Wednesday, February 7, 2024

Destiny Neighborhood Beef Tenderloin Wine Dinner

Destiny Neighborhood Beef Tenderloin Wine Dinner

Visiting our favorite getaway Destiny Cove vacation rental in Destin, Florida, we hosted a dinner with friends and neighbors. Linda prepared a full beef tenderloin, sliced into filets of beef, served with baked potatoes, haricot verts and mixed green salad. 

Before dinner we served a variety of artisan cheeses, fruits and mixed nuts. 

To accompany the dinner we opened a wine flight with varietal wines for each course. 

With the salad course we served a Washington State Chardonnay. 

With the main course we opened a medley of red wines - an aged vintage Napa Cabernet, an aged simple easy drinking Sonoma Cabernet, and a complex Washington State GSM Blend. 

Our guests brought for the dessert course a selection of artisan cupcakes from the bakeshop just outside our community gate and carrot cake cupcakes, which we paired with a flight of dessert wines from Italy and Austria.

Moffett Livingston Stanley's Vineyard Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1997

We were planning a mini-family reunion last month in Destin so I brought for that occasion several 'family' wines, whimsically sharing names with certain family members, such as this Stanley's Vineyard label and so named brother-in-law.

This is named for 'Stanley', a family name in the owner/producer John Livingston's family. John resettled his family in St. Helena, Napa Valley in 1976 as an idyllic place to raise his six children, not necessarily with any forethought of joining the wine business. However, in 1984, they began pursuing their learned passion in wine and began producing Cabernet wines.

John Livingston was a geologist, and became intrigued with finding vineyards suitable to produce Stanley’s Selection Cabernet wine, seeking an optimum combination of stony hillside soils, eastern exposures and suitable micro-climates. In the ensuing years he found such vineyards, also chosen for sound farm management and proven consistency. All the vineyards were only a few acres in size, too small for big wineries but perfect for Livingston Stanley Cabernet. The 'Stanley’s' Vineyard label was blended from six small parcels in Napa by legendary winemaker John Kongsgaard.

Moffett Vineyards and the Livingston Moffett Winery, continued to be operated by Diane and John Livingston and were assisted for 22 years by their son Trent who helped grow the family winery from the cellars to the marketplace. Diane and John retired and sold the winery in 2005, resulting in a generational transition with Trent as successor of Moffett Vineyards.

Trent and his wife Colleen Moffett relocated in 2014 to the northern Willamette Valley to pursue making 4 different Pinot Noirs from 3 different Willamette Valley sub-appellations, all the while remaining connected with Napa Valley through Moffett Vineyards.

In addition to the Moffett Vineyards heritage, Trent and Colleen are co-producers of Screenplay Wines and C&T Cellars. .

This is the last of three bottles we acquired back upon release. We drank the first two bottles back in 2010 and 2014 and still held this bottle a decade later in our cellar. 

At two and a half decades, this was still holding its own, only perhaps slightly diminished from age at a quarter century, testament to the longevity of the ‘97 vintage Napa Cabs.  

This release was awarded 93 points by Wine Enthusiast and 90 points, Wine Advocate, Robert M. Parker, Jr. Upon release, Parker said it should drink well for fifteen years.

Winemaker's notes - "For the 1997 vintage, John chose four mostly one- to two-acre vineyards: Price, next door to Spottswoode; Walther, near Caymus; Corbett, adjacent to Moffett Vineyard; and Gemstone, with five clones of Cabernet along with Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Petite Verdot. Yields ranged between of 2.5 to 4.5 tons per acre. It was aged in a combination of French and American oak."

Tonight, this was largely consistent with my earlier tastings, dark ruby colored, medium bodied with blackberry, black cherry and currant fruits, starting to give way slightly with notes of black tea with hints of anise and bitter dark chocolate with a bit of spice, plum with tone of cedar on the medium to firm tannins and acid balanced finish.

RM 89 points.

Another label we were holding for our bro-in-law, a fan of the namesake producer, we opened this for casual drinking with cheeses, fruit and nuts before dinner. 

Dan Aykroyd Discovery Series Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon 2007

This was a futile inglorious attempt at producing a novelty namesake branded wine by comedian and Saturday Night Live fame Dan Aykroyd, who folks say, should've stayed with acting.

