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…..