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Wednesday, December 23, 2009


2007 IX PROPRIETARY RED ESTATE
Napa(release date November 2010)RED100
2007 CABERNET SAUVIGNON TYCHSON HILL VYD.
Napa(release date April 2011)RED97+
2007 CARIAD PROPRIETARY RED WINE
Napa(release date April 2011)RED99
2007 CABERNET SAUVIGNON HERB LAMB VYD.
Napa(release date April 2011)RED97
2007 IX SYRAH ESTATE
Napa(release date November 2010)RED95

Colgin's 2007's, which include their final vintage of Cabernet Sauvignon from the Herb Lamb Vineyard, are all extraordinary, world-class wines. The change in winemakers from Mark Aubert to Allison Tauziet has gone very smoothly, and was made easier by the retention of the highly respected French wine consultant, Dr. Alain Raynaud, who told me that tasting Colgin's 2007s gave him his greatest emotional high since he tasted the Château Pavie 2000!

The opaque purple-colored 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon Herb Lamb Vineyard possesses an extraordinary bouquet of crushed rocks, crème de cassis, bay leaf, and forest floor. It is an exuberant, full-bodied, pure Cabernet that should drink well for 25+years. Given the vintage and the sweetness of the tannin, it is atypically accessible already. From Ann Colgin's tiny vineyard treasure just off of Highway 29, north of St. Helena, the 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon Tychson Hill Vineyard (225 cases produced) boasts an opaque blue/purple color as well as a refined and noble nose of charcoal, graphite, ink, blueberries, black currant liqueur, licorice, and cedarwood. Full-bodied with more tannin and structure than the Herb Lamb, this powerful, rich 2007 will benefit from 4-5 years of cellaring, and should keep for 30 or more years.

Potentially perfect is the 550-case blend of 52% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc, and 8% Petit Verdot, the 2007 Cariad. Its inky/blue/purple color is followed by a stunningly complex perfume of incense, camphor, forest floor, underbrush, blueberries, blackberries, and a hint of smoky meat. A wine of extraordinary purity, full-bodied intensity and richness, and a flawless integration of acidity, tannin, wood, and alcohol, this superb Bordeaux blend should evolve for 25-30 years. The staggeringly rich, complex, harmonious, impeccably well-balanced 2007 IX Proprietary Red Estate (1,400 case produced) exhibits aromas of spring flowers, cedarwood, Asian spices, licorice, blueberries, and blackberries. A distinct liqueur of minerals buttresses the full-bodied, massive concentration, giving an overall impression of elegance, purity, and harmony. This is another seamless tour de force in winemaking. It should drink well for 25 or more years. There are 475 cases of the 2007 IX Syrah Estate, which offers up flowery, roasted meat, balsamic, tar and blackberry characteristics in a full-bodied format. The wine reveals sweet tannin, and layers of fruit, including a note of lavender that emerges as the wine sits in the glass. It should drink well for a decade.

The 2008s will not be available until 2011, but it appears to be a very successful vintage for Colgin. The crop was tiny, and there were no frost issues, but several heat spikes did occur. Both Allison Tauziet and Alain Raynaud thought that the small berries provided powerful fruit intensity. The 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon Tychson Hill Vineyard is slightly lighter than the 2007, but it reveals classic notes of cedarwood, black currants, licorice, and spice box. It is surprisingly approachable with sweet tannin and a long, heady finish. A blend of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 9% Petit Verdot, and 6% Cabernet Franc (all from David Abreu's vineyard), the 2008 Cariad exhibits notes of damp earth, roasted herbs, blueberries, blackberries, flowers and a hint of black olives. While is has some dusty tannins to resolve, it possesses plenty of potential. The 2008 IX Proprietary Red Estate (61% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot, and the Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot) boasts abundant notes of flowers, blueberries, blackberries, camphor, lead pencil, and subtle roasted herbs. The juicy aromas are followed by a round, opulent, elegant wine possessing terrific concentration as well as sweet tannins. Lastly, the 2008 IX Syrah Estate reveals the blackberry, black olive, tapenade, northern Rhône-like character intertwined with smoky, meaty notes, lots of wild herb and pepper characteristics, good acidity, and medium to full body. It should drink well for 7-8 years.

Tel (707) 963-0999; Fax (707) 963-0996.

 By Robert M. Parker Jr