Christmas surf & turf dinner classic whites and medley of reds
I took an aged 1996 Liparita Howell Mountain Merlot in 1.5 liter magnum and Ryan brought Chateau Montelena Chardonnay 2008. I added a Cliff Lede Sauvignon Blanc while Ryan brought remains of previously opened Chateau Canon-le-Gaffeliere and Lewis Cellars Family Ethan's Syrah to round out the flights.
Large gatherings call for large bottles as there is much fun in opening large format bottles for such occasions. Vintage wines tend to age better - longer and more gracefully in large format bottles, and this may have contributed to the approachability of this aged 1996 Napa Merlot.
Liparita Napa Valley Howell Mountain Merlot 1996
Winesite, I recall we visited Liparita and tasted this with winemaker Gove Celia from barrel at the Oakville crush facility during one of our Napa trips back in the late nineties.
My previous note for this wine was in 2011 and cited subdued fruit that was still holding. Remarkably, tonight the fruit was bright, vibrant and forward, continuing to hold, accented by aromas and flavors of anise/licorice.- dark inky purple color - medium bodied - aroma's and tastes of floral, flavors of slightly flabby but pronounced cherry and plum fruits with subtle spice, tobacco leaf, leather and anise on a tannic cherry laced short finish.
RM 89 points.
Note, while it is the same branding, this is not the same producer or wine team as the current Liparita label.
Cliff Lede Napa Valley Stags Leap District Sauvignon Blanc 2011
This remains one of our favorite Sauvignon Blancs - a varietal that is most true to its origins, and least subject to adulteration or enhancement in the winemaking.
Our visit and tasting at the Cliff Lede Stag's Leap District Vineyard & Winery was one of the highlights of our Napa Valley Wine Experience in 2009.
This was a perfect accompaniment to the grilled lobster tails with drawn butter. Light straw colored, crisp and clean bright acidity with smooth nicely balanced complex aromas and flavors of pear, peach, lychee fruit, with a layer of lime zest with a flinty minerality on a lingering finish.
RM 90 points.
Lewis Cellars Napa Valley Ethan's Syrah 2012
I love featuring Lewis family wines, named for family members, at family events with the classic 'L' on the label for Linda and Lucy, and with the Lewis Indy 500 racing heritage back in our home state of Indiana. So, I was delighted that Ryan had this open from the previous evening and saved some for us to taste with the dinner.
This is our favorite profile for a Syrah. Linda loves this style of big rich chewy black and blue berry fruits.
Dark inky purple, full bodied, rich, concentrated thick chewy tongue coasting black and ripe blue berry fruits with layers of accent tones - licorice, brown spice and graphite. We hold this in the cellar and can't wait to feature this in a tasting all its own.
RM 93 points.
Château Canon-la-Gaffelière 2006
|Label from 2005|
This is one of Ryan's favorites and he is collecting a vertical of this wine in his cellar. He had this open from the previous evening and he saved some of this to bring to comparison taste with our dinner.
This bottle did not hold up well the following day and hence this may not be a fair evaluation. The fruit was quite subdued, almost suppressed - dark garnet colored, medium bodied, black berry and black cherry fruit giving way to tones of anise, herbs, tobacco leaf, leather, and graphite. I'll withhold rating as neither of us believe this was a representative example of this label.
45% Cab Franc
5% Cab Sauv
More to come ...