I rememeber drinking these very special wines, as well where and who these bottles were shared with. But I must be having such a great time that I could not remember when, nor am I able to find my notes on them, or even remember if I ever noted them. It has happened too many times, that I decided it would be simply easier to take pics of them and I am glad I did. Looking at them, I realized I have covered at least one vintage of each decade.
Starting with the youngest, Beaulieu Vineyard 1996 Georges de Latour Private Reserve.
Beaulieu Vineyard 1992 Georges de Latour Private Reserve
Beaulieu Vineyard 1991 Geroges de Latour Private Reserve
The 1980s had different type of bottling shape.
Beaulieu Vineyard 1987 Georges de Latour, Private Reserve
Beaulieu Vineyard 1986 Geoges de Latour, Private Reserve
Beaulieu Vineyard 1976 Cabernet Sauvignon
I am not getting any younger and note taking will not get easier. But I will try my best to have steady hands to take good pictures at least.
I went to Guangzhou for the first time this week and was welcomed by their muggy, stuffy and sauna-like summer heat. It was at least 4C higher than where I am from, and I live right above the Equater. It really felt like a pressure cooker. But I was there for work so I refused to let it bother me. During the trip, I got to share this very special find from my recent California trip with my client. Sawyer 2005 Bradford Meritage, Sawyer 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon and Sawyer 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, all from Napa Valley. Sawyer has been purchased by Foley Family Wines and with my brother, we managed to secure a small allocation as they are selling the current inventory at a very special price.
Sawyer 2005 Bradford Meritage: The color was deep red. The aromas reveals notes of milk chocolate, red plump fruits. The flavor further echoed the cocoa notes, but deepened the fruit flavors to be firmer in texture. Really like the roundness and velvety texture. It has aged quite well.
Sawyer 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon: The color seems a little lighter compared to 2005. But it show similar notes of creamy chocolate, younger fruit notes with hints of dark fruit tannins. It feels leaner with firmer tannins.
Sawyer 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon: This maybe Sawyer’s last vintage under its own label before the sale of the property. The color reveals its age brilliantly with slight purplish tint. Youth reveal prominently in its aromas of just ripened fruits and courageous forwardness. The palate is not shy of its age and the consistency of creamy cocoa really impressed. This is indeed the signature of their terroir and vine. I hope they will not try any re-planting because these Cabernet vines has been very well taken care. Not forgetting the precision of the winemaking process. The tannins are much bigger without getting in the way of the velvety silky texture. I have added this wine to a small group of California wines that I am compiling that have somewhat defy the unsavory reviews of the California 2008 vintage.
A little bird told me that Dean & Deluca may be the place to find Sawyer if you are keen to check it out.
As promised, I will share with you the three red wines that I savored with a small group of friends during our early July 4th dinner last Saturday. As our tomahawk and porterhouse steaks, roasted pork loin were being served, we quickly asked the service staff to serve the first red. It was Signorello 2001 Padrone, Napa Valley. It was decanted for about an hour. This wine is a blend of 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc. Not just for the sake of filtering out the sediments, decanting the wine helped the wine to be more revealing and approachable. Indeed this wine needed the interaction with oxygen. It was lush, balanced, and elegant in its texture and flavros. The 10 years of cellaring helped to even out the intensity of the flavor to be more stylishly settled. It was drinking beautifully and will age a few more years.
The next red wine that followed was Freemark Abbey 1997 Bosche Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley. This wine has been quietly resting for 15 years, and I believe it found its peak and drinkability all within 45 minutes. During the first 20mins to 25mins, it was gorgeous, moving around the palate like a grand Madame of the house. The notes of red fruits were still there laced with slight spiciness and mellow roundness. The finish was shorter than I expected, considering it being 1997, with notes of slightly dry herb and bitterness. That was when the wine seems to loose its structure. Nonetheless, I appreciated how it made an entrance and I would have loved to taste it when it was just released.
We thought we were done in terms of wine for the night. But a few of us stayed a little longer and felt that we can still open another bottle and make it home by 11pm. Usually when we meet, we will always have extra bottles to back up any bottles that may have faults. So a friend took out the bottle of Silver Oak 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexandar Valley. This is the youngest wine for the night and it was a good one to round off the night. The wine had more fruits flavors than power. For a vintage of 2007, it is much softer than I expected. It may not be bad because it just means that one has good wine to drink earlier without having to wait too long.
