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geo t.

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  1. We tasted five wines from Sean Thackrey with some friends of ours last week; you can read the full account in 5 from Thackrey. Perhaps the most interesting wines of the night were the following: 1995-96 Sean Thackrey Roussanne Alban Vineyard, $45: Apparently, Mr. Thackrey couldn't get his hands on enough of either vintage to make a go of it, so he combined both to come up with this limited bottling. Medium gold in color, it's really showing its maturity, and in a nice way. The aromatics reminded me of nothing so much as soft mahogany, and Putnam remarked that it smells like a mature dessert wine. The slightly maderized flavors echo and expand, giving up something resembling earthy caramelized peach with hints of quince and starfruit. A note of oak that was more prominent a few years ago has taken a back seat, or maybe it's stashed in the trunk; whatever the case, it's only just discernable. Everything is kept moving along nicely with zippy acidity, and the wine finishes fairly long. When we first tasted it in Toledo, I wondered whether it was worth the money, and after tasting it this time, I can say that it certainly is/was. It would be interesting to taste along side one of the Chave Hermitage Blancs from the same time period, but alas, this was our last bottle. 1997 Sean Thackrey Orion Old Vines Rossi Vineyard, 13.9% alc.: Still a dark garnet, with nary a hint of brick, this has mellowed considerably since we tried it at Toledo 3; it shows lovely aromatics of dark plum, dark berries, the requisite eucalyptus and just the right kiss of oak. These follow through beautifully on the palate with moderate tannins, balanced acidity and a long, somewhat earthy finish. The wine opens and evolves continously in the glass, becoming ever more beguiling; a wine to linger over, a wine to meditate upon. Reporting from Day-twah, geo t.
  2. From Virtual Angwin 2001 O'Shaughnessy Napa Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain, 94% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Merlot, $52.99, 14.8% alc.: This new Howell Mountain operation gets lots of extraction out of the six year old vines of Del Oso Vineyard; it gives up big oak right away on the nose, with huge fruit to soak it all up; black currant, black plum, cassis, toast, coconut, tar and a little barnyard are all jumbled together in a massively effusive bouquet, and the equally massive flavors pick it up with even more coconut, gaining some chocolate as well. The significant tannins can't quite reign in the power and exuberance here, and with some time in the glass, it really opens up, showing (I almost hate to say it, but) gobs of sweet, rich fruit. It doesn't seem like a steak or lamb chop kind o' wine, but I could be wrong; as it is, there're all kinds of things going on with this, and while it may not be my preferred style of Cabernet (the La Jotas are much more in that category), I'll be damned if I don't like it anyway. Reporting from Day-twah, geo t.
  3. From A Quirky Vertical of Left Coast Cabs 2002 Worthy Napa Red Table Wine Sophia's Cuvee, $27.99, 14.6% alc.: This deep dark garnet Cabernet based blend from grapes that didn't make the cut for Bob Egelhoff's Axios, could almost be mistaken for Zinfandel or Syrah, it's so big and ripe. It exudes rich sweet spice, cassis, blackberry and black cherry with hints of chocolate, and the ample oak isn't what almost sends it over the top, it's the ripeness of the fruit. Substantial tannins, zippy acidity and the alcohol all give this a bit of a bite at first, but tone down with some air; still, this will be better three to five years down the line. It's a good bargain for those who like this kind of big, ripe wine, and while it's not a style I prefer, it's one that I can appreciate. Reporting from Day-twah, geo t.
