Featured Producer & Wine (s) on Rick's WineSite Journal

Rhett & Alicia
Bounty  Hunter

Napa Valley Comes to Chicago
A Tasting of Great Wines
Presented by
Mark Steven Pope - "The Bounty Hunter"
and Staff

Sponsored by
Exclusive Resorts
at the
410 Club, Chicago
Nov 12, 2004 

Mark Steven "Bounty Hunter" Pope & Joan
Journal entries: Date, Wine, Rating, Price, Comments
Billecart Salmon Brut Rose Mareuil-Sur-Ay NV
Bounty Hunter Comments:
Ever wonder why it seems every high-end restaurant on the planet pours “Billy Bubbles” by the glass? Ever wonder why wine geeks seem to tingle in its presence? Maybe it’s time to get up to speed. Lovely cherry and strawberry flavors are carried across the palate by creamy bubbles and whisked away by bright, engaging acidity. Delicate enough to enjoy on its own, yet fully capable of handling a complex food pairing, it’s tough to get more versatile than Billecart without spending serious dough. This Champagne can hang with other rosés that sell for north of 200 bucks. It’s one of those insider treats that never lasts long.
Cardinale Napa Sonoma 2001
Bounty Hunter Comments:
  A blend of fruit from legendary vineyards sites like To-Kalon and Les Pavots, Cardinale is unquestionably one of California's superstars. An absolutely seamless red from start to finish, this wine combines Angelina Jolie's big juicy lips with Sophia Loren's sophistication. Parker wrote that it "allies power with elegance" and hailed it as "rich, full-bodied, (and) opulent." Laden with dense plum, black cherry, expresso and oak vanilla, it seems to expand with each sip. Pure hedonism in a glass.
Rick's Notes: The red cherry comes on and predominates revealing a slight astringency on the finish. Rating 93.
Price: $124.95
Diamond Creek Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignons
Bounty Hunters comments -
In his youth founder Al Brounstein studied fine art at the Sorbonne in Paris. One of his original works grace the label of these spectacular collector's wines.
Red Rock Terrace 2002 - This 2002 Red Rock Terrace Cabernet marks the 30th Anniversary for this esteemed Napa estate. It is made, like 30 wines before it, from a heralded seven-acre vineyard whose iron-rich soils set the tone for this tannic, brawny, earthy Cabernet with a long (very long) life ahead of it.
Gravelly Meadow 2002 - Mouth filling black currants, plum and smoke built upon a mineral and pencil lead influence from the rocky soil. Defined by chewy fruit tannins and a finish you could time with a sundial, this is one serious wine.
Volcanic Hill 2002 - The warmest of the three vineyards, its wines are usually the longest lived. Dusty black cherry, leather and mineral components combine with some cedary notes on the massive finish. This will cellar as long as anything  produced in California.
Lancaster Alexander Valley 2001
Lancaster Estate wine label Bounty Hunters comments: Anyone who's seen the obscene resources poured into the vineyards and winery at Lancaster understands that they're aiming for the top of the food chain. Their Bordeaux model of age-worthy red wine certainly caters to the patient connoisseur. Black fruit, creosote and anise flavors deliver California ripeness while tongue-coating tannins let you know this one will be kicking long after its contemporaries are coating salad greens. Hardly a one-trick pony, this muscular thorough-bred should be escorted gently to the cellar. It'll be worth the wait.
Price: $59.95
Palmaz Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2001
Bounty Hunters comments: You don't build a 40k sq ft, five level winery entirely underground unless you're pretty serious about the long haul. Nor do you convince the legendary Randy Dunn to make your wine unless you've got world class fruit at your disposal. This highly impressive debut release makes a statement out of the chute. Crafted in Randy's broad-shouldered style, it's a medley of black cherries, earth, toast and tobacco leaf with massive structured tannins. You would do well to put this towards the back of the cellar while some of the more fruit driven 01's are being drunk.
Rick's comments: If you asked me to pick the wine that Randy Dunn crafted from a blind tasting of all wines tonight it would be obvious! His unique Howell Mtn currant fruit taste and style shows in this blockbuster. Delicious!  Rick's rating 94.
Pursuit Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2002
This is the private label of the Bounty Hunter. He can't disclose the source of the wine but with his contacts and connections you can bet the sources of this wine are well known and highly respected. This is good value based on the quality and price-point. As Mark says, "if it isn't great, we don't sell it" and he uses his "taste per dollar" quotient as his measure of value and merit. He succeeds with this sophisticated, complex wine that is fruit filled, forward, yet balanced and polished for easy drinking but also age-worthy for setting aside. Not quite as big as some of the other brutes tasted but of the same ilk none-the-less. Well done!
Rick's rating: 91.
Price: $49.95.
Ramey Claret Napa Valley 2002
Bounty Hunters comments:  David Ramey is more a deity of vinification than he is a mere wine-making mortal. His legacy with producers such as Chalk Hill, Dominus and Rudd is mighty impressive, but its where he's taking his own label that is leaving people in awe. There are few is any winemakers in the entire world who are consistently producing such a broad swath of incredible wines. In what is surely the best "taste-per-dollar" red being produced in the new world, David's claret is a tidal wave of black cherries, chocolate, liquid minerals and cassis, all working together in a medley of flavor.
Price: $36.95.
Rick's comment: Definitely one to pick up and enjoy now as well as to set aside a few and see how it develops. Rick's rating 92.
Ramey "Hudson" Chardonnay Carneros 2002

