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Snooth User: JonDerry

Merry Christmas & Happy New Years!

Posted by JonDerry, Dec 25, 2015.

Very festive christmas this year, some fun wines opened last night as well as today for Xmas lunch.

I'm still getting over my extended cold/bronchitis turned flu recently. Though I'm hoping the flu washes away everything, so far so good. Main point being, I haven't brought out much thunder, almost entirely relying on family and friends offerings last night especially.

The Sunstone wines were ok to good, brought by my good older cousin Jovino who is part of their club. I preferred the Syrah, which had a decent Syrah character, did not show heat, some solid medium freshness with a hint of green bell pepper, good fruit. The Bordeaux (Maison) blend was 50% Cabernet, 40% Merlot, 10% Syrah, and I think was more on the ok side, as I did pick up a little heat and the blend was more confusing than a success.

The food was Pan con Pavo, which was made this time with organic turkey from a private farm in Washington (my uncle's!), a 45 pounder to boot (we have a big family.)

Then my uncle in law thought it would be a good idea to open this 5L of Banfi (available at most Costco's), though I think we only drank about a regular mag's worth. It showed more elegantly than the Sunstone wines, a little spicier, though a little dull, made in a way that made it ready for early consumption (no surprise). Think I still preferred the Sunstone Syrah, though this was easily better than the Sunstone blend.

Fast forwarding to lunch today. Mother-in-law made Chicken Paprikash, which was planned in advance, so I had sourced some Hungarian Merlot to pair it with and it proved to be a very nice pairing. I'm not sure this really is the Petrus of Hungary, but it may be the closest thing. The fruit is very sappy and almost new world in expression, framed by a moderate to moderate plus dose of new oak, this was no doubt opened young, however nice to get an early look. I didn't pick up brawny tannins here (more oak tannin than grape I'd say), or a very long finish, but this has a really nice a sophisticated nose, good fruit concentration and palate presence. Looking forward to watching it evolve over the course of a day or two.


Reply by Richard Foxall, Dec 25, 2015.

Nice!  I don't expect much in grape tannns from Merlot ever.  It's a softener for Cab in most cases, and can serve that role in Chianti and Morellino di Scansano. 

We had a 2010 Jemrose Syrah last night, amazingly tasty.  Lucky I have a couple more, as it has plenty of life and development ahead of it. First had that wine when I met OT for the first time over dinner with JD--the '09 at the time. Need to pick up some of the most recent vintage, although the 94 point ratings are going to make that hard to find.  We also had a quite competent pinot noir from SE Australia, and I brought a Huet Le Haut Lieu Vovray Sec for my niece, who drinks only white.

Tonight we'll be going old--we're opening the 1994 White Cottage Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon in magnum that I mentioned buying elsewhere.  For my niece, I brought a Spring Mountain Sauvignon Blanc. If the WCR is dead, we have a Saga as backup--it's a negociant Bordeaux from Lafite Rothschild that gets tepid reviews on CT.  Chances are good it won't wow anyone.  For the first time in a bunch of years, we are not drinking our 2005 Cam Hughes Yountville CS--didn't want to dig through the locker.

Reply by Really Big Al, Dec 25, 2015.

No wine for me today or this evening as I'm still under the weather.  Merry Christmas to everyone.  

Reply by EMark, Dec 25, 2015.

For years I have espoused a 10-month annual calendar--cut off the year at Oct. 31.  This is the highlight of Christmas 2015.



Reply by MJET, Dec 25, 2015.

Merry Christmas! Scotch, a tasty 2010 Oroppas and:

Reply by dvogler, Dec 26, 2015.

Merry Christmas JD.

Mjet, what was that beast?

Reply by Richard Foxall, Dec 26, 2015.

Thoroughly enjoyed the WCR CS.  Not the most complex aged CS ever, but the tannins were totally resolved and there was still a bit of fruit.  There was a little secondary taste of chocolate, and some nice aromatics like old luggage and tobacco.  Longer it went, the more it blossomed.  That's kind of the last great age of Cali Cab, IMO. 

Reply by dmcker, Dec 27, 2015.

"what was that beast?"

DV, that's one way to roast a suckling pig. Never had any?


"That's kind of the last great age of Cali Cab, IMO."

I tend to use the change in Pahlmeyer winemakers as a transitional milestone, though another simple example might be when Soter left Spottswoode, and there are many other similar changes in ownership, viticulture and viniculture around that time that could be pointed to. Broadranging changes in winemaking styles became impossible to ignore by the late '90s.

