Thursday, May 6, 2021

Homestead christening dinner features Bandol & Napa Reds

Homestead christening dinner features Bandol and Napa Red Blends with sous vide Beef Filet

Alec and Vivianna moved into their new townhouse and invited us over for first guest christening dinner. Alec prepared filets of beef with asparagus, mashed pureed califlower and mushrooms. I brought a Bandol Southern France Provencal red wine. 

Having opened a Provencal Bandol wine with Pizza the previous evening for dinner and been pleasantly surprised, I research availability of other Bandol labels available at local merchants. Out of close to 12000 labels at forty-four stores, Binny's, the Chicagoland beverage superstore had only one label in stock, at just three stores, only one nearby. I ran down to the local store and picked up the few remaining bottles. 

This wine has special significance for our gala dinner since Alec and Vivianna were with us during our trip to the Provence-Côte d'Azur region in the south of France when we visited the region and toured the Southern Rhone Chateauneuf-du-Pape appellation and several wine producers two years ago. 

We also took the remains of the Bandol label we had opened and tasted the night before for a comparison tasting. 

Prior to dinner, they served several artisan cheeses from Murray's Cheese in Greenwich Village, New York City. This was one of their favorite eateries during their years living in Manhattan, one that we dined at with them on numerous occasions. 

The cheeses included a Murray's Blue, a brie and an extraordinary Murray's Moliterno Al Tartufo pecorino, aged for six months before earthy black truffle is added, "ever-so-delicately drilled and filled with rich truffle paste, a perfect (big red wine) companion", a fabulous pairing with the Bandol.  

La Bastide Blanche Bandol 2016

Like the Bandol we tasted the night before, this too was Appellation Bandol Controlee designated, a Mourvèdre based blend.  This was a blend of 78% Mourvèdre, 16% Grenache, 4% Cinsault and 2% Syrah. Comparing the two wines, this La Bastide Blance was darker, bigger, more concentrated, tighter and more complex. 

This was rated 95 points by Jeb Dunnuck, and 91 points by Joe Czerwinski of The Wine Advocate.  

Dunnuck noted the vintage, that "with the Southern Rhône Valley, Bandol appears to have had a banner year in 2016", This is brilliant Bandol!" 

At sub $30, this is another high QPR (quality price ratio) offering. Interesting that several other Bandol labels that sold out and out of stock at Binny's were priced at $40, $47, $75 and $99!

Dark blackish garnet colored, full bodied, big dense and concentrated black berry and plum fruits with some gamey notes, pepper, glycerin, dusty earth and garrigue herbs turning to gripping tannins on the lengthy finish. 

At five years of age, this likely will improve further and be more approachable and perhaps more integrated in five years and be suitable for another decade. I have a couple more bottles that will be fun to compare in five and then ten years time. 

RM 90 points.

For the dinner entree course, Alec served this wine club allocation Red Bordeaux Blend release from Hill Family wines.  

Hill Family Estate 'Origin' Napa Valley Red Blend 2016

We first tasted this wine during our gala family Christmas celebration dinner ...

As newlyweds, Alec and Vivianna visited Hill Family Estate during their forest fire shortened honeymoon in Napa in September. They visited the new estate winery, located just minutes south of Yountville just off the highway. They tasted this wine there and acquired it as part of their wine club allocation.

The Hill Family, lead by patriarch and proprietor and fourth-generation farmer Doug Hill, started producing their own branded portfolio of wines after four decades of farming grapes for some of the finest Napa Valley wineries.

Hill Family Estate produced their first wines in 2001, a Merlot and this red Bordeaux varietal blend Origin.
Today, the Hill Family owns 120 acres of vineyards in Atlas Peak, Carneros, Oak Knoll and American Canyon appellations of Napa Valley.
The Hill Family portfolio has grown to over twenty five different labels across the broad range of varietals, blends, and single vineyard designated offerings.  
Origin is their Bordeaux blend comprising all five Bordeaux varietals sourced from Hill Family estate vineyards - Cabernet Franc that Doug planted at the Beau Terrior Vineyard which had its first harvest in this release, hillside Merlot at Beau Terroir in Carneros, and Beau Terre in Oak Knoll for added structure and plushy fruit, Malbec which adds big color and lower tannins, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc to add texture to balance the Malbec, and Cabernet Sauvignon adds 'dignity' to all blends.  

The composition of 2016 Origin is
55% Merlot, 18% Malbec, 17% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Petit Verdot, and 5% Cabernet Franc sourced from Carneros, Oak Knoll, Yountville and Atlas Peak Appellations.
Production was 960 cases.
Winemaker Alison Doran’s tasting notes: "The 2016 Origin has lovely aromas of raspberry and roses. The broad entry has a big mouthful of berries and crunchy cherry. The ripe and intense mid-palate rolls into more sweet fruit –blueberry, red currant, and plum, with subtle tannins rounding out the finish.

This was dark garnet colored, medium full bodied, bright vibrant black raspberry, currant and plum fruits with spice, oak and tangy acidity on a full tannin laced lingering finish.

RM 91 points.


More to come ...