All of the above wines real nice, Jason .
Dinner Saturday night with old friends:
Started off with a variety of cheeses, olives, duck pâté, figs, and oven-roasted baguette, and a bottle of . . .
n.v. Champagne Soutiran Brut Grand Cru, non dosé (Champagne, France): Pale straw in color, clean and brilliant with a nice mousse; lots of yeasty, toasted brioche notes, accented with chalk and light mineral notes; medium-bodied, full flavored, without being heavy; good acid and well balanced with a long, flavorful finish.
Next, following a soup course of Salmorenjo topped with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and some Jamón Ibérico de Bellota, we moved onto the main course: grilled rib-eyes with romano beans and a corn salad on a bed of arugula, and . . .
1970 Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon, Monte Bello Estate ([Santa Cruz Mtns.] California): This would, today, be simply labeled as “Ridge Monte Bello,” but back in 1970, the wine wasn’t anywhere near as famous as it is today. Label states 13½% abv, but possibly higher.¹ The label also states that the wine would age for a couple of decades. However, at 46 years of age, this wine is remarkable – with all the classic hallmarks that has made Ridge Monte Bello one of the “grand crus” of California Cabernet Sauvignon – with loads of cassis, currants and red fruits combined with a light herbaceous tone and that classic earthiness and an underlayer of oak, with generous flavors and complexity on the palate; surprisingly vigorous and even somewhat youthful (the impression is of a wine 5-10 years of age, not 45-50!); a slight acid sharpness in the finish is the wine’s only fault, but clearly not so much so that it makes this wine anything less than a classic!
1970 Château Lynch Bages, 5me Cru, Pauillac (Bordeaux, France): My friend’s cellar is somewhat famous for its higher-than-average humidity, and it’s not uncommon for the label(s) on some of his wines to fall off, get moldy, or be eaten by banana slugs. This bottle was no exception, and – as always – the wine’s identity and vintage were confirmed by both capsule and cork. In contrast to the Ridge, while there is classic Cabernet “power” here, there is more refinement, more elegance, and more “class” here – an altogether seamless wine, which I cannot imagine being any better. Outstanding!
¹ Paul Draper once told me that, when their labels have the alcohol level stated by a decimal point, it is exact, whereas when it is indicated by a fraction, it was understated in hopes of avoiding the higher taxes (which would kick in at 14.01% abv).
Decanter magazine (UK) reviews a "California wine legend"
And finally, with a dessert course consisting of a pear-frangipane tart, I opened a
1970 Taylor’s Vintage Porto (Douro, Portugal): Sold under the brand name “Taylor, Fladgate” for the US marketplace (this bottle came from the UK), this bottle was stood up for a week to allow the sediment to settle; I removed the top using port tongs and decanted the wine approximately 3 hours or so prior to service. The heady aromas of ripe plums, a touch or tar, earth, slate, a hints of spirit; on the palate, the wine is full bodied and driven with all the power Taylor’s is known for; broad, full-flavored and rich on the palate, with moderate sweetness and spice, no trace of heat and a very long, lingering, flavorful finish . . . Superb, magnificent, wonderful!
No one drinks wine anymore?
Today, drinking straight from the wine press. As I type I’m taking a break from pressing grenache.
(reposted because the image was sideways)
Love the Ridge .
My wines aren’t fancy enough for this thread.
@boogiebaby (and everyone else)
You know, that isn’t the case . . . a) I have very few wines in my cellar that I think are “fancy”; b) just as there is NO ownership of this thread, neither are there any RESTRICTIONS as to the type/kind of wine(s) that can – and should! – be posted here; and c) IN NO WAY would I ever wish to limit, inhibit, discourage, or restrict in any way the sort of wines people post about, ask about, talk about, or drink . . . whether it’s here on HO, on any other website, or in real life.
I say all wines are welcome here. We enjoy hunting down great wines priced between $10-30.
