Saturday, March 10, 2012

Monastrell Red Blend Leads Red Wine Flight at Grand Celebration Dinner

Sensational Monastrell Red Blend Leads Red Wine Flight at Grand Celebration Dinner

Gala family birthday celebration dinner - our son Ryan and daughter-in-law Michelle prepared a super make your own sandwich featuring grilled beef tenderloin, roast pork loin and roasted chicken with all the accoutrements featuring carmelized onions, pickled onions, avocado, tomato, fresh celantro selection of cheeses, herb balsamic vinagrette dressing and selection of fresh breads, twice baked potatoes and salad.

I brought a vintage 1983 Cabernet Sauvignon from Michelle's birthyear to celebrate the occasion along with a a slightly eclectic pair of outliers which I thought would highlight lamb which ended up not being served. What a pleasant surprise when they turned out to be a sensational eye-popping wines fit for the occasion and spectacular complements to the great food!

Dessert featured chocolate cake and fresh berries and key lime cupcakes.

The wines:

Bodegas El Nido Jumilla Clio 2004 

Dark inky color, full bodied, huge forward black and blue berry fruit flavors with layers of caramel, vanilla, anise, vanilla and sweet oak that go on and on. Nice structure and complexity but not firm, tight or tannic resulting in a tasty, pleasant easy drinking wine yet sophisticated and polished. Wow, this was an eye-opener and changed my perspective on Spanish wines - by far the most expressive and tasteful I have ever experienced. This wine vastly exceeded my expectations. We're huge fans of big fruit filled Syrahs and this stood with the best of them, with none of that metallic, mineral or creosote that I expected. 70% Monastrell (and 30% cabernet sauvignon) which I now know is aka Mouvedre which is the M in GSM - Genache, Mouvedre and Syrah, a popular blend in the Rhone River Valley as well as South Central Australia. This wine was sensational - bursting with flavor in the glass - immediately apparent to everyone.

RM 93 points.

Liparita Napa Valley Cabernet Franc 2002

Like a left bank Bordeaux that features Cabernet Franc to add flavor and structure, this full bodied Cab Franc was all-in with huge floral bouquet and full forward flavors of black berry and black raspberry fruits, a layer of clove spice, leather and a hint of cedar on a long lingering finish. Its slightly flabby awkwardness can be forgiven for its big forward tasty floral and fruit. We've been long time fans of Liparita Cabernet Sauvignons and Merlots - this is our first Cabernet Franc and what a hit - a nice achievement exceeding expectations indeed - better than their other endeavors from this era. 

RM 91 points.

Conn Creek Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1983

Vintage selection of the evening commemorating daughter-in-law Michelle's birth-year and birthday celebration - one of such selections in our cellar for each of our kids' years. This one was of a lesser producer and as such hadn't held up as well as some of the others - clearly beyond its prime and certainly reaching its end of life. The black cherry and black berry fruits were diminished, giving way to more leather and an earthy mustiness with hint of smoke and anise on a moderate finish. The color was tinged with a rim of rust color on the edges. It was still drinkable and a notable and worthy selection for the occasion but am glad I didn't hold it any longer.  

RM 85 points.

Eagle Eye Rutherford Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2004

Medium to full bodied - well balanced nose of black berry, black currants, dark cherries with a layer of vanilla, hint of spice, smoke, anise and oak on a moderate tannin finish.

RM 88 points.

More to follow.