Not all free things are good, but this is exception. Gratis is a Chardonnay made by Sea Smoke Winery. It is given out FREE to selected valued clients on their mailing list. Prior to visitng them, I imagined Sea Smoke Winery to be in the rolling hills with stately buildings. But rather it is an area of Lompoc known as the Wine Ghetto. Its winery occupiies a large industrial area with a small airport behind and a mall iin the front. Without any signage or direction, one would not have thought that there is a winery making Grand Cru quality Pinot Noir. The warehouse contain the office, a small private cellar, tasting and dining room (not open to public at all), barrel room, and a state-of-the art winemaking facility. What I saw humbled me and put me in my place because it is nothing like Napa. We stood by the entrance between the winemaking facility and barrel room tasting this elegant, delicately balance and citrus laced Chardonnay, with Luna (winery dog) running around, listening to V as he shared with us a little insight in the history and winemaking style of Sea Smoke. At the same time, I kept wondering when I will get a small allocation of this special bottle. I believe a good place to start is to be grateful.
It is 2am. It has been a long day and going to be a long night because I think I will just get about 4 hours sleep before I pick C up from a 42km marathon that he is running right now as I write. It is a unique marathon event call the Sundowner which runners run from 1230am to about 7am, depending on one’s fitness level. I sit here typing and thinking about my long trip to San Francisco and found this photograph in my wine album. Tasted this in February this year and seriously, I was not too crazy about it. This just solidified my view that Opus One is rather over rated. They make good wines but not great wine for the price it commands. The bottle we had after this was pure excellence. I could not post the picture because it wass not a good one. It was Peter Michael 1997 Les Pavots and I am so looking forward to visiting them next week. To rub it in further, a recent conversation with Peter Michael Jr told me that the 1997 Les Pavots is his family house pour. Part of me is was impressed and another part of me thought he was joking. What do you think?
There are two laptops and 1 PC that I work with now. The PC is always at home and it is really good at processing photographs, One laptop (HP) travels with me and the other (512 Vaio) is now permantly park in my office (and an old clunky IBM laptop retired in a dark corner somewhere in my office). I have photographs in all three computers and I have been, and it will be a slow process, consolidating all photograhs into a new gadget (Seagate external hard drive) which will also travel with me. So it seems I am perpectually housekeeping.
In the process of going through my albums, I stumbled upon another interesting wine was savored at my cousin in law’s place. For this bottle, I am not only reminising, I am missing it. This is Harrison 2000 Merlot, Napa Valley, specifically, Pritchard Hill. If I remembered correctly, it was fruity (slightly stewed like), round smooth texture and finish, slightly gritty due to some sediment and rather elegant. I am missing it because Harrison Vineyards no longer exist. Lyndsey Harrison who was the owner and winemaker, leased out the vineyard and winery, packed up and moved to Central Otago, New Zealand in mid 2000s. But I think she has moved back to San Francisco. I have lost contact with her and so I am not sure if she is still making wine. I am glad I have put away a few bottles of 1996 and 1997 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon that she made.
Lyndsey, if this blog finds you somehow, I hope to share a bottle with you soon.
I have been rather quiet for the past few days, and I have a really good reason. I was defeated by technology. I have a love- hate relationship with it. Over the past few days, I have been trying to transit from an old 15 inch laptop to a brand spanking new 11 inch latop. I have opted for a smaller laptop because it is much lighter with more upgrade options. So happy that I will have the option to upgrade its RAM up to 8GB, and I do not know what RAM is.
Anyway, there are loads of data to transfer and I was having a hard time in loading software. I almost wanted to throw the new laptop out of the window, A dear friend came to my rescue while trying to coach his 14 years-old niece on golf (my friend is a pro golfer). Now I am up and running with the new laptop.
While transferring data, I did a ilttle harddrive house keeping and came across this picture I took in 2008. And memory of its taste came rushing back. This is a gorgeous Pinot Blanc from Carneros of Napa Valley. Slightly elegantly sweet, noteable pure fruit and tight crispy acidity. It was savored while celebrating my mom’s birthday and a rahter good match to teochew cuisine. Lets see if I can find anyone to share a case with me on my next order…….