WCC 2004 California Cabernet Blind Tasting
Fort Orange Club, Albany, NY, 4/17/2014

My Albany-area group (the Wine Collectors Club) got together to taste 2004 Cali Cabs blind at the Fort Orange Club in Albany. Dinner began around 7:30pm and ended around 10pm.

We did a similar 2004 tasting four years ago with similar results.

Click on any image with a border for a larger view of that image.

Flight 1
Pheasant-Boar Terrine with Arugula Greens, Port-Poached Pears, Candied Walnuts, and Blackberry Vinaigrette.
This was delicious and pretty.
  1. 2004 Bell Wine Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Clone 6, Unfiltered - USA, California, Napa Valley, Rutherford
    [Double decanted at 7am.] Huge, ripe, alcoholic nose of licorice and ripe red berries. Ripe fruit and tannin on the palate, but not as thick as I expected from the nose. (93 points)
  2. 2004 Joseph Carr Ancienne Cuveť Meritage - USA, California, Napa Valley, Howell Mountain
    [Double decanted for 1.5 hours.] Smokey nose with no fruit. Dry tannic. Not very appealing, but drinkable. Maybe over the hill already? (86 points)
  3. 2004 Dominus Estate - USA, California, Napa Valley
    [Pop and pour.] Heady complex nose of browning beef and black fruit. Still very young, tart and tannic up front, but waves of ripe fruit on the long finish. Better in 8-10 years. (93-96 points)
  4. 2004 Robert Foley Claret - USA, California, Napa Valley
    [Double decanted for 2 hours at 8am.] Muted nose of ripe cherries. Hot, medicinal, burns the tongue. VA? Not rated but me, but WOTN for the group. Go figure.

Flight 2
Grilled Baby Quail with Oyster Mushroom Risotto, Roasted Golden Beets, and Madeira Glace.
A great dish. The quail is perfectly marinated and grilled, then complemented wonderfully by the beets and risotto.
  1. 2004 Gabrielle Collection Cabernet Sauvignon Equilateral Cask 321 - USA, California, Napa Valley
    [Double decanted for one hour.] Huge, ripe appealing nose of fruit and spices. A yummy wine. Young, but drinking well tonight. (94 points)
  2. 2004 Marston Family Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon - USA, California, Napa Valley, Spring Mountain District
    [Double decanted for one hour at 7am.] Big smokey nose. Complex, smooth, with great balanced. Best wine so far to drink tonight. I think I really like these every time I have one. (95 points)
  3. 2004 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon The Montelena Estate - USA, California, Napa Valley
    [Double decanted for 2 hours.] Wonderful complex nose. Big ripe tannic. Very young. Could have used a lot more air. A great future in 8-15 years.
    Open 48 hours: Stunning, great balance, classic Napa Cab. (93-96 points)
  4. 2004 Pahlmeyer Proprietary Red - USA, California, Napa Valley
    [Double decanted at 11am.] Huge tannic, a massive, almost port-like wine that needs a lot more air or a lot more years.
    Open 48 hours: Showing beautifully now. Archetypal Napa Cab with waves of brooding black fruit. Hold for 10 years, then maybe 96-98 points. If this had shown like this on Thursday, it would have been WOTN for me. (94 points)

Flight 3
Grilled Tuna with Creamy Parmesan Polenta, Plum Tomatoes, Roasted Garlic, and Fresh Herbs.
The tuna was ok, but not a good match to the wines. The rest was delicious.
  1. 2004 Shafer Cabernet Sauvignon One Point Five - USA, California, Napa Valley, Stags Leap District
    [Double decanted at 11am.] Very ripe fruit nose with notes of beef and licorice. Sweet, juicy, young, but balanced and harmonious. Definitely one of the best wines to drink tonight. (94 points)
  2. 2004 Shafer Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select - USA, California, Napa Valley, Stags Leap District
    [Double decanted at 11am.] Super ripe and gorgeous nose. Similar to above, but more backward and tannic. Needs time, but should be great. (94-97 points)
  3. 2004 Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley - USA, California, Napa Valley
    [Double decanted for 2.5 hours.] Big vanilla nose. Tart tannic sour. Unimpressive after all these other wines. (88 points)
  4. 2004 Philip Togni Cabernet Sauvignon - USA, California, Napa Valley, Spring Mountain District
    [Double decanted for one hour at 7am.] Massive, port-like, very ripe with just a hint of a green street.
    Open 48 hours: Really unimpressive. Ripe red fruit with a green vegetable streak in it. Amy poured her's out. Very disappointing. (87 points)

Summary

The majority of these wines are big and ripe and tasty and still quite young. Based on this tasting and others, I would say 2004 is a very good vintage for California Cabernet. This was a pretty good cross-section of (mostly Napa) Cabernet and with few exceptions, they all showed very well.

After considering many possible flight combinations, Bob just decided to put these in alphabetical order. It worked as well as anything.

Notes posted from CellarTracker.


Dessert
Belgium Chocolate Torte with Seasonal Berries and Chocolate Meringue Cookie.
This was rich and delicious. Just yummy!


WOTN Voting (3pts each for #1, 2pts for #2, 1pt for #3)

RankPtsWine
1192004 Robert Foley Claret
2142004 Pahlmeyer Proprietary Red
3(tie)72004 Gabrielle Collection Cabernet Sauvignon Equilateral Cask 321
3(tie)72004 Marston Family Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
3(tie)72004 Shafer Cabernet Sauvignon One Point Five
662004 Shafer Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select
752004 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon The Montelena Estate
842004 Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
922004 Joseph Carr Ancienne Cuveť Meritage
1012004 Bell Wine Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Clone 6, Unfiltered

 

 

 


All original content © Ken Vastola