Gala Easter Holiday Family Dinner features selection of special wines
The family gathered for a gala Easter Holiday dinner and we pulled from the cellar several select special wines for the occasion. Two of the wine highlights were a couple of birthyear vintage wines to commemorate special occasions. Son Alec and Vivanna are staying with us as they transition to their new Illinois home as soon as their furniture and belongings arrive from NYC. Moreover, it is Alec's birthday, hence we pulled a birthyear vintage label from a producer with a legacy of roots from Ryan's employer. Similarly, son Sean and Michelle are celebrating a family milestone announcement so we pulled a select label from a premier producer from his birthyear vintage.
The boys also pulled from the cellar some special selections to taste for the occasion.
Linda prepared beef tenderloin with baked potatoes, grilled asparagus and salad. Prior to dinner we had a selection of artisan cheeses, fresh shrimp and fresh fruits that we served with champagne. From Magnum we served Peiper Heidseick special bottling followed by a bottle of Moet Chandon Imperial.
For the dinner course we had a selection of Bordeaux varietal wines from some special select producers and a range of vintages including two aged releases from son's birthyears:
Chateau Leoville Las Cases St Julien Bordeaux 1985
Dunn Family Vineyards Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2001
Cliff Lede Stags Leap District 2017
Château Léoville du Marquis de Las Cases, St Julien-Beychevelle, Bordeaux 1985
Our visit to Château Léoville Las Cases was a highlight of our visit to the St Julien appellation a year ago. I wrote about it in detail in a chronicle in these pages. Indeed, we booked the estate visit and arranged our travel and other events around this cornerstone event. At that time we were focus on our collection of 1990 vintage bottles to be served at son Alec's wedding. Tonight, we focused on the 1985 vintage release to commemorate son Sean's special family announcement.
Our last tasting of this label was in the month leading up to our Bordeaux trip and our visit at the Chateau. We opened a bottle when we received our invitation to visit the estate.
This is a classic Bordeaux Blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 8%
Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot.
At thirty-six years this is on the cusp of the end of the posted drinking window set for this wine by Cellartrackers - indicating it is at the end of its prime drinking window, not expect to improve further, rather expected to start to diminish from this time forward with further aging.
RM 93 points.
This wine got 98 points
from Wine Spectator who called it "A fabulous wine; one of the first great Las Cases.", 94 points
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, and 95 points Wine Advocate's Neal Martin.
Oakville Ranch Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1990wrote about the Oakville Ranch property, its history and terroir in a detailed blogpost at the beginning of last year.
This release was awarded 93 points by Wine Spectator and 92 points from Robert Parker.
At thirty plus years of age it was still holding its body, color and fruit and was not showing signs of diminution from aging. The cork was most but still intact.
Dark garnet colored, medium full bodied, bright expressive concentrated but nicely balanced and integrated black currant, cherry and plum fruits with notes of cedar, cassis, spice and oak with moderate balanced tannins on the long finish.
RM 92 points.
Dunn Vineyards Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2001
For our gala wine dinner, the boys pulled from the cellar this classic Napa Cab from this legendary producer from the 2001 vintage, one that should be at its peak and drinking at its prime right now, as part of our flight spanning 35 years of vintages selected.
We also collect and hold numerous vintages of winemaker Randy Dunn's "Feather" Cabernet produced from Washington State Columbia Valley marketed under the Long Shadows Vintners Collection that features world class winemakers and Columbia Valley fruit.
We visited the Dunn Vineyards estate up on Howell Mountain and met legendary producer Randy Dunn during our our Napa Valley Howell Mountain Wine Experience back in 2008.
Randy Dunn Cabernets are known to be long-lived and we are holding many vintages dating back four decades - longer than we would similarly situated wines. We pulled this one at two decades to get a taste of a vintage likely showing well, perhaps at the peak of its drinking profile.
This label was awarded 91 points by Connoisseurs Guide and 90 points by Robert Parker's Wine Advocate.
Deep ruby/purple colored, medium to full-bodied, expressive forward black berry and black currant fruits with notes of floral, oak, earthy leather and hints of cola, pencil lead and what Connoisseur's Guide referred to as "black walnuts".
RM 91 points.
Cliff Lede Stags Leap District 2017
Ryan brought this from his cellar as a young recent release comparison in our diverse flight of reds. He's a member of the Lede wine club and has an extensive selection of labels. We've visited the Lede estate and vineyards in Stags Leap District on several of our trips to Napa Valley.
The fruit for this label was sourced from the hillside terraces of the Poetry Vineyard,
the Twin Peaks Vineyard estate surrounding the winery, and a few
neighboring vineyards in the Stags Leap District. The wine is composed
of small lots selected from the best blocks, representing a diverse range of
carefully selected clones and rootstocks. The diversity of Poetry’s exposed, rocky
terraces boasting volcanic origins, to the ancient riverbed alluvial
soils of Twin Peaks, the breadth of contributing sites translates into a
wine of impressive complexity. We hold a vertical collection of this label going back a dozen vintages.
The chai contains a series of connected buildings with production facility, blending halls with laboratory and command and control center, the barrel storage halls, bottling room, shipping and storage room and the historic vintage library storage area.
The grand vin is kept in the prime tanks while the second wine is produced in the square tanks in the another production hall. The control center has precise control over each tank during all phases of the process.
The barrels are racked monthly to remove any sediment and top off the level that is lost to evaporation. The aging barrels are kept in a precise temperature controlled facility.
The historic Chateau contains lounges, meeting rooms and a elegant formal tasting room. The Chateau overlooks a formal garden and fountain with views of the Gironde River in the distance.