Colgin Cellars - Press - Focus on California's North Coast (2009)

Focus on California's North Coast (2009)

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Friday, June 12, 2009

Stephen Tanzer's Tasting Notes for May/June 2009

Colgin Cellars 

The hugely rich 2006s here have pHs a bit higher than normal but also slightly elevated acidity levels, noted winemaker Allison Tauziet.  Very little racking was needed; she told me, and the wines “benefited from extra lees contact, which gave them both juiciness and richness.”  The 2007s, from a year that featured small clusters, hold out the potential to be even greater, but it was the sheer sex appeal of the 2006s that caught my attention in March.  Co-owner Ann Colgin noted that the 2007 harvest was the longest one to date, spreading out over a full six weeks. 

2006 Colgin Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Herb Lamb Vineyard Napa Valley 94+

Inviting aromas and flavors of plum, black raspberry, minerals and tobacco, complicated by hints of smoke and game.  Sweet, lush, broad and complex; this really spreads out to coat the palate.  For all its dimension, though, there’s also lovely mineral precision and lift.  Finishes with ripe, building tannins and a distinctly juicy quality.  This vineyard was picked last in 2006, in mid-October, and the wine was bottled in August of 2008, a couple months later than the other Colgin 2006s as the team felt that the tannins needed a bit more polishing. 

2006 Colgin Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Tychson Hill Vineyard Napa Valley   94

Good saturated ruby.  Deep, brooding nose offers super ripe scents of plum, mocha, smoked meat and dark chocolate, all lifted by a floral nuance.  Wonderfully sweet and lush, showing slightly less clarity of flavor and refinement today than the Herb Lamb but even greater pliancy of texture.  Finishes very long and sweet, with the ripe tannins thoroughly supported by mid-palate stuffing.  This seemed to firm up in the glass as its underlying minerality made itself felt.  

2006 Colgin Cellars Cariad Red Wine Napa Valley     93+

(57% cabernet sauvignon, 25% merlot, 11% petit verdot and 7% cabernet franc):  Good saturated medium ruby.  Complex but reticent nose hints at minerals, dried herbs, sweet spices, hot gravel and tobacco.  Quite closed but very deep on the palate, with and exotic spice quality (cardamom?) lifting the powerful dark fruit and menthol flavors.  This very broad, classically dry wine reminded me of a top claret from the Médoc- and with its rather powerful tannins it may well age like a Bordeaux.  Very unevolved today. 

2006 Colgin Cellars IX Estate Red Wine Napa Valley    95

(66% cabernet sauvignon, 21% merlot, 8% cabernet franc and 5% petit verdot):  Bright ruby-red.  Exhilarating nose of wild berries, wild sage, bay laurel and flowers.  Wonderfully dense and sweet, but with an extraordinary light touch to the black fruit, floral and spice flavors.  A terrific core of ripe acidity gives the wine outstanding inner-mouth lift and extends the finish, which builds inexorably.  The tannins are firm but fine-grained.  The best vintage to date for the winery’s estate vineyard overlooking Lake Hennessey, which was planted in 2000.  In fact, this is extraordinary for five-year old vines. 

2007 Colgin Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Herb Lamb Vineyard Napa Valley 93-96

Bright medium ruby.  Perfumed aromas of cassis, blueberry, bitter chocolate, menthol, violet and wild mint.  Not quite as dense yet as the 2006 but boasts terrific thrust and energy to its flavors of black fruits, licorice and minerals.  The big, sweet tannins arrive quite late, allowing this wonderfully suave and minerally wine to open and build on the back. 

2007 Colgin Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Tychson Hill Vineyard Napa Valley 93-96

Dark ruby.  Perfumed aromas of blueberry and blackberry pie, minerals, graphite and crushed stone.  Large-scaled, sweet and penetrating; silky but not thick or heavy.  Black fruit flavors are complemented by a sexy note of caramel.  The tannins hit the palate late and seem finer than those of the 2006, but then this very young wine shows a medicinal reserve and a juicy back end that will require at least several years of bottle aging. 

2007 Colgin Cellars Cariad Red Wine Napa Valley     93-95

(52% cabernet sauvignon, 28% merlot, 12& petit verdot and 8% cabernet franc):  Good saturated, bright ruby.  Very closed, youthfully inexpressive aromas of black cherry, menthol and dark chocolate (this was an approximation of the final blend but the barrels themselves had not yet been blended).  Musky, dense and monolithic today, but clearly super concentrated, chewy and lush.  This compellingly ripe, broad wine finishes with thoroughly buffered tannins and outstanding length.  Needs time to sort itself out in barrel, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this wine is testable soon after release owing to its sheer opulence.  Winemaker Allison Tauziet noted that the petit verdot contributed great aromatic character in 2007.   

2007 Colgin Cellars IX Estate Red Wine Napa Valley    94-96

Saturated ruby.  Superripe aromas of black raspberry, wild spices and espresso.  Not quite as lush as the Cariad but more penetrating and utterly primary.  The dark fruit, wild herb and dark chocolate flavors show compelling sweetness and intensity, with powerful underlying structure promising a long, slow evolution in bottle.  Plush tannins melt into this fresh, firm wine’s sweet mid-palate fruit.  This may top the 2006. 

2006 Colgin Cellars IX Estate Syrah Napa Valley     94

Bright ruby.  Knockout nose combines black fruits, violet, game, pepper, flowers and brown spices, along with a whiff of meat.  Then compellingly sweet and smooth on the palate, but with a shockingly light touch and lovely inner-mouth perfume.  The nose says California, but the wine’s rocky vibrancy is more Northern Rhône.  This very elegant wine finishes with terrific rising length and thoroughly buffered tannins. 

2007 Colgin Cellars IX Estate Syrah Napa Valley     92-95

Saturated ruby to the rim.  Utterly primary aromas of black fruits and spices.  Super ripe and sweet but youthfully clenched, with the very dense black raspberry and blackberry flavors showing a more chocolaty quality than the comparatively lively 2006.  The powerful finish features big tannins and a distinctly savory quality.  As was the case with syrah at a few other addresses, I currently give the edge to the 2006 for its sheer complexity and force of personality.  But this one is potentially outstanding too.

 By Stephen Tanzer