Archive for the ‘Celebrations’ Category
Posted on April 19, 2012 - by The Vine Guy
How lucky can a wine writer get? Lucky enough to snag a coveted invitation to the recent Krug trade dinner – and even luckier to bring his co-author/spouse along to celebrate her birthday in style.
The evening started off with an aperitif of the latest release of Krug Grand Cuvee. Many people consider this wine the proverbial workhorse in the Krug lineup, but I respectfully disagree… I think this wine is the Anchorman (or woman) in the Krug Champagne Relay Race. It is always pitch-perfect. Reliable, charming and rewarding. Meticulous blending of multiple vintages across hundreds of small lots provides the House with the proper resources to produce a wine that is consistently bright, balanced and a tad racy year after year after year. The nose was lovely, full of toasty oak, minerals, and yeasty brioche. The palate featured flavors of ripe apple up front and minerally notes on the crisp, lingering finish. A great way to get the party started with the Mint-Scented Chilled English Pea Soup.
The festivities were hosted by the ever-so-charming Monsieur Carl Heline, the US Brand Director for Maison Krug. Throughout the evening, M. Heline informed, regaled and entertained the assembled oenophiles with facts and stories relating to the history of Krug. Johan Joseph Krug was a German accountant who spent his formative years learning the art of blending Champagne at Jacquesson, where he met and married an heiress to the famous House. However, he was not satisfied with the attitude of the status quo in Champagne, and caused quite a stir in the family when he decided to shake things up a bit and founded Krug Champagne in Reims. His goal was to make the finest Champagne in the world. Period.
Evidently, Jonny kept a diary, writing down every detail of every vintage as well as the reasoning behind each blend. The diary was recently discovered and returned to the Krug House where it confirms that his remarkable methods, perfected all those years ago, are still in use today and are the very foundation behind Krug’s blending process.
Next up was the oh-so-amazing Krug Rosé, served with Asparagus Salad with Grilled Tuna Loin. The acidity in the wine perfectly offset the richness of the tuna while the palpable notes of wild strawberry and raspberry – thanks to the skin-fermented Pinot Noir which is responsible for the beautiful pink color – provided a perfect accent for the silky-smooth fish. Additional flavors of apricot, honey and lemon curd fills out the rest of the palate and long finish.
Both the 2000 Krug and 1998 Krug were served up with Roasted Poularde with Black Truffle Potato Dumplings and both held their own, but truth be told, the Grand Cuvee seemed to be showing better than both of the coveted vintage wines. Both, in my opinion, were delicious but just too young to drink. The 1998 vintage featured more Chardonnay in the blend than Pinot Noir, so it seemed to show more apple and nectarine notes than the 2000 counterpart. Both wines opened up to show off toasted brioche notes on the crisp finish. Lemon/lime characteristics popped in on the back of the palate.
As a “thank you,” I brought a special treat to share with the rest of the group; a 28 Year Old Grand Cuvee that has been resting comfortably in my cellar, just waiting for the right occasion – and this was it. Carl’s face lit up like a kid on Christmas morning. He decided to serve it with the final cheese course. The subtle bubbles and smooth texture supported absolutely gorgeous flavors of honey, roasted hazel nuts and toasted croissant. It continued to open and open to reveal a touch of sherry notes and caramel apple, proving that these wines have remarkable agability. A charming ending to a spectacular evening.
Special thanks to Carl Heline from Krug and Sarah Pallack from Bismarck Phillips Communications & Media for the invitation and arrangements.
Posted on November 11, 2011 - by The Vine Guy
Another rocking evening with great wines, good food and a wonderful cause.
About four times a year, a bunch of wine misfits get together to just have fun and raise a little money for a charitable cause. Of course, we each bring a bottle of wine (this meeting’s theme was “classic French”) that we hope will show up “the other guy.”
