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Tuesday, October 01, 2013


2010 COLGIN CABERNET SAUVIGNON TYCHSON HILL VINEYARD
NapaRED96
2011 COLGIN CABERNET SAUVIGNON TYCHSON HILL VINEYARD
NapaRED91
2012 COLGIN CABERNET SAUVIGNON TYCHSON HILL VINEYARD
NapaRED95-97
2010 COLGIN CARIAD PROPRIETARY RED WINE
NapaRED100
2011 COLGIN CARIAD PROPRIETARY RED WINE
NapaRED93
2012 COLGIN CARIAD PROPRIETARY RED WINE
NapaRED96-100
2010 COLGIN IX PROPRIETARY RED WINE
NapaRED100
2011 COLGIN IX PROPRIETARY RED WINE
NapaRED92
2012 COLGIN IX PROPRIETARY RED WINE
NapaRED96-99
2010 COLGIN IX SYRAH ESTATE
NapaRED100
2011 COLGIN IX SYRAH ESTATE
NapaRED91-93
2012 COLGIN IX SYRAH ESTATE
NapaRED96-100

There are a lot of magnificent estates with Shangri-La-like beauty spread throughout California, and the Colgin property is in the top ten list for spectacular views as well as top quality. Sitting atop Pritchard Hill with stunning views of Lake Hennessey and the surrounding mountains, their IX Estate Vineyard is on a steep, intimidating hillside. It is one of the must-see attractions in Northern California, if not the entire state. The longstanding winemaking team of Ann Colgin, Allison Tauziet and Bordeaux consultant Dr. Alain Raynaud has produced some magnificent wines over the years (the 2001s, 2002s, 2005s, 2007s and 2008s) as well as amazing efforts in 2009, 2010 and 2012. There are three Bordeaux blend offerings, one from their Tychson Hill estate vineyard off Highway 29, north of St. Helena, and the second, the IX Estate blend. The Cariad is fashioned from a blend of grapes purchased from a number of David Abreu-s well-known and highly respected vineyards. There is also a fourth wine, the IX Estate Syrah, which is often a dead-ringer for a great Northern Rhone. In 2010, March and early April were very cold, but normal conditions persisted over the summer with no heat spikes, and September and October were ideally warm. The results include some spectacular wines that are among the finest I have ever tasted from Colgin. The 2011s were the result of a Draconian-like sorting procedure in both the vineyard and the winery, and significant bleeding of the tanks to concentrate the wines. The wines have turned out well, although as I might expect they are lighter and less significant than the other vintages reviewed. 2012 promises to be a spectacular vintage. This was a big as well as ripe crop (without over-ripeness), and the growing conditions were nearly ideal. In the past, I have underrated Colgin's Syrahs only to have them in blind tastings later and be blown away by just how profound they are. They are completely different from any other California Syrahs and have an affinity to some of the great 100% single vineyard Syrahs from Michel Chapoutier and the up-and-coming firm of Delas.

The 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Tychson Hill is virtually all Cabernet Sauvignon except for tiny dollops of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. It offers up gorgeous aromas of lavender, creme de cassis, violets, toast, incense and camphor. Layered, full-bodied and rich with great purity, focus and symmetry, this stunning effort from one of the tenderloin corridors of Napa Valley can be drunk early on or cellared for another 25-30 years. The 2010 Proprietary Red Cariad reveals great intensity along with abundant notes of unsmoked tobacco leaf interwoven with blueberry, blackberry and cassis fruit, charcoal and coffee bean nuances as well as a Pauillac-like lead pencil shaving character. This blend of 48% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot, 10% Petit Verdot and 14% Cabernet Franc is one of the finest wines I tasted over the 12 days I spent tasting in Napa Valley in late August and early September. This remarkable 2010 should drink beautifully for 20 or more years. The 2010 IX Estate is another perfect wine. Its opaque purple color is accompanied by copious aromas of blueberries, cassis, pen ink, asphalt, licorice and subtle oak. Full- bodied and rich but light on its feet, this spectacular effort was created from a blend of 63% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 11% Cabernet Franc and 6% Petit Verdot. Enjoy this profound wine over the next 25+ years. The 2010 IX Estate Syrah is one of the most compelling Syrahs ever made in California. It ranks alongside some of the perfect Syrahs from Sine Qua Non in Santa Ynez and the Santa Rita Hills. Tasting like liquified steak au poive with blackberry and blueberry sauce, this amazing wine reveals staggering aromas of flowers, bouquet garni, melted asphalt, licorice, pepper and meaty notes. It should drink well for 15+ years assuming you have that much patience.

The 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon Tychson Hill Vineyard has plenty of blue and black fruit characteristics as well as an endearing, lush opulence. This 2011 is disarming in its charming softness, roundness and medium-bodied, richly fruity style. A hint of lavender is noticeable, but this is not herbaceous, vegetal or astringent. Enjoy it over the next 10- 12 years. Composed of 49% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 10% Petit Verdot and 6% Cabernet Franc, the 2011 Proprietary Red Cariad exhibits a deep ruby/purple color along with aromas of tapenade, barbecue smoke, black currants, sweet cherries, baking spices and licorice. Medium-bodied and fleshy with delicious fruit, it showcases the endearing, upfront charm of this vintage where the wines are well-made. Drink it over the next decade. The 2011 IX Estate (66% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot) possesses surprising density and richness (then again, it-s from a hillside vineyard that was above the fog line in 2011), impressive purity, lots of red, blue and black fruits, and not a trace of herbaceousness. The oak is nicely integrated in this soft, round, generously endowed effort. It should drink nicely for a decade or more. Made in a lighter style, the 2011 IX Estate Syrah is reminiscent of a big, bold, top-notch Crozes-Hermitage. Notes of tapenade, red and black currants, licorice and Christmas fruitcake are all present in this medium to full-bodied, luscious, soft, pleasant 2011.

The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Tychson Hill offers plenty of black currant fruit, a seamless, full-bodied mouthfeel, splendid concentration, low acidity and super-velvety tannins. Even from barrel it is hard to resist. I suspect it will drink extremely well for several decades. The potentially perfect 2012 Proprietary Red Cariad is composed of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot, 17% Cabernet Franc and 9% Petit Verdot. It reveals a spectacular bouquet of mint, forest floor, black raspberries, blueberries, licorice and camphor. The stunning aromatics are followed by a full-bodied, sensual, seamlessly constructed wine with amazing fruit and overall balance. The lushness of this vintage is well-displayed in this beautiful blend. It, too, should drink well for 15-20 years. The spectacular 2012 IX Estate (62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc and 8% Petit Verdot) exhibits sweet notes of licorice, toasty oak, asphalt, charcoal embers, blackberries and coffee beans. Long, rich, full-bodied, dense and promising, it reveals the most tannin of these 2012s, but it is ripe and round, and the tannin is well- integrated. It will age for 20-30 years. Another potentially perfect wine is the 2012 IX Estate Syrah. Although it is not yet showing the nuances of the 2010 or 2009, it reveals an opaque purple color, luxurious fruit, aromas of pen ink, graphite, blackberries and cassis in an unbelievably rich, multidimensional format. If you haven-t already done so, you need to discover just how remarkable Colgin's Syrahs are.

 By Robert Parker