For a customer/business partner dinner, we hosted a special dinner at Vinifera Wine Bistro at the Westin Hotel in Reston, VA. Business partner and colleague Michael Schwartz brought two bottles of special home vinted wine from his private cellar to serve BYOB at the dinner. As a wine aficionado and wine snob extraordinaire I was intrigued by the prospects of trying Mike's wine, but I admit my expectations were very low. I couldn't imagine a home produced wine with grapes or juice sourced from a commercial supplier being any good, let alone being sophisticated serious wine! Wow, what a surprise. Well done, Mike! Both wines were hits of the evening, actually overshadowing a special reserve Napa Valley Bordeaux varietal that I brought from home for the occasion.
For the opening wine in the flight, Mike served his own Pinot Noir. I write often in these pages about how difficult it is to find a moderately priced high QPR Pinot Noir. This was an amazing wine discovery!
Odd Couple Winery, Michael Schwartz Home-vinted Lodi, Ca (Bottled at Lewisboro Valley New York) Pinot Noir 2010
This wine was produced by Mike in collaboration with fellow winemaker John Vuolo who has since gone on to found South Salem Winery, in South Salem, NY.
Ruby colored, moderately opaque, light bodied, this was a full forward brilliant vibrant fruit bomb with full flavored dusty rose, cranberry and red berry fruit flavors, bursting with tangy cinnamon spice - nicely balanced, polished, concentrated and complex, turning to a tangy tongue coating tannin finish.
RM 91 points.
Michael Schwartz Home-vinted Chateau Schwartz Italian Corvina (Bottled at Lewisboro Valley New York) Amarone 2008
Like the Pinot above, this wine also blew me away with its relative balance and polish. This was the favorite of several of the diners at our dinner.
Dark inky colored, full bodied, full concentrated black berry and black raspberry fruits flavors with tones of raisin, black cherry, smoke, creosote and hints of fig with a modest tannin finish. Lacking a core or structured backbone, otherwise this might have been as much a blockbuster surprise as the Pinot, impressive none-the-less.
RM 87 points.
Robert Keenan Winery Mailbox Vineyard Special Reserve Napa Valley Spring Mountain District Merlot 2004
For fun and to honor friend and business associate and one of our dinner guests, I brought this special namesake wine, a vineyard designated Napa Valley Reserve Merlot from Robert Keenan Winery, high atop Spring Mountain.
at the winery during our 2007 visit there with colleague, business partner and friend AJ during one of our many Napa Wine Experiences together. I served one of these labels at a special holiday dinner a few years back, and gifted one to this friend as well. All the bottles mentioned, including tonight's bottle were in Magnum format.
Served last, this was appropriate in the tasting order as it was big forward concentrated fruit, even for a Merlot. At a dozen years of age, this bottle is just hitting its stride.
Dark garnet colored, full bodied, smooth polished and nicely balance, blackberry and black raspberry fruits accented by tangy cherry notes, tones of cinnamon spice, cedar, tea and tobacco leaf with hints of anise, creosote and smoke.
RM 92 points.