A Fun Wine-filled Weekend
Okay, enough cooking videos. Let’s get back to the wine. After all, this is a wine blog, isn’t it? Even though I didn’t plan on a lot of wine drinking this past weekend, as things turned out, I ended up getting plenty of wine and some rather good wine at that. It was relaxing just hanging with friends and sharing stories such as my adventures in Sonoma last week. What was best was that I took notes because I wanted to take notes, not because I felt obligated to do so for any reason. Six of the wines I had this weekend really stood out. I took notes on them and they deserve a few words and maybe a little video.
2004 Philippe Alliet Chinon – ever since I had some great French Cab Franc with my friend, Travis, I’ve been looking for a decent Cab Franc, French or otherwise, for around $20. I think this one fits nicely. Cloudy, ruby color to indicate it’s unfiltered with quite a bit of sediment. Initial strong earthy aromas give way to dusty blackberry and tobacco. Smooth flavors of cherry and blackberry with a medium length mineral finish. Time has definitely helped this wine and there is no longer any vegetal qualities I found nearly a year ago when this was first released. For $22, I liked this one a lot and it paired nicely with the Hawaiian pizza we had.
2006 Carter Vineyard Hillblock, Willamette Valley Pinot Noir – My newfound friend, Kilmeny Hall, introduced me to this incredible Oregon Pinot. Kilmeny works in the wine industry and buys wine. She loves her job and I would too if my employer was going to send me to Italy every year! This wine is from her neck of the woods, made by Ken Wright, and even though it retails for over $45, I’m sure she didn’t pay that much. (If she did, I really need to thank her.) It had a brilliant garnet color with delicate aromas of herbs, raspberry and mint. On the palate, I found black cherry along with more herbs, basil comes to mind. It had a very smooth finish with good acidic balance and not too much oak influence. A great example of Oregon Pinot.
2003 Blankiet Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Paradise Hills Vineyard, Napa Valley – My friend, Steve, was forced to open this magnum bottle because it showed some signs of leakage on the label. However, after tasting it, I think it could have lasted for a few more years and probably improve. But I’m speculating. The dark violet-red color didn’t show any sign of age or oxidation. It had jammy blackberry aromas with a distinct phenolic smell, but not in a bad way. In the mouth I got loads of chewy black fruit with big smooth tannins and a medium length finish. Very good and especially with the beef kabobs, but I think it would have been better with a little more cellar time. Too bad it started leaking. $325/magnum.
The next two wines were provided courtesy of my friend, Dave Russian. He bought both these wines when they were first released in 1996 and I am grateful that he shared them with us. So instead of me writing some background about them, I’ll let Dave do the talking in this video I made.
1994 Andrew Will Cabernet Sauvignon, Washington State – dark brick red with amber edges indicating its age. Aromas of sweaty leather and cedar with herbs, smoked meat and black fruit on the palate, this wine had a very old-world style and a very smooth finish with supple tannins. $40.
1994 Joseph Phelps Insignia, Napa Valley – dark brick red throughout and not showing much age, this Cabernet-dominate blend had much more aromatic character than its more northern cousin. Very earthy with smoke and eucalyptus on the nose, it revealed flavors of black cherry and cassis with smooth tannins and a long finish. Despite the complex aromas, the flavors were less complex than I expected, but still very satisfying. $30 upon release, $147 now.
2004 Kongsgaard Syrah, Napa Valley – The final wine is another that Steve opened from his extensive cellar and like most of his wines, this one was fairly pricey at $150. It didn’t disappoint with aromas of blueberry and smoke. Rich flavors of black fruit and cassis lead to a long smooth finish. The fruit forward flavors are nicely balanced by the acidity. Enjoyable, to say the least. It was a great complement to the chocolate truffles we had for dessert.
Not bad for an unplanned weekend I’d have to say. And certainly a relaxing weekend that I needed after the excitement of the previous weeks. Here’s to great friends, good food, stimulating conversation and extraordinary wines!