Restaurant: Private Chef, David Slatkin
Location: Bel Air
Date: August 23, 2019
Somehow this season I keep getting “dragged” into New World themed meals, so it’s back again to the house of my friend and wine journalist Jeff Leve for a slate of Cabernet Sauvignon featuring top wines from Sloan.
Member Jeff’s lovely backyard and features food by private chef David Slatkin.
Our host Jeff, and to his left one of the principals at Sloan.
Chef David Slatkin leans in.
2014 Sloan Asterisk. VM 93. A gorgeous second wine, the 2014 Asterisk has a lot to offer. Succulent red cherry, plum and pomegranate fruit give the wine much of its racy personality. In 2014, the Asterisk has terrific energy and brightness, with pretty floral and savory notes that add perfume. There is so much grace and class here, but readers should expect the slightly slender style that is typical of the year. (Drink between 2020-2024) Jeff Level 92. Soft, fresh, sweet and elegant, the purity in the fruit and the open, forward, refined style are the hallmarks of this wine.
2010 Sloan Asterisk. VM 91. Dark red cherry, plum, mocha, tobacco, licorice and spices flesh out in the 2010 ASTERISK. Rich, round and creamy, the Asterisk shows plenty of SLOAN ESTATE personality in a juicy, approachable style. The tannins could use another year or two to soften, but the wine’s balance is terrific. The blend is 58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot and drops of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. (Drink between 2014-2023) Jeff Leve 93. Purity, refinement, and elegance, with soft, silky tannins and sweet ripe fruits in a forward style that is drinking at close to peak today.
Meat and Cheese board — always yummy!
Beef tartar with crisps. A always love beef tartar.
2015 Sloan. VM 97. The 2015 Sloan is a powerful, dramatic wine endowed with tremendous textural depth. A rush of blackberry jam, grilled herbs, leather and licorice builds as this flamboyant wine shows off its alluring personality. Even with all of its obvious intensity, the 2015 possesses a good deal of freshness and structure. It is a tremendous wine by any measure. (Drink between 2022-2040) Jeff Leve 99. Deep, dark, brooding, powerful, rich, lusciously textured and packed with layers of sweet, polished, black, dark red and blue fruit. The tannins are soft and polished giving the wine the right balance between tannins, power and elegance.
2012 Sloan. VM 97. The 2012 Sloan is dark, sensual and voluptuous to the core. Soft edges and radiant, luxurious fruit add to the wine’s undeniably raciness. Absolutely impeccable, the 2012 Sloan is also a fabulous example of the year at its best. (Drink between 2020-2032) Jeff Leve 98. Deep, dark and powerful, the wine is equally round, plush and polished. Mouth-filling, sweet, multi-layered and complex, the fruit has a great sense of purity that comes through easily. If you like young Cabs, pop it now, else this will age for decades.
2009 Sloan. VM 96. The 2009 SLOAN ESTATE has fleshed out beautifully since last year. Exciting and totally voluptuous, the 2009 covers every inch of the palate with layers of mocha-infused dark fruit. The 2009 boasts striking inner perfume and sweetness, with generous plum, cinnamon, melted road tar and Christmas cake notes that wrap around the highly expressive finish. I imagine the 2009 is a vintage that will enjoy a broad window of drinkability starting pretty much upon release. The 2009 is 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot. SLOAN fans will note the Merlot is a little higher than normal in 2009. (Drink between 2014-2027) Jeff Leve 95. Forward, easy to drink, medium/full-bodied with an open, lush character and plenty of blackberries, espresso, fudge and smoke. The wine is soft and refined in the finish.
Delicious meaty pasta. Nice textural bite to the thick pasta.
2009 Abreu Cappella. Jeff Leve 98 Silk and velvet textures make the wine. This is such a great style. The showy, perfectly ripe fruits, soft, polished tannins, and layers of ripe, sweet, fresh and fleshy berries never quits. The fruit filled finish, with its nuances of smoke, dark cocoa, licorice and espresso hang wth you for ages. Drink this now, or wait a decade. This is a very special wine.
2012 The Debate Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer To-Kalon Vineyard. 96 points. Dark fruit and chocolate on the nose. The palate was dark berries, red cherry, mahogany, chocolate and a hint of sage on the finish. The finish was full and lingering. A great bottle of wine So much better than the Dr Crane I had two weeks ago.
2013 Schrader Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon T6 Beckstoffer To-Kalon Vineyard. Jeff Leve 100. Just stunning in every sense of the word. Still inky dark in color, the wine is opulent, silky, sexy, lush and pure. Concentrated, balanced and energetic, the texture is polished velvet and the fruit tastes as good as it feels. It’s a knockout wine! The last time I tasted this was in 2016 and I noted it could eventually hit triple digits. Today, I no longer wonder as this is so above and beyond, it deserves 100 Pts.
Quail and mushrooms.