We met at Le Chat Noir, in the Northwest end of DC. The restaurant wisely sat us upstairs – away from paying customers… the room was charming, with a small bar and private dining area. The dinner was very good, with top course nods going to the Seafood Crepe and the Salmon. The Duck Confit was very good, but just a tad salty. Unfortunately, the lamb cheeks did not shine as expected – they were not cooked long enough, so they had a gelatanous texture and the sauce was too cloying. But the wines made up for all sins, and overall, I would return to this charming little French bistro.
Best of all, we raised over $1,000 for Hopecam (www.hopecam.org), a wonderful organization that connects homebound children undergoing treatment for cancer, and other life-threatening illnesses with their friends at school using laptops, high speed internet connections and web cameras.
Here is the lineup for the evening, along with the amazing wines we had the pleasure to enjoy in each other’s company:
Trio of Plum, Fig and Date
1996 Jean Laurent Blanc de Blancs Champagne (Magnum)
Crab meat, Bay Scallop, Mushroom & Chablis Sauce
1988 Comte Lafon Meursault Clos de la Barre
Saumon au Veloute d’amandes
Pan Seared Salmon, Red Blend Quinoa, Roasted Pear & Almond Veloute
1985 Faiveley Latricières-Chambertin
2006 Chezeaux Chambertin (Magnum)
Cuisse de Canard Confit
Duck Leg Confit, Pumpkin Sage Puree, Baby Bock Choy, Turnip & Cranberry-Pinot Noir Sauce
1995 Chateauneuf du Pape Beaucastel
1995 Domaine Pegau Chateauneuf du Pape
Braised Lamb Cheeks, Roasted Potatoes, Chestnuts, Okra, Sundried Tomato, Turnip, Cahors-Cacao Rosemary Sauce
2001 Guigal Cote-Rotie La Mouline
2004 Chave Hermitage
St. Andre Cheese with Fig Chutney & Garnishes
1996 Mouton Rothschild
Posted on July 1, 2011 - by The Vine Guy
Cindy and I recently celebrated our 26th wedding anniversary, and, as we do each year, we opened a bottle of 1985 Lynch Bages. This lovely Pauillac shares the vintage year as our wedding, and we have been enjoying this tradition for just about 15 years. I have four more bottles, enough to get us to our thirtieth wedding anniversary. What we’ll do after that? Start drinking younger vintages…
This year, we celebrated with dear friends Jon and Lori at the swanky Italian eatery, Fiola, in Washington, DC. Service (ask for Ashley) and food were superb.
The wine still sported a beautifully dense purple color, which is always a good sign in an older wine. The fragrant bouquet instantly transported me to Bordeaux, with scents of earthy cigar-box, tar, and minerals. It was remarkably well-layered, with a solid core of black fruit followed by blackcurrants, cedar, tobacco and toasty oak. Mature tannins and great acidity kept the wine perfectly in balance while hints of minerals slid in on the sumptuously long and elegant finish. I can’t wait for our 27th anniversary to try this wine again!
Posted on July 1, 2011 - by The Vine Guy
It seems that every five years, the same five couples take time out of their busy, harried lives to stop, smell and sip the rosés. Kevin and Stacy herded all of the cats and we all met at the Blue Duck Tavern in Washington, DC for a night of good food, wonderful wine, but most importantly, incredible friendship. Guests included Kevin and Stacy, Jeff and Mary Jo, Bill and Rebecca, Barry and Caren, Jim and Lori, Gene, Cindy and me.
We were seated at a loooooong table where we were served 13 – count ‘em, 13! – dishes, family style.
We started off the evening with a Magnum of 1996 Jaqueson Champagne, courtesy of Gene. It must have been disgorged recently, because the wine was so young and vibrant, with notes of green apple, bright citrus and a long, clean finish where hints of roasted nuts glided in.
2006 Puligny Montrachet Les Folatieres Premier Cru by Remoissenet (Bill and Rebecca). Beautiful wine with spectacular balance and elegance. The nose featured a delicate bouquet of peach, pear and citrus with minerally notes lurking just beneath the surface. Flavors of apple, peach and butterscotch coated the mouth in lush style. Nice ping of mineral/wet stone on the end brought this wine into perfect focus.
