by Dave Nelson
[Updated 3/2/10 with tasting notes; click through to read...]
Never had the disposable income to buy into the north-of-$50 world of Napa Valley cabernets?
Here's your chance.
Paul Hayden, manager of the Clayton location of the Wine & Cheese Place (7435 Forsyth Boulevard, Clayton; 314-727-8788), tells Gut Check that Stephanie DeMasi of Juslyn Vineyards will be in the shop pouring Juslyn's 2005 Spring Mountain cabernet sauvignon and 2005 Perry's Blend at a free tasting this afternoon from 5 to 6:30 p.m.
That's right: free.
You might have read Friday's "Wine Buy the Bottle" post, in which Hayden chose the Spring Mountain cabernet as his "splurge" pick, on the grounds that for fans of age-worthy Napa cabernets it "has everything all wrapped up into one wine." Hayden says the less-pricey Perry's Blend "is a bit softer and more approachable" but packs plenty to please folks who like their cabernets big and rich.
Paul also hints that DeMasi might have some other treats in store -- perhaps in the form of wines from Juslyn's as-yet-unreleased 2006 vintage.
If you go to the tasting, please let us know in the comments thread below; we'll update this post with our tasting notes.
Just back from the tasting, and yes, the '06s did make an appearance. Here are my thoughts, in the order tasted:
'05 Perry's Blend: This one was showing too much creamy oak for me. I'm oak-averse as it is, and the oak obscured the fruit for me in this sample.
'05 Spring Mountain: Really nice mountain cabernet. Much more restrained than the Perry's, with plenty of tannin, but the tannin is very fine and well-integrated such that it's not obtrusive. It's showing good intensity of fruit, but it is honest, almost rustic fruit. No sign of anything over-the-top, and I can see this working well with a fine steak now, or cellaring well for quite a few years. This had apparently been open for a couple of hours by the time I got to it.
'06 Perry's: Much more closed than the '05, but still a bigger oak imprint than the Spring Mountain wines. Stephanie said this had more merlot than the '05, but I still preferred the Spring Mountain in this vintage.
'06 Spring Mountain: Also more closed than the '05, so really hard to judge. I liked it more than either Perry's but not as much as the '05 Spring Mountain. Seemed to have plenty of stuffing, and the structure was again substantial, but elegant, which bodes well for developing into something nice down the road.
Kudos to Juslyn for letting folks try these wines before buying! And kudos to the Wine & Cheese Place for busting out some Riedel glasses rather than little plastic cups, and some nice cheeses (I tasted without any food).