We had Blair & Laurie over for some apps on Fri afternoon. Blair's nephew, Brian, and his daughter, Gillian, were in town for a visit & that was a sufficient excuse to get together. I'd known Brian here in LosAlamos since about the 6'th grade and hadn't seen him in some 5-6 yrs. Blair has been in my group since '73, so I suggested he might want to bring some old-friends along. They included:
1. Abrente Albarino StewartRanch/Carneros/NapaVlly (13.0%) Morgan Twain-Peterson/Michael Havens 2012: Med.gold/bronze/orange color (skin contact?); very fragrant spicy/cinammon/graham cracker flowery/steely/mineral quite perfumed classiv Albarino quite interesting nose; quite tart steely/metallic/austere/mineral fairly rich floral/orangey/spicy/cinammon very perfumed flavor; very long austere/metallic/steely/tart some floral/orangey/spicy/cinammon; a bracing perfumed Albarino as good as any from anywhere.$22.00
2. Joh.Jos.Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Auslese (QmP/Auslese; A.P.Nr. 2 576 511-1977; EA; 10%) 1976: Deep gold some browning color; beautiful/complex pencilly/cedary/piney bit fusel oil/Mosel valve oil some peachy/botrytis/canned fruit cocktail slight oxidized nose; fairly sweet soft/lush very complex rather peachy/botrytis slight fusel oil/Mosel valve oil light pencilly/cedary/earthy flavor; very long soft quite sweet fusel/Mosel valve oil bit pineapply juice/peachy/botrytis some cedary/pencilly/piney slightly bitter quitte complex finish; a beautiful very complex quiet/gentle classic old Auslese but still very much alive.
3. Mt.Veeder CabSauv BernsteinVnyd/MtVeeder/NapaCnty (13.5%) 1978: Med.dark somewhat bricking color; slight bretty/horsecollar/leathery very perfumed cedary/pencilly/old red light plummy/blackcurrant/Cab fully mature complex nose; soft bit dried out/tannic/metallic/tangy quite cedary/pencilly/pungent slight blackcurranty/Cab complex flavor; med.long complex bit pungent/dried-out slight tannic rather pencilly/cedary finish; a quiet/gentle over-mature Cab but still a pleasure to drink.
3. Ridge Calif CabSauv MonteBelloRidge (EG; Bttld: Dec 1972; 13 1/2%; Drk: 1/73-1/93: PD) 1970: Med.color w/ some bricking; strong cedary/pencilly/smokey/pungent slight earthy light blackcurranty/Cab very slight bretty/horsecollar quite complex/old Cab nose; soft slight tangy/metallic/dried out rather cedary/pencilly/old Bdx rather smooth/gentle slight plummy/blackcurranty/Cab/SCM-earthy complex flavor; very long smooth/light/gentle light earthy/blackcurranty/Cab rather cedary/pencilly/old Cab complex finish; a quiet/gentle old lady of a Cab that speaks quietly of her old glories when she was one hot chick.
4. Callaway Vnyd&Wnry Port Temecula/Calif (EB: April 1980; 19.5%; 73% PS/17% Zin/10% CS; German oak barrels) NV: Dark color w/ some browning; rather strong alcoholic/fumey very Porto-like strong grapey/plummy somewhat herbal/Cab/earthy fairly complex/Porto-like nose; somewhat sweet rather alcoholic/fumey/hot intense grapey/plummy/chocolaty some herbal/Cab quite Poreto-like flavor w/ some tannins; very long herbal/Cab/chocolaty rather hot/fumey/alcoholic rather Porto-like finish w/ modest tannins; shows lots of hot/fumey/alcoholic character but good old-Porto-like character; has held its age well.
A wee BloodyPulpit:
1. Abrente: One of the best Calif Albarinos I've yet had. The color and the slight orangey character suggested that it might have been made w/ some (limited) skin contact, but it lacked the phenolic/cidery and the tannic character that shows in many skin-contact whites.
2. Cabs: Mike & Arlene Bernstein made their first MtVeeder Cab in 1973 and it immediately got my attention as something very special. They also made a LongVnyd Chard that was absolutely amazing. Their MarstenVnyd PetiteSirah '75 was one of the greats of Calif PS. This '78 was starting to show a bit of wear & tear, but was still a pleasure to drink.
We had the '70 MonteBello when PaulDraper was here last Sept. It was an absolutely amazing complex old Calif Cab. This btl was not nearly as profound, but still spoke quietly of its past glories...JohnWayne fading away into the sunset after his last round-up.
3. Callaway: Eli Callaway, of Calloway shirt and gold-driver fame discovered the Temecula area in the mid-'70's and jumped in with both feet and lots of $$'s. In the late-'70's/early-'80's, he made some pretty amazing wines. His reds were his strong suit, but his schtick was aging them in German oak barrels. They had a rather different character and, though big/black/extracted and would have garnered big points from Monktowm, the wines just never did catch on. The Zin/Cab/PetiteSirahs aged into some pretty interesting wines. He also made a SweetNancy botrytis CheninBlanc that was amazing. And a ratifia-like/Angelica sweet wine from Chard that was quite good, if a bit eccentric. But Eli showed that Temecula could grow wines as good as anything being grown in Calif. Alas, the Temecula area is now a characterture of a a fine-wine growing area. But plenty of limos and tour buses. Eli would roll over in his grave.