Playoff of Two Great Cabernet Sauvignon’s: 2011 Kelly Fleming and 2009 O’Shaughnessy Mt Veeder

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(Photo ©Michael Kelly)


Last Sunday while the Forty-niners were in the NFL playoffs, we hosted a few folks for dinner. Watched the end of the game glued to the screen. Come on Niner’s that was too close for comfort! So decided to open a few nice and favorite bottles of wine that came up to drink in 2023. Others also brought wine to share and be enjoyed. So actually “pitted” these two wines and had the group vote on which they enjoyed with the meal. Both wineries wines are stocked in the cellar and we were members at both wineries for years.

The Wineries- Kelly Fleming and O’Shaughnessy

I have written about both before. Most recently here is a link to the wonderful wines of both outstanding wineries. Previously both have made by annual Best Wines Tasted of the Year many times.

The Field Conditions (sticking with the NFL theme):

Both wines were removed from the 55 degree cellar about five hours before dinner. Both were double decanted and double filtered and left to gently warm up to between 65-67 degrees to be served. Both wines served in Riedel Cabernet Sauvignon crystal. Both wines came in with a record of 95-97 point ratings. Both wines were equally matched with no flaws and low acidity. The significant difference is Kelly Fleming wines are from Calistoga and this O’Shaughnessy is from Mt Veeder. Both are in the Napa Valley AVA.

The Wines or Opponents

(Photo ©Michael Kelly)

The 2011 Kelly Fleming Cabernet Sauvignon is made with 100% Cabernet Sauvignon grapes from their estate. The wine was made by both renowned winemaker Celia Welch and Rebecca George. It possessed 14.7% alcohol and was aged 20 months in 70% new French oak and 30% neutral French oak. Only 1020 cases were made and sells for $200/bottle. On the eyes a deep luscious concentrated red brick color and medium heavy viscosity. On the nose, aromas of fresh cherries, almond and soft vanilla pipe tobacco. In the palate, the fresh Bing cherries mixed with plum and herbal notes, including some spice like cinnamon. The finish was extremely soft and with the silkiest tannins in recent memory, that slid down the throat effortlessly. A beautifully balanced and enjoyable wine.

The 2009 O’Shaughnessy Mt Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon holds a strong record. Made with 100% Cabernet Sauvignon grapes and aged 24 months in 80% new French oak and 20% neutral French oak barrels. Only 750 cases were produced. The winemaker is Sean Capiaux who has been with O’Shaughnessy for years! He knows the vineyards extremely well and showcases all the wines to high marks consistently. The wine today from resellers, if you can find it, goes for $200/bottle. The wine has a deep garnet coloring and medium heavy viscosity. On the nose, dark black fruits and floral scents wafted into the senses. On the palate, sweet spices, raspberries, cocoa swirled endlessly coating the teeth in rich and edgy tannins. The finish was long and desirable with strength and vigor. Again a seamless bottle of liquid being enjoyed.

The Food and Wine Pairing

(Photo ©Michael Kelly)

Served with a five rib Prime rib with Kinder’s rub with a few other spices thrown into the mix and garlic cloves embedded in the roast, served with uncut horseradish. Accompanied by roasted Brussel sprouts with reduced balsamic vinegar, country roasted spiced Yukon potatoes and garlic French bread. A most enjoyable meal this evening especially with the 49’er win!!

(Photo ©Michael Kelly)

We were able to squeeze in a few additional wines as the dining event went into overtime!

And the winner was ………all of us who enjoyed these wonderful wines!! All were delicious and worthy for a playoff win or any occasion.




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