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Colgin Cariad Proprietary Red Wine 1999 - 2008

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Wednesday, June 01, 2011


The first vintage of Cariad from Ann Colgin was the 1999. This was a plunge into making a Bordeaux styled red wine from purchased grapes. The grape sources are essential and in this case, everything emerges from David Abreu's Madrona Ranch and Thorevilos vineyards in St. Helena. Since the beginning, Dr. Alain Raynaud, the well-known Bordelais winemaking consultant and vineyard owner, has been assisting on this project (as well as with Colgin's other wines). The original winemaker was Mark Aubert until his departure to pursue his own winery, and more recently, Allison Tauziet, who hasn't lost a step following in Mark's footprints. These wines are made from different blends, but they are generally dominated by just over 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, one-third Merlot and the rest Cabernet Franc, although the blends can vary. The wines spend 22-26 months in 100% new Taransaud barrels and are bottled unfined and unfiltered. —Robert Parker

1999 Colgin Cariad Proprietary Red Wine 94 Points

There are 450 cases of this blend of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. The 1999 Cariad has aged beautifully, revealing abundant notes of cedar wood, sweet blueberry and black currant fruit and camphor. Powerful and medium to full-bodied with sweet tannins, it appears to be close to full maturity. However, aging it another 12-15 years will be no problem. The wine is better than I initially rated it (91 points) and exhibits greater longevity. Drink this beauty now and over the next 12-15 years.

2000 Colgin Cariad Proprietary Red Wine 95 Points

Composed of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot, I originally rated this 650-case cuvee 94 points. It is a lighter, softer, more velvety textured version of the 1999. A dense plum/purple color is followed by sweet cranberry, black raspberry, roasted herb, coffee bean, white chocolate and subtle barbecue smoke characteristics. This medium to full-bodied, velvety textured, fully mature 2000 should offer beautiful drinking for another decade.

2001 Colgin Cariad Proprietary Red Wine 99 Points

The prodigious 2001 Cariad is a blend of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 31% Merlot and the rest Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, primarily from two of David Abreu's vineyard holdings in Napa Valley (Madrona Ranch and Thorevilos). Complex notes of burning embers, charcoal, red and black fruits, subtle oak, licorice and cedarwood soar from the glass of this highly perfumed, stunning wine. It has everything going for it, including a flawless, seamless style, remarkable balance, stunning concentration and a finish that lasts nearly a minute. There is an open-knit character that makes it very accessible even though the wine still gives the impression of being a teenager in its developmental time-line. This was a brilliant showing from this trilogy of wines from Ann Colgin and her winemaking team of Dr. Alain Raynaud and at the time, Mark Aubert. Kudos to the Colgin team for making three remarkable wines in 2001. P.S. I think the 2007, 2005, 2004 and 2002 Cariads are just as profound! Tel. (707) 963-0999

2002 Colgin Cariad Proprietary Red Wine 99+ Points

A blend of 58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot, 7% Petit Verdot and 7% Cabernet Franc, this is the most open-knit, Pomerol-like wine of the tasting. Ripe and exuberant, it offers up notes of kirsch, blackberry liqueur, mocha, espresso and chocolate. A dense purple color with the same saturation point as the 2001, but with a totally different personality, it is a friendly, endearing, voluptuous, silky, viscous, hedonistic yet compelling wine of great complexity. Enjoy it now and over the next 20 years. I originally rated it 98 points.

2003 Colgin Cariad Proprietary Red Wine 95 Points

Initially rated 96, the 2003 Cariad is composed of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Merlot, 9% Petit Verdot and 5% Cabernet Franc. It does not have the intensity or exuberance of the 2002 or 2001, but it offers abundant notes of crushed rock and minerality intermixed with hints of smoky barbecue, camphor, asphalt, blackberries and blueberries. A more earthy/mineral-dominated wine with good acidity and a long finish, it has reached full maturity where it should remain for another 15-20 years.

2004 Colgin Cariad Proprietary Red Wine 99 Points

I was tempted to give the 2004 a perfect score as it jumped out in this tasting as one of the truly great Cariads. A 600-case blend of 54% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot, 10% Petit Verdot and 8% Cabernet Franc, it boasts extraordinarily complex aromas of chocolate, espresso roast, Asian spice, sweet meat, blackberries and cassis along with super intensity, a full-bodied, concentrated mouthfeel and a long finish with no hard edges. This is clearly a high fashion, flawlessly made wine that, while approachable now, is capable of lasting another 15+ years. My initial rating was also 99 points.

2005 Colgin Cariad Proprietary Red Wine 100 Points

Performing even better than when I originally tasted it (scored 96+ at that time), the 2005 is composed of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 11% Cabernet Franc and 9% Petit Verdot. The first vintage where Allison Tauziet had complete control after Mark Aubert left to pursue his own wine venture, the 2005 continues to grow in stature and complexity. It exhibits an opaque purple color, a youthful style (it tastes like a 2-3 year old wine) and abundant notes of black fruits, acacia flowers, espresso, white chocolate, crushed rock and licorice. Full-bodied and velvety textured with fabulous concentration, high but sweet tannin and a 60+ second finish, it needs 4-5 more years of cellaring and should age effortlessly over the following 25-30 years.

2006 Colgin Cariad Proprietary Red Wine 98 Points

Meriting the same rating I gave it at its release, the 2006 Cariad is composed of 57% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 11% Cabernet Franc and 7% Petit Verdot. One of the stars of the vintage, this thrilling, opaque purple-colored wine offers up sweet espresso, jus de viande, blackberry, blueberry, flower and chocolate aromas. A fabulous texture, tremendous purity, sensational brightness and authoritative flavor intensity allied to striking complexity and elegance are the signature of this creative blend from the David Abreu vineyards of Thorevilos and Madrona Ranch. Six hundred cases were produced. Give this wine another 3-4 years of cellaring and enjoy it over the following 15+.

2007 Colgin Cariad Proprietary Red Wine 100 Points

There are 550-cases of the perfect 2007 Cariad (original rating was 99), a blend of 52% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot and the rest equal parts Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. One of northern California's watershed vintages for Bordeaux varietals, according to Allison Tauziet, this wine revealed great potential from the day the first grapes were crushed. It possesses a dense purple color, massive fruit, soft but high tannin, and a structural profile somewhat similar to the 2002. There appears to be more underlying minerality in the 2007, but the sweetness of the tannin, the enormous concentration of fruit (blackberry, blueberry, cherry) intermixed with graphite, chocolate, coffee and crushed rock characteristics is striking. This is a compelling, even prodigious wine that hits all the palate's sweet spots, possesses phenomenal upside potential, and is a modern day legend in the making. Approachable now because of its flawlessness and seamless characteristics, it should drink well for three decades or more.

2008 Colgin Cariad Proprietary Red Wine 95 Points

Originally rated 95+, this dense opaque purple-colored blend of 54% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc and 7% Petit Verdot exhibits notes of chocolate fudge, mocha, black cherry, blackberry, licorice, smoke and toasty oak. Dense, full-bodied and chewy, it has not yet begun to reveal the nuances and complexity of other Cariad vintages. While it is a big, rich effort, I think it will develop along the lines of the 2000 and 2003, rather than reach the super qualitative level such as 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005 and 2007.

 By Robert M. Parker Jr