Yesterday afternoon, Jeremy Nickel, son of the late Gil Nickel who was the founder of Napa’s classic estates Far Niente, Dolce and Nickel & Nickel, stopped by Graileys to showcase how his personal wine, The Vineyard House, would hold up in a flight against the big boys of Napa in a very bold and very generous blind tasting. This Napa cult showdown was based on a scoring sheet created by the folks of The Vineyard House based on a point scale, generated by appearance, aroma, body, taste and finish. On their scoring sheet, higher extraction, concentration, weight, texture, balance and lengthy finish lead to higher points on the scale.
There were seven powerful Napa Cabernets of elite status, all from the 2010 vintage. Going through each wine blind was like driving through a delicious, fruity brick wall, one glass at a time and the Graileys Team tasted through the lineup with grace. After Simon and each broker placed our judgement, coming in first place was the 2010 Scarecrow, it tallied the highest points due to the greatest extraction, explosive aromas, dense flavors, velvety mouthfeel and just as fiery palate.
2010 Colgin Tychson Cabernet came in second place with expressive, bright fruit, silky texture and beautiful balance.
2010 Schrader T6 Beckstoffer To Kalon was one of the most aromatic and concentrated wines in the lineup coming in at third place.
2010 Harlan and Bond Vecina followed suit as these beasts need more time in the bottle to even budge a release of its full expression potential.
2010 The Vineyard House had a strong showing against these big boys with generous fruit, lively aromatics and lengthy finish.
After the tasting, the wines with the highest scores were revealed as shown in the lineup above. Jeremy also had a vertical of The Vineyard House for us to try; after the 2010, we tried the 2011 and the 2012 vintages. The 2011 was more compelling compared to other Napa Cabs from the infamous vintage and the 2012 was simply terrific with naturally ripe flavors, generous fruit and luscious texture.