Winemaker Notes - "The grapes are sourced primarily from the Alexander Valley, which with its cool mornings and evenings and warmer inland climate allow the Cabernet Sauvignon grapes to fully ripen. The wine is aged in 60-gallon French, American & Hungarian oak barrels for added complexity and increased concentration. This process also brings out softer tannins and a more fruit-forward palate."
Cellartrackers panned this wine, albeit they tend to be sophisticated wine drinkers. This exceeded my expectations, which admittedly were very low. I was open minded and opened it prepared to dump it, but while simple and uninspiring, it was okay for casual sipping with some cheeses before dinner. Several guests found it enjoyable and suitable for casual easy sipping.

Wine Enthusiast gave this 82 points. I didn't find it resembled their profile - "Overripe and bitter .... dry, with raisin and grapeskin flavors that have a Porty, tannic edge."

Ruby colored, medium bodied, dark berry fruit, notes of tobacco, smoke and black tea with an abrupt finish. RM 82
With the dinner we opened this Rhone varietal red blend. 

Force Majeure "Parvata" Red Mountain GSM - Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre 2017


We've opened this wine and featured it several times in these pages. We first featured this label in our Force Majeure Vineyards Site Visit and Tasting report as shown here:

October 2018

Force Majeure Vineyards Site Visit and Tasting

Force Majeure Vineyards Site Visit and Tasting

One of the inspirations for and objectives of our Walla Walla Wine Experience 2018 was to visit Force Majeure vineyards. We first met Force Majeure winemaker Todd Alexander and marketing, distribution and branding exec Carrie Alexander during the Chicago stop of their promotion tour in 2016 when we hosted them at Italian Village in Chicago. Since then we've acquired a respectable collection of Force Majeure wines, hence, they were one of our shortlist priority visits when we planned our Washington State, Columbia Valley wine trip.

Force Majeure Parvata Red Blend 2017 

We originally discovered and acquired this label during our visit to Force Majeure in Walla Walla back in 2018. We hold three vintages of a mixed case from our wine club allocation orders.   

This is from their Force Majeaure Red Mountain Vineyard site in the central Columbia Valley. The Red Mountain site was the very first vineyard on the steep, rocky upper slopes of Red Mountain. Developing the Red Mountain estate vineyards involved carefully matching varietal and clonal selections and vineyard trellising and irrigation to the eight distinct soil types in the vineyard.

Parvata means “mountain” in sanskrit, and hence is the name for Force Majeure's southern Rhône style blend, grown in the sandy, loamy soils of the lower section of the Red Mountain vineyard.

Parvata is a a classic Rhone River Blend that the French, and in the new World, the Australians, call GSM, for the blend of the three Rhone varietals, (25%) Grenache, (23%) Syrah, and (42%) Mourvedre. 

But this 2017 Parvata is a blend of Rhone varietals, somewhere between a GSM (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre) and a CDP (Chateauneuf-du-Pape of which 70% is typicall GSM, the total can be from a possible thirteen sanctioned varietals). This release is 42% Mourvedre, 25% Grenache, 23% Syrah, and 'lesser' varietals, 4% Cinsault and 5% Counoie - 100% sourced from the Force Majeure Red Mountain Estate vineyard.

We've posted blogspots of the 2015 and 2016 releases but this is our first tasting of the 2017 release. It seems to be less fruit forward than the earlier releases.  

This was consistent with those earlier tastings. Dark garnet colored, medium full bodied, this is black fruits accented by white pepper, dried herbs, leather and tobacco notes with bright lively acidity.

RM 92 points. 


We then served artisan cupcakes brought by neighbor Jan, and cupcakes brought by Debra. With the sweets, we opened several dessert wines from different regions with different profiles.

Alois Kracher Nouvelle Vague TBA - Trockenbeerenauslese Chardonnay No. 7 2001

We brought this from our home cellar and were holding it for a special occasion such as this. We hold a vast collection of labels and vintages from Kracher who offer a broad portfolio of dessert wines from Austria. This is from Seewinkel, an area in the Burgenland region of Austria, along the eastern shore of Lake Neusiedl,

Kracher is internationally regarded as one of the finest dessert wine makers. After Alois Kracher passed away in December 2007, his 27 year-old son Gerhard took over responsibility of winemaking and managing the winery. He carried on the tradition with the same veracity and dedication that his famous father once did with the same outcomes of extraordinary notable award winning wines.

