Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse Wine List Review

 

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar Palo Alto

El Camino Real | Stanford Shopping Center

Palo Alto, CA 94304

P: 650.329.8457

http://flemingssteakhouse.com/locations/ca/palo-alto

 

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse Wine List Review

 

Our Top Picks at Fleming’s have been entered into our mobile site http://m.vinoservant.com for easy viewing on your smart phone. You can also view our mobile site on your desktop, with a browser other than Internet Explorer.

 

We have eaten at this high-end chain in Palo Alto, San Diego and Fairfax, VA, and we have a great time and will go back.  Very good food, service and ambience; as for the wine prices, they are high, but you can find some values.  Our rule is to not recommend a wine with a mark-up over retail that exceeds 2.5x ($75 at the restaurant and $30 retail = 2.5x). As you will see below, we have broken this rule in a few cases because we want to recommend some wines on the list that we feel deserve to be recognized, and  that sell for less than $50, despite a greater than 2.5 times mark-up at the restaurant.  Even with greater scrutiny of expense reports these days by the folks in accounting, we want you to still be able to enjoy a nice steak and bottle of wine at Fleming’s.


VINOSERVANT’S TOP WINE VALUES AT FLEMING’S

 

Sparkling Wines

11 selections that range in price from $32 to $420

 

MAS Fi, Brut, Cava, Spain, Non-Vintage | $32 | 2.9x

2007 Schramsberg, Blanc de Blancs, North Coast | $72 | 2.1x | WS 88

2008 Schramsberg, Blanc de Blancs, North Coast | $72 | 2.5x | WS 91

 

White Wines

 39 selections that range in price from $28 to $130

 

2010 Twomey Cellars, Napa Valley, Sauvignon Blanc | $55 | 2.2x | WE 90 | TP

 

2011 Riff, Alois Lageder, Pinot Grigio | $30 | 2.7x | TP

2010 Maso Canali, Trentino–Aldo Adige, Pinot Grigio | $48 | 2.4x

 

2010 Merryvale, Starmont, Napa Valley, Chardonnay | $44 | 1.9x | WS 88 | TP

2009 Testarossa, Santa Lucia Highlands, Chardonnay | $60 | 1.8x | WE 90 | TP

2010 Darioush, Napa Valley, Signature, Chardonnay | $110 | 2.5x | WS 87

 

 

Red Wines

106 selections that range in price from $32 to $345

 

2010 Mark West, California, Pinot Noir | $32 | 2.9x

2009 MacMurray Ranch, Sonoma Coast, Pinot Noir | $56 | 2.4x  | WE 90 | TP

2009 Migration (Duckhorn), Anderson Valley, Pinot Noir | $60 | 2.4x

 

2010 Orin Swift, The Prisoner, Napa Valley Red Blend | $80 | 2.2x | WS 90 | TP

 

2010 Tiamo, Chianti | $32 | 2.9x

2010 Palacios-Remondo, Rioja Vendimia | $44 | 2.9x

 

2009 Sensual, Mendoza, Argentina, Cabernet Sauvignon | $36 | 3.0x | WS 86 | TP

2009 Rodney Strong, Sonoma County, Merlot | $39 | 2.3x | TP

2010 Rutherford Ranch, Napa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon | $40 | 2.5x

2010 Familia Zuccardi, Mendoza Q Argentina, Malbec | $56 | 2.8x | WA 90 | TP

2008 Ladera, Napa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon | $76 | 2.5x

2006 Duckhorn, Napa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon | $80 | 1.1x | WS 91 | TP

2007 Duckhorn, Napa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon | $80 | 1.2x | WS 90 | TP

2007 Stefania, Santa Cruz Mountains, Cabernet Sauvignon | $85 | 2.3x | TP

2008 Chateau Montelena, Napa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon | $95 | 2.4x | WA 88

2005 Twomey Cellars, Napa Valley, Merlot | $96 | 2.1x | IWC 89 | TP

2000 Corison, Napa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon | $122 | 1.3x | WS 90 | TP

2006 Joseph Phelps, Napa Valley, Insignia | $265 | 2.1x | WA 95

2005 Opus One | $345 | 1.5x | WA 95 | TP

 

