American Beauty XVI

Hier der Bericht von 16. American Beauty im Frühjahr 2023. Aber warum auf Englisch? Im letzten Frühjahr wurde mir mein Notizbuch mit den Probennotizen geklaut, darunter eben meine Original Notizen von der American Beauty. Aber ich hatte schon fleißig alle einzelnen Flights auf Instagram unter @wineterminator gepostet. Die könnte ich bei Gelegenheit natürlich mal zurückübersetzen. Das können aber für Sie, falls Ihnen Englisch zu kompliziert ist, auch Dienste wie Google Translate.

This is, how 2023 American Beauty XVI started, the 16th edition of our famous California best bottle blind tasting. All twelf of us had brought their finest bottles to be on the victory podium. Absolutely outstanding was this 2001 Lokoya Diamond Mountain in an elegant, refined Bordeaux style with fine fruit, slim proportions, but so perfectly balanced - WT98. Very powerful with great fruit and opulent proportions was the 2001 Mondavi Reserve To Kalon, a textbook California wine with enormous potential, just lacking finesse in the current stage - WT96+. Super sexy and opulent with decadent fruity fulliness this powerful, minty 2002 Caymus Special Selection - WT97. A lovely charmer was this 2004 Heitz Martha’s Vineyard, a bit shy and not the usual dramatic, but very, very elegant and so balanced, minty with blackcurrant fruit and fine herbs - WT97. Unfortunately tainted was the nose of the 2006 Paul Hobbs Beckstoffer To Kalon. But this minty giant showed so much power and substance on the palate, not tainted this would have easily been a WT96-97 wine.

Oops, this second flight was not the last one of our American Beauty best bottle tasting, but the least one, possibly of all 16 tastings we had so far. Disappointing this 2001 Pride Mountain Reserve, quite rustic, little fruit and a boring nose, seemingly a bad bottle - WT92. Same failure with another highflyer, 2001 Dominus. This had an astonishingly ripe color, a faulty nose and was tasting no better than ok - WT91. And the next misshap was a 2004 Togni, far too ripe and with its vegetable aromatics tasting like a Chateau Bouillon - WT91. Just a little better, but at least drinking nicely this too ripe 2007 Lail J.Daniel Cuvée with its sweaty foot nose - WT93. In what kind of supermarket had those guys bought thise bottles? Only highlight in this flight was the quite powerful 2006 Opus One with good fruit, fine mint, a solid structure and good drinkability - WT95.
And the moral of this flight? Provenance is so important. Trying to buy rare wines at the lowest possible price might also give you the lowest possible quality.

This third flight of our American Beauty best bottle brought us straight from hell to heaven. Absolutely gorgeous this 2001 Dunn Howell Mountain with fine dark fruits, blueberry, blackcurrant and blackberry, powerful and precise with great length and an excellent structure this was so much fun already, but on its way to even more future glory - WT97+. The perfect 2001 Abreu Madrona Ranch was California at its very best, so incredibly dense, complex and long with superb fruit and an excellent balance of power and elegance. This true WT100 wine that combined the best of both Old and New World made speechless. Receiving a perfect rating from 11 of the 12 participants this became the clear winner of our tasting - WT100. Brilliant also this 2004 Shafer Hillside Select, that couldn’t compete with the nose of the otherworldly Abreu, but showed this typical powerful fulliness and decadent sweetness, that makes those Hillsides so irresistible - WT98. In total harmony and very elegant showed this amazing 2007 Chapellet Pritchard Hill - WT97. Each of those four wines could easily have been the undisputed suoerstar in any other tasting. To have those four together was a dream come true. But happily we stayed at this level, as the bext two flights will show. So please stay tuned.

And here is another superb flight from our American Beauty tasting. I’m always surprised by the quality of those single vineyard Bond wines. They come from the Harlan stable and often match or sometimes even surpass the Harlan Estate wine itself. This 2004 Bond Pluribus was so young and vigorous with deep dark fruit, so powerful and deep with excellent length. Its massive structure with still strong tannins will guarantee long life and possibly anothe upside - WT97+. This fabulous 2001 Colgin Herb Lamb was my best bottle of this ever. A complete, great California Giant with very powerful aromatics, dark cherry, cassis, mint, eucalyptus, dark olives, saddle leather and herbal spicyness. With its high class it came very close to the 2001 Abreu and was #3 in our overall rating - WT99. The fine and elegant 2006 Araujo Eisele Vineyard also showed surprisingly well, so powerful and balanced with a great structure - WT97. You just can’t go wrong with those Hillsides from Shafer. This 2001 Shafer Hillside Select with its opulent sweet fruit was a superb California bomb, but at the same time so refined and elegant - WT99. #2 in our overall rating.

Fifth and final flight of our 16th American Beauty Tasting. Smooth and balanced this 2002 Dominus with dark cherries, herbs, mint, a hint of eucalyptus, leather and graphite minerality with a Bordeaux like structure. This seemed a little dormant, but showed great potential - WT96+. 2001 and 2002 Dominus are like modern versions of those currently so exciting 1991 and 1992. so give both a few more years in your cellar. A bit strange the performance of the 2002 Abreu Madrona Ranch, this was dense and powerful, but seemed so ripe - WT96. Very strange, because this bottle came after release together with the otherworldly 2001 from the same distributor, and both bottles have been lying next to each other since. Very exciting was the 2002 Phelps Insignia with decadent, seductive sweet fruit, blackberries and dark cherries in finest dark Valrhona chocolate, so elegant and balanced, but also dense and powerful with a very good structure and backbone for further aging - WT98. This was #4 in the overall rating. In a similar hedonist style (actually blind I thought this was Insignia) was the dense 2006 Maybach Materium with a perfect balance of power and elegance - WT97.
So looking through the five posts of this exciting tasting, what would have been your favorites (providing good bottles)?