Team cook-out dinner features grilled beefsteak, salmon and broad diverse assorted wine flight
This continues our earlier post on the cookout dinner we hosted for my global team, wherein I wrote about the white Napa Sonoma Sauvignon Blanc blend we served to accompany the grilled salmon.
Over the course of the Salmon, grilled T-bone beefsteaks, assorted salads, cheeses, fruits and desserts, we opened a broad diverse wine flight of white, red, red blend, tawny port, and pair of dessert wines.
We served a Sauvignon Blanc from Blackbird Vineyards and were discussing their vineyard site on Oak Knoll Road at Big Ranch Road in southern Napa Valley, down the road from Trefethen Vineyards and Winery.
Hence, I pulled from our cellar a special Trefethen select blend as an additional pairing with the grilled T-Bone steaks, and comparison with the other Napa Cab, Clos du Val.
To accompany the grilled T-bone beefsteaks, I opened the pair of red Napa Valley Cabernets starting with . Clos du Val Napa Cab in a large format magnum bottle. Both were ideal pairings with the steak.
Clos Du Val is French for “small vineyard estate of a small valley,” was founded in 1972 in the historic Stags Leap District by Franco-American entrepreneur John Goelet. Monsieur Goelet conducted a global search for vineyards where he could build a world class winery - and craft world-class wines. His search ended with the purchase of 150 acres in the Napa Valley Stags Leap District, and 180 acres in the Carneros region at the bottom of Napa Valley near where it meets Sonoma, near the confluence at the top of San Pablo Bay.
In 2012, Clos Du Val’s Winemaker Kristy Melton became only the third winemaker in the four-decade history of Clos Du Val. Previous she had worked at Seresin Estate in New Zealand, and Iron Horse and Saintsbury in California.
I first posted a tasting of this label back in November 2015 when I noted "I like this wine" and rated it 93 points; "Dark garnet colored, medium-full bodied, a symphony of smooth
polished complex flavors - tightly wound blackberry, black cherry, hints
of plum and currant fruits accented by tones of black tea, black olive,
hints of vanilla, light toast, and tobacco on the finely integrated
supply sinewy tannin finish."
I then wrote about it again almost a year ago to the day on 7/16/2021 when I wrote: "At eight years, this is just now starting to hit its stride and has a
long life ahead and may not yet have reached the apex of its
drinking/aging profile. It might settle down and integrate a bit further
for more polish and nuance, but it is delicious now as it is."
'Bright garnet/purple colored, medium full bodied, vibrant, forward expressive blackberry, dark cherry and black currant fruits with notes of graphite, smoke, floral, herbs, black tea and tobacco turning to firm but smooth approachable tannins and a pleasing bright tangy lingering finish."
Served from large format magnum which I believe contributed to its being somewhat more settled balanced than earlier tastings, at nearing a decade, this is hitting its stride and likely at or nearing the apex of its tasting profile and window.
Consistent with earlier notes, bright ruby purple colored, medium full bodied, bright vibrant, complex but nicely balanced blackberry, black currant and dark cherry fruits with bitter dark chocolate, baking spice, black tea, with some smoke and leather on a tangy acidic finish and moderate soft tannins on the finish.
RM 92 points.
As mentioned, based on the discussions about Trefethen above, and the unique nature of this label and its heritage, I pulled from the cellar this red Bordeaux blend from them.
Trefethen Dragon's Tooth Napa Valley Red Wine 2018
We discovered and wrote about this label when we visited the Trefethen Estate winery and vineyards at the entrance to Napa Valley just above the City of Napa in the Oak Knoll District during our Napa Wine Experience in 2013.
Founded by Eugene and Catherine Trefethen in 1968, today, it is managed by the third generation of the Trefethen family.
This is an interesting, unique blend of Malbec and Petit Verdot, 100% Estate, sourced from new plantings from the rockiest part of Trefethen's vineyard where obsidian flakes
occasionally remind them of the toothy smile of Y Ddraig Goch (The Red
Dragon) guardian and symbol of Wales.
At this point, one of our guests mentioned a liking to port wine which turned the discussion to suitable and appropriate after dinner wines for such an occasion. I returned from the cellar with a half dozen bottles from which the group selected a Tawny Port and a pair of diverse dessert wines.
