Epic Wine Tasting

Screaming eagle

Just the reds from an epic wine tasting

So I have to add another service to my blog homepage.  I can create a Food and Wine experience around what’s in your wine cellar.  This is how it went down.  I had very nice couple who came to two of the classes in my wine series at the Kitchen Table.  At the end of the first class they suggested it would be cool if I were to come to their home to take a look at the contents of their wine cellar and come up with a wine tasting for their friends that would be informative and fun.  Absolutely I can do that for you.

On the initial visit I went to their home to peruse their cellar and determine a tasting that would showcase their collection.  I went through every bottle in their cellar. Many were from California and occasionally I would come across a French bottle that he explained was purchased at an auction.  I came up with a great tasting that was sure to knock their socks off and provide a great primer of wine knowledge.

We discussed the logistics of the event after and I decided I would put together a buffet of salumi and cheese, take a small break after the Chateauneuf du Pape to cook off some steaks to pair with the final big six Cabernet dominated bottles.  I went home and started to research the bottles I had chosen.

So the line up was:

Fantesca Chardonnay 2008.  This is a wine crafted by Heidi Barret the wine diva of Napa.  The person who crafted the 92 and 97 Screaming Eagle 100 point Robert Parker wine. The hostess of the party had just come back from Napa and had visited this winery and I figured it would be a good opener to the tasting.

Joseph Drouhin Meursault 2005, in order to make a new world/old world comparison of Chardonnay.

Vieux Telegraphe Chateauneuf du Pape 1996 , White and Red, because I love the southern Côtes du Rhône region especially Chateauneuf du Pape

Silver Oak Napa Valley, vertical featuring 99, 97 and 92.  The host’s next door neighbors are part of the Silver Oak family and have steadily been stocking their cellar with great vintages. Not bad neighbors to have.

Screaming Eagle 2003, The über cult wine that no one ever gets a chance to see much less taste as there are only 500 cases made a year.  This is a wine that goes to 11……..that’s one more than 10.

Bellerose – Figeac Grand Cru St. Emillion 1994, Merlot dominant right bank wine

Mouton Rosthchild 1977, I was probably watching Jimmy Page play a solo while the Queen of England visited this Premier Grand Cru vineyard in Pauillac Bordeaux when this wine was made.  They made a commemorative label to honor the Queen’s visit.

The tasting went off better than I could have imagined.  I bought some 32 0z. Porterhouse steaks from Ranch Foods Direct , some salumi and cheese from CostCo. (their selection of cheese is actually quite surprising) and the rest of the meal I picked up from Whole Foods.

I put out some Comté (for more info on Comté click on this blog post by David Lebovitz) and Morbier both raw milk cheese from the Jura, some Roquefort Papillon and regretfully some poor quality French brie. Of course I also had to put out some Prosciutto di Parma which CostCo sells beautifully sliced and cryovaced.

The first two wines we tasted were great examples of new world and old world wine making. Both opulent Chardonnays but very different in style, body and acidity.

The white and red Chateauneuf du Pape were also top rate.  Brunier’s Vieux Telégraphe did not disappoint.

I had decanted the Screaming Eagle and the Mouton and kept them in the cellar.  The group took a little break to eat a wild mushroom and truffle scented risotto and the grilled Porterhouse steak.  The host’s Viking grill has this awesome sear feature that was really able to develop great surface browning on the Porterhouse steaks.

The neighbors who are part of the Silver Oak family were guests and so it was a treat to get to hear about aspects of the Vertical vintages we sampled. Every vintage was nuanced and great examples of their world class winery.  All their wines are aged in new American oak which has a much different effect than new French oak. The neighbors talked about the fire that almost killed their business 2006 and how the community came together to help them through it.

Then came the much anticipated new world vs. old world top level Cabernet showdown.  The Sreaming Eagle was stunning, luxurious, dense, opaque fruit forward long aging Cabernet.  I would  love to taste an older version of this wine to see how it develops. It is aged completely in new french oak.

The Bellerose and the Mouton

The Mouton from 1977 was one of the most unique wines I have ever tasted.  It had a smokiness that I have never smelled in a wine before.  Almost like a smoked ham.  Surprisingly good structure for its age with good acidity and faded tannins.

I had intended to have the Bellerose Figeac before the Mouton but we had it posthumously to the two giants.  Still a very nice example of a right bank merlot dominant Bordeaux though somewhat anticlimatic due to its placement in the tasting.

The group was great. Just the right size for this type of exercise.  The presentation was informal and not overly academic.  They asked tons of questions and shared their experiences. Overall a very satisfying experience for me.

Anybody else have a cellar they want me to design a tasting from?


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