Question about 2003 vintage - Printable Version

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- wondersofwine - 11-16-2006 05:18 PM

What's the word about the potential for the '03 California cabs (Napa and Sonoma)

- newsguy - 11-16-2006 07:13 PM

hi wow. '03s abound on the shelves, so you should easily be able to answer your own question. my experience, and the general consensus, seems to be that '03 is somewhat similar to '02 in that it is a fruit-forward vintage. but the '03s seem to have even less structure than the '02s and the fruit isn't as big. i see '03 as a "drink 'em young" vintage.

i'm being very selective on the '03s -- and saving my money for the '04s. i found them to be outstanding across the board when i did barrel tastings in napa and sonoma in sept. '05.

[This message has been edited by newsguy (edited 11-16-2006).]

- wondersofwine - 11-16-2006 08:25 PM

Okay, Newsguy. Thanks for the advice.

- winoweenie - 11-16-2006 09:14 PM

Solid advice WOW. I've only bought 03s' from Oregon, Washington, and the Central Coast where the weather was more moderate. Even the Insignia doesn't have proper structure and balance and is the worst I've tasted from this venerable producer since the 88s'. I too and doing the Texas-Two-Step(El Paso) on this uneven vintage from Napa. WW

- TheEngineer - 11-16-2006 09:20 PM

while I have little experience in this area, I would agree with Newsguy. In general, having tasted through a bunch, the wines are more reserved and classically structured. While there may be less structure, there appears to be less hanging off of it too so it may not be needed. In fact, without the massive fruitiness of the wines, I get a much more aromatic experience, more nuanced with some being almost like a burgundy like experience.....almost....not really...still California Cabs after all.

They are certainly not wine I would avoid and I personnally liked more than a few of them....then again...better to listen to NG and WW... [img][/img]

[This message has been edited by TheEngineer (edited 11-16-2006).]

- Kcwhippet - 11-17-2006 01:51 AM

I've been finding some 03's are really good and some are just not worth the bucks. There's so much variation that it's almost a crapshoot. Both 03 Lewellings are superb, however.

- brappy - 11-18-2006 01:20 AM

KC hit it on the nose. "Crapshoot". At least while young. This really is a puzzling vintage. I'll try to pinpoint where the great ones that I've had are coming from. Maybe we could get a concensus. Some wine writers (not critics) are suggesting '03 is better than anyone thought. We'll see....


- winoweenie - 11-18-2006 11:43 AM

After all the chips are down I'll join you in trying them Brapster. As stated above when I found the Insignia so deficient I became disinterested quickly. WW

- oostexan - 11-20-2006 11:57 PM

Just to chime in a litte here, though I have not tried several of them, I have found my "regulars" from the '03 vinatage to be very nice. Not a blowout year, but somewhat fruit forward with nice balance and decent structure. WS gave it an 85. My opinion is, based on how they scored 99, 00, 01, and 02, I would rate it in the high 80's to low 90's. Much better than an 85, which hopefully means there will be bargains to be had. :-)

Once again, I have only tried my regulars (Flora, Robert Craig, etc.) and have not done a trip to Napa in the last 6 months.

Just my opinion.


- brappy - 11-21-2006 04:10 AM

In the past 2 days, I've been able to talk to Paul Hobbs quite a bit. He's been consulting for a number of wineries for a number of years in Napa (and the rest of the world). I asked him what he thought.

Although he didn't seem entirely convinced, he said in general the vintage was a good one. But maybe a touch spotty. I'm guessing some got it right and others did not.

We kept talking a bit on the subject, and what I got out of this was that '03 is overshadowed by the ripeness of '02. (He didn't come out and say this but I believe this was the idea that was coming across.) I think it's kind of like '91 Napa being overshadowed by '90 Napa. BTW, the '91s I've had this year are drinking beautifully right now.

I'm now trying to compile what I've had of the '03s.


- wondersofwine - 11-21-2006 01:18 PM

Thanks for all the input. I will look forward to Brappy's (Mark's) list of some of the good ones.

- brappy - 11-26-2006 12:33 AM

A quick list of some great '03s:
Chimney Rock
Far Niente
Nickle and Nickle (Don't remember which one but one of thier single vineyards)
Montelena (regular bottling)
Suhr Luchtel (sp)
Sequoia Grove
Caymus (regular bottling)

I'll have to think of others. Also, I'll add to this as I taste them. I'll look for some values as well.

I have noticed the '03s need, in general, more time exposed to air before they come out of thier shell. But once they open up, great juice. I'm comparing to the '02s that were opened up, ready to drink as soon as the cork was popped.

I'm wondering if the '03s will age better than the '02s, or at least longer.

Please add more.....


- Kcwhippet - 11-26-2006 02:53 PM

If the Sequoia Grove is good, chances are the Karl Lawrence wines are good, too. As I mentioned above the Lewelling is wonderful.

- wondersofwine - 11-27-2006 01:39 PM

I've liked Sequoia Grove in the past and it's not priced like a cult wine so I will look for that one. Also will probably try the Chimney Rock.

- californiagirl - 11-28-2006 01:54 AM

I've really liked the Chimney Rock. Tell me how you like it.

- brappy - 11-29-2006 06:34 AM

Worthy in '03 was also a nice wine. That may be cheating a bit since they get thier grapes from different vineyards every year. Or so I was told.

- brappy - 11-29-2006 06:41 AM

Also WW, I have a hard time beleiving the Insignia could be worse than the '00. I can't really argue the point since I've not had the '03.

Tasted another bottle of the Suhr Luchtel tonight; after 2 to 3 hours in the decanter, the wine showed off its stuff. Great wine!

- winoweenie - 11-29-2006 10:30 AM

IMHO Brapster, as usual, I felt both the Insignia and the regular Napa bottlings aren't up to snuff. I've been an ardent advocator of this property since the 75s and have only passed on 2 vintages in that time(88 & 00). Hope the day I tasted them my tired ole tongue had a coating of Buckos' leather. Will retry over the next few months. WW

- brappy - 11-29-2006 09:32 PM

Well, I haven't tried the '03, so I can't compare. It's just that the '00 was so boring with so little fruit, I'd hate to to taste one worse than that.

Either way, you've piqued my interest enough that I have to taste this. Let me know what you think when you retaste; I'll do the same when I taste(for the first time).


- brappy - 12-01-2006 04:00 AM

About the '03 Insignia:
Rethinking buying this just for the sake of tasting. At $120+ per, I HATE getting screwed just for the sake of testing/tasting. I believe I'll wait on this one until the restaurant(Customer) provides a taste. We're still on the '01s but it shouldn't be long. Bought 5 bottles for that price at a store that was having a buy 1 get 1 half off - at a store near Drew.

Still looking for the Karl Lawrence '03. Have you tasted or do you have any KC? Just curious as to what you think....