2008 Sine Qua Non Kolibri White Wine (Barry and Caren). From the mind and cellar of Manfred Krankl comes a white Rhone-style blend of 69% Roussanne and 31% Viognier. An aromatic nose of orange marmalade and white flowers (acacia and honeysuckle blossoms) begs for a sip. The mouthfeel is lush and unctuous without being cloying, but the flavors of nectarine, orange rind and peach fall off rather quickly and seems to have a hole in the finish. But it certainly won’t stop me from trying it again!
2004 Dujac Clos Saint Denis Red Burgundy (Scott and Cindy). Wow – it smells like Mr. Ed’s stable in the glass – barnyard almost to distraction. Good thing the wine didn’t taste like it smelled. It sported flavors of strawberry jam and cherry on the front of the tongue and then sour cherry and rhubarb notes on the back of the palate with a noticeable hole in the middle. The end-notes were pleasant, with a touch of smoke and earthiness to round out the smooth-but-short finish.
2000 Boisenard Chateauneuf du Pape (Bill and Rebecca). I love this wine – but I love most CDPs. The nose featured earthy scents of smoked game and black pepper. The beautifully textured mouthfeel was a cacophony of flavors, including dark plum, black currants, smoked meat and tobacco. The full body sported silky tannins, good freshness and remarkable depth on the finish for such a young CDP.
2005 Merus Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley (Barry and Caren). The nose was huge on this wine – like singe-your-nose-hairs huge. Boasting a big bouquet featuring blackberry, black current, roasted coffee bean and dark chocolate that leads into flavors of blue and black fruit jams, black licorice and espresso in the mouth. It’s full-bodied and not for the faint of heart. A touch out of balance, it either needs more time in the bottle or more acidity to hold up the over-whelming fruit-centric finish.
1996 Montelena Estate, Calistoga (Kevin and Stacy). I had the remarkable pleasure of having this wine twice in one week. The first time was a few days before at the winery in Calistoga with owner/winemaker Bo Barrett. So it might be wine goggles talking, but I thought this wine was spectacular. Still young at 15 years, it boasted an extraordinarily beautiful nose of lead pencil shavings, blue and black fruits, licorice, subtle oak, and acacia flowers. The balanced, medium-bodied frame was the perfect support for flavors of blackberries, cassis, and roasted coffee roast. A savory finish with great fruit, low acidity and abundant sweet tannins will ensure that this wine is around for 10-15 more years.
1996 Lynch Bages, Pauillac (Jeff and Mary Jo). As much as I loved the Montelena, I loved the Lynch Bages! With beautiful aromas of tobacco, new saddle leather, roasted coffee, it filled the senses. Its structure is dense, with flavors of blackberry fruit intermixed with licorice, minerals, and dried herbs on a medium-bodied frame, with solid tannina and plenty of sweet fruit on the long finish.
1998 Fox Creek Shiraz, Australia (Bill and Rebecca). If memory serves (and I am not sure that it does), I believe this wine was made by Spark Marquis (of Mollydooker fame) for his in-laws. It sported an explosive nose of black fruits, blueberry liqueur, black pepper and incense. The flavors were layered and “in-your-face,” with a youthful exuberance featuring rich, concentrated notes of blackberry fruit, espresso, black pepper and smoky oak. A touch of mint on the long, powerful finish was unexpected-yet-appreciated.
1961 Gilette Sauternes (Gene). Wow – when you drink a wine older than most of the people at the table (unfortunately, not me), it gives you time to pause and reflect… and if the person next to you pauses long enough, you can steal their glass and drink it. I certainly would have if I could have gotten away with it… A lovley bouquet of caramel and roasted hazelnuts, combined with intense aromas of honeyed fruit such as pineapple and apricot. An unctuous, chewy texture, yet with enough acidity to provide great delineation and balance, this is a magnificent wine that has retained an amazing freshness for its age… like me.