Then the naughties went all darkside, what with the market going ape, cult wines being manufactured by newbies with no essential feel for winecountry history and terroir but only a lust for high RP scores and creation of a drinking experience that sometimes feels like whole bins' worth of overripe fruit falling from on high to obliterate your taste buds and give you instant diabetes. M&A became all the rage, and I remember thinking how difficult it had become to have a nice night out in a good restaurant without having to listen to some arriviste pontificating on some winesnob rubbish (somehow this traditional phenomenon seemed to get worse and far more common during this decade)--particularly galling when it was about the likes of a Silver Oak, or the price they'd just paid for a Bordeaux classified growth that had recently fallen under M. Rolland's guidance...  :-(

I'm sure that many of us have been in conversations where the conclusion somehow was reached that the late '90s marked the beginning of the end for Napa, whereupon it began heading in the direction of increasing self-caricature. Thus leaving Sonoma to be CA's savior...

Reply by GregT, Dec 27, 2015.

Nah. I had a Blackbird last night and it was great. Not overdone at all.

How'd you source that Solus JD? Pretty good wine. Not Petrus but nice. That's the last vintage I had too, so I'm glad to see it's holding. As far as Merlot being a softener for Cab, I'm not sure that's entirely true, at least according to folks like Mike Januik. Initiallly it was more about the ripening time of Merlot vs Cab in mixed fields. Now that we want monovarietal wine, they planted Merlot in a lot of bad places. But it can be a pretty tannic beast.

ANyhow, Merry Christmas to everyone!

Reply by JonDerry, Dec 27, 2015.

The SOLUS held well the 2nd day, though even served slightly chilled (50's) it was a little bigger than it needed to be, so maybe a slight disappointment for me but I have another bottle to re-visit down the road.

Reply by dmcker, Dec 27, 2015.

Nah. I had a Blackbird last night and it was great. Not overdone at all.

There are exceptions (and I've even perversely enjoyed some Blackbirds), but there's far more excess, so they prove the rule, while also, I suppose, holding out hope for more makers punching restart before too long if cost structures were to allow such frivolity. Right...  ;-(

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you, too, Greg.

Reply by Richard Foxall, Dec 27, 2015.

I think GregT was being tongue in cheek in any case.

Reply by dmcker, Dec 27, 2015.

What, I would've thought Greg loved Blackbird, that most garagiste among the ever-growing flock of garagistes in Napa! And LOL I ran across this newsletter installment just now, lamenting the demise of Napa in the '90s. The writer's apparently been around forever, but I've never encountered him before, which says either something about him, or more likely me. Though some of what he says might be attributed to an older man lamenting the new vs. the good ol' days, the greater proportion seems to me to be spot on, and provides the kind of perspective that new arrivals (including us consumers) to Napa are most likely unaware of. To put it mildly.

Anyway, my riff off a comment by Fox has gotten far too preachy for this time of year. I'm off to have a few drinks! Probably Sake, but who knows. Happy New Year to all. Champers for me this Eve, which is not always the case, off in this part of the world...

Reply by JonDerry, Dec 28, 2015.

Spirited Boxing Day had yesterday as well.

1. The original small batch bourbon, was pretty good if mild at 40%

2. 2014 Whispering Angel cotes du Provence rose: Not exactly a food wine but not a fruit bomb either. Decent stuff.

3. 2012 Acacia Pinot Noir: Oh those cola notes, on top of some more obvious red cherry.

4. 2010 Littorai Pinot Noir Pivot Vineyard: Really enjoyed this, more than I have any California in a while. Something about Christmas time, letting the bottle chill outside at 50 degrees, and that being a near perfect serving temp. Some cherry liqueur flavor may have dominated the flavor profile, it has really nice freshness, with some forest floor accents. Some mild structure toward the back, but a real silky palate along with the freshness and fruit make this a winner.

5. 2008 Gere SOLUS: As mentioned, this was a nice, brooding Merlot, but just a little bigger than it needed to be.

Reply by vin0vin0, Dec 30, 2015.

Getting things prepped for our 30th+ New Year's Eve party.

Happy New Year to all!

Reply by MJET, Dec 30, 2015.

We'll be right over VV. Happy New Year! 

Reply by Richard Foxall, Dec 31, 2015.

Dave and Duncan are already in 2016.  Happy NY to them!

Reply by dmcker, Dec 31, 2015.

謹賀新年. 初春の喜びを申し上げます.  As they say over here...

On the bullet train down to Nagoya passing by Mt. Fuji right now.  Beautiful, clear day and the lightly-dusted-with-white-rivulets-running-down-the-top-half mountain is vivid. Supposed to be lucky over here to see it this way at the beginning of the year.

Don't know yet but after an afternoon with some TV execs and the like, will probably have a Japanese meal with Sake. Perhaps we should start getting more serious about it on this site at some point...

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