The rest of the wines from the weekend:
2004 Kosta-Brown Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast)
Big, chewy, fruity and very easy to drink. Not much in the way of complexity, but enjoyable with our grilled wild salmon.
2002 Arcadian Pinot Noir Dierberg Vineyard (Santa Maria Valley)
Just as rich as the Kosta-Brown, but along with the fruit there is a wonderful core of earth, and a sense of a tightly wound core that is waiting to unfold to greater complexity. A clear step up. While this was also good with the salmon, it was also just fun to sniff, sip and contemplate.
1996 Chateau Sociando-Mallet (Haut Medoc)
Barely starting to come into maturity. Cassis, leather and earth on the nose. More primary on the palate, but showing a touch of leather on the finish. A fantastic match with rare grilled steak. While it is drinking "well" now, I won't open another until 2010 or so.
1996 Benziger Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve (Sonoma)
This is at peak right now. Fruit and oak are completely integrated, and the overall balance is very fine. Age has given a sense of subtlety which made it work very well up against the Bordeaux. Real fans of Cal Cab will find this wine over the hill, but there were no "aged" characteristics, just a mellowing of the fruit and tannins into something very drinkable. I have two more which will meet their end over the next year or two.
Bonus Sunday white wine. We went to the local farm and picked fresh snow peas. I did a quick stir fry with some thinly sliced pork in a soy/garlic/chile sauce.
2004 Rudi Pichler Weissburgunder Smaragd Wösendorfer Kollmütz (Wachau)
A Pinot Blanc even Jenise could love. Lively apple and peach fruit over a bed of crushed stones. A little bit of spritz keeps it initially very refreshing (Pinot Blanc spritzer...), but when that settles down it gains in palate richness and goes very well with the pork stir fry.
Talk less, smile more. Don't let them know what you're against or what you're for.