Sunfish Cellars Napa Valley Extravaganza The Results

Wow!!! Thank you Hoyt Hill of Sunfish Cellars along with Wine Company, Winebow and Southern for this amazing tasting. This was the number 1 Wine Tasting of the Year in the Twin Cities for the money. $25.00!!!

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SUNFISH CELLARS NAPA VALLEY EXTRAVAGANZA – Sunfish Cellars/I Nonni Minneapolis, MN (12/14/2019)While this event was featuring mainly one region of the world of wine it ranks as the number 1 tasting of 2019 for the general public. $25.00 to taste this lineup is crazy and the crowd was never more than 35 people spread across six tables. It was run really well and the distributors were knowledgeable and very approachable. A real treat for the wine geek.

Table 1
While table one was the weakest of the six tables it did featured some nice overall values. The C.B. Crane Disciples showed better than the last tasting. The star of the table was the 2010 Revana which was my second favorite wine of the event and drinking great right now.

2018 Tate Chardonnay Spring Street – USA, California, Napa Valley
Oak, lemon, apple, spice and floral notes. Simple wine but tasty overall. Drink now to 2023. (88 pts.)

2017 Robert Biale Zinfandel Black Chicken – USA, California, Napa Valley, Oak Knoll District
This wine needs some time. Black pepper, red currants, charcoal and spice. Hold until 2023. 88- 90. (88 pts.)

2017 Venge Vineyards Scout’s Honor – USA, California, Napa Valley
Sweet wine and certainly not my style. Charcoal, sweet red fruits and subtle spice. Short to medium finish. Lacks acidity. 84 points (84 pts.)

2016 G.B. Crane Disciples – USA, California, Napa Valley
This was nice overall featuring spice, minerals, floral and strawberries. Balanced overall and medium finish. Drink now to 2025. (89 pts.)

2017 Hunt and Harvest Cabernet Sauvignon – USA, California, Napa Valley
Smoke, spice, red currants and floral notes. Medium finish. (88 pts.)

2016 Silver Ghost Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon – USA, California, Napa Valley
This was nice overall with fruit forward profile. Cherry, plum, earth and mild oak. Very drinkable right now. (90 pts.)

2016 Long Meadow Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon Farmstead – USA, California, Napa Valley
Solid overall with cherry, earth, cigar and plum. Medium finish. (89 pts.)

2009 Revana Cabernet Sauvignon – USA, California, Napa Valley, St. Helena
A bit herbaceous featuring spice, floral, dust and earth. Some fruit showing but not nearly as good as the 2010 at the tasting today. The cork crumbled upon opening so that could be an issue however the wine still showed well overall. (91 pts.)
2010 Revana Cabernet Sauvignon – USA, California, Napa Valley, St. Helena
The wine of table one. This showed more impressive than the 2009 version. Bright fruit featuring cherry, blueberries, and plum. Spice, gravel and floral notes on this medium to long finish. Good use of oak. (93 pts.)

Table 2 Wine Company
Wine Company always brings their A game to these events. The star of the table and tasting was the 2014 White Rock Cabernet. Picked up a six pack.

2018 Trefethen Riesling Dry – USA, California, Napa Valley, Oak Knoll District
Solid dry Riesling featuring floral, orange peel, pear and apple. Mild spices on the finish. Good acidity. (87 pts.)

2018 Frog’s Leap Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley – USA, California, Napa Valley
This was really nice. Floral, spice, lime and lemon. Very clean and good acidity. Normally not a fan of SB but I would buy this. (90 pts.)

2017 Miner Family Chardonnay Napa Valley – USA, California, Napa Valley
Very basic straight forward Napa Chardonnay. Oak, vanilla, spice and apple. Short to medium finish. (87 pts.)

2017 Trefethen Chardonnay Quandary Estate – USA, California, Napa Valley, Oak Knoll District
Not bad with good acidity. Features pear, apple, oak and spice. Very clean wine. Good value. (89 pts.)

2014 White Rock Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon – USA, California, Napa Valley
This wine has just entered my top ten wines of the year. Beautiful nose featuring funk, dust, blueberries, raspberries and gravel. Good concentration and medium plus finish. This has all the stuff for another decade of aging. Just picked up a six pack of this. 94+ (94 pts.)

2016 Duckhorn Vineyards Merlot – USA, California, Napa Valley
Very nice wine with cherry, plum, minerals and earth. Nicely balanced and smooth finish. Always enjoyable. (91 pts.)

2016 Duckhorn Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley – USA, California, Napa Valley
Solid with floral, spice, minerals, cherry and dust. Very dry wine and medium finish. Classic Duckhorn. (91 pts.)

2017 Frog’s Leap Zinfandel – USA, California, Napa Valley
This is a very balanced effort with earth, minerals, chocolate, mild oak and floral notes. Not a big fruit bomb and very enjoyable. (91 pts.)