  4. From Virtual Angwin These four wines are all from late in the period when the La Jota Vineyard Co. was still owned by Bill and Joan Smith, before being bought by Markham Vineyards in 2001. The La Jota website gives only minimal information about the previous owners, who established a marvelous track record for making great wines, causing us to rue the fact that we didn't discover them long before now. It should be interesting to see if the new owners and winemaker Kimberlee Nicholls can maintain the high standards established by the Smiths. 1998 La Jota Napa Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain Selection, $39.99, 13.2% alc.: A deep dark garnet in color, this doesn't give much on the nose when first poured, but it gradually opens to show black currant, cassis, earth, leather, cigar box and what Kim describes as "a really nice baryardy quality about it." These echo loudly in the deep, dark, dry flavors, with at least five years worth of development ahead of it, thanks to the solid structure. Still, it drinks well already, especially with a good steak (medium rare), a radish and potato gratin and pan roasted asparagus spears. By no means a fruit bomb, this comes off with a much more Bordeaux - like character than Napanese, and we like that just fine; in fact Kim likes it even more than the following, pricier selection. 1998 La Jota Napa Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain 17th Anniversary Release, $82.99, 13.9% alc.: This inky purple - garnet throws a somewhat stingy nose of slightly dusty fennel over black currant and cassis; in the mouth it gives richer, more refined flavors and texture than the Howell Mountain Selection, despite a very similar black currant, cassis and tobacco profile. The excellent structure should provide this full bodied Cabernet with at least ten years of development, but now, the silky tannins clamp down on the finish some. The rich, refined character emerges more and more with air, along with a little dark chocolate, and this also works quite well with the menu noted above. And, like the HMS, this more closely resembles Bordeaux than your usual Napa Cab. Very nice stuff here, but be patient, because it's years away from optimum drinking. 1998 La Jota Napa Cabernet Franc Howell Mountain, $76.99, 14.7% alc.: A deep, dark garnet in color, this top o' the mountain Cabernet Franc shows a bit of the barnyard right off the bat, with plenty of black currant, black plum, blackberry and some licorice also in evidence in the aromatics. The big, rich, concentrated flavors echo on a full - bodied frame, with excellent structure and a slightly astringent finish, where the tannins show the most. This is drinking well right now, becoming more perfumed as it opens, but it would seem to be a ten - year wine and more, and certainly not a casualty of the vintage. Some leather and bramble emerge with air, along with a hint of blueberry in the background; it's interesting to compare this to the memory of the last Joguet Chinon that we had, because the two give rather different variations of the Cabernet Franc experience. A marvelous wine that garners two thumbs up from the tasters at Gang Central. 1999 La Jota Napa Cabernet Franc Howell Mountain, $76.99, 14.8% alc.: This opaque purple garnet was tasted a few weeks after the ’98, and like the earlier model, it has impressive size and structure; on the nose, it shows deep dark black currant and cassis, subtly perfumed with blueberry and sandalwood, all of which follow through on the palate, with considerable power. Kim added impressions of a hot pepper streak, and a note of cola, bordering on rock and rye. Although there are considerable tannins here, they only become somewhat intrusive on the finish; otherwise, the wine smoothes out nicely with air, making for some very good drinking already. Still, it would be prudent to give this delicious wine another five years in the cellar for it to start to show its best. Reporting from Day-twah, geo t.
  5. geo t.

    WTN: 1994 Viader

    From A Quirky Vertical of Left Coast Cabs 1994 Viader, 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Cabernet Franc, $33.99, 13% alc.: We liked this much better than one critic seems to have, based on a recent score of 82; we found nothing "oxidized" in our bottle, so the "cellar from heck" seems to be doing what it's supposed to. Dark garnet in color, slightly rusty at the rim, this shows tobacco and cigar box right away on the nose, with rich black currant, cassis, blackberry and plum jumping up to take over on the palate. Moderate tannins make this tasty right out of the bottle (we passed it back and forth for over half an hour), and while not quite velvety, the smooth texture adds to the pleasure. If there's a complaint here, it's that the finish fades a little sooner than I'd like, but it's a small complaint. More Bordeaux - like than your mainstream Napa claret, and all the better for it, this is a fine match for Kim's hearty beef stew with corn meal dumplings and sides of sautéed portabella mushrooms and acorn squash with melted blue cheese. It would appear that Delia Viader was right on the money when she advised drinking her wines either shortly after release or at 10 years of age. Reporting from Day-twah, geo t.
  6. 2002 Peter Lehmann Shiraz Barossa, $19.99 US, 14% alc.: Deep dark garnet in color, with a tight nose of blackberry, black cherry and dark plum that echoes and expands on the palate with added hints of tar and chocolate. This is no over-oaked, Aussie ooze monster; the deep dark fruit only hints at a candied, overripe character, and the tannins really need at least a few years to tone down for optimum drinking. Still, it’s a decent match for a pan seared pork steak and scalloped spuds, and good drinking by its lonesome too. Kim really likes this, which explains why there was less than half the bottle left for me to try when I got home tonight! Solid stuff, this. Reporting from Day-twah, geo t.
  7. Detroit is considered the West Coast? ← Hee hee hee. Actually, I consider the Left Coast to be my 2nd home.
  8. geo t.

    California palate meets

    I'd agree with T. Thomas on all accounts. Personally, I've never had a Clape Cornas I didn't like, but I haven't had the '86, which was not a particularly good vintage in the northern Rhone.