Sparkling Wines

11 selections that range in price from $32 to $420

 

MAS Fi, Brut, Cava, Spain, Non-Vintage

Retail Price: $11 Average Price Wine-Searcher

  • $32 at Fleming’s | 2.9x

Description from Importer: Straw yellow color with green tones. Fine persistent bubbles. Bright appearance. Soft aging aromas with signs of flowers, ripe fruit and citrus. Extremely effervescent in the palate, but with a pleasant elegance and balance. The finish is redolent with white fruits and citrus notes. Fresh, pleasant, balanced and a fine bubbling structure.

 

2007 Schramsberg, Blanc de Blancs, North Coast

Retail Price: $33 at The Jug Shop

  • $72 at Fleming’s | 2.1x

88 points Wine Spectator: Sleek and layered, offering vanilla and Meyer lemon tart aromas and supple citrus flavors, with hints of caramel and anise. Drink now. 20,550 cases made. –TF

Winemaker’s Notes: The aromas are sweet and inviting with fresh lemon and lime, followed by pineapple and ‘Jolly Rancher’ green apple. The generous nose is accentuated by a salty minerality that leads way to the yeastiness of fresh from the oven bread. Upon first taste, the 2007 Blanc de Blancs delivers delicious flavors of green apple, fresh honeydew melon and lemon custard. The palate finishes with a pleasant acidity that is crisp, long and lingering. Alcohol 12.5%.

2008 Schramsberg, Blanc de Blancs, North Coast

Retail Price: $28 at Artisan Wine Depot & $31 Average Price Wine-Searcher 

  • $72 at Fleming’s | 2.5x

91 points Wine Spectator: Sleek and vibrant, with floral apple and lemon aromas and crisp, complex flavors of pear and yeasty cinnamon that linger toward the minerally finish. Drink now through 2015. 20,500 cases made. –TF

Winemaker’s Notes: Fruitful aromas of fresh lime and Granny Smith apple, accentuated by nuances of juicy pineapple and lemon grass, are complimented by notes of honeycomb and hazelnut from the years of aging en tirage. On the palate, the 2008 Blanc de Blancs enters crisp and tangy, unfolding with flavors of lime, pineapple and exotic tropical fruits. Delicious and layered flavors of lemon custard and fresh-from-the-oven brioche follows. The palate finishes with a delicate sweetness and a generous acidity that is long and quenching.

 

White Wines

39 selections that range in price from $28 to $130

 

2010 Twomey Cellars, Napa Valley, Sauvignon Blanc

Retail Price: $25 at Wine.com

  • $50 at Farallon | 2.0x
  • $55 at Fleming’s | 2.2x

90 points Wine Enthusiast: Brilliant acidity gives this wine a clean raciness that so many Sauvignon Blancs lack. It has ripe, forward flavors of lemons, limes, apricots, peaches and honey, but despite the richness is dry and minerally.

Winemaker’s Notes: Our 2010 Twomey Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc has a light straw-yellow color and a dynamic nose of honeydew melon, citrus blossoms, white jonquil, guava, custard apple and pie crust. It has beautiful acid balance, great mouthfeel without heaviness and a long clean finish redolent of lime zest and mascarpone. Alcohol 13.4%

2011 Riff, Alois Lageder, Pinot Grigio

Retail Price: $11 The Wine House San Francisco

  • $30 at Fleming’s | 2.7x

From vineyard holdings in Northern Italy’s Alto-Adige, Alois Lageder crafts some of Italy’s most refined white wines. The Riff Pinot Grigio is produced with fruit from Veneto vineyards located on the slopes of the Dolomites, Italy’s geologic rise towards the Alps. Fruit grown here develops an intensity of flavor that elevates the Riff above similarly priced Pinot Grigios. Sporting fresh apple aromas and a delicate spiciness, this versatile and classically-styled Pinot Grigio is fresh, flavorful and focused. Enjoy with seafood pastas, fritto misto, or spicy ceviches.

