Saturday, August 10, 2013

Freestone (Joseph Phelps) Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast 2007

Freestone (Joseph Phelps) Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast 2007

Opened this half bottle (375ml) for light easy sipping with some artisan cheese and crackers. Medium bodied, garnet with a tinge of grey color with some bricking, firm gripping layer of red berry, cherry and cranberry fruits turning to tones of spicy dusty rose, sweet licorice, tea and tobacco leaf on modest lingering tangy spice finish.

RM 89 points.  

Del Dotto Napa Cab vs Clerc Milon - 1999 vintage duo highlight beefsteak dinner

Del Dotto Napa Cab vs Clerc Milon - 1999 vintage duo highlight beefsteak dinner

Summer family dinner unites two newborn cousins/grandkids Richie and Marley. #1 son Ryan & Michelle brought Marley out to daughter Erin's & Johnny's to join Richie and sister Lucy for festive summer feast of grilled T-bone beefsteaks. For the occasion I pulled two 1999 vintage bottles - Erin and Johnny's graduation year, to celebrate the gathering. Two steak enhancing bottles of contrasting styles - old world classic Bordeaux Pauillac vs new world Napa Cabernet.

Chateau Clerc Milon is the second label of premier First Growth Chateau Mouton Rothschild. In top vintages, this second label often offers a glimpse of the classic label at a fraction of the price. Del Dotto is one of our perennial favorite Napa producers from the classic Rutherford appellation. Both of these wines have resilient aging potential extending in top vintages to twenty plus years. At fourteen years young, these wines may be at the apex of their drinking window.

Chateau Clerc Milon Pauillac Bordeaux 1999

Ryan noticed that both labels on this bottle were in French. I don't have purchase data as it preceeds my Cellartracker record keeping (and my former MS Windows cellar management system went out of support and became incompatible with subsequent upgraded versions of Windows. Yes, thats not supposed to happen, but hey.... Microsoft upward compatibility.)

The Clerc Milon was clear garnet colored with a bright rim, medium bodied, aromas and flavors of floral violets, leather and tobacco predominate over the subdued black berry, cherry and currant fruits, with hint of earthiness and spice, almost delicate, soft nicely integrated tannins.

RM 89 points.

Del Dotto Vineyards Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1999

This 1999 vintage was the artwork of legendary winemaker Nils Venge crafted from Rutherford appellation fruit. At fourteen years, this is testament to the aging potential of this label as it is still full, firm and vibrant with no signs of diminution whatsoever.

Dark garnet colored, full bodied, firm gripping forward black berry fruits laced with that classic Rutherford dust, complex but nicely balanced with intense dark cherry, black currant and blackberry fruits, a layer of cedar and spicy tangy oak on a lingering finish of tight structured tannins. Great complement to grilled beefsteak - its needs food to appreciate its complexity.

RM 92 points.

Chateau Ste. Michelle Canoe Ridge Estate Horse Heaven Hills Cabernet Sauvignon 2009

I visited Chateau St Michelle back in 1999 and have been a fan of their work product ever since. Ryan brought this Northwest Columbia Valley Cabernet and it stood up well to the steak and held its own against the other two higher priced big label cabs/blends.

Wow, nothing meek about this big brooding cab. From a twenty year old vines on the steep slopes overlooking the Columbia River. Dark inky purple colored, full bodied, aromas and flavors of complex black berry fruits accented by black licorice cassis, mocha, hints of menthol, mint and minerals with tones of oak with gripping tannins on the lingering finish. Great QPR (quality price ratio) in this over-achieving cab.

RM 91 points.