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2010 Moone-Tsai Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley

The exotic-sounding Moone-Tsai is a collaboration of Napa Valley business veterans (Mike Moone, Mary Ann Tsai and Larry Tsai) and star winemaker Philippe Melka. The flagship wine is Cor-Leonis, a luxurious low-production, three-AVA Cabernet Sauvignon. They also offer a Howell Mountain blend of Merlot and Cabernet, two Chardonnay (one Napa and one Sonoma Coast), plus the Napa Valley Cabernet reviewed here.

Both Cor Leonis and the “Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon” use a good measure of Coombsville fruit. However, the balance of Cor Leonis comes from Pritchard Hill and Oakville (To Kalon) whereas the Napa Valley’s other AVAs are St. Helena and Howell Mountain. The 2010 Cor Leonis, which lists at $185, is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon.

My only previous experience with Moone-Tsai was at Napa Valley Premiere in 2013. Their smooth, rich and flavorful, yet balanced, auction lot was among my favorites that year. So, when I saw this bottle of Moone-Tsai on a wine list the other day, I eagerly bought it to try.

It is a youthful wine with opaque ruby coloring and a nose of black currant and gently toasty oak. The nearly full-bodied palate is more expressive, cocoa and star anise complementing the black currant and oak. The fine-grained tannins need neither food nor decanting though, given a bite of steak, they become softer and chalky. The flavors are quite linear now, the finish warm and lengthy. I tasted this Cabernet again after giving it 18 hours of air and found it unchanged. This wine has the structure to age and few years in the cellar will bring even greater harmony and complexity. Best 2016 through 2022. Highly Recommended

2010 Moone-Tsai Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
moone tsai cabernetRating: Highly Recommended

Drink: Best 2016 through 2022
Closure: Cork
Production: 1350 cases
Release Date: September 16, 2013
Retail Price: $85.00

Winemaker: Philippe Melka
Blend: 83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot
Origin: Coombsville, St. Helena and Howell Mountain
Aging: 26 months in French oak, 56% new
Alcohol: 15.1%

Service Recommendations

Decanting: not required

Temperature: 60º - 64º F

Food Pairing: Braised beef cheeks

Interpreting my wine ratings


Disclosures: The FTC has tightened its guidelines with respect to online ads, reviews, blogs, etc. in response to people who are passing paid ads off as personal recommendations or who accept samples of expensive hard goods in exchange for reviews. My lengthy disclosure here is meant to address those guidelines.

The review above reflects my personal experience with the product. It is not a paid ad, nor do I accept ads or compensation for reviews from wine producers. Reviews may cover products that I have purchased, received as samples, or tried under other circumstances I consider to be good tasting conditions. Receiving a product as a sample does not obligate me to review it positively (or at all) and I do not consider samples to be compensation or “free wine.” I have purchased plenty of wine over the years and have more of that than I can drink. Samples are opened for review purposes, not added to my personal cellar or taken to restaurants.

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This article is original to Copyright 2014 NorCal Wine. Photograph by Suzanne Becker Bronk. All rights reserved.