Weekday drinking 27-30 March 2023

Shall I kick off then. Fizz on a Monday? Well it’s been a good Monday, which is rare, hence.
Alain Voge St Peray Les Bulles d’Alain 2016
Unusual, in terms of how it tastes but also that sparkling Rhone isn’t so common. Very yeasty/bready on the nose, as well as some stone fruit and strawberry I think. It’s weirder when you taste it, there’s those stone fruits, that sugary texture you get with some sweet wines - yet it’s bone dry. Quite lively bubbles as well, and a fair amount of body - this is no prosecco. Finish isn’t the longest but is satisfying, and a bit of apertivo bitterness. It’s sort of trying to be serious and playful at the same time, but I like it. 100% Marsanne, disgorged Nov 2021, zero dosage.


I may have to do further exploration of the Voge Domaine!

1 Like

A happy and sad evening with this wine. Happy that it was so special with a tortilla Espanola. Sad that it’s the last bottle from the cellar.


Good to know it’s good! I’ve a case which I haven’t got round to starting

And something sweet, why not. But not as sweet as I expected.
Domaine Badoz Vin de Paille 2016, Lovely brandy colour. Nuts and nectarines, some caramel, a touch yeasty; in the background something not unlike the aniseed/herb of an Italian digestif; acidity dominates - very bright, citrus, almost puckering, with a lot less sweetness that I was expecting. Interesting - not what I was anticipating and not really my style, but it does make for a good digestif.


Purely for comparison purposes you understand we opened a TWS Californian Zinfandel 2019 last night. Certainly somewhat of an improvement over the previous Majestic Zinfandel. More balanced and not quite as heavy. Went well with a wild boar casserole!


As our WA walkabout draws to a close some big guns out tonight….

The St Henri was a much bigger wine, bold dark fruit and multi layered complexity and took some time to soften. Delicious when it did.
Sons of Eden much more approachable - softer finish with the complexity and big fruit finish. I think I preferred it.

Nevertheless a great treat from some old friends.


No surprises here
Beautiful wine, winemaking skills are very evident.
Rich, full bodied, great citrus backbone, almond, apples
Very good


I’ve gone for something interesting tonight - having read the thread on Riesling earlier, I found myself craving a grippy, moody Riesling - and this 2017 Riesling from Weingut Hey, Saale-Unstrut (one of the lesser known wine regions of Germany!) caught my eye.

Stoney, minerally, grippy with a large amount of stone fruit (apricots, green apples and quince) with a refreshing, zippy acidity.

I really like it - it wouldn’t be too everyone’s taste but I love a complex Riesling.


I’m really enjoying some of this for this evening - a 2022 Tasca d’Almerita Leone.

One of my go-to wines this one, I must say. It’s no mind-bender, but is just very very tasty and fun and cheerful. It’s a blend of Catarratto with some Pinot Bianco, Sauvignon and a dash of Traminer.

As you’d expect really, beautifully aromatic & floral, quite broad with a spectrum of fruitiness, but plenty of acidity and green/white fruit and citrus freshness to make it an absolute gem of a quaffer. Shame it’s a Tuesday!

I love my Catarratto & blends thereof, and they bring back very happy memories of many work months in Sicily over the years, and those solo evenings over spaghetti alle vongole followed by salty-lemony-fingers-fritura mista on balmy early summer evenings after work; this and others like it are a bargain in Sicily itself but less so here, but this is a wine I go back to time and time again despite. Wine is sometimes as much about the situations and memories as the wine itself, and this for me is a perfect example of that. Yum yum :~}


Joseph Phelps 2017 HN Napa Cab Sav at £17

They make inisignia at £335 which I can only assume is on another planet.

A normal Cab Sav at £70-80

It’s almost impossible to make sense on price or what price range this sits with this wine

It’s a really good wine at £17, hard to get a feel on worth. This Waitrose wine is the same ball park

On this £17 offering “ many of which were grapes declassified from Insignia 2017

It’s a rich, sumptuous, concentrated new world cab sav. The fruit compote is berry heavy but diverse in the fruit notes: It’s not just a Ribenna. Plenty of detail and impressive nose. Hard to get more from this corner of the world for cheap

Have a good week all!


Thanks. I ordered a couple of bottles of these as well. Did you decant?

1 Like

No I didn’t. I try to decant Rhone as that can be detrimental to even starting to enjoy it without decanting. Here it was good from the start

There was no tannic presence here to diminish via airing. The nose was already detailed: chocolate along with the berry compote.

Was good to go for me, but may get better. Let me know how it goes for you? I don’t think it would harm it at all. I have 3 bottles left too :slight_smile:


The regular price of the HN Napa Cab was £35, which puts it more in the ballpark of Trefethen price wise, given own-brands are usually a bit cheaper. Half price for that was a super deal.

