During a recent enjoyable lunch with 8 people at Ca Dario, one of Santa Barbara`s finest Italian restaurants, we shared the following fine wines:
2012 ARKENSTONE ESTATE HOWELL MOUNTAIN NAPA SAUVIGNON BLANC- a new producer to me, I figured this would be a more typical Napa SB and give off some grassy, herbaceous aromas and have that similar taste profile as well as some grapefruit flavors; well, the nose was right on plus a little petrol and a hint of honeysuckle, but the taste was way different; it had vanilla and honeyed sweet lemon zest and a lesser amount of green apple served up in a creamy, lush texture that carried all of the treasures to the back end gracefully; it was a pretty dramatic shift and the surprise and result led to a quite pleasing experience; a little research showed this wine is blended with a little Semillon; I`m assuming 100% ML and the use of some new oak.
2010 CLENDENEN FAMILY VINEYARDS LE BON CLIMAT SANTA MARIA VALLEY CHARDONNAY- this wine is showing so well now with promises to evolve into even greater things with its acidic backbone; I have most of a case left and all bottles have been stellar as was this one which was brought by another; there`s ginger, honeysuckle and spice in the nose along with floral and tree fruit notes; the taste is full on toasty, buttery, minerals, pear, apple and lemon citrus served up in a creamy texture which contributes to a long, welcomed finish; BTW, this is a great QPR wine.
2015 E. POLI CLOS ALIVU PATRIMONIO CORSICA ROSE- made from old vines Nieliuccio [Sangiovese]; this arrived after we had already started with the first 2 wines and would have been a good wine to start with; the color was a pale pink which is typical of this varietal grown here and the wine was equally pale with light, mild flavors; perhaps it would be more properly named rose light; it had mild, almost undetectable freshly picked rose petals aromas along with hints of fresh strawberry; on a hot summer day and a good chill on the bottle, it would be a good refreshing treat.
2009 CASTELLO di MONSANTO CHIANTI CLASSICO RISERVA- garnet color; violets, tart red cherry, licorice, cedar and wild cranberry and black fruit show up and until just about mid palate when the tannins take over and lead to a somewhat dry, briary finish; I suspect this will balance out and mature into something quite pleasant, say 10+ years.
1994 CHATEAU MONTELENA ESTATE CABERNET SAUVIGNON NAPA- loved this wine as it hit the sensory receptors with grace and elegance yet showed power and complexity; the fruit profile was surprisingly on the mild side and contained nice licorice and a light toasty accented black currant, black cherry and black berry fruit; it had a wonderful smooth texture and a welcomed after taste; in a great place now and should sustain its integrity for many more years.
1978 CHATEAU LEOVILLE-POYFERRE ST. JULIEN- Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc; this fine wine shined with mature notes of leather, cedar and dried blackberry; it had great mouthfeel and held on to satisfy throughout; nicely balanced and drinking quite well.
2009 GIOVANNI CORINO VIGNETO ARBORINA BAROLO- 100% Nebbiolo; I`ve got a few bottles of this wine and it was drinking so good for the last time I visited it, it got my consideration for this restaurant`s fine Italian cuisine; for a young Barolo, this was very seriously fruit forward with a solid structure, good acidity and soft tannins to carry it down the road for years to come; oak influence is evident but not cloying; it`s medium to full bodied, the texture is smooth and creamy, it`s layered and long; to me, it more like New World Nebbiolo from the Old World.
2001 R. LOPEZ de HEREDIA VINA TONDONIA RESERVA RIOJA- 75% Tempranillo, 15% Garnacha, 5% Mazuelo and Graciano; I`m a big fan of this producer and this bottling as well; our bottle showed beautifully giving bright spicy red cherry aromas which continued on and were joined by cranberry and black cherry notes; it was delivered in a silky smooth texture which served to perpetuate the length of the finish; underlying tannins were evident enough to suggest support for aging; although this is really showing well now, it will morph into even greater things.
For lunching at an Italian restaurant, we certainly had a myriad of different wines from all over the planet. Somehow, it seemed to work out with a wide variety of appetizers and small dishes plus individually ordered entrees. Fun lunch.