Cockburn's Twenty Year Tawny Porto Director's Reserve (Bottled in) 1994
Cockburn's dates back to 1815, when Robert and John Cockburn, two brothers from Scotland, bypassed the stuffy merchant’s fair in Porto and bought the best grapes directly from farmers upriver in the Douro region of Portugal to produce their own wine, which continued thereafter to this day.
20 Year Old Tawny is blended from older, mature, cask aged wines and
then refreshed by the addition of younger wines. The average age of this
blend is no less than 20 years.
Notably, this Bottle numbered OP 293941, was bottled in 1994, one of the best most highly acclaimed vintages years for port in history. That would render this wine to be going on 20 plus (2022-1994) 28, or 48 years of age.
This is interesting in that while they indicate on the label that this bottle was produced in 1994, it is not a Vintage Port, since the actual wine is a blend from the highest quality wine frmo across numerous vintages, with an average age of twenty years, hence called a "20 Year Tawny."Cockburn produce their flagship premium Vintage Ports in designated vintage years, which is the custom in Porto, a '10 Year Tawny', a '20 Year Tawny', and a 'Late Bottled Vintage' (LBV), sourced from the same vineyard that produces the Vintage Ports, the LBVs are aged in large oak vats for four to six years before being bottled, produced to be ready to drink.
It was wonderful, not the least showing any diminution from age whatsoever. It was enjoyed by all, not just the more hearty robust aged wine aficionados. The Cellartracker drinking window for this wine was 'Drink by 2017', rendering this warning, "This wine is past its drinking window. DRINK UP!!" I dutifully updated the Cellartracker Drinking Window to 2024, based on our experience with this bottle.
My photo of this bottle, with my watermark 'www.mcnees.org/winesite', indicates I published it before I obtained and started using the 'www.unwindwine.com' internet domain name and branding.
Winemaker Notes for Cockburn's 20 Year Old Tawny although not necessarily this release: "The wine is star-bright, in color somewhere between rose hip pink and dark honey. A seductive, delicate nose evokes subtle hints of raisins, cedar wood, walnuts and cinnamon. Silky and light yet still with a distinct grip the wine is very much alive. The finish is nutty and sinewy and lasting. The character of this wine is similar to that of a fully mature vintage port of a very great year."
Of course, due to the age of our bottle, it was darker, more the color of iced tea.
The recent Cockburn 20 Year Tawny was awarded Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast.
Dark golden colored resembling iced tea, full bodied, rich, unctuous, notes of smoke, nut, hints of butterscotch, toffee and honey.
RM 91 points.
More to come .. being updated further ...
Continuing the wine journey, we opened a pair of aged vintage dessert wines with the dessert course which also included assorted cheeses and fresh fruits.
We opened, in small format, 375 half bottles, an Italian and a French dessert wine, two disparate styles, profiles and tastes.
Calvalchina Bianca Del Veneto Passito IGT 2004 Trebbiano Blend
I've written about this label on numerous occasions as this is one of the several remaining bottles from a case of 24 half bottles we acquired of
this wine for every day casual sipping, ideal for such occasions such as
Upon release the color of this wine was straw, then turned to butter, and over time has consistently darkened to honey color and it is now the hue of weak tea.
Consistent with some earlier notes, back in 2016 I wrote: Medium-full bodied,
the apple fruits, subtle tangerine and hint of apricot and peach flavors
have given way, overtaken by tones of burnt caramel, smoke and nut on a
flavorful lingering finish.
RM 87 points.
Then to compare with a different style and varietal from a different region, we turned to a Sauterne from Bordeaux from a near vintage allowing for nearly a horizontal (same vintage comparison) tasting of similar purpose produced wines.
Château Suduiraut 1er Grand Cru Classe' Sauternes Bordeaux 2002, 2005
This is a label we know well as we have a vertical collection spanning more than two decade of vintages. As I written often in the past, its great fun to watch these Sauternes wines age and turn from the straw color on release, darkening over time to butter, then honey colored to weak tea colored.
Dark honey colored, medium full bodied, not as sweet and unctuous as some vintages, the fruit is more subdued lacking the apricot nectar and honey of some vintages. This showed plenty of botrytis, with predominate notes of smoke accented by marzipan, almond, ripe apple, and hints of vanilla on the tongue cloying finish.
This was a perfect compliment to
the fresh berries, selection of profiteroles and chocolate desserts.
RM 91 points.
Tasted from a 375ml half bottle.