Sunday, January 19, 2020

Family Celebration Dinner Features Birthyear Vintage Wine

Family Celebration Dinner Features Birthyear Vintage Wine

We held a gala family dinner to celebrate the engagement of son Sean and Michelle at our neighborhood trattoria Angeli's Italian. To toast the celebration and accompany the dinner I brought BYOB from our cellar a Limited Edition red magnum of Piper-Heidsieck Cuvée Brut Champagne, a magnum of Chateau Ste. Michelle "50th Anniversary Edition" Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, and a bottle of Sean's birth-year vintage Chateau Cos d' Estournel.

The Champagne was a concensus highly rated selection being among the Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2019 at #95. The Winemaker Notes for this release: "The Brut NV represents the epitome of the Piper-Heidsieck style: a classic, well-structured, and fruit forward champagne.

We also served this for our gala family Christmas dinner when I wrote, "Piper-Heidsieck carefully selects fruit from more than 100 of Champagne’s crus to blend the Brut NV. This adds great complexity and dimension to the wine and allows the bold Piper-Heidsieck style to shine through.'

A majority blend of Pinot Noir provides structure to the composition while Pinot Meunier expands the wine with its brilliant fruit expression and fleshiness and Chardonnay bring elegant tones and acidity. The precious reserve wines create a consistent flavor profile year after year.'

"This Champagne teases and allures us with its festive, light-drenched, pale gold shimmer and joyful display of neat, lively bubbles. Notes of almond and fresh hazelnut accompany the precise ascent of its bubbles. It is lively, subtle and light, leaving a deliciously incisive sensation of smoothness, marked by the pureness of fresh pear and apple and a delicate hint of citrus fruits. A harmonious mixture of bright, crunchy pomelo, blonde grapes and juicy white fruits creates the delightfully surprising sensation of lightness embraced by the structure and depth from the Pinot Noir; all beautifully balanced."

This release achieved Critical Acclaim having been awarded WS 92 points by Wine Spectator, 91 points by Jeb Dunnuck and 90 points each by Robert Parker's Wine Advocate and Wine Enthusiast.

White-golden straw colored, balanced, fruity, fresh and elegant, medium-bodied, stimulatingly fresh and well-structured blend with gorgeous fruit and a clean, persistent finish, a mineral edge and final fruitiness, beautifully textured with a solid mid-palate, good density, and a clean, crisp finish.

RM 90 points

Chateau Ste. Michelle "50th Anniversary Edition" Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 

A whimsical tribute to daughter-in-law to be, we served this namesake bottle from magnum. We took this wine to a dinner she hosted in the fall and it was well received. This received 93 points from Decanter Magazine. 

This is a complex Bordeaux style blend of 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Merlot, 4% Syrah, 1% Malbec, 1% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Petit Verdot crafted from fruit sourced from Columbia Valley vineyards in eastern Washington including the Cold Creek, Canoe Ridge Estate, and Indian Wells vineyards.

Dark garnet colored, medium to full bodied, rich extracted complex concentrated black and red berry fruits, tightly would with a firm structure that is accessible style and approachable with moderate smooth tannins on a lingering finish. A great complement to the beef tenderloin with brown marsala sauce or the horseradish creme sauce.

RM 88 points.
Château Cos d'Estournel St-Estèphe Bordeaux 1985

Lastly, from our wine cellar collection, a wine from Sean's birthyear. Our cellar is known for the horizontal collections of wines for the vintage birth-years of our kids and grand-kids, especially many in large format bottles. Indeed, our large format bottles were the basis of our cellar being featured in the Collecting column of Wine Spectator magazine back in June, 2001.

We visited the historic iconic Chateau Cos d' Estournel during our visit to the Medoc last summer.

Chateau Cos d’Estournel is a Second Growth Bordeaux from the Bordeaux classification of 1855. The estate is located on the border as one leaves Pauillac and enters St.-Estephe, adjacent to and looking across the vineyards at Chateau Lafite Rothschild. The historic iconic Chateau sits atop the hill and emerges in full view as one rounds the bend on the D4 route. The chateau is surrounded by 160 acres of vineyards planted to 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Merlot.

Founded in the 18th century by Louis Gaspard d’Estournel, the chateau’s wines were admired and in demand all over the world from the 19th century. The chateau was bought and sold many times during the late 19th and 20th centuries, and in 2000 it was acquired by Michel Reybier, who has managed it and maintained it's excellence.

Robert M. Parker Jr. has noted that Cos d’Estournel “has been particularly successful in difficult vintages” and “remains impeccably managed.” Some 200,000 bottles of the signature Cos d’Estournel are produced each year. 

Château Cos d'Estournel St-Estèphe Bordeaux 1985

Our Cellartracker records indicate we still hold a half dozen vintages of this label from the eighties and nineties. We still hold a half case of this vintage release.

My previous and last tasting note of this vintage was way back in 2001 when I wrote: "Very refined and polished - a robust nose filled with ripe blackberry and currant. This is a deep and complex wine that has a long and chewy aftertaste."

This vintage release was awarded 93 points by Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, Wine Spectator and Vinous. 

Parker said "it was one of the most forward wines from Cos". WS said, "This bottle constitutes the best example of the 1985 that I have encountered."

Initially a bit funky, after ninety minutes the fruit emerged, the color seemed to clear up and it opened up to show true St Estephe Cos character.  

We acquired and have held this bottle in our cellar since release - the foil and label are like new, the cork was intact with the lower quarter starting to saturate. Again, evidence our cellar conditions are suitable for decades aging fine wines.

Garnet colored with a slight tinge of brown rust bricking, medium full bodied, complex, concentrated, rich black berry and black cherry fruits with notes of leather, tobacco, coffee, herbs, spice and hints of cedar with lush tannins and crisp acidity on a long aromatic finish. 
RM 93 points.