Friday, September 19, 2014

Viader Napa Valley Proprietary Red

Viader Napa Valley Proprietary Red Highlights Grilled Filet Steak Dinner

When #1 son Ryan invited us over for a gourmet dinner if I'd bring the wine, the deal was done. The menu selection was endive and radish salad in lemon dill dressing, scallops in a beet and parsnip purée with crispy bacon, filets of beef with balsamic and rosemary, potato and carrot mash, finishing with bananas foster.

I pulled from the cellar the following wine flight to accompany the dinner courses: Robert Craig Durell Vineyard Sonoma Valley Chardonnay 2005, Viader Proprietary Red Wine 1996, Chateau La Rose Lussac-St Emilion Bordeaux 1982, and to finish, Linden Cellars Late Harvest Vidal 2005.

Robert Craig Durell Vineyard Sonoma Valley Chardonnay 2005

We tasted and obtained this wine at one of several visits over the last decade at the winery up on Howell Mountain during our Napa Valley Wine Experience 2008, and later acquired an additional case at auction. 

Producers notes -  "Hand-crafted in very small quantities, this Chardonnay has the qualities of a fine white Burgundy in its balance and deep fruit, mineral character and clean, crisp acidity that are hallmarks of the Durell Vineyard and of this great old world-leaning estate."

Light butter colored, crisp, medium to full bodied but nicely balanced pear and tropical fruits, almond and mineral with finely balanced acidity on a long finish.  

RM 89 points.

Viader Napa Valley Proprietary Red 1996

We met proprietor winemaker Delia Viader at a tasting hosted by Binny's Chicago Lakeview back in 2005, and visited the property on lower Howell Mountain in 2008. Our collection of Viader dates back to the 1990 vintage so it was with interest to see how this vintage has held  up over the years to calibrate the lifespan of the other vintages. In the style of many Viader releases, this is a blend of 59% Cabernet Sauvignon and 41% Cabernet Franc.

While sited on Howell Mountain, since Viader sits below 1200 feet elevation, their wines carry the Napa Valley rather than Howell Mountain Appellation. This is because the fog rise up to but sits below that level and thereby affects the micro-climate and growing conditions of the grapes - characteristics that help make up what is known as terroir.

Dark blackish garnet colored with a slight rust edge on the rim, medium to full bodied, while it certainly is beyond gaining advantage from further aging, it seems to be holding at eighteen years but is entering the last stage of its prime drinking window. Deep complex, tight yet balanced , the restrained black fruits are overshadowed a layer of tar, leather and tobacco flavors with tar/tobacco underpinning and hints of smoky spice and lead pencil finishing with firm, tongue-coating tannins.

RM 90 points.

Chateau La Rose Lussac-St Emilion Bordeaux 1982

To commemorate our father-son wine tasting dinner, I pulled from the cellar this aged vintage release Bordeaux from Ryan's birthyear - a remnant of our horizontal collection of his birthyear wines. Being a lesser producer, despite this classic vintage, this was a gamble on whether or not it was still drinkable. Having most assuredly passed  its prime drinking window, tonight was as good a time as any to open this bottle.

Having low expectations, we weren't disappointed since it was drinakable despite lacking any redeeming characteristics. Brownish garnet in color, medium bodied, remnants of berry and black cherry fruit flavors hid beneath the layer of smoky creosote, tar, wet wood and leather with moderate lingering tannins. It was a tasting adventure in perserverance on the agabilty of Bordeaux wines suitable for a tasting experience but not as an accompaniment to food or standalone as a drink. It wasn't flawed, rather passed its suitable drinking window. Surprisingly, it was still approachable.

RM 81 points. 

Linden Vineyards Vidal Late Harvest 2005

For a period of several years, I was commuting to and working in Washington DC. During this time Linda and I toured the Virginia wine country and discovered Linden Vineyards. At a visit to the vineyards and winery, we discovered impressive well crafted wines including this late harvest Vidal dessert wine which we tasted in the winery cellar with owner/winemaker Jim Law.

Light butter colored, full bodied thick tongue coating almost syrupy, sweet - subtle aromas of dried apricot, lychee, and hint of mango - flavors of tangy persimmon, lychee, hint of apricot.

RM 91 points.  

Ryan's scallops in a beet and parsnip purée with crispy bacon