Thursday, April 15, 2010

WEDNESDAY NIGHT BLIND - APRIL 2010 - Peter Pratt's Inn


The first Wednesday of every month rolls around quickly for most folks, but not quick enough for our thirsty band of oenophiles. We gathered this time with another occasion to celebrate as one of our members is turning the big 5-0 this week. Since Mike primarily loves California wine, a lot of the offerings were geared that way. We were lucky enough to have the most amazing weather on tap and we found ourselves dining outdoors watching the most spectacular sunset of orange and purples setting over the distant hills. Being outdoors may affect the smell and taste of wine a bit, but it was worth whatever the cost to be enjoying 80degree temps with zero humidity at dusk.

•2002 Gloria Ferrer Royal Cuvée Vintage Reserve - USA, California, Sonoma County, Carneros
Mike brought this to help kick off his birthday celebration. Very toasty, lovely mouth feel, mousse, hints of hazelnuts, really enjoyable. (90 pts.)

•2008 Copain Viognier Tous Ensemble - USA, California, North Coast, Mendocino County
This was a touch flabby and cloyingly sweet to be a great wine, but it was very good and thoroughly enjoyable. Notes of mango, oranges, melon and cashews. (89 pts.)

•2007 Copain Pinot Noir Tous Ensemble - USA, California, North Coast, Anderson Valley
Lovely wine, medium bodied, lot's of expressive strawberry and rhubarb, spice, some game. Pretty richly built with a nice long finish. (90 pts.)

•1976 Mirassou Vineyards Petite Sirah - USA, California, Central Coast, Monterey County
Blind wine #1 - I brought this - Very disappointing, nothing left, brown color, stewed tomato and skunk aroma, not good. NR (flawed)

•1991 Pahlmeyer Proprietary Red Caldwell Vineyard - USA, California, Napa Valley
Blind Wine #2 - I brought this - The cork broke and then crumbled trying to take it out. It had a nice color, dark red with some orange edges, some notes of soy, tea leaves, pine, hints of muted fruit, very much past its prime. At this point I'm praying my third bottle will be the charm. (82 pts.)

•1996 Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
Blind Wine #3 - Instantly recognized as Bordeaux, I say left bank, maybe 1990. Well structured, obviously had time on it, but had much time to evolve, not a lot of fruit, forest floor, cigar smoke, grilled meat and blood, some spice. Was better later in the evening. (89 pts.)

•1994 Venge Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Family Reserve - USA, California, Napa Valley, Oakville
Blind Wine #4 - I knew what this wine was as Lance had consulted with me before the dinner to make sure I wasn't bringing the same bottle. This was a stunningly good wine, amazing depth and complexity, solid black fruit, wonderful notes of coffee beans freshly ground, obviously mature, but in danger of decline. I have yet to to have a Venge Reserve that hasn't blown me away. (94 pts.)

•1995 Joseph Phelps Insignia - USA, California, Napa Valley
Blind Wine #5 - So familiar, in my mind when Lance said Insignia I knew he was right. These wines flat out rock! Great dark color, huge rich fruit, deep and complicated, richly textured. Great juice. (93 pts.)

•2006 Domaine Wardy Private Selection - Lebanon, Bekaa Valley
Blind Wine #6 - This was dark, real dark. My initial thoughts gravitated towards Petite Sirah due to the color. It had a huge bouquet of fresh lavender and violets if full bloom. Smokey with dark, rich fruit. This was a very impressive wine, even more so when it was revealed to be from Lebanon!! We were all stunned to say the least. (93 pts.)

•2004 Fernando Remírez de Ganuza Rioja - Spain, La Rioja, La Rioja Alavesa, Rioja
Blind Wine # 7 - Oak, oak, oak and nothing else save for the alcohol, later it was speculated to be mildly corked or defective in some way as our resident Spanish Wine expert had recently had a great bottle of this very wine. NR (flawed)

•1997 Snowden Cabernet Sauvignon - USA, California, Napa Valley
Blind Wine #8 - This was a full bodied Cal Cab to be sure, loads of fruit, but restrained and very well built, a deft touch of oak, Christmas spices, truffles and deep core of black olives. Most folks guessed this to be an older Barolo or Barbaresco. Really nice wine. (92 pts.)

•2001 Sherwin Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon - USA, California, Napa Valley, Spring Mountain District
Blind Wine # 9 - I brought this - Finally; redemption! This was singing, loaded with gorgeous fruit, cassis, beef blood and spices, well structured and very well balanced. I really love Sherwin Cabs. (93 pts.)

•2002 E. Guigal Côte-Rôtie La Turque - France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Côte-Rôtie
Blind Wine # 10 - This was really, really good. Loaded with sage, fresh beef, licorice, smoke, asphalt and mushrooms. Medium/large bodied yet it had a feminine side to it as well, nothing brutish and unrestrained here, just eloquence. When it was revealed I was surprised how good an '02 Cote Rotie could be as that vintage is generally regarded as the worst in recent memory, but this wine really shines. (94 pts.)

The food was spectacular as usual as Nick and J.P. wowed us yet again. The wines were pretty damn good too, but the conversation and camaraderie was the true focus. - Mark Franks




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