Straight Out Of the Bottle: It is clear that the 2008 Reverie Cabernet Sauvignon needs a little time to open up. This wine is complex with notes of chocolate, raspberry, oak, and anise. While, the tannins were a bit robust straight out of the bottle, our hopes are that they will hopefully mellow with a little time in the decanter. This vintage may also benefit from a little more time in the cellar but it is drinking well right now.
Decanting (1-1.5 hours): With time this wine opened up into a fantastic cab! True to the varietal, this Cabernet Sauvignon is on the bigger side with nice notes of dark red fruit, oak, and a hint of cracked black pepper. A nice surprise coming out of this vintage is a strong jammy note of fresh raspberries mixed with melted milk chocolate. The oak characteristic mellowed out quite a bit and is now melding perfectly with the other notes. Overall, we are extremely pleased with this wine! While it is on the pricier side, if you get a chance to enjoy the 2008, it is definitely worth it!
Handicap ($77): 95
For those of you not familiar with Orin Swift and his wines, the Papillon is one of my personal favorites. French for butterfly, this wine is as beautiful and intriguing as the name suggests.
It is a BIG, red blend and thusly will need some time to open up in a decanter – about one hour is ideal. Without decanting this wine is nice but falls short of its potential.
After decanting this wine is well balanced and full bodied. The tannins are velvety across the palate. On the front this wine gives strong notes of grape, followed by vanilla and a hint of cream. The back is dry with oak, nutmeg, and raisin. The finish is very strong and lingers on the palate long after each sip.
Orin Swift’s 2008 Papillion lives up to its reputation and is certainly on par with previous vintages. This is a great wine to break out on a special occasion or when you need something that will impress an educated wino.
Handicap ($50): 92
Good value for the price.
Immediately out of the bottle, we decided that this wine needed a little time to oxidize and mellow out. The tannins were pretty rough, making this wine abrasive and not very approachable.
With some time in the decanter (~30 min), it became a simple, fruit forward Cabernet Sauvignon. There wasn’t a lot of interesting features with this wine, but the tannic structure after mellowing out in the decanter, became smooth and enjoyable.
While it was a simple wine with not a lot of depth or character, it is a great wine to enjoy when you don’t want to spend a lot of money on a bottle.
Handicap ($11): 90
For cheap wine, this is a definite repeat!
2008 Five H Syrah from Seven Hills Vineyard
Walla Walla Valley
Very interesting wine straight out if the bottle. Immediately on the palate you get a burst of bright red fruit, specifically raspberry – very jammy. This leads into subtle flavors of milk chocolate and a hint of cream. The mild, mature tannins add a bit of maturity and help balance out the mild acidity. Surprisingly, this wine has a dry, sharp finish with some mild notes of leather and maybe a hint of oak.
While this is not your traditional black-pepper Syrah, it is a fantastic drinkable and approachable wine!
Handicap ($15): 91
For the value, this wine is fantastic!
Straight out of the bottle, this Colorado wine is a nice surprise to add to the mix. On the front, the tannins have matured and provide a velvety, soft texture. Flavors on the front part of the palate include red fruit and cream. As it transcends the palate, it loses its “Umph”, but returns on the back. The finish is subtle and dry, but has notes of oak and tobacco that seem to linger on.
Overall, this is an enjoyable wine. While it doesn’t carry the big, bold masculinity of the heavy hitter Cabernet Sauvignons out there, it is a nice wine to enjoy on an evening in.
Handicap ($25): 80
Straight out of the bottle, this Pinot Noir is very in alignment with varietal characteristics with a decent amount if complexity. While it carried a soft-to-medium body, the depth and flavors made this wine very enjoyable.
With flavors of cranberry and brighter red fruits, hints of sage and some other herb we couldn’t quite pin, this wine was very in alignment with a nice Pinot Noir. It did carry a bit of an earthy quality which made it stand apart from some of the other wines in the category, but didn’t take away from the wine.
Also, for the price point under $20, it seems like a good deal.
Handicap (Under $20): 89
First impressions of the latest release from Educated Guess were less than stellar. While this Cabernet Sauvignon did carry some nice notes of body, it lacked the complexity and familiarity of the great wines they were producing pre-2008. In fairness, the price point has come down quite a bit as their older releases were in the $30 range and the new releases are under $20.
On the front of the palate we got bright red fruit and spice, which transcended into a nice butter component that envelops the palate. While the butter flavor was enjoyable, I would have liked to see some more depth and complexities of the older vintages.
Overall this is a nice, simple cab. For the price point it holds its own and is worth a shot if you come across it.
Handicap ($18): 88
This Bordeaux blend is a nice surprise to come from Sawyer Cellars.
Straight out of the bottle this wine carried a nice medium body with drinkable characteristics of bright red fruit that leads into lush, dark fruit. Subtle undertones of vanilla, oak and anise lead into hints of tobacco and leather. For the price, this wine is definitely a steal!
Handicap ($20): 90
*Straight out of the bottle: This is a bigger, Colorado cabernet sauvignon that definitely needs some time to open up and relax. We decided to decant from first impressions.
*Decanted (for about an hour): With some time to oxidize and mellow out, this younger cabernet sauvignon opened up into a pretty tasty wine. Fruit forward, this medium-bodied wine offers mild acidity to the palate with hints of vanilla and oak. It has a cream undertone that comes through in the middle of the palate, which transcends into black pepper with hints of ripe blueberries. This wine is drinking pretty nicely right now, however, will only get better with some time in the bottle.
Raw Score: 84 Handicap Score (Compared to other wines and varietals in its price range $36): 75
Maybe with some time this wine will open up and align with the traditional varietal characteristics. For the price point there are better wines out there, however, it is always good to support the local wineries in Colorado.
*Straight out of the bottle: This is a very interesting Colorado wine straight out of the bottle. It is medium bodied with most of the flavors and notes on the front portion of the palate. It is slightly acidic with young tannins that need some time to settle down and mature. On the front, we got a burst of bright red fruit that led into oak, tobacco and leather undertones. It also has a nice, dry finish that seems to linger on the palate a little longer than most.
Raw Score: 82 Handicap Score (Compared to other wines and varietals in its price range $20): 84