Happy St Paddy’s Day! Started off with corned beef and cabbage at Ricky Hall’s Country Spirit in Henniker with one of my 13 wines on his exceptional wine. Today it was an 05 Ladera Howell Mt pairing perfectly with the eggs, Irish ham, and corned beef (ok it may have been a little over the top but what the heck “It’s St Paddy’s Day!”) Tim to go home to move into an 05 San Roman Tempranillo. 95 pt 14th on top 100 from the Enthusiast. I know why. Rich, ripe, and succulent. had to crack some cheeses to go with it. Way to big to drink without food. Moved up to an 04 Ladera Howell Mt. (sound familiar?)for dinner but this time had Daddy D’s Mac and Cheese and the last of a roast ham. Pinot might have been better but the Cab and cheese went perfectly. The 04 is a little softer than the 05 but still an exceptional bottle. Going backwards on the weekend we drank an 06 Ladera Lone Canyon (now Harlan Estates-purchased by Bill H. in 08-now the Lone Canyon is Harlan Estates at $500.00 a bottle. Yikes!) Much smoother then the Howell Mt. but an exceptionally well made wine with rich dark fruit up front and a gloriously long finish. We took an06 Tony Sasa Barolo and an 05 Sasa Martina Brunello to dinner at Woodwards for their famous prime rib. The acids and tannins of the Barolo both stood up to the rich beef flavor with the Brunello a little softer and a little more fruit as a followup to the Barolo. Steve Woodward is the perfect host and runs an always interesting operation. The stories and the people never are never dull and the pictures of the area, dogs, and wildlife are world class. Back to the pool room with the boys. Pulled out an old favorite Robert Stemmler Nugent Russian River Pinot 04. There is an elegant old (for California) Pinot. Surprising fruit forward but had the sweetness and “baby’s feet” aroma of a delightful old wine. Seductively silky and full-bodied (is that a recurring theme here?) it couldn’t have been better as we drank it with some Danish Blue. Great weekend. Heading to dinner with Dick Arrowwood tonight at the Chophouse. He is a legend in the world of California wine. More on that later…..
Gone up north to ski for a few days with my buddies. Dinner at a nice restaurant with a very shaky wine list. Started with a glass of Sonoma Cutrer Chard and went with a Morgon 12 Clone. Both light but the best they had. Went back to the room and decided to move to some Dunn wines. We started with an 07 Donum Estate West Slope (first 96 pt American Pinot from WS). Rich, deep raspberries and plums with an incredibly long finish. Paired well with a local aged cheddar. Moved to the 08 West Slope. Not quite as dense but still a remarkable bottle of wine. Now we’re starting to roll so we go down to the bar (corkage) and bring an 05 and 06 Lone Canyon Ladera. We are now in the world of big ripe monster American Cabs. Both were dark dark purple with teeth-staining colors, dense tannins, and massive amounts of dark fruit. Fabulous! Unfortunately Ladera sold the vineyard to Bill Harlan (side by side) so in 08 they became Harlan Estate wines at $500.00 per bottle. Great deal for $70.00. Great day of skiing-Great day of wine!
Another dinner out. Started out with a 2010 White Oak Russian River Chard. Excellent choice to start out. Good fruit, good acidity, classic Russian River finish. Went very well with the Chicken Carbonara and shrimp. We then moved on to a 98 Dunn Howell Mt Cab. This was a little tight but with a little decanting smoothed into that beautiful dense, dark, deep Howell Mt. with dark fruit flavors, well balanced tannins, and a long long finish. It probably could have stood another 5-10 years in the bottle but a beautiful bottle of wine. It paired well with the beef stew and lamb shank. We went from there to a 2009 Kistler Pinot single vineyard (Katherine’s?) that was beyond the pale. Burgundian in style with the smooth elegance and power of a fine Corton. Tremendous acidity with a powerful red and dark fruit and a finsh that lasted for 30-45 seconds overwhelming the palate with a myriad of flavors (all good). It paired perfectly with cheeses which brought out all the subtle flavors of the wine. Great night. Upon arriving home we cracked an 07 Robert Stemmler Ferguson Block Pinot for a final glass. Excellent finish to finish an excellent night. Going on vacation for a few days. We will be tasting some monsters in the next few days. Always a great time in the snowy North. Stay in touch!
We had a little party last night. Started 07 Donum West Slope Pinot Noir with some pistachios and almonds. What a fabulous American Pinot. Much deeper than most (96 pts from the Dictator) with ripe dark fruit on the palate. We moved on to a Ladera Sauv Blanc with pan fried shrimp in a homemade butter with garlic, parsley, almonds and a few other magic ingredients on small olive/garlic toast rounds made by my friend Peter . the acidity of the SB with the sweetness of the buttered shrimp. Perfect!. Next up with dinner was a 99 Phelps Insignia and a 96 Figeac St. Emillion Premier Grand Cru. Both were excellent with the rib roasted and garlic baked potatoes. The Insignia was a little funky but dense, dark, and brooding while the Figeac stole the show with it’s finesses and elegance. 12 years old and still with beautiful sweet fruit and a long glorious finish. We marched on (troopers all) to a 96 Bouchard Aine Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru Burgundy with assorted cheeses. Great body, strength, and elegance again showing the power balanced with finesses of a fine French wine. The cheeses brought out the best in the Burgundy. We finished with a 97 Rosenblum Concento D’Oro dessert wine. I don’t think Kent has made that wine since either 99 or 2001. Paired with fresh blueberries and strawberries in a word sublime. Fabulous finish to a fabulous night. Whoops! Did I forget to mention the 04 Duckhorn Estate Cab after all was finished? Yikes!
Headed for the Chophouse on Hanover Street. Corkage is now available for $25. 00 per bottle. Great place to bring that special bottle to pair with the great food, service, and atmosphere. Brought a bottle of 97 Justin Isosceles which after 20-30 minutes opened up beautifully. It was fat, dense, and had a little funk on the nose initially but that blew off and it was everything we’d hoped for. We started a Dumol Isobel 2010 Chard that went perfectly with the pork dish. The Dumol was lush and had a long tropical fruit finish. What a fabulous bottle of wine. I had brought a Premier Cru Chablis but the Dumol was too tempting to pass up. Obviously I seem to gravitate to big wines and by big wines I mean wines that almost attack your palate with flavors and feelings on the palate. We left a taste of the Isosceles for Brandon, Craig, and Tony to taste and brought the rest of the Dumol home. Great night of fun and frolic!