Sunday, February 12, 2012

Updated Review: *** $ Walter Stamp Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma, CA, 2002 - BEST VALUE

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Original Tasting and Review, April, 2007:

This inexpensive Walter Stamp Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon shows a very dark, blood red color, with little glints of purple. The nose is a relatively uninspired vegetable-style, seemingly more broccoli than wine.

But the palate is full and gripping, combining round berry with just enough tannins to slightly tighten the jaw. Finish is modest, but adds no complexity. Pleasant enough, but not sufficiently so to invite it back for a return engagement. So that's two stars, with a plus for pleasantness.

By comparison, the distributor, Wine Buyer, rated it 91 and said, "Strong aromas of blackberry and cherry fruit dominate the nose. In the mouth, this full bodied red possesses copious quantities of blackberry, cassis and other dark fruits with a hint of cocoa."


Updated Review, January, 2008, consistent notes overall. Aromas a bit less vegetative. The palate does seem to be a jousting match, mixing fruit with alcohol with tannin in a sort of patchwork jumble. Maybe this needs a serious decanting. I'll see if that helps.

3 and a half hours of decanting... nose has lost all trace of vegetable. Clean but shy. Blackberry fruit fills the mid-palate, acids and alcohol rounding out the picture just a bit. Tannins come in a bit like cardboard dust. But dials this up to three stars, because I'd be curious for the future.

Updated Review, May, 2010, now eight years from vintage date.  Now deep red in the glass, opaque middle, brick at edge.  Poured cool with a brief decant and swirled vigorously, this Sonoma cab still shows some of that funky broccoli on the nose, with a beefy blood.  Now on the palate, the vegetables are beginning to overwhelm the fruit and tannins.  I'll try the long decant again, but my sense it that this has already slipped past its prime - drink soon if you still have it!   

Following overnight decant: Less broccoli on the nose (still some), more fruit and oak dust.  On the palate, it is remarkable: this has once again cleared the vegetables, making this a tasty, rich, if still somewhat straightforward frontal wine.  My final recommendation concerning the Walter Stamp Cabernet Sauvignon: whenever you drink it, give it a good long decant first!

Updated review, year and a half, now 10 years from vintage date:  February, 2012:  Quite brick at edge now.  Funky, beefy, bloody deep nose.  Rich, slightly vegetable palate, with soft sandy tannins just holding up the core.  Holding on, but past its prime. Following long decant, full day kept cool in partially filled bottle: No significant changes; picks up a bit of alcohol on the palate. 

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