends on your definition. Kistler is very oaky and expensive and some people think it is the best there is. Ridge is very respected but I would stick to their Zins although I have more Monte Bello than Zin at this point. Wyncroft is unknown and made in Michigan of all places. There's just so much Chardonnay made in so many places that it's hard to pin one down.

For Cab-based wines, it really depends on what you like. And if you're talking about CA, and in particular Napa, JD is right that it's hard to stay under $100. For example, one of the best IMO is Shafer Hillside but it's $250 or so. Still, you can do pretty well even from Napa - Schweiger is under $100, as is Corison Napa, Viader, Fisher Coach Insignia, and Dunn Napa. There's also Brandlin and Mt Veeder, both of which are actually from Mt Veeder. In a more middle-of-the-road style, there are things like Pine Ridge, Trefethen, Chateau Montelena, Hewitt and Chappellet.

Then you say best other. For me, that would probably mean Zinfandel, followed by Petite Sirah. Not that there's nothing else grown, and in fact Syrah is one of the more interesting grapes right now because there are so many people trying their hands at it, but Zin and PS just aren't done anywhere else for all practical purposes. And yes, I have had Australian Zin.

In any event, you're in luck because those wines are usually a lot cheaper than the other three. And I'd start with Ridge Lytton Springs, then Ridge Geyserville, then Ridge Petite Sirah. And throw in Turley Haynes Vineyard Zin and the Petite Sirah too. I think that PS is the best wine Turley makes actually. More to come.

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Reply by JonDerry, Mar 17, 2017.

$50-60+range: Chappellet Signature and Smith-Madrone out of Napa.

Also 2nd the Washington rec's from Greg, Andrew Will.

I'd look to Oregon for Pinot Noir and maybe some Chard. I'm a fan of Cameron, Amalie Robert (Estate or Amalie's Cuvée). There are French producers there as well like Drouhin, Jadot (via the Resonance label), and Evening Land has French connections, look for their Seven Springs vineyard stuff, which is supposed to be Oregon's unofficial Grand Cru site, or at least one of them.

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Reply by GregT, Mar 18, 2017.

Man it's been years since I had the Smith Madrone. Forgot all about it.

But Stephen is in luck!

He can also learn about PowerUpMale and the world's best Anti-Aging Cream right here on Snooth!!!

I don't know if the two work together or if they're independently effective, but together I bet they're brilliant!

But then there's this power cleanse thing from Norway and I think I'd avoid that. Not sure what it cleanses but I think I'm pretty clean at the moment and don't really want to find out. Damn Norwegians!

Not sure if they're from the same spam haus.

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Reply by outthere, Mar 18, 2017.

I was at a wine event in Yountville yesterday where they were pouring a number of high end Napa Cabs. While there were a number of Bordeaux styled blends I figure you want expressions of Napa and not wines trying to be like wine from somewhere else. In the Cabernet Sauvignon camp there were not a lot of standouts in the widely available realm.

2013 Beaulieu Vineyards Georges de Latour was one of the best I tasted on the day. If you can find this give it a whirl. 

It really depends on your wheelhouse for Cabernet and whether you are going to compare it to Bdx or get a feel for where it is on its own.

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Reply by JonDerry, Mar 19, 2017.

Oh, just remembered some of the class Chardonnay in CA. Definitely worthwhile.

-Hanzell

-Mount Eden

-Stony Hill

-Littorai, Heitz Vineyard (though any of them should be nice)

The above are all from Northern California...Santa Cruz, Napa, Sonoma

However Santa Barbara in the South does very well with Chardonnay. Most of my experience is with Liquid Farm, but I hear Brewer-Clifton (from Charline) is doing great things, which is backed up by critical acclaim.

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Reply by amour, Mar 19, 2017.

BE SURE TO INVESTIGATE PHELPS AND ALSO MAYACAMUS OFFERINGS AS THEY ARE AMAZING IN BOTH TASTE AND VALUE AS WELL.... GENERALLY SPEAKING! 

CHEERS STEPHEN HARVEY!

REMEMBER TO REPORT BACK ON YOUR OPINIONS AFTER DRINKING ANY OF THEM!   CHEERS ONCE AGAIN!!!

