I always look forward to Independence Day, the 4th of July with great anticipation knowing I`ll be drinking some really fine wines while celebrating and watching the fireworks display from above the city at one of my best friend`s home located in the Riviera sector of Santa Barbara, high above the city and overlooking the harbor where the fireworks are orchestrated, the ocean and channel islands. It was even more special being graced with a clear, fog free day and evening which allowed for the complete enjoyment of the stellar views. This has been a tradition going on for over 15 years or so.
It so happens this friend has been a world class winemaker, now in retirement, but his wines are still stellar and getting even more so with age. It also so happens his daughter and the son of one of his closest friends are winemakers and we drank a few of their gems as well.
First we have to start with champagne:
2006 JACQUART VINTAGE BRUT- a blend of the 3 traditional wines; crisp and refreshing, this had wonderful fresh citrus notes, a lush creamy texture, bright acidity and offered a perfect entrée into an evening of uber fine wines.
2001 BROGAN CELLARS LONE REDWOOD RANCH RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY CHARDONNAY- 14.3% abv; I`ve long ago become a fan of BC wines across the board and this one joins the group; brought by the one who made it; it had yellow gold color; the nose was redolent of nice mineral, flint accented citrus notes which continued on with more spicy lemon lime prevalent; it had very bright acidity which should help to ensure another 10+ years of prolonged ecstasy; it had nice mouthfeel and an extended, satisfying climax.
1994 WILLIAMS SELYEM RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY PINOT NOIR- I actually brought this one and was pleased to find it showing so well; recently Burt told me it was their policy to fill all bottles close to the cork and upon inspection, this bottle was very close, a good sign of provenance from the source I purchased it from; the aromatics were awesome; I got cinnamon, clove and smoke with cranberry/ red cherry fruit; the taste profile had strawberry and a bit of tart red cherry and was a treat; the texture was soft and supple and it held on for a long finish; it actually improved over time and balanced out and into more greatness.
2002 BROGAN CELLARS RUSSAIN RIVER VALLEY PINOT NOIR- 14.2%abv; great Pinot; such an inviting nose of spicy red cherry and a hint of pepper; more of the same in the taste to my delight; it had a great smooth silky mouthfeel and long finish; it`s structured to go for much longer and it`s so good now, If I had some, it would be difficult to resist aging and would be a candidate for off premises storage.
1995 WILLIAMS SELYEM ROCHIOLI RIVERBLOCK RRV PINOT NOIR- magnum; this was the second year this now 5 year old vineyard was designated; talk about great Pinot Noir, this hit the mark in every aspect; medium red color; still young and vibrant, it had fresh spicy red raspberry and strawberry running all the way through to the back end; it was silky smooth, elegant and also sophisticated; fabulous wine.
2006 BROGAN CELLARS MORNING DEW RANCH VINEYARD PINOT NOIR- magnum; sourced from her father`s vineyard, Margi crafted another beauty; it had wonderfully spicy cinnamon dried cranberry and black cherry notes prevailing from the nose through the tail; there`s lots of complexity with layers of depth, pleasant mouthfeel and length to satisfy even the most discerning palate.
2006 BROGAN CELLARS MICHAELA`S VINEYARD RESERVE SONOMA COAST PINOT NOIR- 14.5% abv; from young vines from the famous Summa Vineyard, this rocked on big time with splendid spicy strawberry and red raspberry mostly first evident in the nose followed by sweet black cherry notes and a hit of cola in the taste; it was elegant and classy albeit young and still in its infancy; a great wine to track as it will only get better with time.
2014 WHITCRAFT PENSE RANCH VINEAYRD SANTA YNEZ VALLEY PINOT NOIR- 12.6% abv; made from Pommard clone vines and with whole cluster fermentation, this was a very fine wine and one of the recent deviations toward much less alcohol that Drake is leaning toward; the fruit was mostly of ripe red cherry with some wild berries coming in by mid palate; it had a nice smooth texture and layered depth and complexity with structure and acidity to carry this for the long term; I really like where this winemaker is evolving to with his recent releases.
It`s also a pleasure to see Drake carrying on the style and wine making tradition of his father. As stated on the website:
"All of the reds and most of the whites are never fined, filtered or pumped and the smallest amount possible of sulfur is used. No other chemicals, other than natural yeast and, if necessary, natural acids are used. This requires a much larger effort than most other wineries are willing to do. We don't even use electricity unless absolutely required. This is to bring you the purest rendition of the fruit possible.
Whitcraft wines are living things and go through different stages of life at different times. Decanting is recommended on wines older than five years."
2013 WHITCRAFT PESQU`IL VINEYARD SANTA MARIA VALLEY CHARDONNAY- 12.6% abv; impressive Chardonnay with tasty honeysuckle and spicy baked apple notes all the way through; soft and easy on the palate; already nicely balanced along with class and elegance; loved it.
2007 BROGAN CELLARS RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY MALBEC- 14.9%abv; the color was inky dark purple; to drink this is the inky teeth staining, go see you dentist for a cleaning type; this is serious Malbec, about mid palate, it eases up a bit and actually softens and lightens up into an entirely different profile moving from power into elegance; still it`s full bodied with layers of complexity with each unfolding a new taste treat; most prevalent was chocolate covered black currant with a touch of peppermint and spearmint; it has firm tannins and should be peaking in about 20 years or so.
There were even more wines, but I passed as the surrealistic fireworks display had long ended and so was my evening about to be. These times are part of life is good comments.