2010 Maso Canali, Trentino – Aldo Adige, Pinot Grigio

Retail Price: $20 at Wine.com

  • $48 at Fleming’s | 2.4x

Winemaker’s Notes: This wine delivers nectarine and light citrus notes. It is well-balanced with depth on the palate, fresh acidity and a long clean finish. Alcohol 13%.

2010 Merryvale, Starmont, Napa Valley, Chardonnay

Retail Price: $23 Average Price Wine Searcher

  • $44 at Fleming’s | 1.9x

88 points Wine Spectator: Golden straw in color. Aromas of Asian pear, butter crust apple tart tatin, juicy golden pineapple, guava, Meyer Lemon, orange blossom, honeysuckle, hints of toasted hazelnut. The palate has a sweet, focused entry that open into a fleshy, round and bright mid-palate, notes of citrus, cream filled profiteroles with spun sugar, and a clean mineral-driven finish.

Winemaker’s Notes: Alcohol 13.9%: Appealing for its mix of creamy, vanilla-laced oak and supple pear and honeysuckle flavors. Persistent finish. Drink now through 2017.

2009 Testarossa, Santa Lucia Highlands, Chardonnay

Retail Price: $32 at Artisan Wine Depot

  • $60 at Fleming’s | 1.8x 

90 points Wine Enthusiast: Wonderfully rich in citrus and tropical fruit flavors, with opulent oak notes of buttered toast and bright coastal acidity, this Chardonnay packs a lot of power. With a creamy texture, it defines California Chardonnay.

Winemaker’s Notes: Pale yellow color. Aromas of fig, honey, butterscotch, orange blossoms, and vanilla bean first come to mind in this first ever Santa Lucia Highlands Chardonnay. Upon taste, elements of fig, apple, and citrus freshen up the palate. The texture is well focused and has lively acidity. The finish of the wine is smooth and supple leading to immediate enjoyment. Drink now through 2015.Alcohol 14.1%.

2010 Darioush, Napa Valley, Signature, Chardonnay

Retail Price: $40 at Artisan Wine Depot & $45 at K&L Wines

  • $110 at Fleming’s | 2.5x

87 points Wine Spectator: This tightly wound white offers firm, intense green pear, citrus blossom and subtle spice notes that are clean and refreshing. Drink now through 2016. 2,100 cases made. –JL

Description from K&L: 100% Chardonnay, sourced exclusively from Darioush’s estate vineyards in the Napa Valley, Oak Knoll and Carneros districts, and aged for eleven months in 70% new French oak. From the Winery: “Influenced by a cooler than average growing season, the 2010 Signature Chardonnay is powerful, sleek and vibrant, and was bottled unfiltered to maintain a strong sense of place and high concentration of flavor. Bright aromatics of white peach and quince entice, with layers of green apple, creamy lemon meringue, yeast and toasted wheat in the mid-palate, finishing with a pure, delicate minerality. A promising vintage that will evolve well for several years.

 

Red Wines

106 selections that range in price from $32 to $345

 

2010 Mark West, California, Pinot Noir

Retail Price: $11 at Safeway

  • $32 at Fleming’s | 2.9x

Winemaker’s Notes: Great grapes (where it all starts) and Alex’s winemaking talents resulted in a wine that enjoys enticing aromas of dark berries including boysenberries and raspberries. There’s a sweet entry of brown sugar and molasses followed by a bit of orange zest and coriander. The core of the wine tastes of fleshy plums with a spicy note of cardamom from oak aging. Reminiscent of our early Edna Valley Pinots, this medium weight wine is silky smooth but with a solid fruit center. Our favorite food pairings include marguerita pizza, sweet potato fries and Thanksgiving with all of the fixings. Alcohol 13.8%.

