This is my idea of going out with the boys for an evening of food, drinks and male bonding. Start off with a little private wine blind tasting at you favorite French/Vietnamese restaurant. Brown bag the wines and try to multiple guess which wine is which from the list of six. Six varietals, six regions. I know a complete blind (without any hints) is better education but sometimes it's better to at least have an idea what you're tasting. And it should cut down on looking like a complete fool in front of your friends. The line up:
- 2002 Waterstone Cabernet Sauvignon – Napa Valley – A negociant producer who has “found” some declassified California “cult” juice that normally retails for more than $100 if you can get on the list. I could tell you where he gets his wine, but then I would have to kill you! Fermented in stainless steel, aged in small French barrels (90% new) for 22 months. 84% Cab, 5% Petit Verdot, 5% Cab Franc, 4% Merlot, 2% Malbec.
- 2002 Robert Pecota Winery Syrah – Monterey County – Family-run estate winery near Mt. St. Helena. Robert has been in the business since 1974 when he acquired 40 acres in the north end of Napa Valley. The Syrah is made from fruit harvested from a single vineyard block in Arroyo Seco. 1400 cases produced, fermented in stainless steel, aged in medium toast French Nevers oak.
- 2002 Chehalem Ridgecrest Pinot Noir – Willamette Valley, Oregon – A good wine from a very good producer from one of the better years from one of the best Pinot regions in the world! Ridgecrest is Chehalem’s oldest estate vineyard. Aged 10 months without racking in 28% new oak, 58% new or one year French oak.
- 2002 Altos de Luzon Jumilla – Spain – A blend of high-elevation Monastrell, Cabernet Sauvignon and Tempranillo (50/25/25) from low-yield vines, aged 12 months in French and American barrels.
- 2001 Altos Las Hormigas Reserve Malbec – Mendoza, Argentina – Another high-elevation wine from 80 year-old vineyards, aged in small French barrels where it undergoes malolactic fermentation, and then matures for up to 18 months.
- 2002 Ca’Marcanda Estate, Promis – Toscana, Italy – Distributed under the Gaja name. 55% Merlot, 35% Syrah, 10% Sangiovese. Aged 18 months in new and slightly used barriques, followed by several months of bottle aging.
. Most of the crew did very well. My plan was the elimination approach. I hoped to nail the Pinot and the Cab first, then tried to find the Jumilla. For the Toscana I looked for elegance and for the Syrah, big teeth staining fruit with a warm nose. The last one standing should be the Malbec. Well I got the first 4 right and then got tripped up on the Gaja and the Malbec. The Malbec was off and the Gaja wasn't smooth or elegant as I had expected. The crowd favorite was the Altos de Luzon Jumilla.
All and all it was a fun evening, but I went home early and am not sure what the others did.
But remember, what happens in Oakley, stays in Oakley!