Posted on May 29, 2011 - by The Vine Guy
Last night I was fortunate enough to celebrate my 52nd birthday with dear friends. The theme for the dinner was lamb, so the obvious choice for wine was Syrah/Shiraz. Little did I know how overboard my friends would go with their choice of wines. Lucky me…
We started the evening off with a very old (30+ years) bottle of Krug Grand Cuvee Champagne. It was slightly maderized (notes of sherry) and the bubbles were a little thin, but the nutty, toasted brioche flavors were still alive and kicking and nicely offset by the mellow acidity.
Juxtaposed against the Krug was the 1990 Bollinger RD Champagne, still young at 21 years, the green apple fruit was complimented by the tangy acidity and perfect balance. The bubbles were bright and tight and delivered wave-upon-wave of flavor over the entire palate.
Time to chow down on Rosemary infused lamb chops, corn fritters (family recipe), grilled salmon and grilled onions. Here’s the Red Wine Line Up:
2003 Mitolo G.A.M. Shiraz, McLaren Vale, Australia – Should have decanted it six hours before serving it. A massive wine with so much black fruit up front and lovely notes of mint and dark chocolate on the back of the palate. The finish was ridiculously long. Just a hint of black pepper at the end. It did evolved a little in the glass, but alas, it did not last long as the night was young and we were still thirsty. I would like to revisit this wine in about 4-5 years.
2002 Torbeck RunRig Shiraz, Barossa Valley, Australia – A little more refined than the Mitolo – and by a little, I mean a wafer thin mint more. It was a big wine that displayed jammy black fruit and violets on the nose. Blackberry, black plums and dark currents jockeyed for position on the palate. The firm tannins and fine acidity held it all together but the wine was still five or six years too young to be drinking. The good news is that it cut through the fattiness of the lamb like a laser. And the peppery finish lingered long after the glass was empty.
2006 Sine Que Non Raven Syrah, California – The label sports the following quote; The raven says, “I am dark and lovely… because the sun has tanned me.” You’ve got to hand it to winemaker Manfred Krankl – he knows how to make a dark and lovely wine. The bouquet was boasting an interesting combination of roasted coffee and sweet black fruit. In the mouth, the wine seemed to literally expand on the tongue, exploding with flavors of concentrated black fruit, black fig and mocha. The long, long finish was refined and lush – which was really surprising, given the weight on the front of the palate. This was probably my favorite wine of the evening, but I could not imagine having this wine without food.
2001 Domaine Vieille Julienne Vieilles Vignes, Chateauneuf du Pape, France – It’s a shame we did not drink this wine before the Aussies and the SQN. While this is a lovely wine, it simply got lost in the lineup because it was so elegant. The flavors of dark cherry, currents, coffee and spices were all superbly integrated on a earthy frame. While the wine felt elegant, the tannins were just a touch too soft to counter the rosemary infused lamb. I’d like to try this with mushroom risotto.
2003 Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage, Rhone Valley, France – I am a Francophile by palate, and I normally love this wine, but, once again, it had the unfortunate luck to be stuck so far back in the evening as to be almost – and I cannot believe I am going to say (type) this – invisible. The bouquet of warm dark fruit compote was intriguing, but while the flavors of dark cherry, spicy plum, smoky cedar and tobacco were beautiful, the mouthfeel was simply too elegant for the gunfight it was shoved into. Once again, this lovely wine would be great to have on its own or with simply prepared game.
1986 Rieussec Sauternes, Bordeaux, France – The only sticky of the evening, it was a welcomed break from the big reds. Unctuous-yet-elegant, the flavors of coconut and honeyed apricot dominated the front of the palate. Notes of peach cobbler and honey glided in on the perfectly balanced finish. Abundant acidity kept the wine light and focused. A great end to a wonderfully decadent evening.
