Wednesday, July 06, 2005

A few notes

I don't really get into reviewing wines on this site, as there's plenty of other sites already doing that - and doing it well. But here are a few notes from the Johnson Family gathering this past weekend...

1995 Silver Oak Cab Sauv, Alexander Valley
YUM! Soft & silky tannins, rich ripe stone fruits, showing layers of anise and hints of black pepper spice, shifting to light dried rose petals during a intense and long Bordeaux-like finish. Multiple layers during the evolution, each one fantastic...this was the hands-down favorite of the weekend.
Drinking perfectly right now, soak it up if you have any, or if you can find a bottle somewhere.

1997 Rodney Strong "Symmetry" blend
Another Cab Sauv blend from Alexander Valley, and another favorite of the weekend, second only to the 1995 Silver Oak in overall intensity, composition, fruit and finish. Another excellent wine well worth the effort to find. It could go a few more years in the bottle, and I'd be interested in seeing this wine again in 2 to 3 years.

2001 Justin "Isosceles" Cab Sauv blend (unfiltered)
Good depth & complexity. Medium length finish, and though very pleasant fruit, it needed a wee bit more acid to really balance it out. The impression it left was that the vineyards sourced were a little too hot that year yielding a much softer wine than should have resulted. Drink early - I didn't really get the feeling that this wine will age too long.

2001 Viansa "Ossidiana" (red blend -mainly Cab Franc based)
Slightly acid balance, with some very nice fruit, and a medium length in the mouth. Overall it came across as good, though thin bodied from the firm acid level. Disappointing - but only in the fact that much more was expected for the price paid for the bottle.

2001 Bonny Doon "Le Cigare Volant"
Nice blend (as always) of Grenache, Cinsault, Mouvedre, Syrah in the Ch√Ęteauneuf-du-Pape vein. Tends toward the acid side, but very drinkable with good food pairings possible.

Yalumba Tawny Port, "50 Years Old" (closer to 55+ years I think)
Again, an excellent choice. Rich and mouth filling, some vanilla and oak.
Wonderful long finish. Somewhat expensive at $50 and up per 375ml bottle, but good choice for those special occasions with really good friends.

Wines at the bottom of the list:

2001 Spring Mountain Red Meritage
Odd Brett infection aromas. Slightly medicinal phenolic profile which perfectly resembled - get this - Elmer's White paste aroma from grade school. Everyone who tasted it found it "off", with a few volunteering the "paste" descriptor, and universal "oh, yeah - that's it!" exclamations from the others present. It could also benefit by being more concentrated, and having riper fruit notes.
Hopefully it's due to bottle variation, and your experience is different, if you already have some in your collection.

2001 Benziger "Tribute" Cabernet Sav blend
80% Cab Sauv, ~12% Cab Franc, Petite Verdot and Merlot bringing up the balance. Shorter finish & slightly astringent, this wine was not one of the favorites. Tannins were somewhat flabby, as if the fruit had sat in the sun too long. Overall it was short and slightly unbalanced, though perhaps serviceable, and needed more acid to help the mid palate and finish.
The back label touts the "biodynamic farming" of the grapes, and how that provides "authenticity" one there really felt it was a good selling point after tasting the wine inside. (BioD became the running joke of the weekend...)



Anonymous RONNBOE said...


As a participant in the recent Johnson Family gathering I would like to echo your tasting comments. The best part of the extended tasting, however, was the time spent with great friends while sharing wine and creating new memories.

That, for me, is what made the wine all the more enjoyable - even as I continue to search for a bio-dynamic process for removing the paste after taste from my mouth!


July 07, 2005 7:25 AM  
Blogger Huge said...

This would be a good time for me to thank you again for sharing that bottle of Silver Oak...

As for that paste note - try walking backwards in a circle three times in your cellar, holding a cow's horn full of manure. It's supposed to be imbued with all sorts of magical properties, and even cures apoplexy! (Actually it won't cure the paste aroma, just mask it with manure...but that's about all BioD is good for...)


July 07, 2005 4:24 PM  

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