Great Napa Reds at Wally’s
Thomas Keller’s “French Laundry” restaurant in Napa Valley is seen as a modern day Mecca of culinary delight – and has been considered not only one of the finest restaurants in the United States, but in the world. In fact, getting a reservation for one of the fifteen tables requires a surgeon’s patience, and a fisherman’s luck.
Lucky for Wally’s customers, we are carrying the house wines of that uber-exclusive dining spot – the Modicum 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon, and the Modicum 2005 Napa Red Blend. Modicum is a collaborative project of both Chef Thomas Keller and Master Sommelier Paul Roberts.
The Cabernet, from Rutherford vineyards, reveals “distinct fruit with remarkable ripeness and still the elusive element of finesse”.
The Red Blend, from three vineyards in St. Helena, combines Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. These wines were produced in extremely limited quantities: only 100 cases of the Cabernet Sauvignon, and 150 cases of the Red Blend. To adequately match French Laundry’s $240 per person dining charge, the “house wines” had better be exceptional – and these are just that.
The Cabernet (from grapes grown in the Oak Knoll and Soda Canyon districts) reveals rich aromas and ripe flavors of currant, blackberry and raspberry, with a firm tannic structure with a long and elegant finish. Gary Fishman, the domestic wine buyer at Wally’s, places this wine in the same class as $60 - $100 Cabernets.
The Barrel Blend combines 56% Merlot, 39% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Syrah. Hill Estates Winemaker Alison Doran’s notes best describe this wine: “The nose has a great Wow factor – unmistakably Napa in its elegance, but with an earthy blackberry and vanilla appeal that really makes you want to take a sip. And the palate is lovely, balanced, seductive and interesting, with plushy berry fruit and vanilla scented oak playing backup on tannins”. And at a price of $19.99, you have more than one reason the save up for a trip to the French Laundry.
By Randy G
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