Saturday, November 10, 2018

Father-Son Steak Wine Dinner

Father Son Boy's Night Wine Steak Dinner

A wine adventure, we held a 'boy's night' Father-son (s) wine dinner. What a treat and joy to do so with all three sons in attendance. With son Sean just home from the hospital after some major stuff, now on the mend, sibling Alec came in from New York, and brother/son Ryan came over for the gathering. It was Ryan's birthday last week so we ventured down to the cellar to pull a 'birth-year' wine from the few remaining in the collection for his vintage.

We discussed the possibility of doing a 'vertical' tasting, a wine from the same label from each of their birth years. It would be possible from our cellar collection but only in larger format Magnums, obviously too much for as intimate small group tasting as it was. Notably, at some point we could, and need to do a tasting of all the kids birthyears as we have in our collection one from each, magnums of Silver Oak, Chateau Palmer and Gruaud Larose.

For the 1982 vintage we found a time-to-drink Chateau Gloria St Julien. For a near '85 we pulled a 1986 Chateau Clerc Milon Pauillac. We should've pulled a '90 vintage for son Alec's birthyear but opted to stick to just the two bottles. Notably, too, remarkably, or perhaps shamefully, our cellar records show we hold more than 180 bottles in no less than 65 different labels from that vintage! Need a party or special occasion! (I am certain this number is exaggerated and doesn't reflect earlier consumption and numerous bottles 'thinned' and liquidated from the cellar at auctions when their market price points peaked during the last decade.) 

Eventually in a quest for something 'younger', we pulled a Paradigm Napa Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon from the 1994 vintage.

Later after I (Dad) went to bed, the boys pulled and tasted one of our favorite Syrah's, Kilikanoon Oracle Shiraz 2005. Half of that bottle remains that we'll enjoy with tonight's dinner.

Chateau Gloria St Julian Bordeaux 1982

The cork on this bottle was a challenge as it was saturated and soft but initially intact. ryan used an Ahso (two pronged puller) to extract it and the bottom tip of the extended extra long cork eventually separated and remained deep in the neck. I was able to extract it using a traditional corkscrew, inserting it into the edge between the bottle and the cork and gently wedging it out.

We decanted and aerated the bottle. It was initially closed but opened after about ninety minutes. Initial indications suggested the bottle might be tainted or over the hill, somewhat murky with a brownish rust colored tinge on the dark garnet color. While it never cleared, the cherry and currant fruits revealed themselves and by the time the grilled strip steaks were ready, this was consumable, albeit past its drinking window and just hanging on for remaining drinking life. The fruits had given way to leather, black olive and earth tones. It was a worthwhile and acceptable complement to the steak, baked potato grilled asperagus.

For some reason, this was offensive and repulsive, conflicting with the chocolate silk pie. So be it.

While it was never an expensive or long lived collectable bottle, the fact we found one lurking in the cellar was fun and it contributed to the wine dinner experience. For what its worth, we didn't even have this bottle in our cellar records. We found it searching for another bottle.

RM 85 points.

Chateau Clerc Milon Pauillac 1986

At 32 years this is outside its prescribed drinking window, past its prime but still approachable, remarkably holding its own, but time to drink up. Back in 2002 Parker wrote that "while this wine should age well for another two decades, it has matured faster than many of the 1986 Pauillacs".

The cork started to collapse as soon as I pressed on it but I was able to work it out, slowly rocking the 'Ahso' (two prong cork puller) between opposite sides to extract it fully. It was soft and saturated but intact.

Note the original price still affixed to the bottle, $32.99 on release back in 1989, on sale for $29.99. The pricetag tells me I obtained this at the old legendary Sam's in Chicago.

Decanted and aerated but needed a couple hours to open up, dark garnet colored, medium bodied, plum and cherry fruits initially subdued and overshadowed by leather and black olive, eventually popping with some bright vibrancy with tones of cedar and spicy clove with hints of bacon fat, pepper and anise, turning to some modest tannins on the short finish. This is a blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc.

On release this got 97 points from Wine Spectator in 1989 and was Ranked #2 on the Top 100 Wines of 1989. Robert Parker gave it 90 points and Jancis Robinson gave it 17.5/20 points. I gave it 88 which is remarkable at this late stage of life.

Paradigm Napa Valley Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon 1994

We tasted and acquired this wine during our visit to the winery during our Napa Wine Experience 1999. This was the or close to the inaugural vintage of this wine and is the last of the bottles we hold in our cellar of this vintage label.

This is showing remarkably well at 24 years of age showing no signs of diminution. This may be at its apex of drinkability and will no doubt not improve with further aging. But there should be no rush to consume these either. We acquired a case of this wine upon release and the remaining bottles are in perfect condition with corks and fill levels still being optimal.

Tonight was consistent with my last tasting of this vintage label date back to 8/30/2009 when I posted this. "Dark inky color. forward fruit flavors of black cherry, with a bit with earth and leather emerging over the subtle currant, ripe plum, cedar and a hint of anise on a moderate finish."

Kilikanoon Oracle Claire Valley Shiraz 2005

The boys opened this after I went to bed but left me some which we enjoyed the next evening.  I am finding these aged Aussie Shiraz's hold up for several days and may be better the day after or the day after that!

This is one of our favorite Shiraz's in our cellar collection. Shiraz is the second highest volume varietal in number of bottles in our collection after Bordeaux varietals (which includes Cabernets (Sauvignon and Franc), Merlot, and the 'lesser' varietals Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec.

Our collection of Syrahs aka Shiraz', represent Australia, Washington State, California and the French Rhone River Valley, upper and lower.

This producer, Kilikanoon was awarded Australian Wine Producer of the Year by the International Wine and Spirit Competition (IWSC) for the fifth time in eight years that Kilikanoon was internationally recognised as Australian Winery of the Year, (previously by James Halliday in 2013 and Germany’s Mundus Vini in 2010, 2017 and 2018).

This Kilikanoon Oracle Shiraz 2005 was awarded best Shiraz in the World at the International Wine Challenge, one of three times to be so recognized, in 2001 and the 2014 Oracle Shiraz was awarded the Shiraz Trophy for best Shiraz in the world. 

Oracle is composed from select old vine fruit grown along the estate-owned Golden Hillside Vineyard in Leasingham in the Clare Valley in South Central Australia. Oracle was the first Shiraz released by Kilikanoon’s Founder and Chief Winemaker Kevin Mitchell in the inaugural 1997 vintage and has been released each year except 2011.

This 2005 was consistent with earlier tasting notes back in May and previous last entry back in 2009 when this wine was only five years old. Now three times that age, it still presents the massive blackberry liqueur accented by full bodied blueberry, notes of kirsch, expresso and hints of cinnamon and clove spices.

Dark blackish garnet colored with full body and fine grained approachable well integrated tannins on the long lingering finish. Over the years since the earlier tasting, the berry fruits are starting to give way to a notes of raisin and hints of leather.