Thursday, May 18, 2006

A Friendly Wine Tasting of the Big and Bold

Friends, David and Anne Hull invited us over the other night for a tasting of a 1996 Leonetti Seven Hills Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon. Steve and I thought it would be fun to add to this tasting with either a horizontal or a vertical tasting from our wines. At first, we were thinking about a vertical tasting of Spring Valley's Uriah, but chose to do the horizontal (kind of a horizontal, but not exact) with the 2003 Frederick from Spring Valley Vineyard and the 2003 Pirouette from Long Shadows Vintners.

When we arrived, David had the Leonetti decanted and waiting. Steve thought the Leonetti was a little past its prime, feeling it's once-rich and complex flavors had thinned, and the nose was slightly dying. However, he thought it still exhibited the Leonetti's remarkable (and typical) notes. It's still a wonderful wine, he thought, an ideal accompaniment to prime rib. I noted that there was still a lot of oak going on in the Leonetti, besides the leather and cherry notes which seems typical for a Cabernet Sauvignon of this age.

We moved onto the Long Shadows Pirouette and the Spring Valley Frederick. The Frederick is a blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot. Harvey from the Wine Spectator gave this wine a 92. The Pirouette is a blend of 56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot, 10% Syrah, 9% Cabernet Franc, and 3% Petit Verdot. Parker gave the Pirouette a 93 and Harvey gave it a 91. Looks like an average of points to me (If you really care about the point system).

To sum it up, we thought Long Shadow's Pirouette was the real star of the evening. Right out of the bottle, not having breathed at all, its nose was overwhelming cappucino, just an amazing blend of coffee and cream and cinnamon. Let me say it again - - overwhelming cappucino! The wine's flavor was very rich, too, with a beautiful blend of strawberry, dark chocolate and some caramel. Spring Valley's Frederick tasted just as great as the Pirouette, we thought, with an emphasis on cherry and dark bittersweet chocolate with a long silky finish, but its nose -- with licorice and anise. However, the Frederick took some time to develop, especially the nose. At first the nose carried a hint of yeastiness, but about a half hour later the nose was there.

Okay, forgive me as I change gears to California wines (I will try not to do this too often). Later in the evening our hosts, David and Anne, brought up a real treat from their cellar. I have heard Annie mention her fondness for these wines before and we finally had the opportunity to try them. David brought up from the cellar a 2000 and a 2001 Lamborn Family Vineyards Howell Mountain Zinfandels. Yikes, these were spicy wines -- Holy Pepper Batman! (umm - I can say that because afterall, Batman is from Walla Walla) The 2000 especially smelled and tasted as if someone had ground a pound of peppercorns into the barrel. Not a bad flavor, and not a bad wine at all, but you'd want to pair it carefully with food. Beneath the pepper in both vintages was a lovely strawberry-raspberry flavor. Later, as Steve and I would discuss these Zins, we kept referring to bar-be-que pork spareribs. Mmmmm - a perfect pairing.

Our conclusion about the Walla Walla wines? All three of these wines were - well Steve commented they were "pretty damn terrific. " I felt they were "luxurious and oh-so-satisfying."

1 comment:

David said...

Hi Cae,

Great article...I'm glad that we were able to get the Lamborn Zins up from the cellar for you to taste. Anne and I have been long time followers of Mike & Terry Lamborn.

David