Tasting Report: 2010 California Cabernet Sauvignon

One of my favorite wine events of the year is when California’s producers roll out their barrel samples from the prior harvest. The members of the California Cabernet Society offered their 2010 selections at a recent event, and the results were intriguing.

In my estimation of dozens of barrel samples, 2010 is shaping up to be a hit and miss vintage. Many wines being poured weren’t quite “cooked” — still not even done fermenting — and a large number of wines being poured were over-ripe and jammy. Exceptions abound, of course — California is a big place and grapes ripen differently based on location — but it was obvious that disappointment with the vintage was rampant. (One producer, who will remain nameless, even dubbed me “brave” for trying their barrel sample.) It was enough that some producers didn’t bring their 2010s at all — the whole point of the event — and instead “cheated” (as another writer put it) by bringing their 2009s — shaping up as a stellar vintage in Cali.

That said exceptions abounded, and Chimney Rock, Justin, Pina, Sequum, and Viader all earned “A” ratings based on my early looks at their wines. With any luck, 2010 will bring some much-needed bargains to the California Cab world… though quality may well be all over the map.

Tasting Report: 2010 California Cabernet Sauvignon

2010 Atlas Peak Cabernet Sauvignon / B / an abundance of fruit

2010 Baldacci Cabernet Sauvignon / B+ / a bit tannic, worthy

2010 Beaulieu Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon / A- / good balance, thick with black fruit

2010 Bell Wine Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon / A- / very juicy

2010 Cain Five / D / really unbearable this year

2009 Carter Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon / A- / drinking solidly now, plum and cocoa

2009 Charles Krug-Peter Mondavi Family Winery Cabernet Sauvignon / B / big smoky tobacco character, over-wooded

2010 Chimney Rock Cabernet Sauvignon Ganymede Vineyard / A / solid, really nice

2009 Clark-Claudon Cabernet Sauvignon / B / big blueberry notes

2010 Clos Pegase Cabernet Sauvignon / A- / back in business, really has it all, tart finish

2010 Corison Cabernet Sauvignon / A- / vibrant, lots of character

2010 Cornerstone Cabernet Sauvignon / B+ / a bit tight

2010 Diamond Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Volcanic Hill / A-

2008 Diamond Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Red Rock Terrace / A / a classic cab

2010 Dry Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Endeavor / B- / showing very young

2010 Faust Cabernet Sauvignon / A- / ripe berry notes, big promise here

2009 Fontanella Cabernet Sauvignon / A- / jammy

2010 Frias Family Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon / A-

2010 Guilliams Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon / B+ / finish too tart

2009 Hall Cabernet Sauvignon Kathryn Hall / A- / ready to go

2010 Hendry Ranch Winery Cabernet Sauvignon / B / tight

2010 Jericho Canyon Cabernet Sauvignon / C+

2010 Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon / B+ / good balance, lower alcohol level

2010 Justin Cabernet Sauvignon / A / solid, great balance, a favorite of the day

2009 Justin Cabernet Sauvignon / A

2010 Keenan Cabernet Sauvignon / B+ / a bit buzzy, unfinished

2010 Kenefick Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon / A- / rich chocolate notes, bittersweet

2010 Kuleto Estate Cabernet Sauvignon / B+ / tight today

2010 Longfellow Cabernet Sauvignon / B+ / incomplete fermentation

2010 Mario Bazan Cabernet Sauvignon / B- / candy character

2010 Merryvale Cabernet Sauvignon / A- / a winner, but tough and young

2010 Mi Sueño Cabernet Sauvignon / A- / very earthy, will be huge for years

2010 Peju Cabernet Sauvignon / B / young and super fruity

2010 Piña Cabernet Sauvignon Firehouse Vineyard / A / drinking well already

2008 Piña Cabernet Sauvignon Firehouse Vineyard / A-

2008 Piña Cabernet Sauvignon Wolff Vineyard / A

2009 Raymond Cabernet Sauvignon / B+ / minty

2006 Raymond Cabernet Sauvignon Generations / B+

2010 Rocca Cabernet Sauvignon / B- / bit skunky on the nose, fruity body

2010 Rutherford Hill Cabernet Sauvignon / B / licorice, herbal notes

2010 Sebastiani Cabernet Sauvignon CherryBlock / B / lighter style, easygoing

2010 Sequum Cabernet Sauvignon / A / huge berry fruits, immense, smooth and lush

2010 Silverado Cabernet Sauvignon / B+ / incredibly fruity, milder than Silverado’s usual style

2010 Spotted Owl Cabernet Sauvignon / B

2010 Star Lane Cabernet Sauvignon / B- / big barnyard nose, mild body

2010 Steven Kent Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Home Ranch Vineyard / A- / solid, easygoing

2010 Terlato Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon / A- / cocoa and vanilla notes

2010 Trinchero Cabernet Sauvignon / B+ / minty nose, a bit bruising body, needs years in bottle

2010 Tudal Cabernet Sauvignon / B / super fruity

2010 Ty Caton Cabernet Sauvignon / B+ / tart

2010 Viader Cabernet Sauvignon / A / always worthwhile, this one intriguing, jam and spice finish

2010 Vineyard 7 & 8 Cabernet Sauvignon / B+ / restrained, rounded

2010 William Hill Cabernet Sauvignon / B+ / lush, ultra fruity — candy-like

2010 ZD Wines Cabernet Sauvignon / B+

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One Response to Tasting Report: 2010 California Cabernet Sauvignon

  1. Thanks for stopping by to taste the Jordan. Glad you enjoyed it.

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