2006 Tastevin Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
California: Napa Valley
What We Say
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Mission Codename: A fork and a knife
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Scour the Napa Valley and secure a premium quality Napa Cabernet Sauvignon for our demanding Operatives
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Poem Cellars
Wine Subject: 2006 Tastevin Cabernet Sauvignon – Napa Valley
Winemaker: Jason Moore
Backgrounder: Napa Valley is revered worldwide as the ultimate area in which to produce fine Cabernet Sauvignon. The 2006 vintage has produced some remarkable examples and we were lucky to get our spy-hands on today’s fine offering from Poem Cellars. Read Agent Red’s tasting notes and mission report, below
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Deep burgundy, this wine maintains its deeply concentrated color, right through its darker heart and out to it fine ruby hued edges. When you swirl this wine, it appears to have a softly bouncy surface. When it settles, it leaves behind tight clusters of medium legs that emerge immediately – and then streak down the glass
Smell – Bold and dark, with a big initial rush of dark blackberry, black plum, currant, black cherry, earthen pepper, dried herbs and a hint of dark chocolate
Feel – Round and velvety smooth on the initial attack, then light weight across the mid palate. Toward the back of the mouth and at the edges, the wine become grippy as mid-weight tannins take hold, introducing a softly mineral dryness
Taste – This wine leads off with dark and rich flavors of blackberry, tart red plum, cassis, black currant and softly smoky raspberry. These are accompanied by soft tobacco, pepper and soft cedar
Finish – Starts dusky and dark and then finishes sweet, softly spicy and smoky-tart with dark fruit flavors of dark mixed berry and red plum
Conclusion – A delicious wine that delivers the classic rich flavors and bold character associated with the fine Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine also has a brightness to it that makes it an excellent food companion. Decant this wine for an extended period for best results. The longer you swirl and savor, the more you will be rewarded with the delicious fruit of this lovely wine.
Today’s wine is one of those great hidden gems. It is so exclusive and so rare and so fantastic, that I was lucky to even get my hands on some for today’s special feature.
Consider that there were only fifty cases of this wine produced, and consider that I was able to procure the last few cases – and you’ll know that my luck was full-tilt!
As a regular Operative, you know that we feature the best wines from many of the wineries that you already know. You also know that I try to give equal time to lesser-know wineries – particularly when those usually-smaller wineries are those that produce some of the most amazing wines available.
I won’t prattle on about Big Wine vs. The Little Guy. You already know that both are well capable of producing incredible wines. I’ll just say that i am very proud to be able to take the time to seek out the best wines for you, dear Operative, and today’s wine certainly qualifies!
Cheers to you. Cheers to Poem Cellars.
What the Winery Says
Historically, a Tastevin is a silver tasting cup with a faceted surface that reflects light to judge color and clarity in a candle-lit cellar. Symbolically, a Tastevin is a badge representing the skill and experience of a wine taster. We use our skills to craft wines of quality and value.
About This Wine:
The 2006 Poem Cellars Tastevin Cabernet Sauvignon is full-bodied and balanced with complex earthy notes, ripe fruit flavors, good acidity and structure. On the nose: black currant, black plum, dried herbs and black pepper. On the tongue: ripe black and red currant, sour plum, blackberry and baked cherry fruit. The mid-palette is rich, savory and fleshy with hints of smoked meat and soy. The fruit is brambly rather than jammy. Its bold body offers herbal aromas of tobacco, mint, dried sage and grilled rosemary with traces of wild game and red licorice. Restrained oak adds complexity and spiciness without sweetness exhibiting spice notes of cinnamon, clove, cedar, cigar box, cocoa, wet bark and Asian Five Spice.
This 2006 Tastevin will be a fine companion to hearty dishes. You may open the bottle with a corkscrew but the tools you need to enjoy this wine are a knife and fork.
Enjoyable now but will cellar for 12 years. We recommend decanting.
About The Winery:
Partners Joey Wolosz, Jeff Durham and Scott Tracy started Poem Cellars to create wine for the table, wine that can be paired with food….the “Marriage” of wine and food. With this goal in mind, the partners hired winemaker Jason Moore who (I so want to say ‘who was hip to the groove’ or ‘dug their vision’ but…) was inspired by their vision and focus on crafting blends of quality and value. Every decision throughout the winemaking processes, from harvest to bottling, is made to ensure that Poem Cellar’s wines are crafted to be an elegant companion to food. The wines are not made in a big, bold, tannic, heavily oaked style often found in Napa Valley Cabernets. Instead, they show restraint which adds to their complexity, elegance, refinement and sense of femininity.
They are meant to be shared when people celebrate their lives.
About The Winemaker:
Jason Moore – Dallas waiter relenting to passion… My path started in Dallas where by day I was a real estate agent and by night I was a waiter working with many of the cities finest restaurants. Visibly unhappy with the direction of my life, my wife helped me realize that I needed to make a change and work with something that I truly loved. She and I both knew that I had a deep passion for wine so it seemed to be the obvious answer. Six months later (2002) we had a three week long garage sale, sold everything we owned and moved to California where I had the ambitious aspirations of becoming a Winemaker.