2007 Araujo Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Eisele Vineyard. VM 95+. Good full ruby-red. Vibrant aromas of deep black raspberry, licorice and violet; quite expressive considering it was bottled about a month prior to my visit. Then dense, deep and very primary, with powerful yet suave flavors of blackberry, smoke, licorice, minerals, chocolate and earth spreading out to saturate the palate. An infant today but the wine’s superb persistence and finishing perfume suggest it will rank among the best vintages of this bottling. If there is ever a classification of Napa Valley cabernet vineyards, the Eisele Vineyard would clearly be a grand cru. Jeff Leve 94. Clearly not a wine of power, this is all about the elegant nature, soft tannins, balance, lift and vivacity. There is a purity to the fruit that shines though, along with touches of toasty oak, licorice, smoke and black fruits. This is ready for prime time drinking today.
2006 Colgin IX Estate. Jeff Leve 98. Spicy, suave, silky and intense, the fruit is perfectly ripe, sweet, fresh and pure. The wine offers that unique combination of density paired with refinement, lift, complexity and length. And this is still young, so pop a cork now to check it out, if you have a few bottles, or age it for another decade to see what happens.
2006 Harlan Estate. Jeff Leve 98. Wow! Talk about a wine with a lot going on. Initially, you discover the multiple layers of fruit. But it is the refined character, the soft, polished, silky tannins and the complexity that keeps you going back for another taste of all that ripe, deep fruit. Powerful, but elegant, this is gorgeous. Still young, it’s a nice time to start opening your bottles, but there is no hurry, as they are going to age for decades with ease.
2002 Abreu Cabernet Sauvignon Madrona Ranch. 96 points. Deep ruby, dark fruit, med. tannins, long finish; delicious, but out shone by the 05 Spottswoode, possibly related to a longer decant. I suspect this wine is still evolving & it needs more time or a longer decant; delicious!
2002 Shafer Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select. Jeff Leve 97. It’s been ages since I last tasted this gem. It is hard to believe, this is almost 18 years old. The color remains dark. The fruit, which has softened over the years, continues to hold on to its youth. The oak is better integrated. But this is still about the power and layers of decadent berries, so I’d wait another few years before popping another cork.
2010 Shafer Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select. Jeff Leve 96. Massive, powerful, concentrated and loaded to the top with layers of ripe, dark berries, jam, smoke, espresso, vanilla and licorice. Still primary, it is not ready for prime time drinking yet, as everything still needs to come together.
2008 Sloan. VM 95. Bright medium ruby. Pure and high-pitched if reticent on the nose, offering aromas of blackberry, licorice, violet, menthol and sweet oak lifted by an element of dusty stone. Wonderfully suave, fine-grained and light on its feet, with a sexy oak element complementing the black raspberry, mineral and spice flavors. Very dense but not at all heavy, showing terrific floral energy and a light touch for this bottling, with no sign of dehydrated berries. The fruit still conveys a distinctly primary character but the wine’s verve makes it delicious already–in fact, I’m tempted to say that anyone who doesn’t love this is a spoilsport or a masochist. Wonderfully harmonious wine with the underlying spine to support a long evolution in bottle. The substantial dusty tannins show some obvious new oak. (Drink between 2018-2035) Jeff Leve 96. Ready to drink, medium/full-bodied, soft, fresh and polished. The wine serves up its smoky, blackberry, black cherry, smoke, coffee bean and chocolate essence with little effort.
2001 Sloan. VM 92. Good deep ruby-red. Ripe aromas of bitter cherry, blueberry, dark chocolate, violet and brown spices. At once ripe and dry, with good energy and firm structure leavened by a truffley sweetness and leather and tobacco leaf notes that reminded me of Bordeaux. A very nicely delineated, juicy, classically styled wine that finishes with firm tannic spine. But hardly an easy style, and in need of a bit of patience. (I much preferred this to the 2000 version, which was distinctly more leafy and peppery. With less flesh and depth, this wine’s tannins come across as a bit dry and green, in the style of the vintage.) Jeff Leve 96. Still holding on to its youth, the wine is massive, powerful, dense and intense. It is also a bit oaky, although there is more than enough ripe, sweet, dark fruits, chocolate, licorice and smoke to keep you satisfied.
2013 Sloan. VM 97. A huge, backward wine, the 2013 Sloan is deep, powerful and explosive, with huge dark fruit and tons of torrefaction, licorice and menthol notes that add gravitas. Readers will have to be patient with the 2013. All the pedigree of this great vintage is evident, but the tannins need time to soften. At times, the 2013 reminds me of the 2001. Jeff Leve 97. Smoky, with an espresso tone on top of all the layers of inky, dark black and blue fruits. Powerful, concentrated, lush and rich, the fleshy character retains freshness and purity, awarding you a long, mouthcoating finish.
Homemade chocolate chip cookies.
The wine line up.
From my cellar: 2002 Krug Champagne Vintage Brut. BH 97. There is a distinctly phenolic character to the secondary-tinged yet super-fresh nose reflects notes of bread, yeast, pear, baked apple, spice and a hint of citrus. The bold and full-bodied flavors possess superb complexity while being underpinned by a notably fine but dense mousse, all wrapped in a gorgeously persistent finish. This is a seriously impressive effort and one of the best of the Krug Brut vintage series released in many years. Note that while this should continue to age effortlessly, it could certainly be enjoyed now. (Drink starting 2017)
After the dinner proper a couple of us retired up the stairs to a lovely terrace on top of the yard and sipped our “bonus wine” (the 2002 Krug).
Great evening, even if the wines were bruisingly intense.