Sunday, February 20, 2011

Happy Birthday Raiding of the Cellar (Australia / France / USA)

I attended a 60th birthday party last night and it was a riches of old wines that materialized out of the old man's cellar.  The youngest wine was 11 years old, the oldest 21.  Kicking things off was a 1999 Cape Mentelle 'Trinder Vineyard' Cabernet-Merlot from Western Australia; lots of leather, dried fruit, tobacco, anise, and forest floor notes throughout ... smooth across the tongue, not a lot of life left in it but I wouldn't be dumping it down the toilet anytime soon either.  Another Cape Mentelle proved to be equally up to the task of still be drinkably good, the 1995 Cabernet Sauvignon, with its dried red berries taste and cherry Fruit Roll-up smells, a touch foresty but still very nice to sip on.  Neither wine stayed in the glass long because there was always another set to be opened.

Leaving Australia we set sail for the Old World with a bottle of 1995 Chateau Clarke from Bordeaux, dried berries and dried leaves, it was time to drink this one and drink it we did - happily.  The oldest wine materialized, a 1990 Chateau Cruzeau - not a well known house from Bordeaux but one that made a very good wine in 1990.  Surprisingly alive with red fruit, a touch of red berries and soft leather notes.  Quite possibly the most interesting wine of the night ... Until the American showed up.

The final cork to pop, that I was present for anyway, was a Ridge 1994 Geyserville, a blend of 68% Zinfandel, 20% Carignan, 8% Petite Sirah and 4% Mataro, 16 years old and the fruit still showed through, though it was definitely all dried, raspberry and cherry with some semblance of tannins (though not intrusive) and a hint of sweetness - I meant to look at the alcohol content but missed my opportunity.  Finally, as mother nature began to dump snow on the land, we decided it was time to leave, just as a bottle of Vouvray was on deck.  But as in baseball the on deck batter never gets up to the plate (or the glass in this case) once the game is pronounced over.

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