Big Reds, Big Splurges $75+, Shops + Shows, Tastings

The Sound of Wine and Music/Part 1

A grand tasting ought to be held at an opulent venue and Carolina Wines held nothing back when they put on the Ritz at Boston Symphony Hall on September 10th. With the Hall’s majestic organ pipes as a backdrop, 67 purveyors brought out their best wines and spirits for a truly grand tasting for the Boston beverage and restaurant community. There just wasn’t enough time or bandwidth (wine-width?) between VinoDuo to taste all of the wines offered at the tasting so we focused on select tables with a few surprises thrown in for good measure.   Here are our thoughts:

SHAFER VINEYARDS, Napa California
2016 One Point Five Cabernet Sauvignon; $90-$100/bottle
This is a fruit-forward style of Stags Leap district Cabernet Sauvignon that appeals to the new-world wine enthusiast looking for a more refined bottle to impress friends & family or to give as a gift. At @$100 per bottle retail, it’s well priced against its competition. We noted fresh mint and blackberry/black currant on the palate with refined tannins that were present through the long finish. While it is drinkable now, we’d suggest waiting a couple of years before digging into a couple of bottles at your next wine dinner. This wine was built to age. Buy?  Yes, but this price-point is a bit beyond what we’d consider a value.

2014 Hillside Select Cabernet Sauvignon; $300/bottle
This is a big wine meant to compete with Opus One, Joseph Phelps, and maybe even Screaming Eagle… Its tannins are pronounced and the structure is what you’d expect from a $300 bottle. We noted black-inky coloration with intense, dusty black fruit on the palate. Some reviewers call this decadent and others seem to have a fetish with lead pencil shavings. We found this to be simply delicious and would buy it if the budget allowed. But if someone gifts this wine to you, you’ll likely feel like you’ve hit the jackpot. Excellent!  Buy? In a heartbeat if someone dropped a few $100 bills at our door

2015 Relentless; $100/bottle
It’s easy to see why this is a flagship wine for Shafer. It’s made in the French old-world style of the Rhone varietal Syrah. Its structure calls out for lamb roast to complement tall tannins and dusty cherries.  Buy? We loved this wine, but at $100+ per bottle, we might look for a doppelganger for <$50 as that’s a lot of money for a Syrah (are you listening, Grange?)

TRINCHERO FAMILY ESTATES, Napa California
2014 Mario’s Vineyard St. Helena Cabernet Sauvignon; $50/bottle
The 2014 Mario’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon was deep ruby magenta in the glass with hints of cedar and leather on the nose. This wine was ready to drink with silky-smooth tannins and a substantial mouth-feel. It drinks like a $150 Cabernet for one-third of the price. Gary calls this his perfect Cabernet and is a benchmark for the under-$50 price-point.
Buy? Absolutely! This makes our must-buy list for 2019!

Next up…more tasty reds from Far Niente, Buehler, and Montinore Estate

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