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Old 11-06-2005, 04:44 PM
 
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Default Diamond Creek, Thackrey, Jaboulet, Castelgiocondo....

The monthly 'business' blind tasting lunch notes:

2002 Guillemot-Michel 'Quintaine' - this is a Macon Cless=E9 that
impressed us all. The nose was pretty identifiable as a chard, with
good fruit and light oak, but the mout-feel was what was exceptional
- very full flavoured, long and crisp at the end. Very good.

1994 Robert Pepi Sangiovese Two Heart Canopy - this California
Sangiovese is an early example of the American experimentation with
Italian varietals. The wine had a nose that did cry out "Italy"
with sweet ripe fruit, and the feel was initially quite silky, but the
wine was ultimately simple and a little tedious.

2003 Sedlescomb Organic Vineyard Regent - brought back from England
as a curiosity, this wine was deep dark purple in colour, and had a
nose like odd slightly sweet still fermenting blackberry juice. In the
mouth, the most appropriate descriptor was beets.....agghh.......I
applaud, however, the intellectual curiosity that inspired this
attendee to pick this wine up and bring it - you never know until you
try something whether it is any good or not. In this case, 'not'
won unanimously!

2003 Winchester Sharp Rock Vineyard Pinot Noir - another
'unusual' wine, from one of the new BC wineries, made by Ken
Winchester. A BC Pinot at 14.3% alcohol, with just about no
recognizable Pinot characteristics! A ripe raisiny nose reminiscent of
an Amarone, but with a stewed plum element that is thankfully absent in
the Italian version.

1999 Doudet Naudin Savigny les Beaune - a little cloudy from the bus
ride over to the restaurant, and displaying a non-typical Pinot nose,
this wine nonetheless showed good balance, good acidity and is ready to
drink. I should add that this is not much like the Doudets of old -
back in the 80s and early 90s they were age worthy wines that would
just be hitting stride at 5-6 years of age. I believe there was a
change of winemaker and possibly a change in style about 15 years ago.

1996 Jaboulet Dom. Thalabert - this Crozes Hermitage showed wonderful
black olive tapenade and pepper in the nose and I kept veering toward
the southern Rhone in my attempts to nail it. Smooth and very tasty.
This was from a warm cellar and typical bottles will probably not be as
far along.

2000 Burge Holy Trinity - a ripe sweet GSM from Oz - as one
expects, tons of ripeness and sweet fruit, in the end a bit of a one
note presentation, but alright if you are in the mood. It's funny -
I took one sniff of this and pronounced it Australian, yet none of the
other tasters had the same reaction, and thought it variously American,
French etc. Maybe I've partaken of too many Oz wines lately.....

Thackrey Pleiades XII - I forgive myself for not getting Thackrey's
melange of Italian and Californian varietals - a real test in a blind
tasting! Minty nose with all sorts of herbs, leather, earth, then a
sweet entry and smooth feel, the wine very tasty and ready to drink.
I've had this oddball once before - maybe I'll remember it if
there is another time. The Pleiades are the Seven Sisters, yet there
seem to be more than seven components to this wine. I don't know
whether there were originally only seven, or perhaps Sean just had a
'thing' for nymphs....

1990 Castelgiocondo Brunello di Montalcino - I've been drinking my
way through a case of this since release and it changes just about
every time I taste it. It went through a lean acidic phase, then
miraculously the fruit came back. It has been drinking well for several
years, yet this bottle showed much more tannin than recent tastings. I
found a little blood/iron in the nose, a bit of browning at the edges,
and lots of acidity to go with the surprising tannins, the finish a bit
hot and raisiny. Not the best bottle I've tasted and I look forward
to revisiting this.

