Saturday, May 22, 2021

Father Son wine dinner

Father and my three son's celebrate Dad's b-day wine dinner

With the ladies on the east coast for a wedding shower, I got to dine with my three sons as the men got together for a grilled steak and wine dinner. 

Son Alec hosted and broke in his new grill preparing rib-eye steaks, roasted corn, squash, grilled marinated mushrooms and carmelized grilled onions. 

We each brought an interesting bottle to share and compare. 

Beforehand, Alec served the selection of Murray's artisan cheeses as he did the other evening when we dined there christening their new townhouse


Son Ryan was bringing one of my historically most memorable Syrahs, Kongsgaard Napa from 2002, (which we drank at my birthday two years earlier). So, I looked for a comparative bottle from a near vintage, and pulled from our cellar a 2001 Noon Eclipse

 The wines were a spectacular accompaniment to the steaks, corn, mushrooms, onions, squash and chocolate - a fabulous dinner! 

For the dinner entree course, Alec opened a Corley Reserve Napa Cabernet

Noon Vineyards Eclipse McLaren Vale Grenache Syrah blend 2001 

This is produced by Drew Noon and his wife Raegan who carry on to the next generation this family owned small vineyard and winery in McLaren Vale, South Australia. 

Drew grew up on this property that his father David established as a family wine business in 1976. Drew took over winemaking duties from his Dad with the 1996 vintage. 

Drew writes about the vines that surround the house, "They are like old friends. I have pruned and tended them since I was a child and so the appearance of the vines themselves, the leaves and the bunches as they develop, is very familiar. I feel like I share a life experience with them and so they are close to my heart."

The Noon vineyards like many in South Australia are unique, with the old vines growing on their own roots (not grafted onto rootstocks necessitated by the presence of phylloxera like most of the rest of the world). Their native, natural 'old' vines more readily reflect their terroir and produce wines with a ‘sense of place’. This circumstance is quite rare in the world sense and gives Noon a unique advantage.

Noon specializes in limited production red wines, hand crafted to be full bodied, sourced from their estate from small vineyard blocks. They employ a minimalist approach to craft wines that optimally reflect the grapes and the site terroir.

When I pulled this from the cellar it was still wrapped in the tissue from the original release. I initially thought it was the Noon Syrah until we unwrapped it for opening at dinner. I seem to recall buying this at Gary's in Scottsdale, during one of my frequent trips there during that era.

Noon "Eclipse" Langhorne Creek South Australia Grenache-Shiraz 2001 

The 2001 Eclipse is a blend of 65% Grenache and 35% Shiraz, from 56-65 year old vines from three vineyards surrounding and adjacent to the producer's homestead house and winery in McLaren Vale. From the Winery Block they grow Grenache bush vines planted in 1934; from the Almond Block they  grow Shiraz and Graciano (bush vines) that were planted between 1998 and 2001, and from BJ’s Block, they grow another Grenache bush vine vineyard, planted in 1943.

This was rated 94 points by Robert Parker's Wine Advocate and 93 points by Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

At twenty years, despite perfect cork, fill level and label, this is at the end of its prime drinking window and will start to diminish here forward, time to drink. 

Lighter than expected. Dark garnet color with opaque purple hues, medium bodied,  blackberry fruit accented by charcoal, smoke, bacon fat, some pepper, licorice, black tea, hints of floral and spice. 

RM 90 points.

Kongsgaard Hudson Ranch Vineyard Napa Valley Syrah 2002

For my second birthday dinner in three years, Ryan opened this Kongsgaard Napa Valley Hudson Ranch Vineyard Syrah. I first tasted this label, the 2007 release, at Grange Restaurant in Sacramento. I wrote in my blogpost at the time that it was the most memorable Shiraz I had ever tasted. 

This is sourced from the Hudson Vineyard down in Carneros at the bottom of Napa Valley near the San Pablo Bay. 

Kongsgaard Hudson Ranch Vineyard Syrah 2002

Consistent with that earlier tastings, this was dark garnet colored, full bodied, complex and concentrated with notes of what Robert Parker refers to as soy, beef jerky and smoked game tones. There is a layer of bacon fat and graphite overlaying the more subdued flavors of black blackberry and raspberry with accents of of licorice and pepper. 

This was a great pairing with the Noon and a perfect complement to the artisan cheese and grilled steaks, as well as chocolate cake for dessert.

RM 92 points.

Corley Reserve Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

This is produced by the Corley family who are long time grape growers in Napa Valley that produce a small limited amount of wine of their own label, only in extraordinary vintages. 

They produced this wine at Monticello Winery on Big Ranch Road in the Oak Knoll District of south Napa Valley. We visited this winery estate back in the late nineties when it was operating as a custom crush facility and we did a tasting of boutique producer Elan Wines with producers Patrick and Linda Elliott-Smith

This was a special bottle as the boys know and are friends with one of the members of the Corley family and were able to source this special limited release bottling. 

This is a blend of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc and 5% Merlot.

Ken's Wine Guide Tasting Panel summed this up perfectly when they wrote about this label, "This very dark garnet colored Cabernet Sauvignon from Corley opens with a mild black currant and black licorice bouquet. On the palate, this wine is medium bodied, slightly acidic and savory. The flavor profile is a fruit forward fruit bomb featuring stewed plum and black currant with notes of graphite and toasted oak. We also detected a hint of blackberry. The finish is dry and its moderate tannins show very nice length. The Panel suggested pairing this Cab with a New York strip steak. Enjoy - KWGTP"

I echo their tasting experience and give this 92 points. Dark garnet color, medium-full body, nicely balanced and integrated blackberry and black currant fruits with notes of anise, hints of graphite and toasted oak with smooth polished moderate tannins on a lingering finish.

As the time of this writing, the Corley Wine website is not operating.  

Fine De Châteauneuf-du-Pape Château La Nerthe 1988 

We finished the dinner with chocolate cake and  this special aperitif. 

This is another very special bottle we tasted. We opened and christened this bottle during a special dinner at Alec and Vivianna's apartment in NYC.

We discovered, tasted, and Alec acquired this wine during our visit to the Château La Nerthe estate two summers ago.

La Fine de Château La Nerthe comes exclusively from the distillation of white wine in bottles of the Château. White wine is aged in bottles in the cellars before being tasted and distilled.

Château La Nerthe perform a triple distillation to obtain the finest and delicate aromas possible. They seek the spirit of their old white wines that make the reputation of Château La Nerthe. By its origin, its extraction, its requirement and its refinement of 10 years minimum in oak casks, the Fine of the Castle La Nerthe is the expression of the exceptional finest spirit of their wines.

Château La Nerthe have been producing these fine wines in the true tradition of fine wine distillation in Châteauneuf du Pape since this, their first vintage, 1988.

Tea honey colored, full bodied, delicious, smooth, harmonious, nicely balanced.

RM 93 points.