For Father's Day family dinner, Linda prepared one of my favorite summer dishes, BBQ ribs, with corn on the cob, baked beans, mashed potatos and green beans. I pulled from the cellar a family oriented Lewis Cellars Ethans Syrah, named for producers' grandson.
I've written much in these pages about the fun we have with Lewis Cellars wines and their named labels for grandkids and signature 'L' label. Also, to accompany the ribs, I opened a classic Robert Biale 'Black Chicken' Napa Valley Zinfandel.
Prior to dinner we had a broad selection of artisan cheeses including some favorites - ten year old aged cheddar, havarti, bellavitano merlot, Gruyere, and cheddar, with fresh berries and peaches fruits.
For the cheese course we opened a Chateau St Michelle Rose'.
Chateau St Michelle Washington State Rose 2018
Robert Biale Vineyards Napa Valley Black Chicken Zinfandel 2011
This historic whimsical label "Black Chicken" gets its name from founder Aldo Biale, who used the name as a code word when he started making the wine on the sly in the '40s and didn't want other members of his family to know. He obfuscated the activities by referring to his wine as 'Black Chickens' or poultry as an alias and front for the business.
Biale produce several premium and ultra-premium Zins that are famous for a certain breed of intensity and power they obtain by restricting yields to only the best, most concentrated, fully ripe fruit each vintage.
Black Chicken is primarily sourced from Biale's Oak Knoll District ranch estate from the family vineyard that Aldo, Nonna, Bob Biale and the Biale family have farmed their whole lives, with additional grapes from our neighboring winery vineyard in the Oak Knoll winegrowing district. It is aged for fourteen months in 25% new French oak.
We have a half dozen vintages of Biale labels in our cellar and I pulled the oldest for today's dinner as part of rudimentary cellar management as it is most likely ready to drink and certainly not to improve with further aging, and at risk of passing its apex or prime drinking window.
Bright garnet colored, medium bodied, ripe cherry fruits with brambly blackberry and black raspberry notes accented by cinnamon and brown spices, hints of pepper vanilla and bacon fat with a moderate tannin, tangy finish.
RM 89 points.
Lewis Cellars Ethan's Syrah 2009
We often serve Lewis Cellars Alec's Blend, named for the producers' oldest grandson, and a fitting tribute to our son.
Our visit to the Lewis Cellars Estate was one of the highlights of our Napa Valley Wine Experience in 2016.
This Napa Valley Syrah is big, bold, concentrated and complex in the style that we love.
Dark inky purple color, full bodied, concentrated supple tongue coating fruit filled ripe blackberry and black raspberry, ripe plum with tones of vanilla, spice, tar and sweet oak with hints of licorice before yielding to a layer of mineral on the lingering smooth tannin finish.
At ten years, this is starting to show its age a bit with a slight bit of an edge and alcohol heat, hence deducting a point from my previous score. I attribute this to age although it could be a bottle variation but I doubt it.
RM 92 points.