2017 Miner Family Cabernet Sauvignon Emily’s – USA, California, Napa Valley
Not showing well. Eucalyptus, oak, dull fruit and spice. A bit thin on the finish. Nothing interesting here. (85 pts.)

2016 Buena Vista Cabernet Sauvignon Chateau Buena Vista – USA, California, Napa Valley
This wine opened up over time and the 2014 was my wine of the year last year. This needs time. Dust, cherry, menthol, blackberries and spice. Medium to long finish and complex wine. Should improve over time. 91-93 points (91 pts.)

Table 3 Winebow
Wow table! I found a new appreciation for Pride wines. The Robert Craig was my fourth favorite wine of the day and a new interesting project from them. The Continuum was enjoyable to try however outside my price range at $200. Cade was also very nice.

2015 Adaptation Petite Sirah – USA, California, Napa Valley
Interesting wine with pepper, meat, spice and fragrant perfume. Medium finish. (90 pts.)

2016 Adaptation Cabernet Sauvignon – USA, California, Napa Valley
Solid overall with cherry, blueberries and boysenberries. This is a fruit forward style but balanced overall. (90 pts.)

2016 Cade Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Howell Mountain – USA, California, Napa Valley, Howell Mountain
Really liked this wine. Young and needs time as this will evolve. Rich wine with smoke, blackberries, minerals, earth and oak. Picks up some dust on the finish. Long finish. Cellar this for five years. (93 pts.)

2015 Copper Cane Cabernet Sauvignon Quilt Reserve – USA, California, Napa Valley
This wine did not do it for me. Pepper, sweet fruits and spice. Medium finish. A bit heavy. (87 pts.)

2015 Pride Mountain Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon – USA, California, North Coast, Napa / Sonoma
Have not had a Pride wine in over a decade. I remember not enjoying them much but this wine got me back in the game. Dust, spice, cherry and floral notes. Good acidity and medium plus finish. Should age nicely. (92 pts.)

2016 Pride Mountain Vineyards Merlot – USA, California, North Coast, Napa / Sonoma
Drinking really well this young. Spice, red currants, plum, floral and earth. Good concentration and medium plus finish. Drink now to 2028. (92 pts.)

2016 Robert Craig Cabernet Sauvignon The Stick Candlestick Vineyard Howell Mountain – USA, California, Napa Valley, Howell Mountain
Brand new wine from Robert Craig and absolutely amazing stuff. Chewy wine and powerful with cherry, blueberries, earth, dust and wood. Concentrated, multilayered finish and long. Plenty of wine here to age for 15 years. 93-95. (93 pts.)

2014 Continuum Proprietary Red – USA, California, Napa Valley
This is a big wine and needs time. Spice, coffee beans, ripe fruits, earth and black licorice. Medium to long finish. Recommended sitting on these until at least 2023. 92-95. (92 pts.)

2017 Acumen Cabernet Sauvignon Mountainside – USA, California, Napa Valley
This wine did not do it for me. Not bad but lacks what I look for in a Napa Cab. Toasted oak, vanilla, mild fruits and extensive spices. Medium finish. Lacks acidity. (87 pts.)


Table 4 Winebow
Wow again! Merry Edwards showing amazing. Capiaux represented the best QPR at this tasting at $29.99. Really enjoyed the wine. The Blackbird wines just need some time and age will benefit them.

2018 Merry Edwards Sauvignon Blanc – USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley
Hello old friend. I used to buy this every vintage when it was under $30. Very expressive wine with floral, grass, lemon and good acidity. Medium plus finish. (92 pts.)

2016 Truchard Chardonnay – USA, California, Napa / Sonoma, Carneros
Juicy wine and fruit forward in style. Not my style preference. Sweet fruits featuring apple and pear. Some minerality and lemon on the shorter finish. (85 pts.)

2016 Capiaux Cellars Pinot Noir Chimera – USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley
This was one of the best showings at the tasting at this point in time. Drinking well on a pop and pour. Floral, funk, cherry, raspberries and a nice minerality streak on the finish. Tasty wine!!! Very good value at $29.99. (93 pts.)

2016 Truchard Pinot Noir – USA, California, Napa / Sonoma, Carneros
This was showing really nicely at the tasting. A really pretty wine. Floral, strawberry, minerals and forest floor. Good acidity and drink this now to 2024. (91 pts.)

2014 Blackbird Vineyards Arise – USA, California, Napa Valley, Oak Knoll District
The most approachable of the 3 Blackbird wines at the tasting. Blueberries, oak, dust, chocolate and earth. Medium plus finish and good concentration. This is enjoyable on a pop and pour but will benefit with some aging.
37% Merlot, 28% Cabernet Franc, 21% Cabernet Sauvignon and 14% Petit Verdot (92 pts.)

2014 Blackbird Vineyards Contrarian – USA, California, Napa Valley, Oak Knoll District
This is a big wine and needs time. Menthol, floral, cherry, blueberries and oak. Concentrated and long finish. All the stuffing to age for a long time. Drink until 2032. 92-94.
81% Cabernet Sauvignon followed by 13% Merlot and 6% Cabernet Franc. (92 pts.)

