MATCH Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Butterdragon Hill 2002 Score: 94 | Release price: $72 | Current price: $NA

This remains a voluptuous mouthful of Cabernet, even better with age. Ripe, supple and plush, with tiers of plum, black cherry and dark berry flavors, this fairly glides along on the finish, ending with melted black licorice, road tar and mocha notes, returning to dark berry themes. 2002 California Cabernet blind retrospective (May 2012). Drink now through 2022. 500 cases made.—J.L.

The full article is available here though you must be a subscriber to the Wine Spectator Online Edition to read it.

We have a limited amount of our 2002 Butterdragon Hill available at our online store.

Two things should be understood:

1) One of the first — and most important — things a young lad needs to learn when traveling in a foreign land is how to order a beer in the native tongue. Such knowledge will get him started on the road to enjoying his travels. (Knowing “Bitte ein Bier” helped me get started when stationed in Germany long ago.)


2) The French have an annoyingly difficult time understanding any mispronunciation of their language. In English, if a foreigner says poTAYto or poTAHto, Americans will generally get the spuds to the visitor. Not so in France. If you happen to say pAHmme instead of pOHmme, the waiter is going to look at you like you’re speaking Swahili.

The other day in Saint-Michel, Alec tried to order a beer. The waitress said “en can” and listed several brands with which we were familiar. Alec knew he preferred “bière pression” or draft beer so we asked “Quel type de bière pression? “En can” she said and repeated her spiel. No. “Pression”. “En can” she repeated. Trying our best to pronounce “Pression” correctly she again responded it was en can. Finally, giving up with a shrug of our shoulders we said to go ahead and bring it. She did. She returned with a lovely, draft pulled hEiNeKEN.

We felt like we’d just played the French version of “Who’s on First?”

20120529-010156.jpgUnbelievably fine… Delicate floral nose of honey suckle and sweet strawberry. Pleasantly soft before food but seems to rise with strength and flavor with the meal as the fruit bursts forth and just the right acidity bring the whole experience to a crescendo. Yes, this is a gushing, and yet non-specific note, but the overall experience of this wine defies description. If one thinks in terms of points, this is easily a 95 and probably the best wine I’ve had in a year.

The meal didn’t suck either. We were dining at La Brasserie du Sillon in Saint-Malo, Brittany, France. Expensive, slightly snooty service, but really good eats and drop-dead views of the beach, ocean, sunset (at 9:45 PM!), and the old walled city in the distance.

20120529-012724.jpgRoasted lobster with an escargot sauce.

20120529-012831.jpgRoasted lobster with a Cognac sauce

20120529-012935.jpgScallops with some preparation that I’ve forgotten but Alec reported that “they rocked.”

20120529-013144.jpgOf course, we couldn’t leave out our vegetarian travel companion. He doesn’t know what he’s missing.

20120527-114442.jpgNice fleshy ripe berries and a rustic, though not harsh, feel. I have so much to learn about wines from the Loire. [embarassed] I’d never even know the AOC Saint Nicolas de Bourgel existed.

20120524-100525.jpgOn the left, a really nice blend of Roussane and Marsane with lovely melon and honey flavors and bright acidity. Next, a disappointing Burgundy with delicate fruit but bitter, green tannins. Finally, a pleasing sweet wine with cooked plum and wood smoke. Less sweet and less heavy than a port. Wishing for a nice blue cheese to pair with this one.
The Musee du Vin in Paris would appeal to big wine geeks and collectors of wine paraphernalia. Self guided tour through the tunnels with English language audio guide and well conducted tasting by their experts of 3 wines = 27 euro.


  • 2010 Bokisch Vineyards Albariño Terra Alta – USA, California, Central Valley, Clements Hills (5/7/2012)
    Charming light white with melon and tropical fruit flavors. Zippy fresh citrus acidity. At only $11.99 this wine performs well above its pay grade. I’d like to pick up some more for summer. (89 points)

Posted from CellarTracker

Kayak Napa Valley – a GREAT way to celebrate Earth Day.  Yesterday Sasha and I joined Kayak Napa Valley as a group of about 16 picked up trash along the waterline of the Napa River from below downtown to the Oxbow.  Afterwards, Compadres Rio Grille provided tasty (and free) meals to the grubby, sweaty kayakers.

Liza and Laurie, the owners of Kayak Napa Valley, are great and a recreational kayak trip would be a fun way to burn a few of those calories we consume when visiting the Valley.  They also do about 4 clean up kayak trips a year.

Kayak Napa Valley

Compadres Rio Grille
505 Lincoln Ave
Napa, CA 94558
(707) 253-1111

Alcohol sharpens the mind, research finds – Telegraph.

Author Jennifer Wiley told the Daily Mail:

The bottom line is that we think being too focused can blind you to novel possibilities, and a broader, more flexible state of attention is needed for creative solutions to emerge

They don’t mention this, but I wonder if a little of the improvement is also because inhibitions are lowered allowing the men to answer the quiz questions more quickly because they are less afraid of being wrong.  I know I’m never “wrong” when tipsy.

20120410-004343.jpgDon’t drink it too cold. At cellar temperature peach aroma and flavor lilted deftly above a nice stoney minerality. Thick, full mouthfeel but bone dry. Over-chilled, a sour lemon started to overwhelm. As the wine warmed back up, a nice long finish of petrol was evident. Good wine that should develop additional complexity over time.

Do wine writers write only for the one percent?.  That’s the question blogger Dr. Vino is asking.  What do you think?  With our customers, my totally unscientific, anecdotal evidence leads me to believe that while enjoying wines at our price point and above certainly does require disposable income, those that spend the most on wines aren’t necessarily the wealthiest people.  Wine for most of our customers is a passion.  It enriches their lives and their experiences at meals and celebrations.  For this passion, they may sacrifice in other ways.  Other folks may choose boats, sports, music, photography, shoes, travel, cooking, tech gadgets… heck, even comic books.  Whatever you choose to spend that extra dollar that you worked hard for… cheers to all 100% of you.


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3060 White Sulphur Springs Rd
St Helena, CA 94574
t: (707) 200-3510
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