  9. Carolyn Tillie tagged me Cupbearer, so I guess I'm it. Took me a while to come up with something; I looked at some French wine alternatives, then thought it might me fun to taste this, based on a recent positive experience of the '01 model and the fact that it's probably fairly widely available. (This selection's appearance on the latest Wine Spectator Top 100 list had nothing to do with my choice, since I don't necessarily believe that "distinction" should be held against any wine; innocent until proven guilty, sez I!) We don't do a lot of Shiraz at our house, so we'll see what happens. We'll probably pair it with some kind of lamb dish, maybe even lamb burgers, since we love to grill out in the dead of winter. Cheers from chilly Day-twah, geo
  10. 1997 Barnett Napa Cabernet Sauvignon Spring Mountain District, 13.8% alc.: I had the opportunity to chat with Fiona Barnett at a trade tasting in Dearborn a few months ago, while tasting through some of the Barnett Vineyards wines. She was most gracious, and while the basic Napa Valley wines were pleasant, they weren't particularly memorable. The Spring Mountain Cab and Merlot were another matter however, so getting a chance to taste one recently with some age on it was a special treat. This deep, dark garnet doesn't give much more on the nose than some stingy black currant and cassis at first, but it gradually opens to reveal added impressions of blackberry, black plum and a little leather, all of which follows through in the deep, pure full bodied flavors. Densely textured, this has at least five years worth of improvement ahead of it, but it's already so fine; it keeps opening more and more, becoming richer and sweeter, without ever falling into the "fruit bomb" category. A beautiful Cabernet that's already a joy to drink, and its best days are still ahead. Now, if only I could snag a glass of that Rattlesnake Hill sometime... Reporting from Day-twah, geo t.
  11. We enjoyed the first three wines with our friend Margaret Marchak at her place on Thanksgiving; then we got Sirius when we got home. 2002 Turley Contra Costa Zinfandel Duarte Vineyard, 16.7% alc.: This big zin shows a dense dark garnet color, and exudes a rich reduced black raspberry, blackberry, black cherry and chocolate character on both nose and palate; it has a dense, yet creamy mouthfeel, with just a little heat on the finish. Turley takes some knocks from some quarters, but what’s not to like here?! 2001 Sine Qua Non No.6 Yamhill Pinot Noir Shea Vineyard, 14.2% alc.: Perhaps strangely, considering its source, I found this ruby dark garnet Pinot Noir to be somewhat reminiscent of Flowers, with its rich black cherry, plum and pomegranate flavors and aromas. Somewhat Syrah – like, it’s fairly dense and concentrated, and yet silky at the same time, with tannins that aren’t at all intrusive. A very nice glass of Pinot Noir, and a great match with a delicious Thanksgiving turkey dinner. 1998 Sine Qua Non E-raised California Red Wine, 14% alc.: Showing just a hint of rust to the dark garnet color, this delicious Syrah gives very nice, moderately earthy plum, prune and black cherry flavors and aromas that are accented with smoke, pepper, and hints of leather and tar. The wine tastes like it came from older barrels, rather than new, or at least from a regimen that included a varying degree of older to younger, and as it opens, it develops even richer flavor. Balanced and delicious, with an ever – so – slightly funky quality that actually adds to the appeal, rather than detracts, this is a Californian expression of Syrah that even a Franco – phile can enjoy. Very nice indeed! Sourced primarily from the Alban Vineyard in San Luis Obispo, and Bien Nacido and Stolpman Vineyards in Santa Barbara. 2001 Thackrey Sirius (Mendocino Petite Sirah Eaglepoint Ranch), 14.7% alc.: An inky black hole of color, this is all about intense, concentrated black plum and blackberry, with very little in the way of earth or tar; it’s big, rich and juicy, with remarkably pure fruit, if not that much complexity right now. Despite its considerable size, it’s very approachable, with excellent balance and structure, and while it’s already delicious, it will be so much better in another five years and more. Reporting from Day-twah, geo t.
  12. 2001 Renwood Amador Barbera, $22.99, 14% alc.: Ruby dark garnet, shading to pink at the rim; a nice kiss of sweet oak compliments the blackberry, black currant, little bit o’ blueberry bouquet. Flavors echo, more or less, with hard fruit that opens and becomes more generous with air. The significant tannins can use a few years to tone down, but aren’t obtrusive, and the zippy acidity keeps it moving along nicely. As it continues to open, the fruit turns a little sweeter, gaining notes of earth and underbrush, but the wine never shows much distinct varietal character, only making a so – so match for Kim’s hand ground sausage meatballs (one batch made with Michigan dried cherries rehydrated in Madeira with feta cheese and kitchen herbs, and another batch made with fennel, white wine and kitchen herbs) baked, then simmered in tomato sauce and served with spaghetti noodles and Romano cheese. An Italian Barbera probably would have worked better, but still, this is a good wine on its own terms, and one that would probably benefit from 30 – 45 minutes in a decanter before drinking. Reporting from Day-twah, geo t.