2009 MacMurray Ranch, Sonoma Coast, Pinot Noir

Retail Price: $23 at Wine.com

  • $56 at Fleming’s | 2.4x

90 points Wine Enthusiast: A proper, textbook Pinot Noir – it’s dry, nicely crisp, with smoothly astringent tannins. It has pleasant, complex cherry, pomegranate, plum, tobacco, bacon and sandalwood flavors. Not an ager, so drink up with upscale fare.

Winemaker’s Notes: From the Sonoma Coast wine region, this Pinot Noir has elegant varietal fruit character, with rich aromas and flavors of raspberry, cherry, red current and boysenberries. Hints of mushroom are supported by a subtle oak influence. This wine will evolve into a silky and smooth wine with time in the bottle. Alcohol 13.9%.

2009 Migration (Duckhorn), Anderson Valley, Pinot Noir

Retail Price: $25 at JJ Buckley

  • $60 at Fleming’s | 2.4x

Winemaker’s Notes: This is a complex, red fruit-driven Pinot Noir with a rich entry, balanced acidity, good length and substantial structure. In both the aromatics and on the palate, enticing notes of cranberry and strawberry take center stage supported by layers of cola and spice, as well as savory elements of leather, tomato leaf and bacon fat. Alcohol 14.5%.

 

2010 Orin Swift, The Prisoner, Napa Valley Red Blend

Retail Price: $38 at K&L Wines

  • $80 at Fleming’s | 2.2x

90 points Wine Spectator: Not the distinctive Zin statement this once was, but still a bold, rich red blend that’s jammed with flavor. Aromas of blackberry and caramel lead to ripe plum, licorice and spicy vanilla flavors. Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, Syrah, Charbo 68,100 cases made.

Description from K&L: A real crowd-pleaser and popular wine, Orin Swift’s Prisoner is a take-no-prisoner Zinfandel-based blend, aged in a combination of new and seasoned oak. The 2010 vintage comes fully-loaded with ripe red and black fruits and layers of sweet oak and spicebox, with just enough tannins to appeal to a broad range of folks, from jammy zin lovers to those who prefer more structured wines. It’s big, flavorful, and satisfying. Pair it with something hearty and complex, like smoked chipotle and coffee braised short ribs. 44% Zinfandel, 26% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Syrah, 9% Petite Sirah, 2% Charbono, 1% Grenache.

Winemaker’s Notes: Dark red, almost garnet hue with bright red on the rim. Ripe cherry and cedar on the nose with hints of dried rose petal and sweet oak. Lovely entry that leads into a fat and savory mid palate. Ripe fig and black currant dominate the finish with a breadth of soft, well integrated tannins. 44% Zinfandel, 26% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Syrah, 9% Petite Sirah, 2% Charbono, 1% Grenache

 

2010 Tiamo, Chianti

Retail Price: $11 at Wine.com

  • $32 at Fleming’s | 2.9x

Winemaker’s Notes: Tiamo Chianti is ruby red in color with an intense, elegant and fruity, spicy aroma. On the palate, it is full, warm with perfectly balanced tannins. It pairs perfectly with roasted/grilled meats, stews, pastas with red sauces, pizza and firmer cheeses. Alcohol 13%.

 

2010 Palacios-Remondo, Rioja La Vendimia

Retail Price: $15 at Wine.com

  • $44 at Fleming’s | 2.9x

Winemaker’s Notes: La Vendimia, which signifies “the harvest,” represents the quality potential of Spanish jovenes, or wines that have been aged for less than six months in oak barrels. La Vendimia is a blend of Spain’s two original star varieties: Garnacha and Tempranillo. Lively and lucid, this wine has supple aromas of fresh orchard fruit, wild berriesand ripe blood oranges. Fruit-forwardand round on the palate, the aromas found on the nose are mimicked in the mouth and include additional notes of sweet spice and raspberry jam. Meant to drink now through the next four years, this consumer-friendly wine can be served slightly chilled and is the perfect accompaniment to any dish. 65% Garnacha Pais, 35% Tempranillo. Alcohol 14%.