But, tonight we opened this 1998 Stag’s Leap. I’m generally not a lover of Sirah, but with some age, this was super smooth, balanced, a bit spicy (but none of that nasty green pepper flavor I usually get), and earthy. We enjoyed a glass with some thrilled cream Brie and will save the rest for dinner…ribeyes on the grill.
The state of the cork was a bit alarming, but all was good once we strained and decanted.
Interesting! I have a 1988 in my cellar (I joined a wine club years ago, and this was one of their bottles). Thanks for the reminder–I’ll probably open it when the weather turns cooler.
Anyone do the Club W (now Winc) thing? I have been partially liking it, but I notice that I can only get from them which has me leaning towards just buying from a store like Wine N More (Binny’s in Chicago).
More random thoughts . . .
I cannot tell this board how saddened I am – STILL – by @boogiebaby’s comment that [quote=“boogiebaby, post:331, topic:1197”]
My wines aren’t fancy enough for this thread.
I hope no one else feels that way. Wine is a beverage, something to go compliment food; and isn’t that what this site is all about?
Agreed. Overwhelmingly the wines which I purchase far into the same category . . . well, maybe $15-35 at retail, but close enough, I’d say. (This doesn’t include Champagnes, for which I will admittedly pay more, and a handful of special wines.)
The difference is that I have a modest wine cellar of some 60-75 cases. EVERY old(er) bottle that I have posted TN’s (tasting notes) on recently have been from my cellar. Indeed, every wine, period – save the Pahlmeyer and Stag’s Leap “Fay” – came from my cellar. Take, for example, the wines I wrote about on September 11th:
The Soutiran Champagne was a recent purchase, perhaps 3 months prior. Being a Champagne, it did cost more than my normal price range of $15-35. I think this was around $50.
I bought the 1970 Ridge Monte Bello Cabernet when it was first released. If I recall correctly, it was $15.
Although from my friend’s cellar and not mine, the 1970 Château Lynch Bages was a wine which I also purchased upon release. $5.95 (less my employee discount of 20 percent).
As for the 1970 Taylor’s Vintage Porto, that too was acquired shortly after its initial release, and cost me $12.
So again, nothing “fancy” about my wines – other than I tend to cellar them for a bit prior to drinking them . . .
I hope this thread – indeed ALL wine discussion – will continue on this site, but as they say, “time will tell.”
A new Pinot we found today at a newly opened Total Wine. Very nice. Spicy and a bit bigger but a nice drinker. Went well with veggie risotto.
We took the Ridge to a paella a dinner last week.
My wines I bring for special occasions are from the Santa Cruz mountains . Ridge and Windy Oaks are two of my favorites . Other than that I enjoy Rhiannon winery a blend from St Helena . @ $ 9.99 . I really enjoy it . As being a beginner I live vicariously through your collection that you show . Nice work with great descriptions . Don’t stop posting .
I’m sorry you feel that way, but I was being honest. I’m no wine expert, nor do I have the budget to buy most of the wines mentioned here, nor do I have the means to cellar wines for 40+ years. Many of the wines you mention are older than I am.
I think it’s great you have the ability to have and enjoy these amazing wines.
@boogiebaby – me thinks thou doth missed my point . . .
Not all wines I write about are old, nor are they expensive – unless you consider $10-15 “expensive.” You may, given your economic status – I have no idea about that – but I am fortunate enough to consider that price bracket for everyday consumption. But more to the point, if you start off your comments that way, you fail to see that ALL wines, from the proverbial “Two Buck Chuck” to some bottle costing thousands of dollars – ALL WINES ARE WELCOME HERE, regardless of their price, their origin, their age, or the size of the container they come in (i.e.: you could review a sample from a 225L barrel, or from a 5L box, a 3L jug, 750ml bottle, or something you had one glass of in a restaurant).
Thus, there is no reason for you not to participate . . . besides, I’m certainly NOT the one in charge here!