  13. Sipping one now and enjoying it, but I may not have the opportunity to post notes before Sunday. Soon as I can... L~8~er, geo
  14. -from The Ridge Report, December 2004 2002 Ridge Geyserville, 84% Zinfandel, 12% Carignane, 4% Petite Sirah, $30, 14.6% alc.: One of the inkier colored Geezers I can remember, this one is a purple garnet turning pink at the rim; it throws an effusive bubble gum, Draper perfume, raspberry, cherry and blueberry bouquet, and by bubble gum, I don't mean to demean the wine, nor am I referring to the late '60s - early '70s sub - genre of pop music. This smells young, and it tastes young too, with the very ripe, creamy smooth flavors echoing the aromas, and while the tannins are relegated to the background, they're no doubt sufficient to take this to its tenth birthday at least. (Most of the Petite Sirah was held out of the blend to keep tannins in check.) Quite honestly, this is just too young and ripe for me to really enjoy right now, with the creamy oak dominating so much. If the '97 Geyserville is any indication, this should be drinking well in about five years or so, for my tastes anyway. Your mileage may vary. 2002 Ridge Pagani Zinfandel Late Picked, 89% Zinfandel, 7% Alicante Bouschet, 4% Petite Sirah, $30, 15.8% alc.: Almost opaque purple garnet in color, this throws some noticeable heat right away on the nose, then it's all rich, overripe black raspberry, black cherry and blackberry spiced up with sweet oak that isn't exactly the Draper perfume that I know and love. The big flavors echo, with the emphasis on the overripe, and with two or three years worth of tannins. This is like a mouthful of reduced berries and cherries, almost more so than I care to taste these days; maybe it just needs time, or the right context. I'll try our second bottle in '06. Reporting from Day-twah, geo t.
  15. We've been sampling several of the latest offerings from Mr. Ridge over the past few weeks, along with one relatively "old" selection, and we liked the following three even better than the latest versions of Geyserville and Pagani. 2002 Ridge Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay, $24.99, 14.9% alc.: Medium straw to pale gold in color, this offers sweet oak (roughly equal amounts of air-dried American and French) in good proportion to the pretty apple, pear and subtle sweet pea aromatics, with some soft herbal accents that add to the appeal. These follow through in the rich, concentrated flavors, with plenty of acidity and a little minerality on the finish. At first I wondered if it doesn't need a few years to settle down, but it really opens and smoothes out with 45 minutes of air, becoming even more rich, round and delicious, complimenting Kim's fresh baked focaccia very nicely. You might consider decanting this shortly before drinking now, but having said that, these have a good track record for age worthiness, so a few years in the cellar won't hurt this one at all. 2001 Ridge Santa Cruz Mountains Home Ranch, 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 49% Merlot, 1% Petite Verdot, $54, 14.3% alc.: (From Paul Draper's notes; "The name derives from an old California tradition: Wine-growing families who began with vines planted at their homesites often went on to acquire other vineyards. That first property, where the extended family gathered over the years, became known as the Home Ranch. For Ridge, the first ranch was Monte Bello, purchased in 1959. Though we now own Lytton Springs, and have leased other vineyards, Monte Bello is our Home Ranch.") The Cabernet Sauvignon for this blend comes from 35 year old vines, while the Merlot is from younger blocks. It's an inky purple in color, turning pink at the rim, with lots of Draper perfume and hints of cream and bubble gum over black currant, blackberry and blueberry on the nose; the rich flavors echo and expand with youthful fruit that is more than approachable, a somewhat sleek quality, silky tannins, balanced acidity and a nice finish where the tannins show the most. Extended air really helps this; we gave it 45 minutes in a decanter before pouring, and after another 45 minutes, the wine really sings, showing hints of leather as it opens. As nice as it is now (especially with thinly sliced, medium rare flank steak, Potato and Gruyere cheese gratin and pan seared asparagus), it should drink even better in four to seven years. 1994 Ridge Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet Sauvignon, 81% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot, 8% Petite Verdot, $22.39, 12.8% alc.: This deep, dark garnet powerhouse is showing no rust or bricking in its color as of yet, but it does exude big black currant, cassis and black plum character, shaded with iodine and cedar; the Draper "perfume" is there, but in the background. As it opened, Alan Kerr added impressions of "that foresty thing again; an earthiness, slate." In the mouth, this is velvety smooth, with silky tannins, impeccably balanced acidity and a fine, fine finish. Rich and delicious, intense and concentrated, but no fruit bomb this; rather it strikes a fine, elegant balance between the old and new world styles of Cabernet Sauvignon, and makes a perfect match for grilled ribeyes. Reporting from Day-twah, geo t.
