Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Birthyear vintage labels and large format bottles

Gala wedding celebrations to feature special birthyear vintage labels and large format bottles and more ...

For son Alec and Vivianna's wedding celebrations, I assembled from our cellar a collection of birthyear vintage wines including several in large format bottles. I've written often in these pages about our collection of birthyear vintage wines for our kids, and our collection of large format bottles of special labels for special occasions. This, our final child's wedding is our last perfect storm to showcase and enjoy our wine cellar selections, one we've been preparing for for literally three decades. Indeed, our collection of 1990 vintage bottles of wine spans no less than 195 bottles from 65 different labels. 

A complication or added dimension to this whole concept and philosophy is that the bride is from a different vintage/birthyear. Hence, if we add the 1991 vintage to the inventory search of our cellar collection, we add another 42 bottles from 16 different labels. Of course, we did not anticipate and plan for this in our collecting over the decades, it just happens that we have these in our collection. 

So, for the festivities, there are numerous story lines, themes and approaches to how we will serve these wines. Non super wine geeks may tune out at this point and move on to the next blogpost. 

Birthyear / vintage highlights: I've written in these pages about the vintages of the birthyears of our kids, and how the 1990 vintage, birthyear of son Alec was extraordinary, one of the best of the century and perhaps in history. Not only were there three Wine Spectator Top 100 #1 wines from this vintage, three years in a row, but they hailed from three different disparate regions of the Old and New world, France, US Napa Valley, and Australia. All three were spectacular wines from ultra-premium absolute premier legendary labels:

Chateau Grand Vin Latour Pauillac Bordeaux 1990 - Wine Spectator Top 100 #1 Wine of the Year for 1993

Moreover, for this vintage, nine of the Top Ten Wines of the year were from the 1990 vintage. 

Caymus Special Select Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvigon 1990 - Wine Spectator Top 100 #1 Wine of the Year for 1994

Penfold's Grange (Hermitage) Shiraz 1990 - Wine Spectator Top 100 #1 Wine of the Year for 1995

So, if you had a child born in 1990 and wanted to collect special birth year wines to enjoy sometime in the future, it was easy to do, or hard to go wrong.  We got lucky and were blessed in so many respects, this being but another one. We'll have the luxury of tasting each of these wines this weekend. Watch for our tasting experiences.

The second dimension, the bride/groom's birthyear. In our case, our son's fiance, Vivianna was born a year later, in the following year, the next vintage, so to speak. Here I got lucky, I already had picked up the Caymus Special Select 1990 and 1991. The #2 wine in 1995 was, alas, Caymus Special Select 1991. That turns out to be the premier finest label selection from the vintage, during this era. Bingo! The other 1991 vintage labels from this period in the top tens were FLORA SPRINGS Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Reserve 1991 and CROFT Vintage Port 1991. I happened to have also picked up the Flora Springs Napa Cab 1990 and 1991 over the years, so we have another perfect pairing for the betrothed couple. And we'll serve vintage ports collected from the vintage as well.  

Watch this space as we open and enjoy these vintage select special bottles as part of our celebrations. 

The next dimension of our celebrations is large format bottles. We have a collection of large format bottles from the vintage that we'll serve this weekend, and on special occasions in the future. This includes four six liter Imperials, and numerous Magnums of select wines. Watch for these as they are presented and served as part of our family and friends celebrations.  

Lastly, as you have seen in these pages, we have fun with various labels and producers based on numerous criteria. One example is namesake labels, wines sharing names of our family or friends. One of our favorite such producers and labels is Alec's Blend by Napa Valley Lewis Cellars. This is one of our namesake labels for the groom, Alec. Watch as we serve a decade vertical of vintages of Alec's Blend Napa Valley Red Wine this weekend.  

Lastly, we also have find with labels in other ways. Watch for how "V" (for Vivianna) becomes centerpiece of some of our wine selections this weekend as well! 

