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
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.
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!