WineSmith Mystery (6)

WineSmith Mystery 6-Pack
Sold by: Winston Winery
$159.99 $343.10 53% off List Price
2007 WineSmith “Crucible” Napa Cabernet Sauvignon, Signed by Clark Smith
2007 WineSmith Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Sonoma County
2010 Two Jakes of Diamonds Roman Reserve Cabernet Franc, Lake County

Oh boy. This broke me down. Had to get this, mystery library wines? Hard to resist that.

Seriously - no Idaho, come on woot - Clark ships me wine regularly. So has woot shipped Clarks wine to me numerous times.

Just opened a 2007 Pinot last night. Wow, was it great! The nose on PNP is just captivating, blue fruit, truffle, it was amazing!

This deal is very, very tempting.

Clark, please check your PM- wondering if you can hold shipping at all- I really want to buy this, but am out of town early August and I’m concerned I’ll miss the shipping window.


Happy Birthday to me! I’m 65 today. Hello Medicare and a nice Social Security supplement I intend to blow on personal extravagances long denied.

I always like J.R.R. Tolkien’s notion that hobbits use their birthdays to give away presents to their loved ones. In that spirit, I’m holding this one day Once-In-Clark’s-Lifetime. Since 1993, I’ve put aside two cases of every WineSmith wine for library wines to track aging potential. As a result, I have a huge inventory now of fantastic wines I have no market for.

So the deal here is that three of the six wines in the Mystery pack are random selections from lots far too small to woot.

The three guaranteed wines total $225 in retail value and are quite extraordinary, so you really can’t lose on this one and stand to pick up some rare treasures if the Gods smile upon you.

2010 Two Jakes of Diamonds Roman Reserve Cabernet Franc, Lake County

I think it is fair to say this continues to be the most difficult tasting/experiment I’ve attempted.

But first I need to digress to an earlier experiment a few years back. I’ve been successfully using Argon as a bottle preservative since the 2012 rpm tour and have no qualms about cracking a $$$ bottle I know won’t get fully consumed in one sitting. We had a planned tasting with the NorCal group around D&D time so I purchased a number of bottles of some inexpensive 2008 Concannon Vineyard Petite Sirah Conservancy and attempted to cobble up a double blind experiment on preserving opened bottles. All were opened and mixed in a large vessel to eliminate any bottle variations. One bottle was fully refilled. Other bottles were half refilled, two with Ar and two with ‘air’. Two were stored upright at room temperature, and two vertical at cellar temp for an eight day duration prior to the tasting.
The results were “interesting” and a bit unexpected.
Briefly the Ar filled bottles showed no change from the fully refilled bottle stored in the cellar. Opinions were mixed on the two half filled air bottles; one at room temp and the other at cellar. Opinions were mixed on the PnP; just too young for a PS we concluded.
The cellar temp was generally thought to have improved, but opinions were mixed on the room temp air bottle. A few thought it was the best…

So, on to this CF…

Phase one, with five work colleagues, served at 18C on 25 June:

The pulling of the cork.

The bottles were easily opened, pulling the natural corks thru the wax, and due to the recent bottling there was little if any deep staining, but they did have a bit of sediment/residue.

Color is a clear somewhat dullish red, no sediment, no browning, long, slow thin legs.


Upon opening these bottles, both times I was immediately olfactorally transported back to the wonderfully aromatic barrel rooms we visited on the rpm tours. A non-specific aroma mix of cool damp barrels and aging wine I best remember from the lunches at Pedroncelli (for those on any of the tours) filled my work office.
After a few minutes, a bit of funk blew off and the bouquet was, to me, somewhat non-specific; clearly fruit, but nothing I could pinpoint, a mixture of some herbs with a touch of spice, but totally absent any bellpepper. Towards the end, darker fruits emerged, and a smudge of sweet ethanol. Not at all like any CF I’ve had before.


Tight. Tart dry fruits, warm and mouthfilling. A bit of tingle and pepper, wood is there, but no splinters. Tannins as well, controlled and balanced, fully coating mouth and tongue. Minerality, and a touch of salt(?)!
Finish is quite long, over a minute, and constantly evolving.

Over the couple hours we tasted this it was constantly evolving and we found ourselves pouring additional small pours trying to keep up. In the end, there was a bit less than the half bottle I had hoped to save. [note to self; decant and hide desired residual next time!]


None identified this as a CF, but it was well received and enjoyed by all.
As it sat longer, it became more approachable and I had to fend off further attempts at pours.

