At the end of each year, my dear friend, Kevin, holds a “Predictions” Lunch at the Capital Grill where a group of regulars gather to make predictions about such mundane things like, “who will win the Super Bowl” or “will the stock market be up or down next year.” It is really just a great excuse to get together at the end of the year and eat copious amounts of steak and drink good-to-amazing wine.
I say “good-to-amazing” because everyone brings a bottle of wine to lunch and some are good (usually courtesy of the occasional wine drinkers) and some are great (thanks to the avid collectors). Others are predictable (Kevin ALWAYS brings a bottle of Silver Oak). But we all make an effort to show up each year returning like the swallows to San Juan Capistrano – with the hope that our predictions made the previous year garners enough correct answers (in retrospect) to earn the perpetual trophy and a free lunch (the “winner” dines free courtesy of the rest of the group).
Here is a list of the wines with brief notes from the last gathering (January 14th).
1998 Kistler Chardonnay (CA) – DOA
2004 Kistler Hyde Vineyard Chardonnay (CA) – smooth and calm with hints of apple and a touch of brioche
2005 Kistler Sonoma Coast Chardonnay (CA) – a little racy, smokey apple and prominent oak accents
2001 Seavy Cabernet Sauvignon (CA) – A decent Cali Cab with plum and black cherry notes up front and a decent, slight out-of-balanced finish
2008 Beau Vigne “Juliet” Cabernet Sauvignon (CA) – Ho Hum. Another over extracted California fruit bomb. Out of balanced and completely uninteresting
1997 Fisher “Wedding” Cabernet Sauvignon (CA) – two words; Yum Mee! Great balance, character and poise. The battle between dark fruits, ripe tannins and pitch-perfect acidity on the tongue was worth savoring. Long, lush finish. This was my favorite wine of the day.
1995 Oakford Cabernet Sauvignon (CA) – I was really looking forward to this Heidi Barrett-made wine, but alas, it was nothing special. It fell right in line with the rest of the modern-day Cali Cabs. Sigh
2004 Alban Vineyards “Pandora” Syrah Blend (CA) – Personally, given the hype, I was expecting great things from this wine, but, while it was very fruit forward, it was not as balanced as other Alban outings I have enjoyed. Very good but not spectacular
1978 Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon Unfiltered Magnum (CA) – WOW! Thirty-three years young! While it definitely tasted like an older Cab, there was still plenty of life left in the old gal. Layered flavors of black cherry, red plum, saddle leather, earthy tones and smokey notes made this wine the most interesting one of the day. The only sad note is how quickly the wine faded in the glass – it blossomed for 15-20 minutes and then began a rapid decline. After 45 minutes, it turned to mush. But for a brief moment, it shone more brightly than any other wine that day.
1988 Suduiraut Sauternes, France – Just the right touch for the end of the day. Coconut, tropical fruits and dried apricot was in harmony with the abundant acidity. Nice, rich finish.