Saturday, October 15, 2022

Gala Family Celebration calls for for birthyear wine

Gala Family Celebration get-together opportunity for a birth-year wine

The family gathered at son Sean's and Michelle's to celebrate granddaughter Lavender's first birthday and got a surprise announcement. Opening her first birthday gift produced a t-shirt that read, "I'm going to be a Big Sister!

Notably, I had already pulled from the cellar and brought a bottle of wine from Sean's birth year for the occasion. 

Inglenook Napa Valley "Reunion" Estate Bottled Red Wine 1985

This label is from the storied label that was one of the original pioneers producing wine in northern California and Napa Valley. 

Inglenook was founded in 1879 by Finnish sea captain Gustave Niebaum and produced perhaps the best wines in the valley until it closed in the early 1900s due to Prohibition. 

Niebaum died in 1908, but his widow re-opened the winery in the '40s and the winery returned to its earlier eminence as a top Napa producer. 

Movie producer Francis Ford Coppola enriched with cash from the legendary Godfather movies, bought 1,500 acres of vineyards from the brand in the mid-'70s. 

Under his stewardship and direction, the winery kept producing high quality wines until it was sold several times in rapid succession in the years after this vintage went into bottle. 

Several decades of producing not up-to-par quality wines ended in 2014 when Coppola purchased the name of the winery (for a ton of cash) with the hope of returning the brand to its former glory. 

The flagship Napa Cab label for the estate is Rubicon which we saw manifested on the producer's vanity plate while at lunch down the road from the estate.  

This is the Bordeaux varietal from the historic label that I acquired at auction over the years, from son Sean's birth-year vintage to hold and open for some fitting occasion such as tonight. 

This Reunion label is sourced from the three historic Inglenook estate vineyards that sit on the magnificent expansive historic property on the edge of the Napa Valley up against the Mayacamas foothills on the west side of Rutherford. 

We visited and toured the estate (right) during our Napa Valley Wine Experience in 2009. 

This was awarded 91 points by Wine Spectator back in 1989 

Our Cellartracker records indicate we acquired several bottles of this label back in 2009. A decade later this bottle showed a stained label, good filled level and a somewhat soft cork that threatened to pull apart but with care was extracted in whole using a traditional waiter's corkscrew. 

The color was dark garnet colored, medium bodied, at 37 years this was showing its age but was still consumable - the tangy dark cherry and plum flavors were overtaken by a funky barnyard earthiness and wet wood that burned off after close to an hour - but was still a bit astringent with notes of tobacco, oaky spice cedar and black tea with modest tannins on the tangy acidic finish.

RM 85 points.

Lillian California Syrah 2016

An interesting wine I had never heard of or seen before, Ryan brought this premium artisan Syrah from his cellar. 

This is from winemaker Maggie Harrison who worked at legendary Sine Qua Non for eight years.

First released in 2004, she sources fruit for this small production artisan label from the prestigious White Hawk Vineyard in Santa Barbara County

She produces this Lillian Syrah and a some other labels from vineyards sources such as the Bien Nacido Vineyard in Santa Maria Valley, and the Stolpman Vineyard in the Santa Ynez Valley.

Lillian wines are crafted from Rhone varietals — Roussanne, Syrah and Grenache, and Cabernet Sauvignon. 

Lillian shares a winemaker, winery, and tasting room with Antica Terra, in Dundee, OR, as noted on the label, but the wine is designated California Syrah, attributing the vineyard sources of the fruit. 

Ryan opened this bottle the night before and noted the fruit was more muted than when opened. 

Dark inky purple colored, medium full bodied, tight, structured, bold, forward, concentrated black fruits with notes of cedar and hints of cassis, pepper and smoke. 

RM 91 points.