Friday, November 27, 2009

2009 Thanksgiving Dinner

THANKSGIVING DINNER - Dietra's House, Portland OR (11/26/2009)

Event photos on Flickr.

Thanksgiving dinner at Dietra's, with Dietra, Dave, Steve & Kirsty, Jason, Phil, Woody, Liz & Scott, and LeRae (+1), Chris and her daughter left before dinner, and Trish & Ian, Brian & Emy, and Didi & his sister showed up after dinner for board games. Dinner was roast turkey, stuffing, butternut squash gratin, mashed sweet potatoes, Crescent rolls, butternut squash salad, dumplings, cranberry, and a number of other things I'm either forgetting or didn't get a chance to eat. Several tasty appetizers and desserts were also present, including the ubiquitous pumpkin pie, the remains of which I took home with me (pumpkin pie for breakfast...yum!).

Before Dinner Wines

  • - 2002 Leonetti Cellar Reserve Walla Walla Valley - USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Walla Walla Valley
    While I have had some so-so wines from Leonetti this year, the Walla Walla Reserve has been a consistent hit. Even from the tough, overly hot 2002 vintage, this wine is drinking at absolute peak right now. Everything is integrated perfectly, and the fruit is lush and mouth-coating. Big blackberry and vanilla flavors. So delicious...No decant on this one, just a pop-n-pour before Thanksgiving dinner. It was an instant hit with all present, and was the first bottle to be finished. At $90/bottle, not a very good QPR, but for a special occasion wine it worked nicely. Sad it was my last, but glad I was able to share it with friends. (93 pts.)

  • - 2002 Hazyblur Shiraz Barossa Valley - Australia, South Australia, Barossa, Barossa Valley
    Pop & Pour. This wine was a joy to drink. Like pouring ink into your glass, it was black-purple in color, and very thick. Heavy pepper to go with the huge blackberry fruit, and perhaps some smoked meat and earth. Very tasty, and a crowd pleaser all around. Apparently, I can't lose with 2002 vintage wines from South Australia! (93 pts.)

  • - 2005 Cakebread Cellars Syrah - USA, California, Napa Valley, Carneros
    Pop & pour. This wine should have been decanted. Even after several hours of being open, the wine was closed and unforgiving. Tannic finish, and the fruit was lurking in there somewhere under the leather and tar, but not overly apparent. I detected some raspberry and maybe a hint of cherry, but the fruit was quite sour and disappointing. Needs time or a serious decant at this point. (86 pts.)

  • - 2005 Beaulieu Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Georges de Latour Private Reserve - USA, California, Napa Valley
    Decanted 6 hours. First sip right out of the bottle was like getting hit in the face with a hammer. The aroma of red and black fruits was intoxicating, but the huge slathering of fruit flavors, followed by the wall of tannins was almost too much. Even after 6 hours in the decanter, and several more with the bottle open on the counter, it was still very, very young. The WE drinking window on the is 2011+, and I'd have to say AT LEAST 2011. Maybe 2015...but I digress. Back to the wine: Lots of huge cassis, blackberry and cola (or is it mocha?) flavors. This wine is just immense, and oh-so tasty. I love the purity of the fruit, but elegant this wine is not. Too 'in your face' with the fruit and tannins. Speaking of the tannins, they are still fairly harsh on the finish, even after 8 hours. Yikes. Put this one away for another 3 to 5, and you will be rewarded. (94 pts.)

  • - 2005 Groth Cabernet Sauvignon - USA, California, Napa Valley, Oakville
    Steve's wine, no decant. Very elegant Cab...great dark fruits, tobacco & earth. A bit tannic at first, it started in integrate after about 3 hours, and ended up being one of my favorites of the night. I would like to revisit this wine in about 3 or 4 years. (92 pts.)

  • - 2005 Grgich Hills Cellar Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Grown - USA, California, Napa Valley
    Steve's wine, no decant. This one wasn't as enjoyable as the 2005 Groth or 2005 BV Georges de Latour. Seemed somewhat closed in comparison. Cherry fruit with lots of earthiness and cedar wood. Enjoyable, but not as much as I had expected. (89 pts.)

  • - 2003 Fireblock Grenache Old Vine - Australia, South Australia, Mount Lofty Ranges, Clare Valley
    Phil's wine, no decant. This one was an anomaly. People either loved it (LeRae) or were very disappointed (Phil). I fell somewhere in between. It was nice and fruit, as expected from an Aussie Grenache, certainly not over the top. Muted and restrained, it started drinking much better toward the end of the night. Not sure if this is because the air time improved the wine, or our level of intoxication and palate fatigue rendered us unable to tell the difference (or care, for that matter...) (85 pts.)

Wines with Dinner
  • - 2001 Monte Antico Toscana IGT - Italy, Tuscany, Toscana IGT
    From magnum, popped & poured. This actually was quite popular at dinner, as it paired decently with all of the different foods, including the turkey. Smooth and simple, the flavors of cherry and earth, as well as the wine's softness, just worked with everything. Sad when a Cakebread Syrah is outscored by a $10 Tuscan table wine. (87 pts.)

  • - 2006 Cameron Pinot Noir Arley's Leap - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
    Pop & pour. This is the wine I brought as a pairing to the turkey, and it did so quite well, even overshadowing the bird somewhat. Quite big and fruity for a Pinot, 2006 vintage non-withstanding. Deep garnet in color, with a beautiful raspberry and saddle leather nose. Flavors of cherry, leather and a nice earthiness, finishing with a bit of sweetness that was surprising. This wine is so well-integrated, it was enjoyable to drink. I ended up kidnapping the bottle over to our table and spent more time enjoying the wine than eating my dinner. Nice work, John Paul. (91 pts.)

  • - 2003 Anam Cara Pinot Noir - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley, Chehalem Mountains
    Very dark and thick, almost like a port. Huge blackberry and raspberry fruit, with just a touch of earthiness under the raisiny port-like sweetness. Enjoyed by all. (90 pts.)

Unfortunately, there were many more wines present (18 bottles in all!) that I either didn't get to taste, or forgot my notes. Wines at Thanksgiving
HUGE thanks to Dietra for hosting the event, AND doing most of the cooking. The turkey, stuffing and butternut squash gratin were all amazing, as always! Our foray into into the world of board games ended in hilarity, and fun was had by all. Sorry about the camera Steve...or rather the contents of the camera.

As always, tasting notes posted from CellarTracker