A comparison of three wines from the same "cult" Oakville estate


# **A comparison of three wines from the same "cult" Oakville estate** **In this post, we will share some chemistry insights into three related backdoor wines acquired from a cult Oakville estate – all wines that have top scores from wine tasting sessions with our wine club members.** Let's take a look at how close or similar these three related wines are to each other on a chemical level. They are from original barrels, bought out the backdoor at the same time in March 2020, and blended in different proportions. We remember asking the private label guys if they had just bought the fruit from the estate and made the wines themselves. And they laughed saying that it would be really bad from both a labor and working capital perspective to have a full two-year winemaking cycle. So in most cases, including for these three wines, they focus on buying finished barrels of wines from the estate and instead sculpt the wines by blending different barrels (e.g. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot), micro-oxygenate the wine if desirable and do different fining treatments. That way, they technically "make" the wine but they start from finished, original barrels of wine from the source estate and the process is closer to two weeks than two years. Hence, great from both a working capital and operating cost perspective. To give you an analogy from soft drinks, it would be as if you bought and blended different proportions of Coca-Cola with Pepsi-Cola and adjusted the carbonation in your home Sodastreamer to quickly deliver your own unique signature cola soft drink under your own brand. **Comparison versus Other California Cabernet Sauvignon Wines** Below, you have a Principal Components Analysis (PCA) placing Modern Wine Group's Cabernet Sauvignon wines in comparison to other Cabernet Sauvignon wines based on chemistry lab analysis. chemistry lab analysis Our wines are in purple including the three "Cult Oakville" Cabernet Sauvignon wines and 2018 The Ringer (from a cult Pritchard Hill estate) which are all named in the chart. The other purple wines also represent Cabernet Sauvignon wines we have had in our tasting rooms. In comparison, the rusty looking dots are for non-Modern Wine Club wines including three inexpensive "supermarket" Cabernet Sauvignon wines: 2018 19 Crimes (Australia, Treasury Wine Estate), 2019 Frontera (Chile, Concha y Toro) and 2017 Joel Gott (California, Trinchero Family Estates). Experienced wine drinkers, with a taste for complex, multi-layered wines with a long-finish, tend to gravitate towards wines in the top right quadrant. In comparison, novice wine drinkers, will often have a preference for generic wines with less intensive flavors, less complexity and a shorter finish. These are to be found in the bottom left quadrant, the quadrant we have named the "supermarket quadrant" but also fit the wines commonly sold in budget wine retail chains. Or, alternatively, that is the quadrant in the chart above that you generally end up in when choosing to purchase inexpensive Cabernet Sauvignon wines that have been mass produced from high yielding vineyards and given a "heavy press regime" for maximum juice extraction. The chart above tells you two things. First, that the purple wines selected by Modern Wine Club are wines that generally align with the palate of experienced red wine drinkers looking for layered complexity and a long finish. Secondly, you can see that the three “Cult Oakville” Cabernet Sauvignon wines all cluster closely together in terms of the chemical analysis. The current accuracy of the AI in contrasting and comparing wines is 86% and rising with more training data. **General Aroma Clustering** Next, let's look at a Principal Component Analysis (PCA) of general wine aromas. Again. we see that the three wines from the cult Oakville Estate cluster very closely together (wines in rust color). Aroma Clustering   You can also see the vector distance to the other Cabernet Sauvignon wines you have been trying in our tasting room including how close together 2018 The Commission and 2018 The Ringer are. Something that could be expected given that they are both sourced from the same cult Pritchard Hill Estate. In the big cyan colored cluster above, you find the 2018 Star Treatment Pinot Noir in the bottom left corner. This is telling as it is a Pinot Noir that is generally well appreciated also by many Cabernet Sauvignon drinkers. So it makes sense that it is in close proximity to the large Cabernet Sauvignon cluster from a chemical aroma perspective. Further in the bottom left quadrant, you find the NV Brugnon Champagne that is 65% Chardonnay and 35% Pinot Noir. It makes sense that this Champagne ends up closest to the 2018 Star Treatment Pinot Noir given that it in fact contains 35% Pinot Noir, and as shown below, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are closely related on a genetic level (top right corner below). Modern DNA fingerprinting at UC Davis has shown that Chardonnay is the product of a cross between Pinot Noir and the lesser known varietal Gouais Blanc. Some old wine bottles will even label Chardonnay as "Pinot Chardonnay" so the three Champagne grape varietals used to be Pinot Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier before Chardonnay dropped the "Pinot" part.  pinot part **[Source](https://www.pnas.org/content/108/9/3530)** **Oak Aroma Analysis** Next, let's specifically look at what the chemistry analysis say about the oak aromas for the different wines. oak Aroma Again, we find that the three wines from the Oakville Estate cluster closely together in the top right quadrant of the matrix. And we find that from an oak aroma perspective, the wine that is next closest in oak flavor profile is the 2017 Wolfe Grade. It is interesting to note that there is then a somewhat significant gap to the 2016 Concept Album, the previous vintage sourced from the same estate but bottled under a different private label. We also find that the NV Brugnon Champagne is the furthest apart from the rest of the wines when it comes to oak aromas. **Proximity of 2018 Yesterday Reserve and 2018 Halpin Private Reserve** The chemistry lab analysis has shown that 2018 Yesterday Reserve is very, very close to 2018 Halpin Private Reserve. Apart from the above charts, look at the below dendogram of a large selection of California Cabernet Sauvignon wines in an external wine chemistry database that we have linked up to. The two wines come out as very close siblings as highlighted below with 2018 Radio Silence being the next closest sibling beyond those two wines. Proximity of 2018 So for those who regret not having acquired more 2018 Yesterday Reserve, 2018 Halpin Private Reserve is so close in terms of the general flavor chemistry and the oak aroma chemistry that we have no hesitation in recommending you to shift your purchases to the 2018 Halpin Private Reserve instead. All three of these wines moreover have nearly identical average scores from our wine club members. For those of you who are Cabernet Sauvignon lovers, we recommend that you acquire all three wines to try them side by side for a direct comparison of how close or far apart you think they are from a sensory analysis standpoint (i.e. by drinking them rather than running them through lab equipment).