Friday, January 17, 2014

Vintage Cal Cab Flight - Signaterra Chardonnay

Vintage Cal Cabs, Signaterra Chardonnay, Taittinger Highlight Surf & Turf Dinner

Post holiday surf and turf dinner features a trio of vintage California Cabernets - Vinyard 29, David Arthur, and BV (Beaulieu Vineyard) Tapestry. Reuniting with friends Bill and Beth C after the holidays, Bill and Beth prepared steak Diane served with rice pilaf and green beans.

Anti, prior to dinner courses included artisan cheeses with fresh berries, lobster medallions on a bed of clarified buttered cracker crumbs, and wedge salad with blue cheese.

The cheese flight included three perfect wine accompaniments, two of my favorites, aged cheddar and Bellavitano, and a spectacular full bodied, grainy, hearty aged white cheddar called Prairie Breeze from Iowa (!?).

To accompany the anti courses, Bill served Taittinger Nocturne NV Champagne followed by Benziger Sonoma County Carneros SanGiacomo Chardonnay.

 For after dinner dessert, Linda prepared a decadent double chocolate brownies with caramel sauce and butter roasted walnuts.

Taittinger Nocturne Sec Champagne NV. 

It's always time for Champagne! Enjoyed with fresh berries and the cheese course, this was refreshing, crisp and delightfully fruity with a modest tone of almond nut.

RM 88 points.

Bill's tasting notes from Cellartracker - "Lovely blush color and moderately tight bubbles. Toasted almond and hazelnut on the palate with a hint of lemon. Certainly not equal to the Comte we celebrated with on News Year but a very nice accompaniment to artisan cheeses and crackers."

 WCC 88 points.

Benziger Sonoma County Carneros SanGiacomo Vineyard West Rows Chardonnay 2008 

We first discovered Benziger's Signaterra single vineyard designated select wines when we met producer family member Erinn Benziger when she attended Binny's grand expo tasting in the winter of 2008 that featured the Judgement of Paris recreation tasting.

We then visited Benziger Valley in central Sonoma during our Sonoma Wine Experience in the fall of 2009 where Bill picked up this limited release San Giacomo Vineyard West Rows Chardonnay.

Bill's tasting notes from Cellartracker -  "Medium straw coloring the glass. Nose reveals some pear and a touch of oak. Was buttery on the palate, clean with notes of green pear. Not much acidity and thankfully not over oaked. Nicely complemented broiled lobster in clarified butter."

WCC 88 points. 

With the steak dinner ...

Vineyard 29 Napa Valley Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 1993

Vineyard 29 was featured in an earlier blogpost after a tasting of their 1995 vintage from Bill's cellar. 

Bill's tasting notes from Cellartracker -  "Medium garnet in the glass. Still some fruit left. Nicely balanced with flavors of raspberry, sour cherry, mocha and a hint of cedar. This was the consensus favorite at "Open That Bottle Night" one year ago. A year later, it is still very tasty but tannins are fading and is not as vibrant as it was last year."

WCC 90 points.

David Arthur Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1998

We chronicled our David Arthur estate visit in previous postings, one of the highlights of our Napa Valley Wine Experience 2012.

Tonight, this took about ninety minutes to open and reveal its fruit which was more subdued and has fallen off from earlier tastings. While not flawed, this is losing its luster and not surprisingly perhaps starting to  show its age.

My notes from autumn of 2011 tasting - Dark inky garnet color. Medium-full bodied. Bight vibrant black raspberry and current fruit flavors highlighted by a layer of soft cedar turning to a hint of anise and eucalyptus with a smooth silky tannin finish. Very nice drinking in this thirteen year old - still has life left, no need to hurry - a very nice wine from a vintage that was given a bad rap as many of the 1998s turned out reasonably well, beyond expectations set by reviewers at the time.

REM 87 points.

Beaulieu Vineyards Napa Valley Tapestry Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2004

This is another example showcasing the consistency and QPR (quality-price ratio) of this label. We continue to hold a vertical of this wine going back a dozen years and it continues to reward us. By the end of the evening, the Tapestry was standing tall showing off nicely polished fruits and silky tannins perhaps reveling in the apex of its drinking window.

Readers of this blog will notice our many recantations of our visits with the producer's of featured wines. Beaulieu Vineyards is an exception, having been the subject of our earliest visits to Napa Valley back in the eighties, long before we started chronicling such activities.

As one of the classic historical producers in Napa Valley, its classic facility on Route 29, mainstreet of Napa Valley, should be included on anyone's itinerary as a starting point for those exploring Napa wines and visiting the hallowed region.

My tasting notes from autumn of 2012 - Dark garnet colored, medium-full bodied, a bit tight and closed initially, it took more than an hour for this to open up and fully reveal black berry fruits, a layer of anise and tones of cedar, black tea and smokey oak on a moderate tannin lingering finish.

RM 89 points.

Bill's tasting notes from Cellartracker -  "Tapestry almost never disappoints and this was no exception. Lesson learned from previous bottles, decanted for almost two hours before drinking. Medium garnet color, smooth, well integrated tannins. Slightly floral nose with cherry, mocha and a hint of oak on the finish."

WCC 88 points.

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