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A Brief Tale of Three Vintages in Napa Valley

Vinography: A Wine Blog
Alder Yarrow's take on the three vintages at the perspective tasting and, of course, Silverado Vineyard's Estate Cabernet.

For the past few years, just prior to the big barrel auction that the Napa Valley Vintners uses to fund much of its operations, it puts on a very interesting wine tasting event. Called the Vintage Perspective Tasting, it offers up a number of wines to be tasted blind by the trade and press as an educational exercise.

This year's tasting offered 14 Cabernets and 9 Merlots from Napa Valley, each across three different vintages: 2007, 2008, and 2009. The idea, of course, is to taste these wines and see what you think about the vintage character.

I often spend time making detailed tasting notes at this tasting, because someone has already done the work of double-blinding the whole group, but this year I decided to try to get as clear a feel as possible for the vintages themselves. I stuck to the Cabernets, and tasted them and jotted notes with the idea of simply trying to capture the dominant character of the wine, with the idea being that comparing these brief notes across different wines, I could get a good read on my reactions to the vintage.

After the tasting, the staff on hand will give you a key, so you can match your notes to the actual wines, and find out what you liked or did not (if you were keeping track).

So here's the 14 Cabernets I tasted, with my brief notes (completely unedited, including some false guesses about the identity of the wines) about each vintage. I'll sum up my thoughts after the notes.

Silverado Vineyards

2007 - minty (is this Peju?), lush fruit, thick tannin

2008 - ripe, lush, but still good acid, muscular tannin

2009 - herbal, leaner, bright acid, stiff tannins

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