When you are a sommelier you come to enjoy and appreciate good food and wine as a part of your daily routine. As a sommelier in Napa Valley first class food and the very best wine become almost expected at every turn. Still, every once in a while you are treated to something so unique and exciting that you end up thinking about it for days. I recently had one of those experiences at Meteor Vineyards.
About 10 years ago Barry Schuler (of AOL fame) and his wife Tracy fulfilled their longtime dream and purchased a beautiful property in Napa to begin planting grapes and making wine. Together with Dawnine and Bill Dyer, they produced their first vintage of stunning Cabernet Sauvignon in 2005. Today they use about 4 acres of the 22 planted. The other 18 are under long-term growing contracts with stars like Philippe Melka (Vineyard 29, Matisse, Hundred Acre, Gemstone) and Annie Favia/Andy Erickson (Screaming Eagle, Favia Wines, Ovid, Dalle Valle). Clearly this site produces spectacular fruit. We had a chance to visit this beautiful estate and taste nearly everything that they have ever made. As introductions to a newer property go, this was about as perfect as they get.
2005 Meteor Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon
This wine is showing beautifully right now. It is soft, elegant and rich with fine tannins. The nose is profoundly floral with an exotic perfume which includes lilac, lavender, tobacco leaf and black cherries. Black cherries are dominant on` the palate with hints of boysenberry and black currant leading to an elegant finish with hints of baking spices and cocoa. Cellar this wine if you like for another 5 years or so, but why wait. It t is absolutely delicious now.
2006 Meteor Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon
2006 was an interesting vintage. The slightly cooler weather was an insurmountable difficulty to some. But to talented viticultural teams, it provided an opportunity. The 2006 Meteor fell into the latter category. The aroma of this wine was delightful though slightly less floral that the 2005. On the palate, the black cherries hold slightly less sway with a mix of red and black berries taking the lead. The acidity and structure of this wine was a little more tightly wound but relaxed quickly in the glass. While tasting this wine I almost reflexively started thinking about all of the wonderful foods it would accompany. Short Ribs? Yes, Please. Duck Breast? Absolutely! Lamb? Fantastic! Truly an outstanding example of what was possible in 2006.
2006 Meteor Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Special Family Reserve”
The Special Family Reserve was introduced to provide a contract in character with the original Meteor Cabernet. This wine sees more new oak than the others and is almost entirely made from the blocks planted to clone 7 (more cassis and blackberry influence with a more plush texture). This wine seemed to be the favorite among most of the guests. Its bold fruit, rich texture and vanilla-mocha finish were a huge hit.
2007 Meteor Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Perseid”
From the 2007 vintage release the Meteor lineup has changed. Current mailing list members will have two wines offered; the “Special Family Reserve” and the “Perseid”. Dawnine said that the Perseid was born out of their better understanding of the property, which has allowed them to be more efficient in there harvesting and blending. With the increased availability of fruit (previously, they would only get enough for about 500-800 cases) they decided to split the line into two wines. The Perseid is reflective of the original Meteor Cabernet Sauvignon though perhaps a little lighter and not quite as aromatically complex while the “Special Family Reserve” is much richer, darker and has a more substantial use of new oak. The prices are $125 and $300 respectively on release.
The 2007 vintage was legendary here in California. Near perfect conditions allowed for a large crop of amazing fruit. Wines from this vintage are immediately accessible with rich fruit, great texture and an open flavor profile much like the 1997 on release. This Perseid really shows the vintage. The nose again shows the floral and sweet tobacco balanced with fruit elements which became like a signature as I tasted through the entire lineup. The texture of this wine was rich and silky while still showing great elegance. This is a brilliant offering at $125.
2008 Meteor Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Perseid”
The 2008 Meteor had recently been blended and its flavor components were just coming together. That said, this is a vintage in which the unique aspects of the vineyard allowed them to produce an extraordinary wine. 2008 was a vintage plagued by frost problems. Overall, the crop level in Napa was down at least 30%. The unique climate of this vineyard in Coombsville is much more temperate. They were spared largely from any problems with frost. I expect that this 2008 on release will show great concentration of fruit and will be a slightly more robust wine than the sleek 2007.
All in all, each and every wine I tried was nothing short of fantastic. To inquire or acquire, contact us at Destination Cellars or email me by clicking here.