VGS Chardonnay
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1991
Rich gold color of oxidation the wine shows its age. The clarity though is fantastic. Not too much in the nose except for some strong maderisation character and some honey nuances. In the mouth it is interesting. Of course it has lost all its "Chardonnay" character, but the old maderized fruit and oak make a nice blend. Past its time.
1995
Gold color showing some oxidation. Intense, rich and creamy nose of older dried flowers blended with honey and vanilla nuances. In the mouth, the attack is showing strong acidity balanced by a rich texture. A multi-dimension diversity of fruits from burned apple to pear and honey moving layers after layers. A good length of older fruit, maderized flavors but still nice when you think the wine is 15 years old…
1996
Golder. Similar but less intense bouquet. Good intensity of fruit. Rich and round in the mouth with some maderized flavors. Less intriguing in the mouth. Strong acidity, fruit and honey finishing.
1997
Look at the color. So different from one year ago. Brilliant gold like a new wine. The color promises bouquet delight. Let’s check. Yes it is there. What a bouquet no sign of maderization here. A nice complex nose of fruit blended with characteristic finesse of chanterelle. In the mouth, it is simply superb. Good weight, very good balance. This wine shows that, in wine like in life, balance is an essential part of good aging. The wine finishes a bit short but, gee, the flavors. Classy and classic VGS Chardonanay.
1998
Forget the young chick move on to maturity! Back to the older and mature bouquet. The nose is deep, intense, and takes you in. Rich and heavy on the attack, this wine reminds me a creamy morel sauce: heavier than 1997 in texture. The acidity is still strong. That’s why the fruit is so lively while subdued, blended. A very balanced long finish.
1999
Definitely VGS nose. When you walk in the forest on dry, not wet, leaves of eucliptus, tilleul, laurel the nose here is made of these flavors. It is intense. The wine also shows how beautifully French oak contributes to the wine with its subtlety but tremendous presence. Cut a fresh bulb of fennel and smell the wine. You got it! The wine finishes lightly, lively, like after you ate into a green apple.
2001
Spectacular, young and bright straw color. Beautiful VGS Chardonnay nose. The bouquet is deep, intense, fresh, and lively. On Mount Veeder the cooler climate protects the nuances in the berries so the wine is so complex because nothing is “cooked” by the heat. The mouth is rich and silky, a good weight without being heavy. One of most elegant California Chardonnay to drink and enjoy. The finish is so long, full, rich but subdued all the elements perfectly integrated. The French oak finds here its perfect place. It supports the aging of the fruit without overwhelming it.
2002
Golden color. The bouquet reminds me of the rich banana cake prepared by a friend for me during my Annapurna adventure. The same delicate but rich banana with walnuts nuances and a good amount of butter to round out. In the mouth, the wine is creamy, rich and full. The length is spectacular: long, elegant and very complex with layers of fruits.
2004
Nice bright color. Beautiful bouquet of young fruit which include melon and pear, but also some citrus. Because of the Mount Veeder growing conditions, the acidity is what keep these wines alive and the bouquet so aromatic. In the mouth, the wine is still a baby and is evolving towards the richer, creamy style. Superb finish long, delicate, present, intriguing in its complexity.
2005
Nice yellow bright color still young. A little nail polish that disappear fast after aeration and then leads to developed and integrated aromas of a 6 years old Chardonnay with mature fruits like tarte tatin and caramel and a touch of honey. Really delicious in the palate. It’s rich, dense, full, sits well in the palate and very long. The finish is impressive; the acidity is going down so it should be enjoyed within the next 2 years.
2006
Still the color of a baby, bright and lively. Very nice bouquet, fresh, deep and rich. Youthful and intriguing. In the mouth the wine is loaded with ripe fruits perfectly framed by the acidity and alcohol. So many facets and layers enhanced by the toasted tones given by the long fermentation in barrel which also adds a creamy texture to the wine. Great balance in mouth, the wine is interesting and offer a multi-dimensional finish. Will continue to age nicely for 5 years.