2015 Blackbird Vineyards Paramour – USA, California, Napa Valley, Oak Knoll District
Dust, floral, chalk, blackberries, tobacco, tar and oak. Heavy wine and powerful finish. This will benefit with patience. Drink 2024 to 2032. 92 to 94.
93% Cabernet Franc, 5% Merlot and 2% Cabernet Sauvignon (92 pts.)

2016 O’Shaughnessy Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley – USA, California, Napa Valley
Dust, gravel, cherry, oak, mint and earth. This is a bit tight right now and will benefit tremendously from a heavy decant or cellaring time. 90-93 points. (90 pts.)

Table 5 WinebowAnother great table Winebow. Round Pond Reserve was my fifth favorite wine.

2016 Lewis Cellars Chardonnay Napa Valley – USA, California, Napa Valley
Big style. Carmel, oak, vanilla, orange peel, apple and spices. Picks up some floral notes on the finish. Long, concentrated finish. (92 pts.)

2016 Lewis Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Mason’s – USA, California, Napa Valley
This is a large and in-charge wine. Plum, oak, pencil shavings, charcoal and Bing cherries. Medium finish and intense. Need to cellar this wine for five years. (92 pts.)

2014 Round Pond Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve – USA, California, Napa Valley, Rutherford
Very nice wine and tasted multiple times throughout the tasting. As the bottle got more air this opened up. Cherry, bacon, menthol, coffee beans, darker fruits and floral notes. Medium to long finish and a wine that will age a long time. 93-95. (93 pts.)

2015 Round Pond Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Rutherford – USA, California, Napa Valley, Rutherford
Dust, cardboard, mint, menthol and earth. This needs a heavy decant. A bit closed at the moment. 90-92. (90 pts.)

2013 Silverado Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Geo – USA, California, Napa Valley, Coombsville
Plum, cherry, earth, tobacco and dark chocolate. This wine is concentrated and possesses a long finish. Drinking well right now however will benefit from additional aging. (93 pts.)

2015 Silverado Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon – USA, California, North Coast
One of the weaker wines at the tasting. Not a lot going on featuring dust, oak and mild spices. Just a neutral wine for me. (87 pts.)

2015 Silverado Vineyards Merlot – USA, California, Napa Valley, Stags Leap District
Solid wine with dust, floral, minerals and cherry. Medium finish and picks up some coffee beans. (89 pts.)

Table 6 Southern Glazer’s
Ricki Iglesias was very energetic and personable. Loved talking about the wines and decanted them prior to the tasting. More of the industry needs to spend the time and effort to do this especially with newer vintage wines. The stars of the table were the Inglenook and Branding Iron.

2017 Faust Cabernet Sauvignon – USA, California, Napa Valley
Showing well overall. A big style wine featuring plum, minerals, cherry and perfume floral notes. Medium finish. Decanted for a few hours prior to tasting which help a lot. Smooth finish. (90 pts.)

2016 Nickel & Nickel Cabernet Sauvignon State Ranch – USA, California, Napa Valley, Yountville
Wood, plum, cherry, dust and clove. Not as good as the Branding Iron but solid. Medium plus finish. (91 pts.)

2016 Nickel & Nickel Cabernet Sauvignon Branding Iron – USA, California, Napa Valley, Oakville
Enjoyed the Branding Iron over the State Ranch. Good acidity and features tobacco, cherry, blueberries, forest floor and floral notes. Medium to long finish. Will benefit with some age. (93 pts.)

2015 Inglenook Cabernet Sauvignon – USA, California, Napa Valley, Rutherford
Another great showing of this wine. Dust, cherry, plum, oak and minerals. Drinking well now but this should benefit with some aging. Drink now to 2029. (93 pts.)

2015 Leviathan – USA, California
Solid every day wine with raspberries, minerals, rose petals and spice. Medium finish. (90 pts.)Hoyt Hill from Sunfish Cellars did an amazing job to put this event together. For the 50 guest who attended cheers!
Nickel and Nickel Wines Rocked

Pride Wines are back on my radar
Continuum very good but expensive
First time sampling Blackbird Vineyards

6 thoughts on “Sunfish Cellars Napa Valley Extravaganza The Results”

  1. John, appreciate the notice on this one and super glad I went. Hands down best tasting of the year (even over the Henn Lake tasting).

    1. Matt agreed best tasting of the year and especially considering no one was there so we could actually talk wine with the distributors.

  2. Thank you so much for the great post! It was such a beautiful tasting. I had an opportunity to taste through some of the other tables and there were some stunners in that room. The attendees were really fun to be in a room with. They asked great questions, were genuinely interested and the best part is, they were there to fill their cellars! Hoyt put on a great event and I am excited to be a part of these in the future! Looking forward to tasting with you again sometime! Cheers.

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