I tasted my first wine from Taylor Family Vineyards back in 2010, and it was love at first sip. As far as I can recall, immediately after I poured my two-ounce tasting portion and took my note, I called my father and told him that he had to taste it. The details are fuzzy now six years out, but I seem to remember him stopping by my apartment in Philadelphia the next day to see what I was going on about. By the end of the afternoon, we had finished the bottle, and a love affair with this remarkable producer was born.
Since then, the wines of Taylor Family Vineyards have played a significant role in our family’s gatherings, with corks being popped to mark all manner of occasions, from birthdays and anniversaries to graduations and beyond. (My parents are on their mailing list, and receive several bottles each year as part of the program.)
It’s no wonder these wines are such an important part of our family’s wine-drinking life: Vintage after vintage, they embody the sort of complexity and expressiveness that you always hope for and, while they certainly possess the potential to age for the long-haul, they are reliably delicious even at an early stage of development.
Below are four recent standouts that I've tasted recently—some from my dad’s stash and others from press samples that I have received. All of them are more than worth your time to find and purchase. And I also strongly recommend signing up for their mailing list, which will keep you well-stocked with these stunning wines throughout the year. The benefits—as my own family’s experience shows—are tremendous.
Taylor Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2007, Stags Leap District
A classic aromatic profile of cedar, cassis, currants, a hint of mulberry, flowers, and pencil led lead to a palate alive with acidity and beautifully structured with dusty tannins, all carrying cranberry, red cherry and chocolate. This is in a fantastic place right now, but will continue to evolve for another 10 years.
Taylor Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2010, Stags Leap District
The nose here is full of cedar and an almost berry-like sweetness. This wraps itself around aromas of spiced plum, cardamom, and a hit of fire-charred vanilla pod. On the palate, this is sweet with still-absorbing oak and flavors of cigar humidor, cedar, cocoa powder, sandalwood, Middle Eastern spice, blackberry, pomegranate reduction, a hint of fig, and vanilla-black tea. I’d hold this for another year, and then drink it over the following decade and a half.
Taylor Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, Rutherford
Aromatically complex and beautifully lifted against its core of currants and mashed dark cherries. These are joined by menthol hints and the distinct imprint of very good oak, with cedar and sandalwood lending the wine an exotic note to its spice. On the palate, this is lifted with mineral-zipped acidity, and bursting with tart cherry, gunflint, a hint of incense (especially on the finish), and sweet yet still-absorbing tannins that carry along notes of tea and menthol. Young still but full of potential, this promises a decade and a half of evolution in the cellar.
Taylor Family Vineyards “Cumulus” 2011, Stags Leap District, Atlas Peak, Coombsville, and Rutherford
Takes a bit of time to open up, but some generous swirling or a stint in the decanter does the trick nicely. Once that happens, you’re greeted with a nose of cedar, humidor, a hint of smoke and roasted cocoa nibs, currants, plum cake, warm mulling spice, and a lifted sense of minerality and gunpowder. That beautiful nose turns to a more high-toned palate than expected, with astounding structure resulting from assertive acid in the tart cherry family, as well as fine- to medium-grained tannins fully and elegantly integrated. The juxtaposition of the two results in a sense of tension here, like a guitar string pulled taut and just waiting to play its music. Flavors of sappy cherry, red plum and plum skin, a hint of sasparilla, slate-like minerality, gunpowder, cedar, sandalwood, incense, and, on the finish, a bit of wild strawberries and violets. Absolutely beautiful—a testament to everything that Taylor Family Vineyards is capable of: Honest, pure, balanced, and vital wines. Drink now - 2035+.