Sunday, August 2, 2015

Anniversary and birth year labels highlight celebration dinner

Fun with wine - Anniversary and birth year labels highlight celebration dinner

For a gala family reunion celebration dinner we opened some commemorative Anniversary labels and a special birth year wine for the special occasion.  Sister Jan and her family came in from So-Cal for the family gathering. We celebrated a 35th and 40th anniversary, a milestone 90th birthday, recent birth of grandson Richard Reid, and upcoming marriage of niece Krysta.

For the occasion we opened a selection of Napa Sonoma Cabernets - a magnum of bride-to-be Krista's birth year 1989 Silver Oak, a 35th Anniversary label Keenan Spring Mtn, and Caymus commemorative 40th Anniversary 1 Liter Napa Estate Cabernets.

We held the dinner at Theo's Steakhouse in Highland. DJ and the rest of the Theo's staff did a spectacular job accommodating our BYOB wine, serving our group of fourteen, and the dinner preparations were superb - meeting or exceeding our expectations in every respect.

An unexpected special treat of the evening was the performance of the live entertainment whose repertoire appealed to and was enjoyed by all four generations in our group.

We started the evening with a champagne toast from a white sparkler from the winelist. The featured red wines were a journey and presentation of the contrast of diverse styles, terroir, profiles and vintages of Napa / Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon. The wines were a perfect accompaniment to the salad with accent blue cheese, grilled steaks, and chocolate layer cake finale.

Perhaps entering the finale stages of its prime drinking window, the more modest and muted style of the Sonoma Alexander Valley were a sharp contrast to the full throttle big bold expressive '12 Caymus and the more complex Keenan Spring Mountain Cabs.

Silver Oak Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1989 (Magnum)

My cellar records indicate that we hold fifteen different vintages of this label dating back to the eighties so this is a wine we know well and enjoy often.

Continuing a tradition of large format bottles for special family occasions, I pulled and brought this birth year magnum from the cellar. At twenty six years, this was showing its age in the rust brickish color showing on the edges.

Muted upon opening, the expressive signature layers of 'silver' oak emerged and amplified over the course of the evening. The slightly astringent acidic black berry fruit was punctuated by a layer of leather, earthy tobacco leaf and black tea before giving way to the layer of oak that permeated the finish. This was a special bottle that showed its heritage and terroir well.

RM 88 points.

Keenan Spring Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 (35th Anniversary Edition Label) 

We visited Keenan Winery high atop Spring Mountain during our Napa Wine Experience 2007.

This was the most complex, balanced and polished of the three wines.

Dark garnet colored, medium bodied, black berry and black raspberry fruits give to way tones of tobacco and a hint of coffee turning to moderate lingering tannins on the finish.

RM 89 points.

Caymus Vineyards Estate Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 (40th Anniversary Label) 

From a special release 1 Liter bottle, by far the most popular wine of the evening was the Caymus '12.

Dark inky purple, full bodied, big brooding ripe tongue coating plum, black and blue berry fruits predominate turning to a layer of mocha chocolate with a hint of cassis on a big finish.

RM 93 points.