VGS Chardonnay
2001
The color is rich but not blackbuster. Subdued nose of fruits nuances (without any of the barnyard tones so familiar in syrah), hints of tar, leather and smoke. Medium bodied and on the lighter weight side on the palate with lots of fruits flavors and a very good and long finish. At maturity.
2003
Rich, concentrated, dark red color. Very intense bouquet of raspberry, blueberry, wild mushrooms with some very good nuances of oak and spices. A rich and complex bouquet. Very nice attack in the mouth strong and powerful loaded of integrated flavors which gives the wine an extra dimension with layers and layers. A wine with a lot of character. Drink now to 5 years
2004
Woah! What a color: big, concentrated, rich, inky….what am I going to find here with such a strong statement? Explosion of ripe and matured red fruits blended with spices and oak in the mouth and surprisingly a lighter weight than expected. Very round and ample. Nice long finish with a tannic structure well melted which supports the flavors all the way. Still a baby. To enjoy between 3 and 7 years.
2006
Another inky, reddish, powerfully concentrated VGS Syrah with a rich and brilliant color. The first of the bunch where the first smell is more barnyardy and foxy than fruity. Then with aeration the fruit and the licorice show up! Young and powerful, rich and concentrated, balance and tannic, pretty intense wine that finishes with a blend of foxy and fruit flavors all of this creates a wine of intensity and complexity. Long aftertaste. Drink 2 to 7 years
2007
Very elegant fruit driven bouquet. Rich and delicate, intensely perfumed with red fruits, spices and toasty oak. A very nice nose. In the mouth, the attack is broad and generous. The fruit is clean, ripe, round and powerful and blended with a good amount of spices. The structure is full and rich with a very nice weight and firm tannins. Very long finish; the wine finishes on a broad palette of flavors that are pleasing. Absolutely beautiful. Enjoy the next 5-8 years.
VGS Syrah
1990
Brown overtones. Very seductive nose of matured aged blackberry, bouquet extremely well integrated with some vanilla and oak very light nuances. In the mouth the wine appears rather light but in fact, is extremely present with lots a fruit, a nice weight and a very long, amazing finish. Amazingly this is a twenty-year old Zinfandel, still rem¬arkably elegant. No wonder it changed the standards by which people where evaluating Zinfandel back then.
1995
This is a very attractive and still brightly colored wine. An unbelievably young bouquet leaning more towards the plum side, with more mushrooms and under forest notes than pure red berries. Just keep smelling, the integration of the flavors are just extraordinary and grow with you. In the mouth, you just can not miss that one: it is intense, deep, very well structured and balanced with a nice weight and spicy finish that stays with you. The 1995 is a multi-faceted wine. Want it or not, it lasts.
1996
My first impression of this vintage is its reddish-orange color, leading me to believe this wine is nearing full maturity. Intense aromas jump from the glass offering enticing notes of dark berries, brandied cherries and brown sugar. In the mouth, it is clear this wine is closing in on a personality change, from a fruit driven California Zinfandel to an old world styled wine of maturity and elegance. Personally I love this wine, but can understand why others may not find it to be of their style…the 1996, a Bordeaux-esq Zinfandel!
1997
This wine has a bright, deep, and intense color. Nose hidden by some “brett”. Behind that if that is not Zinfandel…I wonder what it is. Extremely ripe and barnyard almost like a Syrah.
1998
Nice brown reddish color still very brilliant. Superb bouquet of light flowery tones, spices and mature raspberries turning blackcurrant and mandarin. Great finesse in the nose. The attack is refined and loaded with fruits. A nice structure, medium body no heaviness. “Claret” style they call it and Claret style it is: less alcohol, less sweetness, more of the fruit and some earthy flavors compare to winemaking flavors. Drink now to 3 years to enjoy its character.
1999
Intensely reddish in color, the 1999 vintage also shows some brown overtones. Lively bouquet: full, intense, deep, sweet raspberries a little on the overripe side, candy-bubble gum and vanilla. In the mouth the wine definitely reminds the sweet, ripe red fruits. It is very rich, fully extracted and definitely a California Zin. It sits well in the mouth with a heavy body and is loaded with fruits that keep the finish going…. The wine will stay intense for some more years to age gracefully….
