With this post you get two tasting notes for the price of one. Ok, so you aren't paying anything but it sounded good. I guess you get two tasting notes just for spending a few minutes with us here at Pulling The Cork.
Today's tasting note(s) comes from Rob MacKay, @RoundersRob for the Twitterati. I met Rob through Cellartracker (he is Über Knowledgeable about all things Cellartracker) and I loved reading his tasting notes and his insights in the CT Forum so much I asked him to become a contributor to PTC. He agreed, though I don't know yet if that is going to cost me a bottle from my cellar, and we are going to be better for his presence here. ~Michael
Switchback Ridge was the first winery waiting list I ever joined. Back in late 2005 I tried a bottle of their Merlot that I purchased on a whim at auction and was completely stunned by the quality of the wine. I promptly went in search of more, only to discover that the wines are highly allocated and you have to be on the winery allocation list to purchase direct from them. I joined the waiting list and nearly 4 years later, in January of 2009, I received word that I would be getting an allocation of my own. To a wine obsessed freak like me, that’s pretty exciting news. In fact, allocation and waiting lists will be one of the topics covered in a future article about the ups and downs of wine obsession.
Switchback Ridge is owned by John and Joyce Peterson and the fruit is sourced exclusively from their Peterson Family Vineyard near Calistoga, in Napa Valley. Their website describes the vineyard as:
...rich, rocky soils of this beautiful vineyard property consistently produce low yields of intensely flavored fruit, resulting in extremely concentrated, fruit driven wines that are the hallmark of Switchback Ridge.
They produce Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Petite Sirah crafted by the very well known winemaker Robert Foley. The wines are made in the big, bold style but carry a complexity and depth that must be tasted to be appreciated. If that sounds like the type of wine that appeals to you, do yourself a favor and try to track down some of this wine.
In the past few months I’ve had both the 2005 Merlot and 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon and I thought I would share my tasting notes on each with you.
- 2005 Switchback Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon Peterson Family Vineyard - USA, California, Napa Valley (7/13/2009)
A big monster wine which explodes out of the bottle with mocha, blueberry and blackberry fruit scents that can literally fill the room in seconds. I did detect a slight bit of alcohol on the nose but the fruit quickly took me aside and told me not to worry about that. Bold and expressive on the palate with very ripe fruit and an excellent smooth texture with a bit of a vanilla bean element to the finish. Slightly hot on the back end but you wouldn't really think it has as much alcohol as indicated on the label (15.7%). If you are looking for a big, bold California Cabernet, this fits the bill nicely but I prefer the Switchback Ridge Merlot to the Cab at this stage. (92 pts.)
- 2005 Switchback Ridge Merlot Peterson Family Vineyard - USA, California, Napa Valley (4/24/2009)
I've been wow'd by a Merlot. Rare is the utterance of such statements. The nose exploded out of the bottle when I poured this into the decanter a few hours ago and I'm just starting the final glass now. Awesome tobacco and cocoa notes dominated while decanting and have faded a bit to let the lush ripe fruit join in the mix. On the palate this wine is velvety, luxurious, and rich with ripe blackberry fruits framed by cocoa, spice, and fine tannins. Awesome now and will be a great wine to drink at this stage while waiting on the Cab. My wife tasted this completely blind and guessed it to be a high end CA cab or very young Bordeaux. Considering how this wine shows, that's not too bad of a guess. (93 pts.)
Posted from CellarTracker