This is still a work in progress as I upload tasting notes and wine labels from as far as 1999... Check back once in a while to get the updates.

May 15, 2007

Harlan Estate and Screaming Eagle

Dinner at H One. The Harlan Estate team was represented by Bill Harlan himself, as well as Don Weaver, the marketing Executive Director and Will Harlan, Bill's young son who looked like he was being groomed to take over in the future. I felt quite privileged to meet Bill, who is often cited as a visionary and I think can be compared to the likes of Robert Mondavi.

The Screaming Eagle team was represented by Ursula Hermacinski, the famous wine auctioneer who apparently was lured to Screaming Eagle by the new owners, Charles Banks and Stanley Kroenke. Banks and Kroenke were part of the Asian tour, but had left yesterday during the day so did not attend our dinner.

The lineup of wines were quite interesting, and I believe that most of the guests had never tasted Screaming Eagle, after all the hubbab we had heard for the last 10+ years, so it was a rare treat for us.

El Alma de Jonata 2004 - "the soul", this was a smooth, easy-drinking Cabernet Franc

El Desafio de Jonata 2004 - "the defiance", this is their Cabernet Sauvignon that would be one of the stars of the vineyard. Much more tannic and concentrated than the El Alma

El Corazon de Jonata 2004 - "the heart", this was curiously a blend of every varietal from the vineyards, which include Cab Franc, Cab Sauv, Merlot, Syrah, Sangiovese, Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc, among others. The nose was quite funky since this is a jumble of both red and white grapes...I was left with the question: "What were you thinking?!"

La Sangre de Jonata 2004 - "the blood", this was a ripe, sweet and powerful Syrah which I think will do well

Jonata is a project in the Central Coast owned by Banks and Kroenke, and the vines were planted in 2001 so they are extremely young.

BOND St Eden 2003 - this was clearly superior to the Jonata wines, and as well it should since the quality/price/target market is completely different. Much more complex and very open.

BOND is the project Harlan started a few years ago in cooperation with several growers, and shares the same winemaking team and style with Harlan Estate.

Harlan Estate 2000 - this was not a particularly good year in California but Harlan felt that this was one of the wines of the vintage. Still very closed and tannic

Harlan Estate 2001 - this is one of the wines Robert Parker rated 100. This is still very closed today but you can see the potential for this wine to go to great heights

Harlan Estate 2002 - this was one of the wines of the evening. Robert Parker also rated it 100, and I can see why! This is very ripe and forward, and already drinking very well compared to the 2001

Harlan Estate 2003 - this was also very forward and ripe, although some in the crowd quiet complained that it was too ripe and again the comment of being "madeirized"

The highlight of the evening was no doubt the Screaming Eagle 2003, which was quite interesting. It was clearly very ripe and the nose was very sweet. Fairly concentrated as it is still a very young wine. I would not say that this was the best Californian I have ever tasted, but it is nevertheless a very good effort. Whether I would pay the USD 500 release price from the winery...well, I can probably turn around and flip it in the market if I didn't like it enough.

I think most of us appreciated the chance to finally drink Screaming Eagle, but I don't think any of us were really wowed...not at these prices. The similarly-rated 1998 vintage is now being offered on for USD 1,100 - before premium and taxes. For that price, I can think of many, many legendary wines in the world I would prefer to drink...

Full post on dinner is here.

May 5, 2007

MNSC Dinner - Caprice

Part 2 of Dr. Poon's 40th celebration - the MNSC dinner at Caprice.  Another bunch of really old wines...

First flight:
1945 Grand-Puy-Lacoste - a very good wine from this stellar vintage, and demonstrates why GPL holds such a special place among lovers of Bordeaux

1945 Beychevelle - also a wonderful wine and we scored it slightly higher than the GPL

Second flight:
1947 Margaux - we knew this was a step up from the last flight, and really enjoyed this pair. I noted the hint of grass in the nose so I was able to guess that this was a Margaux

1947 Palmer - as enjoyable as the Margaux

Third flight:
1953 Figeac, ex-chateau - this was an awesome wine and all of us loved it. Wine of the evening for the group as a whole with an average score of 97 points

1953 Angelus, ex-chateau - I thought this was even better than the Figeac and gave it 98 points. These wines just taste incredibly fresh and you would never guess they are 50 years old

Fourth flight:
1981 Sassicaia - I thought this was an awesome wine with lots of rich, sweet fruit. I never would have guess this was an '81...and scored it 98 points

1985 Sassicaia - I was glad to have finally tasted the legendary '85, which is now going for around GBP 900 a bottle. As delicious as this was, I actually rated the '81 better! And to think that the '81 cost less than 1/10 of the '85...guess I'll be buying lots of the '81!!!

Full post on dinner is here.

May 4, 2007

40th birthday celebration

Dr. Poon hosted his big birthday dinner for 60 of his friends at Azure, and brought a few of his cult Californian wines to share before dinner. I arrived late and missed most of it, but did manage to taste the Fisher Millenium (vintage 1997 released for 2000) as well as the 1997 HL (Herb Lamb Vineyard, the source for Colgin's first wine). Both were quite interesting and kinda made up for the 1996 Harlan Estate, 1997 Dalla Valle Maya, 1997 Araujo Cab Eisele Vineyard...that I missed.

During dinner, Kevin served the Mer Soleil Chardonnay, followed by both the Cab and the Merlot from Blankiet Vineyards, all from magnums (don't remember the vintages). To top it all, there was an imperial of 1988 Mouton-Rothschild. I must say I much preferred the Blankiet to the Mouton...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...