Neal Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley shows a near-black color in the glass. Aromas found in the nose include slightly under-ripe blackberry, faint traces of Bourbon, dry cocoa, and a solid whiff of alcohol. Effortlessly transitions to tart blackberry, licorice and dry cocoa on the oaky palate. Astonishing depth. Very dry and dusty. Quite tannic. Floral notes linger in the empty glass. Nice effort that falls just a bit short due to the unripe fruit notes and an overall lack of integration. Right now I think this blend of organically-grown Cabernet Sauvignon grapes from the esteemed AVAs of Howell Mountain, Atlas Peak, Mt. Veeder and Rutherford is pretty iffy for $45, but it might well come together with some time in the cellar.
One of the cool things about internet message boards and blogging is the opportunity to meet a lot of interesting, like-minded people. I've been fortunate to have established a number of friendships with people initially met on-line. And I have even more "cyber friendships" with people I've been exchanging tasting notes with; some for 15 years or more. One of my more recent acquaintances is blogger Dennis Tsiorbas, better known as the New Hampshire Wine Man. As you can imagine, the selection available in Kansas is often times quite a bit different from what's available in New Hampshire. But when I saw Dennis' review of a wine that we had in stock at the retailer I work for, I figured it was a good opportunity to calibrate our palates by comparing notes from the same wine.
I made a point to avoid Dennis' note for a few days before trying this just so I wouldn't be influenced one way or another. (I just remembered he thought quite a bit of it and rated it a 93.) Overall, I think our notes are pretty consistent; the major difference being the perceived level of ripeness of the blackberry fruit.
Dinner was roasted chicken with a red wine/porcini pan sauce.