December 12, 2007

THE Vertical. Robert Young Estates Winery Scion Shines

The first thing I have to do is to thank Issa and Nura Khoury for introducing me to Scion a couple (or more) years ago. It was in late 2004 that they had a tasting at their store on Eastern – which was their only location at the time – and one of the wines was the Scion. I remember tasting it and being blown away. I promptly ordered a couple of bottles, and the rest, as they say, was history.

I had planned for this vertical for quite some time. As a member of the wine club, I was in the unique position of acquiring this wine on a regular basis, and I knew I had to share it with my friends when the opportunity arose. I used Evite to invite a few people who I knew were real fans of great Bordeaux blends and only regret that I was only able to accommodate a small portion of the people I wanted to be there.

So how did the tasting go? You be the judge!

Thanks to Kelly Pafford of Robert Young Estates Winery for supplying literature and Wine Club apps for the tasting. It was wonderful having the winery so involved with their members’ activities.

There were five years served. 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, and 2003. The first thing that should be stated at the front is that each and every one of these vintages was fabulous. Here are comments from everyone as we poured and paired during the evening:

Decanted for little over 30 minutes, the 1999 was a blend of 61% Cabernet Sauvignon, 26% Merlot, and 13% Cabernet Franc. Velvety on the tongue, it displayed earth, cigar box, black cherries, plums, and just a touch of smoke. The tannins had integrated well into the wine and gave the wine an old-world character. There were nods all around as everyone sipped away! This almost tied with the 2000 as the second Wine of the Night.

The 2000 was decanted for the same period of time as the 1999 and had a completely different flavor profile! It is a blend of 74% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Cabernet Franc, and 10% Merlot. Wow! was the sound heard as everyone tasted this. The aroma was richer than the ‘99, with black cherries, tobacco, plums, and pepper.
Almost Syrah-like in character, it had a rich, velvety mouthfeel, well-integrated tannins, and lots of dark fruit. It also had the earth, cocoa, and leather you’d expect from this type of blend with this age. In my personal opinion, age has done wonders for this wine and it has far outstripped the ’99 and is ready to drink now, although it has some years left to go. This was the second Wine of the Night.

The 2001 was decanted little more than an hour. A blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Cabernet Franc, and 9% Merlot, it displayed the tannins, dark fruit, and body you’d expect from a wine with this much high-quality Cabernet in the blend. However, even with this much Cab in the mix, it wasn’t a big tannic bruiser, but offered a velvety mouthfeel, tobacco, and earth.

Decanted for 90 minutes, the 2002, a blend of 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Merlot, and 11% Cabernet Franc, showed its youth in its profile of black cherries, currants, plums, tobacco, and black raspberries. Silky in the mouth, it is as good as it gets.

There is no doubt that the 2003, with its blend of 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Franc, and 4% Petit Verdot was the star of the evening. Talk about a Grand Slam! Equal to anything that may come out of Napa, it had big fruit (but it was not a fruit bomb), smoke, integrated tannins and balanced acid, earth, cocoa, tobacco, and more. Take THIS Opus One and Insignia! The 2003 easily kicks the big boys’ collective butts and shines in the process. Fritz Reese, our own personal sommelier and wine educator, declared that this was easily the Wine of the Night, and I agreed with him. While the aroma, flavor profile, structure, and mouthfeel shine now, we can only imagine how it will be in a few years. Wow. What a great wine. And at about $50.00 a bottle, a decided bargain, especially during these days of overpriced Napa Cabernet “stars” from the so-called cult wineries.

All of these wines possessed beautiful noses, silky mouthfeel, well-integrated tannins, good acid balance, complex mid-palates, and a beautiful, long, lingering finish. There wasn’t a bomb in the group, and the age of the 1999 and 2000 brought out subtle traits that are not yet apparent in the 2001, 2002, or the 2003.

The 1999 and 2000 were served with pot roast and baby Yukon Gold potatoes. Because of their age, I did not want to overwhelm them with a lot of spices. The pot roast was the perfect choice and, well, pretty much disappeared.

I served my “famous” smoked brisket with the younger wines, and because of it having been smoked with a dry rub (secret ingredients and all!) it had more complex, assertive flavors than the pot roast. Once again, it was a great match with the more fruit-forward characteristics of the younger wines.

My goal for 2008 is to acquire more Scion! I loved these wines just as much now as I did when I first tasted it at Khoury’s and am a fan for life. While the budget will whimper during these purchases, I’d love to have another vertical in a couple of years so that more of my friends can enjoy the pleasure of drinking these beautiful wines.

Thanks, Robert Young Estates! And thanks to everyone who attended, brought food, and had the opportunity to sip on these wines. A rare treat that I can't wait to repeat!

1 comment:

  1. Hi everyone, this is Kelly Pafford from Robert Young Estate Winery. Irene King certainly knows her wines. I shared her photographs with our everyone here, and all of us are quite impress with the vertical tasting she had at her home with Robert Young wines...very well done. Also, after reading the artical about our winery in Vegas Wineaux, we all feel touched by the comments made (very good descriptors) about the Scion's and how much everyone enjoyed the wines. We too believe that the 2003 is showing it self off real well right now. I just want everyone to know that 2004 is an awesome vintage in this area (Alexander Valley) and we believe the 2004 Scion will out shine all previous vintages. It's an honor that Irene King held a vertical of our wines...Thank you Irene. Kelly