Tonight, we're continuing our COVID shut-in virtual family dinner and wine tastings, (and our original such event last weekend),virtual dinners and wine tastings across the family, sharing texts, photos and videos of our selections as we're all shut in due to the Coronavirus. As the Coronavirus shut-in enters week three, sons Ryan and Alec and daughter Erin joined us to conduct another virtual family dinner and wine tasting.
Daughter Erin joined in with texts and pictures of their family activities capped off by Richie's Journal setting the tone for the whole situation, and Lucy's art tribute to recently departed pets.
Son Ryan grilled filet steaks with evoo, garlic and rosemary, seared finished on the grill, and Michelle prepared twice baked potatoes and lemon vinagrette grilled asparagus. For their wine selection they selected Hall's Jack's Masterpiece Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. This is an extraordinary wine from the Hall collection that was rated 99 points.
Hall's Jack's Masterpiece Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2013
we have both visited the magnificent Hall Winery and hospitality center at their Rutherford Estate. Son Alec selected Hall's Excellenz from their super premium collection for special gifting to clients for the holiday a year ago.
We also hold bottles of Jack's Masterpiece, a fun wine and great selection for such an event since it is dedicated to Hall's former winemaker and current president, Mike Reynold's son Jack. The wine is named for the label artwork created by Mike’s then 18-month-old son Jack as a Father’s Day gift.
Lastly, the vintage selected is also the birthyear of grandkids and cousins from both sides of the family, Marleigh and Richie.
This was awarded 99 points by Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, 95 points from Wine Spectator and 93 points from Vinous.
This is a premium blend, selected from the finest grapes from Hall's finest vineyards. All the pundits say it needs several years to shed its 'formidable tannic heft', and that it has three decades or more of longevity.
From their reviews: "opaque purple color, opulent, full-bodied mouthfeel, deep, plush texture, dark, powerful and explosive, blueberry and blackberry fruits, blackberry jam, dark berry flavors, mocha-scented oak and notes of blackberry, licorice, hazelnut and brownie, espresso, chocolate, leather and super-sweet tannins.
|Ryan's incredible grilled steaks|
This is a single vineyard designated wine from the Ryan Vineyard. Part of our reason for selecting this wine was the whimsical fun that is it shares the name of Ryan our oldest son.
For casual pleasurable sipping with cheese, dried fruits and chocolates we opened a Pinot Noir, a lighter wine for such an occasion. Readers of this blog know we don't do a lot of Pinots, opting instead for bigger, bolder, more fruit forward wines. There are occasions when a lighter, more subtle wine is more suitable and Pinot Noir, the wine of Burgundy is ideal. Such wines are not simpler however and can often be equally complex and even elegant.
Add to all this exuberance the selection of the producer Calera Vineyards and its founder winemaker Josh Jenson who is the epitome of Pinot Noir in California, or perhaps America.
In 2002, the Ryan label appeared, named for Calera's vineyard manager since 1979. We've had fun with this wine collecting it for our #1 Ryan, serving it in celebration of his wedding a few years ago, and holding it in our cellar for special Ryan oriented occasions, or just fun occasions shared together such as tonight!
The Calera vineyards are enumerated and featured on the rear bottle label of the bottles as shown here. They are perhaps the most comprehensive and informative labels one will find anywhere on a bottle of wine. They spell out the information on the vineyard, geography, altitude, plantings, vines, the vintage and the bottling. The rear label itself makes for interesting reading, and insightful comparisons across the vineyards or vintages if one happens to have such bottles.
Calera Ryan Vineyard Mt Harlan Pinot Noir 2011
Consistent with our last tasting for this label which we served for the family Thanksgiving diner back in 2015, this was translucent ruby red colored, medium light bodied, scent of dusty rose, cherry and raspberry fruit flavors with a hint of cola, spice and earthy mushroom turning to fine grained delicate tannins on the moderate lingering finish.
RM 89 points.
Another family connection for our evening's dining, Linda and I enjoyed some delicious artisan chocolates from France.
These were part of a incredible holiday gift package from our 'French Family' friends whom we visited with son Alec during or French holiday last year.
One of the primary reasons for our trip, and the purpose of visiting Aix-en-Provence was to visit with our ‘host’family, Jean Claude and Mireille, parents of Philippe who was an exchange student that lived with us on two different tours. His residency and friendship with our son Alec contributed to Alec’s fluency in French. Visiting the region to see Philippe and meet his family was one of the reasons for our trip, together with our son and Viv, his fiancée, to the south of France.
Also shut in due to the Coronavirus, Alec and Vivianna, out in Conneticut, prepared grilled USDA prime New York strip steaks, charred Pittsburgh style, just like I would like them!
With their steak dinner they drank a California Conundrum Cabernet Sauvignon blend from Charlie Wagner of Caymus fame.
This is a blend of Petit Syrah, Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon, sourced from throughout the Northern California region, purpose crafted to be the perfect complement to grilled meats at a high QPR suitable for every day drinking.
Conundrum California Red Wine 2017
Crafted by Charlie Wagner, grandson of the legendary Chuck Wagner of Caymus fame, he says "We believe in being both serious and playful, and this wine fits the bill. A rich, dark red, it offers aromas of ripe berries and plums, warmed by a hint of cocoa.'
'Dried fruit and the taste of chocolate-covered cherries come through on the palate, while a wisp of smokines, makes this wine – created from dark red varietals including Petite Sirah, Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon – the perfect complement to grilled meats and full-flavored dishes.'
'Tannins are rounded out by the ripeness of the berries for a texturous but smooth mouth feel. The finish makes us think of lingering at the end of a long evening and still not wanting to go home, with layers of rich flavor that teasingly trail off."
Coronavirus Shut-in Family Artwork and Journal
Finally, the most touching point of the evening was Erin sharing pictures of the family artwork highlighted by grandson's Richie journal for the day, setting the tone for the entire shut-in situation, and Lucy and her tribute to beloved family dog Jackie, that was put down as we entered the shut-in period. In the background is the classic family projects - the planets!