I’ve got both (from the HN sale and the recent Waitrose 25% offer), but wasn’t planning to open either for a while. Your comments on the HN are very useful, thanks.

I haven’t had Insignia. Am sure it’s fabulous, though the Waitrose price of £335 is a bit inflated, you can get it for around £160 per bottle in bond (usually in cases of 6), so around £200 on the table. Napa Cab can go way into the stratosphere price-wise, and I’ve had a few others that are up there (in fairness, most of them were extremely good).

The market for it has led to prices for the top labels that can go off the charts, exacerbated by weather issues in recent years. The wine may be inspired by Bordeaux’s left bank, but the pricing is Burgundian with American brand marketing skill overlaid…there are several that retail well above the price of Bordeaux First Growths.


I think you can roughly buy a bottle of every single growth for the price of a bottle of Screaming Eagle.


Yes, Screaming Eagle is the DRC of Napa, in a price league of its own. I recall being surprised to learn that their Sauvignon Blanc is even more expensive than their Cab.

Several others at or close to $1000 a bottle, the likes of Harlan, Ghost Horse, Scarecrow, Realm, Schrader, and maybe Colgin and Bryant also heading up in that direction.

1 Like

Thanks for the background. I certainly don’t have a lot of experience at high end Cal Cab Sav. My wallet is thankful.

Still a bit confused on trying to price the value of the wine. It is a very mixed strategy offering declassified Insignia grapes for £17 and full price Insignia for £335. Shows the extent of marketing and demographic targeting there. Insignia is for those that don’t care about price.

I do enjoy the Trefrethen and succumb to a bottle now and again on Waitrose 25%. It’s going up in price and I am increasingly finding better enjoyment in old world for the same cash even at 25% off. (possibly nothing to do with the wine, just changing tastes)

Being Welsh, I have had my eye on Colgin Cariad | Vivino purely due to the name. Very rare to see a 4.7 on vivino! Any experience of it?

My high end Cab Cal is limited and mostly arises from when actually being in California vs buying it in the UK. Although I did pick up a bottle of
Silver Oak Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 recently which I’ve enjoyed in the US. One for on stand-by for the occasions where certain friends really enjoy the full rich style that these offer + maillard effected steak :slight_smile:


I think Cabernet Sauvignon like wines and blends are keeping their prices in Europe, like Bordeaux (many times discussed). Increased demand for California in the USA and exchange rate make those fairly poor value.


I’m possibly going into a level of detail that’s better for the N America thread, but easier to reply here

I didn’t read too much into the “declassified Insignia” thing, suspect there might be a dollop of marketing spin there. Phelps has 9 vineyards in Napa totalling over 170 hectares, so what fruit goes where can be a moving feast. Insignia is a historic wine in Napa terms, they claim it was the first Napa Bordeaux blend. I don’t know the truth of that, but it’s certainly been around a long time. As I said above, Insignia can be found for quite a bit less than £335, though still hardly cheap. As I own some Napa wines around that price point, I won’t comment on how much the buyers care about price :wink::grinning:

A more realistic comparison might be the “regular” Joseph Phelps Napa Cab, which can be bought in the UK at around £60 duty+tax paid. If they have fruit to shift, I could see them making a wine for HN at this price point without damaging their own brand integrity (and the HN won’t be sold domestically in the US).

Haven’t had Cariad, though I have had Colgin IX Estate, which is in the same price ballpark, and it was outstanding. Cariad comes from a different site (lower elevation but steeper slopes), so I think slightly different expression but similar quality. I’m sure it would live up to the name…

Silver Oak (Napa rather than Alexander Valley) was the start of my love for Napa Cab. Was served it years ago at a dinner in the US where the wines were sponsored by a collection of Napa wineries, and Silver Oak was served with the steak course. Love at first sip (or maybe even sniff) for me. That free dinner turned out to be expensive (but enjoyable) in the long run. I’ve got a few bottles of Silver Oak Napa, though I see the price has really increased in the last couple of years.

I like both Bordeaux and Napa, depending on mood. Some Napa producers (Bryant comes to mind among the top ones I’ve had) do have a more restrained style redolent of Bordeaux. I forgot to mention Eisele as another marquee name. I do also like Lamborn and Spring Mountain, though both are hard to find in the UK (and Spring Mountain is hard to find at all).


Napa and Sonoma cab-merlot blends are one of my blind spots and this is very interesting, thanks for posting. Tell me - where do you think Ridge’s Montebello sits with these glitzy Napa wines ? A decade or so ago I would have been buying this wine but it’s too expensive these days, but I always felt that Montebello was very Bordeaux-like rather than, what I assumed to be, jammy dodgers of Napa. But as I’ve had very little of the latter I may be totally off-beam here.