Perhaps the ultimate grilled steak may be the 'tomahawk' bone in rib-eye (shown left), a cut with the full bone resulting in a tomahawk shaped beefsteak. What fun to have these whilst in the middle of our beloved Blackhawk's run for the championship Stanley Cup. Also shown is Mark with the Atlantic Coho Salmon filets.
For such as feast at Mark Z's, we took two 2004 vintage Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon blends - Robert Craig Affinity and Beaulieu Vineyards Tapestry Reserve. Both were decanted before serving.
Before dinner we opened a Ruster Ausbruch Austrian Chardonnay blend based dessert wine which we tasted with artisan cheeses and French breads.
Mark also prepared grilled Scottish North Atlantic Coho wood plank Salmon (pictured above left) with which we served a Flowers Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2007. Completing the dinner were twice baked potatoes and steamed grand purple asparagus spears.
The wine flight is pictured left.
Herbert Triebaumer Ruster Ausbruch Burgenland Neusiedlersee-Hügelland Rust 1996/1997
The label says Erzeugerabfüllung which would translate to producer's bottling or what we would call 'Estate Bottled' in America or Chateau Bottled (mis en bouteille au chateau, ala bottled at the chateau) in France, meaning the grapes are grown of sourced on the producer's property and the wine is produced by the land (estate or chateau) owner.
This is a Chardonnay blend of Fürmint and Gelber Muskatellier (Furmint and Gold Muscatel grape varieties). While this was no doubt straw colored upon release, over time it darkened to butter color, then weak tea colored, eventually darkening to the dark orange rust color it possesses now. Allowed to continue to age, this will likely eventually darken to dark strong tea color, although I suspect it won't necessarily improve the flavor and suitability of the wine. Some classic dessert wines are built to last decades, I suspect this Ruster Ausbruch is at or even past its peak drinking window. We still have a case of this wine, so watch this blog as we monitor this over the coming months and years.
The thick almost syrupy extracted sweet fruit was offset by a smoky almond nut flavor. Rather than the highly desirable apricot or peach flavors, this tended to be more cirtus focused. This was a great complement to hard Parmesan cheese.
RM 88 points.
Robert Craig Napa Valley Affinity Cabernet Sauvignon 2004
Consistent with earlier tasting notes, deep dark purple inky color, huge ripe berry fruit aromatics, full body, ripe berry fruit, accented by a undercurrent of caramel with a hint of anise, tobacco and firm full tannins on the long fruit filled finish.
RM 91 points.
In the comparison tasting, while this went well with the grilled steak, it was overshadowed by the big aromatic fruit of the Affinity.
Consistent with earlier tasting notes, dark garnet colored, medium-full bodied, a bit tight and closed, the black berry fruits were a bit overtaken by tones of tea, tobacco and hints of cedar, anise and smokey oak on a moderate tannin lingering finish.
Flowers Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2007
RM 87 points. .