One other factor in a horizontal collection (a collection of multiple wines from the same vintage) of a particular vintage, is the intersection with a vertical collection, where we hold a series of vintages of the same label. In this case, there are a number of labels where we have collected a series of vintages including each of the birthyears of our four kids, and in many cases, now, also the birthyear vintages of our grandkids. This allows for comparison tastings of a particular label from different vintages seeing how the wine ages over time and how it compares in different vintage harvests. A top vertical collection will invariably also include top rated years as well, as standard bearers and benchmarks for comparison. There are a dozen or more labels where we hold such vertical collections that include key vintages including, of course, birthyears and anniversaries. Many of these are the basis for our studies into the producers' and their histories, estate vineyards and their terroir, and contributing producers' winemakers and consultants. 
These pages are filled with references and features of our visits to producer estate wineries and vineyards where we hold deep vertical collections of such wines. Our visit to Bordeaux last year featured tours of estates of which we hold extensive collections spanning several decades - Château Ducru Beaucaillou, Léoville Las Cases, Château Gruaud-Larose and Pichon Lalande, for example. 
Lastly, a wine flight over the course of a dinner can include champagne, white wine, multiple red wines matched to food pairings, a dessert wine and an after dinner port or aperitif.  Watch how many different wines or wine types we can present from multiple (large) formats or vintage year releases over the course of a dinner or multiple events.

The 1994 Top 10
Rank Wine Score Price
#1 CAYMUS Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Special Selection 1990 98 $75
#2 E. GUIGAL Côte-Rôtie La Mouline 1990 98 $135
#3 FLORA SPRINGS Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Reserve 1991 97 $33
#4 LEONETTI Merlot Washington 1992 96 $25
#5 FERRARI-CARANO Chardonnay Alexander Valley 1992 93 $20
#6 DOMAINE ZIND-HUMBRECHT Gewürztraminer Alsace Grand Cru Goldert Vendange Tardive 1990 96 $45
#7 LUCIANO SANDRONE Barolo Cannubi Boschis 1990 96 $46
#8 JEAN-LOUIS CHAVE Hermitage 1990 96 $63
#9 CROFT Vintage Port 1991 94 $32
#10 RIDGE Zinfandel Sonoma Valley Pagani Ranch Late Picked 1992 93 $16


#1CAYMUS Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Special Selection 1990 98 $75
The 1994 Top 10
#1CAYMUS Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Special Selection 199098
#2E. GUIGAL Côte-Rôtie La Mouline 199098
#3FLORA SPRINGS Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Reserve 199197

The Top 10 Wines of 1993

Wine Score Price*
1. CHÂTEAU LATOUR Pauillac 1990 100 $80
2. GAJA Barolo Sperss 1989 96 $60
3. SILVERADO VINEYARDS Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Limited Reserve 1990 97 $40
4. CHÂTEAU LA LOUVIÈRE Pessac-Léognan 1990 94 $22
5. LOUIS LATOUR Corton-Charlemagne 1990 95 $83
7. MOUNT VEEDER Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 1990 94 $15
8. TENUTA DELL'ORNELLAIA Ornellaia 1990 96 $42
9. CHÂTEAU LAGRANGE St.-Julien 1990 95 $26

 The 1995 Top 10

Rank Wine Score Price
#1 PENFOLDS Shiraz South Australia Grange 1990 97 $100
#2 CAYMUS Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Special Selection 1991 99 $100
#3 THE HESS COLLECTION Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 1992 94 $18
#4 FONSECA Vintage Port 1992 96 $45
#5 COMTE GEORGES DE VOGÜÉ Musigny Cuvée Vieilles Vignes 1993 96 $140
#6 ZACA MESA Syrah Santa Barbara County Zaca Vineyards 1993 94 $13
#7 CAMPOGIOVANNI Brunello di Montalcino 1990 95 $43
#8 KISTLER Chardonnay Sonoma Valley Kistler Vineyard 1992 94 $40
#9 BERINGER Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Private Reserve 1992 95 $45
#10TRIMBACH Riesling Alsace Cuvée Frédéric Emile 199096$27