Sunday, June 16, 2019

Father's Day Special Dinner features favorite BBQ Ribs, Syrah and Zin

Father's Day Special Dinner features favorite BBQ Ribs, Lewis Ethan's Syrah and Robert Biale Black Chicken Zin

For Father's Day family dinner, Linda prepared one of my favorite summer dishes, BBQ ribs, with corn on the cob, baked beans, mashed potatos and green beans. I pulled from the cellar a family oriented Lewis Cellars Ethans Syrah, named for producers' grandson.

I've written much in these pages about the fun we have with Lewis Cellars wines and their named labels for grandkids and signature 'L' label. Also, to accompany the ribs, I opened a classic Robert Biale 'Black Chicken' Napa Valley Zinfandel.

Prior to dinner we had a broad selection of artisan cheeses including some favorites - ten year old aged cheddar, havarti, bellavitano merlot, Gruyere, and cheddar, with fresh berries and peaches fruits.

For the cheese course we opened a Chateau St Michelle Rose'.

Chateau St Michelle Washington State Rose 2018

Robert Biale Vineyards Napa Valley Black Chicken Zinfandel 2011

I consider Zinfandel as a go-to wine for zesty tangy BBQ and always keep some on hand for summer barbecues. Robert Biale specialize in Zinfandel with over a dozen different labels. The Biale Family have been growing Zinfandel along with assorted other varieties on their farm just outside the town of Napa since 1937.

This historic whimsical label "Black Chicken" gets its name from founder Aldo Biale, who used the name as a code word when he started making the wine on the sly in the '40s and didn't want other members of his family to know. He obfuscated the activities by referring to his wine as 'Black Chickens' or poultry as an alias and front for the business.

Biale produce several premium and ultra-premium Zins that are famous for a certain breed of intensity and power they obtain by restricting yields to only the best, most concentrated, fully ripe fruit each vintage.

Black Chicken is primarily sourced from Biale's Oak Knoll District ranch estate from the family vineyard that Aldo, Nonna, Bob Biale and the Biale family have farmed their whole lives, with additional grapes from our neighboring winery vineyard in the Oak Knoll winegrowing district. It is aged for fourteen months in 25% new French oak.

We have a half dozen vintages of Biale labels in our cellar and I pulled the oldest for today's dinner as part of rudimentary cellar management as it is most likely ready to drink and certainly not to improve with further aging, and at risk of passing its apex or prime drinking window.

Bright garnet colored, medium bodied, ripe cherry fruits with brambly blackberry and black raspberry notes accented by cinnamon and brown spices, hints of pepper vanilla and bacon fat with a moderate tannin, tangy finish.

RM 89 points.

Lewis Cellars Ethan's Syrah 2009

Named for Randy and Debbie Lewis' grandson Ethan, we salute the family affiliation and attribution on Father's Day. We also have fun with the 'L' on the label - we dedicate as a tribute to family members, Linda, grand-daughter and her namesake great-grandmother Lucy, and Erin Leigh.

We often serve Lewis Cellars Alec's Blend, named for the producers' oldest grandson, and a fitting tribute to our son.

 Our visit to the Lewis Cellars Estate was one of the highlights of our Napa Valley Wine Experience in 2016.

This Napa Valley Syrah is big, bold, concentrated and complex in the style that we love.

Dark inky purple color, full bodied, concentrated supple tongue coating fruit filled ripe blackberry and black raspberry, ripe plum with tones of vanilla, spice, tar and sweet oak with hints of licorice before yielding to a layer of mineral on the lingering smooth tannin finish.

At ten years, this is starting to show its age a bit with a slight bit of an edge and alcohol heat, hence deducting a point from my previous score. I attribute this to age although it could be a bottle variation but I doubt it.

RM 92 points.

Big Red Wine Flight for Family Super Hero Birthday

Big Red Wine Flight for Gala Family Super Hero Birthday

We had a gala family gathering for Son Ryan and Michelle celebrating son/grandson Reid's birthday, my namesake to the next generation, and the next. For the superhero celebration, Ryan pulled from his cellar a flight of big reds to enjoy with his signature legendary smoked beef brisket.

The flight:

Cliff Lede Stags Leap District Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2017
Rotie Cellars Washington State Southern Blend GSM 2013
El Nido Clio Jumilla Red Blend 2016
Kilikanoon Oracle Shiraz 2010

Cliff Lede Vineyards Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2017

Cliff Lefe is one of our favorite producers and a visit to the Napa Valley Stag's Leap District estate has been a highlight of several of Napa Valley excursions.

In certain vintages this is our favorite Sauvignon Blanc with its bright expressive fruits - pear, lychee, passion fruit and peach with hints of grapefruit and notes of lemon citrus. This 2017 is one of those vintages - butter colored, medium bodied, crisp clean, full flavorful fruits with nicely balanced acidity.

RM 92 points.

Rotie Cellars Washington State Southern Blend GSM 2013

We tasted this wine at the producer in Walla Walla during our private tasting visit there opening our Walla Walla Wine Experience 2018. The 2016 vintage tasted then showed much better than this 2013 release tasted tonight.

Garnet colored, medium bodied, very green notes of bell pepper predominated over the cherry fruits spice and tobacco notes leaving an unfortunate barnyard funkiness and a bit of alcohol heat; hopefully a bottle variation and not indicative of the vintage and general release but I fear not?

A "GSM" blend of 75 % Grenache, 15 % Syrah and 10 % Mourvèdre.

RM 86 points.

Bodegas El Nido Jumilla Clio Red Blend 2016

This is the one Spanish wine in our cellar that we collect annually for a vertical collection that we hold for BBQ, bold cheeses and occasionally for tangy pasta. The grapes for this wine are made from 29.65 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards and 79 acres of very old Monastrell with a very low yield.

They harvest the grape with small baskets to prevent bruising and then hand select only the best grapes on triage tables. The juice is then held 24 months in French and American new oak barrels for integration, complexity and oak infusion. The result is a bold concentrated extracted fruitiness and complexity that we enjoy in a big red wine.
Winemaker notes - The wine exhibits a glass-coating opaque purple color with an expressive nose of pain grille, underbrush, brier, mineral, blueberry,  and  blackberry  fruit  leading  to  a  plush,  opulent  wine with great density, savory flavors, and a lengthy finish.

This is a blend of 70% Monastrell (akin to French Rhone Mourvedre) and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon.

This was dark garnet colored, full bodied, concentrated, complex, bold black and blue berry fruits with notes of pain grille, brier and mineral, with a moderate tannin laced tangy acidic finish. This vintage lacks the polish and integration of some years where it is more harmonious.

RM 91 points.

Killikanoon Oracle Clare Valley South Australia Shiraz 2010

One of favorite Shiraz's, the 2014 vintage release was awarded the 'Best Shiraz in the World' by the International Wine & Spirit Competition (IWSC) in the UK.

Dark dense black inky color, full bodied, concentrated, complex, vibrant full black and blue fruits with accents of dark mocha, spice and hints of expresso, smoke and pepper with a long lingering tangy acidic and smooth moderate tannin finish.

RM 93 points.