Various Vintage California Wine Dinner - Corkbuzz in NYC

Corkbuzz - NYC

Tasted March 26, 2012 by BCharlieG with 405 views


7 people, 8 wines from a friend's cellar collection. Big broad set of wines, varietals and vintages.

Flight 1 (1 note)

1996 Kistler Chardonnay Kistler Vineyard USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Valley
92 points
Outstanding aged chardonnay. Beautiful color of rich golden straw. beautiful and deeper and denser standard chardonnay elements: toasted butter popcorn, honeysuckle, white rose petals. excellent palate weight and balance. really outstanding long finish. paired w/ sautéed portobello mushrooms and aged balsamic and ramps

Flight 2 (1 note)

2003 Flowers Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast
91 points
Holding well with good fruit and good balance still. Nice red cherry fruit roll-up, compote strawberry and vanilla. Secondary flavor of toasted walnuts and almonds. Nice smooth wine, would drink now but could hold for a few more years. Paired with monkfish risotto w/ chorizo and ramps.

Flight 3 (1 note)

2003 Hamacher Pinot Noir Willamette Valley USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
88 points
This wine absolutely jumps off the nose: elements that were a little tricky to place. cool climate flavors of menthol, eucalyptus, white pepper and a touch of mint. Fruit is almost secondary to the cool flavors here. just a touch of strawberry and vanilla with very light palate weight. Aged oregon pinot very new to me and interesting. Drank along side the 2003 Flowers pinot noir and incredible difference (same/monkfish risotto w/ chorizo and ramps). Drink now definitely light on the fruit

Flight 4 (1 note)

1995 Ridge Geyserville USA, California, Sonoma County
90 points
This is a fun wine, zinfandel base w/ bordeaux varietals blended through. Big extraction, stewed prunes and boysenberry. Little rich on fruit lacking a touch of tannin structure but overall enjoyable. Standard descriptors on this wine: raisin, blackberry elements. Paired w/ filet of beef au jus and parsnip puree.

Flight 5 (1 note)

1981 Diamond Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Volcanic Hill USA, California, Napa Valley, Diamond Mountain
93 points
This wine was drinking just like vintage bordeaux. Great leather, cedar, tobacco, cinnamon, nutmeg, and lavender. clean and light on the palate w/ nice rim variation in the glass. had nice rich plum and cherry flavors. Excellent wine and holding nicely for the bottle age. Paired w/ grilled filet of beef au jus and parsnip puree. drink now.

Flight 6 (1 note)

1978 Diamond Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Red Rock Terrace USA, California, Napa Valley, Diamond Mountain
92 points
Drank this along side the 1981 Diamond Creek Volcanic Hill and this one had much richer stewed fruit with a richer tannin structure. Excellent cedar, boxed wood, tobacco, leather, all spice w/ that bordeaux aged light weight and lavender. Stewed cherry and strawberry which shows maybe fruit probably dying a little in this wine. would drink now if not already a little missed on this. Paired w/ filet of beef au jus and parsnip puree.

Flight 7 (1 note)

1998 Bryant Family Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon USA, California, Napa Valley
92 points
generally good showing in a terrible vintage. This wine screams of porcini mushrooms and old cedar tobacco. subtle minerality spice box. has a finessed palate weight with nice round berry fruit but not overly rich. cherry, little touch of light raspberry jam with a little red licorice on this. I think this wine is one dimensional which I guess I'd chalk up to the poor vintage. no big fruit. Paired w/ filet of beef au jus with parsnip puree. little disappointing.

Flight 8 (1 note)

1997 Joseph Phelps Insignia USA, California, Napa Valley
96 points
Clearly not comparable to the vintage wines we drank along side this, but this was, in my opinion, the highlight of the night. Huge fruit, great acid, excellent tannin structure. Good crushed cherry, cassis, big milk chocolate and ganache elements. Big fruit extraction and good alcohol. Long 45+ second finish on this wine. very well made extremely well balanced. not the most sophisticated wine but excellent example of what this wine is all about. This is a big wine and should really hold nicely over the years. Think you can easily get into this wine now but would be enjoyable for many many years to come. Drank w/ filet of beef au jus and parsnip puree. Cut right through.
1 person found this helpful Comment


Clearly a big debate about how older vintage california wine will hold up compared to old world wines. My experience, depends on the winery, vintage and bottle. Doesn't seem to me that the wine has the same staying power (30+ years) as some have discussed (or compared to old world wines) but still holding up well and fun. Not sure napa cabs of the late 70s and early 80s were meant to be stored for 30+ years so tougher comparison vs how some of the younger vintages (97) being made differently will hold up going forward

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