JEB DUNNUCK 99 POINTS - "It's always a fun tasting with winemaker Matt Dees and his team, and they continue to keep this estate at the top of the hierarchy in Santa Barbara County. Located in Ballard Canyon AVA, they pull only from their estate vineyard (planted on incredibly sandy soils) and make a wide range of cuvées, from a red and white Bordeaux blends, to a 100% Petit Verdot, Sangiovese and a number of terrific Rhône blends. The common thread is incredible quality."
"Unquestionably the star of the show is the 2014 La Sangre de Jonata, and it's a more finesse driven, elegant, cool climate example of the cuvee than normal. Reminding me of an Hermitage from Bessards, it offers gorgeous notes of blackberries, cassis, leather, scorched earth and pepper. Possessing full-bodied richness, firm, polished tannin and a focused finish, it will be more approachable that most vintage of this cuvee, yet I still wouldn't touch bottles for 3-5 years. If you must drink a bottle over the coming couple of years, give it a 2-hour decant."
The wines produced for the Premiere Napa Valley auction are the pinnacle of achievement in the Napa Valley, and it serves as a means not only to promote the Napa Valley, but the talents of vineyard managers and winemakers. Hi-Time attends this trade-only auction every February, and we secure wines that show exceptional quality vis-à-vis their price points. Progeny’s offering was the best white wine we had tasted at the auction in several years, and we just had to get our hands on it! Following the success of their winery located on Howell Mountain, Paul Wools and Betty O’Shaughnessy-Wools set their sights on Mount Veeder, located in the western mountains of the Napa Valley. While this new site is planted to Cabernet Sauvignon (just like their Howell Mountain property), they also planted several Rhône varietals, which they have found to give the wines exotic bouquets. They soon realized that the white Rhône grapes were not just thriving on their property, but the final wines were superb! Winemaker Sean Capiaux (who has also worked at Peter Michael, Jordan and Pine Ridge) comprised a unique blend of Marsanne, Roussanne and Viognier fermented in a mix of French oak barrels, concrete and stainless steel, with no secondary (malolactic) fermentation. The wine is bright and clean, with aromas of honeycomb, wet granite, oyster shells and sea spray before moving to apricots and orchard fruits. This is actually a white for the decanter, because after 20-30 minutes of air time the wine gains in weight and richness, and flavors of pear, Fuji apple, a hint of oak and toasted almonds appear. The versatility of this wine is amazing; drink it immediately upon opening and it is a perfect match for shellfish and white fish. Let it breath and it will pair nicely with lobster bisque and chicken dishes. It’s almost like it’s a perfect mix between a white Rhône and a Chablis. Wonderful!
JEB DUNNUCK 96 POINTS - "A step up, the 2014 Syrah Rodgers Creek Vineyard is a blockbuster effort that reminds me of a good vintage of the Cote Rotie La Mouline from Guigal. Awesome notes of incense, lavender, bacon fat, and spring flowers gives way to a full-bodied, voluptuous Syrah that has a sexy, seamless texture, sweet tannin, and a big finish. This cuvee saw 10% Viognier and is an exotic, intense, superstar of a Syrah readers should snatch up. 587 cases."
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 97 POINTS - "Starting with the whites and a rich, thrillingly concentrated and unctuous wine from Manfred, the 2014 White Wine Lightmotif is made from 47% Roussanne, 21% Chardonnay, 14% Petite Manseng, 11% Viognier and 7% Marsanne that spent 19 months in a combination of concrete eggs, new French oak, neutral barrels and a tiny portion in stainless steel. Coming from close to equal parts Eleven Confessions, Cumulus and Bien Nacido vineyards, this beauty sports a medium gold color to go with a rich, layered profile that carries tons of ripe peach, honeycomb, pineapple, flowers and citrus. Pure, elegant and silky on the palate, with full-bodied richness, it never puts a foot wrong, is ethereally textured and has a great finish. Drink it anytime over the coming decade."
ANTONIO GALLONI'S VINOUS MEDIA 95 POINTS - "Limpid ruby. A highly complex bouquet evokes ripe, spice-accented black raspberry and cherry scents complemented by suggestions of incense and exotic flowers. Sappy and incisive on the palate, offering alluring sweet cherry, dark berry liqueur and lavender pastille flavors that pick up a smoky, energizing mineral element with aeration. Delivers impressive punch but comes off lithe, finishing with excellent, floral-dominated persistence and smooth tannins that come in late to contribute shape and gentle grip."
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 93+ POINTS - "Composed of 65% Mourvedre, 28% Grenache and 7% Syrah, the 2014 Panoplie has a medium garnet-purple color and a lovely perfume of red roses and lavender over a core of kirsch, red currant jelly and black cherries, with touches of baking spices and dusty earth. Medium to full-bodied with plenty of expressive red berry and earthy layers on offer, it has a firm, chewy frame and appealing freshness on the finish. 775 cases were made."
Winemaker's Notes: "My 2014 Grenache Blanc is my 9th release of this variety, and arguably my best to date! It is a blend of fruit from two distinctly different vineyards - Camp 4 in eastern Santa Ynez and El Camino Real in Los Olivos. Each brings something different to the blend that creates a 'whole' that is greater than the sum of its parts. Each lot was aged in older French oak barrels for 15 months prior to bottling, and each lot brought something different to the blend. The Camp 4 fruit tends to be a bit bolder and riper, bringing beautiful aromatics and body to the final blend; the El Camino Real fruit is picked earlier and brings a zingy acidic backbone and wonderful aromatics to the final blend. This is a wine that is drinking wonderfully now but will truly continue to evolve and develop for years to come."