Meeting my mentors… We arrived and lived in Davis, CA for about four years where the intention was for me to attend the UC Davis’ Enology and Viticulture program. Unfortunately after digging deeper I learned that Davis was just too theory based for my learning style so plan B was to basically educate myself thru my own self study and thru the tutilage of winemaker mentors.
I believe that winemaking is an art form that is supported by tradition and science, and therefore feel that talented winemakers are not exclusively produced from Universities, but can also be the result of something more inate and passionate.
UC Davis extension and Napa College classes were used to supplement my knowledge and fill in the gaps that books couldn’t fill. However, true learning when it comes to such a stylistically artistic, yet mind blowingly organic and mystifying thing such as winemaking can ONLY be accomplished through MAKING WINE. There is absolutely no substitute.
Getting my hands dirty… Right place, right time, right question… I got lucky by meeting a gentelman at a wine tasting who was a vineyard owner in Napa and was willing to GIVE me grapes from his vineyard to practice with. He even set me up with a place in his garage to make the wine, barrels, bins, and even basic lab equipment. It was the best learning experience that I could of ever asked for as there was no one looking over my shoulder telling me what to do… I had to figure it out myself by putting the theory I had learned to work. I was what they call a garagiste.
All while coddling my garage project, I was busy developing my palate, meeting winemakers (acquiring mentors), and spending time helping out at crush… a few days here, a few days there… just to get a feel for how different wineries worked. In 2005 I was on the harvest Winemaking team at Viader Vineyards & Winery on Howell Mountain.
Paying the bills… I had been a waiter in fine restaurants for over ten years and from 2003 thru 2006 worked proudly at a restaurant which I consider the pinnacle of my service career… La Toque Restaurant in Rutherford, CA. Working at La Toque opened a lot of doors for me in my quest to meet vineyard owners, winemakers, and other influential personalities in the business. In fact, several of the vineyards that I source from today are a result of me serving the vineyard owner and (probably unprofessionally) asking to buy their fruit while I was serving them.
In 2006 I hung up the waiters apron for good after accepting a management position at the host facility where I would end up making Modus.
Modus Operandi Cellars is born… Modus Operandi was founded with our first vintage in 2004 by winemaker/partner Jason Moore, and business partners Akira Higa, Steve Vargas, and Robert Rogel, all of whom invested in the vision and passion of a Dallas waiter turned Napa Valley winemaker.
Making wine for others… In 2006 I was hired as Winemaker for Poem Cellars which is a very interesting project organized by Scott Tracy – Wine Director and Sommelier at La Toque (my old boss).
About The The Poet With The Corkscrew:
Scott Tracy started his buying wine career at restaurant Café California when he was 26 years old. The restaurant was unique at the time for its exclusive commitment to California wine. Tracy introduced many of the first efforts of new wineries like Joseph Phelps, Trefethen, Shafer and Calera to his guests.
From the beginning of his 30-year career in restaurants to the present day, Tracy has been charming the public to try something new.
Scott Tracy first met Ken Frank in 1996 on an airplane when they were both flown to Napa Valley to visit with Robert Mondavi. The Mondavi winery had invited ten wine buyers, five from Los Angeles and five from San Francisco to Napa Valley to discuss the trends of fine wine sales in restaurants.
In 1997 Tracy, with two friends, opened a hole in the wall restaurant on Pico Blvd in Santa Monica with the tiny nut of $80,000. Tracy used a bit on Napa inspired hospitality to gain friends and influence people, he greeted every customer with a taste of wine from the restaurant list. Many Angelinos tried Grenache, Viogner, Roussanne and Syrah for the first time at 2424 Pico, and within the year the restaurant was making top ten restaurant lists and Tracy was highlighted in a major article in the Los Angeles Times on the five best Sommeliers in the city.
When the opportunity to move to Napa Valley and open La Toque, Tracy jumped at the chance and has matched wine to chef Ken Frank’s cuisine for eleven years. In the August 23, 2002 Wall Street Journal, Dorothy Gaiter and Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher devoted their wine column to La Toque’s successful food and wine parings. The 2009 Michelin Guide and 2009 Zagut Guide, highlight Tracy’s skill in the review of the restaurant, a praise normally reserved for chefs exclusively. Earlier this year, Scott was named top Napa Sommelier by the Tasting Panel in their Stars of 2009 awards.
Tracy produces Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon with his partners. The name of the winery is Poem Cellars. The wine was released December 2008 and 379 cases were produced.. In the Wine Spectator review, James Laube described the 2006 Poem Cellars Marriage Cabernet Sauvignon “Bold, ripe and full bodied, with lively black and wild berry, plum and spice notes that are tightly focused, intense and concentrated, ending with a long full finish and a hint of earthiness. Best from 2010 through 2017. 206 cases made” The 2009 harvest is underway for Poem Cellars.
Varietals: Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon (95%) blended with a touch of St Helena Cabernet Franc (5%),
Cooperage: 50% new oak barrels, 50% one-year-old barrels.
Production: 50 Cases Produced.