Sunday, December 14, 2008

1997 St. Supery Meritage Napa Valley Red

Drinking well, but near the end of its optimal drinking window.

Color: Dark red center, lightening edges, but still pretty dark for 11 years of age.

Nose: Dark red fruits - cherry and currants, sage and some dusty oak.

Palate: Cherry and currants, sage and savory herb flavors, some cedar. Well balanced, the tannins are mellowed but silky smooth, nice acidity. Well made wine.

I purchased this from the winery as a library selection a few years back. At the time it was a wine I had sought out but now for the life of me can’t remember why. Either way it was a nice and enjoyable wine that shows why 1997 was such a great year as this wine is nicely balanced from start to finish with ample fruit and silky tannins.


Friday, December 12, 2008

Syrah Streak!

Tonight we opened an old bottle of Syrah acquired from an auction back in 2003. Well, old from a New World perspective: 1999. This is probably the 4th wine in the last week or two that was Syrah or a blend that had Syrah in it. By the way, I mostly buy wines from auction to find rare under-priced wines of value, not expensive rare wines.

1999 The Ojai Vineyard Syrah, Bien Nacido Vineyard

USA, California, Central Coast
Santa Barbara County
Santa Maria Valley

In great shape for a New World Syrah from 1999! Decant for a minimum of 1.5 hours!

Color: Dark purple, red edges

Nose: Grapey at times, with white pepper and tar battling out. Dark chocolate and savory dark olives emerge defiantly after 2 hours!

Palate: Pepper, black fruits, some leather, tannins are still prevalent. After 2 hours cocoa mixes in with the aforementioned flavors.

Drink this now through 2011.


Sunday, December 07, 2008

Great Wines and Home Made Dinners

Recent wines, December post wine tasting.

Since the wine party I have been on a streak of making some great dinners at home and pairing them with justifiably good wines to pair with them. Bordelaise sauce and New York Strip Steaks, whole roasted chicken, whole roasted snapper (see picture inset), and veal Paillards with Chasseur Sauce. I feel cooking to me is my creativity outlet - I am creating something. I feel it’s similar to when I was a child and would draw, sketch and paint. Something I abandoned once sports like football and lacrosse took hold. The chasseur and bordelaise sauce came from a recent article in savor magazine. I swear they have the best covers of any food magazine, though inside the details can be hit or miss. So flip through your next Savor enough to see if anything useful is in it to justify a buy as the covers will catch your eye.

So, on to the wines:

2004 E. Guigal Condrieu La Doriane (France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Condrieu) $65 (lists at $90, WL had a great price!)

Grape: 100% Viognier from Condrieu

Color: Straw gold in color

Nose: Toasty oak, ripe peaches, white flowers

Palate: Smoky toasty oak frames ripe peach and apricots, some Meyer lemon peel, white flowers and nice minerality and acidity.

The "La La" Doriane was one of those bottles we bought and saved for a special day or dinner. Guigal makes some of the most revered wines in the northern Rhone, particularly Condrieu and Cote Rotie. Tonight was our first roasted fish made at home and we just finished trimming the Christmas tree. Special enough for us considering our lack of formal dining out of late! As per usual, the special saved wine did not live up to expectations. At first the wine was a little out of it. The mid-palate to finish was a bit delayed but after an hour that evened out nicely. The Condrieu evened out after about an hour and 30 minutes. I saw lots of talk of rich and powerful in other notes, but I had none of that. It was rich, but not overly so, just what is usual of Viognier, plus some good acidity and a nice shade of minerality. Over all we were a bit under whelmed considering it was a "La La" from Guigal, but it was still pretty good. I would buy La Doriane again in a great vintage at this price, but otherwise I will experiment with VdP bottlings and when priced right Guigal (regular Condrieu), Villard and Delas also from Condrieu.

2006 Kosta Browne Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast (USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast) $42

Grape: Pinot Noir

Color: Deep Ruby Red, perfect color

Nose: Wild ripe strawberry, cherry, blackberry and cocoa

Palate: Same as nose, additional notes of earthy mushroom, and a touch savory, elegant, long velvety finish.

Lacking in much tannin and acidity that hint at a short drinking window, this is drinking nicely now and should for another 2-3 years. It’s a ready to drink, well made, smooth and polished Pinot Noir. This is a mail order list wine from my collection. Kosta Browne makes some of the hardest to get (at a good price) Pinot Noir. We had this with the roasted chicken that Lisa made – the combination rocked! We really enjoy Pinot and roasted chicken and turkey!

2004 Caldwell Rocket Science (USA, California, Napa Valley, Coombsville) $40

Lots of oak, big ripe flavors of black fruits: plum and blackberry, chewy tannins. It is a fun wine that we enjoyed with my parents after we brought the tree back, hoisted it high and strung it up with lights. Caldwell is a leader in the Coombsville section of the Napa Valley, east of the town of Napa.

Grapes: 33% Cabernet, 33% Syrah, 25% Merlot, 9% Malbec, 9% Petit Verdot

Color: Dark and brooding, opaque and almost black, dark red edges

Nose: Black fruits and oak, some heat (a term that means you can tell of the traces of alcohol)

Palate: Lots of big, toasty oak and big ripe flavors of spicy black plum and blackberry, chewy tannins.

2005 Carlisle Syrah Bennett Valley (USA, California, Sonoma County, Bennett Valley) $35

I was expecting a Shiraz styled Syrah, but was pleasantly surprised at the character of this wine's lack of Cali-typicity. The nose was strikingly Northern Rhone, where Syrah reaches its apex and is considered its homeland, though slightly less peppery and no bacon fat goodness.

Color: Dark red, garnet edges

Nose: Meaty, some White Pepper, Underbrush, Blackberry

Palate: Blackberry and black cherry, licorice, some-what subtle mocha-choco-oak.

This was a well made wine, the flavors were integrated well and the wine was nicely balanced. I will buy more of this next year from Carlisle!

2001 Paul Hobbs Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley (USA, California, Napa Valley) Tasted at the wine party.

Color: Dark center, dark red edges.

Nose: Aromas of blackcurrant, spice, cedar, cherry.

Palate: Black spicy currants, cherry and cassis mesh well with the oak and tannins.

Maybe keep it horizontal - this bottle was a little shy. I had decanted for 2+ hours and it was still in slumber mode. It was still revealing that amazing flavor and complexity, just at a lesser intensity. It seemed youthful, tight and complex, many years ahead of this wine! It by no means was over the hill on in decline!

2002 Paul Hobbs Pinot Noir Russian River Valley (USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley) MAGNUM format, Tasted at the wine party.

Color: Dark ruby red, excellent color

Nose: Black Cherry, some spice, judicious oak

Palate: Cherry, some cocoa, cola Very tasty, not overcomplicated. Fine grained tannins, polished and smooth, nice acidity freshens it all up for more!

This was a very sophisticated and clean wine. I wish I had more! Most of this wine is now twice the price and bottled into Paul’s estate Lindsay Vineyard. We had the 2003 over the summer and it did not come close to as good as this wine!

Cheers! Here's to you drinking well over the next few weeks during the holidays!


My Favorites