1985 Kenwood Cabernet (Sonoma) - I tasted this early in its life and
decided that it would age well. While it hasn't got the legs of the
exceptional 1978 (sadly, I have no more of this), it has held up well
and drinks nicely now, a feat for a 'regular' wine. I suppose you
could call this a third label after the Artist's label and the Jack
London.
Also showing browning edges, the mature cabernet nose unmistakeable (at
least to me), this wine still has sufficient fruit to drink well, and
has turned out to show an elegance in old age that was absent in youth.

1978 Diamond Creek Volcanic Hill Cabernet - we were musing about what
had happened to this legendary, iconic winery. The wines of the 70s
were fantastic, then the winery seemed to slide after the early 80s and
while I've seen the odd good comment on later wines, it just
doesn't seem to be producing at the same level. Showing age only at
the edges, this wine had a lovely nose of oak and mellow mature fruit.
On palate it was as close to perfection as you'd like to see or taste
- still weighty with complex flavours and impeccable balance, it is a
wine for thoughtfulness - sure, the wineries in California are making
wine of an average quality level much higher than was the case when
this wine was made, with fewer failures. But do they attain the heights
that some of the 1970s wines did, full of character and individuality,
lasting for decades? I have my doubts. Have I had better California
Cabs? Probably, on occasion, maybe some of the other 70s vintages would
rival this, but with lunch with friends, this was a truly memorable
bottle, and my thanks to the one who brought it. My clear vote for best
of lunch!! I'll add one other comment. I've been fortunate enough
to taste this vintage of Diamond Creek pretty much across the board.
The last one I had was a Gravelly Meadow a couple of years ago, and I
found it to be much more like a Bordeaux. The Volcanic Hill was somehow
(to me) quintessentially American. Sorry to ramble on, but this wine
merits discussion!


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Old 11-06-2005, 05:27 PM
Anders Tørneskog
 
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skrev i melding
oups.com...
The monthly 'business' blind tasting lunch notes:

snipped interesting notes

11 bottles for lunch... If you had a glass of each, who carried you home?
Even a mere 5cl would mean 3/4 of a bottle - you wouldn't want to spit out
these wines, would you?
Anders
amazed by the lunch capacity of some... :-)


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Old 11-06-2005, 05:59 PM
Joseph B. Rosenberg
 
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Re Diamond Creek---when I was assembling some of the great Left Coast wines
of 1966-1977 tastings held 1983-1988 I tried to find some Diamond Creek on
my journeys to Napa, Sonoma, SF,Oakland, Burlingame,Palo Alto and Marin.
Finally at Lake Merritt Wine & Cheese they were pouring some of the 1978's
at I think $10 a shot, I was merely "whelmed" at the time. If I recall
while I could still buy the Conn Creek 1974 for about $85 and an older
Martha's for about the same. The Diamond Creeks were around $150 each and
so I passed buying them. I believe Marvin Shankin still praises Diamond
Creek and says he is a bud of Al Brounstein, the cantankerous owner. I
think it was one of the wines discussed in the Spectator's interview with
Rusty Staub and maybe Mel Brooks, both vinous benchmarks of wine journalism.

As for Kenwood, I've never forgiven them for putting a nekkid lady on their
Artist series bottling one year. Of course the US BATF put a stop to that
nonsense ASAP & Pronto. Ol Jessie Helms wanted to go nuclear on them, but
wiser heads prevailed. Met Marty Lee & family at Sonoma Wine auction, one
of the first, had a big laugh over the label. I believe they also submitted
a skeleton in the same pose as the nekkid lady, but those folks at BATF were
no dummies- they rejected the cadaver too. Did you know that Spain had a
stamp with Goya's Naked Maja on it. It was banned from being shown at stamp
shows in the US by someone in Eisenhower's Administration. I stuck the
stamp in a Stamp collecting exhibit at the Asbury Park HS Library. My mom
got called into the Principal's Office and they removed the stamp from the
display, so you know I'm a deviant and agitator from Jump Street. Anyway
mega dittoes on the Kenwood wines; never pretentious always a fair priced
treat.


wrote in message
oups.com...
The monthly 'business' blind tasting lunch notes:

big snip

1985 Kenwood Cabernet (Sonoma) - I tasted this early in its life and
decided that it would age well. While it hasn't got the legs of the
exceptional 1978 (sadly, I have no more of this), it has held up well
and drinks nicely now, a feat for a 'regular' wine. I suppose you
could call this a third label after the Artist's label and the Jack
London.
Also showing browning edges, the mature cabernet nose unmistakeable (at
least to me), this wine still has sufficient fruit to drink well, and
has turned out to show an elegance in old age that was absent in youth.