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Reply by amour, Mar 19, 2017.

DO NOT DISREGARD ANYTHING FROM KENDALL-JACKSON; the late "Boss Man", KJ was trained as a lawyer but however chose to be a wine man par excellence......he preferred soil to law courts!!!!  

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Reply by Stephen Harvey, Mar 20, 2017.

Figured that Cabernet might need to be a bit over the 100 no problems my end just wnated to get an idea of what everyone thinks is worthwhile me going after

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Reply by Stephen Harvey, Mar 28, 2017.

Can get these - prices AUD

 

We can add any of the following to our order. Please advise if you’d like any.

 

2015 Failla Sonoma Coast Chardonnay, $69ea

2015 Failla Chardonnay, Hudson Vineyard, Napa Valley, $89ea

2015 Failla Chardonnay, Haynes Vineyard, Coombsville, $110ea

2015 Failla Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir, $79ea

2015 Failla Pinot Noir, Keefer Ranch, Russian River, $99ea

2015 Failla Syrah, Hudson Vineyard, Napa Valley, $99ea

 

2013 Corison Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, $199ea

2012 Corison Kronos Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, $299ea

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Reply by JonDerry, Mar 29, 2017.

Tough call between the Corison's...I've had a 2006 straight, and a 2006 Kronos. They were both very much worthwhile, but two different beasts. The straight cab highlighting that more earthy, mineral streak, and the Kronos hitting for of that opulent purple fruit and dense oak component.

Failla seems like a decent way to go...at least I enjoyed the interview at I'll Drink to That...

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Reply by dmcker, Mar 29, 2017.

Apologies, Stephen, that I haven't had much time to contribute to this, but one thing I was leading towards with my first post up this thread is that IMHO you shouldn't be excessively perfectionist about your cherypicking but instead just start drinking as many CA cabs, syrahs, PNs and zins as you can, and ditto for the chards, sparklers and other whites. There are a LOT of good wines in CA (not to mention OR and WA) and you need to start creating an experiential context, a database of wines consumed, to grab ahold of trends and styles that are interesting to you, and where interesting winemakers fit in. Plus there are a lot of different tastes behind the comments by each of us on these boards.

You know your budget, and if I were you I'd go scattershot at first. And use those online North American vendors that will ship to Oz since they'll provide you with better choice, and likely price, even with shipping added in, than you're likely to find in your part of the world. Here's that curated list of them I mentioned above.

Then again, if what you're actually interested in is what most Americans (not the denizens of these boards) are actually drinking, I just saw a figure whereby in 2015 Americans spent almost US$2 billion on only five brands: Barefoot, Sutter Home, Woodbridge, Franzia and (you'll be happy to see) Yellow Tail. That's a lot of money, and at average bottle price a lot of wine...  ;-(

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Reply by Stephen Harvey, Apr 3, 2017.

I am going to order some of Faillas and maybe a 1 Corison

will have a look at your list

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Reply by dmcker, Apr 9, 2017.

Here's an offer from another vendor on that list. Lots of mouthwatering classics here that are quite hard to find. Bottle prices in some cases are getting up there, others not as much. Many will need TLC considering their age, of course, but this vendor is reliable, and well keyed into the Napa scene.

 

     

Take a look at this list -- MAYACAMAS, HEITZ, MONTELENA, ARAUJO, RIDGE, GRACE, CAYMUS, DUNN....

  Dear Oenophile,    
Now THIS is something I can dig into! I'm terribly tempted on the '74 Mayacamas. And a recent '91 Grace I had was awesome- a wonderful surprise....

Anyway please take a look at this nicely stored cellar and let us know if we can do anything! PRICES are great! Have a fine weekend!
 
IN STOCK!!
 