 

2009 Sensual, Mendoza, Argentina, Cabernet Sauvignon – Valentin Bianchi

Retail Price: $12 at The Wine Country

  • $36 at Fleming’s | 3.0x

86 points Wine Spectator: Features good, straightforward black currant and damson plum notes, with a layer of toast as well. Drink now. 10,000 cases made. –JM

Winemaker’s Notes: The classic Cabernet aromas of black pepper, cedar, slight herbal and berry notes are evident in the nose. This is a medium-to-full bodied wine with a soft, balanced mouth feel and flavors that are similar to the aromas. All the above lead to a pleasing, soft, berry-vanilla finish.

Description from The Wine Country: One look at this elegant looking bottle and you know what the winemakers are aiming for.And they succeed very well at creating a solid, pleasurable, great-drinking Cabernet that would cost at least three times as much if its appellation read “Napa Valley” instead of Mendoza.(If you search wisely, you can discover all sorts of terrific red wines from this increasingly respected wine region.)

Made entirely of Cabernet Sauvignon, it is a densely structured, delicious wine, full and lush in the mouth, with great flavor. Some oak is in the familiar, distinctive aroma, and the finish has firming tannins, but not severe, which give it a grown-up dry taste.Bob Pepi Jr., son of the pioneering Napa Valley vintner, is the consulting winemaker for this wine, an exceptional creation from a long time grapegrowing Italian-Argentine family.This is a serious Cabernet at a remarkable price.

 

2009 Rodney Strong, Sonoma County, Merlot

Retail Price: $17 at Beltramo’s

  • $39 at Fleming’s | 2.3x

Winemaker’s Notes: Plum and blueberry flavors with a touch of dried herb predominate in this soft, rich, mouth filling merlot, and are enhanced by aging in small oak barrels for a toasty, spicy vanilla character, and a lingering berry-cream finish. Drink this satisfying merlot over the next 2 to 4 years.

 

2010 Rutherford Ranch, Napa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon

Retail Price: $16 at K&L Wines

  • $40 at Fleming’s | 2.5x

Description from K&L: The family-owned, third-generation run Rutherford Ranch Winery farms organically on their estate vineyards, and has received the new “California Sustainable Winegrowing” certification from the Winegrowing Alliance due to their efforts to conserve energy and water, as well as introducing natural predators to control insects and animals. The 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon cuvée exhibits ripe boysenberry and cassis aromas and flavors, with that characteristic Rutherford earthy minerality known as “Rutherford dust” accenting creamy vanilla and baked fruit layers. It is easy-drinking, plump, and smooth, It is easy-drinking, plump, and smooth–just what you want in a value California Cabernet–with moderate alcohol, fine tannins, and a dusting of cocoa on the finish. Enjoy now.

Winemaker’s Notes: This wine is a lovely ruby color. It is full bodied and well-balanced with good acidity and fine tannins. Our Cabernet Sauvignon is an ideal companion to hearty meals, rich cheeses and chocolate desserts. It is ready to drink, but will age nicely for 4 to 5 years. Alcohol 13.5%.

 

2010 Familia Zuccardi, Mendoza Q Argentina, Malbec

Retail Price: $20 at Wine.com

  • $56 at Fleming’s | 2.8x

90 points Wine Advocate: The 2010 Q Malbec (100%) was aged in French oak for 12 months. Inviting scents of cedar, Asian spices, lavender, and black cherry lead to a plush, dense, layered, pleasure-bent Malbec that will provide enjoyment over the next 6-8 years. It is an outstanding value. Alcohol 14.5%.

Winemaker’s Notes: A wine of great personality, with a deep violet color and notes of dark plum, figs and berries. Alcohol 14.5%.

