Friday, September 6, 2013

Spring Mtn Classics - Fantesca Cab and Paloma Merlot Highlight Engagement Celebration Dinner

Spring Mountain Classics - Fantesca Cabernet and Paloma Merlot Highlight Engagement Celebration Dinner

To celebrate the engagement of friends Dan and Anastasia, we hosted a gala dinner featuring classic Spring Mountain wines with stylish etched and hand painted bottles. This follows our recent tastings of  Spring Mountain District Pride Mountain Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon.

To start we opened a festive testament Champagne, Pol Roger Extra Cuvee De Réserve.  With a selection of artisan cheeses brought by Dan & Anastasia, the caprese salad course and into dinner we served Paloma Spring Mountain Merlot 2003 from their gold gilded hand painted bottle with the dove .

With the grilled New York strip steaks entree, green beans and baked potato au gratin we served Fantesca Spring Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 from their classic elegant etched glass bottle and hand painted testament to Fantesca, the bold, smart sexy vivacious character of the sixteenth century Commedia della Arte stage (see rear bottle, below).

After dinner with fresh berries and chocolate mousse, we served a Freemark Abbey Edelwein Late Harvest Johanisserg Riesling 1999.

The cheese selection included (left- clockwise from top) Bellavitano, ten year old aged cheddar, Danish Blue, English Cotswold and Norwegian gjetost. 

Pol Roger Extra Cuvee De Réserve Champagne

Of course its only true Champagne if it comes from the Champagne region in northeastern France in the valley between Reims to the North and Epernay to the south. We saw Pol Roger Winery in Epernay during our Champagne Wine Experience 2006.

Full rounded, complex, crisp and elegant easy-drinking, tones of citrus, grapefruit, pear, almond nut and a touch of yeast with a bit of sharpness and bite on the finish.

RM 89 points.

Paloma Napa Valley Spring Mountain District Merlot 2003

The Paloma estate sits high atop Spring Mountain in the Mayacamas Range on the eastern slope overlooking Napa Valley between 2060 and 2240 feet elevation. The property is five miles northwest of the town of St. Helena. The 20 acres are planted in 15 acres of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Paloma gained notoriety when the 2001 vintage of this wine was designated #1 in Wine Spectator's Top 100 wines of the year 2003. This selection lived up to those lofty accolades and expectations. At ten years old this must be at or approaching its apex as it is drinking better than any of the previous half dozen bottles we've tasted from our case.

I was worried at first when decanted as the color seem a bit dark with a slight brown hue but the aromas were pure berry. Medium bodied, silky smooth, elegant and polished with complex layers of raspberry, sweet current, blue and black berry highlights. This tasting was consistent with my last posted tasting notes from a year ago this week when I wrote, "Medium full bodied, smooth polished, complex harmonious symphony of finely integrated aromas and flavors - predominant sweet black currant, red raspberry, milk chocolate, a hint of ripe plum, sweet oak and a bit of burnt sugar caramel on the long smooth polished finish."

Thankfully but also regretably, we only have about four bottles left. I extended my drinking window in Cellartracker which was listed as drink by 2011, to 2016.

RM 93 points.

Paloma Merlot is a blend of Estate Merlot with some Estate Cabernet Sauvignon that ranges from 12 to 18 percent depending on the vintage. It is aged in a combination of new and used French oak barrels for nineteen months of aging.

Fantesca Estate and Winery, Spring Mountain District Cabernet Sauvignon 2004

We visited Duane and Susan Hoff and their spectacular mountainside estate of Fantesca Spring Mountain Estate and Winery during our Napa Wine Experiences in 2007 and in 2009With their elegant etched glass bottles, we enjoy serving this wine at special occasions such as tonight. And we love their sophisticated and elegant wines too.

Fantesca Napa Valley,
Spring Mtn Cabernet Sauvignon
Etched glass, painted bottle.
(2006 shown)
Medium-full bodied, dark garnet color; complex but smooth and polished with bright forward fruits of black currant, dark berry and black cherry, accented by sweet dark chocolate, a hint of cassis, and a tone of spice on the lingering refined tannin finish.

RM 91 points.

Freemark Abbey Napa Valley Edelwein Late Harvest Johanisserg Riesling 1999

We're big fans of Freemark Abbey having visited the winery on numerous occasions including our cellar tour and library tasting during our Napa Wine Experience 2009. Tea colored, thick, medium-full bodied, tones of apricot and peach with honey citrus flavors and a slight smokey unctuous finish - more expressive and vibrant that last tasting.

RM 92 points.