Sunday, September 22, 2019

AXΩ Reunion Wine Flight

White Wine Flight for Sisters' Gala Reunion Dinner

Linda hosted her Alpha Chi Omega (AXΩ) sisters' reunion dinner and I put together a flight of white wines for the occasion.

The sisters gathered in Naperville as their destination reunion site and stayed at the Indigo Hotel downtown, and dined in town Friday night.

Tonight, Linda hosted them at our house and served grilled salmon and beef tenderloin with grilled cauliflower.

Before dinner I served a selection of artisan cheeses with biscuits including creamy Harvarti, Brie, Gorgonzola, Blue, Parmesan and a hearty Camembert.

The wine flight:

Twomey Napa Sonoma Sauvignon Blanc 2017
Hungry Blonde Napa Valley Carneros Chardonnay 2016
Freemark Abbey Napa Valley Chardonnay 2017
Raymond Napa Valley Chardonnay 2017

Château Doisy-Védrines Sauterne 2006

For reds I opened a whimsical Marilyn Merlot 2014 and a Andretti Montona Reserve Merlot 2015.

Twomey Napa / Sonoma Sauvignon Blanc 2017

Twomey's estate Sauvignon Blanc is the quintessential California expression of this varietal. Sourced from four estate-owned vineyards, 52% from two in Napa Valley, Calistoga and Oakville, and 48% from two in Sonoma Russian River Valley Merino Vineyard and Healdsburg, the wine is aged for five months, about 46% in wood and the rest in tank or concrete.

Light golden butter and straw color, light bodied, nicely balanced, bright aromatics of tropical fruits - mango, guava, a hint of ginger, apple and peach aromas, bright vibrant citrus opening turning to hints of lime, Meyer lemon, grapefruit and grassy herbal notes. Nicely balanced acidity on a crisp refreshing finish. 

RM 90 points.

Hungry Blonde Napa Valley Carneros Chardonnay 2016

What a fun wine to serve for such an occasion. The joys of having a broad cellar selection from which to source for a special setting. This was a big hit with the ladies with the cheese, salad and dinner courses.

Winemaker notes for the 2016, "Our Hungry Blonde Chardonnay is the perfect expression of cool-climate Napa Valley Chardonnay from the Carneros region. Inviting aromas of lemon zest and white flowers make way for waves of bosc pear, Tahitian vanilla, and baked apple tart. All held together with fresh acidity and a supple texture inviting another sip."

As I reported in my earlier blogpost on this wine, "according to Wine Country Connection, Hungry Blonde is made by the well known Napa producer Cary Gott. The fruit comes from the Poe Vineyard, which sits adjacent to the world renowned Hyde Vineyard. Larry Hyde’s HDV Chardonnay, sells for $60."

Freemark Abbey Chardonnay Napa Valley 2017

From one of our favorite and widely held producers, we own or have consumed Freemark Abbey Napa Valley wines going back three decades - most their portfolio of Cabernet Sauvignons.

I picked this up a couple weeks ago and we served it a family dinner. I like it so much, I went out and purchased more. 

This is their standard estate Napa Valley Chardonnay. It is sourced from five different vineyards: Huichica Hills  (37.9%), Rancho Sarco (29.6%), Ahmann Vineyard-Carneros (24.3%), Keyes Vineyard-Howell Mountain (6.7%), and Spring Mtn AVA (1.5%).

The Freemark Abbey premium Chardonnays are single vineyard or single AVA designated selections while this is sourced from all their vineyards to meet the large quantity of the offering. Still it is excellent and offers very good QPR - (Quality Price Ratio).

This is 85% aged in oak barrels with roughly 19% new French oak.

Winemaker's Notes for this release: "Light greenish straw in color, our chardonnay expresses fruit aroma of ripe pineapple, ripe banana, guava, apricot, peach and tropical fruit cocktail. Adding to the complexity, the oak aging is fairly integrated adding spice like nutmeg, light toast, and the nuance of angel food cake. This wine has great viscosity, depth and an intriguing long finish. The flavors are lively on the palate with pear, citrus, lemonlime, green apple and fleshy peach. This wine shows great complexity, creaminess, and elegance to compliment many foods."

I give this 91 points.

This was rated 94+ by WA and 91 by JS.

Raymond Reserve Napa Valley Chardonnay 2017

This is a bit of branding tomfoolery calling this a 'Reserve' bottling. Usually, a 'Reserve' wine is a selection of the finest batches or lots, or selected from the finest blocks in the vineyard, or even the finest grapes set aside for a special bottling. Antics like this lead to branding confusion, and confusion about wine in general, and is the basis or the premise of this blog unwindwine - making sense of wine.

Like the Freemark Abbey Chardonnay above, this is the 'standard' estate bottled large volume Chardonnay, from this long time Napa producer. The Raymond estate is situated just off Highway 29 on Zinfandel Lane just south of the town of St Helena.

Winemaker notes for this release: "Aromas of honeysuckle and orange blossoms followed by lemon, lime and pear notes amid toasted almond and honey. A rich, full, mouth feel with balanced acidity and bright lemon, pear, lime and passion fruit flavors followed by a smooth vanilla and toasted oak finish."

RM 88 points.

Château Doisy-Védrines Sauterne 2006

This is a Second Cru Classé (French, “Second Growth”) classic Sauterne, ideal for salad, cheese or dessert. This is one of the regular producer's that show this wine at the annual UGCB release tour.

This was a nice complement to the fresh berries and flowerless chocolate cake with creme fraisch.

Wine Spectator notes on this release: "Shows a solid core of fruit, with spice, honey, lemon and lime. Full-bodied and medium sweet. Spicy and very minerally. Long and balanced. Almost 92-94."

Neal Martin for Robert Parker wrote: "Very expressive nose, tropical fruits, honey, well-integrated new oak, good definition. Gets better with aeration. A crisp, well defined palate with attractive honeyed fruits, orange zest and a nice citrus kick towards the finish. Just lacks the depth of flavour compared to Doisy Daene, but there is still an attractive joie-de-vivre, plus the strict selection of grapes has rid the wine of any rot. Very fine effort, very pretty and elegant. Tasted March 2007.
Score: 91/93"

K&L's notes - At Joanne-spicy aromas and flavor. Fine balance. At UGC-a fatter style with fine depth and length. Clean acidity. Very good as usual.

My notes - Weak tea colored, medium bodied, the sweet nectar tones were overtaken by a slight layer of smokiness and mineral detracting from the normal desired experience - tasty none-the-less.

We still hold about a half case of this release and its probably time to drink up as it will not likely improve with any further aging.

RM 89 points.

Andretti Montona Reserve Merlot 2013