Steve's Blind Tasting (Antonello Ristorante - Costa Mesa, CA): I thought this might have been Sangiovese when I tasted it. Old world in character this wine exhibits earthy notes of dried cherries, anise, leather, and roses. Grippy on the palate with vibrant acidity. As a recently-converted Italophile, LB loved this wine. I enjoyed it too, but thought the tannins would outlive the fruit.
Hanging With Stevie N and The OC Gang, Doing It Blind (Antanello's In Costa Mesa (Orange County)): Poured from a magnum and served blind. My intial impression was a wine of about 10 years in age, as it showed the older nose with a light cream and sweet tobacco and light cedar. All of this rang for me like a 99 CA cab or something in that vein. Palate of currant, cherry, some light chocolate and notable acidity. Revealed to be the Carlisle and the first edition of this wine that he made, according to CT.
I was surprised by the relatively lite mouthfeel for a wine that had been described by some as a "monster". It was very elegant and well balanced with very focused Rainier cherry fruit (almost Kirsh like) and spice. I will continue to hold the few bottles I have of later vintages with eager anticipation.
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