Friday, November 28, 2008

Wine Tasting - Thanksgiving Dinner

THANKSGIVING DINNER - Jeff McHugh's condo (11/27/2008)

A selection of wines for an unforgettable Thanksgiving Dinner with great friends: Jeff, Mark, Dave, Steve, Jill, Jake, and Amy.

  • 1988 Château Clos des Jacobins - France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru
    Decanted 1 hour, mostly due to cork and sediment issues. Cork was wet halfway through, but no seepage. My first 20 year-old wine. Nose just blows my mind...very complex, with tobacco, red raspberry fruit, pencil lead, and a vegetal component I can't place. Complexity follows to the palate...huge flavor explosion! Earthy, with tobacco leaf, tomatoes (the vegetal component on the nose, I think), raspberries, pencil lead, just delicious! Finish goes on for a good minute, with flavors swimming all over my tongue. Tannins are very soft, and this is drinking very well. I feel that it is probably at the end of it's drinking window, but showing quite well tonight. An outstanding bottle of right bank Bordeaux! (95 pts.)

  • 2003 Mitolo Shiraz Reiver - Australia, South Australia, Barossa, Barossa Valley
    Decanted 4 hours. Darkest wine I've seen in awhile, and very thick, like blackberry syrup. Coating my decanter, glass, mouth, teeth...Nose is beautiful. This is going to be something special! Aromas of dark blackberry fruit with a touch of vanilla and earth. In the mouth, very thick and coating, with blackberries, blueberries, a bit of vanilla 'oakiness', and tasty earthiness that I love. Not to hot, acidic or tannic, and the fruit, while prominent, isn't exploding like a fruitbomb. This is integration! Finish goes on for a minute or more...Astounding wine that makes me wish I'd bought more. (95 pts.)

  • 2004 Renato Ratti Barolo Marcenasco - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
    Decanted 1 hour. Steve's wine. Much too young (I see the CT drinking window OPENS in 2013...) even with an hour+ decant. Was just starting to open up towards the end of the bottle. Nice earthiness, old world and very tasty, but the fruit remained hidden behind a wall of tannin. (90 pts.)

  • 2003 Nicolis Angelo e figli Amarone della Valpolicella Classico - Italy, Veneto, Valpolicella, Amarone della Valpolicella Classico
    Steve's wine. I typically love Valpolicella wines, Amarone in particular, and this one was somewhat of a disappointment. Could be palate fatigue, as we had tasted many wines prior to this, but the flavors fell somewhat flat for me. I didn't get a chance to poll other tasters, but I got some fruit, and a nice earthiness, but the wine seemed to be missing the signature sweetness that comes from most Amarone I've tried. (88 pts.)

  • 2006 Mollydooker Shiraz Blue Eyed Boy - Australia, South Australia, Fleurieu, McLaren Vale
    Decanted 4 hours. Very dark purple color, coating the glass. Nose of blueberries. A bit hot. Sweet on the palate, but with an overabundance of alcohol heat. Very mouthcoating, with a long bittersweet finish and light tannins. At $47 at WTSO, a terrible QPR. This drinks like many $20 bottles of Shiraz I've tried. Not impressed. (91 pts.)

  • 2005 Cakebread Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon - USA, California, Napa Valley
    Decanted 2 hours. Steve's big wine, and big is the correct word. Big price, big bouquet, big fruit...and big oak. The over-oaked taste was what kept this wine from being wine of the night. I usually don't mind some oak in my cabs, but this went a bit too far for me. Even with the oak, serious gobs of concentrated raspberry fruit and earth showing. Tannins were present, but not bothersome, only lightly drying the mouth on the finish. Color was somewhat lighter than I expected for a Cali cab. All in all, a nice showing, but overshadowed (for me at least) by the 20 year-old St. Emilion, and the Mitolo shiraz. (92 pts.)

  • 2007 Torzi Matthews Shiraz "Schist Rock" - Australia, South Australia, Barossa, Eden Valley
    Decanted 4 hours. This is the youngest wine of the bunch, and even with a 4 hour decant, is showing it's youth. Very pretty bouquet of strawberries and vanilla. Lots of oak...picking splinters out of my tongue. Needs a year or two to integrate. Big fruit, big oak, big acid, but not too tannic. My least favorite so far. (88 pts.)

  • 2005 Dominio IV Tempranillo Midnight Skies - USA, Oregon
    Decanted 2 hours. Nose of blackberries, smoked meat and earth, following to the palate, and ending in a sweet finish, about 30 seconds, that is full-on blackberries. A bit tannic, but integrating nicely with air. (90 pts.)

  • 2007 Seghesio Family Vineyards Zinfandel Sonoma County - USA, California, Sonoma County
    Steve's wine. I can see why this was included in the Wine Spectator's Top 100 of 2008, but #10?? I'll admit I'm not much of a Zin fan, but still...I got a LOT of alcohol heat on this one. Almost like taking a shot of vodka or something. Delicious red fruit, and that Zin "zing" of spiciness. Tasty, but way too hot. Maybe too young? (89 pts.)

  • 2005 Hay Shed Hill Chardonnay Pitchfork - Australia, Western Australia, South West Australia
    Good with turkey and other items at dinner. Nice acidity to cut through some of the bigger food flavors. (87 pts.)


A migrane headache prevented me from enjoying several other wines in our lineup. My sincerest thanks to Jeff for inviting me to dinner, and to Steve for providing many of the tasty wines we enjoyed that evening (the Cakebread Cabernet in particular!).

Tasting notes posted from CellarTracker