 

2008 Ladera, Napa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon

Retail Price: $30 at Napacabs

  • $76 at Fleming’s | 2.5x

Winemaker’s Notes: Aromas of blackberry, cola and licorice with toasted oak and vanilla highlights fill out the bouquet of this wine. The taste is of full dark bold fruit including plum, dark cherry and blueberry. The tannin structure completes the mid palate and leads to a lush yet subtle finish. This makes the wine enjoyable now, and should also age well for years to come.

 

2006 Duckhorn, Napa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon

Retail Price: $72 Average Price Wine – Searcher

  • $80 at Fleming’s | 1.1x

91 points Wine Spectator: Supple, harmonious, graceful and polished. Shows a pretty flash of toasty oak, with ripe currant and floral berry and pomegranate fruit that maintains its generous fruity profile on the long finish. The tannins are fine-grained.

Winemaker’s Notes: A Bordeaux blend of 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Merlot and 3% Cabernet Franc. A complex blend of grapes from the greater Napa Valley and seven of its acclaimed appellations, this wine also incorporates a significant amount of fruit from our Estate vineyards. The result is a wine that strikes an effortless balance between dark fruit, oak and tannins. Classic Cabernet elements of black currant, dark cherry, plum and raspberry are accentuated by more subtle layers of mint and black olive. Though a big, structured and age-worthy wine, the tannins are beginning to soften, framing both the fruit and the oak-inspired vanilla and cocoa notes. Alcohol 14.5%.

 

2007 Duckhorn, Napa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon

Retail Price: $64 Average Price Wine – Searcher

  • $80 at Fleming’s | 1.25x

90 points Wine Spectator: Firm, rich, intense and layered, with loamy earth and herb-laced currant, blackberry, mineral and cedar flavors. Full-bodied, tight and focused, an impressive young wine that needs aeration. Drink now through 2021. 17,335 cases made.

Winemaker’s Notes: The product of a near-perfect growing season, this is one of the most complex and mouthfilling renditions of our Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon to date. Blended to showcase the rich diversity of great Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, it brings together grapes from some of the valley’s most acclaimed winegrowing appellations and includes a mix of mountain and valley floor fruit. Aromas of ripe currant, spearmint, marzipan and tobacco lead to intense flavors of blackberry and black cherry, all supported by a subtle framework of French oak, which adds nuance, depth and dimension to the finish. 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot, 1% Cabernet Franc. Alcohol 14.5%.

 

2007 Stefania, Santa Cruz Mountains, Cabernet Sauvignon

Retail Price: $37 Cellar Tracker Average Price

  • $85 at Fleming’s | 2.3x

Winemaker’s Notes: The Wine has deep red rich colors with hues of blue and purple. The nose is complex with plum, smoked meat, currants, super ripe blackberries and a hint of mint. The wine is plush and ripe on the palate with cigar notes, berry pie fruit, and complex notes of tobacco, black fruit and a long, long finish. Stefania noted this is one of the most complex wines we’ve made and she picks up hints of the redwood forests that surround Chaine d’Or and Harvest Moon. Best after 2015 or with a 30-45 minute decant. Alcohol 13.5%.

 

2008 Chateau Montelena, Napa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon

Retail Price: $40 at JJ Buckley

  • $95 at Fleming’s | 2.4x

88 points Wine Advocate: The 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon offers sweet black currant fruit, roasted herbs, earth and spice characteristics presented in an attractive, medium-bodied style.

Winemaker’s Notes: 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc. The deep garnet color of this wine hints at the big extraction and dark flavors to follow. Very rich aromas of pipe tobacco, chocolate and caramel beautifully complement the black currant and ripe black cherry fruit. The palate opens soft but builds big and fast, showing a great acid backbone, moderate weight tannins, and a mouthfeel that is full but not heavy or overwhelming. Alcohol 14.2%.