Weinlaubenhof Alois Kracher estate vineyards possess a microclimate uniquely suited to the production of Beerenauslese and Trockenbeerenauslese wines. They have nearly 70 acres of vineyards planted with Welschriesling, Chardonnay, Traminer, Muskat Ottonel and Scheurebe.

This release was awarded 95 points by Wine Spectator, 94 points by Wine Enthusiast. and 18/20 points by Jancis Robinson.

Winemaker Notes - "Attractive aromas of ripe stone fruit, apricot jam, nuts and fresh herbs characterize this Welschriesling TBA, along with a silky texture and highly balanced acidity with pleasant floral notes on the elegant, salty finish."

In the fall of 2020 I wrote: "As I have written in the past, at their most desirable (to my taste preference) these wines are rich, thick, unctuous, and voluptuous with apricot marmalade, mango, toffee/brown sugar, and caramel notes. This may have been there at some point and perhaps passed that stage of its aging profile. If so, then it is time to drink although it will no doubt continue to age gracefully for several more years. But the rich, sweet apricot fruits nectar was diminished somewhat and has turned more to a smokey charcoal layer over the fruits which were more subdued. Delightful never-the-less

Copper and tea colored, full bodied, thick structured, rich concentrated notes of sweet orange marmelade, apple and apricot fruit nectar with of pain grille, honey and nutmeg spice on a long unctuous textured finish. 
In winter of 2018 - I gave this 91 Points.

Ca' della Vignalta Colli Euganei Fior d'Arancio Fiore del Deserto Moscato (Muscat) Passito 2015

From Veneto, and area formerly part of the Colli Euganei DOC, it was established as a separate DOCG in 2010. The Veneto DOCG appellation specifies some significant production rules: 

  • Grapes for Passito must be dried on or off the vine to achieve a minimum potential alcohol level of 15.5%
  • Minimum alcohol level: 4.5% for Bianco dolce (10.5% potential); 6.0% for Spumante (10.5% potential); 9.0% for Passito (15.5% potential); 10.5% for Bianco secco
  • Residual sugar: Minimum 100 g/l (10.0%) for Bianco dolce, Spumante, and Passito
  • Aging: For Passito, minimum 1 year (ERD = November 1, V+1)
Az. Agricola Vignalta Fior d
' Arancio Colli Euganei have 346 acres of vineyards on the side of the highest of the Euganean hills outside the village of Arquà Petrarca southwest of Paduea, Italy, seventy kilometers southwest of Venice. They are planted primarily to Moscato as the principal White Grape Variety, with an average age of vines of 16 years.  The grape is particularly suitable for the production of complex and intensely aromatic Passito wines that perfectly pair with desserts and biscuits. They produce 76,700 cases per year of which 5.000 – 7.000 bottles are this Orange Muscat based Passito, produced in 375 ml bottles.

Az. Agricola Vignalta produce a wide portfolio of red, white, dessert and sparkling wines. This sweet muscat wine is predominantly based on Moscato Giallo grapes, which produce sweet and fresh wines, with distinguishing citrus notes. The label includes three different styles: dry white wine, sweet Passito, and bubbly spumante.

Fior d ' Arancio Colli Euganei Passito DOCG : it is a complex wine, with a bright golden yellow color that reaches light amber with time. It reveals aromas of yellow fruit in syrup, apricot and acacia honey. It manages to maintain a good balance between flavor and sweetness.

Winemaker notes -  "With its amber yellow colour and golden reflections, our Fior d’Arancio Passito captures at first sight thanks to the bright shades that it shows in the glass. The perfume is complex and elegant: balsamic notes of canned fruit, dry dates, candied figs, jams, honey, eucalyptus and vanilla stand out from the bouquet. Each sip is warm, embracing but not cloying and has a delicate almond husk final taste. Rich and balanced. Vinification: drying grapes in “fruttaio” for 4 months, crushing and squeezing rasin to obtain a very sweet must, fermenting in French oak barrel for 18 months."

Descriptions of the color of these wines vary based on the age and stage of their aging profile. These dessert wines start out golden or pale straw colored, and darken over time, turning deep golden, then light brownish, darker to orange rust, then a copper color, and finally even to a blackish weak coffee color. High quality versions from top vintages can age for fifty years or more.  

Tea copper colored, full bodied, complex  sweet notes of figs, hints of honey, raisins almonds and sweet tea on a smooth pleasant finish.

RM 91.