4th of July wines with Burt Williams and friends

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Blake Brown
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Location: Santa Barbara

4th of July wines with Burt Williams and friends

Postby Blake Brown » Thu Jul 06, 2017 1:09 pm

I always look forward to the annual 4th of July celebration at Burt William`s home high up in the foothills overlooking the prime downtown of Santa Barbara , the ocean and channel islands and the harbour from where the spectacular fireworks display emanates.

It was a beautiful day and evening with clear skies allowing for the magnificent views to be cherished and this home is positioned to take full advantage of them.

Not only do we eat well, but we drink exceptionally well, often and for a long time. About a dozen folks enjoyed this event and the following wines:

NV SCHARFFENBERGER BRUT EXCELLENCE- 3L bottle; this was as impressive in the glass as it was the bottle presentation; it had wonderful crisp and creamy citrus with lemon lime flavours most prevalent' with some toasty apple and pear coming in late; there`s an underlying streak of acidity that holds it up and enhances the palate pleasing finish.

NV MOUTARD BRUT ROSE- this is one of my go to roses at home and I usually drink it in conjunction with a forthcoming Pinot Noir which on this day could predicted; it has all of the requisite flavours for the lighter fruit side of Pinot Noir with strawberry, red raspberry and red cherry; additionally, it was accented with a bit of toast, spice and smoke; the bright and deep red colour entices one to want to go further and we diid graciously.

2016 GERARD BERTRAND COTE des ROSES ROSE LANGUEDOC- the bottle design was almost as amazing as this summer treat; the bottom had the impressions of rose petals [see pic]; the colour was light pink/ peach which matched some of the aroma and taste along with fresh rose petals; served with a good chill, this was refreshing and tasty.

1997 HOP KILN RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY VALDIGUIE- from estate grown Valdiguie from M. Griffin Vineyards, this was a first for me with this varietal and a good one at that; the flavours were of delicious bright red fruit with red apple and red cherry most prevalent; it was light to medium bodied and very fun juice; wines in CA cannot be labelled with this name since 1999; it was also called Napa Gamay and Gamay 15; the fruit has mostly been grown in Languedoc and Provence.

2001 CLARENDON HILLS OLD VINES GRENACHE BLEWITT SPRINGS VINEYARD CLARENDON- brilliant fresh red and black fruit prevails here with some toast, leather and spice; medium bodied, it hits the mid palate with finesse and distinct cherry flavours.

2015 BROGAN CELLARS LOCAVORE RANCH MENDOCINO COUNTY CHARDONNAY- made by Burt`s daughter, Margi, who was present, this light and cheery Chardonnay was a refreshing treat; with a bit of minerality, the floral, tropical and pear and apple fruit notes sang out a fine tune; this was so easy on the palate as it made a mild statement with finesse and charm; for me, it was near the white Burg context.

2014 ARNAUD LAMBERT CLOS du CHATEAU DOMAINE SAINT JUST BREZE SAUMUR LOIRE CHENIN- magnum; this hit the WOW factor and I kept on going back for another taste on a day that rationing would be most prudent; it had lovely floral and tropical aromas with lime, guava and kiwi fruit delivered in an amazing soft and silky texture; it was so smooth with an unexpected elegance that existed from the nose thru the tail; one of the best Chenins I`ve had.

1999 BROGAN CELLARS RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY RESERVE PINOT NOIR- magnum; I believe I have this right that most if not all of the fruit came from Rochioli Vineyard and was the second pick of the harvest; with super ripe plum, black cherry and blackberry fruit, it was medium to full bodied with serious flavours unfolding in layers; there`s a nice spicy element and a hint of toast; it got even better with time.

1990 WILLIAMS SELYEM ROCHIOLI VINEYEARD PINOT NOIR- magnum; Burt pulled this out with a smile on his face fully knowing it would be a gem; gem is an understatement; with a pale red color, it was so viable, drinking beautifully; unlike the Rochiolis of 96` and 97`, this had a lighter red fruit profile of strawberry and red raspberry with that requisite spicy note that accentuates the fruit; there was a hint of cardamon and clove blending in; it was so elegant with a palate pleasing softness; in perfect balance, this was the KIND.

1996 WILLIAMS SELYEM COASTLANDS VINEYARD PINOT NOIR- over all of the years I`ve known Burt, one of the main pleasures for me is to treat him to his own wine when we get together; this bottle was the best of the 96` Coastlands I`ve had; it had a bright red color, floral aromas, abundance of fresh red fruit, layers upon layers unfolding even though this is medium bodied at best, perfect balance and a long, lingering finish made this a superb treat.

1989 WILLIAMS SELYEM LENO MARTINELLI VINEYARD ZINFANDEL-magnum; another great Zin from Burt; drinking more like a Pinot, it had a primal dark red colour, a big inviting nose of pepper and spicy red, black and blue fruit; in a medium body, the texture was easy and lightweight; the taste profile consisted of pepper infused blueberry, black raspberry and a touch of cranberry; the abv was 15.6%, but there was no noticeable heat or high alcohol issues whatsoever.

2000 SEVEN LIONS WINERY 100 YEAR OLD VINES POOR MAN`S FLAT VINEYARDS RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY ZINFANDEL- 375 ml; although I did not taste this, I throw it in as a tribute to Burt`s deceased son, Fred, who made this under his own label. After many hours with many wines, I missed this at the end; I heard the next day it was very good.

I`m including a photo of the label that Burt first used, Haciendo Del Rio, until they had to change it due to legal issues with a winery in Chile with a similar name. Note the 17% abv for the 1982 Zinfandel.

I had a great 4th; not so much on the 5th.

Cheers,
Blake

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