Tudal Family Winery Current Releases & Impressions

Tudal is a new name to me, though they've been in Napa since the 70's.  Located just below Rombauer on the valley floor outside St Helena, this small operation bottle some estate wines, as well as sources form other respectable vineyards.  The six wines reviewed below are as varied stylistically as they are in appeal.  While there isn't a common thumbprint running across these bottlings, a couple are real standouts. 

Even though these wines could be considered at the more reasonable end of the price spectrum for Napa Valley wines, of course, with the Napa pedigree comes Napa pricing.  Still, keep en eye out for the Pinot and the Clift Vineyard Cabernet, both eye-popping wines.  Thanks to a pretty decent distribution (in around 10 large markets), these should be pretty easy to put your hands on.

(Disclosure: These wines were received as press samples.)

In order of recommendation:

2009 Pinot Noir Russian River Valley Bacigalupi Vineyard $42
Kapow! Aromatics hit you right in the kisser with a powerful punch of extracted, deeply-colored fruit.  The density of most Cabs, this monster is intimidated, but only on the surface.  Lurking beneath the darkly hued facade is a soft, silky, balanced, and rich Pinot.  Easy going, easy drinking, and noteworthy.  Undeniably enjoyable.  Pinot for ballsy Shiraz lovers.

2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Oak Knoll District Clift Vineyard $40
Wow.  Serious wine.  Next to the Pinot, this is my easy favorite of the lineup.  Deep, dark, dense, and brooding.  Gently extracted fruit frames by well integrated tannins.  Beautiful oak structure here, too.  Green at first, but looses the vegetal aspect after a few hours decanted.  Lovely.

2009 Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley $18
I like this Sauvignon Blanc for its focus and bright, pure flavors. Lip smacking and salivary-gland popping, it's got the goods to make any drinker sit up and pay attention. With all this comes a solid framing of acidity that is miraculously devoid of tart edges. Good old American Sauvignon Blanc.

2009 Cuvee Red Blend Napa Valley $20
Three hours decanted made a world of difference for this wine.  Rich, deep color with an inviting, round nose, this blend shoots right down the middle on weight, f;lavors, and punch.  Requisite Napa oak accompanies the finish for an overall pleasing, if not terribly refined impression.  Two more hours and the headroom enjoyed by this wine given the fruit the space it need to evolve into something desirable.

2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa-Sonoma "50/50" $28
Textbook Northern California Cabernet. Straight ahead ripeness, balanced tannins, and a lively finish. Not much else to elaborate on.

2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate $65
Trying hard to be impressed, but as expensive a wine as this is, it is unfortunately indistinct, reflecting neither location nor varietal characteristics. At $65, you may have the same difficulty keeping a straight face. Given even 24 hours to open, it delivers some attractive nuance, but still fails to impress.