Saturday, February 18, 2023

Old and New big reds for family celebration party

Old and New big reds for family celebration party

Alec and Vivianna hosted a gala first birthday party for Marylin. They served a broad selection of foods including Salmon and beef tenderloin, along with salads, shrimp, and a broad selection of artisan cheeses, charcuterie and dips.

Afterwards we had two birthday cakes, a white cake and a chocolate cake, also to celebrate Linda's birthday. 

The occasion was an opportunity for all the family to gather, along with many of their friends and families. 

On the eve of the NBA All-Star game, and the day our Indiana Hoosiers, and rival fellow Hoosier Purdue Boilermakers are the only Big Ten teams nationally ranked, the day also called for a serious pop-a-shot tournament, first by the kids, and then the adults. 

I brought from our cellar an aged Napa Cabernet Reserve from Alec's birthyear vintage, a fitting tribute to the occasion. Alec served a selection of reds, a white and Rose' from his cellar. 

Flora Springs Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 1990

We collect many wines in our cellar that are family affairs, such that we favor them with family outings such as this. 

One family winery who's wines we collect is Flora Springs and their Komes-Garvey estate vineyards. The Komes and Garvey’s family have acquired 500 acres throughout Napa Valley, 300 of which are planted to vineyards. With estate properties stretching from the cool, rolling hills of Carneros to the famed sub-appellations of Oakville, Rutherford and St. Helena, Flora Springs produces varietal wines ranging from Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay to Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and the other red Bordeaux varietals.

Flora Springs was founded by the children of Jerry and Flora Komes who bought the property at the end of West Zinfandel Lane in St. Helena believing it to be the perfect place to grow grapes and become farmers. But when their son, John, proposed that the old winery building on the property be revived, Flora Springs became a new career for Flora, Jerry and their children.

They may be best known for their label, Trilogy which is a mainstay go to label in our cellar offering quality sophisticated drinking at reasonable value relative to the premium Napa and Bordeaux Blends. This label is a Reserve bottling of their single varietal Cabernet.

 They started producing Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon in 1989 reaching production of 700 cases. Their 1991 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon was awarded 96 points by Wine Spectator and was called 'stunning' by Robert Parker. 

Perhaps whimsically, I latched on to this as a regular favorite partly due to the namesake that wife Linda is a descendant of the Flora family, founders of her hometown Flora, in Indiana, no relation of course to the California Napa Flora (first name) Kombs. but fun and a tribute none-the-less.At thirty-three years, this was holding up amazingly well, still within its drinking window and only beginning to show diminution from age with slight discoloration and haziness. Never-the-less the fruit was vibrant and after decanting and settling for an hour, it was very tasty and pleasant drinking. 

The fill level, foil, label and importantly, the cork, were all in ideal condition, considering their age. The cork was pristine and held together well when extracted using an Ahso two pronged cork puller.

Dark garnet colored with a slight brownish gray hue started to set in showing its age, medium bodied, complex, concentrated blackberry and plum fruits with layers of currant, mocha, anise, leather, sage herbs and hints of eucalyptus. on a long finish of bright acidity and ripe tannins. Time to drink and we caught this just in time. 

RM 91 points.

Alec then pulled from his cellar a recent acquisition, this premium single vineyard designated Big Red from Napa Valley Stags Leap District. 

Mira Schweizer Vineyard Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon 2016
This is the handicraft of Co-Founder/Winemaker Gustavo A. Gonzalez and co-founder Jim “Bear” Dyke, Jr., consultant and lobbyist. A chance meeting at the Off The Record bar in Washington, D.C., lead to their joint pursuit of the dream of creating a world class winery. In 2009, the duo sourced their first grapes and in 2012 Mira went to market. 

They are joined by Ed Thralls who came to Mira with 25 years of experience in both wine and financial technology industries. Having studied winemaking at UC Davis and earning a Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW), he has served as General Manager for a Sonoma premier producer. Ed had his own winery, Thralls Family Cellars, producing premium Pinot Noir from the Sonoma Coast and Russian River Valley, Syrah and Chardonnay. Prior to that, he served as the director at Flowers Vineyards & Winery and Huneeus Vintners.

Mira Winery is named for the Latin root of “miracle” and Greek for “destiny”. It is a family owned, 16-acre estate in the heart of the Napa Valley, farming historic vineyards that were first planted to grapes in 1885. 

Gustavo A Gonzalez has been practicing his craft in the Napa Valley and around the world to critical acclaim for over 20 years, in California, Italy, France, Argentina, and Brazil. He brings local knowledge and global perspective, experience and creativity to Mira’s vineyard practices and winemaking techniques.

Gustavo’s grew up in California’s Central Valley, surrounded by family with longstanding ties to agriculture and an appreciation for wine. His appreciation for winemaking took him to the Napa Valley where he joined the Robert Mondavi Winery in 1995 working in the fields towards a career in winemaking. For 17 years at Robert Mondavi Winery, Gustavo worked his way up to Head Red Winemaker where he established Robert Mondavi Winery Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon as one of the leading Napa Valley Cabernets, consistently receiving Wine Spectator ratings of 95 or higher. 

There he also produced some of the best Sauternes style wine of the new world and raised the Pinot Noir program to cult status. During this time, he also worked with other notable wineries around the world including Tenuta dell’Ornellaia where he was responsible for the 2001 “Masseto” Toscana which received 100 points from Wine Spector and was described by James Suckling as, “possibly the best Tuscan red ever.”

Gustavo’s strong relationships with leading Napa Valley grape growers brought Mira unique access to some of the finest blocks of grapes in some of the Napa Valley’s premier vineyards including Hyde Vineyard in the Carneros AVA and Schweizer Vineyard in the heart of the Stags Leap AVA.

Gustavo has established Mira as one of the top producers of small production single vineyard wines from the Napa Valley. At a blind tasting commemorating the historic Judgement of Paris featuring eight of the world’s top wines from Bordeaux and the Napa Valley, the 2012 Mira Cabernet Sauvignon Schweizer Vineyard took the top slot for Napa Valley Cabernet besting Screaming Eagle, Schrader To Kalon, and Shafer Hillside Select.

Mira produce a dozen premium labels of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Pinot Noir and Bordeaux varietal red and white blends sourced from leading Napa growers.  

Mira Cabernet Sauvignon Schweizer Vineyard 2016 

This is from Schweizer Vineyard, one of the oldest in Napa Valley, that has been producing grapes for premier wines for over 100 years and has been owned by the Schweizer family since 1956. The historic 42-acre vineyard in the heart of Stags Leap District has ideal terroir for growing Cabernet Sauvignon. It combines excellent draining Perkins Gravelly Loam soil with a microclimate of great afternoon sun due to its position on the east side of the valley and ideal hot days and cool nights. As a result, Schweizer Vineyard is among the world’s top locations to grow Cabernet Sauvignon.
Winemaker notes: "A level of refinement on the nose that defies easy description, evoking the best of the “Grand Cru” tradition. Smooth despite tremendous structure, on the palate the wine’s essential fruit character underlies layers of earthy, forest floor notes. Already extremely complex, this wine is destined for a profound journey in the cellar."

This release was awarded 97 Points in the Sunset International Wine Competition, 95 Points by Wine Enthusiast, 92 Points by James Suckling, and 91 Points by Wine Spectator.  

Bright garnet colored, medium-full bodied, complex, concentrated ripe blackberry and currant fruits, earth, tobacco, dark bitter mocha chocolate, vanilla and spice notes with hints of cedar and on a long expressive acid tinged finish. 

RM 92 points.