Sunday, November 11, 2018

Family dinner features vintage Napa Cabernets Constant and Snowden

Family dinner features vintage Napa Cabernets Constant and Snowden

Bill and Beth, Bill and Jan, Freddie Constant,
Linda and your's truly
With sister Jan and Bro-in-law Bill visiting from OC, we opened for a grilled tenderloin steak dinner two classic 1995 vintage Napa Valley Cabernets, Constant Diamond Mountain Vineyards and Snowden.

We still hold more than a half dozen vintages of each of these wines dating back to these early releases in the mid-nineties.

Jan and Bill were with us when we visited the spectacular Constant Diamond Mountain Vineyards (shown below) high atop Diamond Mountain where were hosted by the late Freddie Constant (shown right), owner, during our Napa Valley Wine Experience back in 2011.

Constant tasting room overlooking infinity pool
with vineyards in the background
Constant is one of the oldest producing vineyards in Napa Valley and sits at the top of Diamond Mountain toward the north end of the Mayacamas Range straddling the summit separating Napa Valley to the east and Sonoma Valley to the west. 

We scoured the cellar for a Constant Cabernet to commemorate that visit and pulled this bottle, the oldest vintage in our collection.

To match the vintage for a mini-horizontal tasting we also pulled this 1995 Snowden from the same vintage.

Constant Napa Valley Diamond Mountain Vineyard  Cabernet Sauvignon 1995

This was the last bottle from a three bottle lot of this vintage that we acquired at auction. We acquired more recent vintages of this wine during our winery visit in 2011. Tonight we pulled the oldest vintage in our cellar as part of regular cellar management.

This bottle showed signs of recent seepage and the cork was a bit saturated so it was time to drink. This bottle showed some modest signs of diminution from age and perhaps the seepage exfiltration.

From my previous earlier tasting of this label back in 2013; "Wow, what a surprise, we had tasted this wine previously with uninspiring results. Tonight, this wine overachieved, vastly exceeding expectations. Dark purple color, medium to full bodied, full forward flavors of black berry and black cherry fruits with traces of anise and hints of tobacco, tea and leather on a lingering, moderate, soft tannin finish"

RM 88 points.

 Snowden Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1995

To round out a mini-horizontal tasting, we selected another 1995 Napa Cab to complement and compare with the Constant above.

Like the Constant, we tasted this during a Napa Valley wine visit with the Producer. We tasted and acquired this wine during a Napa Valley visit where we met the producer Randy Snowden during a wine dinner we hosted with him at Brix Restaurant during one of our Napa Valley Wine tours back in the late 1990's.Pre-internet and digital photography, I don't have records or photos to memorialize that event.

This was remarkably holding its own at 28 years of age showing modest signs of diminution from aging, but no serious deterioration, still within its drinking window, albeit past its prime.

Dark blackish garnet colored, medium-full bodied, bright floral sprites with ripe tangy black cherry and berry fruits accented with notes of leather, tobacco leaf, tea, hints of spice and oak on a moderate tannin finish.

RM 89 points.

Later we pulled another vintage 1995 from the cellar to continue or horizontal tasting, a Rosemount Balmoral Shiraz 1995.

Rosemount Estates Balmoral McLaren Vale Shiraz 1995

Like the Oracle Shiraz pulled last night after dinner, we hold more than a dozen vintages of this Australian Shiraz and as above, we pulled one of the earlier, older vintages to round out this horizontal vintage tasting.

Its been eight years since our last published tasting notes of this vintage release. While still holding its own after 23 years, this too is showing its age as the berry fruits turn to tones of raisin, fig and tobacco.

Dark full flavor, over ripe berry, raisin, notes of blueberry, plum fruit, with spice and anise. Showing age on opening but opened and softened with a long full complex finish.

This frontal assault of raisiny fruits was a bit over the top for Bill, not for the feint of heart, but the blueberry tones still reveal themselves - almost bordering on notes of a Port, this was well suited for after dinner with the dark chocolate deserts and hearty cheeses over the grilled steak.

RM 87 points.