2001
The last three vintages definitely show a ripe type of wine that is more assertive than delicate. Intense blackberries. Brandy sherry. I find the impact of the little American oak used being more present and vanilla than I like. In the mouth, the wine is ripe, present, complex, meaty and finally extremely delicious.
2002
Is it what you call a baby? Look at this wines edges; it is still vibrant, red and deep. This wine needs air to express its elegant bouquet and its character. Then, you discover an intense blend of red fruit, a harmonious under forest and a “wild” character giving this wine a lot of personality. In the mouth what a presence! Young, bright, full-blown, intense, heavy weight but remarkably balanced and subdued. It possesses a beautifully long and mature finish of red fruit compote that stays with you forever.
2003
Impressively very dark in color from a very ripe vintage. Difficult to say if it will become wiser with age or if it will stay ripe and wild! Please don’t drink this one with salmon or sea bass, like the 2002 it needs meat! A very attractive bouquet of stewed ripe red berries that is very seductive and pulls you in. With this one you have your mouth full: it is fleshy, chewing, ripe, full bodied and loaded with rich red matured fruits: blackberry, blackcurrant and some pepper and vanilla just to wrap the whole thing up.
2004
Bright and red color with very few brown overtones. Very lively nose. It’s there in its youthfulness claiming its right! Extremely aromatic but still not completely open reminiscent of fresh baked blackberry cobbler. What a delicious mouth: balance, full body but not heavy, round and very ample it takes all its place in the palate. Very good tannin structure. Loaded with fruit, the wine stays with you for EVER with absolutely delicious flavors and so many different layers of taste. A very multi-dimensional wine.
2005
Across the board, 2005 was a very good vintage. It shows here in a wine that just seems not “open” and ready yet. The bouquet is young and generous but sill tight and closed: full of freshly squeezed raspberries, earthy overtones with some fennel and paprika and oak nuances. The plum, blackberry and herb flavors have melted together making a graceful and harmonious wine despite its power. Very nice weight on the palate, it sits well taking its full dimension with layers after layers. Keep aging baby!
2009
2009 was a very good growing season for Zinfandel and it translates into the wine: the color is deep red and bright, the bouquet is extraordinarily aromatic, distinctive of Zinfandel with its red berries ranging from raspberries to blueberries and a lot of spices: pepper, anise. All this is nicely blended with the natural sweetness coming from the aging in oak... In the mouth, you have a palette of red fruits, spices, and oak that creates that interesting arrays of flavors making the wine dense and remarkably complex, with a medium body and a lingering finish that melts seamlessly into fine layers of toasted oak supported by a soft tannin structure. This wine is a harmonious blend of intensity and elegance. That refined style that VGS is so well known for. It is superb to be enjoyed in its youth and will gain so much personality and depth with age.
VGS Zinfandel
VGS Cabernet Sauvignon
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1990
Sediment present. Mature Bordeaux nose, olive tapenade and roasted bell peppers, stewed dark compote fruits (figs/prunes) in the mouth. Very subtle oak tones, light to medium weight in mouth with still present grape and oak tannins. Beautiful aromas develop with air. Mature.
1992
Brown overtones indicating an aging wine. Interesting bouquet more like a Barolo than a Cabernet. Still some red berries alive now in their mature expression but more on the tar and tobacco and cherry kirsh side. Good fruit, pleasant bouquet. In the mouth the wine is medium bodied with a light weight and a very fresh attack. Surprisingly good fruit of mature berries with a soft tannin structure. Good finish for that Old world style cab. Definitely not a traditional Napa cab more …old world!
1993
Brown overtones with a good red color at the middle. Extremely aromatic, almost perfumy and floral presenting a good blend of red berries, herbal nuances with earthy flavors and oak making a rather rich bouquet for that age. Definite presence in the mouth: the attack is lively and generous. The fruit stands out after you have swallowed. The wine is medium bodied with a good structure of tannins, some nice acidity and alcohol. Very long finish. A very nice wine. Drink now.