Phase two, just me (others tomorrow), served at 18C on 10 July;

This sat, upright, with only ‘air’ in the 750ml bottle lies, than half full, in an office generally kept 21~23C for ***FIFTEEN (15) full days. *** I expected vinegar; it was not to be.

Brief notes (need to update tomorrow with comments from others):

I’ve had other bottles turn overnight, but for over two weeks, no hints of vinegar(!?).

Added minerality, pepper. Tannins a bit more up-front, still well balanced. Fruit still there but different.

I’m perplexed, just never had anything like this before, but additional observations tomorrow.

Likely Clark will chime in and explain.

Beats me, RC. As always, woot lets us ship winery direct to States they can’t service. Just PM me your phone number and a good time to call you.

Me too and had to be right on the keys at the stroke of 10 pm and can’t wait to see the mystery library wines to add to my already filled cellar of Clark’s wonderful wines.
Thank you again and Happy Birthday Clark, I’m right behind you in age.
You know what they say, we get better with a little aging.

Sure, happy to oblige.

happy birthday Clark! Thanks for sharing your love of wine with us!

Happy Birthday Clark!

Thanks for the great offer!! My finances are a bit tight at the moment, but I was able to convince my mom that she “needed” to buy this!! So I will be able to have some of these delicious wines!!

Thanks, Clark!

Also, my beautiful wife and I are taking a 25th anniversary trip to Sonoma the first week of September. Any chance of getting to meet you and do some tasting? I have no idea where you are!

Finally, a wine that ships to Arizona!
And a Winesmith mixed 6 pack, with 3 mystery
library wines.
Makes me a very happy camper🙂
Now if it can get here safely in our blistering heat.
Oh, Happy Birthday Clark🎂

In for one! Wish I could do more, but the second child heads to college next month!

Happy Birthday Clark!

Happy birthday to all of us!

Happy 65th, Clark! I’m not far behind you!


Happy birthday Clark! And thank you for the opportunity to try this experiment…it was very interesting. Ron and I both had trouble making sense of this - we tried earlier over the phone, too!

2010 Two Jakes Roman Reserve Cab Franc

Experiment part 1. June 26
The wine sat in the wine cabinet since arrival a few days ago, and I took it out to warm up a bit before opening. It was cooler than room temp, probably in the 65 degree range (18-ish degrees, that is). Cork came out easily. First pour into a standard tulip-shaped glass, the colour is medium density, red-purple, no bricking. A little bit of fine sediment is evident as well.
The aromas might as well be totally new to me. It’s a potent combination of herbs and spices without a whole lot of fruit initially, but also some savoury notes. Something is a little astringent on the nose as well, but I can’t place it aside from saying it’s not alcohol, although it could be a hint of VA. It doesn’t hit the buttons for aged cheese, earth, or barnyard that I might have expected. Certainly no pyrazines that I can detect either.
First taste is savoury cassis, if that makes sense. Lively on the palate, lots of herbs I can’t place, and with that Diamond Ridge energy/minerality we all know from Clark. There are tannins, medium level, but relatively fine leaving a nice dry sensation on the tongue. Medium weight as well, with enough glycerine to enhance the viscosity in your mouth.
The finish is really long. It seemed like it vanished for a couple seconds there, but then it came back. It seems to be accentuating the herbaceous notes – something almost like pine or rosemary. Very interesting.
My first impression on the one hand is that maybe this is a bit oxidized, but it has only a passing relationship to those characteristics. No nuttiness, no bricking, and no caramel notes.

Part 2. July 2
One bottle was recorked on the counter as per instructions. The other was relatively straight out of the wine fridge at cellar temp.
Initial impression is that they are shockingly similar. The older one is more aromatic, probably due to the warmer temperature, but it has developed a pretty distinct dill pickle potato chip aroma. Second time I’ve ever smelled that in a wine. The one that’s been open has far less obvious tannin as well, which isn’t that surprising.
Over the next hour or so, alternating between the two revealed (imo) that the older bottle was opening up far more than the younger one, and was more interesting overall. Neither of them became all that fruity, and the character of the aromas and flavours didn’t change much. There was one point where I sniffed my glass poured from the older bottle and decided it had finally opened up, but still it was more that some of the funk had vanished and a little more cherry was coming through.
Left the remainder of the bottle (a little less than half) for another night. Maybe 2 weeks from now, give or take?

Happy Birthday, Clark! PM for you…