  16. As a fan, I guess I can understand your bitterness. Igor told me that he had difficulty adjusting in Vancouver, but his 3rd season was actually quite respectable, with 21 goals and 44 assists. He had no such difficulties in San Jose, especially when the Sharks knocked off the Wings in the 1st Round in '94. Happily, he was hitting on all cylinders during most of his time here in Detroit, as the 3 Stanley Cups prove.
  17. I picked up one of the '01 Amadors thanks to some help from the local distributor, so we're all set in Day-twah.
  18. Amador 'tis! {snapback)[south}
  19. Sierra Series, or Amador? }8^)>
  20. Yes, Igor Larionov, the great ex – Detroit Red Wing has gotten “in the biz.” He and Mike Davis of A.H.D. Vintners in Warren, Michigan have partnered in a venture they call the Triple Overtime Wine Company, with the intent of exporting Australian and California wines to Switzerland and Russia, with some limited distribution in Michigan. You can read lots more in my Gang of Pour feature entitled A Hattrick in Triple Overtime, if you’re so inclined; here are my notes on Mike and Igor’s first three offerings. 2002 Hattrick Napa Red Wine, 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc, $50, 14.2% alc.: Made by Miner Family Vineyards for Triple Overtime, this ruby dark garnet colored Bordeaux blend is sourced mostly from the Oakville AVA, and includes some fruit from the Stagecoach Vineyard; only 211 cases were produced, with 28 slated for the domestic market, and the rest headed to Switzerland and Russia. It exudes a pretty bouquet of perfumed red currant, black cherry and cassis that follows through in the flavors, gaining a little sweet spice and a touch of chocolate, on an elegant, medium full bodied frame. With silky tannins, good acidity and a nice long finish, this is already very approachable, and indeed, a pleasure to drink, especially with some extended air, but five years and more in the cellar will reward those with patience. The two Triple Overtime Shiraz were made by Kevin Mitchell of Kilikanoon Wines, in Australia's Clare Valley. 2002 Triple Overtime Barossa Shiraz Reserve, $37-40, 15% alc.: No Aussie ooze monster this, but rather a balanced glass of Shiraz with a nice sense of proportion; dark garnet in color, it shows perfumed aromatics of blackberry and black currant, with hints of chocolate and tar. The concentrated flavors echo without being over the top; Kim would describe it as being "eminently drinkable." You can drink it now, or you can drink it two or three years down the road; either way, you'll have yourself a delicious, satisfying Shiraz. 800 cases produced, with 100 cases for the Swiss market, 80 cases for Michigan and the remainder for Russia. 2002 Triple Overtime South Australia Shiraz, $20-21, 14.5% alc.: One taster described this ruby dark garnet as "very peppery and cherry - like," and I wouldn't disagree; the peppery quality is quite evident, especially on the palate. Though not as concentrated as the Reserve, this is also nicely balanced, with black cherry and blackberry flavors and aromas shaded with a little chocolate and the afore - mentioned pepper. Made from Clare Valley and Barossa fruit, this is a "tweaked" version of Kilikanoon's Killerman's Run Shiraz, according to Davis, with an added component to the original blend, and is very nice for drinking now and over the next few years or so. 1,500 cases made, with 100 cases for the Swiss market, 222 cases for the Michigan market and the rest for Russia. Reporting from Day-twah, geo t.
  21. 14 years was probably a little too much to expect from this one, Mary, although the '92 Evangelo was showing really well a little over a year ago. Here are my notes from then: 1992 Ridge Evangelo Mataro, 95% Mataro, 5% Alicante, 13.6% alc.: I was not that impressed with this when I tried it several years ago, and the reason was probably that it was just too young, because it's showing really well right now. There's just a hint of rust to the deep dark garnet color, with nice Draper perfume over red currant, black cherry and just a hint of that ol' barnyard. It's a little earthy on the palate, but otherwise, the rich, smooth flavors show the same pretty character as the bouquet, with some tannins still to shed, and enough acidity to keep it moving along. Very nice. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Just some added data points...
