About a week ago, James Laube kicked off a robust blog when he described the pending first release of Levy & McClellan 2004 Napa Valley Cab at the one bottle "case" price of $350. Yep, $350 per bottle for the first edition of a California Cabernet seeking immediate cult status. Audacious is one word to describe it. Suffice to say that equal doses of smugness and indignation flew fast and furious on Laube's blog from keyboards around the world, alternatively applauding and lambasting the offering. Having registered on its mailing list a while back I actually received a personalized invitation from L&M, which was lovely, and promptly tossed it in the circular file. Cutting to the chase, while reading various diatribes of the legion of posters, someone mentioned Teachworth and its recent cab release and I bought a six pack and, well the rest is history.
So I opened a bottle of the Teachworth Napa Valley 2001 Cabernet Sauvignon Diamond Mountain District, Manzanita Hill Vineyard, 13.9% alcohol. According to the winerey's website, the grapes are organically grown in two sloping one-acre vineyards lying between 750 and 850 feet in elevation. Manzanita Hill is the lower vineyard and contains more vines and gets intense afternoon sun on its chalky slopes. Teachworth wines are aged for 30 months in French Oak barrels (new to old ratio?), then hand-bottled at the winery and aged an additional eighteen months before release. The winemaker is Phil Steinschriber of Diamond Creek Vineyards. Fifty cases of this wine were made, that's right just one barrel. I purchased two bottles of each of the Teachworth wines for $75 a bottle direct from the winery, exchanging faxes, calls and emails with Joan Teachworth, a charming, thoughtful woman who I would love to meet some time and tour her winery.
Tasting Notes: Dark red in the glass, notes of blackberries and chocolate on the nose, fine tannin balance, roasted almonds and toffee mid-palate, cedar, cocoa and allspice on the finish, fine structure, refined and elegant. Easily the match of a fine second growth out of the Medoc, though with a fuller dark fruit profile. A fantastic wines that evolves in the glass into myriad flavors and essences. Truly delightful to drink.
The bottle notes that this wine should be opened at least an hour before drinking, I never wait but did find that a little air did flesh out the flavors of this lovely offering. Decanting may work too, though I find that difficult to manage as it takes me two or three nights to drink this kind of prize and decanter stoppers, well . . . .
Rating: Superb (my first!)