Monday, February 7, 2011
2000 Napa Cabernets + others
We had some old friends come over on Saturday and stay the night. Since it was pretty cold out and still a good bit of snow on the ground we decided against shooting clays with the shotguns or going for a walk back in the woods and just went straight for the food and wine.
NV Riondo Spago Nero Prosecco, Veneto - Seems like we drink (at least) a bottle of this every time we get together. Tasty as ever with light, slightly sweet, apple and pear notes.
The first red to make an appearance was the 2007 Ridge Zinfandel, Paso Robles - I found it yeasty with raspberry jam and cracked black pepper on the nose and palate. Low acid, moderate tannins, and the American oak that one expects from Ridge. A fitting tribute as we used to enjoy copious quantities of Ridge Zinfandel (primarily the Geyserville) when we all lived in Austin a decade ago.
While still noshing on assorted breads, cheeses and smoked lamb spare ribs, I felt obliged to introduce my friends to the glory of the 2008 Alpha Box & Dice Tarot Grenache, South Australia. Beautiful as ever with all that glorious raspberry and vanilla. My friend, we'll call him "Al" for the sake of internet anonymity, was, of course, rather upset that this stuff still isn't flowing into the Kansas City market yet. Then I think he said something about it being worth the drive to Wichita to pick up a case. If you go, will you pick up another case for me, too?
Dinner was beef short ribs that I briefly smoked over hickory before braising in aromatic veggies, home made chicken stock and a bit of tomato. Delicious, if I must say so myself. As far as I'm concerned there's nothing better than a nice chunk of falling-off-the-bone tender osso bucco, lamb shank, beef short rib, etc. You can make it hours ahead of your dinner guests' arrival and it's the perfect foil for damn near any red wine. And speaking of wine, the theme of the night was 2000 Napa Valley Cabernet.
The first of "Al's" that we opened was the 2000 Colgin Tychon Hill Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley. "Al" has been buying this wine for years now and generously opening them for me even though he knows I'm not a huge fan. I had never had the Tychon Hill bottling (had numerous bottles of the Herb Lamb Vineyard bottling) but it retains a lot of that dill on the nose that mars the Herb Lamb wines. It's a dilly quality that morphs into a more generic vegetal as it opens over the course of an hour or so. Sweet cherry flavors on the palate. Medium bodied, but gradually picked up weight throughout the evening until it just dropped off a cliff around the 90 minute mark. My least favorite of the night and probably my least favorite of any of the so-called "cult" Cabernets from Napa Valley.
My offering for the evening was my final bottle of 2000 Blankiet Paradise Hills Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley. By far my favorite nose of the evening as it's loaded with coffee, licorice, black cherry and menthol. Like the Colgin, it started off rather light but picked up a lot weight as it opened up. Perhaps we should've decanted this and the Colgin. Really blossomed throughout the evening and three of us voted it the favorite wine of the evening.
By far the biggest wine of the night was the 2000 Pride Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley. Possesses a black color that shows no signs of its age. Just a massive, massive wine that offers up powerful mineral, stone and chocolate aromas and flavors. Huge tannins. Could easily go another 10 years. I don't typically enjoy wines from Spring Mountain as I tend to find most of them on the vegetal side of California Cabernet. But this wine was rich and powerful with nary a hint of the green stuff. My second favorite wine of the evening. Received a 3rd place from the other three tasters, though.
We finished off dinner with some purchased Pirouline wafers (thin rolled wafers stuffed with creamy chocolate) and a half bottle of NV R.L. Buller Fine Tokay, Rutherglen. Sticky sweet, it just oozes orange rind, toffee, apricot, brown sugar and everything else that makes a tawny port delicious. At $15, it's an absolute steal for world-class dessert wine.
Braving the cold, "Al" and I ventured outside for Perdomo Corojo toros and the last two (tiny) pours of my Maison Surrenne 1875 Heritage Cognac. A treat from the past that I'll probably never have the pleasure of indulging in again.