  22. It's no secret that we like our Mr. Ridge here at Gang Central, so when Dan and Carol Myers inquired as to whether or not we'd be interested in revisiting several old acquaintances at their home, of course, we said "Of course!" So did Jim and Faye Friedman, and since no Ridge - fest is complete without Alan Kerr, aka Canadian Zinfan, we dragged him along too. A full report can be seen here, including images, recipes and three other tasting notes. For expediency's sake, here are the notes on the six Ridges we enjoyed. 1999 Ridge Santa Cruz Mountains Monte Bello Chardonnay, $23.99, 14.5% alc.: This pale gold Chardonnay has progressed nicely since we last had it almost a year ago; it's showing restrained sweet toasty oak over refined apple and pear Chardonnay flavors and aromas that are just starting to develop a note of hazelnut. This has a reserved, not - quite - delicate personality, along with a velvety texture that compliments the ultra smooth butternut squash soup with truffle butter, crouton and caramelized shallots very nicely. Jim found this to be more reminiscent of white Burgundy than most of your usual Left Coast suspects, and it should continue to develop nicely for at least another year or two. 1996 Ridge Geyserville, 75% Zinfandel, 17% Carignan, 6% Petite Sirah, 2% Mataro, 14.9% alc.: There's just a hint of brick to the dark garnet color of this 8 - year old Geezer, and it exudes a little smoke and a good dose of "Draper perfume" (Dan said that he'd heard the phrase before, but finally got it with this one) over spicy black raspberry and blackberry flavors and aromas, with a subtle note of cream. It has a creamy smooth texture too, with flavors that echo and expand upon the aromatics, soft tannins, balanced acidity and a lovely finish. Still on the way up, and yet drinking so well right now, this has that lovely elegant balance that is Ridge at its best. 1995 Ridge Lytton Springs, 84% Zinfandel, 14% Petite Sirah, 2% Carignan: Even visually, this one is not as dense as the Geyserville, with the vaguest hint of brick to the dark garnet color; it's not as big on the nose or in the mouth either, with a not - quite - restrained Ridge perfume and black raspberry and blackberry flavors shaded with what Mr. Kerr describes as eucalyptus and cooked beet. Kim called this one right when she exclaimed, "Man, is this soft; it's very pretty." And indeed, it has a lovely feel to it, with soft tannins, balanced acidity and a somewhat creamy texture. Dan found it somewhat overripe and Port - like, a bit of a detraction for him, while I liked it the best of the three Lytton Springs, being absolutely delicious. 1996 Ridge Lytton Springs, 78% Zinfandel, 19% Petite Sirah, 2% Carignan, 1% Grenache, 14.5% alc.: Jim summed it up when he remarked about this, "It tastes a little tighter than the '95." Another dark garnet with the vaguest hint of rust, it shows (surprise!) Draper perfume over black raspberry and blackberry on a medium full to full bodied frame. It's not quite silky smooth, and not quite up to the '95, but still very nice to drink on its own terms. Both Lyttons made a fine match for the confit of veal breast et al, but the following course demanded Cabernet, and a welcome old friend is was. 1991 Ridge Monte Bello, 1991 Monte Bello - 85% Cabernet, 10% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot, 13.1% alc.: "Restrained on the nose this ain't," Dan exclaimed upon taking a whiff of this one, and no one begged to differ. Much as we remember it from our last taste, it's still showing little if any brick to the deep, dark garnet color; and exudes a big perfume of cassis, black currant, cigar box, soft chocolate with some subtle dusty herbal qualities, all of which follow through in the flavors beautifully with silky tannins, balanced acidity and a long, lovely finish. A joy to drink, with or without the roast rack of lamb, and while it will likely hold or improve for some time, it's so good now, why wait? 1997 Ridge Lytton Springs, 80% Zinfandel, 15% Petite Sirah, 2% Carignan, 2% Mataro, 1% Grenache, 14.9% alc.: Another variation on the theme of the previous two vintages, this one shows just a hint of brick to the dark garnet color, with "all that Draper perfume" over black raspberry, blackberry and sweet spice aromatics; these follow through on the palate with some tannins that need time yet. Rich, delicious and still somewhat youthful, this one is still a few years away from its peak. Reporting from Day-twah, geo t.
  23. Try it soon before it's all gone. It's some seriously intense Sauv Blanc.
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