Simi 2000 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
I don't drink much cab, so I'm starting with a negative attitude about them. But let's put that aside and see what we've got here. A ruby hue, a bold, fruity nose. Blackberry and blueberry tones meet the tip of the tongue. A nice balance of caramel sweetness and tannic. Dark fruit notes, then a woody, demure backdrop. The swallow is sweet and rich, linguring on the back of the palate. Just a hint of bread and butter as it goes down. Overall, quite stylish.
Glen Ellen 2001 Reserve
Clear purple-red hue, fruity nose of anise. A light wine, but not a bad one. A note of tea in front of some currant, dark plum, blackbery fruit. A bit of licorice in the back, with muted tannins. A smooth if unmemorable finish. A nice 'sippin' wine, well balanced, some complexity, a few sour-bitter twinges but still fairly smooth. A wine you could get comfortable with for not much $$$.
Smoking Loon 2003
Pretty nice, overall. A good inexpensive cab. Not huge, but rich enough. You get licorice, blackberry, prunes, all a bit on the jammy side. A hint of shoe polish too. Just enough tannin to keep this from grape jelly land. Some finish after the swallow, although a few sour-bitter notes chime in. Still, a pleasant overall experience. The quality is there.
Summers 2003 Napa Valley
A dark rose-purple liquid with a rich toasty / raisin nose, but a light touch on the palate. A bit of violet, dark cherry and dark plum fruit. The tannins build up but are muted, they don't overwhelm the show. You're left with a bit of chocolate and a smooth swallow. There's a long afterglow that finally ends on a dry note. A bit thin-bodied, but a very good performance and a great finish. Not bad at all!
Robert Mondavi 2004 Private Selection
This cab has a clear, ruby-purple hue and a fairly demure nose. It has a nice presence on the tongue and palate, notes of pencil lead, blackberry, ripe plum, and cocoa. The tannins are recessed, the body is moderate. It drops off a bit early and leaves you with a hint of tea. It's an average wine, but quite drinkable.
McManis 2006
This wine is dense ruby-purple, a bit opaque. It has a rich nose mixing vanilla, fruit, and perfume. OK, lots of promise, but what happens in the mouth? Surprisingly light, not much caramel. Some licorice, some charry plum and blackberry and currant. The tannins are recessed at first but come on during the swallow, making for a bit of tea and tobacco and a rather quick finish. Not bad, but not a rich, full- bodied cab.
Hayman Hill 2005 Reserve Selection, Napa Valley
Hayman Hill 2005 Reserve Selection, Napa Valley
NICE START, BUT THEN DOWNHILL. Opaque in appearance, dark ruby purple. Presents a strong nose of lacquer and fruit. It has a middling body, a bit of charcoal, with blackberry and some black cherry for a touch of sweetness. But as you swallow, the tannins leave some unsweetened cocoa biterness and make for a puckered, somewhat unpleasant fade out. So, a less than satisfying finish.
SeaRidge 2005
Here you have a clear, light ruby hue with a whiskey- like nose. Brings forth a rich sensation on the lips and tongue, with smooth tannins. There's a woody backdrop with notes of polish, currant, blackberry and black plum riding on it. Has just a touch of sweetness, which allows a smooth finish on the swallow. There's not much to linger with, but no bitter or dry endnotes either. So, quite a nice wine here.
Charles Krug 2004 Napa Valley
Pours with an opaque, dark purple hue. Has a rich, mellow nose, almost like dark chocolate cake freshly baked. It makes a nice but light entry, having a thin body but not without some caramel. The fruity notes are bright, with some blueberry, some cola and just a bit of vanilla. The tannins are firm enough to structure the swallow without any lingering bitterness. Still, the afterglow is a bit dry. Overall, this wine is not outrageously good, but it's pretty good.