    View the Offer
at bpwine.com            
     

US Cabernet Blends

Abreu Cabernet Sauvignon Madrona Ranch -- 1993 750mL  (1) WA94-96
wisl   $249.00    Araujo Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Eisele Vineyard -- 1993 1.5L  (1) WA96    $645.00    Araujo Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Eisele Vineyard -- 1991 1.5L  (1) WA95, WS95    $845.00    Araujo Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Eisele Vineyard -- 1991 1.5L  (1) WA95, WS95    $845.00    Araujo Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Eisele Vineyard -- 1992 1.5L  (2) WA94-96, WS96    $695.00    Bryant Family Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Pritchard Hill -- 1993 750mL  (1) WA97    $409.00    Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon Special Selection -- 1992 750mL  (1) WA94    $165.00    Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon Montelena Estate -- 1984 750mL  (2) WA92, WS93
sbsl   $145.00    Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon Montelena Estate -- 1985 750mL  (3) WA92,ST93, WS92    $129.00    Dunn Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain -- 1993 750mL  (10) WA95, AG93
crk wax   $135.00    Dunn Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley -- 1995 750mL  (9) WA94    $95.00    Dunn Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley -- 1993 750mL  (8) WA93    $95.00    Grace Family Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon -- 1995 1.5L  (1) WA94, WS92
crk wax, Etched Magnum   $695.00    Grace Family Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon -- 1994 1.5L  (1) WA94, WS94
crk wax, Etched Magnum   $745.00    Grace Family Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon -- 1992 1.5L  (1)
crk wax, Etched Magnum   $645.00    Grace Family Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon -- 1990 750mL  (1) WS94    $259.00    Grace Family Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon -- 1991 750mL  (1) WA89    $219.00    Grace Family Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon -- 1994 750mL  (1) WA94, WS94    $319.00    Heitz Cabernet Sauvignon Bella Oaks Vineyard -- 1985 750mL  (1) WS92
vts   $125.00    Heitz Cabernet Sauvignon Bella Oaks Vineyard -- 1985 1.5L  (3) WS92
bn, tl   $249.00    Heitz Cabernet Sauvignon Bella Oaks Vineyard -- 1993 750mL  (5) WS91    $95.00    Heitz Cabernet Sauvignon Martha`s Vineyard -- 1985 750mL  (1) WS98
bn   $275.00    Heitz Cabernet Sauvignon Martha`s Vineyard -- 1984 750mL  (1) WS97
bn   $209.00    Heitz Cabernet Sauvignon Martha`s Vineyard -- 1981 750mL  (4) WS88
scl   $129.00    Heitz Cabernet Sauvignon Martha`s Vineyard -- 1981 750mL  (1) WS88
bn, tl   $129.00    Inglenook Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve Cask -- 1986 750mL  (4) WS91    $95.00    Jean Phillips and Ren Harris Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley -- 1992 750ml  (1)    $2500.00    Joseph Phelps Cabernet Sauvignon Backus Vineyard -- 1995 750mL  (12) WA93, WS91
3scl   $175.00    Mayacamas Cabernet Sauvignon -- 1973 750mL  (1) VN96
bn, cc, scl   $425.00    Mayacamas Cabernet Sauvignon -- 1979 750mL  (1) WS91
vts, nl, stl   $345.00    Mayacamas Cabernet Sauvignon -- 1974 750mL  (1) WA90
bsl, tl   $395.00    Mayacamas Cabernet Sauvignon -- 1973 750mL  (2) VN96
cc, scl   $425.00    Mayacamas Cabernet Sauvignon -- 1979 750mL  (1) WS91
bn   $345.00    Mayacamas Cabernet Sauvignon -- 1974 750mL  (1) WA90
ts   $395.00    Mount Eden Cabernet Sauvignon Santa Cruz Mountains -- 1994 750mL  (1)    $125.00    Pahlmeyer Proprietary Red -- 1995 750mL  (11) WA96
scl   $135.00    Ridge Monte Bello -- 1989 750mL  (6) WS92    $229.00    Ridge Monte Bello -- 1989 750mL  (2) WS92
bn   $229.00                 

 

Please let us know what we can do for you!

 

View the Offer
at bpwine.com

 

 

 

 

707-967-0240
ORDERS@BPWINE.COM

 

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Apr 10, 2017.

Late to the party here, but Kistler changed its style a few years back, not so oaky. Still, I lay off the Cali Chards, as people here know.

I third the Smith Madrone as a great value.  Try also the Turnbull--might be readily available for about $50 for the regular bottling, more for the Oakville.  (Actually, I think I got the regular Napa Valley for $40 or so.) 

Pinots?  Try Cobb, Hirsch, Patz and Hall, for a few. 


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