 

2005 Twomey Cellars, Napa Valley, Merlot

Retail Price: $45 at Artisan Wine Depot

  • $96 at Fleming’s | 2.1x

89 points IWC: Bright, deep red-ruby. Red berries, tobacco, pine resin and a whiff of herbs on the nose. Suave, young and dry, with a slightly tart quality to the flavors of plum, redcurrant and tobacco. There’s a light greenness here but also a subtle smoky sweetness. Finishes fresh and firm, with a fine dusting of tannins. This has been a consistently intriguing and understated merlot in recent vintages.

Winemaker’s Notes: A blend of 96% Merlot and 4% Cabernet Franc. Our 2005 Twomey Merlot is a voluptuous, robust and balanced expression of this noble variety. It has a deep garnet color and an intensely concentrated nose of black cherry, blackberry essence, wild game and freshly ground black pepper. On the palate, it is full-bodied and velvety, wtih fine-grained tannins and an extremely long finish. This Merlot will continue to give drinking pleasure through 2018.

 

2000 Corison, Napa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon

Retail Price: $95 @ the Winery

  • $122 at Fleming’s | 1.3x

90 points Wine Spectator: Supple and harmonious, it wins points for its sense of understatement, with spicy currant, black cherry and plum notes that are well-balanced and rich without being too powerful. Fine-grained tannins make it easy to enjoy now. Drink now through 2010.

 

2006 Joseph Phelps, Napa Valley, Insignia

Retail Price: $128 at Artisan Wine Depot 

  • $265 at Fleming’s | 2.1x

95 points Wine Advocate: The 2006 Insignia (95% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Petit Verdot; 16,000 cases produced) is a superb effort in this vintage. Another 30+ year wine, it boasts a dense plum/purple color as well as abundant notes of licorice, black currants, charcoal, black olives, and graphite. Full-bodied, pure, and rich with moderately high tannins, it represents a California version of a Bordeaux from Pauillac or St.-Julien. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2045.

Winemaker’s Notes: The opaque, inky color of the 2006 Insignia is followed by concentrated aromatics of lush black fruit, graphite, coffee, dark cocoa powder, licorice, and cola syrup. The dense flavors and balanced tannins integrate beautifully for a long, layered finish. 95% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Petit Verdot from 100% estateowned Napa Valley vineyards which break down as follows: South Napa, 33% (Suscol Vyd.), Stags Leap District, 29% (Barboza Vyd. 17% and Las Rocas Vyd. 12%), Rutherford, 20% (Banca Dorada Vyd.), St. Helena, 10% (Spring Valley Ranch Vineyards) Oak Knoll District, 8% (Yountville Vyd.). Grapes were harvested between October 7–27, 2006 at an average 24.5° Brix, fermented in stainless steel tanks, then aged 24 months in 100% new French oak barrels from coopers Taransaud, Dargaud Jaegle, Nadalie, Demptos, Marcel Cadet and Sylvain.

2005 Opus One

Retail Price: $223 Average Price Wine-Searcher

  • $345 at Fleming’s | 1.5x

95 points Wine Advocate: Tasted twice Deep garnet-purple colour. The nose begins a little mute with a suggestion of freshly crushed blackberries and blackcurrants, forest floor, cinnamon and a touch of loam. The palate is wonderfully concentrated with layers of macerated blackberry, cloves, vanilla and dark chocolate. A medium+ level of acidity and medium to firm fine and ripe tannins give excellent structure to the richness of flavours. Very long finish. Drink now to 2030. Tasted April 2009.

Winemaker’s Notes: The result of a partnership between Robert Mondavi and Baron Philippe de Rothschild to create a Bordeaux style blend in Napa Valley. A voluptuous garnet, the 2005 Opus One offers concentrated aromas of blueberry, rose petals, white truffle, licorice and nutmeg. Flavors of cassis, black olives, raspberry and dark chocolate. A classic Bordeaux style blend of 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot, 3% Cabernet Franc, 1% Malbec. Alcohol 14.0%.

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