|Half Bottle Mania - Twice the tasting options - |
Napa Cabs, Shiraz, Bordeaux, IceWine Flight
Opening small format bottles this evening allowed us to taste seven different wines instead of perhaps three had we opened regular or standard size bottles. This allowed a Napa Cabernet tasting as well as a comparison against a similar vintage Bordeaux and a Australian Shiraz, and a Ice Wine too. It also allowed a comparison of a selection of Napa Valley appellations' terrior and style - Oakville, Mt.Veeder, Howell Mtn, against a blend of those locations, and a Bordeaux blend.
As we most often do, we enjoyed these wines BYOB over dinner at our local neighborhood bistro Angeli's Italian. The big reds were spectacular with their Butternut Squash Gnochi in rich sweet brown sugar and vanilla sauce, and my favorite dish, and off-menu preparation of veal in a rich blue cheese brown sauce on angel hair pasta.
Prior to the red tasting we did an initial tasting at home of artisan cheeses with Cliff Lede Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2007, then a small grilled flank steak taster against the Clark-Claudon and Larmande reds .
Anti pasta course flight:
Cliff Lede Napa Valley Stags Leap District Sauvignon Blanc 2007
While a bit more pricey than average, it stands up against classic Sauvignons costing twice as much. We visited Cliff Lede and did a magnificent tasting there during our Napa Wine Experience 2009.
Lemon colored, medium bodied, nicely balanced acidity, subtle oak, citrus and remarkable peach fruit flavor that turns to lemon with hints of mango, passion fruit and tangerine on the finish. Fabulous complement to lobster with a dash of lemon butter. starter. First tasted at the winery - got some at home - a staple white for the cellar.
RM 90 points.
Clark Claudon Howell Mountain Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2004
Napa Valley Wine Experience 1999. We have a vertical collection back to their inaugural 1993 vintage and have tasted this in Napa Cab wine flights with the same outcome as earlier Big Cab tastings - the concensus favorite of the group ...
Deep dark purple - full bodied - explosive aromas of ripe dark berry fruits, big mouth-full of forward complex but polished spicy black and edge of red berry fruits, violets, layers of mocha and oak with a long lingering tannin finish.
The 2004 Napa growing season was condensed with early bud break, warm days, cool nights and one challenging heat spike. The result was a small harvest of intense, flavor packed fruit from an unusual, but exceptional year that is showing and drinking well and should last another decade.
RM 93 points.
Yates Family Vineyards, Napa Redwood Estates, Aldon Perry Reserve, Napa Valley Mt Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon 2006
Napa Valley Mt Veeder Appellaton Experience 2011.
A bit of acid heat initially that soon wears off to a pleasant smooth drinking wine. Deep garnet color - full bodied bursting with complex layers of rich forward black currant, blackberry, ripe sweet black raspberry fruits, tones of cinnamon spice, anise and hints of floral, sweet oak, white pepper and tobacco leaf, finishing with moderate smooth tannins on a rich full finish.
RM 92 points.
Paradigm Oakville Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1995
This wine was tasted and acquired during the same Napa Valley Wine Experience 1999 as the Clark Claudon above.
Fragrant, soft supple tannin, medium body, the layers of cherry and black currant fruit are being overtaken by earthy leather, licorice, and herbs, with under-currants of spice and cedar.
RM 89 points.
Robert Craig Affinity Napa Valley 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.
Château Larmande St Emilion Grand Cru Classe Bordeaux 2005
RM 90 points.
D'Arenberg Dead Arm McLaren Vale Valley Shiraz 2002
Typically a big fruit forward complex wine, the 2002 was a bit more subdued and muted than its normal big forwardness but what was an off-tone of minerality. Lacking that uber ripe almost raisin-fig with a layer of cedar predominating, this still held that complex black berry fruits with tones of pepper, spice, and cassis and hint of vanilla with a big long bold finish that has a slight tone of tangy cherry.
Linda likes this ripe boldness but its a bit too much to my liking it needs to be tasted with hearty meats, even bar-b-que, or artisan cheeses, such as tonight when it complemented the beef tenderloin, marinated pork tenderloin and then the course of dark chocolate deserts.
RM 89 points.
Inniskillin Niagara Peninsula VQA Oak Aged Vidal Eiswein 2004
We visited this classic Ice Wine producer during our visit to the Niagara-on-the-Lake isthmus nestled between Buffalo, NY and Toronto.
The fruit was a bit more muted and subdued than earlier tastings with it giving way to a layer of smoke and wood. Aromas of apple blossoms, apricot with hint of cinnamon-raison bread. On the palate, this beautifully rich dessert wine follows through nicely with mix of apricot, mango and a strong honeyed fig component. The overall finish has good length with tantalizing flashes of exotic fruit and spice.
RM 91 points.