Thursday, December 02, 2004

The Open House

Thanks to everyone who came to the Open House at Cafe St. George. I think everyone had fun and enjoyed the wine and food, and thankfully the police did not have to be summoned, unlike on other occassions. The Duval Leroy, Two Faces and Wightman appear to be the early winners! For those of you who missed the event, here are the wines (I thank Mark Maher and Tom Stephen at Cutting Edge Selections, whose wines we poured and who helped in the pouring, although the ladies' glasses seemed to get the most attention! And I thank Tom for helping with these tasting notes):

  • Duval Leroy, Cuvee Paris Brut NV ($38) -- A blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay that spends three years on the yeast deep in the famous “Crayeres” caves. A champagne with delicate, fine bubbles, the mark of good bubbly. Golden straw in color, aromas of honeysuckle and hazelnut make this a treat before you even sip. Full-flavored and fresh, rich with an elegant and long silky finish. Presented in a spectacular blue bottle, designed and painted by artist Leroy Neiman.
  • Domaine La Hitaire, Hors Saison 2003 ($12) -- A blend of Sauvignon Blanc, 85%, and Sémillon, 15%. It offers aromas of super-ripe white fruits and a lush, silky-textured personality. Apricots, gooseberries, juicy red currants, and spices can be found in its highly expressive medium-bodied character. A fabulous value.
  • Cask One, Chardonnay 2002 ($14) -- A classic California Chardonnay that comes to us at an amazing value due to the excess of Chardonnay being produced in California. This wine was made entirely at Byron Winery in Santa Maria Valley and then sold at a discount to Cask One. The most recent issue of Wine Enthusiast awarded the ’02 Byron Chardonnay, which exists in far more limited quantity than usual, a score of 90 points. This is quite simply a great value.
  • Fondreche, Rosé 2003 ($14) -- The textbook, dry, rich, Cotes du Ventoux Rosé is medium to full-bodied, beautifully textured and concentrated, exuberant with intense aromas of flowers, strawberries and spice. It is as good as it gets when it comes to Southern French Rose. Real men drink pink!
  • Domaine de la Terre Rouge, Syrah, Côte de L’Ouest 2001 ($17) -- A California Syrah from one of the greatest Syrah houses in the United States. Specializing in French styled Syrah, Terre Rouge is known for elegant silky wines. Everything from the soil to the climate bears similarity to Northern Rhône. It has dark fruit forward style with great acid balance. Aromas of raspberry, pepper, and cinnamon contribute to this great food wine experience.
  • Two Hands, Brave Faces 2003 ($30) -- A blend of 65% Shiraz and 35% Grenache from Australia’s famous Barossa Valley. This may be the hottest winery in the world right now and their introductory blend is a good reason. Buoyant raspberry, red-cherry characters with a restrained savory palate, grainy tannins backed by integrated oak. A serious food wine that shows what a wonderful marriage these two varietals make if blended with balance in mind.
  • Wightman Tri-Leopard Vineyards, Cabernet Sauvignon 1998 ($30) -- A small production, boutique producer from Napa Valley with about 500 cases. Aged in 100% French Oak it has hints of chocolate, cassis and black cherry fruit on the palate. Although ‘98 was not known as a great vintage in California, some winemakers adjusted well to the difficult year. This wine is drinking great right now. Enjoy it now while your other California Cabs, from other vintages, sit in the cellar. A great value due to the ongoing grape glut in California.
  • Chambers, Rosewood Vineyards, Rutherglen Tokay NV ($17 for 375ml) -- Australian dessert style wine. Reviewed 11/29/04.


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