Saturday, November 22, 2008

1980 Montevina Barbera

11/19/08-The Wednesday Knitters enjoyed a rare brown bag treat with the 1980 Montevina Barbera. Everyone to a person enjoyed the wine; intense blackberry fruit, licorice, coffee, deep color with little browning. Barbera appears to age like a petite sirah, retaining intense fruit for decades. A truly pleasant experience.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

1979 Mayacamus Pinot Noir

11/12/08-The knitters enjoyed another brown bag marvel with the 1979 Mayacamus Pinot Noir. The wine was poured into a cabernet bottle to avoid the wider pinot bottle, and it was a sangiovese evening pared with pork, so the varietal guesses were quite varied. For example, Ann Vik wanted to guess pinot but kept it to herself (she claims), Keith Faust guessed sangiovese but amazed the group by guessing it was a 1979 (did they make California sangiovese in 79?). Everyone seemed to agree that it was light, smooth, youthful, fruity, and very enjoyable.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Jordan Cabernet Vertical

7/4/06 (4th of July Bash)-In 1978 the two “hot” wines were the first release of the Jordan cabernet (1976), and the Ch. St. Jean Robert Young Vineyards chardonnay. The Jordan cabs were flying off the shelves and most people purchased it by the case. The wine was smooth as silk, very fruity, little tannin and complex flavors. The 1977 Jordan was a huge disappointment for most people, having a strong vegetal component. The 1978 Jordan was the first from their own vineyards, and was an enormous success; a more conventional cab than the 76, with the potential for ageing.

The surprises of the Jordan vertical were twofold: (1) the 1976 had aged very well, and despite coming in last in the judging, was very pleasant, and (2) the 1977 had lost its vegetal component (as did the 3 Jekel cabernets reported in an earlier post). Following are the tasting notes and ranking by the 18 participants:

1 1983 Good fruit and finish, black cherries
2 1980 Young and fruity, very complex flavors, good finish
3 1982 Pleasant nose, good up front fruit
4 1981 Mouth filling, still a bit tannic, slight vege component
5 1978 Olives/green pepper, chocolate, cherries
6 1979 Red currants, seamless
7 1977 Similar to 76 but a bit more fruit and tannin
8 1976 Soft red currant, pleasant, lots of fruit, a bit tart, long finish

Lytton Springs Zinfandel Vertical

7/4/05 (4th of July Bash)-The Lytton Springs zinfandel vertical tasting produced numerous very drinkable and enjoyable examples of aged zins. As usual with older zins, they developed tastes more reminiscent of cabernet. 1979 was an outstanding vintage for zinfandels, and the Lytton Springs was the clear favorite of the Northern California Wine Society in several blind tastings in the early 80's. Following are the rankings by the 18 participants:

1 1979
2 1980
3 1984
4 1986
5 1981 Private Reserve
6 1985
7 1981
8 1983 Private Reserve

Duckhorn Merlot Vertical

5/29/05-All of the Duckhorn Merlot’s tasted were youthful, fruity, complex and extremely enjoyable.

1 1983-3 Palms
2 1985
3 1981-3 Palms
4 1981
5 1980
6 1982

1980 and 1982 Diamond Creek Cabernet, Volcanic Hill

7/4/06 (4th of July Bash)-The two Diamond Creek Cabs were tasted by approximately 30 members of the Folsom Wine Group. The Volcanic Hill grapes are planted on volcanic ash with a southerly exposure, and typically make the hardest, most tannic and powerful wines compared to the other vineyard specific cabs by Diamond Creek (Red Rock Terrace, Lake and Gravelly Meadow). The 1980 was the clear favorite of the two. Tasting notes were quite consistent with the members and between the two wines; big, fruity, youthful, tannic, plums, some earthiness.

Monday, November 10, 2008

1934 Fonseca Vintage Port

7/4/04-(4th of July Bash) Approximately 30 members of the Folsom Wine Group tasted the 1934 Fonseca Port. This was an incredible experience for all. Expecting an “over the hill” wine, the wine was a silky, fruity, elegant example of an aged port. Most everyone remarked that it was by far the best port they had ever had, and several members who admitted that they did not care for port, came back for seconds. My regret-I only bought one from Corti Brothers.

I purchased this wine at Corti Brothers in the early 80’s. The following notes accompanied the wine:

Directors Special Reserve-Alcohol 20% by volume
Imported December 1975 and purchased by Corti Brothers in the early 80’s.
It is traditional for the directors of wine and spirits merchants’ firms to maintain a sizable stock of fine wines and ports for entertaining clients. The firm of Arthur Bell & Sons, producers of whiskies in Perth, Scotland, bought specially selected pipes of port of the best vintages and bottled them in their Pedrch cellars, not to sell, but to hold for their director’s reserve.
This port has rested since bottling two years after the vintage in the firm’s cellars in Leith, Scotland and rested there until importation in December 1975.
Vintage port produces sediment or crust as it is held in bottle. The inside of bottles is traditionally “shotted” when the bottle is made by shaking the inside of the freshly formed bottle with buckshot. This provides pits in the inside surfaces to which the “crust” or flaky sediment found in old vintage port adheres. In shipping, old ports have this crust broken up by the travel. For this reason, the bottles all have a white mark painted upon one side. When you lay your bottle on its side in your cellar, be careful to place the bottle with the mark facing up so that the port may resume its natural rest.

Friday, November 7, 2008

1979 Ridge York Creek Cabernet

11-5-08-The Knitters enjoyed a brown bag 1979 Ridge York Creek Cabernet that has refused to age. The group was split fairly evenly between being a younger or older wine, and voiced a wide range of varietal guesses. Everyone agreed, however, that it was a very enjoyable experience. Big, fruity, lots of black berry and coffee flavors, little tannin, lots of sediment.
Napa County, 88% Cab, 12% Merlot, Spring Mountain, 13.8% alc
In 1979, for the first time, we were able to make each cabernet block at York Creek separately. The resulting wines confirmed the notable effect that soil and exposure can have. Although some blocks stood out, the finest, most complex wine was the combination of all but one. As it develops, oak from the small cooperage will contribute a further dimension to the peppery cabernet fruit so typical of this vineyard. With four to five years of bottle age, it should be showing its full quality.

1995 Vieux Telegraphe

11/1/2008-The entire Folsom Wine Group met at the home of Steve & Teri Price for their annual halloween party. There were approximately 50 wines tasted at the event. There were some outstanding wines tasted but the hit of the evening was a magnum of 1995 Vieux Telegraphe Chateauneuf Du Pape Rhone wine provided by Lionel Wade. The wine was incredibly fruity, balanced, with a very long finish, and disappeared so quickly that few people got a second taste. Thanks Lionel for a great experience.