Posted on April 8, 2011 - by The Vine Guy
Here are my notes from the remarkable Kosta Browne dinner at Bistro Bis featuring Michael Browne and Tony Lombardi:
2001 Trimbach Frederic Emile Cuvee Riesling – Delicious, unctous and charming.
1990 Charles Heidsieck Millesime – A lovely way to get the evening started. Charming, yeast notes mixed with apple, nectarine and a touch of citrus on the finish.
2004 Peter Michael L’Apres-Midi Sauvignon Blanc – a bit out of place for this event, but a great Sauvignon Blanc. Needs oysters.
2006 Aubert Lauren Chardonnay – A classic California Chardonnay. Lovely and not over-oaked. I thought it was killer until I tasted the KB Chardonnay (below).
2005 Domaine Michel Bouzeraeu Meursault Les Perrieres 1er Cru – Excellent structure – a bit too refined for the line-up.
2009 Kosta Brown 1-16 Chardonnay – their first Chardonnay effort and it was a “10+” – quite possibly the wine of the night. The bad news? They only made 200 cases! Let’s hope they plan on making more. One of the best California Chardonnays I have ever had.
2009 Kosta Browne Russian River Valley Pinot Noir – pretty, elegant and lush. This could be my new “house” pinot noir if only I could get any. I was blown away by how soft-yet-tasty it was over the whole palate.
2009 Kosta Browne Keefer Ranch Pinot Noir – Smokey, sultry and ladden with red fruit. It will peak in 2 -3 years.
2009 Kosta Browne Pisoni Vineyard Pinot Noir – Whoa! Big, earthy, jammy. This is a big wine and will require another two or three years just to reach puberty. In 5 years, this wine will be spectacular – if you can wait that long to drink it.
2006 Domaine Dublere Volnay Les Pitures 1er Cru – Good, not great. It was definitely out of place at the tasting only because of how big the other pinots were. Although, this wine had the prettiest finish of the evening.
2003 Domaine Hudelot-baillet Chambolle-Musigny Les Cras 1er Cru – Again, good, not great. The structure was there but the fuit was almost non-existent.
1990 Domaine De Courcel Pommard Les Rugiens – Uber-pretty wine. One of my top three wines of the night. Even though it was delicate, it was remarkably well balanced and lush. Hard to believe that there was so much fruit left in a 20+ year old red Burgundy.
1996 Chateau Cos d’Estournel – Evidently, I am a slut for Bordeaux in general and Cos in particular. This wine was my third-of-three wines of the night. Powerful, yet restained. Brash, yet elegant. Wonderful black fruit, lead pencil and just a waffer-thin-mint hint of curry on the back of the long, long finish.
1989 Chateau Grand Mayne – eh.
2004 Penfolds Bin 60A Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz – I was surprised by how much I liked this wine! It had nice fruit and remarkable acidity. The tannins were a tad too soft, but the finish was flavorful (blackberry, dark plum and black pepper) and memorable.
2004 Bond Vecine Napa Valley Red – Not great. Not bad. Just not as great as I had hoped. It was a bit out of balance and lacked the refining qualities of its Bordeaux counterparts.
Posted on April 8, 2011 - by The Vine Guy
Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of meeting Michael Browne, winemaker/owner of the uber-popular Kosta Browne Winery – producer of elegant California Pinot Noir wines, for a remarkable wine dinner at Bistro Bis in Washington, DC. Tony Lombardi, PR rep extraordinaire, also attended the dinner.
In honor of the occasion, several members of a regular tasting group, joined in and brought some pretty remarkable wines with them, including 1996 Cos d’Estournel, 2005 Bond, 2006 Aubert “Ritchie Vineyard” Chardonnay, 2006 Dublere Volnay Les Pitures 1er Cru, and, of course, a gaggle of Kosta Browne pinots, to name but a few.
But of all the stellar wines we had that night, the undisputed wine of the night was the new, never before released, 2009 Kosta Browne Chardonnay. Yes, Chardonnay! As much as I adore Aubert wines, particularly the Chardonnays, the KB Chard was pitch perfect! Even at this remarkably young age, it was focused, balanced and elegant. The only depressing thing about the wine is that Michael only made 200 cases, so I doubt I will have the pleasure of having that wine please my palate again… unless I haul by butt out to Sonoma and show up on his doorstep with an empty glass.