1978 Diamond Creek Volcanic Hill Cabernet - we were musing about what
had happened to this legendary, iconic winery. The wines of the 70s
were fantastic, then the winery seemed to slide after the early 80s and
while I've seen the odd good comment on later wines, it just
doesn't seem to be producing at the same level. Showing age only at
the edges, this wine had a lovely nose of oak and mellow mature fruit.
On palate it was as close to perfection as you'd like to see or taste
- still weighty with complex flavours and impeccable balance, it is a
wine for thoughtfulness - sure, the wineries in California are making
wine of an average quality level much higher than was the case when
this wine was made, with fewer failures. But do they attain the heights
that some of the 1970s wines did, full of character and individuality,
lasting for decades? I have my doubts. Have I had better California
Cabs? Probably, on occasion, maybe some of the other 70s vintages would
rival this, but with lunch with friends, this was a truly memorable
bottle, and my thanks to the one who brought it. My clear vote for best
of lunch!! I'll add one other comment. I've been fortunate enough
to taste this vintage of Diamond Creek pretty much across the board.
The last one I had was a Gravelly Meadow a couple of years ago, and I
found it to be much more like a Bordeaux. The Volcanic Hill was somehow
(to me) quintessentially American. Sorry to ramble on, but this wine
merits discussion!


  #4 (permalink)   Report Post  
Old 11-06-2005, 07:07 PM
DaleW
 
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What are the chances- I had the '96 Thalabert last night. Started out
awful light, then put on weight. Lots of game/roasted meat aromas, warm
plum fruit. Noticable acidity, not much in tannins. Nice wine- mature
but no hurry.

wrote:
1996 Jaboulet Dom. Thalabert - this Crozes Hermitage showed wonderful
black olive tapenade and pepper in the nose and I kept veering toward
the southern Rhone in my attempts to nail it. Smooth and very tasty.
This was from a warm cellar and typical bottles will probably not be as
far along.



  #5 (permalink)   Report Post  
Old 11-06-2005, 09:08 PM
[email protected]
 
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"What are the chances- I had the '96 Thalabert last night"

If you put enough monkeys in enough cellars with enough
corkscrews..........



  #6 (permalink)   Report Post  
Old 15-06-2005, 07:56 PM
[email protected]
 
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Default



Joseph B. Rosenberg wrote:


As for Kenwood, I've never forgiven them for putting a nekkid lady on their
Artist series bottling one year. Of course the US BATF put a stop to that
nonsense ASAP & Pronto. Ol Jessie Helms wanted to go nuclear on them, but
wiser heads prevailed. Met Marty Lee & family at Sonoma Wine auction, one
of the first, had a big laugh over the label. I believe they also submitted
a skeleton in the same pose as the nekkid lady, but those folks at BATF were
no dummies- they rejected the cadaver too. Did you know that Spain had a
stamp with Goya's Naked Maja on it. It was banned from being shown at stamp
shows in the US by someone in Eisenhower's Administration. I stuck the
stamp in a Stamp collecting exhibit at the Asbury Park HS Library. My mom
got called into the Principal's Office and they removed the stamp from the
display, so you know I'm a deviant and agitator from Jump Street. Anyway
mega dittoes on the Kenwood wines; never pretentious always a fair priced
treat.


Still causing trouble, huh Joe? Great story. You going to any Upstate
functions this summer?

Best,

Mark S



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