Old Bordeaux and Cali Cabs at Dietz's

Chez Dietz

Tasted April 11, 2009 by WetRock with 697 views


Jim showing some outstanding generosity had a few of us over to open up some classic old bottles he had collected. He and Lorena prepared a very good pot roast to match up to the big reds to which I can give it my best compliment. It made me think of Mom's. I made some steamed clams as an appetizer that seemed to go over well and P&L brought some cheeses and a nice salad of baby spinach, basil leaf, blood oranges with a tasting vinaigrette.

We had some classic wines from both side of the Atlantic some of which didn't perform as we had hoped and some did. All in all we drank very well though. I think consensus was the Montelena was the wine of the night. Having had it twice now in the last two months it is truly an outstanding wine that lives up to accolades. Some other favs on the night for me were the Talley Chard, the Etude Cab, the Ridge SC Mountains and the 73 Mayacamas.

Big thanks to VP for the generosity and to everyone else for the comradery making it a great night.

Flight 1 - Champagne (2 notes)

White - Sparkling
1990 Deutz Champagne Cuvée William Deutz France, Champagne
Showing its age with some notes of oxidation and mushrooms on the nose as well as some straw. Light in expression and palate weight with slight sherried notes. I think this wasn't treated its best at some point in its history.
White - Sparkling
1999 Claude Carré et Fils Champagne Cuvée Passion France, Champagne
Nose is relatively tight initially as was the palate. But with some air this started taking off really speaking of a BdB. Some nice notes of bread and vanilla and a nicely balanced palate. And it looks like I was right about the BdB. ;) Very nice and has some years ahead of it.

Flight 2 - Whites (4 notes)

The Saumur was mostly brought as a sautee wine for the steamed clams but I also was curious to see how it was on its own.

1993 Talley Vineyards Chardonnay Arroyo Grande Valley USA, California, Central Coast, Arroyo Grande Valley
Nose shows its age and also possibly some ripeness with a baked apricot quality. Palate shows some aged notes as well but with a few minutes of air this showed nice balance though a bit split between the fruit up front and the acidic finish. Also grippy. A nice surprise and more enjoyable than we expected.
1990 Stony Hill Chardonnay USA, California, Napa Valley
Right after popped drank nice and clean but the TCA took over in a hurry killing this flat.
2006 Rhys Chardonnay Alpine Vineyard USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
Decanted 8 hours prior to consumption. The oak seems to have the microphone at this point. Fat lemon and oak on the nose. Rich lemony palate with tart acidity and a bit of minerals but the oak stands out right now here as well. Took about a glass home and drink mostly the same tonight. Fruit isn't as fat but the oak is still keeping eye contact. Back to sleep with 'em.
2007 Cave de Saumur Saumur Blanc Les Pouches France, Loire Valley, Anjou-Saumur, Saumur
Plastic cork. Nice enough for $8. Much more tropical than I would expect for a Chenin and was more reminiscent of Pinot Gris/Grigio to me. Good acidity and some light rainy pavement minerality though behind the bright tropical fruit lending it balance. Worked great as steamed clam sautee. Consistent over two nights.

Flight 3 - Pre-Dinner Reds (3 notes)

1967 Château Léoville Barton France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien
Very light in color for a Bordeaux even of this age. Terrific dusty nose with notes of cedar, forest and red apples. Soft, lean, tart palate also surprisingly shows apples. More Burgundy like on the palate than Bordeaux. Past peak but still enjoyable especially for the nose. Would make a great dinner companion for some pork.
1993 Etude Cabernet Sauvignon USA, California, Napa Valley
Pretty nose giving up some dusty soil aromas. Ripe fruit comes out with plenty of swirling. Soft fat and rich still with mouth filling tannin. This still drank young to me. A lot of wine here still with a lot of time ahead of it. Good stuff.
1987 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon The Montelena Estate USA, California, Napa Valley
Easily one of the best Cal Cabs I have had. This showed just as well as it did a month ago. The nose really takes me to another place with seamless complexity weaving dust, cedar, tar and rocks together. Lots of grip here still on a nicely balanced palate with lots of rich fruit. Not going anywhere soon and drinking spectacularly now. Awesome.

Flight 4 - 1982 Bordeauxs (2 notes)

1982 Château Léoville Las Cases France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien
Terrific nose with note of pencil lead and deep dark chocolate. Weighty and rich, well balanced with plenty of acidity. Tannins seemed light. I have to say that while this was good I was expecting more going in so it seemed a bit of a let down. Reading other notes leads me to believe that this probably could have used a decant.
1982 Château Léoville Barton France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien
Nose had nice cigar qualities. Palate showed some odd something that others said was TCA. I'm cool with that. It was flawed somehow.

Flight 5 - 1991 Ridge Cab Lineup (3 notes)

1991 Ridge Santa Cruz Mountains Estate USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
Lots of blackberries on the nose. Perfect Cali Cab palate with plenty of tart acidity. Still drinking well tonight showing a bit of oxidation but lots of richness left. Slight green qualities that add complexity. The "2nd" wine from this estate shows better than lots of other first wines at a similar age. Very nice and a bargain if you can find it.
1991 Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon Jimsomare USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
Nose is a bit tight showing some notes of cigar. Well balanced with that terrific Jimsomare acidity. But overall not showing a lot of complexity or depth. Good dinner wine.
1991 Ridge Monte Bello USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
Lots of dark notes of chocolate, coffee and espresso but not in the oaked up young Cab way. Also some truffles intermingled and some slightly greenish qualities. This one probably also needed a decant. Still a child leaving it's sibling, the SC Mountains, to show more open on the night. This will clearly be better in another 10 years.

Flight 6 - Post Dinner (2 notes)

1973 Mayacamas Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Mountain USA, California, Napa Valley, Mt. Veeder
It was getting late and the wine was sinking in so my note is of the minimalist style. Nose of older Cab. Plenty of fruit and tannin on the palate still. They certainly knew something about wine making back then.
Red - Fortified
1974 Quinta do Noval Porto Colheita Portugal, Douro, Porto
Bottled in 2005. Sweet cherry nose. Nutty with tart cherries. Nicely balanced with no heat. This was somewhere between an old Colheita and a young Tawny to me not showing the thick very nutty caramel notes I've gotten on older Colheita's previously. Very nice and easy drinking.
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