1995
Sediment present First impression is dark, almost black color. Deep and dark nose of blackberries, tar, black cherry cola and black licorice. Medium weight and coating tannins. Another beautiful California Cabernet with a French accent. Drink now.
1996
Sediment present. Another dark and deeply extracted wine. More red fruit than 1990 and 1995, beautifully aromatic with cherry Kirsch liquor and nice sweet oak. In the mouth, the wine again in rich without being heavy with a warm and smooth tannin finish. Drink now as this is nearing its peak of perfection.
1997
The favorite of the Press, more importantly is it yours? Garnet color with a dark rim. Nose is definitely earth driven, with fruits still hidden. Heavily extracted with years to go, this wine exhibits the complexity of the “perfect” growing conditions but shows us why patience is a virtue in vintages like this. In the mouth, it begins to show its fruit and well-integrated new French oak. Raspberry jam.
1998
Color begins to show it age, as the derivative of this cool vintage that challenged Napa’s winemakers in the vineyard. Aromatics of baked strawberry cobbler and plums. Well balanced in the mouth, all components of fruit, alcohol, acidity and oak are subtle reminders that less can often be more. A beautiful elegant wine that’s not heavy.
1999
Another ripe and dense vintage, evident by its powerful and attacking nose of black olives, mushrooms and moist dirt. Unclean, with the bacteria Brett that robs the wine of its freshness and bright fruit but offers earthy flavors that some people often enjoy for its intensity and minerality.
2000
A deep red color with light brown tones on the edge. Very deep and intense developed nose of red and black berries with a goods amount of spices. A very good mouthfeel : the entrance is round and ample. The wine takes its place with its weight which holds well in the mouth. It has good intensity with well melted tannins and a full body. Definitely the VGS style over the years with a lot of freshness. Sweet spices. Delicious wine. Delicious finish. Better than I have ever tasted, the wine is coming around and should be enjoyed during the next 7 years.
2001
You now begin to see a shift in style, as this was the first vintage our estate Merlot made it to the final blend. More fruit begins to be present, making this a true cabernet of California…much bigger wine in the mouth with lots of fruit and soft, melted creamy tannins. A ripe and rich wine that’s finish that’s quite long.
2002
A little year for this Cabernet that we had “declassified” and never released to our mailing list. Has some very nice aromas of blackberry and oak but is light and presents some astringency not found in the other wines. Has no real depth and is very one dimensional. At the time of release we had declassified it…I confirm today the decision made at that time.
2003
A wine that has not come around yet. Bright red color with no sign of brown overtones. Full and rich bouquet, but still a little tight, where tones of liquorices and cedar are as present as the red fruit nuances like strawberries and cherries. In the mouth the wine is medium body and angular and tannic. The flavors are good and long. The wine needs time.
2004
Dark, almost black inky color. As the dense color leads to believe, the nose is still closed at first. Then, with aeration the bouquet becomes generous , very pleasant and powerful and still young. A deep nose of red berries and vanilla and pepper extremely lively but well integrated together. In the mouth the wine is still young and does not quite have the weight I would have expected from that concentrated vivid color. It is full bodied though with good and firm tannins without being overpowering. The fruit is there and finishes very long. Very good wine to age for another 7 to 15 years.
2005
Very dark with very little deviance in color to its edges. A wine for serious ageing.. Ripe and luscious red and dark fruit dominate the aromas, with powerful spice and oak integration. Still a baby in the mouth, this wine is balanced and deep, with a rich warm coating. Drink-Hold.
2007
On our rocky mountain vineyards, the vines work very hard. The root system goes deep to find its nutrients. The vines yield a small amount of grapes per acre and the berries are really tiny. Combined with our natural farming and winemaking, they produce intense, refined yet forceful wines. Exuberant with a lively nose of cherries and strawberries blended with some vanilla from the barrel aging. In the mouth, it is ripe, round and ample and fills the mouth with complex rich flavors which begin with red berries and evolve towards chocolate, licorice and spices. The tannins are well integrated and the length is... long. Delicious now and will develop to more complex flavors with age.