Bounty Hunters comments:  Reminiscent of a Mersault from a warm vintage, Hudson is a treat for the senses. A big luscious mouthful of ripe pineapple, orange zest, toast and vanilla, is perfectly balanced by a bracing, thoroughly juicy palate weight. far from being solely about ripe fruit, this has an almost regal air of elegance and sophistication. The French don't like to admit we can make wine that tastes like this.
Price: $54.95
Rick's comments: I don't normally spend this much for a white wine. Then again, I can't remember when I tasted a white that was so full, complete, pleasing, but not overpowering or obtuse. This is a smooth polished sophisticated wine that pack a powerhouse of flavor. Get some! Ricks rating 94. 
Rudd Estate Oakville 2001
Parker says, "This huge, powerful, deep , rich 2001reveals telltale, big, sweet, chocolatey expresso, blackberry, cassis aromas as well as massive flavors that ooze across the palate with great richness, purity and equilibrium ... .(a) brilliant effort."
Bounty Hunter comments: WIth the vineyards Leslie Rudd has developed, the facility he's built, and Charles Thomas' formidable winemaking talent, there may be no limit to what this winery is capable of producing.
Rick's added comments: The smooth polished perfect harmony of fruit gives way to a slightly smoky tannin finish. This was best of the tasting! Rating 95.
Price: $124.95
Snowden Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2001

Bounty Hunter comments: Ever wonder where the likes of Caymus, Silver Oak, Viader or Stag's Leap buy grapes for some of  their award winning wines? They get them from a property east of Rutherford in the heart of Napa Valley where Scott and Randy Snowden are growing some incredible grapes and making some great wine. This silky cab is a potent brew of black currants, licorice, cedar and plum."
Rick's added comments: We discovered Snowden during our 1997 Napa trip when we obtained some of the inaugural release of this wine. We've been great fans ever since.  This release is as good as any Snowden we've tasted - smooth, polished, tasty, easy but sophisticated drinking. Rating 93.
Price: $59.95
Thirteen - Napa Valley 2002
Bounty Hunter comments: Crafted by Reynolds Family Winery, "Thirteen" is a partnership between some of Napa's best farmers and winemakers. One ton of fruit from each of Napa's 13 sub-appellations was used to create this blend, an intense very rare treasure. Black cherries, cassis, chocolate, vanilla bean, expresso... the list of flavors is long and varied. One of the most unique and inspired reds we've encountered in some time. This is the first time this wine is shown to the public.
Rick's comments: Very interesting wine - big and powerful - very complex but testimony to why blends tend to have very precise and calculated ratio's of components. In this case the dense forward black fruit overpowers the rest of the wine rendering a style that is extraordinary. Under different design objectives, that part of the blend likely would be reduced for better balance and polish. Try this one on a wine snob friend in a blind tasting! Rick's Rating 92.
Price: $99.95
Viader Napa Valley 2002
Bounty Hunter comments:  One of Napa's most coveted reds. A deep muscular blend dominated by cabernet franc, it offers multi-layered black cherry, plum, graphite and barrel spiced nuances. Rich and brooding, it promises to develop into a silken treasure in the cellar. This one always does well with the critics. Delia Viader's stunning property in the hills above Lake Hennessey is one Napa Valley's most impressive vineyard sites. Robert Parker has
commented it is "one of the most magnificently situated California vineyards I have ever visited".
Price: $89.95
Rick's notes: The fruit is a bit muted and closed perhaps offset by the graphite tones. Rick's rating 91.
Mission Hill Riesling Icewine - Okanagan Valley 2002
From British Columbia comes one of the world's rarest treasures. Riesling grapes are picked frozen and carefully pressed. The riesling nectar offers honey, apricots, orange peel, beeswax, poached pears.... the list goes on.  A vein of acidity helps elevate this beyond the merely sticky into the realm of extremely decadent.
Back to WineSite Journal     Back to DineSite




Click for Naperville, Illinois Forecast www.unwindwine.com

R & L McNees Family Website - Naperville, Illinois USA © 1999-2014 All Rights Reserved. Last updated 07/01/2014 Best viewed Get Firefox - the broswer you can trust