Saturday, April 30, 2011

Spirit of Wine Review & Rating: **+ $$ Thunder Cuvee Napa Valley Red, 2004, Napa, CA

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By way of background, original review, December, 2009:
Thunder Cuvee Napa Valley Red, 2004, is an offering from Terroir of Napa Valley and promoted directly by retailer Gary Vaynerchuk of WineLibrary. It is a negociant blend of a blend of 48% merlot, 34% sangiovese, 15% syrah, and 3% cabernet sauvignon. Interesting, because who ever heard of only 3% cabernet sauvignon in a blend?! Let's see what this creation brings to the glass, nose and palate...

In the glass: Light to medium brick red in the glass, never really goes opaque. Reminds me more of a new world pinot noir than a merlot/sangiovese/syrah by the color.

On the nose: Poured without a decant and swirled vigorously, you'll pick up a medium-bold carmel cherry on the nose, almost slightly oxidized. But definitely not over the hill yet.

On the palate: This is a fruity-red, upper-palate experience first. The Thunder Cuvee Napa Valley Red delivers this red cherry/raspberry jam to the roof of your mouth. Then a sweet red fruit washes your cheeks. Very mild acids, and tannins come on lightly at the end.

And the finish: Sweet red fruit gives way to mild tannins. A touch of cloying sweetness remains, however.

In summary: Friendly, mid-bodied, lightly sweet experience overall. Don't put this one away, but drink now. Two stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale, with a plus for its handsome balance.

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Now with three days in the bottle with a vac-u-vin...

On the nose: Same aromatic notes, the oxidation has cleared.

On the palate: Same notes, just a bit more lush and aromatic now. Definitely improved.

And the finish: Consistent.

In summary: Improved a notch. Not quite enough to make me seek it out again, so remains two stars with a plus on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale.


Updated review, about a year and a half later, April, 2011:  Medium red in the glass.  More caramel, less cherry now on the nose than when younger, now with a tangy purple note too.  Still an overriding, distinctive sharp red berry attack on your palate, quite mouthcurling with its bright acids.  My eyes actually squinted a little with the acids (I'm not a big "tangy" fan generally). Finish is quite clean.  This has held up exceedingly well to age, although it hasn't kicked up to three stars for me.  Following long decant, several days in partially filled bottle under decant at room temperature:  Purple note is gone on the nose, now caramel plus cherry.  Lusher and richer now on the palate, but this has created some thinness in the middle. 

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