And I’d be remiss if I did not thank the entire staff at Bistro Bis for a remarkable experience. Special thanks to the Chef de Cuisine, Joe Harran, and Omar, the most outstanding Sommelier in the entire restaurant!
Raviolis Des Champignon et Artichauts
forest mushroom and artichoke ravioli with
spring vegetables and black truffles
pepper crusted salmon with white asparagus, black trumpet
mushrooms ,potato gnocchi and veal cheek ravigote
Gigot d’Agneau Roti
spice crusted lamb top round with rapini, peppers,
onions , socca frites and white balsamic vinaigrette
Selection of Artisanal Cheese
I will have the tasting notes published shortly… stay tuned!
Posted on February 23, 2011 - by The Vine Guy
This is a report on the annual Minyan Shoot Out Wine Dinner that was held at Galileo 3 restaurant last week (BTW – the service and food at this restaurant was a ten – thank you Sandra for all of your hard work!). The “Minyan” is a very eclectic group of wine consumers who vary from moderately wine savvy all the way up to high-end wine shop owner. The “Shoot Out” means that everyone brings their best bottle of wine. We serve all wines blind and then vote on each one at the end of dinner. The owner of the wine with the most points at the end of the night earns a free dinner (everyone else pitches in).
As usual, three things occurred;
- First, we had way too much wine!
- Second, if you want 20 opinions, ask ten wine drinkers. This was a beautiful evening of entropy.
- Third, I am always amazed at how many wine identities I (along with everyone else) get wrong when I taste these wines blind. I did, however, get most of the origins correct, but I will admit, I voted for the number one wine because I thought it was Bordeaux!
Here is a list of our STARTER Wines:
1998 Champagne Pannier, France
1999 Soter Beacon Hill Brut Rose, Oregon
2004 Kongsgaard Viognier Roussanne, California
1996 Domaine Caillot Meursault La Barre Dessus Clos Margarite, France
2005 Domaine Dublere Chassagne-Montrachet, France
1990 Karlsmuhle Kaseler Nies’chen Riesling Auslese, Germany
2001 Castello Vicchiomaggio Chianti Classico La Prima, Italy
Here is the list of wines served with Dinner (in order)
First Course: Parmigiano Reggiano cheese pudding topped with a layer of Burrata cheese and cream of porcini mushrooms
2006 Oakville Red Wine, Napa Valley – I have no idea who makes this wine.
2005 Araujo – Syrah Eisele Vineyard, Napa Valley
Second Course: Small “pinched” ravioli filled with three meats &served in veal jus, butter, sage
2001 Blankiet – Cabernet Sauvignon Paradise Hills Vineyard
1996 Joseph Phelps Insignia, Napa Valley – Third Place
2002 Opus One, Napa Valley
Third Course: Large homemade fettuccine with wild boar ragu
1996 Trevor Jones Shiraz, Australia
1996 Grange, Australia
Fourth Course: Grilled marinated beef rib eye, potato tart, roasted chanterelle mushrooms atop dry tomato, black olive sauce
1997 Tenuta Friggiali Brunello di Montalcino, Italy
1997 Valdicava Brunello Di Montalcino, Italy – FRIST PLACE
1997 Arnaldo Caprai Sagrantino di Montefalco, Italy – Second Place
1999 Arnaldo Caprai Sagrantino di Montefalco, Italy
Ruffino Chianti Classico Riserva Ducale 1978 – corked
2000 Tommaso Bussalo Recioto Della Valpolicella Classico
1990 Klaus Neckerauer Rheinpfalz Auslese (not sure if it was the Halde Scheurebe or Hahnen Riesling)
2001 Tokaji Aszu 3 Puttonyos (don’t recall the producer)
Posted on January 22, 2011 - by The Vine Guy
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.