With the imminent release of our 2008 Perseid at the end of the week (coinciding with another of the great yearly Meteor showers – the Orionids – this Friday) we were rereading Stephen Tanzer’s recent review. It certainly validated our own view that 2008 is a vintage whose potential rivals, if not outstrips, the much lauded 2007’s. Where 2007 is the powerhouse, the 2008 vintage is defined by perfume and an incredible depth of fruit.
By Stephen Tanzer
This well-placed property in cool Coombsville, with 22 acres of cabernet sauvignon planted on mostly rocky volcanic ash, began bottling wines under their own label in 2005. The owners still sell off 80% of their fruit, to the likes of Etude, Robin Lail, Arietta and Favia. Dawnine and Bill Dyer, who are partners in this project and make the Meteor wines, were out of town at the time of my early March visit. So I tasted new vintages with general manager Jason Alexander, who told me that the team finished harvesting in 2009 the day before the heavy rains began. He’s a big fan of 2008, the “fire and ice” vintage that brought a small crop with what he described as great purity of fruit. He believes 2007 is a more structured wine but I had the feeling that evolving winemaking technique and increasing vine age have produced steadily better wines here in the last few years.
2008 Meteor Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Perseid Napa Valley
($125) Good red-ruby. More refined on the nose than the 2007, offering redcurrant, violet and tobacco. Then energetic and light on its feet, with subtle rock and tobacco flavors perfuming the mouth. Rounder and more pliant than the 2007, seemingly with every bit as much extract. Very sexy, vibrant wine.
2008 Meteor Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Special Family Reserve Napa Valley
($300) Bright red-ruby. Reticent but very pure nose hints at flowers, licorice and dark chocolate. Dense and sweet on the palate, but with an almost painful impression of energy leavening the lush middle palate. Dark berries are currently dominated by powerful rocky minerality. This saturates the entire mouth and spreads out impressively on the very long, ripely tannic finish. A superb example of this vineyard–and of the vibrancy of Coombsville cabernet.