Recently, we were invited to attend a special birthday celebration for a special friend at his home along with about 50 other fortunate people, most of whom are also dear friends as well as being uber successful winemakers, retailers or in other aspects ITB.
The home itself was magnificent located high on a hill in a semi private neighborhood. It had expansive panoramic views of the Santa Ynez Valley and the valley side of the coastal mountains on a blue bird day that highlighted all of the vistas to behold prior to, during and after a marvelous sunset with ever changing shades of colors providing an almost surrealistic panoply of shapes, sizes and colors.
Greeted with NV Bollinger Grande Cuvee that was poured generously and graciously throughout the evening, we entered into the matrix of the home and I discovered 3 tasting stations our host had set up with extra special wines for all to sample along with a typed out review of the flights. Many of the wines were rare treasures and to taste them in the company of like and kind in verticals and other assorted lineups was an even greater treat.
While clinking glasses with an amazing compellation of wine passionate folks, I enjoyed many a taste and later on a cellar raid that went beyond what was already being gifted.
For simplicity sake, I`m reviewing the first of the 3 stations herein and doing the other 2 by way of separate documents.
First Station: [I`m quoting the write up}
A range of familiar faces spanning over 5 decades of “modern” and “post-modern” eras of Northern California Cabernet. The 70s, 80s and 90s wines were not always clean, but were always characterful: These wines displays various levels of VA, Brett and funk that was just part of the program in that day. The Ridge bottling was rare from a historic vineyard near Montebello. The Montelena is decidedly post-modern coming after the winery successfully dealt with Brett and TCA issues in the cellar. Tor`s To-Kalon is an anomaly in that it`s mostly Cabernet Franc, a result of the difficult harvest condition that year .
1979 BEAULIEU VINEYARDS GEORGES de LATOUR PRIVATE RESERVE NAPA CABERNET SAUVIGNON- delightful; balanced with loads of fruit in the nose and taste profile delivered in silky, smooth texture with an extended finish; although it`s now showing tertiary flavors, it still exudes a degree of youthfulness and has an overall charm and elegance that befits the pedigree; this is also an example of how stellar the 79` vintage was in spite of a lot of bad reviews and varied results especially outside of Napa; any of the initial pronounced tannins have been shredded and what remains in this bottle was a great aged character.
1981 DIAMOND CREEK VOLCANIC HILL NAPA CAVERNET SAUVIGNON- my least favorite of this flight; this bottle was redolent of dried dark fruit with a barnyard character, had a bit of astringency and a pretty abrupt finish; there was even a tad of heat by mid palate. I moved on.
1986 DUNN VINEYARDS CABERNET SAUVIGNON NAPA- showing nicely, this had leather and cedar infused black currant and blackberry notes served up in a full body along with decent mouthfeel; it held on for a long finish and was very pleasing overall and is expected to be viable for years to come.
1990 RIDGE VINEYARDS JIMSOMARE VINEYARD SANTA CRUZ MOUNTAINS CABERNET SAUVIGNON- another treat with everything in the right place; it was balanced, gave off an inviting perfume and followed it up with full mature blue and black fruit which had some earth and spice blended in; it got better in the glass and I did not want to dump a drop nor did I.
2007 MONTELENA ESTATE NAPA CABERNET SAUVIGNON- although not nearly mature, its youthfulness guided this to be a more fruit forward wine showing off exquisite vanilla, spicy flavored black cherry and black raspberry notes; it shined with layers of tasty goodness unfolding once on the palate and just kept going; full bodied, rich and forever on the end; loved it now and know it will evolve into something extra special.
2011 TOR KENWARD FAMILY WINES BECKSTOFFER TO-KALON VINEYARD NAPA BLEND- aside from the information on the document on the table, research shows this is made from 75% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Cabernet Franc; regardless, it was a taste treat to behold with fresh, ripe cranberry cherry notes wafting out of the glass from the aromas and extending on into the taste profile; it was very tasty and had elements of more substance and structure beyond being fruit forward.
What a joy to have this well thought out, fresh from our host`s private cellar, opportunity to explore these wines. I felt equally so when doing the next 2 flights. See subsequent notes forthcoming.
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