Vinoce 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Mt. Veeder
While I was revisiting Vino Volo in the Oakland Airport, Clifford and Rob had a fantastic Napa wine pickup day last weekend, during which they picked up a couple of bottles from Twenty Rows/Vinoce in Napa.
We opened this 2010 Mt. Veeder Cab tonight after a 2012 Napa Chardonnay and some great shrimp pasta that Clifford made, and once we got past the opening issues, the first impression we had of it was that it is a big wine, lots of oak and fruit, lots of peaty must, dark cherry.
But opening. Opening was a bit of a challenge. The cork came out with a lot of sediment on it, and not smelling very strong. When we went to pour it into the decanter, … a drop or two came out, but that was it. ?? After some investigation, it became clear that there was a terrible yet persistent sediment cap lodged in the neck of the bottle just below the cork. No amount of trying to pour the wine would dislodge this thing. We ended up having to push it down into the wine, and then we used a flashlight to pour from the bottle into the decanter (so we can see when to stop pouring because there’s too much sediment). Then pouring from the decanter into the glasses, we’ve been able to avoid sediment in the drinking experience. The bottles were clearly cellared standing up (most likely in a box), and this is why you normally age them on their side.
But we’ve been encountering a lot of sediment recently. A somewhat unholy amount. This was just a novel addition to our sediment story collection at this point. In any case, the wine did not suffer from this bizarre example of extreme sediment. It is still a gorgeous, heady experience, full of ripe fruit and oaky structure, lush and complex, always leaving you with something to think about after each sip. I will say that it may have something to do with the high alcohol level, 14.8% is stated on the label. And who doesn’t get a little bit reflective after drinking a bit of wine? I think a little soulfulness is welcome when savoring the flavor of someone’s art.
So the great part about this wine is that it comes from the same great terroir as wines priced much higher, and it has all of the same qualities that make it feel and taste high end. It is a great example of a big Napa cab, concentrated, well-oaked, handmade small production. Blackberry, pepper, spice, ripe raspberry, firm tannins on the finish. It may be the hour, but this is seguing nicely to the last sips of our Korbel brandy (also only available at the winery – thanks Joanne!).87/100
The Hella 5 Star System
We have adopted the opinion that fine art, music, wine, cigars, and other comestibles are governed by a unifying principle, which is that the intention of the artist matters. Art can be judged by the patron only as it pertains to the emotive and inductive properties of that art. We think Winemakers and Torcedors are artists.
Here at Hella Wine, we cut our wine-rating teeth on the wildly popular wine app Vivino. Vivino has an integrated five-star system for rating wine, but no standardized rubric to go with it, so we had to define what the star ratings actually mean, and we did so in a very personal way. This system takes into account: price, aesthetics, situational variables, relationships, and any other completely biased information we can come up with. This makes our system predictably emotional, and ratings change from glass to glass, even possibly from the same bottle.
Without further ado, our 5 star rating system revealed
I wont drink/smoke this even if you buy it!
I would drink a glass of this or smoke 1 if you bought it, but I would not order this for myself.
I would buy a glass/one cigar and enjoy it.
I would buy a bottle/5pack of this and really enjoy it.
I'd buy a case/box of this because I just love it.
The Hella 50 to 100 System
We also will usually apply the commonly used 50-100 point scale to our ratings. This tasting format, familiar from the annals of the indelible Robert Parker and Wine Spectator Magazine, does not take price or my ability to afford the wine in question into account. The situation that the drink or cigar was tasted in does not matter. This scale only reflects the quality of the wine/cigar in relation to other wines/cigars we have tasted.
You may loosely infer from this rating:
96-100: A hella amazing wine/cigar of super bold complex character displaying the attributes we hella want to find in the best wines in the world. Wines like this are hella awesome.
90 - 95: An amazing wine/cigar with hella character. Wonderful stuff, we feel lucky to try these.
80 - 89: A hella good wine/cigar, no noticeable flaws but it's just good/okay.
70 - 79: Hella basic, not so memorable wine/cigar. It's good, but just missing that something that makes it hella good, or even special.
60 - 69: Something bad happened in this wine/cigars life. Maybe it got left in a car and cooked, or maybe it sucked to begin with. All we know is we hella don't really want to finish it. Sometimes you gotta take one for the team.
50 - 59: This wine/cigar hella sucks.